What Was I Thinking?

This is week two of our summer work/camp position in Buffalo Bill State Park, which is about six miles from the adorable western town of Cody Wyoming, shown in the next two pictures.

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Bill and I are Site Stewards at Buffalo Bill State Park which, on paper, looks like it would a great outdoor summer job to have. We both love being outside, and how could you not love working outdoors here where everywhere you look there is something beautiful to look at…? The spot in the next two pictures is one of my favorite places to take a little break during the workday.

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This next picture is what we wake-up to every morning. It changes constantly throughout the day as the clouds move in and out and as the sun touches different spots of the mountain creating lovely shadows…

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The people here are all very nice. And, after work, we sometimes have little happy hours, and we even have a picnic table and b-b-q area right behind our RV that some past site stewards built out of reclaimed wood.. How nice is that!

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They even made a little bird house and birds of every color come to visit everyday…

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But “what was I thinking”, when I decided (and convinced Bill) that being site stewards would be something I would love above all else in the work/camp world? Well, according to the job description we received on day one of our jobs, we are to clean and sanitize about twelve bathrooms, mow grass, hand water where irrigation doesn’t reach, and “special projects” as assigned… three days a week/eight hours a day… That’s where it all went south, when the “special projects were assigned…

The first thing I let us get roped into was working a split shift on Tuesday’s. The Park Assistant Manger asked us if we would mind working from 7-11 in the morning on Tuesday’s, then go to help out at the Buffalo Bill Dam (shown below) Visitor Center from 3 p.m. 7 p.m. He said Bill could drive the electric cart that transports visitors from the parking lot to the Visitor Center, and I would be perfect to greet visitors and help sell stuff in the gift shop… I agreed because we want to be helpful, but I really never have liked working split shifts… when I get home from work, I don’t want to have to go back again in the evening… but I agreed so now that is what we do…

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But, OMG, what “WAS I thinking” when we were asked to take down snow fences and pull out the fence poles that hold them up…? The picture below is me trying to operate the pole puller, which weighs about 25 lbs all by itself. You have to lift it over the pole to get it on, push down with all your might (which at my age I dont’ have a lot of might now) then when you get the pole up out of the ground, you have to hold on to it with one hand while you try to hoist the 25 lb pole puller up and off of the pole you just pulled out of the ground.. OMG it is hard, manual LABOR, and not anything like I could have even imagined it would be… They told me, “oh, it’s easy, we have a pole jack that does most of the work for you…” Most of the work my A##! I hurt in places I didn’t even know I had after even a half a day of working this “special project”…

And, of course, before you can even begin to start pulling poles out of the hard ground…, you have to first undo all the little rusty wires that are tied around the poles that secure the snow fence to the poles and keep it around the trees… Once you get all the rusty little ties off, well then you have to pull all the fencing down, roll it up, and try to carry it to the flat-bed truck that we haul it back to the shop yard in…There is NOTHING easy about this kind of work. But, I’m doing it, and I even do it with my lipstick on… I might have to work like a man…but I don’t have to look like one…

Yesterday while Bill and I were taking down snow fences, a man working with our Park Manager, asked us how we got selected to do the hardest jobs in the park? I said “well because I’m stupid comes to mind”. I told him that I wanted to try being a site steward for a summer without having any idea of what it would involve here at Buffalo Bill State Park. He said he is a Park Manager at another park not far from here and wanted to know if we would be interested in being Park Host there? He said he would hate to “steal” us from this park but he has two open positions and he can clearly see we are great workers… He said all his Park Host have to do is clean campsites after campers leave and be there in the park four days a week to answer questions for visitors… I said it sounded GREAT to me right now, but we already committed to this Park and we will honor that commitment.

However, our Park Manger did come and ask us if we were being worked too hard and I VERY quickly said YES! So he said next week we will get trained on how to operate the big John Deer riding mowers and just do that from now on. He said he will let the younger, full-time, maintenance staff take down the remaining snow fences. YEAH!!! I wasn’t about to argue, but the fact of the matter is there are only about 15-20 fences left to come down… Bill and I already did about 40 all by ourselves…

So, next week Bill and I will still clean bathrooms in the morning, but in the afternoons we will be mowing all the dark green areas you see in the picture below.

