Sunday, January 04, 2009

SAYING HELLO (in my own way) TO 2009

As I begin this 70th year of my life, I am amazed looking back (again) and realizing how fast the time has gone by. The other [revolting] development I have noticed is that each year goes faster than the last which seems to coincide with my advancing age … hmmmmm? I guess that means the older I get, the faster time will pass which brings me to this tidbit of advice we have on a small placard inside Penny the Pace: “Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave in a well preserved body. Rather to slide in sideways, with a drink in one hand, a chocolate in the other, totally worn out and shouting, holy #$%&, what a ride!” For myself, so far—so good … how are you doin’?

We have been living full time in our motorhome, Penny the Pace since 1 October 2004. However, we did not actually start rolling down the highway until after Thanksgiving that same year. Since then we have chalked up some significant additional miles on our already lovingly-used Penny. I don’t track every penny we spend and I have never shared our statistics before but have decided this year to give you a few loosely calculated numbers in case you are curious about our lifestyle and certain expenses. Of course, every RVer is different and you pretty much live the same way you lived in the sticks and bricks once you go fulltime so you must realize these numbers are very individual to the way Phil and I move through our lives. About the only “vice” we continue to embrace is our love for seeking out great restaurants as well as frequenting “Drive ins-Diners-and Dives” (one of our favorite Food Network shows) so feeding the two of us is literally the biggest part of our budget.

After our first couple years, we reduced our miles traveled annually and with higher gas prices we have been moving more slowly so our gas budget is low compared to some. We have solar panels (and a big generator) on board and satellite internet and TV so we could park in the boonies for as long as the whim held our fancy with the purchase of a blue boy (tow-able septic container) to dump the waste water tanks. However, in due course we discovered our original notion to live off the grid for extended lengths of time was not our preference so our RV park expenses might be higher than for more frugal travelers. We do belong to several RV camping clubs and Phil is a member of the B.P.O. Elks in our former home town and many Elk’s Clubs across the country have low cost RV parking, so we have gotten better over time at finding more economical places to park. Our recreational activities are a small part of our budget and include Phil’s fishing, my genealogy work and writing as well as sightseeing across the country even though it sometimes includes a hefty ticket price. Our discretionary needs are few as we are both pretty content in our own skins and doing “nothing” (reading, surfing the net, napping and watching TV), sometimes for days at a time is not uncommon in our lives, ~just like before we retired~LOL! As always, I will be very interested in your comments!


Gas purchased (approximate): 456 gallons—our mileage divided by Penny’s average consumption: 8 MPG (with prices all over the board—I didn’t keep track of the cost)
Parking Penny the Pace: $ 5,243 (about $14.50 per day or $439 a month and this includes utilities)
Daily cost of food (eating out and groceries purchased): $ 7,450 or $21.00 per day
How many times we moved Penny: 22 times
Miles traveled: 3,651

Until next time,


  1. I LOVE the placard!!! I used to wonder about all the people who work so hard at exercise and healthy diet. I kept may add a little bit of time to your life, but it'll be boring and you're going to die anyway!

  2. I think you did great! that was a lot of miles traveled and I thought expenses weren't that bad! good way to live retirement for sure!!

    my hubby and me thought about doing this when we hit retirement age (15 years for me, 10 for him if we retired at 65),but he's a musician with lots of guitars and things; not sure where we would keep that equipment and such; I could easily downsize everything else (that too but I'm sure my hubby would object)

    thanks for tallying this; it was fun to read what could be expected if one was to follow a lifestyle like this

    happy new year!


  3. Happy New Year Joy and Phil! I hope this year takes you exactly where you want to go. I love reading about your travels.

  4. Arrived via Koda the Corgi. She knows we are full time. Presently in Florida for the winter. Like the journal. We spent one winter in that area. I hope Phil has caught some 'crappie' in Lake Martinez. Also while we were there the Golden knights jumped everyday on the Proving grounds. Still wearing the belt I bought at the flea mkt in Yuma. Loved it.
    Hope you guys continue to enjoy the full time life. It has been good to us.

  5. Just saw I was not signed up as a follower so I did. Your lists of miles and costs is interesting. I don't think we could downsize that much. I am traveling incognito with you via your posts.

  6. Happy New Year to you both. I hope you have many more miles to travel.
    How do you do your mail? I always wonder about how that works when you RV full time.

  7. Hello and Happy New Year! Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting about budgeting.

    You are living our dream. We'd like to live in a motor home and travel when we retire, also.

    I'll be back to look around your blog more soon!

  8. Ginger,
    We pay a mail forwarding service to collect our mail (we use their address in our home state). Every week or so, we call them and they put all the mail into a one price priority mail envelope and send it (it takes 2-3 days)to the RV park we are staying in. Sometimes if we have advance reservations some place we call ahead and it will be waiting for us when we arrive.
    To be honest, we have never added up the cost but it is not real expensive and we just consider it part of our total monthly cost of being a full timer.
    It is a buyer's market right now so you could have a VERY nice coach paid for by the time you retire if you buy now.
    Any other questions? Just ask.

  9. Annie,
    The comment on Ginger's note about buying an RV is for you. I forgot to put your name on it! Sorry!!
    Have fun reading my blog. It tells the real story. All the ups and downs and as far as we're concerned lots more entries in the up column!

  10. Hey Joy and Phil!

    Joy I just sent you an email but thought I'd leave a comment here too.

    We are about to embark on the full-time lifestyle so, congratulations, you guys are going to be our mentor / heroes, ha ha.


  11. I was driving on 4th Ave. intersection with 32nd St. when I saw a letter on a truck that said "check our blogspot to see our travels" I got interested and here I am. Best wishes to you on this new year.

  12. Anonymous10:16 AM

    Bello, I thought I would stop and say hello. Your blog looked interesting to me. We have RV and we own a home here in Fl. We winter here, then spend 5 to 6 months in th RV going to different areas every summer. My big dream is to some day go to Alaska, some day.LOL, Stop for a visit when you have time. I'm going to add to your followers so I can keep up with your journeys.