If you’ve met Cam and Rich any time during these last two years at Farewell Bend Campground, you’ll quickly find out that this active couple is passionate about the outdoors and interacting with people.
They said it all started with a bucket list trip to Alaska.
Before meeting 18 years ago, they had each visited Alaska and were awed by its magnificent glaciers, wild animals, and raw beauty. They decided a trip to Alaska together was a must-do.
When they left to Alaska, they were running a successful landscape business in Hemet, California, called Lincoln View Landscaping, which they eventually sold after 10 years. Their first road trip to Alaska dropped them down into Wyoming and Yellowstone. It was here they met a Camp Host and his wife and got to talking. The man and his wife were hosts at Yellowstone, lived in their motor home and ate in the dorm. The husband worked at the boat house while his wife worked in the gift store. “Their story planted a seed in them,” said Rich.
Two years later on another trip to Alaska, they stopped in at Haines Hitch-up RV Park where they encountered an exhausted camp host couple in their 70s and offered to help but the hosts wouldn’t hear of it. When they eventually arrived back home, they received a letter from the owner at Haines inviting them to work there.
They went back to Alaska the following year and managed over 92 campsites with another couple who became their lifelong friends, Joe and Sandy, who were traveling through from Missouri and also had been asked to work the year before. Rich and Cam enjoyed camp hosting so much that they extended their stay at Haines.
Soon after Haines, a friend told them about CLM Services, who hired them as camp hosts at a Campground called Princess, 80+ sites, nestled between Kings Canyon and Sequoia, at 6,000 feet elevation. They learned a lot from this experience, saying that, first and foremost, is to treat the campers with respect and to connect with them as people not as a uniformed authority figure. Their time at Princess in 2015 was marred by the devastating Rough Fire. The smoky air became unbearable toward the end of the season, and they had to evacuate the campground, relocate for a week then head back home to Hemet for Rich’s dad’s 90th birthday.
Rich’s dad, an impressive nonagenarian, now lives in a retirement community in Hemet and stays extraordinarily active. “He’s so busy, we often have to make an appointment to see him,” joked Cam. With Rich’s mother having passed away from Alzheimer’s they’re relieved to know that his dad is living an active, full life.
Rich was born in Glendale, California, and his family moved to a chicken ranch that sat near a 10,000 foot mountain in an unincorporated area near Hemet when he was just 5 years old.
He grew up with horses and 30,000 chickens who laid about 15,000 eggs a day. Rain, shine, or holiday, he worked hard until dinnertime then did his homework. The ranch property was above a river bank so Rich could walk across the river in the dry months to the adjacent Soboba Indian reservation, where he currently enjoys working with the Soboba band to extend off-road trails as his second love is the Hemet Jeep Club, one of the oldest car clubs in America.
Though the ranch instilled a hard work ethic in Rich’s character, he left to attend college, foreseeing another future for himself. That future was in law enforcement for the Hemet City Police. After 30 years, Rich retired and began working in the housing sector followed by seasonally working for a friend in Idyllwild that eventually evolved into his own landscaping company.
Cam began working at the age of 13 in her mother’s restaurant (her mother passed away in 1997). She started as a bus girl and worked her way up to night chef until she was 21, also fitting in a bookstore job. After she left her mother’s employ, Cam lived on a 90-acre ranch with pigs and chickens, which helps her relate well to Rich’s upbringing.
In 1984, she moved west to visit a friend and never looked back. She worked in California at a title company for 20-plus years, then earned her real estate license during the course of working the family landscaping business. During the off-season, Cam works long hours with a CPA friend to keep busy.
This season, Cam and Rich will welcome a new family member to their RV, Crosby! Crosby is a male Bisenji, and they’ll be picking him up in early April. “We’ve had the name since hearing it during a camping trip to the Yukon in 2011, so we’re finally getting the dog to go with it,” said Rich.
Cam and Rich look forward to coming back to Farewell Bend to see friends they’ve met at Farewell Bend and whom they stay in touch with year-round.
“Friends bring us wine, lamb chops and other gifts, such as hand-carved hiking sticks.” And they often get a personal home-grown produce delivery on Sunday mornings from a Medford couple they befriended. “We love it here!” said Cam.
Rich and Cam make a point to collect Topo maps for getting out and exploring. “We really enjoy our job and love to share local knowledge and from our own travels with campers, especially with european travelers,” said Rich.
“People are constantly asking about hikes and mountain bikes and things to do and see. We’ve got more to offer campers by exploring ourselves,” added Rich.
Please stop by to say “hello” to Rich, Cam and Crosby! And be warned, if you do something funny or do something that gets their attention, you’ll probably be given a (friendly) nickname!