Sunday, February 21, 2010

Nine degrees of Sunday

'Tis true-'tis 9 outside.  The mornings lately have been quite chilly and even the afternoons, too.  We'll wait until early afternoon to go to the Greenbelt to attempt to wrap up Phase One of the Art Bench Project.  Susun is happily enjoying her dog house duties.  She has a way with pets.  I'm living proof of that.

I hit the wall late yesterday and the hectic schedule caught up with me.  I slept over 11 hours last night.  "Wiped out" would be a good description of my mental & physical state.

As you can see from the Twitter over yonder, I took two largely symbolic steps yesterday.  First was fueling the Big Truck. Second was actually getting at least one box totally ready to go.  Both steps are rather meaningless in the Big Picture but highly significant from a psychological point of view.  Right now, our mentality is all about changing lifestyles, changing gears, changing places and changing perspectives.  Sometimes it takes small and subtle steps to assist the "flow" of change.  So it was yesterday.

I promise not to make this paragraph a rant.  However, I'm intrigued by the price of gasoline again.  It's rising steadily and relentlessly.  It's beginning to get back into the nose bleed seats. It's starting to be painful again to go to the pump.  We all remember when gas was firmly below $2 and two dollars seemed astronomical.  Now, $2 would seem like a gift from OPEC.  My piddly little purchase of 13.5 gallons was $35.  Ok, so it still would have been $27 at $2 a gallons and so what's eight bucks anyway?  Not much, I guess.  Back when gas starting rising like a rocket a few years ago, we adopted a motto: "Smile & Pay."  I guess it's time to get back into that line of thinking and attempt to put the price of gas into perspective.  It's all too easy to get hung up on the gas price.  Likewise, it's all too easy to let the price of gas affect travel plans.  We've always felt like that's a trap and there's no reason to change our perspectives now.  Typically, the price of gas is actually a very small portion of the overall cost of traveling.  Lodging, food and incidentals make up the lion's share of the cost of traveling.  Let's say you budgeted $1000 for a trip when gas was @ $2.  Let's say gas goes up 50%.  OK, how much does that bump up the TOTAL cost of the $1000 trip?  Actually, it probably only increases the total cost of the trip by perhaps 10-15%--twenty percent tops.  So, let's say you stand to pay out a max extra of only $200 for the same trip.  Are you going to let $200 stand in the way of those memories that only travel can create?  Hardly.  So, that's the way we are feeling about it as far as going back and forth to Arizona.  Big whoop.

Luckily, of course, we are towing a fuel efficient Nissan.  This is going to greatly reduce our "cost of stay" when we get to Arizona.  In our last trip, our budget got hammered because we had to drive the Big Truck far more miles than originally planned.  This cost us several hundred extra dollars.  Luckily, we won't have to wince (too much) when we go to the gas pump with the little truck.  From here forward, the motto returned: SMILE & PAY!

My big packing goals today (after dealing with the Art Bench Scene) are to complete packing the cast iron, all of our hiking gear and all of our camping gear.  I want that stuff STUFFED into the Big Truck right & proper according to the Tom Joad School of Scientific Stuff Packing.  (See Joad post here.)

Speaking of the Joad Post, I will be ramping up my posts on our Arizona Snowbird blog.  Each week, I will be writing a review of streamflow and snowpack conditions.  This morning, I will take a look at the long range weather forecasts as well.  We are moving inside the window in which such long range forecasts tend to be considerably more accurate for the time period of our travel.

Not much else to blather about.  Have a great day & Cheers, jp

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