Monday, December 25, 2017

The 7 Year Hitch

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope your Christmas is fun, relaxing and safe. And that your New Year is healthy and happy.

Joan and I find ourselves back in Boulder City, NV this holiday season, volunteering at Lake Mead NRA until March 2018. We have volunteered here 5 times; the 1st time in 2013 doing maintenance at Echo Bay marina and the other 4 as Road Monitors out of Boulder Beach. If you haven't figured it out by now, we kinda' like it here in the winter. The volunteer campground has 19 sites; this year with 8 returning couples. It's kind of like 'coming home' and seeing our family when we're here. Every once in a while, a couple misses a season (like we did last year), but there is a core group that has been coming as long as we have; Liz and Bob - originally from this area with family here and in new England; Barb and Bill - from Wisconsin wintering here in between family in Montana and California; Daryl and Barb - staying warm waiting for the snow to melt in Colorado; Ginny and Don - our role models, well into their social security years physically but still teenagers at heart, in their 11th RV over the years, planning a 25 day Mediterranean cruise in 2018 and Alaska in 2019. Energizer Rabbits, both of them; Leslie and Chris - with 2 RV's, 5th wheel for living, truck camper for short trips. New couples Bob & Dawn, Malcolm & Sheree and Glen & Gina just finding out what winters in Lake Mead are all about; Temps range between the 30's and low 70's, sunshine and no clouds for weeks at a time; and a great location to explore Utah, Arizona, Nevada and Vegas.

The 7 year Hitch.......yes, we're now into our 7th year living full time in our RV. We moved full-time into our 2005 Monaco Knight in October of 2011, and after 6 months we left Florida in March of 2012 headed to our 1st workamping gig in Mt Hood National Forest, Oregon. Since then we've worked in Colorado, South Dakota, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada and New Hampshire. We've visited dozens of National Parks, Monuments, Recreation areas and State Parks. We've met hundreds of new people, many of which that have become close friends. We continue to be amazed about the 'connections' and coincidences encountered as we travel; example -  fellow full-timer friends that called to tell us about meeting a couple at an overlook in California and while visiting with them at their campsite later that night and sharing stories about the RV lifestyle discovered that their daughters had worked with us mapping BLM roads the summer of 2015....small world!

Our 'Train' as Joan likes to call it
Things are changing for us in Year 7. We sold our 2005 Monaco and bought a 2014 Entergra Anthem 42DEQ; Joan is no longer following me in the car while I pull a 12' motorcycle trailer with the RV; rather she's riding up front with me (and driving at times) while we pull a 24' trailer carrying our jeep and motorcycle; we're also volunteering year-round giving us more flexibility in where we work and how long we work at each location. In 2018 we will be working at Sullys Hill National Game Preserve near Devils Lake, North Dakota; our first time volunteering with the Fish & Wildlife service. We're working on our plans for 2019 with a tentative nod to work at a fish hatchery in Washington or possibly a National Forest in Idaho. We spoke to a Forest ranger about working in Coconino National Forest in Arizona in future years and we've still got thousands of locations in the midwest and north central US to consider in the future.

Joan and I had no idea what this lifestyle would be like when we started in 2012. Some things worked like we thought; others, not so much. We have been continually surprised and excited about the things we see and do; the people and friends we meet and share our life with; and the adventures we find ourselves engaged in unexpectedly. People have asked us where or when we'll settle down. We don't know. Neither of us can imagine a life where we are static; in one place. We intend to travel more, explore more and to learn more. We intend to seek out more adventure and new friends. And to share our life via the blog more often.

We enjoy unexpected surprises, phone calls and knocks on our door. We encourage phone calls from family, friends and acquaintances to catch up on what's going on; emails or calls from folks curious about a place we've visited or a job opportunity we've experienced. And we enjoy sharing our adventures with friends. Don't hesitate to call or stop by anytime. Or 'Friend' us on Facebook and enjoy the 100's of photos Joan has posted. Enjoy the New Year.

That's it for now. Stay Tuned. More to Come.