Monday, August 20, 2012

Hooray it’s Monday!

Working people look forward to Friday and then dread the arrival of Monday.
Retired RV travelers, and especially park volunteers, do the reverse – we dread Friday and cheer when Monday gets here! In fact, my Monday theme song is Happy Days are Here Again!

Now, don’t get me wrong. Every day is precious to me and I welcome them all. But after the busy weekend – boats, RVs, tents, vehicles, people, children and dogs everywhere – it is nice to have a day or two without the commotion. And today is also a cloudy, drizzly day as a change from the hot New Mexico sun. Great day for reading after the last of the campsites are cleaned.

Valuable “trash” – Dick, another volunteer, is the recipient of several items.
  1. Hummingbird feeder left hanging at a campsite. I’m enjoying the hummers at my campsite.
  2. Only 2 pennies! Must be the lousy economy!
  3. Heavy-duty, rubberized wheel chock (gave to volunteer Dick)
  4. Another fish ‘stringer’ (also gave to Dick)
  5. One of those portable ‘shade structures’ (brand names Easy Up and First Up) Had a few structural issues but Dick was able to get it up and over his picnic table; I have no use for it.
  6. Someone left an un-assembled set of “grill legs” ($50 price tag) by the dumpsters. Dick has this.
People – it takes all kinds
A ‘homeless lady’ arrived last week – camps/sleeps in a GMC van that is loaded to the top with her stuff and says she is a ‘minimalist’ and plans to be here until November. Quite a talker – she is in year 9 of a self-determined 12-year ‘healing pilgrimage’ (my term, not hers). I’m assuming she is in her late 50s or early 60s.
Mr. ‘Cut Down that Dead Tree”. He thinks the dead tree near his RV is a huge fire hazard. (Actually all our trees (Juniper and Pinon) – living and dead – are fire hazards. Park says ‘no’ because the tree is part of the local eagles winter habitat. I offered him another campsite, but he turned me down.
Visited with several ‘regulars’ from the past two years. Larry and Vi, from Hesperia, Calif., who will take over the August/September volunteer slot next year.
Heidi and Chris from Albuquerque spent a few days here. They have spent time also at Cave Creek Regional Park (Phoenix area)
Cathie and Guy from Farmington have become my personal shoppers and brought some groceries to me.

And RVs of all sorts – and ages – visit this park. The oddest arrived yesterday driven by a solo man probably in his 60s. I’ll let the photo give the description. He says he just bought the small RV and will be fixing it up. Then he’ll sell his larger one when he gets to Quartszite this winter.

That’s it for this blog. Maybe next one will be more interesting.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Roses and wine! What a happy lady I am!

A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes. -- Hugh Downs

Being a campground host is not all roses and wine or fun and laughs --- but I deliberately and hourly make the decision not to let ‘stuff’ get me down. Life is too short to let the occasional inconsiderate camper and frustrating situation ‘own my attitude’. Besides, I can find a blessing in most things. My daily prayer is:
Lord, help me to put up with little annoyances for the sake of greater good.

When Axie and Chris, regular campers here, found out I was retiring from park volunteering they delivered a beautiful potted rose plant and a bottle of her favorite wine!

Park Rangers are super
I have been so blessed at the parks where I’ve volunteered because all the rangers are grateful for the help. A campground host’s job as I see it is to be sure campers know the park rules and to help them find a campsite. I’m to “inform” and the rangers’ part is to enforce. NLSP has seven law-enforcement rangers – the ones with the guns, badges, and ticket books. If I have an issue with a camper who thinks the rules don’t apply to him, they respond.
            We also have a group of great seasonal employees that take care of so much – including bathroom cleaning! With so many campsites throughout the park property they are a continual presence and do their part to keep the park running smoothly.

Basic campground cleaning done
With the hot daytime temps, my campsite cleanup has been limited to early morning and early evening. All 78 campsites have been cleaned of stuff and trash. Now it is a matter of asking incoming campers to leave their sites clean when they leave.

Here’s my “trash” list so far
  1. Of course it includes hundreds of cigarette butts, bottle caps, pull tabs, bread bag clips and wire ties.
  2. Olga 38-D brassiere
  3. Child’s pink hat
  4. Knot-tying booklet for fly fishermen (Arbor knot, Nail knot, Blood knot, and improved Cinch knot along with instructions on how to Assemble Your Lines)
  5. Silver and turquoise earring – yep, just one and it was sort of buried in dirt and rocks. The sun was shining just right to see it.
  6. Tent stakes – should have been collecting them to see just how many I found both at Santa Rosa Lake and Navajo Lake.
  7. 99 cents, bringing my new Dairy Queen fund up to $1.14.
Weekends are a zoo here
We are wall-to-wall RVs, boats, boat trailers, trucks, cars, people, children, and dogs. And because of that, I’m super busy even during the hot midday!

That’s all for this blog – I hope your world is wonderful.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Navajo Lake State Park - third year

When things are easy a person doesn’t really learn about himself. It’s what a person does at the moment of his greatest struggle that shows him who he really is. – Robert Kurson, Shadow Divers

The challenges started right up – leveling Jeremiah.
I’m in a lovely shaded site with full hookups (electricity, water and sewer)! So what is the challenge? The site is not level at all. After several attempts by me and all the boards I have, Jeremiah is not close to being level. About 45 minutes later with the help of two rangers, a heavy-duty jack and more boards they scrounged up, Jeremiah was still not perfectly level, but good enough.

There’s a lot to do at this park – no lazy afternoons for reading.
There are 78 campsites in the Pine Main Campground. They are my responsibility. My job is to keep the campers informed of park rules, keep the campgrounds free of trash, check for paid camp and car permits, and help the rangers in any way I can. The park, being a boating and fishing lake, is super busy. It is a “destination” campground, unlike Santa Rosa Lake State Park that always had lots of one-night campers. It is not unusual for there to be two or three vehicles and many of them have at least one boat or Jet Ski. And of course there are plenty of children and dogs.

I also deliver reservation permits to two more campgrounds – Cedar Loop (21 sites) and Juniper Loop (36 sites) that are for primitive camping.  And the dirt/rock roads to these two loops are rough indeed! 

Speaking of getting around the park, unlike the last two years when I had a 6 x 4 John Deere Gator, this year I have a 4 x 2 Gator. One speed forward and one speed reverse and slow as molasses!

PEOPLE – it takes all kinds

            The Bussey’s – a fun-loving family: This family – parents, two grown and married children and a few grandchildren – have been camping here for the past 20 years! Each night they are here has a ‘theme’. This year’s themes were Hollywood night, Moustache (facial hair) night, Margarita night and Toga night.
The ‘premier movie they showed for Hollywood night was a video of all their antics from the past 20 years. Family members dressed in their finest as Hollywood stars. A night later, they gave me a personal showing of their video – what a blast!
The couple in charge of mustache night provided stick-on black eye brows, mustaches, side burns and a variety of beards for each person to choose from. Campers wore special personalized t-shirts and wore large ‘sunglasses’ that had blinking lights
            For toga night, each person had a bath towel toga that had Navajo Lake 2012 embroidered.
            The Dominquez’ – another fun-loving family – four campsites with at least 25 people of all ages spent four nights here. And they had great cooks. For breakfast one morning, they delivered a delicious burrito!
            The Baxters – Specifically Norma Jean, a lady I played tennis with before I started RVing. She and her husband and son are here with a boat and water skis.
            And I’ve visited with several others who remember me from the last two years here. What fun I’m having.         

Weekly ‘trash’ report
1.      Stainless steel butter knife
2.      Battery-powered lamp
3.      Plastic eating utensils
4.      Flossing ‘sticks’
5.      $$ - a dime, nickel and two pennies – the start of another Dairy Queen fund
6.      Water pistol
7.      Cigarette butts – lots of them
8.      Aluminum can tabs
9.      Soda and beer bottle tops
10.  Bits and pieces of paper and foil
11.  T-shirt, blue

Fly fishing tournament this week
            This event brings folks from all around to fish the famous San Juan River. It is a fun-raiser for the Wounded Warrior Project

Bucky, my ventriloquist dummy is back at work charming the kids – of all ages!
            When Bucky is not riding around with me in the Gator, he sits outside Jeremiah. (If you don’t remember, I bought Bucky at an antique mall in Lancaster, Ohio.) The children camped next to me came over to see if Bucky could “play” with them. They took him to the playground where he “played” on the equipment. And one boy took him for his first bike ride!

            I took Bucky to visit with the ‘fun family’ – one of the young gals had a blast and kept us all in stitches.  
Local creatures
I’ve been so busy cleaning campsites – like to start out with clean ones – and have not had time to do much wildlife watching. So far I’ve seen several lizards, including the Collard Lizard that has four bright yellow feet, a Robin, Juniper Titmouse, and House Finch.
            Reportedly one of the female feral cats gave birth to her kittens in the engine compartment of the motorhome belonging to Dick, a summer seasonal employee. I hope to get a look and take photos.

Great Verizon service!
You’ll recall I was having trouble with my cell phone while at Santa Rosa Lake. After checking at the Verizon store and discovering the battery I needed was no longer made, I bit the bullet and got a Smart Phone – and at the present it is much smarter than I. At the same time I also got a new wireless Internet device.

Note to my friends
I’ll be here at Navajo Lake until Sept. 30 when I’ll return to Rio Rancho. If you want to come up for a visit (180-miles) let me know. I have room for one or two gals in Jeremiah, tent space outside for my tenting friends, and there is a motel and some B&Bs in the nearby small community of Navajo Dam.

And my next Chapter in Life
I will retire from campground volunteering at the end of September. I will be selling Jeremiah (30-ft Winnebago Aspect motor home) and buying a small (~20-foot van-type RV). If you or anyone you know is interested in my Aspect, just send me an email.
I’ll mostly stay at home in Prescott Valley this late fall/winter/early spring. After that I am planning a long – several months – RV trip around the country.

Every so often, life presents a great moment of decision; an intersection at which a man must decide to stop or go; a person lives with these decisions forever. (added by Carol - 'or until a different decision is made)
– John Chatterton from the book Shadow Diver