Tuesday, April 15, 2008

In the begining

It all started at the base of Mount Moosilauke, in the southern edge of the White Mountains National Forest, in New Hampshire. Although born the youngest of seven, I didn't get to enjoy growing up with lots of siblings around, as most were grown and gone off on there own when I first arrived in Warren. However living here as a youngster was far less than dull or boring. With forest and hills to explore, rivers, brooks and ponds to fish, the sounds and smells of the local lumber mill just up the street, and who could possibly forget living next door to the MORSE MUSEUM full of curios from Asia and India, and lion, tigers and other stuffed trophies of the Morse's safari adventures in Africa.

Being raised in such an enviroment taught me alot about respect for the land and the need to take care of it properly. Even though my father had passed away when I was only 8, I still got many opportunities, thanks to good friends and loving relatives, to hunt, fish, and probably my most favorite activity growing up, camping. Many of us in Warren,NH would spend alot of our free time in summer hiking and camping, which in turn helped to create my lifes dream, camping across the country,particularly the rocky mtns and the north west.

Upon graduation from high school, I had enlisted in the U.S.Army, and left for training at Ft. Dix,NJ. After completion of training, I returned home for 7 days to marry my HS sweetheart, Edie. A quick wedding by the Justice of the peace, with just a few close family members and friends present, a short honeymoon in Crawford Notch, then off to the first duty assignment in Fairbanks,Alaska. I arrived in Nov 76 and sent for Edie to come up in Jan 77 after finding living accommodations. Just a little more than a year later came our first child, Kristal.

Eighteen months past quickly and soon we were on our way to Ft Hood,TX, were our second, Jason, came in to this world. Two more years expired and it came time to reenlist, six more with the first 2 at Ft Bliss, which turned out to be my worst assignment in 22 years, then 3 years in Erlangen, Germany, and transferred to the Reserves after 6 months at Ft Devens,MA. After a year assigned to a unit in Hanscom AFB, MA, I finally managed to transfer to an Engineer unit in Gilford,NH, where after 1 year I reentered active duty in the reserves and spent seven years with Co.B 368th in both Gilford, and when they were moved to Attelboro,MA. In 1994 we received orders to move to New Orleans,LA.

I became quite excited about moving to, "The Big Easy", and the family, however with great reluctance, followed along. It didn't take take very long before it became evident to me that this big city lifestyle did not appeal to me at all. After four gruelling years in a town known for it's crime and high murder rate, I had decided enough was enough. In search for new digs, I was informed by my personnel manager, because I was under 12 months to eligibility for retirement he could not cut orders to send me anywhere and that my only option out of New Orleans was, "retire or die". As I am writing this 10 years later you can guess which option I chose.

Long before retirement, plans were already in place to settle down in Elizabethton in north east TN. Edie and I had friends that lived there and we fell in love with the beauty of the Appalachian mountains. I found work immediately as a diesel mechanic at a mobile fleet repair company, that was owned by an individual who was fond of over charging customers, and not paying employees for all hours worked. Despite the aggravation, I stayed with him untill my reputation was well established, and finally quit and started my own business.

In 2005, I sat one day wondering why I was slowing down so much. Assuming it was just from growing older, I suddenly woke up one AM and realized that 30 years in the automotive repair industry was growing old fast, and made the decision at that moment to sell every thing and bail out. It took some time to decide what I wanted to do the rest of my life, ( or as I put it the Next 50 years). Tossed wooden pallets for the landlord awhile before realizing, that was a young mans gig. At the same time we started volunteering as camp ground host in the Cherokee National Forest. During the first season I came to know that at last I was home. This was my element, my dream, what I wanted to do.

The second season brought opportunity as we settled in for another marvelous summer in the campground. Our friend, Donna, who worked at the local news paper, gave us a heads up about a summer job working for University of Tennessee, doing recreation surveys for the forest service. This job worked well for us as we were able to do it and volunteer as well. Towards the end of summer we made the decision to sell everything that would not fit in the RV and move to Arizona. I immediately started searching the internet for volunteer and paid RV related jobs in Az. Of all applications submitted only one ever responded back.

Nov 12 we arrived in Arizona at the next installment of our wonderful adventure. We had been accepted as volunteers at Petrified Forest National Park. I had read about petrified wood in elementary school and always wanted to see the park. Now I was not only seeing it, but helping other visitor understand it as well. We survived a gruelling winter outside of Holbrook,AZ as they received the wettest and snowiest winter in 12 years. However it is time to move on to something new and again exciting, so we have accepted a job offer to work for seven month at the Grand Canyon Lodge, North rim. We are, however as of this writing, stuck at an RV park in Cameron,AZ due to the Park service had not cleared the snow from the north rim in time for employees to arrive to start opening the lodge.

So as time continues to tick toc along, we await the chance to move in on the next fabulous summer at one of America's most gorges destinations, and I advance to the next level as I go,