We just thought we’d have time on our hands!

Well, we’ve been back at our home-base in Teague for almost 4 weeks and just now coming up for air.

Don’t get me wrong, being back with our daughter Bobbi and our three granddaughters, Corynn-12, Katelyn-6, and Lily-2, has been a true blessing. They do keep us hopping though.

Bob and I went to Waco a couple of weeks ago and got new bicycles to strap on to the back of the Suburban (so we can ride on streets and bike trails as we travel). Exercise is a key ingredient to staying young so no better time to get more active!!!

So now we go into town and go riding with Lily and Kate. Katie is just learning to ride a big bike and she is doing awesome. Less than two days and she was riding on her own. She is absolutely fearless… who knew!*?@#??!!

Corynn has been accepted into the NAM (National American Miss) program for this year. At age 12 she is in the pre-teen program. She has a pageant coming up this summer… she is so excited! We all are!!!

Last fall we joined the RCI vacation system. We’ve been members of Coast to Coast for 20 years and love it. We decided to join the RCI program now that we are retired and ready to travel. We are working towards taking a catamaran cruise for a week in the spring of 2014. It will be somewhere in the Carabbean or the Bahamas. Bob is an avid sailor so this is right up his alley 🙂

I’m not sure if we will do the snorkeling on our cruise, but they offer kayaking and we defenitely want to do that. Of course, the captain welcomes people to come try their hand at the ship’s wheel… they may regret that when Bob gets onboard. We have not owned a sailboat for several years so he is positively itching to get his hands on the wheel again!

One thing that looks like fun is the “noodle bar.” The first mate (also the cook) gets the adult beverages in a floating container and sets it up in the water. Passengers get on noodles or floating chairs and lounge around  drinking their favorite drinks… while in the water. I mean… does it get any better than that? I can’t wait!

I must say, at first learning all about RCI seemed like a daunting task. But, they have a wonderful organization. Thank goodness for the Internet… I can’t imagine what it was like before you could browse for vacations online. Everytime I call RCI for support, they are extremely helpful and friendly. I tell them I’m new and they simply say, “That’s what we are here for!” I thought customer service like that was all but dead. Thankfully, I was wrong.

We recently purchased and installed a new water purification system in the Silver Bullet. I’ll get a picture of the set up and post it here next. Before the new system we just used a high grade water filter (single unit) and a water softener. In many cases, especially in Cotulla and Las Vegas, we would have to recharge the softener every week since it was so small and trying to clean up such horrible water.

Now we can go for weeks and the water is so clear! I’ll give you more details next time. I wish we would have had this out in the oil patch!

Till next time…

Vicky

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On the road again & loving it…

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Here we are entering Benton, Arkansas on our way to the N. Little Rock KOA for the night.Then on to Mountain Home tomorrow to get ready for Bob’s children Heather, Julia, Bill & Heather, and Bob’s brother Richard. They are all coming in on Friday and Saturday we will spread Mom’s ashes per her request at the White River.

It’s rare to have everyone together in one place at one time so we will all celebrate Mom’s life and the opportunity to all be together.

We have one coming from Iowa, two from Las Vegas, and two from Missouri… in addition to us from Texas.

Weather is HOT today, about 101 but supposed to cool down tomorrow. We can only hope!

I’ve received many wonderful emails from people glad to see my blog up again. I didn’t realize how much I missed being a part of this “online” community. Thank you to everyone for contacting me. Some of you have also asked some great questions.

Till next time,

Vicky

Be flexible… life changes!

Change… is a good thing… right?

It allows us to grow, expand our horizons, yada, yada, yada!

Well folks, we are about to “change” again and yes, it is a good thing. We have not yet been gate guarding a year yet and already we’ve learned so much. We have decided to stay in the gate guarding biz. I’ll explain…

First, it does pay better than most other forms of workamping. I know some of you out there say, “Well, you only make $5.21 an hour. “ Maybe there is an argument for looking at it this way… but, I’m still not convinced I look at it this way.

Now, if you work for a campground (for example) you will make $8.00 (more or less) per hour.

