First Time Working In A Utility Co. Park – Fourth of July Weekend

Disclaimer: The company we are working for this summer has a very specific media policy. I will not be mentioning them by name, or mentioning the specific names of anyone I am working with, except for Lee.  Also, because it’s not really that difficult to figure out which company it is, I want to be clear: I in no way speak for the company or my co-workers, and am only recounting my personal experiences.  Also, any details I get wrong in this or any other post are due to a misunderstanding on my part.  

This week we voluntarily changed our days off in order to be able to help out on July 4th.  We had no plans and since the newbie camp hosts would be alone, we thought we could switch our days off and help out. I didn’t really take into account though how tiring that 6th day would be, but despite that I don’t regret it.  It’s always nice to be able to help people and since it was an even switch of days and hours it cost us very little. I also decided to take everyone’s advice and do a little recycling.  My thought was to pick out what was sitting on top or on the sides of the cans and see where we ended up at the end of the week.  It was stinky, but with the pickup sticks wasn’t too terribly bad.

The weekend started off slower than expected, mainly due to cooler temperatures, so we had time for a few special projects.  Lee, at my request, taught me how to use the pole saw, which is basically a chain saw on the end of a long pole.  It wasn’t as heavy as I thought it would be, but it is of course super dangerous and I paid close attention to what I was doing while I used it. It’s good to learn a new skill and it felt really good when I cleared Hole-in-the-Wall, but it isn’t something I would want to do on a regular basis.  Still, something to add to the work kamping resume.

You can extend the pole even farther but I was too chicken. As you can see the face mask was a little large for me and kept slipping down, which kind of defeated the purpose

Even did one branch from the back of a truck

We also placed two new trashcans at the lower launch.  The first was down on the beach which we hope will help with the crazy amounts of traffic being generated there and the second was up behind the gate where we kept finding trash and broken beer bottles.  By sheer luck we met a group of kids up at that spot and found out what the allure was.  Apparently they are jumping into the water from this spot (about 20 feet) and then climbing up the bank with the rope used by the fishermen.  As these things go it actually seemed pretty safe and if I was a little bit younger I might even give it a go myself.

New trash can

It’s hard to show how steep this is, but I climbed down once and trust me the rope is VERY necessary

This is the view from the jump. The wood boundary that people fish off is to the left. To give you an idea of scale, those logs are each over 2′ in diameter.

Saturday, was also relatively quiet so I spent some time filling the water up in the pit toilets.  At my request, most of the pit toilets were emptied before the holiday weekend and this really helped with the smell.  They did need some water added though and I took the large trailer with me.  I also watered the trees at Moore Creek, since it hasn’t rained in a while here.  The trees are only two years old and need some extra help to keep them alive.  The best part of Saturday was I finally got to go to the local farmer’s market.  My morning shift ends at 12:30pm and since we are back on at 5:30pm I usually don’t want to go, but this week I found the energy.  I was really glad that I did!

The farmers market

Unfortunately there was only one vendor with vegetables but their selection was good and prices were very reasonable

The main building is an antique shop and I really liked it. Each section was it’s own little room and it was really nice

They even had this cool chicken coop out back

Sunday got much hotter and things were much busier.  Not as busy as last weekend, but busy enough for sure.  We didn’t do any special projects, just kept up on the sites.  I did take the time to take a few pictures of Faraday Lake though.  The water was released and for the first time we can clearly see the fish channel.  This channel is actually pretty interesting as it was built by the company to protect the fish.  They don’t like warm water, so the deeper (and cooler channel) helps them live longer.

The picture doesn’t really show how huge it is

The geese are still hanging out. They like walking on the ledges

I also took this picture of the bridge that we drive over to get to Faraday. It’s a pretty tight fit

The most interesting thing that happened all day was the large booming noises that were coming from near Moore Creek.  There is a forest service area where people shoot guns right down the road and since it is in a canyon the sound really carries.  It can be startling to the white water rafters that come down from Portland, but we have gotten used to it.  Still today was a little different as these deep booming noises were going off.  When I arrived one of the raft drivers was visibly upset and since I was in “uniform” he thought I should help fix the problem.  That happens pretty frequently, as law enforcement is pretty scarce here, so the truck and uniform make us somewhat official looking.  Even though the shooting “range” wasn’t our area, I told him I would check it out and with some hesitation drove down to that area.

There is a little pull off and a huge hill which blocks the area where they shoot, so I VERY carefully walked up around the corner.  I didn’t go far, because there were at least 20 people up there and they were shooting quite a bit.  Thankfully, a couple of young guys were walking out and I asked where the booming noise was coming from. They explained that some people had Telluride targets, which according to them were not flammable just really loud and perfectly legal.  I thanked them and went back to the rafting driver, who was not happy and stated it was ruining the experience for the rafters. I didn’t disagree, in today’s climate hearing gunshots and having no idea where they are coming from, is alarming and the giant explosion sounds were worse.  But I explained it was National Forest Service land and they would need to register a complaint with them and then went on my way.

