We are currently on our way to our next destination, the sugar beet harvest in North Dakota. We committed to a few weeks of crazy work, but we are excited to take on a new adventure. I will fill you in more on this opportunity soon, but in the meantime, I would love to share a few more of the highlights of our stay in Polson, Montana.
Along with Glacier National Park, we had to visit a few other local destinations such as the National Bison Range. This huge park is a must-see if you are in the Flathead Lake area. We were told that not only would we see bison, but there were also bears, coyotes, deer, elk, and much more!
After being told that in this part of Montana, there is a bear within every square mile, we were excited to see a few. (At least from the safety of our car). The National Bison Range is about 18,000 acres, and you drive on a loop road that takes you throughout the park in about 2 hours. (More if you happen upon a few animals up close).
We did see plenty of bison and elk, but unfortunately no bear. It seems that the bears avoided us during our entire stay in the state.
The Kerr Dam, officially known as the Seli’š Ksanka Qlispe’ Dam, is a concrete gravity-arch dam located about 10 miles south of Polson. The dam is owned by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, as is much of the land in and around Polson.
To get to the dam required walking down roughly 300 steps, and the whole time I was going down I was thinking about having to go back up them. But I have to tell you that it was worth the extra workout. On the day that we visited the dam, all of the gates were open. The concrete arch-type dam stands at 204 feet high, which is 54 feet higher than Niagara Falls!
Our summer working in Montana was very enjoyable. The resort itself was amazing and had by far the nicest view I’ve ever seen in a campground.
From our campsite we could see the Mission Mountains and the amazing Flathead Lake.
The owners of the resort are Paul and Carlisa London. They have owned it for 19 years and have put so much of themselves into the place. We enjoyed being part of their team this year.
Taking the dogs for long walks in the nearby fields and enjoying the views from the deck were things that we often did on our days off. We enjoyed the season changes.
We arrived to snow on the mountain peaks and green, green fields.
And then came the drier summer season when rainy days were a distant memory and the fields turned golden brown in the sun.
September brought some needed rain showers and colder nights where we could sit around the campfire with our co workers and talk about our day.
It has been six months since I updated this site, and I don’t even know where to start! First of all, we are still on the road. We love this lifestyle and have been enjoying a ton of adventures. With three websites and a growing pattern business, I have had to put this travel website on the back burner. But over the next few weeks, I am going to make an honest attempt to get it caught up.
We are currently in Polson, Montana, where we have been working at the KOA. First, let me just say that this particular campground is by far one of the most beautiful that we have worked at.
Our campsite has an amazing view of Flathead Lake and the Mission Mountains. When we arrived here in May, there was still plenty of snow on the mountains and a chill in the air.
This is a privately owned campground, run by a couple who have owned it for the past 18 years. They have been a pleasure to work for and as campgrounds go, it has been a great season. I am working at the front desk, and Dave is working outside maintenance.
We had a gathering yesterday to celebrate a great season here at the Polson KOA. These are some of our workamping coworkers. From right to left- Roger(Gator Bait), his wife Tina (Bear Bait), Chuck (Cue Ball), his wife Connie (Precious), me and Whiskey Dave.
It is wonderful to have a crew that works so well together! We will miss them all when we hit the road in a couple of weeks.
We had promised ourselves that our next campground would be small and privately owned and it was a great choice after some of the larger ones that we have worked in the past few years.
Glacier National Park
As with any of our previous workcamping jobs, we always play the tourist on our weekends off. So, our first tourist stop had to be Glacier National Park.
The park is located about an hour and a half from the campground, so a day trip was needed to begin exploring it. Our plan was to drive the “Going to the Sun” Road through the center of the park. The Going-to-the-Sun Road was completed in 1932 and is a spectacular 50 mile, paved two-lane highway that bisects the park east and west.
It spans the width of Glacier National Park, crossing the Continental Divide at 6,646-foot-high Logan Pass, and passes through almost every type of terrain in the park along the way. Scenic viewpoints and pullouts line the road to allow you to stop when you would like.
