Not enough ZZZZZZZZ’s

Three down five to go

I just completed my third week at Amazon with five weeks to go.  Not too much to write about which explains the lack of my posts.

Lack of sleep

I chose the night shift since I thought it would be better for Chica.  She would sleep through the night and only wake up once I got home.  Then she wouldn’t miss me as much and not go crazy when I got home.  So far that has worked out well although she still does get a little crazy when I get home but not as much as when I worked days.

It works out better for her but NOT for me.  I get off work at 4:30am,  but I cannot get to sleep immediately when I get home.  I watch the news and then hit the sack at 6:00.  I tried going to bed earlier but my neighbor works the day shift and starts his diesel at 5:15 and it runs until 5:30 when he leaves for work on the day shift.

Then about 6:30 to 7:00 the sun rises and pours lots of sun into my rig waking me up.  Sometimes I can roll over and go back to sleep and other times I just can’t get back to sleep.  Most of the time I have to force myself to get back to sleep.  Total sleep for the night is usually only 4-5 hours.  YUK!  Sometimes I will try to nap in the afternoon but I am not usually a nap person so that doesn’t work.

I have tried everything.  One couple I met on my shift told me they go to bed immediately when they get home.  I tried that but the noisy diesel always woke me up.  Others had suggested drinking a couple of beers, but at 5:00 in the morning that does not sound too appealing.

Caught a bad cold

Last weekend I was in bed all three of my days off with a nasty cold.  I had gotten too run down from lack of sleep.  I did get over that, but it was not a pleasant time off from work.  This week I tried an over the counter sleep aid called Melatonin.  I found it didn’t work that well with me and it gave me a jittery feeling all day.  I have also covered up some of my windows which does help.

Aching muscles better

It takes a couple of weeks for your muscles to get used to Amazon work.  This year rather then packing, picking or stowing I am taking inventory of bins.  You have to count everything in a bin and record it on your scanner.  It involves a lot of bending low for the bottom bins and standing on a stool for the upper bins.

I still get sore every day but it is not nearly so bad thanks to a daily dosage of Aleve.  That stuff really works miracles.

Chica gets used to her new home

When we first got her she would go crazy barking at the neighbor’s dog.  She has really calmed down now and only sits and quietly (most of the time) watches.  Her head perks up each time they come out their door but she doesn’t bark.

She really enjoys her walks during the day and meets all the other critters in the neighborhood.  It is funny but she doesn’t pay too much attention to other dogs while she is walking, but when she is looking out the window she will bark at the same dog if she sees them go by.  I guess she wants to be out there with them.  This is her favorite spot as it is in the sun and she can see all the activity by the neighbor.

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Early Thanksgiving

This Friday Amazon is giving all their employees a huge Thanksgiving dinner.  They do it every year in appreciation of all the hard work we do during the peak season.  More on that later.  It will be the first year I have Thanksgiving dinner at 12:30am.

Weather has been good

We were lucky and didn’t get the huge weather front that came down from Alaska.  It bypassed us  and I’m glad it did.  Right now the days are in the mid 50’s and nights in the mid 30’s.  My catalytic heater runs 24/7 and I have my electric heater set for 65 and it goes on and off during the night.  Chica also has her bed warmer on 24/7 and loves to sleep on it.  So we are both comfortable.  I am only about 100′ from the bath and laundry so am using their facilities.  It is nice to be so close.

That is all for now.  I need to take a shower and walk Chica and then it is off to the Silverado casino to meet up with some friends for $1 beers and watch Monday night football.

Back at Amazon

One day away from leaving Fernley

I have been working at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Fernley, NV for the past 3 years.  Since I began working there in 2011 I have made regular trips to doctors in Reno for checkups and to renew my prescriptions.  I made the appointments this year as well but wasn’t planning on working at Amazon.  I was going to do some traveling as I had just completed my camp hosting assignment in Washington.

I stayed at the Desert Rose RV Park where I used to stay while working at Amazon.  I was waiting for a package from Escapees and was ready to depart for Utah to meet up with Jim, Gayle and Debbie.

Then I got a call from my sister informing me that our Mom was on Hospice.  She felt that I should be there so I bought airline tickets and made arrangements to board Chica in Reno.  I also informed the Desert Rose office that I would be out of the area but would keep my rig connected to electric.

