It’s the start of the weekend and it’s training day – what a combination. We’re full again this weekend so nearly every site needed to be cleaned and prepared for new campers. Top that off with a staff BBQ (which was delicious), training and a staff meeting and you have a busy day. I worked through the morning and finished all the sites except those occupied by late departures. One o’clock PM is checkout time, but we had to meet at 12:30 PM to travel to Ocean City State Park for the training, so a handful of sites had to wait until later.
By the time we returned from the BBQ and meetings at 5:00 PM, the campsites were full, people were demanding firewood, one campsite appeared to be double-booked and another campsite had too many people for the site. There’s a limit of eight people per campsite unless they rent the larger group campsite.
For an hour or so, I was running around like a crazy man. (The staff here will probably say that that’s my normal state and my wife will probably agree.) Regardless, we took care of everyone who needed firewood and the ranger worked out a compromise with the group that was too large for the site.
The “double-booked” site turned out to be a mistake on the part of the party that arrived at the site first. They had booked a “primitive” site with a similar number to the “popular or premium” site. One was site P3 the other was site 3 with a P classification. The result? The first party had to break camp and relocate. The second party to arrive moved in without further problems. Everyone seemed satisfied with the outcome and they were even in good humors at the end.
I’d like to take a moment to comment that I think the staff at Lake Sylvia State Park work very well together. They respond immediately to problems and deficiencies. Further, they make a sincere effort to ensure that problems don’t arise.
Here’s a thought. Why do people use the word utilize rather than use? They are synonyms. Use is shorter and it has only one syllable instead of three. Is it because the speaker needs the extra time provided by the extra syllables to think of what they are saying or is it because the speaker uses utilize to appear more intelligent? My bet is on the latter.
It’s now 8:00 PM and I’ve just started to eat. People are still coming to my door for firewood. I need to clean up and go to bed, so goodbye for now.
It’s been a while since I’ve updated the blog. The library is closed on Sunday and Monday, and I drove to Spokane on Monday evening and returned on Wednesday evening. My wife had yard work for me to do. I’ve neglected the blog as a consequence.
On Sunday, I helped my niece, Amber, by cutting 1/2” off her bathroom door. She had put down new underlayment and then new vinyl flooring. Subsequently, the door no longer opened and closed without scraping the flooring.
Later on Sunday, my in-laws, Terry and Teresa, (pictured above when they were younger) had me out to their place on the river for a picnic dinner. My niece and her three children, Ella, Adelyn and Aden, joined us. After dinner, they brought out a Snickers birthday cake and we celebrated my birthday a few days early. It was a filling dinner and very relaxing. I really wanted to take a nap as we watched the sun setting. A very big thank you goes out to Terry and Teresa for dinner and the good conversation.
Monday, I was back at work. Nearly all the campers were pulling out and returning home following the warm, sunny weekend. I had a lot of work to do before I could leave for Spokane, so I left a little later than originally planned.
In Spokane on Tuesday, I did my laundry and a number of small things that needed to be done around the home. That evening, Catherine and I went to Outback for a steak dinner and another early birthday celebration. As we ordered, the waitress asked whether I wanted a “six or nine ounce.” I assumed she meant the steak because the menu listed the steak as either 6 oz. or 9 oz. and I replied, “Nine ounce, please.” However, she meant the wine. So, I ended up drinking too much. (I know. I’m a lightweight.)
On Wednesday morning, I mowed the lawn, trimmed the grass along the front curb and then packed for the trip back to Lake Sylvia State Park. Once again, I left for the trip a little later than expected.
On the way to Montesano from Spokane, I passed through Vantage. The road dives from the plateau to Columbia River and then climbs steeply as you travel to Ellensburg. The crosswinds were very strong and one of the lashings on my kayak broke loose. I had a scary few minutes until I could pull over and tie the boat down again. Fortunately, I had the boat secured at four places when I lost the bow lashing.
Today, it was business as usual. There were more sites to clean and a couple of complaints from campers asking where I had been for the last two days. They needed firewood and they had missed the park rangers’ office hours.
