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

 

An Electric Parade for Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of our readers!  And safe travels for those who will be traveling during the holiday season.

We really enjoy working two days a week in the golf pro shop here at Westwind Golf and RV Resort.  It’s a very low stress job!  The weather has cooled down (lows in the 40’s, and high’s in the mid 60’s) making it much easier to tell the difference between a Canadian snowbird (still in shorts) and a year-round Yuma resident (pants, gloves, earmuffs, and a winter coat!)

Last Saturday was the Foothills Off-Road Vehicle Club’s annual Electric Light Parade.  Members decorate their jeeps and other off-road vehicles and go from RV park to RV park at night to show off their vehicles, and to collect donations for the Yuma food pantry.  This year there were a few hot rods added to the parade, which were a big hit with the crowd.  Enjoy!

Quote for the day:  “My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple:  loving others.  Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?” – Bob Hope

Back to work for the Winter

 

Life is pretty good in Yuma, Arizona, the sunniest place in the United States!  The park we are working at, Westwind RV and Golf Resort, is slowly filling up, as the Canadian and American snowbirds make their way south.  We are about half full, and should be close to capacity in January.  It has been a lot of fun catching up with the many friends and co-workers we met last year, that have returned again for another season.  In addition, our friends Tom, Ellen and Bob have joined us this year at Westwind to work.  They all seem to be enjoying their jobs, and the warm, but not humid, weather.

This year, we have new jobs, which we are both enjoying.  Last season I had a paid (minimum wage) job in the office, three days a week, and Dan worked three days on the golf course, which covered our site rent, and all utilities.  This year, we are working in the Golf Pro Shop, two 10-hour days a week.  We really enjoy working just two days, Friday and Saturday.  Here’s a few pictures the inside of the Pro Shop.

 

It’s small, but we have a great view of the first hole out the window that you see above on the right.

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Our view

We have seen many “interesting” shots off the first tee!!  Here are some views of the course, which is a nine-hole Par 3.

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This is the first hole straight ahead, with #3 on the left, and #9 fairway on the right.  One of Dan’s duties is to fish out all the balls in the pond (and there are many!).

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In exchange for our two 10-hour days, we receive our site for free, all utilities, and a $640 voucher each month which can be used at the onsite restaurant, golf shop, and concert tickets.  Our duties are taking tee times, selling merchandise (clothing, hats, gloves, golf balls), and keeping the patio area outside the Pro Shop clean.  It’s as easy as it sounds!  I don’t miss working in the office, but I do miss working with Lori and Roy.  We were able to get together for dinner, and talk about future work camping opportunities and places to explore.  We both have a lot more travel adventures in our future!

Another bonus of coming back to Yuma is getting together with friends Dave and Marilyn, that own a house here.  We have had several get togethers, and met up for the Howling at the Moon on November 12.  It was Tom, Ellen and Bob’s first experience, and they all seemed to enjoy the strange little gathering in the desert.

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Howling at the Moon

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Bob, Jim, Carol, Marilyn (Dave behind in blue shirt)

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Ellen, Tom and Dan as sun was setting behind

The sunsets in Arizona are always full of color

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And then it was time to start “howling!”  If you are ever in the Yuma area, and it’s a full-moon, you need to partake in this free festival!

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We hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving.  It looks like most of the country is going to be hit with some storms, so stay safe!

Quote for the Day:  “Of all possessions a friend is the most precious.” – Herodotus

Winding down for the season…not yet!

We have started our last month here at Luton’s Teton Cabins, but instead of winding down, we are full speed ahead.  September is the third busiest month in the park, and we are at full occupancy until the third week of September, and then half full for the remainder of the month.  Many of our guests this month are repeat visitors, and it’s always fun catching up with them.  By the middle of the month, Dan will switch over from housekeeping to steam cleaning the carpets in all the cabins and the lodge.  He enjoys the change of pace.  Karen and I continue to be busy in the office, booking many reservations for next year.

I haven’t been faithfully posting this summer, but with this being our fourth year here, I just haven’t been that motivated.  We are very excited about going to Alaska next summer.  Our friends and co-workers Karen and Al  have done a fabulous job planning out an itinerary and looking into fishing and sightseeing opportunities.  We have already made a few campground reservations, but have a loose enough schedule to make changes, if need be.

Dan and Al have have gone fishing multiple times this summer, including one successful outing on Jackson Lake in the park.  I think it’s the “here fishy, fishy” hat that draws them in!

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All those fish led to a wonderful employee pot-luck for everyone.  Dan and Al grilled the fish.

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This has been a good summer for visitors!  A former co-worker of mine, Laura, came out here with her family, and we were able to spend a little bit of time with them!  Makena especially loved meeting her kids, and suckered them into some belly rubs!  Ironically, it was six years to the day that I left work when Laura and her family came to visit.  We had a great time catching up on the past six years, and I’m so happy she stopped by!

