CURRENT WORKAMPING ASSIGNMENTS:
Adventureland, Altoona, IA, Summer of 2015
UPCOMING WORKAMPING ASSIGNMENTS:
WORKAMPING ASSIGNMENTS I AM APPLYING FOR AND HOPING TO GET:
Somewhere in New Mexico for the winter of 2015/2016.
Previous assignments I have completed:
* Worked during summer of 2014 at Adventureland Amusement Park near Des Moines, IA. This was a paid job where I worked in Retail. I also had occasional assignments in RIDES because they were short handed. At this employment area, there is a really nice RV park within walking distance of the employment area. The general public stays in the RV Park, too, but if you are a workamper, they charge a very small amount for the entire summer. You have to stay the entire season to get the great deal. I am planning to go back for the summer of 2015. The RV park has plenty of laundry machines spread around the park. I was always able to do laundry when I needed.
There is a Wal-Mart a scant mile from the RV park. You can walk to it, if you are in good health and don't buy too many groceries. Or, I was able to ride my scooter to Wal-Mart. There is also a Hy Vee grocery store about three miles away. I was able to ride my scooter there, no problem. Occasionally, a nice workamper neighbor would invite me along when they went grocery shopping. There is also a dentist, and a "walk in" medical clinic a scant mile away. I was able to ride my scooter to the medical clinic when I had a couple of minor medical issues.
If you get tired of cooking, there are a few restaurants (such as Perkins Restaurant and Bakery ) within walking distance. Plus, there are a few fast food restaurants around the Wal-Mart. Short ride on my scooter.
I was able to easily rent a car when I needed from Enterprise, or I was able to call a taxi.
If you don't tow a car, a workamping assignment here at Adventureland can easily work for you.
*Gingko/Wanapum State Park near Vantage, WA (May 2009, March 2010, May 2010, March 2011, March 2012, and March 2015).
This is a beautiful but small (50 spaces) park in the middle of Washington State along Interstate 90. May 2009 was the first time I had camp hosted EVER. The nearest town, Vantage, didn't have a grocery store, just a "convenience" store. Nearest grocery store was 30 miles away. I stocked up on food before I got here, and had WAY TOO MUCH. Also, this State Park didn't have laundry facilities, so twice I had to unhook the RV and drive 3 miles to Vantage to do laundry. Little bit of a pain, but not bad.
This park gets a lot of business from people who attend concerts at the Gorge. If there is a concert, the park is usually booked full. The weekend of May 15, 2009 featured the Grateful Dead (along with Doobie Brothers and Allman Brothers) at the Gorge. Park was full, but wasn't bad for duties. I survived the "Deadheads." On the other hand, Memorial Day weekend was also packed, to include people attending "Sasquatch Festival," and I was very busy!
- Sell firewood
- Fill ice bags and sell ice
- Campground surveillance (extra vehicles, any problems or issues) of campground, boat ramp, and day use area
- Trash Pickup
The crew here was wonderful, a bunch of really fun people!
My only complaint was that I couldn't get FOX (or other channels) on my TV Antenna! This was desperate! I had to watch Jack Bauer save the world on the last three hours of "24!" (Note to self: Next time I camp host, bring CD's and DVD's in case I can't get TV stations.) Ended up downloading the last three episodes of "24" from the FOX website. Each episode took 400 mg on my air card. Not bad. Didn't exceed my 5 GB limit. UPDATE: During my March 2012 hosting stint, I discovered you cannot get any TV channels over the air. The Ranger said a lot of tranlator transmitter towers were removed. It was the same in March 2015, when I hosted again. No TV reception over the air.
Also, if you host at this park, it does get windy. During the time I was there for May 2009, I endured 9 windstorms of from 20 mph to 40 mph. Some lasted 12 hours, starting at 7:00 in the evening and going to 7:00 AM the next day. But, the crew was so wonderful, I ended up camphosting again for subsequent sessions in subsequent years.
When I hosted in MARCH 2010, I had a bit of a "challenge." For the first couple of weeks in March, the park was in "winter" mode. This means they were open weekends only, and NO WATER HOOKUPS! There is a "winter water fill" near the park entrance. With a little planning and conserving, I was able to go five nights on one 45 gallon freshwater tank. I had to unhook and drive to the winter water faucet (about 50 yards) for water.
On the other hand, having to unhook, and drive once in awhile is probably a good thing. I'm parked on a gravel pad. Even after you get your RV "level," the RV still tends to "sink" a bit in the dirt/gravel. Having to drive for the water every few days gives me a chance to "re-level" the RV.
On March 17, 2010, the rangers put the water faucets back on. YAY! Rest of the month was pretty uneventful, not much wind that I can remember (although it can get windy here!).
