The frugality experiment has been really eye-opening. We’ve been really good about not buying anything non-essential while we are sitting around Winter Park during a snowstorm. But as they do, the bills started coming in. We hardly drive the bus at all here, but both the bus insurance and registration were due this month, as well as dental bills, an online art class for Bode and the usual phone and electric.
Then, a Presidents Weekend trip to the big city. We’d planned this before Jason’s idea for this experiment, so the goal wasn’t to not spend money as much as it was to just be careful with it and note where it goes.
Our trip started with some karma credit (repayment?) We picked up some hitchhiking snowboarders midway up Berthoud Pass and gave them a slow ride to the top. There was an old ski resort up here that has gone to seed and is back in the National Forest Service hands. It makes for excellent backcountry riding as long as you don’t mind avalanches and sticking your thumb out. These guys were having a great day and were happy to be inside a vehicle instead of riding up in the back of the truck filled with dogs and construction material. If you’re driving over Berthoud Pass – pick up the hitchers for your own karma boost – all good folks enjoying the snow at 11,000 ft.
We made our way down to Golden to hang and planned to camp near town. The first problem was the weather: it was perfect. People sitting outside enjoying a happy hour beer and pizza in the warm sunshine. Next thing you know, we were too. We haven’t been able to dine outside in months. It was a must. So, within 3 hours of our starting, we had already blown the budget.
Gui – there’s your pigs.
Later, we headed to the RV park in town and found out we were not allowed to camp. This was a first for us – only trailers allowed and no sleeping in vehicles. A big sign said the police would show up and give us pricey ticket even if we paid the $45 entrance fee. We hit a second place, where we could park for $55, which obviously wasn’t going to happen. We decided to save the gas and called a few other places in advance. A local county park that advertised RV and tent spaces told us that our camper van was ‘not allowed.’ So, we ended up driving another 15 miles to a state park south of Denver and found a great campsite. It was farther than we had planned to drive, and only available for 1 night (holiday weekend was booked) but it was only $20. It was a just little cold in the bus that night – definitely below freezing.