Saturday, July 28, 2012

The other visitors center

Yesterday I showed you the brand new state of the art Gateway visitors center.  Today, my assignment was to run the other visitors center out an Pea Island NWR.  It can’t compare to Gateway, but it’s nothing to sneeze at either.  Especially when you consider the ‘shack’ VC that I worked in at Anahuac NWR.


I’m not quite sure how long this building has been here along US 12 on the Outer Banks (OBX), but it hasn’t changed much in five years, and remained unscathed after last year’s hurricane.

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The building is half exhibits, and half nature store.  It is the busiest visitors center that I have ever worked at.  Today was a relatively slow day with only 131 visitors and $420 in sales.  It was change over day here on the OBX.  That means everyone that rented a beach house or campsite for last week was leaving, and the crowd for the next week was coming in.  Lots of folks stop here because they think they are lost.  I find that interesting since there is only one road (US 12) that goes from Nags Head to Hatteras. 

Pea Island VC

That’s okay though, since I can tell them where the nearest gas station is.  Winking smile  People on vacation also tend to want a remembrance of their holiday, and are anxious to buy those items offered in the nature store.  Today’s high temps helped as a lot of bottled water and pop were purchased to slake their thirst. 

That’s not to say that there weren’t any glitches along the way.  The written directions for opening/closing/running the VC are really quite good, but it’s been five years since I’ve been here.  My biggest boo boo happened when I had my first charge card transaction.  This register is entirely different from the one at Gateway, and I punched the wrong button for the sale.  It went into history as a cash sale rather than a charge which creates a small issue when closing out for the day.  Luckily, Abbey is really laid back about the balancing business so it shouldn’t be a problem.  She is very easy to work for.

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The other issue was the electronic visitor counter.  When someone comes in the door, a loud ding-dong sounds.  That’s good especially if you are in the back room working on stocking.  It lets you know when someone comes in.  However, it is located at the perfect height for two year old boys, and I had several of those today.  You can bet your bottom dollar that they are going to mess with the sensor.  The result?  A never ending barrage of ding-dongs that can drive you up the wall.  One father just watched as his little son made the thing ring and ring.  He only interceded when I finally made my way over toward the little stinker.  Everyone in the building was ready to throttle him. Disappointed smileIMG_9555

Here’s the hands on display on the deck of the building that explains what can be found on the beaches.  Sometimes things disappear (into little pockets?).  That’s why I’ve volunteered to go beachcombing to replenish the supply.  I know it’s a horrible assignment, but someone has to do it, right?

By the time I drive five miles to get a refuge vehicle, then drive out 30 miles to Pea Island, run the VC for seven hours, and repeat everything on the trip back, nine and a half hours go by.  I am pooped!  Guess I’ve gotten a little soft with my three month sabbatical from volunteering.  I do get quite the welcome home from Emma though since she’s been cooped up all that time.  Tomorrow I’ll be off to run the Gateway VC, and then we’ll have three days off.  Whoopee!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy