Jump to content


Validated Members
  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About ToddandHeather

  • Rank
    Full Member
  • Birthday 03/12/1965

Optional Fields

  • SKP#
  • Lifetime Member

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Bismarck, ND
  1. With nearly three years passing since I posted our Budget / Expenses, I thought it might be helpful to update where we stand. Heather and I still full-time. We have upgraded our rig from The Beaver Monterrey to a Tiffin Allegro Bus (Paid Cash from Savings - Numbers not reflected in the attached Budget). We still have the Jeep Liberty as our tow vehicle. I have included our 2016 through 2018 actual expenses as well. Please keep in mind the numbers below reflect our choices with respect to lifestyle (restaurants, diet, alcohol, etc.), location (campground fees) and relocation costs (fuel, propane, etc.). We have visited 31 states in nearly 5 years on the road. We have unlimited internet across 2 mobile phones, a tablet and an ATT Mobley Device. We eat a low carb diet (lots of meat) and enjoy Vodka (me) and Bud Light (with a Hot Damn Chaser [Heather]). We divide most of our time between Ohio & The Black Hills of South Dakota (Summer) and Tucson, Arizona & Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (Winter). We basically make one big loop around the country every year. As others have noted, one's expenses can vary greatly depending on where, when and how one chooses to travel - and how one chooses to remain stationary. We relocate less frequently than most full-timers, but on the flip side, our travel miles fall higher than many folks - again, because of our choice to make one giant loop around the country every year. The biggest determination of what this lifestyle costs is YOU. That's the beauty of it all. Safe Travels to you all. 2019 Budget.xlsx
  2. As Kirk Wood suggested, contact Southern Cross Corporation directly. The best time of the year is January through March as things scale up each Spring and slow down a bit every winter. Good Luck to you! IF you have questions, feel free to post them, and I'll do my best to answer.
  3. Overtime can happen, but its extremely rare. Even if offered, excepting it remains optional. We've done it twice in 2 years.
  4. Current Rates: $200 weekly 'per Diem' (campground fees) 79 cents a mile for moving your RV (this changes yearly at 25 cents above the IRS Vehicle deduction) 54 cents a mile for daily driving (exactly as the IRS Guidelines dictate - also changes yearly) $11.00 per hour starting wage Supposedly, negotiations are in place to increase the 'per Diem' rate, but we will see. Looking forward to seeing you come aboard in three years! Todd
  5. Yes. It is Southern Cross. No. I'm not PepeTheDog, but that guy is still with the company - and he's our boss. As it turns out, Southern Cross is experiencing tremendous growth and needs 90+ people for a new project. If interested, let us know. Todd
  6. For the last 18 months, we have 'Work Camped' - but not in the traditional sense of receiving a "free" campsite as all / part of our compensation. Instead, we travel the country inspecting Natural Gas Pipelines as contractors - assisting Natural gas Companies with meeting their Federal / State mandated inspection deadlines. As a result of our employee arrangement, we receive a per diem (to cover campground costs), Mileage Pay One (for our motor-home as we travel the country), Mileage Pay Two (for use of our vehicle during daily travel within our destination area) and Internet Pay (to ensure a reliable connection via mobile networks) - in addition to an hourly wage. Since we function as full-time employees, our position includes Health Insurance and 401K (However, we choose not to contribute to the 401K). Over the last 14 months, we have ONLY spent that which we have earned - allowing our 'retirement income' to remain untouched (as it grows). We have visited 25 states in this time - often staying at Moose Lodges or Elks Lodges (with full hookups), rather than campgrounds or RV Parks, in an effort to reduce costs. We work 40 hours each week delineated any way we choose (five "eights", four "tens" or 40 hours in three days - the choice is ours). While, our arrangement might not suite everyone, for us, it provides a more than livable wage supporting a very active lifestyle. Many similar opportunities to ours exist. One simply needs to think 'outside the box' when searching for these things.
  7. Many California attorneys also recommend storing / transporting inside a locked / secured 'case'
  8. Three years ago this September, we traveled to Ohio on a six week trip to visit family and friends. We had not yet entered the full time lifestyle, and as such, all vehicles had their registration in Arizona. Prior to our departure, I studied all available information with respect to transporting firearms through the various states between Ohio and Arizona. We felt thoroughly prepared for any eventuality. On our return voyage, we began to experience heavy winds as we traveled along I-70 in Indiana. As Heather searched her phone for a suitable upcoming exit to pull over, relax, refuel and await the wind abatement, I noticed an unmarked vehicle following us, so closely, I had difficulty 'seeing' the vehicle in either side view mirror. Within minutes, red and blue dash lights began to flash inside the unmarked vehicle - only visible from the back up camera monitor. After safely pulling to the side of an exit ramp, an officer appeared at our door. As Heather stood in the open doorway, three additional unmarked vehicles pulled in behind us. This young, polite and professional officer asked if we were experiencing difficulty traveling with the wind gusts. We explained how, for safety reasons, we had located a suitable spot to stop (at this particular exit) in an effort to await a safer time to travel. We were then informed that we had made "an illegal lane change" and for that reason, he decided to pull us over to make certain we were 'OK.' "Really? An illegal lane change?" "Yes, sir." And the officer then smiled and requested our permission to search the RV (Class A Diesel Pusher with no Toad on this trip). As I said earlier, we had prepared thoroughly for just such an eventuality, but as I contemplated how to word my response, I noticed none of the officers had identifying markings on their persons or vehicles. They wore T-Shirts which simply read: 'Police.' Not Pima County Sheriffs Department or Baton Rouge Police Department or FBI - just 'Police.' All vehicles were of the unmarked variety - complete with tinted windows. Things certainly didn't 'smell' right - and not just the entirely made up "illegal lane change." So, I did what I thought any reasonable person would do: I requested to see some documentation proving they were indeed officers of the law. Instantaneously, we were shown ID indicating these officers were DEA! However, rather than repeat the request for entrance into our RV, a roadside interrogation began. Now, at no time did these officers attempt to intimidate (other than there were now eight of them - all for an "illegal lane change"), coerce or threaten us, but we were asked (what we thought) were some pretty bizarre questions. "Do you normally take I-40 in Arizona when traveling from Tucson to Toledo?" (How the hell did they know we traveled that route five and a half weeks ago!) "How much cash do you have on your persons and in the vehicle?" "Are you licensed to transport firearms?" The officers didn't appear satisfied with our answers (1. "No, but we went to Kingman, AZ the weekend prior to setting off for Ohio, so we used I-40 instead of I-10 to head East." 2. "73 bucks in my pocket and $3000 in cash in the RV safe." 3. "What does any of this have to do with our alleged "illegal lane change?" (non-responsive). They again requested our permission to search the RV. When I asked for a moment to 'think things over,' I was informed, "If I had nothing to hide, and I wasn't doing anything 'wrong,' I had nothing to worry about from a search of the vehicle." I then explained, "Well sir, it isn't really that simply. We both know this "illegal lane change" stuff isn't reality. Unless we give you permission to go in, you'll need to find a judge to issue a warrant. We both know, that probably isn't going to happen. But, I'm quite sure you'll take your sweet time letting us know you couldn't locate a judge to issue a warrant, so as a result, we can finally be on our way (after a several hour delay) - should we decide not to grant the permission. Heather here wants to visit Lincoln Trail State Park (in Illinois some three hours from our current location), and we both know, if we don't grant you permission to enter, Heather and I won't be seeing that State park anytime soon. so, what I have to decide is, 'How much grief do I want to take from her over this - when I could have just let you all inside and been on our way in minutes?'" The DEA Officer laughed, and said, "You two think it over for a few minutes. We've got time." Evidently, having an RV registered in Arizona suggests the owner is a wannabe cast member of the 'Breaking Bad' TV series (based in New Mexico!) Of course, wanting to get to that State park before sundown was what Heather wanted, so I caved - and reluctantly gave permission. During the time 7 officers searched our RV, we chatted with one of the officers outside the RV, and I had a few questions: 1. We had spent the night in the rest area on the Arizona, New Mexico boarder some 5 and a half weeks earlier, how did you all know we were there? 2. When did the DEA receive the charge of 'Traffic Control' on the nation's highways? 3. Did we just get pulled over for "Driving while being from 'Arizona?'" The responses stunned me. "1. Your license plate showed up in a satellite database of vehicles which traveled in an area of I-40 which is a highly used drug corridor. 2. The DEA didn't pull you over for an illegal lane change, the illegal lane change alerted us to the 'possibility' you might be in some sort of distress. The safety of all Americans is the concern of the DEA. 3. As far as 'driving while being from Arizona', well, it certainly didn't help." As the search concluded, one of the inside officers stated we had 'clearly' followed the rules with respect to firearms laws and their transportation, and there would be no need for us to open the safe for them to inspect the cash. We were thanked for our cooperation, and of course (with a smile and a chuckle) could now be on our way with a verbal warning with respect to that "illegal lane change." Now, we have serious doubts about a 'satellite' putting our license plate into a database, but having said that, someone or some camera certainly did do so - as the DEA did know the exact date and time of our stop in the Arizona / New Mexico boarder Rest Area - five and a half weeks earlier. We also know that we did "nothing wrong" yet still found ourselves on the side of the road making (what could easily have been) life altering decisions. Even if you know all the rules, regulations and laws, even if you follow the speed limit, even if the LEA appears outside the 'jurisdiction' to which they have been assigned, even if you "know your rights," you can still find yourself in a situation you'd rather not be in. Since that day, we have all vehicles registered in South Dakota (to avoid 'driving while being from Arizona'), we also double / triple check all applicable state laws where we plan to travel. We also double / triple check no loaded weapons exist. We have chosen not to go with a CC at this time (try traveling across Tucson while avoiding all the 'exclusionary zones'). Interestingly, we have never had another interaction with Law Enforcement (either driving the RV or the Toad) since that day - nearly three years ago. Many individuals have already linked to the appropriate web sites, apps, books and court decisions which effect RV owners and their weapons while traveling. No need to repeat that great advice here. However, do make certain to remain continuously educated on the matter, and remain calm, polite and professional should you encounter an LEA during your travels. Could we have gone a different route, and not granted permission to search? Absolutely, and we would have been well within our rights to do so. But then again, I'd still be hearing from Heather how we never got to visit that park! LOL! Good (and Safe) Travels to you all. Todd
  9. For our checking and savings accounts, we chose the Bank which had the most physical locations across the USA - Wells Fargo. Our income makes it here via Direct Deposit. I can't recall the last time I pulled cash from an ATM as almost all Grocery Store Chains (and many other places) give up to $100 CASH back - FEE FREE. We don't even own actual checks since almost everything we do involves electronic transfer. For that rare instance where we would need a check (maybe once or twice a year) Walmart sells Money Orders for 69 cents. We use one credit card for nearly all purchases due to the CASH BACK Program it offers (one of those 3% fuel, 2% restaurant and groceries 1% everything else cards).
  10. I've had a Sprint account since 1998 and have experienced very few issues with respect to coverage - irrespective of location. However, we currently find ourselves in The Black Hills of South Dakota. Certain areas here have no coverage - period - by any provider. In Spearfish, No Sprint Towers (or Stores) for hundreds of miles, but Verizen has Towers. We've been in 'Roam Mode' for six weeks. No problems. We have one of those 'All Inclusive / Unlimited Everything' Plans.
  11. Thanks for sharing that most excellent story... "We have all been gifted with the ability to make a difference." Ain't that the truth!
  12. Using all the water conservation techniques mentioned previously (navy shower every other day, paper plates, bottled water for drinking, etc.), we can go 13 days (without draining any grey water onto the ground). Might be able to stretch it to 14 or 15 days, but as yet untested beyond 13. Still using all the water conservation techniques listed above, but this time draining grey water onto the ground, we can go 22 days before the black tank has reached higher than desired levels of 'fullness.' At this point, our black tank then also requires much more time to 'flush out' when we fail to dump for so many days. Also, the fresh water tank is so close to true empty, the pump starts to act a bit goofy.
  13. Last year (2015), we came in just shy of $36,000 for the year. However, we increased the budget for 2016 because of where we have chosen to spend the majority of our time - This Summer in The Black Hills of South Dakota, and this coming Winter in Gulfport, Mississippi (with a two week stint at Christmas to Key West, Florida). Due to these geography choices our monthly campground fees increased significantly for this year. Of course, we knew this ahead of time, made the choice anyhow, and budgeted accordingly. The other factor causing us to increase the 2016 budget was an anticipated rise in fuel pricing from last year's lows. January and February of this year saw fuel prices continue to fall. However, they have steadily risen since then. Looking ahead to next year (2017), we will need to adjust the budget once again - but downward this time. Although we expect fuel prices to continue to rise in 2017, our campground fees will be cut to next to nothing (again do to our geographic choices). BTW, Great thread! Good travels to you all!
  14. If one tree removes one ton of CO2 from the atmosphere over the course of 40 years, how long would 42 trees need to remove that same ton of CO2? https://www.ncsu.edu/project/treesofstrength/treefact.htm 42 trees times 48 pounds / year = 2016 pounds / year (just over one ton). We have seven more years to go (at most) before we reach the 42 trees planted threshold - hence 'soon.' As far as my tree planting having a minimal effect on atmospheric CO2 levels, I'll quote Annie Savoy, "You get three ants together, they can't do dick. You get 300 million of them, they can build a cathedral." Good Travels to you all.
  15. I (and my family) have planted at least one tree every Arbor Day since 1987. That's 35 trees in all = over 29 years. Soon, those same trees will collectively remove 1 ton of CO2 from the atmosphere each year - until they die. Now, that's just a drop in the bucket, but ..... Had 300 million people joined in the effort, well then, we'd really have something wouldn't we. As far as China goes, I can't 'tell' them to plant trees any more than the Chinese Government found success with their "One Child Policy" in their efforts to limit population growth. People will choose to do whatever suites them. Besides, it really isn't the numbers of humans on the planet which presents the problem. It's the activities (like say, building a new coal fired plant each week) those humans choose to undertake which exacerbates the situation. BTW, we didn't start planting trees all those years ago to save the planet. We did so to mark the passage of time, and to honor those who had passed on from this life. Trees are good like that. And, it turns out, have a few other beneficial uses too. Good Travels to you all.
  • Create New...