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

 

A busy start to the new year

Happy belated New Year and New Decade!!

You would think with working just two days a week, we would be living the life of leisure, and having a lot of free time on our hands, but we have just been busy, busy, busy.  This is turning out to a year of change for us, and it has been both exciting and stressful.  So let’s get caught up…

On Christmas Eve, we picked Dan’s parents up at the Mesa Airport, about a three hour drive from Yuma.  Dan’s brother and sister-in-law, Gary and Julia, rented a house in Tempe, Arizona, for the week of Christmas.  Their three daughters were also able to fly in for Christmas.  It was nice to spend the holidays with family!  Thank you Gary and Julia for inviting us over for Christmas, as well as the matching “Minnesota Go Jump in the Lake” t-shirts that we all received!

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On New Year’s Eve, we drove Dan’s parents, Joan and Stu, back with us to Westwind RV and Golf Resort in Yuma, as they were able to rent a park model for the month of January.  We didn’t have to worry too much about them, as they had a busy month of activities, with golf, dances, block parties, and cards.  We enjoyed spending time with them, during their “free” time!

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Fridays and Saturdays have been busy with work, as well as volunteering at the Friday night dances, and attending the Saturday night concerts in the ballroom with Tom, Ellen and Bob.  Dan and I are both involved in several golf leagues on our off days.  I have played more golf in the last three months, then I have in ten years.  We sell tickets for the 50/50 raffle at the dances, to raise money for Shriner’s Children’s Hospital.  Last year they raised close to $5000 from the raffle, and this year we should exceed $5,000.00.  Here we are with Henry and Terry, the Golf Shop Managers (and former co-workers of ours at Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota).

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We have seen several excellent concerts, including a tribute to John Denver (which my sister LuAnn would have loved)…

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as well as an excellent tribute to Linda Ronstadt.

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We did manage a few trips up to Quartzsite, one for the annual RV show, and another to meet up with friends Wendy and Terry (met them work camping at Luton’s Teton Cabins).  And Wendy and I managed to find another “big chair” to sit in.

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Today we had a ‘Mardi Gras’ parade in the park.  We decorated one golf cart, to represent the golf course.  Since we were in the parade, I only have a few pictures from the staging area of some of the other decorated carts.  In addition to candy, we threw (gently) golf balls to crowd gathered in the park to watch all the decorated golf carts.  Here we are, ready to go!

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Some of the other floats…

CHANGE IS COMING!

As I have previously mentioned, we will not be working this summer (our first time in 6 years). We will spend the entire summer in Alaska traveling with friends Karen and Al, as well as two other couples (one of which we just met this week in Yuma).

We have spent the past month or two seriously looking at various RV’s, as we don’t plan on taking our 5th wheel to Alaska.  We have looked, and talked with dealers in Oregon, Michigan, Las Vegas and several in Arizona, regarding Class A’s, Class C/B’s and truck campers.  Ultimately, we decided to go with our original plan of getting a truck camper. It will make it easier for us to get into many of the smaller campgrounds, allow us to boondock (camping without hookups) more often, and make us much more mobile.

This year, Westwind RV enforced the rule of no truck campers allowed in the park.  So we spoke with management regarding our plans of picking up our camper in March.  They advised that we would not be allowed to stay in the park.  Our friends Dave and Marilyn, who have a house in Yuma with a 30 amp hook-up, were kind enough to allow us to park at their place, for the month of March, and then we would leave.  We told our managers in the golf shop that we would only work through the end of March, and skip the two weekends in April that we were scheduled to work.  We had also advised them that we would not return next year, as we would not be allowed to stay in this park with a truck camper.  And, we did not want to rush to purchase something else after our Alaska trip.  They were fine with all of this.

Well, three days after we got all the details squared away with everyone, the corporate owner of Westwind (he owns several RV and mobile home parks), fired the managers here.  And the next day, among many rule changes, they changed the rule regarding truck campers.  Any type of RV is now welcome at Westwind RV.

So now we can stay at the park and finish out our commitment for this season.  Our last day will be April 11.  We are still leaning towards not coming back next year, as we need to see what happens with all these management and rule changes.

We have been super busy going through our 5th wheel and making piles of “stuff going to Alaska” and “stuff to keep, but not going to Alaska.”  Downsizing from 400 square feet to 80 square feet has been challenging, and a bit overwhelming.  Sometimes I just have to sit down and stare at all of our crap…I mean stuff!  Fortunately, Dave and Marilyn will let us store some stuff at their house.  They are such wonderful friends!  (we promise that someday we will return and pick it up!).  Of course we still have stuff at my sister Margie’s, brother Brian’s, and Dan’s parents to sort through as well…someday!

Here’s a quick peak at what we have put an offer on, and will pick up next month.  A 2008 Host Truck Camper.  Once we pick it up, I will have a blog with more pictures, as well as an update on the downsizing!

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We hope all is well with everyone!  Until next time!

Quote of the Day:  “In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or step back into safety.” – Abraham Maslow

 

 

 

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