Autumnal Equinox Update

Welcome Autumn!  And welcome to you too, dear readers.  Yes, as remiss as I have been in doing the update for August (i.e. not done), I’m on it for September, so I’m sure that makes up for some of my transgressions (maybe only the little ones though……).

Talking about transgressions – in August and September we transgressed and regressed across the states.  You can see the big loop we did in the map below:

Big 'ole circle in the middle of the country

Big ‘ole circle in the middle of the country

 

We started off in Colorado, hopped up to Wyoming, moved over to Montana, picked up Tracy in North Dakota, dropped her off again in South Dakota, back to Wyoming for a quick overnight, then back to Montana and last but not least we arrived in Idaho on the first of October.  Idaho is special because…………. (and I should let Bert tell you this, but I’m going to spoil the surprise…….)…. its Berts last state to visit in the lower 48.  So she only has another 2 states to go before she’s been EveryWhere! (capitalized, of course!).

 

Number of new spreadsheets started:  2 – the Volunteer spreadsheet, documenting everywhere we’ve volunteered, and what we’ve done.  We’ve visited (spent a minimum of one night there)12 states, and volunteered in 10 of them – we missed Illinois because we were only there 1 night, and we missed North Dakota because the event was cancelled due to the pipeline protests that were going on.  One thing we have done in every state though, is visit a Walmart…….. without even trying.

I also started the Postcard spreadsheet, documenting all the postcards we’ve sent.  If you’d like a postcard, let us know your address and we’ll put you in our spreadsheet!  I’ll then put you in the Randomizer, and you’ll receive random postcards from random people……. I’m sure that will catch on – who doesn’t want randomness in your life?!

 

Travelin’ Stats

We seemed to travel way more in September than we have traveled so far, and that’s reflected both in the fuel costs and the number of times we visited a gas station.  Diesel prices have remained pretty steady out here, ranging from $2.289 to a one time high of $2.699 (in the middle of nowhere, where kissing cousins really do because there’s nothing else to do around there), with an average of $2.439.

Number of times we filled up with diesel in August: 11

Number of times we filled up with diesel in September: 16

Number of miles Fat Henry drove in August: 1807

Number of miles Fat Henry drove in September: 3090

So far, all together we’ve driven 11,089 miles on 842.5 gallons of diesel, which has cost us $1,921.28 at we’re at an average of 18.3 cents per mile for the fuel (not for all the maintenance, insurance etc, just for the fuel costs).

Number of birds Fat Henry caught: 1.  So, Fat Henry usually catches a lot of insects, butterflies and wasps in his big ‘ole grill, however one day a bird swooped down in front of us, trying to get across the road before we arrived (no, it wasn’t a chicken.  They know how to cross the road.  Look both ways.) and we thought no more of it.  When we arrived at the campsite, unhooked and went for a walk, we came back and found – a bird in Fat Henrys grill (or is that grille?  I never know when to Frenchify words).  Anyway, this bird was definitely an ex-bird (rather like the ex-mouse), so Bert had to extract it and give it a burial in the sand dunes.  Which I think involved flinging the corpse as far as she could, so that I couldn’t see it any more…..

(if you’re ever confused about the division of labour in our household (yes, Debbie, I did spell labour correctly), just let it be known that Bert is an expert driver, cook, corpse disposer and vacuumer.  And I’m a ninja at spreadsheets and reversing (both metaphorically, and in the truck))

 

Any-hoo – more of the stat things……

Number of days on the road: 156

Average cost per night of campsites: $20.46

Different types of animals we’ve seen in August and September (excluding on TV):  lots.  We could make a song about this.  We’ve seen cows and horses and buffalo and spiders (is that an animal?  An animal with a butt rope, according to Twitter) and chipmunks and snakes (yet again, big fatties just lying by the side of the road, waiting for us to walk up to them and back away even quicker) and buffalo and prairie dogs and goats and chickens and bees (bees?), cantaloupe (commonly known as antelope, but cuter and better for breakfast) and buffalo and prairie dogs.  And some big birds, but not Big Bird.

Buffalo burgers eaten: 3

Prairie dog burgers eaten: 0 – we’re not animals, you know!

