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.

Anacortes Weekend

Old post

This is an old post I wrote but couldn’t post since the Internet connection was sooooo bad.  I don’t remember the exact dates.

Chica has the shits

Not sure what happened, but I think it was something she ate (maybe a bug or something) but Chica came down with the shits.  What a bummer for her and me.  She wasn’t a very happy camper for a few days as you can see from this pic.

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I took her to the vet and she checked out A-OK there.  They gave me some medicine for her tummy and she is much better now.

Met up with Marti and Charlie again

Marti and Charlie wrote that they were going to Anacortes over on Fidalgo Island and wanted to know if I could join them.  I made plans with my other hosts to fill in for me and off I went late Sunday afternoon.  The weather here had been raining all week so I called Charlie to make sure they were still going.  They were already at Anacortes and the weather was nice and sunny so I headed over there.

Parked at the marina

They already had a spot at the marina so I pulled in next to them.  What a gorgeous view!  I forgot to take a pic during the day so this will have to do.  Quite a difference from out in the woods where I have been all summer.

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Ferry to San Juan Island

On Monday morning we walked down to the bus stop where we caught a bus to the San Juan Island Ferry.  The ferry ride is well over an hour to get there as we passed several islands on the way.

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Friday Harbor on San Juan Island

We got off the ferry at Friday Harbor, the main town on the San Juan Island where we climbed aboard a tour bus.

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Our first destination was English Camp.

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This is the only place in America  where the British flag is the only flag flying.

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The gardens there are really beautiful and well manicured.

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On to Roche Harbor

Boarded the bus again and went on to Roche Harbor.  You pay one fee and you can get on or off the bus anywhere you wish.  It was great for seeing different sites on San Juan Island.

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What a beautiful harbor.  Lots of yachts and a beautiful hotel.

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Here is a great pic of Marti and Charlie in the garden path in front of the hotel.

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A pic of yours truly after landing his yacht in the harbor.  HA!!

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Then we boarded the bus to return to Friday Harbor.  We stopped and had a drink just before boarding the ferry for our return trip to Anacortes on Fidalgo Island.  I got this pic of a taxi out in front of the bar.

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This is our ferry.  If I remember right it was about a 1 1/2 hour ferry ride back to Anacortes.

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Our final day in Anacortes we got out the bikes and they showed me some very neat spots on the Island.

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Thanks Marti and Charlie AGAIN for such a wonderful weekend.  You guys are the BEST tour guides in the Seattle area.  I had a wonderful time.

Still alive and Kickin’

Sorry for not posting

I had to look up the last time I made a post and found it was July 3.  That is awful!  You know I am not one to post every day as I feel I just don’t have too much to say.  But still I should do better then I have been.

I am still camphosting in the Mt Baker Snolqualmie National Forest and loving it.  However I am working a bit more then I thought I would.  With that said I am usually very tired at the end of the day and just want to relax with Chica.  My hosting job will come to an end shortly after Labor Day and the it will be back on the road again.

Lousy Internet

My Internet up here is nothing to right home about.  If I didn’t have a Wilson Sleek booster I wouldn’t even be able to send this.  It is extremely slow and I can’t upload pics without going into town.  When it rains, as it does quite often, the Internet goes down the drain.  Then I can’t even access the Internet.  I can get good 4G in Concrete, but I am usually busy shopping or doing laundry.  Trying to upload pics is almost impossible.

Chica doing great 

Chica is doing great but misses me during the day while I am attending to campgrounds.  She loves to run around up here in the woods.  It will be nice when I am no longer working so I can spend more time with her.

Very busy days

My work days are usually 8-10 hours depending on the day.  Normally I take care of 3 separate campgounds and have to visit each at least twice per day.  It involves a lot of driving.  Two days a week I have to fill in for another camphost who has those days off.  Then my days get really long, so not really too energetic about writing a blog post.  But it has been worth it as I have been able to save some money and decided not to work at Amazon this winter, but go south instead to AZ.

I have had some great times with Marti and Charlie and will still post later on a couple of Anacortes trips.  This area is really beautiful.

Till later,

Jim

Sleepless in Seattle – Part 2

Continuing my Seattle Weekend

This is a continuation of my weekend with Marti and Charlie in Seattle.  I would have posted it much sooner, but I have been experiencing Internet access problems.  I finally got them straightened out and will mention that later.

What a statue!

This guy painted himself grey and was posing in front of a shop just outside Pike Place Market.  You could not tell if he was a statue or a real person until he moved.  It was really amazing.

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Ferry to Bainbridge Island

After we ate lunch we walked down to the pier where we hoped the ferry over to Bainbridge Island.  It was just a short ride over but you really had some nice views of the city.

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Marti took a pic of me with Seattle in the background.

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Here is a pic of the island.

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Once we got to the island we turned around and took the ferry back.

Great view of Seattle

Then we took a bus back to the car and drove over to Kerry Park in the North Queen Ann section.  There I could also get some great pics of the city.

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Charlie and Marti overlooking the city.

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Theo’s Chocolate in Fremont

After that we drove to the Fremont section of the city and checked out Theo’s Chocolates.  They were the first free trade organic chocolatier in the US.  I had to get some while I was there and am still enjoying it.

Ballard Locks

The locks were very interesting.  They connected Lake Washington to the ocean.  There was a large tour boat going through as we were there.

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They also have a fish ladder for the salmon going upstream to spawn.  You could go under the lock and see the fish migrating, but there were no fish moving through at that time.

Seattle Mariners baseball

The next day we drove down to the Hospice where Charlie volunteers to meet some other people.  Charlie had organized an outing to see the Seattle Mariners play the San Diego Padres.  We all walked over to the Safeco Field just a few blocks away.

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Charlie and I were very lucky as the only people who joined us were girls.

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It was a great time.

A really great weekend

It was a very busy weekend and Marti and Charlie took me everywhere.  It was really terrific that they showed me so much of the great city of Seattle.  Thank you both again for being such great tour guides.

More Northwest adventures to come.

 

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.

 

 

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.