Sunday, July 31, 2011

Leaving Lake Wappapello



Our job is over and tomorrow morning we will be moving on. It’s been an interesting two months. We’ve learned we’re not really cut out for camp hosting, although the job hasn’t been hard or unpleasant. I think the thing that bothered us most is the invasion of privacy and essentially being on call 24 hours a day. Not that we had many episodes of late night knocks on the door or calls from the night ranger, but it only took a couple times to spoil it for us. We both worked with the public during our careers and I guess we got our fill of it. Our next volunteer job will be something more like the work we did at Bonneville Dam, maybe at a wildlife refuge. We shall see.

On the other hand this has been a great park, aside from the flooding and unusually hot weather they’ve had this summer, and Jim getting lots of bug bites. Wanda, the superintendant, is really “super” to work for, and truly one of the nicest people we’ve known. She took us and the other volunteers out to lunch, and gave us a couple of cute Lake Wappapello t-shirts. The state of Missouri also treats it’s host well. They give you mileage from your home to the park, or if you’re from out of state, the distance from where you entered Missouri, up to $100. Since we came into MO over 200 miles from here, we surpassed the mileage and will be receiving a check for the $100. Also each of us got two coupons for nights of free camping at any MO state park, which we intend to use before we leave the state. A pretty good deal along with a full hookup site and free laundry. I will especially miss our golf cart and the laundry!

Speaking of laundry, I did the stupidest thing yesterday and washed our volunteer vests along with some other t-shirts. I failed to check the pockets, and Jim had left a pen in his. It made it through the wash undetected, but melted in the dryer. What a big mess! Wanda came by and caught Jim with his head in the dryer trying to clean out the ink with alcohol. I was afraid to tell her I ruined the vests, but she laughed and said they were ours to keep anyway, if we should ever come back and volunteer in Missouri again. Good thing we have no plans to do that!

Jim was even feeling nostalgic about leaving as we were getting things put up today, and also saying goodbye to some of the employees. In our travels we meet people frequently who can’t imagine not having a house to go back to. For us, our little house on wheels is our home wherever we happen to be, and we are very comfortable living this way. As much as we’ve enjoyed our state park backyard these past two months, it is exciting to know we’ll have a different backyard tomorrow. We will miss some of our neighbors, though.



  1. I love the photo of the raccoons!
    We are with you--we love volunteering in state parks, but never want to be campground hosts. We will work the hours assigned, then want to be left alone. We don't want to be responsible for people.

  2. Is Jim doing his I'm-out-of-here dance??

    So where to next?

  3. Everyone who camps should have to be a camp host for a week. Might make for better campers. Just like everyone who eats out should have to wait tables. It's always different being on the other side!

  4. Congrats on hanging in there & seeing it to the end! We still have about 6 wks, but overall, it has been a positive experience. We have really enjoyed meeting the other workampers. Be safe in your travels -- will be watching for updates!

  5. It doesn't seem possible that it has been two months already. Now you can get back to what you know best. I am looking forward to your travels once again.

  6. Glad you enjoyed your time camp hosting but I certainly understand the invasion of privacy! You are definitely on call constantly. We have volunteered at a wildlife refuge and enjoyed that a great deal. They are such nice folks to work for and treat you just like you are one of them and not a volunteer!

  7. I've really enjoyed reading about your time as camp hosts and am sure that I tire of the demands of the "public". Thanks for giving me this experience so I don't have to learn that I don't want to be a camp host for myself.