Life as Camp Hosts
As we are wrapping up our first couple weeks here, we have had our share of fun stuff we have had to address, met more folks and got out a bit more.
Without going into gory details, our campground happenings included still cleaning up the aftermath of 4th of July fireworks including sparklers and poppers, even though there are signs everywhere stating fireworks are not allowed in the park. Do you know how hard those little pieces of paper are to pick up with a grabber??? Rick has settled into being the firepit cleaner and I walk the site to pick up trash with my little grabber and grab the tags on the post. Rick loves to drive the gator, so I let him enjoy that task. It is amazing what people throw into the firepit and we recently had a site with mounds of peanut shells all around the firepit. That took some time to clean up and then Rick likes to also rake around the firepit, sometimes making pretty patterns. I think he misses his pattern making when he mowed lawn at the house.
We have had some other camper assist issues like loaning out a battery jumper for a dead car battery, keeping an eye out for a lost wedding band, helping a flustered camper who was turned around find her site and a late night missing child search that ended before it began. We even had a site of drunk, singing young men at 3am. Thankfully we were told about that the next morning and not at the time. They did quiet down when another camper mentioned to them that this was quiet time and others were trying to sleep. Knock on wood, we have not had anything worse than that.
We also have grateful campers who go out of their way to tell us what a great job we are doing to keep the campground clean and even gourmet smores made for us by a family who Rick helped to repair a bike.
We also continue to have plumbing issues throughout the campground. It seems the piping throughout the park is pretty old and is in need of updating which is on the horizon. We met the maintenance person in charge of plumbing that had come by to fix our plugged sinks that we reported when we arrived. Only 4 days, not bad. I was expecting a week or longer. Those issues have seemed to subside, knock on wood. We did hear today at a camp host meeting that there are several improvements coming to the park. Exciting stuff but obviously, they do not happen overnight.
As for outings, we got dressed up Tuesday night, the 17th and headed out for my birthday dinner. I am a Beef Wellington fan from way back to my days of bussing tables when I was 15 and I would beg the chef to make me a tiny Wellington on Sat nights after a long night. That usually meant that I would have to devein some shrimp for him, but it was well worth it! We went to the English Inn not far outside the park and dinner was wonderful! We were both soo stuffed walking out and promised that we cannot eat like that again for some time!!! It was a splurge since it was a birthday dinner. We are trying to limit our dining out to cheaper breakfasts or lunches, or not at all! We are really trying to get within a budget that we developed from looking at many other full-timers. We will see how July shapes up and we will share that on this blog as I know there are other full time dreamers that would benefit from the information, just like we did. Plus it keeps us accountable!
Our other evening out was to see one of the musicals here at the Northern Theatre in the park. I mentioned in the previous post that we received complimentary tickets for all 3 shows. The first show we went to was Dairy Heirs. A funny, heartwarming musical about life on a farm in WI and coming back home. It was a beautiful evening in an intimate setting and the cast was very talented! After the show we grabbed a pizza and salad at Wild Tomato, which is a Door County favorite, right outside the park. OK, I just realized we have not taken pictures of any of this awesome food. Wow, that is not like us! We will try to rectify that in future posts.
We have also had some visitors. Rick’s Army buddy from Germany, who lives north of Green Bay, stopped over with his wife for a delicious dinner creation that Rick just whipped up off the cuff. We then topped if off with a yummy cherry pie, baked with fresh Door County cherries. The next day friends of ours from home stopped by to say HI and see our new home and where we were working. It was good to catch up! We also have some others stopping by in August and topping our time off here in Door County with a big family camp out. Looking forward to it!
By far the majority of our camper interaction has been with folks who are curious about our camp host position, our RV and our new lifestyle. We spend quite a bit of time answering questions from other campers about what our plans are, where we are planning to go and how the heck we can do this soo young. Some really entertaining conversations.
One of the things we have had to solution for is the dumping of the tanks on the RV. Unfortunately, the host sites only have electric, so we needed to figure out how we would refill the fresh tank and dump the gray and black tanks. For us to pack up the RV and take it down to the dump station would be quite the undertaking, and that would also mean we would have to repark it. NOT! We talked with other camp hosts and they gave us some suggestions on what they do. For filling the fresh water tank, we were able to stretch all of our hoses, 85 ft worth, to the bath house clean up sink. Good deal. Now the crappy part…LOL. To dump the tanks, we have a man hole/sewer cover over by the bath house and Rick would fill up our lucy lu dump dolly and roll it over there and then dump. We picked midday to do this as that is when most of the campers are out and about. The black tank and one gray tank went well but the last gray tank proved to be our first big RV issue. The gray tank gate valve pull, which is a cable, would not release. Rick tried spraying WD-40, pulled off the back access panel to make sure the cable wasn’t binding anywhere, which it wasn’t. He then checked the manuals for info, called and left a message for a contact at the manufacturer, Grand Design. He then went to the Grand Design facebook groups and posted the issue, wondering if others had the issue and how they solved it. One suggestion was to spray PB Blaster, a penetrating oil, on the valve assembly by the pull handle. Rick then let that soak with a ziploc bag over the top. A tech from the manufacturer then called back and confirmed that what he was doing is what a repair tech would do. After a couple hours Rick went back to it and tried to release, hit it with a hammer, which didn’t release and then took two wrenches and twisted and it finally came loose. He then cleaned it off thoroughly and lubed all three valves and after all of that, a lesson learned that lubing the cables will be on the monthly list of maintenance things to do. Amazing how rusty it had gotten after only two weeks!
Overall this campground host position has been a wonderful first workamping experience. The campers have been very friendly, it is a quiet and peaceful campground and the weather has been beautiful! We could certainly get used to this! Enjoy some pictures of the park.
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