prune picker

This is the blog of a prune picker. (Native born Californian) Retired oilfield. I am an old man. (91) I blog a lot about my body and getting old. As I approach death life gets more interesting. More interesting is not good. I still drive. I attend sports, music, and civic events. I am writing my memoirs. I attend swim class three times a week. Some of my blogs might be interesting. A lot of my blogs are silly and trivial. None are very long.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Service. Jackie and I served together--in the National Park Service.

Jackie looked so cute in her uniform.

One of the high lights of our years of RVing was the 3 1/2 months we volunteered at Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine. It was about 1988. (RVing means living full time in an RV and usually involves traveling to follow the sun, or running from the sun, or going to see places.) Jackie and I would often reminisce about our service at Bar Harbor and think about going back.

We worked four days a week. In return we got a place to park (with utilities) our fifth wheel trailer, a uniform shirt, and a hat. Jackie and I, and some forty other volunteers performed many different jobs at the park. Jackie worked in the Visitor Center. She was so proud of herself. She gave directions to various spots in the park. She did it with map upside down to her. She never did understand maps even right side up. She was of no help to us in guiding our RV from place to place. She just did not get maps. But she did for her job at the Visitor Center. I guess it was the uniform.

I worked in the Sign Shop. The park had miles of trails and several thousand intersections. Each intersection required signs with mileage and directions.

There was a group of five or six college students who did a lot of hard work. They got paid. They spent most of their time clearing and cutting the trails. And keeping the signs in good shape. At one time there were forest fire out west and several of the college students flew out to work on fire fighting. They were impressive people. I was involved in a day of fire fighting training. One exercise was climbing into a pump tent looking thing when the fire turned on you. The large number of fighters lost in Arizona recently were using this shelter.

One nice thing about summer duty was that we participated free in all the many activities of the park. Some of these activities were carriage rides on carriage roads, whale watch tours, bird walks, boat rides out to small islands surrounding the park. This was done so that we knew how to tell visitors about them.

One day a week I put on my shirt and hat and worked in a fire tower look out. It really had a view. I pretended that I was a Ranger.

Our fellow volunteers were a jolly dedicated bunch. We camped next to some of them for 14 weeks. About once a week about 20 of us would go out to eat. More that half of these outings would be to a Maine bean supper. These were held at churches and granges. You have no idea how many kinds of beans there are. Very little meat but lots of desserts.

Jackie and I visited many local attractions. Several light houses. The LL Bean Store in Freeport. We found a place for a picnic lunch where we could watch lobstermen in their different looking lobster boats come and check their lobster traps. We would check out the downtown Bar Harbor wharf and watch the cruise ships come in for a visit.

We would often go up on Cadillac Mountain which is the highest point (1530 feet) on the East Coast. It was said that on July 4th that the first sunshine in America was on the top of Cadillac Mountain. The local square dance clubs had a dance that started at midnight on the third and ran until the sun came up on the fourth. We drove up and watched them start dancing at midnight. Square dancers are rugged, and strange.

There was a gravel beach that made a weird noise from the gravel rolling in the tide. There was the Thunder Hole rock formation that when the tide was right would cause water to explode out of a hole and way up in the air. There was a time schedule for the water spouts that Jackie told visitors about.

I attended a duck decoy carving school in a nearby town. It was an enjoyable experience. I carved and painted a small size loon decoy. I never carved another. I still have the decoy that I carved in Maine. A picture is attached. We really enjoyed the call that the loon makes. The same bird is in Washington. We would hear the sound there. Very seldom we would see one.

His nose has seen better days.

1988 Acadia Volunteers. Note the young couple with dark glasses.

Jackie hard at work.

We went for a carriage ride.

Beech Mountain Fire Look Out Tower. I worked here one day a week.

See my fine router work!

Thunder Hole.

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