Saturday, March 28, 2015

Time flies

This is our last weekend at Montauk. As usual, the park is close to full. It had been close to 100 % occupancy for the reservable sites, and, based on the numbers of people pulling in here yesterday afternoon, there weren't many cancellations. I was a little surprised -- the weather forecast was not especially pleasant with close to freezing temperatures for the lows and a prediction of a "wintry mix" falling from the skies today (which is indeed what's happening as I type). It's supposed to improve tomorrow, but of course most people are just here for the weekend. It doesn't matter much if the Sunday high is predicted to be around 60 if you've got to pack up your trailer and head back to St. Louis on Sunday morning. 

On the other hand, if you've invested in a humongous 5th wheel and paid for a campsite in advance, I suppose it makes sense to actually use both. Plus, of course, when your idea of fun is to pull on a pair of waders and go stand in close-to-ice-cold water for hours, maybe the notion of a wintry mix isn't that off-putting. 

In any case, the end is in sight for this installment in campground hosting. I have mixed feelings. I'd kind of like to stay longer, but have to admit that my patience for dealing with the public isn't unlimited. This would be a great place to be if it were only a little less popular. Some people are, to say the least, total idiots. Either that, or they've never had to deal with actual rules before. And they all lie: they'll claim the superintendent or the ranger or someone in the office told them it was okay to do something that is clearly against park policy; they'll discourse at length about how they've been camping here for many years and have never ever been told before that they have to keep their dog on a leash; they'll swear up and down that they despise the people who burn trash in the fire rings and then leave their own fire ring full of semi-melted Busch Lite cans. Liars, I don't know how people who have to deal with the public day after day manage to do it. I know I couldn't handle a career that required being polite indefinitely. Sooner or later (and probably sooner) I'd say what I was thinking. 

I think one month is just about the right length for us to be campground hosts. It isn't just having to be polite; it's also the fact you can never get away. The campground host is here so if people have a problem or a question at odd hours they've got a place to go. Which strikes me as being a Good Thing until it gets to be midnight and someone is knocking on the Guppy's door complaining about the loud drunks at the other end of Loop 2. The people who are following us are scheduled to be here for five solid months -- I think they're insane, but apparently they do these long stints all the time. They must really like living in a fishbowl. 

I have begun researching volunteering at National Wildlife Refuges. From what I can tell, one of the nice things about being at an NWR is the volunteers' public contact comes in more formal settings: working behind the information desk in a Visitor Center, for example, or serving as the guide for interpretive hikes. And a lot of the volunteer work doesn't involve the public at all: trail maintenance or assisting with research projects. The downside is NWRs want a longer commitment (usually 90 days), which might make it hard to find a situation that fits in with when we want to be home in Michigan. Oh well, I'll keep perusing and see what comes up in the way of snowbird opportunities. Between Fish & Wildlife, the Corps of Engineers, the Forest Service, and the Park Service, we should be able to line something up for next winter. I wonder how stiff the competition is for a VIP slot at Fort Frederica National Monument? Or, better yet, Hot Springs? Hot Springs National Park would be perfect -- far enough South that it doesn't get much in the way of Real Winter combined with being a park and a town I already know and like. I really need to do some kissing up to the connections I still have in the Park Service and see who's foolish nice enough to let me use them as a reference. 

1 comment:

  1. if people weren't assholes you could handle the job better.


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