Where We've Been (46 out of 50 States)...Where We Are!

Where We've Been (46 out of 50 States)...Where We Are!
We are extensively traveling around...working and having a blast...Life is Grand!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

What Happened at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Our plan was to leave on Thursday, but because we had been so antsy to go and we were abruptly woken at 5am with a passing thunder storm on Wednesday morning we thought we would just get an early start and head partway to Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Instead, we drove almost 400 miles and made it just a little over 30 miles away.

Looking back, it was the best decision since the weather would have been wicked on our path for Thursday…Can you say following your gut for the best outcome? We are getting so much better at doing just that!

Thursday morning we got another early start, with a quick stop at WalMart to fill up a few empty spaces with necessities and off to the track we went. This WalMart was about 11 miles from the track and it had all sorts of souvenirs. It was hard for us not to buy the entire department but we managed to get out with only a few purchases that saved us bundles over the track prices. We still have a few more purchases at the track we will need to do.

We spoke to a representative the day before to confirm where our tickets and camping passes were located. We always leave them at Will Call since we are concerned about them meeting up with us by snail mail and some of the tracks leave them at the camping gates, while others like this one leave them at the main ticket office. The rep explained that there was not ample room for us to park our motorhome in the area designated to pick up our tickets so she said that she would send only the camping passes to the camping gate and we would have to find a way to get our other tickets. We were good with that except for when we arrived at our camping lot...

The camping passes were not there, so we had phone and radio communications for awhile until it was resolved. Instead of us being inconvenienced for all that time, the very nice man (Keith) at the gate once seeing our email confirmation decided to allow us to get situated until the office figured out where our passes were located. We were just about setup before they got our passes to us…they apparently sent them to the wrong camping location.

Usually we boondock at the races, but Indianapolis Motor Speedway offered for an additional $150, an electric hookup…we are so happy we paid the extra, it has been steaming hot since we arrived and running our a/c all day has been the norm. Thank goodness to the wonderful rep on the phone with us back in January that knew the best areas for first timers like us. This camping area worked out the best for us, it is just feet from the gate we need to enter to reach our seats.

We spent all day Friday at the track and walked miles. We enjoyed watching practice…what an intense rush with the cars on the track, we were under the tunnel at one point and that was awesome to hear them right above us and feel the vibrations. On the infield they also had a Vintage and Stock Car Show going on with so many different types of really cool looking cars.

All of this and more for one low cost of $10 per person.

Learning about the history, both good and difficult times of this most magnificent track is such a great experience. By paying an additional $5 each to visit the Hall of Fame Museum did exactly that for us.

Usually when we go into these sort of places, we have learned to go our separate ways since we tend to enjoy lingering at certain places and walking right by others very different from one another.

We met up at the little theater area and watched the film of the tracks beginnings and everything in between. If you ever get to the Hall of Fame Museum be sure not to miss watching the 20 minute documentary.

Saturday’s events include practice and qualifying and cost $15 per person, but if you paid $1 for the local newspaper you get a coupon for a two for one tickets price, what a deal!

All of this leading to the main event, the Brickyard 400 on Sunday. We got our tickets back in January when we got our camping passes, our seats were located in the Tower Terrace, Section 51, Row HH, Seats 19 & 20 and what great seats they were. We were on the infield above the pit stalls IN THE SHADE…who would have known it back in January that we would be needing all that shade with the excruciating highs for the weekend…but we did and it was marvelous.

Now…put all 43 cars on the track all racing for the start/finish line and that was extremely a wild rush. Because the track is 2 ½ miles around, there was silence for a few seconds…then the rush of them all coming by again was once again intense. It was a magnificent experience and we also loved that Paul Menard was the winner. We have our favorite drivers and then we have some that we just respect and like for many other reasons, he is one of those guys that we were able to enjoy his first win ever.

We took so many photos, to check them all out go to our Picasa Web Albums.

Friday, July 22, 2011

What To Be When We Grow Up?

That question has always been an open topic for us and neither of us have been able to answer it. Not sure if we ever want to grow up but living this lifestyle and having to work has opened up so many different doors for us, we are not sure which direction to take next. We know many things we do not want to do, but exactly what we want to do is still out there somewhere for us to find.

We know we do not want to stay put in one place for too long, and we do not want to manage a campground…too much stress for not enough pay. Working maintenance and front desk is just really boring for us, but much better than managing.

We like managing the pumpkin and tree lots…the work is hard…the hours are long…but, the money is great.

We loved cooking at the Dude Ranch last summer and would consider doing it again for another season…but at the same time, it’s hard for us to stay in one place.

We have worked at many of the NASCAR events wearing several different hats, but it's really been challenging since most of them do not pay for our camping and it is really expensive during those events, plus most of the pay scale is low.

