Sunday, June 17 . . .
Bridget’s frantic scratching at the side door tells me I’d better pull over and pull over NOW. We drift around the weedy edge of the parking lot in front of a utilitarian, metal building in the industrial section of Vernal, Utah. To heck with Flaming Gorge. I’m not in the mood.
Back on the road, the crew and I settle in for a long haul.
Highway 40 slices across a dry landscape of rolling hills. Occasional green valleys and dramatic rock outcrops break the sameness. We pass through tiny towns that aren’t much more than the intersection of two roads. While Bridget and Spike sleep, I maintain that mental state suitable for covering long distance. Now what is that up ahead?
A herd of sheep trots down the highway toward us.
A sheepherder on horseback, a Great Pyrenees and an Australian Shepherd are working the herd, keeping the sheep together and moving. I stop well ahead of them so the PTV doesn’t undo the work of the sheepherder and these hard-working canines. “See, Spike. Some dogs have to work for a living.”
I break my habit of long stays with short distances between camps.
We travel eastward and cover about 200 miles. I want a free camp, but a sign on the way up the mountain in the Routt National Forest declares, “No camping outside of Freeman Campground.” Well, that’s one way to squeeze some dollars out of boondockers.
Freeman Campground is about thirteen miles north of Craig, Colorado, off state road 13. It’s a high campground with aspen and evergreens skirting a small reservoir. The sites have picnic tables and metal fire rings. There are vault toilets, potable water, and corrals for horses. The cost is $6 a night with the Senior Pass. I sign up for two nights.
Our site is far from level.
I use a block of wood and my new BAL leveler. The campsite is at the edge of a green meadow. I like open campsites so I can keep an eye on Spike. We walk down to the reservoir and he goes right in, of course. There are only three other occupied campsites out of the seventeen in all.
I’m surprised that the crew sleeps well through the night, after sleeping all day in the PTV.
I sleep well, too, except during the rattling of the trash can around 2 a.m. outside the BLT. I look out to determine the perpetrator, but there’s scant moonlight. I see nothing moving. Oh well, eat hearty whoever you are.
Monday, June 18
After a walk along the reservoir in which Spike takes another dip, the crew naps the rest of the morning. I think the altitude is affecting them both. I tackle the pile of receipts I’ve avoided all this month. Our expenses for June have soared!
I also calculate the PTV’s gas mileage.
First I go online and research the mpg for a 2005 Chevy Express 1500, 8-cylinder, 5.3 liter engine. I discover it’s rated at 13 mpg city and 17 mpg highway.
Then I gather up the recent gas receipts. This is for a time period in which the PTV did a lot of towing, including pulling the BLT through Zion and up two mountains. It also includes, to a much lesser extent, the PTV on the road without the BLT. Most of that driving was up and down long grades between our Zion Riverside Camp and Hurricane, Utah.
Here are the results of the calculations from three intervals between gas fill-ups.
12.62 mpg, 14.43 mpg, and 15.34 mpg, the latter being mostly highway. That averages to 14.13 mpg.
Out-of-pocket expenses . . .
I hope the list of daily expenditures posted below is helpful for those of you planning to fulltime in a manner similar to mine. I include details so you can eliminate costs that wouldn’t apply to you. Now you can see why I didn’t travel much last winter and kept a firm hand on the clasp of my purse. I knew a month like June would come along!
rvsue6/1/12 . . . $0 6/2/12 . . . $0 6/3/12 . . . $24.77 groceries 6/4/12 . . . $3.59 groceries 6/5/12 . . . $389.71 PTV repair (air conditioner, )$17.43 sundries, $8.34 groceries, $ 2.75 clothing 6/6/12 . . . $93.96 equipment (BAL leveler),which includes $13.99 shipping, $18.67 equipment (monocular and water bandit), $93.66 equipment (six Benchmark atlases @ $15.61 each)) 6/7/12 . . . $0 6/8/12 . . . $105.16 equipment (Nikon digital camera), $52.50 for 14.08 gal. of gas @ $3.729 a gal., $14.37 groceries, $6.96 sundries 6/9/12 . . . $0 6/10/12 . . . $13.69 equipment (SD memory card), $8.34 groceries, $6.00 clothing, $1.97 sundries 6/11/12 . . . $24.95 for 7.2 gal. propane @ $3.329 a gal., $5.00 dump fee 6/12/12 . . .$0 6/13/12 . . .$0 6/14/12 . . $40.04 for 10.403 gal of gas @ $3.849 a gal., $10.46 groceries, $20.00 campground fee (Green River SP) 6/15/12 . . . $48.38 for 13.08 gal. of gas. @ $3.699 a gal. 6/16/12 . . . $19.99 dog food, $10.73 groceries, $5.03 equipment (batteries) 6/17/12 . . . $70.31 for 18.22 gal.of gas @ $3.859 a gal., $39.07 for groceries, $6.00 campground fee (Freeman NF), $2.42 sundries 6/18/12 . . . $6.00 campground fee Let me know if I’ve left anything off the list. I plan to post a report for the first six months of 2012 which will summarize each type of expense, thanks to the work of friend Reine.