We are currently living and working at the Circle Pines KOA in Williams, AZ. We arrived here about a month ago and were assigned a spot in the center of the campground.
I have to say that in our work camping career so far, this site is the best that we have had! It includes trees, a nice size yard (even when campers are around us), a huge fire pit and lots of flat space to store the motorcycle!
We love this laid back campground! It is a lot smaller than Bar Harbor, and St. Petersburg. With just 20 cabins, and about 150 pull through sites, it is not only pleasant to live here, but working behind the counter is that much easier.
We will be here until October 31, which gives us plenty of time to explore the area and take in all that we can.
And Circle Pines also owns a Go Cart track, putting a little variety into our work routines!
So why did we choose northern Arizona for the summer? Well, there were several reasons. At about 7000 feet above sea level, this area of the country does not get extreme heat in the summer. In fact, evenings are jacket weather!
But the biggest draw of the area has to be The Grand Canyon. Since neither one of us had ever seen it before, this area of the country was on our “bucket list”.
The Grand Canyon National Park
It is about a 60 mile drive from Williams to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The drive is actually very interesting as you move from pine forests to dry desert land. Keep an eye out for deer. They are everywhere!
Along the way, you will find the occasional camper parked off the roadway. You see in this area of the state, you can dry camp off road for as long as two weeks.
Entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park is $30 per vehicle. Parking spaces are plentiful and even include areas for RVs and buses.
Once parked, you can either hike along the rim trail, or take free shuttles to restaurants, stores and view points along the South Rim.
The canyon itself is absolutely breathtaking. No photos or words actually do it justice. You have to see it for yourself to understand the magnitude of this amazing Natural Wonder.
The Grand Canyon is about 277 miles long. At its widest point it is 18 miles wide. The average width is a distance about 10 miles. The average depth is about 1 mile.
As full time campers and work campers, we have come to the conclusion that for the most part, other campers are awesome! We all have so much in common. We love the outdoors, we enjoy cooking on the grill, we enjoy the stars at night.
But there is always one bad apple in the barrel. Isn’t there?
The problem is that most campgrounds this time of year become very full. A larger campground such as the one we worked in St. Petersburg, Florida has nearly 500 campsites.
Filled to capacity, you are looking at the very least, 1000 people crammed into one campground! St. Petersburg KOA was full to capacity the entire winter season that we were there.
The closer people camp together, the grouchier they become. It’s just a fact.
That is why campgrounds have the need to post rules. Usually you will receive a pamphlet of rules along with a map of the campground upon arrival. Some of those rules may seem a tad restrictive, but I have to tell you that there is a reason for every one of them.
As campground workers, we are more than aware of some of the biggest pet peeves of those that camp around us. Here is our list of the top 10 complaints that we receive at the campground and how to avoid being the bad apple.
Top Ten Rules of Campground Etiquette
10. Quiet time is not just a suggestion
Many of the campgrounds that we have worked at post quiet time as 10:00 PM at night until 7:00 AM. Why? Well, some folks want to sleep at night. Common courtesy is at play here.
Yes, we are all on vacation, but do respect your neighbors and keep the noise down after 10:00 PM. Most campgrounds try to enforce quiet time as best as possible, but we cannot be at all places at all times.
I’m currently juggling three websites, and this one seems to suffer a bit. My goal (hopefully soon) is to post twice a week on here. Currently, I’m really not doing well at that!
When we first hit the road, I thought I’d have tons of time to write. I mean, I quit a full time job that included a hour and a half commute each way. I should have tons of time, right? But we are work camping right now to help supplement our income. That requires at least 30 hours a week working for the campground for an hourly wage plus campsite.
My other websites, Suzy’s Sitcom and Daily Holiday Blog have taken off this year and I’m trying to keep up with them. Hopefully very soon we will not need the supplemental income provided by work camping. Not that I dislike working at the campgrounds, but I cannot somehow make more hours in my day!
Dave and our friend Judy on a rainy KOA day…
In the meantime, life goes on at the campground! We are currently in St. Petersburg, Florida for the winter, parked amongst the snowbirds from Canada and northern US. We will be here two more months and then will be moving onto the Grand Canyon in Arizona for the summer.
My sister came to town this past week to spend a few days with us. Here is a short video that I put together from her visit!
The winds were pretty strong and it felt like winter finally arrived in Florida. But we had tons of fun in spite of the the windy weather. We look forward to visiting with her again when she comes to Arizona!
Dave needs a haircut pretty badly. After taking a photo of him with his locks blowing in the wind, I couldn’t help myself. I had to make a romance novel cover out of it.
And then post it on Facebook.
Because that is what I do.
By the way, Buffy Dickenson is my make-believe stripper name. (Just put together the name of your first pet and the street you grew up on).
We have been settled in St. Petersburg, Florida for about a month now. I am still behind on posting, but wanted to take some time to catch you up on our travels. In the past month we have visited our favorite place, Tybee Island, GA, attended my daughter’s wedding in Atlanta, and even endured some RV problems.
I have to tell you that I miss the snow. As pretty as Florida is, I would prefer to be trekking through several feet of pure white snow. But the RV and Dave both would like to have a warmer winter.
We arrived to 95 degree weather with nearly 100% humidity. Looks like the RV and Dave both got their wish.
Our new spot is quite beautiful and the campground is like a little resort, so I really do not have a lot to complain about. They tucked us in with the snowbirds who all seem very nice. And we even have grass!
Ralph and Faith like it too. They both have lots of things to keep their interest. In fact, there are so many lizards running around here that it is hard to get Ralph to take a poop without getting distracted.
And Faith has an issue with herons (those tall legged white birds with the long necks), so there is always plenty of excitement when I take them outside.
We are working at the campground here. I am in the office and Dave is working on the grounds. And…we are getting the place spiffied up for Christmas!
Dave put up all the blow up decorations this week, and then spent quite a bit of time freaking Ralph out over this outhouse Santa.
Ralph is not a fan of Santas exiting an outhouse. Just saying.
The streets are decorated too! What do you do when there are no fir trees around?
We felt the need to decorate the coach too. Since we had no nearby fir trees to decorate, Dave and I picked out a tiny tree at a local Christmas tree stand.
Charlie Brown would be proud.
Our tree turned out great! We ended up with just enough room in the living room for it. The little table is actually my printer box covered in blankets. (I’m the master of multi- purpose!)
Oh. Did I mention there is a beach nearby? It is 2.5 miles from the campground to Madeira Beach. There will be plenty of beach photos in the next few months.
We have yet to located any great eating places to share with you, but I’m sure we will have a top 10 list before we leave the area.
Since ice cream is my second hobby, I do feel the need to mention this fun soft serve stand, Twistee Treat. There are actually a few of them in the area, all shaped like giant ice cream cones.
And apparently, I have my new challenge for this leg of the trip. Trying each and everyone of those awesome flavors!
Oh, and by the way. That is a medium size cone there. Can’t even imagine what the large one might look like. I think I’m going to like Florida.
On the beach there are snowmen. This will probably be as close as I get to snow this winter. I’ll take what I can get.
And the sunsets here are beautiful too. Christmas in Florida can be quite beautiful!
If you squint a bit, that white sand could be snow. Right?
I’m a little behind on posts. We are currently in St. Petersburg, FL at our current campground job. Over the past month, we’ve traveled south, attended a beautiful wedding, and even had some major RV issues. Lot’s of ground to cover! So I’m going pick where we left off…
This is one of the top awards given out by KOA based on customer satisfaction. We were thrilled to be part of it! And how awesome to be recognized as part of a successful team!
And speaking of great campgrounds, Boston Cape Cod had lots of green space and large shady RV spots. We made ourselves at home and pulled out some maps to check out the area.
We wanted to see the beach and decided to start with Nobska Point Lighthouse. The Nobska Point Light is located at the southwestern tip of Cape Cod, in Massachusetts. It overlooks Martha’s Vineyard and Nonamessett Island.
The light station was established in 1826, and the current tower dates to 1876.
If you don’t know by now, I simply cannot pass up a lighthouse photo.
Or a fun bird photo for that matter. It was rainy that day and the ocean was full of white caps and foam which made for a cool background in this seagull photo.
