2014 April 2
Wow! It's Been Awhile…
In the six weeks since last I posted, we have traveled from Crystal River, Florida to Waves, North Carolina, via Crooked River State Park, St Marys, Georgia, Sleepy Bear's RV Park, Lumberton, NC, and Green Acres Family Campground, Williamston, NC.
We are now ensconced at Ocean Waves Campground, in Waves, NC, where we are having our first experience as work campers. If all goes according to plan we will be here till the end of their season, in mid-November.
Our first stop as we traveled from Florida to North Carolina, was in St Marys, Georgia. We liked the descriptions of Crooked River State Park and we wanted the proximity to the ferry to visit Cumberland Island.
The park itself was very nice, with water, electric and cable hook ups, but a limited number of pull through sites. Some sites looked like they would be challenging to get into with a large motor home, because of all the trees. The sites were fairly level, especially for sand and grass sites. They had a coin op washer and dryer available on the cement area outside the bathhouses. We originally planned to stay for two nights, but extended our stay to four, because of storms. I had no desire to drive on I-95 in torrential rain. Crooked River State Park is a gem. There are loads of trails, along with both birdwatching and general nature watching blinds. In season there are bike and kayak rentals, as well as mini golf. Wifi is available at the office, but we had a strong Verizon signal for personal hot spot usage. We also got a senior discount, which is always nice.
Our desire to visit Cumberland Island got shelved for another time. Between the rain, the fact that we hadn't accounted for no bike rentals during our visit, and the inability of our aging dog to keep up with the amount of walking required, we decided Cumberland Island would wait for another time. We could've left Greyla alone in the motor home, while we went off, but didn't think it fair to leave her for a period of between five and six hours.
Our next stop, on our way to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, was Sleepy Bear's RV Park in Lumberton, NC. It was a older park, but family owned and operated, which we prefer to big corporate parks. The owners were very nice and also helpful. We stayed there two nights. Each site was a concrete slab which proved to be very level. They had two fenced areas for large and small dogs for off leash exercise, as well as a short, but pleasant "pet trail" through the wooded area adjacent to the park. The only negative was the proximity to I-95, which accounted for traffic noise. But, it also made for easy access.
Next we stayed in Williamston, NC, at a small family owned campground called Green Acres. Again, the owners were very nice and accommodating. The only negative was the mud road through the campground to our site. That torrential rain I mentioned from a few days earlier, had left what is probably a dirt road in summer, a slick mud path. The good news was that our site was in a grassy area with good drainage, and no mud. It was also extremely level. Behind us was what looked like a practice 9 hole golf course. They also have two pools, in season, tennis, badminton, mini golf and paddle boats for their small pond. It was a pleasant campground and had easy access to the local town and no road noise.
From Williamston, we made our way toward Roanoke Island and the town of Manteo, and then to Hatteras Island and the town of Waves.
We are having our first ever work camping experience at Ocean Waves Campground. We signed on for the entire season, which runs from March 15 to November 15. We have stayed at this park before. Once, for a week in a tent with two dogs (Blue and puppy Jake), back in May of 1985 and again, for a month in our motor home in October/November 2012, during Hurricane Sandy. As our first adventure in work camping, we felt comfortable signing on for the whole season, since we were familiar with the owners.
Ocean Waves Campground is a small (70 sites) family built, owned and operated enterprise, which has been in business for thirty years, and four generations. The campground location is ocean side, which means the longest walk to the dune is two tenths of a mile. Over the dune is the Atlantic Ocean! There are three bath houses and a pool, along with an extremely well stocked camp store with very reasonable prices. The laundry room is small, with two washers and two dryers. There is a game room attached to the store/office, with a pool table, and three arcade games, as well a book/DVD exchange. Many of the early season and late season campers have been coming here for years. Hence, there really is a sense of "extended family" among them. When we spent a month here in 2012, I found that sense of camaraderie to be a little intimidating. But now it feels comfortable, even for the newest comers to the work camping crew.
Our commitment, as work campers, is to supply approximately twenty four hours of labor weekly, in exchange for a concrete, level site, with full hook ups, cable, and a roll of quarters weekly toward laundry. The time is divided between Raymond and me in whatever way we see fit. I am currently working two, six to eight hour days per week in the store/office. Raymond is part of the grass cutting crew for approximately four hours per week. And together, we clean the three bath houses on the same days that I work in the store and Raymond cuts grass. Bath house cleaning generally averages about two hours, which counts as four hours, since we do it together. It is nice to have our bath house responsibilities on the same days as our grass and store hours, since it gives us five free days every week. Another work camper and I are rotating working on Saturdays mornings until mid May, in order to allow Barbara, the manager, to have Saturday mornings off to yard sale. Once it becomes busy, in season, Barbara, a third generation Bullock, will work weekends.
So far, this is proving to be a wonderful experience. How could it not be? Hatteras Island, free camping, kind and generous bosses? We are very blessed.