Born Free Leap'n Lions RV Club

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 Post subject: 2012 $$$$ lots of it
PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 1:42 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2005 9:11 pm
Posts: 415
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Rover is now snugly tucked away in covered storage in Lillehammer, Norway. We found a plumber who sold us some (unnamed) liquid to use as antifreeze to winterize our plumbing. He assured us it was non-toxic and would do the job. So, having no real alternative, we pumped it in and trust it will work.

We keep close track of our spending, and knew after only a few days of travel that this was going to be an expensive trip. And so it proved to be.

Still, we tried really hard not to be continually converting currency in our heads, and most of the time we succeeded. If we wanted, say, two cups of coffee, we were determined to simply pay the $10-$12 and not let it bother us.

Or not too much.

During our three months of travel, we spent $4900 on food (including wine). This was easily double what it would have cost at home: if we each had a simple sandwich and cup of coffee for lunch, the cost could easily be $25 to $30; an evening restaurant meal with a glass of wine was $80; a 3-liter box of cheap wine $50.

Campground costs were $2530. This is $12/night more than we paid last year and more than $20/night higher than our first trip, in 2008.

We were on the road 75 days: 64 nights in campgrounds and 10 in free sites (three in designated motorhome parking, seven in parking lots). The cheapest campground was $19.71 (with only electrical service); the most expensive $66.25 (a large family resort in Norway in high season). We averaged $40 a night, including electricity and shower costs. Nearly every site charged extra for electricity ($3-$7) and many did for showers as well (between $.75 and $1.50 for five minutes of hot water). (We never use our own shower - to save water, save room in the gray tank, and to keep humidity down.)

The quality of the campgrounds and facilities was generally very good. They all had toilet seats, toilet paper and outlets for hair dryers. Only twice did we have access to water at our site; only twice was there a picnic table; only once were we offered our own sewer connection (which we declined as an unnecessary expense). Not every campground could accommodate our waste system, but we had no problem finding places that could: Norway, for instance, has an extensive system of waste stations, all of them well signed, at gas stations and rest stops.

We always felt safe and even left Rover alone for five days in Helsinki, Finland, while we took a ferry to St. Petersburg, Russia. And the prize for the best campground goes to that campground in Helsinki. Each of its large pitches had both paving and grass, as well as hedges for privacy. Public transportation was right across the street, and the campground’s facilities were good and clean. Rover was there for 9 nights at a cost of $28/night (the price was discounted because of the length of our stay).

Gasoline cost $3999, an average of $9.30/gallon. The cheapest gas, if we figured it correctly, was in Russia: $4/gallon (but of course we did not have Rover with us to take advantage of it . . . or of the $6/gallon price in Estonia).

We covered 3542 miles during the three months. Rover gets 10 mpg, partly because even on divided highways we drove no faster than 50 mph (the speed limit in Scandinavia for vehicles our size).

We spent $71 on LP gas, which we use for cooking, running the refrigerator when we are not plugged in, and the furnace. We filled the tank at the beginning of the trip in Lillehammer and topped it off about a month later; when we put Rover in storage, we still had more than half a tank left. It was not a hot summer, so we actually ran the furnace occasionally for a few minutes, never used the air conditioner, and had blankets on our beds every night.

One of our largest expense category was $2050 for miscellaneous transportation. This included all buses, taxis, and parking fees, but was primarily the short ferries in Norway and the longer ones from Helsinki to Estonia and from Stockholm to Turku, Finland (this last one was $980 round trip, with Rover, including a private bedroom).

We spent another $2050 on museums, churches, tours, boat rides, concerts, etc.

Internet access came to $150. Sometimes the WiFi was free, at other times cheap . . . and occasionally it was ridiculously expensive. Also, its speed and reliability was often poor (but at least more and more campgrounds are realizing they need to make it available).

We spent a lot of money--$6000--before we even left home. These costs included airfare ($1900), the St Petersburg trip ($2070 for the hotel, transport, tours and overnight ferry), RV insurance ($1036) and the previously mentioned Stockholm/Finland ferry.

Although our expenses were highest in June, which we spent entirely in Norway, one of this trip’s two really good deals was also in Norway: the $561 we paid for storage for Rover in Lillehammer until next April or May. But our greatest surprise--and one we greeted with much relief--was getting home and opening the hospital bills for Susan’s emergency room visits, ambulance ride, four days in isolation, and lab tests: $3061! And that includes a CT scan! In the US, ten times that amount wouldn’t have surprised us. Even better, our insurance should cover most of it.

At $1800/week, this was easily our most expensive trip to date. But while that number sounds very big to us, we remind ourselves that our “at home” expenses during these three months were minimal and, had we chosen to stay home in the US, we’d have been spending at least $1000/week anyway.

Besides all that, having time with our granddaughter is priceless.
maihaugen midsummer.jpg
maihaugen midsummer.jpg [ 46.14 KiB | Viewed 1422 times ]

The scenery in Norway was worth a lot, too: there wasn’t a day when we didn’t come over a mountain or out of a tunnel and say, “Wow.” Sometimes it really did take our breath away. The weather was mostly good--cool, never hot, some rain--and we magically managed to avoid being out in the worst of it. The effect of the 20+ hours of daylight is very strange, and we were happy to get further south and later in the year to return to a more normal daylight schedule.

As always, we were grateful to the people we met who learned to speak English and, particularly this year, were impressed by how very fluent they usually were.

Other pluses: the coffee in the cafes was excellent; we saw more of the Tour de France than we could have hoped for; and as a result of Susan’s hospitalization, we saw more of the Olympics than we’d expected (although it was in Finnish).

Rover, our 24RB (Rear Bath) Born Free performed perfectly: she gave us no problems with any of the systems or engine, is freshly equipped with six Michelin tires ($2076 in Norway), and now has 69,793 miles on her odometer.

18,307 of those miles have been racked up in Europe during 14 months of travel on five trips, but we haven’t yet seen everything we want to. Our tentative plan for next year is to start from Lillehammer a little earlier than June and immediately head south through Sweden into Denmark and Germany (in preparation, David will be taking a refresher German II class through Adult Education). We hope you will come along again.

Rover 2002 24ft RB

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