Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Ladies and Gentleman... LeTigre Has Left the Building

After some emotional deliberation (there were tears...), Angie and I decided it was in LeTigre's best interest to pass her on to a new owner that could give her the love and attention that she deserves.  Since getting back to Austin (almost a year ago!) we've been busy with the tasks that accompany life off the road so she's been sadly neglected.  Rather than be selfish and let her fade away we decided it was time to set her free to take someone else on new adventures.

The sale of LeTigre brings our road trip odyssey full circle, since it began with her purchase almost exactly three years ago.  So, I thought a little photographic walk down memory lane, highlighting our time on the road with LeTigre, would be appropriate.

I get the feeling that she'll be revisiting a lot of these places.  I hope so.

Bon voyage, LeTigre!  We'll miss you!

So long...  friend.


Monday, September 10, 2012

The Big Map

When we started the initial planning of our trip, two years ago (!), we bought a giant, laminated wall map and mounted it on a sheet of cardboard so we could plot our route with push pins.  Unfortunately, we couldn't find a complete map of North America (or even US and Canada) so we ended up with a continental U.S map.

When we got the map, we were assuming we'd go to Alaska. After a few conversations with people who had done the drive (and especially one with Angie's grandfather, Bill, who said, "are you SURE you know how far that is??), we finally got on MapQuest to see what the big deal was.  The big deal is that Austin to Anchorage is 4,000 miles, one way! 
Banff, Canada became our northern-most destination in the west.

Anyway, back to the map.  When we left town we needed a good bird's eye of the route, so we removed the pins, replaced them with sharpie dots, and rolled up the map to go with us.  Along the way we marked our route in sharpie markers and this is what happened...

The West, in red ink.
I swear we were sober, at least while driving, but there's so much to see and only so many ways to get there and we even went back to see a couple of things we missed.  What a crazy awesome mess.  This was 15,000+ miles.

The Southeast/Florida leg in black ink and the Eastern leg in Purple.
Many more roads at our disposal and smaller mountains but still a crazy convoluted mess and another 15,000 miles!

Hey, but that's the point of an epic road trip.  Go anywhere, anytime, and see everyone you can along the way!  We're already trying to figure out how to fill in the gaps...

So, to sum it up, the map is going back on the wall and, besides our photos and memories, is one of only a few souvenirs we have from the trip...
and one of our most cherished.

Monday, August 27, 2012

So how much does it cost to drive your house around for a year?

We've been back in Austin for about a month. It's been very nice to have all the comforts of a modern house (A/C, laundry facilities, big fridge, shower, a real bed, small car, dishwasher, etc *thanks Barbara!*), but we are very proud of ourselves for living in a van for a year. And that's a "proud" as in "wow, I can't believe we did that!" 

As you know, we set out with a pretty strict budget. Our goal was $75/day for 365 days = $27,375.
The final tally turned out to be......

Days on the Road, (including time spent in Austin between legs of the trip): 396
Average Amount Spent per Day: $68.77
*Keep in mind, a lot of days we spent nothing, others we spent hundreds if we needed gas, food, lodging, etc.*

= $27,232.92 spent total
$142.08 under budget and we traveled (or at least didn't earn money) for an extra 31 days!

Miles Driven: 29,614
U.S. States Visited: 42
Canadian Provinces Visited: 7
Percentage of Days We Actually Camped: 40%
Number of Times We Stayed in a Hotel: 23

It worked out to less than a dollar per mile, but most of that is because we stayed with so many people throughout the year and had cheap housing when in Austin (thanks Ryders!). We had more than half of our allotted camping budget left over, due to the extreme hospitality of our hosts. Thanks to all our family and friends (old and new)!  We spent the money we saved from not camping on groceries and gas, going over budget in each of those categories by 9% and 18%, respectively.  Fuel really got us, it was expensive all over, especially Canada.  But, since we still came in under budget overall, I think we could've met our $75/day goal even if we had camped every night. We would've just cut back somewhere else, namely, wine...

So really, anybody can do a trip like this. We proved you can do it with very little money and if you stop and work along the way it could last as long as you want.  It's only as physically difficult as you want it to be. It's more about your state of mind and being willing to not have those comforts of modernity. So sometimes you have to take a cold shower because there's no hot water. Or maybe you're warmer than you like to be. Or colder. Or your bed is a little hard. Or your diet gets kinda boring. Or there's no wi-fi or phone signal. But the payback is experiencing stuff like this:

 And that was just the first 5 months of the trip!