Waiting for the iron ore train at Choum, Mauritania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Nouakchott, Mauritania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Back to Morocco on January 31st.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Push Button for Service

Most of these regional parks in Saskatchewan (there are around 90 of them) started out back in the 1960's or 1970's. Many began as just a place for a group of guys to go camping and fishing.

As time went on they grew to include other services. Some of them now have swimming pools or even golf courses. Each one seems to have a specific attraction. Last year, our park was known for it's fantastic fishing. The main attraction here at Cabri Regional Park seems to be recreational boating.

But as these parks evolved, they've actually become small businesses instead of just a place for the guys to go camping. On an annualized basis, many of these parks do a half a million dollars in revenue. And even though they have non-profit status, the customer is still number one and as a business, it needs to be run professionally.

For example, you know those cheap walkie-talkie style radios? They're fine for recreational use, but they have very limited range and the batteries run down quickly and they simply don't last. Last year, if there was nobody around the office they would duct tape one of these radios to the office window and as a customer, you were expected to try and call the other party on one of these radios. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn't. But either way, it was a kind of a mickey mouse set up.

So I figured there had to be something more professional out there. I was right.

Push button for service.

Yesterday, a package arrived in town and Ruth stopped by to pick it up on her way back from doing groceries. That fancy yellow transmitter will be installed near the office window and when there's nobody around, the customer simply pushes the button. This sends a signal to one of those little pagers that each of us will carry. One of us will pretty much always be within two minutes of the office, and that's my goal. Customer service within two minutes.

It has a range of a quarter of a mile, and I tried it out yesterday. Unfortunately we have too many trees and hills and the signal doesn't reach the shop if I happen to be that far away. They have a repeater system available, and I think we're going to have to buy that too. Neat stuff though and it should be a better way to serve the customers.

I also bought two professional UHF two way radios instead of those cheap walkie talkie style ones. These will last for years and not give us problems. You get what you pay for.

So yesterday Ruth and Lindsey went into town with Sadie. I stayed behind with Cameron. Unfortunately I couldn't get a lot done, but I did enjoy spending some quality time with my grandson!

Around sunset, Ruth and Lindsey went for a walk around the park. It stays light here very late at this time of year. These pictures were taken just after 9:00pm.

Always a beautiful view to be found around the park!

And to carry on with our "header photo of the month" series, here's today's edition showing our favourite picture from June of 2008.. We had been out to beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada during that month and we've found that there are some gorgeous spots for free overnight camping...this was one of them...

Boondocking near the harbor of Ingonish, Nova Scotia.


  1. That system should be a huge improvement over the walkie-talkie plan. Just as long as nobody decides to do some sort of "push the button and run" kind of thing? That would be annoying. Depending on where it is, I doubt they'd get away with it, as someone would no doubt be a witness. Hope it works.

    1. I think the majority of the summer someone will be close to the office and the concession stand that we hopefully won't get the "push the button and run" scenario. We are hoping that it will work as well and we are pretty sure that it will.

  2. Your photos of your park are just gorgeous. I say again, these parks are sure lucky to have you to make all the improvements that they clearly need. Customer Service in 2 minutes - love it! You really are a great businessman. Having just moved to the UP where the mosquitoes are just swarming I think I would much rather be in that terrific spot in Nova Scotia in June. Thanks to Ruth for the note on the Florida Boondocking spot.

    1. Thanks Sherry, we are working hard to make the park look good and Kevin, our student helper has also been a great help too.

      Please note though, that this park is in Saskatchewan not Nova Scotia.

  3. I have been following you since fall 2012 and love your blog! I look forward to it every morning. Thank you for being so faithful to post daily.
    I live in Lantzville,BC. A little sea-side village on the north edge of Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island.

    1. Thank you very much Shirley for taking the time to leave a comment. We really appreciate the feedback and are happy that you are enjoying our adventures.

      You live in a very pretty area of Vancouver Island and one day we would love to bring Sherman over there so that we can explore more of the island. We were there for one week back in 1992 with our children and I had lived in Courtney, BC for 3 months back in 1980 when I was with the Katimavik program.

  4. great idea with the 'service button'.much better than those little radios..we have two sets, they do work when it comes to backing up the trailer, but that is about all they get used for!

    1. So far it seems to work well, I guess we should have a better idea over the weekend when it will be a little busier at the campground.

      We have a pair of those radios too, they worked fine when I was in the car driving behind the motorhome back in the summer of 2011 when we had to drive both vehicles back from Nova Scotia to Ottawa.


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