Summer Job Reveal

summer-job-reveal1Man, this suspense is killing me, how about you?

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 atΒ 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.

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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.

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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.

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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..

summer-job-reveal5After 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.

summer-job-reveal6Today 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.

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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.

41 Comments

  1. Marilynn on August 24, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Just stumbled onto your posts. I am very much interested in leaving it all behind and getting a camper. Love hearing about your travels. I noticed there are a ton of posts and I just started reading so, I’ll be catching up for quite a while. I have the opportunity to get a casita very cheap. I just have to learn more about it. Your blog seems very helpful. Hope to see you one day soon out there.



    • Becky on August 26, 2014 at 12:23 pm

      Casitas are great little trailers for full-timing Marilynn, as long as the previous owner took care of it of course. Have fun catching up, that will indeed take a while, haha.

      And welcome to IO! Glad to have you here.



  2. Dawn in Mi on June 29, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    Zion is wonderful. Bryce equally wonderful in an entirely different way and if you can get to Arches go. You’re going to have a great time!
    Dawn in Mi recently posted..WordPress photo challenge: ContrastMy Profile



    • Becky on June 29, 2014 at 7:52 pm

      So far I am Dawn, thanks!



  3. Donald N Wright on June 26, 2014 at 12:22 am

    When in Eastern New Mexico, you might want to visit Philmont Scout Ranch just south of the Cimmeron speed trap. They may want to hire you for the summer.



    • Becky on June 27, 2014 at 9:58 pm

      Well I already had a place lined up Donald, but I’ll keep that in mind for next time!



  4. Jan Hoesly on June 24, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Well I must say you had me in suspense. We just returned from North and South Dakota. I thought of you as we heard over and over again how short they were on seasonal help in Custer. Personally, other than Custer State Park I much prefer North Dakota. We never tire of visiting the Teddy Roosevelt Park and the Northern Badlands and a very small town, Medora. I believe we’ve been there a dozen times and anxiously await our next trip. By the way, our first stop is always The Norske Nook for breakfast. On your recommendation we tried the blueberry pie ala mode. Delicious! Also took a piece of fresh Strawberry pie for the road. Tempted to make the 3 hour drive for another piece. Best ever. Keep doing what you’re doing Becky. I’m in awe.



    • Becky on June 25, 2014 at 10:50 pm

      I have yet to visit North Dakota Jan but I plan to some day. I’ll take your recommendation to visit those places when I get there!

      Glad you liked the blueberry pie. So many looked so good though that I think I’ll have to try a different kind every time I visit. Thank you for following along, take care!



  5. Ron Hutchison on June 23, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Becky,

    I’m happy for your Zion NP jig. I’ve been to most all of the NP’s and Zion is in my top three. I like the shuttle system they have there. Works great! All the hiking trails you can imagine. Try to do Angel’s Landing if you want a little bit of a test. It’s beautiful and worth the effort.

    Watch for wall climbers on sides of cliff faces. These people are certifiably crazy! But, to each his own.

    I’m getting excited just re-thinking about Zion. I may just hitch up my Casita and head that way again next year.

    Have fun,
    Ron



    • Becky on June 23, 2014 at 10:34 pm

      Thanks for the suggestions Ron! It’s going to be a good summer. πŸ™‚



  6. Deborah on June 22, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    You will love Zion and all it has to offer – hiking, it’s vast difference in scenery, areas to explore near by, oh and the fall colors. Enjoy! In the meantime safe travels and enjoy the scenery getting there. Best of luck.



    • Becky on June 23, 2014 at 12:08 am

      Yes I’m really looking forward to those hiking trails! My next post is going to be about getting there…I’m actually really close tonight, in Utah now.



  7. Bill Davies on June 22, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    Sounds like you’ll be having a great time in Zion. I love that area. Close to St. George….wow, it doesn’t get any better than that! I really enjoy your pictures and blog. Good luck with the gig.



