Organ Pipe National Park

Organ Pipe National Park

About Me

I purchased "Sadie''s House On Wheels "in late 2007 and loved traveling in a motor home so much that I went on the road full time in late 2008. I started writing this blog to help me remember all the wonder places I have been and it allows me to share those places with my family and friends. Summer of 2013 I decided to hang up the keys for a while and moved back into my stick house. After nearly two years, I am on the road again.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

So I thought wanted to be a camp host....Surviving Memorial Day Weekend.

I have been Camp Host at Wild Plum Campground for a little more than two weeks now. Wild Plum is a small Forest Service campground tucked in behind a residential area about one mile from Sierra City, California in the gold country.  The first few days were just a tad boring..basically cleaning toilets (they aren’t really that bad) and checking “guests” in and out of their camp site. What ever happened to the good old fashioned term “camper”.

 The PCT passes the campground within a mile or so, so I had a chance to hike and explore a little during my first few days. One day I followed the PCT south along Milton Creek which eventually leads to Jackson Meadows about 9 miles.  Another day I followed to PCT north  to Love Falls.  Some of the wild flowers were absolutely gorgeous.  

 One of the fantastic views looking towards the buttes from the PCT

 Lots of lupins along the PCT following Milton Creek.
 The Dogwoods were perfuse.

 Yuba River
 and Love Falls

My biggest challenge has been lack of sun.  The host site is in the shade and only gets about one hour of good sun a day...not nearly enough for the solar panels to charge the batteries and if it’s cloudy...Well, I negotiated with my boss and moved temporarily to a site where I get some morning and some afternoon sun which seems to be working.  But...if someone reserves that site I have to move back to the host site.  

Then came Memorial Day Weekend.  The campground has 45 sites, 40 are reservable  and the other are first come first served. All of the reservable camp sites were reserved for some or all of the long weekend. The campground has about 20 sites that will accommodate small RVs/trailers, but all sites are open to tents.   To make things complicated, some folks reserved for one or two nights and other for the whole weekend leaving some sites open for a night or two for walk ins.  Then there were the campers who reserved a site and wanted to switch sites...are you kidding me??!! Then there were the campers who had more than 6 bodies on a site and there is an extra charge per person over 6 and, extra cars...another charge per car over the one allowed per site.  Geeze..could it get more complicated??

I have Monday and Tuesday off, which could be a good thing but not after a major holiday.  Another host covers for me for the days I’m off which means I have to cover for their days off on Wednesday and Thursday.  Which means on Wednesday after a long weekend I have to play catch up and work some very long hours cleaning my campground and checking in guests and monitoring two other campgrounds seven miles down the road and I’m required to visit them twice a day using my own car. (the relief hosts are only responsible for checking the bathrooms and checking in “walk in” campers)  Yep, they reimburse my gas at  thirty cents a mile.  But wait!  Fifteen miles to the gallon at $4.39 a gallon barely covers the gas and not the insurance or maintenance on the vehicle.  Something is wrong with this picture. 

Then comes the paperwork.  The campground is run by a concessionaire (I am an employee of the concessionaire) under contract with the Forest Service...a government entity...i.e. a huge paper consumer. Need I say more.  I spent 8 hours filling out paperwork...There are reports for reports and more reports, and most could easily be done on a spread sheet on the computer, which would make balancing out much easier.  One interesting statistic:  on Saturday, before Memorial Day,  there were over 157 people staying at the campground (at least that was what was accounted for on the reservation forms) and all 45 camp sites were filled.  

So I survived and I haven’t even been through the “official training” which takes place in two weeks...on my days off.  Wonder how that will work. .....?

So, a friend of mine emailed me the other day saying she is digging really deep to find something positive to the whole hosting thing since there is poor sun, no internet, no cell, no satellite TV, no over the air TV, no power, basically at the beck and call of guests,  and I have to use my own car j Well, I get a free campsite and get paid to camp in a really pretty place.  

Stay tuned.  Anyone taking bets on my longevity here?  So do you want to be a campground host?  


  1. I think a summer at this place will make you look forward to Amazon next winter. Man, seems like way too much work for just a free campsite to me. We're supposed to hit 107 next Friday and Saturday so at least you'll be out of the valley. Beautiful scenery and flowers for sure.

  2. I don't see me ever doing that. I think dealing with the public is the worst job and hope you survive it intact. At least you're close to the PCT. Good luck!

  3. I always wondered what it would be like to be a camp host..... Hope that you settle in and have a great summer anyway.