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And, we will be doing it on big John Deer riding mowers… Sounds like a perfect plan to me, and just maybe I won’t have to be saying “what was I thinking”, anymore..!

Stay tuned!

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Buffalo Bill State Park

My husband, Bill and I arrived at our summer work/camp destination, in Buffalo Bill State Park, in Cody Wyoming, on Thursday morning. I just can’t say enough about how beautiful this place is to me. I am completely blown away, because this has surpassed every expectation I ever had about Wyoming even through Bill has been telling me about Wyoming for the past 28 yrs. Bill says he is getting a kick out of my excitement over just the things we have seen so far. And we haven’t even been to Yellowstone or the Grand Tetons yet…

You have to keep in mind that I have never really been out of Arizona, except to fly to New York City, where I did have the opportunity to visit Vermont, and I thought I died and went to heaven then… And when I was a child my family traveled from Arizona to Pennsylvania by car but I was so young I didn’t have any interest in seeing the country side at all. All I wanted was to get out of that car, packed with four kids, a very large dog, and my parents…

But now that Bill and I are retired and work/camping our way around the United States and eventually we hope to get into Canada… , I am just amazed at the beautiful things Bill and I are seeing along our way…

However, for now, I just want to share some of what I have seen just since we arrive on Thursday and this is only Friday…

When viewing these pictures please keep in mind, I have never lived anywhere where wild animals just come and graze right in front of your home, where ever that may be…

First off, this is the long tunnel we travel through from the adorable town of Cody Wyoming, where we will do our shopping, go to church, etc. as we make our way to our summer home on the north shore of Buffalo Bill Reservoir.

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When you come out of the long tunnel you are met with this beautiful view of the reservoir. This picture doesn’t even begin to do this view justice but it is the best I have so far.

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The landscape just keeps changing all along the reservoir, and it looks so very different at different times of the day.

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This view is just across the highway from where we are living.

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Now, I know many of you may have lived where you have wild horses, deer, or other wild animals visiting your property at any given time… but keep in mind that I have not ever seen anything like this herd of deer grazing just beside our driveway where we have our motorhome parked, when we came home from sightseeing today. OMG I could not get Bill to stop fast enough to get this picture.

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But there was no need for me to be in a rush, because even after we came into our home, I captured this picture through the front window of our motorhome. She/he was just feet in front of me and just stood there looking at me as I took his/her picture… It was like he/she was saying “no hurry… I’ll wait… calm down and just breathe it all in…

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Well, as you can tell, I am beyond excited about all the new things I am seeing, and experiencing, here in Wyoming… Things I have never seen before, and meeting so many nice people I may never see again…

So, if you can stand to hear more of my excitement…

Stay Tuned!

 

A Perfect Day

As far back as I can remember, I’ve loved horses. As a little girl, I dreamed of living on a ranch, and having horses of my own to ride whenever I wanted… But my life path was full of many different twists and turns to say the least, all of which I am grateful for. Because, every step I took, and everything I did in my life, made me the person I am today, and brought me to where I am today, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I didn’t have a horse when I was growing up, and as an adult, I couldn’t afford to own a horse, and still can’t… but that never dimmed my dream of living on a ranch with horses…

What I’ve learned is, when you keep your dreams alive, and never give up on them coming true, some way, some how.., God, the universe, and life… will lead you to your dreams… I know that because I’m living my dream life right now… and everyday is “a perfect day” for me now. Here is but one example of how I’m living my dream life after retirement…

Bill and I work/camp at San Tan Mountain Regional Reserve Park in Queen Creek Arizona for the winter months. This park has over 10,000 acres of land, and over 20 miles of hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding trails… We love it here, and we have made friends with all of our co-hosts, co-workers, and venders here at the park.

