February 2019 Budget

Another good month, with expenses only hitting $2,718.  We made $3,775, so another thousand dollars put into savings.  The only big unexpected purchase was our Nighthawk Hot Spot, which was $216. It’s working great though, and since internet is such a big part of our lives I don’t begrudge the purchase.  Also, as an FYI I finished our taxes and sent them to the accountant.  We made roughly $16K last year in 1099 income, and had about $3500 in expenses we could deduct along with $3300 interest on the RV loan. There were major changes this year to the tax code, and I am really not sure how all of that is going to turn out.  It might end up being better for us to just take the standard deduction and not itemize.  We’ll see.  I’ll let you know when the accountant gets back to me.   For more details on this month you can see below.

 

 

Groceries – I adjusted the budget amount to $700 a month for this year based on prior spending and that seems to be a much more manageable target.  Unfortunately we are extremely limited in grocery stores within a one hour drive and the prices reflect that.

Entertainment – My favorite author came out with two new books in the month of February, which was great for me to read, but hit this category a bit. Lee also got a book. Normally we don’t buy books brand new, but he really loves Stephen King and couldn’t wait to get it later.  I also bought my own copy of Open Road, and seeing myself in print was a pretty special moment.  Unfortunately due to printing in color, the trade paperback version is kind of expensive, but I wanted a copy for myself.  It turned out really good.

Insurance –  Now that the new insurance company is in place I need to adjust the budget amounts.

Cigarettes – We buy what we need quarterly and since we will be on the move in a couple of weeks, pre-bought what we would need.

New Equipment – New wifi hotspot, I talked about that above.

This month was fine and we are working until March 18th and then moving on to Phoenix where Lee picked up a week of live event work with a good friend and company he used to work for.  We have saved more than enough to cover our costs until we hit Oregon, and then will start making money again.

 


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog. You can help by doing any or all the following:

  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links.  There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds help support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here.
  • Purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full time RVers.
  • Purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

Mouse, Gate Guard Ladies, and a Rattlesnake

I know crazy title…right?  But it’s been a crazy kind of a week, and things were all over the place.  Before I get into it though, the very best part of my week was getting the results of Kyrston’s ultrasound and finding out she is having a baby boy!!  I loved having daughters but have always wanted to be able to do the boy stuff!  So that’s pretty cool. And the baby looks perfectly healthy and normal which is the most important thing.  He’s definitely photogenic as you can see from the picture 🙂

Baby Boy Klouse

OK, so back to the week.  Well, first of all we had a mouse and it was a big one.  We see signs of mice pretty regularly in the belly of the RV, but rarely do we see them in the rig itself.  It was a quiet night and I was watching TV, when a fat one scurried across the living room floor.  Jack was napping and didn’t even see it, but the next night he did and spent quite a bit of time growling at the area by the sink.  He kept looking at me as if he didn’t know what to do and I wasn’t sure either.  On the one hand if he caught the mouse that would be good, but then I would have to deal with it.  Ultimately he didn’t go after it and Lee caught it in a trap the next day.  That was a relief!

The next day was more excitement because I was meeting up with a group of Gate Guard Ladies.  I have been in a Facebook group with these women for a couple of years, but have never been close enough to attend one of their gatherings.  This lunch was in Cotulla, only 30 minutes away, and I was thrilled I would be able to go.  I was a little nervous of course because I had never met any of them in person, but turns out they were a great group of women and the Mexican restaurant they picked was pretty yummy.

Small Mexican restaurant

 

The restrooms were clean and had this VERY unique “redneck plunger” in the corner which cracked me up. I have a couple of friends who might like one of these.

 

Wonderful group of women. As you can see I’ve put on a few pounds gate guarding.  I’ve been baking quite a bit and it’s definitely having an impact lol!

