"if you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much room"

Sunday, May 27, 2012

project completed!

We were able to finish up our little beautification project and it turned out looking pretty good if I do say so myself!
Our "area" was the visitors parking lot which is just a long wooden fence. The first thing we did was stain both sides of the fence.

The fence is 70' long and it was a lot of work to get it all done. We wanted to transform both sides of the fence and we found some old metal letters laying in a junk pile and these became our focus for the side seen from the entrance road. The letters were cleaned and painted and I built a couple of flower boxes out of scrap lumber. This is the view you have driving into the park.

The other side of the fence was a bigger challenge. I came up with the idea but Rudee did all the creative work. This is what we came up with.

The kids, sunflower, kite and ballons are all made from cut pieces of plywood and have a 3D look to them.
The whole project came in under the budget provided by the park and we have heard some good comments from the other work campers as well as the owners.

Thursday night we went to the local race track to watch the USAC Sprint cars race. We took our chairs and sat in the infield and had a great time. The track is a 1/2 mile dirt oval and it sure was fun watching the cars skidding through the turns with the drivers fighting for control. They sure were fast!

Memorial Day week end is winding down and we have been really busy the last two days. Saturday morning the cafe was a zoo! We ended up serving 48 meals in the 90 minutes we were open!
Sunday was a little slower but not by much. We are both tired from our long week and are looking forward to the next 2 days off, we need the rest! I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

time flies!

Wow, this past week time has gotten away from me. Seems like I no more get started with the day and it's over! We did take some time for a bike ride Saturday afternoon. We rode to our old hometown of Lebanon where they were holding a Goldwing motorcycle rally. We arrived too late to participate in the rally events but did get to spend some time with all of our old biking buddies and that was what we were wanting to do anyway.

Here at the KOA things are ramping up for Memorial Day week end. The owner has offered a bonus for taking on an extra project so Rudee and I have been trying our hands at some "beautification", We are spiffing up the visitors parking area. We have been working on it for the last several days on our off hours and are just about finished with it. I will post some before and after photos soon but here is a quick before shot taken on my iphone.

We worked last evening (Wednesday) and were kept busy by arriving campers. The majority of them were here for one night and then moving to Indianapolis to boondock near the track. Seemed like I no more led one camper to their site and Rudee was calling me on the radio telling me to come back to the front for another escort! One of the "extra" things the campground does is pass out fresh baked cookies to our newly arrived campers. Rudee bakes them in an oven in the office and I deliver them to the campsites once they get settled in. The campers really enjoy getting a treat and it's a lot of fun for me to deliver them and, if time allows, I get to chat awhile as well.

We have some more to do on our little project before going into work at noon. Hopefully we can get everything done and can start enjoying our time off again. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, May 18, 2012

I see you!

In between shifts here at the KOA I have been trying to get a few projects done around our little home on wheels. The last couple of days we have been busy installing a rear view camera. We have had a camera on the back of the semi for a couple of years now and I use it to hook on as well as keep an eye on the bike while traveling. The camera works really well and I have wanted to install an additional one on the back of the fifth wheel. The screen that we installed in the dash  of the 5th wheel supports 3 separate cameras and I had already ran the wire for this new camera back to the hitch area of the truck.
I spent quite a while testing mounting locations, by taking off one of the brake lights and a clearance light I thought I could "fish" a wire from the roof of the 5er to the underside through the back cap. Unfortunately there is a board under the cap that runs the entire width of the cap that prevented me from doing this. I could have drilled a hole behind the clearance light into an interior cabinet then down the wall and through the floor but Rudee put the a stop to that idea not wanting me to drill a bunch of holes in her home!
I decided to just take the easy way out and ran the wire for the camera down the back side of the ladder and then drilled a hole into the rear cap at the bottom. We then ran the wire up to the front of the 5er, into the front compartment and under the floor of the overhang and out the hitch area. This not the "cleanest" installation and the wire shows a little on the rear but doesn't look too bad either.

