From Super HOT to Super COLD

Played Hookey

Last Monday I called in sick Cough, cough!) to go with friends to visit a brothel.  We all went to the World Famous Mustang Ranch for lunch and a tour of the place.  It sure beat working at Amazon, that is for sure.  HA!

DSC_0714

We got there and had lunch at their Wild Horse Saloon restaurant/bar.  Lunch was good especially with the pole dancers in the background.  After lunch we then took the tour.  It started with a big room where your could buy souvenirs as well as many adult toys.  Having worked at Amazon we see many more adult toys then even at the Mustang Ranch.  HA!

Our tour guide told us all about the ranch and took us through many of the rooms where the girls do their thing with their clients.  It was very interesting to see the many different styles in each room.

We were not allowed to bring in either cameras or cell phones so I couldn’t get any pics.  However we did get several pics once we got outside.

Here is a great pic of the girls in our group.

DSC_0708

DSC_0709

Us guys strike a few poses as well.

DSC_0711

DSC_0713

It was a great time which we all enjoyed.

Weather dips in single digits

The weather here has dipped into the single digits.  It is very cold at night.  One morning I woke up and checked the temps.  It said it was 3 degrees feeling like -6.  Hows that for cold?

My 20 gallon propane tank was empty one morning when I awoke and the furnace was blowing cold air.  YUK!  I switched over to my 5 gallon tank.  A couple of nights later I awoke at 2:30 in the morning and found the tank was empty.  I had to switch over to my propane tank in my RV.  It was very cold going out in my pajamas.  I decided to have the park fill the 20 gallon tank 1/2 full so hopefully I have enough propane to last until I leave.

Tanks frozen

Since the weather is so cold all my tanks have frozen.  I have not had water for about almost a week.  The weather warmed up yesterday and when I got home I was able to run my water.  However when I got up this morning there was barely a trickle out of the tap.  I hope that it will thaw out some so I can take a nice shower as I really need one.

I am not the only one in that predicament.  Many of the other campers I have talked to have the same problem.

4 working days to go

My last working day is Wednesday.  I plan to get everything packed up and ready to go and leave here Friday morning.  I will arrive in SO CA on Saturday to enjoy time with family and friends on Sunday and for the 2 weeks after that.  My sister has planned getting together with family and many friends I have not seen for over a year.  It should be a blast!!

 

 

First Week At Amazon

Orientation

I reported to Amazon on Saturday 10/19 for orientation.  I have been through this twice before so I am familiar with the procedure.  Saw some of the same movies I had seen before, but portions of it had been updated.

In the afternoon it was off to Safety School.  Then we got off work at 5:30.  I headed straight home and Chica was right their to greet me.  It had been a long day for her as well and she was very excited to see me.

My Shift

Sunday is the first day of my shift and I work through Wednesday.  They start us right out on 10 hour days from 7:00am to 5:30pm.  The first week they gave us a break and Monday and Tuesday we only worked 5 hours.

My Job

This year they made me a Stower.  I get the products from receiving and stow it in the bins.  It will be much less walking then last year when I was a picker and picked the items out of the bins.  Pickers usually walk between 12 – 14 miles per day.  However a stower does not walk nearly as much, as we can put the items in any bin that has space.

It is a bit difficult this time of the year for a stower as the bins are very full and sometimes difficult to find some open space.  However, once the customers start their Holiday shopping everything will change and I will have lots of open bins to stow the merchandise.

Sore Muscles

Your find out the muscles you don’t normally use as much as usual.  I take two Aleve in the morning and it cures the soreness most of the day.  I have done that every year I have worked at Amazon and believe me it really works.

Seniority

This is the third year I have worked at the Fernley, NV Fulfillment Center.  I have had different jobs each year.  The first year I was a Packer, the second year I was a Picker and this year I am a Stower.  They always ask you to specify what job you would prefer, but I don’t think they pay much attention to it as each year I have had different jobs then what I stated that I preferred. Oh well,  it is nice to be able to do other jobs as well.  After going on my third year I am familiar with the layout of the building.  It is a massive building and finding your way around it can be very difficult for new people.  Most of them get very stressed out not even knowing where all the bathrooms and break rooms are let alone the many different production lines and storage areas.

Home Sweet Home

My home this year as it was the past 2 years is the Desert Rose RV Park.  This year I have the same space as I did last year as I was able to reserve it when I departed last year.

DSC_0692

DSC_0691 Here I am in good ‘ole space #140.  It is close to the front and the office.

DSC_0693

A few things have changed since my last season at Amazon.  I now have a vehicle and satellite TV.  Both of those were thanks to the money I made last year working.

Another thing that has changed is Chica.  She and I have been together since February 25.  It has now been 8 months and 8,658 miles since we have been so lucky to meet each other.  She is is her favorite spot on the couch with the sun coming through the window.

DSC_0694

She also likes to get on top of the nice warm clothes after I bring them back from the laundromat.

DSC_0688

She loves to crawl under them and go to sleep.

DSC_0689

Friends

This year I have many friends both here at the RV Park and Amazon as well.  I have run into many of the same people that I knew last year.  I encouraged some of my friends at Quartzsite to work here this year.  However, they all have different shifts so I don’t see them too often.

Weather

The weather during the day is really nice in the low 70’s but gets down into the low 30’s at night.  I keep my catalytic heater going all night and turn on my furnace in the morning for a cycle just to warm up.  However it is forecast to go down into the low 20’s next week at night.  BRRRRRRRRR!  I also have a small electric heater I will run once it gets really cold.

I also have a dog walker that I pay $5 per walk to come and walk Chica on the days when I am working.  There is another person in the park that cooks really great meals and I can schedule them on a couple of my days off.  YUUUUUUM!  After 10 hours of work on your feet you don’t really feel like cooking.

I cannot post every day but will try to post as much as I can on my days off.

 

Arrived in Fernley

My route to Fernley

I left Albuquerque on Sunday and traveled to the Meteor Crater RV Park just outside of Winslow, AZ.  It is a nice park and offers a 15% discount to Escapees.  I stayed here back in 2010 on my way to my first Balloon Fiesta.

From there I drove to Bullhead City, AZ where I spent 2 nights with my brother-in-law’s twin brother.  The weather was much warmer there then in Albuquerque with temps getting into the 80’s.

On Wednesday I drove to the Beatty RV Park in Beatty, AZ.  I always stay there at least once a year either coming or going from my winter job in Fernley, NV.

On to Fernley

Then on Thursday made the 288 mile drive up highway 95 to the Desert Rose RV Park in Fernley, NV.  This will be home for Chica and I for the next 2+ months.  The weather was very nice during the day with temps in the low 70’s.  However it is colder at night with temps in the low 30’s.

Parked in my old space from last year

Last year I reserved my old space #140.  It is close to the office and in the front of the park.  Shannon greeted me as I drove in.  She is in the same space as last year right next to me.  Rodger also came over to say Hi and told me how things are going thus far.

Requested to be a picker but got stower instead

I had requested on my Amazon application that I wanted to be a picker.  Instead this year I will be a stower.  The stower puts all the merchandise on the shelves.  I am hearing good things about this job and it will be much less walking then the picker job I had last year (12-14 miles per day).  Already I am glad they gave me this job and I haven’t even started.

My first day will be tomorrow when I have orientation.  I will have the same work days as last year – Sunday through Wednesday with Thursday, Friday and Saturday off until the peak season hits.

Lots of honey dos today

I have lots of things to take care of today including a nice long shower, lots of laundry, set up Drs. appointments for renewing my prescriptions, empty out my car, hook up 20 gallon propane tanked supplied by the park, etc.  So I will be busy.

I will try to take some pics and get them in my next post of the surrounding area.

 

Floating down the Snake River

It took three cars!

After hiking we decided to take a kayak float down the Snake River.  Jane and Ron each had their own kayak and John and I were going in John’s kayak.  We were all getting in a the Dam at Jackson Lake.  The plan was for John and I to float down to Pacific Creek and get out there.  Jane and Ron who are more experienced kayakers would then continue on down to Deadman’s and exit the river there.

That’s where the confusion starts.  Jane and Ron drove their car with their kayaks down to the dam where they unloaded them.  Ron stayed there to watch the kayaks.  John and I both drove our cars to Dead Man’s.  Then Jane drove from the dam to Dead Man’s where she left her car.  She hopped in John’s car and I followed him to Pacific Creek where I left my car.  Then off in John’s car to the dam where we started our float.

Here we are at the dam.

DSCN3028

DSCN3029

All these pics were taken by Jane as she has a waterproof camera.  I didn’t want to take the chance of ruining mine.  I guess a waterproof camera is on my wish list when I get to Amazon this winter.

You hardly have to paddle at all since the current carries you downstream.  You don’t even realize how fast you are going until you look at the bank.  Very cool!

DSCN3046

Spotted a bald eagle!

We were really fortunate to spot a bald eagle.  It caught a fish and took it back to it’s nest just next to the river.  Then it proceeded to feed it’s young.  We couldn’t see the babies but we could tell it was feeding them.  That was really an amazing experience.

DSCN3042

This is a pic of John and I watching the bald eagle in it’s nest.

DSCN3040

Ron brought his fishing pole with him and did some fishing while floating downstream.  He did catch a small fish but threw it back in.

DSCN3057

DSCN3034

DSCN3046

We estimated we floated about 5 miles and then got out at Pacific Creek.  What a great time we had.  Jane and Ron floated further down to Dead Man’s which took another 2 hours.  It was a perfect day to float down this beautiful river.

On the way back to the campground we took the inner road through Grand Teton NP.  It had spectacular views of the mountains.

 

Love Trader Joe’s and the Apple Store

Off to the Apple Store…

I entered the Apple Store on my Garmin and it said it was about 16 miles from the Enchanted Trails RV Park.  I had scheduled my appointment online for 2:00pm.  I got to the store at  1:00pm so I went to the Genius Bar hoping they could take me sooner.  No such luck.  They are very busy and told me to come back closer to the time I had scheduled.

The Apple Store is located in a very high class shopping area know as Uptown.  Lots of very expensive stores.  I did find a Starbuck’s and stopped in there for a coffee and “Very Berry” coffee cake.  Then I just walked around until my appointment.

The Apple Store is really a very friendly environment.  I walked to the back where they checked me in and then they found a seat where I could sit until they could wait on me.  They had all my information regarding my speaker problem with the phone. Within a few minutes I was showing another guy my phone and he was writing all the information into an IPad.  Stuff like what I had done to see if the speaker would work, etc.

He took my phone and said they would check it out in the back and replace the speaker if needed.  He mentioned it could take about 25 minutes.  Within 10 minutes he was back with my phone and demonstrated that the speaker now worked.   GREAT!!  I can now hear when someone is calling me.  That is what a phone is for, isn’t it?

They were very professional and when I asked if there was any charge he said absolutely nothing.

Trader Joe’s in the same shopping center….

I walked out to my car and happened to notice a Trader Joe’s on the other side of the parking lot.  I haven’t shopped at a Trader Joe’s for a long time and had to go.

I usually buy my groceries from a list that I create on my IPhone.  Whenever I think of something I immediately write it down.  I usually don’t buy anything else unless it is on the list.  It usually keeps me from overspending.

However I only had a couple items on my list when I entered Trader Joe’s, but went ahead and shopped the entire store and bought my items that weren’t on my list.  I love eating seafood and if you check out the seafood in Walmart it is rather bleak.  Most times I usually buy any seafood from a good grocery store instead.

However, I did see some great seafood items at Trader Joe’s that I just had to have.  That and a packet of sushi that I used to enjoy many years ago.  I had the sushi for dinner that night.  YUM!  YUM!

DSC_0795

I also bought my favorite Italian Roast coffee.  I used to drink this coffee for many years before fulltiming.

DSC_0796

Very windy…

The rest of the day was very uneventful.  I was glad to get home after shopping as the wind was blowing very hard. New Mexico winds can get rather gusty at times.

Billy as in Billy Goat…

When Jim and I went 4 wheeling in Rockhound State Park he suggested a name for my Suzuki Samurai.  He said it was just like a Billy goat since it could go just about anywhere.  So Billy it is!

My Lazy Daze “The Breeze” as in the song by Lynyrd Skynyrd and Billy.  That sounds cool.  They make a great pair.

Will leave here on Saturday…

Saturday we will be heading north.  I didn’t want to travel on Friday because Amazon will be calling for my interview.  I missed the last time they called because my IPhone speaker wasn’t working and didn’t even here the call.  So they rescheduled it and I really need to get it right today.

I am leaving in the morning and found a Harvest Host winery that I can stay at for the night just north of Albuquerque.  Harvest Host offers many great places to stay like wineries, farms, and orchards and it doesn’t cost anything.  These places are located in every state even Canada and Mexico.  They don’t have hookups but with solar panels who cares anyway.  Besides I need to try a different wine for a change.

 

Chica’s New Friends

Chica loves to meet new friends…

When we arrived at Rockhound SP Chica was very anxious to meet her new friends.  I had been telling her all about them so she was really happy when she actually got to meet them.

There was Sophie and Elvis the kittens we had heard so much about from Jim and Gayle’s blog Life’s Little Adventures.  Chica only got a chance to meet Sophie when Jim brought her out one day.  She only got to see Elvis through the screen door.  Here is a pic of Jim and Sophie.

DSC_0754

Chica was very excited about meeting her new “cat friend”.

DSC_0765

Lots of new friends…

Besides Sophie and Elvis she also go to meet Debbie’s very fun loving dogs Elliot and Rupert.  She had lots of fun going on walks with them.  In this pic she and Elliot are discussing their favorite dog food.

DSC_0758

Plus don’t forget Katie owned by Barbara of Me and My Dog and My RV fame  Katie is also a Chihuahua just like Chica, but she is larger and Chica has to look up to her (just like everyone else).  Here are a couple of pics of all the gang including Elliot, Rupert, Katie, Sophie and Chica.

DSC_0761

DSC_0763

We have now moved to Elephant Butte where we will spend the next couple of days.  Chica misses her friends as you can see from the next couple of pics.

DSC_0788

DSC_0789

She is going to miss all her friends, but soon she will be meeting up with Sadie when Jimbo meets up with John and Linda to head north to Canada.  This is a pic of Sadie at Quartzsite.

Sadie hopping like a rabbit Chica and I would like to thank all our friends we camped with at Rockhound State Park.  We both had a wonderful time.  We are both looking forward to seeing you again.

One last hike before heading north

The day prior to leaving Jim, Gayle and myself all want on a hike out in the desert.  It was a couple miles past where we hiked the first time.  It was a neat spot.  We even found some flowers.  It is amazing how beautiful plants grow where there is absolutely NO water.

DSC_0766

DSC_0770

DSC_0771

Jim and Gayle led the way as we climbed next to a wash.  They are very experienced hikers and it took a lot to keep up with them.

DSC_0776

DSC_0778

DSC_0779

We didn’t make it to the top but had some terrific views nevertheless.

DSC_0781

This next rock formation looked like an elephant.

DSC_0786

Off to Elephant Butte State Park

We took off Monday and stopped at Elephant Butte State Park at the South Monticello campground.  I have been here many times in the past and never tire of the beautiful here.  I took a couple of pics to show you.

DSC_0790

I was only going to stay there one night but changed my mind and stayed two instead.  I am glad I did as the wind was blowing pretty good and wouldn’t really have wanted to drive in it.

DSC_0793

Next stop Albuquerque

I will be heading to Albuquerque tomorrow and staying at the Enchanted Trails RV Park just west of the city.  I have an appointment at the Apple Store on Thursday and I hope they can fix my phone at that time.  On Friday I will have my interview with Amazon for next winters job.

But I only had 2 beers! Hic!

Started Training…

I started the training for the Spring Training job Monday evening.  During the day I thought it would be a good idea to try to find out where the park is located so I wouldn’t be frantically driving around in rush our traffic to get there.  Using my Garmin I found it without any problem.  When I got home they called and wanted me to come in an hour earlier (5:00pm) to complete some initial paperwork.

On my return trip I thought since I had gone there once I wouldn’t need the Garmin so just drove there following the directions I had previously gotten.  BIG MISTAKE!!!  The next thing I knew I was in the middle of the airport and a lot of busy traffic.  DUH, Jim isn’t that why you have a Garmin in the first place?  I was able to get my Garmin out of the glove box and quickly input the address of the ballpark.  I even got there a bit early and was able to talk with some others who are also working there including my next door neighbors John and Jane.

How drunk is drunk?

The training tonight was all about alcohol.  Since many of us will be serving alcohol to the fans, we have to be able to detect when a person should not be allowed any more.  I was really impressed by the content of the class.  We also got our employee manuals and filled out endless reams of paperwork.  By the way, the training was held in the press box of the stadium.  What a view these guys have during a game.  I am sure the training sessions will be the only time I will be able to sit there.

The stadium in Tempe is about 9 miles from where I am staying in Mesa.  I am sure there is a better way to go then jumping on the freeway, but I haven’t found it yet.  I guess looking at a map would really help and not just relying on the Garmin.

Day off on Tuesday

Tuesday was a day off so I took that opportunity to do my “Honey Do’s”.  Picked up a few things at Walmart, bought gas and did a bunch of laundry left over from Quartzsite.  I did three loads and still have one load to go. YUK!

I was able to purchase a couple more milk cartons from Walmart so will do some more organizing today.  I hope to get everything squared away before I go to another training class tonight, including that last load of laundry.

Way too many people and way too much traffic…..

I sure am not used to this many people and the traffic here is crazy.  Prior to this the most traffic I have been in was in Fernley while working for Amazon.  They had a whooping two traffic lights and when Amazon let out it was rush hour for sure.  But nothing like the Phoenix area.  Someone told me that it was the nation’s seventh most populated city and I sure believe that.  I will probably go CRAZY after two months of working here.

Also I am in the flight path to the Sky Harbor airport.  I was BBQing last night and sat outside with my glass of wine and every minute or so I could spot an airliner on it’s approach to the airport.  LOTS OF PEOPLE AND LOTS OF NOISE.

Don’t forget your camera FOOL!!!

I completely forgot to take my camera with me the last couple of days.  I will try to be more diligent so that you can see what I am doing and where I am going rather then me just telling you.  I will follow up with some pics later.