We had two months of opposites going on here, as you can see from the tables below:

August

Category Aug Comment
Campsite $435 Spent half the month at friends
Gas $263
Grocery $406
Restaurant $252
Alcohol $140
Household $158 Clock for Camper, Bear spray, Heater, Miscellaneous
Camper $10 Hardware for mending black tank spray
Equipment $47 Sleeping bag (for visitors), Chain for generator
Truck $29 DEF and carwash
Parking $4
Entertainment $206 Exploratorium, movies, National Parks Passport, Rodeo
Laundry $8
Miscellaneous $302 Clothing – socks for everyone, Kats hiking boots, other stuff
Membership/ club/ education $80 National Parks Membership
Total $2,340

 

September

Sep
Campsite $974 Definitely slept around a lot more this month than any other
Gas $513 eek!
Grocery $338 This includes alcohol also, a lot more reasonable number than previous months
Restaurant $187
Camper $252 TV, tank vent cover, propane tank refill
Equipment $32 Extra water hose for a far far away campsite hosepipe
Truck $161 Oil change, carwash
Parking $2
Entertainment $121 Firewood, visit to Crazy Horse and Wind and Jewel caves
Laundry $24 Can’t have dirty clothes….
Miscellaneous $155 Kat’s work clothes
Total $2,760

 

We had a month of cheap accommodations (August), followed by our most expensive month ever for campsites (September).  However, we flip-flopped that with our eating bills, having the cheapest month ever for eating (combining the restaurant, grocery and alcohol line items) at $524 in September.  I think that was a subconscious effort as we knew our campsite/fuel line items were way above what they’ve ever been before.

We haven’t had any major repairs to the truck/camper in the last couple of months, only maintenance items -$151 for an oil change (It needed it, and we didn’t have any handy place to change our own.  So it essentially cost us an extra $30, as the materials to do our own (Fat Henry has expensive tastes in oil).  We also added DEF in August and Windscreen wash fluid in September.  We also splashed out in September and bought a 32 inch TV for $210, as the existing one was rubbish at using as a computer monitor (I had to stand right in front of it, with a mouse on a hard mousepad because the resolution was so crappy – alright occasionally, but not good for any Repetitive Strain Injuries or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome thingies that may occur).  On the plus side, we actually went into a pawn (note – that’s pawn, not porn, even though they sound similar) shop and sold the old TV for $30, so it ‘only’ cost us $180.

So, dear readers, what else has happened in August and September that Bert hasn’t told you about?

Well, it was our first time filling up with propane (only $16 for a 30lb tank).  Our first time not staying at friends houses/moochdocking during a month (September).  Our first time killing a bird (that was Fat Henry, not me).

We replaced the roof tank vents 5 times, because they keep falling off and I’m too lazy to remove the existing base pieces and install the whole assembly (its a big and dirty job, and I’m neither…..).

We learned what happens when  you buy cheap kitchen roll, and take a drive:

img_6672

 

We bought a National Parks Pass thingy for $80, and a little book (Passport) for $10 and every National Park, Monument, Historic site, wherever else, we can get a stamp in it.  So now we’re total NP nerds (like the Big Bang Theory, but with National Parks and not Qarks), and have to visit all the places just to get a little stamp in the book.  I feel like a trainspotter.  Or some kind of anorak wearing person (anorak might be a British thing, not too sure of the American version – answers below in the comments, please).  So the first state we’ve completed is South Dakota, with Mount Rushmore, Badlands (which are pretty badass), Wind Cave, Jewel Cave, and maybe a forest or something like that.  Only another 49 states to go……..

 

img_7037 img_7035

 

So – we’re not going to hover around the chilly middle of the country for too long – next stops are Salt Lake City, across to Reno then further across to California then down.  As much as I like refreshing mornings, I also like not having my pipes frozen, so we have to scurry away westwards.

It’s been lovely to talk to you guys – thanks for listening to my random ramblings.  Back to normal programming soon, with Bert – a saner and more coherent narrator for our adventures.

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6 Responses to Autumnal Equinox Update

  1. Karl S. Kramer says:

    Done well Kat!
    You attention to details is amazing and entertaining. Don’t feel to bad about the bird! I have killed many things with my car and truck including five deer and one bat without even trying but I have been driving a lot more than you. I had two deer try to kill me one I hit one I missed and I missed but almost rolled the car.
    Anyway keep the info coming and the postcards, I have received two so far.
    Love you two!
    K&L

    • bertski3@msn.com says:

      She is definitely the ninja of keeping data. I just pick the dead birds off the truck. It’s good we have each other to keep a good balance of everything.
      I think of you a lot because of the fishing places we see and all the deer. We will keep the cards coming.
      Hope you aren’t working too hard.
      love, bert

  2. Diane says:

    Entertaining narrative!

  3. Elliot says:

    Loving each and every update! I think Americans call an anorak a “parka” or simply a “big poofy jacket.”

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