True, but you will probably work the first 20-hours (per week, per person) for your site, hook-ups, maybe full electric or $75.00 of your electric will be furnished and you pay anything over that. Then they may give you propane… or a discount on propane. In our case, we have an all electric coach so that point is moot.

And lastly, free laundry. Since I have my own washer/dryer onboard, that point is moot as well. So here you have a free site and maybe a little of pocket money. Let’s look at the pros and cons:

GG Pros:  Gate guards  put anywhere from $3,875 to $4,650 a month into his/her bank account. Electricity, water, sewer, and everything but propane are provided. You don’t have to work x-number of hours for your site or utilities. They are provided. The only downfall is if you do not have a washer/dryer, you must go to the Laundromat. When you do take a break between jobs, you will have some money in the bank to go do something fun… like take a cruise or fly to Alaska and rent an RV to see the last frontier state (it’s on our bucket list).

GG Cons:  You and your partner must sleep different shifts. You will meet in the hallway from time to time, maybe eat one meal together a day (if you are lucky). Shopping is frustrating in a town of a couple of thousand people. Forget about frills like organic produce… grass fed beef… or a full-fledged Walmart store! If you’re lucky you may find an HEB store within an hour’s drive—maybe. Eating out at a restaurant will only happen when you take a break between jobs. You will miss your family (grandchildren) if you are away months at a time. It can be very dirty out in the oil patch with the caliche dust. It’s impossible to keep the rig clean inside or out!

Campground Workamping Pros:  You may work 2-4 days a week (sometimes more) with several days off. You’ll be able to sleep together, eat together, go shopping together and even do laundry together if you have to go out to do laundry. You can park free (in exchange for hours worked). You and your partner can get away together and have some fun… like date nights! You can go out to eat at restaurants—together! Your rig will stay pretty clean with just routine cleaning chores. You get to deal with happy people everyday who want to come and have fun.

Campground Workamping Cons:  If you need to make extra money… this is probably not for you. You only have the possibility of reasonably making about $300-$600 a month, or so, on an average campground workamping job. You get to deal with people everyday who expect perfection in an imperfect world, but since they paid for a campsite at your employer’s campground, they expect the moon on a silver platter and if you don’t deliver there is H-E-double hockey stix to pay! You don’t make enough money to really get ahead and take off and go on vacations when you are not working. You must be a “jack-of-all-trades” type or a chambermaid. (You get what I mean!)

In the last two weeks we have been taking stock in what we want to do. Keep on gate guarding or travel more and see the country. While we do want to travel and see things, with the price of fuel, food and everything else these days, we also need to make the most moolah we can when we do work.

After lots of what-if scenarios and discussing, cussing and more discussing, we decided that gate guarding was probably the most lucrative semi-retirement job out there. It’s also just not that hard. We get paid to log people in and out of job sites. In a nutshell, that’s it. If an emergency happens, we need to be able to let someone know who is inside the gate and where they are.

Sometimes gate guards get feed—often. Sometimes you get a lot of exercise which means you have the opportunity to lose weight. That’s a plus J

And I love to cook. I love trying new recipes. I work the night shift so I can hopefully have more time to do this activity. Sometimes this works out better than others. But most of the time I can cook, read, blog, and play games on my computer or Nook.

So after much thought, hashing it over and discussion, we will be coming back to the oil patch in the latter part of September. For the month of August we are going to enjoy our roles as Nana & Papa with our granddaughters in Texas. Then on to a few doctor appointments. In September we are going to Arkansas for two reasons:]

  1. To have a family memorial for Bob’s mother who died on July 4th (she went out in a blaze of glory at 10:10 pm).
  2. We are vacationing at Hot Springs for a week… just for the fun of it!

We just finished two wonderful weeks of R&R at The Summit near Canyon Lake. We are Coast to Coast members and this is our home resort. It’s nestled along the Guadalupe River in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. I call it God’s country. I’ve had this membership for over 20 years and it always feels like home when we come here.

So that’s why I’ve been remiss in posting. I’ve been too busy having fun. So…

Till next time,

Vicky