It was another slow day in gate guarding land. The only folks we have seen were the guy who brings diesel for our generator, which does not require us to open or close the gate, and some guys who are coming to finish the fracking pond. They are still figuring out the job though, and haven’t actually started the finishing work, so I think we still have a few more days of this peace and quiet. Oh, and to give you an idea of exactly how slow it’s been, here are last week’s numbers. Initially we logged all the “wrong gate” traffic, but we got pretty lax on that this week so this doesn’t include every time we had to direct people to the next gate down, but as you can see it was amazingly slow. And yes we get paid the same regardless, which is nice! (I have never logged a a wrong gate vehicle. It just seems silly to log a vehicle that I turn away. It’s one step away from logging vehicles that just drive by without even slowing down. – Lee)
The guys who are putting the liner in the pond stopped by, and I tried to get a feel for when the liner would be put in. They were extremely noncommittal about the timeline, but one guy did say that they couldn’t do it when it rained and it was supposed to rain all week. Hard to complain about having another week of all this free time and getting paid for it, so we’ll take it. The unlimited data is working out great so far, by the way. We are 10 days in to the new plan, and well over 240GB on the WiFi hotspot and no throttling so far. Of course we are in a remote area with an under taxed tower so that helps. Lee has been taking advantage and uploading all these home movies he has been working on to You Tube, hence the huge amount of data we have been using. We will continue to see how it goes and I’ll let you know. So far it’s been awesome. (Awesome doesn’t even begin to describe it. After two years of watching our data usage every day and carefully thinking about whether or not to download things, now I just don’t. It’s delightful. – Lee)
It’s funny how the volume of trucks makes all the difference in both of our moods. Last week when it was so busy I couldn’t wait to be done, but now it’s been very pleasant. I think that shows, at least for us, that it’s less about having to stay in one place or even being “on call” 24/7, but more about how much down time we have during the day. Lots of down time and it’s an OK gig. Under those circumstances we don’t mind the negatives so much. Minimal down time and those restrictions start to bother both of us. I actually think that’s pretty normal. Things were a little more active today with several of the folks who are laying down water piping coming in this morning. Nothing too major, but enough activity Lee put his yellow vest on! We also finally saw the company man and were told what the schedule will be. For the next 9 days they will be doing “workover” (3 wells – 3 days each). Workover will only involve a few trucks per day and then once that is done the fracking will start, assuming the frack crew is available to start immediately. It’s great to know what is happening, but a bit of a bummer because we were really hoping we would get out early so we could meet friends in Apache Junction, but I doubt that is going to happen now. It depends on how long fracking takes, of course, but I am guessing with three wells that might take a while as well. We do have some extra time set aside to just relax, but we can extend our time a bit if they still need us. Not sure how we will feel about that at the fracking pace, but if it was like this that would be hard to turn down. (My understanding is that the fracking process involves a more or less steady stream of trucks all day and night. I am happy to stay until the end date we gave them, but I’m not interested at all in extending. We need a break before we settle in for a whole summer of work on May 9th. – Lee)
As a side note, I received several comments from folks that they didn’t know how to view the recipe book preview. Thank you for your interest. There are two ways. Either click on the “Look Inside” link on the upper right hand side or “Send a Free Sample” on the right hand side. I took a screenshot of Amazon and have highlighted both of those places in a red box. Unfortunately you don’t get to choose which pages get previewed so perhaps my idea of starting each chapter with the simplest recipes kind of backfires here. Because the preview only shows a few recipes and all of the beginning ones are very simple, it might give the idea that they are all that simple. It would be nice if the preview allowed for picking out specific pages but that doesn’t seem to be an option, which makes sense I guess in a novel. If I could go back and change that I might start with a mix of recipes from different sections, but then again that would be confusing if you purchased the book. Ah well, I am learning here. Who knew all this would be so complicated and I still feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface of it?
One last thing, then I promise to move onto other things going forward. I was invited to be a guest on a talk radio show back in Keene, New Hampshire where we spent the fifteen years prior to going on the road. A restaurateur friend of ours read about the recipe book on Facebook and invited me on his weekly radio show, so I will be doing that after April 1st. I think that will be fun, to talk about full-time RVing, and since it’s a small town and it feels like everyone knows everyone else, I can’t wait to tell the story of how I met someone from Keene that I didn’t know in Tuscon, Arizona at a dump station. Liz, I think I will need to change the story a bit though, and just say I met you checking out of the campground. I don’t think I want to explain dumping poop on the radio lol!!
Well we had some excitement in gate guarding land this morning. Lee took over for me about 4:15am, and right about the time I was falling asleep the power went out. It was obvious because I lost the air conditioner, but I thought it was one of the temporary power fluctuations we get occasionally. I was right at that point where I was falling asleep, so I didn’t get up, but my sleep was restless and then at some point it got really hot so I got up and turned on the Fantastic Fan in the bathroom, opened a window and went back to sleep. I should have just gotten up and talked to Lee at that point, but I was pretty out of it so just fell back into bed. Big mistake because I woke up several times from that point, but never enough to find out what was going on.
Lee was dealing with the problem. Unlike the power fluctuations we have had that impact the rig only, this power outtage also took out the floodlight tower, which also runs off the provided generator trailer. The generator was running fine and he restarted it several times, but no power was going from the generator to the lights or our rig. Finally he sent a text to our coordinator and then just waited. He thought about turning the inverter on, but was concerned about how long the outtage would last so he just read, looked at his phone, and tried to stay awake. Around 6:30am he heard back that a tech was on his way and the service guy from the generator company was onsite by 9am. At this point, it was clear it was going to be a muggy, but overcast day so Lee still just hung out with no power.
The service tech spent about an hour diagnosing the problem and eventually stated he had never seen this particular issue before and they would have to replace the service trailer. Unfortunately, that also meant a new water tank since those two items are on the same trailer. He did state that he would make sure and scrub the tank out since he knew we had issues with the water before, but obviously this was a concern. Still, the guy was very nice and since they were jumping on the problem Lee just let it play out. Around 11:30am they were back with a new generator and a new tankful of water. We were both pretty impressed by their turnaround time, especially considering how long things took in the beginning, and I am happy to say everything is working great. We have power, the water is flowing just fine, and things are back to normal. The only negative is Lee spent his whole 8 hour morning of quiet time dealing with this and I didn’t really get any decent sleep. But truly, it was handled beautifully and we couldn’t ask for more responsiveness.
I wish I was the kind of person who could change her sleep schedule easily because for the next 8 days I could technically sleep in the night-time and since I was up most of the night now would be a good time to do it. But Lee and I both think that is a bad idea, so I am going to continue staying up all night even though there is no traffic at all. I am trying to take advantage of the time and have started writing the book about how we became full timers. I am viewing it as sort of companion piece to the blog and the format allows me to go into more detail, especially about the early stages. To that end I have spent some time trying to remember the sequence of events and have reread journal entries and forum posts. One of the problems is that we kept it a secret in the beginning, so although my early posts don’t lie, they definitely do not tell the whole story. I was able to be much more honest in the RV-Dreams forum though, and have gone back and found some very interesting posts from the early days that have helped me put together a mental picture of where I was at back then. (I have to say that that entire year was really unpleasant and awful. Here we had made this huge decision and were excited about a whole new life, and we had to keep it a secret. That’s no small task in a small town. Our kids knew, and I told two people that I trusted completely, but other than that it was like the Manhattan project. I do not like lies, or people who lie, and that entire process made me very unhappy and miserable. – Lee)
Oh, and on a completely different note, I am dying to get some Pizza Hut pizza. Sometimes you just want to order in food, and doing that on the road usually requires pick up. The closest Pizza Hut is 30 minutes away, and of course they don’t deliver. When I get these cravings (usually for Pizza or Chinese) I try to tell myself not to spend the money but it’s hard. I’ll usually hold out for a few days and then after obsessing usually break down and go ahead and get it. I always feel very conflicted about these food purchases, because unlike an “experience” dining event they feel pretty wasteful. Plus in a case like this where we are making $125 a day it’s hard not to translate $25 worth of pizza into 5 hours worth of work. That way lies madness though, at least for me. If I looked at purchases like that I would never buy anything. It’s important to remember that we are working off a larger budget and we do have money set aside for this. Of course that needs to be balanced with not overdoing it in any spend category, but sometimes you just have to give yourself a little treat. My feelings about this particular budget line item surprise me more than any other because not so long ago I lived a life where I routinely spent money on convenient food. When I traveled for work, that is all I ate. Now every purchase has to be really considered and sometimes to be honest it bugs me. I can be honest enough with myself though to recognize that I blew a ton of money on this in my former life, which I wish I could have back. (I used to spend a ton of money on Chinese food, and I still have the result of most of it. I carry it with me everywhere I go. Physique by General Tso. – Lee) I have to find a way to separate out when I am being lazy and when I truly have a craving, because there is a difference. And yes, I know these are “First World Problems”, but it doesn’t change the fact that it can be a struggle. So today I choose to get the pizza and enjoy it. Lee said he will eat something in the freezer, which will actually make is closer to $15 and only 3 hours worth of work. See, it’s crazy!
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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.