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RiverCat Journal : $11

Posted by on September 23, 2016

Click Any Photo To Enlarge!
Current Venue: Las Vegas, NV
Campground: Thousand Trails


I mentioned in a previous post how  my current job situation allows me a lot of freedom to travel full-time better than half the year. It’s not perfect, however.

I rely heavily on one particular casino dealing special poker events. “Tournament dealers” are required to work summers and then are put in a “lottery” every few weeks to determine who gets to deal the other events. (As a “non-local” now, I get to choose the lotteries I enter).

Last year, I won every single lottery. Since the summer, due to over-hiring, I’m on the verge of losing the first two lotteries! Actually, this one I am an alternate. That means I’m waiting a week to find out if I’m working the late-October through late-November event.

It got my wheels spinning, naturally. I hadn’t even considered having this little work. Now, if I don’t get in, can I justify hitting the road, again? I started crunching numbers…

As a Thousand Trails member I can stay up to 2 weeks “in the system” at one park for $3 per night. I then have to leave the system for one week. However, if I don’t exceed 4 nights at any one park, I can stay in the system indefinitely! In Las Vegas, there’s a special deal — I don’t have to leave the park on my “out week” if I pay $75. So, an average month here costs me about $140, or $5 per night.

So let’s say I leave Las Vegas after staying two weeks in the system. I head towards San Diego. Now I need to spend one week out of the system. I’d most likely break up my stays in a 2-3-2 format at Passport America parks for 50% off. Cost: $150 for the week.

Thousand Trails parks are typically in small clusters on the outskirts of large metro areas. For instance, in Southern California there’s one in Palm Springs, 4 parks near San Diego, and 2 north of L.A. The average distance between each park in Southern California is 2 hours, or not even $50 in gas. So, now I want to tour the parks. Between the 7 SoCal parks I’ll stay 4 nights each at 5 of them and 14 nights each at two. Here’s how the trip can break down:

First 7 nights out (3 camps):      $150 at PA parks
Two 4-night stays at TT:                 24 ($3 per night)
14-night stay at TT:                          42
Next 7 nights out ( 1 camp):         150
Three 4-night stays at TT:              36
14-night stay at TT:                          42

Here’s how that tallies up:

62 nights, 11 destinations
11 camps x $50 in fuel = $550
Camping fees = $450
Total travel/lodging costs =$1000
Average per night = $16 (including fuel)

This means my average additional costs traveling versus staying in Vegas is only $11 per night, or $330 per month. Right now, I can manage that.

Of course I’ll need work at some point. I believe this is going to be my motivation to seek out-of-town work more aggressively. I will need to fly occasionally, and have a Vegas sitter for Jeepers.

My vision seems to be stabilizing and my necessary repairs are almost caught up. However, Jeepers keeps going into remissions with his itching. I would keep this trip somewhat close to my vet in the event I really need to come back, although testing and patience and phone consultations is probably all we can really do for awhile.

For right now, I’m mentally “daring” my employer to keep me in town. If they don’t require my services, I’ll have two weeks to figure out what I’m doing…



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