The Finances of Living in a Fifth Wheel Toyhauler!
Traveling WITH New Rig
Last Month at Canyonlands
September – Truck & Fifth Wheel Preparedness
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.
September 2010 – More visitation at Canyonlands National Park, and then heading to Texas…
Expenses: For the Month of September: Got the Expenses up. At least it was less than last month!
Expenses for September 2010
- Food, Food and Household: $184.94
- , Out to Eat: $193.14
- Transportation, Diesel: $121.74
- , Truck Maintenance: $695.26
- , Motorcycles Maintenance: $214.47
- , , Inspections: $34.19
- , Parking: $3.00
- Utilities, Rent: $100.00
- Camper, Stuff: $909.84
- Communication, Cell Phone: $33.08
- , Postage: $8.09
- , Internet: $58.92
- Recreation, Books: $4.75
- , Gifts: $50.69
- , Camping Fees: $56.10
Total Expenses = $2,667.71
Finally A Lower Expense Month!
OK, both the food prices were not too bad, but really I think, sort of high for food that was going out. However, we did leave Canyonlands on September 28th, so we started eating dinner out. Therefore the prices reflect that. We also went into town twice in a three week time period, getting things ready for leaving the park. So that meant going out to eat as well as getting things ready.
The Month to Get Ready
This was also the month to get things ready – getting the truck and motorcycle/scooter ready to go, ready to be stored and ready for the trip. First, we filled up the truck with diesel while we were in Moab the last time (boo hoo) on September 23rd. We had figured that it would be a while before we filled up again. With the external tank, we can go approximately 1,000 miles hauling the fifth wheel, and therefore, supposedly, only fill up three times in route to going back east. We will see if that is the case come October.
The truck got some serious maintenance – actually I am not sure where to place this one expense, so I placed it in maintenance. It is the tire pressure/temperature gauges that we put on all of the tires. When you are hauling so much, especially your entire life in the camper and truck, you want to be super safe. We do not want to become a statistic.
We do not want to harm others while going down the road. The possibility of a blow-out is always a concern, especially because we will be headed east, and the sun will beat down on only one side of the RV and truck the ENTIRE time. We got these Tire Pressure Monitors for $459. They are place on the tires, the little valve where you put the air, and then there is a monitoring system that is inside of the truck. These da*n things were the reason why we did not leave Canyonlands until September 28th, because we were waiting for them to get here! Three week to ship something that was an express delivery! Living remotely has its advantages but this ain’t one of them!
The rest of the maintenance stuff was Advantage Air Systems: a new system for the carbon dioxide canister to used to refill the tires for the truck, RV and motorbikes. We also needed more CO2, and so filled the container up before we left. We also got some more power outlets for the truck and cleaned the truck nicely, so that when we started to go across the country, it would only have NEW bugs on it, rather than the old ones!
And the parking wasn’t parking, it was the tip for going to the BIG TEXAN in a funky limo. Ultimately there will be pictures on the September page of this interesting limo, but for now, it was the tip we gave (we only went about a mile, so that seems fair) to the limo driver.
Utilities = Rent
We still had to pay rent, even though we were not going to be there the entire month. Seems not quite fair to pay rent and not get some back, but really it would have only been five days not in the site, so no big deal. But we also paid for two nights camping in Amarillo, TX. That campground (Amarillo Ranch RV Park) was really nice, good spot, close to what we needed and very clean. While I do not think we will be going back to Amarillo again in the near future, it was a neat town, and there are obviously good steaks there as we went to the one place with really nice steaks.
Hitching To Stay Connected
Camper stuff was a bunch of different things: First off the most expensive thing: The hitch, door and stuff (this is what I wrote down, so bear with me here – $643. The hitch of course cost the most. When we had gotten the rig, of course, it came with a hitch attached to the front of the rig. But there was a definte problem with that hitch. We could not make tight turns with it, and when we did, we heard a horrible screeching noise – not something you want to hear at any time. It was also messing up the other part of the fifth wheel, the part that attaches to the truck itself, it was getting scrapped from the hitch above. And it was harder to get the two mechanisms together (slightly hard to explain but I hope you get the gist of it.))
So a new one was ordered and when it arrived we realized a few things: it was extremely heavy. There was NO way in God’s Green Earth that just two of us could get this put on. Thankfully, while at a pot-luck the day before, Sasha had enlisted a couple of people to help us get the old one taken off, and the new one put on. So we thank everyone for that!
We also bought a bunch of nuts and bolts for the hitch. We thought it best to have extra just in case we lose a bolt or two. Of course these are big and heavy and so cost a bunch to ship. And then you find that they are not the right size and have to ship them back. But that is later. So Sasha then went out and bought even more bolts to get the right ones. I think in the end, we had lots of bolts. So that was $105.66 for the nuts, bolts, and shipping to us.
We also got a new sewer hose, it was time. Enough said about that. RVers, you know what I am talking about.
When we left Canyonlands on September 28th, we were having trouble with our main set of steps, so when we got to Amarillo, TX, we had mobile RV repair guys fix the stairs. It took them a while to do it, but not longer than an hour, still, ka-ching and we were out $135. Steve, if you are reading this, you might have to change your prices! We found those prices are about what we see throughout the country.
Maintenance of Motorcycle & Scooter:
The maintenance for the motorcycles was as follows: First, we had some things that we wanted to do to the scooter, paint touchups and new hand grip protectors, plus some extra filters so that came to $80.01. Then we had to get some stuff for Sasha’s bike: batteries to charge up the bikes while they are being stored (our solar panels will give them the trickle they need), a bag for the battery (man, just to ship that bag was crazed, I think they really lost money on the bag!), filters and we also got Sasha a new helmet! It goes with his bike, but it was most important that we got him a new one, his old one was pretty old, total: $134.46.
When we camped in Amarillo, TX we were able to get the scooter and bike inspected, because these both were new since the last time we had gone through. I separated that out, so you could see, as it is not maintenance but an important expense. We used the both cycles so much out in Canyonlands, they came in handy and we want to make sure we do whatever is possible to keep them going strong for as long as we need them.
We were going to need our cell phones again, so we got more minutes put onto Sasha’s phone. We also paid for the internet one last time and will ship the DSL box back to them once we get to Williamsburg. And the last was for shipping back the nuts and bolts that were wrong for our rig. So we paid for shipping both coming and going!
Reading is FUNdemental
- we got over 9 books at the thrift store for reading for fun this year and we went to the local rock shop to pick up some cool gifts for the kiddies for their birthdays. Plus I got an extra fossil for me.
It seems like it is a continually expensive time but I have to realize that we are still outfitting the rig and the truck to do all that we want them to do. We want to stay safe too, and so that takes more time, effort and money.