Category Archives: workamping

Workamping for Fun

I found this post in my Drafts from a couple years ago.  I guess I’d decided not to post it on the grounds that it may incriminate me (ie, it may reveal my frustration).  But the frustrations are short-lived and now it’s just funny so I’m posting it:

Excerpts from our week of workamping:

Got this call late last night.

Camper:  “I’m in site 30. My car battery is dead.”  (The site has been changed to protect the ignorant.)

Area Manager: “What campground are you in?”   (We manage ten of them.)

Camper:  “Uh… I’m not sure.”

Area Manager: (We knew where they were by the site number.  We were just making them pay for waking us up.)  “I need to know what campground you are in.”

Camper:  “Hey!  What campground are we in?  Oh, Sutton.”

Area Manager:  “Now what is the trouble?”

Camper:  “My car battery is dead and I need to go to town to buy firewood.  Can you give me a jump start?”  (mind you, we sell firewood in the campground)

Area Manager:  “I’m not going to wake up my manager for that.”

Do you think he thought it was more polite to wake us up for a jump-start than to wake us to buy firewood?  Maybe he’ll be more prepared to camp next time?  And, by the way, why don’t campers carry a hatchet if they aren’t going to buy firewood?

U-turn Sign
U-turn Sign

When does “No U-turn” mean “turn around and go back”?

I am always surprised to see people try to make a U-turn right here in front of the sign.

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Even wildlife need to bathe

Otters seem to have a fluid motion even when they are on land.  These photos were taken in Tidewater just below Blackberry Campground east of Waldport, Oregon.  (Sorry if I caught an intimate moment.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell.)

river otters on alsea river
3 otters

 Watch the video of them taking a dirt bath.  When the 3rd otter comes onto land you can see a little newt scurrying out of the way.

[youtube https://youtu.be/O-MOzwbzK_M]

Black Bear Running

Black Bear Running reminds me of Dead Man Walking.

My love for watching wildlife has led me to sharing it with family and friends on this blog.  That was probably the biggest draw of workamping to me.  But, as we’ve pretty much stayed in one place for a few years, I’ve wondered if some hunters now use the internet as a new way of stalking their prey?  That’s why I try to be careful not to indicate exactly where I see the game.  I’m not opposed to hunting.  I believe God put animals on earth to sustain us.  I do think it needs to be managed, though, and it seems like the Wildlife Management agencies are doing a pretty good job of it through hunting licenses and monitoring herd sizes, etc.  If it weren’t managed, the irresponsibles would prevail and waste the meat.  As with anything, it only takes a few idiots to create the need for a “rule” or law to be enacted.

black bear
Black Bear

That said, I’d hate to be the one who points out a target to a hunter because I wouldn’t get to watch it anymore.  …unless that wildlife is threatening my life – then I’m happy to finger it!

Workamping Job Review – Vacation Rental Housekeeping

Technically, a workamping job is one you do while living in your RV.  I think some purists might say that workamping requires you live in your RV for the job.  Lines have been blurred, however, by work-from-home jobs being done while living in your RV.

My husband and I have worked in campgrounds for pay as Campground Managers/Hosts and as Area Managers.  We also volunteered in a campground; which we loved.  Working for pay helped to supplement our travel expenses.

Currently I have a work-at-home job that I do via the internet and phone; which can be done while travelling or standing still.  I work on American Land & Leisure’s Facebook and website: www.americanll.com.  Another internet/phone job I’ve had was selling advertising for BeachConnection.net on the Oregon Coast.

Recently I decided to try housekeeping for a vacation rental company on the Oregon Coast.  This is not a job that requires you to live in an RV but, if you do live in an RV, is it called workamping?  Anyway, I survived it (sort of) and I’d like to provide a review here; not of the company but of the work.  If you want to know who I worked for, email me.  I will not mention their name here.  Different companies may have differing policies that impact # of hours worked and how physically taxing the job is.  I am in my mid-fifties and consider myself fairly physically fit.

One of the properties owned by this company is a small motel.  I only had the opportunity to clean 2 units in the motel so I do not feel I can give a good review of motel housekeeping but I have a feeling it is different than housekeeping in a home.

Housekeeping in Vacation Rental Homes compared to Campground Management

Housekeeping:  Physical Demands – I often had a 2 – 4 bedroom (3 – 6 beds), 2 – 3 bath home to clean in a 5 hour time period.  In the peak times, I had 2 or 3 homes to clean and sometimes I had more time to clean them.  The level of cleaning required can be compared to cleaning your own home before you move in or out.  It is very different from your weekly or daily cleaning chores because of the time constraint and sanitation required.  Requirements included vacuum, mop, sanitize tubs, showers, toilets, sinks, sanitize/clean all kitchen appliances, wash all windows inside and out, dust high and low, strip all bedding, wash and replace bedding and bath towels, restock TP, paper towels, etc.  Added challenges were familiarization with washer/dryers and floor cleaning equipment that was different in each home.  Just getting all the laundry done in that time period for a 6 – 10 person rental was tight.

Campground Management:  The physical campground work was easier, to me, even though it included shoveling out fire rings (including rocks), cleaning vault and flush toilets and painting tables, signs and buildings.  Campground work was easier to me because, for example, each fire ring did not need shoveling everyday.  Restrooms are the most demanding in a campground because of the sanitation requirements.  Painting tables, signs and buildings can usually be done on a less restrictive deadline so it is not as physically demanding.

Housekeeping:  Customer Service – My job did not require much interaction with the customer.  If the customer was not out by checkout time I did have to cordially try to move them along.  Every minute counts and sometimes I had to call the boss for stronger encouragements with additional charges.  But I left that to them while I was away from the property.  I actually had a problem with the absence of people to talk to while working.  I don’t think of myself as needing a lot of social interaction but the lack of it here, at times, made it excruciatingly boring.

Campground Management:  There is a LOT of interaction with the customer in campground management.  Depending on your attitude it will be mostly fun or mostly frustrating.  If you are a people-person, campground management is fun most of the time.

Conclusion:  Housekeeping is not for me!

There is an incredible variety of work available for workampers.  As they say, variety is the spice of life!  So stretch yourself.  Here are a few resources for finding your next workamping adventure:

PamperingCampers, American Land & Leisure, HappyVagabonds,  Workers-on-wheels, Snowbird RV Trails

Workamping Wildlife Videos

My favorite thing about workamping is the opportunities for wildlife viewing.

Protective Harbor Seal Mom with Pup viewed from the Alsea Bay Bridge near Tillicum Beach Campground:

 

Mallard ducklings strike out on their own on the Alsea River near Blackberry Campground:

Spring Break vs Spring Fever

I am sure that one causes the other…unless your break is drowned out.

I’m just thinking of you poor families living in the northern regions where snow hasn’t melted off your lawn yet and the kids are crying, “when can we go camping?!”

mowed lawn

Maybe it’s time to unpickle the RV!  Don’t wait until the week before you want to camp to flush the antifreeze, check the heater, water heater, stove, batteries, etc.  You don’t want to be making last minute repairs with the kids breathing down your neck.

Gathering Firewood
Gathering Firewood

Find that camping checklist or make a new one.

You’d be surprised how many people show up in a campground without the basics: axe, matches/lighter, flashlight, can opener, etc.

Tent Camping with Kids
Tent Camping with Kids

If tent camping is your deal, set up the tent in the backyard (or living room) before you head to the campground.  Tents are really of no use without poles.

When camping with your kids, consider a campground with an on-site host.  Hosted campgrounds are generally more family-friendly.  The rowdies tend to go somewhere else where no one will be complaining about their inconsiderate behavior.

Check out American Land & Leisure for some of the friendliest campground hosts you’ll find in the US.  Choose a state under FIND OR RESERVE YOUR SITE.  Many of their campgrounds begin opening in April; some are open year-round.

Knee Deep

When the Alsea River is running fast and high the ducks rest in field puddles.

field puddle with ducks
Field Puddle

In addition to mallards we’ve seen mergansers and scaups.  It’s not a very deep puddle. They are probably walking instead of paddling.

We’ve wondered if the diving ducks get their pointy bill stuck in the ground when they dive.  🙂

mallards in field puddles
Mallards

These heron are usually on dry ground in Lint Slough, in Waldport, Oregon.  But with some good rains and high tides last week they were wading in the water.

Herons on Lint Slough
Herons on Lint Slough

Some found a dry patch.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

Their colors seem more vibrant than usual.  Maybe it’s their breeding plumage?

Great Blue Heron - Lint Slough
Heron showing his colors

One of my favorite workamping benefits is observing the local wildlife.