A&A Week 45 Life Updates | Special Announcement
End of Week #45
Verde Ranch RV Resort, Camp Verde AZ
Miles traveled since last week's post = 0
Total miles traveled to date = 6,909 with trailer
Welcome to our last week in Camp Verde! It's been a weird mix of feeling like the time to leave would never come, and at the same time feeling like I don't want to ever leave - but now we are both ready. Per usual, we have been doing a lot of hiking, but as of recently trails have started to close in Sedona and it's unsure if they will in other places too. Plus while we were on a really long hike in Sedona yesterday I lost my most favorite zip up sweatshirt from another favorite city (Ouray, CO) and I'm so emotionally distraught about it I'm feeling ready to leave this place and move onto the next. :(
We have been making the best of our time - spending a lot more time on video calls with friends and family, which has been really nice. Last week we also drove down to Phoenix one last time and ended up hiking Flat Iron Peak in the Superstition Mountains, which was the most insane and difficult hike we have done to date. We also took a trip out to Prescott (near Jerome) and checked out Watson Lake before having the most strange Costco experience of our lives. But we stocked up on a lot more essentials and should be good for awhile now while we ride out more unknowns.
More RV "friends" have started to leave the park and a lot of new ones have came in. Our new neighbors to the side of us have been full time for a few years and the husband is from England. They have been quite entertaining to watch through the windows and talk to too, ha! And the weather has been truly exceptional lately - barely cold enough to have to run the electric heater at night, and mid-high 70's and sunny during the day, AKA the Arizona we know and love best.
But onto bigger news, as there is a lot more we have on our plate right now and are dealing with on an emotional and physical level than just the same old same old of hiking, eating, and binge-watching Netflix...
A&A Special Announcement
*I've also made a video IGTV (Instagram TV) update to provide the same details as below. Feel free to check that out instead of reading, or in addition to reading along. You can find the link here.*
If you've been following along with our story and my weekly posts, then you're aware that earlier this year I did a lot of planning for our travels, routes, and stops for the entire year. I mentioned that we were seriously planning to stop back through South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin to see family and friends as we make our way through the rest of the west half of the country. This was something we were both really excited about and looking forward too - envisioning ourselves on the farm in South Dakota with my grandparents and aunt and uncle (& cousins) again, going to the MN State Fair, and hanging out in the woods of Stone Lake, WI. It was a goal, a destination for the end of summer, and I spent hours and hours planning our route to get there and every stop we would go to along the way - including for how long we would stay at each stop. I had a plan.
But life always throws you a curveball just when you think you have things figured out, doesn't it? A few months ago, in mid February, we came across an opportunity in one of our RV Facebook groups for what's called a 'workamping job'. As a quick sidenote, a workamping job is essentially a job at an RV campground of some sort (private/chain/state park/national park) where you work xx amount of hours in exchange for a free site for a duration of time. In some cases you actually get paid for all hours worked and may even have other free amenities. Most positions are seasonal in summer or winter and last for around 4 months. This particular workamping job that we came across was for a free site in a park normally priced around $60 per night, all hookups, free laundry, free WiFi, free firewood, and every hour worked was also paid an hourly wage for both of us. It was also in northern California, one mile from the coast off highway 1, and IN the Redwoods Forest. Basically it was like hitting the jackpot in the workamping world - and it was the golden ticket to an opportunity in California that we otherwise wouldn't got to have at all. It's pretty well known in the RV community that camping and traveling through California is not very affordable, especially in prime locations.
So we came across this opportunity and basically just to see what would happen we applied for it. We had our phone interview, with the both of us on the line, and got an offer for the job later that same afternoon. At that point I was in a bit of shock and almost felt like I bit off more than I could chew as I was immediately hit with waves of fear, guilt and sadness at the thought of not being able to see all the friends and family I planned on seeing this year, and also at the thought of having to adjust and change all of our travel plans. Adam was on board since day one and felt it was a great opportunity to pause, to work and "do something" as he put it, and also a chance to build up our financial nest egg. I had to sleep on it to truly knew what felt right in my heart, and when I woke up the next morning I knew my answer. It was right. It felt right. It felt like an extremely exciting thing for us to do and it felt like my inner child was screaming at me to take this chance to finally live in California - and an area we had never been to!
We really only told our parents to start as it felt too early yet to really share the details yet, but I spent even more time making adjustments to our travel routes to include about a month and a half of solid travel over the course of about 11-12 destinations. These destinations included meeting up with friends in Santa Fe, meeting up with friends in Las Vegas, and again in Palm Springs. Then in early March the Corona Virus blew up and everything changed.
As of recent, places have started shutting down right and left for us. Now we are looking at about 2 weeks of travel and about 3-4 stops to make our way there. We first got a phone call from our campground near Las Vegas, and an update from a place in Utah we were going to stop at on the way there. Then our plans with our friends in Palm Springs were completely cancelled too and all of the nearby National Parks we were going to stop at closed to the public. Pre-virus we had already made a slight adjustment to remove a few stops including Santa Fe, but that was before any of the chaos started. It was again one of those things that turned out to be the right choice in the long run as it kept us put in one place while the world unfolded into mass chaos around us.
For several weeks now we have been uncertain how this would all even play out. Most of the entire state of California is shut down, including all state parks, most National Parks, and a LOT of privately and chain owned RV parks. Even free public BLM land is closing to RVers, causing huge disruptions in California and all over the country for people like us that travel fulltime and live in their RV and have no "home" to return to. I also started to develop a lot of fear around traveling from one state to another, especially having Minnesota plates on our van and trailer, and I have been getting more and more worried about being pulled over or stopped and having to explain ourselves or deal with authorities.
