Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Camp Hosting Is Cool!

We arrived here on Sunday, August 11th about 3:30 in the afternoon.  We are the 2nd Camp Hosts.  The first Camp Hosts, Craig and Linda, have been holding down the fort all summer with no backup.  They were certainly glad to see us pull in.  We settled into our Camp Host 2 site which is very long and has trees on the back and 2 sides.  It is very private.  I found a nice level spot and we set her down. 


Sunday evening we just settled in to our spot.  Put out the chairs and tried over the air TV with absolutely no reception.  The site has two permanent Dish Network dishes set up; however we have DirecTV so they were of no use to us.  I made a mighty effort to find the DirecTV satellite to no avail.  Too many trees and the angle for the satellite is too low to find a spot between some trees.  We also quickly learned that Verizon uses AT&T for their backup in this area.  Phones work OK, but very spotty internet access.  See my previous blog for our final solution to that problem.

Monday morning we met with Cory, the County Manager that we report to here at the park.  He reiterated our duties; clean up campsites on two of the four camping loops after they are vacated, keep tabs on the reservation stickers that go on the site poles; sell and deliver firewood to campers in all four camping loops.  We fill a cart with 8 compartments for firewood.  Each compartment is considered a bundle and the wood sells for $5 per bundle.  Rosie has found her new niche in life; Purveyor of Firewood.  She is a natural sales person and sold almost $300 worth of firewood our first week on the job.


Last Tuesday we went down the hill into the town of Hood River.  We found a Wal-Mart (not a supercenter) and a Safeway supermarket that is quite nice.  From Wednesday to Sunday it was a matter of getting used to the campground layout and becoming familiar with our duties.  The work is not all day long, but we need to be available all day long to help campers with any issues or questions they may have.  We have met one family from Switzerland; and two from Germany.  They were really surprised to find out they had a German speaking Camp Host.

Hood River is about 15 miles away.  There is a little village of Mt. Hood - Parkdale 2.5 miles away.  The whole village is about 2 blocks long, but they have a very nice private market, a hardware store, and several bars/eating establishments.  The market has a wide selection of groceries, meats, bakery and a deli.  They are open from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm seven days a week.  Sure beats driving into Hood River for a loaf of bread!

By this Monday we had settled into a routine and felt pretty comfortable with our duties.  We officially have Tuesdays and Wednesdays “off”.  I told the story of Tuesday in my last blog.  Today is Wednesday.  We took off this morning for a hike to a waterfall.  The trailhead is about 9 miles south of here.

IMG_7083  IMG_7084IMG_7086  IMG_7088

The waterfall is reported to be about 2 miles from the trailhead.  We did not make it all the way to the falls because the trail got pretty steep and narrow with a serious drop off on one side.  We would have been OK by ourselves, but we had the furr kids along and we didn’t want to take a chance on meeting other dogs on this trail.  So we turned back after about a mile.  I was pretty happy to be able to do this hike.  Two months ago I would have never made it that far.

This afternoon the sky became dark with smoke from a forest fire about 20 miles east of here.  The smell of smoke was overpowering and ash was settling everywhere in our campsite.  Our manager, Cory, came by and explained that there was an unusual wind out of the east that was blowing smoke our way.  The wind was supposed to change to coming out of the west this evening.  About 7:00 pm we could notice a reduction in the smoke and there was a slight breeze from the west.  We made a firewood run mostly to check on our campers and did make one sale to a couple from Montreal, Canada.  They were French Canadians, so no German speaking there, but we did have a nice conversation with them. 

This blog writing was interrupted by several ladies in distress.  They needed a set of jumper cables to start one of their cars.  Fortunately, Craig had a pair of cables so I borrowed them and went over to help them get started.  They didn’t have a flashlight, so I brought out my super duper spotlight to help find the batteries in the cars.  Turns out that the kids had been charging their cell phones on the power outlet of a Cadillac for two days and nobody thought to start the car occasionally to keep the battery charged up.  Anyway, we got them going and they were very grateful.

I’m tired now.  Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Problem Solved!

We arrived at Tollbridge County Park on Sunday, August 11th, for our first Camp Hosting gig.  This is the best site, in the best environment, with the best weather we have had since we began full timing in April 2012.  We have a huge site with full hookups, including 50 amp service.   The area is heavily wooded and the temperatures are in the high 50’s to the low 80’s.  No wind and only intermittent light rain.




So what problems could there possibly be?  Absolutely zero access to television, over the air or satellite.  We can live with that.  We have satellite radio that works just fine.  We had been talking about cutting ourselves off of cable news networks anyway, so here is our chance to go cold turkey.  After a couple of days, we turned on CNN on the satellite radio and after 10 minutes of nothing but bad news, we turned it off and switched to ‘60’s rock and roll.  The other problem is a little more significant; very weak Verizon signal for internet access.   It took forever to send and receive a short e-mail and forget about anything with a picture.  We found a local cafĂ© with internet access and used it for a couple of time, but that was not the solution.  Talking with our manager from Hood River County, we learned this is a strong AT&T area.  Then one of the campers mentioned she had great internet access with her AT&T MiFi.  So today was our first full day off and we had a lot to do; but the first thing we did was find the nearest AT&T store looking for solutions.  I ended up with an AT&T MiFi for .99 cents and a two year contract for 5 GB a month for $50 a month.  Since my primary need is for my two small businesses, that is a good solution.  When we finally got back to the campsite this afternoon, I hooked everything up and IT WORKED.  We have fast internet service for our 2 laptops and my Samsung Galaxy 2 tablet.  I just downloaded two books from Kindle and it took less than a minute.  Now I have 2 sources for internet access.  When one is weak, or I am approaching my GB limit on one, I can switch to the other.  How sweet it is!

After doing the laundry at a poorly maintained Laundromat, we drove up Interstate 84 to Multnomah Falls.  I had seen photos of the falls in many guidebooks, so I was anxious to show it to Rosie.  This is pretty spectacular:

                        IMG_7067  IMG_7071

I was not able to get the entire falls from top to bottom in one shot.  Another bit of good news is that I was able to walk up to the upper bridge you see in the picture on the left.  I did stop and rest at each switchback in the paved path, but no heavy breathing.  It seems my CardioVersion procedure is still holding.

Well I am going to see how long it takes to upload this post to my web site.  I will be back soon with a description of the Campground, how we are faring with our new duties and a general catch-up.

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Tire Troubles Again!

Friday morning we pull out of the Snake River RV Park at 8:00 am headed for Caldwell, ID.  About 20 miles down the road on I-15, a pickup pulls alongside and the passenger motions for me to roll down my window.  When I get the window down he says “You blew a tire”.  Oh Great!  I immediately pull over to the shoulder on the interstate get out to take a look.  Here is what I found on the right rear wheel of the camper:



How lucky can a fella be?  What gets me is I didn’t hear or feel a thing when it went.  The tire in front was holding the rear rim about 1 inch off the pavement.  I reckon if the front tire blew and everything settled on the rims, I would certainly notice that!!!  Thanks to an unknown Good Samaritan, it did not develop into a disaster.  The Good Sam Emergency Roadside Service folks had a tow truck out there in about 30 minutes to change the tire.  When we got the wheel off , this is what we found:


The outer tire tread was still intact and wrapped around the axle.  Thankfully the tow truck operator was young and strong.  With the help of a big pry bar, he managed to get it off.  After putting the spare in place, we drove to Big O Tires in Pocatello to get two new tires.  The tire that blew was installed in April 2010.  So now I have two new tires and two that were put on in October 2012.  They are the same brand and same tread so they should be fine.  So we pay the $356 tab and hit the road on I-86 West.  Now I need to call my RV Insurance Company to see if they cover the damage to the RV fender.


We arrived at Country Corners RV Park about 5:00 pm after a 323 mile day.  We stayed at this park last year and it is a delightful place.  The management is super nice.  There is an enclosed dog run.  The owners have a huge garden and they encourage campers to help themselves to fresh veggies.  Rosie went and picked some tomatoes, carrots, a green pepper and some squash.

Today I had a work assignment in Boise so I took care of that little bit of business and was back home a little after 1:00 pm.  Tomorrow morning we head for Tollbridge County Park just south of Hood River Oregon for our first workcamping adventure.  I will be sure to write and let all of you know how things are working out.

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Getting Better Every Day!

My CardioVersion (electric shock) procedure seems to be holding.  I feel better and Rosie says I have a better attitude.  I will admit I was a bit discouraged there for awhile, but maybe now there is a light at the end of the tunnel that isn’t an oncoming train.  Rosie’s med adjustments are helping her feel better also.  So our health issues seem to be on the mend.

Nothing exciting to report.  We are still at the Snake River RV Park in Idaho Falls.  I have been doing some light maintenance on the camper.  The truck is running like a clock after all of the work done on it in the last two months.  We have been visiting with old friends and making new friends.  We had a nice chat today with Frank and Carol Miller in their site near ours.  They have been full timing for 4 years and loving every minute of it in their 5th wheel.

We leave here on Friday (my 69th Birthday) for Meridian, ID.  I have a work assignment in Boise on the 10th.  We are due for our camp hosting gig on Sunday at Tollbridge County Park near Hood River, OR.  We are excited about this new adventure and hope it works out well.

Here are the numbers for July:

Camping – $471.23 ($15.20 per night)

Diesel Fuel when pulling – $568.00

Truck Service/Repairs – $0.00

RV  Repairs/Service – $0.00

Generator Gas/Propane - $55.00

Metered Electricity – $0.00

Satellite TV/Radio – $81.65

Campground Pet Fees – $0.00

Laundry – $20.00

Total = $1,195.88

Thanks for stopping by.