First Time in Rawlins, WY

Even after spending so much time at the Fort Bridger area, we arrived a little past 4pm at the Red Desert Rose Campground.  Since the temps were in the 90’s in the evening full hookups were called for, but unfortunately there were no Passport America or state/county parks with electric in the area.  When faced with those circumstances, I use All Stays (Lee uses Good Sam) to try and find a decently priced private campground.  My number one criteria in those cases has become whether or not they have a fenced in pet area.  I figure since we are paying premium prices Jack should get something out of it.

This campground was older and the sites were waaaay to close together (couldn’t open our awning), but the park was pretty nice.  While Lee was checking us in I took Jack over to see and he ended up playing with two very nice dogs.  The owners were super friendly and the people who run the campground were as well.  A friendly attitude makes up for a lot in the lack of amenities in my book and we were happy to get settled in.

Campground…very tight

 

We took Jack a few times and Lee was working with him on getting him to jump the little pipe jumps they had

 

Jack’s not so sure

 

Doing just great!

 

My favorite park was they had a box full of dog toys anyone could play with and Jack fetched this Frisbee several times…ok we need a new toy

 

And he loved this little ramp!! So cute

 

Part of the reason we had decided to stop in Rawlins was Lee wanted to tour the Wyoming Frontier Prison Museum.  We weren’t sure if it would be open (tours were rare after Labor Day), but he wanted to wait until 9am when they opened and see.  Turns out he got really lucky as they were doing a tour at 9:30am.  He jumped in the truck and off he went and I was happy he was able to do it.  I don’t really like touring prisons (they have bad juju), so I stayed home and worked on some job search stuff, and Lee had a great time.  It was only $10, there was a very small group, and he thought the tour guide was excellent. Really not my thing, but Lee loved it, and he promises to write a post about it in the next few days. Meanwhile, here are a few pics.

 

After Lee got back from the museum, we hitched up and got on the road by 11am.  We had a relatively short drive to Laramie, but unfortunately I had an interview scheduled at 12:30pm.  I say unfortunately because I am scheduling these interviews first thing in the morning, but this one was scheduled when we were still working at PGE.  And unfortunately the cell coverage was very spotty along this stretch of highway and the initial call went straight to my voice mail.  Thankfully I was able to call him back and the rest of the call I had strong signal, but it got off to a rough start.  It didn’t help that while we were on the call Lee was pulling into the Albany County Fairgrounds and was looking for the sites and it was hard for me not to be distracted.

Like I said, it just didn’t go that well, but I definitely won’t be doing that again.  All the calls I will do first thing in the morning so I don’t have to take them while we are traveling.  The good news is I am getting some interviews, and although the process goes slow, at least there is movement.

Speaking of good news the fairgrounds is just fine.  Because it was the weekend almost every place we checked was booked and the ones that weren’t full had sites for $50 and up.  We just didn’t want to spend that much money so opted for full hookups for $25 a night self pay at the fairground.  Although this fairground was a little more beat up once again there were horses and lots of room for Jack to run around.  That is a good thing because Peyton and Sammy are coming to visit tomorrow and I want to make sure we have room for them.


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.

Getting our Wyoming State Sticker

While we were traveling, Lee and I started talking about how things were when we first started full timing.  In the beginning we would take the time to stop and see things along our route, but in the last couple of years our trips seemed to be just getting from A to B as quickly as possible.  The only exceptions to this were when we had our two months off in the year, but the pace of all other trips is a bit punishing.

This time we decided we were not going to rush and Lee wanted me to try and find interesting things to do along the way.  My favorite app for finding the weird and unusual is Roadside America so I opened the app and took a look.  There was a time when I was constantly looking at this but I am sorry to say I stopped doing it awhile back.  It was waiting for me though and I quickly found a statue of Jim Bridger who is a famous mountain man.

Part of the problem with Roadside America is you don’t know if there is parking for an RV, so I had to look the address up in google maps and do a satellite view to see if there was a place to park.  It looked like there was a big parking lot close by, so we pulled off the highway and drove a few miles into Fort Bridger to see the statue.  Now that’s a lot of work just to see a statue, but if you don’t ever get off the interstate you never see anything.  And sometimes it turns into an amazing surprise which is exactly what happened to us.