As someone who is blessed with a really close group of full timer friends, I always find it interesting to see how new groups of full timers I encounter will compare.  What I affirmed was that there are as many ways to live this lifestyle as there are people living it.  There were people in the group that were brand new full timers and others who had been on the road for ten years.  One thing that I found interesting was several of us started full timing with little RVing experience, which is more common I think than people realize. Most of these women gate guard most of the year and although they have tried other jobs, they prefer it because of the freedom.  There is relatively minimal hassle or drama in these gate guarding jobs and many of the women tried camp hosting and much preferred this type of work.  One thing we all agreed on was it was a good way to sock away some cash and although we all had vastly different approaches to how we covered the hours, there were lots of commonalities.  The conversation just flowed and I really enjoyed getting to know them.  And if you are a woman who ever gets a gate guarding job, I highly recommend this group.

I was the first one to leave because I had to stop at the store and get home to relieve Lee.  He starts his day at 3am and I didn’t want him to work too late.  I was barely home and we had just unloaded the groceries when we had a unsettling incident.  One of the oilfield guys pulled in and told us he had seen a huge rattlesnake on the road heading towards our rig and intentionally run over it.  He knows us from this and other gates and was trying to help us out.  Unfortunately it wasn’t completely dead, so we watched to make sure the road was clear and he ran back over it again.  Super nice guy!

Lee talking to the driver

 

This was the snake in the road we could see it was still moving

 

A huge semi came down the road but missed it!

 

So the driver backed over it again for us!

 

Lee went out later and took this pick. He said its body was as big as his arm.

 

Although we have had one up close and personal experience with a rattlesnake in Arizona (see blog post here) this is a little different because now we have Jack.  I take him for walks at night and he loves going into the nearby brush, but I’ll need to make sure he stays in the road.  I’ll also have to make sure I wear the head lamp when I go out and it becomes very important to always look down.  This is the first time in three years we have seen one even this close and we have been really lucky.  In the past we were at gates with lots of hawks and/or road runners and they do a great job of keeping them away.  Plus, we usually leave before it gets warm enough to have to deal with them, but the past couple of days have been on the warm/humid side.  In any event we will keep an eye out and it caused enough excitement that it was definitely worth mentioning.


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog. You can help by doing any or all the following:

  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links.  There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds help support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here.
  • Purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full time RVers.
  • Purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

It’s Been A While

When you are gate guarding the days tend to run together, and it seems like I blinked and twelve days have gone by since our last post.  Nothing major has been going on.  Nothing blog worthy at least, but since a couple people reached out I thought it would be nice to at least check in.  First and foremost, Jack has been bored out of his mind.  There is much less area for him to run here and the cow herd is particularly aggressive.  In the past cows have just ignored him, but these bulls lower their heads and take a couple of steps so I am keeping him inside when they are around.  Unfortunately I never know when they are going to show up and it is particularly unpleasant when it happens at night.

Jack will start to get antsy and I will peek outside

 

These guys get pretty close to the rig

 

On all sides

 

And since he can smell them and see them out the window he’s not happy.  As you can see those horns are no joke.

In an effort to keep him entertained we are trying all kinds of things.  We learned he likes carrots, and he gets rough and tumble with his dog bed.  The dog bed is incredibly well made because no matter how rough he gets with it, its completely intact.

 

Belly rubs are good too.

Sometimes just having a bath is enough entertainment! IF you watch till the end it’s got some pretty cool slow mo of him shaking off the water.

I’ve been pretty bored myself as we have about 24 days left until we can leave.  I’ve been watching the show Sliders which I’ve never seen before, and another show called Humans, but nothing really exciting going on.   I have been trying some new recipes and baking quite a bit, but besides that not feeling very creative.   I finally got all the tax information and will be starting that soon.  Definitely need to get that done before we leave. The most fun I have had is looking for baby stuff for my daughter!  Every month I get to take the amount I make from the blog and book sales and buy Kyrston a present.  This month I bought her a Fisher Price 3-in-1 play mat with a woodland baby theme.  Thanks everyone who shopped at Amazon through our link or bought a book!  Being able to buy these little things without hurting the budget means a lot to me.  Helps me feel connected to her pregnancy.  My daughters and I also started a Pinterest Baby board where we can pin cool ideas.  I am not super crafty, but there are a few things on there I might be able to make when I finish her baby quilt which I am plugging away on.  I finished all the big letters, now I just need to do the animals!

Lee on the other hand has always got some sort of project going on.  It’s pretty windy here, so Lee tried a new way to weigh down our outside tent, that is working very well.

Jack was curious

 

There is water in the buckets. It was necessary because we are on blacktop and he can’t use stakes.

We also were having some difficulty with our AT&T Velocity WiFi hotspot, and after several hours on the phone with tech support it turns out it is just too old.  We bought it five years ago and because it is no longer supported it can’t get updates and it has trouble staying connected to the towers.  After much discussion, Lee went ahead and bought a new version called the Nighthawk, but after ordering it he found out they cancelled the order because they wouldn’t ship it anywhere but our “home” address in FL unless he drove to an AT&T store and ordered it in person. Lee got pretty frustrated over that, because there was absolutely no way around it.  Trust me he tried.  Finally he learned a very few AT&T stores might have the item in stock, even though the AT&T website says they are only sold online. It used to be stocked in stores, but now is only available online and after making several calls he discovered there was ONE in Uvalde, which 90 miles away.  Lee went and picked it up and so far it is working great. Neither one of us was thrilled about spending $200, but we didn’t want to get a third party device just for a lower price and then have problems with it. Five years is a long time for anything to last, and if this one lasts that long it will be well worth it. Plus they had a nice Chinese restaurant two miles from the AT&T store and we were able to treat ourselves.

 

That’s really all that is going on.  We will be in Phoenix the week of March 22nd.  Lee is working for his old company for a week, and I’ll be seeing some friends, including Guy and Sue who I have not seen for a long time.  VERY excited about starting to move again, although I’ll be curious to see how Jack handles it.  I’ll leave you with some sunset pictures I took tonight.  It was absolutely gorgeous and on all sides of us.  Usually it’s just pretty in one location, but this night was a special 360 degree view.

Behind us towards the main road

 

 

To the left

 

To the right

 

Semi truck going down the road towards the drilling rig

 

another view of the rig where the sun sets

 

Straight overhead

 


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog. You can help by doing any or all the following:

  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links.  There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds help support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here.
  • Purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full time RVers.
  • Purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

Hobie and Jack Reunited

After a few days of very minimal traffic, the drilling rig finally started to arrive.  The good news was that our supervisor told us to just wave the big trucks through and not worry about capturing their information either coming in or going out.  The reason for this policy is the gate is a single width (only 16′)  and the big trucks just barely fit through.  The last thing we want is a traffic jam, which would result in trucks needing to back up or sitting out on the road, which is incredibly dangerous for a county road with a speed limit of 70mph.

We very much appreciated the common sense policy and wow has it made a world of difference.  Instead of going out to the gate and opening and shutting it every time, we simply lean out our door and wave the big trucks through.  This new policy was even more appreciated, because the weather cooled down very suddenly.  We went from 90 degree weather with 80% humidity to 41 degree weather with 37% humidity in a matter of a few hours. It’s great not needing to stay outside or even bundle up since our stints outside are much faster.  Most importantly because of the new policy we were able to see Cori and Greg!  They were passing through on their way back from a trip and wondered if they could stop by.  Since we have a large patch of grass they could fit their little RV in AND we knew we wouldn’t have constant interruptions we said were thrilled to see them.  We love it when people come and see us while gate guarding, but it is no fun when you have to stop every five minutes and run out to the gate.

As soon as they arrived I grabbed Hobie and brought him in the house and Jack went absolutely ballistic.  He not only remembered Hobie, but jumped all over him in glee.  They were moving so fast I couldn’t even get a non blurry picture, and this was the best one I could get.

 

I also wondered how Jack would do with Cori and Greg since he has been pretty suspicious of any strangers we have seen, but he obviously remembered them.  He jumped into Cori’s lap and was all over Greg throughout their entire visit.  I don’t know if it is because they smelled like Hobie or he remembered them, but it was really amazing to see. It has been two months since we have seen them and it was like it was yesterday.  Hobie, of course, remembers his Aunt Tracy and he settled in quickly, stealing all of Jack’s toys and exhibiting his usual “thug dog” behavior :). But he was also very patient with Jack’s exuberant puppy shenanigans.

Jack in Cori’s lap

 

Thug Dog!! Hobie and Jack look a ton alike.

