of gas alone

Happy Monday team.  I spent most of Saturday putting the finishing touches on the RV route/itinerary.  Since that’s all I did, it’s what I’m going to write about (again).

An engineer decided to go on a cross-country RV trip.  One of his chores in preparation, most assuredly, would be to create a spreadsheet.  Spreadsheets are great for everything.  Budgeting; planing back-country hikes; cataloging collections of things; and of course charting the miles and stops of a cross-country RV trip.  My spreadsheet does this and more, and is, not to put too fine a point on it, a fantastic achievement of nerddom.  Want to know the minimum speed (miles per hour) you’d have to cruise at to get from A to B in the estimated time?  OK.  Want to know how much you’ll likely pay in sum-total for the horrendous cost of “crisis in the Middle East” gasoline required for the trip?  Sure!  Some of the more interesting figures (and the ones with the most complicated nerd-math behind them) are those which I use as “indicators” for the overall “fun ratio” of the trip.

While I’d imagine there is “fun” to be had while driving on a RV trip: seeing the sights, hugging the curves, waving at other travelers, etc., I’ve decided that the most heavily-weighted predictor of “fun” is actually going to be the amount of “free time” we have.  This is defined as non-driving time, but is more complicated than that.  What I wanted to ensure was that our “usable non-driving” time (I notion I defined for the purpose of this calculation) is by far greater than our “non-usable/driving” time.  I wanted that ratio to favor the usable non-driving time by a lot, more than 2:1 if possible.  In this way, I felt like I’d be giving us the best possible amount of “family time” or “free time” to see sights, hang out, and enjoy the rest and relaxation.

For the record, “usable non-driving” time is defined as any time each day that not sleeping, driving, setup/takedown, or “breaktime.”  For the further record, there are about ~14hrs each day of this type of time (for the adults, that is).  This may sound dumb and overly analytic.  It is.  Oh it really is.  But I wanted a “finer grain” way to conceptualize how much of our time is really our time. My previous method – comparing the number of days with any driving to those with zero driving – is still a valuable statistic, but it’s not detailed enough.  You have to look at both to get the whole picture, see.  No… maybe you don’t see.  Maybe it’s only me who sees like this, who cares like this.  On the off chance not, here are some fun statistics about our coming trip:

Total miles 8,037
Total days 45
States driven through 28 (+ DC!)
“Zero days” (parked; no driving) 19
Days driving/not-driving (ratio of days with some driving to those with none) 57% / 42%
Hours driving/not-driving (ratio of “usable hours” spent driving vs. spent doing whatever we want) 23% / 77%
Estimated cost of gas alone assuming national average of $3.75/gallon $3,265.42

I love data. I really do. As you can see, I was able to do really well (I’m happy with it, at least) with that “usable hours” ratio – spending less than a quarter of our “free time” driving and the rest of it doing whatever it is we’ll be doing.  I was also happy that I was able to arrange several different “kinds” of RVing: big-rig restort camping, state/national park camping, truck-stop camping, and boondocking.  There were so many “layers” of things I wanted us to be able to do, and my anal data-addiction enabled me to get most of them accounted for.  Let’s hope that it’s worth the planning, right?  To close this trip-narcissistic entry, a compiled list of the places we’re going that I’m most excited about, in-order per our planned route:

Although we’re booked pretty solidly, I’m hoping there’ll also be plenty of “World’s Biggest Ball of Twine” and “96oz Steak Challenge” stops to boot.

OK… I think I got it out of my system for another week at least.  Apologies for the indulgent Monday.

See ya.


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4 Replies to “of gas alone”

  1. While you are passing though the badlands, there is a place called Medora, ND where they have a nightly pitchfork fondue dinner and a nightly musical/variety show. (It’s called the Medora musical) It is great and my kiddos loved it. If you have extra time, you should check it out.

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