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Dang Improvements

One thing I didn’t know before buying into an RV park in the Southwest is the incredible amount of wind that blows through here. I found out the hard way this past Spring when the winds kicked up and nearly blew my 30 foot 10,000 pound 5th wheel RV off it’s foot pads. I was having to put my full length slideout in constantly and couldn’t sleep due to the creaking of the bedroom wall and the constant rocking motion of the bedroom. I spent a few nights sleeping in my truck instead. I am now in the process of converting my large garage building into a comfortable she shed with a foldable cot, sleeping bag, outdoor carpeting, porta potti, dorm refrigerator, and TV. I am looking at possibly insulating it and installing permanent AC along with a portable heater.

I am also working on stabilizing the trailer further. I already had X-chocks on it which I highly recommend to anyone. Recently I added a stabilizer tripod to the hitch up front. I hadn’t thought that would help much before and didn’t want to add more to my setup routine but decided to give it a shot now that I am spending much more time in one place. I bought it from Amazon and found it easy to put together. Installation was also easy. Oh my gosh! It works! We had more wind here right after I installed it but my trailer is much more stable and I was able to sleep through it just fine. I don’t know yet if it will be able to also handle the Spring winds but it has given me hope. In any case, I will also have my she shed ready.

5th Wheel hitch stabilizer

Another improvement I am adding this week is a very large propane tank with regular onsite service from a local company. The genius who designed the location for the on board tanks on my trailer made it very difficult to get the tanks out to refill them and well, I’m not forty anymore. I’m really looking forward to using it though I heat mostly with electric in the winter. The water heater uses a lot when it is cold outside and I occasionally use the on board furnace to quickly bring the trailer temperature up in the morning.

Giant propane tank

Last winter I bought a Camco heated water hose and can now say the expensive item is well worth it. I haven’t frozen up once since then. I unplugged it when the temps started staying in normal ranges and only plugged it back in recently when they plunged again.

 

General Delivery

For anyone using General Delivery for mail and getting told by a Postmaster that they can only use it for 30 days, apparently several postmasters have been misreading the DMM (Domestic Mail Manual). The manual has been updated to make it clearer that the 30 days only applies to how long they will hold an individual mail piece and not how long you may use the service which has no limit. While General Delivery is meant to be a temporary service, they do understand the need for transients and those without a formal mailing address to receive mail per an update notice published by the USPO and current section 6.0 of the DMM.

Personally, I do use a mail service to receive all my mail and send it to me wherever I am when I ask for it. I have been doing this since 2005 and it has worked well most of the time. On rare occasions, I do get a postmaster who threatens to stop accepting general delivery. Educate them by showing them the manual and/or going over their heads, move on, or accept being bullied. Your choice.

Still Alive!

Sorry I haven’t written in a while. The last two years have seen huge changes in my life which have kept me busy. Last year I lost my easy gate that I was guarding for 3 years. The oilfield activity increased all over as oil prices went up and my sweet gate suddenly became a nightmare. Many of the other gates becoming available were going to be too busy for a single person. Yes, I could have partnered up with another single but then the pay would be split in half and you might as well work at Walmart for 4 hours a day less to make the same money so not an option for me. Eventually, I was forced to take day gates that required working out of my truck for 12 hours a day which is not fun, expensive driving to the gate every day, dangerous driving oilfield roads in the dark, and pretty boring. Then I caught a regular live onsite gate to be shared with a couple and I wrote previously on how bad that turned out to be. The good ol’ days for single guards in the oilfields seem to be over and I am 6 years older now which definitely makes a difference in my needs and abilities.

After finding my wonderful RV site to lease in New Mexico, I just couldn’t bear to go back to gate guarding right away. Both my old trailer and I were groaning. I decided to try to find another type of job still in the oilfields but easier such as delivering parts or water or perhaps driving escort for rigs. I submitted many many applications but it seems that although there are plenty of old men working in the oilfields, nobody wants an older woman despite all my varied work experience and knowledge. I was offered a shot at one job at the nearby refinery but they do rotating shifts which is a killer for young and old. No thanks! In the end, I reached Social Security early retirement age while searching and decided to pack it in and semi-retire. I’m still working things out but in the meantime, I took a job at the local Walmart part-time to cover the bills and keep me active. Several people from my RV park work there. Walmart doesn’t care about age or sex. They just want bodies which is true of many of the stores and fast food joints in the area. If interested, submit an app online.

So here I am, living full-time in my 5th wheel in a very nice RV park on my very own lot and working part-time. My trailer is still good enough to live in but I believe it has seen its last road trip. I still own a house up North that is now going up for sale. I hope to buy another smaller RV next year for short trips for fun and to continue this blog. I do still cruise. I may try gate guarding again at some point at a guard shack or just doing relief but it won’t be for awhile due to Social Security rules for early retirees I have to navigate. I have renewed my security license just in case and plan to keep it until I am sure I am not going back.

I did get to do my best gate ever back in January for two weeks before I retired where I lived in the oil company man’s mobile home for two weeks just keeping an eye on the equipment there. It paid extremely well and for the most part I was totally left alone with a large flat pad to walk every day for exercise, normal house shower and kitchen, and satellite TV with loads of movie channels. I had a blast and cleaned it up a bit for them to thank them and have something to do. Wish I could get more like that one but that was just a fluke.

For now, I will be posting my explorations of this area and my cruises. This actually is a great area to retire except for housing and RV park prices which have skyrocketed due to the Permian Basin oilfield activity. Not a problem if you are an Escapee!

Home Sweet Home

It’s official. I did it! I leased my own RV lot in the Escapees RV park known as The Ranch in Lakewood, NM. When I got back from my vacation, I came down with a cold the next day. That kept me at the park and out of work for a couple more weeks. I got better just in time for their annual Roundup week long celebration. They had lots of fun activities, contests, and a pot luck. I participated in the air rifle shooting contest and won. Then they got the previous year’s champion, also a woman, to come have a shootout with me. I won again! They started calling me Annie Oakley and were so darn nice to me that I had to stay awhile.

Air rifle range shooting

For something to do, I thought I would check out their sites that were up for lease. I had looked at leasing in other Escapees parks but they all had very long waiting lists. They gave me a list of immediately available sites and several had really great prices in my comfort range. I walked around to look at all of them. One with what they call a casita on it that I would have liked very much was already marked pending. Then I saw the one that was just right for me. It had a large shed on it with rollup garage door and sliding side door, cement floor and patio next to it, plenty of electrical, a nice long work bench in it, and all the walls are lined with lots of shelves. The lot is large, covered with gravel, close to the clubhouse, but not too close to a walk through path between the streets. It’s exactly what I need to store a lot of stuff I don’t need inside my RV when sitting here and stuff I don’t need when out gate guarding. They had also recently painted the shed and discounted the lot. Perfect.

My lot at The RanchLots and lots of shelvesMy workbench

There was no background check done as far as I know. I had to put down a $500 deposit to get started. It took almost two weeks to move the current casual renter off and close the deal with final payment so I had to pay rent during that time. Now that it is mine, I have to pay for my electrical use and a large yearly assessment fee to maintain the park which still works out a lot cheaper than renting a camp site particularly in these high priced oilfield areas.

Park Amenities:

  • Temperature controlled clubhouse with kitchen, pool table, gym equipment, free book library, free DVD library, puzzles, item exchange table, activities, pot lucks.
  • Wood shop with full set of saws, drill press, and tools to use.
  • Air rifle and archery shooting range.
  • Inexpensive laundromat with front loading washers.
  • Welding shop.
  • ALL water is run through a reverse osmosis filtration system.
  • Electrical upgraded in my section recently.
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout park.
  • Free post office box with lease.
  • Package acceptance at the office.
  • Onsite RV storage.
  • Air compressor to air up tires.
  • Boondocking area with fresh water and dump.
  • Large and small dumpsters as well as recycling area.
  • Emergency call list for rides to medical appointments.
  • Location between two small cities with Walmarts, Lowes, Harbor Freight, propane, etc. available.
  • Veterans Admin satellite medical office nearby.
  • State park with a lake nearby and other recreation sites.
  • In the country away from traffic.
  • Can wash your vehicles on site when no state water restrictions and can work on vehicles on site within reason.

WOOHOO!

For more pics click here.