But we have been in contact with our managers several times in the past few weeks and received a well detailed update from them a few days ago stating that everything is still as planned. As the park is not even set to open until early-mid May, there still is time for things to simmer down, and continue to change as they have. Worst case scenario they would delay the opening of the park or have to close it entirely for the summer. If this were to happen we would still be paid for hours worked and they would provide us a 2 weeks heads up to refigure out our entire lives. At that point I'm really not sure what we would do as it would greatly depend on what the state of the world is, but as a backup plan we could always try to head back to family land in Wisconsin to ride out the storm.
At this point it sounds like (hopefully) the biggest impact will just be on our job duties at the campground. As Adam is set up to be working primarily maintenance (but probably also security) and if the campground closes their restrooms he won't have to deal with that at all. For myself, I am set up to be working in their store and it sounds like they might close the store to guests and have a drive up/drive through window where I would service guests instead. But this is all still very unknown and very dependent on how the next few weeks go for the country and the state of California. We have been assured by our managers that no cancellations have been made at all for the summer, in fact people are showing up to the park now trying to get a spot but the campground is not yet open for over another month. Our managers feel just as positive and confident as I do that things will clear up and we will get on with our planned season!
Gualala River Redwood Park (click on name for link to website), Gualala California. A small coastal/northern town of about 2,000 people. One mile from the coast and IN the Redwood Forest. North of San Francisco, Santa Rosa, and south of Fort Bragg.
Part time, 20-30 hours for each of us, and all hours paid PLUS our free site all summer with all the amenities.
We will be working roughly mid may to September 15th, however we start training and opening the campground on April 29th.
The park opens to the workamping employees on April 22nd and we are planning to arrive between April 24th and 26th, depending on how many places we can find to stop along the way.
The biggest struggle I am going through right now is finding places to go in between Palm Springs, CA and Gualala. Most everything I had planned on and have been researching is closed, doesn't have availability, isn't accepting new people, or is insanely out of this world priced for even just one night. I will continue to search places to stay to try to plan for 2 stops on the way up. We originally were going to make our way through Death Valley, Sequoia, and Yosemite National Parks, however the last two are closed so I am planning to route us more on the coastal side on the way up, as we hope to hit those National parks and all the missed stops on our way back south next winter.
After knowing what I know now with the state of the world and everything going on, it seems like this was all meant to be all along. It feels even more so that this was the right idea to follow and plan on for the summer to put us safely in once place and not have to worry about travels or state border crossing or closed campgrounds or any of it. It feels very meant to be. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and that everything always works out in your best interest, in your favor and this is no different. Pursuing the job was meant to be and however this situation plays out will be meant to be as well. I have a strong faith in knowing it will be for the best and it will have needed to be part of our journey.
Since we have now made this announcement we will continue to provide more updates on how things go and what happens from here. We are set to leave Camp Verde, AZ next Sunday April 12th and will make our way to Lake Havasu State Park, as thankfully all Arizona state parks are still open. From there we will cross the border into California and see what that adventure is all about!
I hate to say it considering how much I absolutely LOVE where we are now and being so close to Sedona, but I am ready to move on. This is the longest we have ever stayed anywhere and we are starting to get really restless and anxious for the next thing. I am sure a lot of that stems from what is going on and how we are dealing with it, but at the same time I know we are both ready for something new and new scenery to go with it. We both went into this journey with a sense of wonder and wanting to experience new places and part of that is never staying in one place for 'too long'. Not to mention it just feels weird being here now as everything has changed in our second month here so drastically compared to how it was the first month. The RV park is quieter, there is no gatherings or clubhouse activities, no pool, no games, and no excitement. The town is quiet, the nearby towns are quiet, and the entire city of Sedona that is usually so full of LIFE and vibration is almost unrecognizable in terms of energy. Everything is so different. And we are ready for change.
It breaks my heart to mourn the loss of the plans we did have, of the places we were supposed to go and the people we were supposed to see. We are all experiencing some sort of loss during this time and no one person's loss is better or worse than anyone else's. This is just my story and how I'm feeling it. But like I said earlier, I'm hopeful and optimistic that there is a greater plan in place and things will work out as they need to.
Easter has never been a big deal to Adam and I, but it's hard not to think about Easter last year, around this similar time, and what it meant for us. Last year on Easter was when we told our extended family and friends about our plans to go nomadic and it's crazy to think about how much different Easter is going to look this year for us all. Sure we can still video call family like we would have already planned to do, but our family won't be gathering in the same way this year as they did last year and that makes things feel so much different for us and for them. With that being said we want to let you all know that we are sending you our love this weekend and thinking about you too! We wish you all the best as you navigate these strange times we are all dealing with.
Coming at you from a NEW PLACE for the first time in over 2 weeks! It's been harder for me to make a better week to week plan lately, so I'm just going to continue to go with the flow and see what comes up for next week. Sometimes all you can do is take it one week at a time and not beat yourself up over the greater details. :)
*Currently under construction and paused at this time.*
Subscribe to our Nomadic Newsletter through our special landing page! You will gain special inside access to photos, details tips & tricks, and everything you need to know to teach you how to live the nomadic lifestyle!
Here is the link to subscribe: A&A Destination Unknown
#Health #desert #HikerGirl #Arizona #TheDesertIsCalling #RoadTrip #nomad #travel #travelblog #travelcouple #traveler #nomadic #nomadicnewsletter #lifestyleblogger #lifeontheroad #fulltimetravel #fulltimervliving #rvlife #rvliving #rvlifestyle #travelfulltime #traveltrailer #traveltheUSA #travelroute #wanderlust #challengesofrvliving #challengesoffulltimetravel #challenges #notallwhowanderarelost #minnesotagirl #minneapolisblogger #USAtravel #travelingthroughthecountry #lifelessons #lawofattraction #spirituality #wellness #freedom #freespirit #wildandfree