Tag Archives: work camping

A Review of 2016 on the Road

We left Atlanta in April of 2015 for a life on the road.  Over the past nearly 2 years, we have enjoyed lots of great sights, met lots of fun people and experienced living in a 400 square foot “tiny home” with 2 dogs and one bathroom.

And this is just the beginning!

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Santa Fe, NM

We get asked a lot if we will ever settle down again in a regular home.  At this point in time, we have no plans for that.  We have absolutely no regrets.  We love our new roaming lifestyle and the fact that as we work-camp across the country, we get to actually experience each area as the locals do.

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Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, TX

With the year 2017 on the horizon, I wanted to do a review of the past year on the road along with some of the trials and tribulations that went along with it.

Many ask about our financials, so I will go into that a bit, along with a few things we have learned and experienced as we traveled this year.

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Total Mileage this year

We began our year working in St. Petersburg, FL at the St. Petersburg KOA.  Our job ended there near the end of March.  Our next job would begin around May 1 in Williams, AZ, but we needed to make an extended stop in Atlanta due to health issues with our dog, Ralph.

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Our route took us to Orlando, a short pit stop in our favorite campground on Tybee Island, then onto Atlanta for a total of 633 miles.

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route to williams

We then traveled westward through Mississippi, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and finally Williams, AZ, right near the Grand Canyon.  This was a total of  1,798 miles.

where-are-we

Our job in Williams ended on October 31 and our job in Tucson began on November 15.  We took the long way with a detour through Laughlin, NV and Lake Havasu City, AZ, adding another     520 miles.

Grand total miles on the coach for 2016 was 2,951 miles.

Click here for more!

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Life in Tucson

As full time RVers and work campers, we find ourselves moving with the seasons.  Most campgrounds hire for a six month long season.  You can work longer if you’d like as long as the campground is open all year.  Unfortunately, in the wintertime, most of the campgrounds in the northern section of the United States close due to inclement weather.

Our new home...
Our new home…

And not to mention, our coach has issues with below freezing temperatures.  In the future, we have learned that when buying a coach, you need to get what they call a “Polar Package”.  This includes not only heated floors, but extra insulation and a heated undercarriage.  These were things we didn’t think about at the time, and as usual, we learn the hard way.

With that said, we move to warmer weather just as the snowbirds do.  In fact, I guess that makes us snowbirds too!  LOL!

Our view from our front yard
Our view from our front yard

We find the majority of our work camping jobs on the internet and in May, we ran across an opening at the Lazy Days Tucson KOA for kitchen staff.  After several seasons of working the front desk, reservations and check ins, we decided we would love to have a small break.  So we applied.  I figured we would either love it or hate it, but either way- we only will be there through the winter.

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Sunset on the campground
Sunset on the campground

Why stay in Arizona?  Northern Arizona was absolutely beautiful with its pine forests and high mountains.  We wanted to also experience the desert of Arizona.  Tucson is located in southern Arizona very near the Mexico border.  Here we can experience the local desert, beautiful Saguaro forests, local Indian and Mexican influences, and much more.

Thanksgiving dinner at the KOA
Thanksgiving dinner at the KOA

We arrived here in the middle of November and enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving celebration with everyone on the campground.

Tucson KOA is a huge campground with around 500 sites.  Every site is gravel, with a poured concrete patio and and a small asphalt driveway for your vehicle.  And every single site has at least one fruit tree.

Click here for more!

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A little break from the real world at Lake Havasu

Our contract at the Williams Circle Pines KOA ended on Oct 31, and our new job at the KOA in Tucson began on Nov 15.  That gave us about 2 weeks to take a break as we make our way down to Tucson.

Bet you wondered what happened to us.  I’m a bit behind on my posting!

Over the summer, many of our guests had come from southern Nevada, Laughlin and Lake Havasu.  They had come to Williams to get a break from the heat as that area of the country sees triple digits all summer.  We decided that we would check out that area of the country in a round about way to Tucson.

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Our first stop was the Laughlin Avi Casino KOA in Laughlin, Nevada.   Laughlin is located on the southernmost tip of Nevada along the Colorado river where Nevada, California and Arizona meet.   The town is known as a fun casino town.

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It is about a half day drive from Williams.  And all down hill.  We went from over 7000 feet above sea level in Williams to about 500 feet above sea level in Laughlin.

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While we missed the heat of the summer, it was still nice and warm there.  I enjoyed sitting under the palm trees and working on my laptop in my beautiful new back yard.

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On our second day there, we took the London Bridge Jet Boat tour down the Colorado River from Laughlin to the London Bridge in Lake Havasu City.

This is a great way to see the area from the water.  The trip takes about 2 hours to get to Lake Havasu City, you get a 2 hour break there to check out the bridge and grab a lunch, and then take the 2 hour ride back up the river.

And best of all, it was very affordable at about $70 a person.

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We really enjoyed the boat tour and our tour guide was incredibly informative.  Check out the green tint of the water behind Dave.  It was really that green!  Apparently from minerals in the water.

Click here for more!

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Leaving Circle Pines and heading to new Adventures!

We have been on the road now about a year and a half.  And the adventure has just begun.  Selling the house and nearly everything that we owned was difficult.  Leaving our friends and family behind was too.   But I have to tell you that we have absolutely no regrets.

Life on the road is everything we thought it would be.

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We often are asked how we can support ourselves on the road and I have to say that fortunately for us, we are able to handle most of our bills with income from my websites.

However, we do need a buffer.  And that is where KOA has come in.  We are doing seasonal work at various campgrounds in order to supplement our income while we see the country.

Last week we left Circle Pines KOA in Williams, AZ and I have to say that it was a sad farewell.  We not only loved this surprisingly beautiful area of the country, but made a bunch of new friends in the process that we definitely will miss.

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And we absolutely loved working for Bruce and Lori.  They made campground work an adventure.

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rv life camping etiquette

Our cool shady spot underneath the tall pines is now just a memory.  I would have loved to stay through the winter, but our coach does not love cold weather.  So it is onto to warmer regions.

We are currently at Lake Havasu for a brief vacation and then moving onto our winter job in Tucson, AZ.

But as I like to do, I’ve created a video of our memories from this beautiful campground on the high plains of Arizona.

Next week as a final chapter, I will be posting the top 10 Things to do in Williams, AZ.

Want more videos?

If you would like to see a bit about the parts of the country that we have visited so far, you can see our other videos here:

Our Season working at the St. Petersburg KOA

A Compilation Video of our Summer at Bar Harbor!

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Work Camping : The good, the bad and the ugly…

When we originally decided that we wanted to become full time RVers, we weren’t exactly sure how to go about it financially.  You see, we were both working for huge corporations in Atlanta, making good money, living in a big house with lots of big bills.

work camping the good bad ugly

We knew what we wanted to do, but it looked like it would take years of saving to get there.

work camping good bad and ugly

Then one day I ran across information on work camping on the internet.  Apparently, you could work for a campground, making an hourly wage and even get a free spot to stay while you are there!  It seemed like the answer.

With the income from my websites, and the campground supplying a spot to stay and spending money too, it made it possible for our dreams to come true even earlier than we expected.interior rv traveling sitcom

We sold our home and most everything we owned last April and hit the road in our RV.

Our expenses at the start included a RV payment, health insurance, vehicle insurance, phone/internet bill, approximately $500 per month in overhead for my websites, and of course food and spending money.

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We have been on the road for nearly a year and a half now, and we are successfully living on the income from my websites and the income from the campgrounds that we have worked at.

So, let’s take a look at this phenomenon called work camping.

As an insider, I would love to share with you some of the truths about this way to make a living.

Click here to read about the Good, the Bad and the Ugly!

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Northern Arizona and the Grand Canyon!

We are currently living and working at the Circle Pines KOA in Williams, AZ.  We arrived here about a month ago and were assigned a spot in the center of the campground.

I have to say that in our work camping career so far, this site is the best that we have had!  It includes trees, a nice size yard (even when campers are around us), a huge fire pit and lots of flat space to store the motorcycle!

appreciating the grand canyon

We love this laid back campground!  It is a lot smaller than Bar Harbor, and St. Petersburg.  With just 20 cabins, and about 150 pull through sites, it is not only pleasant to live here, but working behind the counter is that much easier.

We will be here until October 31, which gives us plenty of time to explore the area and take in all that we can.

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And Circle Pines also owns a Go Cart track, putting a little variety into our work routines!

