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Water in the Desert

water-in-the-desert1Last Saturday the 27th, the park closed down for the second time in three weeks due to flooding. It rained somewhere in the neighborhood of two inches that day, which is a huge deal for a desert.

Again, the Trading Post flooded and the mop had to be kept handy all day for repeated clean up. Again, we had to evacuate the lower tent sites as they became part of an impromptu stream. Again we spent a good part of our day trying to explain to visitors that no, we didn’t know exactly what was going on or when the park would re-open.

Go figure that I’d be working out here during the least desert-y period the region has experienced for a long time, but since this area has been under drought conditions for so long, the rain is a good thing. And I must admit, it does make for interesting photos.

As it turns out, there were several mud and rock slides, none of them big but still treacherous to cross. What kept the Mt. Carmel highway closed was undercutting of the road that park officials were worried might lead to collapse, that’s a good reason to close a road down I think. It sounds like Bryce Canyon had also closed, it was snowing at the higher elevations as temperatures dropped dramatically during the rain and continue to be cooler afterward. Summer has drawn to a close.

water-in-the-desert2Zion reopened Saturday night at 8 pm with warnings to watch out for rubble and debris, and by Sunday was free and clear. Good news for all the tourists who are on a set schedule and couldn’t afford to lose a second day.

Julie and I hiked the Narrows the previous Monday (that’s where two of these photos come from), and good thing we did it then because we likely wouldn’t have gotten a second change. Our last day working for Zion Mountain Ranch is October 3rd, only two days away!, and then it’s back to the open road for a week long meander over to Fernley, NV, and being a Christmas Elf for Amazon during the holidays. More on the locations we’ll be hitting along the way are to come. Have a good week all!

water-in-the-desert3

But after the rain comes…

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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.

34 Comments

  1. Cary on October 19, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    Thanks so much for the response.. Becky they have Plan A, without a bathroom, and Plan B with a bathroom… Not sure why you would buy one without a bathroom.. They deliver the trailers to you in Washington State, or they will ship to you anywhere in the US.. The Casitas are much easier to find, and as you know they are made in Texas.

    Take care and I so enjoy following your adventure… Hope to see you on the road one day too..

    Safe travels.



    • Becky on October 24, 2014 at 3:43 pm

      You’re welcome Cary!



  2. Cary on October 19, 2014 at 7:56 am

    Hi Becky… I love your Casita trailer, and everything I have read about them. My question is do you know anything about the Escape travel trailer, which is similar to the Casita. I’ve read that you can custom order them, and they insulate them for a more comfortable living environment. Just curious if you have come across any Escape travel trailers, during your travels, and if yes do you have an opinion to share about their trailers.

    The Oliver seems to be the top of the line for both cost and quality, but they are currently only making a 23 ft model and as you know they are so expensive..

    Good luck with all your travels. I hope to hit the road as soon as possible… I admire your adventurous spirit. I wish I had started my on the road travels much sooner in life, but better late than never… Stay safe…



    • Becky on October 19, 2014 at 8:43 pm

      Heya Cary,

      I actually had a gentleman with an Escape stay at the campground in Zion while I was working there for a while. He’d ordered it new and loved it, but I never had a chance to peer inside. From what he was saying, it was between Casitas and Olivers quality wise so I should think it would be a durable and lasting choice – I don’t think his had a bathroom though and not sure what the bathroom options are like for them.

      As the company that makes them is based out of Canada, I can see why they’d have an option for insulation. If you’re not in Canada yourself and want to order one new, you might have to jump some hoops to get it back to the US. I didn’t look at them as a real contender for me because they were pretty much impossible to find used in the southeast where I was living before I decided to hit the road.

      Best of luck whichever one you decide on, hope to see you on the road someday. πŸ™‚



  3. mratlas on October 3, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    “On the road again….Can’t wait to get on the road again”

    Take care if traveling through Central and Northern Nevada on the way to Reno. It’s pretty desolate out there between towns if your off the interstate. Lots of territory and few people.



    • Becky on October 4, 2014 at 9:03 pm

      I totally have that song on my “Travel List” Atlas. πŸ™‚

      And I’ll actually be missing most of Nevada on my trip, detouring into California but thanks for the advice. I’ve heard other people say similar things – sounds like an area to keep the gas tank above half at all times!



