Texas Visit

texas1Saturday, June 14

Despite Cas being ready to go by about 5 pm yesterday, I opt to spend the night at LHC to enjoy a little more time not driving and soaking up the WiFi for online catchup. I am also relieved to report that my DC power problems were just an old dead battery, the previous one had lasted over seven years. By 9:30 though, it’s back on the road.

Now that the appointment is out of the way, my next goal is to find a cheaper campground with hookups and WiFi that I can hunker down and get job related stuffs done. There’s no point in driving too much farther in a specific direction until I know where my end destination is going to be, and behaving like a tourist and spending a lot of money to go sightseeing now is not a good idea. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to run out of money I’ve planned better than that. But the real secret to finding a job is to treat the finding of a job like a full-time job itself. You don’t send in three or four applications in a week and then whine that there’s nothing available when none of them get back to you. You spend 40 hours a week on it like it were your real job, with that kind of dedication you’re bound to get a hit sooner or later.

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The places I’ve been applying to are generally north of here near Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons or west of here near the Grand Canyon and southern Utah. I have a friend in Lubbock, TX whom I’ve been wanting to meet for ages and Lubbock happens to be west and slightly north of LHC, a reasonable area to stage my operation from no matter which location ends up getting back to me.

Texas is big though, wow. What looks like a fairly short drive between the two points on a map is a considerable distance in actuality. In an effort to avoid Dallas, I take 69 up to Greenville and then cut west on I380 through McKinney and Denton. The highway ends and it’s two lane county roads until I realize there’s no places for me to park overnight out here and no campgrounds, Lubbock is still quite a ways away. So I start heading southwest to Abilene.

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Once getting west of Dallas, the climate changes considerably. Eastern Texas doesn’t look much different than the rest of the southeast does, but things get noticeably dryer as you approach the center. Prickly pear cactus become common, the land flattens, and the trees get shorter and less dense. Along one random county road I pull over to take a shot of all the cactus, happy as a clam. The novelty of a new area really lifts my spirits when I travel and I’m gawking as I drive. I love this part of RVing, laying eyes on a new spot for the first time.

The wind picks up too. I’m fighting it as I approach Abilene and my gas mileage is suffering for the engine having to work harder to push through it, it’s nice to stop once I get there.

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Tonight I’m staying at Abilene RV Park.  Like most private parks the sites are close together, but it’s easy to get to, the owners are friendly, and the grounds and facilities are pretty nice. I poke my head into the clubhouse and a church group on their way to Lubbock as well are having a gathering in there, this is a yearly thing for them. I get invited in and talk to them a little while, they’re a nice bunch of people and in high spirits.

Sunday

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The geographical region Lubbock is in is known as high plains. There are a number of jumps in elevation today as I start up I20 west for the last time and then exit onto 84. The elevation jumps are a series of short red cliffs that are flat plateaus on top, so the trip up 84 is a bit like climbing a giant set of stairs. Between these climbs the ground remains flat, but with a few worn down mounds and other interesting geological features that are well, very not the southeast. I find it fascinating, although I know that compared to other places further west this stuff is hardly of note. To me it is all brand new and exciting.

texas6In the early afternoon I reach my destination for the next several days. Lubbock is bigger than I expected. Again, on a map of Texas it looks like a dot, but map distances are deceiving here in the Lone Star state. I meet up with my aforementioned friend Misty who is also reads IO (hi!) and we spend the rest of the afternoon and evening hanging out at her place while Bertha and Cas are parked in an empty parking lot nearby. Stage two of headed out West now complete.

* * *

Sunday night I spent at a Walmart on the SW side of town, and since Monday I’ve been staying at Mesa Verde RV Park in Wolfforth for WiFi and full hookups so I can concentrate on landing a job. I got another call back yesterday, from a place in Colorado. The hours aren’t what I’m looking for but it’s still something I can fall back on if necessary. I’m hoping to be out of here by Friday when the weekend crowds start showing up but we’ll see.

texas7In the meantime I’ve also gone to see a movie, visited the prairie dog town, and generally enjoyed being in a “new” part of the country. The wind blows pretty strong here and it whips the dirt up into the air and makes the sky look orangey on the horizons, I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Last night a storm blew through but it didn’t rain more than a few drops, was so odd. The light show and strong winds went on for hours without any precipitation, there’s a chance the same thing will happen tonight. The picture here of a lightning strike taken on my iPhone camera was not altered at all, it came out so strangely.

texas8Enjoy your week everyone, as soon as I have the job situation figure out I’ll post about it.

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Becky

At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and travel full-time before retirement, and share stories of my adventures (and misadventures) to inspire future nomads and armchair travelers alike. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.

26 Comments

  1. Roger on June 21, 2014 at 1:05 am

    Hi Becky,

    Well I am in beullton Calif. home of Andersen Split Pea soup, I met up with a friend and stayed four days at BLM land. The job in the national park did not work out. I’ll spare you the details but after all, the worst was having to kill 16 mice in my RV, of course I know I still have at least 2 more in here, after finding evidence this morning in my silverware dror, and in the bathroom which I keep cleaning with a bleach solution.
    I lived in West Texas ( Odessa ) for 16 years, and visited Lubbock many times, it was always windy, and I have been thru many of those red dust storms.

    Good luck in your job search, I will be working for now in L.A. for my brother until I go off to Nevada for the Amazon job. I plan to leave towards the end of August to visit family in Las Vegas then head north for the Fernley job.

    Roger



    • Becky on June 22, 2014 at 11:41 pm

      Sorry that job didn’t work out, there’s always next time though. Have fun in L.A. and I’ll see you in Fernley later this year!



  2. Ruth on June 20, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Good luck with your job search. I know something will open up soon for you. Enjoy your westward travels. I was always how shocked at how different it is to the humid eastern part of the country.



    • Becky on June 21, 2014 at 12:05 pm

      I love the diversity of our country Ruth. What fun it is to travel like this. 🙂



  3. Reine on June 19, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    I spent 5 years in Lubbock cramming a 4 year degree into 5! Yep, it’s definitely windy in Lubbock. However a few drops of rain during a wind storm isn’t that bad. Many years ago Paul and I were headed to California from Dallas and hit a MUD storm near Snyder (that’s between Dallas and Lubbock). We had planned to drive further but the windshield was coated in red mud quicker than the wipers could clear it so we stopped at a motel.

    Once you get further west you can give Cas and Bertha a good wash.

    I volunteer with a job search ministry and I wish I could convince the folks that come to our workshops that your attitude is the best one. You’re doing it right. When you need a job, job search is a FULL TIME job. Hopefully you will get a response soon with good location, good pay and fully paid RV spot.



    • Becky on June 19, 2014 at 5:07 pm

      Yikes that sounds like it could be dangerous Reine, I’m glad that you found a safe place to wait it out. On the other hand, now that it’s past it makes for a good story – that’s how I like to look at the trials and tribulations of RVing.

      Thanks for the well wishes. I’m getting close, really I am. Treating job searching like a full-time job really just makes the most sense.



  4. Fireman Steve on June 19, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Thanks for the update. Safe travels..



    • Becky on June 19, 2014 at 12:37 pm

      You’re welcome Steve.



  5. Jodee Gravel on June 19, 2014 at 9:38 am

    I’m so glad you’re enjoying the journey and not obsessing about the destination. Enjoying the orangey sky when the dust is kicked up is delightful as most people would just complain about the wind :-). We have not been west of the Rockies (other than a couple business trips that don’t count) and are looking forward to the new and different as well. Enjoy your “right now”, it’s pretty awesome.
    Jodee Gravel recently posted..The House KnowsMy Profile



    • Becky on June 19, 2014 at 12:37 pm

      I do complain a little about the wind too, particular when it’s rocking the RV and I’m trying to sleep, but during the day the breeze is nice when it’s so warm out.

      Enjoy your trip west of the Rockies! I’m excited at the chance to see mountains again, I wonder how well Bertha will do towing through them…



  6. Deborah on June 19, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Becky, glad it was only a dead battery that got your home back to working condition. We just spent 9 months in Lubbock, as our son had a motorcycle accident, then open a BBQ joint – The Shack on N. Frankford, which we helped to get it going. During that time. We dealt with high winds to upward 65 mph, so needless to say our motor home had red dirt everywhere…still trying to get it out. Anyways I’m glad you had a safe trip, but a long one. Enjoy your time visiting friends and finding that right summer job.



    • Becky on June 19, 2014 at 12:32 pm

      Oooh fun Deborah, the BBQ joint not the accident, heh.

      It’s definitely pretty windy here, and when it sprinkles with these evening storms we’ve been getting the blowing dirt sticks to it and now Cas and Bertha need a cleaning, hehe.

      And thanks for the well wishes.



  7. Larry Jenkins on June 19, 2014 at 8:52 am

    Becky, welcome to Texas! I live in McKinney, but I am originally from Amarillo. You are right about Texas being a big state. My son lives in Lubbock and my daughter in Katy (Houston). That’s 5-6 hours for us to either one.
    You have the right attitude about job huntng. No doubt you will get a great job.
    Larry Jenkins



    • Becky on June 19, 2014 at 12:30 pm

      There’s a reasonably good chance I’ll be driving through Amarillo depending on where I head after this. I am enjoying Texas, it’s different from other places I’ve been.

      And thanks, things will work out I’m sure.



  8. Eliana on June 19, 2014 at 7:25 am

    I would have enjoyed meeting you, as I’m in the Denton area camping with my new Casita. Good luck on the job search!



    • Becky on June 19, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      Oooh, congrats Eliana and enjoy! They’re such good little RVs. And thanks, things always work out one way or another.



