Sunday, January 31, 2016

ATV 102

We’ve been ATV owners just over a month now, and are just beginning to see why people choose ATV-ing.  We’ve seen some amazing country.

At our new friend Bob’s advice, we went to the BLM office in St. George and asked for their ATV trail maps.  The gentleman handed us a packet of several maps – an overall map of the trails in the area and detailed maps of each section of the overall map.  All free of charge.  He turned out to be from Taylorsville.  Small world.

We visited Moto Zoo – a specialty store for all things motorized both on and off road.  We tried on helmets and admired from afar the brightly colored riding outfits.  We looked at machines much newer than ours.  We came away knowing 1) our helmet sizes, and 2) we’re definitely not in with the in crowd when it comes to off-roading.  Oh, well.

Helmets are not required in Utah (unless you are under 18), but wearing one really makes sense.  While we don’t expect to be doing any of the expert rides where they warn you that you need to be willing to risk breaking something – including a bone – accidents happen.  We bought helmets.  And while the safety factor is paramount, I really wear my helmet because it keeps my ears warm.

We joined the Tri-State ATV club.  Membership is only $30 a year, and they do several rides 
throughout the year.  We went on our first ride last Friday.  There were about 30 machines in the pack, most of them the newer side-by-side ATVs.  This particular ride was a dress rehearsal for one of the rides in the upcoming Jamboree – so the assigned guides could learn the area.  The guides focused on safety and on leaving the trails better than we found them.  The Tri-State ATV club is a positive force in a sport where there is so much negativity in the media.  Yes, Virginia, there are ATV riders that respect others and respect the environment.

The Tri-State ATV Jamboree is a huge event here in Hurricane.  This year’s Jamboree is March 9 – 12.  ATV riders come from all over the area to socialize, participate in guided rides, and get to know the southern Utah backcountry.  The Jamboree features several rides to choose from, breakfast each morning, and a fun dinner party on Saturday night.  We’re looking forward to attending.

But for now, we’re breaking out those maps and finding our way on the trails.  Sometimes it’s challenging.  There are few signs out on the trails, and we’ve taken the wrong turn more than once.   We’ve come home covered in dust, and we’ve come home covered in mud.  And we’ve always come home with smiles on our faces.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Chasing Heat

In a couple of years, the old timers of WillowWind RV Park will sit over coffee and regale themselves of the tales of the brutal winter of 2015-2016.  “Yep,” they will say, “it was the coldest winter we’ve ever had here in Hurricane.”

Or so I’m told.  Many of the repeat residents have told us that this winter has been much colder than the past several.  And it seems that our particular trailer just isn’t set up for the colder temperatures.

Oh, it has a furnace.  If you doubt the existence of the furnace in our trailer, all you have to do is turn it on.  The decibel level when the furnace is running is not only high enough to erase all doubt, it’s high enough to inhibit normal activity such as sleep.  We bought a space heater the first week we were here, and use it to heat the space we’re in.  It’s working pretty well.

But then there’s the water system.  In late December our water hose froze solid.  Thankfully no interior pipes were broken.  What’s a snowbird to do?  They make heated insulation for trailer water hoses, and for a while we seriously considered the investment.  Then a practical trailer owner advised us, “Just fill up your tanks.”  Brilliant! We knew they worked as we’d used them at Washington Lake. 

I forgot about the downside of filling the tanks – you have to refill them when they run out.  Last year in Chasing Water I envisioned myself running out of water mid-shower.  Well, it happened yesterday.  Expletives began sputtering out of my mouth as the water sputtered to a few dribbles and then nothing.  It was my nightmare come true – my hair was full of shampoo; my body covered in soap, and no water! 

I shouted to my husband in the next room.  After he picked himself up from rolling on the floor laughing (I did not witness this due to the soap in my eyes, but I know it was happening), he hooked the hose back to the tap and restored the water.  Looking back, it was kind of funny.  Oh, OK, really and truly hilarious!

We’re here in Hurricane for another couple of months.  Hopefully the warmer days are headed our way.

