Spotted my first bear

Getting settled into job

I am finally getting into a good routine with my camphosting job.  My day is busy but I am able to schedule all my duties without killing myself.  I make 2 rounds of each campground checking to make sure everyone has paid and are in their correct sites.  Then there is 2 pit toilets per campground that must be attended to.  Also each campsite must be cleaned and raked after each camper leaves.

But Washington is so beautiful and it makes my job so much better.  Everything is really green up here and when there is no rain it is fantastic.  It is so nice to be parked here for the entire summer.

Hi Yogi

I saw my first bear while driving on the road just about a 1/2 mile from one of the campgrounds I am responsible for.  He/she was going up a ravine just to the side of the road.  I didn’t have my camera handy so couldn’t get a pic.  Bummer!  I am sure that is not the only bear I will see up here over the summer.

I did come within 10 feet of a deer and he did not appear to be the least bit frightened of me.  He just strolled off into the bushes.

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Checked out a forest service road

There was a forest service road across from one of my campgrounds so had to see where it goes.  I get a lot of hikers wondering where are some good hiking trails so I do my best at finding the trailheads just off of forest service roads.  This one was just a one lane dirt road that lead way up the mountain.

I followed this road up about 3 miles where the road ended.  The scenery was magnificent.

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Relaxing in the sun

This is Chica’s favorite spot.  She loves laying in the sun.

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Weekends are busy

On the weekends the campgrounds are almost full.  This past weekend was a free fishing day.  Not sure what that meant but there were certainly a lot of fishing people.  Then on Sunday night everyone goes home and it is usually slack through the week.  However July 4th is approaching and it should be very busy.

New Jetpack

I just upgraded to the latest hotspot Millenicom offers in the hopes that my connection would improve.  I had one of the very first hotspots they sent out.  It was a Samsung and there was another upgrade after that which I didn’t get.   Using my sleek I do have 4G occasionally but not very often and sometimes even the 3G was quite slow.  Not enough to upload pics.  I will find out later if there is an improvement.

BUSY, BUSY and a visit from friends

Very busy

Since my last post it has been a very busy couple of weeks.  I am learning each day how to handle visitors, cleaning pit toilets,fire pits, extra vehicles, Day Use areas, etc. etc. etc.  It has been very busy to say the least.  Even on my days off I find myself working doing this or that.

Covering 3 campgrounds

I am parked at the Panorama Point Campground, but I am also responsible for 2 other campgrounds as well.  The first is Boulder Creek Campground with 1 group site and 9 normal sites.  They also have 2 pit toilets.  Boulder Creek is only a mile down the road so I can usually check on everything there in a short time.

Shannon Creek Campground is 4 miles north with 3 miles of it on a dirt road.  This campground has 18 sites with 2 multisites.   A multisite is a bigger then normal campsite with room for several cars.  Shannon Creek also has a boat ramp with a day use area.  This seems to be one of the campgrounds most popular with tent campers although there are a few larger sites for RV’s.  Here are a couple of pics heading north to Shannon Creek.

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Covering 3 campgrounds makes it a very busy day on the weekend as I usually visit each campground twice a day.

Extra Vehicles

I find I spend a majority of my time checking on those campsites with extra vehicles.  One camper reserves the site and then invites a lot of family and friends to join them.  This makes for cars all over the place and I have to see that they either pay a day use fee if just spending the day or an extra vehicle fee if they are staying overnight.  Some campers can fit 4-5 cars in a campsite.  HELP!  But most people have no problem paying the extra fee.

Memorial Day Weekend

Most of the campsites are reserved online through recreation.gov.  I have to put up signs showing that the person indeed reserved that site.  I don’t have to collect any fees for these sites since the customer already payed online.  I just have to collect the extra vehicle fees.

Both Panorama Point and Boulder Creek were totally full with only a couple of sites left in Shannon Creek.  Friday it poured rain all day and I think it kept a few campers away.  Saturday was beautiful and then it rained on Sunday and Monday.  LOTS of MUD.

Concrete, WA

Concrete is a very small town and located 19 miles south of the campground.  Prior to the Memorial Day, I spent my day off in Concrete doing my laundry.  It is a great laundromat and also met one of my fellow host’s who was also doing her laundry and another workamper who works down the road at an organic farm.  She was very interested in working at Amazon so I had to fill her in on workamping there.

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More pics of Concrete.

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It is a rather old town but has most of what I need such as small grocery store, post office and a great little diner.

Mount Baker

On my way to the Boulder Creek Campground you cross a bridge over Boulder Creek.

