Week 810-812 - Tips on Car Trip vs MotherShip Trip - 03-07-2022

Tips on Car Trip vs MotherShip Trip


In the last two weeks we took our first car-only trip in 16 years. It was a 10 day trip from Casa Grande, Arizona to California and back. What is second nature to you was kinda new to us.

How was it? This week we'll compare traveling by car versus the MotherShip.

The trip was 1,932 miles to visit family and friends back home.

We will review the following topics.

Preparation, Choosing our routes, Finding overnight stays, Locating fuel stops, Planning our meals, Travel time and comfort, Sleeping situations and Cost of travel.

Preparation

Car Travel
Motorhome Travel

Think, think, think! Since we are leaving all our belongings behind we need to think. What clothes do we need? What will the weather be like? Do we need jackets, pants, shorts, a swimsuit? How about toiletries? Bring the hair brushes, tooth brushes, toothpaste, deodorant and electric shaver. Don't forget the shaver's charger. Of course bring the phones and the chargers. Do we need the laptop? Are we going to play pickleball? If yes, bring the paddles and balls and court shoes. What else? Snacks for the trip? Camera, travel fun like crosswords, Circle K drink cups? Whew, lots of planning but I think we got it.
We have everything we need in the MotherShip. We can break camp in 30 minutes, bringing the slides, airing up and hooking the car. Easy, peasy on the squeezy!
✓ Winner

Choosing our routes

Car Travel
Motorhome Travel

We chose our route based on who we wanted to visit. Prior to planning the trip we contacted all our possible stops and that dictated our path.
We would take the same route in the MotherShip, with the same stops. This would not be true for some RV travelers as they might avoid LA freeways, or city streets and more. We drive anywhere.

✓ Tie
✓ Tie


Finding overnight stays

Car Travel
Motorhome Travel

This was easy as we will stay with friends and family with one exception. On the trip back through Nevada we have no friends near the half-way point. We rented an AirBnB small mobile home for one night.
The locations on this trip are good for the MotherShip as well. Our first stop is with Tom and Sue in Sherman Oaks. We have stayed on their skinny street once before. In Paso Robles we could stay on Mario and Melissa's 55 acre property dry camping. Emily and Chad have full hookups for us in Butte Valley. Our final night in Nevada could be at any of a dozen sites, some with hookups, some dry camping. As our web site shows hundreds of RV sites, no planning would be needed.
✓ Winner

Locating fuel stops

Car Travel
Motorhome Travel

With the car it easy to find fuel. We had to fill up six times but even with the inflated prices, each fill up did not break the bank. This was the prices in Paso Robles, California.
It is little harder to find diesel for the MotherShip. But since we have traveled super-extensively in Arizona, California and Nevada, we know the good spots. It only took three fill ups for the motorhome, but each 100 gallon fill up would gave you a heart attack. Due to the 800 mile range, we only needed one California fill up, saving $1.00+ per gallon.
✓ Winner

Planning our meals

Car Travel
Motorhome Travel

A car trip to new places could have you looking for restaurants everyday. But since we were visiting, we were treated to many delicious meals at our host's homes.
This one is easy. Park at the grocery store, fill up on food and you're set!
✓ Winner

Travel time and comfort

Car Travel
Motorhome Travel

This comparison is a little tricky. In the car you can travel at speed limit which at times is 75 mph. So you total drive time is less. We drove five days: 500, 400, 350, 477 and 465 miles each day. However, even with nice bucket seats, it gets tiring on your backside.
In the motorhome we go 60 mph almost always. With the MH's captains chairs, the ride is very comfortable. Ellen could get up anytime to use the bathroom or get drinks and snacks. Pete could pull over anywhere for a break and do the same. If, a big if, we drove the same daily mileage as the car, it would not be enjoyable. Then, again, the driving in the car was not that much fun either!
✓ Winner for drive time
✓ Winner for comfort

Sleeping situations

Car Travel
Motorhome Travel

We spent nine nights on guest beds. Most were comfortable, a couple not so good. Sometimes when you stay with friends, you feel trapped in the morning. "Are they up? Can I get up now without disturbing them. What's for breakfast?"
One of the greatest things about visiting friends in your RV is having your own bed, your own bathroom and a kitchen with all your stuff.
✓ Winner

Cost of travel

Car Travel
Motorhome Travel

Food on a car trip to non-hosted locations will cost a lot. And you get tired of eating out. Even with hosted meals we spent $185.
Fuel for the car was 84 gals at an average of $4.08/gal, total of $343.
Our one commercial overnight stay was just $81.

Total for the trip was $609.
Food in your RV is the same price as home. Cheap? Well, not with today's inflated food prices, but far less than eating out. Our total meals in the MH would have been about $80.
Fuel for the 40 foot MotherShip would have been 240 gals, average $4.75, total $1,140.
Stays would be free at our hosts home. The one night RV park stay would be $35.

Total for trip would have been $1,255.
✓ Winner

Summary

Car Travel
Motorhome Travel

Based on cost alone, travel by car is better. However, we would never drive that far each day again. We would add a minimum of two more days. This would add six meals and two commercial stays. The total next time would be $949.
Adding two days in the MotherShip would bump its total to $1,391.
Every non-hosted stay you add brings the cost closer to car travel. And in not too many days it would be less. And you have all the comforts of home. Yeah for the RV life!

We really did learn a lot about car travel this trip. We would do better next time, but truly in the MotherShip, "we are living the dream".

With love, Pete, Ellen and Mandy

Many thanks to our hosts: Tom/Sue, Frank/Janice, Mario/Melissa, Nick/Hayley, Brad/Janet, Jon, Steve/Sue, Dennis/Lynda, Wally, John and Chad/Emily.

Photos from many years

The Full Time Motorhome Living Guide

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