Two Different National Parks in Two Different States

Finances of Living in a Fifth Wheel Toyhauler
April 2011

Full Time RVing – RVing at 3 NPS Parks

Spring Traveling

April – Two Different National Parks in Two Different States

Sasha, Laura, & Bo in Canyonlands NP

Sasha, Laura, & Bo in Canyonlands NP

The plan has changed a little bit: Volunteering in the winter (happened!) during January, February, and a little of March; working in Canyonlands National Park (sort of!) during a little bit of March, almost all of April; working in Grand Canyon National Park (unexpected!) during last bit of April, May, June, July, August and September. After that, we are thinking of heading back to Lake Mead for the late fall through next winter. We shall see!

April 2011 – Where were we? -In Canyonlands National Park in UT AND Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.

Expenses: For the Month of April: Not as bad as March, as a matter of fact, right where we want to be.

Expenses for April 2011

  • Food, Food and Household: $210.65
  •         , Out to Eat: $135.49
  • Clothing, Sasha: $46.07
  • Transportation, Diesel: $78.55
  •                        , Truck, Maintenance $26.88
  •                        , Gas: $23.41
  • Household, Propane: $0
  •                  , Laundry: $4.00
  •                  , Electricity: $0
  •                  , Rent: $0
  •                  , Tools: $0
  • Camper, Upgrades: $0
  •              , Maintenance: $89.31
  • Communication, Cell Phone: $0
  •                          , Internet: $257.96
  •                          , Escapees: $50.00
  •                          , Postage: $7.68
  • Health, Insurance (L): $99.46
  • Recreation, Gardening: $6.43
  •                  , Gifts: $3.18
  • Losses, NC Taxes: $191.00

Total Expenses = $1,229.87

Moving in the Middle of the Month Means More

OK, April is gone and still is WAY cheaper than March, but may not be the most cheapest of the months. This would be because of the provisions bought last month. However, moving this month took a bit out of the expenses. And we have found, no matter how much you prepare beforehand, you will need new stuff at the next place you go to. Either it is the hook-ups that are not the same, or it is colder or warmer than someplace else. So let’s go through the numbers together.

Finding Health Food Stores

Food: was definitely less this month. Both in buying food at the grocery as well as going out to eat. If you only go to the grocery store once a month, well, this is what happens. But as Sasha likes having milk in his coffee, it more likely will be a still a pretty small amount for the grocery store. And going out to eat also reflects the less time spent in a town.

I truly think the less time near a bunch of stores (like at a town) means that you spend less. Just look at how we spent lots of money when we were close to town – like at Lake Mead…Of course, part of the expenses were to upgrade our truck and RV but I still think that we were buying more because it was available more. Maybe, hmmm, I might have to think about this some more later.

When we moved, we had to get used to the taxes for sure! While there are no taxes on normal food stuff (which is nice as Utah had a three percent sales tax on food), there is now for other stuff, a higher tax and there is a very high tax for eating out. The eating out tax is 11.1% – YIKES!

I also checked out the Flagstaff’s natural food store – it is the same as the Sedona store called New Frontier’s Marketplace. While not as good as a mom-and-pop organic store, it does have some good things, and it is on the way to other stores. So it will probably become a go to store.

We did go out to eat a couple more times at the end of the month, including a very nice lunner (lunch and dinner) at Lumberyard Brewery. Tried a few of the beers, had a nice salad (split by both of us) and went grocery shopping afterwards. Not a bad day at all!

Wearing Things Out

Clothing: Sasha’s boots are starting to wear out, the insoles were completely worn away in one spot, which led to a huge blister on the bottom of his foot. And in this dry weather, it is harder to heal, because it is the bottom of your foot! So he got these gel foot soles. I think they are the neatest thing, and may ultimately get some after the ones I have for my boots wear out.

Well, Sasha’s boots were completely worn after the hike with Bo, so he had none until we could get to another Walmart. So once we were in Flagstaff, we got Sasha some boots. They were more expensive than the last time, but I am hoping they will last for more than a year this time. We can hope!

