Cross-Country by the Numbers

How much does a 28-day cross-country drive towing a 4,000 pound Airstream really cost?

KateHepburn, EMEREC, and I have been busy at work crunching numbers.

8,266 miles
16.4 average MPG

The cost of gas exceeded my estimate quite a bit, and I was pretty shocked.

Cost of gas (*gulp*): $2,097.79

I had estimated $1,500. Too many hills. Too many delicious detours.

Next, I tackled the cost of “lodging”: campgrounds.

$38   7/28: Toledo East/Stony Ridge KOA, (with KOA Value Kard discount)
$16   7/29: Rock Creek State Park, Iowa
$20   7/30: Buffalo Hills Campground in Sterling, CO
$40  7/31-8/1: Timber Creek Campground (Rocky Mountain National Park, CO)
$10  8/2: Capitol Reef National Park, UT
$0    8/3: Yerington, NV at Aunt Linda and Uncle Wally’s
$0    8/4: Emigrant Wilderness, CA
$0    8/5-8/6: Livermore, CA at Liz & Carl’s
$35  8/7: Burlington Campground, Humboldt Redwoods State Park
$26  8/8: Bullards Beach State Park, OR
$96  8/9-8/12: Secret Oregon Coast Campground
$0    8/13: Winlock, WA mom and dad’s
$20  8/14-8/15: South Beach Campground, Olympic National Park, WA
$0    8/16-8/19: Winlock, WA mom and dad’s
$28   8/20: Beavertail Hill State Park, Montana
$71    8/21-8/22: Deer Park Campground, Buffalo, WY
$22   8/23: Union Grove State Park, SD
$20   8/24: Kickapoo State Park, IL

$442 TOTAL

Average: $15.79/night. Not bad.

I didn’t keep track of food expenses. I filled the cupboards before I left, and bought milk, orange juice, and frozen entrées to cook in the oven. I ate all meals in the trailer until California, when visiting with friends and relatives brought me to a few restaurants. I only spent $200 in cash, but I used my credit card for most groceries.

I loved using the oven in the Airstream. I baked:

  • Frozen chicken
  • Zooks pot pies from Lancaster, PA
  • Stouffers French Bread Pizzas (the official frozen entrée of this year’s trip)
  • Angel Food Cake
  • Pepperidge Farms Turnovers
  • Banana Bread w/dried cherries and walnuts

My 2010 VW Touareg TDI was a champ. No breakdowns (!), and the only expense was an oil change ($118).

12,000-foot passes, off-roading, etc. Look for a future post on all the truck did on this trip…

Can I have a drum-roll, please?

The Grand total (w/o food)…


So, for a four-week vacation, that’s not too bad. But more than I thought. Guess I need to play a few extra “Nutcrackers” this year.

3 thoughts on “Cross-Country by the Numbers

  1. You can’t put a price tag on those high mountain summits, or redwood forests or sunsets over the Pacific. Enjoy the memories of your wonderful adventure.
    Aunt Anne

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