I prefer to stay off the interstates as much as possible. We usually pickup US-50 just West of Saint Louis (I-44 Exit 247). US-54 bypasses Kansas City. US-400 will take you back to US-50 at Dodge City. CO-10 will take you to US-160 at Walsenburg and from there it is US-160 to Durango.
...Love local taverns with good food...We have been to Chattanooga a few times. Take a look at the Chattanooga Brewing Company, Terminal Brewhouse, Big River Grille and Brewing Works and World of Beer. There are a couple of other microbreweries in the area but we have not been to them. Some serve food, others do not.
As you get into the more rural areas, you may only have a choice of one maybe two larger chain supermarkets in addition to the small local markets. In Moab, I believe City Market is the only major chain with a store. In Vernal, UT; it is Smith's or Walmart. In Great Bend, KS; it is Dillion's or Walmart. In Angel Fire, NM; Lowe's is the game in town as far as larger chains. Even if you drive the 30 miles over the mountain to Taos the choices are Walmart, Smith's or Albertson's. In many smaller Southern towns, Piggly Wiggly is it. The rural areas of the Mid-Atlantic coastal region is Food Lion country. There are many rural areas where a not so nearby Walmart is about the only large supermarket.
We have had mixed results with smaller local grocery stores/markets. Some are excellent. Some leave a lot to be desired in quality and cleanliness. We do like the local farmer's markets, but even there we are picky about what we buy as the quality can be highly variable as well as the price.
With there only being two of us and limited space in the RV freezer, we don't go to Costco or Sam's club for much.
Until I went past the 100,000 mile warranty, the fact that my owner's manual said not to use over B5 was my primary reason for avoiding higher percentages of Biodiesel. Now I try not to fill up completely with a higher percentage counting on dilution from what is remaining in the tank.
I am under the impression that all Flying J/Pilot now sell only 10-20 percent Bio Fuels. So, I avoid them even though I still have a loyalty card. Illinois is nearly impossible to find a station with less than 10% biodiesel so I fill up before and try to make it through without needing to purchase fuel. Missouri is not quite as bad as Illinois, but the last couple of years it has been harder and harder to find B5 or less.
...We've only been to Albuquerque but never farther south. Can't wait to see some new terrain...Since you haven't been in the area before here's some links to potential places to checkout: Valley of Fires,
Three Rivers Petroglyph Site, Smokey Bear Historic Park, Lincoln State Historic Site, and Fort Stanton.
If you do decide to go to Alamogordo, there is the New Mexico Museum of Space History, Oliver Lee Memorial State Park, and White Sands National Monument.
Hope you have a Great Time!!
...although almagordo can be a pain...Going from Santa Rosa to Carrizozo and on to Ruidoso, you do not have to go through Alamogordo. Even if you stay on US-54 to US-70 you will not go through Alamogordo. It has been a couple of years since I drove NM-37 and NM-48 from Carrizozo to Ruidoso and I was not pulling the trailer. I don't remember anything other than it being a very nice scenic drive which probably means it had lots of ups and downs as it went through the Lincoln National Forest.
There is a length limit on that section of highway. Not sure whether it is 40 or 45', but I have seen the Jerome police with trucks pulling trailers pulled over and making them turn around and go back to Clarksdale/Cottonwood.
If you have not already been there, Petrified Forest National Park and Meteor Crater are near the New Mexico border.
There are a number of things to see along I-40 in New Mexico. Just South of I-40 West of Grants are El Malpais National Monument, El Moro National Monument and the Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano. Acoma Sky City is said to be the longest occuppied location in the U.S. They give tours of the pueblo and there is an RV park next to the casino. In Grants, there is the Mining Museum. In Albuquerque, the Pueblo Cultural Center and Petroglyph National Monument are worth visiting in my opinion. Santa Rosa is an Old Route 66 town and has the The Blue Hole and Santa Rosa Lake State Park which has a nice campground. Tucumcari still has dinners along Historic Route 66 and numerous murals painted on buildings plus other attractions like the foundry and dinosaur museum at the college.
In Amarillo, there is Palo Duro Canyon State Park, which has a campground, and the Big Texan on Old Route 66.
In Oklahoma City there is the Oklahoma City National Memorial.
Speaking of City Market, there's a good one in Moab, Utah right on the main road - 191 - great for provisioning when you're in that area.And it has a fuel station which usually has one of the lower prices in town even before you use your "Kroger" accumulated fuel points.
From Frederick we prefer to take I-70 West to I-68 West to I-79 South to I-64 West. Usually better road surface and less traffic than I-70. At Saint Louis if you do not stop to see the Arch, take I-265 to I-44 West. Take US-50 West to US-54 West. Take the expressways around Topeka and then US-54/400 West. If you want to see Dodge City it is just North of Minneola on US-283. US-54 will take you to Tucumcari,, which is an old Route 66 town now on I-40. From there you can take I-40 West to Albuquerque or take I-54 West from Santa Rosa to Carrizozo where there is Valley of Fires. Roswell is not too far back to the East if it interests you. From Carrizozo take US-380 West to I-25 North to US-60 West. At Globe, AZ AZ-77 South will take you to Tucson.