  4. Jim@HiTek on October 3, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Say, Ed, if you want a ‘personal experience’ with Amazon from a senior, you might check out my blog entry for my time there at this link:

    http://chaos.goblinbox.com/2014/07/23/working-at-amazons-workamper-force/



    • Ed H. @ Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets on October 3, 2014 at 6:12 pm

      Thank you Jim. That was a great read. Pretty enlightening. Not a ringing endorsement, I’d say. You have confirmed some of my suspicions.

      Becky, no offense intended, but you are a LOT younger. Even though I’m in good health, 10 hours a day on concrete, walking God only knows how many miles, is probably not going to work for me or Sharon, my YOUNGER wife. Hmmm…? πŸ™‚
      Ed H. @ Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets recently posted..Random RamblingsMy Profile



      • Ramen on October 3, 2014 at 6:28 pm

        There have been reporters who have gone undercover working at Amazon warehouses. Their experiences are outright scary. They were regular employees and not workampers. I think workampers aren’t held to such a standard as the regular folks. These reporters are also young in age, a lot of sensationalism thrown in there I feel. I think sensationalism is what they teach in journalism programs these days.

        http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/02/mac-mcclelland-free-online-shipping-warehouses-labor
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ta7hTfI69xc



        • Becky on October 4, 2014 at 9:01 pm

          Again, I go through what the standards are for CamperForce compared to other temp employees and full-time Amazonians in previous posts I’ve written.

          CamperForce is expected to be at 70% of the productivity level of regular employees. Over 3/4 of CamperForce employees exceed 100% though, and as a group CamperForce performs as well as a similar sized group of Amazonians, and better than a similar sized group of other temp employees. Why is this? Because CamperForce people don’t call in sick, or show up late. Amazon employs us because as a group we’re very dependable.

          And yes, I fear a lot of the press surrounding Amazon is very sensationalized and overdone. I have been contacted by news people every single year I’ve worked in CamperForce, but I’ve never actually been put on those programs because they’re all looking for people to say how bad the conditions are. I cannot speak for all Amazon sites, but TUL1 in Coffeyville wasn’t a sweat shop nor was I ever mistreated.



      • Becky on October 4, 2014 at 8:52 pm

        Thanks for sharing Jim, I can only share my own experiences based on my circumstances, which are different than yours.

        I’d like to point out Ed that there are folks in their 60’s who work CamperForce year after year and manage it fine. Can everyone? No, and I can’t answer if it’d work for you or not, only you can. But if you don’t think it’d work you’re probably right. Have a good fall no matter which way you choose. πŸ™‚



  5. Jodee Gravel on October 3, 2014 at 8:16 am

    There’s something both exhilarating and frightening about that much water in the desert. It’s like a mass invasion that brings life-sustaining goodness while reeking havoc on whatever is in its path. And then – gone. Except the smell. That loveliness at least hangs around a little while πŸ™‚ Those of us in SoCal dream of rushing water and soggy streets.
    Hard to believe your time at Zion is ending – seems very much like you just arrived. You will enjoy Nevada – Carson Valley is one of my favorite places in the West.
    Safe travels πŸ™‚
    Jodee Gravel recently posted..Holding My Breath As the Wind BlowsMy Profile



    • Becky on October 4, 2014 at 8:48 pm

      There is Jodee! Such raw power in a flash flood. You can actually go on YouTube and find video of flash flooding in Zion, it’s pretty amazing to watch. I’ll agree with you on the smell, love the smell of the air after rain…

      And I can hardly believe it either! Summer went fast this year.



  6. Ed H. @ Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets on October 2, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    Good day Becky! Living in the High Desert of Southern Cal as we do, we are certainly familiar with desert-related flash flooding. Certainly slot canyons such as in Zion are NOT where you want to be when downpours are underway. Yikes.

