Settling In

We arrived at our summer home on May 11th. Officially, we start “work” on Monday, May 15th. Since agreeing last Fall to come back for some summer workcamping, we had always planned to arrive a few days early. It’s a good thing, because after our Delicate Arch hike in Moab, we arrived here with aches and pains in our lower extremities needing some recuperative time. Getting old can do that to you. Particularly, when strenuous exercise has not been at the top of your list of priorities.

We’ll be one of three couples hosting and co-managing Pine Forest RV Park for the next 4 four months. The Park is part of and immediately adjacent to Flaming Gorge Resort here in northeastern Utah. Flaming Gorge Resort is a destination. It is not necessarily on the way to anywhere. You have to want to come here. But once you arrive, oh the beauty and variety of things to do. Or just kick back and do nothing. Cloud watching is very popular here.

Generally speaking, Flaming Gorge Resort is located between Rock Springs, Wyoming and Vernal, Utah, approximately 250 miles east of Salt Lake City. The Resort itself is located at the southern end of Flaming Gorge Reservoir, a lake that extends northward into Wyoming. The lake is about 90 miles in length and is the result of the damming of the Green River. Fishing float trips below the dam down the Green River are extremely popular, and just one of the services provided by the Resort.

This is high country. Our elevation here at the Park is 7,000 feet. The tops of the surrounding mountains are between 9,000 and 10,000 feet. It is SO beautiful here.

Even when it snows, it is beautiful. This photo was taken when we were here last November. Although the surrounding mountains may have snow on the ground late into spring, snowfall here in the Park is usually gone within a day or two.

 

 

This is what it looks like now in the RV Park.

 

No sooner had I written the sentence above, along with posting the photo of “springtime” here, and it began to snow. And it’s been snowing off and on for two days. It’s snowing as I write this, and is forecast to snow until about 5:00 a.m. tomorrow. This, as June is fast approaching.

This snow “event” has covered a wide area that is including Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah. And it has caught a lot of people off guard, not the least of which has been some folks that have arrived in the Park intending to stay a day or two but are now waiting for better driving conditions. We’re like the Eagle’s classic “Hotel California”. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

So, we’re almost wrapping up this our first week of workcamping. Lots of things to learn. Stay tuned.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Foto Friday

How about a “Foto Friday”? Since we have been on the road, I cannot even count the number of photos we have taken, many of which don’t make it into blog posts due to space considerations. So, maybe we’ll occasionally post random photos as posts of their own.

First and foremost is a photo of Delicate Arch in Arches National Park in Moab, Utah. What is significant about this photo for us personally, is that it was taken by me to mark my successful completion of this “moderate” hike which, although only 3 miles roundtrip, is fairly steep going and coming. Believe me, although seeing the arch firsthand is worth it, many people who attempted the hike on the day we went, did not complete it. The other significance is that you will notice that there are no other people in the photo. This is extremely rare without being at the Arch either at sunrise or at sunset, as most serious photographers will be. This photo was taken midday, at a time when hundreds of folks were in the immediate area. In fact, just moments before this photo was taken, a junior high school gaggle of students and teachers formed up for a group shot under the arch. Just after they were finished, and seconds before others could get into the field of view, I shot the photo.

The next photo is of a mural on the wall backing up the indoor pool and spa at Sky Ute Casino and Resort in Ignacio, Colorado. The pool and spa was one of the amenities we had available to us while staying in the Resort’s RV Park. The mural is actually much larger than the photo shows, extending both right and left probably twice in length of what is shown. The mural depicts a Southern Ute “hunting” party as it crosses a meandering river at the bottom of a valley ringed by mountains. The mural was constructed from actual photos.

The photo below is of a metal building that we came across while out driving the various county roads surrounding Durango, Colorado, something we really enjoy doing.

The building intrigued us and, frankly, has got us thinking about a combination RV garage and small apartment. So much so, that we are in contact with the owner who is providing us particulars regarding this 1800 sq. ft. structure. The photo doesn’t do it justice. The slanting roof with a southern exposure, is perfect for a solar installation, and the height of the building would provide a spacious loft area. Who knows?

 

 

This next photo is of one of the several “goosenecks” that are encompassed by Goosenecks State Park, located between Bluff, Utah and Monument Valley.

