Great American Road Trip: August/September Spending Report

As the time on our Great American road trip was winding down and we had returned from Alaska, we assumed the best was behind us. Nearly a year on the road and over forty states visited, we would’ve been okay if it was all over as the original plan dictated. The renters were supposed to be out in July which would have brought us back, but instead a one month… and then two month extension meant our travels weren’t quite over yet.

With our new found time, we were on to some of our favorite places in the US, which we hadn’t even visited on this trip yet: Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. We planned to meet up with friends in Colorado, see the eclipse in Wyoming and continue exploring around Yellowstone. If there was only one thing we’ve learned from our travels, it’s this: there’s always more to see. And to finish it all up since I’ve been quite behind, I’ll present August and September in this post, before completing a final post of our total expenses for the year.

August
Total August Cost: $3,128
Total days in the camper: 24
Total days out of camper: 7
Cost per day: $101.9
States Visited: Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho
Total Miles: let’s be honest, I’ve pretty much lost track

September
Total September Cost: $3,223
Total days in the camper: 11
Total days out of camper: 19
Cost per day: $107.4
States Visited: Colorado, Utah, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas`
Total Miles: same as August, who knows anymore

Unplugging from the Matrix

Technology has quickly changed the way we live our lives. It’s hard to imagine that 20 years ago there was no Internet, 15 years ago there was no “social media” and 10 years ago we weren’t glued to our smartphones. All of these new things snuck up on us without our ability to prepare for them and through them we’ve voluntarily hooked ourselves up to the matrix… which, interestingly, debuted with Keanu 18 years ago (thanks Google)!

Before we had the Internet, our minds were limited to the information we had access to, which was mostly determined by television, our friends, authority figures, advertisers and how willing we were to go to the library. If we wanted to sit around and watch cat memes all day, our only choice was to go stare at live cats.

Advertising is outsourced thinking

Thinking is hard. It requires attention, focus and… oh look, a new car. Wow, it’s a pretty pearl colored mid-size SUV. Speaking of mid-size SUV, have you noticed all mid-sized SUVs look the same now, whether it’s an Audi, Toyota, BMW or Hyundai?

Oh wait, I was thinking about something else… our lives are complex. There are literally thousands of decisions we make every few hours, with most of them so programmed that we don’t even think about it anymore. I wake up to my alarm clock, get out of bed, hop in the shower, get dressed, eat breakfast and head to work*. Within those steps, there are hundreds of little decisions to make. Should I put my socks on my hands or my feet? Should I wear underwear or go commando? Should I drink straight from the milk carton or use a glass?

Luckily for us, there are entire companies to help us do our thinking. They’re called advertisers. They tell us what we need to make us happy, how we should dress to stay trendy, how we need to look to be considered beautiful and much more. Thanks to advertisers, many of our hardest decisions are made for us!

Great American Road Trip: July Spending Report

July was it. Our last full month to travel as our renters were due out at the end of the month. We raced up to Alaska in June so we could get at least of one month of exploring before heading back. We estimated two weeks of heavy driving to get all the way through Alaska, Canada much of the US and back to Texas. This left us with approximately ten days to further explore Alaska. We decided to spend it in some of the biggest Alaskan highlights – Denali and Wrangell-St. Elias National Parks. Then, it was back towards the real world (maybe)*.

Total June Cost: $4,316
Total days in the camper: 30
Total days out of camper: 0
Cost per day: $139
States Visited: Alaska, British Columbia, Yukon, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma
Total Miles: Approx 6,100
Summary
There were a lot of “Wow’s” in July. From one of our new favorite National Parks (Denali), to the huge amount of miles covered (over 6,000) and one of the highest spending months since we started traveling. It was a purposeful stalling in Alaska while the weather was good that caused most of it, but the inevitable can only be delayed so long, and we had to head back south. Emotions were conflicted as nowhere had held us voluntarily captive as long as Alaska and we knew it would be hard to make it back, but money can’t last forever and no more renters meant no more supplemented travel and covered house payment. The real world was calling, and we couldn’t send it to voicemail again.