    • Becky on June 23, 2014 at 12:07 am

      Thanks Bill! The manager at the trading post and I seemed to click pretty well on the phone, it was advertised as “high volume” but most of these national park gift shop jobs are, least my time at “work” should go quickly. I can’t wait to start sharing info and pics about the area…



  8. Micky on June 22, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Hi Becky,
    I’ve been reading your blog for a long time, but haven’t commented. I’ve been so impressed with the way you take everything in stride, stay positive, and make the best of each day. You are a good role model as I look to setting out in my own little Casita, “Wandering Spirit” in…oh lets see….49 days, but who’s counting? πŸ™‚

    I’ll be retiring from nursing July 31, and setting out 10 days later with my two pupsters, starting the first night of my new lifestyle under the August full moon. Huge lifestyle changes…exciting and a bit scary too!

    Thanks for faithfully sharing and teaching your wide variety of experiences! Always looking forward to your next post.

    Micky



    • Becky on June 23, 2014 at 12:05 am

      Congrats on your impending escape from the rat race Micky! I remember being where you are now. It is a bit scary and daunting but it’s also very exciting you’re right. Take each day as it comes and August will be here before you know it!

      Your Casita will treat you well, they’re such a nice little camper and I just can’t praise the durability enough.



  9. Jodee Gravel on June 22, 2014 at 10:19 am

    You are entering some of the most beautiful country you’ll ever see! Zion will be hot but so, so gorgeous. I’m sure the shops will have A/C so you chose a good gig. Can’t wait to see your pics and “hear” your impressions.
    Jodee Gravel recently posted..How Big Is Your Bucket?My Profile



    • Becky on June 23, 2014 at 12:03 am

      So far the actual temperature isn’t any hotter than SC and GA were, and the lower humidity makes it feel much more comfortable. That said I know it’s still June and the next two months will be hotter. I’m prepared for it.

      I’m due in at Zion tomorrow, I can’t wait to get started on pics and writing about it. πŸ™‚



  10. Tiffany on June 22, 2014 at 9:33 am

    Congratulations on the new job! Sounds great! I start solo FTing TOMORROW! You are a great inspiration to get out there and JUST DO IT! I enjoy reading about your adventures and I will be blogging mine, too!

    Once I get the whole RVing thing under my belt, I will definitely be looking for workamping jobs. I have years and years of corporate and creative experience…just hope there will be a match out there for me, too!

    Looking forward to hearing all about the job! Take care and safe travels!

    Tiffany



    • Becky on June 23, 2014 at 12:01 am

      Congrats Tiffany! May the road always rise up to meet you. πŸ™‚ With your positive can-do attitude I think you’ll take to full-timing readily.

      And you’d be surprised what kind of jobs you can find on the road, just be willing to put in the time to do a little digging. Safe travels and happy trails to you on this next stage!



  11. Furry Gnome on June 22, 2014 at 8:30 am

    Sounds like a great summer coming up! That seems to be a beautiful part of your country, though we’ve never been down that direction yet. Look forward to your reports!



    • Becky on June 22, 2014 at 11:58 pm

      I was saying the same thing to my neighbors in this RV park earlier this evening, it’s shaping up to be a great summer. πŸ™‚ More reports will be coming soon.



  12. MB on June 22, 2014 at 7:17 am

    I do have one question. I have been through those storms in NM. But, I have been driving a Bronco II or an F150 and not towing a trailer. I am in the process of choosing an rv. There are pros and cons to all three that I am considering. Just wanted to ask…..how did the trailer do in the storm, the wind that always blows there and with the trucks on I40? Thank you for your time.



    • Becky on June 22, 2014 at 11:57 pm

      MB, I spent $650 on a combination weight distribution and sway control hitch, and I feel it was money very well spent. I have yet to feel like I was losing control of the trailer, and I’ve now towed it over 10,000 miles through strong cross winds, past semis, in storms, and up and down steep grades. I think you can get good control no matter what size the trailer as long as you: A. have a strong enough tow vehicle to handle the load and B. Get the proper hitch. What constitutes the proper hitch will depend on what your tow vehicle’s manual has to say about towing (mine recommended weight distribution/sway control for any trailer that had a tongue weight of over 250#). I cannot rate how well a Casita tows compared to another trailer because it’s the only one I’ve ever towed, but I really think the key lies in points A and B above.



  13. MB on June 22, 2014 at 7:04 am

    You will love Zion! I live in VA but have been there several times. So many tings to see there.



    • Becky on June 22, 2014 at 11:52 pm

      I believe you’re right MB, the informational pamphlet I got at this RV park in Kanab is chock full of stuff to see and do in the area, it looks pretty amazing.



