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As a full-timer living on public lands, could you drive about 3000 miles a year and be happy?
First of all - please don't think in terms of 'living on public land' - one is not allowed to 'live' on public lands, one is only allowed to camp there. I know it's a fine distinction but the terminology needs to be distinct.

And it is possible to do 3,000 miles or less while camping on public lands and stay comfortable year round but only in certain areas of the west.

For example in Arizona one can camp at sea level to 1,000 feet during the winter time, move up in elevation as it gets too warm in the spring (to about 3,000 to 4,000 feet) and then move to above 7,000 feet during the summer when the desert is uncomfortably warm. Move back down to 3,000 in the fall. Rinse and repeat... Big Grin 

These elevations are available all within about a 400 mile radius so theoretically it is possible.

There may be a couple other places such as in CA where you can do the same thing but most other states don't offer the same seasonal changes within a close radius that AZ does.

Most living full-time in their rigs and camping on public land find that they can afford to travel further and are out here doing so because they do love to see different things.

Personally, even if I could stay in the US year round (I'm Canadian), I would be doing a whole lot more travelling because that is what I am out here to do -travel and see different parts of the continent.
I am full time and I average about 20,000 miles a year. I am a photographer and I like to go out and photograph most days. Personally, doing 3000 miles a year, I would be bored to death.

You could pay for the LTVA in Quartzsite for six months and sit still.
You still have to drive for food and water, which you would have to do often.

Could it be done? Maybe.


Moving every 14 days at a minimum of 26 miles.

Two or three trips a week for food and water.

It is possible.

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Most areas require a 25 mile move every two weeks so at least 650 miles just in moves. Few of us can carry enough food and water especially for bathing with out a lot of practice. Many volunteer or workcamp just so they don't have to move so much but being as that is usually also in a remote location the miles build up quick when getting stocked up. I live 225 miles from any big box stores (Walmart, Sam's, Home Depot and ect.) most of the time. We usually have several doctor/dentist/specialist visits every year so those plus supply trips make 5 or 10 visits that in itself can be 4,500 miles. If you want to live remotely on BLM land it will probably cost more and you will drive more than say if you for example stayed in a monthly/yearly RV lot near doctors and stores. If you can live simply in a van in urban areas that is probably as cheap as it gets. I like traveling but even more I like living as remotely as possible so even if it takes working 6 months in a remote location I love being in to pay for 6 months traveling looking for the next one that is what makes me happy no matter how many miles I must go which is usually around 18,000 to 20,000 miles a year because I like to explore in a 4x4. Following the seasons can be done within the state of Arizona and neighboring states but staying on BLM land and having access to near by supplies is tricky. An electric bicycle with an extra battery so 40 mile round trips could be made might help for some BLM areas but I would still think at a the least you would end up with 8,000 miles a year if not staying in long term BLM areas. This is just me and what it takes to make me happy, if your content sitting and have a good internet connection, I have friends that do and order almost everything they need on line, workcamp and only go to the doctor twice a year that put less than 2,500 miles a year on a vehicle. This is in a National Park not BLM though.
When I was full-timing I did about 6 - 7000 miles per year. I crossed the country twice each year
I generally do about 8-10k a year. But I go from city to city, and I spend about a month in each city (long enough to see the sights) before I move on to another city.

Once I am in a city, I park the van and take the local bus system everywhere I go.

Generally, I go more miles when I am out west than when I am back east, since the cities out west are further apart.
Good practical info here. I was budgeting around 5k mi a year, based on being HQ'd in the southwest and my travel style, chasing 70 degrees w/ occasional "Oh! Shiney!!" side trips but it may be closer to 10k as I still have some family in the Southeast.

I'm kinda 'over' the tourist spot/bucket list way to go. I hate crowds, unless there' a REAL good reason to be there, and can find awesome beauty in everyday things so the "sights" are nice but not necessary unless there's an accompanying reason.
(12-02-2018, 11:02 PM)cyndi Wrote: [ -> ]When I was full-timing I did about 6 - 7000 miles per year. I crossed the country  twice each year
I'm with you gal, 500 or 600 a month seems about right. We are not on vacation, we are just living our lives. BTW, send me some Indian fry bread.
(12-03-2018, 01:15 PM)squire Wrote: [ -> ]We are not on vacation

Some of us are. It just never ends.  Wink
Great thread - I used this information to set my monthly gas budget for traveling. Here's what I've got...

25 gal. fuel tank capacity
3.50/gal = 87.5 per tank
Expect fill-up to be 75 dollars

8000 miles per year - estimate per crvl forum
Divided by miles per gallon? - 16?
I'd need 500 gallons of gas
500 * $3.50 (per gallon) = $1750
$1750 / 12 = $145.83
(budgeting $150/mo. for gas)
Or - 2 fill-ups per month only
Go slow and stay long!
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