Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Finally it's official, and we're on the road again..

American RV Park
Anthony, TX

Wow, we've been busy since Christmas when I last posted.

Christmas Eve we went out for our traditional Chinese buffet,
followed by a candlelight service at a local Lutheran church.

Christmas day we drove down to Cypress (near Houston),
and visited with George's brother Bill, and his wife Connie.

Bill then drove us over to his daughter Angie and husband Wes's house.
We had a terrific dinner and watched some festivities..

Someone was quite happy with their presents :-)

Meantime, we spent the rest of the weekend preparing
to finish up our chores.
George put the plates on the truck and Harvey..

We cleaned the inside thoroughly as well.

Monday morning we got up early and went to the TX-DPS,
or DMV as I call them all.
It is a very small location in Livingston, manned by one person.
We filled out our forms, and he went through everything.
Unfortunately we found out that we needed two pieces of mail
that showed our new address,
something Escapees didn't make clear.
We were able to use the voter's registration card,
but we had to get our insurance agent to get our policy
ready and e-mailed to us.
That was another thing that Escapees didn't make clear,
they say that should be done last...geez.
Miller's Insurance was terrific, got this all finished for us
while the DPS office was closed for lunch.
By about 2 pm we were officially 'official Texans'!

Although we planned to stay until Tuesday morning in Livingston,
we wanted to get a jump on our travel, 
so we hooked up and drove all the way to Kerrville.
We slept in a Walmart there, it was cold!
Today we left the parking lot at 5 am,
and made it to just beyond El Paso.
We drove through Texas in freezing drizzle,
but the roads stayed pretty dry, so we were happy.
Tonight we're staying at an RV park behind a Camping World.
$27 with Good Sam's makes for a much nicer sleep when it's this cold!

Tomorrow we're pushing on,
getting to around Chandler, AZ and possible staying
at a Casino parking lot.
We know some fellow workampers who live near there,
so we're hoping to meet up with them for an early dinner
before the New Year's partiers start up!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas, Y'all!

Rainbow's End Park
Livingston, TX

George and I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!

We've had an interesting couple of days.
After getting all ready to take off on Sunday morning
from Campbellsville...
we were hitched up, and doing our final vehicle and trailer light check.
I was in the back giving George the thumbs up signs as he did 
the turn signals, etc.
He put his foot on the brake so I could check the brake lights,
and wooosh..the pedal went all the way to the floor.
The brake line burst, dripping brake fluid all over the ground :-(

we unhooked, put the slides back out,
and paid for one more night at Heartland.
George got up early on Monday and very slowly made his way
the the Chevy dealer, which is only a mile away, thank God.
They got him right in and fixed it, so we were on our way by noon Monday.

We had a PDD couple of days, driving to Livingston, TX
from Campbellsville, stopping in Little Rock at a Walmart Monday night.
After 859 miles we are settled down in the Escapees park for a few days.

Our purpose for coming here was to change our domicile.
We stopped at Soda Auto Repair on our way in for the
dreaded Texas inspection.
Inspection? Ha! 
For $31 total, he wrote down our license plates,
'looked' at the truck and Harvey,
filled out the paperwork, and applied the inspection stickers.

The whole process took less than 15 minutes and we were on our way.
We don't have to get it inspected again until the next time we drive through Texas.

After we got settled into our spot at Rainbow's End,
we took off for the tax office to register the truck & RV.
We had done our homework, so had everything we needed to get it done.
The only thing I forgot was the checkbook :-(
George drove back to Escapees and got back quickly!
The total was only $426, of which $206 was a one time fee.
Less than South Dakota!

Only one more step, our driver's licenses.
Unfortunately, when we drove there,
they had closed early for the holiday.
We'll stay as expected and get it done on Monday.

Today we're relaxing, getting caught up on laundry.
I'm hoping to find a church nearby to attend worship this evening.
Tomorrow we'll spend the day with George's brother, Bill,
and his wife Connie.
Looking forward to spending time with some family!

My Mom drove down to Bakersfield to spend time there with her sister.
I'm glad she's with family as well :-)

Saturday, December 20, 2014


Heartland Campground
Campbellsville, KY

The day finally arrived.
Our last day was today, we were 'released' at 11:45, right after our lunch break.
We had a very busy week up in gift wrap,
getting all the packages out on time.
We enjoyed reading some of the gift tags
proclaiming Merry Christmas from grandmas, grandpas, aunts & uncles.

In our final meeting today,
the HR managers gave us gift cards.
We both earned $50 each for the last two weeks for perfect attendance.
$100 each to spend on anything we want ;-)
They also distributed our 'Peak' t-shirts,
an Amazon tradition.

I have to say that although the work was hard,
and it will be awhile before our sleep patterns
get back to normal...
it was a good experience.
I've lost 25 pounds since I got to KY in October,
and our bank account after our final check is deposited
is about $9000 fatter!
We met some nice people, 
and renewed some friendships as well.
Will we come back next year? Probably :-)

For now we're pretty much packed up and ready to roll in the morning.
Our first stop will be an overnight at a Walmart in Jackson, TN..a 286 mile day.

More soon!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

There's that light at the end of the tunnel!

Heartland Campground
Campbellsville, KY

We are approaching our final days at Amazon!
Yesterday we got an email giving our official release date of
Saturday December 20th!
As excited as we were to get here and start working,
we are now VERY ready to get on with our travels.
When George and I started our adventures,
we vowed always to be in shorts and flip-flops.
That hasn't happened since we left South Carolina!

Working at Amazon has made us a bit foggy.
We hardly know what day it is let alone what month!
It does feel at times that you are in another reality,
with no windows, and the constant noise from the machinery.
If it wasn't for the Christmas decorations at each department, 
we wouldn't know what time of year it was!

For now we have made our plans to depart Campbellsville
on Sunday December 21st, arriving at Escapees Rainbow park on the 23rd.
We're really hoping to get our truck and Harvey inspected as soon 
as we pull into Livingston.
In a perfect world we'll have time to get all our paperwork filed
and get our driver's licenses and registration finished on the same day as well.
we know how things go..
so we're planning on staying through the 29th
in case we need to get things wrapped up before 
we get on the road towards California.

The nice part about having extra time in Texas, 
is we can spend Christmas day with George's brother and wife,
and his niece and her family as well.
We'll also have some down time relaxing after a busy few months!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Starting to look and feel like Christmas here in Kentucky

Heartland Campground
Campbellsville, KY

Things are still moving along here in Amazon-land.
We are still upstairs in giftwrap,
but since there are different volunteers that come to do that job, 
we're mostly doing support functions.

George for the most part does a job called 'water spider'.
If you picture what a water spider does,
you can visualize what George is doing.
He flits about, stocking supplies,
making gift boxes,
and generally helping in all places.

I bounce from the rebox station..
 (putting gifts from one small shipping box to another larger shipping box).....
....to 'scan and verify'.
This entails scanning the box,
then scanning each product in the box.
A gift tag for each item prints
as well as a packing slip.
All is put back in the box and sent down the conveyor
to the gift wrappers.
Mind numbing jobs :-)

In our short time off on Sunday,
we get the chores done.
Not much time to do everything that needs to be done!

We like to eat at the college twice a week,
and now enjoy their tree..

One thing we've gotten accomplished...

we are now Texans y'all!

South Dakota has not been nice to fulltimers who need health insurance 
on the exchange.
With some advice from Kyle Henson,
we chose to 'move' to Texas and enroll in a Blue Cross/Shield plan.
The premium is comparable to SD's Avera insurance plan,
but we'll get well visits at no charge anywhere in the nation.
That will be great!
We plan on swinging through Livingston, TX on our way west,
and get our driver's licenses, license plates, and inspections done.

We are anxiously counting down the few weeks remaining here.
Our route to California is planned, and barring any bad weather,
we'll travel on route 40 across the states,
getting us to our next job on January 5th.
No rest for the weary!!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Got to roll with the punches..

Heartland Campground
Campbellsville, KY

By reading all of your posts, we saw that everyone had
different Thanksgiving meals.
Some with family, some in warm climates, some in cold.

We did have to work on Thanksgiving day,
but Amazon allowed the day shift to leave at 1:30.
It worked out nice, as we were able to come home,
shower and relax a bit before going out to dinner.
We met up with two other RV-dreamers,
David & Fran, and Pat & Diana,
who we met at the last rally in North Carolina.
The food at Creekside Restaurant was very good,
with all the traditional Thanksgiving fare.

Things are getting pretty busy at Amazon now.
Of course black Friday was crazy,
with a lot of shipments going out the door.
'Cyber Monday' looks to be just as crazy.

We've certainly learned to be flexible working here.
When we started, we have been in the receiving department.
A couple of days ago,
they took a bunch of us upstairs to the 'Single Toys' department.
These are totes full of single items (not necessarily toys)
that need to be scanned, then put in the appropriate size box.
From there a barcode (SPOO) is put on the box, taped up,
then sent down the conveyor where the SPOO is read.
That barcode has all the customer's information on it,
so that a machine puts the shipping label on the box.
Most people that work here never see the customer's information.

Yesterday, much to our surprise, they called our name over the loud speaker.
We came up to the desk, and they said they were taking us over to gift wrap!
I thought that we were doing good in single toys.
I even earned a Kroger gift card for being the fastest workamper one day :-)
Gift wrap is well, not much fun :-)
You'd think it would be nice to wrap gifts for people...NOT!
I won't go in to the whole process,
but suffice to say it's hot upstairs,
and there are no fans there.
Supposedly we'll be there the final 3 weeks.
I feel like we've been banished to Siberia, or maybe the desert :-)

So that's been our week.
Today is our only day off, so we're getting laundry and grocery shopping done.
I'd better get to it!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Empty campground!

Heartland Campground
Campbellsville, KY

Another week down, 4 weeks to go :-)

A lot of our fellow workampers left yesterday,
and some today, for parts north.
Amazon's FC in Jeffersonville, IN are in dire need
of extra help to move some apparel out the doors.
As I posted last, Amazon offered a sweet extra bonus
to entice people to move.
We didn't feel it was worth all the hassle, so we stayed here.
We will miss the people that we know, and have gotten to know!

Thursday Amazon provided all shifts a nice turkey dinner..

It was pretty good! Our break for lunch happens to be at 10:30 am, 
so this was our turkey dinner at our lunch break at the breakfast hour ;-)

A lot of us got together for a meal on Wednesday night before some departed.

Guy on right is Jeff, our manager..

Also, on Monday we had a bit of the white stuff..

Mr. Gnome is tired of being cooped up!

We have two days off, so today it's cleaning day.
A bit of rain is in the forecast,
a perfect day to clean, then relax!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

We made it through a 60 hour week - and our future plans

Heartland Campground
Campbellsville, KY

We think winter is here in Kentucky!
We have woken up to 20 degree temps,
and have been running our space heaters
and propane furnace quite a bit.
I wore jeans to work for the first time since we've been here!

After two weeks of  'hardening' (5 hours days),
I jumped in with both feet to a 60 hour week.
We were required to work 50 hours anyway, 
so what's one more day? :-)
I have to admit I was pretty tired about halfway through the week,
but last night I felt pretty good, and was proud that I was able to do it.
My feet are pretty sore, but I think I'll make it :-)

We've been seeing quite a lot of Christmas toys & gifts come
into the plant through the receiving line.
In addition to that, there are the normal things
that Amazon sells on its website,
including vitamins, rifle accessories,
cameras and lenses,
and lots of apparel.
This facility usually doesn't process apparel, 
but the Louisville facility is overwhelmed with it, 
so sent some down for us to help.
Matter of fact,
our facility has asked for volunteers to work at their facility.
They've offered a nice bonus to entice people to do it.
We thought about it, but to pick up stakes and move
to Indiana to campgrounds with no water,
a longer commute to work,
and a picking job,
just wasn't worth it to us to move.
We'll miss a lot of the workampers who've decided to go,
but we'll keep in touch on Facebook to see how it's going.

As I've mentioned here before,
after Amazon we are headed back to CA to work
at Coyote Valley RV resort.
We had been looking for our next job after leaving CA,
and had thought of somewhere in Texas possibly.
Last week I got a call from a gentleman at a campground in Montana
who is looking for a couple to help out there for the summer.
We talked to him about the job,
and researched the campground and area a bit.
The next day we called and accepted the job!
We're excited to work in a new state for us at..
Conestoga Camground in White Sulphur Springs.

The campground is approximately halfway between Yellowstone
and Glacier National Parks.
Our job will be 2 days per week,
George taking care of outside work,
and I'll help with office and their small store.
Since we'll have 5 days off per week
we can get a lot of exploring in!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Now comes the hard part!

Heartland Campground
Campbellsville, KY

Today ended my second week of 'hardening'.
Amazon gives us a bit of a break by scheduling
two weeks of 5 hour days, 20 total per week.
This way our bodies can get used to standing all day,
on cement floors, doing more physical activity than we're used to :-)
George and I have decided to jump in with both feet
starting on Monday with a 60 hour week!
During this busy season, Amazon has mandatory 50 hour weeks,
and voluntary 60 hour weeks.
Since we're here to build up our savings account,
we won't turn down any opportunity!

We have explored the area a bit on our days off.
There is a nice little drive to the lake,
and we saw some nice fall colors..

We've done a little socializing as well.
Tuesday we met Kathy & Martin at Fiesta Mexico.
I had the chimichanga,
and George had a super burrito.
They were delicious!

I tried to get both their pictures, but since they had just gotten off work,
Kathy opted out of this one :-)

Last night we met up with Harry & Jessica,
and 3 other 'Amazonians' for dinner at a good pizza place.

Thanks to Jess for taking this picture :-)

The weather is turning colder as of the next week.
We still walk across the street from the campground
to the Amazon building,
but we both have hoodies on, which we shed when we get inside!
The part of the building that we work in gets very warm.
George and I both wear shorts to work :-)

I'm not into counting down our time here, 
but in case you're wondering,
there's only 6 weeks to go :-)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

My first week down!

Heartland Campground
Campbellsville, KY

Well, I can tell it's getting closer to winter!
Woke up this morning to sub-freezing temps :-(
There was supposed to be snow as well, 
but thankfully it never materialized.
I'm sure there are flurries out there,
but I'm not opening the door to find out!

Looks like jeans and a sweatshirt will be the order of the day.

My first week at Amazon is in the books.
I had the first day of training/paperwork, etc,
then 3 days of 5 hours each in receiving.
I worked what's called 'LP'.
My job entails using a hand-held scanner.
To my left is a roller conveyor belt,
and I pull one box at a time off that.
At that point I scan the box, then unload each item
onto a cart depending on its size.
Once the box is empty,
I scan the cart, and then the process starts again.
Once the cart is full,
I take it to an area, and get an empty one.
It's not hard work, I'm standing in one place on a cushion mat,
then walking back and forth with the carts.
I've already lost several pounds!
So far my back and feet are a bit sore, but other than that, all's good!
When I get home I put my feet up and rest on a heating pad for a bit.

Next week I have my regular Wed-Sat schedule, 
with 5 hour days again.
The week of the 16th begins our 5 day overtime stint beginning Tuesday.

With this cold snap we're hoping to see a bit more color on the hills.
Maybe tomorrow a ride is in order!
I got this the other day from the truck window..

Happy fall everyone!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Day one at Amazon

Heartland Campground
Campbellsville, KY

Today was my first day at Amazon!
SDF-1 as it is affectionately known.
Each Amazon FC (Fulfillment Center)
is labelled by what airport it is nearest to.
SDF used to be the acronym for the airport in Louisville,
so that's why this FC is tagged with those letters.

The first day is a lot of learning about Amazon corporate,
getting name badges made up with my picture,
and some record keeping stuff.
We also had some safety training in the afternoon.
I was happy to have some familiar faces in our group #10,
Pat & Diana Brown, and Fran Smith,
who we met at the RV-Dreams rally in NC last year.
That's me third from right in back row :-)

I'm officially on 'K' shift, 
which is Wednesday through Saturday, 6 am to 4:30 pm.
I will be in the receiving department,
which is where George started out.
The next two weeks are called 'hardening' weeks.
We will only be working 5 hour days so we can get used to 
standing on cement floors :-)

George got some quiet time today while I was across the street.
He got caught up on some movies he likes,
and it rained today so it was nice for him to relax.

So now it begins!
8 weeks to go, lol.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Getting ready for day one

Heartland Campground
Campbellsville, KY

Since I arrived in KY last Monday,
I've been busy getting prepared for my first day at Amazon.
George and I went grocery shopping on Tuesday.
He went back to work on Wednesday through Saturday,
so while he was gone, I made lasagna, soup,
and spaghetti sauce for the freezer.
It was nice to be able to ease back in to eastern time,
and have some quiet time those 4 days.

I've been slowly getting up at 7 am, my normal time.
The sun doesn't rise until 7, but getting some nice sunrises..

Yeah, it's through the window :-)

Saturday night we were invited to join some other "Amazonians"
at the state park for a campfire and potluck.

We were happy to reunite with Al & Karen,
Janie & John, Dan & Jonell, Pat & Diana Brown, and David & Fran Smith.

We met some new people as well,
and since they are working the night shift,
not sure we'll see them too much.

We ended the night with a nice campfire..

Yesterday afternoon we celebrated our anniversary
by going out for a great meal at Garcia's mexican restaurant.
It's pretty popular with the locals,
and we weren't disappointed.

Today I'm going for annual bloodwork,
so no coffee or breakfast :-(
Hoping for good results!

Tomorrow starts my first day of safety orientation at Amazon.
I work from 8-4,
then Wednesday-Friday from 6-11:00 am to get used to the work.
Looking forward to getting some money flowing in!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Finally home :)

Heartland Campground
Campbellsville, KY

Last night I landed in Louisville, KY about 7:30 pm.
I had one smiling George picking me up outside baggage claim :-)

This last week has been a blur...
Mom got packed up and moved on Wednesday.

My cousin Kalene came up from Morro Bay to help
get everything that was left behind staged into a 2 day yard sale.

There was stuff everywhere!
We got a lot of people on Friday,
so 75% of everything was sold and cleared out.
Saturday there were a few more people,
so most everything else was cleared out.
Kalene loaded the rest into her car to take down to Morro Bay
to include in her garage sales.

In the meantime I slept at a church member's house.
Kalene, my mom, and I were invited to the Pastor's house for dinner on Sunday evening.
It was delicious!

I'm happy to say the piano ended up selling to a nice guy who owns a music studio.
Everything ended up going to nice homes :-)

My Mom is getting settled in her new apartment, 
and has a lot of people helping her get organized.

George and I went grocery shopping today.
I plan on making some meals for our dinners
so after work we can heat them up quick.
It's funny, but being gone for 3 months,
I'm having to get used to the RV all over again!

Tonight Harry & Jessica invited us to dine with them at the
The food was pretty good,
and they sell 10 meals for $60, not bad!

We also walked around the campground a bit,
and said hi to Jane & John (Flamingo on a Stick).
They are working night shift, so we probably won't see them much.
It was also nice to see Martin & Kathy, who we met at the rally in NC last year.

I'm looking forward to starting my job here at Amazon on the 28th.
I know there are a few more people coming in 
that we know that will be starting the same day.

It sure is nice to be home!

Oh yeah, this was waiting for me when I opened the door..