Kevin, out for a hike in the beautiful country of Lesotho, Africa. Photo taken February 13, 2014.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Osgoode, Ontario, Canada. Just south of Ottawa.

And where are they going next? We leave November 1st for a six week trip to Romania and Moldova.

Monday, August 4, 2014

A day in the life of campground managers

Ruth was up around 7:00am yesterday. I was closer to 7:30am. Slept like a rock. I had called the RCMP and asked if they could do a drive through late Saturday evening, and apparently they had done so. They even called back and left a message that everything was okay.

After the fireworks, most people had called it a night, so we were a little surprised that it was a fairly quiet Saturday night considering it was a long weekend and we're full up.

But yesterday during the day was busy for us.

It started with a water problem.

There's a trail behind our house and someone had pointed out to me that it looked like there was a lot of water pooled around the back of the house.

Hmm. That doesn't sound right. So I went and had a look.

Sure enough, there was a lot of water and it was even running like a stream. Yikes. So, off to find where it was coming from!

I walked around that side of the house, but didn't see an obvious source. There's a row of RV sites on the other side of the bushes though, so I headed over that way.

I didn't have to go far and I saw the problem. Water...gurgling up through the ground, just like an underground stream. My first thought was of Jed Clampett. Too funny. "Up through the ground came a bubblin' crude". The water was coming up just like the oil in the opening scene of The Beverly Hillbillies!

I should have taken a pic of it.

Anyhow, I obviously had an underground water leak to deal with. Great.

And, I couldn't turn off the water to that particular section of the campground. Of course it's been added on to over the years, but this was in the original section and so there was no valve that shuts it off here...just from the main pump.

So I went and got a shovel and dug it up. It was pretty easy to dig because the force of the water had broken up all the earth. The break was about a foot down, and it wasn't actually a break. This section had been repaired before and one of the connectors had broken loose. Of course my one foot deep hole was totally full of water so I could only feel around with my hands. I put the one end back together, but the pressure was too high and it wouldn't stay which is why it broke in the first place.

So I went and turned down the pressure to the whole campground. We normally keep it at between 70-80 psi, and I put it down to 50 psi. I went back and put the connection back together and it held!

So then I went and got the wet dry shop vac, and sucked out all the water out of the hole. Now, at least I could see what I was doing. The connector they had used is cheap plastic, and I had bought some stainless steel ones just a few weeks ago. But on a Sunday morning at 9:00am, half the park is using showers and it's certainly not a good time to shut the water off to the whole park!

Anyhow, the leak is now down to a drip instead of pouring out.

By this point, I was covered in mud. Went in and changed real quick and cleaned the mud off that was up to my elbows.

Fun stuff.

I checked some messages on the office telephone. One anonymous complaint about someone's dog in another section of the park. The message is so garbled that I can't make it all out. Then it was off to do a garbage run.

Driving up to the shop to empty the first load, I see someone with their dog off leash. Why don't people get it?? It's so simple...dogs have to be restrained, you have to pick up after them and they can't annoy anyone with constant barking. Anyhow, stopped and explained the rules and settled that.

Meanwhile, Ruth goes around and cleans up the bathrooms. But she found that too many were still in use so it didn't make the job easy. But she could still make sure the hand towel dispensers were full and that there weren't any problems. By the time she got totally done, she went and sat at the entrance gate to check for vehicle passes and sell them to those who needed them.

A lot of people out on the lake during the afternoon, so the park seems a little quieter and I actually went in and grabbed a half hour nap. Tough to get any more than that because someone eventually rings the office buzzer.

Did another garbage run, and took orders for after supper wood delivery. Picking up the odd scrap of trash or empty drink containers along the way. It's funny, but I left an obvious empty coke can in an strategic spot just to see if anybody else would pick it up.

Nope. An hour later it was still there. I expect at least 50 people would have walked right by it and nobody picked it up. I know...most of you would have picked it up. :-)

The gate was fairly quiet by 6:00pm so Ruth shut things down there and came and we actually had supper at a decent hour for a change.

After dinner, I was approached by someone complaining about dogs barking. He said that between the dogs barking and the woman owner yelling at the dogs to shut up, he wasn't sure which was worse!

This is the third complaint that I've fielded this year regarding dogs at this person's site, and it was only this morning that Ruth caught one of the dogs (I think they have three) off leash. It's at one of our seasonal sites, so I had to go have a chat with the owner of the site and explain that one more complaint and the dogs are no longer welcome. You can only give someone so many chances to follow the rules, and this is their last chance.

I went and delivered a few bundles of wood between 8:00 and 9:00pm and finally shut off the lights to the office around 9:30pm.

Just walked in the door and Ruth was on her way out to do a final check on one of the bathrooms.

Ten minutes later, a group of early teen girls knocked on the door to say that the washroom nearest us was "kind of a mess, and there's water on the floor". Hmm. That doesn't sound good.

I radioed Ruth and she went and checked it out. Keeping in mind that this is the women's bathroom, someone had ripped the shower curtain down and all of the rings were broken and bent and lying on the shower floor. Water was everywhere. Who knows what happened in there, or why.

Enough to make you shake your head.

Did a walk around the park at 11:15, and then off to bed, with the alarm set for 2:15am. Went for another walk then, and spoke to three or four different campfire gatherings reminding them what time it was and to keep their voices down. Nobody out of control though, so that was good.

So that was our day. How was yours??!!

That should be the worst of it though. The campground will wind down from here to mid September although we'll still have the odd busy time for sure.

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  1. Sounds like a full day! The dog barking thing is always a concern when we are camping. I got very lucky with a dog that almost never barks, but I still keep him on leash and make sure he is kind and respectful. I don't know why it's so hard for other dog parents to understand that.
    Good that you address that though, even with a seasonal camper. It's important for them to know that it's a problem.

    1. We have had VERY few complaints here at the campground but out of the few that we have had has to do with dogs in some way. The majority of campers have their dogs on a leash, pick up after them and the dogs are mostly quiet but there are always a few that seem to think the rules don't apply to them. When we see a problem though we definitely speak to the owners right away.

  2. That $75 printer has three GREAT features: ink tanks (not expensive cartridges), auto-duplex, and AirPrint. With nearly 2000 reviews and 1000 answered questions, sounds like a much better deal than The Munsters :)

    I bet the quietness late Saturday night was due to the RCMP visit. Too bad they cannot ride their horses in from the Yukon every weekend night!

    1. But I love The Munsters! Apparently I'm the only one...nobody bought any Munsters DVD's yesterday... :-(

  3. I suspect someone fell down in the shower and grabbed the curtain on the way down.
    Judging by your daily routine, I don't think Shelagh and I would have the patience to be camp hosts.
    Respect to you and Ruth.

    1. I never thought of that...yes, maybe someone fell.

      I think it's important to qualify the difference between campground managers and campground hosts. This is a full time seasonal job, where we are paid a full time salary. Normally, camp hosts have minimal duties and their only remuneration is a free campsite.

  4. I bow down to your superior Camping Hosting prowess. Not a job for me. I'd be punting people and their annoying dogs out left right and center. Only reason I don't have something to say about our neighbour's dog is, she and I are of a like mind when it comes to squirrels and raccoons, but we won't 'go there'.
    I too thought of Jed Clampett as soon as you mentioned the water coming up out of the ground. Must have been brainwashed by the Beverly Hillbillies.

    1. All in all it really hasn't been too bad but then you get one of those days and this was one of them.

  5. hm... that should read "Camp Hosting". One to many "ings" in there.....

  6. I know you guys are getting paid to do this job, but it can't possibly be enough. A little bit of a slow down would be nice. Give you more of a chance to keep planning your future adventures.

    1. Believe it or not we are getting paid well enough. Our quiet days in May and the beginning of June help to make up for days like this. Luckily we haven't had many of them like this. Have to admit though we are really starting to look forward to September.

  7. Like Jim and Sandie said. You must be making good money to do all that.. It's almost

    1. Yep, we are now over the busiest part of the season so it is pretty much downhill for here. Our weekends will still be on the busy side but it should be quieter during the week.

  8. The broken rungs and shower curtain on floor reminds of when I fell in the shower stall. Instinctively I grabbed anything to break my fall and it was the shower curtain and the curtain rod as they fell along with me. If it hadn't been for the shower curtain, I'm sure I'd had broken bones or hit my head on edge of toilet seat or the hard tiled floor. I think some fell in the shower....hope they didn't get hurt.

    1. I am not sure that someone fell. The shower curtain was dragged out into the main part of the bathroom and the way the shower curtain hooks were spread around, along with a pair of wet underpants and a few "feminine products" left lying around is what makes me think that it wasn't a fall but I guess we may never know. As you said if someone did fall I certainly hope they didn't hurt themselves.

  9. I marvel at the seriousness with which you and Ruth take your management jobs. I hope these owners appreciate how well taken care of their park is. You guys are great and it's not an easy 9-5 job. I do enjoy reading about how you both handle things as they come up. However, I also know you both enjoy those months when you don't have to put up with barking, non-tethered ohs, screeching dog owners and people who destroy restrooms - what's the thrill in that?
    I've never been able to figure out what people get out of making messes in restrooms! Geezzz!
    Happy Monday Evening, Friends . .

    1. Nope, it certainly isn't a 9-5 job that is for sure but for the most part it has been a great summer. We do have those days where it seems like the day will never end but as long as things go smoothly we are OK with that. It's just when on those days where you have a a crisis come up and you really don't have the time to deal with it but it has to be dealt with, that throws a bit of a wrench into the day.

  10. I don't get the part of haning around a campfire until 2 a.m.

    1. It just seems to be the thing to do around here!


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