A&A Week 50 Life Updates | Workamping, Bengal Cats, & More!
End of Week #50
Gualala River Redwood Park, Gualala CA
Miles traveled since last week's post = 0
Total miles traveled to date = 7,955 with trailer
It's a perfect day to eat pizza, do a few loads of laundry, and chill out in bed to do a little writing. The rain started early this morning, with the loud 'plat-plats' on the roof waking us all up. It's predicted to rain all day today, and through most of the week, which will keep us all inside our rigs left alone to entertain ourselves. After a few days cooped up inside a wobbly box it can start to mess with your head, so we will likely venture out on Wednesday and take a drive down the coast in search of more food to stock up on (& some fresh scenery).
A&A Week 50 Life Updates
I don't have a ton of things to report on our end, but wanted to take the time to provide some updates on a few things from Mendocino County, our workamping job, the bengal babes and whatever else we have going on too. Everyone in the world is dealing with different things in different ways, and these updates will help paint the picture of what things look like for us.
Workamping position in Gualala, CA & Mendocino County updates
Saturday we received the news, the news we have been dreading and have been trying to remain optimistic about. Effective Friday, May 8th, Mendocino County officially extended their shelter in place, to include transient lodging - which this campground falls under, through June 8th. That means that our tentative opening date of May 20th is no more, and we have been extended to a new tentative opening date of June 17th. The campground is not to open for more than 5 additional weeks. The only things that have changed in Mendocino County is that now a few restaurants have been allowed to open up for food to go. The beaches are all currently still closed, the state parks are closed, and so are the lodging and campgrounds.
While it is a bit depressing to know the campground opening has been extended we are continuing to do our best to remain hopeful that this will be the last extension. The campground was set to be pretty full for the entire summer and many reservations have already been cancelled. Most all of Mendocino County is pretty rural and 'woodsy', and the sites in our campground are large and spread out. I would like to try to remain positive that things will turn around and Governors or those in power will begin to understand that campgrounds and camping in general are some of the safest things you could be doing for enjoyment right now. Good both for your mentality, and your overall well being. We have already talked about plans here to close down our restrooms and main store, to reduce possible contamination and allow for only self sufficient campers in the park.
I can't even begin to express our gratitude to have a free place to stay right now, as we ride out the storm. We are not currently in any kind of pickle in terms of our finances, however we do look forward to the day we begin work and each start receiving biweekly paychecks for a few months. It will be a great time for us to stock up on supplies, do some maintenance work, and prepare for what's to come the rest of the year.
Fun facts about living in the Redwoods
It's a beautiful place, so lush and green, and full of so much peace and tranquility. But it's a remote place too, one without any TV channels or 4G connection. We live solely off of WiFi connections, that just recently started working consistently, and rely on Netflix, video games, and video calls to keep us company. We are 2 out of 8 people total currently living in this park, in a small town of about 2,000 people on the coast. The nearest big towns with 'regular' grocery stores and name brand stores are about 2 hours away, regardless of which direction you go. We do not get radio channels out here, and most days we don't leave the park at all with everything in the nearby area still being completely closed, including access to hiking trails. Most days are very quiet, with only the sound of the wind through the treetops, and the birds and the bees. We have access to laundry and firewood which both help to pass the time.
We are in a flood zone, referred to as a "cereal bowl" off the Gualala River banks, and due to the high flood levels that typically happen here the park is only open seasonally - typically from May to September. Last year, for the start of 2019, the park had flood levels so high the store and office were just about completely under water. The managers have told us that people will kayak through the park when it is flooded and the water will be above all of the campsite signs, creating quite an eerie atmosphere.
I am once again able to receive text messages and phone calls - I had said on a previous post that my phone was not working in that manner. I did a simple restart and just like magic it now works! We are also able to receive mail here at the local post office in town, (general delivery), so please let me know if you need our address at all.
Things that have started to improve
I was going to start things off by saying mosquitoes, because they did spray for them about a week or two ago, but they have already mistakenly started to make their way back into the park, swarming about.
But the list continues with....
Internet connection - the 'internet people' came out last week to improve the WiFi in our campsites, which now connects almost regularly and only drops off a time or two for a few seconds. This is a significant improvement from what it was, and we couldn't be more happy about it! Improved WiFi means Netflix in bed, blog posts from the desk, online community calls, and video call shots with friends.
Our campsite - yesterday was moving and readjusting day, as we moved the trailer to let the bus out behind us so they could move to a site in the front of the park. We took the opportunity to readjust and straighten ourselves out, in hopes of more sunshine and a shorter sewer hose connection. Ideally we will stay here now for the long haul, but we are expecting one more workamping couple soon and depending on the size of their rig and where they go we may need to move again.
Daily movement - I have been making sure I go for a daily lap (or more) around the park, weather permitting, and to also include 10-40 minutes of pure sunshine (sunning myself) from the beach at the river. I'm starting to form new habits and routines to make this a non-negotiable part of my life as I know how much it helps my mentality. I also have been tracking and completely workouts at the campsite, to include swatting the mosquitoes, and have a goal to move my body at least 6 days a week.
The darkness - we still have absolutely no idea what time it is in the morning when we wake up, as I'm learning my own judgement is far off when I do try to assume. For example, this morning I thought it was easily 8 AM, only to discover it was 6:17 AM. Other mornings I won't wake up at all until about 9 AM and it honestly feels like it's got to be like 7 AM. At night you can see through the trees that it's very much still so light outside, but it starts to get so dark in the trailer about 4 PM. But it's all starting to feel more natural to our environment, and not as foreign to us anymore, so that's a step in the right direction!
Getting to know the neighbors - we haven't all spent a ton of time together, but at this point we have had a few campfires that a few others have joined and Adam has spent a handful of hours doing 'yard work' with the guys. It's a slow process right now, just like everything else, but we are learning more about each other all the time. We also stay in daily communication with walkie-talkies, that the managers have as well, and through a Facebook group and messenger.
Navigating loneliness & boredom
I think it's safe to say that neither of us have been so lonely in our entire lives. Full-time traveling, in itself, is already lonely by nature. But with the presence of covid it's taken to the extreme and already paired with an empty RV park too. In a way, it feels like the pandemic has evened out the playing field, since many of our friends and relatives can't gather together either, but being so 'far away' from them all still plays games with our minds too.
Typically we like to hike and get outside for a full day of exploring as much as possible, but since moving to California the middle of April, we have been very limited in what we are able to do outdoors. California has much tighter restrictions on outdoor exploration than Arizona did and the opportunity hasn't yet risen for us to get outside for a good hike. We have spent most of the last 3-4 weeks futzing around in the RV and going for solo walks outside when we can. The new adventure is taking a day to go grocery shopping and it's just as dramatic in it's own way, but not nearly as fulfilling as a good hike.
When choosing a permanent lifestyle of exploration and adventure it can make this "lock down time" seem twice as gruesome, as now more than 75% of your 'way of life' has been completely halted. We fully understand everyone is in this storm together, but we are all 100% on different ships and are having our own individual experiences with covid. This is just what our experience is like... lonely, and a bit on the boring side. I could certainly spend more time writing, working on creative projects, reading, working out, doing my own research, and whatever else, but with the heavy frequency the whole world is giving out right now it makes it just as hard for me to stay productive as I'm sure it does for you too.
One day at a time.
Trailer repairs and maintenance plans
I can't recall if I already mentioned it, but we have officially patched the hole in the bottom of the trailer from the tire issue we had while traveling. Adam filled the hole with insulation and put sheet metal over it to reinforce it all. The spare tire is still on the trailer and we will plan to look into new tires when we officially near the end of our time in Gualala. There really isn't a huge rush to replace the tires right now since we aren't driving the trailer anywhere. We might also reinforce the other side with a sheet metal underbelly, just in case and to make it even. The bump inside of the trailer remains, and is yet to cause any issues so we are just working around it.
We are still experiencing intermittent issues with our kitchen slide, like I've mentioned several times before. Just yesterday when moving the trailer it would not come in straight without guidance in pushing it from the outside. It is still on our agenda to get this checked out as well but it just depends if it's a better route to find a mobile tech or take it into a place, and at what location this will make the most sense. For now we are getting by!
Bengal cat updates
I am quite confident the bengal babes love it here more than anywhere else we have taken them before. I have honestly not seen either of them so happy when we take them outside, like ever. Roscoe literally runs for joy down the street and tries to climb up random trees whenever I let him. They both frolic through fields of grass taller than they are, taking bites as they pass through. Rahja will sit at the door and meow loudly anytime we have it set up to the screen door. Roscoe literally tries to dig his way out of the front door and tries to reach for the handle to open the door himself. They are not at all phased by the mosquitos or the moisture, and enjoy long walks around 'the block' in the campground. It's extra enjoyable that there are few humans here and multiple campsites to explore around us.
I think they are still confused by the time of day and lack of daylight, just like us, as they still don't seem to know the best time to wake me up in the morning to be fed. Some days it's 6 AM and other days it's 9 AM. This is definitely the most exercise either of them have gotten in months and I'm so happy to take them outside every chance we get just to give them something to be excited about too!
They both still sleep with us every single night, usually taking up more of my side of the bed, but I can't even complain because it just makes me so happy they want to cuddle. Roscoe was due for a tooth checkup (regarding his resorption issues last summer) this July in Stone Lake, but since we won't be going there we will either take him to the local vet in town, or wait to find somewhere when we leave here in the fall. They both do a good job of keeping us on our toes, entertaining us, and making us feel less alone out here in the world! It's a humongous pain in the ass to have them with us at times, but I wouldn't change it for the world.
Hopeful adventures for the summer
There are SO MANY things I want to do and places I want to explore, it is only in my best interest to continue to remain wildly optimistic that we will get to start doing so soon. The coast is full of state parks, beaches, and hikes. The forests around us are rich with recreational areas, mountain/forest hikes, and more state and national parks.
Here is a list of some of the key points of interest I am most excited about right now:
Having friends and family visit us in the park or in the area
Meeting up with members from my Know Your Why community in various places in California
Needless to say, the summer is still full of so much adventure and opportunity, and I am choosing to focus on it from a prospective that it will all still happen the way I've dreamed. The California coastal dream is not over just yet folks!
And just like that we are at our 360 day challenges post! As we are coming into our first full year as nomads, the next episode of challenges of mobile living will feature some new things we have encountered while under "quarantine", and sitting still in Arizona and northern California. *Next Friday the 22nd marks our official 1 year #Nomadiversary, the day we moved completely out of our townhouse and into the RV.*
*Currently under construction and paused at this time.*
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