We love the traveling we were able to do this season working with Scootaround and really like the work we do with them. But our biggest concern with them had always been getting enough work to balance out all the travel to get to the area for work. If we did not hit those two jackpots, we would have never survived financially as we did and we know that we cannot rely on jackpots coming our way all the time.

The writing and photography has not been a great income source and to be honest, I have lost interest in having to do it. Reading Semi-True Tales of Our Life on the Road's Blog really hit home for me. I love writing and taking photos, and it comes very naturally for me to do this, but as far as making any money doing it, not happening. Yes, there are folks out there, like Nick Russell from Gypsy Journal who are able to make a living doing it. Others have a knack to have the ads give them extra income...not us. Sure, we have made some money, but not even enough to buy us dinner at McDonald's.

The writing opportunities have not come our way in the past seven years and we have worked really hard trying to get them. I have actually been working at it since I was a child to get this dream off the ground of being a highly paid writer and photographer, but it is time to let it go and just begin once again doing it just to do it, and not have to push it so hard. Some dreams are not meant to be for everyone and I am really ok with that realization. It’s time for other dreams to manifest into our lives, hence the big question, “What to be when we grow up?”

We love working together as a couple, and work very well together. We love selling, but we have tried sales for an Air Photo company and for a campground brochure company…NOT for us. The type of sales we enjoy is working booths where people come to us. We were very interested in working for NHRA working their merchandise trailers, but we would need a Class A to pull the trailer…not possible.

Working booths, selling items or memberships of sorts has always been intriguing for us, but cold calling is not. We have not been able to connect with a company where we do not have to carry the products with us and that has enough shows where it would benefit us traveling around.

We were really interested in becoming an Independent Watkins Associate with the Summit Group, but again we would need to carry the products…not going to happen.

So as we search for our next adventure, we keep all of this in mind and hope that one day we finally are able to answer that question. Until then we will continue to enjoy all the different opportunities that come our way!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

“HOT” Heat Wave Ending Soon

It has been so hot these past few days with the humidity level making it unbearable to even be outside, so we have been hibernating in our A/C home. We really miss the fresh air, sleeping with the windows open is such a nice way to sleep, but with the heat, humidity and storms coming through during the nights, it has not been possible. Looks as if the heat is forecasted to subside and the highs will be in the 80’s and the evening lows will be in the 60’s. Still a little on the warm side, but so much better than it has been.

We decided since this was such a nice place to hang out, and we have plenty of points on our Coast to Coast membership that we once again added two more days to this visit. We are going to stay put until it is time to head straight to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400. We will travel just a little over 400 miles on that day, more than usual for us but not a big deal either.

This morning before it got too hot and all the kids came out, we took a dip in the hot tub...

Then cooled in the indoor pool.

This is really a nice resort that has so much going on that we probably won’t leave to enjoy any of the local adventures this time around. We are under a very strict budget because of the canceled shows. Our main goal is to be able to make it back west the end of August, in preparation for working a pumpkin patch and Christmas lot. Wisconsin Dells will definitely be put on our list of places to return and enjoy some of the great things they offer.

Life is not always the way we think we want it to be, but it always works out the way it needs to, if we just allow it to flow and not try to force anything. We have learned our lessons throughout our lives that the more we fret and worry over things, the worse they get. So we have now taken the steps into feeling that this is for our best and something even better will come out of it. We just have to be calm, patient and allow life to play it’s course.

For more photos, check out our Picasa Web Albums.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Some Days Are Hardly Worth Getting Out of Bed…

A few minor setbacks have caused us to reevaluate our plans once again and we are not liking it one bit. We have really been aching to get the hell out of the east, these continuous storms one after another along with this humidity and heat has given us the incentive to get out of here. And, if money was not a factor in our choices we would have been heading in that direction a long time ago, but…

Our plans still remain the same to attend the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and then work the Indiana State Fair, but we will not be doing the next two jobs for Scootaround that we had planned. The corporate office has canceled them due to…whatever…they were canceled.

We are then jobless after the Indiana State Fair. Scared? You’re damn right we are! We have a few feelers out but as far as confirmed work from here to the end of the year…well, not yet! We are really trying to just stay calm and know that things will all work out, they always do, but it is not always easy.

We will make enough at the fair to get us west once again, so if anybody knows of any sort of temporary, part time work beginning the end of August in Northern Arizona, Nevada, or California, please let us know.

Life is full of changes and chances, it is now up to us to make sure that we make the most of these changes and choose to go down the road that takes us on our continuous dream lifestyle.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Exploring Wisconsin Dells

After our week working at the Farm Technology Days, we decided we need a vacation and this area is the perfect spot. We had planned to stay here only 5 days, but once we got here we were so impressed, we chose to add 6 more days onto our Coast to Coast membership stay. We plan to be here until we head to the NASCAR race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for our NASCAR fix.

There is so much to do in this area, not only at the Resort we are staying but this area is loaded with all sorts of new adventures for us. We do not plan to do any of the amusement or water parks, but there are plenty of other things going on that we will explore.

The next few days will be filled with lots of rest and relaxation, some cleaning of our rig, ourselves and our laundry, catching up on our writing and photos, and last but not least, watching NASCAR racing. Then after that, we have plans to visit the many wonderful places in the area. Please share with us your favorite places in the Wisconsin Dells area, those that should be on the “not to miss” list.

In the meantime, we are in our Hakuna Matata state of mind. For those of you who do not know what that means, just listen to this video. Jimmy Cliff has put a Reggae spin on the song from Lion King and it is marvelous. No worries. Life is Grand!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Working at a Farm Technology Day Event

This was a first experience for us. Not only had we never worked one before, we had never even heard about this type of event prior to agreeing to work it with Scootaround. It is totally different then anything we had ever been involved with before.

What they do is choose a location, a farmer’s farm, they do it 3 years in advance so that the farmer can prepare the land for this “Tent City” to erect. They continue to harvest in those 3 years prior and soon after the event as long as it is taken care of during the event.

This was apparent when after some pretty heavy rain days prior to the show, on the day we were to unload our scooters, they shut down “Tent City” and we could not unload until the rain stopped and they surveyed the land. Luckily, we had 3 dry days for the show itself, but the first day it was still mushy from the previous rain days so we had some major issues. These are mobility scooters, not ATV’s as many of the riders assumed they were, as they continued to try to get them to move through the mush, which in turn ran down the batteries and they were dead in the mud…literally. Between the 2 booths, we rescued more than 30 scooters, some we had to replace and others we had run out of replacements and the issues continued. The good thing is…we made it through!

We seen the biggest machinery we had ever seen, they had cows, horses and all sorts of vendors that of course were geared towards the farming industry. Pretty neat stuff and luckily nothing that interested us so we did not make any purchases.

The people in this area were so nice and very accommodating to us. The campground we stayed, well let me back up a moment, it really is not a campground, but a Supper Club that got permits to allow camping. They provided port-a-potties, but no showers. No water hookup, but they did provide a white hose to fill up our tanks if needed. No dump station, but there was a local company that would pump us out if needed for an additional charge.

The Belvedere Supper Club’s food was good and the price was even better, so we did not have to cook at all the days we were there which was fabulous. The owner was so great, they offered a free shuttle service to the event located less than a mile away, but prior to the show beginning he allowed us to take his company truck back and forth since the shuttle was not yet running. This is just part of the total graciousness of the folks in this area.

Due to some circumstances beyond our control, we worked the hardest we ever have working with Scootaround, but we still enjoy doing this type of work. We just now need some extra days to give our mind and bodies some well needed rest.

For more photos, check out our Picasa Web Albums.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Treasure Island Resort & Casino RV Park

5734 Sturgeon Lake Road
Welch, MN 55066

We stayed here several times in 2007 and returned once again in 2011. They do not accept any discount cards, so we paid $23 for a water, electric and sewer site. No cable but they did offer free WiFi, but our Verizon MiFi worked perfectly, as well as our cell phones. The sites were level asphalt with some gravel and were close to one another.

Very friendly gentlemen in the office that checked us in that advised us that it might get noisy at night since they were having their annual Pow-Wow. He put us on the opposite side of the park and it did not get too noisy.

They offer a free shuttle service to the casino, just pick up the phone and dial the service and they will arrive within minutes. We learned from our shuttle driver when we asked what the steam was coming from across the road that it is located directly next to a nuclear plant and that every morning they let off some of the steam to avoid a build up.

The restrooms and laundry facilities were kept clean and the area was well manicured. This place has no frills, just the basic needs for overnight camping and if we are ever in the area again, we will stay there.

Pet Policy - Pets must be kept on a leash at all times. Please be sure to use the pet areas and remember to pick up after they do their duty.

For more photos, check out our Picasa Web Albums.

Monday, July 04, 2011

The Difference Between RV Parks, RV Resorts, & Campgrounds

We watched the most spectacular Firework display ever last night. You really can’t tell that with our photos…never have been able to get good shots with any of our cameras. Guess you just have to take our word for it that the show was fabulous.

Now, for distinguishing between a RV Park, a RV Resort or a campground. There is no set definition out there, I have checked the internet, as well as Wikipedia and other sources but could not find any sort of distinctive definitions of any of them. For us, we notice for the most part when they name the parks it’s much by the following sort of theory.

A campground is more rustic, allows tenting almost exclusively. Very family oriented and usually have many activities to keep the kids busy. These are mostly filled to capacity on the holidays and weekends with folks who are outdoor types, they have to be, they are after all sleeping and living in the outdoors. This type of place usually makes for a noisy weekend since most of all the activities are done outdoors. State Parks fall into this category.

A RV Park offers more sites for RV’s usually with full hookups, they seem to cater more towards the RV or Trailer owners, almost at times even banning tents all together. They usually have activities both towards the kids and adults.

A RV Resort is more for the adult lifestyle. They usually have full hookups and most usually do not allow tents. They cater more towards the higher end, but we fit into this category as well in most of the resorts. The activities are almost always geared toward the adults.

Our definitions are not used by all and there are times when an owner puts “Resort” at the end of their name but is really a campground.

Then again comes the “Weekend Warriors” on the holiday weekends when all bets are off and the inconsiderateness comes out in droves to parks, resorts and campgrounds alike. Could you imagine walking across somebody’s front porch or through their backyard in their homes? Well…maybe some folks do this but it is the same when you walk through or infringe on our campsite, it is as if you are walking into my house and claiming it is acceptable.

Now, before I get tons of comments about this, please understand that this is how we have been seeing it while being full-time travelers for the past 7 years. It is not how others see it, nor is it a rule that must be followed by everyone. It is just something we have seen out here and we take note of it because of what our preferences are, and that is not a campground, but a RV Park or Resort. As we have said many times, we are not campers, we are RVers and that is what we enjoy. We do not want it to sound as if we condemn or dislike campgrounds or campers, what we are saying is where we would prefer to stay.

Thanks to one and all of the individuals who have fought for our freedom…we are grateful for all the free choices you have given to us. Happy 4th of July to all…hope you all have a safe and wonderful holiday!

For more photos, check out our Picasa Web Albums.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

When Is Enough…Enough?

We are usually at a job on the holiday weekends but due to the work we are doing, not being at a set place for months at a time, we had to decide where to stay on holiday weekends. Usually our discounts clubs do not allow us to stay at their parks. Yes, we got lucky for Memorial Weekend, but not for the Fourth of July. We carefully charted our course and made our choice by knowing, we do not like campgrounds during holiday weekends and would much prefer a RV Park or Resort, price was definitely a factor as well. We chose to stay at a RV Resort connected to a Casino, always been a good choice. We will blog our review once we leave.

Now, for my question about enough being enough. Our neighbors have a RV, 2 big SUV’s, 1 van and a huge tent on their site and lots of people, so many screaming kids and plenty of visitors coming and going at all hours. This family could easily get 3 sites and still be crowded. They are walking all over our hoses, sewer and water, our cords and our dish was bumped during the Nationwide race, they even plugged into our electrical box. We explained to them and they apologized, but it continues. We called the office and they are not going to do anything about it since they explained it is a holiday weekend and it is crowded. This tent is inches away from our rig and nowhere else can we see this sort of thing going on. All the other sites have their space between, but this group continues to expand and it is so aggravating for us. We asked if we could get moved, and were told they were booked and did not have another site for us. I can’t do this all weekend, the weather is going to be great and we want to spend some time outdoors relaxing, but with all this going on it won’t be easy.

We know why many campgrounds make the rule of only one camping unit per site, they actually have the rule here but is not enforced. They are allowed an additional tent as many other campgrounds allow, but this family is definitely one of those families that take full advantage of the rules and why addendum rules are put into place.

We are both so tired of thinking that there is something we need to learn from all of this. If so, what we need to learn is to speak up for ourselves and then do something to take us out of the situation. All we ask is that we have a site where we do not have dogs or kids wandering into our site. Finally, after another call this morning they said we could move. We checked into our new site and have been quite comfortable all day. Yes, we have neighbors, some with kids, others with dogs, but these people are not on top of us, they each have their own site.

Before leaving our last site, a wicked storm came through in Hinckley, Minnesota. It was a long, long storm with lots of rain, wind and lightening. We took some photos of the beautiful RED sky that the storm left behind. These photos were not touched up at all, we had never before seen such beautiful skies in this color!

We read that there was a tornado that was hidden within the clouds, rain and wind that came through but they were unable at this time to confirm that it was actually a tornado even though the winds were clocked at 110 mph in the area. If it wasn’t a tornado, it was a very windy storm with lots of rain, hail, lightening and even some thunder. We created a video and placed it on our Picasa Web Albums. We shortened it of course since this storm went on for just about an hour. There were several times the storm became very intense while we were sitting in the drivers seat, but for me, I handled it very well. There was a lot of praying and swearing, but believe it or not I was calmer than I had ever been during a storm this intense!