My brain hurts.
Mexico was great. We basically did as little as possible (work wise) for almost ten weeks. We drank a lot of beer,ate a lot of fish tacos, played a lot of music, and sailed. We didn’t go far from San Carlos this year. I didn’t want to have to rush to leave and then rush to get back. We daysailed extensively thanks in part to our NEW mainsail stack pack from Latell Sails!
We stayed in Mexico until the first week of May and headed back to Tucson so I could get a jump start on preparing for our work season this summer. Montana is still pretty chilly in early May and can be tricky getting certain materials with such a small population. Often, I have to drive to Missoula- an hour and a half away, to search for materials I can’t find locally. In Tucson, I can drive 10 minutes in any direction and find three suppliers with the materials on hand. I try to fabricate all my metal work in Tucson before I head back to Montana.
After many long discussions and logistic planning- we decided to sell the FrankenSprinter! Hil doesn’t like driving it with the trailer, the kids are getting bigger and we no longer camp in it while on the road, and it represents a huge asset for us to be under utilized. I love driving it. I love the fuel economy, the reliability, and the ability to pull over and take a nap anywhere- but it seems a waste for just me.
We’ve also found it’s a bit awkward driving in Mexico. Hil was taking Emma to ‘La Monga’, a local fish camp (no power, no well) where Emma joined the Mexican kindergarten. It’s a rough dirt road out there and the Sprinter is definitely not an off road vehicle. Furthermore, the Sprinter is a diesel and really doesn’t like the cold weather of Montana. If we don’t drive it for a week, it can be hard to start.
So we decided to sell it.
We added a third rig (that I am building) to our setup to upgrade and replace an older rig- but we have ONE triple booking where all three rigs will be on the road this year. I gambled that I could get 2-3 triple bookings and it would pay for the new setup. I lost that bet. While a necessity to keep upgrading, it’s costing us a bundle. New banners, new tent setup, new props, new trailer, new vehicle, one time labor costs. All far outweigh the income produce from one event.
With all our other plans in Montana- I really need a truck I can load supplies. The Land Cruiser is great but can’t carry 4×8 sheets. Our local mechanic, Craig, said if you’re buying a vehicle that isn’t four wheel drive or all wheel drive you’re just wasting your money. I think he’s right. SO I need a truck that is a 4 wheel drive.
Hil needs a vehicle that can tow AND is a 4 wheel drive. She would love a Subaru but the towing weights are too low. We expanded our offering and added a Young Guns Rodeo Roundup which is marketed WITH Young Guns Wild West Fun Park and can be setup alone or with the Fun Park. Hil, being the sparkling personality that she is, is running that rig this summer. Because of the extra setup, she has to pull a larger trailer than our stander 6’x12′ single axle.
I picked up a 7’x14′ double axle trailer in Phoenix for cheap that will work great- but it increases to potential towing weight- so her vehicle has to town over 5,000 lbs.
Well, the good news! I put the Sprinter on Craigslist on a Friday afternoon and by Tuesday it was sold for the full asking price with three standing offers behind it! We immediately started the hunt for vehicles and I found a good deal on a 2001 Ford F250 super cab with long bed in Phoenix (Triton V10 gas) and a 2002 Toyota Sequoia V8 here in Tucson. Between the new trailer, truck, and SUV- they all cost less than what we sold the Sprinter! Which leaves us some cash for new tires, repairs, and all the other stuff going on.
I designed and am custom building a new tent system for the new Young Guns Wild West Fun Park. A lot of welding, a lot of parts from different suppliers. I tried to source as much locally and then pick up the rest of the items from suppliers online. I’m still waiting on the last few items to show up to wrap up the construction before we head up to Montana. It’s like putting a puzzle together without all the pieces and just praying it all fits in the end. Tucson weather has jumped to over 105 deg F during the day. I work under a tent welding and cutting metal and by the end of the day my brain is sautéed.
Upon returning from Mexico, Hil and I enter a 30 day ‘cleanse’ to clean up and drop some beer weight before we hit the road. The 8-10 weeks of work during the summer are intense, non-stop, and very physical. If either one of us gets injured- there goes a significant chunk of our annual income. Besides dropping beer weight means I can drink more later! It’s tough having a very restricted diet with limited calories while trying to plan logistics and work in 105 degree heat. It’s worth the effort, we both feel TREMENDOUSLY better three quarters of the way through.
Hil returned to Montana early so Emma could rejoin her kindergarten class and graduate with them. Upon returning, Hil has been flooded with inquiries and support for the brewery. With that much support, I decided to jump start the process and have been hunting Craigslist for used equipment here in Arizona. I picked up a 3 basin stainless steel sink, a stainless prep table, 30 full-sized kegs, and have the orders ready for 4 plastic fermenters, and a bunch of hardware to hook everything up. I’m working on finalizing the build out plan to be as simple and as cheap as I can to try and get the brewery open by winter. I’m having our attorney start filing the paperwork for the brewery corporation, then I can file the applications for the health department, state manufacturing permit, and Federal brewers permit. The last permit I will seek is the local building permit- which I will do AFTER our work season.
Friends we made in Darby, that we shared our Homebrew, spoke with the owners of Lost Trails Ski resort about the brewery and they are interested in putting one of our beers on Tap at the Ski Lodge. That would be great marketing for us, especially just opening up. So, Hey, no pressure.
Labor has always been an issue. With the two attractions, Hil needs two additional helpers. I need one additional helper. The third rig needs a crew of two, one of which needs to be experienced and responsible. Our assistant last year is taking the third rig and helping out on our last event. That leaves helpers for Hil on her first two events but not the third. My helper from last year has agreed to rejoin me, so I’m covered. But, I need to arrange and pick him up in Denver and then drop him off in Denver to fly home. So now, I only need 2 more helpers to work with Hil for two events and then leave. Well, we’re getting close.
Finally, add the 3 months worth of mail, bills, insurance, contracts, and….my brain hurts.
With a little luck, I’ll leave Tucson in a week and then…the fun begins!You know an ICE COLD draft beer in Mexico is a very affordable price of approximately $1.25! Click Here to Buy Us a Beer.