About Us

Chris and Dennis are traveling around the country seeing the sights and occasionally volunteering at select locations. We avoid the interstate as much as we can and tend to stop for squirrels and shiny objects.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Downsides of Camp Hosting

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First off, our slide has been healed! Sacrifices to three of the RV'ing gods were completed in good order: The god of travel – to ensure the slide would go out only when we wanted and return on demand. The god of glamping to release our access to the washer, dryer, and our sock drawers, and lastly the god of underwear (not really sure why or even if there is such a thing but I'm confident it has something to do with socks and not going commando.)

For two weeks we have suffered with cramped living and the necessity of using the campground laundry in a most public manner (hmmm, perhaps this is where that underwear god comes into play) thus tarnishing our aura of camp hostlyhood (is that a word?). Can't have that, we could destroy the false impression some campers have of our absolute perfection. Isn't there a saying about a fool born every minute? This leads me to the theme of this blog's entry.

Keeping up the mystique surrounding being a camp host is just one facet of the job. Probably the hardest is the one of restraint – in taking that extra moment to bite one's own lip to prevent saying something untoward, or sitting on one's hands to stave off the temptation of slapping an errant camper up side the head or turning one's head so avoid seeing the resultant disaster occur when a warning is not heeded.

IMG_20171119_081559Walking hand-in-hand with restraint is perseverance. The ability to recite with utmost precision the very same words carved into the sign you are standing next to when asked about that same sign. (example: “Exact change required”) - [see sitting on one's hands].

A camp host must be resolute; steadfast in his or her duties when faced with a camper who starts the conversation with “Can't we just...” or “I was wondering if ...” These are the moments when a combination of biting lip and hand sitting are highly recommended. This past week's example: Camper approaches and says “Can't we just unhook the sewer hose without closing the valve so it can continue to drain?”. This while knowing said camper has yet to open the other valve.

Another example is when the same camper continues with “I was wondering if I can use some gasoline to get this fire started?”.

This is probably an excellent time to mention camp hosts should have an encyclopedic memory and instant recall of all the local emergency numbers for any campground they are hosting at. Further, when faced with areas of no phone service, what alternative means of communication are available – not withstanding the smoke signals and screams our campers inevitably produce.

IMG_20171119_081424340_HDRCamp hosts are available. At all hours. In all kinds of weather. Regardless of the large, well lit sign saying “Off Duty”. This morning provided a fine example with a knocking on the door at 6am waking me from a very warm and cozy sleep – one which I had planned to continue until at least 8. The knocks continued while I dressed for the day, even though I shouted quite loudly that I was coming (yes, there were some under the breath and through a bit lip explicatives following that advisement.) Approaching the door I notice a bit of frost on our jeep roof and see the thermometer reporting a brisk 35 degrees. While walking over to our duty sign and making a production out of changing it from “Off Duty” to “On Duty I greet the camper with a smile on my face (amazing how expressive you can be while biting your lip) and say “How may I help you at this EARLY hour?”

“It got cold last night, do you think my hoses are frozen?” followed without taking a breath with “I was wondering if I should defrost them and how do I go about it?”

Normally I would have asked if the camper had actually checked his hose. Normally I would have advised the hoses were probably okay since it was just an early morning frost that would soon to disappear with the sun. Normally I would have done that. IF it was a bit later in the day. IF I hadn't been woken up so bloody early. IF I had had even one small sip of coffee. Instead I practiced one of the up-sides of camp hosting – that of giving out information that sounds thoroughly plausible but is absolutely useless to the recipient.

I replied “While this was an early morning frost, there is the distinct albeit remote possibility some portion of your hose may have experienced freezing temperatures. Thawing the hose at this point can be tricky as a too cold hose can easily crack if stressed. I highly recommend the chaffing method to defrost your hose as long as you do it gently. Get a soft terry cloth or those new micro-fiber ones and slowly begin wiping and rubbing the hose to make it pliable. You'll need to do the entire length, gently testing as you go to ensure you are not stressing the hose and risking rupture. Do that for about an hour or so and you'll be good to go.”

