2014 Mega Trip

The Geezers are on the move again!
This trip is not nearly as long, or extensive, as the one in 2010 when we set ourselves the challenge to travel for almost SEVEN months on less than $100/day. And we achieved our goal, too, coming in at much less than $100/day.
This trip is not meant to be that challenging – more relaxing, more experiences, more getting to know each place we visit.
So, this adventure begins on July 21st, 2014 by jumping in front of a bus – really! – check our first post. The adventure continues right up to November 4th when we finally arrive back home. That’s about 3½ months!
Please feel free to follow along and make comments. We love to hear from our readers.

We Did It!

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Nov 23 ~ Day #197
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$19700
$15.00
$17041.71
$86.51
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
16084.6
12056.7
7662
196
35999.3

We Did It!

When we began this adventure we set ourselves a challenge. To complete this trip on an average of $100/day or less.

As you can see from the recap of our final totals, we not only met that challenge, we exceeded it.

We traveled for a total of 197 days on an average of $86.51/day. Not bad!

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

First we’d like to say a heartfelt thank you to all the friends and family we stayed with along the way. We could not have achieved our goal without your generous hospitality.

We have mentioned all of you in each appropriate blog post but we would like to thank you all once again. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Putting Things in Perspective

When we mention the mileage, the number of days, places visited, etc. sometimes things just become a blur and the true magnitude is not particularly clear. So, here we’re going to recap things and try to bring some perspective.

Mileage

The total miles traveled, including road, train, sea and air, was 35,999.3. Too bad we couldn’t have added just 0.7 of a mile more. That would have pushed us to an even 36,000 miles.

But, to put this mileage in perspective, the circumference of the earth, at the equator, is 24,901.55 miles.

That means we could have traveled around the globe almost one and a half times. Wow!

Days Traveled

I don’t think we actually calculated the number of days we were going to be traveling when we started this adventure.

Oh sure, we knew the day we were going to start. We also knew the day we were going to fly back home. Both were booked before we set out. But we didn’t actually take the time to calculate just how long the time in between those dates was.

Total number of days traveled = 197.

If you apply an average of 30 days to a month, then we traveled for a total of 6.6 months, more than half a year. Again – wow!

Cruises and More Included in the Trip

It seems amazing even to us what we were able to pack into this trip. Here’s a quick recap.

Cruises

Our trip included three cruises:

  • a two week Alaska cruise
  • a six day Greek Islands cruise
  • a two week TransAtlantic cruise

That’s a total of 34 days – more than a month – spent on cruise ships.

Narrowboats in the UK

We were able to spend an entire week on a narrowboat on the Trent/Mersey canal system in the UK.

Orlando and Disney

We spent two weeks in Orlando at two different timeshare resorts and spent time at more than one Disney theme park.

Landmarks Visited

Along the way we were fortunate to visit many landmarks both in North America and Europe.

Here’s a few:
United States

  • Carlsbad Caverns
  • Monument Valley
  • Grand Canyon

Canada

  • Victoria, British Columbia (a must-see)
  • Hell’s Gate, British Columbia
  • Columbia Ice Fields, Alberta
  • Banff and Jasper, Alberta
  • Lake Louise, Alberta
  • Terry Fox Monument, Thunder Bay, Ontario
  • Reversing Falls, New Brunswick
  • St. Andrews-By-The-Sea, New Brunswick
  • Confederation Bridge, between New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island
  • Birthplace of Canadian Confederation, Charlottetown, PEI
  • Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia

England

  • Buckingham Palace
  • Tower Bridge
  • Tower of London
  • British Parliament Buildings
  • Big Ben
  • British Museum
  • Stratford-Upon-Avon, birthplace of Shakespeare

Spain

  • La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
  • Dénia Castle, Dénia

Portugal

  • Madeira, the home of Madeira wine

Greece

  • Santorini

Croatia

  • the old walled city of Dubrovnik

Italy

  • St. Mark’s Square, Venice
  • the ruins of Pompeii
  • the ruins of Paestum
  • the Amalfi Coast

And, I’m sure there are things we are forgetting. It’s time for us to go back and re-read all the posts we have made along the way and to review all the photos and videos we have as well.

This was the trip of a lifetime for us. We will continue to travel, of course, but it is unlikely that we will ever again take such an extensive trip. It was a great adventure but a very long time to be away from home.

We will continue to have, we hope, many, many more adventures. But, perhaps shorter ones this time. :-)

Thank you to everyone who has followed along with us and to those who have made comments as well. It was a pleasure to share this adventure with you.

