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

The dog blog is back for another year!

Hello everyone!  Your favorite dog blogger is back!  And Happy (belated) New Year!!  My parents need to leave the computer open and the wifi on while they are busy at work, so I can keep my peeps updated more often!  For those new to the blog, I’m a little Jack Russell Terrier that likes to take over the blog once in a while, and post about my life on the road.

 

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Keeping my peeps informed!

Normally my parents do their work camping thing (which pays for my toys and treats) from mid-May to the end of December.  I’m not sure that I like this idea of them working all the way through mid-April this year.  Usually I get to spend the first four months of the year being the center of attention.  Now they are off working 3 days a week, and I’m home alone listening to the radio.  I guess it’s better than being back in Wisconsin, where it’s 22 below, and that’s just the air temperature! My mom’s sister Margie sent her this picture this morning.  That is just wrong!  I feel bad for my cousins, Rudy and Reagan.  They are German Shorthair Pointers, so they have even less hair than I do!  I would need to use a litter box, because there’s no way I’m going outdoors to pee in that temperature!

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I did get to go with my parents to San Diego (thanks Gary and Julia for booking a dog-friendly house so I could come along!).  I’ve visited the Atlantic Ocean several times in Florida, and was excited to get my paws wet in the Pacific Ocean!  I’m officially a coast-to-coast traveler now!

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My mom and I sat down for our regular photo with my cousin Simon.  That tiny baby has grown into a handsome young boy.

Simon has also grown into the perfect height for getting snacks!  I’ve taught him well.

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I was super excited when my grandparents came to visit me here in Yuma!  They have been very busy with golfing, line dancing, playing cards and participating in many other activities in the park.  When they came over, gramps was a little pooped out, and grandma was more interested in her iPad.  I feel left out….

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sigh…

Longtime readers may recall that grandpa and I share the same birthday, March 20.  They will not be here in March, so we decided to have an early birthday celebration, with gramps turning 82, and I will be 12!  The cake was delicious!

 

Looking at the photo with 2 candles, has caused me to reflect on the 10 years that have passed since the last time I had 2 candles on a cake.

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just a pup at age 2

I now have some gray behind the ears, but I think I still look great for my age!  Back then, we were living in a house, and I enjoyed playing with the neighbor kids, Adam, Faith, Josh and Ben.  They would play football with me, which I enjoyed.  But I really enjoy living in a fifth wheel.  The smaller space suits me better, and I get to meet people from all over the country, and discover new spots to sniff and pee.   Life is good!

Quote for the day:  “A boy can learn a lot from a dog: obedience, loyalty, and the importance of turning around three times before lying down.” – Robert Benchley

 

 

 

A visit to Los Algodones, Mexico

Los Algodones, Baja California, Mexico, about 9 miles west of Yuma, is unofficially known as the dental capital of the world.  Over 350 dentists practice in the small town of 5500 people.  There are also a number of eye doctors, and several pharmacies.  It is a popular tourist destination for both Americans and Canadians, looking for reasonable dental work as well as prescription drugs.  We have many visitors to Westwind RV park where Dan and I are working, that stay for a week while they get dental work done.  Everyone raves about how affordable it is to have root canals, implants, crowns, etc.

Our friends Dave and Marilyn that live in Yuma during the winter, have been to Algodones many times, and took us over the border for a day to check the town out.   You can drive across the border and parking in town for $1-2, or parking in the lot for a $6 fee before the border, and walking across.  The parking lot is owned by the Quechan Tribe, not the United States.  Since Dave and Marilyn have a small vehicle, they drive across and park.  If we were going with our one-ton dually truck, we would park and walk in, as the town is not really a big truck friendly town.

This is the entry into Mexico, with pedestrians on the right.  Algodones is a very small port of entry city.

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The purple pharmacy/liquor stores are huge, and very popular.  We found a great deal on Kahlua, $7.50 for a one-liter bottle!  As for the drugs, you do need to have a prescription, just like you would in the US.  I don’t know much about the rules/regulations on getting prescription drugs across the border, but many people were getting their prescriptions filled.

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The city is filled with dentists and eye doctors.  It’s a one-stop medical shop for many tourists.  Many of them live in Yuma, and commute daily into Mexico.

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We found a great spot for some excellent shrimp tacos, and real Coca-Cola, not the high-fructose corn-syrup stuff sold in the US.  It was delicious!

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There are plenty of street vendors selling everything from t-shirts, tablecloths, jewelry and other knickknacks.  We found the people to be very polite, and everyone spoke English.  This town is very dependent on tourism, and they go out of their way to treat you in a kind, respectful manner.

Apparently the people of Algodones are Packer fans, as Dave found a pack of Green Bay Packer peanut (or should I say cacahuate) M&M’s at the grocery store for us!  Must be why everyone is so nice!

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What’s that in the background?

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This has been in place for over a decade.  Call it whatever you want.

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When leaving Mexico, whether by vehicle or foot, plan on spending a long time waiting.  There is one long line for vehicles, as there are only two vehicle lanes of entry into the US.  Fortunately (or unfortunately), there are plenty of vendors to keep you entertained.  One man was selling homemade tortilla shells.  I bought a bag of them for $1.50.  They were still warm, and they were excellent!

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This is the pedestrian walkway back into the US.

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We had a great time visiting the city, and plan on going back to get our teeth cleaned (and more shrimp tacos!) before we leave Yuma.

Quote for the day:  “I always encourage people to get out there, travel the world, see new things, experience new people, experience new culture.  What happens is that it helps you grow and be your best self.” – Karamo Brown