Monday, January 11, 2016


Monday, January 4, 2016 saw us driving to Long Beach, where we met the kids and their respective significant others and boarded the Carnival Inspiration for a four day Baja California cruise.  It was sunny and 68 degrees in Long Beach, and as the boat pulled out of harbor, all signs pointed to beautiful weather and calm seas.

Alas, it was not to be.  Tuesday morning – the beginning of our “fun day at sea” was overcast and windy.  I had thought when I booked our staterooms that being on the top deck at the front of the ship would be a good thing.  That “I’m king of the world” thing.  But physics reigns supreme, and when the boat is hitting 8 foot swells, the front of the ship goes WAY up and then WAY down.  Ughhh! Suffice it to say I’ve discovered that Dramamine is my friend. 

California’s much-needed rain began to fall. The Captain announced that we would not be making our scheduled stop at Catalina Island.  The good news was that we’d spend two days docked at Ensenada.  Yeah!  A couple of days without the boat rocking.  By the afternoon I felt well enough to go to afternoon tea.  I couldn’t talk anyone else into joining me, so I went alone and had a lovely tea with a lady from LA and her 8 year old daughter.  We made the decision NOT to participate in the elegant night before we went on the cruise.  Looking back, we should have brought the dress clothes.
Never fear – they let us in the comedy show and the piano bar in our less-than-elegant attire.  We were even recorded in the piano bar.  The piano man chose to record that evening because there was a “really cool crowd.”  Yep, we made the cool crowd.

We arrived in Ensenada Wednesday morning to sunshine and spent a delightful morning sitting by the pool.  Next we went into Ensenada for a nice seafood lunch and shopping.  Well, mostly looking and listening to the local vendors regaling us with the glories of their particular brand of stuff we didn’t need. 

Our ATV/Wine Tour scheduled for Thursday had been canceled by the vendor.  Now we were two for two on shore excursions being canceled.  We decided to book another tour – wine country on a bus instead of on ATVs – and thoroughly enjoyed touring two wineries and of course, tasting the wine.

Carnival is known as one of the more economical cruise lines.  That said, the quality of the food on board was quite good and the portion sizes were reasonable.  I’ve been on cruise ships where you literally had to train to eat as much as they expected you to eat. 

The best part of the cruise was that through the ups and downs (some literal) the family spent most of the time together and had a great time.  Two days later, the motion sickness and disappointing weather has mostly faded into the background, and I’m remembering the smiling faces of the cruise staff and the adventures we had both onboard and on land.

And two days later I’m still feeling the motion of the boat at sea.  So when does the boat stop rocking, anyway?

Sunday, January 3, 2016

No Turning Back

When I first contemplated retirement, I had thought that I might like part-time work during the non-camp-host seasons.  I thought it might be kind of fun to take on short-term consulting jobs.  To that end, I’ve kept up my professional certification (Certified Information Systems Security Professional –CISSP) for the three years that I’ve been retired.

Three years – wow!  Has it really been that long?  Why, yes, it has, and during that three years I’ve done exactly zero consulting jobs.  In fact, every time I think about a job, I think about how much it would interfere with my free time.

I’ve crossed the threshold into real retirement – to the point that I’m not even using some of my free time to take the online classes required to keep my certification.  But there’s still a small part of me that just doesn’t want to part with the credential.  Part of me still thinks that if I give it up, I’m giving up the part of my brain that is relevant.  Part of me just doesn’t want to accept that if I do this I may never be qualified for a job in my industry again.

The part of me that is in charge of reality checks stepped in.  “Cheri,” I tell me, “it doesn’t matter.  You don’t ever have to work again.”  And yet I’ve continued to struggle with this decision.

The drop dead date has arrived.  As of today, I have exactly 28 days to complete 20 hours of continuing education.  It’s not going to happen.  I’ve known all year that it wasn’t going to happen.
I took a deep breath.  I wrote the following:

To the Management of ISC2,
The time has come to really retire.  Effective immediately, I surrender my CISSP certification.
I am honored to have been counted among the elite security professionals achieving this certification and proud to have been affiliated with ISC2

I sent the email today.  No turning back…