Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Letting go.......

Ok - I have to do this....I can't seem to make myself sit down and write enough to catch up from my last Burning Man post to the current time, so I am just going to let go of my anal self and jump forward to NOW and maybe I'll catch up in a more round-about sort of way!

We are now in Palm Desert, didn't "plan" to be here, but here we are! We were in Colorado Springs parked at Bill's alma mater - the Air Force Academy campground having a wonderful time hanging out with family, old friends and NuRVers too when I received an email from the owners of an rv park where we've stayed before in Indio, CA - 3 miles from my parents home in Palm Desert. I think they had read my resume on the workamper.com site and were wondering if we would be interested in coming to southern California to work at their park. Well, this was an interesting proposition! My mother had just been in the hospital for a week and my sister had flown down from Alaska to help her with her recovery and was making plans to go back home. We weren't sure if my mom was truly on the mend but everyone thought she was. I had been feeling very guilty about not being there with her, but was soooo grateful that my sister could. Our "plans" at the time were to head south to New Mexico for awhile and then slowly make our way east towards Florida to see Bill's mom in Tampa. But the opportunity to go stay at this expensive park, one we were familiar with, for free (well, not exactly free!) and spend the holidays with my parents just couldn't be ignored. When things happen like this you just gotta do it! So we hashed out all the details with the park, I would work in the office about 22 hours a week and Bill would help with some outside work about 5 hours and we started to make plans to leave our little spot in C Springs. Our Florida plans will just start a little later...

Which route to take...oh my, this was quite a decision as Bill was very familiar with these mountains and we had some snow already and he was really concerned about our taking a "safe" route. But I soooo wanted to see some sites and do some fun stuff! He found a route for us that included 3 national parks - in Moab - Canyonlands & Arches and Zion in southern Utah. We finally got to actually spend some time in Utah! (we've raced through this state 3 times driving from CA to CO and back) We also had a fantastic stop at a hot spring, but more on all of that later. We took about a week to travel from CO back to southern California and stopped for two nights at Nevada's Treasure RV Park in Pahrump, where the "famous" pic of Bill working outside in the gazebo was taken. Finally in Palm Desert we arrived around dinner time at my mother's house. We had taken great pains to keep our plans a secret from my parents as we wanted to really surprise them and we did! Although, not exactly according to plan...there is that word again! So here we are in this nice little park enjoying lovely weather, working our real jobs and our rv park jobs and spending some time with my parents and my brother and his family. Next week my kids fly in for a week for Thanksgiving, my sister and her family arrive from Alaska, and cousins from L.A. are coming too, it's going to be quite the family get-together!

Now to get to the fun stuff!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Man Plans and God Laughs...

,,,one of my favorite sayings of my mother. She said it often to me growing up, constantly warning about the dangers of that dreadful word...I think I may have to rename this entire blog to Learning the art of NON-planning!!  I have been getting better, but it's slow going...

Post burning man we had reservations at the Grand Sierra to stay in an upgraded suite for a night while we "decompressed" - ha ha ha! Little did we know that the entire place had been taken over by teenagers (or they looked & acted like them, anyway) to see some fabulous light show that night. The mass of altered people was really more than we could deal with and we couldn't even go hang out at the pool or jacuzzi which was a pretty cool spot. 

So we spent the night, cleaned ourselves up and took Bebe down to Carson to stay at an RV park to get her cleaned up and replace our carpets with wood flooring. I had found this guy that does flooring while we were in Tahoe - a co-worker had used him and he did good work, I met him and we set up a date post BM.  Unfortunately the product he was using was inferior and after spending 5 days getting it almost 80% in we were very unhappy and he felt the same. At this point we were supposed to be on our way to Utah and Colorado. But he generously offered to rip out all the flooring, get a better product, take the rig to his shop and just work round the clock and try to get it done in 3-4 days.  In the meantime my friend Jen was in the area and we went out for a scrumptious lunch together in Minden - on her way home there was a most interesting experience between her and a porta-potty, and sadly, the porta-potty won! She texted from the hospital that her ankle was broken and she was in a boot up to her knee....not good. AND Daniel, her lover/roomie was out of town for 10 days - she had just taken him to the airport that day! So here we were with no place to live for a few days and here she was almost totally incapacitated and needing some help, how mysteriously God works! So back we went to Tahoe....just can't get away from that place, hmmmm. It all worked out well, we helped Jen out a bit and got to say our last goodbyes one more time! Our flooring guy was working like a mad-man to get it all done and when we finally went to pick up our rig the floors were fabulous! Worth the wait and all the hassle, especially because we could be there for our friend.

