Back on the road

Left Oceanside

I saw my eye doctor for the last time for a while and got my medical for my new job so now I was ready to get out of Dodge.  I decided to wait until Sunday Apr 26 to leave.  I will be driving up the 5 so wanted to keep traffic to a minimum (HA!!) going thru LA.  It was still a rat race and only made it to Castaic where I called it quits.  I was tired, the wind was blowing and it was getting late so I pulled into the Valencia Village RV Park for the night.

I got up the next day with hopes of moving on but the wind was really blowing with gusts up to 35 mph.  I don’t know about you, but I hate driving in the wind, so I paid for another night.  Then I realized there is a Camping World not far away.  I had a rear vent cover blow off some where in my travels and was trying to replace the cover.  But on a 1992 rig that is just about impossible.  I couldn’t find anything on line.  Many of the components used on my rig are no longer being made.  I headed to Camping World to see what I could do.  While there I found out they could replace my rear bathroom vent with a fantastic fan.  They had one in stock so I paid for it and scheduled it to be replaced the following day.  That meant I would have to stay another day at the park as they couldn’t replace it until 3:00.

Chica was a hit at Camping World

The following day I drove the rig to Camping World and checked in.  I asked them if I could bring Chica into the customer waiting room.  Camping World is very dog friendly so she came in with me.  Immediately she was a big hit.  Many of the staff came in to see here.  At first she was a bit overwhelmed, but she finally got used to everyone.  Sorry but I didn’t think of taking pics.

It took a bit longer then I expected as they were very busy, but finally finished and now I have a really nice rear fan.  We headed back to the park and spent our last night there.  By the way this is a great park if anyone wants to visit Magic Mountain.  It is only a couple of miles away.

Elks Lodges

The next night we stopped at the Visalia Elks Lodge.  For $10 I had a great rib dinner and met lots of nice people.  Then it was on to the Lodi Elks.  I was invited to their Happy Hour and met a lot of fellow RV’ers.

My next stop was the Red Bluff Elks Lodge where I only spent one night.  I love the Elks Lodges since they usually have full hookups and only cost $15 – $20 per night.  They all have a nice bar and many nights I get a great dinner.

HELP!!

I was going to cross into Oregon and stay at the Ashland Elks Lodge.  Forget it!  They only offer parking in a parking lot with very little space.  I did see a red/white 24′ LD but there was no place to park.  I checked Allstays (great APP for locating campgrounds) and there wasn’t much around the Ashland area so it headed north to Medford.  

I found the Medford Elks Lodge and parked in front as I couldn’t see any RV’s.  They had a sign on the door that said the lodge had been closed down.  Not sure what that was all about but I needed a place to stay as it was getting late.  I decided to keep heading north and stop at the first RV park I could find.  I landed in Rogue River and the first park was full, but they suggested another park next door to them.  I really landed a gem.  It was $35 per night which is more then I usually like to pay, but she put me right on the Rogue River.

Didn’t want to leave

It is a really clean park with great showers.  We walked right out our door and the river was only ten feet away.  Chica loved looking at the Canadian geese that lived on the river.

The next morning I got up and paid for another day.  I needed to relax a bit as we had been driving every day.  The owner suggested going into town for breakfast and that sounded like a good idea. I had a great breakfast at the Cottage Cafe and it was really good.  

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Chica guards our home

Since we were right on the river we saw many Canadian geese.  In the evening they would come out of the water and feed on the grass around our rig.  Of course Chica had to let them know who was boss.

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Salem, OR

Our last stop before my summer home was an Elks Lodge in Salem, OR.  I stayed there for 2 nights to get organized before heading to the campground at Lake Harriet.  I called my employer to get last minute info about the next few days and instructions on getting to the campground.

Then it was honey do stuff.  I took Chica to PetSmart to get bathed and groomed and have her nails trimmed and I got a haircut.  Then I did a some major shopping for groceries.

Off to the campground

Today I am heading out to my new campground at Lake Harriet.  I will be passing through a small town called Estacada which will probably be where I will be doing my weekly shopping.  I am not sure what kind of cell phone or Internet service I will get at Lake Harriet so here’s hoping with my booster I can get connected.

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My Workamping Experience

Camphosting in the Northwest

To begin, Washington was the only state I had not visited in the west.  So I jumped at the chance to work there.  As many of you already know I signed up for the job last January while visiting the annual RV Show in Quartzsite.  I just happened upon the Hoodoo booth, since at the time I was not really looking for a job.  After talking to Rob (who turned out to be my boss) I was offered the job at Panorama Point on Baker Lake in Northwest Washington.  We went over the pay and job duties and I signed up with them.  The whole process took about 15 minutes.

Then I had the whole winter to prepare for the journey north.  The first thing I did was NOT work but spend time with my friends for a few months.  I also took the time to go to Algadones, MX for dental work.  Then it was off to see my family over the holidays, before heading north to WA.

VERY wet weather

When I arrived in the campground it was pouring rain and didn’t stop raining for several days.  I hoped I didn’t make a mistake and come to a climate that continually rained.  However the rain did stop eventually and the weather was a bit chilly but very nice.  The summer turned out to be fantastic.  It did rain a bit but nothing really bad until August when it poured and poured.

Camp Host at three different campgrounds

I parked my rig in a nice spot in the Panorama Point campground.

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We had to drive 100 miles to orientation and then the campgrounds officially opened up on Memorial Day.  The campgrounds I was responsible for were Panorama Point, Boulder Creek and Shannon Creek.

Panorama Point has 16 campsite including the host site.  Many considered it to be one of the nicest of all the Baker Lake campgrounds.  I ran into many people who returned there year after year.  I even spoke with one man who’s father had brought their family to Panorama Point when he was eight years old and he had been coming back there every year since.  He is not 62.  WOW!

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Boulder Creek is a small 10 site campground located on Boulder Creek.  It doesn’t have any direct access to Baker Lake.  It was located a mile from Panorama Point.

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That is Mt Baker in the background.

Finally Shannon Creek is a 20 campsite campground at the very northern end of Baker Lake.  It is located 5 miles from Panorama Point.  It is also down 3 miles of gravel road.  This is the view I have twice a day on my way to Shannon Creek.

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This is a view from the beach at Shannon Creek.  Many campers would park their cars at Shannon Creek and boat over to the other side where there were several dispersed campgrounds.

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Most of the campsites are small and perfect for tent camping, but there are also many RV type campsites, especially down by the lake.

I had to make the rounds of all three campgrounds twice a day taking the money from the posts, writing receipts, cleaning pit toilets, firepits and campsites.  I also had to charge campers for extra vehicles and sell firewood.  It kept me busy most of the day.

Days off

Each camp host was assigned 2 consecutive days off where we were on our own to do what we pleased.  That was GREAT!  We still had to deal with campers that came to our door, but we could leave the campgrounds completely as I mentioned in previous posts.

However we had to fill in for camp hosts when they had their days off.  It made for a long day, but that was only 2 days a week and the days off made up for it.

Company vehicle supplied

Each camp host was supplied with a company truck and all the equipment that was needed.  We also had a cage that was filled with firewood for sale.  If we needed anything at all Hoodoo supplied it for us.

No maintenace

Hoodoo has a crew that performs all the maintenance.  That includes lawn cutting and weed eating.  They also did all the repairs on the campgrounds whenever needed.  It sure made or life easier.

Would I do it again

You bet!!  All the camp hosts on Baker Lake were invited to return the following summer at our final camp host meeting.  I am hoping to get the same campgrounds.  It was a great job and the pay was good.  I was able to save some money while also visiting much of the surrounding area.  Washington is a very beautiful state.  It was GREEN from the day I got there until the day I left.

Back in the Saddle

Back in the saddle again

I just today realized how nice it is to have great Internet.  I finished up my workamping contract with Hoodoo on Friday and hit the road on Saturday where I spent the first night in Ellensburg, WA.  Then I drove to Redmond, OR the next day where I stayed in Crooked River Ranch at the River Rim RV Park.  I have stayed here many times so know the area and besides it is a Passport America park so saved some money to boot.

Tuesday morning my destination is Alturus, CA and finally arriving in Reno, NV on Wednesday.  I have checkups with my doctors in the area so will probably even get down to Fernley, NV.  I may even get to see some of my friends who worked at Amazon in the previous years.  Of course I have already decided to NOT work at Amazon this year.  I don’t want to go through another winter like last year.

Life without GOOD Internet

Since I arrived at Panorama Point on Baker Lake back in May I realized that Internet or cell phone usage can be very frustrating.  I was able to access the Internet using my Wilson Sleek booster, but I was only able to get a poor 3G signal.  I could not upload or download any pics and reading other blogs was out of the question let alone post my own.  Besides I was working, which took up a great deal of my time.

The worst part was when it rained.  Then I had absolutely no Internet even with my booster.  Yes, it does rain quite a bit in the Northwest.  I had no cell phone usage either unless I utilized my booster.  Sometimes in certain areas I could receive a 1 bar signal which at times would be enough to receive a text message, but not enough to make a phone call.  So communication was very poor.  At least I had a booster unlike the other hosts, who had to drive 10 miles just to make a phone call.

More to follow

I have many pics of my summer I would like to share once I stop traveling and can put together a post.  I just wanted my readers to know that I am fine and enjoying not working at this time.  I am not sure where I am headed after Reno, but will figure that out soon enough.

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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).

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!!!