Last week, on one of our day’s off, we  started out our day with a “cowboy/cowgirl breakfast of potatoes, onions, peppers, sausage, and an over easy egg on top of a skillet breakfast… We don’t do this everyday, but we do enjoy this once a week…

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It was a picture perfect day here at San Tan Mountain Park as you can see by this picture below…

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Well, guess what…? San Tan Mountain Park is “THE PLACE” for horse folks, and they come in droves… The picture below shows the early arrivals… but let me tell you the lot you see will be FULL of horse trailers and horses on any given day and this is all happening just outside our motorhome fence that you can see… So lucky me… I am living my dream of living with horses (I may not own the “ranch”, but I live here from Oct-may) and that’s all I need….

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And, just to make life even sweeter…, Matt, the owner/operator of MD Ranch, is contracted with the park to provide trail rides for park customers… and guess what??? Matt told us whenever we want to go on a ride with him all we have to do is let him know…

We never want to take advantage of Matt’s generosity, but he often just asks us if we would like to go on a ride with him…. Well, if he asks, I don’t have to be asked twice… I’m getting my riding pants, and shoes on, and out the door as fast as I can… Which is what I did last week when Matt asked us to go on a two-hour ride with him…

These are Matt’s horses which are just outside our fenced compound on any given day… Did I mention I so love horses and wanted to live on a horse ranch….? Is this not the next best thing for that life dream…?

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This is Matt, getting his horses saddled up for the two-hour ride he invited us on… Matt is 39 yrs old and owns the MD Ranch that is contracted with San Tan Mountain Park throughout the winter/spring months. Then, he goes to Oregon where he has a ranch and many, many, more horses… Matt is VERY accomplished in his field, he has trail horses, rodeo horses, breeding horses etc. He also competes in events and has won many, many  times… We love our life here on the “dream” ranch… and we love Matt…!

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When Matt invites us to ride, he will never accept payment ($30-$50 plus per person an hour depending on the ride…) but we always give him a nice tip, and I scoop his horses poop around his trailer at the end of the day just so he doesn’t have to do that after a long day on the trails… I don’t mind one bit because I’m living my dream of having horses in my life…,and having the “perfect day” EVERYDAY…!

And the ending to the “perfect day”  for me, was, when a gentleman, our age( me and Bill),  said to me as I took his payment at the window with Bill standing behind me said, “did anyone ever tell you “your smile could melt Alaska..?

What a perfect ending to a perfect day!

Stay Tuned!

Stay Tuned!

Strange And Beautiful Sightings

I went to visit my mother today. I try to visit her on Tuesday’s now because there is musical entertainment in the activity room on Tuesday’s, and my mother seems to enjoy listening to the music provided mostly from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Her favorite entertainer is Karl Block. He is a very energetic entertainer that comes right down among the residents, holds their hands, and sings right into their eyes. He also provides different musical instruments like tambourines, and different small hand-held things that the residents can shake or rattle along to the beat of the music…

Today’s entertainer was Jim Bing. He plays guitar and tries hard to sing but I don’t think anyone ever told him he sings very much off-key… However, apparently that doesn’t seem to bother the residents, or they are so hard of hearing that they think he is on key… Either way, today was a good day for my mother as she enjoyed the music and even sang along with Jim.

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She even tapped her fingers on the table to the keep the beat of the music…

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All of that was a beautiful sight to see…

The next thing I noticed while sitting with my mother in the activity room, was a resident (little woman in blue shirt next to the wall of tiny windows), who never smiles, or even talks to anyone unless to lash out at them for one thing or another, get up and dance when one of the CNA’s went over and started dancing in front of her… It’s amazing how music transforms some of these residents who are otherwise thought “empty and void of emotions…” They danced through three songs together and that resident not only smiled, she was actually laughing… and that was another beautiful sight to see. 🙂

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On my way home from the care center, I just had to stop and take a picture of this cactus (in the center of the picture) in the desert just before you enter San Tan Mountain Reserve Park. I’ve been looking at this ever since we arrived here last October, but I just never stopped to get a picture of this strange and unusually shaped cactus, until today. I think it looks like a Sea Horse, if you take away the arms…, My husband, Bill/Bro, thinks it looks like a Giraffe. I’m interested in hearing what my readers think this cactus looks like to you..? What ever we think it looks like, or reminds us of… I think we can all agree, it is a strange-looking cactus right?

