It's been a good week here at Devil's Lake State Park. We worked one day, had two days off, then just completed five more days of work. It's time for our "weekend" (Thursdays and Fridays).
We are feeling some muscles that haven't had much of a workout in a while. Poor Steve has been doing an awful lot of lawn mowing! He said it took him a couple hours to remember he didn't really like yard work that much... However, he's been a real trooper. The park is looking cared for again! As I'm cleaning camp sites, I regularly notice neatly trimmed grass and know my Steve has been there. He's making a difference!
Steve took me up to the hiker-biker camp this evening when we went up to return our cart, to show me how much mowing he'd done up there. It is a very steep area, with camping areas at the top and the bottom. While many of the park lawns are turning brown from lack of rain fall, that area seems to still be growing happily. Steve mowed the upper area, and down the hill as far as he could safely get his push mower.
Have I mentioned we haven't felt a drop of rain while we've been here? It's really been quite the perfect weather to suit our unusual tastes! Ranger Richard told us today that there have been times when the rain levels here have forced them to close down the park - even though it is open year round!
I think when we accepted the job at this park, we imagined Steve would be on a riding mower. Doesn't that sound like fun? I'm sure it must be! However, Steve has a push mower. No self-propelled wheels either (we were so spoiled at our Hillsboro home). Nope. Just Steve, pushing a little gas mower. Steve is a man who prides himself in rarely breaking a sweat. Today I made him change his shirt (after a shower) as it was drenched! I've rarely seen such a thing, especially in such mild temperatures. We're both getting some exercise, which is good for us.
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It's Saturday now, and I'm determined to publish another posting to my blog! It's getting harder to make time to sit and ponder life and write out my thoughts recently. I expect that will be less of a problem when we are further away from friends and family at Wallowa Lake during September and October. I'll be more glad to have something to do! For now, it's been a treat having company drop in! My parents came yesterday, bringing frozen food we've been storing in their freezer. Howard and Linda Hudson stopped in the day before for a visit in route to the church family camping weekend. Earlier in the week we had a surprise visit from Dave and Nancy Heaton, long time friends, out on a day-trip on their motorcycle. This coming week, Carl & JoAnn Isom are going to be camping here in the park for a couple nights. We look forward to hosting them for dinner. The following Sunday, we're expecting Brian and Shelley Sundin for another short visit. It's been a special thing to have company, even now that we are further away. We don't take our friends and family's special efforts for granted these days.
We've had one recent change to our schedules: our days off are now Friday and Saturday, which works better as far as covering for off-duty hosts. It really doesn't matter to us. Even though we work Sundays, we are able to get away to church on Sunday morning before working. We appreciate the loosely scheduled work week in that way. We blindly picked a church to attend last Sunday. It is Faith Baptist Church, just north of Lincoln City. They have just completed a new church building. That could be a good sign. We found we really enjoyed the service, the pastor, the worship music, and felt comfortable there in general. We decided we'd definitely be attending again next week. On our way out, we passed members coming in for the second service, and I spotted a couple of familiar faces! I told Steve we had to go back in and see them. It was Doug and Betty Kettle who were long time members of Cedar Mill Bible Church, our home church, and my life-long church family. The Kettles lived on the same street as the Skeels (my Dad's family) as they grew up. I'd seen Doug not long ago at my Dad's brother's memorial service. Now, here they were in Lincoln City and a church we'd picked from a list of churches! It seems they have a vacation home in Lincoln City, and attend this church whenever they are in town. Doug assured us it a strong, growing church. How nice to have one more confirmation that we'd found a good church for the month of August! It appears that God continually goes before us, paving the way to whatever he has for us.
As we continue to try to figure out our future as full time RVers, we're needing to get our doctor and dental appointments scheduled together and corralled into a couple of months, six months apart, if possible. As a result, we need to plan to be in the Hillsboro/Beaverton area, or at least reachable to that area, a couple times a year. I wondered how we'd work this out. It seems it's just kind of falling into place naturally. I can't make my August teeth cleaning appointment, so I schedule one at the same date and time as Steve, in November. Steve won't be able to make an eye exam at the end of this month, so I scheduled us both to have one in November. So, it appears November is the month we'll be around the Beaverton/Hillsboro family. We might end up back in McMinnville, or we could choose to work at a more local state park ... Champoeg and Stub Stewart could work.
