Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Every year around Thanksgiving I gather my thoughts and think about what I am grateful for. Perhaps, more importantly, it forces me to think of the things I should be grateful for. Loss of friends and family is inevitable as we age, but more and more my grief is tempered by the time I had with them. I am grateful for that. I am grateful for the teachings my parents imparted to me. We seem to be well liked here as a result of that. We have received gifts from the landowner and oil company people here. Something they didn't have to do. I am grateful for that. My parents also instilled in me a sense of adventure and wonderment. I have traveled and wandered a lot and have been enriched in doing so. I am grateful for that. I sometimes take the love and concern people have for me for granted. That is something I should be more grateful for. I also should be more grateful for the time I've had on this earth and treat each day accordingly. Now a little off script. All of us should be grateful for the wonderful country we live in. Everyone of us should take this time of difficulty and find ways that we can make positive changes to ensure its continued greatness. Grass root movements have fueled change in this country since its inception. Let's be grateful that we have the system in which we can make changes that benefit us all. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Air Conditioning Again

Our rear basement heat pump went out in late 2009. The repairman said it was a bad compressor. Finances and finding someone to repair it took till summer 2011. The repairman in 2009 missed a leak in the tubing which was repaired then. After servicing the unit it ran for about two hours before it started blowing the circuit breaker. The repairman returned and diagnosed it as a compressor failure. Estimates to repair it were costly, to say the least. I then started researching where to find a compressor for a reasonable price. I finally found a compressor (by that time we had relocated to Texas) and a "jack leg" to install it. After the unit was flushed and serviced we fired it up and the fan blew! After much searching I located a fan and had it installed. Finally, we seem to have a working heat pump. Perseverance is a must, especially when dealing with equipment that is no longer manufactured.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Have You Got The Itch?

A lot of my readers (and non readers) want to know if they can live the RV lifestyle- sort of leave the 9-5 grind behind. Unless you have some sort of second income, savings or are well off the answer is no. But; if you're willing to work a modified 9-5 grind, there is indeed a way to do it. It's called workamping and if you're reasonably healthy, you can do it. It involves working at a wide variety of places, including National Parks, campgrounds and even malls. You have to find a reliable recreational vehicle, such as a motorhome or 5th wheel. In today's economy that is pretty easy, especially if you look into the used market. We even have friends that do it in a "pop-up"-basically a tent on a small trailer. I don't recommend that, since you will be living in the vehicle. Once you have an RV, you have to find work. Almost all workamping positions and hiring are done via the Internet. Google American Land and Leisure, Workers on Wheels, Happy Vagabonds, Woodalls, etc. just to name a few. Also, is one of the preeminent sites used to find work  . Some of the more unique positions for couples is gate guarding oil rigs, mini storage units and idle industrial properties. Some of the positions require a moderate amount of exertion. You might have to do some cleaning or yard work, for instance. But; you can do it in some of the most desirable and beautiful places in America.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Real Boon Docking

We asked for two days off when the rig moved and the company honored our request. Unfortunately the company also thought that if we were going to be off they weren't going to provide support. Things like septic, water and electric. Times like these are when I'm glad I own a Class A motor home. We have a generator, holding tanks and freshwater on board. So we are now sitting in another cow pasture two miles off the paved road. We also had to relocate our self (the company also didn't help with that). This is truly boon docking-off road and no support what so ever. We are proud how proficient we have become. Up and moving within a few hours and set up just as fast. Shoot- we tune in the satellite in 10 minutes! Level out and set up the coach in less than an hour. Not to long ago, I wouldn't have dared take this motor home off road and certainly not have been as comfortable boon docking like we are now.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

RV Upkeep

Because of money issues; and some procrastination, we had put some repairs on the back burner. The things needed to keep us running took priority too. Maintaining an RV, especially a diesel pusher can get expensive. I maintain that if you take care of it it won't eat you alive. Still, there is a mystique out there that a diesel pusher is expensive to take care of. Now that we have a little more income we are starting down the repair trail. I thought we'd share some of the problems we have had. Keep in mind the coach is 16 years old. We had put off a main seal leak on the engine-count on  spending $300-500 if you run into that. Before we came south we replaced the air filter-around $75-and changed the engine oil and filters-around $80--100 if you do it your self. We also changed the desiccant filter for the air compressor-another $100. When you have air suspension and brakes you don't want to skimp on that. The rear air cost us a little less than a $1000 to repair. We have basement air/heat pumps (unlike most RVs which have them on the roof) and they are similar to a home unit. Ours are no longer made and finding parts and techs to work on them is difficult. The control board(s) for the refrigerator and the water heater went out-they're around $100 each. Still to come, the front end needs checked and aligned and a minor oil leak needs addressed on the engine. We have had the coach for almost four years and, given its age, we are satisfied with the upkeep expense. For those of you wanting to take advantage of the soft RV market, have a reliable RV tech look the prospective coach over along with a chassis guy (they are two different things on an RV) and you will avoid a lot of expense. We should be down to an annual oil and lube before too long!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

On the Move

Looks like we'll be moving in the next 5-7 days. We are pleased and surprised that the rig has asked us to follow them as they punch holes in the Texas soil. They will be drilling locally for some time, so at least we'll remain in the area. This is a great bunch of people and we're willing to move, if that's what they want. Besides, it will allow us to exercise the RV and afford us a change of scenery. Who knows, we may get closer to town. This is just another facet of workamping or gate guarding. You have to be willing to adapt as conditions change. One good thing, we think we can get a day or two off during the move. Mo later!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Are you Prepared?

Doing this gate guarding thing has made me reflect on how important it is to be prepared. Americans think nothing of jumping into their car and driving a few miles to purchase something; perceived as necessary-or not. My parents drummed into my head the importance of combining trips and having a list when going out. Living and working out of your RV and doing it off the grid almost makes this imperative. Lest you weekend warriors think this is a little anal; I cannot count the times someone has asked to borrow something from us at a campground. Or how many trips we've seen campers make to the store. The forgotten things include such necessities as stakes, fuses, dump hoses, flashlights, a first aid kit, pots and pans-you name it. Come on people; there are many sites that can help you put a list together. The benefits will be less frustration for you, a happy neighbor and less fuel waste. Plus you'll have a peaceful weekend and keep your partner off of the warpath.