Biiiig Parking Lot

As we were pulling into the parking lot and finding a spot we noticed there were tons of building all around.  There was also a picnic area and restrooms and we were both confused by what we were looking at.  Turns out the statue is in front of the Fort Bridger Historic site which is a huge historical park.  It cost $5 per person to get in but the park was packed full of buildings (36 in all) and was well worth the fee.  It was also dog friendly, and we spent well over two hours walking through the park and looking at all the buildings.  But first of course we saw the statue.

Outside of the fee area was an old set of cabins the Lincoln Highway.

 

Really cool and showed where people stayed overnight on road trips in the 30’s

 

Once we entered the fort itself we saw that it had been many things.  It was a trading post, a fort, and a Mormon settlement. Some of the buildings were re-creations, and others had survived the fires that had torched the settlement.  It had a really interesting history and was extremely well done.  ‘

The first building had a store full of cool antiques and a young woman in costume. I especially liked the old ledgers on the counter. They were originals and you rarely see those.

 

When we entered we learned that this was on the pony express route for a year. That made it even more special.

 

 

 

 


They had the first schoolhouse built in Wyoming

 

School house to the right then the buttery and finally a dedicated room for laundry and bathing. The last was pretty cool and something I had never seen before.

 

Washroom…there was a bathtub to the left. All the rooms were glassed in so pictures were a little hard to get.

 

This was another item I have never seen before…a bear trap! Crazy.

 

We also loved this dog grave. It was dedicated to a dog in the area who did several heroic deeds. Jack was suitably impressed.

The property is really large and was an interesting mix of recreations, original buildings, and layouts where buildings used to be.  A strong stream runs through the property and its easy to imagine people living there. The insides of the buildings were expertly done and in many cases it really looked like someone had just got up from the table.  I really liked that.

They marked out areas where buildings used to stand which was helpful

 

And then had examples of some of the buildings

 

I loved the old fire extinguisher

 

Commissary.  The mannequins were also pretty well done.

In the far right corner of the property there was a recreation of the original fort.  I almost missed it because the signage wasn’t that great, but Lee walked down and that was one of my favorite areas.

Original trading post/fort had just a few buildings.

 

They had a cute little store

 

And a blacksmith area.

They also had a museum in the back of the fort area with a shop as well.  This was the only place we weren’t allowed to take Jack so we took turns. Again very well done for a small town museum. Behind the museum was the foundation of the Mormon settlement.  The Mormon’s burned the fort and fled when the Army approached.

 

They did a great job of talking abut the native american contribution throughout the exhibits.

 

In the far left corner of the property there were two huge houses.  One of them was actually disassembled and moved, served as a hotel, bought by an architect, disassembled again and stored, and then finally brought back to it’s original location as part of this park.  Amazing.  Both houses were open and had some of the rooms decorated again with extraordinary detail.  We just don’t see this level of commitment in most small town museums.

Family graveyard

 

This house served as the commanders quarters

 

This house was the ranch owners

I was trying to picture Oliver in this cradle…yikes

Lee liked the bear skin rug

Definitely worth the five dollars and a cool thing to see to get our Wyoming state sticker. Also, what a wonderful surprise.  We thought it would be a quick stop to see a statue and we got all of this instead.  Definitely reminded us of the importance of making time to see a few things along the way.


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.

Traveling is Good for the Soul

Thankfully our leaving Timothy Lake was drama free, and we rolled out relatively early on Tuesday morning.  It was good to be on the road again, better to be away from a place that no longer needed us, and terrific to be facing some new places to see.  I scheduled our route to go across southern Wyoming, because it brought us close to Jo and Ben, and in all our trips cross country we have never been on that section of 80.  I was excited to collect a few new state stickers and looking forward to staying at new places.

Since we started this year we have been trying to travel no more than 300 miles a day, and are not booking campgrounds in advance.  The way I handled this is to use my iPpad while Lee is driving to find a site for us to overnight.  First I need to establish what is roughly 300 miles from where we started and I use Google maps directions to find what is close.  It is a bit hit and miss but after a few times you can usually tell on the map and for our first day the closest place was roughly Ontario, OR.  Once I have the place selected I started looking for campgrounds or boondocking spots.  Since we prefer full hookups the first night out, I started with Passport America and then I look at Ultimate Campgrounds.  I will use All Stays as a last resort but much prefer the campgrounds I find in one of the first two.  They are cheaper for one thing and in the case of Ultimate Campgrounds usually have more nature.

