Monday, March 13, 2017

Questions, Always With The Questions

When you volunteer to be a campground host, you must be prepared for all sorts of questions. We just hope when these questions are asked, we have the correct answers. We’re always prepared for things like, “ how do I get to campsite #___” or “ how much is firewood”. We’ve even become pretty good at directing people to the Ranger’s Station and to the trailheads in the area. But, the other day, we had a couple of not so routine requests.

On Thursday, a car pulled into the campground parking area. The occupants, 2 adults and a child of about 8 went for a walk towards the lake. When they returned, the mom came to the camper door and asked in a decidedly southern drawl, “Y’all got a pen I could borrah. The boy’s got a splintah” I was ashamed to ask her to repeat her request and eventually figured out she needed some type of sharp pointy thing to dig out said splinter. I handed her my mini sewing kit which included safety pins, common pins and needles. Several minutes later, she returned the kit and wanted to know if I had any peroxide or alcohol. I only had wipes which she had already used. She glanced back at the car where her husband and child waited for her and wondered if I had any Tylenol ’cause she had a whopper of a headache. That I was able to help her with.

A few minutes later the car left the parking area for points unknown and we went back to washing the bathhouse floors.

Just before dark on Friday, a young man approached the camper asking if he could rent a site for the night. We suggested he take a quick peek and choose one and before 10 minutes had passed we were filling out the paperwork for him to stay on site #4. He bought a bundle of firewood and left us, we thought, for the night.

There was a knock on our door about an hour later and I opened it to find Mr. #4 Camper wondering if we could render a bit of first aid. He held a wad of paper towels around one of his fingers. He told us, with no small amount of embarrassment, he had sliced his finger trying to free the firewood from it’s restraints. He added rather tongue in cheek he considered his knife to be pretty sharp.

We invited him in, waited while he washed the affected area and then gave him some more paper towels to dry off the finger. I grabbed my first aid kit  ( thanks, Mom for buying us a first aid kit ) and asked him to sit down at the table. It was then I got a look at the camper’s finger and with that brief glance I realized he needed more medical attention than I felt comfortable giving.

I called the Ranger On Duty, Jamie, who arrived about five minutes later. I won’t list each and every first aid measure taken from that point but I do want to mention Jamie, with his EMT training, did exactly what I was prepared to do. He just has the training certificate which I don’t. I also want to mention my decision to call Jamie could have had future ramifications. Jamie used nitrile gloves and I didn’t even think of it. I’m going to add some gloves to our first aid kit. ( thanks Jamie for suggesting I add gloves to our kit )

The predicted weather has slowed the arrival of reservations. It seems most campers don’t find 20 degree temps with snow as optimal tenting weather. Maybe winter will quit soon and we can continue with spring. I know the daffodils will be happy.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Forecasting Change

The weather changes quickly and often in March. Yesterday, the sky was a deep blue with cotton like billowy clouds lazily floating by. It was about 75 degrees and Carl and I worked up just a bit of a sweat when we walked over to the office. An hour later, the wind picked up substantially, the sky turned a steel gray and off in the distance, an occasional faint rumble of thunder could be heard. Within an hour, the camper was being buffeted with 40 mile per hour winds and we watched as a wide curtain of rain rushed across the lake towards us.  Within moments our parking area had standing water two inches deep.  The storm raged over the next two hours before exhausting itself in the Charlotte area. All we were left with were the high winds which blew all night creating a utilities nightmare in populated areas. Sometime after midnight, the cold front arrived, the winds dropped significantly and we woke this morning to 35 degree temperatures. Tonight, there is a possibility of a hard frost.

This morning, we received our daily report which tells us of expected arrivals, what sites will be occupied, if they owe money, the number of people in their party and it also includes a contact name.

After lunch, we’ll do a walk through to check for downed branches. But right now, I have to confess, the photographer got caught without her camera. Carl spotted a small deer walking slowly across the parking area and my camera was in the truck. Bad on me!      

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Traveling South

Our route south to Nebo, NC covered most of the same roads we traveled last year and because we have traveled these many miles before we approach the roads with an eye towards what had been fixed, changed or improved. It’s not exciting but it does pass the time and is classified as idle chatter in the much grander scheme of communication. So what was different?

 Well, we found the roads to be generally less rough. Many states have large construction projects in the works. Some are clearly in the beginning stages with surveyors bravely measuring and marking while traffic whooshes by at 70 mph which seems to be the legal limit in more and more places. Sadly, we must report Pennsylvania has the dubious distinction of the worst roadside litter. It also appears the least expensive gas was in Virginia while the highest prices at the pumps are now reserved for NY and NJ.

Because of freezing temperatures in NH, the water remained off in the camper during our trip. I found it easier to just eat our meals out while on the road which meant our stops in Cedar Knolls, NJ and Harrisonburg, VA  were anticipated for what they had to offer in the way of food. It was Chinese at both places but we did look for possible alternatives should we find ourselves traveling this way again.

We were told by the Ranger Supervisor they are experiencing drought conditions and the fire danger is borderline extreme. We were both surprised when he told us the park had to be closed for a month while employees spent 16 hours a day fighting a fire nearby.

After setting the camper on the host site at Catawba River Walk In Campground, Carl went about his responsibilities which included getting the water connected, lines flushed and securing the satellite dish on the roof. If it were left to the old style antenna on the roof, we would have 6 channels, 3 of them public education.

This year, unlike last year when the campground was closed for renovations, we will have people oriented responsibilities such as collecting money for firewood and assigning an overnight campsite if someone arrives after the ranger’s station closes. We are required to check sites, clean as needed and to generally be here to answer questions day users of the area might have. We are also in charge of the bathhouse.