St Joseph Peninsula State Park WrapUp

StJosephs08062013 (13)Now that I finally have help with our craft business I should be able to get some articles posted to my various blogs and will try to start posting to Our Great Adventure every week. There is so much to report to you guys that we will start with a wrap-up of St. Josephs Peninsula, then the wrap-up with Dade Battlefield and then an update on our current assignment here at Myakka River State Park. I will be trying to get the movies made for the State Park Reviews and uploaded to YouTube as soon as I can. We have very limited internet service here and will probably have to go down to the Myakka Outpost and use their wireless service to upload the videos once I get them done.

St. Joseph’s Peninsula was HOT! We were there for only two months, July and August, and it was either hot and breezy or raining and breezy almost every single day that we were there. We took a lot of pictures but probably missed a thing or two as the park is spread-out all over the west side of Cape San Blas. There were only two camping areas for RVs, Gulf Breezes and Shady Pines. We were originally scheduled to be at Shady Pines but due to some issues with other volunteers they were short-handed and we were placed in Gulf Breezes along with another volunteer. They expect their volunteers to work 20 hours per week per person. That is 5 days a week folks. We had to clean two bath houses and the empty campsites every day as well as try to keep the sand off of the boardwalk leading down to the beach. We would get up every morning around 4:30 and clean the biggest and newest bathhouse and it had air conditioning, which was nice. But with all the campers coming and going it was just easier to clean it before anyone got up. The smaller and older bathhouse didn’t take as long but doesn’t have A/C. It takes a good three hours to clean them both including sweeping the ceilings off where all the bugs came in and roosted above the shower stalls.

Campground Hosts are given access to a golf cart to use for cleaning the campsites but has to be returned to the shop area. They are also given access to a washer and dryer and the ice machine. Both located at the shop which is located between the main gate and the camping areas. But that is about it. There are now sewers available on-site for the volunteers let alone the campers so every two to three days we had to go dump our tanks. We also could use the computers in the shop office if we wanted to. The internet and cellphone service there was also weak in the campgrounds and a few time we had to go sit next to the bay and try to use the internet service at the Convenient Store. I am sorry to say that their broadcast service was not too good either. I could get more bars just using our own Verizon Service at the Bay. In Gulf Breezes you didn’t see any squirrels most water birds, cardinals, the vegetarian mice, ghost crabs and towards the end of our stay we had a couple of snakes pass through. One on the road and the other one right past Mom while she was sitting outside reading. Our A/C unit had conked out on us that day and we spent a miserable night and day until I figured out how to get the front A/C to work.

Also, towards the end of our stay the Constitution Convention Museum Ranger quit and I was asked to fill in for him until they found a replacement. It was only opened four days a week but I still had to get up early with mom to clean the bathrooms and then go to the museum, clean their bathrooms and wait for people to visit. It was an interesting experience and a nice break from our normal routine. Which was to get up early clean the bathhouse, go back to the RV eat breakfast; go out around 1:00pm and clean up the campsites; to back to the RV for the afternoon and finally, around 7:00pm go down the boardwalk and sweep for about an hour. We didn’t get to clean many of the campsites as most were always occupied or it began to rain and we weren’t going to go out in the rain to clean them. I think I only got the boardwalk cleaned off all the way done one time and that was with the help of my daughter, Katie, who was visiting with Bella for her birthday week. Every time after that it would be raining or we were off for a few days and the other campground host didn’t every sweep it off during his time and I would have to start all over again. It was a never ending battle.

Surprisingly, we even got a little tan while we were there. I say that because we hardly left our RV when we were not working except to go to the grocery store. You had to leave the peninsula to see anything else and that was 10 miles just to get to the main road. Plus, we had to spend our extra money to go back home for a funeral. But I did get to see some nice sunsets every now and then and sitting underneath our awning was nice too. I don’t know about other times of the year but I wouldn’t recommend during a summer time gig at St. Joseph’s unless you just like hot, breezy weather and want to give it a try.

I can’t really say much about the Shady Pines area. We met and talked with two of the campground hosts couples there and they were working as much as we were. Only, they had to contend with monster sized mosquitoes in among all those pine trees and campers so close to you that you could reach out and “High-Five” your neighbor. They also had a boardwalk leading down to the Gulf from the campground and the outdoor theater area was right next to them which is nice when they have programs. The first couple from Shady Pines was in the process of replacing the main boardwalk leading from Gulf Breezes to Shady Pines through the swampy area but had to quit before they could get even half-way through because of all the problems with keeping campground hosts last summer. I hope that the rest of the year is better for them and all the campground host volunteers.

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