Camp Hosting

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.

Marriage, Pack rats and new schedule + results of the poll

Cycling and marriage proposal

Don’t get any ideas that I’m getting married cause that ain’t going to happen.  I am referring to a couple of cyclists that rode in here looking for water and a place to eat lunch before they headed on down the road.  Julianne and Bjorn looked pretty worn out when they arrived after climbing the long hill from Prineville, OR.  I gave them water and they plopped down to have lunch and take a relaxing break.  They are both from Spokane, WA and they drove down to Walla Walla where they started their adventure.  Then they cycled down to Crater Lake, OR which is quite a ride.  I asked them what was the biggest thrill during their trip and they mentioned that it was at Crater Lake where Bjorn proposed to Julianne and she accepted.  That is a day they will never forget.  You can read more about it at their blog at  

Congratulations Julianne and Bjorn.  May you have a wonderful life together cycling all over the country.  They deserve a high five for not only their engagement but also for that fantastic cycling trip.

Discovered a pack rat

I popped my hood this morning and this is what I saw.  I actually saw the rat as well as it was sitting cozily on his bed.  I almost felt like grabbing him by the tail but I knew better then that.  It was a big one too and scampered off to another section of my engine.  Tomorrow I will head into Prineveille and see about getting something that I can kill the dirty bugger with.

I thought I would be leaving my camp hosting job at the end of September.  Now they are asking me to stay for another week until October 6.  The campground has been surprisingly busy for this time of year.  Probably has to do with the GREAT camp host, but more likely it is due to the extremely warm weather.  It has been in the 90’s three days this week and will be in the upper 80’s almost all next week.  People still want to get out and enjoy this wonderful weather before the rain begins.

It will give me about a week to travel the 400+ miles to Fernley, NV to work for Amazon.

The votes are in

I would like to thank everyone for voting in the poll last week regarding the new look of Jimbo’s Journeys Blog.  Out of 81 votes received, I have 77 (95.06%) in favor of the new look and only 4 (4.94%) in favor of the old look.  It looks like the new look is here to stay.  Thanks again for letting me know.

Only a couple of weeks to go

Winding down

It doesn’t seem possible that I have been here at Ochoco Divide NFS campground for almost 4 1/2 months.  I am scheduled to close up the park at the end of the month.  I still keep getting a steady flow of campers although not as many.  I think it is due to the fact that this area has not gotten any rain yet, however it is getting colder at night.  Day time temps are still in the 80’s and Thursday it is supposed to go up to 90, but the night temperatures have gone done to the 40’s and even the 30’s.  There is still much to do here as I have bathroom floors and picnic tables to paint on top of the regular routine.

Not too many cyclists left

I am still getting a few cyclists coming through the campground usually looking to just take a break after climbing a long hill from Mitchell, OR and also needing water.  Dan and Isabella are from Sisters, OR and they came through here headed east about a week ago.  I gave them some water then and they headed on their way.  This past week they came through on their return trip and also stopped for a rest and some fresh water.  They had cycled to Joseph, a little town next to Hell’s Canyon and east of the Wallowa mountain range.  That must have been some beautiful scenery.

Almost to the East Coast

A few days ago I sent my friend Jack an text message asking him how he was doing and where he was.  Jack started out his cycling adventure in Florence, OR and his goal was the Atlantic Ocean.  He called me and said he was in Kentucky and only had about 450 miles to go to finish.  What an accomplishment!

Not really too much else to report but I am looking forward to hitting the road soon.

Check out this lifestyle

I love to talk to cyclists

Whenever I see a cyclist stopped in my campground I always take the opportunity to talk with them.  They have a million stories to tell and are usually very open about sharing them with you.  A few days ago I saw Don resting at the entrance to the campground.  I naturally went up to him and asked if he needed any water.  He had plenty, but was willing to pose for a photo and share with me where he had been and where he was going.

What a lifestyle change!

Originally Don lived in San Diego, CA but this is where the adventure begins.  He sold his home and from the profits he decided to hit the road.  This is where his lifestyle varies from my.  I drive a 27 ft. RV with 6 tires down the road.  Don has 2 wheels and a small tent for his abode.  What a difference!

Many people think I am crazy living the lifestyle I live.  I think Don is crazy for the lifestyle he lives.  But everyone has their own lifestyle that they enjoy.  Whatever makes that person happy is all that counts.

Off to Europe

Well, after selling his home he went to Europe for 1 1/2 years, where he biked all over Europe.  He mentioned that it was difficult in some parts due to the language barrier.  Poland was one place he found to be very friendly.

All down the west coast

On his return from Europe he cycled all the way from Vancouver, BC to La Paz, MX.  What a trip that must have been!  Right now he has been on the road 3 months and has been to Washington, Montana, Yellowstone, Wyoming, Idaho and was on his way to Bend, OR.  What a magnificent journey!

Here is a pic of Don living his lifestyle.

Whether you abode is a stick house, an RV or a bike with tent as long as you love your lifestyle that is all that matters.  As different as they are both, Don and I love our own lifestyles.

A visit from RVSue and the Canine Crew

Sue and the crew hit the divide

On the 25th I got a visit from RVSue and her Canine Crew.  I guided her to a site where she could have lots of sun for her solar panel and also be able to make use of my Internet connection.  I had my regular work to do during the day but once that was completed I was able to sit down and talk over a glass of wine.  I had originally met Sue at the Elephant Butte SP outside of Truth or Consequences, NM.

Lots of chit chat

We were able to talk about all our wonderful adventures on the road.  I do read Sues blog so I have an idea where she has been, but it was still fun hearing about it from Sue.  Of course the crew was there and made plenty of noise whenever I would come over to see them.  She stayed three nights and just left yesterday morning.  It was my day off and I was going into Prineville for food and especially propane (as I was almost out) so she felt it was a good time to leave.  I showed her several campsites I have camped at.  She is headed toward the coast and wanted to get there before the weather gets too cold.

Hold on Bridget – your turning into the woods

This is a pic of Bridget, one of Sue’s canine crew following the GPS and ready to make a left turn.  No Bridget not a left into the forest!  Click on the pic and you can see Bridget behind the wheel driving like a maniac.

There goes RVSue and the Canine Crew off to the coast for more exciting adventures.  Thanks Sue for stopping.  It was a fun 3 days.

It is always nice meeting fellow bloggers and friends on the road.

Interesting stories

Close friends since the 1st grade

I met two ladies who arrived in the campground with a special friendship.  They have been friends since the 1st grade.

Judy on the left lives in Bridge, OR and Kate lives in Remote, OR.  These are small towns that are right next to each other not far from the Oregon coast.  Their families have a long history of growing up in these towns.  Judy’s grandmother Davis named the town of Remote back in the 1800’s.  Kate’s family now owns the town of remote.  They were using Ochoco Divide campground as a base to search for thunder eggs and geodes in the area.  What an interesting story!

Loves to compete in rallies

Will was another cyclist who stopped in for a much needed fill-up of water.  He is from Laramie, WY and he loves cycling in Central Oregon.  He mentioned he has also competed in the Cascade Lakes Rally.

Good friends experiencing the road

Also met more cyclists coming through the campground.  Peter and Cole stayed at the campground overnight on their way to Yellowstone NP.  They were both from Sebastopol, CA and had just spent some time in the Bend, OR area.

Friends that just met a few miles from here

Jonathan on the left in the next pic is from Philadelphia, PA.  He started his cross country adventure from Pleasant, NJ and is heading to Florence, OR.  Jonathan has a blog at telling all about his travels.  He mentioned that he had broken his camera on the way out here so I promised to send him the photos.

Weston on the right was from Lawrence, KS.  He started his trip in Kansas and was heading to Portland, Seattle and then Vancouver.  They both were very thirsty when they hit here as the weather was very hot.

Jonathan and Weston met each other in Mitchell, OR just 17 miles east of here and were only going to travel together until Prineville, OR where they would each head separate ways.

Everyone coming into the campground has an interesting story.  Plus they are all usually glad to share it with you if you take the time to listen.

Meeting new friends

John and Jean

The wonderful part of camphosting that I love the most is getting to meet lots of really nice friends.  I met John and Jean who waved to me to join them at their picnic table one evening after I made my rounds.  They were from Bend, OR and been coming to this campgrounds for 35 years.  They always stayed in site #15 since it has a small creek running through the back of the site.  They would bring their kids who would play in the stream.  Now of course the kids are grown, but they always make a point of coming back here every year.

We got to talking about all the cyclists that stop at this campground and they related the story about how for many years they used to follow cyclists with food, tents and other gear.  Of course these were cyclists that had a great deal of money and could afford to have all their gear transported for them.  John and Jean would go ahead, set up camp and prepare all their meals.  Then feed them breakfast tear down the tents, purchase more food, set up the tents and prepare the evening meal.  This would go on day after day.  What an experience!

Bob and Stacey

Also camped not far from John and Jean on the same weekend were Bob and Stacey.  I met them as they were walking around the campground.  Bob is a long distance truck driver and has a many stories to tell about his trucking adventures (especially hauling the pigs).  He is a very funny guy.  Both Bob and Stacey are really nice down to earth people.  While I was talking with them John and Jean came by and also joined in the conversation.  What a blast!

This past weekend Bob and Stacey came down again and stayed for 3 nights.  We got together each day and laughed and laughed!  It was really a fun weekend.  One of the days they drove to an Orchard and brought me some fresh peaches, nectarines and cherries.  YUM!  YUM!  They were so juicy!!  Here is a pic of Bob and Stacey before they left for home.  Thanks everyone!  I really enjoyed you letting me be part of your weekends.

John and Kim

In between weeks I met John and Kim while making my rounds.  They had their musical instruments out and were playing some really sweet music.  John plays at the Prineville Eagles Club on Friday nights so if you are in the area at that time be sure and stop in and don’t forget to tell him Jimbo from Ochoco Divide says “Howdy”.  I took a movie of them playing one of the songs he had written but the internet takes way too long to upload it.  They were really fun people and John offered to show me around Prineville when I get down there again.

These are just a few of the many wonderful people that I have met during my stay at Ochoco Divide Campground.  I have met people from all over the world in this little paradise in the Ochoco Mountains.  That is really one of the best benefits of this job.

100,000 Miles

Back to 00000

On July 31, 2012 the odometer of “The Breeze” read 00000 as you can see in the next pic.  100,000 miles!  How did that happen so fast?

I was traveling on US Highway 26 on my way from Ochoco Divide Campground to Prineville to do some shopping.  Since I don’t see too much traffic I decided to come to a complete stop and take a picture of that fantastic moment in time.  This is where I was.  I guess you can’t ask for a better spot when turning 100,000 miles.

I purchased “The Breeze back in April, 2010 .  Since then I have:

  • Put 21,855 miles on it
  • Started Fulltiming on July 12, 2010
  • Filled with 2,378 gallons of gasoline at an average cost of $3.53 Yes it is about 9.2 miles per gallon. OUCH!!!

I have had a lot of great times seeing new places and meeting great people.  I have established a lot of new friends all across the country and even into Canada and Mexico as well.

Do it now if you can!!!

If anyone is on the fence as to whether they should fulltime or not I would suggest give it a try as soon as possible.  It was the best decision I ever made.  I just wished I had done it sooner.

Way Up!

I wonder why they call it Cougar Butte?

I took a drive on my day off and turned onto Forest Road 27 about 1/4 of a mile from the campground.  It was a great drive and soon I found myself going up and up onto what is known as Cougar Butte.

At the top of the mountain I found a place to park.  The road goes up into the higher elevations of the Ochoco Mountains.

There was also a trail head for the Scotty Creek Trail.  It didn’t look like anyone had taken that trail in a long time.

It looked like a big Christmas tree farm.  Beautiful pine trees everywhere.

Views from the top

The views from the top were fantastic.

The only problems was going downhill.  It was much steeper then it looks and I didn’t even want to lose my brakes so I had it in low gear all the way down and came to numerous stops heading down.  This is where a toad would really come in handy.  One of these days!

It was really a nice drive and I didn’t really have to go too far from my campsite.

North to Alaska!

On a big adventure to Alaska.

In July I had an interesting RV pull into the park.  As I was driving by it in my golf cart I happened to see writing all over it.  Josh was the owner of the RV.  He came down for water and I asked him about all of the writing.  It seems he has earned a full scholarship to a college in Anchorage, Alaska and that is where he is headed with his girlfriend Amy.  He was from Wisconsin and when he found out about the scholarship he decided to purchase an RV and see the country on the way up there.

A signature RV

All his friends had signed his RV wishing him well in Alaska.

Josh was very excited about his adventure thus far.  I believe his father was going to meet him in Washington and Amy was going to return home.  Then he and his father were going to travel up to Anchorage.  He even let me sign his RV.

Here is a pic of Josh and Amy.

Prior to their leaving I had remembered a ski jump suit I had received from my good friend Randy.  He had bought a new suit and gave it to me.  It was a very expensive jump suit.  I have already dispensed of all my ski equipment except for that jump suit.  Randy didn’t want it back and told me to sell it on Ebay.  I have been carrying it in my overhead for some time now and rather then sell it I decided to give it to Josh where he could make good use of it during the long Alaska winters on the ski slopes.  He was very excited and thankful.

Good Luck Josh on your new adventure !!!