Winter is officially here in western Maine. The temperature dropped down to the 4 degrees the last two nights. Yesterday the wind was gusting over 50 mph and the wind chill was down around -15. Kinda chilly to be teaching beginners how to ski!
Be careful what you ask for!
It’s all good.
We are all settled in for the winter with a “mud room” built under the 8x20 awning and insulation everywhere I can add it inside and out. A couple of extra space heaters, a jury-rigged awning “garage” for the truck and we are snug a bear!
While I am out on the mountain teaching (Sunday River Ski Resort), Shelly is home training and doing what she does (blogging, taking training classes, helping other nonprofits).
We just wanted to put out an update and wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and hope that your holidays bring joy and happiness!
What an amazing summer! We have been very blessed to be able to move at a snail’s crawl from Pikeville, KY (where we left you last) up along the Ohio river through more of Kentucky and the Ohio River Valley as we were headed for Maine and lobsters…
Well – plans do change.
We are members of a site workampers.com that sends out a daily post with work opportunities all over the country and all kinds of jobs. From working the sugar beet harvest in North Dakota to bear watching guides in Alaska to Yellowstone and Maine and Florida and – you get the picture.
Just about the time we had Pittsburgh PA in our sights there was an ad for a couple to run the RV park for the Indianapolis State Fair for the month of August for what we thought was a lot of money. We called and they gave us the job! So we turned around, headed back through the mountains again, and meandered towards Nashville before turning north towards Michigan.
The gig in Indianapolis is in August. I imagine it will be very hot!
We are looking for a certain fifth wheel to upgrade to a bit more room. There is one outside Asheville, and one in New Carlisle, Indiana which is where we are headed now.
Isn’t is fun to be able to turn on a dime and change your whole plans? We really still want to go to Maine!
If you know of anyone who might be looking for a great fifth wheel RV we have to sell ours first. It is a little embarrassing but we have a for sale sign on the back so people on the road can see it! Since the RV campground for the fair has 240 spots and there is a fairly good turnover for the three weeks we will be there, we hope to sell it then…
Here is a compilation video of what we are seeing as we travel. Hope you enjoy it!
We are done with the boat in Seabrook Texas and back to the grind! 😉
Up with the sunlight – 530 or 6. Tea or coffee depending on your lifetime habits. Give the dog a cookie. Browse the crap on the internet and get angry wishing you could get even. Drink one of Shelly’s awesome breakfast shakes (and a piece of toast if she has made bread lately! – yum!)
One of us takes the dog for a run (or walk or bike depending on the knee that day) while the other does yoga. (I love to watch her do yoga!)
Then pack up. She is inside and I am outside. Trinkets down, clean up, cabinets latched, slides in. Outside the awning gets rolled up, chairs put away, truck backed up and hitched, electric, sewer and water lines off and stowed.
Get Goose into the truck and away we go! A couple or three hours and find a state or national park that hopefully has some surprises like great trails or something historical.
It’s routine now. Just the way we live!
First day back on the road after an extended stay is always a treat. Three weeks in Seabrook getting the 37 foot donated boat running and sold seemed a long time, but really in the scheme of things? Probably not.
We did get the boat running fairly well and we did get her sold. Not for a lot – but enough to allow The FEW to help more warriors. I know a lot more about 454 GM engines than before!
We did not get far the first day. After the morning of helping new owners of the boat with a little familiarity session, we drove about 30 miles north for a Chick Fil A lunch with Maureen and daughter Marley before rounding Galveston Bay to the north and east through Port Arthur to Sea Rim State Park. They did not have an RV spot but we could stay on the beach for $10. OK!
Here is the wild part. If you have been with us you might remember a few years back where we almost lost Goose to wild pigs on an island off the Georgia coast? Great reading story here if I say so myself. Made myself cry all over again re-reading it.
Well, here we are on this beach all by ourselves and guess what comes out of the seagrass to say hello to Goose? Yep – a wild pig bigger than he was! He barked but decided he wanted nothing to do with that pig! You have to wonder if (and what) he remembers. We certainly remember!
From Sea Rim, we wandered back roads through coastal Texas seeing old hurricane damage, very small villages still making a living from the sea, and every now and then a helicopter area providing oil rig deliveries with people and supplies.
As we passed the ports like Port Arthur, New Orleans and Mobile, the tankers, ships and tugs were everywhere. We also see this in the RV parks as many of the employees for these companies live with their families in RV’s like ours. Except they are more like mobile homes that never move. (And often a little bit trashy!)
Can you see in the mirror? I am passing a huge oil tanker in the right lane!
We did get a few hours in New Orleans and the French Quarter (which was plenty). It was different – loud, dirty, smelly, crowded (even in off season) – but still interesting. Good to visit but…
So we make our way towards Valdosta Ga and Thanksgiving with the boys. It is an event to look forward to! Then on to Florida and the Hatteras again.
Then what? We don’t know! But I’ll tell you when we find out! 😉
This is the last day of our workamper experience in South Fork, Colorado. The rv is ready to go in the morning, and although we are only planning a two hour trip to a national park in Durango, Colorado for tomorrow, it is sort of a big deal.
We haven’t been anywhere except one trip last week with the rig since we arrived in late August, so we are very excited to be on the road again.
