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Work-Camper Needed: Here!

Milepost 4-6-14  Fillmore, California

 Just a quick note here to let our readers know that our current location, Kenney Grove Park, in Fillmore, California, is looking for it’s next work-camper.  The job starts June 1st, which is coming up soon.  See the listing on Workers On Wheels here.  This is the same ad that we answered last November when we were searching for a location on the west coast for the winter.  Our 5 months will be done on Memorial Day – just 7 weeks left.

Our work-camp site in California.

The campsite here includes a covered canopy,  a storage shed and small patio and personal parking spot.  It is a $1,000 per month value, provided free – including all hookups – in exchange for half-time work around the campus.

The climate has been beautiful here all winter with temps in the 40’s at night and the 70’s + during the day.  Great working weather.  Of course, it may be warmer here during the summer.  We have experienced 3 rainy days here in the last 3 months!

Golf carts shuttle tools and workers to and from the various work sites. Golf carts shuttle tools and workers around the park.

Kenney Grove Park is sheltered by massive old oak trees. Kenney Grove Park is sheltered by massive old oak trees.

We are 35 miles from Malibu Beach, 45 miles from the Old Mission at Santa Barbara, and only 19 miles from Six Flags Magic Mountain.  We are 2 miles from the entrance to the Los Padres National Forest and 20 miles to the shuttle boats to the Channel Islands National Park.

Come to California!  Answer the ad if you want to get into a great place to live and work for the rest of this year!  California groovin’ might be right for you!

I spent a day hiking on Santa Cruz Island with my daughter, son-in-law, and his folks. I spent a day hiking on Santa Cruz Island with my daughter, son-in-law, and his folks who were visiting from Texas.

Work-Camping. It Works for Me

I am two months into my first work-camp experience and thought it time for a report.  Kaye and I have been camping at Kenney Grove Park, a historical site established in 1888 and coinciding with the founding of the town of Fillmore, California.  The park is owned by the County of Ventura, but is under private lease.  It is used mostly for events by groups who lease the campground.

Kenney Grove Park is sheltered by massive old oak trees.
Kenney Grove Park is sheltered by a canopy of massive old oak trees.

The work-camp arrangement is growing in popularity and there is an abundance of listings online at sites like Workers on Wheels, The Sowers, and Work-Kamping and others.  The assortment of possible jobs ranges from camp hosting to maintenance to trail guiding and a lot more.  Most workers put in 20 or so hours per week in exchange for a campsite with hookups for their recreational vehicle.

Our campsite includes a storage shed and patio area.
Our campsite at Kenney Grove Park.

Our site includes a canopy over the RV and a storage shed and small patio surrounded by oak woods.  It sits on a small hill in the middle of the park at the foothills of the mountains and at the edge of Los Padres National Forest.  We are 30 miles from the Pacific beach.

My responsibilities include a wide range of tasks such as painting, repairing old equipment, felling trees and chipping them for mulch, washing picnic tables, and so on.

Kenney Grove Park is known for its canopy of ancient oak trees.
Kenney Grove Park is a beautiful and quiet place to work and the winter weather is mild.

I am not sure if I will pursue the same sort of plan for next winter, but it is really working well for me now.  The work pace is relaxed, the tasks are not back-breaking, and the manager is pleasant and flexible. And it helps that the location is in a quiet valley in southern California where the winter temperatures are mild and the sunshine abundant.  Well, honestly, the location is what attracted me to this spot in the first place.  Back home in Michigan, I would have been dealing with the harshest snowiest winter in recent history.

After work, Kaye and I enjoy relaxing on the patio between the camper and the storage shed.
After work, Kaye and I enjoy relaxing on our own private patio next to the camper.

Yep, this is working very well.

I have three more months to go here before we hitch up again to pursue our epic trip to Alaska for the summer.  Stay tuned!

Starting With Zero

Milepost Zero:  Kingston, Michigan, 12-29-13

 We’re leaving in the morning!  Yippee!  We have been working toward this for three years!  We’ve been downsizing from a 10-room house on 30 acres to a 29-foot fifth-wheel on the open road.  Tomorrow  morning I will set the odometer on the pickup at zero, and we will head out of snowy Michigan and into new territory.  The first leg of this epic journey takes us across the midwest and the southwest to California where we will be doing a work/camp thing to earn a free campsite at a small private campground called Kenney Grove Park north of Los Angeles.  It’s the first time for us to attempt this sort of thing.  From there, in June we head north to Alaska where some of our kids have spent their summers for the last eight years.  We might not return to Michigan until August.

It’s the time of year when a lot of folks are getting a fresh start, although not everybody is starting at zero.   lt’s a time of hope and resolve:  Lose some weight, exercise more, pay down debt, and so on.  Not everybody is actually taking to the open highway toward a new destination, but many are setting a new direction in other ways.

It can be a hopeful time, but can also be a bit depressing if your goals are born out a dissatisfaction with life and the way things are, especially if your hopes are deferred by burdensome obligation.

I like my daughter’s approach to a new year and a new beginning:

Stacy with another pina colada in Mexico.
Stacy enjoys another pina colada in Mexico.

Earlier today in a Facebook post Stacy announced, “Hey everyone; I’ve been putting a lot of thought into it in the last few months and I’ve decided to scrap my [weight loss goal] by my 40th birthday.  This is not a decision made from discouragement or laziness, but is a decision made from a place of immense freedom. It has been dawning on me lately that I am so very okay with the way I am NOW! I really like me and I don’t need to change at all. That said, I find happiness in the chase….the chase to be better, be stronger, live life more to the full. So THIS chase will be my focus. I want to hike more, climb more mountains, be healthier, see more places, try more exotic foods, feel more, taste more, challenge myself more, and kick ass more. THAT will be my focus for momentum this year!”

Sounds like Stacy is harking back to a Dr. Seuss book, Green Eggs and Ham, a children’s book about a guy named Sam who doesn’t like to try new things like…  well, green eggs and ham, but when he finally does, he finds them delicious.  Trying new things can be risky but fun.

There is security and comfort in staying put.  But not so much adventure.

To arrive in a new place you must first leave the old place, whether or not the old familiar place offers security and a sense of roots,  or whether it mostly offers monotony – and the roots feel more like a ball and chain.

A new direction,  a new destination

So anyway,  we are not really starting at zero when you consider all the adventures we have pulled off in the past.  Our direction was to the southeast last winter where we lived on the beach in the tropics.  But this time we are heading to Alaska, a place where we have never been, first by way of California and the coast highway, and we’re doing it with a heavy duty pickup and an RV.  This is something we haven’t attempted before.

Maybe we should name the rig “Green Eggs and Ham”.  Because we’re going to be trying something new.

In the next few days, watch for new posts from parts farther west.  I may not get to post every day – because I’ll be driving – but I’ll try to let you know where we are every little while.

What new things are you going to try in the coming year?