Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Best-Laid Plans ...

"If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans." – Woody Allen

I had it all figured out: thirty-six hours to Holt, Florida, in three days.  Not enough money for overnight stays, so we would sleep in rest areas, and drive whenever we could.  $900 would cover the trip, about $300 for parking fees, leaving just enough to pay the bills.

I filled the tank as much as I could before we got on the road.  Most (probably all) gas stations have an upper limit on charges.  At the first gas station, that upper limit was $125, and I could only fill the tank twice.  After that, the gas pump refused my card.  Since I had about an inch of gas left in an 80 gallon gas tank, I knew it was not full.  A few hours later we stopped for more gas, but the station would only let me pump ninety dollars.  A third stop netted me only forty dollars worth of gas.  We weren't even out of Arizona yet, and almost $400 was gone.

Since I wasn't yet able to fill the tank to the brim, I had no idea of how many miles per gallon we were getting.  Though I knew it was wrong, my best estimate was about 5 miles to the gallon.  I redid all of my calculations (which were based on eight miles to the gallon), and realized there was simply no way were going to make it to Florida on the money we have.  We could get to Dallas, but would be destitute.

And that's why we're in Amarillo.  The money that was supposed to take us all the way across the country brought us here, with just a little bit left over.  The place is nice, with clean restrooms and some exercise machines, and free coffee in the morning.  Everything we need is within a couple of miles.  We are going to be here for at least a month, hoping that I find enough work in that time to finance the next leg of the journey.

In retrospect, I recognize my mistake: my calculations were based on a best-case scenario, excluding the cost of the initial fill up, which should've been around $300.  When I do this again next month, I'll assume 5 miles to the gallon, and the need for an initial top-off.

Friday, March 14, 2014

On the Road Again

I need surgery on my shoulder, and our health insurance is only valid in Florida, so we've been struggling to make it back there.  Thanks to a friend giving me some work, and a deep sense of frugality, we have enough money to make the trip.  It's 1818 miles, which at an average speed of 50 mph is a little over thirty-six hours.  The money we have will cover the gas and parking fees when we arrive in Florida, but nothing else.  So we won't be making any stops.  No stops means no electricity which means no computer, no TV, no cell phone.  Just driving.  We'll be sleeping in rest areas or parking lots, but mostly trying to get to Florida in a timely fashion.  I'm a little apprehensive about the drive, because it's long, and because we haven't traveled in almost a year.  Am also looking forward to it.  As long and hard as the trip will be, it will be good to get back on the road again.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Milk of Human Kindness

We've had some financial difficulties of late, which is why we've been stuck in this backwater town for almost a year.  (And why I've largely been too depressed to keep up this weblog.)

I've mention our problems to very few people, liking to keep private things private.  But I did mention it to a few.  Some of those people took up a collection, and presented us with a card and $35 cash.  Okay, it's not much.  But it was enough to lift our spirits.