After a day of perusing the beaches, we stopped at the local diner.
One of the many things I love about the New England area is all the vintage diners. Yummy food served quickly and in a nostalgic atmosphere. This diner, interesting enough is called “Dave’s Diner“. Easy to remember, right?
While it looks like a vintage diner, it was actually built in 1998. The diner colors, layout and decor were carefully chosen to create the fun and colorful look of the 50’s era.
And the food was delicious!
Of course, no trip to Cape Cod would be complete without a visit to Plymouth Rock, right?
Upon entering the town of Plymouth, we saw this impressive structure along the shore. The rock was waiting for us inside! We prepared ourselves to be duly impressed. This rock had seen so much history!
Here is where the pilgrims first stepped onto shore from their ship, the Mayflower!
Well…it must have been a small ship. Or the rock shrunk. Or something. I wasn’t prepared for how small it actually was.
And it turns out after some research that no historical evidence exists to confirm this rock as the Pilgrim’s actual stepping stone to the New World. Plymouth rock is more of a symbol of the courage and faith of the men and women who founded the first colony in New England.
And that is okay with me. Even if it was slightly underwhelming.
According to my research, the rock as it exists today is estimated to be only about 1/3 to 1/2 of it’s original size due to being broken and chipped away at by 18th and 19th century souvenir hunters.
Oh, and notice the scar across it? Apparently sometime in the 1800’s, it was decided to move part of the rock to the center of town where folks could better enjoy it. That part was eventually moved back to join the rest of the rock a few years later, and “frankensteined” back onto the other half.
We might have been a tiny bit disappointed by the rock, but the replica of the Mayflower definitely made up for it. And the beautiful sunset behind it.
Red skies at night means “sailors delight”.
New England was beautiful. Someday, we hope to return and spend a bit more time there. But time was going fast. We had to be in Atlanta by November 1 for my daughter’s wedding and then onto our new job in St. Pete.
So we hit the road again.
The dog’s snagged their favorite spots in the front of the coach, and we set out for our next stop, Lake Hopatcong, NJ.
New Jersey, you say? What the heck is in New Jersey? Well, you just might be surprised…
It is so hard to accurately describe how beautiful it is here in Bar Harbor, Maine. Over the past five and a half months, I’ve done my best to document some of the sights and sounds of the area. We have made so many wonderful friends here at the Bar Harbor KOA and will miss every one of them.
Here is a compilation of some of the highlights of our time here along with my friends and coworkers who made the time that much more enjoyable.
Every now and then we actually get a day off! LOL! So last week we took the motorcycle out on a beautiful summer day and did the two and a half hour drive up the coast to Lubec, ME.
Well, this particular town interested us for two reasons. One, it is the home of the beautiful West Quoddy Head Lighthouse. But even more interesting, Lubec is the easternmost town in the contiguous United States. Since we have already been to Key West (the southern most point); it seemed fitting!
Lubec is a quaint fishing town. Small, but beautiful, located along the Bay of Fundy at the top most point of the US east coast.
See that land over there? That is Canada! Unfortunately, Dave has allowed his passport to expire, so we did not cross into Canada as much as we would have liked to.
On the other side of that bridge is the island of Campobello. Among other things, it is famous as being the home of Franklin D. Roosevelt. He spent his summers there as a child and used it as a summer retreat until 1939.
At the mouth of the Lubec Narrows, the Mulholland Point Lighthouse is part of Roosevelt International Park. Although the lighthouse is not open to the public, you are allowed to walk around the structure. (That is if you have a passport). LOL!
And then we found West Quoddy Head Lighthouse! So beautiful against the backdrop of the Bay of Fundy.
And speaking of the Bay of Fundy. Did you know that it has the highest tidal range in the world? The upper basins of the Bay of Fundy have peak tidal ranges of around 50 feet- five times higher than typical tides on the rest of the Atlantic coast.
We didn’t get to see this phenomenon. The passport thing. DAVE. 🙂
But we were able to spend lots of time at the lighthouse. West Quoddy Head was originally built in 1808, and automated in 1988. The 50-step iron stair in the tower is still used by the U.S. Coast Guard, which is responsible for maintaining the light.
