Thursday, August 17, 2006

A Day in the Life of a Camp Host

For those of you wondering what we do all day here's our schedule:

7:15 am - do morning camp check
8:45 am - eat breakfast
9:00 am - pick up trash
11:30 am - take shower & eat lunch
12:15 pm - do afternoon camp check
2:00 pm - go for scooter ride or embroider or lay on the beach or watch TV or run errands
5:00 pm - 6:45 pm - dinner & free time & answer camper questions when we're on-site
6:45 pm - 7:30 pm - go for a walk
7:30 - 9:30 pm - free time
9:30 pm - pick up clipboard for camp check in am

We are putting in about 4 1/2 - 5 hrs a day which I think is more than plenty for volunteers. I sure don't want to do this all year but it helps with the budget and is a way to feel useful. (Donna - some day your turn will come!)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Death in Paradise

When we went up to collect the clipboard for our noon camp check the young men who work the kiosk asked if we were aware of all the commotion. We didn't know what they were talking about so they told us a body had been found this morning (after our morning rounds) 1/4 mile into Camp Pendleton's property which butts up to the park's boundary.

Richard goes up & picks up the clipboard just before the kiosk closes each evening and when he was there last evening one of the Rangers was there waiting for a man to exit the park. The man was a convicted sex offender who had been arrested in this park a couple years ago. He was paroled a while back and one of his parole conditions was he not return to the park. The Ranger somehow knew he was there and so was waiting for him. He didn't leave the park while the Ranger was waiting last night and now we know why! Never let it be said Paradise is boring!!

I ended up taking Amtrak home yesterday - a nice excursion. We figured the price of fuel for a round trip in the truck vs. the cost of a ticket and it was no contest. So I had a nice ride and Richard didn't have to fight the horrible Sunday southern California traffic.

UPDATE:    Turns out the man wasn't murdered - he died of a heart attack.  But we had all thought the same thing, Daryl, that someone had gotten revenge.  Still we don't need those type of people around.

The train track is about 100 feet from our house but the station is about ten miles away.  The closest station is around five miles but the train doesn't stop there on Sundays.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Life is a beach and Dad Widener's surgery

Our days have been relatively peaceful since our last post. We do camp checks twice a day. The first is at about 7 to 7:30 and takes about an hour. The afternoon check starts about 12:15 and takes about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The work is not difficult but sometimes is it tough to figure out who is where and why. Basically in the morning we check for people who came in after the kiosk closed. We leave notices on their vehicles to come to the kiosk and pay. The afternoon check is to be sure people have vacated at checkout time so the new campers can get into their space. Sounds like it should be really simple, but it is not always. In addition to the 175 camp sites the park can have up to 800 day use vehicles each day. People are always parking where they don't belong and others do not want to leave by checkout time. Rangers write a lot of citations.

After our morning check we usually eat breakfast and then pick up trash on one of the trails for a while. It's good exercise and the park does not has enough staff to keep it clean. Many people stop to say thanks for cleaning. I always tell them I used to think pigs were four legged animals.

After our check on Thursday we drove up to Wideners. Dianna's dad had surgery on Friday to remove some more cancerous spots on his face. These were relatively small so it was not bad. He was awake and ready to be discharged by 11 am. He is feeling fine.

I left Dianna at Wideners and came back to San Onofre last night. I will go back to get her Sunday afternoon.

I know it does not sound like much, and that's exactly what is happening. We are just enjoying the beach area weather and doing very little else. Tough life.

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Another day in the salt mines

Today we signed our work agreements, received our keys and were trained how to drive the electric vehicle we have at our disposal. That took about half an hour. Then we washed it and drove it up and down the campground a while to get the hang of it. That was it. I know it sounds like tough work, but I think we are up to it.

Daryl, the beach is at the foot of the 100 foot bluff we are on. There are several trails down to the beach so it is probably about a 1/4 mile hike to get there. The actual surf is about 100 yards from us. We can hear it sometimes, but with the road noise it is not often. Being on the bluff keeps most of the salt spray from getting to us so that is a good thing.

After our tough morning's work we rode the scooter into town to pick up my prescription at Walmart and buy a few groceries. Later this afternoon we took a walk down the beach to get some exercise.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

First 2 days on the job

We arrived at San Onofre Bluffs State Beach yesterday afternoon to begin our Camp Hosting job. We have full hookups. Our site is located about half way down the 3 mile long park and we are backed in toward the ocean. From our rear windows we have a glorious view of the ocean that people pay millions of dollars for!

The ranger whom we work for came by yesterday afternoon and dropped off some paperwork we need to fill out. He made arrangements to come back today at 10 to pick it up and begin our training and told us to take the rest of the day off.

During the day we have high speed commuter trains going by every half hour or so. They are not very noisy and since they are so short, are here and gone in just a few seconds. The road noise from Interstate 5 is not nearly as bad as we feared either. It is far enough away that we just barely hear trucks. It is nowhere near as noisy as it was in Aubrey where we were for a few months. There are also a couple freight trains that go by each night and they are going to take some getting used to. Two went through last night between 10 and 11. They lasted forever and were quite noisy. Dianna tells me that another one went by this morning between 5 and 6, but you couldn't prove it by me!

There are also a lot of helicopters from Camp Pendleton in the air most of the day. I have no idea how anyone thinks helicopters can sneak up on anyone in battle situations since we can hear them from a long way off. We also heard some tanks firing this afternoon, but they were not near. In fact, I was not sure what the sound was at first. Much less noise than the fireworks we saw each evening in Valencia.

At this point, after only being here for a little over 24 hours, we really can't understand why someone else has not jumped at the opportunity to host at this campground. Although the noise is certainly more than you would have in woodland campgrounds, it is certainly not as bad as might be expected. And the views and climate more than make up for it. I think we are going to enjoy this.

This morning at about 9:30 I got a call from the ranger. He said something had come up and he would not be able to train us today after all, so he said to take the day off. Hey! I can get used to this!

Since we didn't have to work, we rode the scooter into San Clemente to do some shopping and then went to the beach for the afternoon. Maybe tomorrow we will get trained and start doing something worthwhile. Then again, maybe not.