 

One of the places we visited was Petrified Forest National Park in northern Arizona, a park that was separately the subject of  one of our recent blog posts. Outside the northern entrance to the park, is a small memorial to the original path of “Old Route 66” as it passed through the area. This relic is on permanent display along with other memorabilia, including a vintage Cadillac grill marking the memorials entrance.

And speaking of Route 66, we have consistently come across preserved examples of the unique and distinctive forms of commerce that travelers experienced all along the “Mother Road”. This photo is of a portion of the Wigwam Motel. The motel consists of concrete “Teepees”, each of which served as a motel room. Although not shown in this photo, the motel’s “office” is actually a vintage gas station situated up front “on the boulevarde”. Back in the day, outside the “office”, as well outside of each “room”, one might find the latest makes and models of automobiles traveling the highway. Today, examples of those same vintage cars are parked in the same places. To see it in person is like opening a time capsule.

 

When you are on the road, you meet a lot of other nomads. This photo is of a lovely couple we met while at a roadside rest stop in Utah. Pastor John, a former postmaster in several areas of Washington state now, along with his wife, form a pastoral team that travels to small towns throughout the west filling in until the particular community finds a permanent pastor. Their most recent pastoral duties were completed after 23 months. Now they are on the road again awaiting their next assignment.

This is a current photo of one of our first and still favorite fishing spots in Colorado. It is Haviland Lake, part of a state park north of Durango. We have camped and fished there on many occasions. It does not have large fish, just pan size. But the sheer beauty of the surrounding bluffs, aspens and wildlife is awe inspiring. You eventually don’t care if you catch anything. You just kick back and take it all in, your cares and concerns fading fast.

We still cannot get out of our heads how beautiful it was on the day we drove over Molas Pass recently. We have probably driven over this pass 50 times over the last 30 years during different seasons, and we still marvel. Part of the “Million Dollar Highway”, this Pass is 11,000 feet in elevation. Those mountains in the photo are near or above 14,ooo feet.

 

 

Sometimes, the most pretty flowers grow in the least expected places. Maybe there is a message there. This flower was growing next to a petrified log in a most arid area in Petrified Forest N.P.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Prehistoric and Petrified

After eight days in Show Low, Arizona, staying at Fool Hollow Lake State Park, we finally headed east and then northwest kind of making a loop back toward Holbrook, Arizona on highway 180. About 19 miles prior to getting to Holbrook, we arrived at the south entrance to Petrified Forest National Park.

To be honest, we really did not know what to expect in visiting this “National Park”. But we thought that since we were in the area, we ought to at least take a look. In a word, we were “amazed”.

Imagine you are standing at an elevation of 5,000 feet above TODAY’S sea level, and that 225 million years ago that spot where you are standing was itself once under water. This is the location of Petrified Forest National Park. What today looks like a high arid plain was once a rainforest: hot, humid and lush. And there were trees. Lots of them.

Some were small, while others were massive. As the trees died or were knocked down by wind or water, many were carried downstream and buried by layers of sediment and volcanic ash. The logs soaked up groundwater and silica from this volcanic ash. Over time the this combination eroded and replaced the cellulose within the trees and crystallized into quartz, making them “petrified”. Different minerals made the rainbow of colors seen in many pieces. Simply amazing to see firsthand.

 

 

To date, the park road meanders in a north south direction for about 28 miles. All along the route there is abundant evidence of what happened here oh so many millions of years ago. there are entire tree, as well as entire tree segments all in a row where the sheer weight of the segments caused them to split.

 

In addition to petrified logs on the surface, there are many that are only partially exposed as evidenced in this photo showing layers of sediment and volcanic ash that has long been fused together.

Is it me, or is does this photo resemble a cat’s face.

 

Petrified Forest National Park is a vast area, most of which has not been opened to the public as yet, as geologists and archeologists work to “discover” and catalog new finds.

This photo of an area known as “Teepees”, is an example of the the layering that took place essentially burying what was once a vast rain forest.

The following photos show Agate Bridge, a 110 foot petrified tree that was found spanning a canyon. In 1905, a concrete support was fashioned to support this tree in an attempt to prevent its breaking up and falling into the canyon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pretty much anywhere you go along the road within the park reveals petrified trees, logs and log segments. These photos do not do justice to the varied colors that are evident in each petrified piece.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we said, we were truly amazed. In our opinion, this is a must-see park within our National Park system. One cannot help but be fascinated by the volume of evidence present that something geologically special has occurred here in the high plains of northern Arizona.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Divine Intervention

Sometimes, destinations are not planned. Sometimes, you just get a feeling that you ought to go there. Such was the case as we were heading east, with a “kind of” plan to visit Albuquerque, and then head north toward Santa Fe. Before even getting to the Arizona/New Mexico border, we found ourselves heading south from Holbrook, Arizona toward the town of Show Low. We had been to Show Low many years ago. Actually, that’s not true. We had been THROUGH Show Low. I’m not even sure if we stopped there. But we did remember how beautiful it was in that area of Arizona.

At the time of our decision to drop off the interstate at Holbrook and head south, we were thinking it might be nice to revisit Show Low and the area along the Mogollon Rim with the intent of getting a better understanding of the area and what it had to offer.

As usual, we were not sure where we would stay once we got there, but we planned to search Campendium once again once we got into the area. Although there were many options, we stumbled upon Fools Hollow Lake State Park. I say “stumbled” because we actually saw a sign for the park BEFORE searching Campendium. Once we read the reviews submitted by users that had stayed there, we felt we were being directed to the park and pretty much ignored the other possibilities that were listed for camping or staying in an RV Park.

We drove in to the park without reservations and were told that although Fool Hollow was EXTREMELY popular most of the time, they did have a few sites available. With us not having a clue about the park or particular sites, the Ranger assigned us to Cinnamon Teal Loop, Site #19. As we found out later, this is one of the park’s most desirable campsites. And it was available.

This is a view from our campsite, which included a concrete pad and patio, fire pit, picnic table, water and electric. All roads are paved, and the park includes multiple boat ramps and fishing docks, hiking trails, showers and spectacular views of the countryside. We felt truly blessed to have found, or were lead, to this park.

 

Independent of our travel plans, Bogie, our Silkie Terrier, had been having breathing issues since traveling at elevations which had been above 6,000 feet for the past few weeks. As we were heading toward Show Low, Bogie began to get worse, becoming lethargic and going off feed. Because Bogie is at least 12 or 13 years old, we were thinking the worst and seriously considered the possibility that we might lose him. After feeling somewhat helpless as to what to do, we finally searched for veterinarians in the area. One in particular was also the closest. Even so, we hesitated. Admittedly, cost was a factor. Taking a sick animal into a vet kind of creates a license to steal. And, besides, we don’t know THIS veterinarian office from any other. So, we procrastinated and otherwise struggled to make a decision. Then, we talked to one of the park rangers who suggested Alta Sierra Veterinary Hospital. He said “they’re the best”. And then added “and they are the closest”. This was the same veterinarian hospital that had nearly jumped off the page in our online searching, even though there were several to pick from.

We walked into the vet’s office without an appointment. The staff listened to Bogie’s symptoms and quickly assigned us to Dr. Lorakate Snyder, one of their veterinarians. She quickly ascertained that Bogie has a heart murmur that she could hear with her stethiscope. She recommended an x-ray.

The x-ray revealed that because of his age, Bogie had a complication of factors contributing to a build-up of fluids in his lungs, all of which were being made worse by elevations of 6,000-7,000 feet. Show Low is at an elevation of 6,330 feet. She prescribed several medications relating to Bogie’s liver and heart, some of which he will need to take for life, literally and figuratively. She said that he should start seeing improvement almost immediately.

Within 24 hours we noticed some improvement and after another 36 hours he seemed almost back to normal. As this is written, he continues to improve. Breathing is normal, temperature and blood pressure is normal, and his energy level is high. We pray this continues and, although we are not religious fanatics, we truly feel we have experienced divine intervention leading us to Show Low.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Friends Amongst Us

The following post is being posted belatedly and out of chronological order to our travels. I inadvertantly recently posted “Standing On the Corner” instead of this post and have been unable to figure out whether I can rearrange posts once published.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Although we really enjoyed our week spent at the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park in Williams, particularly with all the amenities that it offered INCLUDING a 50% discount for the entire week using our Passport America membership, we are finding that we really enjoy boondocking, also known as dispersed camping.

And, although there are several websites that one can use to research and find all manner of RV camping spots and RV parks, we tend to use a site known as Campendium almost exclusively. So, using Campendium, we found an excellent  boondocking spot close to Williams in a area of forests, mountains and plains. Campsites were available in the woods or, as we chose, out on the open prairie with trees and a vast view in all directions.

