4 1/2 MONTHS – You’ve got to be kidding!
I have been camp host here at Ochoco Divide National Campground in Central Oregon since May 15, It has been a rather long time, but it has been very enjoyable nonetheless. For those of you thinking of workkamping I offer the following suggestions.
- Know what your getting into – Find out what is expected prior to getting there and what you will earn as well or what you are entitled to if you volunteer.
- Get everything in writing. Usually emails between you and your new employer.
- Make sure your rig is properly equipped for the area. If there are no hookups make sure you have solar panels or a generator, Sometimes the employer will supply you with a generator to use. What about a dump station and fresh water? What about Internet access or cell phone service?
- Learn about the local area. Where are the local markets, gas stations, Walmart (if there is one nearby).
60 miles roundtrip…
When I discussed my position with my employer before taking the job he emphasized that the nearest town was 30 miles away. That meant 60 miles round trip just to get groceries and propane. I usually made the trip once a week not necessarily for the supplies but just as a change of pace. I found a great BBQ place where I would treat myself to a dinner to go that I would enjoy once I returned to camp.
Great fun meeting new people
I think the biggest enjoyment I got out of this past summer was meeting such a variety of people. My campground is not a destination campground where campers would stay for a week and most of the campers would only stay one night and then move on. Some weren’t even in RV’s. Many drove in here on bicycles, motorcycles, cars and trucks as well as RV’s of all sizes and shapes. I had a lot of tent campers. Some even walked in.
Or pedaled in.
Just because they were only there overnight didn’t make a difference as to meeting them. Everyone is usually happy to tell you where they are going or where they have been. I made a lot of friendships during the summer and many people told me of really neat places they had been. Of course the cyclists usually had different stories to tell, but they still shared fantastic places they had seen in their travels. It was especially interesting to meet people from other countries and get their opinion of travel in the US. I met people from Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, England, Australia, Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and a lot from Canada. They all loved traveling in the US.
Another vehicle would help…
Since I don’t have a toad I wasn’t able to get to many of the nearby places I would have liked to, however I am working to save for one and hope by this time next year I will have a vehicle. If that is the case I may just come back here next summer, but not sure yet. My employer has already asked me if I would return.
Go with the flow…
I would also highly recommend to anyone taking a camp host position to be flexible. You do not always have to go by the book in some cases. But the most important asset is to BE FRIENDLY and don’t be shy. People look up to you as the boss of the camp but you don’t have to act like one. That will go a long way to make your camp host season a successful one.
I was the only camp host in my campground and it can be difficult taking time off since there is no one there to fill in for you. I just took almost every Tuesday off and it worked out pretty good. It gave me a day to myself to do what I wanted to do. When I returned, I would still make my rounds, but it always felt like a day off. My employer said I could take two consecutive days off and one of the other camp hosts would fill in for you, but I never did that. Next year if I have a toad and decide to return I will definitely take the two days off and venture out to the surrounding area.
But most important…
But I would say the most important thing is to make time for yourself and relax.