Tag Archives: santa barbara waterfront

A Day in the Life of a Work-Camper

The Santa Ana winds torn down a huge oak that landed on the camp office (yellow motorhome).

Milepost 5-2-14   Fillmore, California

It’s not every day that we get out the chainsaws along with the heavy equipment to remove a huge fallen oak tree.  Last night the vicious Santa Ana winds knocked down one of the charter trees here at Kenney Grove Park, and it partially damaged the camp office, a vintage motorhome.  We used the backhoe and a chain to pull sections of the tree off the old camper.

The golf cart is loaded with tools for the tasks.
The golf cart is loaded with tools for the tasks.

Every work-camp location has its unique set of tasks that comprise the typical day.  My current jobs include tree trimming, painting, weed whacking, raking campsites, prepping for groups who are coming in and then cleaning up after they have left.  I have repaired golf carts,  sharpened chainsaws, and replaced rusty hardware.  Most days require a string of light duty tasks; it’s an unusual day when we have to clean up a massive oak tree.

Yippie!  I get to drive the 1963 GMC pickup today!
Yippie! I get to drive the 1963 GMC pickup today!

Actually, the timing of that was pretty good, since I’ll be moving on in a month and there may not be another helper right away to help Rona,  the manager who usually works alone.  Apparently, I’m the first chainsaw operator she’s had here in four years.

It’s important that the worker matches the job requirements, and it helped that I had a lifetime of experience with the chainsaw, the backhoe and antique manual-shift trucks that date back to 1957.

Kenney Grove is a regular destination for the Songmakers camping club.
Kenney Grove Park is a regular destination for the Songmakers camping club.

Since I am not a morning person, it helps me that starting time is 9:30 or 10:00 and there’s a half-hour break for lunch and then another two hours of work in the afternoon.  I’m often done by 2:30, so evenings are open for going out to dinner or meeting with friends or visiting some of the plentiful attractions along the southern California coast.

Mugu Point Beach is populated by surfers.
Mugu Point Beach is popular with surfers and has a famous 1950’s-style fish-fry diner across the road.  Go to Neptune’s Net website here to see what famous movies they are in.

Though it was the mild winter weather that drew us here from cold Michigan in the first place,  Kaye and I have enjoyed an assortment of local sites, including the Reagan Presidential Library, the Old Mission at Santa Barbara, the historical railroad museum in Fillmore, the national forest wilderness, and of course, the beautiful Pacific coast beaches that line the shore from Malibu up to Santa Barbara.  And then there are the eateries which run the full spectrum of world ethnicities from the local Mexican cuisine to — well, you name it, you’ll find it nearby.

With our kids we dined at 150-year-old Coldspring Tavern which started as a stagecoach station in the mountains above Santa Barbara.  Celebrity sightings are common here.
With our kids we dined at 150-year-old Coldspring Tavern which began as a stagecoach station in the mountain pass above Santa Barbara. Celebrity sightings are common here.

I am retired, and I like to feel like it.  I wasn’t sure that work-camping would actually work for me, because I haven’t worked a full day in several years.  But the placement here at Kenney Grove Park has been just about perfect for me.  I usually work for 3 or 4 half-days, and then get a couple of days off before reporting in again.  The campsite that I am working for is beautiful and secluded with a canopy and storage shed on site.  This was probably the best first-time work-camp assignment that I could have hoped for and I might try it again.  But I am also an adventurer, so I will likely not return to the same location for a five month stint again.

Have at it, friends!  The west coast awaits you!  The link to the Workers on Wheels listing for Kenney Grove is here.

The 1976 Dodge motorhome emerged from under the tree with only one broken window.
The 1976 Dodge motorhome emerged from under the fallen tree with only one broken window.
Kenney Grove Park manager, Rona, keeps everything running like clockwork.
Kenney Grove Park manager, Rona, keeps everything running like clockwork.

The West Coast Vibe

A Family Reunion on the bluffs at University of California, Santa Barbara.
A  family reunion on the bluffs above the beach at University of California, Santa Barbara.

I’m pickin’ up good vibrations.  The west coast tribe has a laid-back vibe.  At least this is what I picked up from my weekend by the ocean.

We visited our kids in Santa Barbara this weekend and experienced some of the coastal charisma.  From the beach to the wharf to the art exhibit on the waterfront, there was a relaxed groove going on here.  Nobody seemed stressed, hurried, or impatient.  Even the kids at the skate park seemed nonchalant, quietly waiting their turn for the next flip and grind.Santa Barbara beach biker/skater trail.

Santa Barbara beach biker/skater trail.
Santa Barbara has a top notch skate park that also accommodates bikers.
Santa Barbara has a first class skate park that also accommodates stunt bikers.
Sand volleyball is popular on the wide sandy beaches of Santa Barbara.
Sand volleyball is popular on the wide sandy beaches of Santa Barbara.
The Wharf is a popular attraction on the waterfront at Santa Barbara.
Stearn’s Wharf is a regular destination for diners out on the waterfront at Santa Barbara.
Wendi is a member of the local artists guild and spends her Sundays exhibiting at the waterfront park.
Wendi is a member of the local artists guild and spends her Sundays exhibiting at the waterfront park along the beach.
Downtown Santa Barbara is beautiful at night.
The downtown outdoor mall sparkles at night with shops, theaters and eateries.

A sailboat leaves the harbor and heads out to sea.

After a rough day of skaterboarding Rusty's Pizza Parlor is the spot for skaters from all over (two Swedes and a Canadian in this photo).
After a rough day of skateboarding, Rusty’s Pizza Parlor is the rendezvous for skaters from near and far (two Swedes and a Canadian in this photo).

On our first visit we didn’t have time to visit any of the historical sites like the famous old Mission, so I guess we’ll have to return.  Our mail is being forwarded to our kids’ place at the University of California – Santa Barbara, so we’ll need to get back there every few weeks anyway

Wendi's oil painting of the famous Santa Barbara Mission is part of her collection for sale on the waterfront.
Wendi’s original oil painting of the famous Santa Barbara Mission is part of her collection for sale on the waterfront every Sunday afternoon.