Although initially unplanned, we were ultimately joined by two other couples that we originally met in Quartzsite. One couple, Zack and RayeAnne were ending a stay in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, while the other couple, Jeff and Susan were on the western side of the Sierras in California visiting relatives, a distance of over 500 miles.

All it took was this photo and a note saying “wish you were here” and, as soon as they could, they were here. And, yes, that is the moon rising just before sunset.

First, there were two of us, and the next day there were four of us. Although it took an additional day, the folks from California arrived and then there were six of us reunited once again.

Zack and RayeAnne, our friends in the photo below, are from Nova Scotia and will soon be heading north to cross back into Canada via Montana. Unfortunately, although we had a great time together, including trips to downtown Williams for pizza, breakfasts and wandering through shops, as quickly as our group camp began, it was over. But, as short as our time was together, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves taking walks, bike rides, exploring, drinking wine around numerous campfires, and otherwise collecting memories.

 

One of our “trips” was a day trip to the Grand Canyon. We couldn’t believe this was our second visit in one week. As we drove over to the Visitor Center, and then walked out to Mather Point, we spied this fellow (click to enlarge). At first, I thought it was a Raven. Not so. It was a California Condor, tagged number “80” for tracking purposes.

If you could not tell that it was a Condor while it was perched, you certainly realized what it was when it launched and flew overhead riding the thermals along the Canyon rim. With a wingspan of about 7 feet, it was NOT a Raven.

Speaking of exploring, not far from our camp, hidden way back in the woods, we came upon this cabin on one of our jeep trail drives.

The particular tree in this photo is the only one of its species in this area. And it was huge. The cabin was intentionally built to take advantage of the branches and substantial trunk of the tree, as can be seen by the interior photo below.

 

 

 

We just love coming across gems of history such as this cabin, and cannot help but wonder who built it, and when. What was their life like? So many questions.

 

Alas, after our week of boondocking together, it was time to part once again. Our Canadian friends  headed off to Moab and then north to cross into Canada so as not to overstay their visa, while Jeff and Susan were aiming for Four Corners and possibly Moab to catch up with Zack and Rayeanne. As for us, we were headed east.

 

But, as usual, our plans are cast in jello, not sure where the road would take us. For now, it’s time to say goodbye. Maybe the “sisterhood” will get together again in the future. Stay tuned.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Standing on the Corner

After our two weeks in the area of Williams, Arizona and the Grand Canyon, it was time to move on. But where to? Although our plans were still cast in jello, we decide to head east.

Our first destination was Winslow, Arizona, made famous by The Eagles with their classic “Take It Easy” hit record. You know the one that says “Well, I was standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona…” …”a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford”…

And, although we DID actually stand on the corner, and even looked at “the flatbed Ford”, our REAL surprise was La Posada,  a hotel in town that we had been turned onto by a fellow RVer. “You have to check out this hotel. You won’t be disappointed.” As it turned out, his comment was an understatement. The hotel has a rich history, and is undergoing meticulous restoration to its original splendor by a handful of investor/owners. Work continues to this day and the owners live and work on-site.

The hotel , built in 1930, was originally a joint venture of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad and the Harvey Company. Although it thrived for decades, it ultimately failed and was converted by the Santa Fe railway in 1950 into an office complex for the airline’s use. The current owners acquired it in 1997 and have spent much of the time since then returning it to the work of art and architecture that was originally intended. It is truly a national treasure. We were NOT disappointed, and even had a drink in the hotel bar which, like every other aspect of La Posada, takes you back to a different era when personal travel “out west” was a new reality for the common man and woman. Even the bar menu offered those beverages that were popular in the 1930s.

Because one day was not quite enough, we decided to camp in a local State Park for a couple of days before heading east and south to Show Low, Arizona, the topic of our next post.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wintering in Quartzsite 2017

As this is posted, Spring is upon us. Our most recent post entitled “Williams, Arizona and the Grand Canyon” is reflective of springtime, which in southern Arizona means temperatures have begun to climb. Time to move northward, but not too far north because some areas have not gotten the memo regarding Spring. That’s why we relocated to northern Arizona recently. But we wintered in Quartzsite. Here’s a brief synopsis of our time there. But it’s only brief and doesn’t really do justice to the enjoyment we had, and the people we met there.

Two and a half months is a longtime to be in one particular area when you are a full-timer. It’s not a particularly longtime if you are a snowbirds. Snowbirds are those that leave snow for winters in areas of warmer climate. Snowbirds are content to park for the winter. But we are not snowbirds. We’re originally from the high desert of Southern California.

