Sunday, May 16, 2010

Settling In and Our First Days of Work

Current location: Chester, CA

I haven't written much the last few days because we haven't done a whole lot. This site is so beautiful and peaceful, we find that we just want to relax on the deck, watch the fishermen, and have very little desire to do much else.

The view from our deck...why would we ever want to leave?Our site. The lake is in the background. We are away from the main campground and totally secluded, until the cabin (on the left) is rented. We'll enjoy the peace while we can!
Our "beach". This is the lakeshore in front of our site. We're not right on the waterfront, but are separated by a grove of trees.
To give a better perspective, this is the view of our site from the lake. That's us behind that very large dark pine. Very private.
We spent our first few days here just getting to know the lay of the land and our fellow workers. We were the last of the staff to arrive; the others all started when the campground opened on April 30. We've also become somewhat lazy. We're generally up early, thanks to Jasper (his stomach alarm goes off about 6am), but we tend to just hang out for several hours before getting dressed or doing much of anything. Then it takes another hour to have breakfast, get dressed and do the dishes, so before we know it it's 10:00 or later! We rarely had such slow starts in our previous life, but when there's nothing that has to be done, it's easy to just let the time tick on by.
Once dressed, the first order of business is to take Hunter for a walk. He's not a morning dog and usually goes back to sleep after breakfast, so the delayed starts suit him just fine. We've been walking the campground a couple of times a day to familiarize ourselves with the layout. There are roughly 130 sites, and although they are somewhat sequentially laid out, it's a bit of a zig zag route. The sites are also deemed for a specific use - tent sites are for tenters only (no pop-ups, truck campers, vans or RVs allowed); RV sites are for all the rest, but won't allow tents. Some sites have lots of trees and therefore are very shady, but that also limits what size rig can use the site; others are fairly open, so that means sun, but allows for larger RVs. Thankfully, there are good notes on all of this, but it's still helpful to actually view the sites.

A section of the campground. It's hard to tell much through all of the trees, but if you look closely, you will notice picnic tables and fire pits.
Lake Almanor from the campground. There are several lake front sites, but even those that aren't right on the water, have a great view of it.

A different view of the lake. The campground's boat docks are on the left side. There are not many public access points for putting in boats, so we get a lot of day-use boat launchers.

The remainder of our days have been mostly filled with cleaning, reorganizing, restocking, and laundry. Just the general settling in routine. Nothing very exciting to write about, but it feels great to have all of that out of the way.

Our first day of "work" was Saturday. We spent about 4 hours in the store being trained on the reservation system, the cash register, and all of the procedures and policies. Wow, there are a lot of rules here! The owners have tried to develop a fairly strict set of rules to keep the campground quiet and peaceful, but also ensure its profitability. I'm sure there's a very fine line in making the customer happy while still making it enjoyable for all customers. Some of the rules seem a bit excessive, but I know they all came about from previous bad occurrences. Most customers accept them, but there will be a few who complain and question. There's just so much to remember!
It's pretty quiet this time of year, but we did have a couple of phone calls requesting reservations and a few walk-ins for sites that night so it was good to get some real-life experience. All the training seems easy until you have a customer standing in front of you waiting. And then the panic sets in. What do I do first? What if I forget something? But I think we both did pretty well. At least they haven't told us not to come back! Each day will bring a little more confidence. We left our shift on Saturday with the rule book in hand, but ran out of energy before we even made it a quarter of the way through. We have a lot of reading to do. We might have it all down by the end of the season!

Sunday morning, we resumed our training at 8 am! What happened to our leisurely morning?? When Jasper woke us up this morning, we actually had to get up and get moving! We continued our training in the store, mostly just reiterating what we learned yesterday. We also got some training on the management reports. We will both be helping out with the daily income reconciliations.

We worked about 4 1/2 hours yesterday and about 5 1/2 hours today. That doesn't sound like much, but after having 2 months off of working (we both ended our professional careers on March 12, and although we've been hard at work on other things, we haven't had much of a schedule to adhere to) and feeling overwhelmed with so much to learn, it's been tiring. Luckily we have the next 2 days off! Mondays and Tuesdays will be our regular days off so we'll have a little time to let it all sink in.

Other than having set days off, we don't really know what our schedules will be. We do know that we will be spending about 50% of our time in the store; the remainder of the time will be spread out over a little bit of everything else, which is what we requested. Being our first workamping gig, we wanted to experience as much as possible. So we will serve as the rovers, filling in wherever is needed. During the holidays and weekends, I suspect that we'll spend much of our time in the store. The rest of the time, we'll be doing yardwork, helping with boat rentals and launches, cleaning cabins, pumping propane, restocking the bathrooms, running nightly security checks and anything else that comes up. We're excited to get started. Although the leisurely lifestyle was nice for awhile, it will be nice to have a bit more of a routine and a purpose to get up in the morning. Otherwise, I think we would end up becoming slugs!


  1. Great rundown on getting set up as Workampers! Looking forward to hearing how it goes.

  2. Looks Like you have picked a beautiful spot for your first workcamping experience.

  3. Yep, sounds like a typical beginning to a great workamping experience. Keep posting!

    Would love to know more about how those rules end up, we are always flabbergasted when we read some of the rules listed. We wonder, what stupid idiot did this before so that it had to be put into the rule book? Really...seriously? No way...yes way! Unbelieveable!

    Have a great season and thanks for following our blog, you sound just like us. In search of our purpose and a more spiritual way to live our's been working great for us for over 5 years now and no sign of ending anytime soon.

  4. Beautiful place, can't wait to see it. Great commentary too.

  5. Thanks for the introduction to your workamping position. Sounds like you all will be gaining lots of valuable experience! What a beautiful place you chose to spend your first summer and what great memories you will make.
    We begin our camphost position June 1 and I agree with will be nice to have something to put us on a schedule for awhile.

    Take care,
    Mike & Gerri