Dealing with PTSD

Let me start by saying I wasn’t sure if I wanted to write about this, and I am not sure how much I am willing to share.  But because this relates to our lifestyle I do feel like I need to talk about it some.  If you have been following along, you know that a couple of months ago my husband had a heart attack.  If you haven’t read that post, I do recommend you take a moment and go back and read it, because I am not going to rehash the specifics here.

I mention it because as hard as I have tried over the last couple of months I have not been able to shake off the experience.  Despite all of the activity over the last couple of months whenever I talked about it or thought about it I found myself getting extremely emotional. Pretty early on Lee mentioned the possibility of PTSD, but in the shorthand way people talk about having trouble getting over something.  Since I equated PTSD with a traumatic event such as being in a war or loss of life, I didn’t ever think it could apply to me.

Fast forward to when we arrived at Timothy Lake and during our training class they mentioned we were eligible for Employee mental healthcare assistance.  As soon as they started talking about it, I thought it might be a good idea if I talked to someone.  I knew my reactions were intensified and between taking Chantix to quit smoking and the other lifestyle changes we had made I didn’t trust my own emotions.    Several weeks went by before I found time to make an appointment.  In the interim I stopped taking Chantix, but my emotions were still heightened to the point it was worrisome.  Finally I found a therapist with availability on one of my days off and I went to see her.

It took less than 10 minutes into the session before she diagnosed me with PTSD.  Oddly, hearing it from a trained professional made me instantly believe it, because she was so matter of fact about the diagnosis.  She also helped me understand the connections between feeling safe and my full time lifestyle and that is where the conversation got really interesting. In a nutshell, because we were working in an isolated location when the heart attack happened and I was all alone for about 45 minutes during the event, I stopped feeling safe.  And I haven’t felt safe since.

This is where it gets a little difficult to explain, but can we just stipulate the brain is a weird and wonderful place and not everything is logical.  Over the last couple of month the only time I have felt somewhat safe was when we were with our friends. As soon as we left them I went back to feeling unsafe.  Concurrently, the closer we got to coming back to Timothy Lake the worse I felt.  I knew that I didn’t feel safe in that environment, but I also knew that my reactions were heightened.   It didn’t help that some friends of ours  were supposed to join us had to back out at the last minute.  Lee thought it would be fine, but my stomach was in knots and as the start date grew closer I felt panicky

Turns out that work, feeling safe, and Lee’s heart attack are all interconnected in a way I didn’t really understand.    While Lee was having the heart attack I was not only trying to deal with what was happening to him, but I also had to coordinate someone covering our jobs.  Because we were on a single lane gate, someone had to direct the traffic and I had to call my boss, grab random oil field workers to help, and completely shut the road down when the emergency personnel finally arrived.

The only way I personally could deal with all of this was to shut down emotionally.  Later I felt really bad..I mean really bad that I was able to do that.  What did it say about me and our relationship?  When I laid the experience out and asked the therapist if she thought my behavior was unusual or meant something, she said that she didn’t think any rationale person could say I didn’t handle the situation well.  I couldn’t completely fall apart and dwell in the moment because of how complicated things were.  To the contrary she felt I had done some creative problem solving in the moment, which was nice to hear.  I can’t tell you how much that had been bothering me and taking a deep breath and talking to an independent third party and getting their opinion really helped.

I also learned that PTSD is more common than I thought.  5% of men and 10% of women have experienced it.    Feeling emotionally disconnected is a textbook response.  Heightened emotions, feelings of not being safe, all the emotions I have been having are very common symptoms.  The good news is it usually resolves itself in a 1-3 month period of time.  In my case because we had so much going on, I think those feeling got pushed aside and only when we finally settled did they really surface.  Thankfully we are in a place where I can take advantage of our EAP benefit and see someone to talk it through.  At this point I don’t really trust my feelings about anything and having an independent third party to talk to will be extremely valuable.

Finally  I would like to say I have wavered on whether or not to share this.  It is deeply personal, but it also relates to the lifestyle because the situation that caused the PTSD is unique to the way we have chosen to live.  To be clear it was not Lee having a heart attack.  That could happen to anyone at anytime.  It was the feeling of isolation when the event occured.  That’s what I need to work through and I appreciate everyone giving me the time and space to do that.