So, it is kind of weird that we rolled into Quartzite, Arizona on January 12th and, as of today nearing the end of March, we’re still here. One thing is for sure. Quartzite is an acquired taste. Some people don’t like it here and cannot comprehend why others do.  Obviously by now, we fall into the group that likes it here. So, what is the attraction?

We cannot speak for others but, for us, we are attracted by the weather, combined with a sense of freedom and tranquility in a Sonoran Desert environment.

Last year at this time, we came to Quartzite in conjunction with Ooberfest 2016. We had  a ball meeting new folks and continuing communication with some throughout the year.  It was for that reason that we decided to attend this year’s event. Last year’s, as well as this year’s Ooberfest was hosted by David and Brenda Bott and their blog Outside Our Bubble. The event coincides with the annual Quartzite RV SHOW held for one week in January. Whereas last year we had 36 RVs and couples show up, this year we had about 76 RVs show up, mostly motorhomes. All in one giant circle. We actually had over 100 sign up, but weather got in the way, with a few days of rain leading up to the event. Even so, we more than doubled the attendance of last year’s inaugural event. Saturday of that week, we had a potluck dinner for about 120 people. Dinner was followed by a live band, Notes from Neptune, three very talented musicians. A fun time was had by all, listening to our own private outdoor concert, with dancing, multiple bonfires to keep us warm, and favorite beverages to keep everyone even warmer. Priceless. Thank you Dave and Brenda for all that you did to pull this off.

This is a photo of Bogie sitting on our dashboard surveying the beginnings of what would become a giant circle of RVs. Lots of people and dog meetings are ahead, along with plenty of shopping and errands to be run, as well happy hours and lots of socializing.

One of our fellow RVer couples operate a hot air balloon business catering to tourists in the Napa Valley in California. We met them here last year. This year, they brought their balloon with them so that they could teach their granddaughter to fly so she can become fortified. So, every morning we were treated to what it takes to fill a balloon and otherwise get it ready for flight. In addition to there “crew”, they also needed some volunteers to help. Believe me, they had NO shortage of volunteers.

 

 

You would think the skies would be crowded, what with ultra-lights and drones flying in addition to the balloon. But, there is SO MUCH wide open space here that there were no issues. Just lots of fun.

 

 

One of our MANY day trips was to Desert Bar, a VERY popular food and drink establishment in a most unlikely location 5 miles up a dry canyon on the site of an old mining area northeast of Parker, Arizona. Making the Desert Bar even more unique is that it is entirely solar powered and only open on Saturdays and Sundays for a total of 88 days per year during the season between November and March. Oh, and it’s also CASH ONLY.

 

 

 

This “aerial” photo shows a few friends having a beverage or two, and a whole lot of fun. Sharon in red.

 

Here’s our winter friends Dave and Diane enjoying themselves. Diane is always smiling and laughing. Just not now. 🙂

 

 

 

Even the dogs have fun. This one, Raven, getting used to boots intended to help  protect against rocks and cacti.

Needless to say, two and a half months allows for lots of memories. Way to many to document here.

 

 

Now we have moved on, as have all the others with whom we camped. Heading out to all  the points of the compass. Such is the RV lifestyle. But we will meet again, no doubt. In the meantime, we will continue to chase sunrises and sunsets.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Williams, Arizona and the Grand Canyon

We left our BLM camp just outside of Lake Havasu City and headed north to Interstate 40, then east to Williams. When we left Havasu, the high temperature was going to be 87 degrees. We were headed for cooler temperatures just based on an elevation gain of over 5,000 feet. And over the course of our 175 mile drive, the weather was beautiful. So, after arriving at Grand Canyon Railway RV Park and getting parked in our site, we were more than surprised to see that our sunny skies were rapidly changing to darkening skies.

Within 30 minutes, we had thunder and rain. And within an hour, it was snowing. Temperatures dropped to about 30 degrees. We went from shorts and t-shirts to parkas. And then the next morning we were back to sunny skies.

 

By afternoon, almost all traces of snow were gone except that on the highest mountain tops.

Over the years, we have passed through Williams several times. Usually on the way to the Grand Canyon or Flagstaff. Back in the day, the town was a key destination for folks traveling along Route 66. And today,

 

Williams is doing everything it can to hold onto that history. Although we had been here previously, we really had not explored the area or even spent much time in the town itself.

