Sunday, September 30, 2012


All I can say is.....

I DID IT!!!       I DID IT, I DID IT - I DID IT!

I made something fall and pumpkiny before we left our little cabin here in the woods and more importantly - the OVEN.

And I went out in style if I do say so my self. I KNEW that I HAD to make this bread when I came across it on pinterest a few weeks ago - not only did it SOUND good but the pics from over at NancyCreative just make you want to reach through the screen for a piece. 

My pics just don't come out the same with our eight year old little coolpix, but it sure did come through in taste and richness. If you are looking for a easy dessert or something to go with your coffee - or how about a creamy pumpkin latte - then this is the recipe for you!

So, here we go..........

*** Just a quick note - Nancy's version of the recipe came from the cookbook Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More --- she adapted it a bit and posted her changes on her site NancyCreative -- I made further alterations. The recipe I used is below - if you want to check out the original see either of the two links above. Definitely take a look at Nancy's pics - it's worth the trip over to her site.


1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp each of nutmeg and allspice - I omitted these - I don't have them here in the forest with me and I doubt I'll need them for the next year so I didn't go in search of them.

2 large eggs
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup oil (I used grapeseed - it was either that or Olive - the only two oils I keep on hand - well beside sesame ....)
1 1/4 cups canned pure pumpkin puree

Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tbsp canned pure pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tsps half & half or milk

1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped nuts - pecans or walnuts 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x5" loaf pan; set aside.

Combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices in a medium bowl and stir until well combined; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat eggs on medium high speed for two minutes or until lightened in colour. Add the brown sugar, mixing for about 2 minutes, then the granulated sugar, mixing for about 1 minute. Scrape down bowl as needed. 

Drizzle in the oil with the beater on medium-low. 

Reduce speed to low and add the pumpkin puree. Mix thoroughly until well combined.

Nothing magic about the pumpkin I chose - I just thought it would be nice to have a picture of a pumpkin since we are talking about them! Sure wish we' grown pumpkins this year - even just so I could have a pic here of the real thing!


ahhhhhhhhhhh Cassia's 1st fall - just about this time in 2009 in Keremeos, BC.

 Add the dry ingredients in two additions and blend for 10 - 15 seconds just until incorporated. 

Shows you how out to lunch I was - I thought it was add wet to dry like 1000 other recipes so I had my bowls switched. Well, I just went ahead and added wet to dry and it worked out just as well.

Spoon the batter into your prepared loaf pan and bake for 60 - 65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes our clean. It was about 55 minutes for mine but as I've mentioned my oven is on the hot side.

Cool loaf in pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.

Another indication that my mind was elsewhere (as in on all the other stuff I have to get done in the next two days!) I forgot to take pictures of the buttercream making process. But - pretty straight forward - right?

Cream the butter, pumpkin puree, cinnamon and vanilla, blending well. Add the powdered sugar a cup at a time, blending well after each addition. Add half & half or milk and blend well.

Nancy noted that it was a very think frosting and that was no understatement! I ended up adding about double the cream to make it a little easier to spread - it was STILL very thick.

Sprinkle with chopped nuts.


One thing I HAVE to mention! The buttercream is VERY VERY sweet - and that's from me - the only one in the family that LOVES sweet icing. I somehow missed Nancy mentioning this before her recipe - darn - she suggested halving the recipe. Boy - I should have listened.

So here's the scoop! DON'T make all this icing unless you have sweet TEETH not just the TOOTH. My suggestion?! At the max make half and spread it thin - or go without icing or go find yourself a cream cheese icing perhaps. 

How can you tell I am trying to get as much baking in as possible. This morning we started out with these.....

Carrot Cake pancakes with Cream Cheese from Joy the Baker's cookbook I told you about a while back. I notice it isn't on her blog.....

And yes - the cream cheese was a bit lumpy - no time to care - they tasted just as good!

Well, that's it for me.

Sadly - for me - this is the last Sunday Cook. There is no way I could even THINK about promising recipes from on the road - let alone on Sundays. I'm not even sure at this point if we will have internet on demand. 

There was a whole list of recipes I didn't get to this summer like homemade marshmallows and pretzels, and the list goes on -- sigh --. 

We will of course be post about the food we find down south after all the FOOD is one of the best things about traveling - right?!