 


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog. You can help by doing any or all the following:

  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links.  There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds help support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here.
  • Purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • Purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

To Call 911 or Not…That is the Question

In order to communicate just how isolated it can feel up here in the Mount Hood National Forest I really need to rely on some pictures.  Timothy Lake is shown below with the red push pin.  As I have mentioned before, Government Camp is the closest “town” (pop. 193) and it is 24 miles/37 minutes away. 14 of those miles are on a slow, winding road through a reservation between us and US 26. So it is not surprising that when people are in trouble they come to us.  Generally the most unusual scenarios don’t come from our campers, but rather folks who are hiking or camping in the dispersed sites surrounding us, or the Pacific Crest Trail. Either way, as good neighbors we are required to help these folks as best we can, and at times that has made this job pretty stressful.

 

Last year as the lead it was even worse, because I had to decide when to call 911.  That might seem like a no-brainer, but in many cases it is not, and I always hated having that pressure on me.  Any decision with another person’s life at the other end of it seemed out of my pay grade, and yet I was constantly forced into those situations.  This year I was hoping that with an on-site manager I would rarely be in a position to make those calls, but unfortunately that has not been the case.  Our boss isn’t here all the time and as the office person, I have already been faced with numerous situations.  Again, you might think “just call”, but we can’t really do that.  There is always the danger of the police being less responsive if we “cry wolf” so we are supposed to review each situation and use judgement.  That’s where the trouble begins for me, because although I think I am capable of making good judgement calls I really don’t want the pressure.  Let me walk you through a few scenarios and see what you would do.  These are all things that have happened in the last 30 days.

Scenario #1 – Lee responded to a radio call from one of our camp hosts who heard people yelling from the water.  Their canoe had capsized about 100 yards from shore.  One person with a life jacket was swimming to a boat ramp at an adjacent campground that wasn’t open yet, but the other had no life jacket and appeared to be drowning.  An Iraq veteran who was camping at the campground immediately grabbed a kayak from someone else and paddled out to pull the second man to shore while Lee drove the park security truck to the closed campground to get the other man out of the water. Lee radioed that I should call 911 for an emergency squad because the water was close to 40 degrees and he was concerned about hypothermia.  The Sheriff refused to dispatch until the people themselves requested an ambulance, and since they ultimately refused, we were left to deal with it on our own.  Fires, warm blankets, and hot coffee eventually did the trick, but it was stressful for everyone.

Scenario #2 – I received a call from a camp host stating that a 2 year old child was missing.  For me missing people is the worst, and as a mother missing children fills me with dread.  We have protocols in place for this scenario, mainly because missing children might be a result of an abduction.  I am far more worried about what happens if they get lost in the wilderness, because as you can see below, once you get off our footprint it is miles and miles of dense woods and nothing else in every direction.  In this case the child was only missing for 20 minutes but because of their age and proximity to water the dispatcher took it very seriously.  Thankfully before they finished getting all the information they needed the child was found.  The parents had sent a 4 year old and 2 year old to the bathroom alone and not surprisingly they had gotten distracted and wandered down a forest path our of sight.

 

 

Scenario #3 and #4 – In the same week as the missing child we had two occasions where teenagers went missing.  In these cases we have been told to ask a series of questions before calling 911.  How are they dressed?  How long have they been gone?  Are they comfortable in the outdoors? These are just a few of the questions.  We also wait, an indeterminate length of time, and then eventually we might call the police.  Time of day matters, because the closer we get to nightfall the more pressure there is. In the first scenario the teenager we organized a lake wide search and the teenager was found in under an hour.  In the second scenario the teenager was last seen north of Timothy Lake near the Pacific Coast Trail and had already been missing 5 hours when they notified us.  After an additional hour of searching they asked me to call.  Again, before I finished the lengthy dispatch process (they ask a ton of questions in these scenarios) the teenager was found.  He had walked from the east side of the lake to the west side of the lake (this takes several hours) and was “found” by one of our employees.

The missing person scenarios are the absolute worst because I feel a responsibility while I am waiting to call. I understand intellectually that we should wait and attempt a search prior to calling the sheriff, but I also think if that person is hurt we are wasting valuable time. I also have pretty strong feelings about being in this situation at all.  On the one hand I know I make good decisions and don’t panic under pressure, and I am really good at coordinating and mobilizing the troops.  On the other hand I am a low level seasonal employee and these type of judgment calls seem above my pay grade.  Maybe not.  It’s hard to know, but I will say I rarely hear any other people tell stories like this.  That may be because our remote circumstance is not that common or because other organizations have permanent employee decision makers in place. I will say that in our case there seems to be a real lack of understanding as to how common and serious these scenarios are which leads me to…

Scenario #5 – A few days ago one of our camp host radioed in to state that someone came from the Little Crater Lake area (see map above) and reported a dead body in a car.  It seemed like last year we dealt with every bizarre scenario possible, but we always said at least we never had to deal with a dead body.  When the call came in, Lee and I knew our luck had run out on not having to deal with that.  Because the vehicle was off our footprint we did not have to respond, although initially Lee was going to go.  I put my foot down on that, mainly because I didn’t want him anywhere near a dead body and instead called the non-emergency line for the Sheriff.  My thought process was if the person was already dead it wasn’t an emergency, and I stood by that decision despite the fact that some people thought we should respond just in case.  It turned out later that the person was dead and had been for weeks, so the body was in an advanced state of decomposition.  What made this particular case extra difficult was a relative had passed around missing person flyers so we knew what he looked like.  We have no idea if it was suicide or foul play and probably will never find out.

That’s one of the other things I don’t like about these scenarios; we often don’t know.  Last year we had three separate instances of people being life-flighted out, and in one of the cases we never learned if the person died or not.  We all try to be as helpful and professional as possible, but it’s also important that we are careful not to put ourselves in a situation where we are putting ourselves at risk.  It is common for example for the rescuer to die in water rescue situations and searchers often become hurt when they are looking. Dealing with the mentally ill is extremely challenging, and we have already had an instance this year where a camper had a PTSD meltdown in the middle of the night and had to be talked down by Lee and our night security guy. These scenarios don’t happen daily, but they absolutely happen 1-2 times a week and I have mixed feelings about experiencing that level of stress.

Last season, because I was the lead, I didn’t talk or write about most of these scenarios, but this year is different.  I had a list three pages long of incidents last year I sat on, but this year I will be talking about them as they occur.  It matters because I know most people don’t think of these things when they think about camp hosting jobs.  And to be clear this is definitely not the norm, but it’s happening here, and I have to believe it is happening in other places as well, so I am going to share some of the experiences.


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog. You can help by doing any or all the following:

  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links.  There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds help support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here.
  • Purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • Purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

First Time at Pelton Park

Over the last few years we have had an opportunity to visit most of the PGE parks, but for some reason we have never been to Pelton.  I say some reason but I actually know why because it gets REALLY hot down there early in the season and we usually stay up in the mountain.  It’s really odd how the climate is different, but on the East side of the mountain it is more arid and on the West side it is more forest.  This year I was determined to get to the Pelton side before it was too late, but Lee was dragging his feet.

Then something really amazing happened.  I was talking to one of my fellow camp hosts who was working at Pelton and she noticed I had a 603 area code on my phone.  When she asked where in New Hampshire I was from, I said oh it’s this small little town called Keene.  That’s when the weird thing happened.  Turns out she grew up in Keene and was living there when they became full time RVers in 2016.  No Way!!  Keene only has 25,000 people in it and so far I have met two other couples from their who have become full time RVers.    We didn’t know them personally, but she sat on a board Lee was involved with and they were both aware of Cheshire TV, Lee’s television station.  Crazy.  When I found that out, I had the excuse we needed to get Lee to head down their, so we loaded up the dog and took a drive.

Pelton Park is near a dam and i’s really pretty

The dam

They had a great workshop area

And a cute little office

All the flowers were in bloom and it was really pretty.

Making new friends

I loved their play area. It was really nice

Really nice campground, with lots of sites looking over the water

 

Lots of Yomes and cabins and it looked like some of the cabins had window air conditioners

Marina

And I was super jealous of their dog exercise area.

Now that I have seen all the major campgrounds, I find it interesting how they have some differences to them.  Pelton is very close to the Deschutes river and fly fishing is a major draw their.  It’s also obviously a warm weather place because there is a lot of focus on swimming in the water versus other campgrounds that are more about boating.  I am glad we went and glad we met another couple from Keene, although I think there most be something in the water in that small town to create so many full timers.  Statistically 3 couples out of 25,000 must be an anomaly.

A couple other things I wanted to mention and then I think I am finally caught up.  We received a care package from Denny and Dede (Lee’s parents) and as usual they had some cool stuff.  My favorite was my new Texas ball cap, which totally cracked me up.

they also got me a cute grandma cup lol

 

Pocket bottles for Lee

And this amazing Oregon bread which Lee loves but it turns out you can’t actually buy in Oregon. Plus it’s crazy expensive. It’s a whole thing…

This was really nice and I am definitely going to use it.

One last thing I wanted to mention.  Bill was doing a solar install recently and the client Richard and Charlotte reads Kelly and my blog.  They knew we were both going to be first time grandmothers soon and so they did the absolute nicest thing.  They purchased each of us a recordable storybook to make for our grandchildren. I had looked at these but they are not cheap and it was on my wish list but hopefully for later.  Not only did they buy one for me, but they also gave Kelly money so she could send it to me, which was incredibly generous and thoughtful.  These acts of kindness mean so much to me and we were both extremely grateful.  Thank you so much Richard and Charlotte!

 


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog. You can help by doing any or all the following:

  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links.  There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds help support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here.
  • Purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • Purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

May 2019 Budget

May turned out pretty good, with total expenditures of $3,655.  For more details please see below.

 

 

Groceries – We went over by $100. Combination of stocking up and buying food in the more expensive local grocery stores.  We also are trying to eat healthier and as you probably know, healthier means more expensive.

Dining Out – We went over by $63 which actually wasn’t that bad considering how many times we ate out.  This is a stress relief category for me, and there has been lots of it this month, so I’m cool with going over.

Memberships – Our annual American Express membership fee.  Every year we talk about reevaluating this and switching to a Visa with reward points, but we just never do it.  We both like the card, we love their customer service, and to some extent: if it ain’t broke don’t fix it seems to be where we fall on this.

Personal Care – I keep forgetting to mention this but something exciting happened in this category.  The year we went on the road, I lost an earring.  It was one of a pair that Lee bought me and had tremendous sentimental value.  I have looked all over this country in stores and online to try to find a similar set and could never find it.  Last year I went to a small jewelry store in Happy Valley and it turns out they make jewelry.  Generally I shy away from local stores because you here stories about people getting ripped off, but I had a really good feel about this one. Long story short I went back this year and not only could they do it but they found an identical setting to use.  By the time I turned in my broken pieces of jewelry for credit my cost was $175.  It took me five years, but wearing those earrings again brought tears to my eyes.  Some things are just worth it!

Pets – Overage due to pet training class and grooming.  See previous post for more details.

Maintenance – My stress category is going out, Lee’s is home repair.  He purchased and installed a new Fantastic Fan. It was pricey but our has been broken for over a year and since it is the one near the stove, I kept setting off the smoke detector when I cooked anything that was smokey.  He also had to spend $50 on a new sewer hose, when he discovered a mouse had chewed a hole in one of ours.  I am shrugging as I type this…what are you going to do?

I’ve been saying that a lot lately and if it wasn’t helpful to people I would probably stop doing these posts.  It’s not that I mind the reporting, I hate the fact that I feel like I need to justify the costs.  That’s on me though.  I need to try to just report what happened factually and leave it at that.


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog. You can help by doing any or all the following:

  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links.  There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds help support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here.
  • Purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • Purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

Jack’s First Dog Training Class

When you live in a remote location, one of the first things you usually do is determine where you are going to go to the grocery store, get your hair cut, get gas etc, One of the most unique things about Timothy Lake is there are several choices on a home base.  It’s hard to explain so I finally made a map to show you.  Every red circle is a possible home base location and each one is over an hour away.