When I hosted again in MAY 2010, I endured four days in a row of extreme wind (common for this area). This time the wind was so bad it knocked down two tall Russian Olive trees in one of the campsites. The trees fell over, knocked right out of the ground, roots and all! Fortunately, it was a weekday (not too many visitors) and no one was in the campsite. After the Ranger chopped it up, I helped haul it to the chipper shredder pile.
Also, during this time, I decided to see if I could drive my laundry to town on my E-Bike. On May 6, it was a beautiful day (no wind!), and partly cloudy, about 65 degrees. I straddled my laundry bag between my legs and rode to Vantage (3 miles). It was cumbersome, but I did it! Sure beats the pain of unhooking the RV, putting things away so I can drive, etc.
During the hosting I did in March 2015, I was able to rent a car from Enterprise in Ellensburg, WA. This way, I could do laundry in Ellensburg, which had much better laundry facilities than Vantage. Also, I was able to shop at Fred Meyer in Ellensburg, or Wal-Mart in Ephrata. See post on "Rental Cars."
* A two month VOLUNTEER assignment in Kentucky workamping (for free camping only) with US Fish and Wildlife at a Fish Hatchery in Jamestown, KY.
I left my home on June 20, 2009, arrived on July 7, 2009. Stayed until September 8, 2009. This picture on the left is my RV spot at the Wolf Creek Fish Hatchery. NICE! The picture on the right is how close the deer come to the campspots, both in the morning, and the evening. There are five RV's here volunteering, I got the "end" spot (which is the PRIMO spot!). The RV spots have good spacing between them, so I can blast my favorite CD's (any JOSH GROBAN fans?) and don't have to worry about annoying the others. I am ten miles from Jamestown, a bit far for my little e-bike. However, I can unhook and go somewhere on my days off.
* A 30 Day Hosting during July 2010 and July 2011 at Sun Lakes/Dry Falls State Park near Coulee City, WA .
This is a larger park with two camping areas, the main camp area with 100+ tent and RV sites, and the smaller Bretz campground with 30 RV utility sites and one group camp area that holds up to 100 people. The good news is.... I get free laundry here! YAY! I don't have to unhook and go somewhere.
As for my Verizon Air Card:
- In 2010, I had a 3G Verizon Air Card, and it didn't work at all. My cell phone barely got a signal. But, the park had a "courtesy DSL connection" for hosts with laptops. Bit of a pain to drag my laptop down to the office every day but it worked for me.
- In 2011, I had a Verizon 4G Air Card, and it worked VERY SLUGGISH. If it got windy, I got no signal at all. My cell phone faded in and out. My newest wireless device, "Home Phone Connect" from Verizon, was pretty dependable, even if the signal was weak.
There is a nearby resort (part of the state park, but operated on a concession permit) within walking distance that has a store with most of the food basics (overpriced, but still....). If you don't tow a car, you can easily get by hosting here and not have to worry about going anywhere for laundry or food. Plus, there are peddle boats and canoes to rent. The park has swimming, boating, golfing, and mini golf. Plenty do do! Don't have to go anywhere as long as you have enough food.
There are four hosts here:
Main Campground Host - gets free phone and free hookup, and is in a shady spot, but jammed in close to other RV spots. Can easily do this without a tow car.
Day Use Host - gets free hookup over near Ranger Residences. Can easily do this without a tow car. The worst thing about this volunteer opportunity is perhaps shoveling "goose poo."
Bretz Campground host - gets free hookup, has a spot away from the campground, but has no shade. Can easily do this without a tow car.
Camp Delaney (Environmental Learning Center for groups) - gets free hookup, but is way out about 2 miles from the park. This is a neat hosting assignment, but I would not do it without a tow car, too isolated.
Also, volunteers at the interpretive center get free sites. I'm glad I didn't volunteer for the interpretive center. It's 3 miles from the campground. I could get there on my bike, but if I HAD to ride the bike every day to get there and I got a flat tire, I would be hosed and have no way to get there but to walk. Being a campground host at this park, having my bike is a plus, but not a necessity.
This campground is very busy in the summer. I would recommend anyone who wants to host here have previous hosting experience SOMEWHERE. If it's your first time camp hosting, you might want to come in early Spring or Late Fall, or ask for Bretz or Day Use. Bretz or Day Use might be better for "first timers." If you host here in the busy summer without having done this before, it could be a little overwhelming. The picture below is the Bretz campground.
* A Five Week Hosting Assignment at Alta Lake State Park near Brewster, WA.
I was here from August 12 - September 17. This is a beautiful park in the Cascade Mountains. There are three camping loops, one loop is close to Alta Lake. If you get a tent spot on the lake, you are allowed to anchor your boat at your tent spot (after launching at the boat launch).
There are 120 sites or so, consisting of both tent and RV. Basically, at this park, I just pick up litter, clean fire pits, and answer questions. There are two camp hosts here, but they only use two during the busiest part of the summer. I met the other host couple, they were getting ready to leave, as I was arriving. One of the camp host spots is in a woodsy area, very spacious, lots of shade, gets a decent signal on the Verizon air card, but the down sides are that it's next to the restroom building and the spot is somewhat cumbersome to get into. The previous camp host couple was in a Travel Trailer in this spot and even they had difficulty. The other camp host spot is in the lake loop, easy to back into, good view of lake and Day Use area, but the down sides are no shade and can't get a Verizon signal. Take your pick! I spent the first week at the Lake host site, until the electrical box fried. Fortunately, no damage so far to my RV. I moved to the other camp host spot. Toward the end of my stay, I moved back to the first spot because the Rangers wanted to close the other loops down. The electrical box still wasn't fixed, so I parked midway between the camp host spot and the next one over, and plugged into the next one over.
No laundry facilities here, the closest town(s) are Twisp, 30 miles one direction, and Chelan, 30 miles the other direction. I was told the better laundry facilities are in Twisp. This is my experience doing laundry while I was here:
- Weeks 1, 3, and 4: I went to Twisp. The laundry facilities are near a gas station and a nice grocery store. Very nice laundromat, but somewhat pricey at $2.50 per wash, despite having the large front loaders. The dyers gave you 8 minutes for each quarter. I had to park next door at the grocery store ( Hank's Harvest Foods ) which had plenty of room for a few RV's. If you do laundry here in Twisp, be sure to buy some stuff from Hank's Harvest Foods if you use their parking lot.
I did not take my e-bike on this trip, left it at home.
This picture below was taken from my RV while I was in the lake loop host site, and is of a few of the tent sites.
* A One Month Assignment in Idaho: During October 2010, I completed a one month assignment at Farragut State Park in Idaho. Farragut State Park in Athol, ID is a beautiful park, very woodsy. There are four campgrounds (Waldron, Gilmore, Snowberry, and Whitetail) with two to three hosts per campground.
I hosted during October, so only one campground was open (Waldron). Since it wasn't busy that month, I was the only camp host. Normally, each campground area has 2-3 hosts who trade off. The good news is, the park has laundry facilities for the hosts. The bad news is.... it's not within walking distance. Also, my Verizon air card didn't work here even though my Verizon cell phone did work (barely....). So, the challenges here were laundry and Wi-Fi.
There is a Wi-Fi that can be accessed up near the park facilities shop area, but it was a Wi-Fi service that you have to pay for. It apparently works in any Idaho State Park that has the service. One price gets you access for a year. At the time, the Wi-Fi was offering a price of $21 for the rest of the calendar year. I thought about it, but decided not to.
For Wi-Fi, the rangers suggested driving to Bayview, ID (four miles from the park) to a place called Ralphs. Ralphs is a coffee shop, with a laundromat, and free Wi-Fi. I tried this the first week I was there, and found no adequate place to park the RV. I finally drove to Rathdrum, ID and found a laundry place, which was also within range for my Air Card. I sat outside in my RV and used my computer while my laundry was in progress. Did I mention that the laundry prices were expensive? $2.50 for a wash!
For the remainder of my stay at Farragut, I used the laundry facilities at the park. The park had a very nice washer that could take large loads, and a very good dryer. Better than paying $2.50 for washing at a local laundromat! But I still had to drive my RV to a nearby town once a week so I could sit in a parking lot and use my Air Card. This took a lot of planning. I had to write down a list of things to do on the computer (download this bill, pay that bill, check email, post on boards). This required coordinating billing dates and dates bills were available online with the weekly trip.
This was a bit of a pain, but I wouldn't let that stop anyone from camp hosting at Farragut State Park. This is a beautiful park, and the Rangers were great to work with. Since I hosted in October, I was the only camp host. If you host in the summer, there are other hosts. October is a very relaxing time to host at this state park, if you don't mind being the only host.
Also, since it was October, the Rangers shut down the water about mid-month. The Rangers, bless their hearts, tried really, really hard to find a way to leave my water faucet available. But it didn't work out. The Visitors Center had a working faucet on the outside of the building. On the days I drove to Rathdrum to check email, I stopped at the park's Visitor's Center on the way back and filled my tank. I appreciate the effort the Rangers made to make my stay comfortable and fun!
The top picture is my spot. The bottom picture is where the other two camp hosts would be if there were three camp hosts in this loop.
* A One Month Assignment at OCEAN CITY STATE PARK - Ocean Shores, WA (December 2010, September 2011, June 2012, and June 2013)
DECEMBER 2010: Temperatures are in the 40's/50's. This is a FUN time to camp host! It might be BRISK out there in 40 degree temperatures, but this is a way to REALLY be RVing and see to what extremes you can do in your RV! I was there through Christmas and New Years.
SEPTEMBER 2011: Temperatures were in the 50's and 60's. All four loops were open, and I got to see what the previously "flooded" loops look like when they aren't flooded! The first three weekends were pretty busy and full with Labor Day, and then special events the next two weekends. The last weekend wasn't as full, and it started to be misty and wet.
JUNE 2012: Temperatures were in the 60's with occasional sunny days in low 70's. Rained most of the time. All four loops were open, and some camp spots had mud problems due to the rain. Stayed there until July 5. Park was pretty full on July 4th. Had some nice weather in the 70's over the 4th.
JUNE 2013: Temperatures in the 60's with occasional sunny days in low 70's. The Park participated in the local community Flag Day celebration.
The staff at this park was great and very helpful.
Also, I'm learning about standards for hazardous materials exposure. Further, since this park is on the Washington coastline, there are posters about rip tides and Tsunami warnings. During my September 2011 hosting, we had a Tsunami drill. Camping Guests could ignore it, but I had to "duck and cover" or whatever it was.
* Three Assignments at SEAQUEST STATE PARK - Castle Rock, WA
During the winter session in 2011, I had a 3G Verizon Air card, and it worked just fine. However, in May 2012, I had the 4G Air Card and had trouble getting a good signal. But, as long as I didn't need to shop for any food, I didn't have to leave. During the May 2013 stint, I had the Verizon JetPack. Didn't work at all. Verizon let me temporarily switch back to the 4G Air Card, and I barely got a signal as long as I was outside and it wasn't raining.
During the January/February 2011 time, I did not have the EGO bike with me. The starter shorted out while I was at Ocean City State Park during December 2010. My fault, it rained the whole month and I didn't put the cover on. My bike was repaired in Port Townsend at Townsend Electric. Colin of Townsend Electric was highly recommended. It appears that this business repairs all kinds of electric items, to include the EGO bikes. It would have been nice to have the bike while here, as the city of Castle Rock is 5 miles away, an easy ride. On the other hand, I brought the bike during the May 2012, and it was great for riding to Castle Rock for groceries. I also had it during May 2013, but never got to ride it. I had RV problems twice during this stay, so I pulled out and went to Uhlmann RV in Chehalis, WA (good folks!). I did my shopping during that time.
Seaquest State Park is across the street from the Mt. St. Helens Visitor Center. Camp Hosts are allowed free admission in order to inform camping guests about this facility.
* A Six Week Assignment at Eleven Mile State Park - Lake George, CO
* A one month Assignment at Stephen C. Foster State Park - Fargo, GA
STEPHEN C. FOSTER STATE PARK in FARGO, GA. I hosted here in November 2011. Temperatures were in the 70's and 80's. YAY! This park is far away from everything. My Verizon cell phone BARELY got a signal, but my Verizon HOME PHONE CONNECT worked fine! I barely had a signal on it, but it worked fine! On the other hand, my Verizon Air Card didn't work at all.
As for laundry, there are laundry machines here, CHEAP! $1 to wash, $1 to dry. The park has a way to reimburse you for your laundry costs, so your laundry is essentially free.
If you host here, you get some GREAT perks! You can go on the swamp tours or rent a boat FREE, space available. Ok, on the down side, you have to clean bathrooms. '
There are two host positions, but at the time I was there, I was the only host. I had to take care of 68 sites in two loops. It wasn't too bad.
* A 4 week Assignment at Cross Ranch State Park near Center/Hensler, ND
I hosted here for Session 3 (mid July - mid August) for both 2012 and 2013. I like the fact that North Dakota does 4 week "sessions" as opposed to "calendar months." These "sessions" can nicely dovetail into a schedule both after coming off and before going back to a "calendar month" hosting job.
The park features primitive sites within a wildlife management refuge. There are also RV electric sites at the Sanger Campground. This park is along the Missouri River. Here is my camp host site:
This park has some great cabins to stay in, complete with cooking facilities, refrigerators, bedrooms, and family rooms. No bathrooms, have to use the vault toilet outside. In addition, there are some fabulous Yurts with propane stoves in them for wintertime use. This park has lots of activities. The park Interpretive Specialist had some very interesting programs for children. We learned to make ice cream without needing an ice cream machine. We even learned how to add berries to the ice cream. We had a good program on geocaching. Also, the park hosts some great concerts of bluegrass music. One weekend was the "BlueGrass Goes Pink" concert featuring the band Special Consensus from Chicago, as well as a local bluegrass band called Cottonwood.