The road is one of the most difficult roads in North America to snowplow in the spring. We were told that up to 80 feet of snow can lie on top of Logan Pass. And all of that needs to be plowed each spring to allow access to the road.
The road takes about ten weeks to plow. This year, the road did not fully open until nearly July 4th weekend!
We made one more trip to Glacier National Park in the beginning of August right before the Fire season began, and I have a whole other batch of photos to show you of that area.
We had planned on going back one more time before our contract ends here in mid September, and travel the Going to the Sun road in the opposite direction. Unfortunately, that may not happen at this time. You see, Fire season is in full force right now and part of the road is closed now due to a large fire in the park.
We are hoping that the cooler weather and a bit of rain and snow over the past couple weeks will calm the fire down enough before we leave.
Every year, I like to take stock of the year before, looking at both the good and the bad. As full time travelers, we get lots of questions about our life on the road. This post might answer a few of those questions as we look back on the happenings of 2017.
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.
We have been on the road since the spring of 2015. If you would like to see reviews of our previous years:
The year 2016 brought us our first look at the state of Arizona. We arrived there at the beginning of the summer, with the idea of checking out the Grand Canyon, and then moving on.
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 in 2017!
Total Mileage this year
We began 2017 working at the KOA in Tucson, AZ. Our job ended there in mid February. At the time, we didn’t have anything lined up for late summer, but planned on spending time in Atlanta, GA for the birth of our first granddaughter.
So, we took a scenic trip from Tucson to Atlanta.
Our route took us to the White Sands National Monument, and Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. Both of them are must-sees! We then made our way through Texas with a nice stop in Galveston. Our final destination was my daughter’s home in Douglasville, GA. A total of around 2800 miles.
After the birth of our granddaughter, we managed to line up positions at the Boston Cape Cod KOA starting in July.
Here is where things went wrong.
Due to mechanical issues (that I will talk about later in this post), we ended up in Forest City, Iowa. Above you can see our convoluted route, adding a total of 1600 miles onto our commute.
Once the coach was repaired, we made our way finally to Cape Cod to work out the rest of the summer. We took a week or so on this route and actually enjoyed the scenery. We did a fun stop at the Iowa 80 Truck Stop too. Total mileage on this leg- 1,421 miles.
Our final two legs of the year took us from Boston/Cape Cod to Atlanta- 1200 miles, and then from Atlanta to Apache Junction, AZ- 1765 miles.
That’s a ton of driving in one year! A grand total of 8786 miles! Craziness!
Our favorite campgrounds for 2017
With all the traveling that we did, we stayed at over 30 different campgrounds this past year. Too many to list here. But we want to talk about 4 campgrounds that stood out this year. Our top four…
Our absolute favorite campground of 2017 is a tiny little RV Park in Mobile, Alabama called All About Relaxing RV Park. We only got to stay there one night, but they left such a big impression that both of us named them right off when I started putting together this list.
Check out the welcome chalkboard in front of our site! What a great way to start off! The campground is small with roughly 40 sites, but well laid out, big rig friendly, a nice pool and amazingly nice laundry and bath house.
Perched along Lake Martin in north central Alabama, Wind Creek State Park was another of our favorite places this year! We stayed in a brand new premium section of the park, right on the water. Each site was large, with amazing views! Definitely worth a return trip!
Located along near the beautiful Shenandoah Mountains in northern Virginia, Staunton Walnut Hills KOA has become a regular stop for us. We love the rolling green hills, the country feel and the huge lake! This year marks third stay at this campground!
Finally, we have to mention Waterloo KOA in Iowa. A big beautiful lake, surrounded by fields and fields of corn. We loved the walking trail around the lake and the beautiful setting. This is a definite stop if we end up in Iowa again.
Finances for 2017
The majority of our bills which include RV payment, health insurance, vehicle insurance, phone/internet bill, and all website overhead and taxes are covered by my websites, Suzy’s Sitcom and Daily Holiday Blog.
