First Time Getting the Slide Floor Replaced

Lee has been concerned about the floor to our slide where our closet and washing machine is for some time, but if you’ve been reading the blog you know we haven’t had much luck with RV repairs in the past.  We knew this would be a major job, and although our friend Bill replaced his floor by himself, after talking it through with him Lee was concerned about attempting to do ours with limited time and limited access to parts.  Part of the problem was the washing machine would need to be completely uninstalled to replace the floor, and Lee thought it would definitely be a two person job.  So we kept kicking that particular repair can down the road, but Lee was getting more and more concerned, because it was obvious to him that the floor was “soft”, and starting to bulge downwards to the point where the slide was struggling to come in.

To me this didn’t look so bad, but you might see that the floor was “bowed” and Lee was worried that eventually the bottom would drop low enough that it would no longer fit through the hole.

To be clear this problem was my fault and not a manufacturers defect.  One of the days where we were trying to move quickly I left a bottle of fabric softener outside of the washer (where it usually goes when we travel) and the lid popped off, spilling a ton of softener onto the floor.  That was a big problem because it seeped through the joint between the slide floor and the wall of the slide, and soaked into the wood of the floor. Unlike water, fabric softener does’t evaporate, or at least not in that sealed up environment, which resulted in the plywood floor swelling and softening over time, and the bottom of the slide floor sagging down.

I was shocked when I saw this, but it was exactly what Lee expected to see.

But I am jumping ahead.  Because our particular model was only made for a few years, it is hard to get solid information on it, so Lee joined an Open Range forum and some Open Range Facebook groups in the hopes of learning more about our rig. While he was reading various threads he discovered an RV Tech named Danny who really seemed to know a lot about Open Range rigs. Danny lives in Texas now, but he used to work at the Open Range factory in Indiana and he not only had experience working on our particular rig, but had significant experience replacing slide floors.  Since he is now in Silsbee, Texas, which was roughly 6 hours away from Kenedy, Lee reached out to see if he could possibly perform the work.  Danny works full time for an RV service center, but also takes weekend jobs on the side, so we made an appointment with him to get the work done over the weekend.

Initially we had made reservations at Thompson Lake RV Park, but we arrived a day early and no one was in the campground office, and there were no late night check-in procedures posted. We had no idea where to park or how to pay, so we went next door to Red Cloud RV park hoping they would have a spot for us.  It’s a really nice park, and clean as a pin, with great laundry facility and one of the nicest clubhouses I have ever seen, but the sites are on the small side and pretty close together, so keep that in mind if you like lots of room between sites or have a big rig. Thankfully the manager was kind enough to work with us and found us a site we could stay in for four days.  Even though the job was roughly two days of work, we were all concerned about the weather.  The forecast called for thunderstorms every day and we weren’t sure how that would effect the schedule. Danny could do the work in light rain, but not thunderstorms, so we crossed our fingers and hoped for the best.

In order to help with the weather, Danny was willing to be flexible with his schedule and came over after work Friday night to take a look at the job and do some of the prep work. He disconnected and removed the washing machine, no small task in itself, and was joined by James at the end to move the machine itself.  Despite having limited space, they were able to move it  into the corner of the bedroom so we were still able to access our clothing and our bed. We had taken everything out of the drawers and closet and all of that was up in the front of the rig.  But despite being in a state of construction, it really wasn’t that bad, and I could easily access everything I needed.

First he removed the front and fascia


All of which slid nicely into our storage under the rig


James and Danny disconnecting the washing machine. They had to remove the entire side panel to also disconnect 12v and 120v power, and the water and drain lines.


The empty space. Where the wood pieces are on the side wall had an additional panel that was removed.


Thankfully we had room for the washing machine

At this point it was getting dark so they measured the floor and then left for the day.  Danny was pulled to do a job by his regular employer the next morning, but as soon as he was done he and James came over.  Despite the forecast it didn’t rain and they were able to build the new floor with two layers of 1/2″ marine plywood with staggered joints to make an 11′ long piece that is glued and screwed together to make a single piece of 1″ floor. Then they covered it in adhesive and wrapped it in a thick “tarp-like” sheet.  The edges are wrapped, and the end edges which are exposed to the outside are double wrapped. This sheet is specific to the RV industry and is not cheap as the remnant piece he used cost $100.  That is the key though to keeping the wood protected from the elements and Danny took his time putting it on, making sure it was as smooth as possible.

The new floor before being covered.


As you can see the site is VERY tight, but there was just enough room for them to work


Covered piece before all the bubbles were rolled out.

They finished this around 4pm, but again decided to stop because they wanted to make sure they had time to complete the next part.  Once the old floor was taken out our RV would be open to the elements and they wanted to make sure they could complete that portion of the job once it was started.  Since we weren’t even scheduled for him to work on it until Sunday, I completely understood, but was worried there were a lot of tasks left.  They assured me though that the hard part was done and that turned out to be completely true. The next morning they started by 9am and jammed through the rest of the repair. It was amazing how fast it went. We didn’t get as many pictures of the various steps in the process because every time we stepped away for a minute and came back, two things had been done while we were gone.

They used 2 x 4’s to hold the weight of the slide above the rollers so it would “float” once they removed the old floor, and small bottle jacks on the inside to hold up that side.



I was very pleased that the cabinetry above the floor was completely dry. Only the floor was damaged.


But the closet side was a mess.  James had to pull some of this out by hand.


Once the floor was out, the slide was completely open to the elements, but again despite the forecast thankfully no rain.


Next they put linoleum on the side of the floor where the washer/dryer and hanging clothes go. Lee actually liked this lighter shade better than the darker stuff that was originally in there.


And then added carpet for under the drawers and the front part of the closet side. Lee counted about 1000 staples were used to hold the carpet. Give or take.

Everyone was really worried about the carpet, because Danny checked and they didn’t make our particular color anymore.  Even if they had it wouldn’t have been a perfect match since our existing carpet has three years worth of wear.  Danny found something that was very close and I was completely fine with that.  I know this would have been a big deal to some people, but I have always been a more function than form kind of person.

Definitely a two person job to lift and secure the floor


Looks like new!


Looked good to me!


And you can see new (on top) versus old (on front) carpet, but with the lighting and the corner I thought it looked really great.


The extra carpet was trimmed off the end and the edge of the floor was then covered with metal trim that they had removed earlier. By the way they screwed the wooden supports into the slide which I thought was interesting.


And the washing machine was reinstalled and works great. We ran a test load while they were finishing cleaning up.