So off we went on our mad dash across Utah, once again, totally bummed that this seemed to be the only way we could get to Colorado to see Bill's cousins before they left town & were swamped with other obligations. I WANT TO SEE UTAH!!!

an old army boot camp site in Green River, UT
Now that we had a year of traveling under our belt & a bit more experienced we were committed to try to boondock whenever possible. Boondocking is camping without any hookups, one can do this on the side of the road, in an approved rest stop or far away amongst nature and beauty. Most of the time you will not only save money but have a more interesting experience as well. At some point we hope to really outfit Bebe with a major solar array to do this for very long periods of time...but I digress...  I found the great website OvernightRVParking and for a small annual fee you can pop in your location or zip code and get information on all of the possible spots to park for free or for a very small fee. We used this our entire trip from CA to CO and loved it.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Burning Man 2011

Bill's 5th and my 4th Burning Man brought us to a new camp, living in our home amongst other like-minded nomadic souls...this was quite a switch from our previous visits where we have camped with our hash friends. But since we were bringing Bebe this year we thought this was a better fit & it was! We spent weeks preparing Bebe for her maiden voyage to the playa, hoping against all hope that we could keep her relatively dust-free (hahahaha!) and let me tell you, she looked sweet on the inside - all decked out in orange fur, tie dye pillows, batik prints & crazy throw rugs. Bill bought rolls of filter material and covered the window screens and air conditioner vents & we just hoped for the best. We found a home for our plants with Reno hasher Sir Rubs a Lot & his green-thumbed wife, dropped off our sheepskin seat covers for cleaning, grabbed our Leopard Martini Lounge friend Matt & off we went, playa bound. 
Waiting in line is always an experience!
In the past we have always come in at midnight; driving out to the playa was quite a different experience in the daylight, the vast desert was beautiful. NuRVing friends and fellow Quartzsite camp-mates, Sam & Tracy, were able to get "early-entry" & secure a good location for a bunch of big rigs & we were the 2nd ones in on Sunday evening. 

Sam & Tracy
We had a 2-hour wait to get in, which wasn't bad at all &  it was fun checking out all of the other rigs & people in line.  We set up camp & hopped on our bikes to go see "the Man." By the time we returned several other campers had arrived & we got to meet a bunch of the people we've been corresponding with over the last several weeks.  

Cherie & Chris
Technomads Chris & Cherie originally started this camp a few years ago & I was excited to meet them as they really helped us out when I was trying to decide on internet options when we started full-timing; plus I had been using a couple of the iPhone Aps they had developed. Fellow full-timers Ayo & Yair were "organizing" our camp this year & pre-burn I found out that they were Jewish and Ayo was doing some work with Camp Ramah where my kids camped every summer, and Quartzsite friends Tom and Schelby with KSvert that came to visit us in Tahoe were camping with us too!! So we had some good vibes about this group going in...

We didn't spend a lot of time in camp but we knew a lot of people at BM this year so we did a lot of visiting, which was super fun! Bill's co-workers Steve & Julie, our last camp - Leopard Martini Lounge, the new Hash camp and good friends Daniel & Jen were included in our romps about "town". Monday night was the long-standing Leopard Martini Lounge Party - it was great seeing everyone, especially decked out in their finest "leopard". 

We had a couple of fun "date nights" with hash friends Cheek and Doggie, and Pix & PT aka Sparkle Pony. Both date nights were planned with a specific location & a loose meeting time - and can you imagine, each event we showed up and no one was there! Amaaazing, I know! Of course, it was totally expected that that would happen, but in both cases, a bit later and in different locations we met up with our friends and had a splendid time. Cheek was determined to get us out for an all-nighter, which we had yet to do, even after all the times we had been there. We are more the get up early and explore all day, than the, sleep all day and stay up all night, kind of burners. But we took naps and had a blast....of course, Bill came home bloody and still has scars, but it was a night to remember. The most amazing thing of all was that we found each other, or rather Doggie found us, in the pitch black while riding our bikes!  

Luckily she had seen our bikes in Tahoe and knew what they looked like. We were supposed to meet Pix and Sparkle at the Little Black Dress Party and then have them over for dinner - they were a no show at the party but were waiting for us when we returned and we had a fabulous evening. 

Camp Nomadia held an informal get together for people curious about our lifestyle with a question and answer session, which was fun to be a part of. But it was the same day the hash held their annual Red Dress Run, so off we went! I think there were way over 100 people with a lot of newbies at the hash.  And of course, more blood for Mr. Bill!

We stayed an extra day to avoid the long exodus out and instead baked chocolate chip cookies and delivered them to the people waiting in the 6-8 hour line to get out...we were soooo happy to not be them! 
Camp Nomadia
The weather was the best ever and the playa floor was a joy to ride on, unlike previous years where the dust/sand was so thick it was impossible to bike through. It was a very "chill" burn for us and it was just what I needed this year...clean up is still in progress, months later, and I think this may be the last year for us...at least for Bebe!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

POOF! 2 months flew by...

Guess that's what happens in life at this stage of the game....all of a sudden you pop your head up & it's fall! Our last month in Tahoe was a whirlwind - finishing up my workamping gig, preparing for Burning Man, Bill cleaning out his office and saying goodbye, again, to all of our friends. The latter is truly the hardest part, especially because this time we really have no idea when we will be back in town. The Tahoe office of Bill's company is now closed with the remainder of the employees telecommuting from home. We thought they were going to lay him off at the end of August before we went to Burning Man, but that isn't happening so fast. His new company, Polaris Environmental, is getting some attention, so it could be any time now that this takes off. Our NuRVer friend, Maria, helped Bill set up his website and it looks great, just what he wanted, thanks Maria!! You can check it out at polarisenvironmental.com.
Awesome campsite - CHECK!!

We did have a few fun adventures before we left the lake - like going tent camping with Daniel, Jen & Socrates at Buckeye & Travertine Hot Springs, wow, now that was cool! We found an awesome campsite and Soc's agreed as he got the best spot! The weather was perfect, the hot springs divine and the food, well, with foodies Cheek & Doggie (hash names) how could it be anything less than fabulous! Mr. Bill got some fishing in and provided us with trout both mornings, which we had fun dressing and cooking over an open campfire.
You should see the one that got away!

Everything's better with a little bacon ;)

Cheek took us on a long drive up to Mono Lake and we saw the cool Tufa Towers & June Lake, which is the cutest little town. This was an area neither of us had been before and it was super cool to have our own tour guide!

We had some fun times catching our favorite music around town - especially with our Tahoe Valley Campground friends playing at the Flight Deck & Murphy's. 
There were a few concerts at the campground too...

And nothing would be the same without copious visits to our favorite local brewery...Mt Tallac Brewing
We had a visits from friends Tom & Schelby but no pics :(  & from our friend Cindy who we dragged along to tailgate the Phish concert with Michelle - Bill had a tough time of it, to be sure!

One of our last beach days was again planned with Cheek & Doggie...we rode our bikes and met them at Pope Beach & brought all the fixins for a sweet BBQ
good times!

Then our preparations for Burning Man began in earnest...we were taking our home there and tried to take all the precautions we could to protect Bebe. With lots of good advice and some of our own well-earned wisdom we hit the deck, flying! Covering all of the upholstery with the sticky carpet plastic stuff, I then made slip covers for the dinette and captains chairs, purchasing ones for the sofas. I also covered all of the window coverings & remaining upholstery with bright orange fur! The fur works as a great magnet for any flying sticky playa dust & because I just used a staple gun to apply it, the fur came off easily and really did it's job.  I can't even BELIEVE I didn't take a pic of Bebe decked out in her fur! Here are a few pics from our preparations...stay tuned for our Burning Man 2011 Blog
New slipcovers, pre-fur!
Blue hair & feather bangs for Burning Man,
courtesy of my daughter Lauryn!

