We are a Big Rig looking for a Tent Experience.
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Camphosting at Blackfoot Reservoir Campground, Soda Springs, ID
We had our first hit the site post event.
And a little maintenance by us to help out. Not required but we do what we can.
Now with all that work done time to get back to doing not much.
At the camp host site. Can't have enough wood. When campers pull out they leave us wood. Who would think?
Now if you are going to camp host in Idaho near all these hot springs you just have to have one on-site. Blow up hot tub that is.
Got it up to 104° and hopped in for the first time last night.
In the proccess of blowing it up. It does that by itself.
We have a full hook up site so no problem heating it.
This was posted on Workcampers facebook when the question was asked Can someone tell me the job duties of camp host.
We are BLM camp hosts in southeast Idaho. Small campground on a reservoir with a great fishing location with 16 sites with shelters and electric and 12 other dry sites. We recorded usage on the sites (no reservations) and the day use and boat ramp area. The BLM cleans the Johns and firepits and mows the grounds. We get a stipend of $20 a day for 4 days a week when on duty. FHU site. But we are here so we do it all week anyway as not much work. This works great for us as we are not doing it for the money but as a way to give back and not have to move so much this summer and fall. It was one of our bucket list of things to do. We are treated great by the BLM. We found this gig on www.volunteer.gov So you can find whatever you are looking for. Lots of work and full pay or less work volunteering. It's all out there you just have to look for it. This is our first time doing this.
We are getting settled in and and getting the hang of this camp hoasting thing. The BLM maintenance guy came on Tuesday and cleaned the johns and mowed the grounds. Terry used his two wheeled string trimmer and did around the campsites.
He left it with us to use as needed if we want.
So with the grounds all neat and ready for the Memorial weekend influx of campers and boaters.
Since we have never been here before will see how busy it gets. We have 16 electric with shelters and 12 dry campsites on what we like to call the back forty where there are picnic tables and fire rings on numbered sites.
16 Electric sites with shelters on the left. 12 Dry campsites on the right of the pic. They are up high on a hill with great views.
Now for a post I did on facebook in a camphost forum.
First time camp host and in a BLM campground where there are no reservations so it is first come first serve. Must pay and occupy a site on the first day and each day after that. That is clearly stated in BIG print on the pay station.
So ok holiday weekend and of course they want to fetch a site early and come back out on Friday.
So some who can come and get a site and stay on it and then put a vehicle or boat on another site to hold it for a friend. Or put a tent on that site. That seems to be the best way to hold a site as how can we tell if their kids are sleeping in it. Or as one couple stopped at our host site and explained they put their trailer in a site (didn't pay anything) and declared they would be back out Friday. They got a rude awakening. Saying, of course, they could do that in the past. Sorry. That's like stopping at a motel and putting your bags in a room and telling the manager you will be back on the weekend to pay and stay. The bold just drop off a car, pay and leave in another car. That gets the pay slip removed and a note to come see the camp host. No refunds per BLM Ranger. Luckily, in that case, we lucked out as we found this AM the car just gone. Guess they got the message. This job was to be fun and is most of the time but I hate pissing people off who just don't get with the rules. Guess it goes with the territory.
It has been cool to down right cold. Like today it rained during the night and is only 44° at 2 PM with overcast skys. Should be nicer during the weekend. But Ya Know the locals were out yesterday (it was about 60°) in shorts and saying how nice it is as I am in a double hooded sweatshirt.
And after the weekenders leave gunna but upper 70s next week.
Terry is off to town while I hold down the fort. We found a firewood supplier in town and he took the truck go get a bunch as we all know how much I love my campfires and with it gunna be great next week that is about to happen, big time.
Yesterday we went to Pocatello to the BLM office to pick up our ID badges. Had to recheck our finger prints online to verify that we were who we claimed to be.
Then spent $325 at Wallmart and $125 at Harbor Freight just for a few things we thought we might need upcoming. Ya, Sure just a few things. It's only money don't Ya Know.
We are on duty Thursday - Sunday but gees when we are here we are on duty anyway. It's not a job but a calling.
When we got back to the campground it was empty. Good thing as we discovered the water system was down. The master panel in the pump house had 4 flashing alarms on it. Terry tried to flip the power but it didn't work, so called the BLM who would come out in the AM which is today. The maintenance guy took the cover off the control box and hit a reset button. Guess we will know about that now. But we weren't going to start taking things apart before to be sure.