A friend we made while park hosting at Fort Stevens last year emailed us this week. He is currently hosting down on the lower central coast, at Beachside, a day use area. He recommended to us that we consider volunteering at a park in the Willamette Valley called Sara Helmick. It's fairly close to Monmouth. Apparently it is another day use area, with a beautiful natural area. The park isn't particularly busy, and the amount of host work is light. He thought we might enjoy it for a couple months next Spring. The park apparently is closed off-season, or at least doesn't require a host except from May through September. Our "wood-buddy" Brian, as we like to refer to him, has signed up for August and September of next year. That leaves 3 months open as options for us, since they've had problems getting hosts for some unknown reason. Perhaps, like us, it's because no one really knows about the place? We're considering doing a couple months. If we pick May, we'd be close enough to drive up for dental appointments, etc., again, while having no RV park fees.
Steve and I enjoy each other's company. If we didn't, this RV life would not make much sense! So far, we find our most enjoyable days of hosting are when we get to share the job. This morning, even though it's official our day off, we decided to walk the board walk over to the primitive boat launch so we could do some clean up of litter and pruning debris. It looked messy when we were there the day before. It's hard to have a day off as a host, as we see things we want to "fix", yet aren't equipped with the right gear to handle the task. We end up having to mention whatever we see to another host. It's hard to pass by a need and not take care of it!
If we sign on at Sara Helmick State Park, Steve and I would be by ourselves quite a bit, which is different than we've experienced as hosts to date. Our company would be day-users, instead of campers. We haven't been sure we'd want to do a day-use park, because of being "on our own" as far as safety issues. We felt we'd be somewhat vulnerable. However, having a friend who's already hosted there without any concerns makes us feel the risk is minimal, at least at that particular park. The real issue is would we get too lonesome! We're thinking we'd like to try it out. It probably wouldn't be too busy at the park during a nice rainy Spring and early Summer. We might even enjoy having more time to ourselves. More time to work on hobbies we might pick back up again! Who knows. If we don't like it, we don't have to do it again. What a cool thing to be able to try out new things! Something tells me we'll be looking forward to a month without so much of a schedule by then.
We have yet another visit scheduled at Camping World in Hillsboro at the end of this month, as we continue to get the "bugs" fixed on our motorhome. We will leave Devil's Lake after our last day of work, and spend the night behind Camping World. We'll be able to plug into 15 amp service (much better than nothing!) and we won't be late for our 8 a.m. appointment the next day. We'll have my parents house to crash at. Unfortunately, they won't be there, as they will be off for the Labor Day weekend with my sister and niece and families. We'd thankful, however, to have a place to be!
We're very excited to be getting our new closet door - I'm so tired of wrestling the old one that pulled apart due to extreme humidity changes before we took ownership. The part is in to fix our #2 air conditioning unit also. The adjustable bed still has it's issues with the switch working only on occasion. We need to be able to depend on it. We've added some new things to the "fix list". My bathroom sink has a slow leak, that we can't seem to fix ourselves. The microwave fan vibrates - which is making me crazy. I can hit it at times to make it behave, for a while anyway. Our bathroom light fixtures each have a light socket that won't let the bulb screw in ... Just those kinds of things that we're learning as we live in our new home. We've got to work through all the bugs.
I have to admit I have had a few times when I feel very frustrated about certain things about living this way. I think it's an accumulation of still not having things all figured out. I need to work out how to store those things I use on a somewhat regular basis in a more reasonable way. I get tired of having to move one thing to get to another, or unloading a whole cabinet to get to one baking dish. I'm aware I need to downsize even further. That leads me to deal with the frustration of continually giving things up. I'm to the point of having to let go of some things I have used on a more regular basis. That's hard sometimes. Other times, it's no big deal. But there are harder days on occasion. What major life change doesn't have challenges? When in real life are there not challenges? It seems it doesn't matter the choices, life is just challenging from time to time. I guess that's the occasion for learning and growing. I am sure going to be smart one of these days!