We both love the water and grew up on the coast around boats and enjoying all kinds of water sports. And, somehow in our travels we often times end up staying in campgrounds with lake access. This is why it was surprising to us when we realized we had not had a job working on the water. This season we were going to change that. We would be working on Lake Powell as boat instructors. We would operate many different vessels that summer from jet skis and powerboats to 75ft house boats. Our job would be to brief the guests on operation and safety items and occasionally we would pilot the vessels.
At the beginning of the season some of the house boats were at the other end of the lake because they were having new vinyl graphics put on them and fiberglass work done. The boats would need to be transported back up the lake and staff were being flown to the other end of the lake and then piloting the vessels the 90 miles back to the marina. Lauren would get to go on one of these trips. She would be flown in a small aircraft to pick up the boat and drive it back. This would be a two day trip and one night she would have to anchor the boat to sleep for the night and then continue the journey the next day. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. She would not only get to see the lake from the sky but also drive the majority of the main channel.
One weekend pretty early in the season we went out on the lake with a couple of co-workers to have some fun on the water. Although Lauren had been on water skis before she had never wake boarded. Ben was going to teach her. We had a great day and Lauren was able to get up on the wake board and try this new water sport.
The start of the season had been interesting with management turn over. We thought that was behind us when there was going to be yet another turnover of management. This is when our passion for good guest service finally drove us to go to our manager. There was a large hole in leadership that was affecting the guest service we were providing. We volunteered to move into a leadership position as a team temporarily and for no extra pay out of a passion for delivering a great guest experience. We were to take over some of the back of house responsibilities mainly the cleaning of houseboats that would be rented out. This presented a very unique opportunity for us as we were to split the responsibilities of one persons job and with no protocol or training provided we quickly came up with a system of our own and created a protocol to get the tasks done efficiently and more effectively. As well as creating better communication and coordination with the other two departments involved. It had been about a month and we had been settling into a routine and training our replacements as we were still technically boat instructors and planned on returning to those jobs. When another curve ball was about to be thrown our way. The supervisor for the boat instructors was leaving. And, the manager approached us and asked if one of us would officially take the back of house supervisor position and the other would take the front of house supervisor position. This was a proud moment for Ben because most companies do not like couples working together. But, they had seen the leadership potential in both of us. We decided to take the positions and had agreed on an hourly wage increase. As we walked out onto the docks in our new uniforms we were heckled by many of the staff, all in good fun of course. And, as we posed for a picture in our new uniforms we smiled but were nervous about the decision we had made.
Now we were supervising front of house and back of house. This did two things. One, we could improve upon some of the systems we had put in place a month earlier and two, it meant the company got more work out of us because we would strategize about the next days plan over dinner.
We were about six weeks into our new positions when now, the third manager of the season offered us an incentive even larger than the original end of contract incentive to finish the season. One of the incentives for us to work was the use of a house boat if we were to finish our contract. Now we were going to be offered an even larger houseboat if we were to finish out our contract. With this new offer on the table we ran an idea by all of our parents about doing a house boat trip. This seemed to be a once in a lifetime opportunity for us and we did not want to foolishly pass it up. So, as we continued on with our new positions we planned a house boat trip for the end of the season. And, this would be the first time Ben’s Dad and Lauren’s parents would meet.
As the days became shorter, our work days became longer. The staff was returning home to begin school again and with the loss of staff, we took on more and more responsibilities. On our last day we were quite worn out. So worn, that we did not even feel the excitement for what was going to happen the following day. The next day we went to work much like any other day but this time in our plain clothes. The staff laughed at us and said who are those people who look like they are on vacation? We needed to clean and prep the houseboat for our parents’ arrival later that day.
Our parents arrived and we got to loading the house boat for our voyage. This would only be the third time we had ever left the fifth wheel behind. As we set out of the marina the next morning Ben looked back at the RV in the parking lot and was amazed that the RV was so self sufficient we could leave it behind with little worry. And, was in a bit of disbelief as we headed out on a three hour journey for the Rincon. This would be the most gasoline Ben had burned in such a short amount of time in his lifetime. We knew that this was going to be an epic trip. What we did not know was that the rest of this season was going to be full of firsts. That week as we enjoyed good food, water sports, the views of the lake, and exploring was just the beginning. Our hard work and long hours over the season was paying off.
As we returned the house boat to the marina we said our temporary farewells to the staff that became like our family. And, as we departed Lauren’s parents decided to stay with us for one more night in the Moab area. We had explored Moab throughout the season and we knew we had more to see in that area and were now on RV time and in no rush to go anywhere. As we sat and looked out at the dessert and enjoyed we knew we had a long list of RV repairs to take care of. With a snow storm on the way we decided to head back to Colorado where Ben’s step Dad asked that now common question, “how long are you going to be here?” When we replied with only a few weeks he laughed to himself, knowing it would probably be longer. With our home set up by the barn that we had become so fond of, we got right to work on the truck as it had been used quite a bit that season and it needed some attention and care. We ended up rebuilding the entirety of the front suspension on the truck that week. And even found some time to go to a nearby Ninja Warrior course open to the public. We also had learned that Ben’s Mom and Step Dad had bought a new home and we would be spending some time there as well.
Having gotten some maintenance and repairs done we headed out for Rhode Island to spend the holidays with Lauren’s family. While there we would receive a phone call from an employer offering a job we could not refuse. This would be the second time that this had happened in our travels. And so the plans for season nine began.