It was great seeing them and very nice that they went out of their way to stop and find us.  We aren’t exactly off a main road out here, so you have to really want to see us to visit!  The only downside was Jack was super bummed after they left and starting whining as soon as his friend Hobie was gone.  He bounced back after a few hours but there was some serious moping going on.

Sad Puppy

 

I finally took his dog bed out of the crate and let him attack it and that cheered him up.

The next day I headed into Cotulla for the first time because I needed to pick up a package we ordered from Amazon.  When you are gate guarding it really matters what the nearest small town has in the way of services and Cotulla wasn’t that bad.  They have a small ACE hardware store that accepts packages, and a decent Lowe’s grocery store.  The Lowe’s stores are in several of these small towns and actually have a decent selection.  The prices of course are much higher, but if you buy what is on sale you can get some nice items.  They also have really decent meat and their beef in particular looks very nice.  It is all guaranteed Texas beef and in general Texas beef really is better than any other we have had.  We will need to travel an hour to Pearsall for an HEB or Walmart, but it’s nice to have a store 20 minutes away for bread and other quick items.

After checking out the hardware store and the grocery store I drove a little around town and as things go it wasn’t that bad.  Because it is right off the interstate (and near the oilfields) there are several hotels and small restaurants.  There is a McDonald’s, Wendy’s and a Pizza Hut which is a pretty rare thing, and nice for those days when you want to treat yourself.  It’s certainly not as nice as Kennedy, Texas (where we stayed last year), but much better than Encinal.  Everything is relative.

The package that I had delivered, was actually something I saw on a Superbowl commercial.  I am not an impulse buyer, but I saw this dog bowl set with a storage container underneath and it looked interesting.  It is better for dogs to not have to lean down to eat their food, and the storage compartment solves another problem we were having with where to store the dog food.  Added bonus, this should work much better on travel days and truly it is perfect for a dog in an RV.  The Iris elevated dog bowls come in multiple colors and is Jack approved.  They come in three sizes and we measured him before selecting the medium size and he immediately started feeding from it.  It has been awhile since I have been this excited about a new purchase and I only wish we would have gotten one earlier.

Fits perfect under the hanging baskets in our kitchen.  It holds up to 14 pounds of dog food, which is great.

 

And Jack dove right in.  I like that the bowls are large so less filling.

Speaking of packages, Kyrston got her last present and loved the rattle I got her.  She even spent some time going through her “special box” from childhood and found the bear that she came home from the hospital with.  One good thing I did as a parent was save items for the kids in plastic totes.  Every kid has two of them, and when we sold the house we made sure they went with them.  I had forgotten that the bear was even in there, but apparently I saved both the bear and the clothing she came home from the hospital in.  It’s always nice when you have a good parenting moment, especially for something you did 30 years ago!!

The Bearington Baby fox rattle I bought. The eyes are stitched, not plastic, so there’s no choking hazard.

 

And her original 1989 bear.

Finally, we had a truly spectacular sunset this week.  The colors were so deep and red and it’s a bit disappointing that I couldn’t capture the colors to what my eye saw.  Lovely though.

Jack checking out the sunset. The cell phone didn’t come close to getting the reds.

 

I pulled out my long lens and Canon camera and it did better.

 


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog. You can help by doing any or all the following:

  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links.  There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds help support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here.
  • Purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full time RVers.
  • Purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

Settling in at New Gate

After a few days off near Crystal City, we headed for our new gate near Los Angeles, Texas.  On this particular gate we were taking over for another couple who had to leave for a funeral and had to coordinate times with them.  Changing out with gate guards can be very hectic, because the traffic doesn’t stop coming.  Moving one rig out of the spot and another one in is bad enough, but add multiple vehicles coming and going and it can get crazy.  Thankfully this gate is still pretty slow and the couple we were taking over for did a great job of helping out during the transition.  They were both really nice and I really enjoyed talking to both of them.

By the time we were settled it was around 3pm and I was really tired.  Thankfully we had a strong enough cell signal to watch the super bowl pregame and we both settled in for the rest of the evening.  I was worried about how Jack would handle the move, but he did great.  The pad itself we are on is pretty small, but thankfully there are long strips of grass that he can run around in.

We have never been on a pad this close to the road and initially we went to some trouble to be able to move back a few feet.  Unfortunately there are giant sticker bushes behind the rig and we don’t have anything to clear them out.  The sewer tank was also difficult to place, but we did find a position that worked. Ultimately, we decided to just stay where we were because it wasn’t as bad as we thought.  Don’t get me wrong it’s tight, but it also forces the trucks to go very slow which is a good thing.

I helped with the placement of the sewer tank and it was my idea to rest the hose on the tank. Felt pretty good about that!

 

Overall I like the location and feel much safer than I did when we were down at the border.  We are surrounded by other oilfields and gates in this area and can see them in the distance.  It’s also nice to be on a flat piece of land because we have much better views of the sunset.

Along the road on the left is all grass that Jack can run in.

The only negative so far are the cows.  We have had herds in every gate we have done, but this particular herd is pretty mean.  Both the male and female cows have horns and don’t look like they would be afraid to use them.  They are also not afraid of us at all, and get really close to the RV.  When the babies are close by one or more are always staring at us and frankly it makes me feel a little uncomfortable.  Hopefully when the traffic picks up they will move to other areas on the ranch, but for now they are pretty frequent visitors.  And yes I am keeping a close eye on Jack because they are not afraid of him at all.  They look like they would stomp him if he got too close. We have been forced to leave him inside a couple of times, which we have never had to do before.

Big ones are pretty close to the rig as you can see

 

Those horns are no joke

 

A couple of the younger males locking horns in the middle of the road.

 

The smaller ones are really cute

But there is always an older one staring at us like this when they are close by.

Cows aside it has been nice here with weather in the 80’s and even 90’s this week.  We are due for a drastic drop in temperature in a couple of days to 45 degrees though which will hopefully drop the humidity as well.  The drilling rig should be coming on Saturday, which is nice to know, and even nicer that multiple people with the oilfield company have talked to us about schedule.  Our last gate no one communicated with us at all, and it is much easier to plan when we know what is coming.

One last thing.  As soon as we get to a new gate, we need to find out a way to get our mail.  Not all post offices accept packages and since they rarely answer the phone we usually have to make a trip and see them in person.  In this case though Lee asked the question on our Gate Guard Facebook group and learned the local ACE hardware accepts packages.  We called them and they said they were happy to take packages for us, which is great since I need to have our mail shipped to us from our mail service, and start working on our taxes.  And speaking of shipping, I have been using our AmEX points and sending small presents to my daughter Kyrston who is expecting. Nothing major, just little things so she knows I am thinking of her and that has been really fun.

This puppy bathing towel was the cutest!!  Love my girl and can’t wait to be a grandma!

 


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog. You can help by doing any or all the following:

  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links.  There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds help support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here.
  • Purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full time RVers.
  • Purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

January 2109 Budget

People often wonder why we would gate guard for so little money ($150 a day), and it’s a fair question, but it turns out that of all the work kamping jobs we have done, this one is the most budget friendly.  Budgets are about what you make and what you spend, and we spend very little money when we’re gate guarding.  Partly that is because we are working every day, and partly because we are usually nowhere near places to spend money.   That’s good, because we really need to put some money back in the bank account.  This month we made $5254 and only spent $2452 for a net profit of $2803. One other thing I wanted to mention was we finally changed insurance companies, and saved quite a lot there as well. Details are listed below.

 

 

Groceries – This month we really tried to eat what we had in the house, and intentionally did not make a Costco run when we ran out of chicken, which is one of the reasons we go to Costco. For us, $545 is a very good month, 

Dining Out – Since we were on a gate that wasn’t close to anything, this was another easy category to do well in.  One thing I am buying is the $7.99 Pizza Hut online special, but since I can get four meals out of one pizza , I actually think that’s a really good bargain. (If you compare this to my typical $12 McDonald’s lunch, it’s a spectacular bargain. – Lee) 