  14. Kim on June 21, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    Jackpot! You are really building a resume. More material for that book you will write. :-]

    I thought the same thing traveling thru NM my first time on I-40. Wondering if the people who do it all the time see the things that we do.

    Very excited for you!

    Kim
    Kim recently posted..Lava Island Trail HikeMy Profile



    • Becky on June 22, 2014 at 11:51 pm

      Thanks Kim, I’m quite excited too! And that Overnight RV site helped the past two nights going through UT and AZ, a handy tool. πŸ™‚

      As for that book, I really should get working on it again…



  15. Troy on June 21, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    Excellent! Glad you got the Zion gig. I’ve only spent time up north in Ogden and Salt Lake. I look forward to your detailed reports of the area as I expect to visit southern Utah in the future.

    Your stay in Texas was short.

    Come back anytime. πŸ™‚
    Troy recently posted..Father’s Day Weekend GetawayMy Profile



    • Becky on June 22, 2014 at 11:49 pm

      There seems to be a lot to do in southern Utah, I don’t think I’ll run out of things to see and report on!

      And yes I was only in Texas for a week, but it was a good week. I have no doubt I’ll be back, after all my water heater will get replaced at some point, haha.



  16. Tina on June 21, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Hi Becky,

    I’m so happy for you to be working in Zion. I’ve been there several times, it’s an amazing place. Hope you will have some time to check out Bryce while in the area. Travel Safe an enjoy your time in NM.

    Tinabeane



    • Becky on June 22, 2014 at 11:47 pm

      Thanks Tina! I’m really looking forward to it and will hit up area parks and monuments as time allows.



  17. Caroline near Seattle on June 21, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Congrats on the job! What a fantastic area to summer … hiking opportunities galore and if you’re close to other NP’s and places of interest. Fall will be spectacular as well.

    Hope you have A/C . it gets mighty hot out there.

    You don’t have hot water ? Since you were just at the mechanic in Texas, I assume it must have been an expensive fix?

    Look forward to hearing about your adventures this summer.



    • Becky on June 22, 2014 at 11:47 pm

      Yes I have A/C Caroline, I never would have made it through that first summer in South Carolina otherwise.

      Yes, I love hiking and I’m really looking forward to my time out here. There are several parks and monuments within a two hour radius that I’ll probably be taking day trips too around work, it’s going to be a great summer. πŸ™‚

      And yes, I opted to work at the renaissance festival for next to no money at the expense of getting my water heater replaced, it was worth it to be able to check something off my dream list. Since I never used my shower even when it was working it’s really not a huge setback for me, I’ll get it replaced in time.



      • Caroline near Seattle on June 23, 2014 at 1:35 pm

        It’s a dry heat so even when it gets to 100, it’s not as uncomfortable as it is in the south with all that humidity.
        I think Zion offers the best hiking, but Bryce Canyon is spectacular in it’s own right; a very different experience from Zion. And of course Grand Canyon too. A wealth of opportunities this summer!
        Do you mind sharing what the price tag is for the hot water heater? I hope to full time myself in 5 yrs so all this info I glean from blogs is helpful.
        Enjoy the drive to Utah. Soak it all in !



        • Becky on June 23, 2014 at 10:31 pm

          $730 for propane only, $780 for propane and electric. I’m not sure if other water heaters would cost more or less or how common this one is as in how applicable this price tag would be for other RV’s/water heaters but there you go.



          • Caroline near Seattle on June 24, 2014 at 1:40 am

            Yikes !!
            Thanks for the info , but yikes! Hopefully it will last 15-20 yrs for that investment.



  18. Rob on June 21, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    It’s pretty up there, enjoy the summer!
    Rob recently posted..Our ‘new’ car!My Profile



    • Becky on June 22, 2014 at 11:43 pm

      Will do Rob!



  19. Ron on June 21, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Another interesting read, Sounds like you had a lot of job possibilities.
    Safe travels and share your adventures as you have time. We have been to Utah but not Zion. If you get a chance check out Arches National Park & Mesa Verde National Park on your way back east.



    • Becky on June 22, 2014 at 11:43 pm

      I’ve never been to any of the Utah parks so this will all be new to me, I’m going to hit up the ones in the area around Zion on my off days.

      And of course there are pictures and tales about Utah to come. πŸ™‚



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