I then flew to SO CA to see my Mom and do what I could to help my sister.  My Mom was very weak when I arrived, but has shown improvement while I was there.  She is still touch and go after a week.

To make a long story short I was in CA for a week.  My Mom is very weak but seems to be doing much better.  I flew back to Reno and picked up Chica.  She wouldn’t let me set her down once I had picked her up.  She was going crazy, jumping all over the car.

Got hired at Amazon

Like I have said all summer, “I am NOT going to work at Amazon this holiday season”.  Oh well forget that notion.  When I got to Desert Rose RV Park there were already several of my friends staying there.  I found Roger and we went out to dinner and got caught up on what each of us has been doing.  Then I met Jane who has followed my blog.  They both encouraged me to sign up again with Amazon.  No way I would say.  HA!

Then I met Barb and Chuck who I had worked with last year.  They told me the same thing.  To make a long story short I called Joni at Amazon and mentioned that I would like to work again during the peak season.  She wrote me back that she was reactivating my application and start a background check.  I completed the drug screen while in CA and orientation was last Tuesday.  I saw the same movies I have watched each year.  ZZZ!

Anyway I only have 5 hour days the first week.  This week I am on a my regular four 10 hour day schedule with 3 days off.  My work days are Wed thru Sat.  I decided to work nights so that it would be dark and hopefully Chica would sleep most of the night.  My hours are 6:00pm to 4:30am.  YUK!!!  I hope I don’t have trouble sleeping.  On top of that I also make $.75 an hour more.  Not too shabby!

Get out the heaters

I got out all the heaters, both catalytic and electric and hooked them up.  The weather here is not too bad yet, but the nights have been down in the 30’s.  But Chica and I are staying very comfortable.

Only 2 months and then off to Q

Once I finish up my stint at Amazon I will be off to So CA for the holidays with family and then over to Quartzsite where I will meet up with all my friends at Rogers 1/2 Acre.  I am looking forward to both, but in the meantime I will work my ass off here at Amazon.

On the road to Shannon Creek

Road to Shannon Creek

I mentioned previously that I had to venture to the Shannon Creek campgrounds twice a day to manage it.  It was more than 4 miles from Panorama Point, but three miles was a gravel road.  At the beginning of the camper season it was a very bumpy road with many deep ruts.  The Forest Service came out and leveled it out for us.  It got rid of the ruts, but once the rain let up the road became VERY dusty.  There was dispersed camping all along the road which ran alongside of the lake.

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Shannon Creek closed just after Labor Day to give me time to clean it up and get it ready for next year.  Then I closed the gate.

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I was visiting with another camp host when a camper told us a tree had fallen across the road to Shannon Creek.  We went up there to locate the tree.  This is what we found.

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As you can see the tree was huge.  It had fallen across the road and the top portion had landed in the water.  The Forest Service called out a contractor and they removed the tree from the roadway within a few hours.  It was a good thing no one was traveling along that road (including myself) when it came down.

Mt Baker

We learned that you could take FS road 1130 to FS 1131 and it would get you to the base of Mt Baker.  So on an off day Stan (one of the other camp hosts) and I headed up there.  It was at least 5 miles up the forest service road to a trailhead.  The road kept going up and up.  Along the way I got several pics.  Here you can see Baker Lake off in the distance.

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We are getting closer to the base of Mt Baker.

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We stopped at this point to get a better pic of Mt Baker.  This is my friend Stan.

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Mt Baker is so majestic.

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It was really a fun day.

My Workamping Experience

Camphosting in the Northwest

To begin, Washington was the only state I had not visited in the west.  So I jumped at the chance to work there.  As many of you already know I signed up for the job last January while visiting the annual RV Show in Quartzsite.  I just happened upon the Hoodoo booth, since at the time I was not really looking for a job.  After talking to Rob (who turned out to be my boss) I was offered the job at Panorama Point on Baker Lake in Northwest Washington.  We went over the pay and job duties and I signed up with them.  The whole process took about 15 minutes.

Then I had the whole winter to prepare for the journey north.  The first thing I did was NOT work but spend time with my friends for a few months.  I also took the time to go to Algadones, MX for dental work.  Then it was off to see my family over the holidays, before heading north to WA.

VERY wet weather

When I arrived in the campground it was pouring rain and didn’t stop raining for several days.  I hoped I didn’t make a mistake and come to a climate that continually rained.  However the rain did stop eventually and the weather was a bit chilly but very nice.  The summer turned out to be fantastic.  It did rain a bit but nothing really bad until August when it poured and poured.

Camp Host at three different campgrounds

I parked my rig in a nice spot in the Panorama Point campground.

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We had to drive 100 miles to orientation and then the campgrounds officially opened up on Memorial Day.  The campgrounds I was responsible for were Panorama Point, Boulder Creek and Shannon Creek.

Panorama Point has 16 campsite including the host site.  Many considered it to be one of the nicest of all the Baker Lake campgrounds.  I ran into many people who returned there year after year.  I even spoke with one man who’s father had brought their family to Panorama Point when he was eight years old and he had been coming back there every year since.  He is not 62.  WOW!

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Boulder Creek is a small 10 site campground located on Boulder Creek.  It doesn’t have any direct access to Baker Lake.  It was located a mile from Panorama Point.

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That is Mt Baker in the background.

Finally Shannon Creek is a 20 campsite campground at the very northern end of Baker Lake.  It is located 5 miles from Panorama Point.  It is also down 3 miles of gravel road.  This is the view I have twice a day on my way to Shannon Creek.

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This is a view from the beach at Shannon Creek.  Many campers would park their cars at Shannon Creek and boat over to the other side where there were several dispersed campgrounds.

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Most of the campsites are small and perfect for tent camping, but there are also many RV type campsites, especially down by the lake.

I had to make the rounds of all three campgrounds twice a day taking the money from the posts, writing receipts, cleaning pit toilets, firepits and campsites.  I also had to charge campers for extra vehicles and sell firewood.  It kept me busy most of the day.

Days off

Each camp host was assigned 2 consecutive days off where we were on our own to do what we pleased.  That was GREAT!  We still had to deal with campers that came to our door, but we could leave the campgrounds completely as I mentioned in previous posts.

However we had to fill in for camp hosts when they had their days off.  It made for a long day, but that was only 2 days a week and the days off made up for it.

Company vehicle supplied

Each camp host was supplied with a company truck and all the equipment that was needed.  We also had a cage that was filled with firewood for sale.  If we needed anything at all Hoodoo supplied it for us.

No maintenace

Hoodoo has a crew that performs all the maintenance.  That includes lawn cutting and weed eating.  They also did all the repairs on the campgrounds whenever needed.  It sure made or life easier.

Would I do it again

You bet!!  All the camp hosts on Baker Lake were invited to return the following summer at our final camp host meeting.  I am hoping to get the same campgrounds.  It was a great job and the pay was good.  I was able to save some money while also visiting much of the surrounding area.  Washington is a very beautiful state.  It was GREEN from the day I got there until the day I left.

Anacortes Weekend

Old post

This is an old post I wrote but couldn’t post since the Internet connection was sooooo bad.  I don’t remember the exact dates.

Chica has the shits

Not sure what happened, but I think it was something she ate (maybe a bug or something) but Chica came down with the shits.  What a bummer for her and me.  She wasn’t a very happy camper for a few days as you can see from this pic.

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I took her to the vet and she checked out A-OK there.  They gave me some medicine for her tummy and she is much better now.

Met up with Marti and Charlie again

Marti and Charlie wrote that they were going to Anacortes over on Fidalgo Island and wanted to know if I could join them.  I made plans with my other hosts to fill in for me and off I went late Sunday afternoon.  The weather here had been raining all week so I called Charlie to make sure they were still going.  They were already at Anacortes and the weather was nice and sunny so I headed over there.

Parked at the marina

They already had a spot at the marina so I pulled in next to them.  What a gorgeous view!  I forgot to take a pic during the day so this will have to do.  Quite a difference from out in the woods where I have been all summer.

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Ferry to San Juan Island

On Monday morning we walked down to the bus stop where we caught a bus to the San Juan Island Ferry.  The ferry ride is well over an hour to get there as we passed several islands on the way.

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Friday Harbor on San Juan Island

We got off the ferry at Friday Harbor, the main town on the San Juan Island where we climbed aboard a tour bus.

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Our first destination was English Camp.

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This is the only place in America  where the British flag is the only flag flying.

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The gardens there are really beautiful and well manicured.

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On to Roche Harbor

Boarded the bus again and went on to Roche Harbor.  You pay one fee and you can get on or off the bus anywhere you wish.  It was great for seeing different sites on San Juan Island.

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What a beautiful harbor.  Lots of yachts and a beautiful hotel.

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Here is a great pic of Marti and Charlie in the garden path in front of the hotel.

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A pic of yours truly after landing his yacht in the harbor.  HA!!

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Then we boarded the bus to return to Friday Harbor.  We stopped and had a drink just before boarding the ferry for our return trip to Anacortes on Fidalgo Island.  I got this pic of a taxi out in front of the bar.

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This is our ferry.  If I remember right it was about a 1 1/2 hour ferry ride back to Anacortes.

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Our final day in Anacortes we got out the bikes and they showed me some very neat spots on the Island.

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Thanks Marti and Charlie AGAIN for such a wonderful weekend.  You guys are the BEST tour guides in the Seattle area.  I had a wonderful time.

Back in the Saddle

Back in the saddle again

I just today realized how nice it is to have great Internet.  I finished up my workamping contract with Hoodoo on Friday and hit the road on Saturday where I spent the first night in Ellensburg, WA.  Then I drove to Redmond, OR the next day where I stayed in Crooked River Ranch at the River Rim RV Park.  I have stayed here many times so know the area and besides it is a Passport America park so saved some money to boot.

Tuesday morning my destination is Alturus, CA and finally arriving in Reno, NV on Wednesday.  I have checkups with my doctors in the area so will probably even get down to Fernley, NV.  I may even get to see some of my friends who worked at Amazon in the previous years.  Of course I have already decided to NOT work at Amazon this year.  I don’t want to go through another winter like last year.

Life without GOOD Internet

Since I arrived at Panorama Point on Baker Lake back in May I realized that Internet or cell phone usage can be very frustrating.  I was able to access the Internet using my Wilson Sleek booster, but I was only able to get a poor 3G signal.  I could not upload or download any pics and reading other blogs was out of the question let alone post my own.  Besides I was working, which took up a great deal of my time.

The worst part was when it rained.  Then I had absolutely no Internet even with my booster.  Yes, it does rain quite a bit in the Northwest.  I had no cell phone usage either unless I utilized my booster.  Sometimes in certain areas I could receive a 1 bar signal which at times would be enough to receive a text message, but not enough to make a phone call.  So communication was very poor.  At least I had a booster unlike the other hosts, who had to drive 10 miles just to make a phone call.

More to follow

I have many pics of my summer I would like to share once I stop traveling and can put together a post.  I just wanted my readers to know that I am fine and enjoying not working at this time.  I am not sure where I am headed after Reno, but will figure that out soon enough.

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Still alive and Kickin’

Sorry for not posting

I had to look up the last time I made a post and found it was July 3.  That is awful!  You know I am not one to post every day as I feel I just don’t have too much to say.  But still I should do better then I have been.

I am still camphosting in the Mt Baker Snolqualmie National Forest and loving it.  However I am working a bit more then I thought I would.  With that said I am usually very tired at the end of the day and just want to relax with Chica.  My hosting job will come to an end shortly after Labor Day and the it will be back on the road again.

Lousy Internet

My Internet up here is nothing to right home about.  If I didn’t have a Wilson Sleek booster I wouldn’t even be able to send this.  It is extremely slow and I can’t upload pics without going into town.  When it rains, as it does quite often, the Internet goes down the drain.  Then I can’t even access the Internet.  I can get good 4G in Concrete, but I am usually busy shopping or doing laundry.  Trying to upload pics is almost impossible.

Chica doing great 

Chica is doing great but misses me during the day while I am attending to campgrounds.  She loves to run around up here in the woods.  It will be nice when I am no longer working so I can spend more time with her.

Very busy days

My work days are usually 8-10 hours depending on the day.  Normally I take care of 3 separate campgounds and have to visit each at least twice per day.  It involves a lot of driving.  Two days a week I have to fill in for another camphost who has those days off.  Then my days get really long, so not really too energetic about writing a blog post.  But it has been worth it as I have been able to save some money and decided not to work at Amazon this winter, but go south instead to AZ.

I have had some great times with Marti and Charlie and will still post later on a couple of Anacortes trips.  This area is really beautiful.

Till later,

Jim