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Borrego Springs, CA

Monday, October 28, 2013

Time for a plan B?

Emma and I were out the door shortly before 10:00 to drive the 75 miles or so to Bayou Cocodrie NWR to check out the lay of the land for our moving in tomorrow.  There have only been a few times when I’ve checked a place out with my car before driving in with my rig, but I’m sure glad I made that decision this time.  After weaving my way through some challenging turns for a motorhome in Ferriday, LA, I ended up on a non-paved road that was coated in red mud.  It was three miles in second gear with the mud flying the whole way.  My stomach wasn’t feeling too good about that as I imagined having to drive the rig through it with the toad on back.

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Eventually I made it to the headquarters and maintenance building on the refuge.  At least there was some gravel on the road there.  Charman, the volunteer coordinator, was not there even though she knew I would be there before noon.  So, I introduced myself to several of the brown shirts and asked to see the newly constructed RV pads. 

My stomach was not doing any better as I was led through the small fenced maintenance area to a small section outside.  In my 17 other volunteer assignments on National Wildlife Refuges, I’ve never seen a volunteer site area to compare with this one.  On a scale of 1 – 10, this place scored a big fat ZERO!  They’ve made a flat pile of about two feet of wet caliche.  If you’re familiar with caliche, you know that when it is wet it clumps around your shoes when you walk on it like cement.  What a mess!  How they ever think two RV’s will fit in this area is beyond me.  If, and that’s questionable, I could ever maneuver the rig into this place I’m not sure I’d ever get out if a second rig pulled in.  Besides that, the hook-ups were installed on the wrong side so the electrical cord, sewer hose, and water hose would have to go under the rig to the other side.  Although they seemed quite proud of what they had built, I had to tell them that I was very uncomfortable with this set up.  The more I looked at it, the more I knew I couldn’t do this.

I’ve never backed out of a volunteer commitment, but today was the exception.  I emailed Charman after I got home, and told her I was sorry, but I it would be impossible for me to volunteer at Bayou Cocodrie.  She was understanding about it.  I can’t imagine that any volunteers would be happy with that set up unless they had a little pop-up camper.  The brown shirts there did say they thought volunteers would have little trailers.  I guess they haven’t done their homework about RV volunteers.

So now I’m on to formulating a plan B for the winter.  Only last week I had an email from Stephanie, the volunteer coordinator at Anahuac NWR, asking if I couldn’t please come early to help them out.  I was slated to be there after the first of the year.  As usual, I told her I was committed at Bayou Cocodrie until the new year.  With today’s shocking disappointment, I’ve reconsidered her request.  I tried calling her when I got home, but she won’t be in until tomorrow. 

All of this does make me wonder why I decided to not just drive directly to the refuge with the rig this morning.  As I said, I’m sure glad I didn’t, but it’s a little eerie none the less.  Some kind of premonition? 

On a much lighter note, I finally beat my son, Daniel, on this last week’s fantasy football competition.  I’m still near the bottom of the barrel in this league, but I just wanted to beat him once, and I did it.  We had a side bet if I ever did better than he did, and now I have to figure out what to do with that magnificent five cents!  Party smile  Ahh!  Life is a wonder, isn’t it?

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

33 comments:

  1. Too bad about the refuge situation but I think you made a good decision.

    Fifty or sixty years ago that 5 cents could have been used to access a paid toilet at the beach in California. I know because my sisters nick-named me nickel since I was the smallest and could crawl under the locked doors!!

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  2. Oh my...I am so glad you had the "feeling" to check things out first. I do think these things happen for a reason. And so glad you had a plan B!

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  3. I'm another that will say everything happens for a reason. This just wasn't meant to be. Hope your Plan B works out much better :)

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  4. You are right...someone did not do their homework. The site sounds terrible. Hopefully, they now know to ask the next person what they will be staying in. This might prevent the next person from making a big mistake.

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  5. I think driving to see the facility first was intuition, and the more you listen to and trust your intuitions, the better it works. I'm so glad you found out before you started taking the motorhome over those roads. So what will the weather be like at Tamarac this time of year? How Stephanie must be trusting her intuition to ask you to come back early!

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  6. Plan B sounds good. If you are looking for a Plan C, you might give Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge a try. It is a long drive for you and is between Lake Havasu and Parker on AZ Hwy 95.I was just there is morning and they have 2 nice covered RV sites. No one around, so I do not know if they need a Volunteer are not. BTW, I had a US Life bird there, a Blued Footed Booby.

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  7. The situation does sound pretty intolerable. I hope they will rethink what they have done and make it more possible for volunteers but I think you've done the right thing for yourself and that is your foremost loyalty. You know you will be happy at Anahuac. But I am sad since it would have been close to our route west which Anahuac is not so again we will not be able to drop by and see you and Miss Emma.

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  8. Oh and congratulations on your big win! Don't spend it all in one place. You could tell Daniel you'll take him out to dinner on your winnings!

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  9. Sounds like Plan B is the way to go. Good luck with your contact at the Anahuac NWR, I'm sure they'll love to have you back early.

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  10. I have to agree - somebody was telling you to check it out because you're needed elsewhere. I do hope they ask you for your input so you can explain to them the problems they have. I'm sure Anahuac will be glad to get you whenever they can.

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  11. Sorry things did not work out. We're going to be at Bayou Cocodrie tomorrow or Thurs and I was going to keep an eye out for you. Not too likely now I suppose.

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  12. It is always a good thing to follow our feelings. I hope you hear from Stephanie and it is good news.

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  13. You are one smart lady. First of all, you didn't drive your rig this first time into the refuge - very smart and I'll bet there will be several of us who will think twice before heading into an unknown area in our rigs with our toads. I am certainly taking your experience as a nice warning. Secondly, you know that you would never feel right working there after what you learned today. Cut your losses and find another place / situation in which you can function at you regularly high level. I'm happy you found out BEFORE you actually started - and then got STUCK!

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  14. Sorry things didn't work out Judy, but SO glad you had the presence of mind to go investigate the park first...bet you'll now be doing that EVERY time you volunteer at a new park! (and I bet your volunteering readers will now do the same as well!).. Might as well head on towards Anahuac, somehow I bet Stephanie will move heaven and earth to make a place for you!

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  15. Good thing you trusted your intuition. Don't understand why the refuge did not consult some other refuges about installing the RV pads. I had applied at an Organic Farm for a workamping job and asked for pictures of the site. It was just a strip of dirt on the farm for 5 RV's to be lined up in a row very close together. Would have liked all of the free organic vege's, but don't think the owners realize that the RV is our house and we would like a nice backyard to sit and relax outside when not working.

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  16. Sorry that didn't work out.... hope you find the right place for you soon.

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  17. Oh, dear, you probably are feeling at loose ends about now! Hope it works out at the other refuge!

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  18. Very wise decision to drive just your car to Bayou Cocodrie. You saved yourself from a world of hurt. That approach road is the highway from hell and the "pad" sounds more like an afterthought than anything else. You would not have been appreciated there. You are doing the correct thing. My bet is that Stephanie will welcome you with open arms.

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  19. Well, I for one am so glad you took the toad in first. Otherwise, we may have never heard from you again. Stranded in the swamp!! Glad, you have Plan B in your pocket. Hope everything works out well for you!!

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  20. They certainly didn't do their research. Imagine them being proud of those sites? Glad you drove the car in first. It could have been a disaster. Good luck with plan b.

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  21. Aiy Yai Yai..... I don't blame you at all for changing your mind and it's too bad that the brown shirts didn't do a better job of preparing for their first ever volunteers seeing as now their first ever volunteer has had a negative experience, has shared it with other volunteers and the sort of help they'd love to get will be harder for them to find.

    Best laid plans and all that.

    We had talked with Stephanie at Anahuac ourselves and at the time she had been set for the winter. After that another couple we know mentioned possibly helping out there. In any event I hope you get sussed and settled.

    Cheers,
    Peter
    A retired photographer looks at life from behind an RV steering wheel.
    Life Unscripted

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  22. Thanks so much for sharing all this with us! Many of us would not have had your foresight and would have been miserable!

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  23. Once again the experience of a long time blogger may save someone else trouble in the future. Thank goodness you decided to check it out before pulling in. I know I will not forget this.

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  24. Uf-Dah! Sounds like this is going to be a lemonade out of lemons situation. Look at the bright side, by checking out the site in advance, you defeated Murphy. That's a major victory. :c)

    Good luck on volunteering at Anahuac, they know they're getting excellent help with bringing you on.

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  25. Well that is the pits. Good thing you scouted it out first! I hope things work out for you to go to Texas early:)

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  26. Glad you checked out the place before your drove your rig there.

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  27. I am a firm believer in "vibes"..those feelings that take over for no reason and end up working for the better...Like driving through the place first. Some kind of "vibe" in the back of your brain told you to..and there you have it!! Let's go to Florida..I've got the wine!

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  28. When ever I see a title of plan B I think, "Uh oh. But this one sounds like it may work out just fine. It is good to listen to premonitions.

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  29. Our "little voices" will tell is things, if we will only listen. Sorry your volunteer gig didn't pan out, but glad you checked on it before taking the rig there. Sounds like it would have been a total mess and maneuvering nightmare. Wasn't meant to be, so there must be some really groovy adventures awaiting you elsewhere!

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  30. You must have had a gut feeling about the place. Making an unpleasant decision can be hard, but saves a lpt pf problems later.

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  31. Wow. It sounds like you dodged a bullet there. Good thing you went exploring in your car first!

    When we arrived at Alamosa NWR in 2012 we were told that we'd be the first to use the new RV pad. We pulled in to find a large concrete pad at the edge of the maintenance yard, but it was about 10" up from the surrounding ground. We couldn't drive up onto it without some type of ramp. And that was it. No electric, water, or sewer. When I asked about hookups I got "I thought that RV's were self contained."!!

    Luckily they had a complete RV pad at the nearby Monte Vista NWR and we've stayed there the past two summers.

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  32. I have learned to trust Jo's premonitions, glad that you trusted yours.

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  33. Nice post.Thank you for sharing this in Your blog.

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