Our friend & nail technician extraordinaire, Lillian decked Bill
out with the most awesome BLING for Burning Man!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Life in Tahoe....

is really pretty fabulous...the weather finally changed & summer is here! My little workamping job is pretty good although I am busy with my CPA work so my weeks are flying by. We hosted a few happy hours which were fun & plan to do some more. Our friend Gina, who Bill knew from work in the bay area & became my friend when we met her up here in Tahoe in 2008, moved back last week from Sacramento - sweeeeet! Things are odd at the brewery, our old hangout, as the brewer is thinking of shutting down, the weekly concerts are now more like once a month & we've been by for happy hour & found the place closed...life has changed for so many of us. Friday night there was a sweet concert with our friend Jen & Bob's band "Daughters in Arm" & a huge 4 band concert Saturday night that was pretty epic - fellow hashers Beav & LCL came to visit & we got to catch the last band. Our bike rides to the beach & hiking are still the best. We had great hopes to hare some hashes when we got here but obviously our priorities are not there since it's already been 8 weeks & there isn't one on the calendar yet!

We had a lot of fun on the Slow Rollers Poker Ride last month & got a few slides in on the condemned super slide!
 Socrates, Daniel's doggie has been enjoying our wagon in some comfort! 
I think this is how I would like to travel at Burning Man!!
   Finally got over to Sierra Hot Springs and our good friend Becca joined us for a wonderful afternoon - Bill made a 3 point shot from quite a distance without choking her! The weather was perfect, we brought goodies & Becca brought reinforcements, it was very hard to leave...

We've been lucky to have lots of visitors this summer & Angie (of NuRVer fame) came up & spent a few nights at the motel down the street. Boy do we miss her and Kev!!  My daughter, Lauryn, may actually get her butt up here to visit this summer too.  And speaking of kids...my son, Jake, got a great full-time job up here in Tahoe which may actually turn into something permanent. Bill's daughter, Madeleine is celebrating her 24th bday today & is graduating with a masters degree from Cambridge this month and son Will is hoping to graduate next spring, cross your fingers!

Bill just found out his office here in Tahoe will be closing at the end of August & they will lay him off & re-hire him through his new company as an independent contractor. This couldn't have worked out better for us & we may be really spreading our wings & traveling to Florida for the winter. Just spoke to fellow NuRVers Kev & Angie & they are thinking we should all party in the Keys & enjoy some bikini weather instead of our Burning Man fur coats in Quartzsite!

Speaking of Burning Man....our replacement camo netting came in & is fabulous, provides shade & a breeze! We've gone through our old costumes & pulled out some to donate, purchased some new fur for the bikes & the cornice boxes around the windows in Bebe, but I've got a few sewing projects I NEED to make time for! Our friends, Daniel & Jen gave us one of those Capice Shell Chandeliers that I think will make into a fabulous dress, & I need to sew all of the slipcovers out of the batik pieces I bought in Quartzsite. We've been reading about RV detailing, post Burning Man & trying to decide if we should tackle this ourselves or pay a bizillion dollars to a company to do it for us.... We'd also like to pull up our family room carpeting & replace it with the wood laminate we have in front of the kitchen. Hoping to do this in Denver while we're in CO visiting family and friends.  Our plans for camping at Burning Man have changed drastically...we are going for something new and different this year and instead of hanging with the new Hash Camp next to Leopard Martini Lounge we are going to camp with Camp Nomadia, a bunch of full-timing (& wanna-be) RVers. I think a better fit for us this year since we will be bringing our home, Bebe. The Hash Camp was becoming a little more structured experience than what we were looking for.

We have spent many days at our storage unit getting rid of more & more stuff...probably not too much of that left, maybe one more charity pick up. We will plan to stop there before and after Burning Man, then probably not again for quite some time.

And that wraps up another exciting blog!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

How to stop the merry-go-round!

Our life seems to never stop! We have to make a concerted effort to have a day or evening with no plans...seems eXceSs didn't get his hash name for nothing! Yesterday was the big day to pack up Bebe and take her down the hill to have the fridge recall done. I have been really concerned about this "fix"- from everything I have read the company responsible is not really fixing the problem (bad cooling units) but inserting a part that will shut down your fridge before it gets too hot & burns your rig down. This actually just happened to a friend of ours last month in the middle of the night. Luckily his smoke alarm worked & he got out with his life. This spurred all of his friends to promptly follow up on the recall notices we were just receiving. The other problem with this "fix" is that the part they put in is super sensitive & I have heard many complaints about it malfunctioning & then having to replace the fridge on your own dime! Eeeks I say! Oh well, we don't have much choice.

