I received a call Tuesday evening from a person at American Land and Leisure about a Colorado camp host job I’d applied for. That particular job had been filled but he had one other in Colorado that provided the electric hookup I’d need since I can’t generate my own power yet. Sadly this other job was only 20-25 hours per week and even with the site and utilities free the pay wasn’t going to be enough to cover my living expenses, so while I didn’t tell them “no” right away, I waited for more options to come in.
On Wednesday, June 18 I received a call from a lady at a campground in Custer, SD. I hadn’t applied to this job but she’d seen my resume posted on Workamper News and contacted me about it. Shortly into the phone call I got hung up on, but I didn’t call back because I was having a hard time understanding what she was saying and I’d worked near the Black Hills last summer but I kept the number handy in case. Later I found out that she had a jaw infection and felt so bad during the call that she had to go. She missed two days of work hardly being able to talk and when I got a phone call from another person at the same location yesterday the hang up made much more sense. I hope she feels better soon.
Thursday I received two e-mails. The first was from a cabin rental business up in South Fork, CO, not a big company but a mom and pop kind of place. The hours, pay, and location were right, but while I’d have hookups there was no real campground component, and thus no shower house. Since I don’t have a working water heater right now, that would make getting clean a hassle. Yes I could boil water, and I have a second hand solar shower now thanks to one of my rennie friends, but still, a hassle. The tiny town the cabins were located in and the people who run it seemed great, perhaps another summer. While it doesn’t sit near a National Park it’s at 8200 feet and almost surrounded by national forest, and Sand Dunes National Park is an hour and a half away.
The second e-mail on Thursday led to the offer I ended up accepting yesterday. Drum roll please…
Zion National Park in Utah. I’m going to be working at Zion Mountain Ranch just outside the east entrance to the park. Besides being a ranch animals included and a lodge, it also has a gas station, restaurant, convenience store and gift shop to cover all the bases, I’ll primarily be working at the last two.
For those who are wondering the interview I’d had last Thursday (June 12) was with Vail Resorts in the Grand Tetons. It was a multiple step process though. After I finished that interview my application needed to be passed on to someone higher up and it could be up to 10 business days before I heard back. As of the time I accepted the UT offer it’d been six business days without a peep. Some summer I will work out in that area, but the offer Zion gave me is better money anyway so I’m not too upset that it didn’t work out this time.
By the time I got off the phone with the hiring lady I was already in eastern New Mexico. I left Mesa Verde RV Park near Lubbock just before noon and headed up highway 84. It would have been easy enough to get to southwestern Colorado or Utah by this route, so instead of paying for another day to see how the chips fell I started driving and figured rightly that things would sort themselves out before I got to the point where I was no longer getting closer to both locations.
This is my first time in NM, it’s quite beautiful even from I40. The commuter just driving along focused solely on the destination might think it all looks the same but it doesn’t. Coming from the east it starts off like Texas ends: flat with grass and those short little trees with some brush mixed in. But I also passed through areas of entirely grass, a hilly area with scraggly pine trees, and the valleys are more lush than the hills are. The soil started out red but then near the pine trees it got more tan and was extremely rocky. Near where highway 84 met I40 I saw what looked almost like a sink hole, a steep depression in the ground near the road, but it was all lined with rock and so deep I couldn’t see the bottom, very curious.
For those wincing about driving through NM in summer, it actually wasn’t bad this day. The hailstorm took care of the heat… d’oh.
All afternoon I’d seen the little thunderstorms ahead of me to the west, they made a nice backdrop to some of my photos. Once I got under the clouds the temp dropped from the upper 80’s to the mid 80’s which was nice, and then I hit the rain. Like outside of Birmingham last week the wind was pretty strong and I could see the rain being blown sidewise as the storm was moving north to south. It’s times like these that I’m so glad I spent the money for a quality sway control hitch. While I can feel the wind buffeting the side of the rig, I’m in no danger of being blown off the road. In a matter of minutes the temperature drops from 85 to 62. When I glanced up from the rain and noticed that second number I started worrying, that’s an awfully dramatic change… ping! Ping ping!
Oi. On go the hazard lights and I slow down as the rain has also increased and is making visibility poor. Luckily the hail is small, infrequent, and is over quickly. By the time I find a rest stop to pull over at it’s all but over..
After that I drive another hour or two before stopping for the night at the Travel Centers of America (TA) located in Moriarty, NM where I write up this post this morning. There’s a McDonalds across the street where I can get both breakfast and WiFi, a winning combination.
Today I’ll be tackling Albuquerque and heading into western NM, then I get to decide if I want to end the day early near Gallup or press on up 264 into Arizona and the Hopi reservation and find a place to camp overnight in there. I’ve looked ahead and I have options either way, it’ll depend how the driving goes today.
In the meantime, I’m looking forward to more scenic splendor from a state I’ve never laid eyes on before yesterday. Safe travels and happy trails all.