December 24, 2021

The Secret Santa Run

Despite the fact that our travel trailer is safely tucked away for the winter, Alan and I continue to embrace adventures, large and small, whenever we have the opportunity.  We’ve been tackling them together since day one when we set out on a month-long cross-country camping honeymoon with a two-person mountain tent, a Coleman cooler and our hearts full of love and wanderlust.

When our son, Ryan, was working at our local Tractor Supply Company store some years back, I’d sometimes stop in after running errands to drop off a bagel or some cookies from the bakery.  That habit of delivering treats like Santa himself led to a fairly recent tradition at our house – The Secret Santa Run.  Come along with Alan and me this year to see how it went and decide for yourselves whether or not we’re an embarrassment to our kids.

December 07, 2021

Introducing Jim - the Best Campground Host Ever!

The photos in this post were taken in and around the Sawtooth Mountains in central Idaho.  Since it’s an area of such exceptional beauty, don’t be surprised if they turn up again in future posts.

When you camp at privately owned RV parks, there is often an office on the premises that’s staffed by the campground owners, managers or paid staff.  Frequently you’ll find a small store on site and, perhaps, a laundry room and recreation room.  Various staff members are usually available to direct you to your campsite, take charge of campground activities and keep public areas like pools and playgrounds clean.

When you camp in public campgrounds, you don’t usually find a campground with staff or services like that unless you’re camping in a well-funded State Park.  Often all duties fall to a Campground Host, especially in federal facilities like those under the U.S. Forest Service or Army Corps of Engineers umbrellas.  Hosts are typically hired by the public agency that operates the campground or by a concessionaire that's responsible for staffing and maybe operations.  In exchange for a list of chores and a specified number of “on duty” hours, hosts may receive compensation in the form of actual pay, a free campsite for the duration of their tenure or some combination of the two.  As a result of this arrangement, the Campground Host is often the only contact the camping public has with the “owners” of the public campground – meaning the state or federal agency, city, county or region that operates it.  Just as a single server in a restaurant can make or break your dining experience, a Campground Host can positively or negatively impact your camping experience.