Last year we used Estacada, because we made numerous trips down to that location each week in the work vehicles, but since they have changed some things this year and we now have to use our own truck, we gave the choice some thought.  One of the major advantages of returning to the same place and staying there for a while is the opportunity to participate in local events.  When you are moving around all the time, you might get lucky and be in a place at just the right time, but that is generally happenstance rather than planned.  Even if you stay in a place for a while, you might find yourself missing some cool stuff, so one thing I have learned to do when we hit an area is check out the local calendar.  In the case of Timothy Lake,  I am actually checking multiple towns.

There were significant pros and cons to each choice, and I won’t bore you with all the details, but I will share that while I was researching the towns I stumbled across a dog training program in Hood River.  Back in Keene, I took our dog Molly to training at the local humane society, but I didn’t think we would ever be able to do this while traveling.  For one thing it is a 4-6 week commitment and we are rarely in one place for that long.  For another, the classes would have to fall on our days off and what were the chances of that happening?  Imagine my surprise when I saw there was a  “good manners” class starting in a couple of weeks in Hood River.  It was over an hour each way and the class was $175, but the schedule we could make work.   Despite the cost, Lee agreed it was a good idea, because Jack is hitting those teenage years and at times can be a handful.

Our first class was a two hour orientation without Jack and we learned quite a bit.  We both walked away feeling like we had picked a good time to start training out some of these behaviors and we really liked the facility.  As a bonus the class was at 5:30 so we would be able to go to eat after the class. It also gave us a reason to get off the mountain, which was another huge benefit as far as I was concerned.  The next week we took Jack and he ended up doing really well.  He is a smart puppy and is highly food motivated which worked really well.

Every Thursday they have a Yappy hour with drinks and free dog play…if it wasn’t so far away I would definitely attend this as well.

 

This is not a play class so the dogs are spread out really far from one another.

 

Jack liked all the dogs except for this one. For some reason he got freaked out whenever this dog was close by.

 

Mostly though he was totally focused…which was awesome.

 

The trainers dog has been in training for 4 years and was amazing.

 

Lee and I took turns working with Jack.

The only downside of the classes is that Lee and I had different expectations.  I think Jack is doing great but Lee was getting frustrated because all the behavior was treat based and he wanted him to do things without treats.  This reminded me of differences of opinion we used to have when we were raising kids and all of the sudden the classes weren’t so fun anymore.  Turns out training is work, with homework and everything, and as smart as Jack is we hit a few roadblocks along the way. I’m really glad we did it though, because the classes are more about training the people than the dogs and I have definitely seen some improvement.

As positive as the experience was, when I started looking for a groomer, I decided to go to another place.  Their prices were pretty expensive and since I don’t like the grocery stores in Hood River we couldn’t combine the trip with something else.  I checked for groomers in all the cities that were circled, but most of them had no openings.  When I called Creatures Pet Store in Madras they had several openings, which in retrospect should have been a dead giveaway.  I made an appointment for Thursday and Jack and I headed down.

When I dropped Jack off, it was a super cute shop and I explained that I wanted a puppy cut, with a sanitary cut on both ends.  The young woman who was going to do the cut was mainly focused on Jack, but didn’t ask any followup questions so I thought I was OK.  I left and went and toured the town.  I went into the Heart of Madras thrift store which was terrific, and got some food at Great Earth a local organic store.  To be honest I have always thought organic places were over priced and never ate at them BUT they have the advantage of being super transparent about their ingredients and I am finding that to be worth the extra money when I eat out.

 

The bread was home made and delicious.

So I was happy.  A little bit of shopping, a little lunch, and I went back to pick up Jack.  It’s worth mentioning that the owner told me it would take 90 minutes, but when I arrived 55 minutes later he was already done.  They brought him out and this is what I saw.

 

I can’t even express to you how upset I was.  All she did was shave him and since the weather at Timothy is still in the 40’s at night that is definitely not what I wanted.  Plus he looked terrible.  Scroll back up and see my cute little boy and then look again.  The owner seemed perplexed, but someone else was dropping off their dog as we were leaving and said, “I want mine short, but not that short.”  Totally proved my point.  I was angry because the groomer simply didn’t listen and instead of dealing with the mats in his hair took the easy way out.  Normally I would have let something like this go…it is only dog hair that would grow back, but he was shaking and when they told me she had clipped his ear it was enough.  The owner saw how upset I was and gave me $25 off ..forgoing her profit on the deal, but I would never ever go back there again.  I also went to do a Yelp review but they aren’t even in Yelp that I could find.