We picked Friday to do this in Carson City, NV because we had scheduled dermotology appointments in Minden, which is close by. And while in the area we thought we could go visit our storage unit & see about downsizing. In our most ambitious dreams we saw us spending a few hours moving the garage sale stuff into the new smaller unit to start organizing ourselves. Ha ha ha!! We took a look at the 5x5, which is 1/4 of the unit we have & looked at each other & laughed...we went into the office to talk to them about a 10x5 & they offered us our current 10x10 unit at the 10x5 price - we don't have to move anything!! BUT we still want to get rid of most of the stuff so we are starting tomorrow with our first charity pick-up from the storage unit & trying to give away as much as we can to our friends, as this is the "good stuff" we couldn't part with!

Had room for 6 to crash if they "spooned"!
After getting burned, spliced & stitched @ the dermatologists we made our way to our fav Mexican cantina in Carson City - El Charro Avita where we drowned our wounds in margaritas...back up the hill to prepare for the RTO'ers (that's Reno Tahoe Odyssey) 36 hr relay race our hash friends were in - we've hosted the last 2 years and just cuz we weren't in our big house that was no reason to stop us! Bill & I hosted 2 groups of 6 at 8pm & midnight - they came to shower, eat, sit by our campfire & take a nap. We had a fun time trying to figure out how to make our dining table into a bed...after much experimenting I went online to my fav RV tips site - rv.net forums, posted my problem & within 5 minutes had the answer!
Saturday we had a tough time getting going...but we did end up at our fav little place for happy hour, Blue Water Bistro, then off to hang out at our old digs with friend, Daniel.
I didn't leave my bed on Sunday!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

It's still snowing!!

It's June 1st & it's still snowing - JUNEuary!! This is not exactly what I signed up for!  Look at this pic, do you see something missing??  Like a whole lot of other RV's?!  The campground is pretty deserted right now, we had a few folks here over Memorial Day & there are actually tent campers out there in the snow, craziness!
Update on the workamping gig - met with the asst manager, Lori, who is a doll & she is going to try her best to work me into the schedule, I am low-man on the totem pole as the newest employee but I have skills she WANTS! So training starts next Wednesday...

My daughter, Lauryn, who is 27 and a new hair stylist (September 2010), has a pinched nerve in her right hand. No feeling or movement at all. She is supposed to start work at a new salon next week, and with no workers comp or unemployment to fall back on it's a scary time for her.  I drove down to the bay area, where she lives, on Tuesday and took her to a chiropractor. I am not a believer, but Kaiser gave her a splint, told her to soak it and sent her home...just not good enough for me. This Dr. took full x-rays, found her scoliosis that was treated as a teen -that along with the accident she had 6 months ago when she was rear-ended while stopped & her car totaled are the culprits that have left her in this situation. He spent a lot of time with her and she went back again yesterday. She now has some small movement if she holds her hand up, so we have hope!!  She's overcome a lot of adversity to be where she is today, roadblocks keep getting thrown in her path...but she perseveres!

Bill, Eric, Daniel, Karla & Jen

happy with his strikes!

First strike of the night!
Last night our friend Daniel decided we should all go bowling, I mean what else does one do in the middle of a winter storm, right?! His girlfriend Jen & our RV friends Eric & Karla joined us & we had a blast...several hours of beer drinking, whooping it up & silly frolicking got us all out of our funk, and it was fun to watch Bill using a "house ball" and still striking gold! He sold all of his bowling balls & bag for our move into Bebe, but I stashed his beautiful white bowling shoes deep in the basement of the RV, so at least he had something & it was obviously all he needed as he bowled "180" with none of his "stuff"! 

We got home to frozen water pipes to Bill's amazement "it was supposed to freeze tomorrow night, not tonight!" So out he went to see what could be done & we didn't even need the hairdryer to defreeze, he got us disconnected & onto our house water & we were good to go.  Awoke this morning to Daniel's motorcycle with a frozen windshield & XS' mark!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

South Lake Tahoe & workamping initiation

 Sooo happy to be back in South Lake Tahoe....as we drove into town my heart was full of joy, how I have missed this magical place! We had a whirlwind first week here with Bill's birthday celebration at the Mt. Tallac brewery and a couple of other friend's b-day celebrations as well.  The 2nd day here we had snow, which melted pretty quickly, but the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend it started early in the day & just kept on coming! We had planned to go to Sierra Hot Springs for a few nights over the holiday weekend but traipsing around nekkid in the mud & snow somehow just didn't appeal to us, so our good friend Becca (aka masseuse extraodinaire) drove up from Sacramento & we all hung out at our old house 
enjoying her "handy-work", the hot tub & Jen's yummy stir-fry. We ended the night with huge bowls of buttered popcorn, The Producers on the tube & a great dance-along!

