Goodbye CMR

Sunday September 25th, 2022: Well it is 6:45am and Mister Sam is playing with a cabinet door, just pulling it open far enough to let it bang closed, our coach has no end of cabinets, and he just does this to get us up, and it obviously has worked again. So Mister Sam has just had his morning treats and by seven o’clock I’m being rewarded with some valuable kitty lap time, I’m off shift today and actually only have one day shift left tomorrow. Miss Laurie on the other hand has three shifts in the office left, so she is off to to the office this morning, while I’m left behind at the coach with Mister Sam as I clean up a number of items around the coach and get the toad packed.

Well it was a busy, busy day, so now the toad is loaded, with just bikes and kayaks left to load, the campsite is pretty much packed up, the rugs are up and folded, just have to move the coach off of the flag pole base, but by now I’m pretty much whooped and after Miss Laurie got back to the coach she made pizza for dinner and we caught up on YouTube videos before calling it a night.

I would be amiss if I didn’t take a moment to mention the destruction caused to Port-aux-Basque in Newfoundland by the brutal hurricane Fiona. As we watched the news and seen how this typical little Newfoundland seaside village was ravaged by the storm surge and the beating continually by the waves. This touches us personally was we spent a lot of time in this village when we last visited Newfoundland, and we met so many amazing people from that area. To our RV family in Newfoundland, please be well and stay safe, and know our hearts and thoughts are with you.

Monday September 26th, 2022: Six o’clock and the call of nature, got me out of bed this morning, Mister Sam was still asleep on his cat post but wasn’t long getting up for his morning treats. Well today is my last shift at Country Maples RV Resort, and while I wasn’t looking forward to it I was looking forward to it being over. I need to finish off the packing the coach and I want to wash the coach before we pull out, so I need to get through today. I wonder what will be on my task list today?

Miss Laurie has shifts today and tomorrow, but wants to catch up on all of the laundry before we hit the road. Breakfast this morning is a couple of eggs easy over, some perked coffee before we head off for our work shifts. We had a report of a black bear in the park this morning, one of the staff let her dog out, and he immediately started to bark, when she went to see why there was a black bear at the back of her site, but she had no photo so as we told her there is no real proof.

Well today was full of crappy tasks, task one was the Gem EV car, it is quitting, and setting a code 15, and according to the innerweb it is because of low voltage, my voltage tests had found a defective battery, but after replacing it with another used battery, it does not seem to be charging properly. So I load tested all the batteries and three more batteries failed the load test, my conclusion … it needs six new batteries! This is not the first time that I have made this recommendation … jus’saying.

Next there was a couple of new signposts that needed to be dug in, then a little tractor work, to clean up an area at a campsite entrance, then there was a septic tank riser that needed to be installed, dug in by hand, in an occupied site, and finished the day by replacing some rotten landscaping ties at the clubhouse. So a day basically full of dirty little tasks, but it is officially over and I’m free!

Back at the coach shortly after four, Miss Laurie was well into the laundry catch up, and we spent the evening just kicking back, we had samosas for dinner before watching the most recent epesode of “The Rings of Power” before watching some Halloween baking competition on the food network just what you should watch before turning in for the night.

Tuesday September 27th, 2022: Well 6:30 apparently is my start time for my first day of freedom, there was no Baileys in my coffee this morning, I guess that’s because today is Miss Laurie’s last day, her last four hour shift in the office. Again Mister Sam was asleep on his cat post when I got up, I’m thinking this is maybe because of the new fall daylight hours, as we slipped into the fall season sometime last week when I wasn’t paying close attention. Pancakes for breakfast this morning, before I head up on to the coach roof to start the coach washing process, I knew it would be dirty up here but it was much worse than I was expecting.

So I spent over two hours cleaning the roof, and this was just a mediocre clean up job, not as detailed as it really deserved, and with the amount of tree sap on the roof, I will most likely be cleaning it for some time to come. But for now I was able to get the worst of it cleaned up, I needed to clean off the solar panels as we will be boondocking a lot as we head south. After the roof I started around the coach, but couldn’t get to the drivers side because of where we were situated in this site, I needed to unhook and move the coach over, the process had taken till noon with one side of the coach left to wash.

Our Beaver is buckled in and ready to go!

Next the bikes and kayaks, on the toad, by now the site is pretty much cleaned up and I have moved to a pull thru site for the night, the toad is already attached to the coach, everything is packed up, and we are ready to pull out early tomorrow. This afternoon we went to a gathering to celebrate a birthday for one of the staff members, it was a bit of a weird gathering with the birthday girl leaving early, which changed the whole dynamic of the get together, shortly after we left as well and returned to the coach, and Laurie made tacos for dinner because it “Taco Tuesday”.

We left the coach in travel mode tonight with the slide in, as we will most time when boondocking, it is easier and everything is still totally accessible with our slide in, this is one of the reasons that we loved this design and layout. So one last load of laundry, some showers, and we are pretty much done for the night, we started watching a new series “Resort”, lets just leave it at the jury is out on the this show, but it filled an evening, I’m thinking that I will sleep good tonight, because I’m tired.

Wednesday September 28th, 2022: Sorry but there’s not really much to tell here, we had tucked Thunder and the toad into one of the pull through sites last night, so we could just fire Thunder up before eight o’clock, unplug the power supply and we could drive straight out by eight. There will be no breakfast this morning, we are only going north on the TransCanada to Ladysmith today, as have a service appointment for Thunder is scheduled for 8:30, so we will have time to get some breakfast after we arrive. So by a few moments after eight o’clock CMR (Country Maples Resort) was in Thunder’s rear view mirror – now let the adventures begin as we embark on three month of new sights and experiences!

As we leave CMR our journey begins again!

Blog 448

Day 1822

Country Maple RV Resort – Work-Camping Review

Summer of 2022

This is a “membership park“, and is part of the Holiday Trails RV Resorts group, which at this time only owns three campgrounds and a small motel, all the parks are located in British Columbia, but a membership also gets members access to three host parks, two in Alberta and one in British Columbia, Country Maples is the only park that they own on Vancouver Island. There have been some parks sold off recently and I believe one host park has also left the group recently as well. Presently they are not selling any new memberships, which indicates to me that they don’t have enough sites for their membership base that they have right now, this park also accepts non-members into the park, and the park is also acting as a host park for other membership groups (such as Coast to Coast, RPI) but we are told the park is pretty much booked solid for this summer season.

Lets start with the numbers, this position includes a site at a “reduced rate”, our site which has to be one of the worst full hook-up sites in the park, is costing us $500 dollars all taxes in every 28 days and that is for a 30 amp site with full hook-up. The pay for the “summer help” (which is what we are referred to as) is $16.50 per hour (minimum wage in British Columbia is $15.65 per hour as of June 1st of this year) and all positions pay the same rate. The work hours for the first six weeks were all over the map, but according to the summer schedule my hours will be only 30 hours per week. And Laurie’s hours will be in that area as well, although in the spring if the store is not busy, they would just close it ahead of the scheduled times, reducing everyone’s hours, but for July and August all the camp store hours should increase and become more standardized.

There seems to be a lot of staff for the size of the park and some employees have been here a number of years, I don’t know what the longer term staff rate of pay is, but they speak as if it is not very much more, but a few of the maintenance staff are employed full-time as in year round. They also seem to have nicer sites with 50 amp full hook-ups, but they are still paying for their sites. We are the most junior members on staff, as many of the this years new staff hires are from people that were staying in the park as winter resident’s, while we only rolled in mid May, so my hours seem to be less then every one else in the maintenance group, good side of that is that I do get three consecutive days off a week, but only two days are with Laurie.

Laurie’s hours are split between working in the office as well as the camp store, she refers to the reservation program as antiquated and difficult to work with, some of these issues I’m sure are caused by all the different membership rates, rules, and regulations, and in the store, many of the items in the store are bar coded and scannable which should make checking people out it a quicker progress, but in some cases they have made the process too complex and can slow the process down. The store also controls the mini-golf course, as well as most firewood sales, it is the lost and found center for the park, and sells exchange propane tanks as well, the store staff is also responsible for continually bagging ice from the ice machine in their spare time. So the store it self is always very warm and very noisy with all the coolers and the ice maker running continually. Store shifts can be seven hours long with no break, or relief, then at days end the cash and till along with the deposit needs to be taken to the managers site at the top of the entrance hill.

I have often referred to this whole operation as a rudderless ship, as it changes direction almost daily as if caught up in an ever changing breeze that is always blowing the ship in a different direction. The park manager has been here twenty years, but a lot of the decisions seem to be made by a committee, a group of people that we just refer to as the dream team. While they describe themselves as regular employees, they do enjoy benefits such as full hour long lunch breaks from jobs that don’t allow anyone else those perks, and they appear to be influencing many of the management decisions. Because we are just short term summer help, I can not say if park operation is better or worse than before, but when we were asked if we would return next year, we declined.

The campground is clean, well maintained and quite beautiful and has a great location on the Chemainus River on the very picturesque Vancouver Island, while some of the campsites are quite small and cramped, others seem huge, the section referred to as Arizona row has almost no shade at all, while in other areas the sites are cut into old growth forest. We have found most of the members to be very unfriendly and overly demanding, and are constantly trying to bend the rules for their own benefit, I have been sworn at many times, but that apparently is not an uncommon event, from speaking with other staff members.

While we will not be returning, if you are considering applying to any advertisement from this group, be aware that the positions being advertised are not always even available as was the case when we applied, and looking back at our interview process, there were lots of warning signs of possible management problems that we failed to pickup on. The one that sticks out in my mind, was when we asked what the wage would be, we never did get a straight answer, and in reality we did not know our rate of pay until we received our first pay stub, and still are not really sure of our end date, but we now know our site is only held till September 28th.

Well it is now mid September, and the park Manager has taken the month of September off, leaving the park under the control of three others. From what I understand this is a regular event in September, but it seems to be having a negative effect on many of the summer help, with shifts and hours being slashed drastically, and duties being spread to people who have not been trained on procedures or protocols. I’m thinking that that the hours are being cut in some cases just to boost someone else’s hours, it appears to be blatant case of favouritism, our hours have been cut to the level of not making it worth our staying for this last month. And now I’m being asked to cover tasks that I have not been trained for, which was a real big deal in the spring but obviously isn’t nearly as important now. It actually now feels like they just wanted one more four week rental from this undesirable site, so do not offer to work after labour day if applying for a position, as they certainly don’t appear to want help after that point.

We were supplied some uniforms, along with two-way radios, the uniforms consisted of two golf shirts and a sweat shirt, a name tag and a ball cap. There are no breaks on pricing on the laundry machines ($2.50 to wash or dry), or on items in the store, apparently there is free firewood available, but we did not take advantage of that perk. We did get two vouchers for six months worth of internet, while a nice gesture, was not a great value considering the quality of the internet service, there is good cellular coverage in the area, so I would recommend using your own hub as the vouchers are per device and we have a lot of devices. All items are to be returned on departure, which make some sense, but does that mean that next years staff, just get left overs? This could be a whole new level of being cheap, and a first for us, not that we particularly would want any of the used clothing anyway.

Let me take a moment and relay what we discovered about membership parks, I guess we were naïve about membership parks, we expected because of the membership their would be some level of respect of the park, maybe even some level of ownership. we were so very wrong, we found a lot of members to be difficult to work with, overly demanding, and most have a sense of entitlement, to the level of verbally abusing staff when they don’t get their way. It has certainly has been a unwelcoming group, and an eye opening experience for us. to the level that we will steer clear of any membership park in the future. Holiday Trails tagline is “living the dream” in our case it was closer to a nightmare!

Blog 445