Moving on to “Plan C”

Just a quick update.  We are still in Wyoming, working at Luton’s Teton Cabins, but will be departing for Wisconsin after the first week of July.  Our original plan was to go to Alaska this summer, crossing into Canada in mid-May.  With the border shut down, we moved on to Plan B, which was to wait here and see if the Canada/United States border would open up, and then do a slightly abbreviated trip to Alaska. Since all indications are that Canada will keep the border closed, through July, and possibly longer, we have scrapped our Alaska plans, and moved all of our reservations to 2021.

It was never our intent to spend the summer here in Wyoming, although it is a great place to be (no humidity, no mosquitoes, and a beautiful view).  But we don’t want to take any hours away from anyone that was planning on working here.  Our friends Dan and Nancy are planning on working here this summer, and they will arrive around the last week of June to start their training, and then we will depart for Wisconsin.  That was always our “Plan C.”

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Going to see the Grandparents!

Dan’s parents were thrilled when we told them the news (after expressing disappointment that we were not going to Alaska), and I think they are working on a large “honey do” list of chores for us to help them with.  Dan says, “not too long Mom.” They had been planning on hiring out some local handymen to help them out, but we are just not comfortable having lots of people coming into their house right now.  They are both in the higher risk category for COVID-19, and we don’t feel it’s safe to have a lot of people coming and going right now.

It’s about 1400 miles from Moran, Wyoming to his parents house in Wisconsin.  With being fully self-contained in our camper (see Don and Kathy, I didn’t say ‘truck camper’!!) we can make it there with very minimal contact to the outside world.  So we can continue to keep ourselves in our own little “bubble”.

As for our winter plans, we still have not decided on anything concrete.  As the way 2020 is going, we simply can’t plan that far in advance!  We are on a month to month deal right now.

Quote for the day:  “Live, so you do not have to look back and say, “God, how I have wasted my life.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

 

Back to Work…for now

With temperatures staying above 100 degrees for an extended time, it was finally time to leave Yuma, Arizona, and head to cooler weather, while we wait for the Canadian border to open.  Our air conditioner on our truck camper was running all day, trying to keep up with the heat.  Yes, it’s a dry heat, but it’s still hot!

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This forecast looked much better to us, so off we went to Moran, Wyoming.

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We left on May 2nd, and planned on taking a few days to get to Moran, but at our first stop in Utah, we discovered that our refrigerator would not work on the propane setting.  So we continued on, planning on staying at a campground for the night, with hook-ups, so we could try to run the refrigerator on electric.  As we approached the town, we noticed lightning to the West.  After checking the radar, which was a big red blob, and reading the special weather bulletin indicating 40 mph winds and pea size hail were coming, we just decided to continue North to get ahead of the storm.  Dan ended up driving around 600 miles that day, and we stayed overnight at a Wal-Mart for the first time ever.  With the store closing at 9 pm, it was very quiet.  Since it would be in the 30’s at night, we were not too concerned about the refrigerator getting too warm.

We were able to participate in a Zoom call with my brothers and sisters while we were driving.  It was a lot of fun catching up with everyone, and hopefully my brother Jerry will be able to attend the next one.

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We have also been doing Zoom calls with Dan’s family as well.

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When we arrived at Luton’s Teton Cabins in Moran, Wyoming, Brad and Joanne (the owners) had a cabin all set for us.  We have worked for them the past four summers, and they graciously offered us a cabin to stay in, so we didn’t have to spend so much time in our tiny camper.  It’s not as well insulated as our fifth wheel was.  We were able to park and unload our stuff.  Makena was absolutely thrilled to have a big space to run around in, and I’m enjoying having a dishwasher!

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This is our view from the cabin.

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When we arrived on Sunday the 3rd, the State of Wyoming was still requiring all visitors to do a 14-day self quarantine.  That order expired the next day, but with the parks and almost all stores closed, there was really nowhere to go.

When we did venture out on Wednesday, we had to be very careful of the Elk.  Without visitors bothering them, the Elk have taken over!  We have never, in four years, seen so many Elk.  The park closures have been good for the wildlife.

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Of course, this was a little too close!

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We took Makena for her annual veterinarian visit in Jackson.  You are not allowed into the building.  You have to call them, and then they come out to get your pet.  Everything went well, and once you give them your credit card over the phone, they return your pet.  I felt like she was being held hostage!  You give us “X” amount of money, and we’ll bring your dog out to the car!

After her visit, we went to the grocery store.  Last year the city of Jackson banned plastic bags, so we were curious to see if that ban was still in place, as we had heard some grocery stores were not allowing people to bring in their own bags anymore.  But the ban is still in place, and you need to bring in your own bags, as well as bag your own groceries.  They have stopped bagging them for you.

We were also happy to see that close to 100% of the people in the store (employees and customers) were wearing a mask.  In Yuma, it was about 80%, so it’s nice to see everyone doing their part to keep others safe.  Our friend Ellen made us some masks, and we have been wearing those when shopping. We needed to go to three other stores before finding two bus fuses for our RV refrigerator. Our fridge is now running again!

Over the past week, the non-essential stores in Jackson have started to re-open, as the Wyoming closure orders have gradually been lifted this week.  As of today, you can now have a gathering of up to 25 people, with churches, funeral homes and livestock auctions exempted.  That limit is set to expire at the end of the month.  The two bookstores and a toy store have both stated they will remain closed (online orders only) as they are a “high touch” store and haven’t come up with a plan to keep everything sanitized.  And a shoe store said they will only allow two people in at a time, so they can sanitize the shoes that people try on, but don’t purchase.  Other stores and restaurants said they are going to wait until the summer before re-opening.

BACK TO WORK

We have just been hanging out in the cabin, watching movies through Amazon Prime on our iPad.  But then everything changed on the afternoon of the 13th, when they announced that Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park would be re-opening, on a limited basis, starting Monday, May 18th at noon.

Brad and Joanne knocked on our cabin door, and Brad said we need you to start work in the office tomorrow, and work every day for the next week!  Apparently as soon as word got out about the parks, the telephone was ringing off the hook!  Up until then, he had been getting nothing but cancellations for this summer.  Some people did reschedule for next year.  Although we are still getting some cancellations, we are now getting a lot of new bookings.

With Yellowstone, the only entrances that will be opened up initially are the two in Wyoming.  The other three entrances are in Montana, and they still have a 14-day quarantine for visitors (as well as Idaho, which is only a few miles from the West entrance.)

Dan has also gone back to work in housekeeping.  Mitch and Amanda, who we have worked with the past two summers, have returned again.  They did spring cleaning on a few cabins so they will be ready for visitors next week.  As with all businesses, Brad and Joanne are starting to implement a lot of changes as a result of the virus.  It’s going to be an interesting summer for everyone.

UPDATE ON ALASKA

We are trying to remain optimistic that we will be able to go to Alaska.  Canada and the United States first agreed to shut the border around March 21 for 30 days.  They extended the closure in April for an additional 30 days.  That closure is set to expire on May 21, but from what we have been reading, Canada is pushing for another 30 day extension.  Canada has done a good job in controlling the spread of Covid-19 with extensive shutdowns, testing, and contract tracing.  It’s certainly understandable that they want to keep their people safe.  And we want all of our Canadian friends to stay safe!

So for now, we wait.  Al and Karen should be arriving here next week, and then we will decide on our plans.  If we don’t end up going to Alaska, Brad asked if we could stay and work for the summer, and we may decide to do that.  But we would rather be headed North.

