Jun 062009

We spent part of yesterday visiting with Smokey and Pam Ridgely at Mark Twain Landing, which has an RV park and a huge water park. Smokey and Pam are workamping there this summer, and we wanted to see them before we left the area.

Bob and Molly Pinner had moved to Mark Twain Landing from the Corps of Engineers campground, and we ran into them at the RV park’s restaurant, where we joined them for lunch.

Paul, the restaurant’s cook, really knows how to turn out some great food, and our waitress, Tracy Grove, was an absolute delight. She is pretty, funny, and kept us laughing during our meal.

After lunch, Smokey gave us a behind the scenes tour of the water park. It has several pools, including a 500,000 gallon wave pool that uses huge fans to create waves that would be great for body surfing. There are also water slides, a “river” for floating on tubes, and wading pools for the little ones. Not to mention a lot of very pretty young ladies in bikinis. I’m not sure how much they are paying Smokey to hang out at the pool all day, but I suspect he’d actually pay the park instead, based upon some of the “scenery” around the pool.

Driving back to our campground, I realized that I had I goofed. When we arrived at Ray Behrens Corps of Engineers Campground we paid for a week, and for some reason I had it in my mind that we were due to leave today. It was not until I happened to glance at the tag hanging on the rear view mirror of our van that I realized that we were actually supposed to leave on Friday! Oops! A classic example of cranial-rectal inversion on my part.

Checkout time is 4 p.m., and it was about 3 p.m. when I realized my mistake, so we stopped at the ranger station and asked if we could pay for an extra night. The volunteer on duty said no problem, we were in a non-reservable site, so nobody was waiting for us to leave so they could come in.

Later in the afternoon we drove to the campground at Mark Twain Lake to visit with Ron and Brenda Speidel, who are camp hosting there for the month of June. They had a steady stream of campers coming in to register, and others stopping by to buy firewood.

Ron and Brenda enjoy volunteering at state parks, and it’s a pretty good gig. The work is easy, the hours are flexible, and they get a full hookup site in exchange for their work. So they get a month’s free camping in exchange for a few hours of light work every week registering campers. They don’t clean the restrooms or mow any grass, just check campers in, sell firewood, and answer questions. They said the park is busy on the weekends, but Monday through Thursday, they pretty much have the place to themselves.

With budgets cuts everywhere, state parks, Corps of Engineers campgrounds, and other facilities nationwide are always in need of help. If you are interested in learning more about volunteering, Ron and Brenda will be presenting an excellent seminar on it at our Eastern Gypsy Gathering rally in Celina, Ohio September 28 – October 2. Make your plans to attend.

Thought For The Day – Having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.

Register Now For Our Ohio Gypsy Gathering Rally

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

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