The stay here has been fun allinall. South Fork at 8300 feet is beautiful. We have taken advantage (as we planned) to travel around southern Colorado and visit places like Ouray, Silverton, Aspen, Gunnison, Lake City, Creede and much more. We have hiked lots of trails, and around lakes at 11,000 feet. We visited hot springs, and cold water and snow covered mountains in September.
We made a difference at a new rv park doing hard physical labor with a chain saw, weed eater, and a machete I thought I would never see again after the horse farm as well as met some amazing people.
The instant gratifIcation of seeing the changes, and the stamina and physical changes from the labor and running every morning with Goose is worth much more than the minimum wage received. (And it wont hurt when I start skiing!)
Now we turn our truck and home westward for two weeks towards the Grand Canyon, the Navaho and Ute nations and all the wonders they hold. We intend to wander until a ski swap the lat weekend in October in Albuquerque, then make our way up to Red River, New Mexico to get ready for winter and skiing.
After all, that was why we came out here in the first place.
What is kinda funny is that we are already thinking about next year (although it is way too early) as opportunities are presenting themselves in places like Alaska, Minnesota, Idaho, and even Florida.
We have enjoyed an amazing summer to fall change, seen the awesome colors of the aspen and cottonwood trees, watch the Rio Grande River rise and fall and flow, and already had a good snowstorm where we had to shovel three inches of snow off the roof.
And icing on the cake we get to watch as hollywood and the nfl implode proving that karma is a bitch.
We just hope that some of the blessings we receive are visible in the video!
Not only is the golf tournament completed (very successfully thanks to volunteers, sponsors, donors and players) but so is our 6 year relationship with paws4vets and paws4people. We have separated due to ‘irreconcilable differences’. It was a good run and we are proud to have played a major role in bringing in close to one million dollars in funding during that time. They have a great mission and we wish them the best.
So Saturday after the event we hit the road on a new adventure in our 5th wheel. We have lots of ideas and maybes, but really we are just headed westward. Slowly. Faster than the boat’s 7 mph as we travel more like 60mph, but instead of pulling anchor up at dawn and moving 10 or more hours to get 70 miles in, we unplug from water and electric, roll up the awning, put everything away, back the truck up to hook up, and we are out of camp by at least 10am! And we travel back roads to arrive somewhere else in a few hours that looks interesting.
So far, in 4 days we made it all the way from Beaufort SC to Andersonville Ga! Four campgrounds and a lot of decompressing.
We have passed through very small, very quiet towns like Waldorf, and Roberta, and Millen. These places seem forgotten by time and we love driving very slowly through them.
We now know State Parks are fairly expensive to camp, with US Forestry camps much less. Tonight we are in the town of Andersonville Ga in their small RV park by ourselves and it is only $17. Cool. The last time I visited this solemn ground was in the mid 1960’s when we lived nearby in Americus and saw the 60 ft + deep well hand dug by Federal prisoner of war soldiers trying to get water for the 33,000 civil war prisoners here in 1864. They have now filled those in and just placed a marker there instead.
It certainly does not come close to telling the story anywhere near as well. I still vividly remember that day long ago and my dad telling me they never found the water… Over 16,000 soldiers died here. War is awful for everyone no matter where it is fought.
Our shakedown of our new home continues – literally.
One of the surprises is that the RV gets bounced around WAY more than the boat ever did. We have had bags of rice explode, the tempered glass shelf with the tall items like milk etc shattered and the shards were driven deep into the produce below, and the best mess of all when the pickle jar shared its juice with everything in the refrigerator.
Yesterday I built an acrylic replacement shelf, screwed in the door shelves so they couldn’t jump off, and made a full piece of acrylic that holds everything in while we are moving.
A couple of cabinets have been tinkered with to strengthen latches, locks and shelves.
Next is to figure out the batteries and charging system and bring it up to ‘cruising’ standards. I think we will need new deep cycle batteries, solar panels and an inverter/charger. There goes a bunch of money!
All in all though, both of us are thrilled with our setup. The ability to move quickly, comfortably, safely in a fairly new rig is something we have not experienced before.
We can pull in and have the RV set up, level, truck unhitched and ready for living in 10 minutes. The ability to wash and dry clothes in your own home is an awesome thing! And to have a vehicle to run around in separately opens up a whole world we did not have without finding a rental car before.
This next week we help Ian move into storage as he is deploying for 4 months, then down to see Ryan in St Pete before we pick a road to start meandering towards the Rocky Mountains.
We are having a blast with our new Atlas, and Google looking at ski places we can stay for free in the parking lot this winter. 😉
All while having nightly discussions about what we want to “do” next. Someday we might decide on something fun and rewarding.
If you have been following the storyline, the plan was to fix up the Land Yacht so we had a place to live for a few months while we organized the 2nd Annual Step Up to the Tee for Veterans golfing fundraiser in Beaufort SC. (BTW we still need players, donors and sponsors to make this work! Please check out http://paws4vets.org/golf)
The next step in the plan was to sell Yume and find a truck and 5th wheel RV to travel westward after the fundraiser.
We found a truck on Craigslist in Sarasota and picked it up this week. While down there we put a deposit on a 5th wheel as well. It is a 32ft 2007 Newmar Cypress. (See image above.) So now we have a vehicle for the first time since we left the horse farm three and half years ago.
Next Friday we meet the new owner of Yume in Brunswick, hopefully collect a check to pay for these recent purchases, and take one last trip north on the waterway to help them get Yume to her new home in northern Maryland.