Sunday May 15th – Saturday May 21st, 2022
Saturday afternoon and I cut the last blog off as I was preparing to head out for my first shift, an afternoon shift at this brand new to us campground. My first shift was to be from 4 pm till 11 pm and was listed on the schedule as LUOC (Lock-Up & On Call). I was on shift with Bruce, and it was referred to as a training shift, Bruce is the senior person on the maintenance staff having more than ten years experience at this resort.
At my last campground I didn’t have to carry a key for anything, here on our arrival I was handed a key ring with a dozen keys on it. Of course at the previous spot there were more camp sites but far fewer staff. Here the maintenance/security staff alone has a five member crew. With a total staff of twenty five people, and with the May 24 weekend next weekend there is a lot of training going on, in all areas of the park.
The resort is part of a membership group of campgrounds, Holiday Trails membership, there are 175 sites, 50 are tenting sites, the remaining 125 are a variety of combinations, from 50 amp full hook-up to 15 amp partial hook-up. We are in a 30 amp full hook-up site, it is a pull-in site so would only work for a motorhome, our service side backs onto the mini-golf course, and the site is deep enough to park at least three cars behind our 40′ coach. The lot is surrounded by huge spruce trees, the site is graveled so the worst is the spruce needles tracking into the coach and on windy days the pine cones falling onto the coach roof.
I have stripped the toad, removed kayaks, the roof rack, the tow bar from the front, and unpacked most of the pick-up box, we will be a couple of weeks before we are able to get away to do some exploring or getting our kayaks wet. As we are both in learning mode and pretty much whooped after our shifts either physically or mentality, Miss Laurie is trying to learn a list of different rates and rules, depending on membership levels as to what site and length of stay, some pay extra for power usage, some pay a surcharge per pet, lots of different levels and they accept coast to coast and RPI members as well as a host park. The longest stay from now till the fall is 28 days, and most are only two weeks or less.
There is a heated outdoor inground pool 30′ X 60′, a 18 hole mini-putt course, a couple coin operated laundries, two comfort stations with washrooms and showers, a club house for events, a camp store, firewood and kindling for sale, numerous playgrounds throughout the park, and a variety of site sizes to fit lots of different rigs, and we seem to get a lot of different set-ups.
The campground is located on the side of hill, the office is on the top on the side of the Trans-Canada Hwy, and all the sites are a couple of hundred feet down the hill to a reasonable large area, and the Chemainus River is another hundred feet below the level of the camping sites, I ventured down on my day off, and while it was a steep climb back up the toughest part was walking down the path, steep and slippery because of the rain.
There was a lot of water moving down the river, it would make for a great kayak ride downriver, but way to fast to paddle upstream, but definitely a majestic setting. It is Wednesday and I have the day off, but this part of the island is under a wind warning, from what I have been told heavy winds can cause lots of issues with trees falling, but it is more of a winter issue, not so much this time of year.
Well I’m thinking it could be a bit of an issue, as I was working on the blog while streaming some music and the music just quit playing, I thought it strange, but we have mediocre internet here in the park, we are working off of the free hotspot at the camp store. So as I have always said if it’s free you can’t expect much, and because I always have the inverter operating in the coach, power outages don’t usually have any effect on anything electrical in the coach. But because the park power went off, the internet went down, now it is early afternoon on Wednesday, so I never thought too much about it, Then Miss Laurie got back from her work shift in the office, and said it was like a warzone up by the office.
So I ventured out for a walk-about, and there was limbs and branches down everywhere, the camping area is somewhat sheltered on the side of this hill, but the office is fully exposed to much of the wind. And the lawn at the entrance was covered with branches and debris, so the maintenance crew was trying to cleanup while the wind was still blowing, kind of an exercise in futility. I did run across Bruce the head of our maintenance crew, and I told him I could be available to help with the cleanup on Thursday, it was my day off but it was also obvious that they were going to need all hands on deck to get the park ready for the first holiday weekend of the summer.
As the afternoon turned to evening to was becoming very apparent that there would be no power hence television tonight. It is still getting cool over night so we have been using our space heater to take the chill off.
So tonight was a movie in bed kind of night, we have the mattress warmer to keep us cozy, but I expected the power to be back but morning, that didn’t happen and because we are tucked in a forest, I started the generator for an hour just to start to recharge the battery bank, until the solar could take over.
I have added a new app for my phone, “BCHydroOutages” it shows areas that are experiencing power outages, apparently this is a common thing here on the island with trees knocking down power lines on a regular bases, I also added “Alertable” an app that notifies us about any emergency events such as traffic or forest fires, as there were a number of fires last year on on the island.
The park was a huge mess, and it was becoming very obvious that this was going to be a monumental task to get everything back together for the upcoming long weekend, with a number of people coming into the park today, and seventy checking in on Friday alone, every site had to be cleaned in preparation for this coming weekend. We had planned on heading to town for a supply run, Miss Laurie was to spend a couple of hours with Kris on the gardens, but later we would get some supplies.
Well that never happened, as neither one of us got back to the coach till after four o’clock and the decision was made that the next best day would be Saturday, Laurie is off and I’m working the afternoon shift.
Friday was another day of clean up, with those 70 check ins today, and they want to open the pool tomorrow if we can get it cleaned up today, 30′ X 60′ open to the weather pool, surrounded by huge spruce trees. Can you say pine needles? What a mess, the heaters have been on for over a week, and the temperature has climbed up into the seventies, our aim is eighty, but if the chemicals are good it will open tomorrow, even though the daytime temperatures are still only in the mid sixties, quite cold for this area at this time of year.
There are still piles of branches and tree limbs everywhere, we pick them up as we can get to them, we have an old (1988) truck with a dump box, that we use to gather the debris, but we also have all of our regular tasks to complete as we try to make it a great holiday weekend for our guests.
Saturday morning and we are headed to Duncan, the largest town without driving to Victoria or Ninemo, we had driven through part of Duncan on our trip up from Victoria a little more than a week ago. It had a good variety of stores, Walmart, Canadian Tire, Best Buy, Home Depot, a number of grocery stores and it also has a big “Farmers Market” on Saturday mornings.
Our location is on the Trans Canada Highway, and it is a divided road so when we leave the park we must head south to the first turn-a-round, which is around 8 kilometers (5 miles) down the road, which is halfway to Duncan so that was our choice for shopping today. Canadian Tire for a few items, Walmart for some supplies, Pet Smart for cat food, then to London Drugs to get Miss Laurie’s camera repaired.
The last month or so in Arizona Laurie’s camera would take some dark photos, usually at the start of each group of pictures, some research turned up that the Pentax cameras have an inherent fault of the aperture solenoid failing causing the dark photos, so we decided to wait till back in Canada to get it repaired, so it is being shipped to Pentax to be repaired and now we wait.
Our last stop in Duncan was the Farmers Market, and it is a large event, with lots of vendors, I guess we were a little disappointed with the lack of produce, only one vendor had any rhubarb and she was sold out, but a number of wineries and a couple of distilleries. Miss Laurie found some fudge and I picked up a couple of mini Saskatoon berry pies, something we never had back in Ontario but I remember them from many years ago when traveling through the western provinces. And they were just as good as I remembered.
On our way back to the campground, we again can not enter the park with out going to the next intersection to turn around which has us just a few kilometers from Chemainus, the actual closest town if it wasn’t for the divided highway. But we thought it deserved a quick look around, so into the town of Chemainus we ventured, it appears to be about the size of Goderich, it has a beach area, of course it is tidal and the water was near low tide when we were there, a number of breweries, just generally a very nice little town.
This is a photo of the view at the beach and boat ramp in Chemainus, it was a beautiful sunny day, there are a few clouds in the distance and if you strain your eyes real hard you can see the snow capped mountains just under the clouds. There are still snow covered peaks here on the island as well, the iPhone just can not capture the beauty on its own, but it is some beautiful!
Back to the park for a late lunch before I start my afternoon shift at four o’clock till eleven, a big portion of the evening is the firewood run, they have an old Mazda B2000 long box with a 5 speed transmission that we drive through the park selling firewood at $10 a bag and kindling at $9 a bundle, two laps around the park has the truck pretty much empty, and take over an hour by the time you throw in a couple of noisy dog calls, or kids speeding around the park on electric bikes.
The rest of the evening was spent doing the lock-up round, a few security loops, and working on a few little projects in the workshop. I was working with Steve this evening, and luckily my shift was over at eleven, Steve is on-call for the night, so if there is a noise complaint at one o’clock in the morning he is the guy that has to respond.
As you may have noticed this blog did not get published on Saturday night, and this will likely be the case going forward, it just takes time to edit and put the blogs together, and I’m tired of rushing through what I find an enjoyable process
Happy Victoria day Weekend to my Canadian family