Well we know where we're going
But we don't know where we've been
And we know what we're knowing
But we can't say what we've seen
And we're not little children
And we know what we want
And the future is certain
Give us time to work it out...--D. Byrne
Melanie and I will mark two years of living in Miranda on the 27th of October. Today is October 18th and we're sitting in a Missouri State Park just outside Macon, Missouri on an overcast and chilly afternoon watching as the campground slowly empties of weekend campers. Campers on weekend leave. What follows will be random thoughts between now and the 27th on what it means for us to travel full-time in a 25' van after a couple of years.
In a few days we'll be close to St. Louis where Miranda will have some warranty work performed before her two-year warranty expires. Then it's onward towards a visit with our son, Tate, and his girlfriend, Zoe, for a few days.
We've got a working title for our travel book in progress, It's Alabama Everywhere, Y'all: That looks like a good place for a weed store
It's my sincerely held belief that what the United States really needs is, in part, legal weed everywhere, especially in the designated fly over areas, and a little time for people to sit down with one another, get high and discuss the issues, ratcheted down a notch or two, certainly a few decibels lower volume. We'd get some real shit done and end up loving each other like we should anyhow. Jus' sayin'.
I'm smiling as I entertain myself with thoughts of legalization. There are, however, kernels of truth to be found in legalizing the weed. On the plus side, we could free all the political prisoners who received sentences for possession, a disproportionate number who are people of color. Maybe what would follow is the end to our failed and stupid "war on drugs." Money spent on fruitless enforcement strategies might be redirected for assisting people with real world problems of coping with an insane world.
Teaching civics in secondary school again would help immensely. That will involve good people who aren't predisposed to magical thinking and white privilege and racism getting elected to local and state offices to begin making sound policy based on science and the common good. That includes making our political economy more progressive through tax policies more like those of the 1950's and '60's. I'm not holding my breath, but it could happen with some due diligence on the part of a majority of citizens who, thanks to the pandemic, have had a chance to reevaluate what's valuable to them. Hint, it's not all the stuff they've accumulated over a life time of conspicuous consumption.
Remember. We're out here traveling the country in our tiny home on wheels so y'all don't have to bother. No thanks necessary. 😎
We're traveling today moving farther south from the St. Louis area where Miranda had some work performed on her which took the better part of yesterday (20th). I had a moment to look at last year's places and new states and found we will have been in 120 unique places and traveled to 13 new-to-Miranda states during our 2019-20 year. The only states remaining for us are Utah, Nebraska and Alaska. Hawaii too, but not realistically. 120 unique places is only 3 fewer than 2018-19 and a little surprising considering we were quarantined in Sisters, Oregon for almost two months. We're traveling about 30,000 miles a year on average.
We're in Wappapello, Missouri at an Army Corp of Engineers campground until tomorrow. I'm looking at our 2019-20 yearly average monthly costs today. We spent an average of $688.00 monthly on campgrounds during this past year. We spend our time camping between private campgrounds, public campgrounds and "free" places we stay through services for which we pay a yearly fee, Boondockers Welcome and Harvest Hosts. We also driveway surf with our friends and family.
We spent an average of $313.00 monthly on fuel costs, including propane. We have benefited from lower diesel prices since March of 2020 due to, I assume, the pandemic. Our propane costs averaged 31.00 a month.
We spent an average of $1,386. 00 a month on groceries. We spent an average of $1,293.00 a month eating out. We ate out regularly before travel and, while the pandemic has slowed our eating in restaurants, we still seek out good food in places where physical distancing is adhered to and where safety is promoted for guests.
We spent $2,070 on RV maintenance which averages to $173.00 a month. That figure includes service for the Mercedes Sprinter, new water hoses, a trickle charger for the Mercedes cab battery (used when we are in place more than 3 or 4 days), black tank treatment, DEF, oil, replacing propane regulator (warranty covered most of this cost), and mobile service related to a problem we had with our leveling system. We spent $1,216.00 on new tires. We spend an average of $65.00 monthly on items related to mail and for our mail service in Florida, where we are domiciled, that holds, forwards and/or scans mail for us.
Sorta of like magic at the end of our Leisure Travel Van warranty period (October 27), Miranda has experienced a few ailments. In Fort Collins, Colorado back in July someone in a KOA camp smelled propane around our vehicle. Our propane regulator had failed. Leisure Travel Vans stepped up and, even though the regulator was out of warranty, the one LTV installed on Miranda was failing regularly, they paid for the regulator and a portion of the labor expense to have it replaced.
Our four point leveling system pump started to fail in Michigan. We were fortunate to be within 250 miles of Equalizer in Elkhart, Indiana and they were able to replace the pump under warranty.
A couple of days ago, I checked tire pressure before leaving our COE camp and found one of our dually tires was flat. The tires were new in May. I was able to put air into it for a 15 mile trip to have it repaired. One flat in nearly two years travel works for me.
Yesterday marked two years. We're in Nashville visiting our son and his girlfriend for about a week. We're fortunate they have a driveway that's large enough and flat enough for Miranda. It's a nice way to begin our third year of travels.
Watch this space and, if you haven't already, vote.
Steven and Melanie