For any of you who were thinking, but never gutsy enough to tell us, 'you are crazy for even doing this': We say, "Tell it to the other almost 3 million fulltimers out there. Guess we're all crazy."
Do we miss having a 'sticks and brick' house? No way!
Do we miss having a 40-60 hours/week job? Yeah, right.
Are we going nuts living in almost 400 square feet? Nope. It actually is more than we need.
Are we getting on each other's nerves in such tight quarters? No. Our marriage is the best its ever been.
If there is one valuable thing I have learned from this experience, I would have to say it confirms what I've felt all along. We don't need all the material things in our life to be happy. Money, new cars and big fancy houses just don't do it.
It's unfortunate that some, even in my family, feel they need to have material things in their life or they don't feel important. They believe if they have cars, houses, fancy furniture and mvp status with airlines, that everyone will treat them with class and know that they are someone. Problem is, they are only 'someone' in their own minds.
The fact is, nobody really cares WHAT you have or where you've been, and they certainly don't care WHO you are.
What is important begins with your heart, God, your family.
With a New Year approaching, if I had only one wish; I would wish for my brother in law to be able to have a meal with my husband.
I already have everything else I need. A God who saved me, a husband who loves and adores me, wonderful children and grandchildren, healthy parents.
It's all about Jeep power, man!
(click on photos to enlarge)
The little blue jeep has finally gotten its BIG tires and wheels! We finally drove all the tread off the old tires, and ordered some BFG mud terrain 32" tires. And...do they look good or what?!
Now, we can take her out and do some real 4 wheelin'. Looks like a 1" body lift and some TJ flares are next on the list, but we're getting there!
Beginning the 750 foot descent in to the caves
Temple of the Sun
Wow! What an amazing place!
(click on picture to enlarge)
Awesome day at Carlsbad Caverns. These Caverns were discovered in 1920.
We took the almost 2 mile walk 750 feet DOWN through the cave. A rather steep descent at times, but what a fascinating place. Stalagamites, stalagtites, and some other stalaga(something) that I don't recall, hanging by the thousands, from the enormous 'ceiling'.
These caverns are home to literally thousands of bats from March to October. In October, they leave the caverns and head further south during winter months, then return to the caverns in March. We are told it is quite a sight to watch, so we are looking forward to the 'return of the bats' in March.
It was a great day!
On the bright side, two nights ago we played Bingo and lost our $3.00. Last night Henry played poker (and lost), while Wendy (the manager) and I shot a game of pool. We figure we'll keep doing the Bingo, Poker and Pool two nights a week, and who knows, we may even start winning!
We also walked the .7 mile to the post office a couple days ago, so got in a little exercise. The post office is the smallest one I've ever been in...but you never have to wait in line, and the postmaster remembers your name. Like everything else here, the post office is in the middle of nowhere, too.
Ahh, bicycles? We could go bicycling!
Not a whole lot around here.
The entrance to the Ranch.
(click on images to enlarge)
It's now December and we have had our first week of work, all 2 1/2 days.
We work together checking in RVer's, checking out RVer's and cleaning the club house. It's all a piece of cake, and everybody around here are super friendly. There's always something going on at the club house. Henry played poker the other night with some of the guys, and I'm going to check out Bingo tomorrow.
At least the snow melted, but temperatures are still cold at night. There is very little to do outside of the park, as we are 16-25 miles from any town either direction, and those towns are small. We will definitely have to get creative in our spare time, like maybe an intense exercise program? (Henry's got a couple extra pounds on him he could do without.)
A drop in temperature, some high winds, a few clouds and this is what we woke up to! The low temperature was 17 degrees. Brrr!
So, we got out the long pants, socks, boots and winter jackets, and walked across the street for our first day of training on the new job.
Yesterday we were pulling needle grass from the radiator of our jeep, and today scraping ice off the walkway!
(click on the pictures to enlarge)
I love this picture! Doesn't it look inviting?
These pictures, taken today, after quite the windstorm. That darn needle grass was blowing everywhere! It was lying all over the highway, Henry and I laughed about it being the 'hairy highway', which is exactly what it looked like.
As you can see from the pictures, it's piled up. A lady told me this evening that a friend of hers who has lived here all her life, has not seen needle grass like this in over 50 years. I guess I had it wrong on my last post, it's even rarer than we were originally told.
This picture of our site taken last evening.
And this picture taken this morning of our outside mat, covered in needle grass
Last night was windy, it rained a little, but the worst part is the needle grass blowing and piling up. You can see from the pictures above the 'seeds' on each one. The seeds are pointy, sharp and find their way into most everything. They penetrate any semi soft material, and will cluster together clinging to even wood.
Two weeks before we arrived, they tell us the needle grass was piled 14 feet high around the buildings. It blew in one day....and blew out the next day. And, of course, it is extremely rare to have so much of it. The last time was over 28 years ago. Hey, we can tell them why a rarity is happening in the area now. It's because WE are here! Whether it be unusual weather, fire, mudslides or needle grass......follow us around the country and there you'll find it.
The Club house, above (click to enlarge photos)
The office, on left, where I'll be working
We arrived yesterday around noon at our home for the next four months. We've had lots of surprises since arriving. Our site is very nice and large, plenty big enough to park our truck and the jeep, plus there is a storage shed (with a refrigerator in it) on the site. I took a couple pictures of the site itself, but the shadows were all wrong, so I will try again later today.
The "Ranch" as they call it, is a co-op park, where the sites can be purchased. There are 120 sites in the park, a large club house complete with huge kitchen, sun room, media area, library, pool table and even a music stage. There is also a nice sized laundry on site.
Everything seems to be very well maintained and groomed, and the people are very friendly.
What we didn't know until we arrived: Lakewood, New Mexico, with its population of 100 consists of the residents in the park itself.
So, other than the fact that we are about 20 miles from literally anything in either direction, everything else is good.
Except of course, a small in size, yet major annoyance that blows around here called NEEDLE GRASS! I will try and get pictures tomorrow.....
On our way to New Mexico, we stopped at a little spot in Langtry, Texas, where Judge Roy Bean, the west's most colorful Justice of the Peace, ruled America's last frontier in the late 1880's. He was know as the 'law west of the Pecos River'.
While there, we walked the trail they have set up, admired the various plants, got bit on our ankles by some nasty bug (Henry's still got red sores on his leg), then headed out to the truck and continued across the most incredible boring highway to New Mexico. There is a whole lot of absolutely nothing in the way of scenery along Hwy. 90. Plenty of mule deer though, both along the highway and on the highway.
OUR RIG (click images to enlarge)
Weather in San Antonio has been warm, high 70's, so we are hoping for the sunshine to follow us.
Once there, in the middle of nowhere, it sounds like, we'll start our 2 days a week job at an RV park. Hope we can handle it....
Very interesting piece of american history from 1836. We asked a Texas Ranger who was standing outside the building if he could tell us in 30 words or less about the Alamo. He replied, 'it's not that cut and dry.' You'd think we would remember the history from school.. but we needed a refresher. .so, this is what we learned... the mexican soldiers were trying to take the Alamo, and soldiers from TN, PA and other states came to defend the Alamo, and succeeded. Hence, 'remember the Alamo.' Any history of our great country is fascinating, but becomes even more real when you are standing in the same spot or building where the history was made.
(click images to enlarge)
Today we took a drive to downtown San Antonio, and the area known as The Riverwalk. The San Antonio River meanders through the downtown area and is lined with shops and cafes. We had breakfast at a mexican restaurant, then walked along the river. The downtown area is beautiful, very clean and shows that the residents are proud of their city.
"MAC", Yukon Husky & sweetheart
Our time in Alaska flew by, kept Henry busy working, and was soooo cold!! Minus 20 degrees is not pleasant in any way whatsoever. Your vehicle is cold, you're cold, the house is cold, the office is cold.......there is no warming up at all.
It was wonderful seeing the family in Fairbanks and on our layover in Anchorage we were able to see our kids, but only one of the grandkids. Alicen, the oldest grandchild, lives about 45 miles outside of Anchorage, so that makes it a little tough. We were able to meet our daughter's boyfriend, Tyler...a very nice young man. I loved spending what little time we had with everyone, which made it even harder to leave. ...
So here we are back in San Antonio, 82 degrees, sunshine...boy, does the warm air feel good! Makes a person appreciate this nice weather after being in the literally frigid north.
We will hang out here until right after Thanksgiving, then onward to New Mexico where we have accepted a 20 hours/week workamper position at an RV park there. As always, we are excited about another new area to explore.
Earl, Henry's dad aka "Zorro"
Earl, waiting for the Halloween Party to begin
So, here we are in Fairbanks, Alaska. Today, the temperature is a mere -6 degrees. Three days ago, we had freezing rain, which made the roads literal sheets of ice. Being back in Alaska, reminds us of the reasons we left. It is too cold, too dark, too slippery (for walking and driving both) and too far away from the rest of the world. Our kids and grandchildren are in Anchorage which is 365 miles away....an 8 hour drive one way, or $600.00 for a 45 minute flight.
Fortunately, we have a very long layover in Anchorage on our way back to Texas, so we are hoping to make that all work in order to see both kids and grandkids.
Henry was asked to come up and help his friend out with his business for a couple weeks, as they have been buried with work, and putting in some very long hours. Meini and Anna are good people, and Henry feels honored that they have asked him for his help....so, we are here. They even put me on a project, and I know nothing about termination of fabric, anchor bolts, or end walls. But I keep reading the same stuff over and over, and it's actually beginning to make sense.
Earl, Henry's dad, in the photos above, is a resident of the Pioneer's Home, a nursing home here in Fairbanks. We have been over to visit him every day, which is another blessing about being here.
The long and short of it is, we are now in San Antonio, Texas after travelling over 1100 miles in two days. By the way, Alabama and Mississippi are definitely two states I would love to spend considerable time in.
Anyway, tomorrow, we will be catching a flight to Fairbanks, Alaska, and will be there for a couple weeks. Henry has been asked to help with a friend's business while he is away on vacation. So, truck and trailer are set up at an RV park here in San Antonio, being watched by a friend of ours that happens to be right next door.
(I'm hoping that if time permits over one of the weekends in Alaska, maybe a short trip to Anchorage to see the kids and grandkids.)
Amanda, Kyleigh & Savannah
College friends reunited
Greenville..the night before putting
our daughter on the plane back to Ak.
South Carolina was great because we were able to see Amanda!
And she was able to visit with her college friends again. We did some shopping while there, had dinner at a nice restaurant in downtown Anderson, played some Scrabble, some triple Solitaire, but most important just enjoyed being together.
Oh yes, and we packed up her things from storage and sent them on their way back to Alaska. By then, it was time to say goodbye (tough stuff).
our site in Clarksville
Montgomery Bell's tunnel
Craggie Hope Church, est. 1906
Craggie Hope Church, est. 1906
site of many movies and music videos
Today we took a scenic drive through some Tennessee farmland and backroads. This is definitely some beautiful country! The leaves are beginning to turn oranges and reds so we loved seeing that. We found the little church (pictures above), but never found an old cemetery from the 1850's or an old mill. Nonetheless, the drive was gorgeous.
As we were toodling along, we spotted a barn with smoke coming out the top.....we thought we had better stop and let someone know a barn was on fire.....Henry pulled in to a driveway, knocked on their door and informed the lady that answered of the smoke coming from the barn. She replied with, "you must not be from around here." "They's smokin' 'bacca.".....(translation; the tobacco is being seasoned???)
We laughed, and drove away....are we the rednecks?
We are havin' a great time despite the fact that it is ONLY 46 degrees today in Tennessee! Henry, take me where it's warm!