1978 VW Westfalia

1978 VW Westfalia
Ramblin' Rose

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The End (for now)

November 30, 2010

Hi. Long ago I promised that the final post of this trip would be a summary. It seems like it's taken forever but reality keeps getting in the way. We just had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends, a visit from our daughter Ellie who is now back in California, our son's 29th birthday (27th) at which time he announced that he had offered a ring and a proposal of marriage to his long time Sweetheart, Rebecca. Yes, she accepted! So, we truly have much for which we are thankful. On to the bus trip...

Rose is napping in her storage garage, an earthen floored affair that she is sharing with other classic, old, some neglected, cars and boats. She seems comfortable. I had her out two weeks ago because it was a nice day and I wanted to spread mothballs around her station in hopes of keeping out rodents. Hope that it works.

The point of this post is to summarize the trip in some fashion. I will offer some categories of money spent and a total of these to give a rough idea of what our trip actually cost. The reader will judge if it was worth it, but for me, the experience was, as the commercial says, "priceless".


 Since we were driving a campmobile, it seems only fitting that most of our resting time would be spent in campgrounds, but there were motels interspersed throughout the trip. Sometimes it was because we needed a laundromat, sometimes we were tired of camping and wanted a nice bed (well a bed, anyway) and in one instance the weather was threatening. The following list is of dates, locations and costs:

9/22  Stanislas National Forest outside Yosemite, CA  $0
9/23  commercial campground, Madera, CA                $18
9/24  Sierra Trails campground, Mojave, CA                $23.88
9/25  KOA, Barstow, CA                                            $23.40
9/26  El Rancho Motel, Boulder City, NV                     $71.50
9/27  El Rancho Motel, Williams, AZ                            $65.15
9/28 Grand Canyon campground (2 nights)                   $36.00
9/30  Black Bart's, Flagstaff, AZ                                   $25.64
10/1  Church Rock (Gallup), NM                                 $10.00
10/2  American Inn, Santa Rosa, NM                           $40.00
10/3  Palo Duro state park, TX                                    $22.00
10/4  Foss Reservoir, Foss, OK                                   $12.00
10/5  Overland RV Park, Van Buren, AR                     $17.00
10/6  Tom Sawyer Campground, W. Memphis, AR      $12.00
10/7  Knight's Inn, Memphis, TN                                  $40.00
10/8  Melton Hill campground, Knoxville, TN               $12.00
10/9  KOA, Natural Bridge, VA                                   $42.38
10/10 Home                                                                       0   
Total:                                                                          $418.95


Some of the natural wonders of our country cost money to see. Some were a little cheesy and others were bargains but I don't regret spending money on any of them. This is a partial list because some things we paid for in cash and I just don't remember the true cost.

Yosemite National Park, CA                             $20        
Baldasare Forestiere house, Fresno, CA            $30
Calico Ghost Town, Calico, CA                        $27
Calico Early Man site, Calico, CA                     $20 (donation)
Hoover Dam, Bouler City, NV                          $24
Grand Canyon National Park, AZ                      $25
Meteor Crater, AZ                                            $38
Riordan Mansion, Flagstaff, AZ                         $12
Route 66 Museum, Clinton, OK                        $24
Rock & Soul Museum, Memphis, TN               $18
Total:                                                               $238

Food, Souvenirs and Miscellaneous Stuff

We ate in several restaurants but mostly ate food that we had in the cooler in the bus. Lunch was usually an apple, a granola bar, a sandwich or sometimes nothing at all. In the dry Southwest, we drank more than we ate. Evening meals were typically simple affairs, again mostly prepared from food that we had carried with us from grocery stores. Hamburger helper, hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, beans and rice and soups were some of the entrĂ©es that we enjoyed. The food may have been simple but the dinner settings were quite often spectacular. I have never experienced anything like the night sky in the Grand Canyon. Who knew that there were so many stars?! I'd take a glass of wine around the campfire with my wife there over dinner at the finest restaurant anytime!

Anyway, as close as I can estimate, the total of this category is somewhere around $550.

Rose's Food and Apparel

Bless her little iron heart, Rose was reliable as a Swiss watch. We drove 3,650 miles from Ellie's apartment to our driveway. During that time Rose required:

Fuel-188.19 gallons. The price ranged from a low of $2.52/gal to a high of $3.22/gal. I typically fed her unleaded regular but in demanding settings like the mountains or as a special treat I'd get her unleaded plus. The octane ratings were different in the Southwest, with regular being 86. I never gave her that although it would have been OK I suppose, as she has a pretty low compression ratio. She averaged 19.4 mpg overall, with a low in the 16s to a high near 24. Not bad for 68 horsepower pushing over 2 tons of stuff. Cost for gasoline was $498.

Bus Sneakers-1 pair. Rose didn't ask for much on the trip but her old treads were worn out and dangerous. We got her a new set of Coopers at a cost of $212.86. 

Oil-1 & 1/2 quarts. I'd check the oil every morning before we started. After a particularly hard day she'd take a few ounces to a half quart to top off but I always kept her oil level up because an air cooled 4 stroke engine also uses the oil to dissipate heat. Cost for oil was about $5.

I'm sure that there were other things that I have forgotten but the approximate cost of our pilgrimage comes to: 418.95 + 238 + 550 + 498 + 212.86 +5 = $1922.81.

It was not luxurious travel but we felt the heartbeat of America. We live in a beautiful country with outstanding people. Unfortunately, some don't have jobs, some don't have healthcare and some don't have enough to eat while others have arguably, too much. I guess it has always been that way and probably always will but it seems as though those who have and their spokespersons are becoming bitter and unreasonable. As I write this the Congress is squabbling about keeping the Bush era tax cuts in place. One party (D) advocates letting the tax cuts expire for those earning more than $250,000 per year and the other party (R) was to keep tax cuts in place for everyone. A proposed compromise would let taxes rise only on those who make more than 1 Million dollars/year. This is at a time when the national debt is 14 Trillion dollars! I digress....

I am thankful that Kathy and I had the opportunity to make this trip. Rose will ride again, perhaps to the Atlantic Ocean, then all of the Pennsylvania State Parks then...who knows? Thanks to all of you (Ellie) who put up with us until the bus was ready, vicariously rode along, gave advice and support, watched our dog (Evan, Rebecca and Philly) and otherwise helped us out along the way.

Happy Trails to you, till we meet again.

Tom & Kathy



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