Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Waking up a Campground for another season.

My wife owns Down Under Camp Resort in Turney, Missouri.

She's the female sole owner- I'm just married to her.. sigh- I wonder who gets the best of this situation at times. Being married to her 20 years affects how I think.

But, seeing someone's kid catch a BIG fish makes it seem worth doing. Kids who are taken fishing and camping tend to do better in life. Funny how such things work, they just are that way. Same with mopping a bathroom floor @0430 while listening to net streamed classic rock.
I could delegate the job, but it's oddly relaxing to do mundane chores with few to no folks around then. Someone's got to do it?

I am the head tech person of this 40 acre campground. Think of it as a very small city with a partially transient population:) A city of about 6 people average in winter months and Monday to Friday of 10-20 people. With some weekends of 300 people having a party here. The numbers of people is so random both less and more at times to defy easy planning some weekends. WE had the expressway ramps closed the last 2 years and it's only now that campers are rediscovering us. Fuel costs will have more local campers staying here. And our seasonal rates might make sense compared to Branson etc. 1 hour from KC compared to hours for the other camping areas does make a difference.

If you live in the KCMO area, We're a LOT closer than Branson, of course.. Exit 48 on Interstate 35. 8 miles south of Cameron. That's the overview of some what and where things. It's not so simple for me and the crew here. Me and wife+ her crew have to maintain a lot of rather interesting stuff. Out of sight out of mind barely comes close to how much of a campground is hidden infrastructure. Try covering 40 acres with usable WiFi and not subcontracting it.

40 acres of underground utilities. Water, sewer, electric all with my name as chief engineer. The wonderful pleasures of re-activating all the water pipes to 100 campsites and some permanent buildings. Digging the campfire ashes out of so many fire rings absorbs a lot of hours too. Using a shop vac ensures finding some hot coals even with supposedly "fire safe" ash traps. None of them worked so we went back to shovels. Try, try again Vs proven stuff like shovels often is a "Last resort first" reality.

Let's not forget the swimming pool. A pool is a hole in the ground that absorbs vast quantities of money/labor/sanity. And yes.. you can choose any two. The pool's being power washed tomorrow. Then it gets replastered/painted. Pool paint costs about the same as fine perfumes or worse. The chlorine per year is only a few hundred bucks unless you get a salt generator- several thousand for our size pool but it pays back in a few years. The pool cleaner robot's s low maintenance. Clean the filter bag by machine washing and it's good to go. Two or more bags makes it easier. Compared to an hour per day for a human pool cleaning operator? Robot wins.

On to the snack bar kitchen. Call it a small fast food place. With soda fountain etc. All needing to be drained of fluids in fall, fresh fluids added in spring. That's this weekend. One staff person is running new water lines for the coffeepot. I'm relamping halogen fixtures with CFL's this weekend as my part.

Tonight's project was excavating the piled high cruft that needs to be redeployed every spring. Plus all the things bought during the winter for spring installations. WiFi gear and a mind numbing assortment of small but essential washers/gasket kits etc.Things that get a frantic rush to deal with between it getting warm and campers beginning to show up.

Weed trimmers and mowers all needing to be refueled and reoiled etc. Blades to sharpen and spools of trimmer line to precut for the quick thread head on our best machine. It's a scary device that swings this square cutting filament with a KEVLAR core fast enough to erode wood fenceposts. Mixed gas and two stroke oil is also required to keep such beasts happily shredding foliage. This year, I am restoring a few electric trimmers as they're quieter, less expensive to run and a campground has MANY electric outlets in the sites area.

All of the above might explain why updates have fallen behind. It's just what I do for my wife. And it's a sort of challenge. Testing my skills against all the assorted tech weirdness it takes to keep this place running smoothly. Backhoes being used to dig up pipes for repairs.. Or just getting someone with a shovel to dig pipes 1-3 feet down.

At the moment-it seems we have ZERO water leaks!

It's getting late but I had to take a break from piles of parts awaiting installation in this or that place here. I'm sadly the only person here who knows some of this arcana. Makes me feel old. And so to bed. I hope.

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