After Tuesday we both decided to take a day off from exploring. We finally heard back from our summer job, and despite extensive communication on our part, the drug test/physical was scheduled for Friday. Worse, my appointment was at 7:30am and Lee’s was at 10:30 am. Since we were scheduled to move on Friday the timing couldn’t be worse, and I spent some time talking through the options on how we could change the day/time. The problem was our schedule for the next few weeks has us moving frequently thus scheduling required a nimbleness that few large companies have. We had told our contacts this could be a problem early on, but were assured they did this all the time and it would be no issue. That turned out to not be the case, and instead of forcing the issue, we decided it would be easier to find a way to make it work.
We drove down to the medical center and not surprisingly there was nowhere to park our truck and RV, but there was a Christian School next door with a large parking lot and Lee went inside to see if they could help. It turned out they were closed for Good Friday and they were absolutely fine with allowing us to park in what would be an empty parking lot. It was extremely nice of them and at least got us to the day. Then I flexed those out of use corporate muscles and tried to get them to rearrange the appointments so we didn’t lose most of the day. Making a personal appeal to the right person generally works, but since there were 5 people on the email chain I wasn’t sure who was who. After a couple of phone calls, I finally discovered that Victoria was the person who could actually fix the issue and asked politely if she could see what she could do with the understanding if she couldn’t change the appointments we would make it work.
The personal appeal, along with an explanation that we would be sitting in the parking lot for three hours between our two appointments worked, and she called another patient and asked them to switch appointments. Now I was at 8am and Lee was at 9am, which wasn’t optimal, but definitely more workable. I was surprised by how dealing with layers of bureaucracy to get a relatively simple thing done impacted my mood, but reminded myself that if I was going to reenter the consulting arena I had better get re-used to it. I used to navigate those waters as effortlessly as breathing, but I was out of practice, and to be honest, patience. My life is much simpler now.
We weren’t done there though. Wednesday we also had an email from Amazon and had to go online and fill out some tax forms (nice website design and pretty simple) and then we heard back from the background check company. This summer job is for a large energy company and they are treating our hiring the same as they would treat any of their employees. Since most of their facilities are secured they require a background check and three professional references, versus simple employment verifications. The background check was no big deal, but the professional references were a bit difficult since originally Lee and I wanted to keep our career references separate from our work-kamping references. Neither one of us was that thrilled with using people from our former lives to reference us for seasonal campground positions, but we also hadn’t built a solid three work kamping references yet. The employment service for the Beet Harvest for example doesn’t provide references, and at the time we provided the information we hadn’t started the gate guarding job. This left our volunteer position in Susanville, Alaska, and Christmas Trees.
I wasn’t surprised when the third party background check company called and said they were having trouble getting in touch with our references. One problem that was complicating the issue is that Lee’s legal name is Shannon. So when they called Stan from Susanville and asked him about Shannon Perkins, he said he didn’t know who he was. Not surprising, Stan didn’t complete our paperwork and probably has no idea that Lee is actually Shannon. Also, I eventually saw the email they were sending and it was a two line email that was asking for personal information about us and frankly looked like a scam. One of our references actually sent it to us and asked if it was legitimate, which we verified, but we certainly couldn’t expect the others to do the same. If I saw it, I would have dismissed it and since prior to the phone call we had no idea who would be doing the reference checks or in what format it wasn’t even like I could give folks a heads up. So when the woman from the background check agency called, I gave her our new gate guarding reference and then went ahead and provided a couple more from our professional careers.
It had been a long time in our professional careers since we needed the standard three references and most jobs at that level are obtained through network contacts making references checks largely pro forma. I knew when we started this life out we would need to build new references. but since most of our early work kamping jobs asked for personal references we focused on getting that group together. That was relatively easy to do as we have a good group of friends to rely on there, but always in the back of my head I knew this type of request might come in. Solid professional references require a level of relationship with an employer that we simply have not experienced to date. Simply put, you need to rely on that person to take the time to answer the inquiry, and not every employer is willing to take the time to do that. Add to that not every work kamping experience we have had has been positive, and it’s tougher. Don’t get me wrong, I know we have done good work every place we have been, but getting a solid professional reference isn’t about the work you do. It’s about the relationship you built with the employer and that is a completely different thing. The whole situation makes me feel like a young kid again, and I really don’t like it. I am trying to not let it bother me and just allow events to unfold, but it’s tough.
One thing that made me feel quite a bit better was looking at Work Kamper News. There are quite a few last minute positions available and if this falls through we will explore one of them. Plus Lee is going to call before we leave Vegas and verify we are all set, and if not we can boon dock in that area until something comes through. It’s hard not to let things like this throw you and put you in an old world mindset. Lee is really good about helping me push past those slightly panicky feelings and remember the reality we are living in now. He’s good about that.
Unfortunately while I was dealing with all that he was dealing with his own issues. You may remember that we had our furnace “fixed” at Camping World but they left the duct work un-assembled. Rather than go back, Lee committed to reconnecting the duct work himself and spent 4 very unpleasant hours crammed into the very tiny crawlspace under our rig, replacing torn furnace duct hoses, and reattaching them to the furnace. He would have be fine with that except when he turned the furnace on it still didn’t work. So not only were we no better off than when we went into Camping World service he had spent 4 hours doing something the next service tech would have to undo. Needless to say he was extremely upset and both of us were ready to call it quits on the whole day.
The next morning we bounced back and went to Montezuma’s Castle and Montezuma’s Well. I wasn’t expecting much, but couldn’t leave it undone and WOW were we pleasantly surprised. We went to the well first (which is free) but when we saw four tour buses parked in the lot we turned around and went to the Castle which was less crowded. I know I said I wasn’t into ruins, but this one is awesome. You can only see it from the ground, but it is very impressive and well worth the $10 in my opinion although it was free with our America The Beautiful pass.
We left just as the tour buses from the other site were pulling in, and by the time we got back to Montezuma’s Well it was cleared out, hooray! There was one group of elementary school kids, but they were working on answering a question sheet and were pretty well behaved. This site is deceptively simple, because it is a big water well the native Americans used for irrigation. They couldn’t drink the water though because it had such a high CO2 content and the only animals that live in it are a miniature shrimp-like amphipod, tiny snails, water scorpions, one-celled diatom, and leeches!! Oh yes, it’s full of leeches and it’s great for irrigation (they use it for the lawn today), but the nearby river water is what they drank. I loved this site though because there were two places to walk down and get right inside. It’s steep and I would recommend a bottle of water, but really worth it.
Afterwards we walked up and then around the rim to a path down on the other side. Don’t skip this because it takes you to another path where the water comes out of the well, and that was the coolest part for me.
UPDATE: In May of 2020 Our friend Sherry posted this fantastic video to Facebook. It’s a fascinating look at the well under the surface. I highly recommend watching it!
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/188237709″>Underwater Wonders of the National Park Service – Montezuma Well</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user11872865″>NPS Submerged Resources Center</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
Two great visits and totally free with the America the Beuatiful Pass. Next up, finally I will be standin’ on a corner. Been wanting to do that for a long time!
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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 also available in paperback on Amazon if you prefer.