Pause for the winter

Temps have dropped, the rain clouds have moved in . . . time for major trailer cleanup.

Every few years, I totally empty out the Escape and do a major cleanup.  Since I had the 'chipmunk episode' that sent dog kibble into every nook-and-cranny, and a major 'water all over the inside' episode, I figured this was a good year to do a deep clean.

Amazing how much stuff one can accumulate in such a small trailer!

I was amazed at how long it took to empty the trailer and huge piles of gear are everywhere.  I will be accessing the value of stuff with the intent of serious decluttering when I repack the trailer in a couple of weeks!  Meanwhile, the Escape has been mostly scrubbed clean (still need to clean the mini-blinds).

Next comes some maintenance

I have over 12,000 miles on the trailer now - time to get the wheel bearings repacked and a professional check of the frame, hitch, etc.  I've winterized and refilled the propane tanks.

The cats have taken up permanent residence on my lap

I'm spending more time at the house, organizing files for taxes, and gettting ready for the holidays.  The cats are thrilled, follow me everywhere and head for my lap anytime I'm still for more than a few seconds.

Camping Expenses over time

One rainy day recently I went back over my calendar and my Quicken Financial reports to see what I could see about my camping over the last few years.  Mostly what I discovered was that I don't keep very detailed records!  But, now that I will hopefully be doing longer trips and more dispersed camping, I will keep more detailed records.  Comparing the first 5 years to the last 2 years (post retirement), here's what I discovered:
  • I've doubled the number of trips per year (from 5 to 10)  and doubled the number of nights camping.
  • While money spent on campground fees went up, they didn't go up as much as expected because of a sharp increase in dry camping in Forest Service Parks rather than more expensive full-service State Parks.  Hopefully, next year the cost will go down even more as I practice dispersed camping.
  • I've invested fairly heavily in upgrades to accomodate long trips and boondocking: dual propane tanks, solar panels, catalytic heater, etc.  I have a few more things on my wish list but will probably wait until I've got a couple years of boondocking under my belt and have a better idea of what my real needs are (thinking back to all the gear I just unpacked from the Escape realizing how rarely I used some of it!).
  • The other really noticable trend was how often I've gone back to familiar campgrounds - I think I'm in a rut!!  Hopefully, when I can take longer trips, I can get a little further out of my own backyard!

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