Monday, October 8, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

    Thanksgiving up here in Canada seemed to come awful early this year. The weather was  clear and mild, and I was expecting a good turn out of campers for this long weekend.

I got set up in my ambush spot in front of the office on the  Friday mid afternoon.
A few outfits had arrived on the Thursday to stake out areas for the large groups that traditionally have always come to have Thanksgiving at T'sek hot spring.
Like this bunch of yahoos from a few years back.

My little bike is my work horse around here, It is high visibility which make me easy to find, attending to errands, signing vehicles in, tearing back and forth home or delivering wagon loads of firewood.
Vehicles began to trickle in Friday afternoon and continued until 10:30 or so. I stuck it out until almost midnight before closing shop and heading home.
   The next morning I was down there at first light to find the tubs in good order and only two outfits have arrived in the night. Once I know everything is in order I can come back home and cook pancakes and read the news online for a few hours before the majority of campers begin to stir down there at the campsite.
I know a large number of the campers, and many have been coming to T'sek for 10, 20 or 30 years. Of course there is always one or two new ones that need tuning in thrown in on the mix too, just to keep things interesting. People continued to arrive sporadically from noon on Saturday. This is a basic campground, we don't have designated sites, so a full house is pretty much at my discretion. About 9 Saturday night I felt it was 'comfortable full' and parked my pickup across the road to signify, 'We Closed'.
Next morning there is rigs everywhere.  

A few days back there was a young hippie fruit picker couple enjoying the hot spring that were short some of their camp fee. Actually they were short pretty much all their camp fee so I took advantage of the slave labour to dig a much needed new pit for #3 outhouse. They did a lovely job.
    I was eager to get the open hole covered before someone walked into it so first thing Saturday morning I went on the hunt for some likely looking help capable of moving #3 outhouse while I directed operations.
The job requirements were fairly low, and likely looking candidates for this type of work were found in a small huddle of camper vans over in the center of the campsite.
Long time regular user Ross is always up to help and turns out another fellow there knew me from a breakdown he had once. Years ago, I had welded up the spring on his trailer on a long weekend, he managed to limp it all the way back home and is forever indebted to me.
They had some funny idea about one on each corner, but I asserted I could better direct operations if I stood back some and offered guidance, plus I wouldn't have to put my coffee down..
   Despite their best efforts at ignoring me and doing it their way, they managed to bump and rock the heavy outhouse over to the fresh hole and properly orient the direction of the door.
I was much flattered by the high esteem in which they held my ability to fill an old outhouse pit single handed, and they hurried back to their campsite, sharing some private joke it seemed, and leaving the experienced hand to fill in and expertly tamp down over the old pit.
"Please don't take our picture next to an outhouse and put it on the internet"....oops.
This young fella put on a hundred kilometers racing around his parents campsite, totally skipping nap time.

This outfit arrived right as I was closing the road the other night, but managed to squeeze them into a little used site next to the office. Three generations of a family and friends, you can tell by the number of kids bikes there was never a dull moment around there.

This was a large group of approximately 30 people that ultimately arrived for Thanksgiving turkey. The advance team arrived on Friday, only to discover an essential part of their hot oil turkey cooker was left at home, 6 hours away. With the magic of satellite I was able to get word out to bring the required part the next day, thus saving their Thanksgiving and averting a certain Donner Party type situation I'm sure.

This was an interesting family from Europe all done up for adventure. I see lots of tents, but this one was worth a stop. The Dad jumped right up and gave me an enthusiastic tour.
Very roomy and cool set up, there is a table and furniture and beds inside and small wood stove, including several boxes of emergency rations for dad.

This was at another site down river from the tent. This BBQ was entirely stainless steel and must have cost a mint to make. Based on a beer keg cut in half.

Saturday evening, the upper high bank sites.

By the time Sunday rolls around everything is settled in enough I can take some time from the gate to visit and show people around a little and make up stories.
Newcomers are always surprised to learn that I actually live here.
"Year around?" they often ask, followed by, "...and no cell service?".
I  took a wander around the campsite, schmoozing with the clientele, stopping to chat with the outfit on the river that don't speak English, having a coffee with the guy interested in the pelton wheel generator and by the time I made it through the campsite turning down offers of everything from a cold beer to a ham sandwich. 
"No thanks", I generally say, "I'm working".
People are always curious where such work is to be found, or if I take helpers.
I took a stroll down to the secluded beach and conversed with the naked people, sampling the homemade mango salsa before heading back.
   I was sticking my head into all the outhouses checking the paper supply when I heard my name called, a youngster ran up from behind, his dad had sent him after me. In his shaking hand he has a campground receipt I made out for them the other night. He was sent on this dangerous mission to let me know that I had under charged them for the long weekend stay, and the family had been living in fear of being discovered.
"Oh?, what the hell?", I remarked, getting mad pretending I could read it without my glasses.
In many cases my adding skills were a little deficit when signing families in on this weekend of sharing.
I told him, "It's that idiot I have running the gate for me, I'll have a word with him, Happy Thanksgiving".

Once in awhile, some lucky campers are invited up to the lodge for a tour.

Guests are offered a sampler from the orchard before they go

By 3 o'clock today, Monday, the campers had pretty much all buggered off, leaving me and Bear by ourselves there. We took advantage of the quiet time, taking the opportunity to drain, clean and fill the tubs while no one was around, and it was a satisfying end to the weekend.

It was a great weekend with nice folks and lots of positive comments about some recent 'improvements'.
I was left with no bad garbage, and the entire area was left spotless.
There were no problems, everybody was well behaved and respectful, and keen to keep the boss from getting cranky. I could almost see the glow of all the halos from up here at the Lodge.
Except for the dink that fired up the ATV in the early morning and made a loop around the campsite hooting, for reasons known only to himself. I think a matter of the blood alcohol content exceeding the IQ level.
I only had to fix one vehicle. I only had to fix one flat, and I only had to speak loudly to one person. (see previous sentence) One regular apparently had been doing more than his share to make sure things were tidy down at the tubs for my early morning inspections down there. Thanks Joe.

The only mishap all weekend was me and my wood wagon wreck down on the bypass interconnect, resulting in bruised ego and red face.
I was heading for a site with a double load behind my bike and made too fast a turn, upsetting the cart and the handle nearly pulled me off the back before I let go.
A couple relaxing in their campsite witnessed the incident and had a good laugh.

   Well, these long weekends are always a challenge for one. That was around 30 hours there in the last few days, I must have answered 1500 questions, most of the same ones, and I don't know how many miles I walked around there, often stumbling over roots and ruts in the dark, and split I don't know how much firewood. I'm going to sleep friggin good tonight.
   Funny, even with several invites for turkey dinner, I never did get any as it turned out. I guess I was too busy manning the front gate protecting my little flock of campers. I made up for it last night, I finished off the evening visiting with some friends at their fire. I couldn't understand most of the conversation but it was nice just  to relax and hang out and freshen up on my campfire smoke smell. There was quite a talented guitar player/singer there. I got quite a kick out of hearing some of the classics sung in another language.
When I think of Thanksgiving 2012, I will always think, Ghost Riders In The Sky, in Polish!


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