It occurred to me this morning that it was four years ago last Wednesday that we bought Colin (our WildAx Constellation panel van conversion motorhome), and thus we have now completed four ‘Colin years’. Accordingly, I started looking at some figures related to his usage this year and how that compared with previous years.
After we bought him I played around with some numbers on a spread-sheet (completely out of character, I know…) and concluded that we needed to use him for 34 nights a year to make his purchase worthwhile. So little was he used in the first year (we both found ourselves employed and that hadn’t been in the plan when we’d splashed the cash) that we did consider selling him; fortunately that didn’t happen, as we’ve now more than made up for the slow first couple of years.
Here are the illustrated facts and figures:
A disappointing 22 nights’ use in Year 1 has risen to a pleasing 106 nights this year.
‘Free Nights’ may be car parks, laybys, on-street parking or friends’ driveways. We have actually paid for some of the car parks, but on all bar one occasion the payment was a voluntary donation to a charitable cause and on the one occasion when it wasn’t a donation, it was only 50p meaning it wasn’t worth creating a new category for it!
Oooh look! In Year 4 we spent approximately 3 times more nights in Colin than in Year 2, yet the accommodation cost wasn’t much different. The LPG cost for Year 2 looks high, but the reality is that the vast majority of that gas was used in Year 3. The amount of gas used has a direct relationship to the number of non-winter nights spent in free locations, running the fridge on gas.
I suspect that we may now have bottomed out on the average accommodation costs per night (i.e. the cost of campsites). The overall cost is a less reliable measure as it is heavily affected by the price of diesel (as well as depending on how far afield we wander for what duration). In Year 2 we paid around £1.45/litre for diesel on more than one occasion. This year we’ve paid as little as £1.04/litre.
All very interesting (to me, anyway!), but the key thing, which I can’t convey in a graph is how many trips we’ve had, places we’ve been, and hills we’ve climbed, that wouldn’t have happened in the absence of Colin-type accommodation.