One of the duties that I really enjoy (and that Tom is glad to avoid) is working in the Visitor Center. I love the variety of things that you do and all the people that you talk to in the Visitor Center. I also like working the cash register and making sure that it balances at the end of the day. Tom, the Computer Engineer, acts like the cash register is some foreign concept.
Every day in the Visitor Center I learn something new. People ask questions that they expect me to answer and so I have to find out what the answer is if I don’t already know.
“Where is the best place to watch the sunrise?” Dante’s Peak because Zabriskie Point is closed right now.
“How do I get to the Racetrack?” This is the road, but first, what kind of car of you driving? Do you have a full-sized spare tire? The road eats tires – the rocks are razor sharp – and it takes 2 hours to drive the 27 miles out there. Every week we have to tow someone out who has shredded their tires and it costs $2,000 to tow someone out from there.
“Where is the closest place I can get a cup of coffee?” It is 47 miles to Stovepipe Wells and 59 miles to Beatty. Both have coffee.
Besides answering questions I get to swear in Junior Rangers which is always a thrill. The children learn a lot and I get to talk to them about what they learn and then administer the promise and pin their badge on them. They are so proud!
We have some really neat stock in the Visitor Center. There are sandwiches, pop, and water. We have lots of different magnets and all sorts of books. We have some Scotty specific merchandise and some that is general for the entire park.
I also help out with the ticket office. If people have reservations, I can help them skip the long line that always forms first thing in the morning and give them their tickets. I also explain the rules of the tours to people. No food or drink, no backpacks or purses. Your camera is fine – take as many pictures as you want.
Working in the Visitor Center is fun because it is such a varied job. I like it best when it is a little busy and I have time to talk to people. In fact, I like working at the Visitor Center for many of the same reasons I liked being a pastor: you never know what questions you will get and you meet lots of interesting people.