Hey folks, it’s 2023! I hope everyone had a great time with friends and family over the holidays, and rang in the New Year in style!
We had a very busy December. We were vacationing in Portugal during the first week of December, and then sailed from Lisbon to the United States aboard the Norwegian Epic to get back in plenty of time to celebrate Christmas at home.
Once back home in Raleigh, we went to a couple of family gatherings to celebrate Christmas. Our New Years Eve plans got canceled due to the hosts getting sick, so we watched the ball drop at home this year.
Financially, December was a mixed month for us. Our net worth dropped by $92,000 to end the month at $2,626,000. Our income was excellent at $19,599 for last month, while our spending was incredibly low at only $1,271 for the whole month of December.
Welcome back to another monthly installment of the life and times of Root of Good. We kept busy in October with a ten day cruise to the Caribbean plus several parties for family and friends. I need a vacation! Ha ha…
Fall is in full swing here in North Carolina. It was hot and humid this past week as the remnants of a hurricane passed through the state. Now the cool fall air is here to stay for a while (we hope!). We have to check the weather daily to know whether to turn on the heat or the air conditioning.
Right now, we are two weeks away from our next big trip. We fly to Portugal for a week-long adventure around the Lisbon and coastal areas of Portugal. Then we depart on a transatlantic cruise back to the US of A in the middle of December.
Financially, October was a great month for us. Our net worth shot up by $118,000 to end the month at $2,557,000. Our income was modest at $2,178. However income was still higher than our even more modest spending of $1,565 during October.
Let’s jump into the details from last month.
After a busy month of traveling in Europe, I finally have a pause in the schedule to pull together another monthly update. We spent the first three weeks of our vacation in Croatia. Then we traveled a couple of hours north where we stayed in the middle of the Julian Alps in northwestern Slovenia for two weeks.
As of this writing, we have returned to Croatia for a week of relaxation at a farm stay in a little village in the mountains. Then we head to Hungary for a couple of weeks before returning to the United States.
It has been a busy summer so far, but we have seen a lot of cool stuff and checked off some bucket list items. In Slovenia, we revisited some favorite places that we visited on our last trip to Slovenia five years ago (covered in two previous blog posts on Ljubljana, Slovenia and the Julian Alps).
Financially, we had a month of mixed results. Our net worth dropped sharply due to a downturn in the stock market. By month end, our net worth dropped by $177,000 to end the month at $2,593,000. Cash flow presented a prettier picture. Our income in June was rather high at $12,743 while expenses remained moderate at $3,782 for the month.
On the final leg of our six week summer road trip, we spent six days driving the 2,200 miles east from Gardiner, Montana back home to Raleigh, North Carolina. Along the way, we visited Mount Rushmore, Badlands National Park, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and the National Museum of the US Air Force.
Mount Rushmore was a quick stop where we checked out the massive carved stone heads of four former United States Presidents.
We spent a lot more time touring the Badlands National Park. The colorful rolling hills dotting the landscape were a sight to behold!
After leaving the Badlands and getting some sleep, we headed east and took a break in Sioux Falls, South Dakota at the Falls Park in downtown. The Big Sioux River bisects the city and produces a series of small waterfalls or rapids as it cascades over the rocks in the riverbed.
Our final destination of the road trip was the National Museum of the US Air Force. We spent several hours wandering among the massive jets and other military aircraft, missiles, and smaller planes from the last century of aviation history. Whether you’re an aviation junkie or just like cool stuff, this museum has a lot to see for everyone.
We spent three days exploring the vast wilderness area known as Yellowstone National Park in northwestern Wyoming.
The first day, we visited Grand Prismatic Spring, Old Faithful geyser, and the Fountain Paint Pot area. We saw dozens of geysers, hot springs, and mud pots throughout the day.
On the second day, we revisited the Grand Prismatic Spring from an overlook that required a couple miles of hiking. After that, we walked among the geysers and springs by the West Thumb area of the Yellowstone Lake. To close out the day, we visited the waterfalls of the Yellowstone River in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone in the eastern section of the park.
