Thoughts from the Road-America’s Mobile Workforce. 

Home of some of the mobile workforce

Not all fulltime RVer’s are the carefree retired types or pre-retirement adventurers like myself.

Many of our mobile community are gainfully employed and travel the country following their jobs. Lots of oil workers, road construction crews, mobile health-care professionals, and IT techs have rigs and will travel. Some stay put for a month, some for years. And when the job is finished, they pull up stakes and move on down the road to the next assignment. 

In warm climates like Texas, you may find many covered RV sites to keep the heat at bay, and give the AC units a break. Some in cold climates, such as Minnesota, live in big pole barn-types buildings to keep the furnace happy. I have never actually seen one of those in person, having no desire to travel in the cold, but I witnessed these covered sites pictured above while taking a stroll last night through the park we stopped to overnight in.

I have done the math. Even when figuring a monthly rig payment+lot rent+electricity bill, it still works out to less money than you could rent an apartment for, and when following the work, a house with a mortgage is out of the question. Mobile life is the perfect solution for housing.

Many have families, and some rigs have 2 separate sleeping spaces, a bath and a half or sometimes 2, dishwasher, washer and dryer, all the amenities one might find in a sticks and bricks home.

Bruce and I do NOT live in this type of rig, although many of our retiree/adventurer friends do. We do just fine with our simple Flying Dutchman.

The Flying Dutchman

Some enroll their kids in the local school system and some choose to homeschool their kids. I find this lifestyle extremely fascinating, and wish it had been an option when I was working and raising a family.

So to all of you folks yearning for the mobile lifestyle, but think you are limited to RV living on the weekends because of your job constraints, this may be something to consider.

See you on the road!

Traveling West 2017 Part 2-Nebraska 

The rig and it’s occupants departed Iowa on a bright sunny morning; destination North Platte, Nebraska. 

The city is located in the southwest corner of Nebraska, situated along the I-80 corridor, where the North and South Platte Rivers converge. The population is around 25,000, and it appeared to me to be the only decent sized town for miles. There were the typical Walmart, Target, Applebees, etc that one expects to find in any mid-sized town.

North Platte has two claims to fame. First it was the home of Buffalo Bill Cody. Second it has the largest rail yard in the world.

Scout’s Rest Ranch

We toured both and rapidly ran out of things to do. Not being shoppers, cruising the stores was not an option.

Buffalo Bill

The rail yard

Referred by a local gal, we attempted a hike. The area near the North Platte river was little more than a horse path, and was quite over grown, and could be in no means be termed a hiking trail. Hiking denied!

This is about as much Nature as I could muster up

One evening we decided to try the only brewery in the area, Pals Brewery. The brews were good and the nachos were delicious. I was surprised they were not busy, it was Friday night prime time and business was sluggish despite the good food and drink and decent prices. I guess the brew pub craze has not yet reached the area.

Yum!

Great nachos!

 

As I reflect upon my stay a few things come to mind. I did not find the residents to be overly friendly or  upbeat. This town seems to me to be kind of stuck in the 1990’s or something. There is a vibe of boredom or dullness that permeates the area.

If you are a person who pines for the past, don’t need much entertainment, and are not outdoorsy, this may be just the place for you.

I, for one, and I am sure Bruce will agree, find no need to return. I have been there, done that, and am ready to travel west to Colorado.

Catch me if you can!

Fall 2017 Traveling West- Part 1 Iowa

Did you know a young fellow named Grinnell, was once told  “Go west young man?”

He did, found Iowa, settled, and named a town and a liberal arts college after himself.

I can see why he stayed and made it his home.

Iowa is one of those quiet and unpretentious states.

You know, the kind that don’t get a lot of attention despite being quite charming.  I believe the Iowans like it that way, and prefer it stays just as it is.

Corn forever

Iowa has a population of around 3,100,000. It is neither a red or a blue state in their political leanings, but rather a purple one. I got the feeling the inhabitants have a kind of “you do your thing, I’ll do mine, and we will all be happy.” Meet in the middle and all that good stuff. Solid, friendly people in small town settings were what I found.

The landscape is much hillier than I thought. Beautiful rolling fields of corn and soy beans dominate the view. I cannot possibly see how anyone could think it was less than magnificent with the John Deere green tractors pulling in the harvest.

John Deere rules here


We spent about 3 days in the state. I could have easily stayed longer.

Upon arrival at a small RV park in Kellogg IA, directly off from I 80, we quickly set up camp in order to get to the local sports pub to catch the Lions game. All TV’s were occupied when we got there, but one kind Iowan relinquished his game so we could watch ours with another Michigan couple who were also traveling through the area. The Lions lost, but it was a good game with a couple cold beers and a pizza to accompany it.

