Minor reality checks

First some number crunching!

It’s already been two weeks since we left Edmonton. As you already know, we are trying to be out and about living in our van for a year on a small budget. We have a total budget of $15 000 with $5 000 for the gas and $10 000 for the rest.

At this moment we have already spent a total of $836.40 for gas for a distance of 4 300km.

Food and fun wise we spent $160.28 this week. Climbing isn’t free in Quebec for most crags and just for Kamouraska, the cost was $63.99 for a yearlong pass for both of us. Thankfully the pass is also valid for another crag we plan on visiting in the Laurentians. After two weeks, total spent gas aside is: $300.28. With gas, that’s $1 136.68.

Last week recap:

There is/was some kind of a storm in the Maritimes which might explain why it has been so windy around here. We finally went climbing! While Elaine was cleaning a route, she threw the rope down to set-up a rappel and nearly strangled a dude climbing two routes to the left. The end of the rope landed around the guy’s neck and had the guy fallen, I think he would have choked himself.. that was a little sketchy. Oh did I mention the other guy climbing two routes down who dropped his ATC from the top of the route? He dropped a sling later too! I’m gonna start wearing my helmet more often!

Got to love climbing and chatting with random people at the crag. We met some people from Calgary, small world! The view is beautiful, the rock is just like we remembered, Kamouraska is awesome. As a reward after our first day of climbing we treated ourselves to a pitcher of beer ($20) at “La Tete D’allumette”, a microbrewery a walking distance from the crag.  Good cold beer on a nice patio under the sun was quite the treat!!!

Looking at the sunset from the patio of La tete d'Allumette

Looking at the sunset from the patio of La tete d’Allumette

We haven’t had much luck locating a grocery store. The best we could find was a gas station 15km away that sold some goods. Unless there’s something we couldn’t figure out, you have to go the distance to buy anything, including a bag of chips or a bottle of water. I guess that’s how it goes in smaller villages.

Free Camping…. Not paying for campground isn’t really welcomed around here. The manager/owner of the main campground paid us a visit at the crag parking lot. He was just checking if everyone had a permit to park there. He couldn’t see our parking ticket and came in asking for it. Next thing you know he’s asking where we are staying and we had a brief discussion about free camping. Needless to say that he’s against it. He was nice enough to offer us a discounted rate but he wouldn’t let us crash his campground for free. I didn’t tell him where we were sleeping and he didn’t really want to know either but it’s just a reminder that someday someone will probably ask us to move if we don’t choose our spot carefully.

photo 3 photo 1

Yesterday we did a hike called “Le Caburon”. Thinking it was an 8 km loop trail, we hiked past the middle point and ended up on the other side of the mountain having to walk back around it for a total of around 15km. That took care of half the day and we spent the other half trying to figure out whether our 3-way fridge is dead or not. It seems to be a common occurrence with old propane fridge that the refrigerant cannot circulate freely because of debris (rust) inside the pipes. It got really bad, to the point of the temperature inside the fridge being warmer than outside. We called a few places and we looked online too. It seems like one quick fix is to take the whole fridge out and turn it upside down, bang it a few times, wait a bit and flip it back over. We haven’t done that yet but we will probably have to because just banging it as it is didn’t do much good. It might take out a big chunk out of the budget if we need to buy a new fridge. Sounds like the cost of replacing the cooling assembly is over $1000. Ouch.

Mathieu trying to fix our fridge

Mathieu trying to fix our fridge


I’ll finish with some thoughts on being on a budget. It’s cool not having to work but in some ways it sucks. We went for a walk in Kamouraska village yesterday and seeing all these nice coffee shops with sweet views of the St-Laurence River or these gorgeous pubs in old buildings, made us realize what we were leaving behind by choosing this lifestyle. It’s not that we can’t make that fit in our budget but it’s more about how much moderation we must abide by. Somehow it now feels very appealing to get a job for a week or two and just blow it in restaurants and bars 🙂

E & M


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