Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Farewell, New Jersey


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Home for the past 3 years, 7 months when we depart

Yes, all good things come to an end, as we knew it would at some point here.  We just weren’t expecting it to come last Friday, when we were told our assignment here was ending.  We have been offered a transfer to another location in South Carolina and are making preparations to leave here September 25, to be on duty down there October 1.  We’re grateful for the opportunity of continued employment with the same contracting company. 


Looking downstream at the Musconetcong River from one of the bridges on the property.

We’re going full circle, so to speak.  We did a two-month relief gig at the SC facility in September/October 2010.  It was enjoyable and we adapted to the duties and work cycle, still finding time to engage in epic chess matches, Dave cycled (hooked up with a local club and has hopes of doing so again on our return), we grilled and we visited a local farmers market a couple of times.  That gig is what got us hooked on doing this type of work.  I anticipate that it will be a more cloistered lifestyle due to the work schedule and rural location of the facility, but it’s not like we’re gad-abouts by nature, anyway.  We do go out to eat for a treat now and then here, but I don’t see that happening down there.  I don’t think we’ll miss it and we will be cutting back on indulgences financially.  There won’t be beach holidays and I just might miss that, actually.  We will be closer to the beach in general, so there may be a chance to sneak in a day trip next year at some point.  We’ll see.


View of the river above the dam on the property.  One of our patrol rounds here is a weekly dam drive.

Our duties and responsibilities will be changing drastically.  We have been on our own here, providing security and grounds/minor property maintenance and running an office.  We have worked closely with staff in the main company office located in southern NJ.  We have liaised with local law enforcement and are grateful to that police department for their support and rapport, both in professional and personal situations.  You couldn’t ask for a better bunch of guys to have your back.   In SC, we will be only security guards making rounds afternoons and night shift Monday through Friday and then 24-hour duty on weekends.  There is a skeleton crew of three on the property Monday through Friday.  They, too, are good guys and I look forward to working with them again.

Groundhog face

We share the property here with several of these cuties and have seen generations of their families here.

I think know what I will miss the most about here is being busy (although there are plenty of quiet days), running an office, greeting and assisting vendors/customers/crews and interacting with the headquarters office.  We have been the company presence in the community here.   We will be taking a financial hit by putting new tires on our RV and losing the extra duties we perform here for which we are paid above and beyond our normal duties, although I am hopeful there will be auxiliary income opportunities of some sort eventually in SC.  Mainly, I will miss the responsibilities of this location.  I guess I’m saying I will miss having a purpose.  I have told Dave in the past that this post ranks up there with my all-time favorite job as office manager of an AA baseball club during my time in El Paso, TX back in the early 1980s.  That was one of those jobs where you wake up and think, “Oh boy!  I get to go to work today!  Wonder what will happen today!

That’s how fun this post has been.

I even learned how to run a forklift here!

Folks, that’s fun and interesting. 

That being said, I am naturally a night owl given the chance to keep to my internal body clock and schedule, so the SC hours may agree with me more than here.  I will have  quiet time while Dave is sleeping and I’m pulling my portion of the night shift, so there should be ample opportunities to write, indulge in meditation, do more yoga and Tai Chi, etc.  Perhaps I’ll find a place to set up my djembe drum and do some drumming, albeit on my own.

April 28 front yard

We have watched this tree in our “front yard” progress through the seasons for almost four years.  This was April 2014, and leaves were just starting to appear after a harsh Winter.

Although the past couple of winters have been tough, we soldiered through them and have memories for a lifetime.  Since arriving on-site here in February 2011, we experienced an earthquake, Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, Superstorm Sandy and numerous other major weather events, including several Nor’easters.  

May 22 Dolphin Watch front

We took a week off this  year and had a totally relaxing holiday at Cape May, renting a beach house.

We also walked the path of my second cancer diagnosis here in 2012, and have been grateful for truly wonderful local health care.  Leaving my surgeon and general physician are tough things to do . . . being in the care of such providers as we have here is . . . well, perhaps rare these days.


Aftermath of Hurricane Irene, September 2011 -  During the height of the storm, the Musconetcong River was over that footbridge and overflowed its banks, causing us to evacuate our RV off the property to higher ground down the street for a few days.

Feb 13 Betty and Rig

February 2014

We consider it “home” because we made it one.  I planted veggies and flowers.  We mowed the grounds.  We have grilled.  Dave’s son and his lady visited from Scotland, as did friends who are also full-time RVers here in the States.  Dave participated in cycling time trials in the area.  I underwent training and volunteered with the local CERT organization.


Geared up and ready to perform search-and-rescue at the mill here during the 2013 CERT drill.


Me with my back to the camera, on hands-and-knees searching for “victims” through the dark and “smoke” during the 2013 CERT drill.

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Gifted with a truck rim soon after our arrival, it made a great fire ring and we have enjoyed many evenings under the stars.  Thanks, “Backhoe” Joe.  You’re no longer on this Earth, but we remember you fondly.  See that boulder in the background?  Danny removed it from the drainage ditch he was clearing in August 2012.  With the rock in the bucket of a backhoe, he asked, “So, where do you want your rock?”  It has been a yard ornament ever since.  I plan on putting our names and the dates of our time here on the rock before we leave.

We have laughed, cried, loved, endured and rejoiced here.  If that’s not a home, I don’t know what is.

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January 2014 – Dave shoveling

But . . . things change.  Full-time RVers rarely stay in one spot for long, much less almost four years.  It’s time to roll down the road, and, again, we’re grateful to have continued employment.

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February 2014 - These Canada Geese forgot to head South for Winter.  They were not impressed when the Musconetcong froze.

One piece of good news is that we won’t be shoveling snow this Winter.  On the other hand, the summers will be much hotter.  We were actually looking forward to the coming of Winter; we both feel physically better in cooler temperatures.  Oh well . . . we won’t have to deal with frozen pipes and the possibility of their bursting.  We’ve been lucky not to have had the pipes in our RV crack or burst.  No more frozen door handles on the office!  Yay!  No more taking baby steps over the ice.  Yay!  No more does Dave have to take a propane torch to the gate lock to get it to open on frigid Winter mornings.  Yay!  No more watching big snowflakes falling and the sun glistening on the snow like diamonds.  Boo!


Maggie on dam patrol

Obviously this lifestyle is one of mobility and we’re good with the change of scenery and daily routine.

When our rig rolls through the gates later this month for the last time, I bet my eyes will be leaking a bit.

Home is not about a building or material possessions.  It is about the memories you make where you live.  This property has indeed been our home.


   The End . . . But The Beginning of New Adventures!

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Let us know your route. Probably down I95. If so, could meet you in the rest area in Delaware to see you off.

  2. Wow, hard to believe you guys have been there four years! And yet on the other hand it seems like you have always been there. :) It has to be hard to find out that you are moving and make all those transitions in a short period of time. Good luck in your move to your new home.

  3. Well, that's quite a surprise. Enjoy your new adventure!

  4. Love your story. Great memories!


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