Post game antics

Beautiful location for a sunrise right in front of the rig

The next morning we enjoyed a great sunrise and set out to explore the area. We drove a few miles to Rock Creek State Park to get our hike on.

Mother Nature had other plans.

After 20 minutes out we determined it was too buggy, hot, and sticky to continue, dang!

We sat by the lake and enjoyed the drama the geese we creating instead. Afterward we left for nearby the nearby town of Newton for a less buggy urban hike on one of the towns greenways, lunch, and a trip to Walmart for supplies.

Come back Bruce!

Tranquility

The following day we opted for a 30 minute drive to Des Moines, the state capital, to see what it had to offer. With a population of around 100,000 it reminded me of my hometown, Kalamazoo MI, with it’s expanding downtown and funky vibe in the East Village area. 

The capitol building was stunning. I made a mental note to check out all capitol buildings when I am in their towns to see if any could possibly compare to this one.

Can you find all 5 domes?

The library

The only 5 domed capitol building in the US, it is filled with stained glass ceilings, marbles stairs and columns, shiny polished staircases, and artwork. There was so much to look at my eyes could barely take it all in. We saw the Senate chambers, however the senators were not working for whatever reason that day.  We were permitted to see the House chambers also, some folks were working, but it appeared to be lunch time and not many were present.

After exploring all 3 floors and receiving a personal tour of the Secretary of State office, we were becoming quite hungry and thirsty. Sightseeing can be tough work!

After a great tip from one of the workers in the office, we walked out of the capitol and straight onto Locust Street and the East Village. Travel tip, always check with the locals to find out where they enjoy eating, drinking, and recreating.

Go west!

East Village and downtown

Like most mid-sized American cities Des Moines had an area that is undergoing a revival of sorts. Old buildings full of history were scheduled to be demolished, but a group of  civic-minded citizens set about saving them, and luckily for all of us were successful in their venture.

Many eateries, drinkatoriums, and shops were available to choose from, and with a bit of help from google we found the Iowa Taproom which features only Iowa brews and also some tasty lunch specials.

Yummy food and drink

After lunch we decided on a riverwalk stroll, but to our disappointment, it was also under renovation, so we opted for a walk to another establishment for a cold beer before we left town for the day.

Sheryle is bullish on Iowa

The next morning dawned bright and clear.

Beautiful weather for another spectacular sunrise compliments of Mother Nature. We readied the rig for travel, and set about leaving the fine state of Iowa to continue our journey west. Next stop Nebraska!

Goodbye Iowa, you will always hold a special place in our thoughts and memories.

Until we meet again…

 

A Season of Change…

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The long, languid days of late summer are transforming into crisp and colorful ones. It seems September has once again caught us.

The children, decked out in their new fall attire, wonder what discoveries will await them as the new school year approaches.

The college football fans sport colors of  Maize and Blue or Spartan Green every Saturday as they cheer their favorites teams to victory.

The leaves redefine themselves from the dark green of August, to an explosion of red and gold.

September signals a time of change. Just as instinctively as nature senses transition, so do humans.

From my work in the wellness field, I have observed there are three major times a year when people really contemplate making changes.

  • New Years-Beginning of the new year; gotta get on those changes!
  • Spring-Oh crap, spring break is just around the corner; gotta get beach ready!
  • September-It’s time

There is just something about September….I have noticed people tend to be more successful with changes, lifestyle or others, in September.

Perhaps it is the more relaxed atmosphere. Or maybe, we just have more time to ourselves, with the busy-ness of summer behind us. And for some, we may return to those long forgotten New Years resolutions with new and readjusted eyes.

For me, it’s time to get back to work. On this blog. On my running program. On my travels.

Join me this fall as I travel west to Colorado for fall, and south to Texas to enjoy the winter months.

And while you anxiously await my next blog post and the insights I may have…

…imagine making a few changes of your own as we navigate through the remainder of 2017 on this amazing journey we call life.

See ya next time….img_5004-4

 

A Day in the Week (end)

The Weekend-

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I just like this pic and saying

Oh the weekend! Just as I feel the universal negative vibes on Monday, I also feel the positive energy the weekend provides.

Like many distance runners, I utilize the energy of Saturday morning for my long run. Then I get on with my weekend. A bit of leisure, some social time, some sports watching, a couple cocktails, and some junk style food.

Today concludes my series on “A Day in the Week.” Writing daily posts (my process takes several hours for about 1000 words and a few pics, how am I ever going to write a book!?) is proving a challenge. I will be taking a small break to get this rig spring cleaned, and ready to head north. See you in a couple weeks

I will leave you with a few pics of a typical Florida weekend for us.

Enjoy your weekend and stay present in the moment…

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I call this guy “rogue rooster”, he flew the coop just like me

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A legend concert; Mr.  Willie Nelson!

