Living with {Proactive} Courage

“We should probably be doing this with climbing equipment”, I thought as I surveyed the crossing which perched us on a sandstone ledge 300 feet up in the air.

The toe bed in my favorite orange Asolo hiking boots were wedged into the two inches of flat rock that acted as the tiny bridge before sloping down and dropping off the edge of the cliff. This was the only way to cross the dangerous ten foot section of the trail and to get into the ancestral Puebloan ruin known as Penthouse.

My first attempt of crossing foot over foot like on a tight rope proved too dangerous as one wrong step could result in a long fall. Instead, we had to stay on our toes, leaning forward into the rock a few feet in front of us, and grasp for any small hand holds that could help support our weight that balanced on the tiny ledge.

“Just face the rock and feel the gravity of it pull you in and we’ll get through it”, I confidently reassured Jocelyn as my own doubts about our success began to surface. It’s this phrase of “feel the rock pull you towards it” that she hates the most, but it’s always the one that feels relevant to me.

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

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.

Great American Road Trip: June Spending Report

June was our time to make the long and scary drive up through Canada and into Alaska. I won’t get into much more detail on the drive as I already covered most of it, but as always, I’ll break down the costs and add some more details along the way. After floundering a bit in Washington and staying in casinos for five nights in a row due mostly to exhaustion, we hoped Alaska would renew our energy and let us finish our trip on a high note… and Alaska delivered.

As with previous travels to scary places like Myanmar and Vietnam, the fear quickly subsides as the journey progresses. The unknowns become answered, and the fear and anxiety lightens as we progressed in the journey. Alaska went from a far away dream, to one of our most desired destinations to revisit. Combined with the amazingness of Canada, it has quickly jumped to one of our favorite places in the world, and the expenses were quite manageable.

Total June Cost: $3,733
Total days in the camper: 30
Total days out of camper: 0
Cost per day: $124
States Visited: Alaska, British Columbia, Yukon
Total Miles: Approx 4,500
Summary
We prepared for the worst and hoped for the best as our Canadian and Alaskan journey began. We loaded up on groceries in Washington and scouted out free sites along the route. Although the total driving miles were quite daunting, gas prices were much lower than we had planned, thanks to a favorable Canadian exchange rate along with cheaper gas prices overall. Amazingly, we spent less in June than we did in four other months while on the road! We skipped some of the things we might have done if we were on a regular one-week type vacation, but those are the financial sacrifices we’re willing to make to enjoy such a long journey. Let’s get into the details: