We had a day just with our supervisor.
Well, most of the day…
Which really means about two hours.
We headed back to Reedsport — perhaps the last trip we’ll have to, or be able to claim mileage for.
I got my official Government Driving License — GOOD
I went through the clothes lockers in search of uniform components that FIT me — the lockers are for volunteer uniforms and while some of them get cleaned and re-issued to new volunteers there are some problems: a.) I’m a good sized guy and some of my items I had a hard time finding, b.) some of the items had been laundered enough that the labels were illegible — which means trying on a lot of things that we no where close to my size — and then reorganizing the cabinet with the discovered-size-items placed where they belonged in the first place. c.) some items simply didn’t exist. I ended up with enough uniform pieces that I have work uniforms for a week and after we’ve been here a while I’ll ask them to order in the remainder of pieces in the RIGHT size.
We went over to the rain-suit supplier and ordered raingear for me. Peg had a rainsuit in the tub of stuff they automatically hand out to all their caretakers — so she had been set already.
We then went with the boss to all the sites we will be caretaking save one that we couldn’t reach in the time we had. So, with one exception we know WHERE we will be working.
At that point she had to be back at the office for a meeting. She issued me a temporary vehicle — ours still hasn’t been repaired. We stopped back at Harbor Light for a quick bite and back to Journey. I wanted to finish the water hookup — little details like adding elbows onto the Culligan filter base so that the hoses dropped DOWN instead of running out horizontally — just a neatness item. We also wanted to insulate the water lines. We may not have sustained freezing temps but a little insulation around the water lines is a good thing. I also managed to shorten our freshwater feed hose to 15 feet. I feel good about the little details that annoy me when I look at them; may not amount to a hill of beans; but just contribute to feeling like this is HOME SWEET HOME.
This is the filter head with the parts they originally gave me. I didn’t like the hoses projecting off to the side — that would be find in a home with a normal installation, but out here they are just something to get caught on. The pedestal sit even with our front coach tire and we will often be moving past that area. In fact, you can see the lug nuts in the picture.
- And from the side, hoses all insulated and good to go. I should put an insulated shroud around the filter housing — it’s plastic and could freeze with sustained cold.
So, that’s done!
We are still waiting for the propane supplier to get to the site to hook up our propane. I still have to figure out (with DISH tech support) why we aren’t getting TV) and I still have to sort out our iNet problems. We get some signal but it keeps oscillating between one and two bars and 3G and 1X — not a very satisfactory solution. But we’ve only been here in our site for three days. We’ll get it twigged soon enough.
I thought you might be interested to see the work center roof. This portion of Oregon gets about twice the annual precipitation that we got in Wisconsin. But in Wisconsin an average of 52 inches of snow made up a good portion of our annual precipitation. Around here it’s almost all rain and what little snow there is doesn’t last long. As a result MOSS grows all over the place. Here’s the roof of our work center to illustrate:
Something else very different here is the attention to chainsaw carving (Reedsport seems to have an annual competition) — but on a marine/coastal motif. This beautiful carving won the 2011 competition:
So, in the end, our job really comes down to something quite simple:
- To be eyes and ears for the Forest Service. As Belva put it, the biggest part of the job is to be an investigator.
- To care for the areas under our jurisdiction as if they were our home. Mowing, weed whacking, replacing parts, checking on why things may not be working, making sure that the rest rooms that the area caretakers have been doing sanitation and primary cleaning on do not run out of toilet paper or supplies, and keeping the area caretakers supplied.
- And also to give Camp Hosts some other human to talk to.
(Don’t laugh — this was actually something we talked about and it’s a real need that volunteers who are out there on the front line dealing with CAMPERS have contact with people they can vent to, and people who don’t want something from them.)
Whenever our truck repair is finished we’ll be driving a 3/4 ton pickup, and we’ll have a trailer permanently assigned to us so that we can haul our Zero Turn mower, push mower, tools, etc around from place to place. We’ll have most of our supplies right there with us at the work center. And in general we’ll visit most of the locations along our 20 mile stretch once a day for small, medium, or large periods of time doing whatever the heck needs doing on that day. Simple or complex (if you don’t know what needs doing, or where things are) depending on how you look at it.
It’s turning out that a major concern is the water supply. It is, after all, a public water supply and our primary concern above all else is the safety of the public who use the facility. I can dig it!
So, we are gradually getting into it….
I’m eager to get off on our own. While we have ‘jobs’ to do, we also have time of our own here, and we can at least partially make our own schedule and jobs list. Today while we were touring sites we made the long drive out to a secondary site that’s on our list. The drive was beautiful — even in the fog, or perhaps especially because of the fog. On another day I would have stopped to capture a few shots of the extraordinary beauty here. We really are lucky to be working here!