It wasn’t just the haircut either.  His behavior was very different for a couple of days and he has definitely been cold as well.  A week later it is finally growing out some but he was mad at me for several days.  It turned a great day into a lousy one and added to my stress for the next several days.  Next time I will just do it myself and will never go to a groomer again without making completely sure we are on the same page and they have several good reviews.


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog. You can help by doing any or all the following:

  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links.  There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds help support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here.
  • Purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • Purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

Settling in at Timothy Lake

After our few days in Idaho, I definitely wanted more time there, but we needed to head to our summer job. With quite a bit of reluctance,  I agreed to come back for our third year to the same company.  Last year if you remember I was the Lead and had a really rough summer.  This year they had decided to hire a full time permanent person to be the lead (a decision I completely agreed with) and offered Lee and I the maintenance and admin position.  I really didn’t want to take it.  I wanted a clean start somewhere else, but Lee really likes it here and the $18 an hour was hard to pass up.  When I received personal guarantees from the department manager that things would be different this year I decided to give it one more try.  But I was nervous and on edge as the day grew closer.

The drive helped because after three years the Portland area feels “homelike” to us and the first views of Mt. Hood thrilled as they always do. It was also nice to see some people we had missed and since the snow was still blocking our site up on the mountain we spent a couple of days down along the Clackamas river which was fun.  Jack seemed a little confused at first.  But soon he was exploring the woods and trying to catch chipmunks.  We spent a couple of days filling out paperwork and talking to our new boss who I really liked.  He is a super chill guy and was really glad that we had returned.  That made me feel much better about the upcoming summer and I relaxed a little.

Mount Hood and the beautiful Columbia River

 

Our site for a couple of days. This was the same site we were in two years ago and its a beauty,

 

And a trip to my favorite bookstore in Estacada. It is a non profit and all the hardbacks are $2.  I stocked up on healthy food cookbooks in anticipation of trying lots of new heart healthy recipes this summer.

 

I almost hated to leave, but I was finally getting excited about getting back to the lake and as soon as our sites were clear we headed up the mountain to get settled in.

 

The last section is dirt road and as usual it was super dusty.

 

Hooray we made it

 

Squeezing into a different site.

 

Unfortunately right off the bat we had issues.  Last year I pleaded with the maintenance department to level the sites because they were so terrible.  They look ok, but when you get into them you are forced to either dig holes for your tires or jack the front up very high.  At the end of last year we even spray painted the area that needed leveled (at their request) but it was clear nothing had been done.  Since the most level spot was already taken, we chose the second most level spot and squeezed ourselves in. Lee still needed to put blocks in the front, but it wasn’t as bad as the other two spots,  In those cases the people dug holes for their tires and used lots of wooden blocks to jack the RV’s up…craziness.

We’ve tried to communicate to our bosses what a big deal things like this are, but unless you have ever lived in an RV for an extended amount of time I don’t know if you get it.  Even a 1% difference in level can really cause balance issues, and for me at least it feels like I am living in a boat.  Imagine getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and falling into a wall because you are off balance.  That’s what it’s like, and 5 months is a long time to live that way.  We also ran into problems with the water line and sewage tank.  Last year they started the job of running a water line under the road but never finished, so we are using 5 lengths of hose which not only leak but we also have really low water pressure.  The sewer tank we were provided needed a hole dug for it so it would be lower than our RV, but we waited until our black tank was completely full and ultimately Lee had to build extra sewer hose and build a funky contraption to make it work. The answer we have consistently received was maintenance was behind and other issues took priority, which might have been OK if we didn’t talk about these issues at the end of last year.

Actually I don’t think its OK.  Our sites are part of our compensation and we have the right to expect what we were promised.  We have 85 year old camphosts digging holes with pickaxes and building contraptions just to make these sites manageable.  Here’s some pictures to prove it.

