RV Life: Costs and Experiences during 59 Days on the Road

We got home from our 59-day RV trip around British Columbia and western Alberta on June 23rd. We’ve already been on another 5-day outing to Kluane Lake, which allowed me time to finish off my blog posts from the big trip, and now I want to finish off the story of the big trip by giving you a global look at it, including a summary of costs that may help you with RV trip planning. I posted summaries like this for the 2016 trip (56 days in BC and western Alberta), and the 2017 trip (61 days, with a Vancouver Island focus).

The Route

We travelled 4,891 miles (7,871 kilometers) in the motorhome, another 3,023 in the Tracker. The map below shows our basic route – click on it to open an interactive version in a new window.

Map of 59-day BC/Alberta RV trip

The RV & Toad

We still love our motorhome, but will make some changes when we buy another one some day. Before leaving in April, I stripped the carpet out and laid vinyl tile – we’re very happy with that big change. As well as having no carpeting, the next motorhome will have an Arctic package with double-glazed windows. Other than those 2 things, we would buy the same rig again (though GM no longer makes an RV chassis).

The motorhome is a 2007 Fleetwood Terra LX 31M, a 31-foot-long Class A with 2 slideouts. It’s on a Chevy Workhorse chassis, powered by an 8.1-liter Vortex gas engine, with an Allison automatic transmission with overdrive. You can see a full tour of it as well as a discussion about our lengthy shopping process here. The photo below was shot along the Alaska Highway on our first day of this year’s trip, April 28th. I bought the kayak last Spring, and although I don’t use it as much as I thought I would, it’s great to have it when I do want it.

RV, Tracker and kayak on the road

The Costs

The total spent during the 59 days was $10,185.77, with fuel making up 41% of that.

Fuel costs were much higher this year due to much higher pump prices. We spent $3,599.35 for 2,627 liters (578 Imperial gallons, 694 US gallons) of gas for the RV, which got 8.5 miles per Imperial gallon. We also spent $565.18 for 417.7 liters of gas in the Tracker, which got 20.4 mpg. The average price of gas was $1.363 per liter, with the lowest being Airdrie, Alberta, at $1.234, and the highest being Dease Lake at $1.619. That average is 24 cents per liter higher than last year.

Two propane fills for the furnace and stove cost a total of $70.90.

We stayed at rest areas, pullouts, and parking lots for 18 nights – costing a total of $0
We stayed at Municipal campgrounds for 4 nights, costing a total of $133.50.
We stayed at Provincial Park campgrounds for 6 nights, costing a total of $147.00.
We stayed at a National Park campground for 3 nights, costing a total of $125.60.
We stayed at commercial campgrounds for 27 nights, costing a total of $1,029.34.
The total cost for 58 nights accommodation was $1,426.44, an average of $24.59 per night.

Attractions and tours: $287.35

I spent $246.75 in Calgary to rent a motorcycle for a day, plus $43.86 for 29 liters of gas for it.

We spent $1,107.44 on restaurant meals, $203.26 on beer and wine, and $972.65 on groceries for meals we cooked ourselves.

We spent $857.62 on repairs and maintenance – $188.09 for a failed electric control module that I replaced myself, $214.20 for slide maintenance at a shop, $199.85 for an oil change on the RV, and $255.48 to replace failed sway bar links on the Tracker. For $99.99 I added a tool set that won’t leave the RV, another $99.99 got a vacuum, and I spent $67.19 for an inverter to charge the laptop, and $13.85 for a little clock.

“Working”

I spent about 130 hours writing 43 blog posts with over 1,160 photos (of the 5,295 photos in my folders after editing). The first post of the trip was on April 28th.

The Experiences

As usual, the list of memorable places and events during the trip is lengthy, but family time was what made this one very special. Camping at New Denver with one of my sisters and her husband, attending all of the events surrounding my twin grand-daughters’ high-school graduation in Airdrie, and camping at Cochrane and a day in the Rockies on motorcycles with my son are the things that will make this trip unforgettable.

I spent more time than ever at my 6 main target areas – the Fraser Canyon, the Kootenays, Crowsnest Pass, the David Thompson Highway, Tumbler Ridge, and Stewart, but in every case, this has just whetted my appetite for even more.

We had a few campground reservations, but really didn’t need to make any – no campground we went to was anywhere close to full. We averaged 133 km (83 miles) per day in the motorhome, our lowest yet by a small margin. The slower we get, the better the trips are – over and over again, we still said “I wish we could stay longer…” While we also averaged 51 km per day in the Tracker, those are wandering/exploring miles so don’t count in the same way.



Although I’ll be back into BC at least a couple more times this year (to Stewart and Muncho Lake, I hope), we’ll be in the Yukon for most of the rest of the summer.

Murray and Cathy at Kluane Lake, Yukon




Comments

RV Life: Costs and Experiences during 59 Days on the Road — 7 Comments

  1. Hi Murray; first I must say your site is more than impressive! Nice job. My wife Angela and I are also wanderers and she posted a series of blogs on our European adventures which can be found at http://www.angelalouie.com under the tab Diary of a Virgin Traveller. We are generally out for a month or two at a time and will again head out in September. Since Angela is still working for just one more year the long extended version of our passion will probably start next fall. Our first plan is a couple of years in Europe via RV then home to explore the country we love…Canada. RVs are selected and we are happy with our choices. I am the shooter in the family and she is the scribe. I love how you have presented your adventures and would love to chat more about it. Best, Allan

  2. A great summary! I thought that fuel prices went up from last year but our highest wasn’t Dease Lake but downtown Vancouver at $1.639/liter. I really enjoy your posts as we are finally spending more time in the Yukon and B.C. since retiring. More time to explore your backyard..,

  3. Thank you for this wonderful blog. I looked forward to reading each one of them. I felt like I was right there on each experience. Great photography and thanks for sharing the summary of cost.

  4. Thank you for bringing back memories of my 2016 trip along the Cassiar Highway. Your writings are so descriptive I felt like I was there again. Great work||

  5. It’s only money… you can’t take it with you. 🙂 Seriously, that had to a really enjoyable trip. I’ve love to go to some of the places you went.

  6. We’ve all come along with you on this trip Murray so thanks alot for making us discover such wonderful scenery, history and hikes.
    Maureen

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