Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report
My husband, Bob, and I are a little unconventional. We like to think outside the box. How did we end up in South San Antonio? Let me count the ways.
Kapolei on the Hawaiian island of Oahu was our home for five years. In June 2011, layoffs or the “elimination of position due to budget cuts” hit us both within five days of each other. With no income, we could not afford our home. Our choices then included selling our home, moving into an apartment, and taking new jobs in Hawaii; or selling all our belongings, moving to the mainland, buying an RV, and traveling full-time. We took the latter option.
With our home in Hawaii on the market in late September 2011, we flew to Portland, Oregon, where we have family. Over the course of two weeks, we shopped for and found a fifth-wheel trailer and a pickup truck to pull it.
On Oct. 22, 2011, we had sold almost everything we owned in Hawaii. We shipped one-third of a cargo container with our remaining belongings to Portland and my Ford Escape to a port in Seattle. The Escape came with us on our road trip. We divided up the contents of the cargo container: One-third went to a small storage space in Portland, one-third went to family members, and one-third came with us as we moved into our fifth wheel.
Our first adventure starting Oct. 30 was “work camping” for Amazon in Fernley, Nevada, meaning we stayed at a campground and and Amazon partially paid for our site. We worked through the holiday season. Standing at conveyor belts, we unpacked boxes 12 hours a day and readied the contents for the warehouse from which they would be shipped. We referred to ourselves as “elves.”
Temperatures at the campground dropped to minus-4 degrees that winter. One morning, a fellow camper banged on our door to tell us we had icicles hanging from the trailer. Our water hose had frozen and split. Bob learned how to heat and wrap the water hose.
After we fulfilled our two-month commitment with Amazon, Bob worked for a roofing company in Reno for three months, during which we lived in a very nice RV park in Sparks. The Reno-Sparks area has the most glorious sunrises, sunsets, and cloud formations. While there, we spent a lot of time riding bikes around Sparks Lake, walking, and taking weekend road trips.
In April 2012, we headed south. We visited Bob’s family in Las Vegas and then went to an RV rally in Kerrville. From there, we went to Cotulla to be gate guards in the oil fields, meaning we lived in our fifth wheel at the gate to the oil rig site and checked workers and equipment in and out of the site 24/7; I took the night shift, and Bob worked the day shift.
Our gate had four oil rigs on it. Our two-month stint doing that job was all we could handle. Even though we worked with some of the nicest people, the constant dust, bugs, smell of sulfur burn-off from the wells, straight-line winds, and occasional downpours complete with lots of mud did us in. Moreover, we each worked 12-hour shifts and didn’t get to spend time together.
After gate-guarding, Bob wanted to return to his career as a construction accountant. We booked an RV site at Traveler’s World RV Resort in South San Antonio and loved it there. Bob went back to a regular job in the city. I went to work in the RV park office for almost five years. We continued to live in our fifth wheel for six years.
Fast forward to 2019: We like the RV park and the people in it so much that we bought a single-wide manufactured home to live in. What we like about South San Antonio is the easy access to rapid transit, plenty of places to shop, being in the midst of the missions and the history associated with them, and the Mission Marquee Plaza’s free movies in the summer.
What we don’t like are how run-down some of the neighborhoods are in South San Antonio. We also don’t like the scooters littering the streets. As a city, we should ask ourselves if we want San Antonio to look like large cities in Vietnam, Thailand, or Malaysia where scooters, bicycles, and mopeds run rampant, clogging streets and sidewalks. There need to be more stringent laws on usage and enforcement.
I am now retired, and Bob is taking a career break. Our fifth wheel has been in storage since we bought our new home, but now we will take it on a long road trip around the northeastern United States. Both of us love hiking, walking, traveling, history, and adventure. On our long trip, we will go to three RV rallies; tour state capitals; visit War of 1812, Revolutionary War, and Civil War historic sites; and take factory tours of Harley Davidson, CorningWare, and Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream.
When we started our recreational vehicle adventures in 2011, we had no idea where the road would lead us. It turns out, it led us to San Antonio. We went from thinking outside the box to living in a box of sorts – and we love it!