This past winter, we became hosts at Vogel State Park in North Georgia. The RV is not a fan of cold weather, so it is necessary for us to find a job in a warmer climate each winter. Unfortunately, it is the same story for all full timers, which make winter jobs difficult to find.
Paying winter jobs, that is. It seems that most parks in Florida, Texas, Arizona and other warmer weather locations have decided that the influx of Full Timers every winter means free labor. And they are not wrong about that. There are many full timers that are happy to have a warm RV spot for so many hours of work each week.
We are not in the position to not have any money coming in yet. My websites pay the bills, but without some sort of extra income, we start to dig into the savings.
I like to line our jobs up about 6 months in advance and during our summer job in Montana, I was doing a ton of research looking for that illusive paying winter job. Sending out resume after resume and filling out multiple applications, only to be ignored.
I decided to go to plan B and applied to Georgia State Parks. We would be close to family, they did require a ton of hours in exchange for the site, and one of us would just have to find a temporary job off site for the winter.
Almost immediately, I received an email from Vogel State Park in North Georgia. They needed a host. For 24 hours a week, we would have a beautiful site in Vogel State Park.
And they weren’t kidding. I have to say that this is the most spacious site we’ve ever had.
We arrived in the park on January 1 after spending the holidays with family. Our contract was until March 31. The park is beautiful and we loved that we pretty much had the entire park to ourselves! Winter is a slow time of year for Georgia campers.
Problems and Solutions
Our first hurdle was the fact that we were surrounded by mountains on all sides and under heavy tree cover. Because of that, we had no cell phone signal, no internet, no satellite radio, and no television. As you know, I make a living with my websites. We had to come up with a plan.
We purchased a cell signal booster with antenna and Dave mounted on the rear of the coach. The signal booster was able to take the very weak signal that we could pick up and make it strong enough to get intermittent internet and basic phone. (We would have to get by without Facetime). Satellite radio was possible on the sunny days for some reason. As for television, we purchased several box sets of DVDs and entertained ourselves with them.
Where there is a will, there is a way.
It occurred to us that it might not be necessary for me to take on a side job. But the dogs had other things in mind. The first week we were in Vogel, Ralph injured both of his eyes in the woods. During the 3 months we were there, we ended up spending about $1800 on vet bills just for Ralph’s eyes.
And then there was Faith. Faith had been ailing for the past six months. She wouldn’t eat, and when she did, she got ill. During the holidays, she was diagnosed with cancer. In February, she passed away.
While Vogel has some great memories for us, there are some sad ones also.
I decided to go ahead and take on that side job and found a part time job at a local greenhouse. That job turned out to be a six day a week job which is not my definition of part time. So in the end, I found a temporary job at Dollar General to help pay the vet bills.
And Dave handled the host duties at Vogel which included keeping the campsites neat, stocking firewood, and cleaning one set of bathrooms. The schedule for him was four days on and four days off, making it easier for us take time to enjoy the area.
Between the two of us, we made winter a success.
Vogel State Park, established in 1931, is the second oldest state park in Georgia. Located at 2500 feet above sea level, Vogel sits at the base of Blood Mountain, the highest summit on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, and is surrounded by the Chattahoochee National Forest.
Vogel includes a man-made lake, historic visitors center, lots of hiking trails and plenty of beautiful spacious and wooded camping spots.
At the base of the lake is a fabulous waterfall!
One of the many reasons that we chose Vogel State Park for the winter was the fact that it is very near family. The little town of Blairsville, located 10 miles down the road, is the home of my father-in-law. Choosing Vogel State Park made it that much easier to spend some quality time with him.
Exploring the area was even more fun with my father-in-law tagging along. In fact, we even took him to his first casino! As you can see, he is about as lucky at the slot machines as I am.
Since we were only a couple hours away from Atlanta, we even got to visit some more with our granddaughter, Esmeralda.
And both our daughters, son-in-law and granddaughter spent a weekend in one of the cabins.
As I said earlier, Vogel was our plan “B”. Oftentimes things work out better than you think they will if you allow everything to fall in place the way it was meant to be. We learned this winter that there are so many definitions of work camping and that maybe we should keep an open mind to the possibilities.
Plan B turned out to be the best solution to our winter job search, and we have already signed up to be hosts in Vogel again next winter. This will be the very first time since we hit the road that we return to the same place to work. Hosting in a State Park is a great work camping option!
17 thoughts on “Working at Vogel State Park”
Very nice to be able to spend time with family. We are also hosting in state parks this spring but in Oregon. Things do seem to work out.
Yes, things do work out! Hope you enjoy your work camping job in Oregon. Would love to hear how that goes. We are looking at both Oregon and Washington State for next summer!
Love to hear your here in Georgia! Vogel state Park is very nice. The Corp of engineers on lake allatoona was looking for camp help at several of their sites. Might ought to check them out. Enjoy your summer.
Hi Pam! We did look at several state parks while we were there with the future in mind. Lake Allatoona is also close to family, so it is definitely a contender!
Check out Dames Ferry Campground in Juliette, GA. It is overseen by nearby High Falls State Park.
We did! We checked out High Falls and the two state parks nearby. Great area. They are on the list…
Really disappointed that we didn’t get up that way to visit with you folks. Yoly and I planned to spend January and February down in Florida and managed to reserve several 2 week blocks at several free campsites on Florida Water Management land. Unfortunately, an unexpected health issue required an early end to our plans as we returned home the first week of February. We discovered that the new camper that we had outfit for the occasion wasn’t up to task so we sold it when we got home. That’s why we never thought to return to Vogel SP for some winter camping. We have bought a new camper (number 9) and immediately discovered issues with it. We have taken it back to northern Indiana to the factory for repair and expect to pick it up late this month ( 2 round trips = 2800 miles). Yes, we could write a book. Hopefully we’ll get to camp with y’all next winter 🙂
I’m so sorry that your plans fell through. Hopefully everything is better healthwise. And the camper? Craziness. It is really tough to get good workmanship these days. We hope you get a chance to camp with us in Vogel next winter. It would be a blast! Or… you can come up to Association Island in New York! We will be here until mid October. It’s beautiful! 🙂
So glad that your plan B works for you. I am so sorry to read of your loss of Faith and hope Ralph`s eyes are better now. It is good you are near family too. All the best to you both. Heather
Thanks so much Heather! Things work out for a reason. We really miss having Faith boss us around. And Ralph was bothered when we left Vogel. I think he thought we were leaving her behind. His eyes are better- not entirely healed, but much better. We bought him a pair of goggles that he has to wear outside now. He thinks he’s pretty cool. LOL! Thank you for the kind words!
Always glad to get a Myers update. Sounds as if you two are making it work! Also, your Granddaughter is just precious. Continue to be safe. Liz
Hi Liz! It’s so good to hear from you! I hope you are doing well. We will be back in Georgia in the fall and we will try to look you up. Hope to see you! suzy
Glad your Plan B was an enjoyable surprise. Sorry for the loss of Faith. They really are a part of our family and the loss as deep.
Glad to receive an update on your camping. I miss the frequency of the newsletters. In the past they were monthly and I enjoyed “traveling” with you as you reported each location. Can you increase the frequency of the newsletters?
Hi Wanda! Yes, I definitely fell behind on this website! I have two other sites that support us on the road and have had to put the majority of my time into them and my pattern designs. I am trying to set up a new schedule for myself that includes time to update this site more often. Right now, I’m going for twice a month. 🙂 Thank you for hanging in there with us!
Love hearing about your adventures and the different places you get to. Bucket list for us to spend some time in USA. We did spend a few days in San Diego. Las Vegas and Hawaii some years ago. Sorry to hear about the loss of your dog, we lost our Westie about six months ago when she seems to have developed dementia, then she had other problems and we had no choice but to say bye bye. Love your site and projects, thank you.
We are scheduled to come up in July for the month. My husband and I are both school teachers in Florida and coming to Vogel is the best thing we do every summer. Last year we decided that now that our kids are older and in college, we would volunteer this coming July. We are so excited and hoping that the quarantine is a non existent word by then! Can you tell me, because we have never paid attention to the host sites, do they have full hook up or did you dump during your three months? We love Vogel!
We loved Vogel too! In answer to your question, all the host sites were full hook up. The host sites are the only sites in the park that are full hook up. However, only a few of them are 50 amps. Most are 30, so if you need the higher amperage, be sure to ask for it. Have fun! Suzy