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.
Also be sure to take time to smell the roses or any other flower that catches your eye.
Looks like this was a win win for you, Jim. Also, your positive attitude does go a long way not to mention your friendliness. 🙂
Thanks Jim for the helpful info. I did volunteer at a Florida State Park last summer and it was as you say, meeting so many interesting people was the biggest bonus of all. PamP
Jim, what a great blog today; a keeper for someone like me considering camp hosting next summer. I appreciate the helpful ideas, ones that I had thought about but not to much detail until now. Thanks.
One other thing to remember with camp hosting is you are pretty much on call 24 hours a day, which can be annoying to say the least. We tried it once and would not do it again, but we have met many hosts who come back to the same campground year after year.
Glad you enjoyed yourself and being asked to return is a nice reflection on the good job you did! Be well and safe travels, Ann and Jerry
Jim, we sure wanted to come up and see you there while we were out this trip, but with all the smoke from the fires, we decided to head South instead. Sorry, maybe you will be heading South and we’ll see you somewhere on the road. We’re planning to stay at Collier Park for a day or two and then decide where to go from there. We have enjoyed our time at LaPine State Park and all the things we’ve seen around here.
Russ… I was in the area of Collier Park and Crater Lake the last few weeks. I recommend Natural Bridge next to the Rogue. There’s no water there, but it’s only $5 and it’s absolutely gorgeous… The River Trail is breathtaking as is the Gorge. Look at my website to see some photos.
We have been living fulltime and camp hosts since May 2011. We have thoroughly enjoyed our experience thus far. I have been reading your posts now and then and appreciate your comments on the lifestyle.
Jim! I LOVE the new look of your blog! I didn’t see it until today, catching up on my blog-reading. Great post, too.
Well this new chapter has come to an end for you and I am glad that it worked out well- we did get a chance to really catch up on our word with friends and dice with friends! But i bet a golf cart will now have a new meaning for you always- ha!!