We had a thunderstorm in the middle of the night. I was too tired for it to keep me up for long. :)
We both slept in until I had to get up to make my 10:00 appointment in McAllen to get the truck windshield repaired. The repair didn't take long and they billed our insurance company for the $50.
Back home it continued to rain so we hung out. Linda did some beading while I did the Journal entry, returned a few emails, and finished up the March financials. The March financial entry follows this post. :)
Of course I watched the Final Four starting at 5:00 Central. I didn't really cheer for any team, but I didn't want UCLA to have a chance to increase their 11 national titles to 12. :)
Interesting that Monday night's finals will match Ohio State and Florida which were the same teams that met in the national championship football game. I'll watch, but again I don't know who I'll root for.
We can't believe March is already over. We only have five tram tours and one canoe trip left.
It's still up in the air as to whether we will come back next year. The Valley Nature Center has already advertised for tram drivers in Workamper News, but there are still some unresolved issues.
It looks like they are going to try to split the season up as they are calling for up to six couples and the ad says it would be 3 days on and 6 days off. We're not sure how that is going to work.
If anyone is interested, let us know. They have already had quite a response, but we might just have a little influence. :)
Can you tell this picture was taken during our cooler months? We haven't had long sleeves or long pants on much since the beginning of February. :)
We're still looking at the pros and cons of coming back.
- We love the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge
- We love guiding tours on the tram and canoes
- Free full hook-up campsites
- Free laundry
- Free propane
- Free local phone service - also a "con" in my book as I hate having a land line in the rig :)
- Free ice and reverse osmosis water
- Small $10 per day, per person stipend on the days we drive the tram is not much, but it sure helps
- Three consecutive days on, four consecutive days off
- Winter climate, though we had a rough couple of months, is still a lot better than most other places
- RV sites are the largest in the Valley
- Other volunteers are wonderful
- Staff has been very nice to us
- We may not be able to get winter positions we like so much anywhere else
- Fantastic birding
- Lots of eco-tourism opportunities in the area (there are tons of other activities as well, we just are not into most of them)
- Cost of living is very low
- GREAT for the budget!!
- We're not crazy about the rest of the Valley (95% is agriculture and expanding development, there is only 5% of natural habitat remaining and it is split up) - if we had to stay in an RV park or closer to one of the many expanding towns, we definitely would not be back
- Not able to use our boats - we thought we would be able to cruise up and down the Rio Grande at our leisure, but border crossing and narcotics issues make it unsafe to do that alone; high winds and distance to other locations also limits us
- Not able to explore the Refuge after dark - we thought we would spend a lot more time in the Refuge, but again there are safety issues
- It's rather minor, but the bumpy 1/2 mile gravel road back to our compound is a pain, especially with as much rain as we had earlier this winter
- Biking opportunities are limited - we didn't know the ride to the Refuge was going to be two miles on a tough gravel road (the highway is just not safe enough as they use the wide shoulders to drive on here)
- It takes lots of mileage to explore all the eco-tourism opportunities (could be worse in other places)
- We would be giving up an opportunity to explore other areas during the winter (this may be the biggest issue for me)
- Four and a half month commitment is a bit too long, but that may be moot next year
- Though we have had NO problems personally, drug traffic across the border makes it less safe than we anticipated
- Another minor one - wind makes it an "awning-free" zone all the time and gusty days, though fewer than we expected, are exhausting :)
- Government operations/red tape can be annoying at times - another minor issue
- Fewer sunny days than expected; even though this was supposedly an unusually cold/wet winter, the average sunshine is relatively low on average; not a big deal when it is 80 degrees in February, but a really big deal when it is 40 and windy several days in a row :)
Well, that's a pretty honest assessment from our standpoint.
Given all of that, if they came to us and said next year will be just like this year and we need a decision today, we would probably decline due to the time commitment.
However, if they came and said everything will be the same but you only have to commit December through February, we would probably accept. It's a pretty good gig for us. :)
Besides saving us bunches of money, this workamping experience has taught us that 1) the right job really can be fun, 2) the time can go by fast, and 3) we will not hesitate to seek out other similar positions during any season.
If the job gives us the opportunity to do things we are passionate about, it helps us financially and emotionally. We may be very selective while we can, but "working" on the road is certainly in our future and we don't have any dread about it. :)
We had not anticipated working so early on in our adventure, but it has been a wonderful experience and we are glad we took this opportunity. But now I'm ready to get back to a bit more flexibility and travel.
I bet you're ready, too! :)