West Quoddy Head Lighthouse, overlooks Sail Rock, the easternmost point of land in the continental United States. Beautiful.
Back at camp, we have been enjoying days off with our coworkers. Beautiful sunsets and good times. We are so glad we made this life change!
We were hired last week by St. Petersburg KOA in Florida for the winter season! We are excited to be back on the road. We will be leaving Bar Harbor in early October and heading south for the winter.
This is one of my coworkers, Allison. She and her partner, Kate, have become good friends that we hope to continue to keep in touch with when we leave in October. They will also be headed to Florida, but a different part of the state.
When we do leave here, we are going to remember some of the things that you only see here in Maine. Things like Lobstah rolls at McDonalds…
Berries everywhere you look! Soon to be fresh blueberry cheesecake and raspberry pie! I’m putting together recipes in my head as we speak!
Lobster dinners everywhere!
Oh wait. that is just Dave in his “old man” rain gear. He believes in blending in.
We are smack in the middle of the busy summer season here at the Bar Harbor Oceanside KOA. With 50 to 70 check-ins a day, Dave and I have found ourselves working long hours. Granted, it will slow down in about a month, but in the meantime, our schedules are pretty busy.
We eat when we find a moment… and some meals are just plain peanut butter and jelly.
Work Kamping this time of year means dealing with crowds, tired campers, children on sugar highs, problems with guests not getting along, occasional backed up toilets, and all around craziness. I work the office and it seems that everyone shows up all at once and dealing with 10 checkins at a time, with RVs lined up as far as you can see, can be quite intimidating.
Dave and I both work hard to keep the guests happy. Sometimes it is as simple as helping their children learn how to use the rental bikes, or directing a guest to our favorite restaurant. Sometimes it is much more difficult than that. There are some folks that just won’t ever be happy. We just do our best.
Working long shifts means that I often end up working in the evenings and early morning on my websites. Of course, there are worse things than sitting by a campfire and writing on my website.
The dogs have been doing well. Of course one main thing we had to all adjust to was the fact that we have to regularly take them for walks rather than just put them in the backyard. Yep, living full time in a RV means that you are quite familiar with everyone’s daily routine.
Sometimes a little too familiar.
So I learned something new this week. Never wrap the leash around your finger. You see, when a 20 lb. Chihuahua/Pug happens to notice a squirrel in the distance and accelerates from zero to fifty in less than two seconds flat, the finger has a bit of problem keeping up with it.
I ended up with a badly dislocated finger, and torn tendons. Oh, and my wedding rings didn’t fair very well either. Someday when I can get a ring back on my finger, I’ll have a jeweler reassemble them.
Let’s just say I finally got a day off. LOL!
Work Kamping isn’t for everyone, and there is definitely a lot of work involved. But, there are good things too! Like getting off after a long tiring day and being stopped by the Lobster Guy on site who just so happens to have a couple lobster dinners ready for you!
(Ignore the dirty dishes in the photo- dirty dishes are a common occurrence during the busy season! ) LOL!
There are the times we get to enjoy a good dinner at one of the fabulous restaurants in the area with our friends and coworkers!
…trying out new and delicious meals. (Crab Cakes courtesy of The Burning Tree Restaurant in Bar Harbor).
…and the fun of exploring this beautiful area of the world!
This season at Bar Harbor KOA has been very exciting for us. It is our first taste of working at a campground. While not everything runs as smoothy as we would like, we wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.
The beautiful sights of Mount Desert Island are something we will remember always. Last week, we took a break on one of our days off and hiked one of the trails along the shoreline of Acadia National Park.
Rock Climbing? Well, maybe that is something we just pretend to do.
The vistas are amazing here. And the journey to get here is worth the effort.
We are half way through our Work Kamping experience here and will be moving on in October to our next destination. Where that is, we currently do not know.
We have been in Bar Harbor for two months now, working on the campgrounds. The weather has been very different from what we are used to, with many blustery, windy days. At one point, I wondered when it would actually green up!
And then suddenly the trees grew leaves and summer happened. Well, at least Maine’s version of summer. It is still chilly at night, but we now are having beautiful days in the 70’s . Apparently the trees need to work fast because they only have a few months to be green!
With a few nice days of warm sun, we emerged from our work schedule and RV to create a nice front yard to enjoy. It is truly beautiful here and we wanted a nice place to sit and enjoy it!
This is work camper row. We all have designated spots behind the cabins. They aren’t as green and scenic as the rest of the park, but we made do with what we had to work with and really do like our neighbors.
The work camping thing? Well, it has definitely gotten more intense. We are now working close to 40 hours a week and have gotten to the point where we definitely look forward to our days off.
We’ve had a few coworkers quit and move on already. Seems that work camping is not for everyone. Dealing with customer service and often physical labor can be difficult at times. We have our bad days too, but fortunately for us, the good days outweigh the bad. We have met lots of fun campers in the past few weeks- many from Georgia!
And now that the weather seems to be cooperating, we are spending more time outside in the evening, enjoying our newly decorated front yard and the beautiful park.
I put together a fun project last week. This one involves a wooden plaque, sharpie pens and chalkboard paint! Inspired by the area, I drew up of the local sea life and created a fun chalkboard. You can find the free pattern here!
On the tourist level, we’ve been to Cadillac Mountain several times now. Cadillac Mountain is located in the nearby Acadia National Park and at 1,530 feet, it is the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard.
You can travel to the top of Cadillac Mountain several different ways. You can drive to the top in your vehicle, take several different hiking trails, or enjoy a trolley tour of the mountain.
We checked out Oli’s Trolley simply because they not only take you around the area, but offer a fully narrated tour about the area’s history, historic sites, mansions, and the summit of Cadillac Mountain.
This area has an interesting history behind it, and we definitely recommend a ride on the trolley to learn more about it. Amongst many other things, we learned about the great fire of 1947 that nearly destroyed all of Bar Harbor. You can still see stone foundations of mansions that used to be amongst the trees on the hillsides of the town.
The area is also the home of the Rockefellers and Martha Stewart! We are told that you can take boat tours into the harbor where you can see their homes.
As for Cadillac Mountain, there are various hiking trails to the summit, some more challenging than others. There is also a paved road to the top.
From the summit, you can see most of Mount Desert Island. On a clear day, it is a beautiful site to see! The photo above shows the town of Bar Harbor in the distance below.
In this photo you can see Bar Island. When this photo was taken, the tide was out and you can see a sand bar that goes from the island to the town of Bar Harbor. Folks like to hike or even drive their cars across that bar of sand during low tide to explore the island.
Timing is crucial as it is not unusual for folks to find themselves stranded on the island during high tide. For a tidy sum, boaters will rescue those that do not want to wait another 8 hours for low tide.
Oh, and the little guy in the photo? That is a very ingenious seagull. He figured out that if he stands there looking all sweet, folks will feed him snack food. He waited patiently for us to find something in the car for him, and then went to the car behind us to see what they had.
An interesting fact about Cadillac Mountain is that it is the first place to view the sunrise in the United States from October 7 through March 6.
Want to view a sunrise from Cadillac Mountain?
You have to get up mighty early. The sun is up by 4:00 AM right now! Check the time for sunrise and give yourself plenty of time to get up the mountain. It takes about 20 minutes from the village of Bar Harbor or 30 minutes from the KOA campground.
Dress warm! It is always windy on top of Cadillac and particularly chilly even in the middle of summer.
For more comfort, consider bringing blankets and chairs.
Bring some coffee or tea in a thermos to keep warm. Or plan for a nice breakfast in downtown Bar Harbor afterwards.
Us? Well we do not do mornings well. We may decide before the summer is out to check out a sunrise. I mean, we need to try everything, right? But in the meantime, we did drive up to the top last week to see a sunset. The sun sets about 8:00 PM right now and that worked out well for us.
My camera doesn’t do it justice, but here is a brief look at that beautiful sunset.
Sunsets are beautiful here both on Cadillac Mountain and at the campgrounds. I think that they will be one of the many things I will look back on fondly when we do eventually move on.
RV Camping and Travel