Swamp Tour II – Summary

We got back to Minnesota (and cold weather) last week. Smooth trip, no issues. Spent quite a few nights in Louisiana State Parks, hit a handful of wildlife refuges, and visited family in Houston. We covered the same general area as “Swamp Tour I“, but skewed towards the east just a bit. This trip started out as ‘Joshua Tree’, then got scaled back to ‘Southern Utah’ because of time constraints, and then to ‘Louisiana’ because of the weather. Good thing we’re flexible. 🙂

Gasoline was expensive, of course. We paid an average of around $4/gallon, as compared to $2.50-3.00/gallon the last few years. To put this into perspective, for the 4000+ miles we drove this trip, at 15 mpg. the additional cost vs. a few years ago was about $300. Four bucks a gallon sounds expensive, but considering that we paid$5/gal. in California in 2008 and north of $8/gal. in Europe, we have no complaints. Had we still been camping in a travel trailer, we’d have averaged 11-12 mpg. vs. 15mpg in the campervan.

Surprisingly, Texas gasoline was not cheap.

Compared to other modes of travel – driving my Chevy Colorado at 20mpg or our Subaru at 30mpg and using motels and restaurants – we spent more on gasoline but far less on lodging and meals. Compared to camping and cooking, motels and restaurants are expensive. Under normal circumstances we’d consider the depreciation on the campervan as part of the cost of travel, but the market is so distorted that after 3 and a half years and 40,000 miles, the van is probably worth what we paid for it in 2018.

One could get excited over being able to drive a campervan for 3+ years with no depreciation, but a brand-new replacement camper, identical except for a few thousand dollars in minor improvements, would be nearly double the $80,000 we paid for this one. So unless one is downsizing to a small travel trailer or tent, trading up RV’s is expensive.

We hit a handful of interesting nature-related spots, including:

  • Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area
  • Natchez Trace National Parkway
  • Atchafalaya NWR
  • Barataria Preserve
  • Bogue Chitto NWR
  • Bayou Sauvage NWR
  • Big Branch Marsh NWR

As usual, we packed a ton (or maybe a hundred pounds) of stuff we didn’t need. The part of the country we visited has readily available and cheap electric campsites, so we only ran on battery one night. I brought about twice as much clothes as needed (most Louisiana campgrounds have coin operated laundries), brought an air compressor and RV anti-freeze in case we had to re-winterize, brought leveling blocks, a folding table, the portable solar panel and my tool bags – none of which were used. My magnetic mount rooftop solar panel did not fly off and kill anyone – contrary to the dire predictions of random strangers on the Internet.

For Internet we used our T-Mobile phones and Verizon hotspot. Verizon coverage was better that T-Mobile (no surprise). We had no coverage in a few spots – Lake Fausse Pointe State Park, for example. Louisiana State Parks have Wi-Fi – useful if it’s not overloaded. Most of the time it’s overloaded and barely usable. We’re thinking of switching the hotspot to AT&T – if we can find a hotspot device. They apparently are impossible to find now days.

Next trip might be Italy – maybe.

1 Comment

  1. Bigfoot says:

    With the price of diesel close to $5 its way cheaper to casino campground it home and wait for the wind to change. Clyde to tonkawa ok wind was almost in our favor, then it went excessive 35+ gusts. Leaving there on tuesday am early we got a mostly favorable wind from SSE but by 11 am it was getting excessive and with a 39 foot travel trailer it is uncomfortable! So here we are at the Prairie Band Casino campground. All paved driveways, large concrete parking spaces, level city!! Had an electrical issue seemed to be on the parks end. Within 30 minutes of calling the casino tech was out here, agreed with my trouble shooting and tested the breakers, one was out, and hour after a 9:30 am call we had full power again. Now if I could figure out why with my pressure reducer in place the water flow falls to zero! Remove reducer and we have water! Hoping its not to high a pressure now!

    Home is scheduled for friday am, wind is from south then single digits showing on the clime app! Its not perfect, but its going the right way with up to 14 days advance predictions. Not as accurate as ‘CCO but its a step in the right direction.

    Bigfoot

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