Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Location, Location, Location

In many ways life the last couple of weeks has been fairly routine. We went to work each day; came home each evening; seemed to go out again most nights for one thing or another; and spent time seeing friends and family. Joan says "We are always doing something. We are hardly ever at home" and I agree. We both like it that way. When we grow up we want to be like Florence.

Our friend Florence (89 and counting)
Florence always says she'll sit down to read or watch TV when she gets too old to go places and do things. She lives near Boston and still walks several miles a week. I'm playing softball a couple nights a week; Joan and I both workout at the gym 2-3 times a week; and we have started a gentle yoga class.

In addition to our normal routine we also hosted Thanksgiving at the lake for a group of 40. Joan is the oldest of 7 and her dad is also 1 of 7. Between brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews, 2nd, 3rd, and "to infinity and beyond" cousins there is a large community of her family close to us. My family put up a 9 spot of participants, hers the balance. It was great. Weather was in the low 70's with a brisk breeze. everyone spent most of the time outside.

My Over 50 softball team The Kardiac Kids participated in and won our monthly tournament the weekend before Thanksgiving (we won all 4 games; came back from an 18-4 deficit in the first game to win and had to score 22 runs in the last 2 innings of the last game to win; we scored over 100 runs in 4 games).

And Joan and I have been actively researching workamping opportunities; We submitted applications with several workamping organizations and individual campgrounds with job openings throughout most of the western states. Last week we received two emails asking if we would be interested in camp hosting positions; one just outside Yosemite National Park and the other near Mt Hood. We contacted the operations managers of both opportunities to discuss specifics. Both positions sounded great and we felt comfortable accepting either opportunity. We talked about it, slept on it and finally decided on Location, Location, Location. I called the operations manager in Oregon and we have accepted the position just outside Mt Hood National Park. YAHOO! Our first workamping job! We are really excited! And scared!

We have a call scheduled next week to discuss the details; when, what, etc. Until then we are trying to keep from over-reacting. We think we know what we're getting into but you just never know until you go out and do it. The normal 9-5 may not be everyone's perfect job, but it does have its merits: regular paychecks, benefits, and usually a routine you can count on. Workamping will be a whole new ballgame for both of us. We've always lived in Florida (so where do we pick for our first opportunity? About as far away and different from Florida as you can get in the continental US!). We have a good friend in Washington, but both of our families are spread across the southeast. Look out Skype, here we come!

We're thinking that we'll need to wrap up our normal jobs early to mid March in order to be in Oregon by the 1st or 2nd week in April to start orientation. We don't want to rush to Oregon in 'Vacation Mode' traveling 400-500 miles a day. It's approximately 3300 miles from here to there so if we keep it at 150-250 miles a day, that will still take 2-3 weeks of travel if we don't stop to visit or see the sights along the way. Our original thoughts about a workamping lifestyle were driven by a desire to slow down and experience new things. We might as well start off on the right foot by taking our time.

Location, location, location.....that's something we expect to change regularly from now on. There are a lot of locations that we want to see and explore. And workamping will allow us to do just that!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Shake Down Cruise.....There's Still a Ringing in My Ears......

10/15/11 - I wrote this just after we sold the Class C and purchased the Class A in August 2010. Couldn't find it for a while and just stumbled across it. Thought I would publish it now...

......Just got back from the first trip in our new RV. We've had a 25' Class C for 3 years which we sold a few weeks ago. Two weeks ago we bought a used 40'DP and decided to take it out for the Labor Day holiday weekend. We knew there would be a lot of new things we needed to learn as we moved from a small gas chassis to the larger diesel. So we started planning a short shake-down cruise.

What started out as a short drive - long weekend for two trailering the motorcycles soon morphed into a 700 mile roundtrip for 9. How did that happen? Something like this:

“Let’s invite Jim & Debbie to go"
"OK. Only fair since they helped us do all the RV shopping"

"We'd love to go. Where are you headed?"

Then a few days later.....
"We've been invited to go the beach near Debbie's sister. Would you guys like to take the RV there instead? You can set up the RV at their house and we'll have access to their boat and ...."

"Sure, one place is as good as another"

And a few days after that.....
"We've been asked if the grandkids can ride with us. We'll just take the car and follow you guys....."

"No need to do that. We've got plenty of room in the RV. We'll put them in the back room with some DVD's and ....."

And after that.....
"Since Jim and Deb's grandkids are coming how about we take ours too? Jim, Deb and their grandkids will be staying in her sister's house. The 5 of us should be fine in the RV"

So next thing I know we're on our maiden voyage with every seat taken and all the storage bays full of gear.

Not a problem...right! The kids will be in the back, we'll be up front enjoying the new ride, checking things out. Until.....

"We can't seem to get the DVD to play on the rear TV. The kids are getting restless, so can we let them watch their movies up front."

Did I tell you about the great 12 speaker home theater sound system in the front of the motorhome. It's great! Just like being in the movies with Dolby Surround Sound....you can actually feel it when things really get cranked up..I don't think we've ever heard a system like that outside of a real theater. ..it's really great....except when the you're attempting to drive a 32,000 pound 40' motorhome on your maiden voyage!

Next thing I know I'm surrounded with bears, John Candy and Dan Ackroyd (The Great Outdoors); Sasquatch (Harry and the Hendersons); The Water Horse (whatever that is????); and Avatar playing at a decibel level high enough to be heard by a group of 5 kids riding in a diesel motorhome....Oh yeah, did I mention that two of the primary speakers are located about two feet behind my head! 

I'm sure it was great for the kids and everyone else watching. Some of movies they even watched twice. Yahoo.....Me on the other hand. Well I did manage to keep 16 tons of RV between the lines even with crashes, guns and bombs going off unexpectedly every few minutes. But there’s still this ringing in my ears????

The beach was great. And our hosts could not have improved on two great days of swimming, beaches and marine wildlife. We even got to go see dolphins. And then it was time to drive home...and watch the movies again! Double Yahoo!

We learned a lot about the RV. We need to get better organized. We need to determine places for our stuff and make sure it gets put back when we're done with it. We made a list of things we need to pick up before the next trip. We subsequently learned how to get the DVD to play on the rear TV!

And we learned that this is going to be a lot of fun!