Laundry The Old-Fashioned Way

Household: Laundry – well, we are back to paying for laundry again. It is interesting but the people that live in the apartments do not have to pay for their laundry, but we do as RVers. However, those in the apartments have to pay significantly more than we do, although we all have to pay for electricity.

I think we might try to have less in the drier, so that it does not cost as much. But we are not allowed to have laundry lines, but I was thinking we could have the wet laundry in our garage area, we do that anyway for the pants and shirts, so maybe it might work.

Maintenance and Upgrades to Our Home

5th Wheel: Very little maintenance this month. The price you see is for two packages of mini-light bulbs, for our lights that we have here in the 5th Wheel. Most often during the day, we do not have the lights on, and only try for some lights in the evening. Less wear and tear on the bulbs.

Well, when we moved, we found the water hoses were starting to fray and so it was time for some new hoses and connectors. And since plastic seems to wear out faster than metal, Sasha decided to get metal ones instead.

Very High Prices When Remote

Transportation: When we went into town, we topped off the diesel tank. We have not really gone too many miles, but that will change when we head to the Grand Canyon. I think it is close to 300 miles, which can take anywhere from 6 to 8 hours to get there. But I hope to top off again in May rather than April. We shall see how it goes. We also got about 1.5 gallons in our little gasoline tank for filling up the motorcycles.

Sasha went on an extra trip and so filled up his motorcycle. It seems where he went had VERY high gasoline prices: $4.50 a gallon!!!! This was at a Texaco, but if there is no where else to go, what can you do?

The maintenance on the truck was minimal, and slightly annoying. The gauge on the CO2 tank was not put on properly when we got it in Nevada, and so most of it leaked out. So we needed a new tank, and got that in Moab. And because we had some ferocious wind storms out here, we got the truck rinsed off of all of the dust. It seemed for a while that the trucks out here were a light colored orange. Not good. I am not a fan of light orange nor huge winds…

We Learned From Past Mistakes, But….

Communication: Costs were for the internet – this year we had to pay for the guy coming out to Needles District to turn on the switch, and to give us our modem. It is with Frontier. Right now, I am not too thrilled with their service. We pay for 1.5 mps and we get ~ 0.5 mps! But they are the only ones in town, and we are such a small amount of their coverage, they really do not care about us. So we get what we get. I believe that when we go to the Grand Canyon we will get even less, so I guess I should be happy with what I got.

We also paid for Verizon data card, which comes in handy while we are at the Grand Canyon. It is not great, unfortunately, as whenever the wind blows hard, it seems to slow or stop working. Verizon does not work well where we are living, however, it works better in the Village. But we are not there, so we have to make do. I am hoping we get a Wilson antenna Present Day Laura: Now Called WeBoost, which may boost the signal a little bit more.

We also paid Escapees for more postage, so that once we have a mailing address, we can get them to send stuff to us. We set up a mailbox at Grand Canyon National Park in the Village.

Man what a hassle! I swear the folks in the post office must eat lemons all day, they all are a sour bunch of people. It took four tries to get a post office box and I still did not have Sasha on the box. It took another visit to the Village for that to happen.

Anyway, it cost $6 for the keys and we sent out a card for Bo as well.

Setting Health Insurance for Same Month

Health: Regards to health, this was for one month’s charge for me, so that next month, both Sasha and I will be exactly the same, on our own plans, but same coverage for the same months. It will make it easier, just expensive for that month.

How Often Is Farmer’s Almanac Correct? 

Recreation: I got a Farmer’s Almanac for this year, as we will be in a different climate and I wanted to get the scoop on how the weather is in that neck of the woods. Of course, it is definitely colder, windier, and possibly sunnier when it is not so cold.  We are at 7,500 feet above sea level, so Definitely different.

Taxes from Several Moons Ago

Losses: The last thing that is on here is taxes for North Carolina for 2010.

Present Day Laura: While we cannot see into the future, we can look to the past and change our behavior. Names change but the service hopefully gets better. 


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