Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Very Un-Ranch

We have spent nearly a year away from campgrounds for any length of time. At the RR museum in Campo CA, we had two neighbors, at Pocket Creek, we had none. Now we are back at Hart Ranch Camping Resort which is a mini city of big motor homes and big white trailers. The 460 sites are large and well spaced, everything is green grass or paved, trees, the monster pool, 6 Laundromats and 6 “comfort stations”. This is a 5 star resort, probably one of the top 10 camping resorts in the whole USA. And I don’t like it.

Way too many people, and I feel as though I am always under inspection. Everything has wheels, but it might as well be suburbia. There are as many rules as a homeowner’s association, and a security patrol and lots of nosy neighbors to enforce them. Heaven for people who are afraid that “camping” might be too rustic and uncomfortable, or that RVing is too close to trailer trash for comfort. Maybe I am imagining it, but I feel a sense of competition here, which I don’t like. Smells like rat race to me. Plus everyone here is old………

Along with that, some friends are no longer here, and there have been two disastrous attempts to hire a new resort manager, leaving us back at the mercy of a woman who technically knows how to run the place, but is rude and abrasive and plays favorites. This is not a good thing in the hospitality world, and hard on the employees. Since I have never just vacationed here, but always worked, I have a very different knowledge of the back stage workings. Back stabbing, political maneuvering and bad behavior are always going on in large organizations, but it seems to be running wild here. Maybe those who are just playing here don’t even realize the drama that has gone on. I was treated very rudely by the fall back manager, which hurt me more than seems sensible. This is supposed to be “home”, whatever that means.

We are here for our annual check ups, and to order up our absentee ballots. All that is done, we have passed all this with flying colors. It has been rainy and cold, too nasty to go geocaching or even touristing.

Today, we drove up into the Black Hills in the rain anyway, there has been lots of rain here all summer, so everything is very green. The rocks are dark with the wet, and sharp and shattered and tipped by forces more dramatic than the slow, soft erosion of the sand rocks of the Yellowstone Valley. We are aimed for Pactola Reservoir, which holds back Rapid Creek. In 1972, a thunderstorm sat up here in the mountains and dumped 17” of rain in 4 hours. Rapid Creek tore the heart out of Rapid City that day. Now, what was destroyed has been replaced by beautiful parks and recreation areas all along the creek, so the gutting has been good in the long term. The reservoir has a huge dam to keep this from happening again, but for the last two years of drought, it has been shrinking. Now it is full, marinas where there were grassy mudflats, surrounded by mountains, and even on this cold rainy day, there are two boats out fishing.

Tomorrow, we will hitch up and head for the Grand Canyon, north rim. We met the HR guy for the concessionaire at the North Rim Lodge at a workamper job fair last winter, and he said he loses a lot of his workampers after Sept 1 and so we are headed there to work for pay for 6 weeks. We have no idea what we will be doing, working in the store, at the front desk or in maintenance. I’m looking forward to a chance to see the Grand Canyon in all sorts of lights and weather, although we will almost certainly see cold and maybe ….snow.

And I’m looking forward to getting off this un-ranch, and on the road.


Anonymous Tin Can said...

Sounds like you are going to have a great time and a much needed break from the crowds.

2:45 PM  
Blogger Thistledown24 said...

Well, er, the crowds are pretty well here at the North Rim, though not as much as the South, I hear. The CG for the workers is pretty quiet since everyone is either working or resting. And as far as I can tell, there are NO rules.

5:42 PM  

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