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Dropping the Anchor for the Winter- temporarily

We wrapped three weeks worth of marketing for the Young Guns Wild West Fun Park traveling through Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota.  In total we added another 3,000 miles to our trusty Sprinter!  We’re happy to be back in Jackson Hole to spend Thanksgiving with friends here. We’re housesitting and taking care of the big dog (and I mean BIG dog) while we’re here.  So far the conventions have been great!  We’ve been growing the Young Guns business steadily since we started two years ago but this year we really saw a huge growth in bookings.  So far we’ve signed 50% more bookings than last year and there’s still another 50% of interested fairs on the fence to be decided by the new year.

We’ll be in Jackson through the weekend and then we head into Montana for two months.  We’re testing out Darby, Montana as a place to land every year to put the kids in school from September through December.  Then we ‘plan’ on taking the kids back down to the Sea of Cortez and homeschool for the rest of the year.  At least we will get a taste of what it will be like to live in snow country with the kids before we commit.  Emma turned five this year but missed the enrollment date for kindergarten due to her late birthday.  Next year she’ll enter kindergarten and Charley will be four-still another two years away from kindergarten herself.

Hil and I are looking forward to the time in Montana to explore and try out some new winter activities.  I’m looking through the local sports authority at all the strange looking gear they have for winter.  There’s the snow shoes, cross country skis, snowboards, new fangled skis, snow boots, and I saw a crazy snow kite!

It’s not all fun and games though.  There’s always more work to be done.  We stored our Landcruiser here in Jackson completely filled with all the excess junk we didn’t need in the Sprinter.  It’s literally packed to the point I can’t get in the driver’s seat.  I have to re-arrange the goods between the two vehicles.  Do a quick check on the the SUV to make sure every things working before we drive both vehicles over the Teton Pass (around is more like it) to Idaho Falls where we stored the two Young Guns trailers in September.  We plan on moving both the trailers to Missoula, MT and storing them there for the winter and then picking them back up at the beginning of the season next year.  Then we’ll head the 1.5 hr drive south to Darby to move into our temporary abode for two months.  The idea is that at the end of the season, we will store the SUV in Missoula with the trailers and drive the Sprinter to Mexico and then back up to Missoula next summer.  This year we drove both vehicles the 1500 miles from Tucson with both trailers.  For the 2013 season we can save gas money, which will basically cover the storage fees for the winter.

I have a lot of desk work to wrap while in Montana.  There’s taxes (groan), wrapping up contracts (yeah), ordering supplies for the boat, ordering equipment for the Fun Park, planning for next summer, healthcare issues, blah blah blah- basically all the same stuff most people deal with at the end of the year.

While in Boise, Idaho we stopped at the only Guitar center for three states and bought a Djembe drum and a Banjo!  We thought we’d stock up on our winter hobbies.  We’ve both been playing a lot of guitar and once we hit the boat, it’s good fun to have a book of music and instruments to pass around the boat.  We’ll have people over and spend the evening playing music and singing out of key.  With no internet, TV, cable, or even phone service we are amply motivated to play.  I’ve noticed personally with the dedicated time we have in Mexico to play everyday, my guitar playing has improved dramatically.  Hil and I both enjoy music and want to foster playing music with the kids.  Yet another selling point to living on a boat part of the year.

My writing hasn’t progressed NEAR as much as I hoped.  We had the dedicated time in Maryland but the preparations for the conventions pushed aside my creative writing endeavors.  I did write a draft e-book on starting a food concession business and a short story while there but creating a marketing brochure, new contracts, updating the website, and new promotional video presentation with all the technical hurdles included really ate up my time. The good news, it paid off with a dramatic increase in bookings for 2013. Hil says I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, we accomplish a tremendous amount without the adding more to the mix.  It’s OK, we have all winter to keep working on that project.  We wanted to start another passive business to add another income stream to buffer our Mexico time out of the country.  With the increased bookings, we really don’t ‘need’ to start new ventures but I like to have a few eggs in the basket ‘just in case’.

The kids will be in preschool in Darby.  I’m planning on enjoying my time while there.  Before we lay down some (temporary) roots, We just have to DIVE in the winter activities and determine if we really enjoy the climate and weather.

It’s a complete 180 from the Sea of Cortez, which is the point.

Happy Thanksgiving and more soon from the mountains of Montana.

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