We talk to a lot of people who say, "You have a perfect life here, don't you?" We always say yes, yes we do, and for the most part, we mean it. We live in a sweet little "house" on a hillside covered with oak trees. There's a lake below, beautiful sky above, and in between, a lot of very nice people who come to stay in our campground. What's not to love, right? This is for those of you who are thinking of hitting the road on your own RV adventure, and trying out the camp host lifestyle...
First, I'll say, do it! Life is short, and you never know if "someday" will ever arrive. Next I'll say, brace yourself for some surprises, and not all good ones, especially where people are concerned. We've talked to a few people recently who have thanked us profusely for being "willing" to volunteer as camp hosts in this particular park. Now we know why. From what we hear from other camp hosts, this is the party zone of campgrounds, attracting every drunk with a tent from Yreka to Grants Pass. Other hosts laugh and wish us luck. They are very sympathetic, and they have no wish to trade places with us. This morning I don't want to be here either.
Rick and I have spent the last two nights in a constant state of "shush". We start about 9:30, a half hour before the official Quiet Hour. We walk through the camp, casually sauntering up to groups of campers who seem like they might be gearing up rather than winding down, and reminding them that they need to begin the quieting down process. They always say, Us? No, those guys over there are much louder than we are. And so it begins. About every 30 minutes from there we walk through again, and remind the same people that they need to quiet down. We take different tactics at times, like speaking directly to the Elder Woman of a group, or taking aside the obvious Boss, to talk to him privately. They always say, Sorry, sorry, sorry. We'll be quiet. Have a good night. And we walk away feeling like we've done a good job.
But we also always forget one simple Rule Of Life at this point - Drunks Are Liars. They will say anything to get a Person Of Authority of their backs. And we do look awfully authoritative in our stylish green camp host vests. So they tell us what we want to hear, and then we hear them snickering at us as we walk away. OK, we lived through teenagers. We can take it, to a certain point. So we go back to our trailer, thinking maybe, if we're lucky, and considering the mountain of empty beer cans by their campfire, the Drunks will simply pass out soon. We're up way too late, and Rick has to be up early for work, so we crawl off to bed and hope for the best.
Then about 1:30 AM there's a knock on the door - it's happened two nights in a row now - and some sleepy little person in a sweatshirt is standing there, asking us to please make those Loud People stop yelling profanities and sexual comments. The nice, quiet sweatshirted campers begin to be afraid for their children, and annoyed by the rudeness of some people. And off we go again, this time to threaten to call the sheriff. Last night we actually did call in Law Enforcement, who arrived more than 30 minutes later. The Drunks saw them coming and quieted down or hid, and once again, we heard the snickering as the Law drove back out of the park. Thanks guys. You were a great help.
There was no way to win this one. I guess maybe the fact that we actually called for backup made the Drunks take us a little more seriously. When it comes right down to it, we're only volunteers, and can only do so much. We've been told to always call the boss or the sheriff if we get a situation that's too much for us. But the truth is, we don't actually have the support we've been promised. Last night, the boss didn't answer his phone, and the cops strolled in too late to be of any help. We're beginning to feel like lonely deputies out here, left in charge of an out of control, wild western town. There's no one to call, no one who cares, no one who has our back.
So what do we do? Wait it out I guess. Honor our commitment. But I'll tell you one thing - if Rick didn't have his paid ranger job, I'd be doing everything I could to talk him into packing up and heading out of here early. We could be gone this afternoon. That's a little bit comforting, but only a little.
So you wanna be a Camp Host? My suggestion is to do your research before you agree to any position, no matter how sweet it looks on the surface. This is our first gig, and I don't think we'll be scared off completely because we do enjoy the lifestyle, but man, oh man... we're getting smarter as we go.