May 16, 2022
I have finished my first week as a work camper and it has been harder than I had imagined it would be. However, it will get to the good part soon enough and I’ll be doing a victory dance. Nothing is ever all hard of course, there’s plenty of good times and relaxing time in between the parts where I’m the new kid at work making mistakes.
So here I am at a campground for the first time in many months. Each campground seems to have its own kind of culture and etiquette. This campground is definitely swanky and they are kind enough to employ me and let us live here for the summer so I’m taking my time to feel it out. My job is to work at the front desk. They have some complex systems that I am learning to use to book reservations, sell things in the general store, check folks in and out, and answers questions when people call. They even have an app for guests to text message questions or requests so there is lots to monitor. They are all about excellent customer service so I really care a lot about getting it right. The guests camping in the RV spots seem to be pretty self-sufficient, but those camping in our cabins or airstreams relay on us for food and beverages as well as the bath house often. The bath houses look like they belong in a 5 star hotel as you saw in my last post and we all pitch in to make sure that they are always clean and well stocked. I enjoy interacting with the guests. They all seem so happy to be here and to feel pampered during their vacation. It’s also fun to drive the golf cart around to deliver meal kits or drinks to people or to help them get their luggage to their accommodations. Likewise, stocking and tidying the store is not a bad task. These are all the tasks that I needed no practice to be good at. However, all of the administrative tasks prove to require practice as they have a learning curve.
This vexed me at first as I made many mistakes (and likely still will). I found myself being a bit tough on myself and thinking things like, “why is this so hard for me? I have a master’s degree, this should be easy. Did I get stupider?” After many reassurances from my manager and the couple of loved ones I whined to though I came to the obvious conclusion that making mistakes when introduced to a new set of skills and tasks is completely normal so I should ease up on myself, ask lots of questions when unsure, go slow with difficult tasks, and in time I will be good at it. It’s always easy to tell others these obvious pieces of advice and wisdom and yet difficult to tell ourselves these things. Everyone here is very kind and patient though. They all seem to be relatively happy people who enjoy working here.
After several days of working I had a couple of days off to just chill and enjoy the place I’m in. The pool is very nice and there is a giant hot tub as well. The food truck has tasty vittles. So far I have had a couple of breakfast treats from it and my first Dole Whip. If you are like me and unfamiliar with the Dole Whip, it is a frozen pineapple flavored non-dairy soft serve treat. It is sweet and delicious. Next time I will get it swirled with vanilla ice-cream as I do believe that would be the bomb. I haven’t taken advantage of the drive in theater here with the classic cars to sit in, but I’m sure one day I will.
Luke has flown back to Massachusetts for the week to attend a memorial service for his brother Scott who passed away a couple of months ago. Since the airport is a 5 hour drive from here, he took our truck and left it in a parking garage there. There was no way I was going to make a 10 hour round trip twice to get him back and forth from the airport. Rental car agencies also are just not a thing around here. This town has 800 residents and it seems like if they are not working in tourism or the service industry, they are mostly ranchers and cowboys. It does seem like an odd place for a luxury campground, but we seem to get plenty of visitors who have come out here for the national parks and hiking, or just to get away from the cities for a bit. Here are pictures of one of the cabins and the airstreams here.
I made friends with one of my co-workers quickly and had her over for dinner. I hope to become friends with all of my co-workers eventually though I am older than most of them I believe so I’m still feeling out the scene and getting to know people. I am posting late today as my new friend Sara and I got up early to go hike the Lower Calf Creek Falls. We brought her two dogs for the hike. I left mine at home in the A/C as Dobby wouldn’t tolerate all the people on the trail well and Sophie is too old to do a hike that long on a hot day like today (in the 80’s this afternoon). This was the first time I had really ventured outside of town and the views out here are amazing. The hike into the falls was great and we ran into another co-worker there who has become an ambassador for the Grand Staircase and was helping to keep the trail clean. Her name is Ikedra and she is confident and funny. I liked her immediately when I met her. We all took time to enjoy the view at the falls and let the dogs play. Hiking back in the hot afternoon sun was tough for all of us and when the dogs took breaks in the shade, we were happy to join them. I was called in to help out at work this evening and am working the opening shift tomorrow so I’ll leave you with a few photos from our hike today so I can go wash all the sweat off me.
Jennifer MacNeil is currently traveling the US with her husband and two dogs. She loves to have adventures, explore, meet fascinating people, and see amazing places. She strives to learn every day and spread kindness to others. She documents the journey through her photography and blog to share with others.