Sunday, July 6, 2014

7/4–7/6/2014 4th of July Weekend

(Damascus, VA)

One busy weekend!  This place was a zoo!  We’re glad its over!  Pick one, any one, any one of the previous statements is true.

Out of seventy three available campsites and eight group area sites there were only nine campsites unoccupied.

They started trickling in this past Wednesday and by Friday morning there was a steady stream.  One car, pickup and camper after the other and then they came in four and five at a time.  Then add in the the day use visitors. 

We broke records this weekend with visitors and revenues collected.

Our day started at nine a.m. with a meeting (pep talk) with our park managers and all the camp hosts. 

I was lucky to get a load of wash in the machine before the gatehouse started getting busy.  It never came out of the dryer until after two when Bob came to pick me up and I remembered it.

For some reason no one called to order the bundles of wood we sell from our sites and the gatehouse.  The gatehouse sold out and we were down to six bundles ourselves.  Someone must have gone to Grindstone, our sister park, and picked some up for the gatehouse because on Sunday that pile was replenished.  Of course no one was buying it then.

There are always some campers/day use visitors who try to test the rules.  The National Forest rules state that there are to be no more than two vehicles per site.  If there is already two cars on the site then what is supposed to happen is as follows;  day visitor drives to site, camper leads day visitor to lake parking area and drives visitor back to the site.  When its time to leave the camper drives the visitor to his car.  Simple, easy –peasy.

Now here is what usually happens.  We make rounds in our loop in the golf cart to make our presence known several times a day and evening on a Friday and Saturday.  We greet the campers, answer any questions, remind campers to back into their campsites in case we have to vacate the mountain quickly, we check to make sure the tents are within the tent pad areas and of course to make sure that no more than two vehicles are on the site.  There is always one site per day that has a visitor and a third and sometimes fourth car/truck parked on the grass (a no-no) or at the site. 

Bob and/or I will get out of the golf cart and approach the site.  We’re always noticed right away, it must be our khaki shirts with the official shoulder emblem or perhaps it’s the Smokey the Bear collar pin.

We politely remind the camper that there are only two vehicles allowed per site and this is when the song and dance starts.  I will admit, there were numerous times that the offending driver is there only for a few minutes as they were dropping off grandchildren to grandparents for a camping weekend or someone is dropping off their child for a camping weekend with their friend.  We totally understand that the driver is making small talk and giving last minute instructions to their children and then they are on their merry way to a child free weekend and can’t get out of here soon enough.  We get that and understand that the third vehicle is truly there for a few minutes.

But then…..there are the two buddies who are camping for a weekend and they have another buddy (or two) show up to visit.  They greet us with beers in hand and tell us they are only going to be there a few more minutes.  Giving the benefit of the doubt we move on.  An hour later we make another round and lo and behold there is now a pile of beer cans and steaks for three or four are now on the grill.  They are reminded of the rule and we’re told that as soon as they eat, said with appropriate pointing to the grill, that they will leave.  Now its time for us to eat and we don’t get back for two more hours.  I make the after dinner run and when I get to the offending campsite I notice the extra cars are still there.  One at the site and the other parked in the grass alongside the road.  Several more beers have been drunk as the pile is now waist high to a four year old.  Dinner has been eaten and now they try the ol’ we were told we could park here by the lady in the gatehouse.  I give them my best this isn’t my first rodeo look.  Too many beers have been consumed or they just aren’t gonna let this campground host tell them what to do.  We’re not to confront them so I let it slide.  I have no recourse.  Its frustrating, very frustrating.  Of course I have the pleasure of calling them every name in the book under my breath as I climb back in the golf cart. 

We are glad there is only one 4th of July per year.

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