“Plans laid in jello” is the best way to describe our lives, as we formulate one idea, and then later scrap it in favor of another. It’s easy to lay out a week at a time, but when we schedule a whole season, a lot can come into play to alter our trajectory. This winter is a great example of that process, as we originally planned a giant circular route through New Mexico. But, I guess today’s post is all about going with a new flow, and finding the happiness in it as well. A friend recently posted something about Nirvana being where ever you are right now, provided you’re happy to be there.
Last week, we continued east into Arizona, and landed in Tucson to complete some RV maintenance. We tried out a new style of “camping” and stopped in a casino parking lot for a few days. It was incredibly convenient to get into for just a night or two, and the small community of other RVs was quiet. But, we’re not gamblers, so no, we did not win big! 🙂
Our first appointment was for engine and brake maintenance at Sooter’s, the best damn repair shop we’re ever, ever, been in. When we went to the last auto shop in Texas, they trotted out a huge list of items that needed immediate attention, and proposed a giant bill to go along with it all. While other shops seem to go on the idea that they have to get your business before anybody else does, Sooter’s is wonderful about being honest that some repairs should be done now, and others would be fine to tackle in a year. They want us to be safe, but they don’t recommend that we spend money on items that aren’t important now. They looked over everything the last shop fussed about, and did a complete once over on all our other systems, too. Final call? We only needed a few repairs, and ended up paying about a quarter of what the last shop quoted us. Considering the central location in the southwest, and the lovely weather in Arizona this time of year, Sooter’s will be on our route every year!
We also visited a generator repair shop (recommended by Sooter’s!) to tend to our squeaking little powerhorse. The technician diagnosed a fuel pump issue that is cheap and easy to fix, but he had to order in the part. So, we will return there at the end of the week, and that should conclude this round of fixing things!
The main moral of this story is that we spent waaaay more than I had budgeted for repairs this winter. I spent a fair amount of time beating myself up for not preparing for more, but that’s not very productive. I decided to focus on a few other important details: as we started the winter, we had more money in the bank than we had ever had before, and we can seriously reduce costs for the rest of our off season. In other words, we did a bang-up job of saving, and we have options to still enjoy a couple months before we report to work. Same facts; different spin!
So, rather than take a huge circle through New Mexico, we’re going to (jello plans!) do a small loop through the high desert plains and mountains of far south-eastern Arizona, head up through Sedona and Flagstaff, and then drift towards our resort job in the eastern Sierra. We can stay primarily at free campsites, utilizing National Forest and BLM land. We’ll be in the midst of big skies and warm sun. I could see it as a failure and a hardship, or I could recognize it as another example of “RV people problems”, and instead choose gratitude for the opportunity to have 5 months off at a time.
Not to proselytize and all, but perhaps there’s a belief in your own life that’s not serving you, one that could benefit from the same sort of spin?
After all that repair work, it was on to the main event in Tucson, which was to see our friends, Dave and Max. We met them our first summer on the road, when they worked in the same campground as us in southern California. We hit it off with them right away, and had lots of awesome food and jeeping adventures. It’s been more than a year since we last saw them, and Tucson was a good intersection based on our routes. They are about to start their summer job of mapping BLM land all over the west, so we had to grab some time with them before they head off into the middle of nowhere!
We’re staying at Gilbert Ray Campground, just west of Tucson. It’s one of my favorite campgrounds, full of lush vegetation and gorgeous scenery. It’s also in the midst of so much to do that you could spend a couple months here and still have more to see. To top it off, this is Rodeo Week, La Fiesta de los Vaqueros, in Tucson, and we’re going to lots of cowboy events!
All the beasts, together:
Chain-fruit cholla looks uninviting:
But, not to cactus wrens!
Sunset viewing at Gates Pass: