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Posts Tagged ‘campground host’

“Life is too short to sleep on low-thread-count sheets.” – Leah Stussy

Travels With Maggie

I suspected raccoons, of which there are too many here at Lake Walcott, of causing the wee-hour disturbance, but she sheriff's deputy said it was a two-legged night wanderer. -- Photo by Pat Bean

A knock on the door in the wee hours of the morning is never good. But if you’re a campground host at a small Idaho park, as I have been all this summer, at least the first thought that runs through your mind is not “Who died?” ‘

Last night’s 1 a.m. knock on my RV, which wasn’t actually necessary because the headlights pulling into my site already had me hopping down from my over-the-cab bed to check out what was going on, was a sheriff’s deputy informing me that he had gotten a 911 call about some man wandering through the campground. The campers in tent site 27, he said, had made the call.

“Perhaps it was raccoons,” I voiced. “They get into everything at night.”

“Nope. I found the man. He’s parked down by the boat docks, drunk as a skunk and loopy as well. Gave me some story about UFOs,” the officer said. “I ran his license plates and he didn’t have any warrants out on him, so I just left him to sleep it off in his truck. But I thought someone should know.”

I thanked him for the information, and he told me to call 911 immediately if the man gave any more trouble.

I went back to bed, but of course not back to sleep. This was the third time this season that I had been awakened because of my campground host duties.

The first one involved me getting dressed and going down to the tent area to tell some idiot he couldn’t run his generator in the middle of the night to power floodlights around his tent.

“Ah. The generator’s going to run out of gas pretty quick,” he said in a “you gonna make me kind of way.”.

Lake Walcott sunrises are worth rising early to see even if sleep was stingy during the night. -- Photo by Pat Bean

“Now,” I said in my sternest mommy voice to the large red-faced guy with the paunchy stomach.

“OK,” he said, this time rather meekly, and wandered over to turn the noisy contraption off.

I love that mommy voice.

The second time I was awakened in the middle of the night here at Lake Walcott, it was a young couple with an infant who had been on the road until after midnight. They had forgotten the combination to the cabin they had reserved. Fortunately I knew it, and was soon back in my comfy bed, but of course not back to sleep

Of the many bits of trivia that floated through my head keeping my brain from shutting down last night was the time I had been the one to pound on a campground host’s door at 4 a.m. I was supposed to meet up with a group to hike to a place where we could see rare red-cockaded woodpeckers emerge from their nests at dawn – and had lost the combination to the gate lock.

I sure hope the bleary-eyed guy who gave it to me had an easier time getting back to sleep than I was having, I thought as I listened to Maggie’s snuffling snores beside me, and the yowling of coyotes off in the distance somewhere. Too bad he couldn’t know I was getting paid back for waking him.

Yup! What goes around comes around. It’s the only thing that makes life somewhat fair.

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“perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all people cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” — Maya Angelou

Travels With Maggie

A western grebe floats near Lake Walcott's shore on a liquid canvas painted with reflections. -- Photo by Pat Bean

One of the reasons I love being a campground host is the people I get to meet, like Jane and Greg from Australia, who arrived here two days ahead of their paid reservation.

This charming couple with the twangy accent had rented an RV to tour western national parks, and had been chased out of Yellowstone early because of snow.

They came knocking at my RV door after park office hours to tell me their dilemma. Since the park was sparsely occupied this rainy night, I took their name and information and told them to just select a site and the details could be straightened out in the morning.

But being a nosy old broad, I had to also ask a lot of personal questions, beginning with: “Are you two Aussies?” They, thankfully, were just as nosy about me and Maggie, and eventually we agreed to get together over a drink and before-dinner snacks the next afternoon.

A bench beneath a shade tree says "Come sit a while and visit with Mother Nature." -- Photo by Pat Bean

Lake Walcott State Park here in Southern Idaho was their last hurrah before heading back to their home in Queensland. We talked about their visit to Zion National Park, my favorite place in the universe, and their fantastic reaction to the waterfalls in Yosemite, which is the one western national park that has mysteriously escaped a visit from me.

This was their first visit to America and I told them of other of this country’s wonders they should see if they came back, like Texas’ Palo Duro Canyon. They, in return, told me of places I should visit in Australia, which is still on my To-Do list.

It was a cold day, and the extra chill of the approaching night, sent us off to our respective homes on wheels all too soon. But not before we had exchanged e-mails.

The next morning, as they pulled out in the gray dawn, we waved at each other, like two ships passing in a fog. Perhaps we’ll continue our friendship, perhaps not. Only time will tell.

But I feel richer for having met them and sharing the wonders of our two countries. I can’t help but think that this kind of exchange is where world peace has to begin.

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My first sunrise for the year at Lake Walcott reminded me of lemon and blueberries. -- Photo by Pat Bean

“Living is strife and torment, disappointment and love and sacrifice, golden sunsets and black storms. I said that some time ago, and today I do not think I would add one word.” — Laurence Olivier

*Travels With Maggie

The wind blew last night, hard enough for my RV, Gypsy Lee, to rock and roll. I thought about sticking around Ogden for an extra day, but decided to drive to Idaho’s Lake Walcott State Park as planned. It was only 160 miles away after all.

Yup! Just 160 miles that took me through three dust storms and wind that almost blew me off the road before I exited Interstate 84 onto Highway 24 to Lake Walcott, with the wind continuing to taunt me the entire way.

Except for that, it was a nice drive beside the Wasatch Mountains, through farmlands, and past Snowville, just south of the Idaho border. The route then took me over Sweetzer Pass, either side of which is where the wind blew hardest, and finally over the Snake River.

Interstate 84, which follows Interstate 15 north to Tremonton before splitting, is nothing like the interstate south of Ogden, which snarled me in traffic last week on my way north. While there were occasional big semis, this four-lane highway from Ogden to Idaho was mostly a peaceful, scenic and uncrowded route.

A cheery robin outside my RV welcomed me back, too. -- Photo by Pat Bean

When I arrived at the park, I noted that while I had left Texas just as “summer” was arriving, spring hadn’t fully visited Lake Walcott. Many of the park’s grand big trees were still leafless. The lake, meanwhile, with its waves being influenced by the high winds, looked like an ocean. .

I though about about getting some photographs of the water lapping over the boat docks, but decided to rest awhile from my difficult drive first. By the time I awoke from a short nap, the winds had calmed and the lake was almost back to normal.

I was sorry I had let the opportunity pass, especially after park workers told me that the lake had been the worse they had ever seen it. In fact, the wind storm actually did some damage to one of the boat docks here.

Even so it felt good to be ba.ck. Last summer I was a campground host here for six weeks. This year I’ll be here all year. While park workers greeted my return with enthusiasm. Also extending a welcome note to my return was a spectacular sunrise and a cheery robin when I awoke to the next morning.

Life is good.

*And so ends my month long, 2,600-mile zig-zagging, sight-seeing journey from Texas to Idaho. Thanks to those who came along for the ride. But please tune in again tomorrow, the adventures are not over yet.

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