Life's Journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, totally worn out, shouting "Wow...What a Ride!"

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Christmas Tree Sale Wrapup-Heading West

December 11-24, 2019

On 12/22 we closed our Christmas tree lot at dark. That evening the owners came around and paid us our wages. With wages, deliveries and tips we are happy with what we earned for 26 days of 12 hour days. We do plan to return though to a different lot, we’ll be in Carrolton TX, north side of the DFW Metroplex. Our thoughts are we will then stay in TX, either volunteering or at our place on the Gulf Coast.

The stats for the 2019 season: Sold 429 trees, sales totaled $81,615, average sales per day = 17, average daily sales = $3,130, average tree cost = $190.  The busiest day was Saturday after Thanksgiving when we sold 58 trees, we had over $11k in sales. The slowest day was our last Friday when we sold 1 tree for $100. The owners came around daily to pick up the previous day’s receipts.  We had a total of 500+ trees when we started, 60 of those were donated the last weekend for a fish habitat when we closed on 12/22 we had 26 trees that went to a chipper. The owners were very pleased with our work, thankfully we had some great tips from our friends who usually run the lot. We were tasked with taking ownership of the lot which we did, and the results showed since we’ve been asked repeatedly to return we know we did well. We are so glad to be done though. Our last night on the lot after we closed we walked across the street to Palio’s Pizza for our first meal out since we opened.

Monday 12/23 we were up and on the road, 365 miles later we arrived at Monahans Sandhill State Park. The park exists because the surrounding area is sand dunes where you can slide down the hills on disks, the round type we used to use for snow. The sites are very small and it took a bit for us to get into ours, the sites have so much sand on them you don’t know where the asphalt ends and the sand begins. We finally got settled into site 9. The nearby town of Monahans didn’t have much in the way of open restaurants, we had hoped to eat out, and instead, we headed home, after fueling up, for a dinner of hotdogs and an early bedtime.

Tuesday, 12/24, we were on the road by 6:30 am, we had 540 miles to go before our day ended. An uneventful ride found us pulling into Kartchner Caverns State Park in Benson AZ at 2:30. A great pull-thru, easy satellite set up and Verizon has a decent signal. We’ll be here for 4 nights before heading to Tucson and then onto Phoenix.

We wish our family and friends a wonderful and joyous holiday season. 


Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Life On A Christmas Tree Lot

November 29-December 10, 2019

We have been living on the Christmas tree lot for almost 3 weeks. Prior to opening, we enjoyed getting out to a variety of restaurants to take care of our different food cravings; Italian, Mexican and Asian. We knew once we opened we wouldn’t be able to go out for dinner till we closed the lot for the season. 
My office

We officially opened our lot on Thanksgiving and made 5 sales that day. As of 12/10, we have sold 335 trees. We had another delivery of trees the week after Thanksgiving bringing our total trees to sell to 514, only 179 to go. 
Trying to drum up business 
Our days are much the same, we open the lot at 9am and close at 9pm. About 8:30pm I close out the books for the day and Dave starts watering the trees. If we have to go grocery shopping or do laundry those are done before we open. Of course, the weekends are the busiest, thankfully we are provided with good help for those days. Weekdays we are averaging 12 sales a day. We have a motion detector so when we are slow we can enjoy the comforts of our home while waiting for customers to show up. Dave has made 15 deliveries so far, he gets paid directly for those, and we hope to have another 5 by the time we leave. We’ve had some very great and generous customers so the tips are adding up, we’ve also been the recipient of some delicious baked goods. A big thanks to the local customers for making this such a great experience for us.  
Trees for the kids

"Fat Albert"



Every day we spend time moving trees around the lot, filling in holes where trees have gone onto homes, tending to broken branches and keeping the lot presentable. Some of the trees are 12’ to 14’ tall and weigh 200+ pounds, thankfully we only have 4 of those left. As the season winds down we are moving all the trees inside under the tent when a hole opens up. 
12'-14' trees

For those who might be interested in being an attendant on a Christmas tree lot: it can be physically demanding, especially early on when the lot is full of trees, you have to help customers get the trees loaded into or onto their vehicles, the hours are long though you’re not always busy but you have to be on sight, lots of cash and check handling involved-thankfully we don’t have to deal with credit cards. It can be a rewarding job-lots of great customers and for the short time we are here we are making decent money and not spending much. We do have the ability to order stuff off of Amazon since they have lockers a mile or so down the road. Will we be doing this again? Ask us in March, but it wouldn’t surprise me if we do, we have been told they will have another lot in need of help next year. The owners are great to work for and want us to take ownership of our lot, the only thing we don’t have a say in is the pricing of the trees but as the season winds down we have been given a little leeway in what we can offer the customer in savings.  

A local business lighted up the front of the parking lot.

The weather has been all over the place, from sunny 70’s to cold and rainy 30’s, we can’t wait to get to the AZ desert and continual sunshine.  
Our Christmas tree this year

Until next time…

Thursday, November 28, 2019

From Fishing to Christmas Trees

October 30-November 28, 2019

We enjoyed our short stay on the Gulf Coast, Dave got plenty of fishing in so the freezer is stocked. The shrimp boat never went out due, the weather didn’t cooperate with them, so instead we visited our local HEB, grocery store, where they sell Gulf Shrimp at a really good price, so the freezer has some shrimp in it also. 

While here we celebrated the life of our dear friend Rena, who passed away this last July. A bonfire, on the beach she loved so much, with family and friends who hold her dear in their hearts. So thankful we were able to be here for this special gathering. 
Pat-Rena's husband, Justin-one of their sons, Olivia-granddaughter

We enjoyed seeing our Gulf Water family if only for a very brief visit. We even got the chance to go out to dinner with friends Linda and Patrick, always fun catching up with them. 

Toward the end of our stay our friends, Greg and Jill, called and asked if we could cover their Christmas Tree Lot this year. Greg is having some medical issues and they weren’t going to be able to make it this year. Of course, we said yes, so another change in plans. Canceled a bunch of reservations, got some things ordered we’d need. 

We stayed a few more days at Gulf Waters than originally planned, Dave got one last fishing day in with his buddy Pat. I had the opportunity to try out water aerobics, it looks like something I'll have to look into when we're in AZ at Pioneer.  One last dinner in with friends and before we knew it, it was time to leave. 

On 11/18 we headed north to McKinney Falls State Park in Austin TX. I’ve wanted to visit this park as I’ve seen some pictures of it. It’s on the south side of Austin, a real suburban state park, surrounded by the city. We enjoyed hiking the trails in the park over the few days we were there. At our site we were able to get satellite signal and the Verizon signal worked well, water and electric with a dump station on the way out. 

Site 6

McKinney Falls State Park has a few trails around the park, the Onion trail is paved while the Homestead, Flint Rock and Williamson trail is natural. We got a chance to get out on them, even found a couple of Geocaches out there. 

McKinney Falls-spring time it must be beautiful

Visitor Center-closed due to floods in 2013 & 2015

This Geocache was placed here in 2001 and is still active
On one of the Grand Design Facebook pages a couple had posted they were hosting at McKinney Falls SP. We reached out to them and connected while staying at the park, a dinner out and we’ve now made some new full time rv friends. We look forward to catching up with Rick and Julie down the road.

On 11/21 we moved up to Holiday COE in south Ft Worth, about 35 miles from Keller where our Christmas Tree Lot is. While the park is nice enough it’s infrastructure needs some help, the roads were crumbling, the site numbers were hard to read-need some painting. Benbrook Lake which the campground is situated on is so low the boat ramps are no longer usable. This is probably affecting the $$s they bring in which might affect their funding, hence the sprucing up the place looks like it needs. That being said I would go back again if we find ourselves in the area. Water and electric, good Verizon and satellite, just what we need for our 3 day stays. 
site 52

One of our days was a washout and rained the whole day, Dave took it upon himself to bake some cookies that day. Yummy!! The other day we took a ride up to check out where we’d be spending most of the rest of the year. 
Scenes around Holiday COE. 

Nuts in TX are certainly BIG!!

On Sunday 11/24 we made the hour drive up to our Christmas Tree Lot in Keller TX. We will be working for Trow Tree Farm, our friends have been here the previous 5 years. By the time Sunday had rolled around our friend Greg and Jill we’re on their way to Mission TX, Greg’s tests had come back all right but he still needs to get meds regulated. They spent 2 nights here with us showing us the ropes. We so appreciate all their help.

Our days since we arrived have been filled with Christmas trees, getting them unwrapped and untagged from their trip south, getting the tent ready for our opening, getting more trees delivered, untagged and unwrapped. When the lot opens we will be working every day from 9-9 until the lot closes. 

We carry mostly Fraser Firs, ranging from 4’ to 12’, from $100 to $429, mind-boggling for these Vermonters who used to go cut their own for $35. This area though isn’t known for its Christmas tree farms. We finally started selling late afternoon on 11/27, the second tree sold was a 12’ for $400, and we’re off to a good start. More to follow about our time selling trees in the next post. 

Today is Thanksgiving, Dave and I would like to wish all of our family and friends a wonderful day. We are thankful to have you all in our lives. Have a wonderful holiday season. 

Until next time...