Parkit.us

If you got here from one of my old links (on Pinterest, Twitter, etc.) or an older bookmark, I have moved the site over to WordPress.org. I will now own all of my content since I am self hosted. You can still get to the new site from www.parkit.us.

I migrated my WordPress.com files and my followers to WordPress.org. I have bought my domain names through NameCheap for a while now and decided to use them as a host as well. I am paying $9.88 for the first year of hosting-not bad!

Thank you for following our adventures!

Working In Yosemite

The past few weeks we have been deciding what to do for the 2022 spring/summer season. We had several interviews at a few national parks, but decided to head to Yosemite this summer!

We have always wanted to work a season there and hike more, but they don’t really have any RV spots with hookups. There are a few volunteer RV spots with the park service for camp-hosts, but those usually only last a month.

We got jobs working for the non profit (The Yosemite Conservancy) with similar schedules. The housing is a park service two bedroom and the pay pretty good. We are looking forward to working for a national park nonprofit again!

We will sell our Grand Design and just drive the truck out there. After working a season, we will look for a smaller drivable RV and smaller vehicle like a Jeep. Or a smaller trailer like an older Airstream. We may try to work a season at Glacier with housing as well since those jobs sounded nice too!

We will miss our travel trailer, but we would like to find something a bit smaller that I am comfortable driving as well.

We are super excited to do more hiking in Yosemite National Park and explore more of California and the west again. We have spent a lot of time here in Florida and we are ready to travel again. We are heading out mid April so keep following for lots of pictures along the way!

Working In Yosemite was originally published on Parkit

Winter In Yellowstone

Planning a trip for any national park vacation can be a bit overwhelming because hotels and activities book so fast and far ahead. Parks like Yellowstone and Glacier have such a short summer season you are limited in dates. Winter planning for Yellowstone was new to us and very different from summer trip planning. While some parks are a lot less busy in the winter, hotels and activities are more limited and book fast. There is also the booking challenge and expense of over snow transportation.

We first started talking and planning a winter Yellowstone trip in August 2021. Some of the packages offered by Yellowstone Forever (the non profit) and Xanterra (a concessionaire) were great, but very expensive. We used those as a starting point for plans and pieced together our own trip. We knew we wanted to do activities in Jackson, the Old Faithful area and the Mammoth Hot Springs area. In winter, most people enter Yellowstone from West Yellowstone or Gardiner. We wanted to fly into Jackson and enter from the South entrance.

We found out that a company called Scenic Safaris provides a snow coach shuttle from Flagg Ranch in Grand Teton National Park through the South entrance into Yellowstone National Park. They drop you off at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge. They can also do pick ups at hotels in Jackson to get to Flagg Ranch.

Once we knew we could get from Jackson to the Old Faithful area, we were able to check hotel availability. The only two hotels open in the winter in Yellowstone are Snow Lodge and The Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel. I looked for three nights at each and found a week in January that worked out. Then I checked hotels in Jackson. We wound up staying at The Rustic Inn Creekside because we stayed there in the past and liked it a lot. It is right near downtown, the National Elk Refuge, ski slopes and has nice amenities. The Queen and King bed cabins are great.

I checked Google Flights for good flight times. We flew into Jackson/Grand Teton National Park and out of Bozeman, MT. We lucked out with great times and prices. There was only one slight time change before our January trip. Since our last hotel was Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, it made sense to leave through the North entrance and fly out of the Bozeman airport. The North and North East entrances have the only roads open in Yellowstone during the winter that cars can drive. Lamar Valley roads are open as well.

After our hotels, flights, snow coaches and shuttles were booked, we were able to plan some activities! We booked a snowmobile trip near Grand Teton National Park, dog sledding to Granite Hot Springs, a Yellowstone Canyon day tour from Old Faithful Snow Lodge and a Lamar Valley Wildlife tour from Mammoth. Xanterra has the winter day trips on their web site. We also booked a sleigh ride at the National Elf Refuge and some meals.

It was a nice change traveling without our RV. We have not been on a plane in years. I missed air travel and nice hotels! Three nights in each location was a great amount of time. The next time we plan a winter Yellowstone trip, I may add 1-2 more nights. I would have liked a little more time to ice skate, snow shoe, snowboard or go snow tubing. It was a great trip to celebrate our 25th anniversary though!

On our Instagram page are more pictures and details about places we booked and ate. If you have any questions just ask!

Winter In Yellowstone was originally published on Parkit

Four Years Full Time!