    Relating to Amazon, I’ve read up on working for them seasonally, but I’m curious about your personal experience. I know you kind of need to work along the way, and you have worked for Amazon in the past and keep returning. What is the experience/work REALLY like? Particularly for seniors who, although they are healthy, are still mid-sixties to approaching 70 by the time we’re, I mean “they’re” πŸ˜‰ on the road.
    Ed H. @ Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets recently posted..Things we take for grantedMy Profile



    • Caroline near Seattle on October 2, 2014 at 5:48 pm

      If you look under the USEFUL STUFF heading you’ll find info about the amazon jobs.
      Some people can handle the physical demands of the work and some can’t. From what I’ve read on other blogs, standing/walking for 7-10 hrs a day can be difficult on the knees and is often the reason people quit



      • Becky on October 4, 2014 at 8:46 pm

        Caroline is dead on Ed. If you go to my “Useful Links” page you’ll see a post titled “About Amazon’s CamperForce”. It goes into great detail about what CamperForce is and isn’t and links to every other post I’ve written about working for Amazon since then, including what I thought of the work, camping in cold weather, and my exact earnings from both seasons I’ve worked there so far (and yes, I’m going back this year!)

        People either love or hate CamperForce in my experience. Well let me rephrase that: either love the money (best you can find for seasonal RVers aside from sugar beet harvesting – but more reliable) and can put up with the work, or they can’t. The work was not too hard for me, but as you state below I am younger. That being said, I work with plenty of retirement aged folks who go back year after year – it’s not just for young folks. But if it doesn’t sound like something you’d enjoy, then you’re probably right.



  7. Maura on October 2, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Beautiful photos, looks like you have double the luck coming your way with those rainbows. Enjoy your travels.
    Maura recently posted..Beautiful WeatherMy Profile



    • Becky on October 3, 2014 at 10:29 am

      Best double rainbow I’ve seen in a long time Maura, too bad it was already fading by the time I grabbed my camera. Still made for a great photo. πŸ™‚ As for the Narrows, well, it’s really hard to take a bad photo in there. If you ever make it to Zion National Park go hiking there and take your camera, you’ll see what I mean. πŸ™‚



  8. Ray on October 2, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    You may have heard but the Coffeyville plant is closing in Feb 2015 so no more Camperforce at that location. Good luck in Fernley.



    • Becky on October 3, 2014 at 10:15 am

      Yep I had heard, it was announced this past week.

      There will not be a Coffeyville CamperForce next year, but for those of you working at Coffeyville this year: your season will continue as normal, don’t panic!

      Thanks, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy Fernley. πŸ™‚



  9. Terri on October 2, 2014 at 8:34 am

    It’s so helpful for me to read through the comments everyone leaves on your site – especially about how cold it gets in Reno or Fernley! I think that is where I would like to be working for Amazon next fall if possible.

    Have you been working on your book lately? Your writing is always good, as I’ve read some of your earlier posts, but there is an even better quality about your posts as of late. Just your style of writing – it’s really, really good. I wish I could say something more eloquent about it!

    Beautiful pictures – you have such a great eye. Oh, and btw, I am now looking to buy a fiberglass or very lite trailer for myself for next year, and a tow vehicle, rather than the motorhome after all. Having ridden my bike now in a lot of rain for the past two days in Boston, I think it’s good to actually be enclosed in a vehicle. πŸ™‚ If you don’t post again before you leave, have a good, safe trip with Julie to NV. I would really like to meet you in person one day.
    Terri recently posted..Little Things for Which I am ThankfulMy Profile



    • Ramen on October 2, 2014 at 9:25 am

      It not only gets freezing in Reno but it snows there. The area is a winter getaway for N. Cali folks. They actually go to Lake Tahoe which is nearby for skiing. Reno is kind of considered a dump, not on Atlantic City levels, but people say its dangerous. Maybe someone else can chime in on that if its true or not.

      Lake Tahoe is suppose to be nice so that is a plus. I only live 3 hours away and I’ve never been there. Pretty tragic.



      • Becky on October 3, 2014 at 10:26 am

        Ramen,

        Just west of Reno in the mountains there gets to be quite a bit of snow, luckily Fernley and Fallon are east of Reno at a lower elevation. It does get cold, but it’s a desert environment and while a dusting of snow might happen on occasion it doesn’t get lasting snowfall, the other CamperForce sites get occasional light snow as well.

        And yes, I’ve seen pictures and read blogs from people who’ve been to Lake Tahoe, and it’s gorgeous. Can’t wait to see it with my own eyes, I hope you get the chance to go someday too. Julie and I are going to head into the mountains for a ski trip at some point while we’re working at Amazon. πŸ™‚

        As for Reno, Like most bigger cities I imagine it has it’s “good” part of down and it’s “bad” part, I’ve never heard complaints or warnings from any RVer who’s stayed there while working Amazon.