 

Now that we are retired with lots of time, we had vowed to change all that. So, among other things, we wanted to spend time in the shops along the towns “Route 66” main drag.

Because we spend a fair amount of time boondocking and dispersed camping, we also wanted to check out some sites in the area that we had previously identified using online research, one of which is Dogtown Lake.

 

And, of course, we needed at least a day  trip to one of our favorite National Parks, the Grand Canyon. We never tire of the granduer and almost spiritual feeling we get in trying to take in how “Grand” it really is.

In this particular photo, there is more than meets the eye. The canyon on the other side is Bright Angel Canyon. The primary trail on THIS side that most people take into the Grand Canyon is the Bright Angel Trail. At the bottom in this photo (bottom of Bright Angel Canyon) is Phantom Ranch where many people stay to either hike back to the South Rim the next day, or hike up Bright Angel Canyon to the North Rim. Phantom Ranch is on the north side of the Colorado River. To get there, there is a bridge across the Colorado River which can be seen in this photo to the right of the green tree area at the bottom, which is where Phantom Ranch is located. Lastly, if you zoom to the top of Bright Angel Canyon, you can see a white dot which is the main building on the North Rim.

We spent a week in the Williams area, staying at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel and RV Park. What a great RV Park!  Wifi, cable TV, indoor pool and spa, great service, paved sites. And close to everything we wanted to explore. Priceless! They even accept Passport America for a 50% discount for up to 7 days.

Photo courtesy of Good Sam Club

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2016 Financial Recap

Before we get too far into 2017, we thought we would share what our first year major categories of expense were while on the road in 2016. Granted, that we have only been on the road since July 1st, but our figures have been calculated to reflect monthly expense in each category. Our purpose for this recap is twofold. First, we want others who are considering a full-time RV lifestyle to benefit from our real numbers as they plan for living the dream. Second, seeing our actual expenses in writing will help us set goals toward cutting costs where possible.

Our travel route took us from Southern California, up the eastern side of the Sierras, into extreme northeastern California, up the eastern side of the Cascades to Bend, Oregon, then over to the Wallowas of north eastern Oregon. From there to Lewiston, Idaho, to Missoula, Montana, to Kalispell, Montana, and on north to Glacier National Park. From Glacier, we headed west to Whidbey Island and the San Juan Islands of the Washington coast for a month, then south through central Oregon and west to the Oregon Coast. From there, we traveled north once again to the mouth of the Columbia River, east through the Columbia River Gorge to Pendlton and Baker City, Oregon and on southeast to Moab, Utah for a couple of weeks, then southwest to St. George area for a month, and on south to Quartzite, Arizona.

RV Fuel – $346.50 per month.

Our motorhome runs on unleaded Regular fuel. Fuel prices have been less than $3.00 per gallon once we got out of California. Sometimes significantly less. As low as $2.05 in our travels in one area. At our present location in Quartzite, Arizona, although it is 2017 as this is written, Regular is $2.19 per gallon.

Jeep Fuel – $144.38 per month.

As with the motorhome, our Jeep Liberty runs on Regular fuel. The jeep is our transportation when we are camped. But that does not mean it is used a lot. It depends on where we are, and what we want to see and do. Sometimes it’s sightseeing, exploring back country roads or just local shopping.

Groceries – $592.83 per month.

Although others in our lifestyle might consider this typical, we think we can do better as we go forward. As it is, this is our greatest monthly expenditure. We think it is high, and our goal is to reduce it by at least $100 per month. For reference, most of our grocery expenditures are at Wal-Mart.

Dining Out – $248.61

This calculates out to about $8.25 per day for two people. Not bad. And, of course, we don’t “Dine Out” every day. Except for special occasions once or twice per month, it’s mostly breakfast or lunch, meaning McDonald’s or Subway.

Camping – $504.83 per month / $16.83 per day

Actually, we’re pretty proud of this. Although we HAVE spent as much as $50+ for one night in a RV Park with full hook-ups, we have tried to keep camping costs down. We did this by staying overnight free, or nearly free, when it made sense either by boondocking on BLM or National Forest land, or parking at Wal-Mart’s or Indian Casinos, or dreaded truck stops (too noisy). But, we also did it by staying in a RV park for longer periods to get a special monthly rate.

