We have finished up our 6 months of work camping at Westwind RV and Golf Resort in Yuma, Arizona! It was our longest work camping job that we have done since we started our journey in 2013. And we’re going to do it again (for 1 more year) this fall! This season, Dan and I both worked 3 days a week, Thursday – Saturday. Dan worked 24 hours each week, on the golf course. In exchange, we received our full hook-up site, including all utilities, for free. I worked in the office, for minimum wage (currently $11.00/hour in Arizona) averaging about 28 hours/week.
In total, I made approximately $8,000 for the 6 months of work (I haven’t received my last paycheck yet, so I don’t have the exact gross pay figures). Our expenses were minimal, as we did not have to pay anything for 6 months of rent/utilities. Laundry was not included, and we spent $225.00 at the on-site laundry facility in the park. We probably could have found a cheaper laundromat, but the convenience of walking to the facility outweighed the expense. But the real benefits of being in one spot for so long is all the wonderful people that you meet. Dan enjoyed working with the full-time year round staff on the golf course and in the maintenance department. I had great co-workers that made the job fun (shout out to Lori and Roy!!), and a very patient office manager, Kathy. We never seemed to stop learning…
This fall, Dan will only be working 16 hours/week, 3 days a week. In exchange, we will receive our site for free, but will have to pay for electric/utilities. He requested this, because he often finished up his work by lunch, and had to spend the afternoon making “busy work.” Being a former math teacher, he ran the numbers, and it wasn’t worth working 32 extra hours per month to cover electric/utilities. It amounted to getting paid just over $4/hour. I will be back in the office, and the minimum wage in Arizona is set to increase to $12/hour next January. So that’s a nice perk, as most winter jobs do not pay.
In addition to having a positive experience at Westwind, we decided to come back for several other reasons. We are planning on going to Alaska in 2020, but not to work, just to play tourist. Having an income over the winter season will help to offset the loss of income in the summer. Also, we really enjoyed getting together with our friends Dave and Marilyn. It was a pleasant surprise when we found out they had moved to the Yuma area and next season our friends Tom and Ellen will be joining us as well. Tom will work in Guest Services (helping to park RV’s, read electric meters, and whatever else is needed) and Ellen will be in the mail room. In exchange for their hours, they will receive their site for free, including utilities, and a voucher which they can use at the onsite restaurant, golf shop, and concert tickets (only the office is a paid position).
It took 6 months, but I finally saw my first rattlesnake and roadrunner at the end of March, while playing golf with Dan, Roy and Lyle (who is from Canada and rented a park model a few doors from us).
A zoomed in view, as it was much smaller (thankfully) than I expected!
Needless to say, you must keep the ball in the fairway!
It was hard to get a photo of the roadrunner, so this is a bit blurry. They move fast, and are not as big as I imagined (must have been all those cartoon road runners I watched growing up….beep beep!) And yes, they can fly, but usually just run around.
I’m not sure what I prefer, dealing with alligators while golfing in Florida, or rattlesnakes in Arizona. I think I’ll stick with the safest alternative, Max. He doesn’t bite!
We have a month to wander around until we start our summer job, back at Luton’s Teton Cabins. We spent a week near Phoenix at Peublo El Mirage Golf and RV resort (very nice), just relaxing, and are now near Sedona for a few days. We have met up with Tom and Ellen and Steve and Kathy who are all on their way to West Yellowstone for their summer work camping jobs. I will have a new post about the Sedona area in the not too distant future.
I’m not sure what the name of this cactus is, but it was in full bloom at the RV park in El Mirage. We were told it only blooms for one day each year. Since we were leaving the park the next morning, I was not able to go back and verify if the flowers were still in bloom. It was beautiful though!
Quote for the day: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss
Sounds like a great park for the winter. How long are you in Sedona? We are in Prescott and moving over near Sedona. Would love to meet up if our paths cross.
Fellow full time cheeseheads from Slinger.
We leave Monday morning and will be in Page that afternoon. We have a slot canyon tour booked in Page
Darn! Some day our paths will cross. Safe travels!
We’re hopefully going to Alaska in 2020 also! We met you guys at crazy horse on our honeymoon 5 years ago and you lit this idea of rv life for us. We have our travel trailer, 2016 arctic fox 25y. House is on the market and I have 1 more year of teaching. I love reading your blog. Hopefully we will see y’all in Alaska!
Excellent! You are welcome to join us for all or parts of AK. We will be going with Karen and Al, and another couple that they know.
Sorry we missed you in Phoenix. Perhaps next year.
Love reading your blog and you are so lucky to be able to do this. Enjoy every day of your new journey.
Dick and Carol Caley
Thanks Dick and Carol!
We always enjoy exploring new sites, new cities and learning about their history. We also enjoy meeting new people and we cherish the moments we get to spend with friends and family along our journey.
Take care, Jonell and Dan
Great blog, lets do it again next year! Nice shout out to Max💙