All cleaned up and looks like new!

I was thrilled, because everything was so clean and neat I honestly couldn’t tell he was there. That to me is the mark of a perfect repair and I was beyond thrilled.  The guys were done by early afternoon and took a break, but Danny came back to adjust our front slide cables.  One of the other reasons Lee really wanted to see Danny in particular was because our slides haven’t been adjusted right since we started on the road.  Again, my fault, as early on I  put stuffed animals up into the slides and actually sucked them into the slide mechanism.  Yes, true story, and incredibly stupid and the slides haven’t worked right since.  Lee has tried to adjust them and we have had other people do it as well but they have never been right. Danny has lots of experience adjusting them and the first thing he showed us was how the fascia comes off so you can easily get to the mechanism.  Turns out there are 5 tiny nails holding it in place, which we never knew, and removing it makes working on them 100 times easier.  None of the techs we had look at it removed the front which might have been part of the problem!

Tiny nails in the star which is why we never saw them. That star is about 2 inches tall, for reference.


You can see how loose the chain on the left side is, it was completely out of adjustment!

We were very excited that someone who knew what he was doing was going to work on it, but then it happened.  He adjusted the desk slide, but was concerned that one of the tension lines showed signs of wear, and looked like it should be replaced as soon as possible. When he started working on the couch slide, the bolt attaching the cable to the chain snapped almost immediately.  It definitely wasn’t his fault, because both lines had been under significant pressure over the last few years and he was surprised they hadn’t broke before now, and apparently the last person who worked on it put it back together wrong, so every time it went in and out it put too much strain on the bolt.  The problem was this isn’t that common of a part and not one his shop had in stock.  We found it on Amazon but that would take until Tuesday, so Lee started making calls first thing Monday morning and found two of them in stock (only $26 each) in Houston.  It was 120 miles each way to get the parts, but a bird in the hand as they say, and Lee was more than willing to make the drive so we wouldn’t lose another travel day.  Thankfully the RV park had space for us to rent another night and Lee left first thing to go get the items we needed.


Once Danny came back and dug into it here’s what he found on that first slide which had a cable that looked like it needed to be replaced. Needless to say, we were totally shocked, but again, we learned something and I have to say how impressed we are with how these cables hold up.  It was still working despite the fact it was down to just a couple of strands. And now we know what to look for when they are starting to go bad, and where.

Yep, that’s it.  This picture was taken after he cut the cable to replace it, but this rat’s nest of snapped and frayed strands was located in a corner behind a piece of fascia. There’s really no reason a person would ever look back there, but now we know to look there to check on the cables.


There are 8 points per slide to check, 1 on each corner inside and outside. This is a good one.


This is showing signs of wear. This cable will need to be replaced before it looks like the one behind the fascia.

I will also say Danny did an excellent job of threading in the new cable.  He got each one done in under 15 minutes, compared to the two hours another tech spent on it a year or so ago, and then he adjusted and tested them.  I asked him if I could share his contact information and he was happy to put it out there.  If you are in the Houston/Beaumont  area and need work on your BAL accuslides or slide floors, I highly recommend him.  His name is Danny Ritchie, and he can be reached at 260-585-3219. He was definitely worth the trip.

Oh, and to end on a positive note, while Lee was at the RV Dealer in Texas, PPL, he picked up a supposedly non-flammable oven cover.  I hate how hard these ovens are to clean and it is both fire proof and washable according to the box.  We will test it out and see.

Looks much prettier


Camper Chronicles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to We very much appreciate any purchase you make via our website links.  There is no additional cost to you and helps support our blog.  Search here

Or you can check out our recipe book filled with 80 real recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. The cookbook specializes in recipes that have a limited number of ingredients, without sacrificing flavor and is organized into categories that matter to full time RVers such as Happy Hours, Travel Days, and Pot Lucks   You can preview the kindle version on  Amazon or the Apple version on Itunes.    It is available in paperback on Amazon if you prefer.

First Time on a Bird Tour

Before I talk about the bird tour I should probably mention that I did find time to go into Corpus Christi and I liked it a lot.  It’s very close to Padre Island and has almost every store you could possibly need.  If you have an America the Beautiful pass you can enter and exit Padre without paying the entrance fee. If not, you need to pay the $10 fee and then either stay onsite, or you can leave and then return after 5pm when the guard shack is closed and reenter for free.

I needed to run a few errands and ended up getting a hair cut, going to Best Buy (lost my lens cap), and going to a Goodwill Store and a Salvation Army store.  My jeans have been taking a beating and I was running low, so between the two stores I found 2 pairs of jeans and 4 pairs of jean shorts for the low-low price of $32 total. Can’t beat it, and the Goodwill is pretty nice there.  I also went to Walmart and bought a couple of things, and the one closest to Padre Island is really nice.  It had almost everything you could want.  There are even a couple of movie theaters in town and we talked about trying to see a movie, but ultimately just stayed on the island instead.  You really don’t need to leave if you don’t want, just make sure you stock up before you get there.

Anyway, back to the bird tour!  While we were at the visitors center I saw a sign for a free 2-1/2 to 3 hr van bird tour.  Since we see these tours all the time, but are usually on day trips to a place and don’t want to spend the time I was excited to sign up.  The tour was run by a retired couple who freely said they were bird enthusiasts not bird experts, and we were given books to help identify the birds we saw.  Initially, I was pretty disappointed, because although we were allowed to go into areas we otherwise couldn’t access, we weren’t allowed out of the van and my 100mm lens could barely see, let alone take pictures of the birds.

Because life is too short and I hate feeling like I am being held hostage I asked if we were going to be allowed out at any point, thinking if the answer was no I would have them drop me off at the visitors center and go on my way.  The answer though was we would be able to get out three times, so I stuck it out and ultimately I was glad I did.  It was interesting hearing about the island and the couple was very nice, but because there was no PA system in the van we had to leave the AC off to hear them.  The air was on/off throughout the ride which helped keep the temps tolerable, but really a little speaker system would have done wonders. Still I was really excited when at our first stop that we could get out, they pointed out a Black Wing Whistling Duck.  This was a first for me and bit unusual because it wasn’t on the paper they gave us with common birds and I was just able to get a couple decent shots of them.

