Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Update July 10-22

I haven'T written much lately but there really isn't much to write. I just go about doing my daily duties.

I'm posting this from Burney, as I just needed to take a day off. I did the campground rounds this morning and will do one more this evening, but for all intents and purposes the gypsy has a day off work!

Friday, July 10:
I have written about how I love the uniform I wear, but I will tell you the negatives. For a woman it is especially difficult, because while the long shirt tail gives it a neater look, it takes longer to smooth those long shirt tails so there are no bulky clumps of fabric. Add to that the times one must wear the radio holster on one’s belt, and then try to go to the bathroom in that get-up. You undo the belt while the radio pulls down the pants automatically, but just try to pull the whole thing back up when you are finished. Nearly impossible! So you struggle to get the shirt tail smooth, the pants and radio up in place, buckle the belt, but wait! The gig line isn’t straight. Those who don’t know about the gig line just ask an old vet. I don’t know if the younger ones even know about gig lines because they live in comfortable BDU’s (Battle Dress Uniform). Me, I have to have the gig line straight, but the belt with the weight of the radio just doesn’t cooperate, and by the time I get it all taken care of I walk out of the bathroom and about 15 minutes later realize I forgot to zip the fly.

Now speaking of vets, I would like to ask any current military or veterans what the deal is regarding the time for reville and retreat on a Post or Base. I raise the flag at my host site pretty early in the morning, but as Post Commander Retreat is when I call it, and that can be anywhere within an hour or so range. It all depends on how many campers I have had to deal with and how tired I am.

You may have detected that I have had a rough time lately, but I think I am ok now. There was a pretty bad group at the campground that required two ranger calls. The rangers have to come from anywhere up to 80 to 100 miles away, so I wouldn’t call them unless absolutely necessary.

Sunday, July 11:
I’ve already had battery and generator problems last night and this morning, but David again used the jumper cables from the truck to battery and everything is going properly. He thinks the batteries are too small for the use I’m giving them, so I will look for some new ones. I had to buy them when I first got the 5th wheel, and I think they were adequate as long as I plugged into electricity most of the time.

Yesterday I was picking up litter from a particularly trashy group that had their camping permit revoked. After I’d been there for a while four or five kids walked toward me and told me they were going to help. The oldest was a pre-teen or young teen-aged girl, and she was definitely in charge. The little girls knew what to do and went to it; the older girl directed the little boy, “Here, Roy, pick that up.” They were so sweet and I appreciated that they helped. I’d say they will become responsible adults.

Although it’s warm in the sun this morning, it is still cold in the 5ver, but it nearly always stays cold in here. The outdoor thermometer registers about 70, and it probably won’t get much warmer than that. I couldn’t figure out why 70 in NC seemed so much warmer, but then remembered the humidity which is a factor. I’ll be glad to get back to some humidity to tell the truth. I never did like the extreme dryness of CA in the summer.

Sunday, July 12:
Just a quick entry to note that I have been very busy today. Most campers have gone, and the ones who are left or are coming in have lots of questions. Fortunately this campground is remote enough to have plenty of spaces available, so I can accommodate changes and special needs.

The wind was so high today that I thought my screen tent would blow away so I took it down. I just finished putting it back up and Lady, who was on a pretty long leash, kept moving away from the activity. It is a pretty large tent and she didn’t think I would get it up as well as I did. It looks better now than it did before. I hope the winds stay down tomorrow because I think I will spray water around my site and into the road, hoping to keep the dust down. I may spray enough on the truck to get some of the dust and pollen off.

I am slowly recovering from the bad vibes from a few days ago, and the world looks good again.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Update July 1-6

I'm posting a few days' updates. I haven't written anything the past few days, or what I've written I've deleted. I've been feeling sort of bummed out but I'll soon be back to normal and will continue to write.

Wednesday, July 1:
I drove to Susanville today and uploaded blog entries that bring me up to date through June. I will have to go back sometime during the next week to pick up prescriptions for meds they didn’t have on hand, so I can do the blog again soon.

Susanville was ok except for the heat and the traffic. It probably wasn’t all that bad but coming from Butte Lake it is a bit of culture shock. I wonder if I could go back to a small town in the future, although the day will come . . .

I took the dogs with me hoping I could find a vet who could see them, but the lady at the pharmacy called her vet’s office and was told he would be in a meeting until 3 pm, too late for me to wait. She asked about another vet, but was told he wouldn’t be in until 2:00 pm. So it wasn’t in the cards, and I was anxious about the dogs sitting in the truck in the heat. With windows open there was a breeze, but they would have been better off at home. I hate the thought of having to drive back there next week, especially since the road out of Butte Lake CG gets worse and worse each time I travel it. I am amazed at how fast most people drive it.

I have someone to work with me this week and he arrived today. It will be nice to split the work – he will take the A Loop and I’ll do B. He has camphosted at the Warner Valley CG for several years, so there won’t be a learning curve for him. -Additionally, it is another “presence” in the campground that might tone down really bad behavior, and I understand that the ranger will be here this weekend as well.

Thursday, July 2:
One of the campers brought me a trout he caught today; I grilled it this evening and it was heavenly! It was so fresh and tasty, and of a size that one was perfect for me. I didn’t realize the perks I might get working at this job.

I am so glad that Steve is here and is handling A Loop while I take care of B. He will be here over the 4th of July – he was the man who had agreed to come in and work for me while I was in Sacramento for the birth of my granddaughter, and even though she was accommodating enough to show up early, Steve still agreed to work with me over the holiday. He is an experienced camphost so could step right in.

I’m sure everyone is tired of hearing me say it, but I am so grateful to be here.

Friday, July 3:
For the first time since I’ve been here I lit a campfire. Mike came up after making his rounds of Loop A, and we drank a beer and talked. I sat out for a while after he left.

Tomorrow will be a full-campground day, at least for the reserved side. I don’t know why people crowd together when the unreserved sites are mostly open. I will never understand it. I am so used to the relaxed pace here and it’s a kind of shock to have all the frantic activity around me.

Saturday, July 4:
Happy Independence Day to all the U.S. readers!

I have a pretty full campground in the reserved section, and about half full in the unreserved. Things won’t slack off until Monday, and then I will need to make a trip to Old Station to do laundry and make some phone calls. My clothes get really dirty because of all the dust and pollen, and while I wash some uniforms by hand once in a while I’m just not convinced they are really clean or that I’ve rinsed all the detergent out. I have also been thinking how nice it would be to run all my dishes through a dishwasher, just once. The sink isn’t large enough to do a proper job, for one thing.

I lit a campfire last night and it was easier to get going than I expected. There is plenty of wood, twigs, and bark available, so I will never run out of firewood. I kept it small and except for the fact that the smoke follows me wherever I sit, I enjoyed it. I think having a fire provides a degree of companionship – it can’t talk back to you, but it keeps you company so you aren’t really alone.

Sunday, July 5:
It occurs to me that this experience at Lassen is in many ways like my experience on the Appalachian Trail. Raw nature sets the stage and makes you slow down and savor the moment, and feel at one with the universe, but for me, it is the people I meet – the ones who make you feel you’re a better person for having come into contact with them. With some, it’s just a brief conversation, or maybe two or three conversations and then you part, probably never to meet again. With others, it becomes a more in-depth acquaintanship, and even develops into friendship. One such person is David, who works in the Maintenance Department at the Park. At 24 years old, he gives me hope for our country and indeed, for civilization and the future. He is close to my granddaughter’s generation, soon-to-be-20, and she gives me hope as well.

found another unattended fire this afternoon, where the campers had obviously vacated the site without seeing the fire was properly extinguished. It is scary to think of what could happen in an area as dry as this, with humidity in some places as low as 10%, and strong winds during the day.

As quiet as it has been today with all the campers either gone or leaving, I seem to have had a lot of things to do. I’m still extremely happy to be here and enjoy the work for the most part.

I’m off to do the final run through the campground today, and then I will get out of this uniform and into sweats, and build a small campfire. It’s a good end to a good day.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

In Susanville

The photos are Gypsy & Natasha, and two of the camp host site4.

I drove into Susanville in between campground rounds, to get a couple of prescriptions refilled and to find a vet. No luck on the vet.

New Update, June 27-June 30

I hope this works, and I'll try to get all the updates loaded on one entry.

Saturday, June 27:
I left Sacramento at 7:00 a.m. and made the tiring drive to Butte Lake. I let the GPS direct me over some back roads from Red Bluff. avoiding Redding, and the scenery was beautiful with lots of hills, twists and turns. The trip took 4 hours which isn’t bad, although it really wore me out. You get used to shorter mileage with an RV, and then even four hours, or 225 miles seems like a lot. The campground was hopping when I got here and I had a lot of reserved signs to put up, which takes time.

My RV batteries must have just run out of power before I got here as the fridge was off but everything was still cold, and everything in the freezer was frozen solid. Thankfully David came along because I had hooked up to the power from truck to RV which didn’t do much, so he put the jumper cables from the truck directly to the battery, which did the trick. I’m now running my generator for the second time today. I’m not sure if the problem is with the batteries themselves, with the way they are wired into the RV, or what. I need more power and definitely something reliable. I would like to get at least a starter package for solar power but the money I’ve spent on the generator means that I’ll have to wait another year. The batteries were purchased last Nov. 30th in New York, so even if there is a warranty period I can’t do much about it from here.

I had a wonderful visit with family and really enjoyed my time in Sacramento, but I’m definitely feeling at home back here at Lassen. I just hope things go smoothly with the campers here. Most are fine people and I’ve met a lot of nice folks today. but there are always some who exhibit bad behavior.

Sunday, June 28:
What a beautiful day it was! After I made the first round through the campground I was sitting outside listening to the wind and looking up at the sky, and thinking of how musical the wind sounded roaring through the pine trees. Soon I heard the wail of an electric guitar and then the music from several campsites over irritated me for about 15 minutes. I realized though, if it had been bluegrass music I would have hot-footed it over to listen; if it had been C&W’s Willie, Alan or Toby, I would have enjoyed it. But what is music to one person’s ears is just discordant and noisy to another. Once in a while I can hear music while going through the campground, but most people leave it behind with their cell phones (and survive quite well, it seems).

The dust and dirt is making my boots really messy looking, but if I clean them up they will just get dirty again. I think I should just let nature take its course, for a while anyway.

Today I started peeling off some of the really bad caulking on my 5th wheel. I have taken most of it from the propane bay and main storage bay doors. I was told my someone that I needn’t bother getting all the old caulk off, just the loose stuff, and to caulk right over it. I think most of mine is loose enough to peel away fairly easily. Now to try to figure out what to do about the residue that is left – I don’t want to ruin the gelcoat but don’t know if I can go over it with alcohol (the rubbing kind) or if I need something else. Unfortunately, anyone reading this who knows the answer can’t reach me in time to give me advice! With July 4th coming up I won’t be going anywhere for a couple of weeks at least.

Monday, June 29:
I love having a uniform for work as it makes for very simple choices in the morning. I sometimes almost feel like I’m back in Catholic school, but I hated wearing uniforms then. Mothers loved them, and I understood why when my own children went to school.

I am making brownies this morning and it is a toss up how they turn out. I ran short of vegetable oil so I supplemented with butter. The olive oil on hand is much too robust for brownies! It’s a good thing I read all the fine print on the package because I never even gave it a thought that I should follow directions for baking at high altitudes. They are mainly intended for David, who has been such a help to me since I’ve been at Butte Lake.

The campground is back to quiet today with most of the weekenders gone or getting ready to leave. It will build up mid-week for the 4th of July holiday, and I fervently hope I don’t have to deal with obnoxious people, although there are usually a few in any large crowd.

Tuesday, June 30:
The lull before the storm – getting ready for the holiday crowd. It is pretty peaceful now.

The dogs woke me up at 5:00 a.m. growling at something outside. I looked out the windows but didn’t see anything – this morning I found deer tracks and it must have gone right by my RV and crossed the road. The dogs are getting pretty good at not barking or growling when people come into the campsite, or when other dogs go by on the road. When I’m not here is probably another matter.

I can’t believe the dust that is everywhere. My truck looks beige from driving on the gravel road, mostly from other passing vehicles. Every surface I touch has a gritty feel, but I’m not going to worry about it. It’s a good thing I’m easy going about a clean house!