They make wireless cameras but they are limited to the distance they will work. I did research the wireless option and found several others with similar rigs had tried them with disappointing results so I went with the hard wired option.
One big advantage is this new camera even has sound! When Rudee is backing me into a site all she has to do is speak her directions to the camera and I can hear her in the cab. Pretty cool, huh?

The days are passing pretty fast here at work. We start our first of three early shifts today. These shifts usually pass by really quickly and then we are off again to play for our "week end". I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Life in the fast lane

May in Indiana means only one thing ...... Indy 500 time! The track springs to life early in the month with ceremonies and special events all building up to the 500 mile race on Memorial Day week end. I am a huge fan of the 500 and have attended the race a few times but tend to enjoy watching it more on TV rather than attending in person. My favorite thing to do though is to go to the track during the practice sessions building up to qualifications and then the actual race. Last Saturday was the official opening day at the track and all the drivers and crews are free to practice running their cars until the track closes for qualifications next week end. The track is open each day to the public ($10 per person) and you can sit in the infield stands and watch all the action.
Back in my Sheriff's Dept. days I worked split shifts and could attend at least one or two practice days when I had a day or two off during the week. The last several years though I worked a more conventional 8-5 Monday through Friday life and couldn't attend and really missed it. This year one of my goals was to spend a little quality time at the track and yesterday was the day.
Rudee and I headed out on the bike shortly after 10am for the 60 mile ride to Indy.. The weather was absolutely perfect and it felt really great to be out on the bike.
We stayed off the interstate and rode the old National Highway US 40 into the city. The track is situated on the west side of Indy and we paid our $20 entry fee and was directed to the special motorcycle only parking.
The green flag for the track had just been waived before we arrived and there were already a few cars making laps. We found a seat in the bleachers nearby and watched for awhile.

The cars would speed by for a few laps and then duck into the pits and make some chassis changes or tweak this or that and head back out to see if their adjustments added any speed. We had packed our lunch and decided to eat while watching the cars and then go exploring.
Once we had lunch out of the way and the cooler back into the bike we headed for the main grandstands. Here is where all the cars move from the garage area out into the pit area on the track.

The grandstands here look over the pits as well as down the main straightaway of the track. Several cars were here being worked on while the drivers sat waiting.

We were nearby when they moved the #14 car out onto pit road and headed for their stall. The #14 car is well known as being owned, and formally driven by, AJ Foyt so we headed down that way with hopes of doing a little celebrity spotting and what do you know, ole Tex himself!

We watched some more of the action on pit road and eventually worked our way back toward the bike and returned to our lunch spot to watch the cars on the track some more. The track is open for practice until 6pm but we wanted to beat the traffic so we left about 4pm and headed towards Plainfield where we met Rudee's sister and her husband for dinner at Applebees before heading back home. Wow, what a great day! I really had a wonderful time and sure appreciate Rudee putting up with the heat and my little boy, wide eyed fascination with race cars! :-)

Tuesday we decided to go for another ride and ended up heading south. Our destination was the casino in French Lick Indiana, hometown of Larry Bird. We had a nice ride but luck wasn't on our side this trip as the slot machines were not in a "giving" mood. We gave up on them fairly early and spent some time walking around the resort. The place sure has changed a lot since 1978 when we spent part of our honeymoon here. There was no casino here and the resort was left over from the roaring 20's era and was rich in history but had fallen into disrepair in the last several years. The casino changed all that and the place is as shiny as a new penny now.

Tomorrow we report for work at 4pm to start another work week. We are enjoying our jobs here and look forward to learning new things and meeting all the new campers that arrive. Come and see us and I'll cook ya breakfast and if ya can't come see us, I'll keep you posted!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Mothers Day

I just wanted to wish all the Mothers out there a Happy Mothers Day! Rudee and I went to Plainfield Thursday afternoon and took her Mom out for an early supper to celebrate. We wanted her Dad to go as well but at 85 years old he is content to just stay inside the house in his recliner and said he would just see us when we get back. :-(

My Mom passed away in December of 2010. Here is a photo I took of her just a few weeks before she died. She always had a smile and was one of the most kind hearted persons I have ever known. She suffered from the beginning stages of dementia and required a little extra care but her passing was a total shock to all of us and we all miss her.

Mothers Day was spent with our kids and grand kids at our daughters house. Our Grandson Nicholas gave his Grandma a ride in their, new to them, Gator. We all laughed watching Rudee hold on yelling at him to "slow down, that's fast enough!" :-)

This past week end all KOA's had a special deal where you get Saturday night free when paying to stay on Friday. We expected to be pretty busy and had a few extra campers but there was not as many taking advantage of the offer as I expected.
Checking in with the other work campers I learned that they uncovered the pool Sunday afternoon and got the pumps and filters going. Looks like summer is coming!
I have never taken care of a swimming pool before and look forward to being able to add that little piece of knowledge to my work camping resume'.

We have the next 2 days off and the weather looks perfect. Rudee wants to take a bike ride and I want to go to the Indy 500 track and watch them practice for the race. I feel a road trip coming on! I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Our days and weeks are starting to become routine, Wednesday is our late shift and I keep busy parking campers and refilling propane bottles. Thursday and Fridays are mowing days and we cook breakfast on our week end shifts.
I like to read about others experiences at their work camping jobs as well and most of the bloggers I follow who are work campers have arrived and started their seasonal jobs. Rudee and I both love to read about others' experiences and are always on the look out for future jobs.
Some of our "blogger buddies" are, like us, working in a private campground doing much of the same duties we are doing here. There are others who are working in public campgrounds and National Forests as campground hosts. Their duties are a little different in that they seem to be more "managers" of their little slice of heaven in the woods. We want to try that one day!
The number and variety of work camping jobs seems only limited by your imagination. I was watching TV last night and they showed a blip about the Clark County Gun Range near Las Vegas NV. I have seen them advertise for work campers in the past and thought how interesting it would be to work there and here it was being shown on TV.
One couple we follow is working (and living) at a Llama ranch assisting the owners caring for the animals. That could be a fun and interesting job! Picture yourself sitting around a campfire in Quartsite Arizona one night with a large group of campers telling them how you helped birth a Llama!
Besides a way to make a little extra cash we plan on using work camping as a way to experience new areas and have several on our radar for the future. I'm a sucker for a nice view of the mountains :-).

We report for duty today at 11am. Today is mowing day and since we have had rain several times in the last week the grass has really shot up! I'll keep you posted.

Monday, May 7, 2012

busy week

Ooops, I sure didn't mean to let a full week pass between postings. This past week it seemed like all we did was work and sleep. We were pretty busy working on the park to make it presentable for the KOA inspectors due in late in the week. Each year teams of inspectors travel to each KOA and inspect the facilities. I got the chance to take a peek at the book of guidelines they send to the owners that lists all the "requirements" down to what they should have on their store shelves.
The requirements are pretty extensive but this campground was already doing things "by the book" so we concentrated on making sure things were looking spiffy.
Thursday was a tough day for me. We have had a lot of rain and several of the lower lying areas in the park couldn't be mowed with the riding mower until things are completely dry. Since the inspectors were coming and it didn't look like things would be dry enough for another couple of days, I manned the push mower and started mowing the wet grass. It was hard work and I spent over 4 hours slogging through the wet areas pushing (and pulling!) the mower. Thursday was also the hottest day of the week with the temperature reaching 87 degrees mixed with 80% humidity making it a miserable day to be working outside. I took several breaks in the shade and Rudee brought me ice water several times to help me keep cool.
Once we were off work and I had taken a shower, we headed out on the bike for a "cool down" ride. We headed to Greencastle where Rob and Jany met us on their Goldwing. We had a nice visit and dinner at The Fairway Restaurant before riding back home.

Starting Fridays we report for work on the early morning shift from 8am until 1pm. Normally we don't start any yard work until at least 10:30 so we don't disturb the campers but this morning the owner wanted me start mowing with the riding mower and also do some weed eating. I headed for the shop where I gassed up the rider and tried to start it. All I heard was "click" when I turned the key, so I dug out a battery charger and hooked it up. Guess I'll try the weed eating first. I gassed the weed eater up and luckily it started and I got to work.
The grass was still wet and the weed eater tended to kick up spray, wet grass and mud. I was a mess once I finished and hopped in the shower (again!) as soon our shifts ended.
With the rest of the afternoon off we headed to Plainfield to visit Rudee's parents, pick up our mail in Brownsburg and meet up with friends Tim and Linda for dinner. We had not seen them since last October and it was fun catching up with everything that has happened since then.
We made it back to the 5er around 10pm, another late night and early work shift, man this retired lifestyle is starting to get rough! I need a day off! :-)

The inspectors arrived Sunday afternoon and started their inspections shortly after getting their rig set up. KOA provides them with a pick up truck and 5th wheel to live and travel in while doing their inspections. That would be pretty cool but they sure seem to be busy only spending about 2 days at each park before heading for the next one. May have to keep an eye open for any vacancies in the future. :-)
We also had a couple staying overnight earlier this week that were Good Sam representatives selling memberships and advertising to privately owned parks. They have a set territory, theirs was around the east coast, and were headed that way to start their work. This would also be interesting work but I'm not sure what kind of salesman I would be, may have to find out one day though :-).

We finished our week Sunday afternoon with an employee meeting after the weekly pitch in. Both of us are looking forward to a couple of days off to rest our weary bones! I foresee at least one day of doing nothing but being a lazy butt laying around in my recliner! I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

am I a "square" ?

We started yesterday morning with the rest of the work camping gang at the cafe for breakfast. We have quite a group of workers here, Ken and Nancy arrived late last week and they will be cooking breakfasts Monday through Friday. This is their 6th season here so they are old hands at work camping. We still have one more couple coming in the next couple of weeks. I'm not sure where they will fit into the schedule but they would make the 5th couple working the season here, plus there is another couple who are working part time on the week ends to pay for a site for their motorhome. Needless to say there are a lot of people wearing yellow shirts running around here :-).

After breakfast we headed to Menards for some supplies. I had some creating to do! We have a Splendide Washer/Dryer combination unit in our 5er. We love the thing but it just doesn't seem to dry things very good anymore. I have taken it apart and cleaned it but that hasn't helped much. When we were in Jamestown we strung a clothesline up but after arriving at the KOA they have rules against clotheslines being strung up between the trees. I completely understand their concerns so we looked for another option and found the plans for building a ladder mounted drying rack built by fellow RVer Larry and listed on his blog The Happy Wanderers .
We did our shopping and headed home, got 1/2 way back and realized some of the pvc elbows were not correct and headed back. We exchanged the wrong ones for the right ones and tried going home again. I took a wrong turn this time and we ended up going home the loooooong way. Rudee just takes these things in stride. She knows that when I start these little projects there will be several round trips for supplies and "what not". :-)
Back at the 5th wheel I cut the pvc pipe into the pieces that I needed.

Using the elbows and T's I followed the diagram from the instructions and put it together. Once I had it assembled I did a test "hang".

"Hey look, I built a square!" :-)
We laced the rope through the "square" and VIOLA a clothesline is born! Rudee didn't waste any time putting it to use and no those are not my undies up there. :-)

I glued some of the joints and attached some of the others with screws and wing nuts so we can take it partially apart for storage. We both like the way it turned out. We spent less than $25 for all the supplies and it was fun to build.

Shortly after finishing the clothesline and hanging out the laundry the skies darkened and we started hearing thunder. I guess hanging out laundry is just like washing your car (or motorcycle) and is a sure way to make it rain! The rain came and was it ever a downpour, it rained and rained and rained some more! We had plans to cook out on the grill but it never stopped raining so we moved inside and relaxed in front of the TV for the evening.

We have no big plans for today and judging by the skies it looks like another rainy day. I guess rain is just job security since the grass will need mowing and I will probably be the guy in the "yeller shirt" riding around on the mower. I'll keep you posted.