Sunday, August 12, 2012

Workamping---NOT for everyone!

I've talked about workamping before, but it amazes me how many people have no idea what it is! If you live in an RV---regardless of type---and work then you are considered a workamper!! That definition may be a little broad, but thats basically it. I guess you don't have to be working at a campground to fit into that definition..... --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- My first workamping experience was in New Mexico for a retail company that had C-stores along I-10 and I-40. They supplied a full hook up site and a 40 hour workweek plus a check. When I was off, I was free to do whatever I wanted. It was a pretty sweet deal, and I enjoyed myself immensely! It was never meant to be a long term gig, and I only stayed 4 months before heading further west. New Mexico is the "Land of Enchantment" and it was a beautiful state! Especially for a guy that came from the midwest and was used to seeing cornfields everywhere, instead of deserts and mountain vistas! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It was in New Mexico that I met my first vandweller. An older person living off a pension/SSI, literally sleeping in a Ford Econoline cargo van. Their champagne tastes always exceeded their beer money income, and before the next check arrived was always broke!! We will call this vandweller Earlene, a woman in her late 60s, with all sorts of allergy problems, who could not tolerate cig smoke, or dogs, or anyone that did not live the way she thought they should. Fast forward to January of 2012.....Earlene decided she wanted to get a workamping job as a campground host, likely thinking she would get paid for doing nothing, other than being a "prescence"......we ALL know people like her!! They want a handout, NOT a hand up!! So Earlene gets a camp host job in a remote area of a western state, and what happens?? She finds out that she actually has to do some work!! And she gets on her blog and cries and complains to her followers that the wilderness area she is in has herds of cows that roam thru her campground and poop all over the place, including the picnic tables she has to keep clean.....and that some campers are breaking rules faster than she can enforce them...and many campers have dogs---oh no!!! I wonder, did Earlene think that it was going to be peaches and cream all the time? Did she do ANY research about the company that she was working for, or the location she was going to, BEFORE making a committment? Very doubtful......and now she is on her blog telling people that they should think twice before becoming a camp host....well, DUH Earlene!! Do some research next time! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Before I would accept ANY workamping job, I would research and get as much info as possible about the opportunity. Make it clear my duties, and even more clear my pay and perks if any! Get a FIRM arrival/departure date!! And if possible, get it all IN WRITING!! WORKAMPING OPPORTUNITIES ARE PLENTIFUL EVERY SPRING, IN EVERY AREA OF THE COUNTRY! Have retail experience?? There are jobs in gift shops at attractions, some even pay commission on sales! Have hotel experience? Many national parks have lodging operations where you can get a front office job. Like to cook? Want to put your green thumb to work doing landscaping? Want to be a tour guide? There are workamping jobs for those skills too!! Want to go to Dollywood and hang out for the summer? They hire lots and lots of workampers!! An amusement park in the heartland? AdventureLand in Iowa will fill the bill! Always wanted to see the black hills, or the Grand Canyon? Want to see Crazy Horse Memorial before you die?? Theres workamping jobs there too! But do your research FIRST!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

New solar experiment!!

Well, I have been on the road working for 2 weeks straight without being home to the STEALTH camper.....we are just super busy in Lowes thru the end of this month! Then starting in September we are booked thru end of the year as well, in Home Depots in Indiana/Illinois.....and since I love to travel, it doesn't bother me at all to move from city to city, hotel to hotel, presently am in Logansport, IN at a real nice Holiday Inn Express thru Monday night. And since the company is picking up the bill, I'm not complaining! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- While I was in Arizona this past winter I met a couple who were living in a Chevy van, by choice.....they were in their 60s, no kids, and they were enjoying themselves and adapting to their new lifestyle. They were camped on BLM land outside of Quartzsite and had a little Honda scooter to ride to town. Oscar and I hit it off from the beginning, as he was a retired funeral director so we had an instant connection! Susan was retired from Macys. One day, they invited me over for dinner, and Susan had cooked up a great meatloaf along with potatoes and carrots and onions, with brownies for dessert! It struck me about midway thru dinner that because they were vandwellers, how did she cook up this great meal?? I knew they had a 2 burner cook stove, but brownies require an oven to bake how did she bake the brownies?? In this:
A solar oven!! In fact, she cooked up the meatloaf in it as well!! A SOLAR OVEN!! I had heard of these, but never seen one much less enjoyed food cooked in one!! This intrigued me greatly, but I put it on "the back burner" so to speak...lolol...for more research later on. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So, has anyone had any experience with a solar oven?? Have done some research online, and these things cost anywhere from $200. to $400. but will last for many years. The concept is simple enough, and the interior temps can get up to 400 degrees you can bake/cook nearly anything!! Look at it as a solar crock pot, because it takes time to cook in them!
And in the winter when the old sun is lower in the sky, I guess you would have to angle it greatly to get the full benefit of the suns rays.......whether I buy one or not will depend on different factors, but mainly the size of it!! Even folded down, the one I saw in the desert was pretty big!!