The Distance: We drove the bus a whopping 1,832 miles in February for a two month distance total of 3,131 miles since leaving Key West at the beginning of the year. If you look at our Where We Are tab, you can see the increased distances between stops in February compared to the clustered stops in January. This of course means we had to spend more on gas… and after two additional “opportunities” to fill up our ginormous tank we were able to get a couple more gas mileage estimates, both of which suggest The Big Kahuna gets closer to a flat 8 mpg than the nearly 9 we calculated on our first fill up this year.
The Places: 11 stops as we worked our way out of the Florida Panhandle and westward. We had a fantastic stay in Alabama, a nice quite stop in Mississippi, a glorious Mardi Gras experience in Louisiana, and a series of stops in Texas at state and national parks and, sadly, two visits to mechanics in different Texas cities.
The Budget: We blew it. No other way to say it, we are $400 over for February, and considering how tightly we squeezed under our planned budget threshold in January, we are over for the year so far. The causes? We had to fill up The Big Kahuna twice this month, and despite the low Gulf Coast and Texas diesel prices, that means we spent about 50% more on diesel than our benchmark plan of $450 per month. We also denied ourselves nothing during our Mardi Gras stop near New Orleans, dining out every night and some of the days as well, and we are finding that the restaurant line items of our entertainment budget are a big killer. We had some mechanical repair bills this month as well, but most of those costs were taken out of the money we set aside in 2014 for repairs and renovations. We got hit with the unexpected Texas State Park annual pass, and the fully expected National Park annual pass as well. The good news is that we cut our RV Parking line item down to $636 for the month; way less than the $996 in January, but still well in excess of the what we hope to get it down to once we incorporate longer periods of boondocking out West.
The Drama: As mentioned above, we had two multi-day stops at mechanics in Texas. In San Antonio we sought to address three long standing problems and one new one, whereas our ongoing stop in Odessa resulted from a true roadside break down, though now that we are in the shop, we plan to get a few additional long standing problems taken care of us well.
The Improvements: Despite our mechanical problems, we are making progress on our lengthy punch list of repairs, renovations, and enhancements, with the vanity top and faucet in our bathroom being a great start towards a full bathroom remodel. We sold our last car, Bad Kitty, allowing us to temporarily eliminate auto related expenses until we get around to buying a tow vehicle, probably a Jeep. Lastly, we continue to reduce and eliminate unnecessary items, opening up living and storage space.