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Old 04-15-2016, 02:46 PM   #1
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Changing Gears in Escalante

We were finally found out by the local BLM ranger and had to move off our BLM road after 38 days. We managed to lay low and shared our spot with other campers on a few occasions but the rule is 14 days; what we didn't know was that we had to move 30 miles, according to National Monument rules here in Escalante. Mid-way through March we decided to stay in the area and experience small town living. Our youngest son was burning a hole in our budget as he gets situated back in our old home state of California; we've taken on his rent temporarily so we decided to find some work.

Escalante is a small town of about 800 people, with one grocery store, one fancy organic food store, three gas stations, a post office, a new health clinic, a very nice hardware store, a couple of outfitters, and a few eateries. The wife got a job as a line cook at the Circle D Eatery and I found work as a motel maid at the Circle D Motel. For a few weeks we were commuting about 12.5 miles each way from our cliffside spot until we had to move. We had to decide fast where to stay in order to keep our jobs and we found a spot at the Shooting Star RV resort just 1.5 mile out of town. I could work for our keep and utilities and also make some money after 20-25 hours/week. We've been told it's gonna get hot so having power for running the A/C and a sewer hookup for daily showers during the summer will be much appreciated.

I never knew cleaning motel rooms could be so exhausting but I lasted almost a month before having to change jobs. The good thing is that the Shooting Star RV resort has about ten restored Airstreams acting as "rooms" for guests; each one is interior decorated to a movie theme. So instead of cleaning motel rooms, I'm cleaning Airstreams! I also get to work with a carpenter refinishing decks for the Airstreams and odd jobs around the property.

I've always dreamed of living in a small town and so far Escalante fits the bill. We've already made several friends and found most of the locals work two jobs during the season in order to make it through the slow winter season. So we see our new friends all over town and they're getting used to seeing us. Small town life also includes Pickleball every Tuesday and Thursday at the local gym and occasional Bingo. I had never played either one but it's easy to get an invite in a small town. We hope to last through the summer season before heading out onto the road again for Fall exploration, but until then we'll enjoy the slower lane and if any of you visit our newly adopted small town of Escalante, give us a shout and we'll show you around!
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Old 04-15-2016, 02:59 PM   #2
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We got to neighbor and dine (at Outfitters Cafe) with Amanda and Tim Watson of WatsonsWander blog fame; the new motel maid; and life on The Shooting Star RV Resort.
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Old 04-15-2016, 03:16 PM   #3
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Gosh, I just noticed I'm wearing the same clothes while cleaning rooms and then the next day working on the deck! Oh well... life of the boondocker. You all know the drill.
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Old 04-15-2016, 03:59 PM   #4
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I love the way you two keep building new wings as your situation changes, doing whatever you need in order to live your dream.

Good...for...you!

I always look forward to updates on your story.


Maggie
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Old 04-15-2016, 04:57 PM   #5
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Thanks Maggie! Same here with your thread... always looking forward to your latest concoction! Martha Stewart has NOTHING on you!
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Old 04-15-2016, 06:05 PM   #6
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Escalante is a nice place to visit but pretty much closed up when we last visited there in February. Nice folks at Shooting Star and we enjoyed our stay there last summer for a couple of nights. Our only disappointment was getting rained-out the one night they had planned to show a movie at their drive-in theatre.

Regards - Ron
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Old 04-16-2016, 11:21 AM   #7
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Riff Raff

Headed that way soon from FL. Looking forward to seeing Shooting Star and that whole area. Will come by and say hello!
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Old 04-16-2016, 02:47 PM   #8
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That would be great - always fun to meet fellow Airstreamers and swap stories and experiences. Leave yourself at least a few days to explore the area, especially if you like hiking and exploring slot canyons.

Have a safe trip!

Jeff
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Old 04-16-2016, 03:25 PM   #9
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Troy and Michelle at the Shooting Star are great people. We travel down to stay with them every Labor Day weekend. Good fun.

There is so much to see and do in that area. You could spend years exploring and just touch the surface. You should have a great summer.

Stan
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Old 04-16-2016, 03:43 PM   #10
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Stan, I will say hello for you. My wife and I already appreciate their down-to-earth nature and their resort. I hope I can help them succeed in their business, even if it's just for a short while.
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Old 04-18-2016, 12:53 PM   #11
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Hi Jeff,

Loved your post about Escalante. My partner and I will be headed in that direction in the next week or so. The area looks beautiful, and I am an avid Pickleballer (though not particularly talented).

Hopefully we can stop by and say hello

Emily
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Old 04-18-2016, 08:52 PM   #12
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Thanks Emily and I wish you safe travels. Try to make some time for the area. It's not as renown as Zion or Bryce but I'm coming around to think there is more to explore with less people around. Zion is a zoo come warm spring and summer - it reminds me of Disneyland back in southern California... nothing but lines.

Your tag says you are relatively new to 'streaming so there are a couple nice RV parks in town with hookups, one of which is the one I work at - Shooting Star. The Petrified Forest State Park is a nice campground with power/water hookups but is usually crowded. If you like to boondock or would like to try, message me and I can direct to a few nice spots, especially the one we were on if it's unoccupied. All of them are within 12 or so miles of town and supplies so it's not too out there.

And who knows? If you're in town long enough, you could join us for pickleball. I need tips on how to remember to stay out of the "kitchen".
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Old 05-16-2016, 06:56 PM   #13
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A week ago we had a group of Chinese students led by three Canadians stay at the resort. I talked with the young Canadians and they were working for a Chinese national who was selling property in China...but along with a lifestyle. The business man had hired the Canadians to produce a video that would be used to promote a lifestyle to young upscale Chinese people, and what better place to introduce these young people to adventure and open space than the Southwest. They had rented an Airstream to symbolize America and its sense of adventure on the road - something the young group was unaccustomed to. I thought what an unusual juxtaposition - young Chinese traveling in an American icon.

We got to sit around a campfire with the film crew and talked about politics, travel, shooting video, spoiled celebrities, and a different sensibility shown by the Chinese. The Canadians said it was difficult for the young Chinese to break out of their traditional thinking - for instance, while very intelligent in their field of study, they did not possess a DIY capability or a sense of others around them. Still, their task was to put together a video that would express a sense of individualism and freedom outside their every day life. I don't know how well this would go over with government control but the filmmakers didn't seem to have any fears of being censored.

One of the young Canadians said the client was a multimillionaire, or maybe billionaire - I forget. But he said the businessman, upon looking at the young man's Facebook pages, told him that he had the better life, filled with adventures and friends, free from the stress of big business. It's nice to hear a similar validation of this lifestyle from an obviously wealthy man across the world. And I can certainly validate the symbolism of an Airstream - it's what we travelers do.

(And yes, I cleaned the toilets upon their departure.)
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Old 05-18-2016, 07:49 PM   #14
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Hi Jeff,

What a great story. I so enjoyed meeting you, sharing stories and playing Pickleball.


We're in culture shock. Went from Moab to Las Vegas today, on to la tomorrow. Let's keep in touch!


Emily
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