Monday, February 27, 2017

Walmart - Alamogordo, NM

We left City of Rocks Campground today after doing a bit of hiking in the rocks. We hit the road and drove a couple of hours to get to Alamogordo, NM. We skipped the way cool White Sands National Monument this time since we'd just been there a few months ago. Tomorrow we should be in a boondocking area just outside Carlsbad Caves National Park. 

 
 Rudy doing some exploring in City of Rocks

Read: 
  • Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
Watched:
  • The Oscars (was that the craziest ending ever, or what?)
Podcasts:
  • Pod Save America (Guest: Annamarie Cox)
  • Pod Save The World (Guest: Lisa Monaco)
  • Intercepted
  • RV Entrepreneur (Guest: Less Junk / More Journey)
Inflammatory Opinion of the Day:
So the President commented today that "nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated." I'm pretty sure most everyone else knew it was pretty damn complicated but when your IQ is below room temperature that might have escaped you, dumbass! Of course, during the campaign Trump said he would repeal Obamacare and replace it with something better immediately after being elected. And so far, nothing. 

What pisses me off most is that Republicans have had 6+ years to come up with a replacement to the Affordable Care Act. In that time they have done EXACTLY NOTHING! They have no ideas. Except to repeal it. They could have at least been honest and told everyone that they're screwed unless they're wealthy enough to get their own coverage once they're finished gutting ACA to give more money to rich, white guys. 

Resist. Rebel. 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

City of Rocks State Park, New Mexico

We've been here for a couple of days and it's a nice campground - in spite of the wind and cold. It's kind of like a cheap version of the Jumbo Rocks Campground at Joshua Tree National Park. We're heading out tomorrow but not exactly sure what's next. 



I love movies and always look forward to the Oscars. Tonight's the night but I feel woefully unprepared this year because I've seen very few of the nominated films. The one film I am rooting for more than anything other is the documentary, the 13th. It was so eye opening and so well done. 

Read: 
  • Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
Watched:
  • The Expanse - caught up on Season 2
  • The 100 - only 2 episodes left in Season 2
  • Hidden Figures 
Podcasts:
  • The Rachel Maddow Show (Friday episode)
Inflammatory Opinion of the Day:
Trayvon Martin was murdered 5 years ago today. The fine gentleman who killed him has repeatedly dodged jail time for his various offenses. But, in America, it's always been okay for white people to kill black people. And brown people. Or anyone who is a different color. And now Donald Trump is doing his best to make the world safe for Radical Christian Terrorists. Let's make sure he doesn't succeed!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Deming, New Mexico

We left Indian Bread Rocks Campground near Bowie, AZ this morning and made it to fabulous Deming, NM; about two hours away. We're headed to Carlsbad Caverns with a stop or two along the way. 

Today was a day to run a few errands.  I got laundry done and did some shopping as well. Rudy hung out in the MoFo, of course. And tonight we'll camp in another luxurious Walmart parking lot! .

Read Today: 
  • Papal Sin by Garry Wills
  • Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
Watched Last Night:
  • The Expanse (Season 2)
Podcasts Today:
  • The Rachel Maddow Show
  • Pod Save America (Guest: Julia Ioffe)
  • With Friends Like These
  • Can He Do That? (Guest: David Fahrenthold)
Inflammatory Opinion of the Day:
The head of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre said today (without providing any evidence) that protesters are being paid $1,500 a week. Which is roughly what the NRA bribes members of Congress with every day. He also said: "According to the FBI, Mexican drug cartels are working with 100,000 street gang members in Chicago alone." As opposed America's gun cartel which is working with Congress to keep Chicago flush with weapons.

My father made gunstocks for a living and I support gun ownership for those who are qualified and responsible. What I cannot support are the dumbasses in the NRA and in Congress who do not care enough about saving lives to consider reasonable controls. Last week's move in the House to roll back the Executive Order restricting gun sales to the severely mentally ill is a good example. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Indian Bread Rocks

Rudy and I are hanging out at Indian Bread Rocks Campground for a few days. We stayed here a year ago and had a great time scrambling over all the boulders. The weather is great except for those pesky gusts of wind!

 

I'm not sure how long we'll stay but probably another day or two anyway. Then we're headed into New Mexico and maybe a visit to Carlsbad Caverns. 

Currently Reading: 
  • Papal Sin
  • Boys in the Boat 
  • The Wise Man's Fear
Watched Last Night:
  • The 100
  • YouTube videos
Podcasts Today:
  • The Rachel Maddow Show
  • Pod Save America 
Inflammatory Opinion of the Day:
The Trump regime's roll back of the Obama executive order mandating reduction in private prison usage means we will soon have concentration camps again because rich white men hate people of color. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Who Knows?

I am an INFJ. Know what that is? 

When I first took an Myers Briggs test (some 20+ years ago) I could not believe how accurately the results described me. I remember saying that I thought they somehow had talked to my (then) wife and uncovered all my secrets!

I retired early just over a year ago to begin life on the road as a full-time RVer. It has been both a source of anxiety and excitement.  On one hand, I am very close to my three grown (and married) children and it is hard to be away from them (and my new granddaughter) for long periods of time. 

On the other hand, I cannot believe how much I enjoy the peacefulness and solitude of being alone in some of the most beautiful places in America. I have learned to love the adventure of my current life and the craziness of not always knowing what's next! It has had the surprising affect of drawing me closer to God.  

For several years I have thought I would enjoy walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain.  I've thought it might be something cool to do after a few more years of traveling in the MoFo. Lately though I've been thinking that maybe I should do this sooner rather than later.  (And then come back to make a trek in my RV to the tip of South America and visit Machu Picchu along the way.) 

