Traveling Back East Again

Finances of Living in a Fifth Wheel Toyhauler
September 2012

Full Time RVing – The Expensive Year

Falling into September

September – Traveling Back East High 

Laura and Sasha Hiking and Outside Enjoying Life

Laura and Sasha Hiking and Outside Enjoying Life

If all goes according to the plan, we will volunteer in the winter (which will only be a couple of months: January, February, and most of March) and work/volunteer for six months at a National Park. After that, we are not sure, somewhat thinking of going back east for the fall. We shall see!

September 2012 – Where are we – We are in Grand Canyon National Park in AZ and traveling west and then east.

Expenses: For the Month of September: At Grand Canyon – and the Start of the traveling…to buy a Jeep.

Expenses for September 2012

  • Food, Food and Household: $159.20
  •         , Out to Eat: $346.78
  • Clothing, Laura: $74.05
  •              , Sasha: $10.79
  • 5th Wheel, Hotels: $307.22
  • Household, Laundry: $12.50
  •                  , Electricity: $90.64
  •                  , Rent: $145.00
  • Transportation, Diesel: $1,136.56
  •                        , Gasoline: $80.45
  •                        , Truck, Maintenance: $1,127.46
  •                        , Jeep, Maintenance: $4.99
  •                        , Jeep, Upgrades: $1,199.46
  •                        , Tolls: $4.25
  • Communication, Cell Phone (L): $33.59
  •                          , Cell Phone (S): $33.59
  •                          , Internet: $59.99
  •                          , Postage: $11.80
  •                          , InReach: $11.35
  •                          , Extras/Software: $49.99
  • Health, Insurance (L): $58.86
  •           , Insurance (S): $58.86
  • Recreation, Books/Maps: $43.86
  •                  , Fun Stuff: $15.00
  • One-Time Purchase: Bought Jeep: $5,700.00

Total Expenses = $10,776.24

Gasp, Choke, Breathe 

OK, September is gone and it was an expensive month! Yooza (sp!) So let’s go through the numbers…

Small Cooler Means More Eating Out

Food: As you can see, we spent more on food going out than on food eating in. This was partly because we only brought a small cooler with us, not the huge honking refrigerator/freezer combo. It takes up too much space in the back of the seats, and we needed that space for other stuff. So while we had good snacking food, we just did not have regular food.

However, I did bring the blender with us. And we used that for our breakfasts for the most part. We did not leave until September 23rd, so we were definitely eating out. And we went down to Flagstaff each time I had a weekend, and out to eat, so expensive eating got the better of us.

And there were a few places that we went where we got coffees or hot chocolates instead of a meal. But over $165 was from just seven days of traveling.

One of the places we went was Chuck-a-Rama, a buffet that very tasty and welcome treat. It cost more because it was on a Sunday than on a weekday.

We also went to a restaurant in Kanab that we will never go back to again. It was for lunch and cost $22.86 for smallish sandwiches without much on them, and extremely poor service. First time I never left a tip. It was that bad.

We also ate at Jacob Lake, on the North Rim. REALLY GOOD place especially when there is nothing else out there, but it was still a great place to go.

And we also went to Sizzler for Lunner – a meal between Lunch and Dinner. Sasha always thought that this type of place would not be so good, but going here, I was able to totally change his mind. So we might go to other Sizzlers as well.

Shoes Can Be Deceiving

Clothing: So, I was very interested in a pair of these high style shoes. They are painted Danish shoes that you can wear and your feet never hurt in them. Podiatrists swear by them, etc. etc. BUT when you get them online at their store, they can run you ~ $150! So I went to Ebay and won a pair of shoes. Then I found out that they were not the exact shoe that I had previously tried on. Nope, seems there are two Danish makers of the exact shoe. So I got the wrong one. So we sold them back on Ebay, unfortunately not for the same price. But we came as close as we could.

And Sasha got a hat from Grand Canyon Association that he was eyeballing the entire time there. A nice 40% discount is always appreciated.