Monday was a campground day and it was my busiest one yet.  I thought it would be slow because people would be staying the entire four days, but that wasn’t the case.  I had 15 ins/outs and a full campground besides.  I was super busy and barely stopped all day, but I got all, but two of the sites clean.  People were very nice and there were lots of kids in the campground, so it was pretty pleasant until (skip the rest of this paragraph and the next one if your squeamish)  a gentleman walked up and said there was a used tampon in the men’s shower. He was so nervous and slightly embarrassed to tell me, but I thanked him.  I really would rather know these sorts of things so I could address it right away.  It’s not fun dealing with a used tampon, but at least it was quick and I don’t even want to think about why it was in the men’s shower.

Apparently it’s our weekend for that sort of thing as the newbie camp host closed the lower launch Monday night and someone pooped right on the floor in front of the toilet.  He only covers that bathroom one night a week and I don’t blame him that he wasn’t thrilled.  I heard the story when I went out on my run and found the exact same thing at Faraday.  This was a first for me, as it definitely looked deliberate and it was definitely not the way I wanted to start my day.  The only good part of the shift was when I came back to the campground and Lee told me his story.  He was getting ready to get off his shift and a woman came up and said there was poop in the women’s shower.  Lee went in to take care of it and saw a “log” laying in the drain.  He decided it looked a little too “perfectly shaped” and looked a little closer, then started laughing. It was an unopened pine cone!!  He brought it out holding it in his hand and the woman initially looked horrified, but then he let her in on the joke.  So apparently Lee has better karma than me or the other camp host, and hopefully that will be our last encounter with poop outside of a toilet for the rest of the summer.  It’s not likely though.

On the plus side I turned our recycling in and we made $13.60, which covered  the cost of the visit to the farmers market.   The recycling station is at the local super market and there was a line to recycle, so the concept is working at least in Oregon.  I’ve never really done it before, but you feed each item in one at a time and there is a pretty high tech conveyor belt and bar code reader and a slip with your total pops out at the end.  It goes faster than you would think, but it’s pretty smelly in the recycling station as well.  Stale beer is not my favorite odor.  I will say though that if nothing else this job is toughening up my olfactory senses.  I was always pretty sensitive to bad smells, but the sort of continuous assault on the senses has actually benefited me in this area.  Gotta look for the positives. And it’s a few extra bucks so I may keep doing it.  Our fellow camp hosts are also looking for ways to make some extra money.  One couple has created fire starting kits which are actually pretty creative.  They are cutting a slice of a Duraflame log, adding some newspaper and kindling and charging $4.  Pretty smart idea and one we are tucking away for the future.


Anyways,  we are off for a couple of days and we are going to the Timberfest, going to see fireworks and Kay is coming to visit before she heads to Korea.  So hopefully we will have a nice couple of days.  I’ve also got a couple of projects to work and that will keep me busy.

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9 thoughts on “First Time Working In A Utility Co. Park – Fourth of July Weekend

  1. I don’t get the poo thing either — we’ve had it happen a couple of times too! We were in Grove City last week visiting family. How it has grown! Enjoy your time off!

  2. We recycled in Redmond the other day. They have a Bottle Drop center with 7 machines….for the entire town. Ridiculous. But it’s good to see that the bottles are being recycled! Good way to make a few extra bucks!

  3. Lee and Tracy, if “you knew then what you know now,” would you still trade your former careers / work life including sticks and bricks living for your current lifestyle? I guess I’m wondering if work camping experiences are an acceptable trade off for living the full timing RV lifestyle instead of waiting to do it after retirement. I know that the preference is a uniquely individualized choice, but I’d like to hear your personal opinion now that you’ve done it for some time and experienced varied work camping jobs.

    • Hi Stacy. Yep we wouldn’t change a thing. To me it’s all a journey and for both of us it was a good time to leave our jobs regardless of our living situation. The other question is would be are we willing to stop full timing and settle somewhere and the answer to that for both of us is not at this time. I’m not convinced that the only way for us to make a living is work kamping. I am really excited about exploring other mobile work opportunities next and seeing what that looks like. Would I want to work Kamper like this for the next 15 years? Absolutely not, I just think there is lots more out there than the traditional work kamping jobs we haven’t even looked at yet. Will be interesting to see how that plays out. Low costs and good skill sets are our friend though as we look for different types of work. Thanks for the question 😄

  4. Long time follower. Two days ago passed through your hometown of Keene. Were on route 9 heading for he Laconia area. Staying at Gunstock Mountain RV Park. Beautiful State but I don’t want to make you homesick so will close for now. Both of you take care and be safe.

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