Happy Halloween from two big kids in gypsy costumes - our particular clan dresses in shorts, t-shirts, and flip-flops. :)
Get ready - this is a long entry with it being time to report monthly results and such, but that doesn't come until the end. First, since I never posted a photo of our current site in this RV park, and since I haven't posted any photos the last couple of days, I thought we would get one shot of our much better space and get it on today's entry.
Wow! The snowbirds started rolling in to this park today, and apparently lots more are coming tomorrow. All around us folks who winter here every year were meeting up and exchanging welcomes and stories.
We went about our day getting mentally prepared for moving tomorrow. We each had a project. Linda wanted to clean out the overhead cabinets and add some no-skid rubber pads to keep things in place better. My project was to make sure all the tires were filled to the proper pressures.
While Linda was working on the cabinets, I checked emails. Every 9 days I get an email update from the Datastorm Users website telling me I need to update our location. As I went in to do that, I looked at what other Datastorm satellite users were in our area. Two Escapees members are in the area we will be in tomorrow. They are members of the Boomers (Born 1940 - 1960) BOF (birds of a feather) group. Bill & Diane email us from time to time and it looks like we will both be in the Jacksonville area around Thanksgiving, so we are looking forward to meeting them. <a href="http://www.sacnoth.com/" target="_blank">Click here to see the start of their website.</a>
Also, in the area are The Happy Wanderers - Larry & Connie. They started full-timing in September 2004 and workamped in New York for about six months before coming to the Florida coast to train for their next job working for Hickory Farms. <a href="http://www.happy-wanderers.com/ " target="_blank">Click here for The Happy Wanderers site - www.happy-wanderers.com.</a> They have a very nice site and post their actual expenses, too. Like us, they do not include income taxes in their expense numbers. They do have motorhome payments that are not included in their expense numbers either, and I do not see health or life insurance numbers. But generally, they seem to be in the same overall ballpark as we are.
The one thing on their site I looked at a bit curiously was their GeoCaching page. I had heard of this before, but today I took a little time to research it a bit deeper. GeoCaching is basically a scavenger hunt or treasure hunt using GPS coordinates. Folks all over the world place "caches" in various places and post the locations on the net. I won't get into it too much here, but it looks like a fun thing for RVers and non-RVers alike to do. All you really need is a good map and a GPS receiver (starting around $100), so after the intial investment there really is no cost to participate.
The number one website is <a href="http://www.geocaching.com/ " target="_blank">Geocaching.com.</a> There is a pretty good explanation under their Getting Started link. You can go to this site and search for a list of caches that you might want to look for. There are so many ways to search. Today I plugged in our current zip code and there were over 400 caches within a 100 mile radius. It looks like a fun activity to get us off our duff. At each campground we can see if there are any caches to look for within bike riding distance. A traditional cache actually consists of a waterproof container with a pencil and log and a few small items. But sometimes the cache is a "virtual cache" in which the destination itself - a scenic spot, historical monument, etc. - is the treasure. The website gives levels of difficulty, terrain, and other information to help decide if the cache is something you want to look for. I know - it sounds silly, but hey we are just big gypsy kids, remember? Looks like there may be a GPS receiver in our future. :)
Well after I finished my morning internet fix (and it warmed up), I got outside and used my little electric air compressor to get the RV tires to the proper PSI for our travels. As I was filling up the tires, I met a gentleman that got here today for the winter from the Louisville area. We didn't talk long, so we hope to get to speak to them tomorrow.
We then worked on getting things organized and started stowing items since it looked like we need to move out fairly early tomorrow with so many new folks arriving. But after lunch I wanted to take one more bike ride. So we got our helmets on and took off. This time we didn't go on the bike trail, but rather snaked our way through a residential area. We went down to the end of the canal road along the intracoastal and them back through the neighborhood circling the Gulf Shores Golf Club. I'd say we did another 8 - 10 miles. Unfortunately, there wasn't really anything to photograph along the way. We are definitely ready to get to a more scenic campground and surrounding area.
