This trip, living in the truck, is my life’s dream. I need very little money. I have no credit card debt. I love to walk and investigate nature. I have a hard time thinking of ways to spend money. I sit, with a pair of binoculars, and watch the desert ants scurry. I stroke the palo verde bark. I am surprised by rabbits and road runners next to the truck. I eat bizarre food combinations. I pick up rocks and investigate them. Life is sweet.
As you may have read in past blog posts, I am now living on $495/month. I found out the reduction from $639 was because of mandatory health insurance. (I had thought that here would be some kind of cut off point for the mandatory part of the insurance.) So. What to do? I pay $395 every 6 months for truck insurance. I pay $20 each month for mail forwarding. That is the extent of my bills. I have deleted Netflix, Kindle Unlimited, and Amazon Prime. I will stop the blog when the year contract is up. I will still pay for the New York Times. Seems that I need some kind of news reliability. Podcasts are free, so far. They provide hours of entertainment. That means that all I have to worry about is food and water and camping and gasoline. I have the full breakdown of the budget here. I love the scrimping and fussing with the budget. I feel that I am gaming the system somehow. So many years of traveling with a backpack and much tighter budgets has enabled me to enjoy life without a bunch of money. I have been lucky. I have the truck (thanks to R and S). I have a phone (thanks to R and S). Periodically friends send money, which I tithe, then celebrate with pizza (thanks Deb and Cindy). Friends have sent teas, ramen and sardines! I have boundless curiosity about the wild and wonderful places that I visit. And libraries offer free internet access and books to read. Today I took my first paid shower ($12) for the month. It pushes my “laundry, showers and camping” budget over the limit by $2, but the gasoline budget is under by $65. Food budget this month so far is under by $28, so stopping at the grocery store today is a must. Its almost the end of the month as I write this. I still have money in the bank, still have food to eat, and am squeaky clean!
Every once in a while I am impelled to take everything out of the back and sweep and dust and clean. The sleeping bags really need the sun and breeze.
The drawers of staples need to be reorganized and cleaned. It has been several months since I gave them any attention. The coffee needs to go with the sugar, the catsup needs to go with mustard, etc. Also a good time to check on quantities. How many days can I go without shopping? What am I missing? What do I have too much of?
And then I took out the runner rugs and swept in all of the corners. Found a bunch of these bugs. Glad to take them out. I have no idea what they are, but they were barely alive. I carefully gathered them up in a paper bag and took them down the wash, wishing them well.
The major cleaning out of the truck happens only periodically. Every morning I sweep the floor. I also make up the bed every day (not sure why). During this clean out I found that the runner rugs were starting to fall apart (the backs were delaminating and scattering black crumbs everywhere), I had way too many packs of crackers, way too little fruit, all out of fresh veggies. There was a little bit of butter left, but tasting more cheese every day.
What a treat to have the truck bed organized and clean. Phew.
Rules that work for me:
- Keep all edible food double or triple contained. In a ziplock bag, then in a sealable container, then in a box.
- Spray the tires with ammonia every 3 days.
- Be liberal in your scattering of packets of Fresh Cab in the truck bed. Smells great.
- If you eat inside make sure you sweep out any crumbs the next morning.Make sure that you throw away swept crumbs, don’t just sweep onto ground.
Some people swear that you need to keep the engine hood open and a light inside the engine compartment. This was a failure for me in the camping around Taos. Seemed as though I was illuminating the path for the rodents. Many invaders peed and nested while the hood was open and a light hanging in the engine compartment. Once I switched to spraying ammonia they stopped setting up home. Peeing around the truck did not work as well as spraying the tires.
Some people swear by dryer sheets. Didn’t work for me, other than make the truck smell like a laundromat.
Some people swear by moth balls (did not stop chipmunks), some swear by essential oils soaked cotton balls. Didn’t work for me. Did smell nice.
Nothing works against determined raccoons. Period. Just gotta move.
Quartzsite is in full gear now, with acres and acres of things for sale for the snowbirds.
There are huge areas of giant motor homes. All shiny and new with price tags that caused my jaw to drop. $200,000 was not uncommon.
There is a special place for adult day care that serves Moose Drool beer and surprisingly bad food.
Lots of MAGA followers here.
Everything that you can think of is for sale during the winter in Quartzsite. There are miles and miles of used things for sale.
When was the last time you saw piles of pulleys for sale?
Coffee is very important to my ease of travel. It took 3 years of trail and error to get the right tools for truck camping and my love of extremely strong coffee.
I loved the taste of the Vietnamese phin, but cleaning it out after every use was a pain in the water supply. The french press was too big, and too much trouble to clean it out and it didn’t do as well as the others in making small amounts of coffee.
The Aero Press was the winner. The coffee is very good, there is a metal screen for the filter and the cleaning is a snap. I have now used the Aero Press for 4 years and still love it. I have learned that in cold weather it helps to dunk the plunger in hot water so that the rubber expands and will push the coffee down evenly. That is the only adjustment I make. Darn easy.
(The link will take you to a place to buy the item. It doesn’t cost you more, I get a few cents from the transaction.)