On the road back to Texas!

It has been a while since I’ve posted. When we left Texas on November 26th for Las Vegas, we thought we’d be gone about 30-days to take care of the details we needed to tend to for Bob’s brother who was brutally murdered. We ended up being in Las Vegas for 60-days. Our saving grace was Bob’s daughter Julia and her husband Chris, and of course our two grandsons, Austin & Ben. We went to shows, went bowling & golfing, and out to dinner a lot. So with all the bad came a lot of good.

Bob’s children all came to Uncle Richard’s funeral and that was a big help. We also enjoyed spending some time with our ex-sister-in-law Carolyn.

When we first arrived in town we were overwhelmed with all things we needed to do to get everything settled. We took it one day at a time and eventually got everything done that could be done at this time. Being there during Christmas and New Year’s delayed our ability to procure the legal documents we needed. That and some repairs on the rig made our stay stretch out to 60-days. We did get the new window made and installed (the first one did not fit so a second one needed to be manufactured). This was the window behind the couch that a rock totally shattered.

We had the annual maintenance done on our hydro-hot system and it took them three attempts to get that all right. It all worked great until they did the maintenance. Sometimes it get frustrating getting maintenance done! We had all the oil changes done and all the filters changed.

We bought a new vehicle… one we had been drooling over for some time. We bought a new Chevy Suburban LTZ at Henderson Chevy in Henderson, NV. We had some major problems with that place, not professional at all. The SUV is great but they were not. We would never buy from them again!

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We were blessed on many levels. The Las Vegas Metro Police were wonderful to work with. And they put the Victims of Crime in touch with us to help guide us through the whole maze of things to do and helped with expenses. Even in the darkest of times, silver linings do shine through. It’s amazing.

Our son-in-law, Chris, sells discount tickets on the Las Vegas Strip for Tix4Tonight. So we enjoyed a Christmas concert by Mannheim Steamroller (I have their CD’s). We saw the Country Superstars who are very talented impersonators… they performed Wynona Judd, Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw and Big & Rich. My favorite was their rendition of Big & Rich. Lots of energy in that performance. We saw the musical History of Las Vegas and it was great! It was kind of sad to see the original icons of the strip come down, like The Sands & many other historic casino/hotels. Lots of nostalgia in that show!

We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with Julia & family. Christmas Day we prepared a big meal. I bought a 26 pound pastured turkey at Whole Foods and we roasted it and had all the trimmings.

On New Year’s Eve we were going to cruise the strip on foot (they close the strip to auto traffic at 6:30 that night because there are so many people walking around), but Chris ended up in the ER with the flu and I had a nasty sinus infection. So at midnight we went outside our rig and watched the fireworks at the Stratosphere. Our campground is right across the street. Fantastic fireworks!!!

On January 6th, we bought tickets to see Penn & Teller. I’ve been wanting to them for two years. We almost got to see them that night… I don’t know if I got the flu or the Norovirus (both were making the rounds) but 5 minutes into the show I was in the bathroom going at both ends. After 20 minutes I told Bob we need to go home… NOW!

I spent the next six days in bed with nausea and other maladies. Finally, I got well.

We drove up to Mt. Charleston and ate dinner at the ski lodge. There was lots of snow up there!

Then, finally, on February 4th we went to Penn & Teller and got to see the whole show. It was fantastic. If you go to Vegas, the shows are great. I did a little gambling, but I found it boring and did not enjoy throwing money away. But we did love the shows!

We were afraid we would not get to see Penn & Teller before we left, they were out of town for the week before we left. When we got to Phoenix we realized why. We were watching the Dr. Oz show and there they were on his show.

20130211-115026.jpg This was up at Mt. Charleston.

Finally, on Feb. 6th we got to leave Vegas. We spent four days in Mesa/Apache Junction. The Mesa/Apache Junction KOA is a very nice park! I got to spend time with a dear childhood friend, Angie Darzes-VanDaele. She now publishes a bridal magazine for Arizona brides. We spent several hours together and even though we had not seen each other in probably 45+ years, it seemed like all that time just melted away. It was so good to see her 🙂

We strolled through the Mesa Market Swap Meet one morning. I found a cute little powder blue golf bag that I just had to have. My current bag is a 25 year old style and weighs a ton. This one is nice and light weight. I’ll take it out to Big Cedar Country Club in Teague and go golfing.

Chris and I golfed at the Desert Rose golf course in Vegas. By the 13th hole I was getting very discouraged as I was majorly topping the ball and could not get under it to save my life. Finally, Bob suggested I take my glasses off. You see, I wear trifocals and they were messing up my depth perception. As soon as I took them off my game improved! Who knew!?!?

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Bob is going to take a few lessons to see if his back will take golfing okay. Chris lent him a few left handed clubs. I sure hope he can do it!

In Mesa we found a quaint but very busy farmer’s market, recommended by the staff of the KOA. Superstition Ranch Market. I bought vine-ripe strawberries at 4 lbs for a dollar, big red peppers were 3 for 99 cents as were green and orange peppers. We bought vine-ripe tomatoes and raspberries, fresh cauliflower and sweet potatoes. I pressure cooked the sweet potatoes last night and they were so good. All of this stuff is grown locally and it shows. My freezer is stuffed… I prepared and froze all of the fruit & peppers. YUM!!!

