Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Well we are almost at the end of our season here at the Parks - the gates close Saturday Oct 1 at 11:00 am. Whoo. Behind us are 160 days straight days of working between the two of us. So now we have the task of packing up - moving from 400 sq ft into 135 sq ft which I know sounds like moving from small to smaller. It is!

One thing about the way we live is that we have learned to live efficiently! Derek and I are good with that but a 2 1/2 year old toddler? - not so much. It is not just what she needs - or will want now - but what to bring for the next 6 months! And really - how did someone so young accumulate so so many stuffed animals!

Here is our trailer now! It won't look like this for long. Over the years I have certainly learned a lot about packing our travel trailer - I always always bring too much! Not this year - I am making a real effort to make sure we have just enough but not too much.

Thankfully our trailer is quite roomy for it's length and has a lot of storage. Living in a small space like this means that everything has to have a place behind a door. It is the only way to make it feel as large as possible. I have no idea why but we spend a lot of our time everyday cleaning the trailer.

Last year - having given up my closest - the best closet - to Cassia (the things a mother will do for her child knows no bounds) I took the worst closet for myself. Well - not this year. I figure that since Derek wears two outfits the whole time we are gone that he should have to be in the 8" wide space.

On that note I bid adieu to you and you and you. It is late and I must to go to bed. We lose our internet tomorrow which is a good thing with so much packing and cleaning to do. I will pick this blog up again once we are on the road and can get wifi or OPI.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Island Vacation

Cassia and I just returned from a trip to Vancouver Island to visit with my mom, sister and brother in law. Our last chance to see them again until next spring. My mom lives in a seniors complex and so as you can imagine Cassia is very popular! We always have a great time visiting and did so again.

On our last day we went to the main park in Victoria - Beacon Hill Park. We visited with the ducks and the animals at the children's farm - Cassia's first time at a petting zoo!

We also stopped to walk and throw rocks and drift wood into the ocean. Then a stop at 'Mile 0' the place where the Trans Canada Highway begins on the West Coast. My dad always liked this place and brought all of my parents visitors here. After that we went for ice cream. I had never been to this place but Derek went as a kid so we were sure to stop and enjoy.

And then back home again yesterday - once again crossing with the ferry. A great trip!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

the travelin' life is the only one I know

I almost always have Alison Krauss and Union Station in our work truck cd player and listen to it on my way from one park to another. One song has the line 'the travelin' life is the only one I know' or something close. The song is - I think - talking about being a musician on the road but I was thinking how it fits us also. Traveling has become a part of us - it is who we are now.

AND - we are not alone! Once we started traveling to the southern USA for the winter we realized how many others are traveling as well - snow birds and non snow birds a like. We have met so many people on the road and keep in touch with some of them - they have become friends. As being part of this group we also follow many rving blogs - it is always fun to hear about others adventures and to learn from their experiences - particularly about places to visit or boondock. We have been following the Bayfield Bunch for a while - Al has great pictures, interesting things to say and groaners corner. We agree with their philosophy about traveling and wanting to find our own little place rather than camp with a bunch of others.

We have also followed, life on the open road, and living in my car. Although Jennifer of living in my car is at the end of her blog which is too bad I enjoyed following her. Check to the right as I am constantly finding new blogs and adding them to our list under the rving life. The most recent addition is a family full timing it in Australia - New Life on the Road - Lisa and David Wood and their 5 boys.

Now that we are thinking of heading to the Yucatan - yes Mexico - this winter we are doing our research and so far have found two great sites - Living and Boondocking in Mexico and Mexico 2011 -12 RV Trip - I am sure we will find plenty more in the next few months.

We also check in periodically to Full time Families - once you start to travel and start to do research you realize that there are others out there that feel the way you do. Full Time Families has a lot of information and a list of blogs under Family Members. They have a new site up and it looks great. Lots of people look at us strangely when we tell them about our lifestyle - we may be strange amongst our friends and family but we are happy to note that there are a whole lot of people like us!

There is definitely something about traveling that gets in your blood. The open road - the possibilities - experiencing new things every day or almost every day - there is oh so much to see! We are hooked.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Derek and I are Park Facility Operators (PFOs) for British Columbia Parks (BCP). Essentially we are the managers of two campgrounds - one we live at the other is approximately 20 kms up the highway. The job lasts for the full season that the parks are open - April 30th until September 30th. We work 7 days a week because we are a couple. Technically we work 5 on 2 off but that really doesn't work so well when you are married. So we just settle in and work the 159 days straight.

As PFOs we are responsible for a great many tasks - everything you could imagine needed to manage a campground from cleaning and maintenance to registering and accounting to security and being tourist reps. In the days before privatization of the parks our job would be divided up among several people with specialized jobs and the government wages/benefits to go with it. Those days are long gone and now we work a lot for a little. What else is new - right?

As with most jobs there are advantages and disadvantages. The pluses include living and working in such a beautiful  place, we can manage our own schedule, we live rent free and Cassia is with us 24/7 and grows up in a natural setting. On the other side most people would be surprised at how challenging and stressful this job really is. This comes from the fact that we work with the public and anyone who also works with the public knows what I am talking about. The fact that we clean up after people and attempt to ensure that they follow the rules that they don't want to follow is difficult indeed.

Thankfully there are a few wonderful campers that help to keep the frustration from building up too much. I will mention a few names of the friends I have made this summer - Mark & Sandi, Carol & Jack, June & Chuck, Mike & Margo, Ron & Linda, Harry & friends, Randy & his wife and a handful of others. I could be having a bad week, day or night - and when I visit their site it all disappears.

After working 2 seasons now at BC Provincial Parks (in 2006 we worked another park) there are things that we wish the campers would do or not do.... If you visit campgrounds please consider these points on behalf of all the operators out there.
  1. Please please please stop and read the notice boards when you first arrive - they hold valuable  information that you need to know and follow.
  2. If there is a self registration system in place - "use it" - I will still visit you, but if I need to fill out your registration, it drastically increases/complicates the time schedule that I need for cleaning washrooms, emptying garbage, picking up garbage, loading, hauling and selling firewood..(you get the gist).
  3. The fire pit is not an ashtray or garbage receptacle - we really don't like having to dig out your butts, dental floss, insulin needles, garbage of all types and some unmentionables.
  4. Pets must be kept on a leash' means on a leash all the time. Yes, we know that your dog is a good dog but the rule still applies.
  5. Pay fee campgrounds are not "picnic grounds" - unless it specifically says that you can use the park as a day use area.
  6. Provincial Parks are protected areas - please do not collect from the forest - wood for your fire, flowers for your vase, pine cones for your crafts. The reason people come to parks is because they are beautiful. If everyone pilfers from the forests they won't be so beautiful anymore.
  7. When you pull out of your site - please get our of your vehicle and go back and check to see if you left garbage laying around your site and take it with you.
  8. And please remember....we don't make the policies that are in place in the parks. If you have issues with the rules or how things are run contact BCP. Yes, things are different then they were - yes, wood used to be free, yes, the prices used to be a bit lower - but hey - it is 2011 A LOT has changed. 
  9. If it is partying you are after for the weekend - don't come to a provincial park. This is not the place. This is a place to enjoy the peace and tranquility of nature - not the place for loud music and hooten and hollering until the wee hours of the morning. Do us all a favour and find a logging road.

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