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Once I was home I noticed yet another strange sight when our cat, Carmen, started running back and forth, back and froth, from one end of our motorhome to the other as fast as she could. When she finally stopped running, and settled down, I went to see what she was doing and found her lying on our bed, belly up and feet in the air… I laughed thinking to myself, I’ve got to get a picture of this strange sight…

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I experienced another strange, and beautiful, event a couple of weeks ago while visiting my mother that struck me so profoundly that I couldn’t write about it until now, when out of the blue she said to me “I want you to know I really do love you, and maybe if I had done things differently with you when you were growing up, maybe you would have known that.” She said “do you believe me now? I have to be honest here and say that one of the things I always heard in our home when I was growing up and an elderly person that might have done something to my parents to upset them said they were sorry… my parents would say “I wonder if they really mean that or if they are just an old person trying to get into heaven now…” Those words ran through my mind when my mother asked me if I believe she loves me, but in that moment, I looked through my tear-filled eyes into hers, and accepted that as real, and told her “I believe it now mom, and in that instant I let go of past hurts…

A few months ago I had a similar experience with my father, even though he has been dead for 10 years this September. I gave my word to never fully write about what happened between my father and I, but let it be enough to say he broke a bond with me, and caused a hurt that changed me, and my family forever. He never said he was sorry, and never asked for forgiveness while he was alive. But he came to me in a dream a few months back, and without words spoken, in that dream… I accepted the apology he never gave me, and gave forgiveness he never asked for from me, and the next morning I woke up to this…

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And ended that day with this

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And that is a beautiful sight to see…and finally, I felt the peace I have been looking for…

Stay Tuned!

 

 

San Tan Graves

One of the biggest attractions at San Tan is Goldmine Mountain, which composes the majority of the north end of the Park and extends up to 2,500 feet in elevation. This mountain not only contains gold, silver, copper, iron and turquoise but a “Rich” history as well.  Heavy mining activity took place between the late 1800’s and 1980, where prospectors  were hoping to strike it big. During that time, there were 55 claims made on goldmine Mountain alone. Today the vast majority of the mining sites have been filled in, for safety concerns and only 5 active claims remain. Arizona Game and fish partnered with the Arizona State Mine inspector to fill in these potentially dangerous mines as well as to protect abandoned mines housing native wildlife. The “Bat Cave” is a mine that extends roughly 30 feet back and houses a small population of local and migratory bats as well as rattlesnakes and other creatures brave enough to venture into the dark. It has been sealed off at the front by steel bars to protect both the animals and humans who visit the area. The “Bat Cave Hike” is a popular ranger led hike which guides guests to the secret location of the cave and promotes responsible interactions with fragile species. This mountain seems to be a popular destination because along the way to the top of the mountain you can see amazing views, prolific wildlife, mines, and even the grave sites of Mansel Carter and Marion Kennedy (two miners who were associated with the Park’s mining history).

Man of the Mountain:

Many visitors come to the Park in search of the “Man of the Mountain, ” a unique and iconic legend imbedded in the local history. Mansel Carter was his name, and he was a simple man whose passion warmed the hearts of both the people and wildlife that surrounded him. His story starts in 1902 near Quaker City, Ohio and takes him all over the U.S. working odd jobs as a mechanic, a pilot, a photographer, a sheep herder, and even a logger. After being drafted into the Army during World War 2, he finally decided to settle down in Gilbert, Arizona to manage a photography business in 1941. Here he became good friends with a man named Marion Kennedy, who was a Cherokee Indian from Oklahoma who delivered ice to Mansel’s shop. They would go on weekend mining adventures together and enjoyed it so much they decided to move to the Goldmine Mountains in 1948 to look for gold. For their first year on the mountain, the two lived underneath the shelter from a palo verde tree. They never struck it rich but between what they did find and a small pension Mansel received from the Army, they made enough to get by. As time went on Marion began to lose his eyesight, but still wanted to help in the mining adventures. Marion trusted Mansel so much that he would hold the chisel while Mansel would drive it into the rocks, not being able to see what was going on. His eyesight became too poor to be wandering blindly in the desert, so Mansel created a network of ropes that would help guide Marion around their campsite. In later years Marion Kennedy’s health slowly declined and he eventually passed away in 1960 from cancer and other complications.

