Tag Archives: weather

Of hail storms, tumbleweeds and crazy looking squirrels…

We have been here in the high desert about three months now.  Time is certainly flying by!  We are half way through our season at the Circle Pines KOA in Williams, AZ already.

I want to talk about a few unusual things that we have discovered here in this beautiful place.  Things like extreme weather,  tumbleweeds and funky squirrels.

Oh my!

santa fe new mexico

Northern Arizona was really not what we were expecting.  Having never been to Arizona before, I figured we would be living in a desert.  And true to form, much of Arizona is just that.  But the towns of Williams and the Flagstaff area sit at about 7300 feet above sea level.

And that makes all the difference in the world!

williams arizona

At such high altitude, we often have folks showing up at the campground with altitude sickness.  It takes at least three days for your body to adjust.

You also have to think about things such as adding flour to your baking recipes and the fact that water boils much slower.


But I’d have to say that the biggest thing to get used to was the quick and dramatic changes of weather that are so common here in the high desert.

Monsoon Season

sedona storm clouds

When visiting the town of Sedona a few weeks ago, we took a bunch of photos of the beautiful rock formations and the gathering clouds behind them.  It was in the 80’s that day.  Sunny and warm.

And then we went into a restaurant to have lunch.

sedona storm clouds

We came out to several inches of pea sized hail and temperatures in the 60’s!  Freak storm?  Hardly.

It seems that at this altitude, these types of storms are quite common.

sedona hail storm

Especially during the Monsoon season of mid July through August.  Most days are sunny and temperate.  Most afternoons are full of interesting surprises.

We are right in the clouds.  Thunderstorms can be very dangerous.  The weather here can kill those that do not properly respect it.

Click here for more!

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We finally made it to Bar Harbor!

We arrived in Bar Harbor, Maine, about two weeks ago.  I’ve been asked by several people why we chose Bar Harbor as our first ultimate destination.  Well, the truth is, Bar Harbor chose us.
bar harbor oceanside koa

Last August, I put our resumes on the KOA website.  Shortly afterwards, we had five different offers for work camping jobs in the United States!  Maine, Colorado, New Mexico, Montana and California.  After speaking with the manager at the Bar Harbor Oceanside KOA, we decided to take the leap and head north.

Neither of us had ever been to Maine, and what a great way to start a new life in a beautiful part of the world!

bar harbor oceanside koa

We arrived on April 18.  This particular park does not open until May 7 due to the extreme weather in this part of the country.  For the first few weeks of our new jobs, we were to help the other work campers on site to clean up the park and make it ready for the grand opening.

I have to admit that the work was tough.  This park shuts down in mid October.  There was heavy snow this year resulting in many fallen trees.  Reopening it involves thoroughly cleaning all cabins, cleaning up leaves and debris from campsites, learning the computer systems and how to take reservations, scrubbing bathrooms, picking up trash, and much, much more.

bar harbor maine popcorn

This is the land of no “R”s!  There is lobstah, beyah (beer), and but-tah popcorn!

And the weather?  Well, it is has been cold, windy and rainy, punctuated by moments of brilliant warm sunshine.  We were told that if you didn’t like the weather, all you needed to do is wait an hour and it would change.

Heavy winds and rain brought down even more trees after we arrived including this one in front of our RV!  Dave had noticed a split in the tree and when he went out to warn our coworkers, the tree fell.  That was definitely our excitement for that day!

But it hasn’t been all work…

bar harbor koa

We had a fun gathering with our boss and the rest of our co-workers.  We ate burgers on the grill, lots of great homemade food and even met Big Foot!  Looks like it is going to be a fun summer!

campfire camping

In the evening when it is nice, we gather up a bunch of wood and make a nice campfire.  We have met a whole lot of people here with so many things in common with us.  They are also full time RVers and most of them have been doing it a whole lot longer than us.

We are excited to share the sights and adventures of the Bar Harbor area with you over the next few months.

bar harbor oceanside koa

I have to admit that occasionally I get a little homesick.   I can’t shake the idea that I’m on vacation and any time now, I need to return home to Georgia.  We have been gone a month now.  I miss my family, my house and some of the routine that I had over the past 20 years.

bar harbor oceanside koa

But I do love getting up in the early morning and walking the dogs and enjoying the fresh crisp air that this beautiful part of the country has to offer.

And when I get back to the RV, Dave has a fresh cup of hot coffee waiting for me.

Yes, I think I can totally get used to this!

