PRESIDENT'S COLUMN: Reflections from the road


John Wichert

After driving our new RV about 1,300 miles over three days to Portland, Oregon, with our four whippets in tow, hooking up the electricity, water, and sewer, unsuccessfully trying to get our fancy mobile wifi system going, and failing to get the large slideout to extend (especially important when you have 4 whippets on board), I’m tuckered out. 

So as I reflect on our experiences of the past 72 hours, the drive, the scenery, the dietary indiscretions, and the problems, I am so much reminded of life in the Village of Oak Creek and the activities of the Big Park Council.

For one thing, I remember saying to Laurie, my wife, as we pulled away from the house early Friday morning, “We’re going to drive all this way north to Portland, and probably never see anywhere as beautiful as where we live!” I was right. Only the Columbia River Gorge even comes close.

Although it didn’t happen this time because it was raining when we arrived at the RV park (it’s Portland, remember), very often some total stranger appears out of nowhere to help you get your rig pulled into your site. Since arriving in the VOC two years ago, we’ve been blown away by the friendliness of most of the people we’ve encountered. We’ve found the VOC to be the easiest place to make friends that we’ve encountered.

Next we plug in the RV to “shore power.” While we can dry camp just using the 12 volt system, we older Americans, especially, want the comfort of our microwaves and air conditioners and we want to keep all of our portable devices charged, so we plug in. We could use the on board generator, but it pollutes with noise and a little smoke. So as we struggle with the specter of a possible above ground APS power line coursing down the Kel Fox trail and across to the substation, we have to acknowledge that our desire for these comforts encourages the energy companies to satisfy the market we give them.

Of course, running water is a blessing we seem to take for granted at home. Tent camping cures us of that in a hurry. Someone recently brought up the question of long-term water security in the VOC. While looking for a home here folks often say they were told we have a 100-year supply of water. Perhaps the BPC should check with Big Park Water and see if that is true and what that’s based on.

While hooking up the hose to the holding tank I’m reminded that we’re well served by our Big Park Domestic Wastewater Improvement District. It’s the management of our rainwater runoff that’s the real challenge. Every time we build a street, house, parking lot, hotel, or other structure we’re compromising the floodplain downstream. Think of the flooding situation with Las Piedras and possible construction upstream.

My wifi system so far isn’t what it was sold to be. I’m an unsatisfied customer. Sound familiar. And I really want reliable wifi so I can see the great new BPC website Mary Pope and Pat Robles are working on with the developer right now.

Finally, I’ve got to get that slideout fixed or we’re going to be tripping over whippets and each other…and we’ll be getting real irritable. This is why Yavapai County and our very own Big Park Council have Planning and Zoning Boards. Keeping our Village reasonably organized helps us all get along. And unfortunately, the VOC doesn’t have a slideout to expand itself!

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