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When driving south on the bridge on a clear day, you have a fantastic view of Mt. Baker.

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My friends drop in

This past Monday Marti and Charlie as well as Kay and Paul all dropped in to see me after attending a Lazy Daze Northwest rally.  It was really good seeing them but the weather was not cooperating.  They set up a tarp in the Day Use area and we had a great Happy Hour.  I got lots of tips from everyone for places to see up in this area.  After Happy Hour they picked up the tarp and walked it down the road to my campsite where Marti and Charlie are letting me us it this summer.

DSC_0455I wish I had my camera with me as they were walking it down the road.  It was a riot. to see.  Thank you Marti and Charlie for allowing me to use it.  Also thanks for the wine and brewskies.

I am posting this from the Burlington, WA library.  There is also a Fred Meyer here as well where I will be doing any major shopping.  I will try to post more regular, but I have to go into Concrete where I can get a 4G connection.  The connection is 3G at my campsite and that is with a booster, but it is very intermittent.

 

 

Home Sweet Home – for 4 months

Last leg of journey completed

I drove the last leg of the journey to my home for the next 4 months.  It was only 51 miles but I was anxious all the way as I wasn’t sure the campground would be opened.  When I arrived the gate was open and I just drove right in.

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This pic shows the entrance to the campgrounds.

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Then I found the host site and started moving right in.

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Cloudy and Rainy

When I arrived it was raining and very cloudy.  Chica and I walked around the campground and she was fascinated by the Canadian geese.

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This was quite different then what she is used to seeing.

Sunny Day

The following day it was sunny and I awoke to some really fantastic scenery.  I couldn’t believe how beautiful this place is with snow-capped mountains all around.  The next couple of pics were taken about 50′ from my campfire.  The lake is right there so I will have easy access with my kayak.

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We took another hike around the campgrounds.  This is the road leading around it.

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The trees are very tall as you can see.

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This is a view of the lake and mountains from the day use area.

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Day use for fishermen

There is also a day use are for fishermen with a boat ramp

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This is a sign that shows Baker Lake.  We are at the dot at the very bottom portion of the lake.

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There was a mom and pop Canadian Geese enjoying the lake.

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Poor Internet

I was using my Millenicom Hotspot attached to my Sleek booster, but I was only able to get a very slow 3G.  I tried uploading my pics but it took several hours for just 2 pics and then I would lose the connection every now and then.  I had to pick up my mail in Concrete, WA so decided to check if the connections was faster down there.  AHA!  I got 4G in this small town and my pics loaded very quickly (4G).

Das ist Gut, Ja?

Almost my last leg of journey north

I was tempted to spend another night at the beautiful Yakima Elks Lodge and Country Club but decided I need to hit the road and stick with my schedule.  So I packed up and headed for the last stop before I landed at the campground where I will be camp host.  My destination was Mount Vernon, WA.  The map showed about 225 miles thru the mountains.  I had to get gas so wound up going back to Yakima to fill up.  The Elks Lodge is actually in Selah, WA a small town next to Yakima.  The interstates going north are confusing and I got on the wrong one and had to back track.  Thus the total mileage for the trip north turned out to be 252 miles.  It was a long day as it was raining almost continuously and it was a lot of mountain driving.  I am glad that is over.

Stopped in Leavenworth

When I had posted my route many people mentioned that I should stop in Leavenworth, WA.  It is right on highway 2 which is the road I take to Mount Vernon, WA.  I was able to find public parking for my RV right at the end of town.  Fortunately it was not raining when I got there, so parked the rig next to a sports shop and walked a few blocks back into town.

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This is a really unique little town that is modeled on a Bavarian Village.  What a trip!

Good Mood Food

I thought this was a cool name for a restaurant.

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They even had a small par three golf course.

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These guys kept the golf course well manicured.

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Beautiful Mountains

This is a ski town and the mountains still had snow.

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Lots of very neat shops

This is the downtown portion.  Lots and lots of small shops.

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Here is one of the many hotels with a beautiful mural painted on the wall next to it.

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I loved the many murals painted right on the walls of the buildings.

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Another view of the town and local mountains.

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Pizza anyone?

I thought this was a really neat name for the local pizza joint.

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Great stop

I loved this town.  I really didn’t go into any of the shops as it was getting late and also started to rain.  On my next trip up here I would like to spend a day walking thru the many shops.

Lots of rain and traffic

I took highway 2 over to I5 and then headed north to Mount Vernon.  It was raining so hard I could not see much of the local scenery.  On top of that I hit Everett, WA and headed north during rush hour.  The gas tank was very low, but I knew I could make it to my destination.  I had called the camp host at the Mount Vernon Elks in the morning and he stated they had room.  He greeted me when I got there and showed me where to park.  WHEW!  This was a tough day of traveling.  Lots of mountain driving in the rain.