Yep, I'm bad. But lets look at it this way. The hose may well indeed have experienced freezing temperatures (true statement). For maybe a minute or two. If a hose is at absolute zero it can indeed crack if stressed (I've seen those liquid nitrogen videos on YouTube.) Rubbing the hose may indeed provide enough friction to warm them slightly. (Okay, this one was a stretch but it does keep the camper occupied while I returned my warm rig and made a fresh pot.)


Probably the biggest downside of being a camp host is eventually you have to move on. I wasn't kidding about the frost on the jeep – its time to head further south and a warmer climate.

As I look out the window I can just see the camper through the bushes. Weird how he's only about 10 feet from the water spigot yet he has a 50 foot hose he's wiping down.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Blog is a Diary–Right?

Dear Diary,

20150615_121457I know its been nearly a month since my last entry but I have excuses! Between crabbing, clamming, viewing and just plain laziness, the time has simply slipped away. Far faster than it should I'm sure.

lighthouseYou'll be happy to hear that during this lapse no serious injuries to ourselves nor breakages to our home have occurred. I won't count the two times I slipped and fell into the creek or the time I had my back to the surf and got slapped by a wave. Getting soaked isn't an injury and the part of my body that hit the ground first has oh so plenty of cushioning.

We are hosting and awaiting parts for one slide's gearbox which began shedding teeth faster than a meth addict. The slide remains in so our bedroom is just a little more cozy for the time being.


Today, October 31st we have two seminal events occurring that have me reminiscing of past times. The first is a far too fast approaching 60th birthday. The second is Chris and I have reached the magical threshold of being the senior park hosts present and will be assisting in the training of a brand new host who arrived last night.

IMG_20171030_111056755_HDRAs I do look back it has been one glorious ride! Sure there were a few potholes in the road but overall there is not much I wouldn't do again - not just because I'm a slow learner!

I treasure 20 years spent in the Coast Guard working in a variety of assignments, all with some of the finest men and women you could ever meet. A few of us remain connected and each contact with them is a reminder of just how fortunate I am to have met and now know them.

IMG_20171030_113021948I also fondly recall nearly 20 years as a 911 dispatcher. Another group dedicated to helping people who are experiencing their worst moments. Despite the seriousness of the job there were fun times and I do cherish them. Most of all, I do miss the people I had the privilege to work with.

By any measure we are still rookies at this full-time RV'ing thing and I must say it is shaping up to be another 20 years of wonder and joy.

And perhaps the occasional sticky slide.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Stuck In a Rut?

And what a happy rut it is.

We're back at Sunset Bay for the fourth time and the place continues to amaze and entertain us (mostly the campers do the entertaining). This fall the weather has really cooperated with sunny days, cool nights and an occasional drizzle to keep us honest.
One of the questions we're always asked is why we return year after year instead of exploring the country. Aside from economics we have been very fortunate to have been able to work with outstanding people in gorgeous surroundings. I hope our past, present, and future photographs convey just how wonderful the places we've visited have been. Unfortunately, mere photos can not capture the smells, sounds and the caressing breezes.

Like our visit to Charleston Bay where a fellow camphost is putting out the pots for the day. Can you hear the seagulls? How bout the buoy in the distance or the sea lions barking from the floating dock. Today was a warm one but the breeze from the ocean made it oh so pleasant while bringing with it a salty freshness to the air.

Back at the campground the host K9's made sure we were doing the job right. That and making sure I had the correct number of treats for a tour of the park. (Minus 2 for the inspection toll.)

So in a rut? Not hardly. Consider it more of building new memories in places we call “home”.

We have done something a bit different this fall though. During this past summer we found the numbers of RV'ers on the road have increased by an order of magnitude making finding spots to stay somewhat problematic. To combat this (okay, my bad, its all on me) we have changed stride and instead of spontaneous routes and stops where there is always a question of whether there will be space available, have actually broken down and made – dare I say it? PLANS!

Chris learning how to prepare fresh caught crab.
Much as I hate a teaser, I’m going to have to do it. Plans have been made but at this point I hesitate to give specifics simply because nothing is carved in stone - yet.
In general, our 2018 schedule will be filled with visits to Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah and yes, we'll be returning to Oregon. Our intention is that for every campground we have hosted at in the past will be counter balanced by ones we have not and in some cases even camped in.