Friday, July 11, 2014

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

As in all things in life, our journey into full time RVing has its ups and downs.  And right now since we are experiencing true work camping and not out having a great time EVERY day. It seemed a good time to reflect on the RV/work camping lifestyle. And, since I am not known for candy coating the truth, I see no sense in starting is the GOOD, the BAD and the UGLY!

THE GOOD......

Truthfully most everything is good. Traveling, seeing the country, exploring, hiking and trying new things. We love exploring a new area, but always coming home to our own comfy condo on wheels and sleeping in our own bed is priceless. As for the good in work camping, our bosses are very nice people, we are living in a beautiful and cool place and we have met some interesting fellow work campers.  We are also spending less money since we are working for our RV spot and we also get 4 loads of laundry for free a week and $60 torwards our electric bill. So less expenses and since we work extra hours, a little extra cash in our pocket. Another great perk is that our bosses have given all of us a free rafting trip, a free zip line tour and a free train ride.  All in all, well over $500 in free fun.  Speaking of zip lining, here is a few photos of that adventure.

    Group photo with all of our fellow work campers

Some other good things about working at an Rv park is some of the special events.  Over the Fourth of July weekend, the owners had a duo come in and entertain the folks staying here so we got to enjoy the music too.  Sean and I actually danced together! We hadn't done that for years.

    Some cute little girls enjoying the music
    I actually found this guy in a trash can when I was cleaning. I saved him.

We work four days on and have four days off so we have done a lot of biking and hiking.  This had led us to see many beautiful places.  Here is a few photos from the last couple of hikes....

    Top of the WORLD!

Today we went on a hike with my old friend and co-worker Christine and her husband. It has been fun getting to catch up with her after about 15 years.  We hiked around Twin Lakes near Leadville. The trail led to an old Victorian that has been preserved and an old resort.

    A little blurry...  Inter Laken resort.  Quite the big to do in its time.

    My friend Christine and her husband. We were all
    enjoying the beauty of the Twin Lakes.

    Silly old marmot!

Ok. So that is some of the good. Really, I could go on and on. Now for 

THE BAD......

The good and the bad sometimes go hand in hand. The good of carrying your home with you everywhere has also it's own set of bad. Our home is small compared to a full size house but it is pretty darn big to be dragging down a highway.  We are 39 feet long and that has a lot of challenges. I have mentioned most of them in past blogs so I won't reiterate too much.  The other bad is the cost to move our little/big home. We can spend over a $100 a day in fuel when we are on the move.  We had a tidy savings when we started but due to some unforeseen expenses, the cost of gas, repairs to the rig and some equipment we needed, it is dwindling quickly.  Truthfully, we may need to do something drastic (like get real jobs) in the next year or so if we can't lessen some of our expenses. Hopefully working at Amazon will help.  Another thing we learned is that bigger is not always better. We think now a 36 foot rig with only a few slides (we have five!) might have been a good idea. Our large size does not allow us to go to many low cost state parks and makes it difficult to just stop anywhere. We cannot get into our bedroom if we don't open up the slides, so boondocking (camping without hookups, sometimes done in Wal Mart parking lots for a quick over night) can be cumbersome when you have to open up your whole rig to just catch some shut eye.  All of those slides can make maneuvering into some spots difficult. Also to pull such a large home, we have a very large dually truck.  After we are parked, the truck is our only form of transportation and a dually can be difficult to park in some instances.  It really gets pretty good mileage for such a beast (around 17 if we aren't towing and aren't in city traffic) and we love all of its features. It is by far the nicest vehicle we have ever owned.  And I admit, I miss decorating my home. There isn't a whole lot you can do in an RV without spending some money, so we haven't done much.  We would love to rip out the carpet and a few other things but that does require money. So for now, we aren't going to do anything.

Now for the bad of work camping.... Well it is work! Sometimes very hard work.  I have spent about 30 hours staining cabins and that is one of my favorite jobs! Mostly I clean bathrooms, showers and cabins. It can be boring and tedious. Sean feels the same about his job. He spends his time also staining cabins, parking rigs, mowing and cleaning camp sites. And we make $8 an hour. Enough said.


Sean and I spend 24/7 together. Generally that is no problem but I know at times for me, I need some alone time. Especially when I am moody and hormonal. And one bathroom can be a bit of a problem sometimes too. Also Sean needs to eat three meals a day and several snacks. I am the cook so I have to be around food all the time. I am trying to keep off all the weight I lost, but it is a challenge. And not all of our adventures are a success. We went on a mountain bike ride that was rated beginner/intermediate. Well I am here to tell you that term beginner does not include 50 year old women who ride a comfort bike with a pink bell! I was miserable. It was hot, the terrain was mostly too difficult for me to ride, so I walked and or pushed my bike. NO FUN!

    As you can see the terrain was rough.

By the time we were done, I was miserable and so glad to be done. I did not feel accomplished as I didn't even get to ride my bike much. Even down hill was too much for me to handle.

And then just two days ago we started out on a hike near Monarch Pass. First of all the hiking app we use (AllTrails) took us to private property and not the trail head. We eventually found the trail head and headed up to Water dog lake. We were eaten by mosquitos the whole way up. Swarms at times that if we stopped, they really attacked.  We went very fast and really didn't get to enjoy the scenery at all. Then we reached the lake and the mosquitos were even worse and then we heard thunder. The weather had been changing while we were hiking but we hadn't noticed much since we had been battling the mosquitos.  We decided to not hike around the lake and head back down the trail. 
    Quick selfie before we headed back down

Within a 1000 feet the hail began, first small but quickly pea sized. We kept going because there really was nowhere to hide from it and with thunder comes lighting.  It came down harder and faster and soon we were all three soaked. My arms and hands were numb from the cold and pelting of the hail. We finally took cover under a tree as the peas were getting even larger.
   This is the only photo I got as I was doing all I could do to get down safely.

We decided that staying put could turn Into hypothermia and we had better keep moving.  We at times ran when we could but then I started envisioning me falling and breaking a leg while I froze to death.... In July!  Again, NOT FUN! We finally made it down safely to the truck. We had warm clothes to change into and we dried poor Remi as much as possible and cranked the heater on high. We were very unprepared for that weather and things could have gotten even worse. We were lucky.  The temp outside read 44 degrees and it was much warmer at the bottom of the trail then when the hail started to really come down.  It was close to 70 when we began.

Now for the ugly of work camping.  I won't go into much detail but when you are cleaning toilets and showers after dozens of dirty people have used them....well use your imagination. I was never someone to like cleaning though I always kept our house clean, but cleaning up after those you love and cleaning up after complete gross.  And our boss is very anal. From how you scrub the floors to how you water the flowers and everything else in between. But it is his property so I can understand but it gets old.  I don't take photos of my work day, but I couldn't help it when I found this in a cabin I was cleaning one day. I was just glad they weren't used.
    Who ever can guess what this is wins a lifetime subscription to our blog for FREE!
    Why would anyone do that? People are odd.

So that is it....the good, the bad and the ugly.  The good far outweighs the other two but I want to be honest and let you know that this life isn't perfect and it has it's challenges. Most, I hope we can overcome.