This morning we’ll be heading out, leaving all our new-found friends at Rancho Verde RV Park at Camp Verde, AZ.
This park was our first workamping experience and we came here full of excitement but also a little anxiety not really knowing what to expect.
We’ve been blessed. We were very quickly accepted as part of the “family” here at the park. The owners and managers have been wonderful to work for and we’ve really enjoyed getting to know everyone here.
Some are full-time residents, while we’ve had a fair amount of those that come and go every few days. We’ve tried to make a point of meeting as many as we can because in life, it’s the people that make the difference.
So now it’s on to Florida to visit friends and family, then back up to Ohio by the 1st of April where we’ll spend a few weeks with the kids and grandkids, and then up to Michigan in May where we’ll be workamping for the summer near Ludington.
I’ll try to post more as we travel east and north, but it’s often more difficult because of some limited wifi and less time to sit at the keyboard – more driving and sightseeing stops.
Kathy and I retired (from full time work) at the end of August 2016 and started our full time RV’ing lifestyle with the intention of “workamping” our way across the country and seeing as much as we can, making new friends, and experiencing things we wouldn’t have the opportunity to experience had we stayed at “home”.
The reason we chose to workamp was two-fold. First of all, we are not independently wealthy so we couldn’t just travel full time. Diesel fuel and the nightly rate at most camprounds and RV parks can really hurt a budget quickly if you go from place to place to place.
But relying on our retirement pension and social security and secondly, working along the way seemed a great way to be able to travel and meet new folks. Workamping supplements our income, allows us to travel, and meet new friends.
We are currently one of 3 workamper couples in this RV park in Arizona. We are here for a six month commitment (Sept 15 – March 15) and we work 2 days each week. In exchange for our two (6 hour) days we receive; lot rent, electricity, propane gas, wifi, & laundry. And we then have 5 days each week to ourselves to goof off and do some sight-seeing around the area. Last week we went to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and early December will find us at Zion and Brice National Parks. Our next position will be in northern Michigan for the summer of 2017 and we’re hoping to land a workamping position in central Florida the following winter.
But what does a workamper do? Workampers typically (and this may vary from one place to another); work in the office greeting and registering new campers, cut grass, clean the laundry and bathrooms, perform light maintenance, help park new campers, act as goodwill ambassadors, and be available to help campers and answer questions. Some get their sites in exchange for their work while others get paid (typically minimum wage) but may have to pay for some or all of their site and services.
I shot this video to show you what one of my typical days consists of.
We arrived on Tuesday afternoon, got settled into our space, and started our orientation process pretty quickly.
Kathy and I will be “workamping” for the next six months at Rancho Verde RV Park in Camp Verde, AZ and what a beautiful small park it is. We’re excited to be here and we look forward to our new lifestyle experience.
The park is small (just 40 sites) and has green grass and large shade trees between each site, neither of which we expected to find in Arizona so it’s a real pleasant surprise. Camp Verde is located just east of I-17 about halfway between Phoenix and Flagstaff. Right now (mid-September) the daytime temps are in the 80’s and low 90’s while the nights fall to the low 50’s and high 40’s.
Here’s just a few pictures of the park entrance, the office, our site, and one of the rows of RV’s. About half of the sites are long-term (months to as long as 12 years) with the others being daily or weekly.
George and Sigrid are the park owners and Steve and Cindy are the park managers. All four folks are wonderful people and while Cindy has been working with Kathy in the office to get her up to speed on the reservations process and billing software, I’ve been learning from George and Steve about all the systems that need either scheduled or “as needed” maintenance, (fresh water / irrigation water / black water / electrical pedestels / laundry equipment, etc.). They’ve got a very well-equipped (and organized) shop with all the tools and materials necessary to allow us to take care of most maintenance needs on our own.
After Oct 1st, there will be a 3rd workamper couple here so we’ll each (couple) will work 2 days on and 5 days off with each of the three couples working every 3rd Sunday as well. With a full complement of workampers, the owners will be able to take some well-deserved time off and not have to be here all the time.
Kathy and I have only gone into town (Camp Verde) once so far to pick up some groceries. It’s a cute little town and we look forward to going back and taking more time to see all that it has to offer. We’ll also be spending time doing a lot more sightseeing near towns like Jerome, Cottonwood and more. We already have plans to go up to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon next week because that are closes for the season on October 15th.
All in all, we are thrilled to be here and continue to look forward to this new lifestyle experience.