March 21, 2014

Week 3: Succeeding at not Failing

726 miles down, and it's been 1 week and 1 day since my last disaster; I think I may actually enjoy this. This morning I woke up at Rockhound State Park in Deming NM, made coffee while the sky lightened, a went for a sunrise hike with Frida and my camera. I let her off leash for the first time last night, and I think hiking is her heaven. She chased birds, sniffed holes, and if I got too far ahead, would come galloping up behind me at top speed only to skid to a dead stop right in front of me, then go bounding off into the brush again. Luckily there was no one else on the trail, given her penchant for treating other dogs like the antichrist.
Earlier in the week, I had dinner with my neighbors, a French Canadian couple on their way from Florida to New Brunswick via everywhere, I made a few sales, had an emotional meltdown, met up with fellow Airstreamers and RVillagers at Forghedaboudit Pizza in Deming, renewed my driver's licence, browsed around Whoopie Bowl Antique Mall in north El Paso, ran several miles, and had two opportunities to back the trailer around a corner. Is it always going to be like this?

El Paso to Huachuca City, AZ

- Huachuca City, AZ 85616, USA

March 14, 2014

Turning 25 and a Comedy of Errors

Haven't I already proved my mettle? Apparently not, because it keeps getting tested.
Wednesday, after breaking off my key in the trailer door, signing up an RV park, spending over an hour 800 feet underground, passing a sign that said "Next Services 130 Miles," and listening to hours of country radio (i'ts that, christian rock or Latin stations in West Texas,) I passed the "services," a cafe and a closed down plywood old west town. No Gas. El Paso 69 miles...
I think I have enough to get me there, I'll coast down hills and drive 20 below the limit if I have to, but I'll make it, my range meter says I have 78 miles in my tank, and I have a gallon in the bed, I'll just put that in when my gas light comes on. El Paso, 10 miles. I can see a gas station! Why am I slowing down? My gas light never came on- my gas pedal isn't doing anything...oh shit. I've just run out of diesel, the one thing everyone told me to make sure not to do.
At least I know not to try and restart it myself- and I can see an O'Reilly's, maybe someone there will help me? "Um, diesel? I Dunno..." Is there any shops around here? "I don't really know, Ma'am" 5 minutes later... "I guess I could call the diesel mechanic that's half a mile down the road..." Yeah, thanks, that would be helpful. "Ok, I'll have him go out to you" Half an hour later I call the shop to see how long it will take- "We already sent someone to the O'Reilly's and the guys there said they didn't know where you went, so they came back"


"I'll turn them around"
So another half hour, 15 failed starts, lots of "hmm" coming from the mechanic, and $170 later, I'm back on the road, 45 minutes to the RV park and plenty of light- not so bad-

"Highway closed ahead, all traffic must exit"

So I find myself in downtown El Paso traffic, towing a trailer with only semi-functioning turn signals, and no idea where I'm going. The RV park is exactly on the other side of the state park, and the only road across it is closed. Navigation to the rescue! "Head north on Kenworthy rd, continue straight onto Farm-to-Market road, continue straight onto Martin Luther King blvd, continue straight onto War rd"- I guess the Texans and New Mexicans couldn't agree on a name? 10 hours after pulling out of Roswell, I'm hooked up in Anthony, NM, ready to quit this crazy scheme and go back to making coffee. I'm beginning to suspect "RVs" stands for Really Very Spendy.

Downer post over and out, please hold for an upper. 

March 9, 2014

The Adjustment Period

I've been trying to write this for a few days, but every time I sit down I think of something urgent that needs to get done, like straightening the dog blanket. It's hard to write about the small changes- the mundane adjustments to a new life. The whiz-bang disasters and epiphanies are over (I hope) and instead I'm faced with small headaches- having to run the dog, at dawn, even though I'm out of shape and sore; dirty dishes because I don't trust my pipes or the weather; having to look professional (you mean I have to do my hair?) and the isolation of 6 days with only clients and a dog to talk to. The RV park I'm staying in is't exactly social, it's just 12 or so local laborers with their dually trucks and satellite dishes (and chihuahuas). I've done at least 24 laps around the park with the dog, and I never see anyone outside. Hey, I didn't do this because I thought it would be easy!

March 5, 2014

Days 1 and 2- Of Failure. and Distress. and Progress.

I have failed at least 8 times in the last 2 days, 50 times in the last few months, and maybe that's kind of a good thing. I can't remember the last time I did something I didn't know how to do (screenprinting in college?) and it's humbling and weirdly fun to be bad at something.
I was beginning one of the biggest adventures of my life, and I realized I didn't have any keys to my trailer. Or internet for work.  Or running lights. What? Half a day of problem solving later, and half a day of driving, I roll in to my very first RV park in the dark with no clue what I'm doing, but how hard can it be? There's a pull-through available, and I park and unhitch with relative ease. Inside the trailer, on the other hand, is shambles. Stuff is strewn everywhere, my fridge and upper cabinets are open, and food and art supplies drift in a deluge worthy of Pollock. After sorting carrots and colored pencils back into a semblance of order, I attempt to hook up. Electric doesn't come on, and my sink is leaking- in 5 places. I put a bucket under the sink, pour a tumbler of wine and raise the white flag from bed.
Did I mention I have a brand new dog? I had this brilliant idea to distract myself from the stress of learning RVing and sales by adopting a 50 lb black lab. With no electric, no heat- and I end up sleeping with said 50 lb retriever in my twin-sized bed to keep her from freezing, at least until 6:30 am when I'm licked awake to a nice rim of ice in the dog bowl and a few new cracked pipes. No shower, no power for coffee. It can only go up from here, right?
(Update) No it didn't quite get better- I was soundly rejected by 2 RV park managers, and my bank account had tumbleweeds in it- But! I did finally get power, and I did finally accomplish a "sale" today- I got the owner of my current RV park on the site. My two other leads put me off until "tomorrow"...
I guess all this getting-up-too-early and having-to-fix-things is exactly what I needed- my dog is making me exercise, (I ran this morning!) this job is making me put myself out there, and the trailer is testing my mechanical moxie. Nothing like a good failure or 6 to get you to lose weight, win friends and become unimaginably wealthy. Well, that's the plan anyway.