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Festival!

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Maybe a dip in the pool

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Flea market finds

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shopping truck

 

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The Universe likes to leave me reminders of home

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Love this glass

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The mall, only if I have to!

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Live your life…

A Week in the Life

Friday-Game Day

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It’s game day, St Paddy’s Day, and Grandma D’s birthday all rolled into one. Oh glory, it’s gonna be a good day.

We have been anticipating this game for a couple months now, but first things first. Time to get up, drink some coffee, watch some news, and as we like to call it, get around for the day. I woke up late, a reoccuring theme this week, darn time change. So I am feeling somewhat rushed this morning.

By the time I get up, Bruce is already up, full of coffee, and preparing our snacks for tailgaiting. We like to take a cooler of snacks and water, so we don’t have to purchase overpriced ones, another plan of ours to enjoy life with minimal expense. It can be done, one just has to work at it.

We are allowed to take a bag, and some unopened bottled water into the stadium, last year you could bring unopened snacks as well, but new security measures do not allow it. Security or money? C’mon I fail to see how my unopened bag of pretzels poses any more of a security threat than my unopened water, but ok, whatever…

We get everything ready to roll, pack up the truck and head inland about 45 minutes to the city of Lakeland FL, and Joker Marchant Stadium, spring training home of the Tigers. After a quick stop to pick up some beer for our tailgaiting, we enjoy the backroad drive.

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such a beautiful stadium setting

It is already busy even though we arrive an hour early. Tiger’s baseball is huge here, and the Yankees are no slouch, so it’s packed, a sold out game. We enjoy some snacks, some people -watching  (one of my fave hobbies, people are such fascinating creatures!) and a cold one before we head in.

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Plenty for the kids to do

We make it a point to come to spring training at least once a year when in FL. We usually come when there is a split squad and an un-Yankee team. We paid premium dollar for this game, $15. Once cleared through security, we take a wander around the stadium to check it out. They have been doing renovations for the last year, and it looks fantastic.

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the berm

The berm, a large grassy hill off the outfield, is where our “seats” are. I say “seats” because there are no seats in the berm. If you are a sitting type, you can bring a blanket to toss on the grass. If you are like us and enjoy standing and wandering, they have installed a ledge around most of it up above the grassy area, where you can catch a lean and have a place to set your drink.

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The ledge, this part has seating

We always buy cheap seats. Why? We never stay in them. It’s just way more fun, for us, to walk around and explore. And the seats are mostly in full sun here. And the sun always is blazing here in Florida.

There are a few food vendors on the berm, a full bar, and several beer stands. They have also installed a large roof over the area to provide shade. Which is a blessing every time we attend a game it is hot, hot, hot. We grab a beer, find some shade out beyond centerfield, and the National Anthem begins with the beautiful American Flag waving in the wind. The National Anthem always makes me tear up, I don’t know why. I guess I am more patriotic than I would like to believe.

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green uniform day

Game on! We watch the first few lackadaisical innings, me enjoying my beer and people watching, occasionally remembering to watch the game, and Bruce happily chatting with some gentleman about stats and such. This is generally how it goes. Bruce can easily talk to anyone, he has never met a stranger, and it’s ok with me. I talk (listen) to him a lot! It gives me a chance to wander off into my own mind, breathe, and enjoy the sun on my face.

When I am in these moments, I really want to be in the moment, and use all my senses to enhance the experience. Seeing the packed stands, the beautiful stadium, the bright blue sky. Hearing the fans, the kids, the announcers, the cheers, the crack as the bat meets the ball. Smelling the popcorn, the hot dogs, the sweat. Tasting the beer and popcorn. Feeling the warm sun on my skin. Try it sometime. Try it now. You can do it anywhere.

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a  new scoreboard

The game remains so-so. Not much happening. We finish our beer and move on to check out the other side of the berm. Seems even the crowd is somewhat subdued. Usually there is general rowdiness going on, but I am seeing none of this today. Security is very tight, and everytime it looks like someone is going to cut loose, they crowd around him or her. Geez, it is St. Paddy’s day. Lighten up little.

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me and my sweetie

We did find a friendly officer, I guess we didn’t pose too much of a threat, who saw us struggling to take a selfie. He was kind enough to help us out. Thanks Officer Rose of the Lakeland police force.

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Officer Rose

The Yankees score a few runs, the Tigers do not. We drink our water, wander, get another beer, enjoy some chats, and the game is over. It is a multi-pitcher no-hitter. Yankees win. It might be a long season for the Tiger’s if someone doesn’t light a fire under their ass. We will be attending a regular season game with the Tampa Bay Rays in April. I hope to see a better performance. Win or lose…it’s always a good time.