If you go South to take I-40 West from Oklahoma, There a lot to see along I-40. In Amarillo, there is Palo Duro Canyon State Park and the Big Texan on Old Route 66. In New Mexico, Tucumcari still has dinners along Historic Route 66 and numerous murals painted on buildings plus other attractions. Santa Rosa is another Route 66 town and has the The Blue Hole and Santa Rosa Lake State Park which has a nice campground. In Albuquerque, the Pueblo Cultural Center and Petroglyph National Monument are worth visiting in my opinion. In Grants, there is the Mining Museum. Just South of I-40 going West from Grants are El Malpais National Monument, El Moro National Monument and the Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano. Acoma Sky City is said to be the longest occuppied location in the U.S. They give tours of the pueblo and there is an RV park next to the casino.
On the way to Flagstaff along I-40 are Petrified Forest National Park, Meteor Crater and Homolovi Ruins State Park. You can stand on the corner in Winslow Arizona.
In the Flagstaff area are Sunset Crater National Monument, Wupatki National Monument, and Walnut Canyon National Monument.
Headed South from Flagstaff, Sedona/Camp Verde/Cottonwood are about an hour South. In that area you will find Montezuma Castle and Montezuma Well National Monuments, Tuzigoot National Monument, Palatki and Honaki Ruins, V-Bar-V Heritage Site, Verde Canyon Railroad, Fort Verde State Park, Cathedral Rock, Gold King Mine, and Jerome State Historic Park.
I like the Kroger stores which include: Kroger, Ralphs, Dillons, Smith's, King Soopers, Fry's, QFC, City Market, Owen's, Jay C, Pay Less, Baker's, Gerbes, Harris Teeter, Pick N' Save, Copps, Metro Market, Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less, and Mariano's because you only need one card. I've used my City Market card all over the country. In the East the store clerks have never even heard of City Market and are amazed when the computer accepts my card. The fuel points accumulate no matter which store you use. The fuel points can also be used at their convenience stores Kwik Shop, Loaf N' Jug, Quik Stop Markets, Tom Thumb Food Stores, Turkey Hill Minit Markets, and Smith's Express that have fuel pumps.
...I am thinking about using their mail forwarding service and address...I am leaning toward Florida since if I set in one place for any given time it most likely will be there...It is my understanding that if you use the Escapees mail service in Florida, all your mail that goes to their Florida address gets sent to Texas and then on to you. I believe they recommend using the Florida address only for vehicle registration, drivers license, voter registration and taxes. I am not an attorney, but personally would want to use it for anything that might be used to challenge my domicile such as banks, credit cards and any other business dealings. I think there are extra charges for each mailing from Florida to Texas.
...unfortunately, getting starting fly tying requires a decent investment too but that can be gathered over time. Pick a few patterns to start with then expand as needed...Having not purchased new tying equipment in over 50 years when I purchased mine from the now defunct Herter's mail order company, I was a little shocked at some of the prices for some of the latest and greatest equipment like vises. One can also get sticker shock looking at fly rods and reels. Fortunately they also can last a long time if taken care of. I'm still using my Dad's bamboo fly rod and Pflueger medalist reel that have to be close to 60 years old or older.
The price on a portaboat is out line with what you get for your money, sort of like an rv....lol
well hopefully you would not have to always work on it...like an rvYes they are expensive if purchased new. They are very durable, much more so than inflatables, and last many many years with no maintenance. Look for used ones. They can often be found for a reasonable price.
...Fly fishing is a very portable way to fish unless you need a drift boat for bigger waters...it can be addicting...Learning to tie your own flies adds to the addiction, saves money on tackle and is a reasonably inexpensive hobby itself that doesn't require a lot of heavy equipment or materials.
Salt Lick State Park is off I-77 just North of I-70. Spring Valley Campground is off I-70 just West of Cambridge. There are a couple of parks in the Zanesville area. We have only stayed at Wolfies. There is a KOA off of I-70 at Buckeye Lake. There are two campgrounds near Springfield off of I-70. Stayed at Beaver Valley about 7 years ago. All of the above were OK for an overnight when convenient to our route.
I think the fact that no one else is even mentioning the depreciation of your RV proves my point that most RVers leave that cost out. This would be like claiming that one can drive a car for x number of years for an amount and completely leaving out the cost of the car. Someone mentioned their daily cost for camping being 20 something but if you add the cost of the RV to each day it will be more that the camp site. Assume you buy an RV for $100,000, use it for 10 years and stay in it 3,000 nights and sell it for $30,000, then it cost you 70000 divided by 3000 = $23/night and that's not counting any loan interest,upkeep, insurance, extra fuel, etc. If you only used it 1500 nights than it would cost $46/day. Of course you have to estimate because you don't know what it will be worth when you sell or trade. Houses gain value; RV's lose big time. I am also an RVer but I just want to know all the cost.If the RV is paid for and there is no monthly payment, I think most people leave the cost out of their monthly budget. Retirees often pay off their mortgages on sticks and bricks homes in order to be able to afford living on a lower income in retirement. Including the amortized cost (or estimated amortized cost) of a paid for RV would only artificially inflate the budget amount. If you think "Houses gain value", you need to talk to the thousands that are still underwater on their mortgages or in foreclosure.
