So Now What?

My motorhome and car parked at Escapee's Rainbow's End

Those who know me know that I am a planner. Always have been.

Once I had started to settle into this RV lifestyle, I thought I had gotten over this penchant for planning, at least to some extent. I think I’ve even mentioned that in one or another of these blog posts. I have on a number of occasions woken up in the morning and just decided that I’m going to go somewhere. I remember waking up one Saturday morning at Telephone Cove in Nevada and deciding I was going to Oregon, and the next morning I was on my way.

And then 2020 happened.

I was in Mexico with the caravan I had been traveling with since early January when the news about the Coronavirus was ramping up. It’s a bit of a story, but by the end of March we had basically abandoned our itinerary and were heading north for the border as quickly as was reasonable.

If you think back, there was a lot of uncertainty and a lot of unknowns about the whole situation. States were starting to shut down non-essential businesses, and in a lot of states that included state park and private campgrounds. For full-timers, where to go became a huge question.

I already had a reservation at Rainbow’s End in Livingston for 2 weeks in April, as I had made appointments with my GP and with my ophthalmologist, and I needed to get the annual inspection on both vehicles done. So I emailed them and moved my reservation up, and extended it to one month. So I was lucky enough to have a place to go, and for the time being I had a plan; get back to the States and make my way east to Livingston.

So I did that, and I got to Livingston. And I settled in here and my doctors both canceled all routine appointments with no idea when they would be able to reschedule. And more and more of the world shut down. The end of my month was up and I extended another month. And I had no idea how long I was going to be here, or where I was going to go when I left.

And holy crap, all the not knowing drove me crazy! I had trouble sleeping. I’d think about things I had to do, and then I’d think “Nah, tomorrow is just as good as today.” I discovered that while I am perfectly happy changing my plans on the fly, I really need to have a plan to change. I need to have activities and deadlines on my calendar.

The original plan for this summer had me in upstate New York in early May and working at Six Flags Darien Lake until the end of September or maybe into October. They still haven’t opened yet, and even if/when they do, working with thousands of random people every day doesn’t seem the smartest thing to do in The Age of Covid, so that’s not going to happen for me.

So I’ve spent many hours staring at maps and thinking of this or that possibility of what to do with the rest of the year. The first thing I nailed down is my return to Death Valley for the end of the year. I will be a volunteer camphost again for the mid-October to mid-January season, at Furnace Creek Campground.

After considering and discarding a number of possibilities for the summer, I settled on heading to Vermont. It’s been a while since I’ve been back in New England. Vermont is close enough that I’ll be able to visit my daughter Anju and my brothers and their families in Connecticut. There’s tons of hiking and cycling. The biggest hurdle is how expensive campgrounds and RV parks are in the Northeast, but I found a small campground with a reasonable monthly rate, so that was settled. The only question was exactly how long I’d stay in Vermont.

As of now I have a likely, but not definitely confirmed, stint as a volunteer camphost at Colorado National Monument which would start at the end of August and finish when I need to leave to head to Death Valley. So if that does work out, I’ll spend 2 months in Vermont and leave there mid-August to head for Colorado.

I think that makes a good balance. I’m avoiding frequent travel around the country, but still getting to experience a variety of locations.

I haven’t been completely idle here. I’ve had both of my doctor appointments. I’ve gotten both vehicles inspected. I’ve had a number of repairs done to the RV. I bought a motorcycle. I took the MSF course, and once DPS opened up again by appointment, I got the motorcycle endorsement on my license. And right now I’m working hard on getting out of here. Today is Sunday, June 7. My plan is to leave here on Wednesday, the 10th. The last RV repairs should be done, hopefully, tomorrow. When I took the motorhome to get the annual inspection done I noticed the check engine light is on. So I’m trying to find a place to check that out for me without having to wait weeks for an appointment.

And then… I’ll be back on the road at last!

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