Nine Months Fulltiming: September 2015 Report

Yes, this report is two weeks late, but with the flurry of posts associated with our road trip from Florida to Colorado, we are actually almost caught up!  After this report and tomorrow’s entry on our time in Greeley, Colorado, you will be completely up to date with our travels.

The Distance: 0 miles!  Or rather, zero miles with The Big Kahuna, but if you take into account our road trip in Loki, we drove 830 miles during the first three legs of our eventual 2700 mile trek from South Florida to Colorado.  In Florida we went from Coral Springs to Geneva to Gainesville, and then pushed on to Wilmington, NC.  Total (Big Kahuna) distance for the year remains 11,384 miles.

The Places:  We spent a few days in Coral Springs, a quick trip over to Venice on the Gulf Coast, then back to Coral Springs, up to Geneva in Central Florida, further north to Gainesville, and finally on to Wilmington, NC.  We stayed with family for 29 days and spent one night in a hotel.

The Budget:  Finally another month under budget!  Thanks to all the family who hosted us this month we kept our costs below budget despite aggressively using the month back in Florida to catch up on medical and dental appointments.  We ended up 6% under for the month, though admittedly that does no include the $3800 (plus tax, tag and title) we spent to purchase our tow vehicle Loki, for which I took out a short term signature loan, the repayments of which will count against future monthly budgets until paid off.

The Drama:  No actual new drama to report, just the ongoing problems with the repairs to The Big Kahuna in Colorado.  The transmission rebuild in California took longer than expected (surprise!) in terms of finding the right place to do the rebuild, the shipping to CA, and the actual work while there. Other than that a pretty drama free month!

The Improvements:  As mentioned multiple times, we bought a tow vehicle!  That’s pretty much it, but that’s a big one.

The Westward Sprint back to Colorado

We weren’t in tourist mode, so despite having passed through Asheville and Knoxville we did not get to enjoy those cities.  The closest we came was a great meal at Nine Mile in Asheville and listening to some country music on the radio as we left Knoxville.  We were, rather, in “get home mode” and thus sprinted west and north, exiting Tennessee on the norther border and cutting across the corner of Kentucky before entering Illinois.  We continued on as far as East St Louis, right on the border with Missouri before calling it a day.

I know, that is not a lot of mileage for a day of travel.  In our younger years we might drive for 12 or 16 hours in a day, maybe even trading off for a full night drive.  We just don’t do that anymore.  It’s not safe, and we get cranky after too long in the car.  But it was part of the plan, and largely based on where I could find a decent hotel at a good point value.  The research from the previous evening’s stop led us to lock in a combined cash/points deal in the Hampton Inn.

The next morning it was back on the road for another conservative run west, passing through Missouri and getting deep into Kansas.  This had been a much harder state for us to find a good stopping point, but we had found a reasonable point deal on a Four Points Hotel in Manhattan, KS, a shorter run than we wanted, but a nice hotel for the night.  Besides, our every other day check in with B&G indicated we would probably be arriving a bit too soon for The Big Kahuna to be ready.

Late the next morning we headed out again, initially intending to stop east of Denver for the night. We had no specific point in mind since our hotel research had failed to turn up any particularly decent option with a program in which we still had points.  After getting into Colorado, however, we decided to push on all the way to Greeley, arriving at dusk.  Since this was unplanned, we pulled into a well lit parking lot and did some quick smart phone hotel research using Kayak.com.  This led us to swing into the nearby Clarion hotel, a chain I don’t recall ever using.  We locked in a very solid military discounted rate in a place that would turn out to be ideally located with all the amenities we like, particularly reliable wifi and free breakfast.

And there you have it, our roughly 2,700 mile road trip back to Greeley complete, and now just the waiting game for our bus to be ready for pick up.  That would, unfortunately turn out to be much longer than we had anticipated.  More on that later.