Smart campers all left as the big winter storm way heading our way. No good time to be camping when snow and cold is predicted. Except for us of course as we live here, so deal with it. We have 50 A service and a heat pump/AC unit but it only heats down to like something 40 ish. So that is when we fire up our blue flame propane heater. Yep, we have had it on all day today as it's 34 ° at 4 PM. When Oh when is it gunna turn summer in Idaho. Now all this snow especially in the higher elevations is gunna melt and raise the reservoir even more. Look above the car at the snow up high.
Looks like our satellite farm is holding up well. No loss of sig from the Hughes dish. I guess bigger is better after all.
Watch that first step... It is ice under there on the stpes.
Camp Hosts at Blackfoot Reservoir in Idaho. So what is our job here... Keep track of who is camped in the developed sites and the dry sites and the day use areas. Number of vechicles, trailers, tents, if they have filled out fee us permits. etc. Record if users have not paid so BLM enforcement an follow up. Monitor parking control, site use, and general usage of the grounds. Monitor and sweep johns and sidewalks as needed. No major cleaning requested. Be a presence and represent the BLM in a professional mannor. Report major issues to the BLM and or law enforcement. We are the eyes and ears to make sure everyone is respected and have a meaningful experience. WE don't clean johns, mow lawns, or clean fire pits.
It was in the upper 70s last week. But this week not so nice as on this Wed should be in the 30s and SNOW. Still lots of snow on the mountains. Reservoir very full and still lots of snow met to come. Locals say the reservior has not been this full for oveer 20 years.
We (as in Terry) helped the BLM get the water system turned on and tested. They called later and said go turn it on. On Monday the electric was turned on as the recreation area opened for the season.
Didn't know how the power to a campground works but every two sites has its own feed from the main panels. Think of all the power cables that takes. 16 electric sites here.
Got our HughesNet Gen5 Mobile Internet system set up and working. No need to call in each time we move it.
We were one of the first people to get this service in the country. Normally the new Gen5 service is only for sataionary use but we are allowed to use it as a mobile and that means we don't have to call Hughes to get registered when we move. This is a spot beam service so a lot more complicated. After noticing we were not folowing pointing procedures, we discovered what we were doing worng, and it came right up and we locked on to the spot beam. Much easier than we thought it would be. Not much more than setting up a DirecTV portable dish. We got this system through the wonderful folks at http://www.mobileinternetsatellite.com/index.php
Barb and Joe are great to work with and made it so easy to learn how to make this work for us and got us moved up to get this as we were pressed for time leaving the Tucson area.
Now a few things to know about this mobile service. Hughes requires you to buy a business account through a vender like above and use a .98 dish unlike a residential .78 oval dish (like a directv dish). So a little bigger to carry around but it is 3' 3" round so not that huge. See the pic below. All you need to know is at the above link and feel free to contact Barb with questions. We could not be more happy with our service. Oh and BTW Hughes gives you unlimited downloads for the first 20 days so you can update any large files you may need. And if and when you use up your your download limit they don't cut you off but allow download speeds of about 3 Meg. So even that is fast for satellite internet, me thinks. My old DataStorm F1 dish that I had for over 10 years had a max of 1.2 download speed. With this I will still have double that speed even when over my download limit. WOW can't beat that. And as a backup we have Verizon 4G grandfathered unlimited data when in good service area. And here with good service with a Willson WeBoost Cell Amp we are good to go with a backup system.
See the dish is not that big. But by being bigger it makes for easier pointing and less loss of sig in bad weather etc.
We go to Pocatello to the BLM office on Tuesday May 16 to get our badges as we have passed background checkes and ready to do our thing.
Everyone has been so very friendly to use and have welcomed us with open arms. As some of you may know I love my campfires an fouud a firewood service in Soda Springs that sells bulk firewood at a good price so we will have all we want. Another great reason to be here. As you can see in the picture we found a big stash in a dry campsite when we arived and as good hosts scooped it up for us.
Moving along getting all the requirements completed for us to be BLM campground hosts in Idaho.
Paperwork, yes lots of paperwork. You would think we were applying for a home mortgage or something.
First applications and BLM forms including resumes were sent back via Priority mail.
Then we were sent to a local government processing center for fingerprints, ID verification, and photos.
Next came filling out a online FBI background check for government non-sensitive personal.
All that is now done so getting the RV 5th wheel ready for travel as they want us on site May 10.
The 5er is in the shop getting brakes worked on. Had to get some new brake magnets and a couple of drums turned.
In the meantime stocking up on things we will use as hosts..
Bought a small 3.5 q ft chest freezer that fits nicely in the 5er and later maybe outside.
Next a must have for the good life, a portable ice maker.
Since we will have electric/water/sewer at the host site. We are gunna be spoiled as we are used
to boondocking for much of our summer travels.