TODAY'S INTERESTING LINK: This link is totally unrelated to food but I was thinking about it again as I was driving home tonight from Gold Pan. I found it through another travel site -- it is called HelpExhange or helpx -- I even signed us up just in case. Take a look around - the idea is that you stay and work at a place for room and board. A little different for us since we don't need the room - well except for that to park our van. I thought it might be a neat experience for us - especially if we can find a place centered around animals - I think all three of us would enjoy that!

Friday, September 28, 2012


I'm sure you could all see THIS post coming!

If I know one thing for sure -- it's this --


Yes, us, the Wood Clan - the live simple on the road most of the time and now in a teeny tiny camper van - Wood Clan.

And by the way, WHAT were we thinking to believe that we could easily move ourselves - and all of our STUFF into a CAMPER VAN! I'm mean - really.

Who would every think that two adults and more importantly, one three year old, could possibly put all their worldly goods and all the things they need to live for the at least the next seven months in the size of many couple's master walk in closet!

Well, yes, obviously we did.....

Is this me talking or the anxiety that has built up over the last few days as I try to



JAM, and


all of our stuff into submission!


Case in point..

Yesterday Cassia took out what was LEFT of her stuffed animal collection. Imagine my surprise when that took up the entire front of the bunk. 

Strange how spaces seem so much larger when they are empty - I could have sworn that ALL of Cassia's toys would fit up here. 

Sadly, no.

And yes, the top picture is 1/2 and this one is the other. 

Anyone know exactly how to downsize a three year olds stuffed animal family? They become part of the family - right?! I don't even think I can part with any of them at this point.

I always try to pack our RVs with the idea that when you start out EVERYTHING must have a home - behind a door that is. It is the only way to maybe guarantee some sort of livability because, trust me - if something doesn't have a home (and even if it does) the chances of it being left out to clutter up an already cramped space, IS guaranteed.

And so - as we each ask ourselves (well, Derek and I at least - Cassia isn't really getting much of a chance) what we ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO HAVE - the amount is slowly decreasing. I am proud to say that we have two huge garbage bags full of clothes to go on to the thrift store once we leave here. And a few weeks ago Derek's mom was nice enough to take a car full of Cassia's stuff to be recycled, with her.

With only three days left here at the Parks we are definitely working on believing that the time has come for us to pack it all up and move out.

Somehow we'll get it all in - I know we will - but probably with a sense of wonder.

Funny how stuff just seems to stick to us as we travel through life - do you know what I mean?

For any Sunday Cook fans out there I'm really going to try to get one last bit of baking done if I can .... something pumpkin.

Thanks for sitting through my stuff rant!


TODAY'S INTERESTING LINK: You may or may not know that I link lots of interesting things on facebook - I'm a real fb 'like' junky - I have over 500 likes that keep me up to date on all sorts of pieces of information. Today I linked a neat little house on wheels. For those of you not connected to a life made simple's facebook page I thought I would add it here since I am so impressed with this cute little place - The Bayside Bungalow- about perfect I'd say - for a little house. 

Teri from The Zen of Sweeping also added a link to some mighty fine looking tiny Texas houses. Y'all  probably know how much we LOVE Texas.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


You may recall that when we brought our new (to us) camper van home back in July, I mentioned that I would keep you all up to date on the renos we were planning.

BOY! We had some big fancy ideas then!

Well, we've gone on without you -- sorry!

Here is the update - AFTER they are done. We are now on to FILLING the van.

To say that our plans have been scaled back would be an understatement. As it stands now - we hardly did any renos at all. But we did do a few - one being a MAJOR CHANGE.

The two things that most bothered us about the van were a) the window treatments - we just weren't fans of all the blue curtains and white lace blinds and b) the dusty rose velour fabric on EVERYTHING!

BOTH - GONE (pretty much)!

All the curtains have been removed except for the long one that divides the main living space from the 'bathroom' at the back.

Most of the velour fabric is gone except for that on the cushions which will have to be a work in progress and that in behind the upper cabinets - yes, you read correct BEHIND THE KITCHEN CABINETS - I did say that it was EVERYWHERE - right!

The velour.....glued onto the interior of the fiberglass shell.

With the velour removed! Not so nice - Cassia was not overly impressed with her bunk at this point. 'To scary'..... she certainly had a point.

Scary indeed.