Last night, as the snow was starting to accumulate, our good friend, Daniel (who now rents the home we used to here in Tahoe), showed up on our "doorstep" covered in snow & chilled to the bone. He had just ridden his motorcycle through the storm over Echo Summit. He disrobed in our "mud-room" which is the first step into Bebe & stood in front of our amazing heater for an hour! His girlfriend, Jen & doggie, Socs showed up a while later & an impromptu, totally Tahoe evening ensued!

Workamping 1A - being the anal person that I am, while in Tahoe a few weeks ago, I went to the campground & completed all of my paperwork so I would be ready to go when we got up here. After checking in last week I was told they had forgotten one form so after that was completed it would be 3-4 days before I could start training...ok, no biggee, just give me the 1/2 rate on my campsite rental, I don't care! 

Unfortunately though, it seems as if the manager who I've been dealing with up until now has not shared any of the details we have talked about with the asst manager who does all of the scheduling. The manager had told me I would have a "clerk" position, checking people in at the counter, 3 days a week -8 hr days. I wasn't too thrilled about this as I had told him I was an accountant & could really help them out in the office, but I was happy to help out wherever they needed me. I had also told him that I could only work Mon-Thurs as I wanted to have the same days off as Bill did. He said it wouldn't be a problem, unless it was an "all hands on deck" time, & that they would either schedule me Mon-Wed or Tues-Thurs. I guess once the asst mgr got a hold of my application she saw my skills & had altogether other ideas for me...which I found out yesterday. Now I have to wait until Wednesday afternoon to find out more...oy vey!  I am not so sure this is going to work out...stay posted!

Monday, May 23, 2011

the California foothills....

We love the foothills! Grass Valley really spoke to us and we have now been on the east side for a few weeks in Jackson & loving it here too. Not overwhelmed with the Jackson Rancheria campground...but it is convenient, clean, & they have free laundry & 2 hot tubs! Neither of our internet connections worked & the park's wifi was really awful the first 10 days we were here & really stressing us out but the last couple of days it's been great. The campground has a parking lot set up on a cement slab with a picnic table & full hook ups, including cable TV (which I haven't had in about 6 weeks)!  There is some nice spacing between the rigs BUT we have had a few issues with our neighbors...the "LOUD" family & people that leave their dogs tied up outside to bark at every passerby...I think this is the hardest thing about RVing...inconsiderate neighbors, but we always have the ability to move, so it's really not soooo bad! 

We worked a lot the first week we were here, and had to be in Tahoe for a few days, and Sacramento another day.  The main reason for our Tahoe visit was the Slow Rollers Bike Parade to kick off the Amgen Bike Tour starting in South Lake Tahoe.  We were lucky that the snow finally stopped & we had a sunny day. We met at the brewery to gussy up our bikes & hook up with friends - Gary, Steve, Robert, Carol, Richard, Matt, Daniel & Virginia. 

While in Sacramento we finally made it out to the Lockdown Brewery, which has become a Sacramento Hash favorite - we have been hearing & reading about this place for a long time & it was fun that our friend Matt was working behind the bar!.
Finally made it to Lockdown Brewery!

This last weekend Bill got to really experience his 3 day work week, with 4 real days off! We lounged at the pool on the first nice day we've had, went wine tasting in Plymouth, spent the day in Volcano & just took it easy. Loved wine tasting over here...it's free, just like the good ol days in Napa & everything is super close, with friendly people & good wine! My favorite was our day in Volcano...a sleepy little town of about 100 residents. They boast two "hotels" which house 2 of the highlights we had read about - the Whiskey Flats Saloon & the Union Pub. We had drinks at the former & lunch at the latter...we also ended up back at the Pub later in the afternoon when we heard good music playing on the patio & enjoyed some fabulous tempura. The surprise was a little wine bar owned by a wine maker...we stopped by early in the afternoon & were told they were going to have a latin jazz band playing later. By the time we left the Pub the 2nd time, I was pretty tanked & ready to head home but Bill (aka eXceSs) shouted "I'm not done yet!" So off we went to the wine bar in search of more fun! We sauntered in to be met with music that was anything BUT latin jazz ...seems they didn't show up so one of the employees got together with another guy & the two of them, one on guitar & one on harmonica, were the entertainment! And they were pretty darn good...Bill ordered a beer & we sat down by the pot belly stove. We noticed a group gathering out in front on the patio so we went outside to hang out & met the friendliest folks - we sat down at one of the comfy seats & just hung out there with all the locals who were wandering by & stopping to chat. The owner brought me a full glass of his port, on the house, which was so delish I had to have another! We had such a great time, I can see us settling down in a place like this, somewhere down the road...