Hotels For Traveling

5th Wheel: Now I know this is weird to put the hotels in the 5th Wheel stuff, but I am figuring it is like shelter, a needed expense. And we especially needed the hotels when we are away from our home. Sometimes as in campgrounds but mostly in motels.

And some of the rates were pretty good: the cheapest motel was on September 25th, after we dropped off the 5th Wheel, for $36.05 – and they had messed up on the price.

It was actually kind of a bait and switch type of deal; you know, when you are traveling on the road, and they offer a 35 dollar a night motel room? Well, those rooms are for a single person. And we are not single people! They usually tack on another $10 to $25 dollars. But since I had asked and had questions about a couple of other things, it seemed like she forgot to charge for a double rather than a single. Score one for us. The room was ok, what can you really expect for $35 a night?

So there were several motels in Utah, for both the Labor Day weekend, September 17th and the end of the month – September 24th & 25th (then we were at Bo’s for a few days) and then on September 30th.

The most expensive motel was when we were in Blue Springs Missouri. At $76.30, we felt that there should be major food and happy hour, but no such luck. As a matter of fact, there was a $10.30 utility charge! Hey, that is usual for campgrounds (called electricity!) but not for motels. La Quinta, sorry, I do not think we will be back.

Feeling They Swindled Us 

Household: Regular household expenses included the laundry, not as high as before, because we were not there as long, and then could do our laundry when we stayed with family. But the electricity was high, and the rent was still the same (even though we were not there for a week what the hey?)

Going Back East Without the Rig

Transportation: So as you can see, we spent a bit here. Traveling across the country tends to cost money, and more so if you buy a Jeep and then haul it across the country with your truck.

The diesel was for the truck pulling the Jeep. We got pretty good mileage even though we were pulling something. But traveling back this fall meant we were getting expensive diesel prices – anywhere from $4.07 to $4.28 a gallon. It adds up pretty quick.

We spent money on gas especially as we now have a Jeep. We had to travel from where we bought it to where we needed to get the tow bar installed on the Jeep.

Truck maintenance was getting four rear tires put on the truck. We planned to go (round trip) of at least 4,000 miles, so we wanted to make sure we had good tires. Therefore, because we have a dually – a truck with four tires in the back, they tend to get expensive, AND you need to change them all at once. I’ll get Sasha to explain in an article about trucks and truck tires.

There were other expenses for the truck but mostly it was the tires and alignment.

Bought a Jeep

Jeep Maintenance was a battery disconnect for just in case.

Upgrades for the Jeep was the tow bar and hitch – one of the best you could ever get: The tow bar was $750 and the installation (near Bo’s place) was $449.46 pretty expensive if you ask me.

Same Old Same Old But Acorns too 

Communication: Pretty much the same old same old. Cell phones, internet, InReach, Postage for the shoes, and I bought software called Acorn that I was trying out to make logos and designs of words. It sort of worked but not exactly. It can be hard to find the software you need to do what you want without having to spend an arm and a leg to get it. And sometimes the learning curve can be pretty big.

Trying to Stay Healthy

Health: Health was the same here too. Paying for insurance that does not give you much, but thankfully, I had no out of pocket expenses. But we were trying to stay healthy so that doctors are not needed.

Shoehorn in the Category

Recreation: Well, we spent a bit here since we really bought the Jeep to “recreate”. But I did not put that expense here. Instead I bought a couple of books at Bookmans, a great place to get cheaper books, and while we were traveling, we went to Dinosaur National Monument and bought postcards and a map.

The fun stuff was when we went through Zion National Park – there is a tunnel which, because we have double tires in the back, makes the truck much wider and therefore we had to pay extra to drive through the tunnel by ourselves. No one was allowed to come in the other direction. Pretty cool I guess but just be forewarned about it. No RVs are allowed in that tunnel.

Present Day Laura: Hindsight is always 20/20 of course. We should not have bought the Jeep, but at the time it seemed to be a worthwhile purchase. Live and Learn… 

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