Black Wing Whistling Duck from the road you couldn’t see them because they blended in so well

Little blue heron could barely see, but they saw it

Very excited about this puffed up grackle. He was trying to impress a female close by but she was ignoring him

One of the great things about the tour was the fact that they really knew their birds and I really learned a lot about identifying them.  I was not a birder before we went on the road and really only started because I admired the pictures that Howard from RV-Dreams took so much, but it has been quite a bit of fun in our travels.  Even though I use the Merlin Bird app to identify, which is a great app, it’s still tough especially when the birds are not breeding.  Still, I try though, and get excited when I can see a bird and the fellow bird enthusiast made it fun.  Lee, not so much, but he was a trooper, but it really wasn’t his thing.

We learned that Live Oak grows in mounds here because the saltwater is 8-10 feet under the soil

This pond was relatively close to our campground and was full of a variety of birds. Later I came back here and tried to get some better shots but it was pretty marshy

Lesser yellow-legs.  It’s hard to tell if they are greater or lesser from far away because you don’t have perspective on their height

I did get a nice shot of what I think is a female green-winged teal

And I was excited by this shot which had a green winged teal on the left and a blue winged teal on the right.  Wish the picture was better, I might have to break down and finally buy that 500MM lens

The reason I don’t have a longer lens buy the way, is part of the fun for me has been being able to at least glimpse the animal with the naked eye.  After seeing grizzlies far away and missing out on several birds I might have to change my stance on that.  Anyway, they did drive on the beach in a couple of places, but that was disappointing, because we didn’t get to get out there either.  I actually got better shots the day before, but I did get a few from the van.

I think this was a Willett

More laughing gulls in breeding plumage

A non breeding herring gull

And a breeding herring

And I am not sure what this guy was but he was awfully cute.

This Caspian Tern was pretty far away, but his red beak was very distinctive

We were told this was a reddish egret with a whit morph which is a new bird for me and I guess you can see the reddish tinge when it flies.  They were hoping the boat traffic would drive him our way but he never came closer.

The best part of the whole tour was when we stopped at the boat ramp that was actually within walking distance of our campsite.  I knew the boat ramp was down there, but what I didn’t know was that a group of white pelicans were hanging out nearby.  We had seen lots of grey ones the day before, and I thought they were all on the ocean side, but a whole group of them were hanging out to get some fish from the fishermen. Deb you mentioned you liked pelicans, well I dedicate this section to you 🙂

This group was a little far away for good pictures

They were out on a sandbar watching the ships come in

This group was closer to the dock.  Really really close

My pic..bad hair day!

Lee’s pic

The very best part was, as we were watching one pelican grabbed a huge fish out of the water and swallowed it.  The tour guides said they had never seen that before, and Lee and I both got pics of it.  I’ll try to put them in the order as we saw it happen.  Really, really cool.

When he initially caught it the one next to him tried to take it away

He pulled it up and we saw it from the front and initially we didn’t know what we were looking at

Then he pulled it up more so we could see how big it was

Then he flipped it

He turned away from us and there was a group gathering including the sole grey one in the area

And you could sort of see it sliding down. Really interesting and amazing they could swallow something that big.

That was really an amazing thing to see and we got a few other shots as well.  This was by far the best place we went, so make sure if you ever stay here, that you walk or drive down to the boat launch area.  It was a fun tour and I learned quite a bit, although I wish we could have gotten out more.  That night when we got back someone with a tent was parked in the spot right next to us.  We could have avoided this by buying two spots and spending $10 a night, but there were so many openings we really didn’t think it was necessary.  Once they arrived and set up we decided to go ahead and head out the next morning, a day earlier than we had planned.  We were on our way to Silsbee to meet an RV tech who was going to replace the floor in our closet/laundry slideout.  More about that next time, for now I’ll just say we had a wonderful time at Padre and would absolutely go back. We’d love to try camping on the beach itself, or at least at Malaquite.

Camper Chronicles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to We very much appreciate any purchase you make via our website links.  There is no additional cost to you and helps support our blog.  Search here

Or you can check out our recipe book filled with 80 real recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. The cookbook specializes in recipes that have a limited number of ingredients, without sacrificing flavor and is organized into categories that matter to full time RVers such as Happy Hours, Travel Days, and Pot Lucks   You can preview the kindle version on  Amazon or the Apple version on Itunes.    It is available in paperback on Amazon if you prefer.

First Time on Padre Island

We had been told so many times over the course of nearly a month that it would just be a “couple more days” before we were done that when the call finally came we were pretty unprepared.   You would think being in the same place for such a long time we would have gotten all of our errands run, but there were a few things that we had do decide whether or not to do on the fly.  We also weren’t really sure where we were going to go.  Those plans had changed as well, and we found ourselves in a rare situation of having a few days with nowhere to be, so we decided to head down and check out the Padre Island National Seashore.  I had read about their campgrounds in someone’s blog, (sorry, for the life of me I can’t remember who!), but the description must have been a good one because the place stuck in my head.  And since our furnace was fixed, our solar was working, and we had time, we decided to head down and just see what happened.

Padre Island National Seashore has two smallish campgrounds and both are first come, first served.  If both were full our backup plan was to stay at one of the local campgrounds, and when we were about halfway to Corpus Christi several people on Facebook let me know we might have some trouble getting in because it was spring break.  I rarely pay attention to school holidays anymore, but since we were halfway there we decided to just wing it and see what happened.  This wasn’t something we would have ever done when we first started out, but the last year or so we have been much more comfortable with playing our travels by ear.  Not that we often get the chance, because we are usually on a schedule, but we were both very comfortable with whatever we found and our backup, backup plan was to continue on towards Silsbee, which was where we needed to go after Padre Island, but before we left for the reunion rally.

We were pleased to find out when we arrived that although the campground on the Gulf side, Malaquite, was full, the campground on the Laguna side, Bird Island Basin had lots of spots.  When we pulled in we were very happy that we were able to grab #34 on the end, and squeezed ourselves in.

Our picnic table was actually on the grass side of the rig. If we had a Class A and could pull in nose forward this would have been an almost perfect spot.


Right on the laguna which is a popular spot for kayakers and windsurfers.


As you can see there were lots of opening on a Monday, so even though the sites would be VERY tight when full, it was no issue for any of us.


They had windsurfing classes every day which was fun to watch.


Gives you a feel of the spacing. We are on the right.


This little pond was right across from us.


Once we settled in the camp host came up and introduced himself, and was a very friendly guy.  We decided that we would pay by the day ($5 cash, check or we could have put a credit card number on the slip for iron ranger) and since it was still a little early we went over to check out the other campground.  That campground, like this one, is basically a parking lot strip, but they are right across from the beach and have a nice walkway down to the shore along with cold showers and flush toilets.  Our campground just had pit toilets, but they were clean.