Friday, May 6, 2011

Interesting People...

I am quite curious about all of the campers I see around me. I wonder, constantly, what their stories are; if they are on vacation, if they are full-timing by choice or circumstance; this keeps me endlessly entertained but surprisingly empty of satisfaction.  I spend hours looking out my windows or sitting outside looking at RV's with their doors and windows all closed and wonder what is happening inside.  At the hash last night I was mentioning this to Poker, a Harriette (female hash  house harrier) I've spent little time with, but enjoy and she suggested that to quench my thirst for information I should start a blog on just that topic - people's stories, and use that blog to knock on doors and actually interview those that will allow me some insight into their lives. People do like to talk about themselves and are often flattered that someone else would actually be interested in them.  Then there are always those that are private and sometimes suspicious of ulterior motives.  My first thought was that I can hardly keep up with the one blog I am writing right here, but blogging has provided me with an unexpected outlet I enjoyed in my youth that I have neglected for 30 years - writing.  It's something to think about...

Monday, April 25, 2011

traveling around at the end of tax season......

is NOT a good idea!  What was I thinking leaving our snug little nest in AZ at the end of March??!! Well, we did have a wedding to attend in northern Ca on April 10th and Bill had 2 meetings in Tahoe right after that, soooo we decided to start our travels north, visiting along the way.

First stop was to visit Will, the youngest child who had just celebrated his 22nd birthday - after a little celebrating....we made our way up to Mercey Hot Springs.  Our friends Pix & Mrs. G mentioned this little spot as a great place on our way up to the Santa Cruz area - and we are soooo glad she did! Off of interstate 5 a little before the Los Banos exit you head west on a little windy road. There is NOTHING around but a few cows grazing and Mercey Hot Springs! They have little cabins for rent, campsites & full-hook up RV spots. You must bring all of your own food and drinking water as there are no stores and nothing available at the springs. They have two areas - one for clothed bathers and one for clothing optional. Lots of individual tubs where you can regulate your own water
temperature. It was beautiful and serene here, we stayed 2 nights and did a little hiking and a lot of soaking!  Definitely worth a return visit or two...

Next stop was to Casey & Betsy's (hash friends) home on Skyline Blvd in the mountains high atop Saratoga, again, what were we thinking??! Round and round we went, up and up, oops - we went the wrong way!! Maybe time to unhook the car...after some amazing driving by Mr. Bill we managed to get ourselves up to their home with a beautiful view.
We got settled in and we all headed down the hill to Santa Cruz for drinks and appies with more hash friends, Pix & Duhh (aka Patty & Judy) - so good to see them, it had been a really long time! But we've all kept in touch on Facebook which has been our lifeline during our travels. We spent a few nights up here wine crawling Saratoga and new friends from Quartzsite, Tom & Schelby, made the trek up to BBQ with us on a stormy night too. We had a great time here and look forward to seeing most of these folks at Burning Man this summer.

Lauryn at work!
On out to Marin to park in front of, yet another hasher's home - Tongueless & Fits In...much more level here and just in time to head out to the Gypsies Hash in SF. Had so much fun meeting up with hashers we had not seen in a long time like GAS, BJ & Lois Lame & &... did I mention it is TAX SEASON and now April??!!  We celebrated the 5th anniversary of Bill & I meeting at my first hash on April 9th at Dr.K's home, who made us a fabulous dinner.
Also got to see the eldest child, Lauryn, in the East Bay.  She did my hair at her salon in Concord & we got to check out her new digs! We had dinner with my best friends in Walnut Creek - Joanne & Gary, Beth & Aaron, Susan & Ron, Marie & Jon and Judy - again, it had been way too long and it was great seeing everyone - should have taken a picture!!

Now finally we were heading out to Livermore for the wedding. I was excited to see my son and a bunch of my old Sacramento best friends. We spent a night in the hotel parking lot & took the shuttle to and from the Ruby Hill Winery for the wedding. It was now April 11th & I was starting to panic...

We made reservations to stay at the Beale Air Force Base FamCamp rv campground because we still had to head up to Tahoe for Bill's meetings and a few of my own. This was a safe place to leave Bebe for a week and cheap too! I was so surprised at how beautiful this military base was. Very quiet and pastoral, cows grazing everywhere and the most space we've ever had - all at $14/night. Not much to do here, though, they do have a gym with some yoga classes & a golf course where we both can play for $20, a bowling alley and lakes to fish in.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Snowbirding in AZ 2011

We spent our first winter at a "55+ senior rv park" in Mesa Arizona.  In December while we were in Tucson we drove up to Phoenix to check out a few of these parks.  They are EVERYWHERE and all look pretty much the same.  The first one we looked at kind of freaked us out...it had about 65% "park models" which look like a double-wide trailer, activity rooms for everything imaginable, pools, jacuzzis, concerts, you name it - sounds good, right? Well, not to me - it just looked SCARY! I said to Bill, I'm just not sure I can do this! I'm not a "joiner", and am just a bit eccentric. And not only that, the majority of the people here were not even close to 55 - they were more like 70+. I turned 53 this February, but Bill's senior status of 60 could get us both in.  So off we went to see 5 more of these parks all within several miles of each other.  At our last park we were going to meet a couple I had connected with on the NuRVer's site. I had been following Karla and Eric's blog for a few months and they sounded like a fun couple who shared a lot of our interests.  They were retired and in their late 50's.  We ended up there late in the afternoon and were  greeted with cocktails and appies to our delight and much excitement from their adorable dog, Cora.  By this time we had gotten a little used to the senior parks and hanging out at Karla and Eric's rig, they actually started to seem palatable.  Eric took us on a little tour and told us that they had applied to workamp at the first park we had looked at. They were hoping to get a job bartending at the pool tiki bar two days a week.  I was just a bit bummed because I really didn't like that park & I was kind of hoping we could hang out with these folks this winter.  But then I started wondering if I didn't like that first park because it was just the first one I had seen and hadn't quite "bought into" the whole idea or if it really wasn't as good as some of the others we saw.  Anyway, neither of us us were ready to commit to a long-term stay at this point, so off we went to play in Quartzsite with our other NuRVer friends (see previous blog).

Because I am an accountant and work quite a bit during tax season I did want to find a place to stay for February and March and not be moving around. As we got closer and closer to February I was in a bit of a panic because there was no rv park that was calling my name.  We had put down a deposit on a place in Yuma for 2 months as a back-up but we really wanted to be in the Phoenix area.  Bill had lived there for 7 years and had a lot of friends he hadn't seen in about 10 years and they also have a hash there, so we would have lots of social opportunities.  One day we took a drive down to Yuma to check out the park there and it was nice but under a lot of construction with loud power tools, so not conducive to either of us working. During this time I had been chatting back and forth with Eric & Karla. They had gotten the tiki bar job at Valle del Oro (that first park) & another full-timing couple they knew was going to join them there.  I called the park and all they could give me was 2 weeks, they were that popular! Eric had assured me that once we were there it wasn't going to be a problem extending our stay as their friends had done just that. So with great trepidation we left Quartzsite and headed into the seniorville abiss........

AND.....we had a great time! Parked in a primo spot steps from the mailboxes, laundry room & great bathrooms. Daily floats in the 95 degree pool & hanging in the jacuzzi.

Bill's usual position at the end of a long hard day of work!

We didn't take advantage of most of the amenities, except for the gym, the driving range and the tiki bar, of course.
Bill hitting some balls

But it was fun hanging out with Eric & Karla & our new friends Sherry and Sharon from Maui. We hashed, introduced our friends Maria & Brian (from Quartzsite) to hashing and hit the golf course with them too - we had both been carrying around our golf clubs for 7 months - that's a lot of valuable space!

In Bill's spare time he made us a great bike rack, he later painted it navy to match Bebe

And we met up with quite a few of Bill's old friends - had so much fun we booked 3 months for next winter, officially becoming snowbirds.  Although secretly I am hoping to be in Mexico for the winter ;) - just not sure that is going to happen, as it depends on what is going on with our work and if we can find a caravan down there to travel with.