As an engineer, I like numbers. With the rolling over of the calendar to 2017, now is as good a time as any to look at our numbers so far. We spent a total of 55 days underway which will get me 15% towards the 365 needed for my Captains License. We have traveled 2585 since we left Racine, although that is including our “shakedown” in August (which Ann doesn't count) so we are actually 'only' 2235 miles from home (just south of Charleston, SC). The 47 miles per day number is biased a little high due to some days that we were on 24 hour runs on the Great Lakes. I don't expect that number to be as high in 2017.
The nature of route we have taken has necessitated a lot of engine usage. We have put 390 hours on it since we left. For those of you used to filling up large power boats, the next number is going to hurt; it took 464 gallons of diesel fuel to get us that far. With an average fuel price of $2.31 cents per gallon (thanks Obama) we have spent $1,071 at the fuel dock this year.
Dockage was another large expense as we transited the Eastern part of the country. We try to anchor out as much as we can, but there are times when that is not practical, either because there is not a good place, or more likely, we need to be on shore. The reasons for needing to be on shore range from needing groceries to mental health stops, to visiting friends, to working on boat projects. Of the $1753 we spent on dockage, almost $700 was between 3 places where we spent more than a week in each ( $144 in Reedville, VA, $270 in Portsmouth, VA and $275 in Charleston, SC).
There were several expected, and several unexpected, parts expenses that we incurred last year. There were several orders of filters, both fuel and oil. I'd still like to have more primary fuel filter spares aboard, but I now have a good supply of spare secondaries and spare oil filters. There have been a few oil changes (every 100 engine hours). I have also had to replace the bilge pump (shout out to Jon Norman). We are also on fuel pump number 4 ( with 2 more spares aboard now). I still haven't figured out what keeps causing them to fail, but as long as I can get them with 2 day shipping for $12 from Amazon, I'm not too concerned. (Maybe using $12 pumps has something to do with them failing?)
The last major cost of the year was $590 split between mast stepping and unstepping at either end of the Erie Canal. While we would have liked to avoid that, it was a necessity for us. As late as we left, the Erie Canal was the only option and I could not be happier that we got that experience.
These dollar figures are far from complete. I have not included any of our food costs or any of our other travel costs ( a few flights, car rentals, Uber rides) or any of the other activities that we did. The reason for this is that in our planning, I looked at a lot of people's numbers and it was always a challenge to decipher how their styles compared to ours. I have found that a lot of our land habits have translated to our life afloat. So these numbers should help anyone else who is planning a similar trip, just add your typical expenditures for food and entertainment. If you live on Ramen and enjoy finding free activities, you can get away with spending very little to get this far. If instead, you insist on only the finest dining experiences and must attend every concert along your route, you will spend considerably more.
55 days underway
47 miles/ day
390 engine hours
464 gallons of diesel
$1,071 in fuel bills
$1753.20 in dockage
$75 in permits (Erie Canal)
~$1,000 in miscellaneous boat related expenses (bilge pump, pump outs, filters, parts)
$590 for mast unstepping and stepping (for the Erie Canal)