This is the journey of two middle aged women embarking on the RV fulltimers life. Preparing and living as nomads to keep from being committed to the local lunatic asylum by their friends and family. This is their journey from beginning to present day.
a gate attendant for the US Army Corp of Engineers is sometimes trying! We
didn’t go in without doing our research.
are actually contractors with Our Lands and Waters Foundation who partner with
the US Army Corp of Engineers. This is the web site in case anyone is
interested in checking out the gate attendant bidding process (http://ourlandsandwaters.org/index.html)
read articles and blogs written by people that have been gate attendants.
Opinions range from it was a lot of fun to we’ll never do that again.
both have a local government background and are very familiar with all the red
tape, rules and regulation that working with the government entail.
a contract to be a gate attendant is no easy feat. First of all, it is
difficult to learn anything about the bid process. You must bid on the gate
attendant jobs as a contractor. You must be bonded by an insurance company with
a VIP (Volunteer in Parks) bond. The
bond is not expensive, cost $75.00 to $100.00 per year. The purpose of the bond
is for theft. We ran into a problem getting bonded because NOT all insurance
companies have an underwriter that does VIP bonds. It took us a while but we
finally found an insurer in Rockport, Texas.
also have to provide your own office and cleaning supplies. The office supplies
needed are minimal. We use permanent markers, ink pens, highlighters, staples,
stapler and tape. One a week we mail a money order and a report to the
government. We have to pay for the money order and stamp.
Once a week we drive
17 miles to headquarters to pick supplies and turn in more reports. We have to
travel the furthest distance to headquarters than the other gate attendants
because we are across the lake from headquarters.
bought cleaning supplies so that we can keep the gate house looking good. We
clean windows, sweep & mop floors.
office supplies, postage, and mileage are all tax deductible. In 2 months here
we have used maybe $20.00 worth of supplies.
we were not prepared for was the lack of training on the reservation software
and the first impression of the park rangers attitudes that the gate attendants
were all a pain in the butt. We have since learned that the park ranger are
very nice guys and generally deal with the same gate attendants year after
are the youngest gate attendants at this lake and most of the other gate
attendants are older than my parents.
Most of them have been doing this for a good many years. They all seem
to enjoy the work. Some of the gate attendants are full-timers and about half
are not. Some do this to supplement
their incomes and some do it because they don’t care to travel during the heat
of the summer.
can tell you that the gate attendants at this lake are some of the nicest
people we’ve met.
reservation software is very easy to use. If you do have a problem, you can
call any of the other gate attendants and they are more than happy to help.
are enjoying the job. We are meeting a lot of nice folks and having a great
will work from April 1st to Oct 1st. The hours are long.
We work four days on and four days off. Our hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. We’ve
been told that we’re only making about $2.50 per hour. That’s fine with us.
We’re not really doing it for the money as much as a necessity. We had to be in
this area this summer due to a few medical appointments, school dedication, and
wedding and family visits. If we have to be in the area, we might as well be
getting paid for it! The extra money is nice to have too.
paid for each day worked once a month via direct deposit and are provided a
nice roomy site and all utilizes.
work in a nice brick air-conditioned gate house with a restroom. We have our TV
and a recliner. I’ve had a lot worse
jobs for much less pay and it didn’t kill me.
realize this kind of work is not for everyone but neither is living in an RV!
day is a learning experience. We’ve met a lot of nice people and some really
strange people too. We are looking forward to returning next summer. After
that, we might check out other Corp parks for future jobs.
We’ve been busy girls lately. As I mentioned in my last post, Dawn had
to rush me to the emergency room a week ago Tuesday at 10:00 p.m. That wouldn’t
been such a bad thing except for the fact that we are 30 miles from our preferred
hospital. Dawn suffers from severe night blindness and the roads here are dark,
rough and very curvy.
She did a great job and we made it just fine. I was in terrible pain
and the waiting room of the ER was full. I went in sat down and waited as Dawn
parked the truck. I watched as the ER nurse took several people ahead of me.
Dawn came into the waiting room and filled out the needed forms. The ER nurse
again opened the door looked down at me and told me to come with her. She took
me directly to a room and they began running an EKG and blood pressure.
My EKG was good. They moved me down the hall to another room. They did
blood work and a sonogram. A short time later a doctor came in to say I had an
infected gallbladder and would be admitted to the hospital in order to have
surgery the following morning. He then
ordered pain meds and I was feeling much better a little while later!
At 2:00 a.m. I was moved to a
regular room. They folded out a recliner bed for Dawn. Needless to say neither
of us got any sleep.
The following morning I had surgery to remove my sick gallbladder. It
was late afternoon before I was released. We got home around 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Luckily this happened on our first night off so we had 3 days to
recover before going back to work. I relaxed for the next few days while Dawn
ran like a chicken with her head cut off! She had to go to the laundromat,
grocery store, bank and take our reports to headquarters. She was running on very little sleep.
Thursday night she realized she must have left a load of laundry in a
washer at the Laundromat. She called and the attendant said they found her
laundry earlier in the day and put them in a dryer. When they were dry, they
folded them. Dawn drove back to the Laundromat at almost 9:00 p.m. and picked
up our clothes. She left a nice TIP for the girl that took care of our laundry.
On Saturday we went back to work. I didn’t do much. Dawn all the work.
We weren’t that busy and that was a GOOD thing.
Yesterday was our first day off and we both slept in! We made a fast
trip to Wal-Mart and came back home.
Last night there were constant weather warnings for severe
thunderstorms and tornados. My brother who lives about twenty miles away sent
us a text and told us to load up and come to his house for the night. We packed
a bag, loaded up our fur kids and drove to his house around 9:30 p.m. There
were 16 tornados in the north Texas area last night. We got a lot of rain and
some wind but that was it. Dawn and I loaded back up into the truck and drove
home a little after midnight. We finally got in bed about 1 a.m.
Needless to say, we slept in this morning! Today we did laundry and
some grocery shopping. We were exhausted by the time we got back home. Now we
are kicked back watching some TV. We need to get rested up before we go back to
work on Sunday.
I'm currently recovering from emergency gallbladder surgery. I had a terrible attack on Tuesday night and Dawn drove me to the hospital. My gallbladder was seriously infected so I was admitted to the hospital and had surgery yesterday morning.
I was released to go home yesterday afternoon. Today I'm very sore but am up moving SLOWLY.
That is how we are spending our 4 days off, recovering!