Once the velour was off we had to decide exactly what to do with the fiberglass. Derek spent a lot of time on the internet - in the end we decided just to paint it. Particular products are suggested for fiberglass but it does depend on the use - since most boats are fiberglass that was the application we were finding. In the end the company we called recommend an acrylic paint. Because we are rather limited around here - one of our campers actually purchased the paint and brought it up to us from the Vancouver area - if you can believe that! Ahhhh - there are some generous people in the world. 

The worker working. Derek put a lot of hours in for the sanding, cleaning and painting of the shell.

And after all that and four coats a much improved bunk area. We ordered the paint white since we didn't have any samples. It's good - nice and bright - but looks a bit to much like primer. So - while Cassia and I are vacationing at my mom's next week Derek is going to be doing what again - yup - painting.

The velour was also ALL OVER the interior of the doors....

Once stripped, we were planning to paint the wood panels and reinstall but have since decided to leave the metal - not as fancy but clean.

So - those are the big changes. We've pretty much stopped there. I had dreams of painting all of the cabinetry - recovering all of the cushions. But - a few issues with those thoughts. First, all those changes cost money - are they really worth it? We've decided no - or - not now anyway. And second, since we don't leave the park often and when we do just go to Merritt we were very limited with getting our hands on stuff. Therefore, any further changes or additions will have to take place once we leave here and are able to hit some stores and thrift shops.

We have a neat little bunk over the toilet. 
A great place for more STUFF. 
Here my designer self is having it out with my frugal self. 
Nice, new, fancy - matching - baskets?...... OR free - good enough - cardboard boxes? 

Fingers crossed that one day I can find a set of new baskets for 50¢ each - so that they are both happy.

Ok - you may laugh - but this drawer liner HAD to go! 

Ahhhhhh - much better - right!?
If you can believe it's already completely filled. If you don't know where to start loading - start with the cutlery drawer....

Of course in a small space like this you need to make use of ALL the space you have. Over the large dining room window was a long - covered with velour - valance. Once the velour was removed the frame remained - and has to since it holds up the bunk. There's another one on the other side. Our first thought was to recover it - but LOOK! 
More storage space. 
I found this clear container in the cutlery drawer and it fits perfectly. Now we just need a bunch more and a good way to hold them in place.
Hard to believe that something small like that has got me feeling pretty good about things.

And last but not least - not a reno - but a really good storage device. This blue hanger comes from the trailer where it was very helpful. I'm glad that it works in our one and only closet in the van. I also reinstalled our hanger shelf. I'm not really a fan of this one - it doesn't work very well - so it's days are numbered to when I can find a stand of plastic drawers.

Well, those are the van renovations to date. 

There will be more for sure - I'll keep you updated. I'm really hoping that along the way I'll be able to make adjustments here and there. Ultimately I'd be pretty happy if the whole interior could be painted but that's a tall order for this year. 

A trip to the thrift store anyone? Sharon are you with me?!


TODAY'S INTERESTING LINK: I see that we are not the only ones working on fixing or redecorating our home. Check out fellow traveler and blogger - Teri over at The Zen of Sweeping. Although with a bit larger area to work with Teri and her husband are working on renos themselves. While you are over at Teri's site also give their travel blog a visit Flip Flop Vector. Yaaaa another travel blog to get hooked on! 

Sunday, September 23, 2012


So - do you have zucchini in your garden? At the local farmer's market?

We planted them in our garden this year - a little late though so we weren't all that hopeful that we would see much of a crop....


We have a TON of zucchini - most still small but a few really BIG ones - who knew! We have rarely checked the plants in the last while and so weren't we surprised to find a few really good sized ones. 


Now - what to do with them. The main thing we use zucchini for are in our stir fries - we love them grilled or fried. But since we are a bit low on treats, and I DID want to do some last minute baking, I thought that a zucchini loaf or cake was the thing to bake today. I've never actually made it before if you can imagine.

Zucchini everywhere!

We have 4 or 5 plants - I have a feeling we'll have a lot of zucchini to take with us when we leave next week.

So - here we go!

Like most things these days I found this recipe on pinterest. Have you been to my pinterest boards lately - you can find me hanging out there most everyday. Take a look if you have a chance - I have some great stuff pinned over there!

The recipe I found is for two 5 x 9 loaf pans - since I only have one pan and I thought two loafs would be two much for us to eat in the next week, I halved the recipe. Here is the original recipe from Babble.


1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla

1 packed cup of grated zucchini (peel on)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter one 9x5 inch loaf pan.

Great looking zucchini - I barely dented it with this recipe.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. 
Have your assistant stir it well for you.

Grate the zucchini. Remember - you don't need to remove the peel.

Measure out the eggs. Want to know how I deal with halving three eggs? I'm sure everyone has their own technique. Me? I beat them all in a measuring cup - these three eggs worked out to almost 2/3 cups - I then measured out 1/3 cup for the recipe. 

Because we feed Roofous a raw food diet which sits in a container in the fridge I just added it to his dinner. Otherwise I guess you could scramble the rest for a quick snack.

In a medium bowl, beat the sugar and the eggs until light and fluffy. Add the oil and vanilla.

I quickly ran out to see what Derek was doing while us girls were in the kitchen. What else?! Getting the van ready for our trip. Derek has been a busy little beaver - he's been scraping, prepping, painting, uncaulking and recaulking and here washing and waxing. 

I'll be posting on our camper renos and packing this week.

Back to the loaf. Hmmmm wondering what Cassia has her eyes on? 

Why the dark chocolate of course. It had actually been sitting on the table from the beginning - she was more then happy to get it out of the cabinet for me.

Do you think she had an ulterior motive - who can say no to this face!?

Not me!

Add the wet ingredients along with the zucchini and chocolate to the dry ingredients. 
Stir just until combined. 

Pour into loaf pan. Bake 50 - 60 minutes or until the top is cracked and springy to the touch.

YES! It does taste as good as it looks - not much left now!

Boy - did it feel good to get some baking done today. With all the busyness in the parks and with packing I haven't done much. 

I hope to get ONE MORE Sunday Cook in next week. The gates lock here at 11:00 am Monday October 1 - almost 7 days left for us here. Yippeeee!!! (I know I do go on about that but we are just so happy to be almost done!)


TODAY'S INTERESTING LINK: Speaking of chocolate ...... I found Camels & Chocolate a little while ago - the name sure got my attention when I was on a travel site with the link. Kristen is a travel writer and has sure been to her fair share of destinations - take a look.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


That blog post title is kinda like the movie

The Thief, The Cook, His Wife, & Her Lover

What EXACTLY do they have in common you wonder .....


They are the THREE things I will  miss most when we leave here in 13 days and get back on the road.

I LOVE being on the road and traveling


Detaching myself from THE LIBRARY,



is pretty painful to say the least.

I've written about my adoration for our local library - the ability to order in books and the shear number of books I have at home at anyone time. There is something so comforting to me to have a stack of books just waiting for me to spend some time with. I love to learn and therefore my book list covers a wide range of topics - I read every night before bed - mostly fiction but sometimes autobiographies.

On the road, acquiring books isn't quite so easy. I don't buy them because - well, first off I can't afford them and second we don't have the room, especially now that we have the camper van instead of the travel trailer. I do try to have a few at a time to keep me sane. The last few winters have worked out pretty well because we stopped at a few campgrounds. Most seem to have a book exchange which gets my heart racing like crazy. I'm a bit worried about this year though with our travels taking us to Mexico and Central America - will I be able to find English books? I don't know - I guess I'll find out!

Ahhhh my OVEN. I have been baking up a storm this summer which ultimately lead to my downfall. So happy was I to be in a real kitchen at the park here that since our arrival in April I have been working to put Julia Child to shame. I LOVE cooking but I LOVE baking even more. Today, I made our last batch of Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies and I could have wept.

A built in oven was at the top of our list to be in our new RV since we have been traveling without one for the last few years. Alas, our dream camper van came with a whole lotta stuff but NO oven.

We DO have a little toaster oven that we travel with. It's a real LUXURY when we plug in and can have something baked. How's that for living simple?

This year may be better in the oven department though - while in the USA we boondock most of the time and so plugging in occurs quite seldom. This year we will spend more of our time in campgrounds and so I predict a lot more oven use. I guess I'll see how much baking I can do on the road in the little oven. On the other hand - we LOVE mexican pastries - how can I compete with them!

And the SHOWER ......

I will definitely miss OUR shower which I wrote about in my post about alkaline water. Seriously, our shower is perfect - the spray is large and fine.

More importantly, when I WANT a shower I can pretty much HAVE a shower.

Not so on the road. When I say I want a shower I have to get down and do some research as to the next place we can find that HAS a shower - and then we have to pay for it.

Again - I'm thinking that with less boondocking and more campgrounds, the amount of showers I can have over the winter should increase. On the other hand, I'm a bit worried about all the 'cold showers' I see listed under the campgrounds I have been reading about.

Let's just hope that those cold showers are more of the 'gee this cold shower sure is refreshing in this heat' instead of the 'I'm freeeeezzzzzinnnnggg under this ice cold torture chamber of a shower'!

There are a few more things that I will miss when we get on the road - but still - even with all of these and the library, the oven and the shower - I still wouldn't trade our yearly travels and all the experiences we have, for them. Let's just say I'm looking forward to them again in the spring.

If you travel as we do or full time - what do YOU miss while on the road? And for those who don't - what do you think YOU would miss?


TODAY'S INTERESTING LINK: I posted this link on facebook but I think I'll add it here too! I was SO happy to find TrailerChix - what a neat site. I'm pretty impressed with their links on facebook since I 'LIKED' them. Lots of great info on simple living - two of my favourite words! Pizza on a grill is DEFINITELY something I have to check out.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

2012/13 TRAVEL PLANS 1

During my recent absence from the blog a whole lot of researching and planning for our up-coming trip south has been going on.

For those of you that have been with us for a while and regularly check in - I feel like I have been withholding important information from you!

It's time to spill the beans!
Remember back here in July when we were so BOLD with our BIG dreams of traveling ALL the way through Central America - right down to Panama - visiting all SEVEN countries between here and there?

Well, that plan has been revised ---- slightly.

The slippery slope leading to the NEW plan began innocently enough as I was getting a start on my hefty list of research. To my surprise and utter excitement I stumbled upon the site 99 days to Panama. Just what I needed - right?! I mean - we have about twice that much time but what better way to make the trip then to pretty much follow a couple that has already done it - and with a C Class!

By the way - a short interruption. I KNOW that when we announced that we were heading to Central America next winter there were a few of you that held your breath with the words..... be careful ..... coming to mind. Yes - I CAN read minds don't you know. Anyway, we were sort of holding our breaths too - can we really take on THAT kind of trip? Well, what I soon realized is that based on the number of travel blogs and sites out there and the sheer number of people that are or have been making there way around Central America by RV, bus or foot is HUGE. It makes one wonder how many people HAVEN'T been there. We are certainly not doing something new.

Back to my research on 99 days to Panama. This site chronicles the trip undertaken by Harriet and John and their dog Brindle, from Texas to Panama and back again. They provid a ton of information about border crossings, traveling with a dog (VERY important for us), food, documentation, boondocking and camping locations and much much more.

I had definitely struck gold here!

But we struck something else too!

I can't seem to find the page back right now but it really stayed with me when they gave their thoughts about the trip - gee I hope it was them that wrote it - anyway - SOMEONE wrote it. They said something to the effect .....

"..... Costa Rica and Panana were not our favourites - we found them touristy and very westernized..."

hmmmm - not really what we were going for this trip.

Don't get me wrong - I'm sure they are beautiful and all the rest but 'touristy' and 'westernized' give us a bit of a rash. Although we really weren't surprised what with hearing about all of the retirees and expats who have settled there.

And so our trip route changed a bit - we took off Costa Rica and Panama - and Nicaragua while were were at it. (We had probably bitten off a bit more then we could chew for this trip anyway - right?!) So

New Plan: Canada, USA, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Belize, Mexico, USA, Canada.

hmmmm - but wait - a camper here is from El Salvador and didn't have much good to say about her country - let's maybe skip it too! So -

New Plan - again: Canada, USA, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Mexico, USA, Canada.

hmmmm - you know - Derek - I can't find ANYONE writing good things about Belize right now - particularly Belize City. Both Bacon is Magic and Discover. Share. Inspire have given very good reasons why NOT to visit many parts of this country. And so......

New Plan - again: Canada, USA, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, USA, Canada.

And that's how it stands now - I have yet to find anything bad (within reason of course) about Guatemala and Honduras and in fact we have found a TON of good info and great looking places to visit.

So - that's where were headed and we are pretty darn excited.

Right now I'm back to multi tasking and making Cinnamon and Sugar Rice Pudding out of Joy the Baker's Cookbook - you know the one that I raved about in the last Sunday Cook. Fingers crossed that Cassia likes it for breakfast - she is on an orange kick right now and the recipe includes some zest. What DO you feed a toddler for breakfast?- Cassia has pretty much nixed all the regular choices - so this is my new idea! Ya - I know - it's ONLY 10 o'clock at night when I'm doing all this!

Thanks for checkin' in!


TODAY'S INTERESTING LINK: In the up coming posts I'll write about all the places we have been finding to visit or camp - or both! I figured I had completed exceeded at my job as a good wife when I found Derek a micro brewery in Honduras - the FIRST and ONLY microbrewery in Honduras - D & D Brewery. And if you can believe our good fortune - it costs around $3 a night per person to camp there. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I've been wanting to write about this for a long time now! I'm glad that I am FINALLY getting to it - just as the season is winding down. Sheesh!

My idea in posting -- A day in the life of a Park Facility Operator -- is to first, let you know about our job - just in case it is something you MAY want to do one day, and second to let you know when you are camping what the Operator's DO ALL DAY. Much of our work is behind the scenes -- it is a challenging job -- I wonder if campers knew exactly how hard we really do work they may be a teeny tiny bit more appreciative.

This could probably be said for all sorts of jobs out there - right! Walk a mile in my shoes......

The idea for this post came from one that Derek and I did while we owned our old fashioned Sweet Shoppe in Saskatchewan in 2006. We were featured in Our Canada magazine. In each issue this magazine features someone's - a day in the life. We originally contacted the magazine in the attempt to get some coverage for the town of Mortlach where we lived and had our shop. At the time there were many little tourist shops and we were hoping to get some much needed coverage for the tourist season. We were invited by the editor to be an upcoming - a day in the life. It was fun and a HUGE success - it brought a lot of people off the highway and into our shop and to the other businesses in town. We could have never paid for a such an advertisement and this was free!

Anyway - back to the subject at hand.

Here's a bit of info. Derek and I are paid to work for five months - April 30 to September 30. We are the Operators of two Provincial Parks - Skihist and Gold Pan. Our bosses live about approximately 1 1/2 hours away. They come as required to fix or maintain or to bring supplies. Generally, as long as work gets done they let us figure out who does it and when. Derek and I have divided the tasks based on what we can or like to do.

Skihist PP has a day use area with a parking lot, grassed area with picnic tables, 2 garbages, a washroom building - 4 flush toilets and 2 sinks, and a pit toilet. Skihist also has a sani station near the highway with 2 garbages, a washroom building with 4 flush toilets and 2 sinks, and a pit toilet. Skihist also has a 58 site campground with 3 washroom buildings - so 12 toilets and 6 sinks, 1 pit toilet, and 8 garbages.

Gold Pan is 20 km (15 miles) away. We are paid to go there once a day and do so in the early evening. I go 99% of the time - I think out of the 157 days we worked Derek has gone 2 times. When I'm there I clean 5 pit toilets, check 6 garbages, clean sites - rake and clean out firepits. I also check the self registration envelopes and register those that haven't registered. I also sell firewood.

Our job requires a whole lot of tasks and multi tasking. Between the two of us we provide all the maintenance, janitorial, security, registering, accounting, tourism, rule enforcement, and so on.

Some tasks are done everyday - such as cleaning and registering, others are done every few days such as the accounting, and others are done weekly such as lawn mowing and weed whacking and checking the traffic counters and water pump.

I've decided to show you a day in which most of the tasks are completed - because some days to include almost everything!

Here we go......

6:00 am - Derek's alarm beeps and he's on his feet. He enjoys his coffee and smokes for about 20 mins.

6:20 -  7:00 am - Derek walks down and opens the Skihist gates. He then walks across the highway over to the day use. He unlocks and cleans the washroom building and checks the garbage. On his way back to the cabin he opens the day use gates.

8:00 am - Cassia and I get up. Cassia plays or watches one of her movies. Derek pours me a cup of coffee. I am no good to anyone until my coffee! I spend my coffee time checking my email and facebook.

8:30 am - Breakfast - either made by Derek or myself - we tend to take turns. Eggs - bacon - toast - and a smoothie every day. I know - I know - a big breakfast - but hey we are on our way to some very physical work for the next few hours.

