By the numbers

By nature, I’m a word guy who finds numbers fascinating. I don’t know if it’s interest or curiosity or some kind of latent neurosis, but I tend to count, keep track of, record and analyze the numbers that (for whatever reason) seem to matter to me.

I’m about to assault you with some of them.

Ernie had 21,338 miles on the clock when we picked him up in November. The odometer now shows 26,411 — so we’ve logged 5,073 miles.

Our “shakedown cruise,” which began on March 21st, accounted for 892 of those miles. Since setting sail for “blue water” on May 1st, we’ve traveled 3,944 miles. Ernie has towed Mercy 736 miles so far, all in the last several days.

We’ve visited 12 states — three during the shakedown and nine more since.

The shakedown stretched 19 days, seven of which were travel days. We’ve now been away from Second Chance Ranch on this open-ended adventure for 97 straight days, 21 of which have been travel days.

Our longest travel day has been 500 miles; the shortest was 11 miles. The average daily distance, on the days we roll, is 173 miles.

Oh, and we’ve driven our toad (untethered) 550 miles to date, in three states.

We’ve stopped 18 times for diesel fuel, pumping 596 gallons into Ernie’s tank. We’ve paid between $2.68 and $3.60 per gallon, with an average price of $2.99 (including fuel-program discounts).

Ernie’s fuel economy sits right at 8mpg. We stop to fill the 100-gallon tank every 281 miles and pump 35 gallons, on average.

The most fuel we’ve put in is 57 gallons, when we stretched the range to 477 miles.

Mercy’s fuel economy, in our very short experience with the Jeep, is 14mpg.

We’ve put just 15 hours on the generator. Propane use has been minimal — we’ve bought only 17 gallons, at an average price of $2.31. We know that our LP consumption will change with the seasons.

Dumping the holding tanks is something we wait to do when we have full hookups. If need be, we can use a campground’s dump station when we roll out. We’ve paid to dump only once, at a truck stop, and that cost us $7.50.


By my calculations we’ve stayed in 27 different places so far. We’ve camped at one state park, four Harvest Hosts (free), one corporate RV park (free), one park maintained by a national RVing organization (free), one private residence (free) and one diesel service center (free). The rest have been private commercial campgrounds.

When we’ve paid to stay at a private campground, prices have ranged from $25 to about $65 per night. The state park was $15. We did treat ourselves to a very brief stay at a true RV resort during the shakedown, to the tune of $110 a night.

We’ve “boondocked” a total of five nights and “moochdocked” eight.

Our shortest stay has been one night. The longest we’ve settled in one spot — northern Arkansas last month while shopping for our toad — was 31 nights.

We’ve been on the road basically since the middle of March, so we’ve seen a variety of weather. Rain was our constant companion for a while and we’ve endured our share of stiff winds.

Snow? Not on our campsite, but visible on nearby slopes in the Smoky Mountains.

No hail. Three tornado watches.

The lowest overnight temp was 24°F (Pigeon Forge, Tennessee in March). The hottest daytime high was 107°F, with a heat index of 117°F (Bandera, Texas in June).

I could keep going with numbers — like how many HVAC filters (six) and water filters (three) we’ve gone through — but I think I’ll stop for now.

You’re welcome.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath