Recently, while towing our travel trailer back from the Sunshine State, I fueled up our tow truck SEEMORE. A thirsty beast, SEEMORE ingested $99 of diesel into his belly before I finally released the pump trigger. He could’ve swallowed even MORE of the costly stuff, but I wanted to keep the final tab beneath that symbolic Ben Franklin note.
Fuel costs are skyrocketing. If you own an RV of any kind, you can’t help but wonder what these prices mean for your camping future. Last year my wife and I traveled more than 15,000 miles with our RV in tow. We get about 12 miles per gallon. If you do the math, at current prices ($4.20 per gallon) that equals about $5250 of fuel. Factor in expenses like campground fees, maintenance, and smores, and you’re approaching the GNP of Grenada.
What’s an RV owner to do?
There are many recession-survival tips, but today I’ve got an unusual one: consider the redwoods.
“What on earth do redwood trees have to do with gas prices?” you may ask. Allow me to explain.
Last summer, Kristy and I camped in California’s redwood forests. Our time there was extended by a flat tire. We spent some unplanned time in a small town called (I kid you not) Myers Flat. For a couple of days, our Airstream was nestled in the shadow of ancient giants.
Airstream RV Blog – Myers Flat from Sean Michael on Vimeo.
These trees are among the oldest living things on earth. Some have stood since Roman times. Over thousands of years, they’ve witnessed human foibles like crusades, wars, revolutions, Milli Vanilli, and yes — high gas prices. They are survivors.
Redwoods offer perspective. It’s impossible to stand amidst these magnificent trees and not be humbled. Compared to redwoods, our human presence on this planet is temporary. Unlike redwoods, who are truly long term campers, we only get to enjoy a few dozen seasons. And that’s if we’re lucky. Our time upon this stage is brief. We’ve got to make the most of it.
The Latin phrase “carpe diem” springs to mind. Literally translated, it means, “pluck the day” — but we generally interpret it as “seize the day” since you don’t go around talking about “plucking” in a polite society. As RV’ers, we must seize the opportunity to enjoy yet another summer of camping. We must weather the storm.
Now, I’m not saying that we should throw all caution to the wind, and pump diesel like there’s no tomorrow. But we should keep on RV-ing. We can find ways to enjoy RV-ing that are less costly.
A few obvious suggestions come to mind, like don’t drive 15,000 miles. Drive less, and camp more. I’ve noticed that Kristy and I have a great time with our RV regardless of where we are camping. We’ve enjoyed camping across town at a park that is no more than 10 miles from our home. Heck, we’ve even had fun in Wal-Mart parking lots (though I don’t suggest taking your next vacation there).
In a future post I’ll consider the economics of RV-ing in more detail. But for today, I’m just thinking about the redwoods. A few hundred years from now, when people are enjoying their interplanetary teleportation RVs, those same redwood trees will be standing watch in California. We’ll all have moved on, but the redwoods will know — we enjoyed our time here while it lasted. We seized the day.
My wife and I honeymooned aboard our RV! For more RV travel videos like this one, check out our website: www.thelonglonghoneymoon.com.