Our strategy may be a little different than most. I view the RV as an expendable item just like a car, TV, refrigerator, etc. Since I have always driven a truck or full size van, I chose a travel trailer as the RV. Rather than take a loan or dip deep into savings to purchase a Motorhome or luxury 5th wheel, we bought what we could afford without any significant dipping into the principle of our savings or retirement funds. In 12 years we are on our third RV, replacing each of the first 2 using less than the investment income earned on the funds we did not expend on an initial purchase. Cost of ownership of each was just less than $2000/yr or $5.48/day.
Your argument regarding not calculating total costs, also applies to the often made claim that boondocking is free. Amortized over 10 years, every $1000 spent on extra batteries, solar panels and/or generator comes out to $0.27/day. So a $4,000 solar system costs a dollar a day for ten years whether it is used or not. Then there might be costs for gasoline for a generator, dump fees, and depending on the RV and owner's life style; increased costs for laundry (versus using onboard appliances), increased cellular data fees (versus using park wifi), satellite TV (versus park cable) and the intangible costs of required life style changes for power and water conservation.
Same often applies to volunteering or workamping for a site. Rarely is there mention of the time in hours/week or the minimum week(s)/month(s) that must be spent in one place to achieve the low nightly costs touted.
No two Rvers will be exactly the same. By grabbing bits and pieces of information from those that are willing to provide it, one can make an educated guess as to what to budget for various items.
Renting boats and hiring guides can be expensive. I have never hired a guide and have not rented a boat in decades so am out of touch with the costs. We have carried an inflatable, small row boat and now a portabote. I also do a lot of fishing from the bank and wading in western streams and rivers using both fly rod and spinning gear.
Being from Texas, you probably know, but it is my understanding that if you camp at a Texas State Park, you do not need a fishing license to fish in the park. Many states allow fishing on private property without a license. I have caught some decent fish out of the lakes/ponds on campgrounds. Some National Parks like Glacier do not require any fishing license. Others like Yellowstone require a permit from the park. Others like Great Smoky Mountain require a state fishing license.
The cost of licenses is always a topic of debate. Most states have a choice of some type of short term license(s) or season/year long license. Some states use a calendar year and others honor the license for a year from the date of purchase. I have never paid more than $10/day for a short term license. Most season/yearly licenses are between $50-100. Most states have license sales online so there is no need to run around looking for a license vendor. Compared to many other forms of recreation/entertainment, to me fishing is a bargain. It all depends on your perspective, what you like to do and how you want to spend your time and money.
...We are mostly looking to stop and sleep...We'll have the kids with us so don't want to be anywhere iffy...How old are the kids? Are they use to riding for long hours and then staying in the RV or going right to sleep? I wouldn't suggest letting them play in a parking lot or turning them loose in a store to burn off energy. Most campgrounds/RV parks even those that do not have a designated playground have enough space somewhere out of traffic that kids can play. Check the free campsites website and the ultimate public campgrounds project for city parks along your route that allow overnight stays. Many are very low cost or free and a lot more kid friendly than a parking lot or truck stop.
If you are going to travel, campground fees and fuel costs can be the two largest budget items. They are also controllable. The average cost of our 247 stays in developed campgrounds over the past year and a half was $27.10. However, we do not go to prime snowbird areas or other areas in prime season like you will be doing. Dry camping/boondocking can save on camping fees. If your RV is not already setup with a large battery bank and robust solar system, doing so for extended periods of time may require a fairly large investment up front unless you want to run a generator a lot or just not use the amenities of the RV.
Like one of the other posters, we tend to drive about the same number of miles with and without the RV when in sight seeing mode. Local or regional fuel prices can vary considerably. We have observed as much as a dollar per gallon difference within a week of travel. Some areas like parts of California are notoriously high. Fuel price websites like gas buddy can give you a reality check on prices in the areas you plan to visit.
You don't say how you arrived at your entertainment budget. We spend far less, but as seniors with the America the Beautiful Senior Pass, entrance fees/day use fees to most federal facilities are free. We also buy state park access passes when we will be in a particular state for an extended period of time. We have found that many of the smaller free or low cost local/county museums are just as good as the big fancy higher cost ones.
Everyone has different preferences in how they like to travel. To us the point of traveling is to see and experience new things. If we have to worry about every penny that we will spend or do things that we don't enjoy like bathing in the sinks at Walmart; we would rather just not go and save until we can travel the way we like to.