The good news is that the campgrounds were cleaner than the same time last week, so my work went more quickly than usual. Kudos to the rangers and aides for pitching in to keep the campgrounds and restrooms clean and stocked.
Early this morning, my mouse “friend” returned to where I’d last seen him. Fortunately, I was prepared and the mouse is now in mouse heaven.
Today should be a little slower than yesterday because all of the campsites are booked so there were only a half dozen sites to clean.
The weather is cool, but not cold, so most people are in good spirits. The anglers started their fishing very early and the scouts headed off on hikes. Kids are riding their bikes and playing in the common areas. Most adults are sitting around their fires drinking coffee or eating a late breakfast.
I cannot help but make some curious observations. People come to the great outdoors for the fresh air and then they immediately start campfires that foul the air with smoke particulates. The fires burn all day – even when it’s hot outside.
Even more curious are the folks (mostly men) who go to the bridge to fish. They are in this wonderfully scenic area. They deeply inhale the fresh air and puff up their chests. Then they take a long drag on their cigarettes. Oddly humorous.
What a crazy, busy day! Starting at 8:00 AM, I cleaned 23 campsites, but that’s not all. It’s 9:00 PM and people are still coming to me for firewood. I’m out of change and receipts. Additionally, I’m nearly out of wood.
However, what’s really crazy is that at 8:30 PM and 8:45 PM I had people arrive at the park without reservations and expecting to rent an available campsite – on a Friday night yet. I was able to accommodate one person, who road in on a Harley, in a vacant primitive campsite. The other party of two plans to sleep in their car in the overflow parking area. They decided against the other available primitive campsite despite that fact that they were visiting the folks in the neighboring group campsite.
There are vehicles everywhere around the campsites. I’m not sure how many have paid for their extra vehicles, but I’ll check them in the morning. It’s now 9:15 PM and it’s too late to do much verification.
Fortunately, I do get some chuckles out of this job. This morning, I had a young woman comment on how brazen our squirrels are. One had entered her tent and was eating her peanuts. She had to chase him out and then zip her tent. What did she expect? The animals around the park are very comfortable with people and food left out is fair game as far as they are concerned.
Another man complained good-naturedly about all the goose droppings in his campsite. His campsite is right on the lake’s shore and the geese think they own the place. Silly geese. There’s nothing I can do or care to do about his “problem.” The rangers caution people about feeding the animals, because it only encourages them to come into the campsites to beg, steal or mess the campsites.
Yesterday, I started taking out my garbage every morning after breakfast and every evening after dinner. Additionally, I now store all my food in the refrigerator or microwave. Consequently, my little mouse friend has apparently gone elsewhere for his meals. My traps are still empty.
Today, during my lunch break, I stopped by my niece’s new home to set a date and time so I can fix her door. We’re all set for Sunday.
Oops, I needed to step away for a few minutes to sell some more firewood. It’s now 9:30 PM and campers are still knocking on my door.
It looks as though I won’t be able to work on the St. Andrews Society’s website tonight as requested. I’ll need to do it tomorrow. If you’re interested, you can check their website at inlandnwscots.org.
It’s time to get ready for bed, so goodbye for now. With all the weekend visitors in the park, tomorrow is bound to be another busy day.
There’s no sign of my mouse today, but I have traps all over the RV. I’m still not sure how he got into the Minnie Winnie, but I’m sure that I’ll find the opening at some point. It’s probably under the cabin near the range and sink.
The temperatures today were in the 70’s and it was a little breezy. Regardless, several people were out kayaking and tubing this afternoon. (Note to self: Set aside some time to go kayaking!)
I spent my day catching up on what was missed while I was on my days off. I was only able to clean today’s scheduled arrivals and departure sites because it takes longer to also clean the fire pits. The pits haven’t been thoroughly cleaned in quite some time. The ash is caked at the bottom of the pits, and it takes a bit of effort to break it up and shovel it out. I can tell the pits haven’t been cleaned in a while because the caked ash is full of rusted nails, screws and bolts from lumber burnt in the pits long ago. There’s also a fair number of old, rusted bottle caps.
After cleaning two or sometimes three fire pits, I have to make a run to the ash pit to dump my load of ash. That takes additional time too.
Over the last three workdays, I’ve been able to thoroughly clean 22 of the 43 fire pits in the campsites. At this rate, it will take me the balance of my workweek to complete a cycle of the fire pits. I won’t be able to clean more than one or two pits on the weekend, because most, if not all, of the campsites will be occupied.
The ClubCar Carryall gas-powered cart that the rangers gave me is working okay, but she’s a finicky little cart. She whines for quite a while as she starts, and then she finally kicks over and lurches forward or backward. I’m concerned that the campers are irritated by the long whine, so I usually stop in an area central to my work and then work a couple of sites before I restart the cart. If I have to stop for even a moment, the cart issues the same long whine before starting again. Consequently, I use a California rolling stop at stop signs.
I’ve been eating lunch in town, Montesano, at the Organics 101 Market and I highly recommend their sandwiches. They’re made to order and large, but more importantly, they’re made with fresh, organic ingredients. Moreover, they taste wonderful. The vine-ripened tomatoes are delicious. The price is good too. At under $5.00 for a full sandwich, they’re a bargain. The price and the flavor beat anything Subway (across the street) has to offer.
My days off weren’t very restful. On Tuesday, I had to finish and upload updates to my blog that included the photos from the kid’s fishing derby. Check out my Photos pages. Importantly, I needed to do laundry. There is only one laundermat in Montesano and it’s in poor shape. Regardless, I finished my laundry.
On Wednesday, I emptied my holding tanks and filled the propane tank. Before I took care of those tasks, I went to Wal-Mart and bought additional leveling blocks so I could more easily level my RV at the campsite. That worked out very well. I also picked up a couple of folding laundry baskets to make my next laundry day a bit easier to manage.
Additionally, while looking for the Aberdeen Wal-Mart, I stumbled upon a Starbucks and had my first Frappuccino since leaving Spokane on May 30. Little indulgences are a real pleasure.
I need to get to bed now so I can start early in the morning preparing campsites for the new arrivals to Lake Sylvia. The weekend is approaching and we are bound to be full again. The weather looks to be more moderate than last weekend, but still warm and sunny. I hope to see you at Lake Sylvia camping, fishing or using the day-use facilities.
Hold everything! I have a little visitor. I mouse just poked out from my range cook top. My first stop tomorrow will be the hardware store for mousetraps. It’s too late and dark tonight, but tomorrow I’ll look for how the little critter got into my RV and then plug the opening. I’ve been very careful about not leaving the doors open. And in my preparation for this trip, I plugged all the plumbing openings with expanding foam, but I obviously missed something, because the mouse has me spooked. I’m not going to sleep well tonight.
Before going to bed, I stowed anything that might appeal to the mouse in either the refrigerator or the microwave. I doubt the mouse can open or enter either of these locations.
It’s been so busy here because of the kid’s fishing derby that I haven’t had a moment to record my thoughts – or think for that matter.
I spent Friday preparing the campsites and helping with the setup for the fishing derby. I was able to view the Fish and Wildlife folks stock the lake with four truckloads of fish. They made a special effort to include 350 large trout for the kids.
Saturday was the derby. The park was packed to overflowing. We ran out of parking spaces, so many people had to park along the road leading to the park and then walk in. Surprisingly, I heard no complaints. They were just happy to participate in the event.
The Moose Lodge sponsored the event. They supplied breakfast for everyone, did all the judging and awarded prizes to the winners and all the participants. In fact, if a child registered, but didn’t fish, they still got a prize – and the prizes were terrific too. There were many happy kids. The Moose Lodge deserves a big shout out and a huge thank you. They did a great job!