There isn’t much in this corner of Oregon, so I talked Lee into trying Malheur County Fairground campground.  It was only $15 with Passport America and had water and electric with a dump station onsite. We haven’t had much luck in the past with fairgrounds, but our friends  Deb and Steve stay in them frequently, so we decided to give it another try.  Although it was a little hard to find the entrance, we eventually did, and there were several sites in a grass field.  It was self pay and there was only one other camper there so we got settled into a very nice site.  Turned out to be absolutely terrific.  It was in the nineties well into the evening but the 50 amp was great and allowed us to run both air conditioners.   Large grassy spot for Jack to play, and there was a barn with horses nearby.  Although we were in town, it felt like we were in the country, and the cell signal was really strong. Loved it and definitely trying more fairgrounds in the future.

We took the spot on the outside. The grass was beautifully maintained…Jack loved it.

 

Our site had a very nice 911 memorial rock on it.

 

Great barn with stalls for rent. Lee walked over a couple times with Jack to see the horses. This is the view from our door of the back of the grandstand.

The next morning I had a Google Hangout interview scheduled (went really well) and after that was finished we headed back down the road.  Once again 300 miles was in a pretty barren section of Utah and this time Passport America didn’t have anything.  So I looked at Ultimate Campground and found the Willard Bay State Park.  We had stayed in Cottonwood campground once before but when we pulled in we realized they only had 30 amp and it was still in the high nineties, so they sent us next door to the marina campground.  The price was a little steep at $35 a night, but it was nearly 100 degrees and we needed 50 amps.  I would never have done it if we had a second vehicle (that would have been another $25 a night), but since we don’t we splurged a little.  We got a really nice little spot with full hookups.  The surroundings were also gorgeous.  Let me just show you.

Our site had a nice view

 

You can’t see the bay from the campsite but a little walk up some stairs across from us is a really great view.

 

Jack loved the waterline. We walked all along it.

 

Beautiful flowers all along the water

 

We walked down to the end and saw past the inlet.

 

Really pretty views walking both ways.

 

Just me and Jack

 

 

Later we walked to the other side of the campground and saw the entire bay

Wonderful stream

Nice view of the campground

 

Jack enjoyed the view

 

So good for the soul!

We head into Wyoming tomorrow and the we will get to see Jo and Ben. Stay tuned!

 


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.

August Budget (with Revenue)

I am really excited about how August turned out, especially because I spent ten days with my daughter.  We only spent $3K this month, and because it was a three paycheck month we still did well on revenue, netting $3300, which our bank account sorely needed.  For more detailed information see below.

 

Groceries – We did great on groceries mainly because I ate at my daughters for 10 days.

Dining Out – We went over by $90 but that was fantastic considering the travel and eating out.  My parents paid for most of the meals when they came to visit us, and Kyrston understanding I am on a budget bought food so we could eat in.  I treated her to one $50 meal but other than the travel food, did a good job of not going crazy.

Entertainment – This overage was actually from buying some used books.  Lee and I discovered a really good used book store called the Clackamas Book Exchange and went a little crazy.  Turns out this was a good thing since we need to head to Texas for gate guarding and we like to have lots of books when we do that.

Clothing – As a perk, all PGE employees received permission to go to the Columbia employee store in Portland during their summer clearance sale.  We picked a few quality items at deep discounts.

New Equipment –  While I was gone visiting Kyrston,  Lee purchased a carpet cleaner.  We have had access to a really nice one while here at the lake and Lee found a slightly smaller version of that one with a retractable handle. It fits in our hall closet, and does a pretty decent job of getting the carpet clean. I really should have put this purchase under pets since it is 100% because of Jack.  Again, probably not a purchase we would have made if we would have known we were losing our jobs at the end of the month, but what can you do?

So to level set on where we are at financially, we have roughly $5700 in the bank until we start making money again. It will likely cost us around $1200 to make it down to Texas. Once we get there we have incredibly wonderful, generous friends that we can stay with to keep our expenses low while we wait for a gate and start earning money again. We still have $16K in savings that we can access if we need to, but we would like to start working before the $5700 runs out.  We do have some reccurring expenses (ie: insurance etc ) but hopefully we will get a gate quickly and not lose too much of what we worked so hard for all summer.

In addition to gate guarding I have two professional interviews next week and hopefully more in the pipeline. We will continue to explore other options for making revenue as well.  Thankfully we are healthy, employable, and have flexibility in where we live.  All good things.  My point I guess is that we aren’t destitute, and we will find other work, but it’s important for those thinking of doing this without a recurring source of income to understand these things can happen.  It is real life, just on wheels.


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.

Downsized in a Work Kamping Job

One of the many reasons many of us leave the workforce and try work kamping jobs is because they are temporary by nature.  We know when they will start and when they will finish, and there are no hard feelings if we decide not to return the following year.  That being said there is an implied contract in these seasonal jobs that once taken you will have the job for the season.  That is pretty important because not only do we rely on these work kamping jobs for revenue to fund or supplement our lifestyle, we also rely on them for a place to stay.  Leaving a job also means finding another place to live, and as such is not something that we have ever done lightly.

Over the last three years we have worked for Portland General Electric in their parks division, and although it has been challenging we have always felt like we were part of their family.  Even Lee, who tends to be very skeptical about work place relationships, softened towards this company and he really pushed for us to come back this year.  About halfway through the year, I realized the seasonal work wasn’t really working for me.  I made no secret about my feelings and to the contrary I was very open about my plans to try and find full time work after the end of the season.

To soften the blow (and yes I know everyone is replaceable but we hold a ton of institutional knowledge), I worked with our new boss to select a replacement.  Once the person was selected I spent months teaching her absolutely everything I could to make the transition as smooth as possible.  Lee was pretty nervous about this tactic.  He said on numerous occasions that we were opening ourselves up to being “pushed out,” but I felt that there was plenty of work for everyone and stressed that I was committed to doing the right thing.

Well it turns out that Lee was right this time.  The division that we work for got a new Vice President and almost immediately cost cutting measures were put in place.  Since there was only one month left in the season the only possible cost cutting measure was labor, and in less than a week the mandates came down for cuts.  I have seen this sort of thing many, many times in my corporate life and have always managed to avoid being on the list, but this time we were an easy choice.  Not only had I been honest about our intent not to return but I had also trained my replacement.  To be clear if I hadn’t trained her it is HIGHLY unlikely we would have been let go early since very few people knew how to do the stuff we knew how to do.

It wasn’t just us.  The new manager picked all of the people that he either thought wouldn’t return next year or he didn’t want to return and that’s who made the cut.  From a practical standpoint the list made total sense, but that didn’t make it easier.  First of all we just lost five weeks of pay and at $295 day that is roughly $7300 worth of income. Since we are living on around $40K a year that is roughly 15% of our income, and not easily replaceable.  It’s not easily replaceable because most work kamping jobs are a full summer commitment.  Trying to find something last minute in September is not easy.  I’m not saying it can’t be done, but it’s not easy. Not to mention the time it takes to find one of those last minute openings and then get there. So that money is just gone.

That’s why we were so surprised when it happened.  Individual couples get let go sometimes, but large groups don’t.  This change is impacting every single campground and many of those employees who weren’t let go found their hours reduced from 40 to 30.  For the many people who use these jobs to supplement that may not be a big deal.  For us, who live on this income, it is.  Even worst we lost the benefits that we have.  One of the reasons we like working for PGE is the benefits and we take full advantage of their dental and eye plans.  Lee had a scheduled appointment to get a crown replaced, but now we have lost our dental insurance (and have to leave) so that’s not happening.  Our dentist reads this blog and is a really great guy (as are all of his employees!) so now he knows why he wont be seeing us again. Lee also had to give up his next cardiologist appointment.

The absolute worst part is now we have to give up our plans to see our kids and other family members. When we were planning to leave in October we had a route to see our three daughters, Lee’s parents, and for Lee to meet his grandson around Thanksgiving. We have been looking forward to this all year, but now it is just not possible.  The trip took us across the country to Minneapolis, Columbus, Maryland, and finally South Carolina.  At the end we were going to hopefully have jobs in South Carolina and stay there for the winter.  Now we need to leave and head directly down to Texas and try to get a gate guarding job as fast as possible because as of two days from now we’re no longer making money. It would be irresponsible to spend what money we have saved crossing the country and land in SC with no jobs lined up and still be 1300 miles from where we can make money.  Although we know gate guarding jobs are not an automatic, we feel we have the best chance at getting decent paying work quickly.  Plus we are lucky enough to have a free place to stay while we wait, and we don’t need to burn up money on a site.