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The New England Coast

We decided to add another stop on our route to Maine in order to make the drive times less strenuous for Dave.  Seems that keeping the distance no longer than 320 miles was a perfect scenario for him.  So with that in mind, our next stop was a small campground in Salisbury, MA.

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The weather?  Well, it was not cooperating.  Seems that skies are sunny unless we are hitching up the car and getting ready to hit the road.  It poured down rain on us as we prepared to leave Connecticut behind.

Fortunately there was sun waiting for us in Massachusetts.

new hampshire massachusettes salisbury hampton

It was too late, though.  I officially had Rosanne Rosannadanna hair, much to Dave’s amusement.

Salisbury?  Well, because of the rainy weather, and the fact that we were only in town a day, we did not get to see a whole lot of it.  The community is a popular summer resort beach town situated on the Atlantic Ocean, north of Boston, right on the New Hampshire border.

new hampshire massachusettes beach

We can, however, recommend the Seaglass Restaurant, located right on the ocean in downtown Salisbury.  After a chilly, rainy day, a hot bowl of New England Clam Chowder certainly hit the spot.

And the great thing about the Seaglass Restaurant is the fact that you can sit and watch the ocean while enjoying your meal!

new hampshire massachusettes beach

And this is what is called a Lobster Roll.  It is a mix of lobster, veggies and special sauce in a hotdog bun.  We will find out later that this particular item is hugely popular in New England.

new hampshire massachusettes beach

The sun came out the next day and as we headed north, we made a pitstop in the town of Hampton, NH.   What beautiful scenery!

Hampton Beach boasts a mile long boardwalk and Hampton Center which is lined with fast food and full service restaurants  offering seafood, onion rings, fried dough and much more.  You’ll also find lounges offering nightly entertainment, candy stores, gift shops and mini golf and amusement arcades.

new hampshire massachusettes beach

And just look at the rocks!  Yep, that is where my mind goes.  You can take a crafter anywhere, and they just see potential.

new hampshire massachusettes beach

This is what I see!  Painted Paisley Stones – of course!

new hampshire massachusettes beach

Hampton Beach was full of activity including this lone scuba diver.

new hampshire massachusettes beach

We noted that there is a RV park located right down the road from this beautiful spot.  Hampton Beach State Park has RV campsites right on the ocean.  The campground, with 28 sites, is open for reservations from Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day weekend.

It is definitely a spot we will keep in mind if we are in the area when it is open.

So… our next stop is Bar Harbor, Maine!  We are excited and just a tad nervous to find out what is on the horizon.  See you there!

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The KOA Work Kamper Boot Camp in Branson, MO

Part of our plan when we became full timers in our RV was to spend at least the first couple seasons working at campgrounds.  We felt that this would give us a better transition from full time jobs to full retirement.  And at the same time give us a little security money-wise until we feel that we can do it on our own. work kamper loaKOA was our first choice.  We put our resumes out last August on the KOA site and were hired within just a few days.  We will be working in Bar Harbor, Maine this summer.  I will be working front desk, and Dave will be working in maintenance.

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KOA offered a Work Kamper “Boot Camp” in Branson, MO that would give us a taste of what to expect when we arrive in Maine in just a few weeks.

branson missouri travel camping

The Work Kamper program is simple enough.  You work for the campground as a couple, putting in between 25 and 40 hours a week depending on the season.  In exchange, you could be offered a campsite free of charge, utilities and other perks, along with an hourly salary.  (The benefits vary from campground to campground as most are individually owned).

We were excited to meet  KOA’s Chairman and CEO, Jim Rogers.  The show, Undercover Boss featured him a few years ago.

Boot camp was a lot of fun.  We met nearly 100 other couples who are doing the same thing we are.  Most did not have jobs lined up yet, and took advantage of the virtual job interviews offered at the end of the class.

branson missouri travel camping

The folks at the Branson KOA were wonderful and made us feel like part of the team.

branson missouri travel camping

And while we were in Missouri, we got a good taste of midwest weather.  We ate dinner the first night looking out the window as hail the size of marbles came down on our VW bug and motorhome. (No damage- unless you want to count the indigestion…) The second night, we had major thunderstorms all night.

faith dog camping

All night.  The dogs literally had their legs crossed by morning.

Really.  We made the decision pretty quickly that we didn’t want to spend too much time in tornado alley during spring and summer.

The third day was beautiful, sunny and cold.  Since classes were over, we decided to check out Branson.

barry williams greg brady

Stay tuned for part two where I don’t get to meet Barry Williams (AKA Greg from the Brady Bunch), but I do end up seeing some pretty famous folks that nearly made up for it!

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