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Bill Mc Dowell
  • 58
  • Mountain View, HI
  • United States
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Profile Information

Santa Monica
Where have you lived and worked?
South Bay, Ca 8 years (Surf Bum). Mammoth Lakes, CA 5 years (Ski Bum). Park City UT 2 years (Ski Bum). Born and raised in Santa Monica, CA 21years (Surf Bum). Maui County, HI 2 years (Surf Bum). Ave. of the Giants, CA (Bud Bum). Mountain View, HI (Rainforest Bum). On Dead Tour Summer 95 (Dead Bum).
About Me:
World traveler at age 14, opened a big ole can o'worms, been pretty good at finding sweet spots, setting it all up, milking the %^&$ out of it, tearing it all down, moving on down the road... and doing it all over again. "Professional" bum on a pass here for a little while longer I suppose.
Last Seasonal Job:
Deer Valley Ski Resort Seafood Buffet Cook
Favorite Seasonal Job:
Mammoth Mountain Ski Area 83-87 Mid-Chalet (old term)
Dream Job:
Teaching anything I'm excited about with Free room and Board included with a Phat salary.

Comment Wall (4 comments)

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At 10:38am on May 1, 2011, Bill Walton said…

Hey Bill,

I don't recall one way or the other about jponytails. Sounds like you will have some long days.

I have been up here in Fairbanks for about a month in training for the Commercial Driver's License. It has been good and they are putting us up in a nice hotel, but I am ready to move on to Denali. We will move down there on May 6 assuming I pass the
CDL test!

Will probably see you up there. I will be driving the employee shuttle and the shuttle over to the visitors center as well as the trolley that runs around the lodge property.

When do you arrive?

At 11:34pm on April 30, 2011, Bill Walton said…

Bill, first let me say that I am starting my first year working for Princess in Denali. I have been here last year as a tourist and spent a couple of hours at Denali a couple weeks ago. So, I may not be the best one to ask.

But, I do know that the two lodges are only about two blocks walk from each other.

I have been told that housing for the two lodges is very comparable, and the two are considered to be pretty much the best employee housing in Denali.

The difference is in location. The Chalet housing is right next to the lodge so you will be right at the Chalet and only a two block walk from the Princess Lodge.

The Princess employee housing is located in the town of Healy which is 11 miles north of Denali. There is a shuttle bus that runs between Healy and The Princess Lodge about once an hour 24/7.

 The housing for Princess employees is

At 4:20am on April 5, 2011, Julie Scharlin said…

My last concession job at Denali (1993) was for Grayline of Alaska.  After 6 years of living on  credit cards and getting further in debt, I felt I needed to plant myself in one place for awhile and "get a real job" again.  Grayline is a subsidiary of Holland America Line (cruise line) and headquartered in Seattle.  My Grayline manager suggested I submit an application. 7 months passed. It was March and Grayline offered me rehire status to return to Denali. I was just about to say yes, when I got a call from Holland America Line in Seattle.  They offered me a "seasonal" job in their in-house travel dept. They offered me permanent status after a year. I said yes and I've been here now for 17 years.  After 2 years with the company, I was able to get a Front Desk Supervisor position on board our ships. I sailed for the part of the summer Vancouver/Vancouver round trip and the other part Vancouver/Seward and v.v. Then did Caribbean from Ft Lauderdale. Total 7 months and cleared my debts. Clean Slate. Didn't stay that way for long, but for the last 2 years I have gotten back to no credit card debt.

I am restless. Have been for some time. I am tired of sitting in a cubicle. Took a weeks vacation on 2007 to Bryce,Zion, N.Rim and S.Rim Grand Canyon.It was the first time I'd been back since I left in 1992 and found I still loved it. Although some things have changed there, it felt like coming home. Comfortable. Peaceful.  It made me realize that as much as I like Seattle and WA and OR, I like Grand Canyon more.  I don't know when, but I'm determined to get a decent paying job there.  Maybe I will get lucky with the Park Service again.   

Why are you so set on Alaska? If you did work in Denali, you definitely need a car to see other areas of the state. It is BIG.  I understand fish processing is hard work but good money w/overtime.  I couldn't do it. To smelly and messy for me. I'd rather eat the fish (salmon and Halibut and Crab preferred). Good luck.

At 3:50am on April 5, 2011, Julie Scharlin said…

Hi Bill. 

Why do I like the Grand Canyon so much? Great question and not sure I have a great answer. I do like Alaska alot too but you are correct, not my first choice.  

There is something about Grand Canyon that speaks to me. I know that sounds corny but it's true.  On my first visit as a tourist 23 years ago I was awe struck by it. It was an "Ah ha" moment as some like to call it.

Years ago I got my BA in Recreation Administration. Never did anything with my degree. I worked at Disneyland for many years and then went to travel school and became a travel agent. I worked for many years in Irvine CA. Approx 13 miles from where I lived and sometimes it took an hour and a half to get to work and same or longer getting home.   When I visited the Canyon and fell in love with the area and the red rocks, I had an epiphany. I said- hey, I have a degree in Recreation, I am a travel agent, I have great people skills. Maybe I should look at getting a job and living here. No traffic  (except tourist traffic), fresh air. 4 seasons. Much easier to live where you can walk to work and play.  So, called the concession HR dept, asked what kinds of jobs (other than cleaning rooms and food service) they had that I would qualify for. 

At the time, Fred Harvey was the Concession and they had the reservations office at the Canyon. I applied and was offered a job in reservations.  I took a personal leave of absence from my travel agent job, just in case things at the Canyon didn't work out.

I loved the Canyon and didn't mind the job. Just the low pay. I was in such debt in CA. I sold my car while I was at the Canyon. I met some great people who introduced me to the seasonal life. I left the Canyon after 6 months to go to Denali with some friends I'd met. I worked in the laundry at the McKinley Chalets for ARA as well as the gift shop.  The off and on for 6 years returned to GRCA with Park Service and Denali with Park service and Concessions.


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