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