We did a bit more traveling in the month of June, leaving Utah, heading north through Nevada and on into Idaho – our first new state in the 3 1/2 years we have been roaming around in Ballena Blanca. Since the pandemic is still not under control and we change locations so often we continue to take precautions. We always wear our masks when out in public. And because one can have the virus for up to two weeks without symptoms – thereby spreading it without even realizing it – we only shop and do necessary chores where we might encounter other people biweekly.
As I have mentioned before we now have enough vessels to carry two weeks of water. We have always been extra careful with our water use and have learned ways to wash dishes and ourselves using the bare minimum, leaving plenty to hydrate with. Storing food and drink for two weeks can be a bit of a challenge at times but I have found that by doing laundry on the same day we buy food creates an exchange of space – Once the space where dirty laundry lives is emptied, we have extra storage space for grocery store purchases. As we eat and drink, more room is once again made for dirty laundry.
We have an 84-quart top-opening Engel refrigerator so we can carry lots of fresh food but storage can still be a bit of a challenge. I like to drink a green smoothie as my first meal every day but the bananas we use to make them won’t last for two weeks. So I make granola bars and store them in the fridge for when our smoothies ingredients run out. I like to keep my bread products in the fridge to make them last longer but often times the fridge is so full after a grocery trip, I have no room. I’ve learned that all the tasty Trader Joes bread products I love don’t last very long without cooling – Walmart bread products – no problem. Sometimes I want some healthy leafy greens, so salad nights happen soon after shopping trips before the lettuce wilts and gets beat up stacked in the fridge. Cabbage, on the other hand, will last forever and can be crammed into any little corner in the refrigerator until I need it. Carrots are also good lasters, as well as onions and garlic. A bell pepper might get a little shriveled looking but once you cut it up and cook it with chili or stirfry it it’s fine.
I actually like our two-week schedule although it usually takes all day to do our laundry, do a big grocery shop, hit any other stores for items we can’t find during our big grocery shop, and then put everything away in Ballena Blanca. It is nice to have fewer receipts at the end of the month to go through and to not worry about running out of things. I always make sure we have backups of things like toothpaste, our favorite specialty foods, spices, and plenty of toilet paper.
And our total expenses for June were…
Here is the break down of categories…
So if you just subtract that big ol’ van maintenance expense of $661.84, it was a pretty good month. But you gotta have tires.
While we were at a Ford Dealership in Boise, Idaho for a routine oil change, we asked them to look at one of our tires. It had had a slow leak since we left Tucson back in early March. Greg had been keeping an eye on it, filling it up in the mornings but overnight it continued to lose pressure. Greg tried fix-a-flat and spent a long time trying to locate the source of the problem to no avail.
The Ford place found the problem, a piece of metal that they couldn’t get out without destroying the tire. This meant a new tire but because the tires were so worn we needed another to balance it. Throw in an alignment and labor and we were over $600.
You might also notice that we spent way more on camping than we usually do. Convenience and reasonable prices (a couple of these campgrounds were only $5 per night) made it easy. The most expensive camping we did was at Bruneau Dunes State Park ($23.02, including tax and entry to the park). I thought we were going to get showers out of the deal but for some reason, although everything else in the park was open including bathrooms the showers were closed due to the virus.
Next, we are off to Montana, where we will continue to enjoy this amazing country, wear our masks, do our part to keep this virus from spreading and keep other people safe.
A few stats you might be interested in
Camping totals (all camping is free unless otherwise indicated):
1 – nights in a National Forest
5 – nights at BLM campsite
3 – nights boondocking on BLM land
1 – night Idaho county park
9 – nights Idaho Power campsite
3 – nights paid ($15) in Idaho County Park
2 – nights paid ($46.04) in Idaho State Park
1 – night paid ($5) at BLM campsite
2 – nights paid ($30) National Park Campground
3 – nights on private land/campground (a free campsite but we will probably leave a donation)
Number of gallons of water bought/acquired for the van: 43
Number of times we kayaked in June: 2. We have used our kayak 17 times since we bought it which brings our cost per trip down to $29.65.
Number of miles driven: 1669 (this makes our June gas cost about 16¢ per mile)
Value we have gotten out of our $80 National Park pass since we bought it in May 2020 – $55. Only $25 more dollars and we will break even.
*All pics are click to enlarge.
To see all of our expense reports, click here.
If you are interested in reading other expense reports from people living on the road, check out these links: