Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Eye Spy

Living on less and doing more... sometimes easier said than done, but when times get tough, the tough get creative.

I arrived at my current campground to stay 4 months in winter per my previous reservation. Home is where we park it and staying put for several months requires no input from the gas station nor outflow from the wallet, so it's my economical way of being able to spend winters in a warmer climate. I am willing to trade tires for foot and paw in the name of temperate weather.

I had only scraped up enough for one month's prepayment last winter to secure the reservation for this winter. Imagine my shock when I checked in last week to find out rates had shot up substantially. So much for my careful budget planning. Might as well toss that out the window.

That took my nerve away. I was so pooped out, that I just couldn't rework the budget for a few days. 3 months of the new rate would cost as much as 4 months at the old rate. Oh boy. Inflation is worse than I imagined. Will I be living at a truck stop that final month? Well it's an option to keep open for sure, but I have 2 months of creative thinking to come up with other solutions. In the interim, any considerations in my future that cost money was suddenly shelved, cancelled or eliminated. That certainly simplified things.

Of course there are a few items that just can't be erased, like motorhome insurance (required by law) and taxes, both which come due this time of year, but I know that and plan. Even though my insurer is willing to spread it out over multiple payments, I prefer to pay in advance to enjoy the nice discount. Waste not, want not. At least my rig is old, the taxes are cheap.

What I didn't plan for was the new leak the rains opened up yesterday. Or that the cantankerous cobbled awning frame would put up a five hour fight during the storm when I tried to take it down, but by golly, I went round and round with it *ding ding* until I wore it down and finally got it retracted again. That made me feel very triumphant. Tah dah!

A few years back I replaced the awning fabric, but the frame is a mishmash of ill fitting parts by different manufacturers. Sometimes the parts fight with each other and jam. The old awning (shown in the picture below) is repurposed as a long table cloth.

If it's any gratification, an anonymous employee sort of bragged that they decided to get rid of unhappy campers and some folks who used to spend winters here will now be wintering elsewhere. (Guess I will not complain for one second about the rent increase!) I'm just glad I wasn't refused entry but I like to think I am a happy camper. I seem to fall in love with every campground I ever visit. Being turned away would be devastating. Especially to Harley Dog, because this place is within a mile or so of his favorite dog park. (All dog parks are his favorite... but finding a campground near one is puppy paradise.)

The rumors were true. I'd heard them last winter. A certain tormentor was refused occupancy. Well, that relieves a ton of stress for me. In my case, living stress free is critically important to my health. It's surprisingly hard, but I manage, mostly by waking up early, hitting the floor with happy feet and a smile stuck on my silly face in sheer optimism that it's a great day already.

mermaid body found
Last year, I spent 2 happy months in this park, so I made a reservation for 4 months for this year.

I figure any day I wake up alive is going to be the best day of my life. Smile!  Be happy! Start early so as not to miss out on one gratifying moment. Make the most with the least.

Last winter, a certain spy called the office several times accusing me of breaking the rules. A ranger was dispatched to my site multiple times, finding the complaints in error. Each time he caught me in a happy mood, laughing about the silly mess. He seemed a tad embarrassed but said they were bound to check out all complaints.

I love the outdoors, I have the obstinate awning, table, chairs, patio mat, string lights, bicycle and the jumbo picnic table strewn about more or less in a comfy artful arrangement. Harley Dawg enjoys his days outside with me on a tether that allows him to wander around our lot, without bothering anybody. Often my front door is wide open, so he drags his cord inside, fetching toys to haul outside. He loves the 9 by 12 foot patio mat as his personal playpen but he also likes to play underneath the motorhome because it's the perfect height for him. He is never left alone outside. I surely don't want a big hawk to fly away with my baby. (That has happened to small dogs before!)

When Harley was a puppy, I taught him that chewing on his string made his pet parent go seriously wild and crazy. He learned very quickly not to attempt this anymore. Now he can be trusted on a thin clothesline, without chewing it off while I work on outside repairs or bang away on my keyboard.

Last year, Harley was outside with me, dragging his little string around, play fighting with his teddy bear. He would toss him around, grab him for a wrestling match, then fling the teddy bear again. I was typing away when the ranger pulled up. Someone had complained I had my doggy running wild and loose. All six pounds of him. Pure terror in the park!

When the ranger appeared, he parked on my site. I picked up Harley then walked over to talk with him with a big smile on my face although at the time I had no idea if he had come for tea or what. In my arms, Harley was still attached to his tether, so the ranger saw before he even got out of his truck, that my doggy was not a wild hooligan on the loose, but hooked to a lead which was tied to my motorhome. Most parks like this one, do not want you to tie anything to the trees, including pets.

I confided in the ranger that I suppose the spy had made this accusation with very bad binoculars. We laughed and joked about the silly grievance. The ranger left.

Unfortunately, over the next few weeks this scenario was repeated with different rangers. One time we were actually visiting on another lot with a dog owner. Both of us had our pooches on little tethers, so they could play and tangle while we sat at their picnic table chatting away.

It pays to be civil and humorous but being spied upon was kind of creepy. After dark, I made sure my shades and curtains covered every square inch of my windows, because I didn't like the idea that some unknown person was focused on my life. I even double checked my locks. I never complained about the accusations against me, but it shook me up that someone was studying my antics.

Eventually rumors began to surface of who the spy might be. More scuttlebutt made the rounds that the mole had their future reservations revoked, being asked to take their refund and move their rig elsewhere. Now I found out from a conversation with those in the know that the gossip was true. The person that was spying on me and others was asked to leave and not come back. Ever.

The moral of the story is a gentle reminder to be a happy camper or you might be finding a new campground sooner than you think. Like Bobby Mcferrin crooned in his hit song "Don't Worry, Be Happy".
Serious Binoculars


  1. Sorry about your rent going up! Have you considered going to the Southwest for your winter months? Lots of completely free BLM land to camp, with beautiful scenery to boot. New Mexico State Parks offer an annual pass for $200.00, stay 365 nights if you wish. Harley would have lots of room to play. I know the cost in gas to get there would be a lot, but maybe offset that with the free rent. Just a thought.

    Janet in Ky.

    1. Right now I must admit, I enjoy having utility hookups. I spent much of my adult life without utilities or internet or phone. Water had to be so carefully rationed nonstop. I lived for years off 1 or 2 gallons of water usage per day for cooking, drinking and showering. Had a blast too. But now I'm enjoying being able to plug in when I park, run the little washing machine, take a shower for more than 10 seconds. Sure I've boondocked hither and yonder to see beautiful places, but at this point and time, with this current RV and my other problems, it's not my cup of tea to boondock for weeks or months at time. That could change, but I'm not leaning that way for now.

  2. I'm glad the park booted out the culprit, and I hope there was only one of them. You wonder what a person gets out of telling lies about another.

  3. I think some people think it's their duty to point out all potential rule breakers and make a stink about it. The funny thing is... the people that were booted out... routinely broke one rule repeatedly, that I know of (but never cared about)... so funny they would spy on others and report on them. I see all sorts of foolishness going on, but if it's not a threat to my life, then I can be pretty darn happy ignoring someone else's antics. Just odd that because they couldn't see my tether they ASSUMED my dog was loose and fussed about it. Duh....


I read every comment and publish all but spam and hate mail.

Please finish your comment with your name r nickname.

Thank you for commenting. I love hearing from you.

Life is goof!