Progress Report

Mike and Ellen – I’m thinking of you guys as I write this one.  If When you get serious about that wild hair and decide to strike out across the U.S. in your RV, I thought some of our numbers might be a useful reference.  I planned to do this for our records anyway – so why put it out there for others to use as a wet finger in the wind?!

We’re a little shy of a month into our full-time life on the road so I spent some time this afternoon geeking out  (while doing laundry, cleaning and prepping dinner).

The $:

I’m fat fingering every dollar that goes out into a spreadsheet.  Scott insists that there are apps for that… but part of the process for me is transcribing the receipts and manually doing the math.  It helps me really understand it.  Maybe, once I have a feel for it, I’ll take the easy road.  For now, it’s pencil and paper.

We’ve traveled 1871 miles in the RV since 19 August 2016.  I am not keeping track of the extra mileage in the Grey Man.  So far we’ve spent $822 on gas for the RV.  We’re seeing gas anywhere from $2.15 to $2.45 (but we’re using 91, the cheap stuff makes the engine backfire). I used a guesstimate of $2.40/gallon for the math… we’re getting between 5 -6 miles to gallon.  Ouch!  That hurts.  Next month I plan to break it down further to see if there is a difference when Scott is driving and when I’m driving.   (kidding, Commando)

On a good note, we’ve spent $922 on food.  That includes everything – groceries, snacks, restaurants, alcohol, candy.  It also includes some supplies because I didn’t start asking for 2 checkouts at Walmart (to more accurately record the expenses) until 2+ weeks into the trip. Even so, that number is still significantly lower than I was expecting.  I’m extra impressed because I wasn’t trying to be especially cheap with the food – I’ve been buying what I always buy just to give us a baseline.  We’re also not eating out much.  That’s a money saving thing and it’s a healthy eating thing.  We’re really trying to make an effort to focus on good habits this year.

Lodging – It was a little more than I expected at $655, but that includes a hotel stay for 1 night for $178.  If you take that out to look just at campgrounds we’re at $477.  For almost a month of moving around that’s about $20/night.  We’ve stayed at all sorts of places: private expensive, city run (urban), state run (rural), truck stops and private residences (by god the Chief looks funny in some driveways!).  Our best experiences have been with our friends, of course.  Apart from that – the state run campgrounds.  They have the most privacy, clean facilities and interesting play areas.   We’re going to work on lowering this expense as we move west into prime boondocking territory.

We’ve spent about $30 on souvenirs (mostly on patches that we’ve got tacked up to our cupboards) and $94.50 on attractions (the arch, the cave tour and the Cincinnati Children’s Museum).  These expenses are fairly easy to control but very tempting to say,  “Screw it – we’re only doing this once.”

Total expenditures (that I know of – I don’t forget that Scott may buy a little something here and there that I don’t have a receipt for):  $2955.59.  Let’s call it $3k plus whatever food we’ll eat over the next few days and a few nights at $15/night (we’re already in the campground so this is a solid number) and laundry (it just dawned on me that I forgot to add that because it was quarters) to make it a full month.’  We’re looking at $3200 – $3300 a month.

Health and Wellness of the Chief:

It’s running really good at the moment.  Like I said we’re using the expensive gas and that has made a big difference.  Issues that we’re going to have looked at by the Winnebago folks:

  • The pilot light in the oven is running but it doesn’t warm up when we try to use it.
  • The generator starts great, but quickly sputters out and finally dies after a few minutes.  Not cool Mr. Generator.  Not cool.
  • The solar system only gives us about 3 – 4 hours of a output on a full charge.  With 4 deep cycle batteries, we should be seeing more than that.
  • We want the brakes checked.  After the VT episode, we’ve been diligent about fluffing the brakes on downhills.  Nevertheless, we want to be certain we didn’t make glass when we saw all the smoke.
  • The e-brake needs to be fixed.  We think we killed it when we drove with it on for over 10 miles in Maine.  Nice one amateurs!
  • There’s a smell of gas when we hit the brakes hard on a downhill.  That’s weird and unsettling.  We want that checked out if possible.  We also want the filler spout for the auxiliary gas tank replaced.  Right now it leaks when we’re filling it up.  People love it when you show up smelling like gas.

That’s the list.  There are no show stoppers so we’re feeling pretty good.  Actually better than pretty good – we’re really into living like this. 

Overall, I am getting all the 1 on 1 time with the kids I wanted.  We’re really getting into a groove and developing our own inside jokes.  Scott is getting to work on his company.  We realized we weren’t using our time well, so I started driving and Scott works while we’re cruising down the road.  He even has meetings.  The kids take naps or entertain each other (as long as we don’t try to drive too long).  Boston hates it – but you could see that coming.  He’s a routine/stay-in-Maine-at-Mom’s-house kind of dog.  He’ll survive.  How fortunate are we that we get to do this?!  We’re healthy and young and we’re experiencing real joy.  #Gratitude