The gas price game

Ok, it isn’t really a game. Trying to find the cheapest gas as you are traveling can really be a challenge and an important part of your travel budget control. Starting the day on a gas price information site like GasBuddy is a great way to start. Assuming you have a reasonable idea of your day’s route, you can get a head start on the prices you might expect.

Is it good practice to pull off for cheaper gas if you don’t need to fill up? Yes, it is. While we were going across country I would often pull over for gas when the truck only needed a half a tank. The average 20 cent a gallon lower price added up as we traveled.

Until this gas we had seen $3.75 as the highest on this trip.

Until this gas we had seen $3.75 as the highest on this trip.

And then of course there was the time when I blew it. Needed gas, did not know the area, and (gulp) paid what you see. Needless to say I kicked myself when I saw 25 cent cheaper fuel about 35 miles down the road.

Buying our Keystone Hideout 260LHS

The die was cast: it was time to get an RV trailer that would be suitable for our roadtirement. We had the Starcraft AR-ONE for a trade. We now had a pickup truck with a 7500 pound towing capacity.  After researching online we decided to go to Walnut Ridge Family RV in New Castle, Indiana.

IMG_3483_resized (2)

The Walnut Ridge  staff welcomed us late one afternoon. The Keystone brand was on our list of brands to consider, and, as it turned out, the dealership was having a special on Keystone travel trailers.

IMG_3477_resized

Our decision to go with the Hideout model 260LHS was based on several factors. The master bedroom had a short queen bed, and both of us could get in and out of it without having to climb over the other. This was a must, as the Starcraft did not allow that. The kitchen was fine, with a decent sized fridge. There was a three burner stove and an oven.

IMG_3496_resized

The bathroom had a full sized porcelain commode by Dometic. The tub was small, but the shower was fine and it was easy to get into. A second bed with drop down bunk would allow for storage and sleeping room when we had our grandchildren along for trips. Basement storage was more than adequate for us.

The quality of the Keystone Hideout immediately stood out to both of us. Cabinet doors and drawers were solid when operated. The fit of the interior trim was excellent. Electrical outlets were positioned well, and were firmly installed.

The Keystone Hideout 260LHS became our roadtirement home!

Our first flea market

The reason we first went to a flea market was to have something to do.  Very simple.  We were looking for things to do and me, being an almost extreme couponer had an over abundance of health and beauty supplies.

So we head to a Wednesday morning flea market called White’s in Brookville, Indiana.  What we found was that we could come over on Tuesday and set up our things to sell.  Hey!  Did we just get a free night of camping?  Now this was 2 years before we went full time in Roadtirement so we didn’t quite grasp the impact of what we had found.  We only had to pay for our flea market space and $5 for the use of electricity.

Excitedly we made back the money for our expenses plus paid for our gas coming and going and we had a ball meeting and talking with people.

Selling our home of 20 years

It was a tough time selling our home. Yes, I said our home, not house. This four bedroom ranch had seen the raising of five kids with all those good and challenging times. Sometimes we got really sad remembering all those years. We did, however, soon come to realize that we were selling a house that we no longer needed to enable us to go full time on the road. Our doubts slipped away.

We had nearly twenty years of accumulated “stuff” in the house. Some of the things fell into the “why do we still have this” category. Other things (like family history records and photos) fell into the “what are we going to do with this” category. The impact of listing the house was felt quickly: we had an accepted offer to purchase four days after the house was listed!

Selling "stuff"

Selling “stuff”

Yard sales, Craigslist and giving things to our kids all helped in the getting rid of stuff.  We had to decide what to take with us on the road. We had to store some things. But when it was all said and done the house was sold and we bought our new Keystone Hideout travel trailer.

Flea Markets, Festivals and Fairs!

Gas and campgrounds can be expensive.  That is our biggest expense on this Roadtirement adventure.  There isn’t much we can do about gas prices, we have to have gas and we have to pay for it.

Maj and I have found solutions for both.  We have a 3F fund, which is the flea markets, festivals and fairs that we use to pay for our gas.  More coming about that.

Camping we use a variety of methods including our 3F and Passport America membership.  We have to be creative with where we park our trailer.  We will share them as we find them and as other Roadtirees  share with us.

Sometimes your timing is perfect

One thing we have discovered about Roadtirement is that timing is sometimes everything. We hit perfect timing when we visited Mt. Rushmore. We were there on a Sunday in late August a week before Labor Day. The traffic was minimal, and the vehicle pull off on Route 244 where you can see George Washington’s face in profile was nearly void of cars.

All to ourselves!

All to ourselves!

Sure there were some vehicles that pulled in to the turn off, but very few stayed for any length of time. It seemed like we had that beautiful slice of Mt. Rushmore all to ourselves.

Iowa Amana Colonies RV Park is worth the stop

About 15 miles southwest of Cedar Rapids, Iowa the traveler will discover a unique community of shops and restaurants called Amana Colonies. The Colonies are listed as a National Historic Landmark and have over a million visitors a year. Next to the community there is an RV park fittingly named Amana Colonies RV Park.

IMG_4278_resized

The RV park offers Passport America discounts with electric, water and sewer hook-ups costing $18.19 per weekday night, tax included. The staff is very friendly and offer golf cart escort to your site. All sites are level, gravel surfaced with grass and picnic tables. The park is very large, covering acres of ground. Don’t expect any shade, as there are but a few small trees scattered around. There will be no problem for those of you with satellite dishes. The rest rooms, showers and laundry facilities are clean and acceptable. And get ready to enjoy the multitude of these little chipmunk type critters who are everywhere!

IMG_4287_resized_resized

For a day of shopping and dining enjoy the Amana Colonies community. The Amana Colonies RV Park provides a clean, friendly and safe place to camp literally a couple of minutes away. Check for availability before you go as they do have special events that fill the park.