One Year Full Timing

One year ago today we started out full time in our RV. We left the DFW area and spent the fall and part of the winter in Port Aransas as work campers.

mh-ee

We left Port Aransas in January to go back to Dallas area to take care of my daughter that was having some medical issues. Stayed in DFW until February and headed to Lake Murray in Oklahoma to work at the state park. That only lasted a few days because what they told us via email and phone was much different than when we arrived. We left Oklahoma and visited a few friends and family in East Texas and headed to Marathon in far west Texas in March. We worked in Marathon for 6 months and went down the road to Alpine where we are now.

Dislikes about RV life: We don’t have a tow vehicle yet, so we have to drive separate now. Hopefully that will change soon, but the pickup has come in handy for extra storage. Laundry is somewhat a chore since we don’t have a W/D in the motor home.

Likes: Great way to live on the cheap. Where we park is our home with great views, and if want to change views we move. Having to leave and take care of family allows us flexibility and keeps us out of hotels. Working as we travel allows us to stay as long as we wish and really get to know the town and enjoy everything there is to offer.

Work Camping experience: The job can be much different than explained to you. A lot of parks take advantage of you and have you work much more than needed for your hookups. Ask a lot of questions and get the job description in writing as well as the expected hours.

Conclusion: Its a great way to see places that you have always wanted to visit. We have met some interesting people and made some great friends. Where we are at now it gives us the chance to experience the Big Bend area for as long as we want. Most visit for a few days and have to leave. There is a lot to see and do and living here gives us the flexibility to take it all in. We love the lifestyle and plan on continuing and traveling to more places in the future.

 

Work Week in Alpine

With the owners out of town, today was our first day to handle everything. Things went pretty smooth. We are getting used to the Airbnb site where all the properties are listed. This is a lot different than any job we have had in the past, but I feel we are going to really like it. There is a lot of different tasks to do during a day so it’s not just one thing over and over.

We went to Marathon to visit some friends. We picked up our mail, some fresh eggs, and watched them feed some donkeys.

thumbnail_IMG_6500
Here is the kids feeding the donkeys some carrots.

Then it was back to Alpine to take in a baseball game. Even though the Cowboys lost we had a great time!!

Alpine, Tx. Our New Home

Marathon is in our rear view mirror. We are now in the “big” city of Alpine about 30 miles west and are working at a property management firm who handles mainly vacation/business rentals. The office is only 5 minutes away and we can work from home as needed.

alpine txAlpine is the county seat of Brewster county, the largest county in Texas and is nestled in the foothills of the Davis mountains. Home of Sul Ross State University, Amtrak Sunset Limited rail station, Kokernot Field (home of the Alpine Cowboys Baseball team), several great restaurants, and more! Plus higher elevation and trees…yes we have trees which are a welcome change.

 

 

Chili Cookoff

We had a chili cook off this July 4th weekend at the RV park. People started showing up on Wednesday. We met some great people from all over. New Mexico, California, and of course Texas. This was an official CASI cook off (official chili group) so cooks receive points to be able to go to the World Famous Terlingua cook off in the Fall. We both were asked to be judges. It was so much fun!!

IMG_4978
The cook off benefited the Marathon Volunteer Fire Dept.

IMG_4983

IMG_4982
Some of the locals just showed up to cook steaks, ribs, and more. It was great food!!
IMG_4980
Here is some of the ladies cooking their chili.
IMG_4986
Silent auction in the courtyard. Our bid won 3 of the items.
IMG_5021
The first place trophy.
IMG_4979
A very nice couple we got to know from San Angelo. They even gave us some chili before they left.
IMG_4995
Cooks turning in their chili.
IMG_4997
This is one of the many judges tables preparing to judge the chili.

You judge the chili on Aroma, Consistency, Red Color, Taste, and Aftertaste.

IMG_5000
Judges give the chili a score from 1-10
IMG_5010
Judge Laurie
IMG_4975
Getting Ready to taste
IMG_5004
Love the Hat!!
IMG_4977
Plenty of cheese, water, chips, and of course beer.

IMG_5016

IMG_5019
Even the law was here
IMG_5026
It wasn’t only chili, they had salsa and bean competition.  Here is one of the salsa winners.
IMG_5032
Another winner.
IMG_5044
The Winner…. from Odessa

 

 

Moon over Agave

Been a hot day, the hottest yet this summer. 99-100 depending on where you were, a little breeze but still hot. Walked around a bit before it got dark.

Agave
We have a huge agave on the entrance-about 25-30 feet and still growing. Moon in the background, with a train passing by.

Making Walking Sticks

I saw some homemade walking sticks in a state park recently and decided I could make them myself. When we were in East Texas earlier in the year I harvested a few red cedar limbs for this purpose. The bark was stripped off a few months ago and put up to dry out a little. After arriving in the Big Bend I learned that the yucca plants have a flower stalk that makes a great light weight but tough walking stick. Like East Texas has plenty of red cedar, the Big Bend has an abundance of yucca.

FullSizeRender(92)
The flower stalk in the middle blooms every year and then dies. Right after it blooms and drops the seed pods is the right time to harvest for a walking stick.

The flower stalk is not a wood, so no grain shows up when staining them, but they are very light weight and will last a long time. The texture is very tough and durable.

FullSizeRender(89)
Here is one I just cut and started removing the top layer as seen here on the bottom part.
FullSizeRender(91)
As almost all plants out in the desert there are thorns to remove.
IMG_6349
This is a close up after the top layer was removed with my pocket knife.
IMG_6350
A pile of the top layer of the yucca stalk
IMG_6356
Finished stripping it down. This piece is about 6 ft long.

FullSizeRender(93)

More later when I have a few totally finished. You can customize them with medallions, lanyards, carvings, and more. We will see how creative I get.(probably not much)