2nd Year on the Road

On July 12, 2012 I just completed my second year of fulltime RVing.  I can’t believe I have been on the road so long.  So once again, as I did last year, I will summarized this fantastic year with some of the highlights.

Remember you can click on any pic then click again to enlarge.

Working in Texas

To start I was in Texas and decided to work for a month to help defray costs of traveling to Texas to see my family.  What a mistake that was.  It was 106 degrees and higher the entire month I worked.  Oh well I will definitely know better next time to stay away from there during the summer.

Grand Canyon of Texas

After my work duties were over I headed to Palo Dura State Park in northwestern Texas.  It is know as the Grand Canyon of Texas and a very beautiful place.  While there I hiked the Lighthouse Trail and took this pic of myself standing on the plateau in front of the lighthouse.

Taking advantage of my NM state pass

Then it was off to New Mexico where I wanted to take advantage of the last few months of my New Mexico State Pass.  My first stop was Clayton SP.

Then on to Sugarite SP, just south of the NM/CO border.  This next pic shows Lake Dorothy just north of Sugarite SP.

My next stop was Cimmaron SP and the town of Cimmaron.

Fulfilling a boy scout dream

I also visited Philmont Scout Ranch, which had always been a dream of mine ever since I was a Boy Scout.

More of beautiful new mexico

After that it was Eagle Nest SP, Coyote Creek SP (where I saw a bear), Storie Lake SP  and then on to Villanueva SP where I got my semi-annual haircut.  Finally it was off to Hyde Memorial SP.

Then in October I met up with all my good friends at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta where I stayed and partied for 10 days.  Even had a balloon land on top of my rig.  HA!

After the Balloon Fiesta I drove south to Poncho Villa SP to enjoy a Escapees Chapter 21 Rally.  Of course that also included a trip to Palomas, Mexico where I had to have some dental work done and make sure the margaritas still tasted as good as always.

A visit to the Whitehouse

Next stop on my route was Canyon de Chelly (pronunced d’Shay).  Located on an Indian Reservation it is a beautiful place and a must see for anyone in that area of Arizona.  Of course I had to hike the Whitehouse Trail, which is so beautiful.

Monument Valley

From there it was to Monument Valley, UT.  Talk about a fabulous area, don’t miss out on seeing this.

On my way to Amazon

Then I drove north to Interstate 50.  It is known as the loneliest highway in America.  And believe me it really is.  You could drive for miles and miles and never see a car or truck in either direction.  You would not want to break down on this road.

My destination was Fernley, NV, where I worked for Amazon for 8 weeks.  By the way it was probably the hardest job I have ever had.  Thankfully the 8 weeks went by fairly fast, although it took a couple of months to get healed from the aches and pains I suffered at that job.  OUCH!!!  On top of that it was very cold as well.  Four degrees when I left there.

I then drove to Reno, NV and parked my rig and flew to SO CA to spend a week with my family over the holidays.  It was really great seeing everyone and getting caught up.  I even played some golf.  Actually I tried to play some golf.  HA!  What a joke!

Time to warm up

Then I hit the road to get out of that cold weather up north and drove down to Quartzsite, AZ.  There I met up with a whole bunch of Lazy Dazers (about 20 rigs at different times) and relaxed in the wonderful Arizona sunshine.  Of course I also saw the crazy RV show and even saw a concert by Paul Winer (the Naked Book Seller) although he was fully clothed.  Great show by the way with SRO.

With the help of all my friends I was able to upgrade my rig with new LED lighting, another 12v receptacle and an outdoor motion sensor light.

Next stop – Imperial Dam

In February I left Quartzsite and headed to Imperial Dam just outside of Yuma, AZ  I really enjoyed my stay there with more friends.  Got to do a lot of hiking in the desert.  Plus don’t forget the wild donkeys.  HA!

Heading south of the border senor!

Then it was south of the border to Mexico with the Harvest Host Wine and Whale Watching Tour.  What a fabulous trip that turned out to be.  Visited 5 wineries, with great wine tasting at each.  The wineries were located in the Valley of Gaudelope with very beautiful scenery around.  Also stopped in Ensenada for a day, where we had a great lunch down at the fish market and an opportunity to stock up on lots of great seafood.  Of course we also had to have some cervasa’s (brewskies) at Hussong’s Cantina.

Later visited La Bufadora (the blow hole).  Another very scenic spot.

The wineries were great plus the wine was even greater!  Even got to see a colt that was born that very day.  How exciting!

I am NOT an illegal alien!

After crossing back into the US I drove to Tamarisk LTVA where I stayed for a week and met some really wonderful people.  We hiked ever day in the desert and one day we were surrounded by Border Patrol cars who thought we were illegal aliens.  No comprende  Senor! What a trip that was!

One of my very favorite spots

After spending so much time with so many wonderful people, I needed a break and decided to head for one of my most favorite spots in the Clark Dry Lake bed of the Anza Borrego desert in southern California.  It is 7 miles outside of Borrego Springs.  This place is so peaceful and always gives me a chance to reflect on my future plans.  It was here where I made my resume on workamper.com and emailed it to various people.  Within 10 minutes I had a call for the job I would be working at this summer. More on that later.