So yes, I am angry, we both are, but I am not writing this blog completely out of anger.  It was nice working for a large corporation these last couple of years, but I never would have signed up if I knew in advance being let go early was a possibility.  I would rather sign up for a sure thing with less money and less benefits than run the risk and although you might think nothing is a complete sure thing, this type of behavior is HIGHLY unusual in the work kamping world.  In five years we’ve never heard of it happening. If every campground thought they could get away with cutting people loose after the busy season they would   But who would come back the following year?

Let’s say it is an anomaly though, and a one time thing.  They certainly could have decided who left in a different way.  They could have gone by seniority for example.  They could have based it on contribution.  After being told multiple times how “integral” we were to their having a successful season, we should have made that cut.  Better yet they could have asked for volunteers based on who really didn’t need the money.  There are some very nice people here who have social security and probably would have been willing to leave early to let someone who needed it stay.  That wasn’t an option though.  It wasn’t even discussed.  Three years I have done my absolute best for these folks and they cut me loose without even an apology, and with only two days notice. The attitude was “It’s coming from corporate and there is no choice”.  Well even corporations give people notice or severance before cutting them loose.  We got nothing.

I’ve survived many, many layoffs in my corporate career.  Actually I’ve never been laid off before this. Of course I never told my bosses in those situations I was looking for another job or I wouldn’t be coming back. I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing that with kids in school and a mortgage.   I thought work kamping was different.  I thought this life would be different.  I could be more honest and open in a work setting and not spend so much time protecting myself.  I was wrong, and now we are paying for it.


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.

It’s Just Not That Easy

Over the last several weeks since my PTSD post, I have been trying to decide how much of what has been going on to blog about. First of all, initially I just didn’t want to write anything.  I can count on one hand how often I have felt this way in the last four years. I also wasn’t that crazy about opening myself up to feedback from anyone.  I have been in a very raw mental state and need time to desensitize a little. Also I was focused on my new grandchild and it would be easy to skip ahead a bit and not talk about the struggles.  Unfortunately, there was no way for me to skip this post and for the story to make any sense.  I don’t feel like I owe anyone these details about my life, but I do feel like I owe the narrative.  Unless I am willing to just stop posting this blog and end it here, I need to talk about some things.

In a nutshell, Lee and I have hit a major crossroad.  I would like this lifestyle to change for us and he is happy the way things are.   We have spent hours discussing this and cannot seem to find common ground. In order to explain how we got here, I am going to step back a little and try and put things into context.

When we first went on the road 4-1/2 years ago Lee quit his job and had no expectation that he would be able to do much production work on the road.  Actually that’s not totally true, we both thought he would be able to work in his field, but when that didn’t happen for us Lee was fine with it.  Once or twice a year he does shows with an old company he used to work for and that activity coupled with the videos he makes for the blog seem to fill his creative need.

I kept my job for the first year on the road and then took a buyout to explore other options.  At the time I felt like my position was at risk, and I wanted to try to do some consulting.  I was very interested in the perceived freedom those consulting jobs would provide and we also wanted to try work kamping jobs and see if we could meet our budget working those.  Over the last few years we have tried a variety of different jobs and essentially found that if we were careful we could make ends meet.

Anything extra we needed had to come from our savings and over time we went from $40K in savings down to $16K.  From Lee’s perspective we are doing pretty good and since we still have our 401K it was a non issue.    He likes the relative freedom that comes from working these seasonal jobs and although he finds many of them frustrating, he likes the idea that we can theoretically leave if things get too rough.  I say theoretically because it isn’t that simple and although we have often wanted to leave jobs we never have.  Part of that is work ethic and part of that is the need for the money, but it is true that we could walk away much easier than we could have with a mortgage.

My problem is that I really don’t care about the freedom and I miss working in my field.  It’s been three years now since I worked in a traditional job and the gap in my resume is getting harder to cover.  That coupled with the depletion of our bank account makes me want to find something in my field, even for just a year or so.  Numerous times in the last three years I have attempted to find a consulting job, but the timing was never right and it is more difficult than you might think to find a remote job.

