|Cleawox Lake at Jessie Honeyman State Park|
|Picnic Area A at Sarah Helmick State Park|
During our working days at Jessie Honeyman, near Florence, we were true campground hosts, available to campers, 24 hours a day for 5 days a week. As soon as we woke each morning, we pulled on clothes and went out to raise the American flag. We took it down again each evening at dusk. Once we were out of bed each morning, our window shades went up, indicating that we were available to campers. If a camper came in the middle of the night and couldn't get into their yurt, or had some other need, we were available for them to find help, (although we'd talk to them through the window, for our safety!). We were the first visible hosts as campers entered the park, which is why we were considered the "meet-greet hosts". Fortunately, we were not waked in the night often! Our “On Duty” sign would not go down for the 5 days we were on duty.
While every day was different, and though our actual working hours probably never exceed four hours a day, we were to be available to help campers at any time. We tried to always have one of us at the coach, with only a couple exceptions. I would stay behind while Steve did light cleaning of the men’s restroom, and he covered while I cleaned the women’s restroom.
Other than refilling paper towel and toilet paper dispensers, we’ve never been asked to do any cleaning of restrooms previous to Honeyman. Even at Honeyman, we didn't do what is considered “deep cleaning”. We would disinfect and wipe down the sinks and mirrors, sweep the floors and pick up debris. The Rangers clean and disinfect the toilets and showers and mop floors. Doing the amount of work we were asked to do in the restrooms did not seemed unreasonable to us at all. It’s actually nice to know we were helping the rangers with their workload, while not doing anything we were uncomfortable with.
|Sunrise at the Sarah Helmick gate|
The park has two large group picnic areas which can be reserved for various events. We’ve been told there have been weddings held here, though we haven't been able to enjoy that experience. We've had one area used for a memorial service, but that's been our only reservation to date.
One of our favorite aspects of being at Sarah Helmick has turned out to be getting to know the local regulars who come to the park. Fred, who has a permit to saw up a couple downed trees in the park, comes almost daily to "have a beer and visit with friends". We've seen very little progress on the tree during the 5-6 weeks we've been here ...
|Steve with new local friend,|
Shirley with Lucky
Chuck and his wife are our "walkers". They do 8 laps around the park on week days, equaling 4 miles. We have another regular we refer to as "shirtless man" who comes on sunny days, removes his shirt, and just enjoys standing around in the sunshine. We have people who eat their dinner here on all the sunny evenings. They each appear to have their favorite picnic areas. Some occasionally use the BBQ stands around the park to cook on. Families, and some young people, come regularly on the nicer days to play down at the river's edge. It wouldn't be our idea of a good time, as the river looks pretty murky to us, but they love it. Apparently it isn't too deep. We have fishermen visit. One grandfather brought his young grandson to fish. We've been told catch-and-release is best. The Luckiamute River, which runs on 2 sides of our park, meanders through a lot of farm land, and we've been told that means it gets run-off from chemicals used in farming, and animal waste ... Need I say more?
|Being trusted with the park truck|
is no small thing!
|Meadow area near the Willamette|
at Luckiamute Landing
|Ranger Steve DeGoey and myself by the confluence|
of the Willamette, Santiam and Luckiamute Rivers
|Following the tractor out of the "jungle"|
|Willamette Water Trail signs at|
We've been invited to return to Sarah Helmick or either of the two host sites at Luckiamute again, which lets us know just how much our help has been appreciated. I don't think we ever see Ranger Steve when he doesn't thank us for our work. It feels really good - like we're truly making a difference!
The next chapter of our adventure begins in about 2 1/2 weeks, when we will once again be again trying something new. We'll be working for the state, helping to collect surveys on day-use parks. We've been placed at LL Stub Stewart State Park, near Vernonia for July and August. We're supposed to have completed that job in about 6 weeks, and we have host friends we met last August, the Brock's, hoping to get together with us during that last portion of August. We also hope we'll be getting lots of visits in with local friends and family. In addition, we have some routine maintenance due on the coach to take care of.
We are to be back at Wallowa Lake State Park for September and October, and hope to have some fun traveling with our good friends, the Schaffer's, who'll be heading back there from a brief vacation month in Newberg. I am waiting to hear back on possibilities for November/December of this year, and we are in the early stages of looking into possibilities for 2014. We have to work to keep from falling back into our comfort zone. We feel the need to be uncomfortable, at least as far as trying more new things. The possibilities available to us seem almost unending. Fish hatcheries need hosts. We could leave Oregon to try working elsewhere. We might want to work in a National park or two. The future is yet to be determined and we are excited to see what plans God has for our future!
Diabetes Update: As a side note, I am happy to report I'm doing very well currently with my type 2 diabetes. I just saw the doctor on June 7th and got an excellent report of the progress I've made controlling the disease through diet and exercise. It won't last, as diabetes is incurable, but she said I should enjoy the next 6 months to 5 years, or as long as I am able to control things without medication. I'm feeling good again, and we have only found the modifications to our lifestyle to be positive. Thanks for the treasured prayers of my friends and family!