It is hard to believe we spent the whole month of August in Montana. We hung out some more with our friends Ellen and Scott who are traveling their tiny Scamp camper, visited Glacier National Park, went kayaking 5 times, photographed lots of birds, and started a journey along the Missouri River exploring a National Monument while we learned about travelers from another era, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and the Corps of Discovery.
Since I have been using this expense report to not only talk about the money we spend but also as a place to catch everyone up on what we have been up to, I thought I let you know a little bit about what this current month (September) holds for us.
After a week and a half of traveling the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument (UMRBNM) down dirt roads, being mostly off the grid communication-wise, we have found a pleasant spot along the Yellowstone River in a free county campground. We had plans to explore more of the Missouri River and then go on to North Dakota but then my camera broke. It didn’t completely break at first, just the zoom, but then as we were topping a hill with a nice vista of the Missouri River on our way to our final campsite in the UMRBNM it quit working altogether. I have temporarily solved the problem by gently forcing the zoom open and closed but the camera has been having significant problems for a while. It is time for a new one before I have the most amazing bird in my sights and no camera to document it with.
The van needs a really good cleaning. Greg really needs to have a vision exam. I have lots of blog posts to pen, postcards to send, letters to write, social media to catch up on, and new blogs to read. We have plans to make for the future of our traveling life. And we need to figure out when it will start getting cold and we have to return to the Southwest. Sometimes the journey gets a little overwhelming and you just have to stop for a while.
And our total expenses for August were…
Here is the break down of categories…
I’m pretty pleased with this month’s report. Even though a few categories went up, enough other categories went down that we spent around $400 less than last month. We spent less on gas, groceries, booze, and camping. We had an unexpected expense to replace a broken handle on our side sliding door. At $35.76 it wasn’t a huge amount of money and I found out that we can order replacement parts online from Ford and have them sent to a Ford dealer where ever we are going to be next.
The unusual bit of spending we did was for new clothes and shoes. My favorite flannel shirt had been in distress for many months – seams ripping and holes appearing. I love my flannel shirt. It’s warm and comfy. I can wear it in the morning when it is chilly and then tie it around my waist when it warms up while we are hiking. I wasn’t particularly attached to the one I had and had been looking out for a new one but brand new flannel shirts are expensive! I always get my flannel shirts from thrift stores and we hadn’t been in one since the start of the pandemic. Greg needed new shorts, hiking shoes, and a hat so we spent a day in Kalispell, Montana visiting thrift and outdoor stores getting reoutfitted.
Although we got my shirt and Greg’s shorts at a thrift store, we decided that we needed to spend whatever it took to get Greg good shoes that were comfortable and supported his feet. He ended up with a pair of Keens from REI. Paired with new insoles, Greg’s new hiking shoes have worked out great! Greg also found a nice hat in Cabellas to replace the $2 hat he bought at a flea market many years ago. Oh – and a bit of a splurge, Greg bought a t-shirt from Glacier National Park.
A few stats you might be interested in
Camping totals (all camping is free unless otherwise indicated):
3 – nights boondocking on BLM* land
8 – nights dispersed camping in a National Forest
2 – nights at a free BLM campground
2 – nights paid ($20) at National Forest Campground
3 – nights paid ($25) at BLM Campgrounds
3 – nights in a Walmart parking lot
10 – nights at Montana Wildlife Management Area campsite
*Bureau of Land Management
Number of gallons of water bought/acquired for the van: 43
Number of times we kayaked in August: 5. Pirogue Bleue (our kayak) has been paddled 23 times since we bought her bringing our cost per trip down to $21.91. Certainly cheaper than a kayak rental!
Number of miles driven: 1272 (this makes our August gas cost about 14¢ per mile)
Value we have gotten out of our $80 National Park pass since we bought it in May 2020 – $230. A $150 savings so far!
Bryce Canyon NP $35
Craters of the Moon NM $20
Yellowstone NP $35
Little Bighorn Battlefield NM $25
Grand Teton NP $35
Yellowstone NP (again) $35
Glacier NP $35
Upper Missouri River Breaks NM Visitor Center $10
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:
*All pics are click to enlarge.