The Final Days of Our Grand Adventure

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Nov 19 ~ Day #193
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$19300
$31.47
$16915.10
$87.64
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
16064.8
12056.7
7662
196
35979.5
Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Nov 20 ~ Day #194
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$19400
$48.67
$16963.77
$87.44
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
16064.8
12056.7
7662
196
35979.5
Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Nov 21 ~ Day #195
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$19500
$31.47
$16995.24
$87.16
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
16064.8
12056.7
7662
196
35979.5
Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Nov 22 ~ Day #196
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$19600
$31.47
$17026.71
$86.87
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
16064.8
12056.7
7662
196
35979.5
Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Nov 23 ~ Day #197
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$19700
$15.00
$17041.71
$86.51
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
16064.8+19.8=16084.6
12056.7
7662
196
35999.3

Current Location: Heading Home to Eleuthera, Bahamas

Combining Days

We have decided to combine our last few days into one post because we are really now just marking time until we head home to Eleuthera.

We will not be including our flight back to Eleuthera in our costs as we began our trip in Fort Lauderdale on May 11th and we will end it in Fort Lauderdale on November 23rd.

We will be including all the costs right up to our flight home, including the cost to get to the airport.

Each day’s expenses are itemized below and, of course, in the grids above that we have been including in each post.

Day 193, Friday, November 19, 2010

Accommodation: $31.47 (Camping)

Day 194, Saturday, November 20, 2010

Accommodations: $31.47 (Camping)
Food: $17.20 (Groceries)
Total: $48.67

We are trying to keep our grocery buying down to a minimum as we don’t want anything fresh left over on the day we leave.

Day 195, Sunday, November 21, 2010

Accommodations: $31.47 (Camping)

Day 196, Monday, November 22, 2010

Accommodations: $31.47 (Camping)

Day 197, Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Transportation: $18.00 consisting of:
Cab to TriRail – $15.00
TriRail to Airport $3.00

Mileage: 19.8

The Adventure Ends

It’s hard to believe that today is the last day of our almost seven month long adventure. And yet, it’s going to be good to get home.

One hundred and ninety-seven days is a long time to be traveling and living out of a suitcase or, in our case, backpacks.

We have had a terrific time and certainly enjoyed the journey. We will now enjoy the familiarity of our home in Eleuthera.

It will good to see old friends again and reconnect. Our very dear friends, V and B, will be picking us up at the airport when we arrive back in Eleuthera. It will be wonderful to see them again.

Recap Tomorrow

Stay tuned for the recap of our adventure in our post tomorrow.

Checking Out

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Nov 18 ~ Day #192
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$19200
$89.21
$16883.63
$87.94
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
15815.4+249.4=16064.8
12056.7
7662
196
35979.5

Current Location: Davie, Florida

Today’s Total Expenses: $89.21

Transportation: $52.00 (gas)
Accommodation: $31.47 (camping)
Food: $5.74 (lunch)

Miles Traveled Today:
Road Miles: 249.4 (Land O’Lakes to Davie, Florida)

Checking Out

When we checked out this morning there was no charge for ground fees added to our account, thank goodness. As per yesterday’s post we were a bit concerned that they were going to try to charge us $100/day ground fees, but they didn’t.

However, there was an error on our bill. We were being charged for a bar bill that we didn’t incur. We explained that to them and they said they’d check with the food services manager. However, that person wasn’t available.

We made it quite clear that that wasn’t our charge but they didn’t seem that convinced. I was actually starting to get a little annoyed. They looked up the bill and it was for the types of drinks that Geoff and I never have. We insisted the charge be removed.

They seemed reluctant, but couldn’t find a manager to sign off so we made a note on the bill. They said they wouldn’t charge our card until the matter was resolved (not really sure what they meant by that – it wasn’t our charge, plain and simple).

Note: March 4, 2011 – Believe it or not, Caliente only JUST charged our card (on Feb. 28, 2011) for our Nov. 11-18 stay AND they charged the FULL amount. We were not happy.

I called and left several messages with the accounting department and never got a call back. I gave up leaving messages and talked to someone on the front desk. They assured me that they’d immediately credit our card for the disputed amount but it might take 48-72 hours for the credit to show up.

The credit did show up on our card on March 4th, so they were good to their word.

Back to Davie, Florida

We then hit the road for the drive back to Davie, Florida where we’ll stay until our flight back to Eleuthera on November 23rd.

It was a pleasant day for a drive and, again, we took the less-traveled route as we were in no particular hurry.

Touring Caliente

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Nov 17 ~ Day #191
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$19100
$28.14
$16794.42
$87.93
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
15815.4
12056.7
7662
196
35730.1

Current Location: Caliente Resort, Land O’Lakes, Florida

Today’s Total Expenses: $28.14

Accommodation: $28.14 (timeshare)

Miles Traveled Today:
Zero

Touring Caliente

As to be expected, whenever you exchange your timeshare into another resort you are always offered a tour of the resort and there is always a bribe of some sort as well.

Caliente was no different. They offered us a tour and an explanation of their system. Apparently they are not, technically, a timeshare even though they are associated with RCI, which is how we were able to exchange into Caliente.

They have a points system that they wanted to explain to us. The bribe was a free lunch and a $50 credit to our account.

The young lady that gave us the tour was very knowledgeable and very friendly. Their system works by pre-purchasing a certain amount of points that can be exchanged for all kinds of things – accommodations, dinners at the restaurants and more. Naturally, the more points you want the more it costs, but as the amount you pay goes up the cost per point goes down to make the higher amounts start to look like a good deal. But, when you use up your points, they’re gone! And, as long as you still have some points, you need to pay a maintenance fee each year just like you do with timeshare, but your timeshare doesn’t expire as long as you’re paying the annual fee.

I’m afraid it didn’t seem like such a good deal to us.

One thing we did learn while talking with our tour guide was that Caliente has a pretty hefty daily ground fees.

Caliente Ground Fees

In the course of our conversation with our tour guide we found out that the normal Caliente ground fees are $100/couple/day. Yikes! That seems awfully high to us.

Then we began to wonder if we were going to be charged the daily ground fees when we checked out. That would make this exchange way more expensive if that’s the case.

Well, we check out tomorrow, so I guess we’ll find out for sure then. RCI is supposed to advise you of any additional fees that you are expected to pay that aren’t covered by your exchange and nothing was mentioned about daily ground fees when we booked this exchange.

No point in speculating, we’ll find out when we check out tomorrow and if they want an additional $100 per day for our stay we will certainly challenge that kind of charge.

Trivia Night at Caliente

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Nov 16 ~ Day #190
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$19000
$46.14
$16766.28
$88.25
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
15815.4
12056.7
7662
196
35730.1

Current Location: Caliente Resort, Land O’Lakes, Florida

Today’s Total Expenses: $46.14

Accommodation: $28.14 (timeshare)
Food: $18.00 (dinner)

Miles Traveled Today:
Zero

Water aerobics

One of the classes being offered today was water aerobics and we decided to give it a try.

Our instructor was a tiny, very fit woman who was like a drill sergeant! She really got us working and exercised right along with us. I’m sure that’s how she stays so fit.

We certainly got quite a workout.

Trivia Night

Apparently Tuesday nights at Caliente are trivia nights. The trivia challenge is held in the sports bar and they also have dinner specials that night. So, we treated ourselves to dinner and participated in the trivia as well.

There were lots of teams, some with up to six people in the team, that had obviously participated in these trivia nights before.

In the first round we were holding our own and were in second place. However, by the time the game was over we had slipped to fourth or fifth place. Still pretty respectable given the number of teams participating and the fact that our team was just the two of us.

Visiting Another Resort

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Nov 15 ~ Day #189
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$18900
$62.95
$16720.14
$88.47
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
15815.4
12056.7
7662
196
35730.1

Current Location: Caliente Resort, Land O’Lakes, Florida

Today’s Total Expenses: $62.95

Accommodation: $28.14 (timeshare)
Food: $34.81 (groceries)

Miles Traveled Today:
Zero

Grocery Shopping

It was time for another grocery run today. With just a tiny fridge in our room we aren’t able to get very much at one time.

Mani-Pedi for Me!

I’m generally not very good at keeping my nails nice, but the last little while I’ve been making a real effort.

So, while we were out shopping (actually, Geoff did most of the grocery shopping on his own), I was treated to a manicure and pedicure.

It was fantastic! I’m not sure exactly how long it took but Geoff was able to get all the shopping done and still had to wait for me to be finished.

I love being pampered like this and wish I could do it more often.

Riverboat Resort

Just down the road for Caliente are two more clothing-optional resorts. We decided to go for a walk and check out the Riverboat Resort.

While I find Caliente a little too large and impersonal, I’m afraid I found Riverboat at bit too small and even a little grungy.

We were given a tour by a very friendly young woman that I can really only describe as a “hippy chick”. She extolled all the virtues of the resort – pool, hot tub, restaurant/clubhouse and seemed very happy there.

I think Geoff liked it too, but I’m not sure I’d be happy here.

Lots of Exercise Today

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Nov 14 ~ Day #188
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$18800
$28.14
$16657.19
$88.60
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
15815.4
12056.7
7662
196
35730.1

Current Location: Caliente Resort, Land O’Lakes, Florida

Today’s Total Expenses: $28.14

Accommodation: $28.14 (timeshare)

Miles Traveled Today:
Zero

Yoga Class

More classes were scheduled for today and we decided to take in a couple of them.

Both Geoff and I took in the yoga class. It was certainly interesting but neither one of us is terribly supple, so there were a lot of the moves that we had trouble with. But it was still fun to participate.

Belly Dancing Class

Next up was a belly dancing class. It wasn’t very well attended. It was just the instructor, myself and one other participant. Geoff decided to sit this one out. The last time he did any belly dancing was our trip to Morocco over 20 years ago!

I was amazed at how much work it was but had a great time trying to get the moves right.

Karaoke at the Pool Bar

Later that afternoon we spent some time at the pool bar where a lot of people were participating in Karaoke.

Several of the people singing were very good. Others – not so much. No, Geoff and I didn’t sing anything and, trust me, it’s better that way!

Nak’d Truth After Party

Tonight was supposed to the the Nak’d Truth after party, but it didn’t seem very well organized and, again, they kept things roped off and kept the general public at bay.

We wandered over to see what was going on and then just decided to call it a night.

Reality Show Casting Call

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Nov 13 ~ Day #187
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$18700
$28.14
$16629.05
$88.93
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
15815.4
12056.7
7662
196
35730.1

Current Location: Caliente Resort, Land O’Lakes, Florida

Today’s Total Expenses: $28.14

Accommodation: $28.14 (timeshare)

Miles Traveled Today:
Zero

Zumba Class

Caliente Resort offers a lot of activities, particularly on the weekends. Today we decided to take advantage of their Zumba class.

What a hoot that was! It’s a combination of aerobics and salsa. At times we had a little difficulty keeping up and we wish they had taken just a little more time explaining some of the steps before we got right into it. However, all-in-all we had great fun and it was certainly a good work out, too. We plan to look into getting DVDs or something like that when we get home.

Nak’d Truth Casting Call

As we mentioned in an earlier post, Caliente is hosting a new reality show called the Nak’d Truth. Today is the casting call with people from all over the country vying for a place in the show.

We had thought that we would be able to watch the casting interviews but apparently that was not to be. The entire area was roped off and open only to cast and crew.

Hot Tub & Conversation Pool Roped Off

Unfortunately the area they were using for the casting interviews was where the hot tub and conversation pool were. The conversation pool is a long, narrow, shallow pool with built in seats.

This was our favorite area. We both like hot tubs and when we got too hot we’d just head over the conversation pool for a while. But both were off limits for today at least.

Fortunately Caliente has several pools, so we headed over to another one but the other pools were, of course, pretty crowded with it being the weekend and the other areas being off limits.

Comedy Show

There was a comedy show scheduled for this evening in the main bar. We were really looking forward to that.

After putting a dinner together for ourselves in our room we headed over to the clubhouse and into the bar to settle in for the comedy show.

I guess it wasn’t too bad, but we’ve seen much better comedians. They were supposed to be professional comedians but it felt more like they were amateurs.

Geoff on the Local News

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Nov 12 ~ Day #186
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$18600
$99.36
$16600.91
$89.25
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
15815.4
12056.7
7662
196
35730.1

Current Location: Caliente Resort, Land O’Lakes, Florida

Today’s Total Expenses: $99.36

Accommodation: $28.14

Food: $71.22
Consisting of:
$64.80 (groceries)
$6.42 (lunch)

Miles Traveled Today:
Zero

Geoff Appears on Local News Channel 10 – CBS

Amazing as it may seem, Geoff was actually on the local news today – in the background.

The local station was at Caliente to do a piece on a new reality show that will be shot at the resort. All the footage they took was shot very “discretely”. So, even though it’s a clothing optional resort there was nothing exposed that shouldn’t be.

The Nak’d Truth Reality Show

The reality show being shot here is going to be called “The Nak’d Truth”. We have no idea if it’s been picked up by any networks, so watch for it being advertised at some point in the future.

They are having a casting call at the resort tomorrow and apparently an after-party the next day. There’s quite a bit of buzz going on at the resort.

We believe the premise of the show is they are putting several people together that have never been nudists before in their lives and they will live and work at Caliente for, we think, at least a month.

Details were sketchy but this is what we understand from what we’ve heard.

Resort Getting Busier

Things seemed kind of quiet when we arrived yesterday and were still quiet this morning, but it seems to be getting busier now. The staff has told us that weekends can be quite busy.