I got going early and wanted to get outside. But I did want to add one email to the Guestbook first.
I received an email from the Keystone Cambridge sales rep, who checks in on our website once in a while. He wanted to clarify what I had heard about the discontinuation of the Cambridge.
His email was very informative, and I was happy about what he had to say. Apparently, the Cambridge as we know it will continue. However, they are preparing to build a model on a smaller frame with the Cambridge interior features.
The smaller version should allow the option for a smaller tow vehicle than we have, which I think will be nice. Anyway, his entire email is posted in the Guestbook for you Cambridge owners and those interested.
UPDATE: Turned out none of that was true. The Cambridge was discontinued and the Cambridge Lite never materialized. :)
It was a cool, low humidity, beautiful morning. I grabbed the camera and walked the campground loop. Linda wasn't quite ready, so we agreed we would go again later.
My first stop was a cedar tree near our site. At the top was a mockingbird that serenaded us yesterday as we came in and again this morning.
I got a few shots, but none were great. Later in the day, it flew into the tree right behind our rig and I was able to get some great close-ups.
We also had a female summer tanager in that same tree, but I was not quick enough.
I turned to the left away from the river and shot the beginning of the loop with the lovely forest canopy.
I found lots of bird activity in this area, but they were all too high in the tall trees to get a shot. So I settled for photos of a butterfly and views of Isaac Creek from various campsites and docks behind campsites.
There was also the adorable platform gazebo with four rocking chairs - what a great spot in the woods to relax!
I also found the little hard-shelled spider that I had never seen before. I actually had to tap it to see if really was a spider.
I got back to the rig and found Linda outside in the lounger. She had started laundry while I was gone and was enjoying the river breeze and the hummers.
I sat down and joined her in my lounger. So I am sitting in the lounger with Linda's binoculars and can see hummers up close and, across the river, a great egret, a kingfisher, and an anhinga.
We decided to walk the loop again. Actually, I asked if she was ready for a walk and she wanted clarification - "Walk, not hike?" she queried. With her re-assured that it was a "walk," we got going.
We ran into our neighbors that were circling the loop from the other direction. Both couples are from southern Alabama about 25 miles north of Gulf Shores.
Buddy, the hairless chihuahua, belongs to Mack & Lennie.
We chatted about the Gulf Shores area and a little about full-timing, before we moved on. I showed Linda the interesting little spider, and we finished our walk.
Then I remembered the spider and went inside to figure out what it was. I found it on the internet under the name crab spider, jewel spider, spiny-back spider, crab-like orb spinner, and several others.
Linda said it looked like a crab when she saw it. She chose the photo to post because she thought it looked like the sun. Pretty cool little arachnid, huh?
I decided I was ready to grill for dinner since the grill didn't come out once at Foscue Creek. It was lunchtime, so I retrieved the grill from the basement and cooked some hot dogs.
And Linda made a batch of no-bakes to have for dessert later (since we ran out of ice cream). She had picked up the ingredients quite some time ago, but today was the day - can't wait 'til after dinner to try one (well, maybe after lunch).
As we were finishing up eating our lunch, Linda noticed the weird looking caterpillar at the foot of her lounger. I was instructed to get the camera.
After getting face to face with the little thing, I was back at the computer trying to figure out what it was. Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar - which turns into the Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly.
Full-timing, in addition to the wonderful lifestyle, turns out to be very educational as well. :) The world slows down so that nature can be appreciated.
I used to tell my employees "Make sure you learn one new thing every single day." With our minds clear and our time our own, we are learning something every day.
So for all those out there that think our minds will become mush, don't be too sure - our guts may become mush, but the ole gray matter is getting plenty of exercise. :)
Just before dark, we walked the loop again. There were lots of campsites reserved today, so we wanted to see who had moved in. In addition to the two couples from north of Gulf Shores, we talked to two couples from Mobile until the mosquitos chased us down the road.
We got back to the rig just as the sun was setting. There were more clouds this evening, so the colors were better - which meant more sunset photos for you. I take so many, I just hope you like the few I post. But of course they can all be seen on the smugmug site.
So now for the review of our September financials. (Monthly disclaimer for those new to our Journal: We paid up front for a year's worth of health insurance, life insurance, RV insurance, truck insurance, satellite internet service, and DirecTV service so our $50 per day budget does not include those items - those items would add about $20 more a day for us)
Here's the breakdown for September:
Campground Fees $461.75 ($15.39 per day)
Dining Out $50.47 ($ 1.68 per day)
Groceries $345.19 ($11.51 per day)
Diesel Fuel $133.70 ($ 4.46 per day)
Entertainment $ 31.75 ($ 1.06 per day) (Category includes golf)
Fishing $ 10.64 ($ .35 per day)
Cell Phones $188.88 ($ 6.30 per day) (Includes purchase of new phone 53.99)
Laundry $ 26.25 ($ .88 per day)
Propane $ 30.00 ($ 1.00 per day) (Covers approx. 4 1/2 months)
Miscellaneous $ 87.94 ($ 2.93 per day)
Total $1,366.57 ($ 45.55 per day)
Yee-Haw!! We did it!
Now let's analyze to see if we did as good as we think we did. We stayed put much more in September driving a total of 654 miles (372 towing campground to campground plus 282 in each area with truck only) as compared to 1,266 miles (578 towing & 688 area driving) in August. In September, we hung around the campgrounds much more (partially due to our jacks issue) and did not drive around to area attractions. So our fuel costs were way down.
Where else did we save? Campground fees were down $5.00 a day, but we had four day's worth of free camping for volunteering at Oak Mountain and three more days at Corinth Recreation Area. If we add back in $132.60 that we should have paid, we would have been right at $50.00 a day and our average campground fee would have been almost $20. We cut down on dining out quite a bit and our entertainment costs were low due mostly to the lack of golf courses :( and our rural locations. Also, our Miscellaneous expenses decreased by about $40 which I will chalk up to first month "didn't realize we needed that" syndrome. :) Also, no RV maintenance necessary in September.
But some expenses did go up. Our grocery expenses increased about $70 and were only partially offset by our $50.00 dining out savings. The big killer ($100 increase) was our cell phone with a new cell phone purchase and not realizing we were $50 over our healthy minute limit. That's a hundred bucks that we won't see next month - trust me! Our laundry expenses went up slightly, but even if we averaged $25 a month it would take four to five years to spend enough to pay for a washer/dryer - so no big deal there. Also, it just so happened that we needed a propane refill - it's not September's fault. :) That $1.00 a day for propane is more like 6 bucks a month in reality.
So what did we learn? Cheaper campgrounds and not running around - good. Talking on cell phone during peak hours - bad. Cutting back on golf - I'm not answering that!!
Fifty dollars a day can be done!! It may require less entertainment and less visiting of area attractions, but it can be done. Part of what we want to do is see the country and not just the campgrounds, but with mini-sacrifices here and there and longer campground stays for better rates, we can do both. It just may take us a little longer. :) But we've got time - wink.
Linda says some things never change. Here I am at month-end still analyzing financials. :) But I can assure you that my blood pressure is a lot lower (no corporate allocations beyond my control), and this is tons more fun!!