During the derby, I took hundreds of photos. Take a few moments and check out the photos in the menu above. You may recognize your child or one of your neighbor’s kids. You’ll also have a better appreciation for what Lake Sylvia State Park has to offer you and your family during the balance of the year. It’s a charming, well-kept, quiet park. (Well, usually quiet, but not during the fishing derby.)
By the way, the Rangers wanted me to assure you that everyday at Lake Sylvia State Park is as beautiful as pictured in the photos in the photo albums. Their words, not mine.
Sunday and Monday, I spent long days cleaning campsites, fire pits and common areas. It’s an overwhelming task to catch up following the derby. I’ve had to reconcile myself to the fact that I can only do so much. Some things will need to be put off until later. I’ll eventually catch up, but it’s not going to happen overnight.
In fact, I’ll be taking the next couple of days off. I need to do laundry, fill my propane tank and dump my holding tanks. Additionally, during the heavy rain that happened last Tuesday, I discovered a leak in my roof. When I went to bed, my pillow was wet. So, I need to visit a few stores, check the Internet and then fix the leak. That’s something new for me. I’ve never before done a roof repair on an RV. Wish me luck.
I hope all of our derby participants had a fun day with us on Saturday. I know I enjoyed watching you. And I’m sure your parents took great pride in your skills.
This morning, I met my supervisor Ranger Hopkins. We had an impromptu staff meeting at my RV shortly after 8:00 AM. Ranger Cain (AKA Missy) and Alex were also there. The rangers are going to replace the battery in the cart that I’m to use to clean the campsites and they provided me with a shovel, rake and tokens for the shower.
I’m very grateful for the tokens. My shower each morning has been costing me $2.00. The tokens will cut that expense. Many thanks to Darrel and Missy.
Because I’d worked Tuesday and Wednesday, I took this afternoon off and went to town. I registered for a library card, ate lunch at the only organic health food store in town, visited the local Ace Hardware store for a part for my kayak and visited my niece and her children.
Importantly, I was able to use the library’s Wi-Fi to upload this website.
Today we got a glimpse of the sun. Hooray! The weather’s improving just in time for the big kids’ fishing derby. Of course, that means a big turn out.
Today, we had no rangers on duty. Alex, the aide, handled everything fine.
Spent more than five hours today cleaning more of the campsites. They really needed a good cleaning. Tomorrow, it will be more of the same until I catch up.
It’s still slow here, but the number of campers is increasing as we build toward the weekend. I expect that we will be full by Friday night, if not sooner.
Theresa, my sister-in-law, dropped by the park today with her twin grandchildren. She was interested in booking a campsite for her trailer. Unfortunately, I couldn’t help her. She’s going to try to book a location on the Lake Sylvia State Park website. She plans to bring her grandchildren to the fishing derby. It will be a kick to see the kids out there hooking a trout. However, don’t call on me to clean the catch.
The RV is working out just fine. After correcting a mistake that I made when I winterized the water system, the water heater came online immediately. The cabin heater is working well and keeping the cabin nice and cozy.
The only thing that’s not working yet is the BBQ. The weather has been too wet to allow me to set up the Weber BBQ and cook a steak or hamburger. Maybe this weekend I’ll get the BBQ going. If so, I have a bottle of merlot just waiting to be opened.
The rain continues and intensifies. The ground is saturated and even the geese have gone into hiding.
Met Alex, one of the park aides, today. He’s straight out of college, working at a temporary summer job and building his resume and references. He’s hardworking and nicely self-motivated. Alex commutes from Olympia each morning, which is a bit of a drive. Oh, and look out ladies, he’s also handsome and single, ... but in a relationship.
Because of the rain, it continues to be very slow around the park today, but I hear the weather is about to turn for the better. I’m a bit concerned about how busy we will be this weekend with the warmer, sunny weather and the kids fishing derby on Saturday. It could become very hectic around the park.
BTW, I should have done some research on fishing and the local trees and plants. Park visitors have asked me about both topics, but I had to admit my ignorance. However, Missy and Alex have been helpful. They’ve both provided me with info about the types of fish in Lake Sylvia. Next, I’ll research the trees.