For one thing many of those jobs require a strong internet connection which we don’t have.  The ones that don’t require a strong connection often involve travel, which can get complicated when you are traveling.  Trust me,  people want to know where your home base is and any attempt I have made to be completely honest about how much I travel has ended up with a swift end to the interview process.  I have been forced to change my “residence” and look for local work in areas, which could be successful if we were willing to stay in one place for six months or more.  Even temporary jobs in my field are six months to a year and we have never wanted to stay in one place that long.

After realizing all the challenges, with Lee’s encouragement I went another route. We tried to find seasonal work that would allow me to use my skill set and since money was a lesser concern I thought that would be easy.  Who wouldn’t want $60 an hour skills for $20 an hour? But I didn’t take into account the Bias Against Seasonal Workers. For a variety of reason many companies only give certain responsibilities to full time employees and despite spending time proving myself, those attempts led to a dead end.  That path was actually more frustrating for me, because I knew I could do a good job, there was a need for the job to be done, but I wasn’t allowed to do it.  I felt like my face was pushed against the glass and I was watching the inside.  Super frustrating.

I have been super honest about these feelings and we have talked through the basic scenarios and Lee was willing to commit to six months in a place if he absolutely had to.  I decided that with the baby coming this was a great time to stay in one place for awhile, and was going to look in the South Carolina area.  Then the heart attack happened.  For those of you who have been through one, it is no surprise that the experience causes both people to really look at the life they are living.

For Lee, it reaffirmed the fact that he was living the right life for him and made him very resistant to any changes.  For me it was a wake-up call that if something happened to him I was totally screwed and I couldn’t rely on the fact that I could snap my fingers and find a job making six figures again.  Yes, I have enough money in savings to hopefully have enough time to figure things out, but I don’t have enough to not work for several months.

And to be clear it’s not just about the money.  I miss the fulfillment I used to get from working.  My jobs used to be a major part of my self worth and although I have learned over the last few years to let some of that go, it is a base of strength for me.  If I lost Lee, I would need something like that in my life to help me keep it together.  If I was a different type of person I could let my profession go forever.  I just don’t want to, and the scare I received when I almost lost him made that really clear to me.

On some level, Lee feels I am choosing the job over him.  I get that, and I also get that the timing of this is not great.  We have gone through a ton of change over the last few months and need time for things to settle down.  I just don’t feel like I can wait.  So I have been spending hours each week looking for jobs and putting out at least 1-2 applications a day.

Turns out I don’t think I am wrong about not waiting.   Since a remote job would allow the most flexibility I am looking for those, but there are not that many of them.  Even the remote jobs often require you live in a particular area, so I am looking at a subset of a subset of positions.  The positions I do find I am not always 100% qualified for and despite hearing that it is good to stretch and apply for those, I am getting almost instant rejections.  Enough people are under employed in today’s market that these jobs are hot commodities.

The other problem is I am not in my 30’s.    Many of these postings are specifically framed for a millennial and although I apply for them anyway I often hear, “as impressive as your qualifications are…we are going in a different direction.”  In the four weeks I have been applying, I have only had three interviews, and those have unfortunately not gone anywhere.  To try to counter that I have spent hours going through my Linked In contacts and seen where my colleagues are working and if those companies are hiring.  When I apply I am asking my former colleagues for a recommendation, but unfortunately almost all of those jobs are based in a city.   In the rare cases where they are remote, I don’t have the right skill set.  Again frustrating.

But I keep plugging away.  As Cori says, just keep throwing your line in and eventually you will get a nibble.  I know it takes most people at my level 4 months to find a job so I just keep looking.  What is making this really tough is that I feel like I am in it alone. The fact that I am even looking is causing conflict and I know that when eventually I will need to ask for compromise in our traveling schedule it’s going to be a huge problem.

So I am going to throw the situation out to the readers and see if anyone knows of a position that would be a good fit for me.  I am including my Linked In profile so you can see my resume and if you have any leads I would appreciate you emailing me at tracy@tsperkinsconsulting.com. We have a wonderful community of people, and I want to exhaust all possibilities. I am looking for any remote position with up to 50% travel.  I can work as a Project Manager (Functional or IT), Business Analyst, Six Sigma Black Belt, Corporate Trainer, or Change Agent.  Money is a secondary concern and I am happy to work for a lower rate for the right opportunity.