So why did we choose northern Arizona for the summer?  Well, there were several reasons.  At about 7000 feet above sea level, this area of the country does not get extreme heat in the summer.  In fact, evenings are jacket weather!

But the biggest draw of the area has to be The Grand Canyon.  Since neither one of us had ever seen it before, this area of the country was on our “bucket list”.

The Grand Canyon National Park

appreciating the grand canyon

It is about a 60 mile drive from Williams to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  The drive is actually very interesting as you move from pine forests to dry desert land.   Keep an eye out for deer.  They are everywhere!

Along the way, you will find the occasional camper parked off the roadway.   You see in this area of the state, you can dry camp off road for as long as two weeks.

appreciating the grand canyon

Entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park is $30 per vehicle. Parking spaces are plentiful and even include areas for RVs and buses.

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Once parked, you can either hike along the rim trail, or take free shuttles to restaurants, stores and view points along the South Rim.

appreciating the grand canyon

The canyon itself is absolutely breathtaking.  No photos or words actually do it justice.  You have to see it for yourself to understand the magnitude of this amazing Natural Wonder.

The Grand Canyon is about 277 miles long. At its widest point it is 18 miles wide. The average width is a distance about 10 miles. The average depth is about 1 mile.

Click here for more photos and info on the Grand Canyon!

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An insiders look at Campground Etiquette

As full time campers and work campers, we have come to the conclusion that for the most part, other campers are awesome!  We all have so much in common.  We love the outdoors, we enjoy cooking on the grill, we enjoy the stars at night.

But there is always one bad apple in the barrel.  Isn’t there?

rv life camping etiquette
Circle Pines KOA, Williams, AZ

The problem is that most campgrounds this time of year become very full.  A larger campground such as the one we worked in St. Petersburg, Florida has nearly 500 campsites.

Filled to capacity, you are looking at the very least, 1000 people crammed into one campground!  St. Petersburg KOA was full to capacity the entire winter season that we were there.

The closer people camp together, the grouchier they become.  It’s just a fact.

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St Petersburg/Madeira Beach KOA, FL

That is why campgrounds have the need to post rules.  Usually you will receive a pamphlet of rules along with a map of the campground upon arrival.  Some of those rules may seem a tad restrictive, but I have to tell you that there is a reason for every one of them.

As campground workers, we are more than aware of some of the biggest pet peeves of those that camp around us.  Here is our list of the top 10 complaints that we receive at the campground and how to avoid being the bad apple.

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Top Ten Rules of Campground Etiquette

life at the campground
Bar Harbor Oceanside KOA, Maine

10. Quiet time is not just a suggestion

Many of the campgrounds that we have worked at post quiet time as 10:00 PM at night until 7:00 AM.  Why?  Well, some folks want to sleep at night.  Common courtesy is at play here.

Yes, we are all on vacation, but do respect your neighbors and keep the noise down after 10:00 PM.  Most campgrounds try to enforce quiet time as best as possible, but we cannot be at all places at all times.

Click here for the rest of the list!

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Our season working at the St. Petersburg KOA

We have been on the road now for exactly a year.  And the adventure has just begun.  Selling the house and nearly everything that we owned was difficult.  Leaving our friends and family behind was too.   But I have to tell you that we have absolutely no regrets.

Life on the road is everything we thought it would be.

traveling collage

We often are asked how we can support ourselves on the road and I have to say that fortunately for us, we are able to handle most of our bills with income from my websites.

However, we do need a buffer.  And that is where KOA has come in.  We are doing seasonal work at various campgrounds in order to supplement our income while we see the country.

madeira beach

We worked the summer season in Bar Harbor, Maine, at the Bar Harbor Oceanside KOA.   Our winter job was at the St. Petersburg, FL KOA.  Just as I did in Maine, I have compiled a video of our season at the campground in Florida.

Enjoy!

We both want to thank all the amazing folks we met at the St. Petersburg KOA for a wonderful experience.

It is a small world out there…

We hope to run into many of them again on the road.

Adventure awaits us around the corner.  We are currently in Atlanta, but hope to be hitting the road next week.  Our next destination?

Arizona!

Stay tuned!
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Fun in Florida in the winter!

