11/30/05: Mary Esther, FL: The other day, we had a "Boomer" fix! Bob and Nancy Colbert are friends we've met through the Escapee Boomers group. They noticed we were in Florida and they were passing this way. We met them for Brunch the other day and caught up on what we've each been doing. Seems they won't be going to Quartzsite this winter either. It's always great meeting old and new friends on the road. At work we continue to have employee issues. We hire a new employee, they work and train for a day or two, then quit! We try to be up front with them on what is expected and how physically demanding the job is. Oh well - only 30 days left with this hassle! Work has been taking up almost all of our time, so there's nothing exciting to report on. Since this has been a pretty boring month for the travel log, here's a few pictures of our campsite and Hickory Farms "store".
11/24/05: Mary Esther, FL: Happy Thanksgiving! This is our first holiday season away from family and we're missing them. When we were in the Air Force, at least we had our own kids with us. This season, it's just the two of us. We plan to enjoy a small turkey dinner and go watch the new Harry Potter movie today. Many of our RV friends, mainly from the Escapee Boomers group, always get together in Arizona for the holidays. We're missing the fried turkey's they're having in the desert near Yuma, AZ. Many from the group will also get together again for Christmas and New Year's. Last year, we spent New Year's with them. It's a great feeling to be out in nature, completely free, and bring in the New Year. We'll join our friends and family in Arizona again next year.
We're getting into a regular routine with Hickory Farms now. Luckily, our campground is only 2 miles away from our store. Since we only have one vehicle and we're working different shifts, we need to take each other back and forth to work. We also have a couple more new employees to start training next week. Hopefully, they'll work out and we can reduce the hours we've been working. Between the two of us, we've been working over 90 hours a week. But the harder we work, the greater our rewards. The greater our rewards, the more we can enjoy the upcoming 6 months with total freedom traveling. We had planned to go to Key West, FL, after New Year's. But the Navy campground we were going to stay at is currently closed because of the recent hurricanes. We're keeping an eye on it, as there's a chance it'll be open again by mid January. Commercial campgrounds in the Keys are very expensive. We'll work something out, as our daughter Leslie and her husband Andy are coming to visit us in January. They recently became SCUBA certified and want to dive in the beautiful waters near Key West. We're looking forward to their visit.
11/17/05: Mary Esther, FL: Sorry. I know you're probably reading this log for travel information. But since we're stopped to work for the next six weeks, we won't have any travel info to report on. Unlike when we workamped in Lake George, NY, we won't have any time to explore the local area. We don't have the same days off. Actually, Larry hasn't had a day off and today is Connie's first day off. We're working our tails off! Our main problem has been finding employees. We have hired a few people, but one worked 5 hours and quit! It was too hard for her to stand up for that long. We have another new person starting tomorrow. We still need a couple more good sales people that will stay for the next six weeks. Without the help, it's up to Connie (40 hour limit) and I to cover the hours. This area of the USA is experiencing great economic growth. The unemployment is less than 2%, and over 21,000 new people/jobs are coming into the area in the next few years, primarily due to military base realignments. Although the hurricanes have caused a lot of damage lately, it's also caused great economic opportunities.
11/11/05: Mary Esther, FL: Happy Veterans Day! Give us back our freedom! I've been reminded why WORK is a four letter word. This past week has involved setting up our kiosk, then stocking it the next day, and being open for the past couple days. Since we're having problems finding new employees, it's just been Connie and I. That means long hours. The hardest part is standing all day. We do have one new employee starting Monday, and maybe another soon. So there's some help around the corner. We're already budgeted for and sales goals are based on a staff of 6. I hope we get fully staffed soon. Then we can return to a normal 40 - 45 hours work week. Our nightly motivation is thinking of the pay. Since Larry is in a management position, he's allowed to work over 40 hours a week and gets paid overtime. Connie is limited to 40 hours and doesn't get overtime. Since we don't have time for anything else, this 2 months additional income will greatly help our budget. Now if I can just get my sore feet to adjust.
11/06/05: Mary Esther, FL: Happy 27th Anniversary to us - 2 days ago! About 7 years ago, we started a little game for our anniversary. We would take turns surprising each other to a "special" experience. It actually got a little out of hand, but was still fun. It started on our 20th anniversary, when Larry surprised Connie to a morning hot air balloon ride, complete with a champagne breakfast. Our 21st was a weekend trip to a B&B on Catalina Island in California. The 22nd was a B&B in Sedona Arizona, and our 23rd anniversary was spent in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Our 24th anniversary was a romantic week in Hawaii. Unfortunately, we skipped doing anything real special on our 25th, as this was the same year Larry got laid-off from work. This was a combination work/fun trip. We went to Florida, then California for training with Southeast Publications (which didn't work out for us), with a stop-over in Las Vegas. However, we made up for it on our 26th by touring a corner of Australia in a RV. For this year, we claim our recent vacation to Niagara Falls as our anniversary trip.
Today's our last day of relaxing freedom. We'll setup our Hickory Farms kiosk tomorrow, and will open it in a couple days. We haven't been dong very much this past week. Mostly playing games and revising the photo gallery on this website. Although not yet finished, it's fun to look at the old photos and reminisce. It's hard to think we were that young once! We created and maintain this website primarily for 4 reasons. 1) To help others understand this unique lifestyle. We were "wannabes" once and want to help others who are thinking of going fulltime in their RV. 2) To keep family informed of what we're doing and where we are. 3) To log our adventures for our own sake. We love to look back at what we've done and where we've been, reliving it all over again. 4) It's a fun hobby.
We were excited when we received news that we'll be grandparents next year. We keep saying one of the benefits of this lifestyle is the freedom. This includes the freedom to change plans. Of course, we've changed our tentative plans for next year. But this also meant letting our potential workamper employers at Mt. Rushmore know that we wouldn't be available until July. July is the middle of the tourist season and usually too late to start a summer position. We weren't too worried, as we knew we could find something, somewhere. And if not, we'd just dig into savings a bit. We hadn't heard back from them, so we figured that was a dead end now. Surprise! We recently heard from them and they're offering us positions starting in July! They're sending us the job offer and details in the mail. Once we receive and review it, we may accept workamper positions near Mt. Rushmore for next summer!