Thankfully we only needed a couple of blocks

 

But Lee had to build this to get our sewer tank low enough

 

Our neighbor in last years spot…yeah that’s not safe

 

One of our neighbors decided to go down and used a pick axe to dig a hole for his wheels

 

 

But then had to hand dig a hole for the sewer tank to get it low enough

 

Oh and my personal favorite, the hose under the road. You can see the dirt darken from the leaks.

 

On the plus side we were able to put the dog fence up and create a little yard.  The downside is Jack can hop right over it when motivated, but usually he stays close when we are around.

 

And he really likes being down by the lake.  Hopefully when it gets a little warmer I will be able to coax him in.

Look at that face. Just looking at him makes me happy.

 

 

 


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog. You can help by doing any or all the following:

  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links.  There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds help support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here.
  • Purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • Purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

Called by Some the Smithsonian of the Desert…but not by me

If you feel like I am phoning it in lately…you are not wrong.  I hate when I get this far behind in blog posts, but as tempting as it is to just cut to the chase and catch up, there was one thing in particular I really felt I needed to write about. Well, really it’s “show you pictures of” because I am not nearly talented enough to describe what we saw.  The place was Idaho’s Mammoth Cave and Shoshone Bird Museum. Generally we love stuff like this.  I’m all in on the oddball attractions and if you’ve been reading along you know I have the pictures to prove it.  But this place…well it was in a whole other category. So I am going to walk you through the experience with pictures.

It’s definitely an old attraction. The sign behind the newer one looked very old. The quote “Called by some the Smithsonian of the Desert”…really got my attention. I adore the Smithsonian and don’t appreciate comparisons unless they are legit. Lee enjoyed how they spelled “Biggest”.

 

There were multiple entrances, which was really confusing.

 

This one had creepy rock face dudes so I thought it was the right way.

 

We let Jack drive a little bit.

Down the long road.

 

As soon as we got their we saw lots of trash.

 

That’s not always a deal breaker, but the myriad of peacocks everywhere were freaking me out.

 

We walked through the gauntlet and saw these two buildings

 

More faces piled around. It occurred to me looking at them no one had any idea where we were,

 

The scrawny emus didn’t make me feel any better

We walked in the building to the right, and past the giant stuffed alligator we saw a young man sitting on a chair watching a soap opera.  He didn’t seem surprised we were there and he told us it was $10 cash each (which we had) and then he handed us these lanterns and pointed to the path.  Lee was super into it and was very excited, but I was totally creeped out. I am not that crazy about caverns to begin with, and once again I thought no one had any idea where we were.

The lantern, which worked very well.

 

Lee was into it

 

Lee was fascinated by the structures which were extremely well made

 

The path to the cave!

 

We made it to the entrance and there was a peacock right above it on the right. Given the choice between staying alone with the peacock or staying with Lee I chose to go in.

The radioactive sign did NOT make me feel better, but Lee said that it was obviously a shelter at one time

 

 

Turns out that many years ago the government used the cave to store items for a nuclear holocaust and even enlarged it and worked on the roads.  It was a weird mix of natural and man made and I’ll be honest I was not a fan.  It also was super long and you had no idea when it was going to end.  A couple of times I almost turned back but once again decided to stay close to Lee.

The man made signs were ridiculous

Hooray finally headed out.

We did see one other couple while we were down there which made me feel better, so we headed back into the bird museum.  This was obviously someone’s very eclectic private collection and the concentric circles of walkway did not help.  There was not real sense of order and the creep factor was super high.  Lee was once again fascinated but I made a quick circuit and went back to the car.

Just in case you think I am exaggerating, let me show you the bathroom..which I had to use. This is not a joke.

 

Also when I got back to the truck and took Jack out for a walk, all of the sudden there were tons of Peacocks.  We were surrounded on three sides by the damn things and for a moment I thought I would need to scoop Jack up and run to the truck.

Lee thought it was quirky and fun, but I felt like I took my life into my own hands.  I totally wouldn’t recommend it, but I know some of you are going to put it on your must see list…but don’t say I didn’t warn you 🙂

 


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog. You can help by doing any or all the following:

  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links.  There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds help support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here.
  • Purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • Purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.