Malaquite.  Big rigs would fit in some of the spots on the right, against sand dunes, but only a couple on the left.


Beautiful green dunes along the road in between the campgrounds.

Malaquite was much busier than Island Basin, but you did have the nice ocean noise.  They were indeed full, but we decided to check the next day at noon and headed back for a nice dinner and a peaceful evening.

On Tuesday we both slept in way past 8:30am as we adjusted to both the time change and our new sleep schedules.  It was great having so much quiet with no truck noises, generator smells, and no need to get up and down whenever a truck came in!  We took our time, but drove over to the visitors center around 10:30am and swung through Malaquite to see if there were any openings.  There were a couple on the dune side, but after enjoying our peaceful morning we decided we liked where we were. It’s funny because our spot was really special but the allure of being ocean side made it tempting to give it up even for a lesser spot.  What ultimately convinced me was that there were lots of young kids on the ocean side, and it was all adults where we were.  Afterwards, we went up and checked out the visitors center to talk to them about driving on the beach.  I had read you could drive and camp on the beach but since we don’t have 4-wheel drive we wanted to get some info from a ranger before we tried it.

It was  a small visitors center but had some nice information about sea turtles which use the island to lay eggs starting in April.  They have a very robust volunteer program and nice access to the beach, and even with the overcast weather it was pretty busy.  We talked to a very nice ranger who said it was generally safe to drive the first 5 miles without 4 wheel drive, but definitely cautioned us about going too far in.  We left the visitors center and drove down to the end of the pavement and then got out to walk it a bit and see what we thought.

Visitors Center


View from their deck. This beach was full on Wednesday.


Cool display of a life sized turtle laying eggs. They are huge.


And a neat mockup of what the nest look like.


This sign is right where the beach starts so we parked here.


Part of the beach is blocked from drivers but most of the 60 mile stretch is accessible and open to camping.


We were pretty amazed by what we saw.  There were lots of people camping along the narrow stretch of beach in all kinds of setups, everything from Class A’s and full sized fifth wheels to tents and cars. We walked along for a bit and when Lee saw that sand was so hard packed that even trucks driving on it didn’t churn it up we went back and got the truck.  It was perfectly smooth, and there was plenty of space (it was still pretty far from high tide) and we actually talked about possibly getting out our tent and coming down and camping one night.  Ultimately we decided that it was a little too windy and cold for that, but if it had been slightly warmer we definitely would have done that and would like to try it in the future.

The entrance to the long stretch of beach.


Tons of pelicans flying in groups. We saw hundreds of them.


We saw several Class A’s.


And even this fifth wheel.


But most of the campers were in tents, popups or truck campers tucked into little inlets in the dunes for additional wind protection.

Near the entrance there was a pretty steady stream of traffic, which did cause some issues for the folks with small kids.  Several of them built little barriers that the kids played behind, but constant vigilance was necessary.  As chilly as I thought it was I was surprised to see kids in the water, but many of them were, and even more playing on the beach itself.  The only downside were the huge Portuguese man-of-wars, but the kids seemed largely oblivious to them as well.

We saw several of these type of structure that people had built, possibly from sea trash??


This brave little boy was having a great time in the waves.


Yuck…this was much larger than Lee’s foot and yucky.  Hate these things!


Once we got past the initial crowds there were less people camping and lots more birds.  The island has over 350 species during migration and I had a wonderful time taking pictures of them.  The pelicans in particular were amazing, flying in low formation over us several times.  We happily spent a couple of hours exploring the beach and enjoying the day. Here’s a few of the 450 pictures I took. It’s been a long time since I had this much to look at, so bear with me as I share the best of my pics.  I was in bird heaven!

Laughing Gull with breeding plumage. These were the most common.


They have four kinds of tern’s on the island and I love these sandwich terns.


You can distinguish them by the yellow tip on the beak.


Love, love this picture and I took it!!  These little guys have a ton of personality.


This Least Sandpiper was getting meat from inside of a small shell.


I think the non-breeding Sanderling is prettier than the breeding one!


Greater Yellowlegs with what looked like a shrimp.



And of course the pelicans.



And this Great Blue Heron let us get pretty close.  This one is mine.


This one is Lee’s 🙂


And this amazing shot he got in flight.


We had a wonderful couple of hours and then capped off the night with a very nice sunset…another benefit of being on the Laguna side.

Ahhhh life is good





Camper Chronicles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to We very much appreciate any purchase you make via our website links.  There is no additional cost to you and helps support our blog.  Search here

Or you can check out our recipe book filled with 80 real recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. The cookbook specializes in recipes that have a limited number of ingredients, without sacrificing flavor and is organized into categories that matter to full time RVers such as Happy Hours, Travel Days, and Pot Lucks   You can preview the kindle version on  Amazon or the Apple version on Itunes.    It is available in paperback on Amazon if you prefer.

What Else Has Been Going On?

Well we are still hanging out at our gate and enjoying the lower volume of traffic although things have picked up a little.  We really have no clue at this point how long this gate will be open, but had reminded them that our final day will be March 16th, just in case the gate is still open.   here, but are enjoying racking up the cash while we can.  As our gate guarding time ticks away I have been focusing on finishing up those tasks that aren’t as easy to do when we are traveling.  I’ve gathered all the tax documents and definitely will be knocking that out while we are here, although I am not really looking forward to it.  We have a great tax guy, Travel Tax, who specializes in taxes for traveling people, and although I really like the job he has done, the workbook we fill out for him is pretty extensive.  Plus I have to create a profit and loss statement for our business, which takes some time.  It’s just not something I am that crazy about doing, especially because I never have a good idea on how it will turn out until I get to the end. Finishing this was a huge load of my mind and one less thing to worry about.  This is the first year we are 100% financed by non-corporate money and I really have no idea how it will all turn out in the end.  But it’s out of my hands now and to some extent it is what it is.

I wasn’t really planning on writing a blog post until something interesting happened, but the last couple of days have been a little weird.  Especially because we sit here for days on end with the same old routine, and then something odd happens, which really stands out.  The first thing that happened yesterday was we received a visit from the Texas Environmental Agency.  Thankfully Lee was wearing his safety vest and we are up to date on our licensing because those are things they check.  We knew it was somewhat unusual that they came though and weren’t really sure what to do.  At this point we have no idea who is in charge of the project and no one has given us a card with contact information.  Don’t get me wrong, a variety of “company men” are in and out of here on a regular basis, but we don’t know which one, if any, is actually in charge so we just sent the truck back to the site.

They didn’t stay long, which I suppose is a good sign, and I did let a couple of the company men know.  The next day we got a visit from the environmental arm of the company who monitors the site and he asked Lee a series of questions.  The thing is, on this job at least, our job is simply to write down names and license plate numbers.  When asked more details such as what equipment they brought with them, we have no idea.  Lee handled it very well and even learned a little bit about what was going on, which is pretty interesting.  The next bit is anecdotal, so take it for what it is worth, but I thought it had the ring of truth to it.

Not everyone who lives in this area has land that can be drilled.  That surprised me because I guess I figured all land in the area has some oil under it and people were just waiting until the time was right to develop it.  Under those circumstances it’s not surprising that some of the land owners aren’t that happy.  And I get it, the guy down the road from you gets rich overnight, but through bad luck you don’t get to cash in.  And this is where it gets anecdotal, but people being people it wouldn’t surprise me if it was true.  Some people who aren’t as lucky look for other ways to cash in.  They submit environmental complaints in order to try and force a purchase of their land since it is being impacted.  In all fairness maybe it is, seriously what do I know?  I just find the whole dynamic pretty fascinating and thought I would pass the story along because it was something that never really occurred to me. And to be clear, since I have gotten some complaints that I get “political” when I talk about this sort of thing, that is not my intention.  It’s just a completely different environment than anything we have ever experienced and I am trying to find a way to describe it.

Along those lines that next thing that happened was also pretty strange.  A truck pulled in and I walked up writing down the license plate when the driver honked his horn at me. That startled me to be honest, because it was loud, and I have a routine.  I walked over to the vehicle and the gentleman inside said he wasn’t staying so I didn’t have to write the information down.  At that point I looked quizzically at him and he asked who we worked for.  After I told him, he said he worked for a different company and they were hiring, and then he just stared at me.  I just stood there unsure of what to say and then he continued.  He said, very abruptly, they were paying $175 a day, and at that point I thought I should say something. I told him we were already making that rate and after this gate were heading north and not gate guarding through the summer.  I wasn’t really sure what else I was supposed to say, and the guy just kept staring at me, and to be honest the whole encounter felt somewhat hostile. What did he expect me to do, pack up my rig and follow him?  And the entire encounter was extremely unprofessional in my mind, despite the fact that we are independent contractors.

I like the fact that we are not tied to any particular company and can go to whichever job suits us the best.  That being said, I can’t imagine leaving a job in mid-stream with no notice unless something really egregious happened. We made a commitment, and the company is keeping it’s end of the bargain, so why burn that bridge.  And although I don’t think there is anything wrong with some friendly recruiting, in my mind that is absolutely not the way to go about it.  If anything the encounter made me far less likely to work for them in the future, and again to be clear it wasn’t so much the conversation itself but rather the way in which is was handled.  We approach every job we take with a level of professionalism and I hope that never changes.  I may be wearing T-Shirts and jeans in these jobs that I do but that doesn’t mean my ethic is any different.  I am fully aware that many people disagree with that approach and more power to them, but that’s just the way Lee and I handle and I hope we will continue to do so.

On a funnier note, this last story was just silly.  When we replaced the toilet, we set the old one next to the water trailer in the field behind us and just kept forgetting to run it to trash container in town.  Although you can’t see it from the road, every time it caught my eye it really bothered me.  So while Lee was on the phone with his parents the other day I decided to at least move it into the bed of the truck.  When I went to pick it up, it was surprisingly heavy and I had to stop halfway to the truck and set it down in the road.  As soon as I did a mound of dirt came out which was crawling with fire ants.  Thankfully I only got one bite and was able to jump back pretty quickly. Lee, who saw it from far away on his phone initially thought that it was poop.  Thankfully that was not the case, but fire ants are no joke.  They were building a nest inside of the toilet and I was stunned by how many of them there were.  It could have been worse though as my sister reminded me when I was telling her the story.  She started laughing because she thought I was going to tell her one of the truck drivers had used it, and the visual of that happening cracked me up.  The entire incident really drove home how different my life is now, but in a good way.  Something like that happening in my prior life would have evoked feelings of embarrassment or horror.  The new and improved Tracy just thought it was funny though, and took it in stride. From my perspective that is progress although I don’t plan on having toilets in my yard on a regular basis 🙂

So that’s it for now, and I’ll let you know if anything else happens.  We have told the company that our last day will be March 16th, and have made some arrnagement to have some work rig work done.  Then we are headed to the RV-Dreams reunion rally where I can’t wait to reunite with some friends.  Afterwards we will be touring Utah and getting some million dollar views.  We appreciate you guys hanging in there over the last couple of months, because I know this hasn’t been very exciting. It’s an accurate representation of our life though, and since we have to finance this lifestyle, months like these are necessary to making this all work. Hopefully the excitement of the next couple of months will more than balance it out!

Oh and I also wanted to mention that the campgrounds I will be managing this summer are already pretty booked.  If you are planning on being in Oregon during the summer and thinking about trying to stop by and see us, you might want to send me an email at so we can coordinate.   Our friends Deb and Steve went to make reservations and almost all of the weekends were already  booked.  It worked out ok because we are going to have Tuesdays and Wednesdays off and they were able to find a spot during those days, but we were both surprised by how many spots were already reserved.  Cell service is pretty spotty up at Timothy Lake so if you are working you probably want to keep that in mind. And the sites have no services at all so the ability to boondocking will be required. Despite those inconveniences the reason it is booked is because the campgrounds sit on a beautiful lake with  views of Mount Hood.  Well worth the visit if you are in the area.

Camper Chronicles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to We very much appreciate any purchase you make via our website links.  There is no additional cost to you and helps support our blog.  Search here

Or you can check out our recipe book filled with 80 real recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. The cookbook specializes in recipes that have a limited number of ingredients, without sacrificing flavor and is organized into categories that matter to full time RVers such as Happy Hours, Travel Days, and Pot Lucks   You can preview the kindle version on  Amazon or the Apple version on Itunes.    It is available in paperback on Amazon if you prefer.

Memory is a Funny Thing

A big part of the reason I started this blog initially was because I’ve never had a very good memory.  I was always good at my job because I had the ability to remember facts and figures in the short-term, but the farther back I go the fuzzier things get.  I’m also guilty of revising my own history and remembering things as I wish they were.  In particular, I am prone to use this tactic when thinking about stressful or chaotic moments and although in some respects that is a nicer way to live, when I started this full-timing journey I made the conscious decision to really face what was happening to me head-on.  That’s was one of the major reasons I started blogging.  I viewed it more as an online diary of sorts and the idea that more than a handful of people would read it seemed unlikely to me.   As a business analyst, I decided to capture my lessons learned as I went, just in case someone stumbled across the blog and would find the mistakes we made helpful.

Over the years, things have of course evolved, and as Camper Chronicles is closing in on half a million hits, I am still startled on how far it has come.  As our life and circumstances changed, the blog has changed, but hopefully it still remains true to what I originally envisioned.  Writing this book has been very interesting though, because in order to refresh my memory I have gone back and re-read many of my original posts.  I am completely aware that the story I told initially was not the entire story.  I never lied, but I certainly left big chunks out and for very good reasons.  Lee in particular had a high profile job in a small community, and we were extremely cautious of sharing our plan, before we were 100% certain we could pull it off.

Although I wrote the various steps to prepare “offline”, and eventually published them on my Becoming Fulltimers – Step by Step page, this was a summary of events rather than a moment by moment accounting.  I’ve always felt that the details of what happened and how it happened was an interesting story, and that was the genesis of the book.  I thought when I started this it would be relatively easy to fill in the blanks.  I had what I wrote both here and in the forum, and I also had my memory.  But as I said before, memory is a funny thing, and even though I have shared many of these stories in person with people, I am finding that the truth and the legend are not always the same thing.

Plus it’s not only my story, but Lee’s as well, and his truth and mine have always been two distinct things.  Finding a way to incorporate both of those perspectives into the narrative has been a little challenging, but in this first draft at least I have tried to be as accurate as I could be.  I mention this, because Lee has finally started his first read of the book.  Unlike the blog, where he occasionally jumps in and says his piece, the book, by design, will be in one voice.  The changes he makes, grammar and spelling aside, will require some discussion and although I totally trust him he is adamant that I review those changes prior to them being “written in ink.”

I’m totally fine with that, but I will say I was a little nonplussed when we had that first conversation this afternoon about an inconsistency on page 2.  I wrote that the idea to buy a little camper and take weekend trips  was his idea, and it turns out it was actually mine.  That’s a pretty big misconception on my part, especially because I have told that story 100 times.  I always tell it the same way because that’s how I remember it, and he never corrected me because when you are telling a campfire story it doesn’t really matter.  For the book though, he felt he should set the record straight and went on to give me a detailed account of the conversation.  Lee’s memory has always been better than mine, so I didn’t doubt him, but it was strange.  I remember where we were (in the car), what prompted the comment (we had passed by a small RV dealership on the way back from a weekend in New York), and how we both got excited about the idea.  But I truly thought this entire time that he was the one that  initially brought up the idea.  Here’s the very first paragraph I ever wrote in this blog and as you can see I never really said whose idea it was.

“Lee and I have been married and raising kids for a long time–a really long time. Over the years we have often talked about what we would do someday when the kids were grown and gone.  One of our ideas  was traveling around the country in a camper.  My grandparents did it for years. They sold their house, bought an RV, and spent six months traveling the fifty states.  The freedom of that was VERY appealing to me, and I’ll admit I had a completely romanticized view of what that would be like.   As we grew older, and frankly more practical, we still talked about it, but the practicalities were a larger part of the conversation and through the teen years there was always something going on.  Fast forward to a few weeks ago, our first romantic weekend getaway in 20 years.  I kid you not, we had taken two vacations alone, but hadn’t had a romantic weekend alone since the kids were babies, and our oldest is 24, you do the math. We loved the weekend; we went to the Corning glass festival, stayed in a lovely B&B and really enjoyed each other’s company.  But the weekend cost well over $800 and on the 5 hour drive home were lamenting the fact that we wouldn’t be able to afford to do this very often. The subject of camping came up again, and as we often had, we started to talk about how great that would be but what the challenges would be.  This time though the conversation was different.  There were less challenges than ever before and oddly the idea seemed almost feasible.  You can cover a lot of conversational ground in a 5 hour drive! I had taken an extra day off from work so we decided to travel to Campers Inn (a large RV dealer in Nashua, NH) and take a look to see what our options might be.”

Actually reading that paragraph makes me feel better, but it also clearly illustrates the problem.  And although this is a memoir and I am not going to get too bunged up over minor inconsistencies certain things need to be correct. I guess I just thought that with all this information, it would be a little easier, but on occasion it actually muddies the waters.  Like now for instance I have been writing about our Quartzsite experience.  Although by this point in the blog, I was being much more open about the negatives of the lifestyle, I still was very careful about not offending anyone. Lots of people absolutely love Quartzsite, but we struggled from the beginning.  Plus we had lots of other things going on in our life (I had just quit my job for one thing) and I wasn’t ready to completely share those emotions. Going back and filling in the blanks has been pretty interesting, especially because I am looking at those events through my current day lens. I’m still not in any big hurry to offend anyone, but my experience didn’t happen in a vacuum and there were other people involved.

To some extent this has been a positive thing, because as I have been walking down memory lane, I am remembering how much support our friends have given us.  Writing a thank you letter of sorts to the people I love has been a really wonderful thing.  As many of those experiences we have had, there had been more conflict and drama.  My daughter Kyrston, who is my alpha reader, has found those parts the most interesting, and her reactions to certain stories has been pretty gratifying.  If nothing else it has really brought home to me how much I have changed over the last four years.  In some respects I feel like a completely different person to at least a better version of myself and taking a step back and looking at that objectively has been a truly amazing thing.

All that being said, I have no illusion that even this book will be the complete and absolute truth.  There are stories I will leave out because they are not mine to tell, and others simply don’t fit the narrative.  There are stories that are too personal to tell anyone, others that would hurt feelings for no good cause. As I write or edit I have to make those decisions and be extremely careful I am not “over editing”.  I don’t know if you remember, but last year I donated to a charity to have a one hour Skype session with my favorite author.  Despite the length of time now and then I sent her an email and asked a followup question about editing.  Not only did she respond quickly, but she wrote me a beautifully detailed response.  Although she was very careful to say that every writer’s process is different she did give me some amazing advice.  Since she is a much better writer than I will ever be, I’ll just share what she said here. Keep in mind she writes fiction, but I still think her advice makes sense.  There are just some additional burdens when you are writing about real people that I need to take into account.

“I have it constantly: fear of failing the story. Fear of failing the readers. It is, sadly, a normal part of the process, for me. And for most of the writers I know. Some have that fear at the start of a new book. Some have it in the middle (most that I know get middle-of-book-blues). Some reach that at the end (whereas I love endings).The process is personal. It’s highly personal. No two writers work the same way. So it’s hard to give process advice because it’s so distinctly individual.”…

“If you are making edits that are entirely motivated by fear, I’d suggest that you’re over-editing. I can move sentences around and change scenes when I’m in high anxiety mode – but I have no clear sense that doing this rearranging of furniture is actually making things better. I’m doing them because I’m in the middle of anxiety about whether or not it will work for my readers and I have to do something. What if it doesn’t work? OMG, it probably doesn’t… 

If you are making edits that clearly improve the book or the clarity of the book – or if you’re making edits in which whole conversations and characters change or plot points become suddenly sharply clear to you, I’d actually suggest that you’re on the right path. The book isn’t finished yet, even if you’ve typed “THE END”. You are still in the process of writing the book.”

Wonderful advice! The author, Michelle Sagara, actually took her complete answer and wrote about it in her blog. It is different of course because I can’t change the characters in my book, because they are real people with real lives.  I am however trying as much as possible to not make the story about them.  They get to decide how transparent they want to be in their lives, and as tempting as it is to talk about other people’s challenges so I don’t look like a complete screw-up, I’m not going to do that. What I will do is share those moments where they helped me or experienced joy with me and thankfully there are many of those.  For myself and Lee, I am trying to be as brutally honest as I can be and in certain sections the story can be a little rough on both of us.

And that’s the whole point I think, although it’s taken me awhile to get there. I told Lee today to make whatever changes he needed to as long as they were in service of the story.  I mean that, and it will be interesting to see the differences after he finishes his edit.  Whatever gets us closer to the truth I think I am OK with, knowing that ultimately it is impossible to achieve.  And in case you are wondering why I wrote all this down, I guess it’s to say there are things going on over here.  I write about my life, and this process has been a huge part of it these last few weeks, so I thought it deserved a mention.

Then again despite everything I just said, this is all that really matters

Camper Chronicles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to We very much appreciate any purchase you make via our website links.  There is no additional cost to you and helps support our blog.  Search here

Or you can check out our recipe book filled with 80 real recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. The cookbook specializes in recipes that have a limited number of ingredients, without sacrificing flavor and is organized into categories that matter to full time RVers such as Happy Hours, Travel Days, and Pot Lucks   You can preview the kindle version on  Amazon or the Apple version on Itunes.    It is available in paperback on Amazon if you prefer.

February Budget – Lowest Costs to Date

We had a fantastic month in February and achieved our lowest monthly costs in the year years we have been traveling.  All events conspired to keep our costs low, and it was nice to have the “perfect storm” work in our favor for once.  We only spent $1987 this month, and made $5350 resulting in a net cash flow of $3363.  This is very exciting because it should cover most of our costs in the month of April when we explore Utah. Details are listed below.


Groceries – We were under by $95 this month because we were both trying to cook the food we have in the RV.  It was also a short month, which of course helps with the food costs.

Dining Out – I am particularly proud of this category because we only spent $55. Usually when our grocery budget goes down our eating out costs go up, but this month we really kept an eye on that.  One of the things that helped is we both cooked several meals from my recipe book.  I’ve been so busy trying new recipes it’s been a while since we gave the tried and true a try and I was very pleased by how that impacted not only how well we ate but also our budget. Yes, this is a shameless plug for my recipe book, but it is also absolutely true 🙂

Entertainment – We went over by $38 in this category because Lee bought a couple of video games, and I spent some money on craft supplies.  Entertainment looks different when you are sitting still and we needed a couple of things to help with the downtime.

Cell/Internet – One reason our monthly costs are the lowest ever is because our base costs have gone down.  As I have mentioned before we are saving $100 a month with the AT&T unlimited plan and are very happy with it.

Memberships – For the time being I have decided to forgo our memberships for both Workamper News and Escapees.  We have been very happy with those memberships in the past, but since we have our year planned out from a work standpoint and aren’t planning on attending any Escapee events, for the time being I have decided to forgo them.  I highly recommend both of those memberships though, especially if you are just starting out, but at this time I am holding onto that $80.

Truck Fuel – Huge savings in this category because we just didn’t go anywhere.  One of the benefits of constantly feeling like you are going to get pulled from a job is you don’t stray too far from home.

Truck Insurance – Our truck insurance has gone up $70 a month, but after receiving some quotes we ultimately decided to stick with what we have for now. This may change, but we didn’t see any plans that we liked much better and are hoping next year the 2015 claim will “roll off” and the rates won’t continue to rise.

Health Insurance – Another big reason our base costs are down this year was the $200 a month savings in health insurance.  We have no idea why the costs are so much less, but are happy that things worked in our favor.  I am a little concerned about getting hit with some taxes at the end of the year, but we started this journey with $5K in an account for taxes and still have $1500 left so to some extent we are covered.

Home Repairs –  Lee has completed the bulk of the home repairs last month so we are under by $150 this month. We have one more major repair we are looking at completing before we leave the area, but if that happens it won’t be until March.

Overall I am extremely happy happy with the month and Lee is beyond pleased.  This is exactly why we are such huge fans of gate guarding and why for us it makes so much financial sense.  And it’s not like we feel we suffered this month.  We had food, were entertained, and I have gotten a ton of writing done. By all measures it was a very successful month for us and although we wish we could have seen our friends a little more and done a little exploring, that is the price we pay for some financial stability.

Camper Chronicles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to We very much appreciate any purchase you make via our website links.  There is no additional cost to you and helps support our blog.  Search here

Or you can check out our recipe book filled with 80 real recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. The cookbook specializes in recipes that have a limited number of ingredients, without sacrificing flavor and is organized into categories that matter to full time RVers such as Happy Hours, Travel Days, and Pot Lucks   You can preview the kindle version on  Amazon or the Apple version on Itunes.    It is available in paperback on Amazon if you prefer.

Finishing Up?? Not So Much

We are both ready to take a break because the constant cold and drizzle is wearing us down.  Plus traffic has been pretty busy, but finally they took the big coil out yesterday.  One nice thing that happened was that crew had a big meal and they stopped at the gate and shared some steaks with us.  The cooker they pulled on a trailer was pretty neat and they had ribeyes that were braised in hickory flavored juice in big pans and I just grabbed a couple right out of there.  Lee was pretty happy because hey free steak and it was a nice thought that they shared with us.

Really cool trailer with grill and kitchen

The next day they started the workover portion and then after that the cleanup.  We heard that might take 3-4 days, but everyone we ask seems to have a different guess on that.   It seemed like lots was happening from the volume of traffic the gate was getting, but when my generator ran out of gas at 1am and I flagged down someone to get me some more gas, I learned that wasn’t the case.  The way I understand it the well has to be stable before they finish it and this one is still bleeding off lots of natural gas.  That makes sense, but then I learned that they weren’t sure when it would be ready. Once the well is stable they need two 12 hour days to complete the job but the big question is when it will be stable.  I still really don’t get it to be honest.  Sometimes I feel like everyone is speaking a foreign language and since we can’t see anything from this far away it’s hard for me to understand what is happening.  but we are getting paid and I had a pretty slow night, so that’s something.

One thing we did see for a couple days was a big ball of flame.  That was a bit of surprise when I walked out one night, but I later learned this was the natural gas burning off.

What I could see at night

The cows didn’t seem to care

Closeup with telephoto lens

The next couple of days and nights were relatively slow as well as we watched the workover phase get completed.  Since this was a completely different group of people, we weren’t really sure who was in charge, but Saturday morning one of the company men said they were close to being done.  Lee was told we would be done at noon that day, but then no one came and told us to leave.  We let our sales manager know that the phase was complete, but she asked if the gate was closed which we did not know.  Around 6pm our supervisor called us and asked if we had been released but again we said no.  There was no one back at the well and the gate to it was locked shut, but as far as we knew we were on duty.  I only had a few production trucks going to other wells, but went ahead and stayed awake.  I wasn’t sure what the traffic would be like and ultimately I thought it best not to mess with my sleep schedule.

Under normal circumstances we would have been totally fine for that, because getting paid for these slow days is awesome, but we have friends in San Antonio that we really wanted to see and were hoping we would have a few days to spend with them.  We decided to go ahead and prep the rig for moving, in case we were released suddenly and then I had an extremely slow night, which was pretty great, because it allowed me to get a lot of writing done.  I’ve been making some serious progress with the editing and seem to have found a rhythm, but I have also decided I need to write a little bit further before I end.  I never expected this book would cover our entire full-timing journey and I think a nice place to stop is right before we went to Alaska and started work kamping.  There’s some symmetry to that since we started with an RV-Dreams rally and it will end with another one, but that does mean I had to add some additional chapters.

After doing some research I learned that most novels are between 60K – 80K words.  I am at 45K currently, but by adding the additional few months should get there.  This book was always about filling the gaps in the blog, especially things that happened in the beginning, but I also want it to be a standalone work so that someone who never read the blog would understand our journey.  That’s a delicate balance since  I don’t want to be too repetitive for those of you who have read the blog from the beginning, but hopefully there will be enough original material (and the perspective from someone who has been on the road three years) that it will still be interesting.  As I mentioned before I am relying very heavily on my oldest daughter to give me feedback on content and flow.  She obviously knows the story and has been reading since the beginning and if she doesn’t find it confusing or boring, hopefully no one else will!

After workover was complete they started another phase and they were trying to “get the oil to flow.”  Once again this was a completely different group of people, and Lee was pretty busy all day. This crew ended up working past 9pm, which we were told is unusual,  because it rained (and hailed) on and off throughout the day and they were “fighting with the mud.”  Again we weren’t sure what the status was and the people we asked weren’t sure either.  Lee had the bulk of the traffic and since it was raining so hard he pulled the truck up and worked out of there for awhile. I got lucky and it stopped raining by the time I took over at 4pm.

Lee working out out of the truck.  You can kind of see how hard it was raining in the picture.

I was able to talk to the last company man before he left the site and he said the oil would start flowing tomorrow or the next day.  Then he said we would probably be here a few days after that which again confused me. The last gate we were released before any of these stages started, but we do know every landowner contract is different.  At this point, we are just riding this out, enjoying the slower volume days, and hoping we get done so we can see our friends before they all leave on March 1st and head to Arizona.  We would have people come down so we could make sure we saw them, but not knowing day to day when we will released that doesn’t make much sense.  So we are just going to ride it out and hope for the best and hey at least we are making money instead of spending it at a campground.

After a couple more days of talking to people who all seemed surprised we were still there, and hearing that the oil was flowing we finally got a text from our sales manager.  The construction company had decided to keep us because they were doing some work on another well and we were getting extended.  Even though it was shame we didn’t get to see everyone, it probably is for the best because we are hoping this extension will carry us close to the time we need to leave for the reunion rally.  We were a little concerned that it would be hard to get another gate with such a close end date so it really is a good thing we were asked to stay. The company man really likes us and mentioned briefly a couple of weeks ago that he might have some more work here.  I am guessing they decided to keep us over instead of having us leave and then getting another crew which is cool because we get paid for some relatively slow days.  I’m just glad we know now, so we can have our mail sent, which I have been holding off.  I want to get our taxes done before we head farther west so I don’t need to worry about that when we are enjoying our off time.

One more thing happened that was kind of interesting.  We got a call from our supervisor asking if we wanted to move to a $250 a day gate.  This gate is a busy one and has it’s own shack, and although the money was tempting the shack was not.  Many long-term/permanent gates have a small building that you work out of.  Sometimes you are allowed to keep your RV on the premises but other times you have to stay in a campground and pay for that cost out of the money you make.  Some people like those gates and they almost always pay at a premium, but we have discussed it and for us, that is not what we are looking for.  We like working out of our RV because it gives us easy access to all of our things.  Yes, we could still pop over when we needed to if the RV was on site, but we wouldn’t have ready access to our computer, TV etc. Theoretically we could use the laptop and another benefit would be during the time we were both awake one of us would be working in a separate space, but for us we would be giving up too much and at this point at least the extra money wouldn’t be worth it.  Again, personal preference.

The good thing was when Lee politely declined there truly was no issue.  As independent contractors we are allowed to take or reject jobs as we see fit and I will say every company we had dealt with has maintained that rule strictly.  They go to great pains to make it clear that there will be no penalty for refusing the work, which is a very good thing and appropriate with our 1099 status.  Plus as I have said before we really like this gate.  The paved area in front of rig has cut down on the dust tremendously and the easy access to town and strong internet is a terrific bonus.


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Or you can check out our recipe book filled with 80 real recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. The cookbook specializes in recipes that have a limited number of ingredients, without sacrificing flavor and is organized into categories that matter to full time RVers such as Happy Hours, Travel Days, and Pot Lucks   You can preview the kindle version on  Amazon or the Apple version on Itunes.    It is available in paperback on Amazon if you prefer.