It’s good to be back, but not home yet…

Last night we arrived in San Antonio and checked into Iron Horse RV. We bought a new water purification system that we want them to install on the Silver Bullet, complete with a UV light. We like to have confidence in local drinking water systems and since we go everywhere, we figured this was a good idea.

We will be taking a long road trip this spring/summer so we decided it’s time to change the old house batteries. Last year we bought two new chassis batteries (yes, this behemoth is a battery hog). When we were out at the Nye ranch south of Cotulla last year, for three months, our chassis batteries went dead. So until we could get our gate assignment completed and get back to civilization, we had to keep a battery charger on them. Not fun!

We’ve noticed that our house batteries, there are 8 of them (ouch), are not holding the charge once we disconnect from shore power. So, before our big road trip we are replacing them. Can you say EXPENSIVE!!! And since our household refrigerator is powered by one of the two inverters, which uses 4 of the coach batteries, we better not let them die! I have that freezer packed to the gills!!!

You never know, we might decide to boondock somewhere along the way on our trip and we will need something to power our toys (iPhones, iPad, computers and other electronics) without starting the generator all the time.

We thought we would be back in Teague by the weekend, but the shop has had one guy out on funeral leave and another out sick all week. So, we will probably be here until Wednesday. I called Bobbi, my daughter, today to let her know we will be delayed. She said, “Oh darn!” To which I agree! Our two-year-old granddaughter, Lily, keeps coming up to her mom, hands on hips, head tilted down, and bottom lip out saying, “I want my Nana!” Oops 🙂

Last night we joined our friends, Ralph and Karen Miller from New Braunfels, for dinner. We ate at Mammacita’s Mexican Restaurant. It was a great place to eat. Bob does not eat Mexican so he had hamburgers and steaks to choose from. And desserts were provided by the Cheesecake Factory. They were downright yummy!

In preparation for our road trip, we are getting new belts put on the Silver Bullet. We bought them two years ago when we bought the rig. We’ll keep the ones they take off in a box in the basement. It’s always good to have a spare 🙂

We are so looking forward to a leisurely road trip. You see, we started our journey as full-time RVers in 2008. We worked for three years doing guest guides at RV parks. It was fun, for a while. As the economy tanked the fun left and it became a JOB! We met many wonderful business people and campground owners, as well as fellow RVers. Many of which are still our friends today.

Next we tried out gate guarding. LOMA was by far the best company to work for, but the job is dirty, you are amongst wild pigs, rattle shakes, “tame” bulls, and coyotes… not to mention illegal drug runners. Plus, you can’t leave or have any life together since someone must always be at the gate. And the industrial generators were wreaking havoc on our coach.

We’ve had two deaths in the family in the last year. Bob’s mother who was 98. And his brother Richard, who was murdered by his own son. We just finished a 2-month stint in Las Vegas getting his estate in order. These events have caused us to reflect and reevaluate our priorities.

For now, our plans are focused on our big road trip coming up. Somewhere down the road we may decide to work part-time again. And I’ll be investigating what there is to do for full-time RVers who want to do just that. But for now, my posts will be more focused on our trip plans and experiences.

So sit back and enjoy the scenery! If you want to chime in with comments or suggestions, I’d be happy to hear from you. I try to reply to my followers who leave comments.

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