Good news, bad news, just news, good news…

Good news, bad news, just news, good news…

It’s been awhile. Hello readers…er…reader?

The last blog was about a month ago, just as we headed into the wild for our fire watch workamping gig. The gig was sweet! We had plenty of space, trees for miles, and easy work! By the end of the first weekend we were all set up to homestead for a few months. 

I do love me some Oregon greenery!
Lots of back roads to off-leash Rusty and Milo. They were digging it!
But…

after only four days were back in Coos Bay – at the hospital. Mike’s father was admitted through the emergency room and wasn’t doing well. We spent a few days seeing which direction his health was going to go, and then we called Rundell Inc. to let them know that we were unable to come back to work. And that is one of the best things about being full-time RVers;  when life is starting to storm, you can always just park and wait it out.

…just waiting it out.

Rundell Inc. was completely understanding about the situation, and we would recommend anyone in the Oregon area that is interesting in off-grid workamping to contact them about their fire watch gigs. 

As far as Mike’s dad, he is on the road to recovery and is doing well. So we bought a motorhome….

 

Up Next – 

Great News!

 

Let’s Talk Workamping

Let’s Talk Workamping

Need to find something to do with all your extra time? Maybe workamping is for you!

This last January we spent three months caretaking for Key’s Ranch inside Joshua Tree National Park. The caretaker position there didn’t pay a wage, but we had space for the trailer, water, garbage, and reimbursement for our propane. The job description included helping park rangers with daily tours of the ranch, helping lost hikers find their way, and making sure there were no vandals on the property. It was a simple job, and the rangers at Joshua Tree were great to work with. It was an amazing experience that I am quite grateful for.

Keys Ranch

We were just recently hired for a Fire/Equipment Watch position in Oregon.  This job description includes fire watch for a few hours after quitting time for the work crew, and equipment watch during the night and weekends. They decided to go ahead and hire for the position because some jackass used their equipment tires as target practice a few weeks ago. We are paid a daily stipend with this job, which is great. We’re responsible for our own power (solar!), water, and propane. They do provide a port-a-john, and I learned today that I have to share my port-a-john with the crew sometimes. I’m not super thrilled about this, but I think I’m going to try leaving packages of maxi pads and tampons in there to keep the guys out – I will keep you updated on how that works for me. 

This is part of the area that we are keeping watch over. (Photo credit unknown)

Now you would like to know where we find these kind of gigs, right? Well, if you wouldn’t like to know, you should go read something else.

There are a lot of workamping sites available online. Most are free, but some do charge for a membership.

Sugar Beet Harvest Short term positions offer excellent compensation and attract applicants from all over the United States and Canada.

Workamping JobsHelp Wanted Ads for Campgrounds and RV Parks looking for RV workers.

Cool Works– Jobs in Great Places. Where Do You Want To Be Tomorrow?

Workers on Wheels   – Work For RVers And Campers. Sets you free with temporary, seasonal, and mobile jobs that pay.

American Land & Leisure – Here you’ll find information about the facilities we manage and about working with AL&L.

Modern Day NomadsFollow Your Dream Job: Top Travel Jobs & Inspiration for Globetrekking, Creative Professionals

Government Volunteer Positions

Volunteer.gov – Find volunteer positions within the government at National Parks, Army corps of Engineers, etc. 

State Parks – Look up individual states to find what workamping positions they may have available, like Oregon

Craigslist – If you have a location in mind, use Craigslist.org to find workamping positions. Make sure to search under Jobs and Gigs. 

Indeed.com – Use the desired location zip code and keywords to find workamping jobs. Keywords: workamping, caretaker, host, fire watch, etc.

 

The Keys to the Desert – Part One

Keys Ranch rests in the desert inside Joshua Tree National Park. It is an intriguing place where time has stood still, leaving behind an amazing view into history.  This is the story behind the eccentric genius that brought it to life.

Keys Ranch

William Keys was born on September 27, 1879 in Palisade, Nebraska. At the age of 15, Bill left home to head west. As he traveled he worked at mills, mines, and cattle ranches. Bill arrived in Twentynine Palms in 1910 and landed a job working for a large mining company called the Desert Queen. The owner of the Desert Queen died still owing Bill back wages. Bill took the Desert Queen Mine and Millsite as payment.

Bill married Frances Lawton on October 8, 1918. She had a been a big city girl, now living in a small homesteading world.

Did we just have a reverse Journey moment?

Between 1919 and 1931 Bill and Frances had seven children; three died during childhood and are buried in the ranch cemetery.

Bill and Frances Keys. (image linked to photo credit)

Bill and Frances not only survived in the desert, they prospered in it. Bill was a master of many trades. He worked construction on the ranch, mined over 16 mines, processed ore for himself and other miners in the area, and built a dam (twice). He rented cabins to war veterans that needed the space and healing attributes that the desert had to offer.

Wanting to keep the kids at the ranch in case Bill needed help, Frances home schooled the children. As more children were born and more homesteaders moved in nearby, Bill decided to build a school and hired a teacher that lived on the ranch as well.

Frances and Bill planted a large garden and orchard that grew almost everything that the family needed, plus enough left over that Frances would can the fruits and vegetables and sell them in their small store on the ranch. The Keys also kept goats, chickens, and cattle on the ranch along with bee hives to harvest honey and help pollinate  his garden.  

Bill’s biggest conquest of the desert was the dam he built to create a reservoir on the ranch. He used any type of metal that he could find the desert to strengthen the retaining wall, including bed springs.

Dammit, Bill!

Bill had a knack for knowing when other homesteaders were getting ready to abandon their land and he would go there after they had left to salvage anything that they had left behind. He acquired a 1922 chain driven Mack truck that the county of San Bernardino had abandoned it after getting it stuck in the sand.

 

Few cosmetic issues, nothing too bad. .

The battery is going to go dead if you leave the door open too long…
Studebaker Wagons

While some visitors today may look at the ranch as a bit of a junkyard, there was purpose for everything. Bill was probably the first “upcycler”. If alive today, Bill would have had the most popular Pinterest site ever.

“Aren’t you one of those guys? Those guy guys, you know, those guys with skills. You send them into the wilderness with a pocket knife and a Q-tip and they build you a shopping mall.” – Six Days, Seven Nights…also known as Harrison Ford’s biggest regret.

Read more. The Keys to the Desert Part Two.

Workamping

Starting the first week of January we are trying something new! We will be hosting in Joshua Tree National Park. This hosting job will last from January until the end of April, and we are really excited about it!

Joshua Tree National Park, California

The complete list of duties for this particular gig is very short – live there and make sure that if any hikers have gotten off their path and find themselves nearby then just point them in the right direction. I think we can handle that! Well, the hubby can handle that – I was not blessed with a sense of direction…(but I got extra doses of cute and humor!)

Four months seems like a long time to spend in one place, as we have traveled a lot since launching in September. We have already put over 3000 miles on Hoban and the Serenity! Which is exactly why we were looking for a workamping gig. We wanted to force ourselves to slow down a little. We aren’t on vacation. This is our way of life now and we don’t have to see everything all at once. So we searched online and found this easy hosting job and we’re giving it a shot.

There is a Cholla Garden in Joshua Tree – we have promised the four-legged ones that we will not be visiting this particular garden.

The area of Joshua Tree National Park that we will be in is called Keys Ranch. There is a ton of history in the place and I can’t wait to learn it all! There is so much to be seen and explored in the park!

Keys Ranch

If you are interested in learning more about hosting, I have included a few links below.

Volunteer.gov 

Camphost.org

RV.net Forums

Snowbird RV Trails