  9. Becca on June 19, 2014 at 12:25 am

    Southern Utah by Zion Natl Park. Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort might have work. They have RV spaces. The resort is all inclusive and they need lots of workers. Zionponderosa.com. check it out. Best of luck.



    • Becky on June 19, 2014 at 12:28 pm

      Thanks Becca. I actually applied to a ranch near Zion a couple days ago, not sure if it was this one though, let me see…



  10. Kim on June 18, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    Glad your problem was as simple as an old battery. Good luck on the job search!
    Kim recently posted..Snow!My Profile



    • Becky on June 19, 2014 at 12:27 pm

      Thanks Kim! Hope you’re having fun on your trip, you’re not the first one to report snow in the mountains out west, brrr!



  11. Ron on June 18, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Texas is a huge & diverse state. I just read that if the entire population of the world was housed at the density of New York City they would fit in the state of Texas.

    Some job hunting advise I was given as a teenager: If you need a job pack your lunch and wear your work clothes and go from job site to job site, tell them you can start right now and are willing to learn new skills. This worked for me during my college Summers and I usually had a job within hours.

    There are so many seasonal jobs in the Yellowstone area I think this would work for you. There are always people that quit, don’t show up or are unreliable & they need someone RIGHT NOW!!! The areas I like are best are Fishing Bridge on Yellowstone Lake, Then southern Yellowstone at Old Faithful and then Mammoth Village. There are also seasonal jobs in the small towns bordering Yellowstone, West Yellowstone is a really neat town & Gardiner at the North entrance.



    • Becky on June 19, 2014 at 12:26 pm

      Huh, that’s an interesting fact Ron. 🙂

      Yes, if I just drove up there I could probably work something out, but I’d still rather have a job first so I know I’m not wasting the gas. Not all places in Yellowstone have accommodations for RVers even if they are hiring. Plus when you’re driving around town looking for a job you’re not spending hours driving to a new city. At over 1,000 miles, getting 15 miles per gallon, with gas at maybe 3.60 a gallon… it’s at least $250 to drive there.

      I’ll get it figure out though, I always do.



  12. Troy on June 18, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Welcome to Texas! It is a big place and I’m sure you will find plenty to do after you get the job thing ironed out. I live in Houston but have been to Lubbock of few times to visit friends and watch Texas Tech football games. It is very windy and can be cold at times.

    I was just in Austin this past weekend visiting my Dad for Father’s Day. Unfortunately, there was a motorcycle rally going on at the same time but we stayed clear of it for the most part. There is SO much to do in and around Austin. I love the place but the traffic is getting out of hand.

    What movie did you see? And how was it?

    Having worked for Amazon for two winter seasons, I see you have first hand experience on how the inbound/outbound shipping process and storage works. Have you ever considered being on the opposite end of the cycle? While you’re out traveling, you could collect items, ship them into Amazon, have Amazon store, sell & ship your items for you as well as handle customer service – Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) program.

    Like you, I utilize the Amazon affiliate program, but I also wrote a book which is for sale on Amazon and I work the FBA program.

    Another idea (maybe you have already thought of this) would be to find small, unique items you could store in Cas, list them on eBay and ship them from where you are when they sell. I know of one Rver selling ties on eBay to pay for gas & travel expenses. Worth a look. 🙂

    You’re a great writer so think about spending a few weeks or a month writing a book about your experiences. I wrote my book back in December of 2012 and sales are getting stronger – 50-60 sales a month. Not huge money but it’s nice getting a direct deposit from Amazon each and every month for a book I wrote 2 1/2 years ago.

    Well, enjoy Texas. Good luck with the job search and safe travels.

    Troy
    Troy recently posted..Father’s Day Weekend GetawayMy Profile



    • Becky on June 19, 2014 at 12:15 pm

      Heya Troy. Yes I have enjoyed my time in Texas so far. I hear from my friend that it gets cold here in the winter (although being from Wisconsin, I doubt I’d find it “cold”) but right now it’s sure plenty hot enough. Yes it is windy.

      I almost worked near Austin last winter instead of Gainesville in FL. I interviewed for both places around the same time but Ordway-Swisher got back to me first. I hear from people that it’s a really nice city, I’ll make it down there some winter.

      I am writing an e-book, but it’s a lot harder for me than writing blog posts. Sooner or later I’ll finish it. As for selling physical products through ebay or Amazon, perhaps someday. That’s more risky than a blog because you have to buy the product before you sell it and I don’t have much extra to spare right now.

      You take care too, safe travels and happy trails.



      • Troy on June 19, 2014 at 8:24 pm

        I agree. Blog posts usually flow naturally when you’re talking about travel, while books are work and planning. Yuk! Ha!!

        Jump on that e-book and get it finished. Becky the Author of (insert book here) would look great on a resume.

        Actually, your doing fine just the way your doing things. I’m very impressed!



        • Becky on June 21, 2014 at 12:03 pm

          Oh, I’ll get it finished! It’s just a matter of when. 😉

          And thanks, glad you’re finding IO helpful and inspirational.



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