On September 1st Greg and I woke up at the Arctic Circle. It would be our last full day in Alaska. We drove into Fairbanks, shared a $4.75 hot shower, and drove out of town to find a good spot to pull off the road and spend the night. Our Alaska adventure had come to an end. It was way too short but we had friends back in the southeast that we didn’t want to let down. They were going on a three-week trip to Italy and needed someone to stay with their beautiful doberman, Jasmine.
I know it is a long way to go for a house sit. But our reasons for going were multifold. Greg wanted to go visit his parents in North Carolina, we have a wedding to attend in New Orleans right after the sit ends, we adore Jasmine, her people have always been way too good to us, and three weeks would give us enough time to do some projects and reconnect with our friends in Cabbagetown.
Although we traveled every day our trip started out pretty leisurely through Canada. We retraced in reverse the path we had taken along the Alaska Highway from Watson Lake to Tok back in July. Once we hit Watson Lake we continued on the part of the Alaska Highway we had missed on our journey north. Most of our sightseeing was through the van windows but we were awed by the terrain and the abundant wildlife.
We got in contact with friends in Montana and found out that they were planning on leaving the day we planned on arriving so we sped things up so we could connect with them.
When we parted ways with our friends we realized that we had enough time to make a few stops. We headed to the Devil’s Tower in Wyoming and Badlands National Park in South Dakota. They were both stunning.
But being back in the US we had let our guard down. Grocery stores were full of maskless people and I went maskless a few times too. Honestly, we could have caught it just hiking with all the people on the trail at Devil’s Tower but however we got it, Covid hit Greg hard. We were in the Badlands and had a good place to camp so we just stayed put an extra day. As quickly as Greg got sick he started feeling much better. Of course, I was sick by then but not as sick as he had been. We decided we needed to put the sightseeing on hold to make tracks to the Southeast.
We passed by St. Louis where we had planned to stop and visit some friends and found an Army Corp of Engineers Campground in Kentucky where we could lay low for a few days before moving to another ACE campground closer to Atlanta. These campsites cost a little money but they came with showers and our alternative was to find free sites in the National Forest. And we weren’t feeling up to hunting for places to stay down bumpy dirt roads.
The morning of our house sit we went and got some more Covid tests. I was negative and although Greg felt fine he was still positive. We let Jasmine’s people know all this and then drove into Atlanta where I had a socially distant orientation with them while Greg waited in the van.
We are all better now, although we still feel sluggish at times. But we have our sweet Jasmine to keep us on our toes. She makes sure we are up every morning and that we get plenty of exercise. In the evening we get to snuggle with her on the couch.
And our total expenses for September were…
Here is the breakdown of categories…
We drove a long way this month and I was sure our gas expense would be $2000 or more so I’m pretty pleased with $1300ish. Although gas was still pretty expensive in Alaska and Canada we made a point to find the cheapest gas stations and fill up even if we were only half empty. Once we got to the “lower 48” the prices started really dropping.
I really pleased to see our grocery bill come down from the previous month in Alaska. And we’ve managed to keep that booze expense a little lower too.
We have a few odd expenses in the Gear column. Besides our regular subscription services for books and visual entertainment, Greg bought some yarn for a new project. I also sent my camera to Sony with the hope that they could fix it. It was worth a try but in the end a waste of money. The camera can’t be fixed. There will be a hefty entry in the Gear column for October when I replace it.
To see all of our expense reports, click here.
If you are interested in reading other expense reports from nomads who really know how to live cheaply while still having a good time, check out the blog from our friends Mark, Liesbet, and Maya at Roaming About.
The Camping Report
Here are our camping/sleeping stats (all camping is free unless otherwise indicated):
3 – nights at random/odd places off the road
1 – night at a Real Candian Superstore
1 – night at a rest stop
4 – nights at Walmart
1 – night Canadian Recreation Site
1 – night dispersed camping in a National Forest
2 – nights at a friend’s house
1 – night at a Cabella’s
1 – night at a National Park Campground ($10)
1 – night at a National Forest Campground ($4)
4 – nights boondocking in a National Grassland
1 – night at a Missouri Conservation Department Campground
5 – nights at Army Corps of Engineers Campgrounds ($57)
4 – nights house sitting in Cabbagetown
Map and Miles
We are still at our house-sit with Jasmine. Greg has spent some time with his family – parents, kids and spouses, and grandkid. We are working on van improvement projects (always), catching up on blogs, spending some time with our friends, and plotting new travels.
We will leave Atlanta on the 19th, head to New Orleans, and then hopefully catch up with some friends in Texas before the end of the month. We hope to find a house sit in Texas to chill out for a while we get ready for a winter adventure south of the border!
(All pics are click to enlarge. Once you have them enlarged you can view them in a slide show. Also, you can hover over the pics to see captions.)