The day before we left the Mesa/Phoenix area, my cousin Spencer and his wife Lois invited is over for a visit & dinner. They are RVers too. Remember, I came from a family of RVers! They love to take their two sons and go to the Dunes in California (near Yuma, AZ) and play in the sand on their 4-wheelers. We had a wonderful visit. Time went so fast… we were embroiled in telling old family stories about our grandparents, uncles, and cousins 🙂

We really liked the Mesa/Apache Junction area and it was full of “snowbirds.” We may come back & spend some time during the winter months. You never know…

Yesterday, we left Mesa and headed out on Superstition Highway (60). It was a scenic route and very pretty. We even saw more snow, but not on the road… thank goodness 🙂

Wednesday we will pull into San Antonio where we will go to Ironhorse RV and have a water filtration system installed, complete with a UV light and sediment filters. Since we go all over, it’s much easier make sure we are drinking pure water without having to haul bottles around and keep filling them.

Are we going back to the gate guarding gig?

Probably not.

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Mt. Charleston photos…

We did not realize the damage the commercial generators can do to a rig. We burned up two 50 amp Surge Gard surge protectors. Thankfully one was replaced at no charge since we took out the extended warranty on it in August when we bought the first replacement. Better to burn up those puppies than to fry all of our electronics! On the last gate we gained 30-45 minutes a day on our clocks. That is dirty power… megahertz are too high.

When we were in Vegas our washer/dryer would not work right. When the repairman came out he found many melted parts in our washer and the plug and outlet were scorched. So we had a new outlet installed and had to buy a new washer/dryer.

Also, our dishwasher never would work on the industrial generators. It would throw a fault code. But when we go to a campground or use our generator, it works fine.

Bottom line, our rig is our home and it is just not worth ruining it. I don’t miss the shifts, the bugs or the DUST… nor the coyotes, Javalina’s or the wild pigs. And thankfully, I never saw an illegal or a rattle snake… but I knew both were lurking out there.

I’ll keep you posted on what we are doing. In the last two months, I don’t think I had my computer out over a dozen times and that was not for very long. We put 1400 miles on our new Suburban in the time we were in Vegas. We were very busy getting things done and playing.

There are things we will miss about the gate guarding. It was a hard call for us to make. But when Richard was murdered, we decided life can be short… you gotta live while you have the chance. We are starting a new chapter now.

Till next time…

Vicky

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Penn & Teller stage.

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The Las Vegas KOA at Circus Circus where we stayed.

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Getting Ready For A New Life Adventure

Sitting here wrapping up our current job in Moab, Utah is a bittersweet time for me.

We’ve just finished our third year as full-time RVers. During that time we’ve worked part-time creating site maps/guest services guides for RV parks around the country.

We’ve met some wonderful RV park owners, and some who were not so great. We’ve met some wonderful people who advertise in our guides. My heart has gone out to these business owners as some of them explain to me that they’d love to either take out an ad or renew their current ad, but with the current economy, they have to choose between advertising or paying their employees… you know the choice they’ll make.

We’ve created guides for some of our parks for three years. The park owners and advertisers are friends by now. In this job I’m the one who goes out and sells the ads and it was fun at one time. Today, it’s a tough job because people are hurting. It’s also a job that takes up a lot of our time. We want less stress in our lives so we’ve decided to make a change.

We’ve been doing a lot of “workamping jobs” research. We get the Workamper News daily and that’s how we learned about gate guarding in the drilling fields of Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. Right now there is a real boom in this line of work in south Texas. Since we are Texans, this seems like a good fit for us. We also are very open to the other two states.

We’ve solicited wonderful advice from those who are currently working as gate guards. All seem very positive about their experiences. Yes, I know it’s going to be dusty, and of course it will be hot (we are already full-time Texans so we know all about HOT).

Bob is a day person and I’m a night owl so he will naturally work days most of the time while I work nights. It seems the only thing we have to provide is our time and our rig. The pay is pretty good and expenses low. Compared to what our expenses are on our current job, as a gate guard they’ll be non-existent!

We can work for a spell, then take off and go visit family and travel. Then go back to work and bank more money for the next time off. Sometimes we will be very busy, other times not so much.

Overall, we are looking forward to this new adventure. After the last three years, this seems like a good change for us. If we miss our old friends too much, we’ll just plan a trip to go see them.

So far we’ve contacted six or so gate guarding companies. Three have responded. One in particular sent us a package to fill out and send back. We are having background checks done (we’re already Coast Guard Approved so that should be easy) and we went to the local police department to get our fingerprint cards created. We took a test and filled out an application and sent it all in. Hopefully we’ll know more this week.

We will be leaving Moab next week and going to Las Vegas for about a week to visit family and be tourists. Then back to Texas. Before we get shipped off to south Texas, we need to get our annual physicals and all that entails, dental visits, dermatologist visits, special medical procedures that people our age need every few years, eye exams, and doggie dental cleanings. And most importantly, play with grandchildren!!!

Oh yes, we need a few things worked on in our rig and annual maintenance items taken care of. So we won’t be ready to start until mid-December or the first of the year.

We are looking forward to being able to pursue hobbies, like reading, puzzles, games and stuff like that. I’m looking forward to working on a writing career… something I’ve been wanting to pursue, plus I’d like to take up quilting one of these days. I was quite a seamstress in high school. With five granddaughters I can keep busy for a while making them special quilts. My daughter already has three projects in mind for her daughters.

I’ll keep you posted on our transition to this new adventure!

Vicky