The last couple of weeks we experienced days of rain, and then days of full sun. The temperatures have gotten much colder and as tourists are leaving the state the campground’s business has gotten slower and slower. Although we were originally scheduled through September 15th, we received an email from the Beet Harvest folks and they need us there by September 19th. We don’t want to rush back (since we had to rush up) so we talked to Marc and he graciously said it was fine if we left a little earlier than we originally expected. Our new departure date is September 8th and suddenly there isn’t enough time to get everything done we need/want to!
What has surprised me is how anxious I am feeling over the upcoming move. My fears are varied from the short-term (the furnace still isn’t working) to the more long-term, without a steady income coming in how are we going to pay our bills. We had hedged our financial bets by lining up the Beet Harvest immediately after Alaska and then picking up a job selling Christmas Trees over the holidays. After that I really want to try to find a consulting job in my field. There are a couple of reasons I think the consulting job is so important. First, for me, it’s not a good idea to stay out of the mainstream workforce for too long of a period, and second, since I have to work I would like to try doing something that is both fulfilling and lucrative. I am convinced at this point that we can survive on less money, but I am not sure that less money has translated into less stress. Well, that’s not true. I absolutely have less stress than I had before, but there is still stress. At this point I am simply not capable of “punching a clock” for lack of a better expression and leaving the work behind at the end of the day. And I am especially not capable of that when I live where I work.
So, the only way to find out what consulting looks like (and how it compares to other employment) is to actually do it. I am really surprised by my reaction to all of this to be honest. I have wanted to consult for a really long time and as Lee says now I have the opportunity to try it in a low-risk environment. It’s just a lot of change. Professionally in a relatively short period of time I have gone from a corporate environment to a small business environment then I will be trying “farm” work and short-term commissioned sales. You would think I was a kid again trying lots of jobs to see which ones I liked. Except these jobs are on the extreme side and I am not a kid anymore in either physical or emotional state. I am incredibly nervous about the beet harvest. The idea that I can hack standing outside in the elements for 12 hours a day, three weeks straight, and no days off seems almost ludicrous. Same with the Christmas tree sales. 12 hours a day, living in a fenced-in parking lot, no days off. Why in God’s name would I try these things if I have other choices? The short answer is because this is an experiment and I need to collect all of the data. I can read about the Beet Harvest or Amazon, but unless I actually experience it I will have no idea what I am willing (and able) to do. For years I thought of myself as a person who could dig ditches to feed her family. Well now I am going to find out. And by the way I am 100% driving these choices. Lee is fine with it as long as it keeps us on the road, but he would no more try to talk me into these job choices than he would try to talk me into selling the RV and living in a tent. That’s the level of extreme that I think of when I compare the beet harvest to a campground job and we will see if those fears are founded.
Anyway, lots of anxieties, which is kind of a shame because you would think I could coast on an Alaska high for awhile. I also really thought I had moved past some of these emotions. It’s been two years now and you would think I would be better at dealing with the constant state of change. Well I am better, that’s for sure, but less able to adapt that I thought I would be. Part of that is probably staying in one place for four months. We have made a home base of sorts here and that coupled with a steady paycheck and lots of cool areas to explore has helped me settle in. Now we are leaving all of that for the relative uncertainty of a new job and a new place. You would think that considering how poorly I seem to handle all of that I would be more interested when Lee talks about creating some sort of established annual “route”, but everything in me rebels against that. Developing a circuit of sorts makes sense. Employment is easier, you can establish schedules for doctor’s appointments, and you always have some idea of where you will be at any given time in the year, and it really helps keep your costs down. I get the allure. But for me, right now, in this moment, it is the last thing that I want. Well, not the last, but pretty far down on the list. What I love about this lifestyle the most is the ability to explore and seeing new places and if that makes it more challenging, then so be it. I’m not saying it won’t happen in our future. Whether it happens by choice or necessity it feels almost inevitable, but I keep thinking “Not yet”.
So I will try the beet harvest and Christmas trees, and Amazon, and whatever comes in between. We will stay in the desert this winter to keep costs down, we will work at more campgrounds, we will do what we need to do to stay on the road. But it may look different. My blog posts will be different. Not every place we be will be Alaska, or even close to it. I started this to accurately reflect my life, but in some respects the blog has driven my choices. I get off the couch and do things so I have something to write about. I show my life in pictures and budgets with the occasional introspective post thrown in. We have managed through our choices to have both work and play, but the upcoming months are definitely going to be more about work, and that’s fair. Alaska was the experience of a lifetime but it needs to be paid for one way or another. If Lee was sitting here he would probably jump in at this point and tell me I needed to calm down. We have money in the bank, we have employment lined up, and things are unlikely to be as extreme as I am painting them. He’s really good at being the voice of reason when I get a little carried away. And he is right. One chapter is ending and another is beginning and as always, we will see where that leads us.
Oh and then because God has a sense of humor he gave me a real problem to deal with. Not an ambiguous, what-if scenario (I suck at dealing with those) but a real honest to goodness problem which ironically I seem better at dealing with. Lee took the truck to Wasilla to get the brakes and AC checked and when he came back from running errands the front end was dissembled, he was told the truck was undriveable, and it could take as much as a month to fix. Needless to say he was extremely upset. The next morning I called the dealership (keep in mind it’s 2-1/2 hours away or I just would have driven there) and left a voice message for the service manager Stan. I nicely explained that we didn’t live here and I was due to start a new job on the 19th and could he please call me back with an estimate of how long the service would take. This was at 8:31am.
|I called back at 11:05am and after offering to wait on hold was eventually transferred to Stan’s cell phone voice mail. At this point I reached out to our friends Jo/Ben and Kelly/Bill. I knew Jo and Ben would be driving right by the dealership and I asked if they would stop on the way if no one from the dealership called me back. Yes this is an unusual request, but they are those kind of friends. Driving 5 hours round trip to have an in person conversation was not my first choice, but I knew I would do it if I had to. Thankfully while I was on the phone with them Stan called me back. He was extremely polite and after looking into the situation told me he couldn’t get the parts until next Wednesday or Thursday but he would put me to the top of the service list “since I lived out of town.” Best case scenario the work would be done by September 9th worst case, September 12th.|
|So I had two choices in that moment; play nice or “go Jersey” as my friends like to say. I chose to play nice and spent the next 10 minutes personalizing the issue and basically throwing myself on his mercy. Why you might ask? Well, Alaska. Don’t kid yourself, these folks have their customers over a barrel and they know it. There are only three Ford dealerships in the entire state and I have no reason to expect my situation would be any different with another one of them. If they decide to keep me waiting for a month it is entirely within their purview. Do I have other options? Sure, but none of them are really good ones, so since all it will cost us at this point is taking our time getting back through Canada we will let it go. That assumes of course that they keep their word. I like starting with appealing to people’s better angels, but if that doesn’t work I have absolutely no problem “going Jersey”.
Side note: Lee did receive a call that evening from the original service coordinator. She verified that she had ordered the parts, but stated our claim was still not approved because they had to send pictures to the warranty company. Sounds like BS to me, but I will have to give the warranty company a call.
|On the plus side I finally got to see Northern Lights and it wasn’t even planned. Lee and I walked outside at 11pm last night before going to bed we looked up and they were all over the sky. I always thought northern lights were like lightning or they pulsed but these were different. They reminded me of after a firework has gone off and what happens to the trails of light. They also looked like someone took a paintbrush and lightly made a stroke on a canvas. They move and change and the colors on occasion held hints of purple along with the green. It was amazing and we stood outside for 30 minutes watching them. I tried to get a picture with my camera but no luck. Lee was able to snap a couple of pics with his phone but they don’t come close to showing how amazing they looked in the sky. Big major check on the bucket list. Some things in life exceed their press.
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Hi Tracy, In a peculiar case of similarity, we are finding ourselves in Bozeman, Montana while we wait for the only Ford dealer in town (and for miles) to determine what is going on with the engine in our 2015 F-150. One of the cylinders is not holding compression, the truck is not safe to drive (let alone tow!) and they are currently backed up for a week with other engine work/rebuilds so they can’t even complete the in-depth diagnostics. Not a thing to be done but check in EVERY DAY and ask where we are on the list. I am beginning to see that God has presented me with a graduate-level program in patience and surrender. Not what this Long Island girl likes, but apparently what I need to learn. Peace, and keep breathing!
That stinks. Hope all goes well for you guys.
Trace, I looked up this quote for you as I think it is fitting, it is a quote by Theodore Roosevelt: “Nothing in the world is worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty…I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people that led difficult lives and lived them well.” I think the short version of this is what I have always heard, “Nothing worth having comes easy.”
Gosh, can’t believe it has been two years. I remember you from RV Dreams, the beginning. You’ll be just fine as always, like a cat, you’ll land on your feet! I keep you and Lee in my thoughts and prayers. Have a safe journey back to the lower 48. : )
Thanks so much Cathy and I completely appreciate the quote.
“Go Jersey”??? I once lived in New Jersey and would like to think you’re complimenting the lovely people we knew there, but….
On the plus side, I hope your truck fix is quick and efficient. We’ve been there, done that, and it is what you make it. It’s inconvenient and expensive, but s#%t happens, and you may as well relax and make the best of it. A couple years ago, we spent a week – that we’d planned to spend with our grandchildren – “living” in the parking lot of the Augusta, GA, Mercedes dealer, waiting for a new transmission…and discovered a lovely, interesting city. We couldn’t change the outcome, but at least the process was enjoyable. And, in the grand scheme of things, we still had a great visit with our kids – and had some fun memories to laugh about. (Trust me…if you haven’t ridden in “Skeeter’s” tow truck for 100 miles, you haven’t really lived!)
Hey Vicki. I lived in Jersey as well as a kid and in no way did I mean to malign the people of that state 🙂 Our friend Kelly is from there and she is the sweetest person imaginable but don’t cross her lol. It’s shorthand for don’t push me to far.
As to the warranty company requiring photos, it’s not BS. We have an extended warranty through Wholesale Warranties and they do require some sort of verification. I think it depends on the dollar amount. We had slide repairs done in Las Vegas and the cost was $2600. They couldn’t order the parts until WW sent someone out to look at the problem. Once they approved then work was started. We had our jacks motor replaced in WI for$1100 and they only required photos. Hang in there, After reading many of your blog posts, I think Lee has the right temperment for this life style.
Yep I talked to the warranty company and they stated anything of $2K required photos (Ford dealer) or onsite inspection (anyone else).
Good luck, certainly understand the anxiety of waiting on parts, been there, done that, more than once!!
Your thoughts on your work and future opportunities are interesting to read as I begin my job search. My first choice, for now, is a virtual job that will allow us to remain mobile but provide benefits and a steady income. I honestly am just not ready to be an hourly employee again and to necessarily be tied down to one location work camping for an entire summer. That in itself goes against my DNA!!
As a couple who are already on a “annual circuit”, I can share that if you do find yourselves trying this, you’ll still find new places to explore, new things to do, etc. Take a different highway, try something new even if you’ve been there before. For example, we’re sick of I-5 so went north through Oregon and had a blast in the Bend OR area, and yeah, we timed it so Dale could have a brewery tour on his Birthday, my gift to him was to be the designated driver. We tried Paddle Boarding for the first time ever this spring, at a stop we made before and decided we needed to come back for a longer stopover, took us 3 years, but we made it back to that stopover. Even when we spend a month in the same location every single summer, we’re finding new bike trails, hikes, etc. to explore. Maybe it’s not as exciting to blog about, but it’s still new, it’s still different and even if it’s the same place year after year, people at the park change, weather has been totally different this summer vs. last summer with much less smoke from forest fires, but a much cooler summer, which has lead to different activities, etc.
I know you’ll figure it out, we all have our different paths, just remember, there’s no one right way to full time RV!!
Greetings, Your thoughts and comments on “stress and anxieties” I just left my job on Tuesday and entered in to the world of “semi retirement” Thursday I was was having what I thought to be a heart attack… Pain in left chest, heart burn, very clammy feeling and heaviness of the body. Called 911 and got my 1st ambulance ride to Hosp. all test came back NEGATIVE. They think it was caused by high stress and turned into a full blown anxiety attack which I have never had prior in my life. Now I find myself leaving here Tuesday morning and heading into a unknown as well (Fla. to tech school) I’ll be doing this trip solo on account Cheri will be staying up here for her grand daughters 1st bday. and to finish out the month at work, Then fly down. Stress is starting to climb again.
Going into the unknown nervous and a little afraid to me is a good thing, puts me into a more alert and awareness stage. The good Lord doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle in life, When I get that feeling as to where I have to much on my plate… I ask him to take some away and let me chip away as to whats on my plate. Seems to work for me anyway.
I have really enjoyed tagging along on your blog this summer and look forward to what lays ahead for you and Lee. Safe travels ahead.
Oh sweetie. Wow that is scary and thanks so very much for sharing it. Funny thing. Lee has been finishing the rally videos this week and your interview has been on my TV many times 😊. Your enthusiasm is infectious and if you can try to go back to that feeling. When Cherie said We don’t want to go home” I have been smiling because in the here and now you are almost on your way. That being said I Know how crazy stressful those last few weeks were. I promise it will get so much better. Major life change should have major impact ..that’s how we know it’s major but let’s try to stay out of the hospital ok 😉. We are thinking of you and routing for you and there is not a doubt in my mind it will be great for you.
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