Entertainment – Lee ordered a couple of Nevada Barr books online to complete the series he has been reading.  If you have never heard of her, she is a former National Park Service ranger who writes really wonderful mysteries set in our National Parks. He really enjoys reading books that take place in parks we’ve been, and others we haven’t visited, but plan to. If you are looking for a new author and like mysteries, Lee highly recommends her. (I can’t recommend these highly enough. They’re light without being brainless, serious without being too dark, and the protagonist is a very fresh character that I just can’t get enough of. I’ve been reading this series of 19 novels nonstop since late summer when I “discovered” them. – Lee)   The other $40 went to a month of Hulu TV. The only time I miss having “regular” television is during football season, and since this year we were too remote to get regular TV stations, we tried Hulu.  Turns out it was terrific and well worth the price.  I watched all of the games live, and was able to watch old versions of Top Chef as well.  Really glad we finally found a workable solution for this time of year when we are not close enough to San Antonio to get regular television.  The best part is it is month to month, so now that football is done we can turn it off, and any time we want we can turn it back on, since it requires no activation fees or special equipment apart from a PC, or laptop or whatever device you will use to watch it.

Cell/Internet – We’ve been paying an extra $30 a month for the sim card for our Winegard, and I’m sorry to say that we are discontinuing that card on our plan. We really tried to make this work, but in a variety of circumstances we have never felt it did a better job than our AT&T hotspot.  More often than not the speeds were unusable (to our standards) and it’s not worth the money.  I will be updating the post we wrote on the product as well, sorry to have to do that but that’s where we are at.

Truck Fuel – Another benefit of not going anywhere is of course truck fuel.  Because we are 1099 employees when we gate guard we can deduct mileage traveling from one gate to another.  Plus Texas usually has some of the lowest fuel costs in the country.  We filled up just once this month, and it was $96.

Insurance – When we first started on the road we used Miller Insurance because they were full timer friendly, and only recommended plans that covered our lifestyle.  For the first few years everything was fine, but then the rates in Florida started to rise and ultimately our truck insurance was almost double the original rate.  Two years in a row I called and tried to see if they could find me a less costly plan, and both times I was told I would have to give up coverage levels (full replacement value on the RV for example) to get a lower price.  What bothered me even more than the price was the sharp decrease in customer service.  In both cases I felt as if I was bothering them and just didn’t get good customer service.  This year I was reading the RV-Dreams blog and based on Howard’s recommendation decided to get a quote from American Adventure Insurance.  Not only was the experience excellent, but I also saved $120 a month on our truck insurance AND did not lose any major coverage items.  If you are looking for new insurance I highly recommend you get a quote from them and here is information on how to do so. .  To be clear I am in no way compensated by anyone for this recommendation.  I had a bad experience with Miller and a good experience with American and feel strongly enough about both that I wanted to mention it. Costs this months are higher, by the way, because starting the new policy required two months up front, and we had some overlap.  Long-term we should more than get that back.

Pets – One part of my life that I am still splurging on is Jack.  We spent another $113 on him this month.  He is a puppy and chews a lot so we are buying pretty expensive bully sticks, and we also bought a harness and Lee made the trolley dog-run.  That is going to settle down at some point, but it makes me happy and Jack happy so I am OK with the expense.

Overall it was a really good month, and hopefully next month is good as well.  We did have four days off at the end of the month between gates, but that loss of revenue won’t show up until next month.  Our new gate (which I will talk about in our next post) is even more remote, so I don’t think we will be having tons of expenses this month either.  Oh, and below are Lee’s new charts (and other crucial information that you had no idea you couldn’t live without. – Lee) 

 

Here’s the year by comparison of the month. As you can see, we’ve come way, WAY down from $4200 in January 2015 to this year’s $2500. I like the downward trend. I’m looking forward to what February can be, because our high year for that was $5300 (!!!) in 2016, and last year it was a measly $1986. I don’t know if we can do that well again, but we’re going to try. 


And here’s the more expanded graph that shows all of the months. Again, I like the downward trend, but those peaks make me crazy. Mostly those are “special” months, like our visits to Vegas and major RV repairs, but I still don’t like them.

And here’s the breakdown of the month. I like seeing things like dining out and “home improvement” such a tiny slice of the pie! 

Here’s the “travel map” for the month, such as it is. The only move we made this month was from the gate we were working near Laredo to the RV Park where we waited for the next gate. Once we are finished with gate guarding for the season there will actually be something to look at here, while we work our way to Phoenix for a little showbiz work I’m doing at the end of March, and when we spend April playing and making our way to Oregon for our summer gig. 


