Thursday, January 5, 2012

2011 - Just the Facts, Ma'am (Summary of Money Spent and Friends Seen in 2011)

One thing that we haven't really talked about is the budget.  That's my (Angie) department.  I can't fix LeTigre, so I try to make myself useful in other ways.   I enter every single receipt, every single penny we spend on the road into a spreadsheet so we can track our expenses.  Since we're on such a tight budget, it's very important that we know how much money we're spending!

 This is the summary of our budget.  The number highlighted in green is how much money we budgeted for the trip.   I've already taken out all the stuff that's mandatory, like insurance and cell phones.  So this amount is for things we control, listed in the column on the left.   The amount in red is how much we have left for the rest of the trip.  The "Actual $/Day" is the average of how much we spend per day.   For this posting, I've only included the expenses up to our return to Austin on Dec 2, 2011, so you can see how much our actual trip cost.  But we're still tracking every cent we spend since the number in green is for a year, whether or not we are  traveling.  The summary also calculates our gas mileage, miles driven, and total days of travel...all helpful info.

 This is part of our gas budget.   Check out the gas prices in Canada!

 Even a $2.10 parking fee gets put in the budget.

 We would've saved a TON of money if our route had been a little more straight forward.

This was our first experience with the circuitous route......... 

 ...........but California was really our crowning glory.

So, we've already spent 75% of our gas budget!  Fortunately, we were able to stay with friends (old and new) and family, so we saved some of our "camping fees" budget to make up for it.  

My Mom and Grandma got the short end of the stick, they had to put up with us for 15 days!  This is our first stop with them in Pueblo West, CO, right after we left Austin in June.

 We also got to see Jim & Gemma, in Longmont, CO, twice!  The first time was over the 4th of July.

 Henry, in Silver Gate, MT, was the first "stranger" who welcomed us into his life.  We parked LeTigre among his vacation cabins for 4 days.  He wasn't a stranger for long!

 We also had visitors!  Greg's mom, Barbara, spent 8 days with us in Banff, Alberta.

 And, of course, Saint Michelle, who we met on the ferry over to Vancouver Island and who rescued us from our soggy camper.  We stayed with her in Chemainus, British Columbia,  twice!  She put up with us for 3 days the first time.

 We toured Vancouver Island for a couple of weeks and met Brad & Jacqueline on Denman Island.  We stopped by their house in Comox, B.C., for a night before heading back to Michelle's.....

 ....where we stayed for another 5 days!!

The very day we left Michelle, we took the ferry back to the U.S., spent the night in a WalMart parking lot, and met Terry!  He invited us to a nostalgia car drag race in Forks, WA, which OF COURSE we couldn't refuse!!, so we spent the night camped in the crew area.

 We met Ian (on the right) at Mt Ranier.  Greg loaned him some rain pants, and Ian loaned us a place to stay.....4 days in Portland, OR.  Good times!

 Karen and her friend, John, were stranded with a flat tire in the middle of Mount St Helen's National Volcanic Monument.  Greg changed their tire and Karen invited us to stay with her in Berkeley.  Yes, please!!  We stayed in her lovely home for 4 days.....

....where we met a several of her neighbors.  One of them, Carla, lent us her cabin in Rescue, CA, for a couple of days while we waited for......  

 .......Kat!!!  She and her boyfriend, Jerry, flew up to San Francisco to see us.  I'm including this because we used some hotel points our friend Erika gifted us to stay in the city of San Francisco.  It made our visit with Kat a LITTLE more affordable.  Thanks Erika!!

 And then we had more visitors!  Scott & Amy Ryder!!  We hung out with them in Tahoe City, CA, right on Lake Tahoe, for 4 days.

 Debra and Ed are old friends from Austin.  They moved to Flagstaff about ten years ago.  We got to see them when we bought LeTigre last year, and we visited them again this it's kinda full circle.  They were nice enough to put up with us for 5 days this time around! 

 Then we went back to Mom and Grandma's.....

 ....and back to Jim & Gemma's near Denver........

 ....where we picked up my brother Vince from the airport (another visitor!!).....

....and headed back to Mom & Grandma's for the week of Thanksgiving.

Our final non-camping stop was to see Karon, my aunt, in Albuquerque.

So, out of our 161 days on the road, we actually stayed with family and friends 67 days!  That was a HUGE help with our budget, but really was an invaluable part of the experience.  We were expecting to see majestic scenery, but we were not expecting to meet such cool people.  We had such a great time with everyone...reconnecting with people we already knew, and getting to know new friends.  That's the best part of the trip!

P.S.  Since we've been back in Austin (and for the three months before we left on the first leg of our trip), we've been staying in Scott & Amy's guesthouse.  We are paying some "rent", but it's such a small amount that we're able to save money while we're here.  We really owe them a gigantic THANK YOU for sharing their home and lives with us!!


  1. Funny thing about meeting all of the great people! That's exactly what we found on our sailing odessey. Although we dreamed of beautiful beaches and island scenery, our most cherished memories are the people we met.

    Keep on truckin' See you soon.

  2. No... Thank YOU for sharing your adventures with US!! :) We love you! XO