Back to the coast

Then it was off to the west coast to Oceanside, where I parked my rig at the Elks Club and took the train up to Orange County to see family.  It was back and forth visiting different members of my family and it was great seeing my Mom.  Love you Mom!

Heading up north

Then it was time to hit the road and head up north.  My first stop was the Trona Pinnacles outside of Ridgecrest, CA.  It is like a trip to another planet.

From there it was off to the Alabama Hills just outside of Lone Pine, CA.  This has been one place I always dreamed of venturing to even before I had an RV.  An absolute MUST SEE.

From there it was off to Mona Lake, where I stayed for about 5 days and ventured around the area seeing the tufa’s at the edge of the lake and the weird cloud formations.

I also took a side trip to the old ghost town of Bodie, CA.  Much of the town is still intact as it was a hundred years ago.  Really neat and another MUST SEE.

Then I finally made it to Oregon where I stayed at Goose Lake SP, La Pine SP and finally Crooked River Ranch.

My workplace for the summer

I met up with my area managers who I would be working for the summer in Prineville, OR.  I am the camp host at the Ochoco Divide, a NFS campground.  It is on the summit (4,726′ elevation) of Hwy 26.  This campground is nestled among giant (200′) Ponderosa Pines among other pine trees as well.  I have now been here 2 months and love this job.  I get to meet a lot of interesting people and have lots of areas to hike in.

Well that about wraps up another fabulous year of my fulltime RV lifestyle.  There were some tough times (truck breaking down) and some great times (caravan trip to Mexico) as well as taking time out to see my family, which is very important to me.  I had lots of times spent with great friends and even some time to myself to ponder how lucky I am.

I almost can’t believe it has been two years since I have set out on the road.  I would also like to thank all my wonderful followers who have been with me as I experienced each and every day.  Every day is a new adventure.

Timberrrrrrrrrr!!!

As the camp host for a National Forest Campground in central Oregon I am surrounded by trees.  Both big ones and little ones as well.  In this area the Ponderosa Pines are the giant trees.  Many of them grow 200 feet tall and some even wave in the breezes.  There were two of those giant trees that had died and no longer had any leaves or branches on them.  They would have to be brought down before they fell down as they were near campsites.  Loren and Sue, the regional managers, came by one day and I met them at the trees in the back part of the campground.

Loren was going to cut down the tree and I was the gopher carrying the needed supplies such as gasoline chain saw oil, rakes, etc.  The two trees were right next to each other.  They are the two in the middle of the next photo with no leaves.

 

This is Loren beginning to cut down that tree.  It was a very big tree and later he found out that many ants had made that tree their home.

I made a short clip of the tree actually falling to the ground.  It came down with a big thump.  Please excuse the end of the clip as I forgot to shut it off and I was so excited seeing that big tree come down.

The tree came down with such force that the top of the tree acted like a spear and drove itself into the ground as you can see in the next pic.

We tried to pull it out of the ground but it would not budge.  Then we cut it down so it is now a stool that someone can sit on.  Too Much!

On Highway 26 which goes right by Ochoco Divide Campground there was a state highway crew that appeared one morning.  I went done to check out what was going on.  It seems that they were knocking down trees that might be a threat to motorists (or even bicyclists like my friend Jack or even walkers like my friend Steve and LeeRoy).  These were trees that they thought could pose a problem so they decided to give them the hatchet job.

They would block off the road going either way and then then forestry service guys would cut down the tree.  Naturally the tree would come down right on the highway as you can see from this next pic.

Roger pays me a visit

Roger pays me a visit

My friend Roger wrote and said he would be leaving Bremerton, WA Tuesday morning.  I figured he wouldn’t get here until at least Wednesday but he called Tuesday afternoon from Redmond.  He was here a short time later and we were sitting around talking old times and new as well.  I couldn’t believe he made such good time.  He sure didn’t mess around getting here.  It was sure great seeing him.

We head to the Painted Hills

The following day he drove us out to the Painted Hills just east of Ochoco Divide.  What a beautiful place!  It is fabulous to see and if you are ever traveling on Hwy 26 thru Central Oregon don’t miss it.  It is 6 miles off the road down a paved road for a few miles and then it turns into a good gravel road to the overlooks.

The next two pics show the Painted Cove Trail where you can actually walk among the Painted Hills.  It is a short trail only 1/4 mile long and allows you to get up close to them.

Roger and his rig parked in front of the Painted Cove Trail.

This is a rather unique view taken from the gravel road.  The colors were really beautiful.

This is a great little picnic area near the information center.

The river that flows right next to the picnic area.

Certainly had a nice time

We had a nice campfire and dinner and talked about old times.  It was really great to see him.  Thanks Roger for coming to visit me.  I really enjoyed the company.

Summer in Oregon

Orientation Day

I had to drive down to Prineville for an all day orientation.  I met Loren and his wife Sue.  He was the guy who originally called me back in February regarding the job.  There was also the camp hosts from the neighboring campsites that work for the same concessionaire.  It was really nice as they had a nice selection of food for breakfast and they also bought our lunch.  We went over all our duties and everyone had lots of questions.  It was also nice to be able to talk to other hosts about what to expect.

Weatherman was this in your prediction?

After the orientation I stopped off at the grocery store for a few items and then headed back to camp.  I was surfing the net when I happened to look up and this is what I saw.

It is not the best picture as I was taking it out of my windows.  This is a better pic of what was happening.

Start of my summer job – HA!

IT WAS SNOWING!  I thought this was going to be my summer job.  I saw more snow now then I did last winter while working for Amazon.

It didn’t get real deep but it was pretty amazing to see.  I think the last time I saw snow falling was on one of my ski trips to Mammoth Lakes back in 2010.  It was really neat.

Brrrrr!!  Very cold!!!  

Of course with the snow comes the COLD!  The day I arrived at this campground it was a beautiful day with a temperature of 86 degrees.  I guess it just shows how unpredictable the weather can be here in Central Oregon.

Memorial Weekend went off well

All this took place on the 24th just before the Memorial Day holiday weekend.  I was figuring I was going to be bombarded with campers.  Friday it rained and melted much of the snow away.  But the cold decided to stay on for a few extra days.  My first holiday weekend turned out to be pretty good.  I was very busy selling firewood and collecting camping fees but it wasn’t bad at all.  The campground was over 1/2 full and most of the campers were signed up to stay the whole weekend.  It is just a bummer that it happened to be soooooo cooold!!!

 

Getting my campsite all set up

Getting my supplies

After my first day there, Red came over and picked me up and also brought a lot of the necessary items to perform my hosting job.  To begin, he brought over a small shed, which we assembled.  This was for the two leaf blowers, gas cans and various other items like shovels, rakes, brooms, etc.  They also supplied me with a Honda 2000 generator which is locked on the back of my rig.  Don’t forget the golf cart to ride around in.  Then we took the trailer back to his site where we picked up a 325 gallon water tank.  We had to fill it at his campground since there is no water at mine.  That took quite a while to fill.  Sherry also supplied me with all the different forms I will need to complete record payments, supplies, etc.  This is my well stocked campsite.

Cleaning the rest stop

On the way back to my site we stopped and cleaned the two pit toilets at the rest stop.  That is the only real bummer about this job as I have to clean them every Tuesday and Thursday.  Since I don’t have a toad that means driving my rig down there with the equipment needed to clean them.  It is only a mile down the road, but the shoulder of the road is too narrow to drive the golf cart on.  There is also no supplies stored at the rest stop so I have to load everything up to haul down there.  It is a bummer but it is part of the job I signed up for.

Ochoco Divide open for business

The following day I had all the pine needles cleaned up from the road and was working on getting each campsite cleaned up as well.  Red and Sherrie came by and Red took over cleaning up the campsites while Sherrie and I put up all the signage in the park and cleaning the fire pits.

Ochoco Divide was not supposed to open until Friday but have had people there starting on Wednesday.    I explained to them that we would be cleaning and making noise throughout the park but that was OK with them.  By Friday everything was ready to go.  Finally!

Ochoco Divide is at the summit of Highway 26.  I can hear the trucks going by and many of the big rigs stop at the summit going either way to check there brakes for the long haul down the mountain.

I guess it is now official that I am the camp host.  HA!!  And don’t forget to buy your firewood from me!

Here is a pic of the entrance to the campground.  Notice how clean the road is now!

Finally another pic of the nice clean roadway that runs throughout the park.

My home for the summer

I finally made it

I arrived in Prineville, OR on a week ago last Monday.  After stopping for groceries and gasoline I got a call from my area managers Sherrie and Red.  They were doing there wash and wondered if I could meet them there.  I looked up and I was about 100′ from the laundromat.  Small world isn’t it?  While at the laundromat I was able to do my wash as well which had built up for almost 2 weeks.  They took me to lunch, which was really  nice and we discussed the area and the my job duties.

Heading to my home for the summer

After lunch and my clothes washed and dryed we headed up to the campground.  Ochoco Divide Campground is at the summit of Highway 26 at 4,700 feet.  It is a small National Forest campground with pit toilets and trash, but no electric, water or sewer.  It is settled into a nice wooded area with huge Ponderosa Pines everywhere.

My camp host site is very near the entrance and I do have a sewer connection.  They will also be bringing a 325 gallon water tank to take care of my water needs.  I got settled into my site and they would return tomorrow to bring all the necessary supplies to handle my job.  This is a pic of my camp host space prior to getting all my supplies.

Fabulous pine trees means lots of pine needles

There are 200 ft Ponderosa pines everywhere. If you double click on the next pic you will see pine needles covering the road.  My first project was to remove all the pine needles from the road circling the campground.  Of course I had a blower that strapped on my back.

Another pic of the road with the beautiful trees.

This is another view of my rig in it’s home for the summer.

It took a long time before I made this post.  I was trying to get the Internet figured out here.  It can be really sporadic.  Plus the fact that I was working my buns off trying to get the park ready to open.  Normally at this time of the year there is still snow on the ground, but this year the winter was very mild.