Good morning from Santa Fe, New Mexico and greetings from Los Sueños de Santa Fe RV Park and Campground. Nothing too special at this RV park except location. The Santa Fe Rail-Trail is just out our back gate and leads to downtown Santa Fe about seven miles away.
Melanie and I have ridden our bikes into town several times since our arrival from Albuquerque, New Mexico on Monday where we spent last week. We stopped our bikes just a few blocks off the trail at Iconik Coffee Roasters and then rode on into downtown the first day, stopping off at REI to replace a worn backpack of Melanie's.
March 6th marks our third month on the road. We have been living full-time in Miranda for five months. With few exceptions, the experience has been far better than I imagined it. Melanie is settling into her role as Executive Director of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship and I'm becoming more comfortable in my roles as logistics and navigator person on the fly.
We continue to meet interesting people along the way, especially, thanks to Melanie's contacts with people in various Episcopal parishes interested in and wanting to participate in what EPF is about. We're also finding most people who travel this way are kind and willing to talk and share their experiences. And, of course, we have enjoyed talking to the locals as we are out and about.
Since neither of us had traveled in an RV before, our planning necessarily depended somewhat on what we could glean from those who were out there doing it before us. We crafted a budget based on research I did obtained from published numbers of people who had been out here living on the road and had blogs offering help and advice.
We have held pretty fast to our rule about traveling no more than two hundred miles in a day and staying no less than two days in a place. That way we don't wear ourselves out driving all the time. There have been exceptions, mostly due to arriving at a location and knowing almost immediately there's no reason to stay for more than one night. We laugh now, for example, about Van Horn, Texas, but it wasn't funny then. I wasn't well and neither of us liked the place I chose for us to stay. Luckily, we'd just come off an extraordinary experience at Big Bend National Park.
We cook less than I imagined we would. That's still an evolving process, but the Leisure Travel Van kitchen is small and a two burner cook stove is not as conducive to the kind of cooking I enjoyed in Birmingham. We have generally bought prepared meats and entrees and supplemented those with fresh fruits and vegetables. We love a good Costco chicken and some of their prepared soups and chili and lasagna works well too. I'm still adjusting to the Microwave/Convection Oven in the LTV too. The microwave and oven work well, but the times for various items is still a learning curve.
Maybe because we cook less, we tend to also eat out more than I believed we would. I'm not sure why I thought eating out would not be the case since trying new places to dine and sharing a meal together in a great place is one of the pleasures Melanie and I have always enjoyed.
Our fuel bill for the RV (diesel and propane) has been slightly higher than I budgeted. The LTV gets great gas mileage (averaging between 15-18 mpg). The higher fuel figure is mainly due to our using more propane than I believed we'd need due to a winter season that was, apparently by all information we could gather, colder than normal in most places to which we traveled. It's chilly (47 degrees F) here in Santa Fe today (April 11), but we're cozy inside Miranda.
Chasing the right weather is a thing with RV travel, not too hot, not too cold. The vehicle is essentially for use in three seasons and winter isn't one of those seasons. The lowest temperature we experienced was at El Morro National Monument Campground. There were snow flurries, the temperature went down to around 20 degrees and we were dry camping (no hookups) too. Though we made it through the night with no damage to Miranda, I didn't sleep too well waking to check the battery level (running the furnace using battery power and keeping a sixty watt bulb in the shop light I located in a bay burning). The bay contains the fresh water fill and an outside shower and is the low point for the fresh water so freezing isn't allowed.
We have come in under budget on campground fees. Since I'm an old guy and have a National Parks Senior pass, we both get into the parks for no charge and campground fees are half price. There have been free nights with friends (thanks EPF folks) along the way too. While we haven't sought out free camping spots (like Bureau of Land Management spots) as much as I believed we might, and there's a plethora of them our here in the west, we've still managed to spend less than I thought we would. Part of the reason we are staying in campgrounds more often is connectivity. Because of Melanie's work, most of the time we need internet access. For us that means having cell service for our hot spot and that translates into being located near a cell tower.
Three months on the road and Melanie and I agree the traveling life-style has much to offer. We look forward many days to exploring our new environs (travel days are especially exciting), just hanging out around camp and meeting new people along the way. We've really enjoyed the National Parks and National Monuments we've visited and some of our favorite camping spots are run by the Army Corp of Engineers.
We pretty much have down the everyday running of our new household too. While we have a check list, a must before moving Miranda, we also know the "jobs" each of us needs to do each time we set up or take down. Operating Miranda has become the proverbial well oiled machine.
Finally, we really like Miranda (our Leisure Travel Van). She has performed as promised with very few (really) minor problems along the way. It's comfortable for the two of us, easy to set up and take down and easy to drive. We can easily find parking in most places we take her so that's rarely ever a consideration. In short, we're quite happy to be out here on the road.
And Santa Fe..., yes.
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Steven and Melanie