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Yummy!

The state of Florida has very bad traffic, and very bad drivers. And it’s St Paddy’s day. We were going to hang around Lakeland, but it just didn’t seem like a great idea today. We headed back to Tampa, to our favorite dive bar, Koozies, for a St Paddy’s day feast of wings and seasoned fries. They offered us corned beef and cabbage, but when I go to Koozies, I simply must have wings. They are the best I have found, and I have had wings in many states and places.

The sun in the heat of the day, combined with a full belly,  and a few beers, left us feeling drowsy. We decided to conclude our day with a movie at home, Grumpy Old Men Part 2. I love that movie. Walter Matthau, oh you are the best. Then it’s nighty, night.

Happy Birthday Grandma D. I love you….

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A Week in the Life

Thursdaybargain shopping

Tomorrow is a Tiger’s spring training game day. Tiger’s vs Yankees, and I haven’t a thing to wear. A day of bargain shopping, my latest hobby, is in order. Bruce and I will venture to Wesley Chapel, an upscale community in the Tampa Bay area.  Rule #1 when bargain shopping is to find the most upscale place around and head to their second hand stores. This is where I have the best luck finding quality items.

After breakfast and a quick walk, we loaded the cooler with some cold waters and out the door we went. Time to get away from the park for a while. Sometimes I pack a lunch when we venture out for the day, but today we are throwing caution to the wind and eating out.

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usually I buy dollar store glasses

I was supposed to have an eye appointment, but due to an insurance glitch, I do not have coverage in FL, so we can begin shopping nice and early. I mentioned earlier in the week it is spring break here, and in other parts of the  south, and it’s chilly today. If they can’t go to the beach, they are gonna be out shopping. It will be busy, and I need to swing by the mall.

I need a new pair of running shoes and I can save about $30 a pair if I go to the outlet mall here in Tampa vs the overpriced running store at home. The mall is very close to the upscale resale shops I need to go to. It is also a very lovely mall, as malls go, and is set up in a nice tropical outside atmosphere.

 

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my collection of Asics gel nimbus’s. I still use them all! 

I do not enjoy mall shopping at all. Even in nice tropical locations! I know the exact place I need to go and exactly what I need. We park and head directly to the Asics store, a quick stop by the Crocs store, and we are out of there.

Off to lunch at McDonald’s. What? Did you not think we ate McDonalds? I love McDonalds. It is my junk food palace. We do approach it sensibly. Since one bad experience with a giant big mac meal and a huge chocolate shake which resulted in longish afternoon nap, we have cut back somewhat.

Here’s a frugal tip: At the bottom of your Mcdonald’s receipt is an offer to take a survey. If you take the survey, just a few minutes long, you get a code to get a BOGO quarter pounder or egg mcmuffin. We usually have a survey coupon, but not today, so we ordered sandwiches off the dollar menu, shared a large fry, and had a couple waters. $6 lunch. Refreshed, we head off to the Salvation Army and Goodwill stores.

Both of the resale stores are set up nicely in beautiful buildings. And they are competitive with one another, which keeps things very nice for the consumer. Plenty of staff on hand to help you out (I get better service here than most upscale regular stores). And it smells good. Some resale shops smell less than nice.

We start with the Salvation Army. We should have come on Wednesday, half-price day, but it’s Thursday. I am searching for an orange t-shirt, size medium. The SA store has everything organized by type and color, but not size. The only disadvantage it has over the Goodwill store is you really have to check closely for stains on the clothing here. I go through the t-shirts, grab an armful, none of the orange ones fit, but I find a nice pink one, what the heck. It’s $1.99. Dang, I could have got it for a buck yesterday. I bite the bullet and pay full price.

Off to the Goodwill. This store is huge, they have everything. The shirts are all displayed together, but according to size here. I scan through to find any shade of orange. There are so many clothes crammed onto the rack, it is tough to get to them. I grab a few orangy t-shirts and head back to try them on. I find one that fits great, and feels great. I do not know fashion, I do not know designer names, I do not care about that stuff, but I do know  the feel of a quality made item. and this shirt feels great. It also has one of those locking devices on it so I know it must be a designer tee. I sheepishly tell Bruce I must pay $7.99 for my orange t-shirt. The above pic shows how it all comes together, but the result takes many, many trips to the dressing room. I am shopped out.

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dinner is served

We return home and throw together a quick pot of chili. I have not made it on the stove top in many years. Usually make it in the crock-pot. It was really tasty, and took very little time to prepare with my sous chef helping out. A pan of cornbread, and we are good to go.

Following dinner and clean-up, it’s out the door. Our timing is such that our nightly walks coincide with the sunset, so off into the sunset we go…

See you tomorrow. Game day!

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