Who knows? Maybe it's time to watch The Way again. And to read a book about the Camino that I've heard great things about: The Field of Stars.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Serenity NOW!

Every morning for the past year and two months has pretty much been the same. I get up, feed #Rudy and then make coffee and breakfast and sit outside and read for an hour or so. 


It is my favorite part of the day. The warmth of the sun, the quiet of the morning, the wind in the trees and definitely SERENITY NOW! 


And yet for some reason I always feel a little guilty; that I'm wasting the day away by getting off to a slow start. 


Or maybe I'm just going at the right pace after all those years of being part of the rat race! Regardless, I don't plan to change it up any time soon. 


 

Friday, July 15, 2016

June Expenses

Expenses
PlannedActualDiff.
Totals$3,013$3,115-$102
Camping$525$432+$93
Dining Out$200$343-$143
Entertainment$100$38+$62
Fuel$533$276+$257
Groceries$300$252+$48
Healthcare$613$606+$7
Personal$100$261-$161
Pet Care$25$64-$39
Travel$417$368+$49
Utilities$200$475-$275

June expenses came in just a shade over budget for the month.  I'm a little frustrated that I can't keep things more consistent from month to month, but overall I am pleased to be under budget for the year.

Camping: This is my biggest month so far this year but I expected to spend more in summer months because I planned to visit more national parks (Yellowstone, Grand Tetons and Craters of the Moon in June).  Even still, I came in under budget and am averaging just $250 per month / $8 per night. Not bad!

Fuel: I drove more miles in June but gas prices are still a fair amount lower than I budgeted so I only spent about half of what I expected.

Groceries / Dining Out: This continues to be a bigger expense than I budgeted for.  Last month it was groceries that were way over budget.  This month it was dining out. I need to figure this one out!

Utilities: With my new unlimited data plan, this next month should look a lot better but June was huge.  I've cut my Verizon plan down to 4 GB and am planning to eliminate my T-Mobile plan all together.

Those are the highlights. We'll see what July brings . . .

Thursday, July 14, 2016

A Peaceful Stroll

A link to my recent hike along Skyliners Road and National Foreat Road 4610 near Bend, OR. 

https://www.gaiagps.com/public/tEvuj737DzDtMLk9w5jCWt3O


Thursday, June 23, 2016

May Expenses

This is the roughest month so far but with good reason!

Utilities: This is the category I have not been able to get under control.  It's made up solely of my monthly cell phone bill and is driven largely by data usage. I have a 20 GB Verizon Plan and 25 GB T-Mobile Plan.  In May I couldn't find much T-Mobile access and ended up increasing my Verizon plan to 30 gigs. BUT I am making a change to reign this in quite a bit.  For $1,295 I have acquired a grandfathered Verizon Unlimited Data Plan that will run me $44.95 a month. This will enable me to reduce or eliminate my other plans. Once everything is set up and in place, I think my monthly expense will be between $150 and $200 a month.  The one time $1,295 is almost exactly the amount I am over budget this month.

Travel:  At $461 this was a little over budget but not as bad as last month. This includes things like maintenance & repairs, propane, insurance and a storage unit I have as well.

Food:  This was a tough category in May and I'm not sure why.  I spent $512 for groceries, which is more than $200 over budget.  That's the most it's ever been.  The good news is that I am not too far over on dining out expense, which I thought might be a tough one for me.

Camping: My highest month so far ($302) but I knew that as summer came I would be spending more time in campgrounds.  However, YTD I've spent only $1,069 which is an average of $213.80 per month or $7.03 per night. This is definitely gonna keep increasing through the summer months as I visit some national parks but I expect to still come in way under my annual budget of $6,300.

Fuel: Gas prices continue to rise bit by bit but are still lower than what I budgeted.  That plus driving fewer miles per month than I expected have kept me under budget.

The basic details are below!

Expenses
PlannedActualDiff.
Totals$3,013$4,224-$1,211
Camping$525$302+$223
Dining Out$200$220-$20
Entertainment$100$52+$48
Fuel$533$233+$300
Groceries$300$512-$212
Healthcare$613$629-$16
Personal$100$235-$135
Pet Care$25$9+$16
Travel$417$461-$44
Utilities$200$1,570-$1,370

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

April Expenses

Another month of being below budget!  

Travel:  At $632 this was $215 over budget this month, primarily due to a couple of big ticket items.  I spent $55 to replace my Millennium Falcon rug, which was looking pretty decrepit.  The biggest expenditure was for a water purifier.  I already use a water filter when filling the fresh water tank but this nice device purifies it as well. It's about the size of a Brita water filter but does even more to make not so good water pretty damn great!

Camping: My lowest month so far - only $125 spent for camping in April.  YTD I've spent $767 which is an average of only $6.34 per night.  (Boondocking is the shit!)  This is definitely gonna increase during the summer months as I plan to visit even more National Parks.

Fuel: Gas prices have risen over the past couple of months but still way lower than the $4.00 per gallon I had projected when I put the budget together.  That plus not driving quite as much as I expected have helped keep this cost down.

Utilities: This is solely my monthly cell phone expense and is driven largely by data usage. I have a 20 GB Verizon Plan and 25 GB T-Mobile Plan.  I spend more than budgeted and could spend even more cuz I'm a total internet junkie.

Expenses
PlannedActualDiff.
Totals$3,013$2,476+$537
Food$500$372+$128
Entertainment$100$73+$27
Healthcare$613$450+$163
Camping$525$125+$400
Fuel$533$338+$195
Personal$100$168-$68
Pet Care$25$43-$18
Utilities$200$275-$75
Travel$417$632-$215