We use our work camping income to cover our food, gas and spending money.
This year, I was fortunate to take on a job for a group of campgrounds in Arizona who were needing a Social Media Director. I am handling their websites, Facebook pages and newsletters and can do it from my coach wherever we might be. They do require us to be in Arizona during the winter (their busy season). So, it not only gave us another source of income, but a place to park our home in the winter!
Aside from traveling expenses this year, our only other major expense was a new iPad and iPhone for Dave. Seems that after a few years, they seem to have a self destruct button in them. We finished paying off my phone a few months ago, so we are waiting for my button to go off.
I’d say LOL, but not really…
Mechanical and Coach Issues in 2017
Yep, it seems like every single year brings some mechanical issues for the coach, and 2017 was not different. We started out the year with a scheduled maintenance in Atlanta to the tune of $1800. Dave believes in maintenance in order to help avoid major issues.
Failed Full Wall Slide
But major issues can happen anyway. On our trip up to Cape Cod, our full wall slide failed for the second year in a row. After some research, we decided to take the coach to the Winnebago Factory in Forest City, Iowa for the repair. We wanted it done right and we had heard that they had come up with a new fix for this apparently common issue.
We spent about two weeks living in the Winnebago Factory parking lot. We have to say that they were extremely nice, gave us a place to plug in, and were able to fix the slide under extended warranty. The repair included a whole new slide mechanism which we hope is our final solution.
Dave busied himself with repairs that he could do on his own while we were there. Someone’s big butt broke the bed. That person shall remain nameless.
With the parts department right across the parking lot, things were quite convenient.
Water leak/Slide Cover Damage
While in Boston/Cape Cod, we experienced our first hurricane while in the coach. It was downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it got to us, but hurricane Jose managed to stay around for a couple weeks over the Boston area, giving us lots of rain and wind.
And one morning I woke up to find all the carpet in the coach soaked and wet. We had a leak. As it turned out, a large limb had fallen down and tore the awning over our slide out, revealing the hole for the locking mechanism. And a river of water was coming through that hole onto my carpet.
It took weeks for me to dry out the carpet and several months for Dave to get all the parts he needed to make the repair to the awning. In the meantime, we had to pull the slide in everytime it rained. About $500 later, we now have a new slide awning.
Wiring Problem in the Steps
Driving down from Cape Cod to Atlanta, we stopped at a rest stop to walk the dogs and realized that the steps were out. We were lucky that Dave hadn’t ran them into anything. We could not get them to go in, so Dave had to crawl under the coach and disable them. I handed him my duct tape and we taped the crap out of them.
Climbing in and out of the coach was rather hazardous for a while until we managed a few days later to fix the wiring.
Oh, and now the rear view camera seems to have its good days and its bad days.
There is always something….
New Gadgets for 2017
Affiliate links to Amazon below:
Dave is a fan of gadgets and things that make our life on the road easier. Here are a few that he found and bought this year:
Adjustable Water Pressure Regulator The water pressure in Cape Cod was ridiculously high and they warned us about it when we got there. High water pressure can burst your pipes if you aren’t careful, and we certainly didn’t want any new issues!
We have seen many sights this year and had lots of great adventures. It’s pretty darn hard to narrow it down. Here are a few of the many that stand out this year:
It has been a good year all in all, with lots of great memories!
Looking at 2018
We will be living and working in Apache Junction, AZ until April 1. We are then going to take a trip across the country again to Atlanta to visit with the grand baby for a few weeks. Because we have to have some grand baby time, of course!
We will be working the summer in Polson, MT, right on Flathead lake near the top of the state. So another cross country trip will happen in early May from Atlanta to Montana. We are scheduled to work in Montana until mid September.
After that, things are up in the air and plans are being made.
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.
We knew what we wanted to do, but it looked like it would take years of saving to get there.
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.
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.
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.