This park did not have laundry facilities, so once a week I had to unhook the RV and drive to Washburn to do laundry. But..... since North Dakota gives you that wonderful benefit of a 10 night free camping pass, I used those days to drive to another park and spend one night. You are encouraged to do that!
If you haven't hosted in North Dakota before, I highly recommend applying to host in North Dakota. They have some great parks!
* A 4 week Assignment at Icelandic State Park near Cavalier, ND.
I have had a wonderful time here hosting during Session 4 (mid August to mid September) both in 2012 and 2013.
GEM CAR . Those are the coolest things to drive. Electric!
This park features 160 camping sites that include three cute little cabins, three modern camping loops that have all pull-through sites with water and electricity, three "hike in" tent sites down by the lake, and one primitive camping loop with a vault toilet.
This was also a very busy park. The wonderful Canadians to the north like to come to this park.
One of the things that kind of surprised me was the "North Dakota thing" of shared water faucets. I saw this at other North Dakota State Parks I stayed in. One water faucet is placed between every two camping spots, and you share the water faucet with your neighbor. You need about 50 and sometimes 75 feet of hose to connect to the water faucet, depending on the configuration of your RV and the location of the water faucet.
The park has two trailers for seasonal staff: A women's trailer and a men's trailer. Both had washers and dryers. I was allowed a key to the women's trailer, and I was allowed to do laundry there.
After the Labor Day Weekend rush, I was trained on how to collect money for camping permits. I got to do that for the period of time I was here after Labor Day.
Among the "services" offered at this park are:
- compressor for filling up air mattresses, etc.
- free use of a "blue boy" in case your tanks got full while you were camping.
With this park being 6 miles from the city of Cavalier, I was hoping to use my E-bike to ride to Cavalier. Discovered that I could not, because North Dakota requires all scooters, to include electric scooters, to be licensed. Another thing: There was some road construction to the park entryway that necessitated a 3 mile detour over a rough gravel road both in 2012 and 2013. No way could I ride my scooter over that!
In 2012, I had so much fun I didn't leave when I was supposed to! I stayed an extra two weeks! Ok, the real truth, the day after Labor Day, I stepped out of my RV and stepped wrong and fell, tearing some ligaments in my left ankle. Fortunately a friend was visiting at the time. The friend took me to the doctor, where I was given one of those "velcro moon boots" to wear. Actually, the rangers graciously let me stay an extra two weeks so my ankle could heal up before I drove home. I finally left on September 25 of 2012, but ankle wasn't all the way healed. I left just before the snow came to North Dakota. But I still had a wonderful time!
In 2013, I had a great time!
* Gold Beach/Brookings, OR (October 2013 - March 2014).
If you workamp or stay in Gold Beach or Brookings, OR, you can get by without a tow car, but it does require a lot of planning. Between Curry Public Transit, Dial A Ride, and rental cars, you can make it work. I worked at Turtle Rock Resort which is a couple miles south of Gold Beach. These are the parks in Gold Beach, OR and these are the parks in Brookings, OR.
The Coastal Express schedule runs Monday through Friday with very limited service. The Dial A Ride runs Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday (but not Thursday) in Gold Beach between 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM, and Monday - Friday in Brookings from 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM.
Rental cars are available both in Brookings and Gold Beach. In Brookings, it's Carpenter Auto Rental, which is near the Rays Supermarket where Curry Public transit drops you off; and Little Bay Motor Company further down Highway 101. As of this writing, prices are approximately $40 a day with a limit of 50 miles or $60 a day with unlimited mileage (based on rental from Carpenter Auto, I didn't get a chance to try Little Bay). The cars are not new, they are basically "rent a wrecks" but the cars are in good condition. In Gold Beach, rental cars are available at Port of Gold Beach. As of this writing, prices are $25 a day PLUS 25 cents a mile. There is no "unlimited" mileage option. If you just want to drive around Gold Beach, the Port rentals work fine, but I wouldn't use this option for driving to, say, Coos Bay. If you wanted to drive a distance, it would be better to take Curry Public Transit down to Brookings to get a car with unlimited mileage.
If you are workamping, try to get a schedule where you are working weekends, and your days off are on weekdays. This way you have the public transit available to you. While working at Turtle Rock, I worked Thursday - Saturday, which left me Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday to use the public transit and rental cars when I needed. I also used my EGO Scooter Bike when possible.