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Hey there…

August 11, 2017

It’s been a long time without any posts. The main reason is that the Pacific North West has been socked in with serious smoke from fires for lo these many weeks. That makes landscape photography difficult, if not impossible.

What we’ve been doing is following i) a trek across eastern Oregon, to include Burns, Malheur National Refuge, a wild ride around 242, 126, and 20 out of ¬†Sisters,. Then we went across to John Day and Baker City to discover the gold mining stuff.

Then ii), we have been following the dams along the Columbia River. Astonishing. Started out at Plymouth Park, WA, just west of the McNary Dam, then headed downstream to the Dalles and John Day Dams, and most recently, upstream to the Grand Coulee Dam. Which is where we are tonight.

We’re going to do laundry tomorrow, and into Canada for lunch on Sunday.

Stuff has been amazing, not least the whole notion of the ‘wipe-out’ flooding that caused the incredible erosion hereabouts. Hard to believe.

We’ll post some photos later, just keeping everyone in touch.

In the meantime, here’s a summary of how we felt about camp hosting:

“There is a huge difference between going camping for a few days, weeks, or even months, compared to being camp hosts. This is not necessarily a bad thing.

So, we’re coming up to the end of our nearly three month experience as camp hosts at a delightful RV park on a working cattle ranch in south central Oregon.

We haven’t moved our trailer in 2 and a half months! Since we bought it in late 2013, there has never been a gap that long without taking it somewhere. Because it has become ‘home’ to us. So, the first question is: Can you live and work comfortably whilst in a 15 foot trailer? Well, broadly, yes, if you are aware of what your partner is trying to do in the same space that you are trying to do something. It’s a compromise. Would it have been better if we had bigger accommodations? Probably so (somewhere to sit apart from the dinette would be nice). But then, it’s the first time we have tried this, and we like the size and weight of our trailer for all the sightseeing and travelling that we’ve been doing up until this venture.

So yes, we’ve managed being a bit cramped, but it’s OK. The view outside is worth it.

The ranch owner has been incredibly gracious, and our ‘boss’, co-hosts, have been great to work with, despite my destroying all things in my path in the early days, and that brings me to one of the great things about doing camp hosting – it’s a social activity almost as much as park maintenance and customer billing. You get to meet some really great folks with interesting stories to tell, from all over the country.

But, in the end, it’s about repetitive tasks, cleaning restrooms, irrigating, mowing and weed whacking grass, maintaining facilities. And endlessly manipulating check-ins, RV sites and reconciling accounts. And that’s all fine.

Except that it gets bit tedious. Especially when you’ve run out of local sights to see on your weeks off. And you know, the days are kind of long. From about 7:30 am until about 9:30 in the evening being paid 8 hours at minimum wage for one person – even though two people are being active for those hours. Take into account the ‘free’ RV space, electricity, water and sewage, so there’s a payback there, but even so, it’s close to exploitation. That said, our bosses wouldn’t turn a hair if we said we wouldn’t work beyond reasonable hours, so we’re somewhat complicit.

We have managed to get a good feel for how this part of the country lives, which is something we hadn’t anticipated. Coming from urban San Diego, this rural, farming/forestry region has completely different values – neither better nor worse – just different. The seasons dictate what people do, and the seasons don’t really exist in San Diego. Have you ever been to anywhere in San Diego (or any other city, for that matter) where the only Ford dealer closes on Saturday?”

 

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