Even after Marion had passed, Mansel remained on the mountain and soon became a local celebrity. Travelers would visit him from far and wide to hear his stories, try his famous biscuits or buy one of his famous “Cactus Curios” wooden carvings. Visitors and animals alike were captivated by his charm and compassion. Mansel kept log books filled with the signatures of all the people who came to see the “Man of the Mountain.” The animals in the area trusted him; it was a common sight to see him with his pet quail, Maude, following him around the desert or perched on his shoulder.

In 1987 Mansel Carter passed away and was buried next to his friend, Marion Kennedy, on Goldmine Mountain. The grave sites of these extraordinary men can be seen on the Goldmine trail 1/4 mile south of the Goldmine trailhead in San Tan Mountain Regional Park.

Bill and I spent the morning with our Park Supervisor at the Goldmine Mountain entrance today. This entrance to our park does not have a pay booth, but uses an Iron Ranger payment system. In past years there was little interaction with park staff at this entrance to the park simply because there was not enough staff to go around…. However, now that the park has four Park Hosts, we rotate responsibility for going to the Goldmine entrance. We spend four hours per shift, three days a week, interacting with the visitors, making sure they know how to use the Iron Ranger (to avoid receiving a failure to pay ticket), answer any questions they may have and are there to welcome them in and help educate them on safety concerns… We bring water and a first-aid kit with us just in case anyone is in need… but mainly we are there to provide great customer service to the folks that utilize the Goldmine entrance of our park.

Naturally, this being our first time at the Goldmine entrance… Bill and I were given the opportunity to visit the graves of Mansel and Marion. I took the opportunity to capture these pictures of the gravesites while I was there.

This is the grave of Marion Kennedy.

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And this is the grave of Mansel Carter

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This is a picture of the enclosed gravesites of both men, best friends, buried side by side…

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Being the mother of a blind adult child, this story so touched my heart when I learned the lengths Mensel went to, way back then, to help his friend Marion, get around their campsite, and still help with the mining adventure… with ropes after he lost his eyesight to help him feel his way through… Now that’s what real friendship is all about in my opinion. Finding ways to help other’s, no matter what hurdles get in the way…

What I know for sure is “if there is a will… there is ALWAYS a way…,” if we just look for it, accept one another as we are…, and simply show love, and simple kindness to one another… If we would ALL do that, I know for sure, this world can and will be a much better place…

Stay Tuned!

 

Whatever Makes You Happy!

Even if it seems strange to others… If it’s not hurting anyone, and you’re having fun, I say go for it…Because “it’s all good!” Right?

That said, I just couldn’t help getting a closer look, and doing some investigating, into one of the “campers” that visited Quail Creek this week.

It all started when I was sitting at our dining room table in our motorhome on one of my days off and I saw a man driving a Porsche around and around the campground. He appeared to be lost. He drove through the campground three times then drove back up the hill toward the gate booth. Normally I wouldn’t think anything about that because people often drive through the campground to see which campsites are not reserved, then they choose an unreserved spot and set up their tent etc. and then drive back to the gate booth to pay the overnight camping fee and receive the window sticker for their vehicle. But in the five months we have been here at Quail Creek, I have never seen anyone come camping in a Porsche… I don’t mean to judge anyone… but I found that to be just a bit strange…

So then, about a half hour after the man in the Porsche drove off towards the gate booth, he came back again and parked in a campsite that our motorhome overlooks. By this time I was very intrigued, and wanted to see what this man was going to do… I mean, how often do you see someone go camping in a Porsche? He wasn’t pulling a trailer and didn’t have anything on top of the car like a rack to carry a tent… No, in fact, the Porsche was a convertible!

So now I’m really interested in what this man is going to do in his campsite, with his Porsche and no tent… Call me a Nib-nose… like Bill does all the time… but I just couldn’t help myself.. I had to see what this guy was all about. So I hurried and grabbed my binoculars, and camera, and had a great time watching this man set the table in his campsite up with all sorts of interesting figurines… Take a look at what I witnessed and let me know what you think.

He parked his little Porsche and started taking bag after bag of “stuff” out and carried it all over to the table… I thought he was taking groceries out and was going to start cooking… but No…

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Each bag was full of all sorts of figurines, battery operated candles, crosses, etc. that he placed with great care on the table that he had covered with a blue and while table-cloth.

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Well, my curiosity got the better of me so I called down to the gate booth and asked my friend Jackie if she knew anything about the man in the campsite with a Porsche.. Jackie told me that when he paid his fee for the campsite he also asked to buy some firewood. While Jackie was unlocking the firewood cage, the man started telling her some of his life story. He told Jackie that when he was younger he worked in a Bar and a Strip Joint, lived in California and got into some trouble there. Eventually he got his act together, put himself through college and eventually became a District Judge in Florida for 25 years!! He said he travels over seas a lot and has been all over the world. But now he is here in Quail Creek for the Sr. Games that are being held six miles away in St. George Utah. He told Jackie he swims in the Sr. Games and swam 20 miles around Catalina Island.  I asked Jackie if he seemed odd when she was talking to him. She said no, but he was missing his two front teeth…

Wow… what an interesting life to match the interesting and unique figurines he displayed on his campsite table…Figurines I just had to see up close. So the following day, while the man was in St. George at the Sr. Games I walked past his campsite and captured these close-up pictures of some of his figurines. I didn’t go into his campsite, I just stood in front of it and took pictures.

Take a closer look… 🙂

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I wanted so badly to talk to the man myself, but he is gone all day and when he comes in at night, he lights a campfire and sits at the table reading… I checked the reservation book and found out he is leaving tomorrow so I’ve pretty much missed any chance of talking to him…

As I write this blog post, he is in St. George at the Sr. Games, and I can see his campsite table is still set just the way he arranged it the first day he arrived. And for the entire week he has been here, he never put up a tent. I can’t imagine he slept in his little Porsche… the man is at least 6 feet tall, so I have no idea where he is sleeping. Bill said perhaps he has a sleeping bag he gets into under the table… maybe, who knows… and it really doesn’t matter… as long as he is doing whatever makes him happy… Right?

Stay Tuned!

Less Really Is More Now

At least it is for my husband Bill, and I. If you follow my blog you know that Bill and I just recently retired, sold everything we owned including our home, bought a 39 foot 2013 motorhome with only 11 thousand miles on it, and are now full-time RVers and we are loving every minute of our new lifestyle.

Since we made the decision to become full-time RVers, we have been asked over and over again what prompted us to go full-time RV instead of keeping our home and buying a travel trailer and just travel at will… I will try to answer that question now. Bill and I met at work 28 years ago. We became friends, and over time, that friendship bloomed into a love affair unlike anything I had ever known, and it wasn’t long until we knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. We married on September 6th 1988 and very quickly found that when we were not working, we loved spending our days off taking trips around Arizona. We spent a lot of time exploring Sedona, Prescott, Payson and Jerome. When we had a long weekend, we would take advantage of South West Airlines deals to San Diego. We could hop on a plane and be there in 45 minutes. We began to think of San Diego, and especially Coronado Island, as our personal playground.We were so in love and happy and one way we expressed our happiness was slow dancing around our room.

