Remote Living

The Finances of Living in a Fifth Wheel Toyhauler!
March 2010

Traveling WITH New Rig

Winter Traveling Times

March – Remote Living! 

Us and Colorado River @ Lake Mead

Us and Colorado River @ Lake Mead

If all goes according to plan, we will volunteer in the winter (which ended up being only a couple of months: January and February) and work/volunteer for six months at a National Park. Then head to Texas for some driver licenses and then back East for a couple of months. Then hopefully back to Nevada in the month of December. That is the hope anyway.

March 2010 – Good News on the Job Front, got a Job in Canyonlands National Park, will have to up the supply list as there are no grocery stores within 50 miles from the park. Not as expensive as last month but still…

Why is it that I think it won’t be bad, and then it is? I do not know, but this is real life, and getting things organized so that we won’t spend more just does not seem to be in the cards.

Expenses: For the Month of March: gearing up for remote living.

Expenses for March 2010

  • Food, Food and Household: $152.30
  •         , Provisions: $448.63
  •         , Out to Eat: $147.16
  • Clothing, Laura: $7.18
  • Transportation, Diesel: $472.02
  •                        , Truck Maintenance: $25.64
  •                        , Camper, Switching Axles: $824.04
  •                        , Motorcycle, Maintenance: $38.45
  •                        , Motorcycle, Registration/Taxes: $210.30
  •                        , Scooter, Registration/Taxes: $184.05
  • Utilities, Propane: $29.70
  •             , Generator Fuel: $96.98
  • Camper, Equipment: $58.79
  • Communication, Cell Phones: $0
  •                          , Verizon: $60.07
  •                          , Skype: $10.00
  •                          , Other: $106.01
  • Health, Insurance (L): $152.00
  •           , Insurance (S): $181.46
  •           , Other: $20.00
  • Recreation, Fun Stuff: $85.50
  •                  , Gifts: $16.94
  •                  , Books: $125.56
  • Taxes/Gambling, Tax Software: $55.90
  •                           , Gambling: $6.00

Total Expenses = $3,583.29

Provisions Now for Food Later

Food: this month the grocery bill was a whopping $600! However, as you can see, almost $450 of that was for provisions. Just so that you can understand where we are coming from for provisions, I mean really what are provisions, here is a sampling of what we bought. The prices were good, lots of stuff bought in bulk and as we cook without using convenience type foods, there is less garbage and less waste.

So some of the foods:

  • Tortillas
  • Olive Oil
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Vitamins
  • Wine & Beer & Port
  • Chips & Pretzels, Microwave Popcorn
  • Hand Sanitizer, shampoos, conditioners
  • Canned Tuna & Chicken
  • Honey
  • Dried Mushrooms
  • Personal Care products: toothpaste, suntan lotion, chapsticks
  • Mayo, Mustard, olives, saurkraut, hot sauces, Salsas, spices
  • Cheeses that can be frozen
  • Grapefruits, oranges, lemons, apples
  • Dried meat & nuts
  • Dried foods such as milk, fruit, grains (oatmeal, bran, whole grains)

We bought all of these things this month to help us prepare for the time in Canyonlands. We wanted to go for six months without having to worry about getting some of these things. However, we found that we really bought more like a three month supply. But you live and you learn. Some of the things we bought were for a six month supply, others were 3 month supply. We will be resupplying our stock in June.

We did go out to eat a bit, that happens when you are traveling, so no problem there.

Buying Clothes For the Job

The clothing for me was the extra money it cost to get the uniform for Canyonlands. While I did have a few clothes from last summer, this park expects you to wear the Class A (dressiest class) uniform. Since most of my clothes were field, I had to go out and buy other stuff. While we get an “allowance” for the clothes, you usually go over the amount to get everything that you need. I also needed to get new shoes (via the uniform company) so that is probably where I went over.

Remote Living Means Everything is Far Away

To go from Lake Mead National Recreation Area to Canyonlands National Park was only ~ 600 miles, however, we went down to Lake Mojave first, then to Canyonlands, so we spent a bit in diesel. We also wanted to fill up the tank for the ride into the park, as the closest gas station (for diesel) is ~ 50 miles away. At that last fill up with the entire rig, we also got more gasoline for our scooter and motorcycle. We have a gas tank for the generator and for the fueling station, so it is good to fill up on that as well.

We were told to do as much maintenance on the vehicles as possible before we come as there is nothing at the park. So we got compressed carbon dioxide for the tires of the truck, motorcycle, and scooter. We also had the axles switched on the camper…Sasha will have to chime in on this, as I have no idea what it really means except that the steps are now higher off the ground, and it is not so bad going over bumps now with them switched.

Sasha worked on the motorcycle and on the scooter and then we also paid for the registration and licenses for the new motorcycle and scooter.

We made sure we had full tanks of Propane because again we want to make sure we have a full supply before we go to Canyonlands. That is also the case with the generator fuel. Laundry is also not an expense now, as at the Canyonlands, we now have laundry facilities that do not cost us anything.

How to Communicate in Remote Areas

We were told, (when I accepted the job) that the cell phones would not work. We were also told there is no hard wire phone line at the site where we would be, so that we would not have much internet. However, when we got to the site, we found that was NOT the case, that there was a phone line there. So we got on the ball as soon as possible to get an internet line set up. We now use SKYPE as our phone service, but unfortunately we also had to pay for Verizon for this month (although we put it on hold for 6 months.) We also had to pay more for postage to Escapees and we bought business cards for ourselves. We also bought some software for the Mac. Again, this is something that Sasha will have to explain some day.

High Health Insurance but What Can You DO?

Health Insurance…What can you say. It still is too high, but I think we will be changing how we are doing it in the next coming months.

Movies and Gambling and Memberships OH MY! 

We did spend more on fun stuff: We bought books and maps of the area so that we can learn more, we had a good movie night and saw “Ghostwriter” and “Cop Out” and a little bit of “Its Complicated” at one of the casinos, we spent only $6 at gambling, we bought camping equipment at a thrift store, and I got a membership to the Association of National Park Rangers (ANPR) because of the health insurance. I can buy health insurance cheaper through them, and although I get less in benefits, I rarely go to the doctor and it seems a shame to spend money when I am not putting it to good use.

We had a couple of birthdays this month (well, only one, but one next month too) and we wanted to make sure they got out. So the postage I think costs as much as the gifts…but that is what happens when you live in a remote area!

Paying Taxes

Lastly, we did our taxes and so had to pay for the software. H&R Block has it set up that the Federal Income Tax software is free and the first state is free if you are getting a refund, but the second state costs money. So we had to pay for the North Carolina tax software. Oh well, we got some refunds so that made it worthwhile.

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