9:00 am - Cleaned, dressed and ready to go to work. Cassia usually brings some toys with her to keep her entertained in the truck. She also walks around with us - helps clean or climbs the rocks at the sites.

9:00 am - 11:30 am - It generally takes us this much time to clean the Skihist campground - some days less time - some days more - depends of course on how busy we were the night before. Derek and I both rake sites, I clean the 3 washroom buildings and 1 pit toilet and we both do the garbages and recycle bins. I counted the steps for several sites and came out with an average of about 350 steps per site! We rake anywhere from 5 to 20 sites each - every morning - that is A LOT of walking!

The bear proof garbage containers - the back panel is pretty heavy - it is a work out for my arms for sure!


This was a pretty easy example - the car just drove in and out again. Most sites have A LOT more use after one evening - many RV/car tracks and foot prints. Usually I am just to darn tired to stop and take a photo after 10 mins of raking. To rake a site we go back and forth lengthwise from one side to the other. We circle the picnic table and the fire pit with the rake as well.

One of the washroom buildings and garbages in the Skihist campground.

11:30 am - 12:00 pm - Go back down to the service yard (where our cabin is located) - empty the collected garbage bags from the back of the truck into the garbage trailer. Clean out the back of the truck, take out the recycling bags, and load wood into the truck (we have a pile of wood here delivered by our boss - we have to load it into the bins that we sell).

12:00 - 1:00 pm - Lunch time! Our lunches are usually pretty large - such as hamburgers - because we are very hungry! And very tired! We also check our email and spend some time on the internet.

1:00 - 2:00 pm - Derek does odd jobs. Sometimes he goes back out to mow the lawn or weed whack. Some days he doesn't come up to the campground with Cassia and I and instead spends the entire day on the lawn. Can't say I love those days!

The lawn over at the day use. We also have a 2 large stretches of lawn over on the Skihist side. During May, June and July Derek spends a lot of time mowing and weed whacking. He also weed whacks at Gold Pan. 

FIRST! We have to go and pick up all the pine cones. A VERY VERY difficult job - it kills our necks, backs and stomachs! Most definitely our LEAST favourite task.

1:00 - 2:00 pm - I either play with Cassia or I do some baking/cooking. Every Wednesday Cassia and I go to the library and Derek takes the garbage to the dump north of Lytton and fills the truck with gas.

2:00 - 4:00 pm - Nap time! This worked so much better last year when Cassia was still 2 - she doesn't nap as much these days but Derek and I HAVE to nap to be able to make it the rest of the day. Cassia has become pretty good at quietly playing by herself but she usually ends up napping as well.

4:00 pm - We're all up again and either sitting outside, watching or playing with Cassia, spending time on the internet.

4:30 pm - Time to get dinner started!

5:00 - 5:30 pm - Dinner time.

5:50 pm - I'm back in my uniform on my way out the door. During the spring and fall I need to leave at about 5:30 with the sun setting early. During the busy summer months 6:00 is ok. I check all the supplies - cleaning, toilet paper, garbage bags, and paper work in the truck and load wood if we hadn't done it in the afternoon.

Here's my office and second home for the season - most nights it doesn't look even close to this clean and organized!

While I am away during the evening - Derek cleans up from dinner, spends time playing with Cassia, baths her, reads to her and puts her to bed.

6:00 pm - I drive up the hill to the campground. I stop at the self registration station. I check the envelope supply - load more if necessary and empty the vault with all the filled out envelopes. I go through each envelope to check camper information on the front, I check and take out the fee and put all the envelopes in order of the site.

The Skihist self registration station.

I then drive around the campground. During the summer we had camp hosts who assisted with marking the tags on the site posts. I check to make sure that for every post with a tag I have the corresponding envelope - if not I stop and talk to the camper about the envelope. Some times they don't make it down to the box and still have it with them. In the absence of the camp hosts - such as now in the fall - I stop at each site and mark their tags - we write two numbers - the first is the number of days they have paid for and the second is their departure date. I also answer any questions that campers have and sell firewood from the back of the truck. I carry the bin of firewood to the fire pit - dump it out - collect the fee and carry the bin back to the truck.