Dan’s brother Gary and his wife Julia also came out to the Teton’s.  Julia’s father John was celebrating his 90th birthday, and their entire family flew out to the Teton’s, and took a bus trip for the next week visiting many national parks and historic sites.  They were only here two days in this location, but we enjoyed our brief visit, and took Gary and Julia out for a hike along String Lake, one of our many favorite places here.

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Jean, Julia, birthday boy John and Gary

We met up with friends Jack and Ruth Ann, and Ruth Ann’s sister Jean.  We first met them working at Amazon in 2013.  Jack and Ruth Ann, as well as our friends Tom and Ellen, took us “under their wings” when we first started.  We all ate lunch together at Amazon, and learned so much from them about RV’ing.  Jack and Ruth Ann have been full-time since 2005.  They have volunteered several times at the Albuquerque Balloon Festival, and we talked about doing that in the next year or two with them.

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Jean, Jack, Ruth Ann, Jonell and Dan

And speaking of Tom and Ellen, we did make it up one night to West Yellowstone, Montana, to surprise Tom for his birthday!  We will be seeing them again next week when they stop through for their last visit to the Teton’s.  They will be joining us this winter in Yuma, and next summer they will be working in Skagway, Alaska.

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Happy Birthday Tom!

Friends Dan and Nancy from Wisconsin also stopped in for a visit.  Dan just retired from teaching in June, and they were visiting their son in Idaho, and stopped on the way back.  We had a long discussion on full-time RV’ing, and on their way back home, they stopped in South Dakota and changed their residency.  They will be working on transitioning to this wonderful lifestyle!  We wish them all the best!

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Dan, Nancy, Jonell and Dan

We always enjoy playing ‘tour guide’ and giving out suggestions to our guests on things to see and do in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.  We have enjoyed our four summers in this area, but we are also ready to move on to new adventures!

Quote for the day:  “Remember that the most valuable antiques are dear old friends.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Working and visitors

For the first five years of our full-time RV life, we only worked from mid-May to the end of December.  We spent January thru March just hanging out in Florida, but I would get bored by March.  I need to have something structured to do with my time.  This is the first year we will be working all the way thru mid-April, at Westwind RV and Golf Resort.   (yes I know, “poor us” having to stay in one place for six full months!)

Our current job is a good test to see how this longer winter job will work out for us, from both a financial standpoint, and on my “boredom” meter.  We probably won’t decide until the end of March what we will do next winter.  We really want to give this a good try, and see how everything goes.  Ideally, it would be nice to find shorter term jobs, and be able to travel more.

Work in the office/registration has definitely picked up.  January was very busy, and February has been crazy as well, as this is the peak of the snow bird season.  March is when we start taking reservations for next season, so we don’t anticipate much of a slowdown at work until early April.  Dan has been busy on the golf course, and enjoys cutting the fairways, and rolling the greens.

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But once again we have been faced with the sad reality of life.  Monday we noticed an ambulance down the street from us, in front of the motorhome of the work camper that works opposite days of Dan on the golf course.  His wife had a heart attack, and passed away.  We spent some time with him yesterday, and he told us they should have started RVing earlier in life.  We hear that all the time.  Don’t wait on your dreams, whatever they are.

We did have some visitors this past month, which we always enjoy (our door is always open!)  As Makena posted in her blog, Dan’s parents were able to visit for a couple of weeks.  They were able to golf a few rounds on the par 3 course here in the park that Dan works on, as well as participate in many other activities that go on every day in the park.  They had a great time, and we were happy that they were able to make it out to Yuma for a visit.

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Our friends Joan and Steve stopped in as well.  They volunteer at the Lake Mead Recreation Area in Nevada.  Due to the government shutdown, they were not able to work, so they drove down for a visit.  We learned some new card games, and talked about future work camping and volunteer jobs. We also got together with Henry and Terry, that work in the pro shop here.  All six of us worked together at Crazy Horse Memorial, so it was nice reminiscing about that summer.

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Joan, Jonell, Dan, Terry, Henry and Steve

Friends from Wisconsin, Dean and Jeannie texted us that they were passing through Arizona on their way to California for a volunteer work camping job, so we had a quick breakfast visit.   They spend the winters traveling in their Airstream, and summers back in Wisconsin.  It’s probably been five years since we have seen them, and it was great catching up with their adventures.img_2333

While Dan’s parents were visiting, Dan’s cousin Dave and his wife, Dee, stopped by as well.  They are over-the-road truck drivers, and were in Yuma to pick up a load.  It was a quick hello, as they had three days to get to Georgia.

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The big Quartzsite RV show took place at the end of January, and we drove up to check it out.  It was basically a giant flea market, but we did meet up with Terry and Wendy for lunch.  And as you can see, it was cold out in the desert!

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Our park has a concert series where they bring in tribute bands, and we have attended several of the concerts.  Some good, some okay.  Dan’s parents were able to see ‘December of 63,’ a tribute to Franki Vali.  It was an excellent show, and Dan’s mom was able to meet the band!

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And then there was the very energetic ABBA tribute band…

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Quote for the Day:  “It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” – Marcus Aurelius