When I present a seminar for Workamping, I always state: “Workampers get to live for a season on some of America’s prime property—in places that no one else could stay for an extended time.” Certainly, RVers and campers can spend a week or two in places like Yosemite or Yellowstone National Parks, but the length of stay is limited. RVers who volunteer or take jobs with wages in some of our federal or state parks typically reside on the property for the length of their assignment. Some of our nation’s most spectacular natural beauty surrounds them.
Lee and I once experienced living less than a block’s length from the Pacific Ocean on Oregon’s Coast. For four weeks, we served as volunteer wood hosts at Cape Lookout State Park near Tillamook. We sold firewood to campers—mostly families that came in for weekends and camped in tents or small campers—five days a week, four hours each day. The park provided a motorized cart that we loaded with fragrant-smelling wood and drove around the loops of roads linking campsites in old growth forests. We had the best of two worlds—the sandy strip of beach for morning and sunset walks, and the ancient, tall trees and thick grass and bushes providing privacy for the campers. On sunny days, youngsters flew kites on the beach. More adventuresome adults rode brightly colored hang gliders off the tall mountain marking one edge of the cape. At night, the roar of the sea lulled us to sleep.
For our work, the Oregon Park Service furnished a full-hookup site, uniform vests, hats, and leather gloves. Since we did not start selling firewood until 3:00 p.m., we could hike during the mornings. We drove every Sunday into Tillamook to attend worship services.
On our two free days, we loaded Spot into the Jeep and explored all the lighthouses up and down the coast, from Astoria at the northern boundary to Cape Blanco on the southern coast. We walked beaches swept clean by the receding tide and hiked through thick woods to view the mysterious Tillamook Rock Lighthouse.
We were privileged to live on property that we could never afford to own even if the state of Oregon did not possess it. Moreover, because we volunteered our services, we stayed longer than even Oregon residents did.
Traveling in their motorhome several months each year, Arline and her photographer husband, Lee Smith, make their permanent home in Heber Springs, Arkansas. She currently is a presenter for Workamper Rendezvous, sponsored by Workamper News. Arline has dozens of magazine articles published, as well as five books: “Road Work: The Ultimate RVing Adventure” (now available on Kindle); “Road Work II: The RVer’s Ultimate Income Resource Guide”; “Truly Zula; When Heads & Hearts Collide”; and “The Heart of Branson”, a history of the families who started the entertainment town and those who sustain it today. Visit Arline’s personal blog at ArlineChandler.Blogspot.com
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