Pip Pip Ole Boy. I’m off to MY country club today.

Yakima Elks Golf and Country Club

The Yakima Elks Lodge is right off 97.  My GPS took me to this road and I thought The GPS had guided me down the wrong road.  But the sign reads Yakima Elks so it had to be right.

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The entrance and down a long road to the lodge.

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What a place.  This has to be the most fantastic Elks Lodge I have ever stayed at.   There was no camp host to tell me where to go so I just pulled over, went inside, showed my card and paid.  Then I could pick any site that was available.  I grabbed the one closest to the driving range.  I never in my wildest dreams ever thought I would have golf course property.  At least for two nights.  Whoopee!!!

View out my window

I took these pics out my window so they are a bit dark.  The first one looks out to the driving range.

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This guy pulled up in a real fancy golf cart with sides and chrome wheels.  HA!

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This is a view of the course and the practice putting green.  The course is highly manicured.

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This shows where I am parked for 2 nights.  They park the rigs right on the edge of the golf course.  It was $25 per night and well worth it with water, electricity and dump station.  I’m the little guy on the end.

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They serve dinners here  from 5 to 8 pm Wednesday thru Saturday.  I got here on Tuesday so heated up some frozen Trader Joe’s pizza and scarfed.  It was good, but plan on going into the lodge tonight for dinner.

I have stayed at many Elks Lodges since joining, but never anything like this.  I feel like I just joined the rich and the famous.  Even Chica is strutting her stuff on her walks!

Shaniko, OR

Lousy crosswind

It was a combination of rain and crosswind that highlighted by venture into the state of Washington.  I only had 220 miles to go but right at the start it rained a bit and then the sun came out and jI enjoyed beautiful high clouds.  But the crosswind was blowing from my left to the right making for some white knuckle driving.

Shaniko, OR

Someone suggested (sorry but I can’t remember who) on my way to Yakima I stop at the little town of Shaniko, OR.  It is right on 97 so decided to check it out.  It is a very old town with many really old buildings.  It is practically a ghost town but I did see a few people and a couple of businesses still open including the post office.  It is a neat little town only consisting of a few blocks.  I got out the camera and took some of the following pics.

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The old livery stable.  Lots of rusty stuff around here.

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This is the Old Gold Nugget Saloon.  I bet I lot of booze was consumed here at one time.  Most of these buildings were closed.

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This is the town’s hotel.  It is the biggest building in town.

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I am not sure what this building was but it sure looked neat.

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There were many other buildings on another street along with a museum, but it was late in the day and I still had a ways to go to my destination.

It is a neat little town out in the middle of nowhere.  I would like to spend more time here whenever I get up this way again.

Rainy day in Bend, OR

Weather

The weather had been great up until the day I left the casino.  It didn’t really rain but sprinkled all the way to Bend, OR.  While in Bend I stopped at the Walmart to fill my prescriptions for the next 3 months and picked up some groceries.

I plan on spending 2 nights at the Bend Elks Lodge where they have electricity for $15 per night.  Time to get everything charged up.  I usually charge up IPhone, IPod, my computer, and my Bose speaker system.  That just leaves my Kindle Fire, toothbrush and battery charger which recharges my rechargeable AA, AAA, and D batteries.  I take advantage of electricity now as I will only have solar power when I reach Panorama Point (where I will be camphosting for the summer) and then I will have to juggle things to keep them charged.

Bend Elks Lodge

I signed up for two nights and got one of the 8 sites available with electricity.  There were three other campers when I arrived but one of them left this morning.  It has been very overcast and rained off and on during the day.  Chica and I went for a walk but she got a burr in here foot.  I helped her get it out and she is OK.  This is a view of our spot at the Elks Lodge taken with my IPhone.  It was just before it started really pouring.

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Elks Lodge Membership

Becoming a member of the Elks had to be one of the best things I have done since starting to fulltime.  Many of the Elks Lodges have low cost RV camping facilities and most of them have electricity, water and dump.  They do not accept reservations but most have sites available when you pull in.  After my experience trying to camp at a National Forest Service campground that was not yet open I made a change of plans and decided to stick with available Elks Lodges along my route.

My next stop will be the Elks Lodge in Yakima, WA where I will spend another 2 nights.  Elks Lodges are a very convenient place to stay during off season camping while traveling.  Plus they also have full bars and very reasonable dinners as well.  Not too shabby!!!