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The Happy Wanderers

Our adventures.

May 2005 Travel Log

May 2005 Travel Log Lake George Escape Workamping Site

5/31: Lake George Escape Camping Resort, NY. I know it's been awhile since I updated this journal, and even had a couple readers wondering if all is well with us. With us working about 40 hours a week each, there just hasn't been much exciting to report on. Memorial weekend was pretty busy here. Since we both work the reservation phones and reception counter, we were in the middle of the activity last Friday. We had almost 400 campers checking in. Kind of exciting for most of the day.

It's interesting to see how the operations of a RV park works, from the opposite side of the guest. This park works pretty efficiently, and makes a good profit, I'm sure. From my view point, this can be attributed to the extensive use of workampers. The owners don't even own a Recreational Vehicle. Of the 150+ staff members working this season, less than a dozen are full-time local employees. The workampers here are mature, experienced and responsible individuals with good work ethics. They're all RV'ers, with most of them being full-timers. They know how guests want to be treated, and treat the guests and run this park accordingly. For example, when we make a reservation for a guest, we know how the reservation effects the guests from their viewpoint. We treat guests the same as we would want to be treated. The hard part has been getting used to a work schedule again, getting up early in the morning, and standing on your feet for 8 hours. But, so for, it's been fun work.

5/22: Lake George Escape Camping Resort, NY. Connie and I are guaranteed the same two days off, together, each week. We're not sure if it's good or bad, but our days off are Saturday and Sunday. This is good, as many events are held only on the weekends. But it's bad, since many tourists are also here on the weekends. Today, we took a day drive into Vermont. We stumbled onto the town of Proctor, where the Vermont Marble factory is. Many of the buildings are made of marble, even a warehouse. The fire department and the main bridge is also made of marble. Interesting and different. While driving through the gorgeous countryside of Vermont, we saw what looked like large dog houses on some of the farms. They turned out to be "cow houses", or shelters for calves. How cute.

Marble Fire Department, Proctor, VT.Marble Bridge, Proctor, VT.Marble Office Bldg, Proctor, VT.Cow Houses

5/18: Lake George Escape Camping Resort, NY. Workamping is going good. We're enjoying our new jobs and the forest is really blooming. The park is still slow during the weekdays, but gets fairly full on the weekends. We're told that it'll be 100% full from July 1st until September. Over 2400 people everyday!

I've used the term "workamping" quite a bit here and you may not know what that really means. Workamping is the term coined by www.workamping.com to mean any job, usually seasonal, that provides a place to camp while working for them. Usually, this means the camper works a set amount of hours to receive the free camp (RV) site. It's a form of bartering. There's hundred's of these "workamping" positions available. The workamping web site sells a bi-monthly magazine subscription to Workamper News that lists available positions. It's through this magazine that we found our wonderful workamping job we're now at. But not all positions are alike. We just learned of a position available near Durango, CO, where the camper works two 10-hour days a week, per person, to receive their free site. They get the next 5 days off. This means they don't receive any pay - just a free full hookup site, propane, and laundry for their combined 40 hours of work a week. At near minimum wage, this equates to paying around $240 a week for their "free" spot. That's $960 a month! Maybe not a great financial deal, but someone will want it because of the great location and few work hours.

Some positions require you to work 8 - 10 hours, per person, per week for your free site. Then will pay minimum wage for any hours worked past these "free" hours. This is similar to our situation. We work 10 hours each a week, without pay, for the site. This equates to us paying (in labor) $120 a week for our site. That's $480 a month. Since we're in a very popular vacation area, this is a good price to may for our RV site. Normally, this exact site we're located in rents for $48 a night - that's $336 a week, or $1344 a month! We also get paid for every hour worked beyond the first 10 free hours each week. But as I said in an earlier post, we also get a bonus at the end of the season. Part of this bonus is to repay us for all of the free hours we worked for the RV site. For the 4+ months we'll be here, that's over $1900 bonus just as reimbursement for our free hours we worked. So in the long run, we get paid for all hours worked AND a free RV site worth $48 a night. In addition, we get 50 cents an hour bonus for all the hours we worked for pay. This place has one of the best benefit packages offered to workampers.

Nobody is going to get rich at a workamper position. It addition to making a few bucks, workampers get to stay in an area of their choosing. For someone who needs to supplement other income (like a pension), workamping is a good source of some additional funds and/or a way to reduce expenses for a season.

5/13: Happy 20th Birthday to our youngest daughter - Cynthia! Cynthia

5/12: Lake George Escape Camping Resort, NY. The employee potluck turned out great. After dinner, the park let us do some "Gem and Gold Mining" and ride the pedal carts. When we arrived here last week, we thought these activities looked kind of silly. After trying them out, both activities were fun and we can see how kid's would enjoy them. Of course, guests have to pay for this fun. Today was also opening day for the park. We had about 100 RV's arrive today already. What was a quiet park yesterday, now has kids riding bikes all around and camp fires here and there. The place is coming alive. Although a bit nervous, Connie & I started our first day of actually working and took reservations on the phone today. I'm sure we'll quickly become more relaxed talking on the phone. We also found out we get Saturdays and Sundays off. So we're off for the next couple days and free to explore the area.

Larry on the pedal cart - Lake George Escape, NYGem Miining at Lake George Escape RV Park, NY

5/11: Lake George Escape Camping Resort, NY. We're finished with training and will get thrown into the fire in a couple days. This morning, all the workampers that are here had an "orientation" and tonight is the first employee potluck. They've also created a scavenger hunt for workamper's to discover and learn about the park's amenities. There's about 60 workers here now, with the park opening this Friday. Another 70 workampers are scheduled to arrive during the next 6 weeks. In addition, this park hires International students to work the summer. We have 26 young adults coming in from various countries to work in almost all departments. Connie and I found out we'll have Saturday and Sunday off each week. After being here one week, I think we'll really enjoy working and spending the summer here. Everyone is so friendly, it's beginning to feel like one huge family.

Workamper RV Site - May 05We mentioned earlier how half of the 175 acres of this RV park is under water. We even saw a beaver 15' from the back of our motorhome in the water. But the water is almost gone from everywhere, except the ponds and river. We still have a little water behind us, but not enough for any beavers. We like our assigned RV spot. There was always a small worry that they would give the workers the worst RV spots. On the contrary, the workampers got most of the best spots. Us, being new, got a good spot, but returning workers did get much nicer locations. Connie plans to decorate our lot a bit in the coming weeks with plants and bird feeders.

5/8: Lake George Escape Camping Resort, NY. Happy Mother's Day! Our first few days on our first workamping position have been good. We've been attending training for about 6 hours a day. We appreciate the time they've allocated to train new employees. We still have 2 more days of classes, then we'll slowly be given more difficult work tasks. We've heard from experienced workampers that many times, employers hardly give any training. Connie and I will be working in the Reservations department, which is also the front desk. We'll be part of a 14 person team that will answer phones, make computer reservations, and help customers check-in at the front counter. Although the park is closed and slow right now, we're told it will get extremely busy soon. Opening day is this coming Friday, with over 100 spaces reserved. This RV park has almost 600 camping sites and rentals. They say it's almost 100% occupied for a couple months. We'll probably work different shifts, but we get the same 2 days off each week together.

We're off work today and plan to move into our normal RV space. It was under water, but it's pretty much dried out now. The park is going to come clean the space up and put down some rock gravel. It's a nice, large site with full-hookups. This includes cable TV and telephone. We're hoping we can get the satellite Internet dish to work, as there are some trees that might be in our way. Otherwise, employees can get Wi-Fi for $25 a month or cable Internet for $30 a month. A good site, made even better when you realize we're getting it for free for 4 months! Well, it'll be free if we fulfill our commitment to stay here and work until at least Labor Day in September. This RV Resort uses a bonus system to entice workampers to maintain a positive attitude and stay for the season. Currently, we work 10 hours each a week without pay to get the free site. Then the hours worked over 10 are paid at a near minimum wage. In addition to this, we have good discounts on propane, the store and meals at the cafe. We also have free use of much of the park. However, once we fulfill our commitment to stay here until Labor Day and maintain a good attitude, we get a year-end bonus. This bonus includes reimbursement for the hours we worked without pay to get the parking site (about $440 per month) and another $.50 an hour bonus for every hour we worked for pay. This bonus will be a few thousand dollars. A pretty good incentive.

5/3: Lake George Escape Camping Resort, NY. We got a late start from Stow, MA, yesterday. We only traveled a hundred miles and stopped in a New York rest stop for the night. We don't stop at rest stops or Walmarts very often. But for a night's sleep Grist Mill in Sudsbury, MAwithout any frills, they can help save a few bucks. RV's are self-contained and don't need to be hooked up to electric, water, or sewer. Especially if it's only for one night. Of course, they're normally near a busy highway and full of noisy trucks. A couple days ago, Connie went with her sister on a small touring/shopping trip. They visited a working Gristmill in Sudsbury, MA. I would have enjoyed seeing the working mill, but not at the price of spending a day shopping with two women.

We arrived at Lake George Escape Camping Resort. Everyone has made us feel welcomed. We start our training in a couple days, so we're free to explore until then. This RV park is right on the Schroon River and almost half of the park is currently underwater. The park doesn't open to the public for a couple more weeks. It sure looks like there's a ton of work to be done before they open. But there's already over a dozen workampers here getting things ready. The area is pretty, located in the Adirondack Mountains. We're told it gets even prettier as summer moves in and the bushes get full.

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June 2005 Travel Log
April 2005 Travel Log
 

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Tuesday, 15 October 2019