Boring month for temperatures, but I’ll take 70-80 degrees in January any time! We had almost no rain at all, but we had a couple of very windy days, including one with sustained 35 mph winds which sort of came out of nowhere and since I didn’t have enough warning, it tore up the roof of our pop-up shelter and bent one of the legs. 


And finally, here’s some more detail numbers…

28 days at a work location, so no campground fees
  3 days at an RV Park that was paid for by the gate guard company, so campground fees there either

Total pictures taken: 324

Total data used across all devices: 1.836 TB (That’s terrabytes, or 1,836 GB! Really glad we have that unlimited data plan. In the past we had to make do with 80 GB per month, like cave people.)

Total truck miles:  423.3
Non-Towing Truck Miles: 356.4
Total trailer miles:  66.9 (Those miles are tax deductible, which is nice)
Total Engine Hours: 10:48
Fuel Used: 30.5 gallons
Avg. MPG: 13.8

And here’s Jack having a showdown with the locals…..


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog. You can help by doing any or all the following:

  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links.  There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds help support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here.
  • Purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full time RVers.
  • Purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

Jack’s First RV Park

It’s kind of weird that Jack has been with us for a few months now and has never been to an RV park before, but when we got him we were staying with friends and then spent the last two months gate guarding.  So when we got the call that we only had a couple of days left and they were paying for us to stay in an RV park for a few days until the next one, I was curious how it would go.  Jack hasn’t even been in the truck for two months so I didn’t know how he would handle the controlled chaos of moving.

First though we had to get through several VERY busy days as the drilling rig was pulled down and taken out.  This particular gate requires physically opening and shutting it which really does add to the workload especially on heavy truck days.  Also these trucks were the big ones, so both sides of the gate had to be opened and it seemed liked every time we walked away from the gate we were back out there opening it.

To give you a feel for the size of the trucks, take a look at the difference between the height of the cab, and the height of the load.

 

Our awning for perspective

 

It wasn’t so bad when they came out in groups but generally they were spaced 5-10 minutes apart requiring closing the gate between vehicles.

Although we had a lead for Jack outside, I really didn’t like him to be outside with all this traffic, so mainly he stayed inside unless one of us walked him.  We did get a few slow periods though and made the most of them, allowing him to come outside and roll around in the sun.

Being super cute is rough!!

 

He was happy in his little patch of sun

 

 

Finally, the traffic slowed and we got the word we could leave at 5pm.  In the past we went directly from one gate to another OR stayed at the “yard” (which is basically a parking lot with hookups at their supply center, but this time we were told we could go stay at an RV Park which was nice.  It was only an hour away so we went ahead and headed out at 5pm on the dot and Jack did great with us packing up and bringing in slides.  He was excited to be back in the car and we made our way down back highways to get to Triple R Resort.

The park was in the middle of nowhere and I really couldn’t understand what the draw was until we learned it was on a river.  It turned out to be pretty nice and pretty empty in off-season with lots of room for Jack to run around.  The first night he did great getting settled in but it took multiple trips to get him to go to the bathroom.  There are lots and lots of smells in a new place and he seemed to want to smell every one of them. That’s been our biggest problem for sure, because getting him to focus enough to go to the bathroom has been a problem.  He wants to smell everything, to the exclusion of anything else, and although I get it, walking him multiple times to go to the bathroom has not been fun.

 

We are down on the end with one other couple waiting for a gate

 

There is a nature walk along the river which is really pretty.

The best part of the park is they have a HUGE fenced in dog area where Jack can run.  At first all he wanted to do was walk around the edges sniffing the fence, but eventually he realized he could run a bit and that was fun watching him run.  We have no idea how long we are going to be here, but I am happy because we both really needed a little break.  Also our 30th wedding anniversary is on Feb 4th, and now we can take one of the next couple of days and have dinner and celebrate a little. There are definitely worse places to be, and it certainly beats the yards we have stayed in before.

HUGE play area

 

Sniffing the fence

 

Zoomies!

 


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog. You can help by doing any or all the following:

  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links.  There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds help support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here.
  • Purchase our ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • Purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.