Monday, June 26, 2006

Customer Service

We had a very busy weekend. 222 people stayed in the camp ground on Friday night. We were full again on Saturday night. Sunday we had mostly picnicers. We only had 5 overnighters last night. It is really busy and really fun.

We meet a lot of interesting people and we try to provide good customer service. One guy need some duck tape to tape up a hose on his car so he could get home.

Another, young lady, brought her wadded-up tent up to the host site (where our RV is parked) in her car and asked if someone could show her how to put the tent up. She was so pretty I told her I knew of at least 10 guys camping here at the time who would be glad to show her. She laughed and she got the tent out of her trunk. We worked together to figured out how it was supposed to go together on the road in front of our site. After we were done she wanted to put the tent on top of her car to take back to the camp site. Putting up modern tents is pretty tricky the first time I think. We took the tent down, put it all back in her trunk, and I told her she should be able to put it up herself now.

Seven and I checked her site later and the tent was up. Another happy customer.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Opening Day

Opening Day is always a big deal to those afficinados who have been waiting for something to open or begin. Hunters, fishermen, skiers, baseball fans, and basketball fans can't wait for opening days. Yesterday was our opening day. The parking lot just outside of the gate was full of cars loaded with eager campers. Our camp ground had been closed since last September and it is very popular with local tent campers so its reopening was eagerly ancipated by what I call 'real' campers'. We had been told that our camp ground had a cult following and was anxious to see if that was true. The crowd at the gate told me it was.

Every hour or so beginning at about 9:30 an emissary from the parking lot would walk down the hill and politely inquire when and if we would open. We sadly had to tell them that we did not know and wouldn't know until the water testing was complete. They would sigh and trudge back up the hill to the parking lot. At 2:30 pm the word came from the lab that the water was okay to use and I headed for the gate. The opening day crowd had been outside their cars, talking and watching their kids play and as soon as they saw me they gathered up the kids and got into their cars. It took a minute to open the gate and like pied piper I led a column of cars, campers, and RVs down the hill.

We gave each vehicle a plastic 'reserved' tag and told them to find a site that they liked and put the reserved tag on the post in front of the site then come back and pay us. They rushed off in clouds of dust. It reminded me of the Oklahoma Land Rush in a way. Soon they were coming back to check in with us. We gave them the rules and sent them off to set up their camp sites. We sold out the lower loop and it was decided to open up the upper loop where we still had snow and some significant problems with our rest rooms. Soon we had that sold out too except for one site that had a river of snow melt running through it.

We later had a chance to take the Gator and tour our little camp ground to see how everyone was settling in. Our supervisor, Don, told us that the key to camp ground control is the wave. As we drove around and waved at each group of campers. Don said if they did not wave back then they were unhappy and to stop to see what the problem was. We had nothing but wave backs. All the campers were busy putting up tents, fixing food and starting a camp fire. The only problem was with one group who had built their campfire with wood that extended beyond the fire rings that the National Forest Service provides. The group of teenagers in one large site was even behaving themselves. Don told us that such groups are the real problem causers in camp grounds. These kids must have been a group of camping choir boys. Polite and orderly.

So with camp fire smoke rising through the dark pines and the sounds of kids playing moving through what were previously quiet groves of trees, we ended our first Opening Day. This is fun.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Redman Camp Ground

Redman Camp Ground is a special place. It is a National Forest Service camp ground located about 15 miles east of Salt Lake City, Utah in Big Cottonwood Canyon on Utah State Road 190. It is easy to find. Just go past the second entrance Solitude Ski Resort and turn right. The drive up or down Big Cottonwood Canyon is a jaw dropper.

Redman Camp Ground has 44 sites including the host site. Only the host site has full hookups and there is not a dump site in the camp ground so Redman is primarily a short-term camp ground for tent, pop-up, Class B, and smaller Class C campers. There are several sites that could accommodate Class As but they are usually not level. There are 2 major loops with 22 sites per loop. Each site has a fire ring and picnic table. There are 5 modern toilets and 2 pit toilets. Many sites are next to a rushing mountain stream. Some sites have level tent pads. Pets are not allowed in Big Cottonwood Canyon ($1,800 fine).

Wildlife abounds in and around Redman.

The sites (except for group sites) are not close together

and most give you the feeling of camping by yourself. Huge conifers, willow, and aspen are the dominate tree species. Moose, chipmunks, squirrels, and mule deer are frequently seen.

Redman usually does not open until the middle or late June and closes soon after Labor Day because of the heavy snow fall during the winter. During this past snow season this area received over 600 inches of snow. Night-time temperatures in June can fall into the 30s. During the day the usual temperature is in the low 70s. It costs just $15 a night plus an additional charge for extra vehicles. A lot of younger, Salt Lake City families use Redman for a one or two night camping trip on the weekend.

This camp ground has everything except the amenities that many RVers demand and expect like water, electricity, sewage, swimming pools, game rooms, internet access, minature golf courses, and other somewhat artificial 'attractions' that some kids demand. If you can be a 'real' camper for a day or two Redman is a beautiful place to camp. Cool air, wildlife, huge trees, spacious spots, and real camping make Redman heaven on earth.

We were lucky to be chosen to be camp ground hosts for the 2006 season at Redman. Our supervisors told us that there is a Redman cult that loves this special place and tells the Forest Service to never change it. If you come you and camp here will understand why. We will be here until September and will sadly move on.

This was typed under 8 sixty foot fir trees with the smell of pine filling the air and sound of hummingbirds visiting the feeder hanging from a nearby tree and an icy mountain stream rushing close by providing a musical backdrop to my quiet tippity-tapping. Heaven has to be like this.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

St George RV Resort/Hurricane, Utah

We pullled into the St George RV Resort at about 5:30 pm. Everyone in the office was getting ready to head for home so we were just able to process our reservations. We drove up to our spot and someone was in it. We asked him to vacate and he refused. The office had closed so we took that to mean we had the pick of the park. We found a great, shaded spot and set up and decided to let the chips fall where they may if someone came along and wanted our new spot.

When we have full hooks we have been just connecting to the electricity. We were getting low on water and decided to wait until we were getting ready to leave before filling our tank with water. We would dump the black water when it was full at our next location. It is somewhat of a pain to connect to sewerage.

Friday, June 02, 2006

On board the Regatta

Facilities: The Regatta is one of the 3 ships that are owned by Oceania Cruise Line. The 3 ships are identical. The interior of the ship is similar to an upscale hotel in that it has good carpeting, original artwork, excellent furniture, dishes, glassware, silverware, and well-appointed bathrooms, great lighting, wood and brass accents, and other small touches that give you a feeling that you are living in a classy environment. We are basically Wal-Mart people and do not surround ourselves with expensive items so we can appreciate what the decorators and designers have done to the ship. Every thing is first class. Many people on board have cruised with Oceania more than once. One couple told us that this is their 7th cruise with Oceania.

Service: The service has been excellent. There appears to be a hierarchy in quality however. The fine dining rooms, the Polo Room and the Tuscany, have the best personnel that offer impeccable service while at the lower end, the Terrace, the service is spotty or sometimes non-existent. The main dining room personnel are well-trained, very polite, and attentive without being annoying. The bar personnel and sommeliers are very good and are very knowledgeable. Seven has been 'madamed' to death.

Rooms: Our room is in about the middle of the different levels that Regatta offers. Its main difference from an inside or lower deck cabin is the veranda we have. We love the veranda because it gives us a place to go to check out the weather, to watch the sea, and to watch port operations without leaving our rooms. I thought it might be an unnecessary luxury but it isn't. The beds are very firm and comfortable. The sheets are 1200 thread count and feel marvelous. We actually have down filled pillows and a down comforter. There are 4 bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and body lotion in the shower. The bathroom is, of course, cramped, but functional. There is actually more storage space than we need and we have a large number of wooden hangers to use. The beds are high enough off the floor to store our suitcases under them. The housekeeping is good but spotty in that they miss dusting some spots. The room is cleaned twice a day including the nightly turn down. They do the chocolate-on-the-pillow thing with small bars of chocolate each night. As if we need another bite to eat. Our room is the last one on our floor. I think that end rooms get less movement than those up towards the front of the ship, especially a smaller one like the Regatta. The downside is that we have quite a hike to get anywhere.