We devoted our third day to exploring the Mammoth Hot Springs in the northern section of the park. These mineral formations were different than the geysers and hot springs we saw elsewhere in the park.
Throughout our three day visit to Yellowstone National Park, we saw tons of wildlife including bison, elk, and even a rare black wolf!
During “Part 11” of our six week road trip across the USA, we visited downtown Salt Lake City where we toured around the public area near the Mormon Temple, the State Capitol, and other parts of downtown.
Once we left Salt Lake City, we headed north toward Idaho Falls, Idaho. On the way there, we stopped for several hours at the Antelope Island State Park just north of Salt Lake City. Inside the park, we toured a historic sheep ranch and hung out with a herd of bison.
Upon arriving in Idaho Falls, we enjoyed a few days of rest and leisure. We walked along the waterfront of the Snake River in downtown Idaho Falls. We visited the Japanese Garden in the middle of the Snake River, then toured the rest of downtown Idaho Falls on foot.
After Idaho Falls, we continued our road trip north and east toward Yellowstone National Park.
Another month flew by! Here we are in March and spring is slowly making an appearance. I definitely like the warmer days but it’s almost too hot right now!
The nicer weather means spending more time outdoors. We got out the hammock on one particularly nice day. And we enjoyed several hikes last month. Hopefully the temperate weather is here to stay for a while before the summertime heat sets in.
Financially, February was a mixed month for us. Our net worth dropped by $40,000 to end the month at $2,719,000. Income during the month totaled $2,312 while expenses were a modest $2,535 during February.
We spent a few days driving across the desert from California, through Nevada and into Utah. Along the way, we spent the night in Hawthorne, Nevada. While in Hawthorne, we toured the town’s main attraction, the Hawthorne Ordnance Museum.
From Hawthorne, we traveled east through the desert to Elko, Nevada where we spent the night. The next morning, we drove another two hours east of Elko to arrive at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.
The massive Bonneville Salt Flats stretched to the horizon. The occasional mountain ridge in the distance provided some sense of scale in an otherwise featureless terrain. We spent a couple of hours driving around the salt flats and taking in the views. We even let the kids take a turn at the wheel since there was no one around for miles.
We departed from Bakersfield, California in the morning and headed north to spend the day exploring Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park. The main attraction in these two parks are the massive Sequoia trees dotting the rugged mountainous terrain. The star, the General Sherman Tree, lived up to its claim of being the largest tree in the world.
After leaving Sequoia/Kings Canyon, we headed back down the mountain to Fresno, California where we enjoyed a couple of days of mostly peaceful rest and relaxation (drive by shooting notwithstanding).
Then we headed back up the mountain to visit Yosemite National Park. The interior of the park proved hectic and overcrowded. But once we escaped to the lesser visited parts of the park, we got to appreciate the natural beauty that Yosemite is known for. We enjoyed a tranquil lakeside picnic dinner along the Tioga Mountain Pass Road before heading back down the east side of the mountain into the desert flatlands of Nevada.
From Las Vegas, we headed west and visited Los Angeles and the surrounding area. It was a whirlwind visit lasting just two days, but we saw a lot.
The first day we visited Little Cambodia in Long Beach where we enjoyed Cambodian donuts. Then we headed on to our hotel where we watched the Fourth of July Fireworks over the city of Los Angeles.
The next day we visited Chinatown and got some banh mi sandwiches. We headed up the Hollywood Hills to see the Hollywood sign and enjoy a picnic lunch. Then we headed west out of town toward the ocean, stopping by Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills on the way.
The drive along the Pacific Coast Highway was clogged with traffic so we enjoyed the view of the ocean for a while then got out of town and went to our next destination in Bakersfield, California.
Los Angeles looks like a fun city with a lot to do, so maybe we’ll go back at some point!