A very nice advantage of Blogging

I received this email recently

Hi Jim,

My name is Molly. However my maiden name is Molly Blackwell and I’m originally from libby,  MT.  A  friend of mine sent me a link to you’re blog about Blackwell Flats.  And I have to say I enjoyed it very much.  I grew up I that very same spot and spent much of my childhood fly fishing right there.

My grandfather Lewis Blackwell moved to libby from Billings to build the libby dam. There was nothing out there so just above blackwell flats he built blackwell trailor court and that was for the men and their family’s building the dam.  it stayed long after the dam was built and turned into its own tiny town.  Laundry,  gas station,  grocery store….my aunt drove a garbage truck while my dad and uncle dumped the garbage.  Years after it closed Blackwell flats came to be and it was named after my grandfather. Just a little history.  Thank you for the story.  My grandpa would have loved to know it was being enjoyed.

Molly

I wrote her back asking permission to post her email on my blog.  Shen then wrote me the following email.

You can absolutely share that story…. There is a lot of fun history about libby.  We lived off hwy 2 heading towards troy.  So we were all over those trails and swinging bridge growing up.  If you get the chance the movie,  a river wild,  with kevin bacon and meryl streep was filmed at those falls. Also in the early 90’s I believe the movie,  always,  with john goodman was filmed on the other side towards kalispell out at the “airport”. I also read your other blogs about libby and the falls.  I just really enjoyed them all and it made me home sick. Thank you

Molly

Thrilled to get that email

It always makes me feel good when someone lets me know they enjoyed my blog.  But to have someone who actually grew up in that area is really special.  Then you get a sense of what it was like for them growing up.

I visited Libby back in June/July, 2013. just after my trip into Canada.  No one had mentioned Libby to me, but I just thought it looked interesting.  What a treasure that was.  Plus the camping was very cheap.

There are two blog posts that Molly is referring to:

http://jimbosjourneys.com/2013/06/27/blackwell-flats-campground-part-1/

and

http://jimbosjourneys.com/2013/06/27/blackwell-flats-campground-part-2/

There are several other blog posts about the Libby, MT area which you can read.  I loved this area and would highly recommend it to anyone traveling in Montana.

Pics from my stay in Libby.

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Thanks Molly!!

Thanks Molly for the wonderful emails and a bit of history about Blackwell Flats and the Libby area.  It brought back great memories of my trip there.

Southern California for the Holidays Brrrrrrrrrr!!

Off to sunny SO CA to warm up – HA!

I couldn’t wait to get out of Fernley and down to SO CA for the holidays.  I will warm up for sure down there and enjoy all the nice sunshine.  I stopped in Beatty, NV again where it was a bit warmer then Fernley but not much.  Then headed straight to Orange County to visit family and friends.

I stayed a few days in a pull through site at O’Neill Park.  But then realized it was not a good site for either solar or WiFi so moved to a back-in site where everything is good.  Great solar and 4G Internet.  How could it get much better?  Well as it turns out it could be much better.  The weather was freezing.  It seemed like I was back in Fernley.  One night it rained on the valley floor but snowed in the Saddleback Mountains just a short distance away.

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Chica and I went over to my sister Bev’s home and spent the holidays with she and my brother-in-law Bob.  We had a great time and Chica was glad to see their dog Lando. They get along great and loved to run in the park.

Visited my Mom

Bev and I took Chica over to see my Mom one afternoon.  Unfortunately I didn’t get any pics.  We did go back another day to visit her without Chica and I got this clip of her.  She put on Bev’s glasses and was interested in going through her purse.  HA!  She is doing well but is very frail and doesn’t talk too much.  It sure was good to see her though.

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Chica visits Santa 

Bev and Bob have a cute Santa in his sleigh.  Chica fit in there perfectly and she was very content sitting on Santa’s lap.

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I’m sure she was wishing for lots of cookies and fun toys to play with.

Here Chica is with Lando.

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Plus a pic of Chica, Lando and my sister Bev.

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Heading to the beach

In a couple of days I will be heading to the beach.  I will spend a week at Doheny State Beach right on the ocean in Dana Point, CA.  I have always wanted to stay there but it was always crowded and hard to get a reservation.  It is supposed to warm up this week so looking forward to it.  More pics to come.

Soon on to Quartzsite

I usually get to Quartzsite, AZ around the 4th of Jan.  This year I will be a bit late.  I intend to arrive in Q on the 14th just in time for the show.  I will be camping at Rogers 1/2 acre as I have done in the past.  I hope to catch up with a lot of my friends when there.  If you are heading there be sure to stop in and see us.  It is a blast.

1 1/2 Days To Go

Almost over

My term at Amazon is almost over with only 1 1/2 days remaining in my schedule.  By 11:00pm Saturday I will be done.  KAPUT!!!  I will probably be heading out Monday morning for So CA to see family for the holidays.  I can’t wait to get into some warmer weather.  This winter wasn’t as cold as last year (thank God) but it is still cold.

I go thru 5 gallons of propane a week trying to keep Chica comfortable.  I will really be glad to get to a warmer climate.

RV has new shoes

I got 2 new tires for the front end.  I checked out prices and the Purcell’s in Fernley gave me a great price on a couple of Michelins.  I had to set my alarm for 9:30am to get up and go to Purcell’s  after only three hours sleep.  YUK!!  I will be so glad to get back to normal sleep habits.  This night shift is for the birds!

Heading to Southern California

I will probably take my normal route down 95 when I head to California.  I always stop in the Beatty RV Park which is about 100 miles north of Las Vegas.  Then it will be on to warm climates.  HURRAH!!!

I am looking forward to seeing my Mom and sisters and their families as well as a few friends.  Then after the first of the year it is off to Quartzsite and Roger’s 1/2 Acre and all my friends there.  If you are anywhere near Quartzsite in January stop by for a few days and take part in the fun.

Back on the Road

Working is OK as it helps to get the money for tires and other RV repairs and a little bit in the bank as well, but it sure will be nice getting back on the road.  I really miss that when I am working.  Chica misses that as well.  See you all down the road!!

 

 

 

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.