2014 August 23
Looking at the life on the road blog today, I realized that it has been almost five months since I last posted. Hard to believe, and yet, there it is in black & white. OK, let's try to play a little catch-up :)
We have been work camping on Hatteras Island, NC, at Ocean Waves Campground since early in March. We have been enjoying the experience, partly because we had some familiarity with the campground, having been campers here on two previous occasions. Another reason for our pleasure is that we are in the Outer Banks, one of our favorite places. But, one of the most important contributions to this being a pleasant experience, is the owners of the campground, who do their utmost to make you feel comfortable and treat not only the workers, but their customers with kindness, generosity and true appreciation.
Not that the experience has been glitch free. There have been two work camping couples who have left. One, because of personal reasons; the other departed four days before Hurricane Arthur hit, saying, "We won't be back", as they packed up their belongings, after less than three weeks at the campground. Both those exits, required adjustments to the work schedule, in particular the bath house cleaning schedule. But, as owner-operators, the Bullock family stepped in and took some of those cleaning responsibilities upon themselves, while the remaining work campers, (a single lady, and R & me) increased our days of responsibility. It all worked out.
I mentioned the Bullock family. They are the owners, operators, and all around go to people of Ocean Waves Campground. Mr Clyde and Ms Carolyn, are the husband and wife team, who with Mr Clyde's parents, built this enterprise, from scratch, back in the early 80s. However, in the ensuing 35 years, they have NEVER had a summer vacation. In late June they left for their first such venture. They were driving cross country, visiting the Wyoming, the Dakotas, Montana, Idaho, and Washington, along with British Columbia. The plan was to meet up with family out west and then take an Alaskan cruise! They were expected back in late July.
Ms Barbara is Clyde's and Carolyn's daughter. She came on board the family enterprise several years ago, as manager. Her son, Mr Cole, also works and lives at Ocean Waves, as maintenance manager. With the senior Bullocks off on a well deserved vacation, it was left to Barbara and Cole to see to all aspects of the campground. And things were going very well. Until, Arthur.
Hurricane Arthur. We watched his advance over the period of about six days, all the while praying he would make a hard right turn out to sea before approaching the ribbon of sand that is the Outer Banks. On July 3, our fellow work camper and next door neighbor decided to pack up her trailer and head farther inland. I couldn't blame her. Especially in retrospect. Her trailer is a mere 16 feet, at best, and extremely lightweight. Staying put in something so light in the midst of even tropical storm force winds could be a major error. So, we bid farewell to PK, till after the storm.
With the work camping force reduced to just R & me, as the storm approached and several campers decided to stay and ride out the hurricane, R & I decided we would stay as well. Mainly, our reasons were twofold; one, we didn't want to leave Barbara and Cole without anyone to back them up, and two, we weren't sure if we would be able to get back on the Island after the storm, if we did leave. I'm glad we stayed. But that's a whole different blog post right there :)
Things settled down after the hurricane. Barbara, Cole, Raymond, me, and yes, even the campers who stayed and those who returned immediately after the storm, pitched in to accomplish the clean up. Mr Clyde and Ms Carolyn still haven't had a "real" summer vacation, since they cancelled the cruise and came home to clean up, as well. But, that's all part of the Hurricane Arthur story which I will tell at some point.
In the time since the storm, the campground has been cleaned, and returned to normal. Just this week I checked in a couple from Texas, who said, "What hurricane? Did you guys have a hurricane?" PK returned, as soon as the Bonner Bridge reopened. We have a new single lady work camper, Lynn, who arrived a couple of weeks ago.
Ray has had two cataract surgeries during our time here. The first in June and most recently in mid August. We lost our little yellow car to the hurricane flood waters, and have not yet purchased another vehicle. Ms Carolyn has generously allowed us to use her van, which has been a godsend. We have cleaned toilets and showers, stocked shelves, weed-whacked, taken reservations, checked in campers, and made new friends. We've learned that on an island with one road in and out, you NEVER venture out on Saturday or Sunday unless it's an emergency, because of the traffic. We're learning to read the clouds and wind direction. I especially have enjoyed the sense of belonging, something that has been missing for me since we got on the road. I have a church I attend regularly. I have a few friends. It's nice.
I am looking forward, though, to Labor Day and a lessening of the crowds here on the island. I am looking forward, too, to purchasing another vehicle very soon. I am thrilled that Ms Barbara would like us to come back next year. I very much would like to do that. In fact, if R would be agreeable to it, I would stay here through the off season. The campground itself closes on November 15, but we could stay on as sort of resident caretakers. It would be so lovely to be able to stay here for a little while. Perhaps we will settle here for a time.
While I love traveling and seeing new places, I also love that I feel that we have found a place and a little group of people who welcome us. Who knows what will happen? I know that on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, I will work in the office/store for eight hours each day, and R will weed whack and clean up grass cuttings for about two hours on Tuesday and about four hours on Wednesday. For now, knowing that is enough.