We made good time from Vegas back to Grand Junction, Colorado, only 8 hours total and we stopped for lunch again at a casino in Mesquite, which took one hour, so really only 7 hours on the road. And we only fueled up once, before we left Vegas, and still had a quarter of a tank when we arrived and the truck only has a 30 gallon tank, which is a bit smaller than most trucks. So Jay was pleased with our time and fuel mileage.
We had booked ourselves into the Mesa Inn for one week. It’s an older motel but the reviews online said it was clean, which is ALWAYS my biggest concern because bedbugs are an epidemic in this country, and the price was right at $250/week, $275 with tax & surcharges. Overall I’ve been pleased with the motel. It is clean and the staff are pretty good. All week I’ve been checking out other places though, trying to find something with a kitchen, trying to find something cheaper, but also wanting something clean in a relatively good neighborhood. I’ve come up with nothing else. They’re dirty. They’re full of crackhead tenants. They have bedbugs. They’re in bad neighborhoods. And they’re either the same price as here or even more costly. So we’re going to extend our stay here for another week and then leave early next Saturday morning to go back to Beatrice in Nebraska, pick up our camper, and get back to Grand Junction Sunday night so Jay can go to work Monday morning.
We would have gone this weekend but they’re calling for rain & snow and Jay does not want to be hauling the camper through the mountains in snow. Going up is okay, it’s the downgrades that are killer. So I’ll definitely get some good daytime shots of places like Vail on that trip, which I’m excited about because I was so disappointed when we ended up driving through that part at night on our way up here.
Cheap motel living is not ideal by any means, it’s not at all like staying in a nice hotel when you have lots of money to order room service, the maids turn down your bed every night, and you get to watch big flat screen TVs with HBO. We have a little bar fridge (no freezer part) and a microwave. The TV is bulky and old and we’re lucky to get basic cable channels to come in, let alone HBO. We’ve had to buy a lot of basic stuff like hair products, cleaning supplies, soap, cutlery, etc. that we already have plenty of in the camper but of course don’t have with us. Maid service is pretty basic, but they’ve been good up until yesterday when they didn’t even stop by to see if I needed anything. We’ve been having to eat out a lot, which I don’t like doing, although they do have some of the best Mexican food in this town that I’ve ever had anywhere. Living off pizza and tacos though gets old after awhile. I can’t wait to be able to cook again! We tried cooking in our room one night, steaks on this what was supposed to be smokeless grill that Jay’s dad gave us, and it was a complete disaster. Washing big ass heavy ceramic pots in a bathtub is not fun!
The bed is older too, so the mattress isn’t fabulous for comfortable sleeping, and the pillows suck. So we’re both very much looking forward to getting back in our little home on wheels. Jay’s new boss has said we can save money if we want and just park the camper in the parking lot at the new shop they’re moving to next week. All the welders are going to do that. I told Jay I didn’t care, it was up to him, because really I’ll just stay in most of the time anyway working on the computer, cooking, cleaning, etc. so it doesn’t make a lot of difference where we’re parked. But Jay doesn’t like the idea much (I’d be the only woman living in a parking lot with a bunch of men and we’d have to take our camper out once a week to dump the tanks, there wouldn’t be a laundromat close by that I could walk to, etc.) so now I’m looking around for RV Parks. And there seem to be some really nice ones. Need to get a spot quick though because everyday there are more and more workers arriving in Grand Junction.
Natural gas work is opening up too, back east & other places. Jay’s been getting calls, but even though so far he’s bored to death with this job, he wants to stick with it for at least a year because he thinks he can make more money than in gas. At the end of a year we should be better able to look back over the finances and judge whether that’s true or not, then decide whether to continue or go back to gas. He thinks we’ll be able to have all our bills (including my big ass credit card) paid off & own everything outright within two years. That would be awesome! His plan is to continue learning things from the ground up, go into the fields in the Dakotas on location, and then try to get on in Canada. They’re making more money in Canada than here. The cost of living is also somewhat higher there, but I really don’t think it’s that much higher, not high enough to make it not worth the move. And I so want to get back to my homeland! Even if it is out west instead of back home in NB. Just to be amongst Canadians again … oh, you can’t even imagine!
