Friday, December 29, 2006

Planning for Next Year

Planning is a quarter to a half of the fun of our life style. Even before we returned to the Colorado house, we had been talking about what we would do in 2007. We knew for sure we wanted to spend most of our time earning a free RV site by volunteering, to make up for how much we spent traveling this year. Our first thoughts were to go to Texas for two months in the spring, and then spend a little time in Colorado, visiting state parks we haven’t camped in for years, before going to either Acadia National Park in September and October, or perhaps volunteering in a New England state park.

We have always found openings immediately in Texas, but after contacting Fort Davis, Inks Lake, Guadalupe River, Cedar Hill, Balmoreah and Nails Creek, we were unable to line up anything for March and April. We also contacted New Mexico State Parks and Utah State Parks. New Mexico uses mainly long-term (three-month or longer) volunteers in their southern parks. We weren’t interested in that. So we went onto the web site and found that Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas was looking for volunteers. We sent an on-line application and were soon contacted by a Ranger who conducted a preliminary interview by phone. Within several weeks we arranged to spend April and May working on the information desk and the bookstore, putting in three eight-hour days a week. We have spent very little time in Arkansas, and so we are excited about spending quality time exploring that state on our days off.

While working out the details with Hot Springs, we received a call from a Ranger at Kodachrome State Park in southern Utah. We arranged to spend six weeks there in August and September. Kodachrome is just south of Bryce Canyon National Park, where we spent three great months in 2005. We look forward to more time in Utah and having time to hike Bryce Canyon again. Utah is a beautiful state.

So now we know where we will volunteer in 2007. The rest of the planning will involve where to visit during March on our way to Arkansas and where to visit as we travel from Arkansas to Utah. We do know that our son, Eric, and his children, will meet us in Arkansas in late March during his spring break and we will spend time with them before beginning our work at Hot Springs.

Planning is such fun. It allows us to consider a host of options with different opportunities to experience this beautiful and interesting country we so enjoy traveling through.