One month at Alligator Lake Recreation Area here in Lake City, Florida has started out pretty good. We are still trying to establish a good routine that works for us and our volunteer coordinator. It’s not a hard gig by any means and the people have been extremely nice. The coordinator has been very open about some of the supplies we have asked for to keep doing our jobs as we think it needs to be done. For instance, we asked for a small blower to keep the rental pavilion clean between users, a nice long water hose and roller cart to hold it on so that we can keep the bathrooms and pavilion’s harder to reach areas cleaned and we asked for a battery powered inside light for our Gator so that we can see what we are doing at night while we are emptying out the trash barrels. We usually start about 30 minutes before closing to check the trash barrels, pick up any trash we come across and, hopefully, encourage our visitors to start packing up and head towards the gate. We also have to check the outer packing lot for hikers on the trails. For some reason people come into the park close to closing and start down the trails that are clearly marked as longer than the time they actually have to complete it.
Currently, we open at 8:00 and close it at 7:00pm until after the time changes then it will be at 5:30 until March. Which, I’m sure will have it’s own kinds of challenges. I really hate mornings but all I really have to do is open the gate on time each morning Tuesday through Sunday and on the first Saturday of the month open at 7:30 for the bird watchers club. Generally, after I open the gate I drive around the picnic tables to pick up any trash that I missed the evening before. The great thing at this assignment is that the park is closed every Monday. Hurrah! One day a week where I can sleep in. As I said before in the evening we reverse the process close the main gate, the employee entrance gate and check the trash barrels to determine if they need to be emptied. If there is less than half we try to leave the trash bags in but will continually have to pick up trash by the barrels each morning, if we do, because of the night critters pushing over the barrels and spreading around the trash around. Pretty frustrating really because we have to either waste trash bags or pick up more trash each morning if we leave them in.
We have been toodling around on the Gator getting to know the trails around here. The park personnel has kept them and still keep them well. We just have to pick up the drink bottles, miscellaneous bits of trash and then empty the little trash bins that are nailed to posts along the way. It’s pretty here and we do have a nice view. The coordinator has even agreed to check on the possibility of adding a 220 electric socket in the storage building we get to use so that we can add a washer/dryer. Possibly even a refrigerator.
We have decided to stay here for about a year. That takes us out of the Full-Time RVer category but I hope to have the time to add to our hand crafted inventory as well as write a couple of books. Another factor in our decision is that we may have a cracked engine block. We were having a tune-up done on the RV and my mechanic found holes in the header and then found water in the oil. The park coordinator has been so understanding and really wanted us to stay for a year. Hopefully, once we are finally ready to go we hope to have a few volunteers ready and willing to take our place here. A few things we want to warn you about this assignment though. They take their background checks very seriously. Not only do they do a sex offender check but they take your fingerprints for a complete check with the local, state and federal authorities. They also do reference checks.
Till next time.
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