Canadians are not liked very well in the oil business here. I was surprised when Jay first told me. I was like, “What do you mean?! EVERYBODY loves Canada! We travel with our little Maple Leafs on our backpacks all over the world and are welcomed with open arms!” But apparently not here. His boss (who is big time Republican, which I’m sure most oil people are) calls Canadians, North of the border Mexicans. And because we are living where many illegal Mexicans end up, and extremely close to Arizona where they’re waging an all out war against Mexicans right now, this is nowhere close to a compliment. Man! That made my blood boil when I heard that. I’ve told Jay I never want to meet the boss because I will not be able to keep my big mouth shut. I told him straight up that I will be the cause of him getting fired because we will have an incident.
He might very well have an incident without introducing me into the equation anyway. His boss is very political and always going on and on about how Obama has ruined this country. He watches entirely too much Fox news and is always spouting ultra Republican versions of what’s going on in the world. Now Jay doesn’t like Obama either, but it’s not because he’s a Democrat, it’s simply because he’s black and my husband has a problem with black people. I don’t like it but given the way he was raised and his background in Vegas and having worked in Atlanta all these years, I’ve come to understand where his prejudice comes from and accept that I’m probably not ever going to be able to reverse it completely, but I still believe I can lessen it somewhat, I hold out hope 🙂
Plus living in the south in Georgia and Virginia I didn’t meet a single white person who wasn’t prejudiced against black people and a lot of them were so much more hard core about it than my husband they make him look like he’s completely open-minded about it all. It’s a totally different type of culture than what I grew up with or what I’ve ever been around, but it doesn’t mean that they’re not good people at heart; I’ve met some really great people on this journey. I made a decision back in the beginning that I could either write them all off and go back to the gentler more open-minded and tolerant north or I could live amongst them and try to make some sort of difference by being there, infiltrating their culture with my bleeding liberal heart, lol. And I think I have made a difference with Jay, albeit small, but there’s definitely been some progress.
Anyway, I’ve gotten off-topic with my racism in the USA rant, back to Jay’s boss … so every night he comes home filled with all this Republican bull crap information that his boss has been spouting all day, and while my husband might not like the current president very much, he is a Democrat. He thinks Clinton was the best thing for this country in a long time and shouldn’t have been kicked out just for having a little blow job on the side. He’s watched all the Michael Moore films with me, most recently the one on Capitalism, which upset him so much to think of how big business has screwed the country, and less recently the Columbine one, which I didn’t know how he’d react to given that he is so pro-gun but it really made him think about things and say, “Wow! I never thought of it that way! That kinda makes sense.” He’d never heard of Michael Moore before he met me, I dare say he’d probably never sat through a full feature documentary either, so you see, I AM making some difference. Now, if only Mr. Moore would make one about racism … 🙂
So last night he comes home and tells me all the crap his boss had said that day and he was all angry and frustrated about it. He’s like, “But they never say how Bush ruined the country! They never blame Bush that we’re in all these wars! That the economy sucks! I mean it’s starting to come back now some, why is that?! Because Bush is gone!” He’s frustrated because he doesn’t know enough about current events or past politics to speak about it, so he said he wants to watch more news on TV. But I was like, “Honey, this guy is a die hard Republican, no matter how much you know you’re never going to change his mind, you’re just going to get more frustrated and end up in a big fight, and since he’s the boss, you’ll likely get fired over it, just pay no attention to him, try not to engage him in these political discussions, and focus on the work.” I mean all you have to do is turn on The View any day of the week to see what he’s dealing with, his boss is like Elizabeth Hasselbitch on crack when it comes to politics.
Other than the Republican political innuendo, Jay likes the guy well enough and has been over to his place a couple of nights this week after work to have a beer and pick his brain about the job and where he sees Jay fitting into it in the long-term. So as long as I never meet him and Jay takes my advice about not even entering into the political discussions when they come up, we should be okay. It is the most excited I’ve seen Jay about a work related opportunity in a really long time, so that’s good.
Anyway, this is the final post in my Go West! series because we have arrived at our destination finally. Grand Junction is going to be our “Home Sweet Home” for awhile. I thought I would cap it all off with some random photos I took on the road when we were driving from Vegas to here. I took almost 200, but I won’t bore you to death with it. Here is a sampling!