I’m currently juggling three websites, and this one seems to suffer a bit.  My goal (hopefully soon) is to post twice a week on here.  Currently, I’m really not doing well at that!

blogging on iphone

When we first hit the road, I thought I’d have tons of time to write.  I mean, I quit a full time job that included a hour and a half commute each way.  I should have tons of time, right?  But we are work camping right now to help supplement our income.  That requires at least 30 hours a week working for the campground for an hourly wage plus campsite.

My other websites, Suzy’s Sitcom and Daily Holiday Blog have taken off this year and I’m trying to keep up with them.  Hopefully very soon we will not need the supplemental income provided by work camping.  Not that I dislike working at the campgrounds, but I cannot somehow make more hours in my day!

rain at the koa

Dave and our friend Judy on a rainy KOA day…

In the meantime, life goes on at the campground!  We are currently in St. Petersburg, Florida for the winter, parked amongst the snowbirds from Canada and northern US.  We will be here two more months and then will be moving onto the Grand Canyon in Arizona for the summer.

My sister came to town this past week to spend a few days with us.  Here is a short video that I put together from her visit!

The winds were pretty strong and it felt like winter finally arrived in Florida.  But we had tons of fun in spite of the the windy weather.  We look forward to visiting with her again when she comes to Arizona!

Dave needs a haircut pretty badly.  After taking a photo of him with his locks blowing in the wind, I couldn’t help myself.  I had to make a romance novel cover out of it.

romance novel cover humor

And then post it on Facebook.

Because that is what I do.

By the way, Buffy Dickenson is my make-believe stripper name.  (Just put together the name of your first pet and the street you grew up on).

What is yours?  LOL!

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Christmas in Florida

We have been settled in St. Petersburg, Florida for about a month now.  I am still behind on posting, but wanted to take some time to catch you up on our travels.  In the past month we have visited our favorite place, Tybee Island, GA, attended my daughter’s wedding in Atlanta, and even endured some RV problems.

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But we finally made it to our winter destination, St. Petersburg/Madeira Beach KOA.  We will be here until March or April, when we begin to head west.

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I have to tell you that I miss the snow.  As pretty as Florida is, I would prefer to be trekking through several feet of pure white snow.  But the RV and Dave both would like to have a warmer winter.

We arrived to 95 degree weather with nearly 100% humidity.  Looks like the RV and Dave both got their wish.

Our new spot is quite beautiful and the campground is like a little resort, so I really do not have a lot to complain about.  They tucked us in with the snowbirds who all seem very nice.   And we even have grass!

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Ralph and Faith like it too.  They both have lots of things to keep their interest.  In fact, there are so many lizards running around here that it is hard to get Ralph to take a poop without getting distracted.

And Faith has an issue with herons (those tall legged white birds with the long necks), so there is always plenty of excitement when I take them outside.

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We are working at the campground here.  I am in the office and Dave is working on the grounds.  And…we are getting the place spiffied up for Christmas!

Dave put up all the blow up decorations this week, and then spent quite a bit of time freaking Ralph out over this outhouse Santa.

Ralph is not a fan of Santas exiting an outhouse.  Just saying.

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The streets are decorated too!  What do you do when there are no fir trees around?

You improvise.

st petersburg florida christmas

We felt the need to decorate the coach too.  Since we had no nearby fir trees to decorate, Dave and I picked out a tiny tree at a local Christmas tree stand.

Charlie Brown would be proud.

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Our tree turned out great!  We ended up with just enough room in the living room for it.  The little table is actually my printer box covered in blankets.  (I’m the master of multi- purpose!)

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Oh.  Did I mention there is a beach nearby?  It is 2.5 miles from the campground to Madeira Beach.  There will be plenty of beach photos in the next few months.

We have yet to located any great eating places to share with you, but I’m sure we will have a top 10 list before we leave the area.

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Since ice cream is my second hobby, I do feel the need to mention this fun soft serve stand, Twistee Treat.  There are actually a few of them in the area, all shaped like giant ice cream cones.

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And apparently, I have my new challenge for this leg of the trip.  Trying each and everyone of those awesome flavors!

Oh, and by the way.  That is a medium size cone there.  Can’t even imagine what the large one might look like.   I think I’m going to like Florida.

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On the beach there are snowmen.  This will probably be as close as I get to snow this winter.  I’ll take what I can get.

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And the sunsets here are beautiful too.  Christmas in Florida can be quite beautiful!

If you squint a bit, that white sand could be snow.  Right?

Stay tuned!
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