Sunday, June 8, 2014


Another summer, same camping story.  Started the day today at 6 am to get ready to head to Chatfield to instruct a lifeguard renewal class. Nine hours later 14 guards were renewed for two more years.  That was a lot of guards, but it was fun.
Now I am in my tent, all set up and ready for the summer.  This year I am almost constantly training new lifeguards and swim instructors, so not many lifeguarding shifts this summer, but we need the new guards and instructors.
For dinner I had some green beans.  Instead of getting a big fire or a gas stove to boil water, I used for the first time the Biolite my mom got me for my birthday.  It works by taking the heat from the fire to generate electricity which drives a fan to make the fire hotter.  Took less than 10 minutes to boil a mostly full small pot of water.  Instead of using large wood you just burn small stuff.  All the wood I used to make dinner was tree bark I found on the ground as I was clearing a space for my tent.  I have a box I filled with wood I found on the ground that I am going to keep in my car so if it rains I still have dry wood, but every day for fuel I just need to go find fallen sticks and pinecones.
I lit the fire using a small piece of news paper I got from my sister, when she moved into her new apartment there were 4 news papers outside the door, and added a few piece of wood.  Once some of the wood got burning I turned on the fan (it has a battery to start up the fan before there is enough heat).  I put the pan on to start heating and after a few minutes there was a big poof and all of a sudden flames were shooting out as the wood all combusted at once.  Before the poof the fire was really smokey.  Once it fully lit and started burning there was absolutely no visible smoke.  Smoke is particulate and ash that did not fully burn, wasting fuel.  When there is no smoke then everything is burning completely, giving more heat release per gram.
As a result of the Biolite I can now cook in about 10 minutes what would normally take about 30-45 minutes.  Tomorrow is oatmeal!

From the guy with his eye on the sky, Travis...the camping lifeguard

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Another Week, Another Spot.

I took a week off from camping to hang out with my dad, and now I am back, we have private and group lessons tomorrow, and I am in a new camping spot.  Also went from a 2 person tent I could hardly fit in to a 6 person tent.  It’s the same tent I used two years ago.

Yea I know.  Back when I thought of the title Camping Lifeguard this is not what I had in mind either, but if they need me at the pool, I am only a moment away.

From the guy with his eye on the sky, Travis...the camping lifeguard

Sunday, June 23, 2013

And the rain rain rain came down down down...

Wow still remember that song from Winnie the Pool.  And like the 100 Acre Woods we are getting dumped on!  6+ inches around here in the last 2 days.

Not my camp site but the RV park near home was flooded out.  See the school house?  The 5' wide creek is on this side of the school.  All the rest was filled with campers and RVs.  When we took this most of them were on the street trying to figure out what to do.
 My cousin Chris.

And these are from where I camp.  My car bottoms out quite a bit.  Not going to bike to work until its repaired.

My tent was a little damp when I checked it this morning but otherwise it was fine.  Nothing a towel and cup can't fix.

From the guy with his eye on the sky, Travis, the camping lifeguard.

Friday, June 21, 2013

What will we do today?

At 1055 I have makeup swimlessons planned. Might need to make them up another day. 

Hail!  We've got hail!  Pea sized but I think I missed my chance to go to my car. Yay for dry tents, even if they look like a sith. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Summer is finally here!  Saw my first lightning bug. I was wondering when that would happen.
As I write this I hear an owl to the south of me calling. My coworkers think I'm nuts for camping almost every night this summer, but as I bike down the hill and see my tent at the campsite, I feel happy. 

From the mobile guy with his eye on the sky, Travis, the camping lifeguard. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Spring Grove. 6 years later.

Even though in less than 7 hours I have swim lessons I cannot sleep, so I am going to write.

I am writing this to those who come from the Spring Grove Swim Center Facebook page  Most of you only know me from signing up for swim lessons this summer or from lifeguarding (or on TV during a city council meeting), but I am not new.  In 2007 I lifeguarded at the Spring Grove Swim Center (or Family Swim Center, or Aquatic Center, or just pool).  2007.  6 years ago.  The lifeguard I work with now were only 10 or 12 when I was last there.  I may have even told them to walk...and now they are doing the same to me.

One of the lifeguards I worked with back then is even still at the pool now.  I even remembered her face so when I first met all the people I was going to be working with there was one familiar face.  Well of them look a lot like one of the guards I worked with back then and I have trouble keeping the two names separate.

6 years and everything looks the same.  The umbrellas are the same color, light strips on top of the slides, same potholes in the road, same blue paint color, same lion mouth water fountain, even the same rescue tubes I think.  Only one thing is different (well there are a few but thats another story or two).

This year, I am pool manager.  Where is my cape and goggles?

I haven’t asked if I could use their names but I am working with some great people this year.  There is the other manager, who like me, just wanted to be head lifeguard and now we are in charge of everything from food to pool to cleaning out filters.  Poor frog.

We have 13 lifeguards and 5 concession workers and about to add a swim instructor (4 of the lifeguards including myself are also swim instructors).  We have things going on from 7am to 9pm most days and usually have more people offering to work than we do shifts (especially the 7-8 am lapswim/water aerobics)

Things are running a little different this year, the city of Spring Grove has contracted out to a company to help run the pool.  The goal is to save money, not many 90°+ days to make a profit, and there has been a lot of bugs, but every worker we started with for opening day has pushed thru the turmoil and is still with us, half way thru our first month and I am proud of them.

It’s also good to know that even though they could have decided to go somewhere else to work, maybe for better pay, maybe for less, and with less stress of all this new and different and confusing stuff, they are still here, to keep kids safe this summer.  If you read, you know about the Baywatch guards, and we don’t have any of those this year, and that allows me to sleep at night, at least after my sunburn stops hurting.

I also learned a great tip from them, vanilla keeps away gnats.  I wonder if I could just pour some into the pool and just clear the city of those annoying bugs.

From the guy with his eye on the sky, Travis...the camping lifeguard


After my last post, I noticed I had 3 drafts from 2011, The Good, The Great, and The UglyBecoming A Lifeguard, and If it's Brown.  I read thru them and there isn't any reason not to post them, so now I have.

From the guy with his eye on the sky, Travis...the camping lifeguard