We get to trim the campsites with a weedeater(BLM mowes the grounds) so we will bring our own battery
operated one and so why not stuck up on cutting cord. We are getting a $20 a day stipend so some costs are on us.
AND who wants to bend over picking up trash so Ya a trash picker upper unit was in order.
When time to relax will want to do it in a new
STRONGBACK Elite Heavy Duty Folding Camp Chair with Lumbar Support.
Nick Russell swears by this chair so must be great.
It arrived today and yes my back likes it.
We pitty the UPS drivers who have had to deliver most every day this week
as we are located several miles on a rough dirt bumpy road.
We have news.
I got a crown put in FUN. At least I
didn't have to go to Mexico as we have dental Ins.
Now more than you wanted to know about our
getting old and heath issues.
My lipids are like perfect (Ya I takes meds for that but still.)
and renal function (kidneys) have improved over 50%
My renal Dr. is happy.
<>My kidneys went south four years ago when a scumbag Dr. in Quartzsite, AZ put me on Avalox (an antibiotic) for bronchitis
and should not have as it caused my heart to go into flutter and did damage to my kidneys. The package said do not give to heart rhythm patients. I had an A-Fib event the night before and told the Dr. that. I had to have shock treatment and later an ablation to stop the flutter.
During this checkup I got to asking my FNP-C MSN about liver functions (as I like my happy hour)
So I had blood work labs for liver and Hepatitis done. My FNP-C MSN sent the results to Adobe Research who is offering grants for liver scans etc.
So held my beath and they called and told me my liver was healthy and I did not need to come in. OMG HAPPY.
Oh and my A1C is down to 5.8 which is very low for a diabetic . Was 6.7 last year.
I have been able to get off some of the diabetic meds.
I also had a successful ablation for A-Fib last May and now off more heart drugs. No more A-Fib events. anothr OMG HAPPY!
Terry had bad lipids last year and was put on Atorvastatin and now his lipids are all in range and looking very good.
So we are in a good mood and ready for summer adventures. Now if I can get over myself pitty over how old I am getting to be.
NOW the bigger news. I saw online where the BLM was looking for a campground host in southeastern Idaho. Looked like a good deal so I applied.
We got a call today and they offered it to us. Here is the web Volunteer.gov site.https://www.volunteer.gov/results.cfm?ID=15642
The host site
Notice the site is dug in the side of the hill so will have protection from the weather.
It is 15 miles north of Soda Spring, ID which has great grocery stores. 4G Verizon cell service map looked good. UPDATE Now that we are here discovered very little cell service so the BLM gave us a weboost cell amp unit which makes it full bars of 4G for us inside the trailer. These are things one checks out ahead of time. Also researching the area attractions so can help visitors know what is available to them.
The city of Lava Hot Spring is just down the road west of Soda Springs and Pocatello is about 60 miles 1 hour away. The winding Blackfoot river feeds this reservoir and then drains going west for many miles to the Snake river. All great fly fishing.
So even I may get a Lic. and go fishing, me thinks.
The host site has water, electric, and sewer. The BLM cleans the rest rooms, cleans the firerings, and mows the grounds. We just have to keep track of visitors. No fee collection. Will keep the grounds clean and do a little weed eating where needed.. And do watever takes to make the area a great place for people to enjoy. These are public lands, which after all, we all own.
The BLM also offers a $20 a day stipend. Gees, like who would not like to be a camp host here. We are gunna be spoiled with full hookups as we are used to boondocking using solar and a generator most of the time.
This campground should be a weekend attraction for campers and fishing boats so should be very little traffic during the week. 16 sites with electric/water, shelters and another dry (boondocking) area for about 10 units. In this area people are allowed to have more units or tents so could get to be large group campouts as in parties, we shall see. Told be be liberl in the dry camping areas. Only 12 people per regular site so it more people show up to to send them to dry camping.
Now waiting for the paper work. Have to get security clearances as we will be considered like BLM employees.
Would much rather work directly for the BLM than with a concessionaire private company which manages many of the campgrounds these days.
We have been around campgrounds where they manage them and they are at times not user friendly. Seem many times treat their hosts like crap so to speak. And work them hard. Most all must clean johns, mow grounds, collect fees, sell firewood, etc. Sure I know some camp hosts swear by their concessionaires and all the best to them. Stay happy out there.
So what Ya think, have we lost our minds or are we in for a great fun, learning, people interacting adventure?
Was getting tired of our old routine as we have been there, and done that, in so much of the west and northwest. It ws a time to see if this would give us a littel more purpose to our days.
When staying in a BLM or FS campgrounds in the past often wondered what it would be like to be a Camp Host.
Well we are about to find out.
So Later... as we get ready for a different kind of summer.Ron