All the while I am also looking out for the breaking of rules - such as collecting firewood from the forest, parking in the forest, erecting a tent in the forest, extra vehicles, dogs off their leash, generators on outside of allowed times, etc. I am the one responsible to stop and discuss the infraction with the camper. I usually take a friendly approach to start - and it usually works. If not I issue a warning and after that the ticket book comes out. Skihist is usually pretty good - unfortunately I have had to call the police out to GP three times this summer. One based on having to issue an eviction notice.

6:20 pm - I try to make this first trip around the campground as fast as possible - I still have to get to Gold Pan.

6:35 pm - Arrive at Gold Pan. Park at the self registration and check envelope supply and go through self registration envelopes - exactly as I did at Skihist.

Once a week I stop at the traffic counter box and note the tracking number.

6:40 - 8:00 pm - I have a very concise routine at Gold Pan - I do things the same way every night. I clean the first two pit toilets and then check the first garbage. I then head to the right to the first 5 sites - I mark the tags with the dates or register those that haven't self registered. I also answer questions and self firewood. Along the way I check the two garbages - empty if necessary and clean and rake sites as required.

Looking north at Gold Pan - the first two pit toilets on the right.

The other three pit toilets - I have to park and carry my supplies up to them.

This year Gold Pan was included in BC Parks survey. So every night since the beginning of June until the September long weekend I had to survey either one or two camping parties per night. I completed a total of 100 surveys!

Once the right side is done I head over to the other side for the remaining 9 sites. Check registration - empty garbage, clean sites, pick up litter and clean 3 pit toilets.

Once done I head back to Skihist. Head first to the day use to stop at the traffic counter.

8:15 pm - Once back at Skihist I stop at it's traffic counter.

8:17  pm - I now stop and clean and stock the washroom building at the sani station/rest area - so 3 toilets, 1 urinal, 2 sinks and 2 garbages. As required I also mop the floors - as with all the washrooms/pit toilets. Check the area for litter and check - and almost every night during the summer - empty the two garbages.

The sani station at Skihist.

8:35 pm - I pass by the service area and our cabin and head back up to the campground. I repeat the same steps as when I went up at 6:00 pm. Check registration, mark tags, sell wood, answer questions, and enforce rules.

8:50 pm - Once done I head home. Every fourth night I do the accounting for the previous four nights. My online paper work has 4 nights per sheets so that is why I do it that way. I separate the envelopes by date and campground. Nights I'm not doing accounting I either hang out on the internet - post on our blog or sit by the fire with Derek.

9:00 pm - Derek walks with Roofous over to the day use - he locks the washroom building and the main gate.

10:00 pm - Go back up to the campground to register campers. When it is dark most campers don't register so I stop by their site and do it manually. I then return home.

11:00 pm - I drive down to lock the campground gate. I then go back up to the campground to register additional campers. On very busy nights I also check the toilet paper levels in the three washroom buildings. I also check camping party volume levels - 11:00 pm is quiet time. If I find that a group is very loud - as it whopping and such - I'll stop and talk to them.

11:20 pm - Return home. Write down my milage, grab the nights envelopes and head to the cabin.

12:00 am - Just getting into bed and grabbing my book. Derek goes to bed too. He has spent the evening by the fire or on the internet. This is our only real alone and awake time without out Cassia. The nights we are sitting by the fire we talk about the day - the campers or just stuff.

12:30 - 12:45 pm - My light is out!

And that's our day - every day for 157 days this year! It only changes for 2 days out of the month when we go to Merritt - 1 hour and 15 mins one way for groceries. We skip the morning cleaning but from dinner on everything is the same.

So the next time you are at a campground and see the Operators driving around and wonder what exactly they are up to - that's it. Interestingly it seems that a lot of campers think that we are just there to register them and talk but really that is a small part of what we do. I do try to stop and talk to a few campers since I KNOW that that's what they are waiting for - and it IS a nice part of the job in many cases - but I am always conscious of trying to keep on schedule and on task.

No sweat  - right?!

All for $11 per hour, 40 hours a week for each of us - no overtime and of course - no benefits.


TODAY'S INTERESTING LINK: I know I've linked BC Parks before - but here it is again in case you too want to put yourself to this kind of test. To apply just find the park you would like to work at - go to the park's page and look on the left side - the Contractor's name and contact info will be listed. Send in your resume and wait for the call.

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