Our last days at Serrano were much different than the months before, with such a different light quality all the sudden, and downright cold daily “highs”. We had our site manager over for a cookout on our last day, and even standing around the fire, we were all chilled. It has, at least, made for some nice photography.
Saturday was our last day of work at the campground. As I write this, we are staying at Barton Flats Campground where our friends Dave and Max work. We are only 20 miles away by road, but already about a million more away in spirit. Camphosting was probably the hardest job I’ve ever had–definitely harder than any of the management jobs I’ve had.
I’ve been promising a job review, so here goes. First, the pros:
–I actually *loved* the manual labor part of the work. JJ and I both put on a lot of muscle from shoveling, raking, moving picnic tables, and carrying water. Sometimes I felt a bit bored from the repetition of daily tasks, but I liked that we were always moving.
–The microclimate on this mountain can’t be beat! It was rarely below 40, and rarely above 85. The humidity was always low, and the skies were invariably clear. On the few days that it did rain, it would clear up as soon as the precipitation was through, and we were back to blue skies again.
–We met some awesome campers. There was the school teacher who put together an info packet of places to go in Southern California when she learned that we were from out of state. The folks who gave us a Starbucks gift card. The many, many folks who said thank you for cleaning the bathrooms. The many, many folks who gave us their addresses, and made us promise to call them up when we’re passing through their neighborhood, so they can put us up or give us a tour. The fellow Lazy Dazers, living in the same sort of RV as us. And a guy who graduated with my sister in 1978!
–We met some wonderful co-workers. It was great to hang out with people doing the exact same thing that we are, just for the “not-having-to-explain-it” factor. (Normally, when we meet someone new, they have questions about the whole story, eg: live in RV, travel to different jobs, don’t have a house…) Our co-workers are all living the same kind of lifestyle, so we could just get to the other stuff, without having to explain everything. And because our co-workers have been doing this full-timing thing longer than us, they were a wealth of information and new ideas.
And the cons:
-Bathroom horrors. I saw things that I can’t imagine myself doing, even if I were dead drunk. And they happened all the time.
–Long, long days. We were understaffed from the end of May onwards, which meant we put in 10 or 11 hour days every day. I’m a morning person, so by the time evening rolled around and we had already put in extra hours, I had a lot of trouble being pleasant for late-day issues. Inevitably, just when we were ready to crawl into bed, we would hear crazy loud music, or find yet another mess in the bathroom, and we would have to stay up late to deal with it.
-Naughty, naughty campers. I’m not sure if JJ and I are just personally anally-retentive about good manners, or if we’re a product of growing up indoctrinated into “mid-west nice”, but we were appalled at the poor behavior we saw. We repeatedly had problems with things like super loud campsites in the middle of the night, sites that were left an absolute mess with trash, and people being very, very mean when we politely asked them to comply with safety rules. Oh yeah, and did I mention the bathrooms?!
Verdict: would we do it again? Yes, but at a different campground. Serrano was kind of the party central campground for Los Angeles and Las Vegas, while most of the surrounding campgrounds saw more families and couples just doing the camping thing. It was also full 7 days a week between Memorial Day and Labor Day, while most other locations slowed down a bit on weekdays. We would like to do the same kind of work in a less beer-soaked environment, at a slightly less hectic pace.
So, now we’re on vacation until we report to Amazon.com in Fernley, NV on 10/21. We will stay with Dave and Max for a few days of jeeping, eating, and campfires. Then we head down the hill for some RV maintenance, and then north up 395 and the splendor that is the Eastern Sierras in fall.
Since we won’t be working for 3 weeks, I am trying out an experiment: “no poo”. And no, it has nothing to do with bowel function! The no shampoo method instead uses baking soda and apple cider vinegar for cleaning and conditioning. I really got interested when I learned that 2 of my favorite RV bloggers adhere to the system, and they now only need to wash their hair a few times a month. With my thick hair, and the fact that we plan to do a lot of off-grid living, I was intrigued with the idea of so much possible water conservation. Research has prepared me for the fact that my hair will probably go through a rough transition period, and look really yicky for up to a month. But then, adherents promise–lovely hair, less washing. I’ll give it a try!
And now we’re off for adventure with Dave and Max!