Once back home, we started loading up and preparing to move. With all the new folks coming in tomorrow, we figure we need to get going fairly early. While we were loading, a couple of the snowbirds started talking to us. The new couple next door is from Illinois across the river from St. Louis and another couple is from northern Kentucky across the river from Cincinnati. Both couples are here for the winter. As we talked, Tom from northern Kentucky suddenly asked "Are you the people I read about in my newspaper?" Linda and I just looked at each other and laughed - another newspaper had picked up the original story about us going on the road.
These folks were a riot. They told us about how all the RVers hide their spare keys in the same place, and how everyone with keyless entry on their vehicles use their birthdays. They told stories of prior year antics, and they said that we will hear a lot more stories like that since we will be spending a lot of time with "old people." It was all we could do to break away - Dave from Illinois kept looking at our Datastorm and asking if I worked for NASA. :)
We eventually got back to packing up, and easily got our bikes in the basement after removing the front wheels. That was impressive to our new audience. Part of me wants to stick around and just watch the interaction, but most of me is ready to move on - we can't imagine how much more harrassment we would get if these people got to know us. :)
Of course it was dark by 5:00. We ate dinner at 5:10. Then Linda sat outside with a basket of candy for any trick-or-treaters that might happen by. Of course we had eaten half of it long before today. She did actually have a couple of kids before the mosquitos chased her inside.
Okay, now for the October monthly expense summary. If you don't want to read it here, you can go to <a href="http://www.rv-dreams.com/2005-Expenses.html" target="_blank">Our 2005 Actual Expenses</a> page.
It's a very, very sad day. We went over budget for the month - - - - - by $1.55!! That's right, our daily average was $70.05 - a lousy five cents a day over. Linda and I joked about whether it was the hooks I wanted for my fishing poles yesterday or the Halloween candy that put us over. There was also one $60 item that we included in Miscellaneous that we could have classified as Extraordinary (a one-time expense that we would have had before we started had we known we would have wanted it). But we left it in as a regular item. So here is the final October breakdown.
Campground Fees $456.50 ($14.73 per day)
*RV Clubs $10.58 ($0.35 per day)
*RV Insurance $74.72 ($2.41 per day)
Propane $0 ($0 per day)
Cell Phones $86.62 ($2.79 per day)
*Satellite Internet $94.05 ($3.03 per day)
RV Taxes/Registration $0 ($0 per day)
*Satellite TV $62.00 ($2.00 per day)
RV Maintenance $0 ($0 per day)
Diesel $192.73 ($6.22 per day)
Truck Maintenance $0 ($0 per day)
*Truck Insurance $60.78 ($1.96 per day)
Truck Taxes/Registration $0 ($0 per day)
Groceries & Dining Out $487.92 ($15.74 per day)
Laundry, Clothing, Hair Care $22.00 ($0.71 per day)
Entertainment $172.14 ($5.55 per day) (Category includes golf)
*Insurance - Life, Health, Etc. $293.24 ($9.46 per day)
Miscellaneous $158.18 ($5.10 per day)
Total $2,171.46 ($70.05 per day)
* - These are items paid for a year in advance, monthly breakdown shown here
NOTE: Keep in mind that we did not include the asterisked items in the prior month-end journal entries. But we will from this point and our budget including these items is $70.00 per day rather than the $50.00 per day shown in August and September. <a href="http://www.rv-dreams.com/2005-Expenses.html" target="_blank">Our 2005 Actual Expenses</a> page shows everything consistently.
Considering the opportunities to spend money in this area, we are pleased with the month. We went over the Food budget by almost $90, but we did well everywhere else. Once we bought the bikes - extraordinary expense :) - we haven't even started the truck, so we have one full tank to start out November.
As for our driving for the month, we drove 163 miles from Isaac Creek to here, but we drove around the area 763 miles for a monthly total of 926 miles - staying under our 1,000 miles per month limit. We have driven a total of 2,846 miles (including area trips) since we started and 1,113 miles between destinations. Our diesel fuel averaged $3.08 per gallon (yikes!) in October, and our average price per gallon since the start is $2.72. We sure hope those numbers come down because staying within the budget is going to be tough enough in November with higher campground rates in Florida for snowbirds.
It's hard to believe it has been three months already, but on the other hand, August seems so long ago. We would not change a minute of our experience!!