As far as Lee and I, maybe this will show him how serious I am about wanting to find a solution that works for both of us.  It won’t be the first time I “talked” to him through this blog about a difficult subject and if you have seen this that means he read it and approved it for publishing.  That’s a good sign.


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.

July Budget (and Revenue)

Sorry it took me so long to get this budget post out, but there has been a lot going on.  Basically we made about $300 in July, which is a good thing since this month included the $600 for a plane ticket to see Kyrston and a crazy high grocery bill.  Total expenses were $4110 and total revenue was $4413.  For more details, see below.

 

Groceries We have access to a freezer with our jobs here at Timothy Lake and since it is a 1-1/2 hour drive one way to Costco, Lee made a stock up trip which ended up costing $500.  We also always spend more on groceries up here because they are more expensive in the Pacific Northwest.  That coupled with me trying to cook healthier and it’s one of the highest grocery bills we have had since going on the road.  On the plus side we have a freezer full of meat, so hopefully this will balance out a little bit over the next couple of months. 

Dining Out/Entertainment – On the plus side we were under in all three of these categories.  We are trying to eat more at home, mainly because when you drill into most restaurant food it really isn’t that good for you.  High salt content in particular is a real challenge when eating out and paying attention to the nutrition content is really taking the joy out of eating out for me. 

Health Insurance – As I mentioned in a previous post we are slowly working our way through the medical bills from Lee’s heart attack.  I have paid about $2K in medical bills so far which are NOT included in this budget because the money came from an HSA account we had when we went on the road. Lee paid one bill from our checking account which I did include in this month.  I know it’s a bit arbitrary that I included what I consider an out of pocket expense versus the HSA account, but that is how I have chosen to deal with it.  For those of you who are using this budget to decide whether or not to go on the road, I will say simply that the entire incident reiterates the need to have a savings account for these type of unforeseen expenses.  There is no way we could make enough work kamping to cover these medical bills along with our regular expenses.  The current state is $2K from the HSA account, $200 out-of-pocket, and tens of thousands currently in the appeals process with Blue Cross/Blue Shield.  I’ll keep you informed as it continues to sort itself out.

Clothing – Some good news…Lee has lost enough weight by eating healthy that he has gone down two pant sizes.  So it cost us more in better food and a chunk of money for him to buy all new jeans but he’ll live longer so it seems like a more than fair trade 🙂

Gifts – I bought several items for Kyrston and Oliver right before I left.  Almost all of the presents I bought came from the Amazon Associates program and the few remaining items I just splurged on in July.  I also took advantage of an unexpected opportunity to buy some wine for my dad at a deeply discounted price and for $65 I was able to send him $200 worth of West Coast wines.  Like I said, the opportunity kind of came out of nowhere and I took advantage of it to do something nice for my Dad who loves trying different wines. 

Home Equipment – We went over in this category by $278 this month.  Essentially that was $100 in new LED lights (we have been losing a light every couple of weeks for awhile which is frustrating) and the materials for Lee to build a platform in the truck. Back in April we saw that our friends Deb and Steve had built a platform for Hurley in the back of their truck.  This allowed them to put the dog cage in while traveling and have space underneath to store stuff.  We both liked the idea and when we arrived for our summer gig, Lee decided to tackle the project.  First he had to take out the big tool chest he has had in the back of the truck (which was a sacrifice) and then he had to build the platform.  It took him a couple of days but it turned out really great.  He’s working on a post about it that will come later.

Miscellaneous – The $600 for the plane ticket, which wasn’t really that bad considering I was going from one small airport to another.  It helped that I was able to book it a month in advance.  We discussed me going out right after the baby was born but that would have cost over $1,000 easily.  Ultimately we decided to wait until Jeremy went back to work for me to come out and I was able to book the flight as soon as they gave her the last date they would let her go before inducing labor.  It made me a little anxious, but it all worked out really well and saving the $400 was helpful. 

As usual if you take all the extras out, the budget is really doable.  Unfortunately as usual there are always extras.  I don’t know how those of you who are using this budget to help make your decision feel about that.   On the one hand I hope you aren’t letting all these extras discourage you, but I also hope you are being realistic about what your costs might be.  It’s a delicate balance for sure, and a process I can remember going through myself.  Without having recurring income, becoming full timers definitely involves a leap of faith. My advice is to take the leap but have a safety net of savings to help break the fall.

 


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.