Quote for the Day: “Have patience.  All things are difficult before they come easy.” – Saadi

 

 

 

Moving on to Plan B and Plan C

We hope everyone is doing well.  We are still in Yuma, trying to remain optimistic about going to Alaska this summer, but also working on alternate plans.  Our work actually ended here at Westwind RV and Golf Resort in the middle of March.  The resort, in compliance with the city of Yuma’s social distancing guidelines, shut down all activities, closed the pool, library, billiards room, fitness center, and limited the restaurant to take-out only.  The golf pro shop, where we worked two days a week, was also closed.  The golf course remains open, but it is “honor golf” only.  If you want to play, you deposit $8 per person in an envelope, and put it in a mailbox outside the pro shop.  The golf shop managers were collecting the money once a day.  And after today, the two full-time employees in the office will be collecting the money, as today is the last day for any remaining work campers to work.

So we have had a lot of free time on our hands.  Since we had put in a lot of extra time for dances and night golf, the park continued to pay for our site and utilities until April 15.  After today, we can stay for as long as we want, but we have to pay for utilities (water/sewer/trash and metered electric).  It’s a great deal, and we are very thankful we have a place to stay, as so many campgrounds have closed down.

PLAN B AND PLAN C

The last four summers, we have worked at Luton’s Teton Cabins in Wyoming.  Brad and Joanne, the owners, reached out to us, and offered us a cabin to stay in starting in May, as we wait to see if the Canadian border opens up, and then proceed up to Alaska.  If we can cross over into Canada in June, we still plan on going.  We are extremely grateful for the offer, and our “Plan B” is to head to Wyoming after May 1st, and stay there for a few weeks and see what happens.  We have been watching the weather here in Yuma, and it looks pretty good until the end of the month, when the 90’s arrive.   That’s also when it starts to warm up in the Tetons, with daytime highs around 60.  (Although every year it has snowed on us in May!)

If Alaska doesn’t work out this summer, we will move on to Plan C, which is going back to Wisconsin.  Dan’s parents have stated they have plenty of “honey do” projects on their list to keep us busy all summer!  We would then go to Alaska in the summer of 2021, and look for a work camping job this fall (such as Amazon or JC Penney’s).

But who knows?!  We can only plan a week or two ahead, at best right now.  We are just grateful that we have options (and toilet paper!)  Dan and I spent one Sunday walking to five different stores, in search of toilet paper.  On the positive side, we walked 4.2 miles.  On the negative side, we couldn’t find toilet paper anywhere.  They have “senior hours” at the local Fry’s grocery store, so I asked our friend Tom if he could look for us when he went shopping during the early morning senior hours, as he said they are always fully stocked when he has gone.  And much to my delight, when I opened up our door to let Makena out on Monday morning, there was a 12 pack of Kroger brand toilet paper on our steps!!  Thanks Tom!!  I felt like a teenager asking an adult to buy beer, only I was an adult asking a senior to buy me some toilet paper!  My how times have quickly changed!

KEEPING BUSY

Since we have nothing but time on our hands, we asked our friends Dave and Marilyn if they needed help with any projects, and they quickly answered yes!  They wanted to build a pergola, re-do the makeshift box around their pool equipment, and get rid of an old built-in grill that was not in use.  So it was back to work for us!  Below is the pool equipment enclosure.

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The Before

The grill area was a challenge to take down.  The back wall had to remain, as the pool equipment was attached to it.  The hollow bricks were filled with concrete and re-bar.  I think this thing was built to withstand a hurricane.

Eventually it came apart, and they poured concrete on the bottom as a stand for Dave’s free-standing grill.

After that was taken down, the pergola began to take shape.

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A sunscreen shade was secured over the top which really looks nice.

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The original plan was to put artificial grass down in front of the pool equipment enclosure, but Marilyn changed her mind, and decided on brick instead.  We always knew we were in trouble when Marilyn would start a sentence with “you guys are going to hate me, but what if we……..”

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Down went the brick pavers (which really turned out to be the better option).

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The size of this patio changed a few times (Marilyn…) and the grass was eventually put down.  It turned out well, and provided a nice contrast in color.

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After

So we have added a few more skills to our skill set!

Quote for the Day:  “Live as if you were to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Ghandi

I’m a Teenager!!

Hello everyone, it’s your favorite dog blogger, Makena!  I thought it was time for an update on my blog, as quite a bit has been happening for me, both good and bad.  Let’s just get the bad stuff out of the way first…

OUR NEW HOME

What in the world were my parents thinking when they sold my house??  I was NOT consulted on this purchase of what amounts to a human sized dog house.  I have gone from 40 feet of floor space, to 11 feet.  I knew something was going on, because my parents kept packing up their stuff, and moving it out.  But then I noticed they were packing up all my toys, food and treats, and it was removed from the RV as well.  At that point, I became very nervous about what was happening.  That night, which turned out to be the last night in our home, I refused to sleep with my parents.  They would put me in bed, and I jumped off, and sat by the door.  They again put me in bed, and I jumped off and went by the door.  Finally they gave up, and put a blanket down by the door.  That’s where I spent the night.  There was no way I was going to let my parents leave, without taking me along.  So I slept all night in front of the door.

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Nobody leaves without me

The one thing I do like about the camper, is the booth dinette.  However, I have to stand on my paws to see the computer, as the table sits up higher than the dining table in our fifth wheel.  As you can see, it’s not as comfortable for blogging.  But I will still keep my peeps informed!

The nice part about the booth dinette is I can sit on top and look out the window.  I like that a lot.  I can get some sunshine, fresh air, and see what is going on outside.

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But there is barely enough room for my dog bed, blanket and food dish on the floor.  And when they need to get something out of the refrigerator, or cook on the stove, I get moved around.   And there’s not much space to run around indoors to play.  I’m slowly adapting to my new digs.  They promised me I would have a bigger house in a year or so.

MY BIRTHDAY PARTY!

So on to the good news.  I just turned 13 years old, so my parents decided to have a birthday party for me.  They tried to make sure that everyone practiced good social distancing during the party.  Here I am demonstrating how to keep an appropriate social distance, which is something I have spent my whole life doing.  P1060362 (1)

My friends Duffy and Finnegan attended my party, and they were busy trying to find the feral cats that hang out behind this park model.

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Si also attended, but he didn’t get the memo on proper social distancing!  I had to keep my tail down…it’s kinda like a face mask for my butt!

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Missing from my party was my Grandpa Stu.  We share the same date of birth, only 70 years apart.  Also missing was Buddy, my next door neighbor for the past two winters.  His parents had to leave early to get back to Canada.  I like Buddy, because he lets me share his recliner with him.  His mom gave us some treats before they left to celebrate my birthday.

CHRISTMAS

This past Christmas, I was again able to spend a few days with my dad’s family for Christmas.  Gary and Julia again rented a pet friendly house, in Tempe.  I was able to meet up with my cousin Simon, who just keeps getting bigger and bigger.  He just turned three years old.  We did our customary picture, but had a new addition this year.  Simon is now a “big brother” to Amira, born in September.

Currently, I have been spending a lot of time hanging out at Dave and Marilyn’s house in Yuma.  My parents have been helping them with some outdoor projects.  I like having a bigger house to hang out in, especially when I can just relax in the sunshine.

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Stay safe everyone!  Take care and thanks for following along.

Quote of the Day:  “The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.” – M.K. Clinton

Honey, we shrunk the RV!

What a strange month this is turning out to be.  We hope everyone is staying safe, washing their hands often, and taking COVID-19 seriously.

Our goal this year was to lose weight.  On March 3, we accomplished that goal, shedding over 12,000 pounds!  We were up at 6 am to drive to Avondale, Arizona, to drop off our beloved 5th wheel, a 2014 Heartland Landmark, and then pick up our new home, a 2008 Host Everest camper, from Tom’s Camperland in Mesa, Arizona.  It was a very long day, and we did not arrive back in Yuma until 10 pm.  But everything went well, and we had a good experience with the staff at Tom’s Camperland.

We went from 40 feet of living space, to 11 feet!  It has been a bit of an adjustment.  Here’s the final view of our 5th wheel when we dropped it off at the dealership.

 

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Bye-bye

And the first photo of us with our “new home.”

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The next day, March 4, we began the process of moving our stuff back in!

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The above photo shows the stuff we are keeping.  We have a number of bins full of stuff that we are keeping, but not taking with us to Alaska (more on that later).  Thankfully, our friends Dave and Marilyn, who live here in Yuma, have offered us the use of their shed to store some of our stuff.  They figure this way we have to come back to Yuma someday to pick up our stuff!  Our friends Bob, Tom and Ellen let us temporarily store our food in their refrigerators.

We have made great progress, and this was our view yesterday, March 17.  The two big chairs will be going to Dave and Marilyn’s when we leave, as well as our grill.

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Here’s some interior and exterior photos of our new home, that we took at the dealership.  Once we get a little more settled in, I can take some more photos of how it looks with our stuff.

The camper has three slides.  This view shows the propane, batteries, and a slide-out tray for storage.  It also has a 2500 watt generator, and a 150 watt solar panel, to keep the batteries charged.

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Having three slides, very unusual for a 2008 model, makes the interior feel less cramped.  It has a side entry door and the couch and u-shaped dinette both fold into beds.

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It has a small kitchen, but the two drawers below the stove are very deep.

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I was pretty adamant about having a “dry bath” not a wet bath, which provides a separate shower.

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The bed is a full queen, but the way it’s oriented, means you have exactly 60 inches of width.  I’ve bumped into the wall on the right a few times.  Sometimes Dan keeps the closet door (the mirrored doors) open when he sleeps, so he has a little more elbow room.  There is an emergency escape hatch on the roof above the bed.  It’s pretty easy to open and get out if necessary.   Hopefully we will never need to use it!

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The only modification we have made so far is changing out the old 25 pound 19-inch television, to a 28 inch 7 pound LED-TV. We did this to not only get a better quality picture, but also so we could hook up our channel master DVR which needs to use a HDMI cable.

WORK UPDATES

COVID-19 has certainly created a lot of changes here at Westwind RV.  The majority of the residents here are from Canada, and they have made a rapid mass exodus over the past 10 days.  Normally people start departing around the third week of March, but with all the uncertainty, many have left early.  With Canada shutting it’s border down, and a mandatory 14 day quarantine for anyone returning to Canada, the park has rapidly emptied out.  We wish all of our Canadian friends very safe travels home.   There are a lot of folks from Washington and Oregon here.  They are in no hurry to leave!

Next week we are supposed to have a Westwind work camper appreciation dinner with the owner of the park, and new managers.  Who knows if they will still have this large gathering?  Although there have not yet been any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Yuma County, Imperial County just to the West of us, in California, has had several confirmed cases.  And with testing finally ramping up, who knows what things will look like next week.

For the past several months, the golf course has been holding 50/50 raffles at the dances, as well as a raffle and golf outing, to raise money for Shriner’s Children’s Hospital.  This is an annual event, and this year, over $6,600 was raised, a record amount!  Here is a photo of our golf course pro shop staff with the local Shriner’s donating the check.  It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun as well.

Art, Terry, Jonell, Debbie, Henry, Dan and Yuma Shriner’s

ALASKA UPDATES

The reason we downsized to a camper was for our trip to Alaska.  As of now, we still plan on going.  Our plan was to cross into Canada on May 18.  Today, they closed the border in Canada to US Citizens.  A lot can happen in two months, and it is certainly going to get worse as the number of confirmed cases rapidly increases each day.  We have not made a plan B yet for the summer.  We feel fortunate to have our health, our families are safe, and if we can’t go this summer, so be it.  It’s better to stay safe.

Our friends Tom and Ellen were planning on going to work in Skagway Alaska for the summer, but that has been cancelled.  Skagway is a major port for the cruise ships.  And since the ships are not allowed to dock in Canada until July at the earliest, they stores would not have any customers until late in the summer.  They are currently looking for new summer jobs.  If you need two hardworking work campers, let me know.

Now go wash your hands!

Quote of the Day:  “Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.” – Doug Larson