It is amazing how fast time has gone by since traveling in our RV full time. We are enjoying life so much. I am always impressed with how Craig manages this 34 foot trailer! Especially parking it in tight RV spots and maneuvering it through traffic in places like San Francisco and Houston. I grew up in New York City and did not get my drivers license until I was 25, so I am grateful he does the driving.

We first started dreaming about full time RVing after coming back from a trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton. We talked to several workers in the gift shops and visitor centers and realized seasonal work sounded amazing. Our Snake River float trip captain in Grand Teton National Park worked there in the summer and was traveling around Asia in the fall. Craig and I said-we can do this too!

So we started planning it all out and saving and investing our money. After two years of planning and research we decided to go for it. We found an RV we liked pretty quickly. While we still love Airstreams, we are happy with our Grand Design Reflection. It has been a comfortable home. A used diesel truck was harder to find, but we finally found a decent one. Our GMC has done great for the most part even on some questionably steep mountains and in bad weather. We will probably need to upgrade soon if we continue to tow. She is getting older (2005) and a bit tired, but she has kept us safe.

Finding good Workamping jobs has been pretty easy-there are so many good options out there. We have enjoyed every place we worked or volunteered and even had to turn down some great sounding jobs. Covid kind of threw a wrench into many people’s plans and we hope to explore more in 2022! We are hoping we find something great at a national park for the summer season.

We are heading to a seasonal spot in Florida for the fall and winter and look forward to seeing all the new attractions, shows and fireworks at the theme parks. Especially for Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary. We also want to visit more springs, bike and get to Key West and the Everglades again.

I will be posting more about planning for our Yellowstone winter trip in a new blog post. It was very different from summer planning. We are pretty set with plans now and were lucky to get hotels and spots for tours we wanted! Keep an eye out for that post soon!

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/Parkit.us

Four Years Full Time! was originally published on Parkit

Fall Is On The Way

I can not believe August is nearly over and fall in on the way. We have been at our seasonal site in New Hampshire for three months now. Unfortunately, the weather has been either extremely hot or very rainy. The rain brings the biting bugs out. We had planned on doing more hiking this summer, but our friend broke his foot. He was the one that planned a lot of our hiking trips up here because he knows the White Mountains well.

While the park we found has been quiet and somewhat convenient for seeing friends and family, we don’t love the spot. It is in full sun and right on top of other RVs. It is clean and the pool has been nice to have close by.

In early October we head back to Florida for the fall and winter. We are stopping a few places along the way and will post pictures on Instagram. Some stops are Hyde Park, NY, Hershey, PA, Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA. We don’t have any set plans for work in the near future, but we would like to work at one of the national parks again next year if that works out. In January we are visiting Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone and Jackson for some winter fun!

Buy me a beer or coffee!

Fall Is On The Way was originally published on Parkit

Spring and Summer Plans For 2021

Craig and I are enjoying our time here at The Disney Wilderness Preserve volunteering for the second time. We were planning on working at Yellowstone this summer, and had some good interviews and job offers set up. Then Covid cases started surging again and new strains started popping up. We are not sure when we will be able to get vaccinated. We would also have to travel though New Mexico and Colorado again to get to Wyoming. They have been strict with out of state visitors and are closing things back down.

After talking it over, Craig and I decided to extend our volunteering time here at the preserve and then head to New Hampshire for the summer to visit friends and family. We found a nice seasonal RV park right up the road from our friends.

We plan to head out mid April and visit the Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah National Parks on the way up. We are also looking forward to visiting Acadia and the White Mountains this summer.

Spring and Summer Plans For 2021 was originally published on Parkit

Three Years of Full Time RV Travel

We have been full time RVing for three years this September! In that time we have:

-Traveled to 21 states including
LA, AL, TX, NM, CO, WY, ID, CA, OR, WA, NE, TN, GA, MO, VA, NJ, NC, SC, FL, AZ and NV.

-Visited 17 national parks-Shenandoah, Great Smoky Mountains, Congaree, Big Bend, Carlsbad Caverns, Great Sand Dunes, Rocky Mountain, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Saint Louis Gateway Arch, Saguaro, Joshua Tree, Death Valley, Channel Islands, Pinnacles, Redwoods and Petrified Forest.

-Workamped in four states-Florida, Texas, Wyoming and California.

-Traveled back and forth across the country four times.

-Survived snow, torrential rain, mountains, backing into tiny RV spots, driving through cities like San Francisco, Houston and Atlanta and two RV tire blow outs.

-Experienced RVing at many state parks, national parks, fancy private parks and not so fancy private parks.

-Really took time seeing our amazing country first hand. We have so many more places we want to visit!

In early 2021 we should be setting out again to head back west. We are looking at routes now and hope to visit some old favorites and some new places on our list. In 2022 we are hoping to see Crater Lake, Olympic, North Cascades and Mount Rainer since we missed them this past trip.

We have been checking for seasonal work for next spring/summer and hope to post updates soon!

Three Years of Full Time RV Travel was originally published on Parkit

Back on the Preserve

Craig and I made it back to the Disney Wilderness Preserve and Florida in March- right before things started shutting down due to Covid-19. We are volunteering again for a while and deciding what we will do next.

It is a great place to wait things out since there are only a few of us here on 12,000 acres! We are enjoying the peace and quiet.

Right now the Preserve is closed to the public, but things are starting to open here in Florida.

We have been keeping an eye on property and doing light maintenance and gardening. We should know more soon on where we will land next!

Back on the Preserve was originally published on Parkit

Managing a Pumpkin Patch and Christmas Tree Lot

Wow! It has been a while since I wrote a blog post. My internet service has been practically non-existent the past few months. We got to our lot in California the end of September. It was in a busy neighborhood surrounded by places like Costco, Home Depot, LA Fitness and fast food.

We had electric and water on site and the company had a truck come out every Monday to pump our tanks. We worked six weeks for the pumpkin patch, had a few weeks off, and then Christmas tree season lasted five weeks. Our hours were 1-9, or 9-9. Some days we stayed open until 10pm. We worked every day with no days off.

At least one of us had to be on the lot at all times while pumpkins or trees were there. We also had inflatable obstacle courses and slides for kids during the pumpkin season.

We had to hire staff, handle all of the registers, money and deposits, tickets for inflatables, safety checks, set up most of the lot, unload, water trees, provide security, deal with customers, manage schedules and buy items to run the business.

I really feel like potential managers should have to work on another busy lot for a season before managing their own lot. Our lot was small, and had much less traffic than most of the company lots, yet we felt like we could have had a lot more help and training.

Many times it was assumed we knew what we were doing (like we were one of the managers that had been with the company for years.) Luckily, Craig and I got to stay on one of the busiest lots while we were waiting for our electric to be hooked up. Those managers really helped us by showing us some of what we needed to know. Some of the newer managers left after the first week.

It was both fun and frustrating! The inflatables during pumpkins were the most annoying for me. Some people ignored the safety warnings and tried to drag infants on the 60 foot slide, make their scared kids go on for pictures, jump at the top, slide head first or try to sneak on without tickets over and over. Most customers were great though. They were from the local neighborhoods and enjoyed the lot.

It was hard finding people to work seasonally since the hours really depended on how busy the lot was. Some days were crazy and some were dead. It was also hard to judge how to schedule help. We had a labor budget we had to follow. Craig and I wound up doing 90% of the work so we would not go over budget. Many times we could not have the slides running due to awful high winds. The weather where we were caused many issues! We also had lots of competition during Christmas tree season. Costco trees were $30 while ours stared at $65. Costco, Lowe’s and Home Depot were right next door.

We made decent money and it is allowing us to travel up the coast for a few months and back to Florida. I liked the owners and wished we could have dealt with them directly more. The company had two nice dinners for us during training classes and paid us fairly. I just wish we had more support when we had needed it.

After we travel for a while, we are heading back to The Disney Wilderness Preserve to volunteer for a while!

Managing a Pumpkin Patch and Christmas Tree Lot was originally published on Parkit

Two Years of Full Time RVing!

It is hard to believe in September we will be full time RVing for two years. We have spent two winters in Florida, traveled to eleven states and seven national parks and Workamped at three different jobs. We are on our way to our fourth tomorrow, and will reach California on September 11th. Soon, we will have traveled coast to coast in our Grand Design Reflection!

Here are some things we love about RVing and some that are not so great.

Not great:

-Things get cluttered easily in a small space, so you need to stay on top of cleaning. We are pretty neat so this is not hard for us.

-We can’t have a lot of personal items or clothing since storage space is at a minimum.

-We can sometimes feel unsettled if we do not have a job or destination planned.

-Missing family and friends while on the road.

-Gas and RV parks can be expensive. It is still less than rent/mortgage for us. Workamping helps with free spots too.

-Parks can book up way ahead now so you need to plan routes. This is more of an issue in the summer or at popular places like national parks.

-Driving can be stressful in heavy traffic or through cities.

What we love:

-Freedom! Travel is amazing and we love seeing new places.

-No alarm clock. Unless we are working, we wake up when we want and go by our own schedule.

-Time together. Craig and I have worked at several jobs together, so we were used to spending more time together than apart. We love working and traveling together.

-Trying local foods, restaurants and grocery stores.

-Meeting new people and making new friends at our Workamping jobs.

-Getting to really learn an area when we spend several months working there.

Tomorrow we head to Fredericksburg, Texas for some wine tasting and then across I-10 to El Paso, Tucson, Saguaro National Park, Phoenix, Sedona, Quartzsite, Joshua Tree and Disneyland before we start work managing a pumpkin patch and Christmas tree lot. Follow along on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

Two Years of Full Time RVing! was originally published on Parkit

Gate Guarding Pros and Cons

We are really looking forward to finishing up gate guarding in Texas on Sunday. We had considered working until the end of August, but we are ready to have a break before traveling to California! We will spend a few weeks in San Antonio until we head out on the 29th.

After three months of gate guarding, we came up with some pros and cons in case any RVers are considering trying it.

Pros:

-Good money in a short amount of time. We made over $17,000 for about 11 weeks of work. We did not work all 24 hours a day, but had to physically be on site.

-Easy work mentally. It could be harder for some people physically if you have a busy gate, or you have to open and close a gate every time a worker comes and goes.

-No rent or utilities. The guard company pays for your gas/generator and takes care of water and sewer.

-Warm locations in the winter months.

-You are contract and can work for several guard companies, look for the highest pay and leave when you feel like it/give notice.

-You are not going out spending money. You can save a lot.

Cons:

-24/7 schedule. No time off unless you find a licensed relief guard.

-Not being able to sleep with your spouse. Having different sleep schedules. We hated this.

-Not getting enough sleep or good sleep. The trucks are noisy, the bells are noisy and we had train tracks and a highway a few feet from our RV. The generator is also very loud. That becomes white noise.

-Bugs, bugs and more bugs. Especially if you are working night shift or early morning before the sun comes out. You will both have to work when it is dark at some point. You will get bit, crawled on and have bugs fly in your hair, face, eyes and ears every day. There are Tarantulas, Tarantula Wasps, Brown Recluse spiders, enormous moths, etc.

-Snakes and scorpions. Be careful.

-The guard sites are usually an afterthought. We have seen pictures of some nice sites, but both of ours were flooded, muddy, sandy and overgrown with weeds and thorny bushes that can scratch your RV. The weeds smelled like cat or dog pee right outside our bedroom window. Lovely.

-Very hot and brutal sun. We knew the summer would be hot. It is 118 in the shade. If you are outside for even 15 minutes, you start to feel faint. You have to wear sun block every day. Your RV ACs will get a workout. I would not even consider doing this without two ACs.

-DUST EVERYWHERE. You will be covered in dust. Your RV will be covered in dust. Everything inside will have dust on it.

-The generator and dust take a toll on your RV. Even with an EMS plugged in our clocks were always running slow or fast. Hopefully the generators did not ruin our electrical system.

-Remote locations. Our first gate was an hour and 1/2 to a Walmart or food shopping. We are also right next to the border and constantly asked if we were armed by workers. We had two young guys knock on our RV door looking for help one day. Border Patrol is always on the ranch looking for people, and when they were first digging the oil wells, the workers found the body of a young girl and several skeletons. Very sad and a little nerve wracking at times.

-You can’t drink the water even with a filter so you need to stock up on water.

-Some truckers want to drive 90mph up the 20mph road. They kick up dust you have to breathe in and nearly have head on collisions with some workers. Some of the workers hate waiting two minutes for the gate to be opened. The ranch owner wanted the gates closed due to cattle and horses, but all they see is a road block. They get agitated and take it out on you. Most are super nice though.

-You have to pay to take the level two security test, get licensed and fingerprinted. It is good for two years.

-Some gates are very busy. A busy day on our second gate would be 100 in/out. I read some gate guards had 750 in/out and not even a 5 minute break!

Well, there you have it! Gate guarding pros and cons. Would we do gate guarding guarding again? Maybe for a month at a time. Three months was too long for us. Some gate guards do this for years at a time though! If you have any questions, just ask in the comments.

Gate Guarding Pros and Cons was originally published on Parkit