Thursday, December 11, 2008
In January 1, 2006, I began my adventure as a fulltime RVer and workamper, living in my little 23-foot motor home and working for extended periods at various lodges and campgrounds around the country. It has been a wonderful time, made possible by all the outstanding friends I've met along the way. To be honest, before I began this journey I pictured RV owners as mostly rich, snobbish people with more money than brains. In a college economics class, one of my instructors bad-mouthed RVs, especially the boxy Winnebagos that were popular in the 1970s. And I think his comments about them stuck--until now.
I have found RV owners to be the friendliest, most thoughtful, most helpful, and most caring people I've probably ever met. And it doesn't matter what size or type of vehicle they have. As a single woman, I am constantly amazed and thankful for all the little things I've received for the past two years and for the chance to contribute my talents as well. As I prepare to leave Coffeyville, Kansas tomorrow for the warmer climate of San Diego for a few weeks, and then back to my new little house in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, I'd like to express my thanks and gratitude to all of you, but several people in particular. I won't mention names, but you know who you are. Although I might be moving back into a house, thus ending two years of travel and adventures, I'm keeping the RV. After all, there's much more of this country to see and more friends to make.
When I arrived here in October, I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into. I drove into the main campground, found no sites available, and was finally guided to an area by the playground. However, I couldn't find any water hookups. I stopped at one large RV and talked to a woman about where I might find some water and she showed me. After a while, we became quite good friends. She didn't tow a separate car, or "toad," as they're called, and the ever-important laundromat, supermarket, post office, and Wal-Mart were several miles down the road. So, she bought my gas in exchange for rides. Since we had several weeks before beginning work, we were able to do a lot of sightseeing, extending our travels further into Kansas as well as into Oklahoma and Missouri. It was so much fun to see places I'd never envisioned. We played Scrabble, walked her dog, ate meals together, spent money at Wal-Mart, got free flu shots at a Cherokee Nation festival, and even bitched a little about Amazon. She's been a workamper and fulltimer longer than I have and shared her adventures and knowledge with me. Even though I decided I couldn't handle the Amazon job, she's stuck it out the entire time, working eleven-hour shifts five nights a week. I value her friendship very much.
A month or so ago, another woman wanted someone to make her and her husband a flag for their motor home and I volunteered. I'd never made one before, but how hard could it be, especially since I have my sewing machine. At dinner one night, she showed me a drawing she'd made on a paper napkin of how they'd like the flag to look, but basically left the design up to me. They love the finished product. And thus began another wonderful friendship. She and I are both "crafty" type people: she knits, crochets, makes dollhouse miniatures, Christmas decorations, and just about any other type of craft thing imaginable. She also haunts thrift stores and flea markets for the most amazing things. I mostly stick to sewing and quilting. Most important, she and her husband have also had a wide variety of workamping experiences and loved to share them with me. She is the first to volunteer for any type of helpful project such as a canned foods drive or a collection for the homeless shelter. She even moderates a workampers forum for Amazon workampers here in Coffeyville. She served as a role-model for my starting this blog and continuing with it. She found a great dining room chair for my new house and helped dicker the store owner down to $15 for it. Perhaps most important, when she found out I was going to be leaving tomorrow, she quickly rounded up places for me to stay along the way and on the way back. So, I'll be honored to stay with her father as well as her son and daughter-in-law. Her husband volunteered to look at my water connection problem to see if he could do anything with it, even when the temperature outside was in the 20s and after working all night. So, to both of you I express my humble and heart-felt gratitude.
Finally, at least for this post, I need to recognize a friend and her husband whom I worked with in Kanab, Utah last year. We became excellent friends and co-workers, supporting one another during a very difficult period at work. We have stayed in touch ever since then even though jobs and travels have taken us to far-flung places in the country. She and I will finally get-together this coming week in Texas for a day or so to catch up, and I can't wait to see her again. It might even turn out that we might be related in some way since there is the same last name in her family's history as my maiden name. So, we're checking that out.
And those are just a few of many, many helpful and friendly people; those of you who provided a carpool to Amazon, organized dinners, introduced me to geocaching, and just took the time to share your experiences with me. To all of you, whoever you are, I am extremely grateful.