Sunday, November 19, 2017
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.
Walking 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.
Camp 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
I 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.
You'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.
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.
I 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
|Chris learning how to prepare fresh caught crab.|
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.
Sunday, September 17, 2017
And our tourism continues. For you grammarians out there, yes, I know I shouldn't start a sentence with “and” but hey, this is a blog which is somewhat like a blob only it has pictures and in my case on a very rare basis, a semblance of intelligent discourse.
Our last entry left us on the road to Regent North Dakota, the southern starting point of the 32 mile long, self proclaimed Enchanted Highway. According to Wikipedia this backroad is the home for a collection of the worlds largest scrap metal sculptures. No, not because there are a lot of sculptures, but because each one is huge! Scattered along the highway about every 4 to 6 miles these creations are quirky Americana at its best done by a guy who had never welded before nor was considered an artist when he began.
There is no theme other than the underlying one of American Gothic and 60 years ago these would have been right at home on Route 66 except for one glaring fact – no commercialization. Other than an advertisement printed on an 8 1/2 by 11 inch piece of paper posted on the information kiosk and a donations box, there is nothing but the sculptures, information about how they came about and an acknowledgement of the folks that helped make each site happen.
Another feature of each site was the size of the turn-out/parking lot. When in traveling mode we are about 56 feet in total length with a turning radius of a small country and the inability of backing up. No problem here. Each attraction was graded pretty smooth and there was tons of room to get in and turn around when we were ready to leave. It is so frustrating to see an attraction, gas station or other pleasant stop only to have to pass it by because we didn't fit.
From Regent we headed for the beach. Beach North Dakota that is. Instead of a nice visit to this border town, we ran smack dab into a Montana grassland wind storm that smacked us around like an MMA fight. At one point a side gust grabbed our slide awnings, billowing them out like a parasail. Note to self: motorhomes are really not made for parachute braking.
After pulling over to check for actual damage and a change of pants we very cautiously continued south and ran face first into Wyoming's version of a grassland wind storm that, combined with some rough roads guaranteed we’ll be visiting the dentist for loose fillings.
You know how a rainbow always makes you feel refreshed after a storm? Well, after the windstorm there wasn't a rainbow in the sky but there was an RV park on the ground. Fort Bridger RV Park in Fort Bridger was our “rainbow”. An all grass park/campground far enough from the interstate you didn't hear traffic and in the country enough to hear the cows and horses. We met a really neat couple of ladies from Virginia who were touring the western states – just friends we've had all along but hadn't met yet. We talked for hours and when we retired for the night, did so to a concert crickets. (There Annette, I said you would make it into the blog.)
I had promised Chris' sister that we would return before summer ended so they could spend some more time together than just the reunion so we headed back Riverside RV just south of Preston Idaho. While the park is tiny in comparison to most we visit; a spacious grass site with a 50 amp hookup and a view to die for is well worth the $20 a night. Look up serene in the dictionary, their picture should be there. Only downside is their spring water is at very low pressure so you have to fill up your tank and rely on the onboard pump for use.
Next stop – Joseph, Oregon. Why? Absolutely no reason whatsoever. We were on the road, had no destination, and pretty much had all month to get there. We wouldn't have known about this little gem if it were not for another camp host who mentioned it. Located east of La Grande Oregon on the shores of Wallowa Lake and named after Chief Joseph, this small town of around 1,000 people was founded on timber but when the market crashed, the only thing holding it together was agriculture and even that wasn't doing too good a job. Then, a little over 30 years ago, three bronze foundries opened up in the area giving the town a real boost. Along came some artists as and you can see their work on nearly every street corner.
Yep, tourist candy.
Wallowa Lake is the other attraction and with it comes a very popular state park. Chris and I took a drive through and were really impressed. Pretty easy to do when we had to stop every 100 feet or so for meandering deer, bunny rabbits and squirrels. We've applied for a hosting position for next year and we'll keep you updated.
Reluctantly we left Joseph and continued our way back to the Wenatchee area to pick up mail, do some light maintenance on the motorhome and get prepped for our 2 months of hosting in Coos Bay before heading south. I wish I could say it was a wonderful drive with amazing scenery and wildlife but it was not the case with the number and size of the wildfires cloaking the country in smoke. The news has been covering hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Jose and in doing seem to have overlooked the fact Montana, Washington, and Oregon have been the victims of some huge fires this year. Yes, I should also mention the Los Angeles area but they at least got some news coverage. Anyway, enough venting.
What we did was to detour ever so slightly and stayed low, along the Columbia River at a place called Crescent Bar, outside of Quincy. We were still within 40 minutes of Wenatchee but since we were out of the valley we avoided a good portion of the smoke. Besides, not much could beat the view even with a bit of haze in the air.
I've used the past week's downtime to finally wire the Jeep's lights so we can do away with the magnetic ones we’ve had for the past 3 years. Took me a couple of trips to the city for parts, some scraped up knuckles, and a stiff back but I got 'er done. Mr. Keppner, would you like to visit the hot tub? Oh yes!
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Friday, August 4, 2017
|Of all places, the most deer seen were in my sister's back yard.|
|The 9/11 memorial in Cashmere, WA. Stunning!|
|Little Bighorn Battlefield|