    • Becky on October 3, 2014 at 10:09 am

      Yes Terri, I love the community that has sprung up around IO, there are some really helpful folks around. πŸ™‚

      I’ve written a few posts about cold weather camping, they’re all linked from my About CamperForce post here: https://interstellarorchard.com/2012/06/26/about-amazons-camperforce/

      Yes I have been working on the ebook! I sent a final draft to my editor Misty (a previous solo female full-timer herself) and she’s going through and making comments on it right now. It won’t be too much longer.

      Yes, having an enclosed vehicle for bad weather days is a definite plus. Good luck in your trailer search. And I am hoping to get one more post up before we head off, we’ll see. πŸ™‚



  10. Rosemary on October 2, 2014 at 7:40 am

    Beautiful shot with the rainbow. Have loved following your time in Zion. Looking forward to future posts about your trip to Amazon.



    • Becky on October 3, 2014 at 9:53 am

      I look forward to sharing them Rosemary! Have a few interesting stops planned out…



  11. Jim@HiTek on October 2, 2014 at 7:40 am

    I agree with Pleinguy about this winter in Fernley. It can get pretty cold there, just normally.

    I wasn’t able to find a place to stay in Fernley last season…I called like in July and the RV parks there all told me that they were full up and had a waiting list up to 2015. So I’m guessing you’ll either be staying at a park in Reno, or Fallon.

    I first went to Fallon and settled in at a RV park Amazon had authorized for workampers only a couple weeks before my start date. But I did also have a reservation at the Grand Searra Resort and RV Park in Reno. Which is where I went a couple weeks later when I couldn’t find a consistent ride to work (I don’t have a towed vehicle, just my 37′ Class A) among the workampers there. Both parks were nice but I really enjoyed the Casino in Reno for all the interesting things to do, great places to eat, and the nice $800 I won one afternoon waiting for the buffet to open.

    It was getting fairly cold nights there in Reno in Oct. Freezing even but the days were filled with sunshine and were still fairly warm. Long sleeve shirt warm tho.

    So, good luck to you and stay warm.
    Jim@HiTek recently posted..Just hanging around…My Profile



    • Becky on October 3, 2014 at 9:51 am

      Everyone makes such a big deal about the cold weather and I’m not sure why (no, this isn’t directed just at you Jim, it’s a general statement). Maybe it’s because most RVers don’t like cold weather camping or know how to prepare for it?

      Trust me everyone, I did my research ahead of time and know that yes, the Reno site gets cold particularly at night. Cas has withstood blizzards, ice storms, and single digit temperatures and I have blogged about all of those on this site, Julie and I are going to be just fine. We’re from fine northern stock, we understand cold. πŸ™‚

      As for your questions specifically Jim, I’m staying at Sparks Marina, which is in Sparks on the edge of Reno. It’ll be a drive, but at least I won’t be driving it alone this year. I’ve seen pictures of the park and talked to someone who stayed there in a previous year, it looks like a fine place.



  12. Pleinguy on October 1, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    Yes, a two inch rain in the desert is a big deal. Glad you are OK, and didn’t get caught in a wash. Have fun on your trip to Fernley. I’m predicting a cold and snowy winter; just a hunch.
    Pleinguy recently posted..Mule CanyonMy Profile



    • jim hall on October 1, 2014 at 11:16 pm

      I see your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow what a great picture of
      cas and bertha



      • Becky on October 3, 2014 at 10:17 am

        Isn’t it Jim? Double rainbow too, although it was already fading by the time I got my camera out.



    • Becky on October 3, 2014 at 9:36 am

      The reason why the store floods is because water runs down the bluff behind it, and right into the store, haha. They should have built the foundation higher off the ground.

      Actually weather people are predicting a warmer than normal fall and winter for this part of the country, the midwest and north central states are suppose to be colder, the eastern states are suppose to be about average. As always though, we’ll see when it comes.



  13. Ron on October 1, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    Safe and enjoyable travels to your next adventure. Do you have a location after Amazon. If not you may like the Texas Gulf Coast. Ron



    • Becky on October 3, 2014 at 9:33 am

      l’m going down to Quartzsite Ron! It’s something I’ve wanted to experience since I first started researching full-timing.



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