Fast forward five years and we adopted our daughter, Shantel, and our lives revolved around her and her needs. When Shantel lost her sight to cancer at the age of two, our lives changed again as we educated ourselves on how we would raise her and give her the best foundation on which she could eventually grow up and create a life of her own, independent of us…. Of course, if you follow my blog, you know the long complicated story of what we faced during the years Shantel was in school and the toll that took on all of us. So much so that when Bill came home from work exhausted from the physical labor of his day, and I came home exhausted from the mental stress of my workday and dealing with the school systems to help Shantel have what she needed to be successful throughout her school years…we no longer had the energy to dance…, and that always made me sad… We never lost our love for each other, and our underlying friendship was always there…., but it was just so hard to make the time we wanted when we were always so exhausted… But through it all, we always agreed that we were doing the right thing and we would do it all over again if needed.

As the years passed, eventually Shantel graduated college with two degrees and made the decision to move out and into her own apartment. Bill and I were so very proud of her but fearful for her safety as well. To be honest, I never really thought Shantel would want to stay in her own apartment, living alone, long-term… But after the first year, she signed another year lease and I came to terms with the fact that this is really what she wants and I started turning my thoughts to what now? What do Bill and I do with the rest of our lives… ? Bill and I found ourselves alone again in our home after 20 years of raising a second family… and we began to reconnect on a much deeper level again. We started doing the type of things we love to do again, and I started thinking about the possibility of retiring and traveling around the United States and Canada, something I’ve always wanted to do but kept that as my personal secret because I also had responsibility for seeing after my mother who lives in a Care Center. I remember thinking that there just never seemed to be the right opportunity for Bill and I when we had no one to be responsible for but ourselves. But, I soon found out that I was wrong.

Over the Christmas holidays, I began thinking of reconnecting with my daughter, Katie. I reached out to her and she responded, and we reconnected and began working on rebuilding our relationship… Then, slowly, Shantel reconnected with Katie and I knew then that if Bill and I were to retire and travel, Shantel would have someone, other than our dear friends Holly and Chuck, and her best friend, Jaz, to depend on if she ever needed help.

My mother’s health was in real decline and as I watched that progress over time, I knew there was nothing more that I could do to help my mother, and I knew that she was in good hands at the Care Center. Over the past six years, I visited my mother 2-3 times a week and I really got to know the staff. They are all very kind and work hard to support the needs of all the residents.

So, with the knowledge that Shantel would be fine without us there, and my mother in good hands, I started talking to Bill about selling everything and buying a motorhome and traveling. At first Bill didn’t think I was serious… he didn’t think I would really sell all of our possessions and live in a motorhome. We had a beautiful home and lovely things, but I knew we could not afford to keep the house up and do the kind of traveling I wanted to do… I want to be able to go where ever we want and stay as long as we want… and with our home being paid off, I knew we could take the money from the sale of the house and pay cash for our motorhome. I also did my research and knew that there are lots of opportunities throughout the country to “work camp” where you work a few hours a week in exchange for your park fees and you get full electric, water, sewer etc. for your motorhome. So basically when you work camp, you live free except for your food and gas in the car we drive to get around town… And with our pensions, and social security, we would have more than enough to really enjoy our traveling years.

Once I had all my research completed and knew the facts about full-time RV life, I knew that was what I wanted to do. I just had to decide if I wanted it bad enough to give up everything we owned and the life we lived to obtain it… When Bill and I sat down and really discussed the details of the full-time RV plan he said he loves to travel and knew he could live anywhere with me as long as I was happy… I told him I never wanted anything so bad in my life and I was willing to do whatever it took to accomplish this dream.

The next week we had a huge estate sale and sold everything…. and the following week we put the house on the market and it sold for full asking price in 24 hours. Three weeks later we bought our motorhome and we are now parked in Quail Creek State Park in Utah where we secured a camp host position until October when we will go back to Phoenix for the winter.

Bill and I are living our retirement dream and loving every minute of our new full-time RV lifestyle… And, for the first time, in a long time, …. we dance!

Stay Tuned!

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