Laundry – $30.25 per month

Although our motorhome has a cabinet and is plumbed for a washer dryer combo, we do not have one as yet. But we’re thinking about getting one. The investment would be about $1200 when all is said and done. But it would be more for convenience than anything else. And even then, it would be most suitable for use when hooked up to a sewer. From a practical standpoint, that means being in an RV park.

Propane – $31.21 per month

In our motorhome, and presumably in most motorhomes, propane lasts a long time. Our propane costs have been as low as $.99 per gallon, to over $3.00 per gallon. Right now, we’ve most recently paid $2.10 per gallon. Our tank will take 20 gallons. We can generally go 3 weeks or so depending on temperatures.

Mail Service – $25.22 per month

We use Traveling Mailbox for mail service. For $19.99 per month, they send an email whenever mail is received at our selected address in San Diego. We can view the envelope online and then instruct to open and scan it for further viewing, shred it, or forward it to an address of our choosing. If they forward it, there is a nominal charge.

Phones -$109.28 per month

Our carrier is ATT. We have two phones and share a 5GB data plan. It suits us, but we probably/maybe could do better. This is the monthly rate. We never have any surcharges.

Dish Satellite – $80.83 per month

We generally have a flat monthly charge of $80.02 but good old Utah makes satellite companies pay extra for the privilege of operating in their state. So, we had one month where we paid $5.00 extra while in Utah.

So, that’s it. We don’t include our personal bills or other things like personal purchases, etc. Although we DO track them, every penny. Such is life married to a bookkeeper, for which I’m grateful. Yes dear.

I’m learning. 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

It’s Christmas

We’re having a white Christmas here in St. George, Utah…sort of. Not much on the ground where we are, but the hills and red rocks in the area are  covered. We’re planning to visit Zion before leaving this area and heading south, but we’ll probably give the weather a day or two to allow for some snow melt. The forecast is for sunny skies for the next week or so, although it will be muy frio.

Not necessarily having anything to do with Christmas, I’ve read other blogs recently in which those who are doing the writing and posting are wondering if it’s worth all the time it takes. I have to admit that I have had similar thoughts. In fact, I’ve kind of backed off in posting of late. Since leaving Moab several weeks ago, and then staying in Capital Reef for a short time, I have not had the motivation to describe our travels,  and the things we have seen and done. Maybe I’ll do it yet, but not right now. Maybe it IS a holiday thing.

Now back to the fact that today is Christmas, the Christian celebration of our Savior’s birth. Although this truly IS the “reason for the season”, I have a tendency to get bummed  this time of year for no apparent reason. It’s not the gifts that I didn’t get. I lack for nothing. And it’s not for lack of blessings. WE have been very blessed this year.

So what is it? I don’t have an answer, but it may be family related. In my case, I essentially have no family. On the in-law side, although there IS family, getting together was always the same, as if everyone was just paying lip service to being “family” and “close” even though during the rest of the year, such was not the case so much. In that regard, it was easy to get on the road as full-timers. As a couple, along with our dog Bogie, WE are family.

Maybe my bummedness has to do with my being SO turned off by the commercialization of Christmas. OMG! When did we become SO caught up in the mad rush to go into debt each year in an effort to buy gifts? And then, because someone you may have only seen last Christmas may buy you something, you are obligated to buy them something. And sometimes, this triggers a need to buy for the entire family. God forbid we should leave anyone out. I know this alone has caused me to buy fewer and fewer gifts each year, my resentment is so great. And it’s not because I’m selfish. I’m not.

Maybe it’s a geezer thing. Maybe as we get older, things we tolerated in the past are replaced with “I don’t have to do this anymore”. Does this make me a brat… a geezer brat?

Utah is a “dry” state…sort of. Although typical retail stores can only sell booze with a ridiculous what’s the point alcohol content, there are “State” Liquor Stores in abundance. So, to my way of thinking, this has less to do with Mormon religion practice and more to do with “control”. And a revenue grab by the state. In any event, in my bummedness, I found myself standing in front of a seemingly unlimited number of brands of Tequila in my local “State” store. Although I found myself staring, with an inclination to possibly buy something, it occurred to me that I don’t even drink Tequila. I hardly drink at all.

Ultimately, I left the State Liquor Store with a Stella Artois six-pack of beer. Maybe “Stella” will get me through the day. With a 5% alcohol content, fat chance. Bah humbug! Tomorrow’s another day.

Oh, I almost forgot. Merry Christmas!

There, I’m feeling better already.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments