Heading to Amazon

I sure missed the Balloon Fiesta this year!

I just got off the phone with my friends at the Balloon Fiesta.  Unfortunately this year I had to skip it as I am working at Amazon and just finished my camp host job in Oregon.

Visited my friends from Amazon last year.

I stopped in La Pine to visit my friends Rick and Tina who I met at Amazon last year.  They were the folks who graciously let me ride with them to and from the Amazon plant.

A ride up Paulina Peak

Rick and I took a ride up to the top of Paulina Peak.  This was a favorite spot of his and it was very beautiful.  The last few miles were a gravel washboard road.

From the peak you could see both Paulina Lake and East Lake.  That is Paulina Lake on the left and East Lake on the right.  The entire area of both lakes is a caldera just like at Crater Lake only there is a land mass between both lakes.

This is another view of Paulina Lake.  The haze in the background was caused by the smoke form the Pole Creek fire out of Sisters, OR that has been going on for some time now.

Tina fixed a great meat loaf dinner.  I hadn’t eaten meat loaf for quite a while and it is one of my most favorite meals.  Thanks Rick and Tina for your gracious hospitality.

On my way to Fernley

I left Wednesday and Rick told me of a better way to get to Fernley and avoid passing through Reno.  It was a great ride but so typical of Nevada back roads.  It was two lanes, hardly any traffic either coming or going and only a couple of very small towns.  I was able to find a nice place to stop for the night behind a sand pile.

 

Home for the next few months

I wasn’t scheduled to check in to the Desert Rose RV Park until Oct. 12, but I called them to see if I could check in earlier.  That was OK so then I made the 70 mile drive into Fernley.

This is where I will be parked until Christmas when my Amazon contract is complete.

The weather is great here so far with high temps in the 70’s and lows in the high 40’s.  The first night here it rained but has been beautiful ever since.  By the way the tank next to my rig in the above pic is my 20 gal. propane tank that I will definitely need once the weather starts getting cold.

I don’t start work until Wednesday so have some time to get organized and look for a ride.  My schedule is Wednesday through Saturday with 3 days off.  Of course that could change once it gets busy.

2nd Year on the Road

On July 12, 2012 I just completed my second year of fulltime RVing.  I can’t believe I have been on the road so long.  So once again, as I did last year, I will summarized this fantastic year with some of the highlights.

Remember you can click on any pic then click again to enlarge.

Working in Texas

To start I was in Texas and decided to work for a month to help defray costs of traveling to Texas to see my family.  What a mistake that was.  It was 106 degrees and higher the entire month I worked.  Oh well I will definitely know better next time to stay away from there during the summer.

Grand Canyon of Texas

After my work duties were over I headed to Palo Dura State Park in northwestern Texas.  It is know as the Grand Canyon of Texas and a very beautiful place.  While there I hiked the Lighthouse Trail and took this pic of myself standing on the plateau in front of the lighthouse.

Taking advantage of my NM state pass

Then it was off to New Mexico where I wanted to take advantage of the last few months of my New Mexico State Pass.  My first stop was Clayton SP.

Then on to Sugarite SP, just south of the NM/CO border.  This next pic shows Lake Dorothy just north of Sugarite SP.

My next stop was Cimmaron SP and the town of Cimmaron.

Fulfilling a boy scout dream

I also visited Philmont Scout Ranch, which had always been a dream of mine ever since I was a Boy Scout.

More of beautiful new mexico

After that it was Eagle Nest SP, Coyote Creek SP (where I saw a bear), Storie Lake SP  and then on to Villanueva SP where I got my semi-annual haircut.  Finally it was off to Hyde Memorial SP.

Then in October I met up with all my good friends at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta where I stayed and partied for 10 days.  Even had a balloon land on top of my rig.  HA!

After the Balloon Fiesta I drove south to Poncho Villa SP to enjoy a Escapees Chapter 21 Rally.  Of course that also included a trip to Palomas, Mexico where I had to have some dental work done and make sure the margaritas still tasted as good as always.

A visit to the Whitehouse

Next stop on my route was Canyon de Chelly (pronunced d’Shay).  Located on an Indian Reservation it is a beautiful place and a must see for anyone in that area of Arizona.  Of course I had to hike the Whitehouse Trail, which is so beautiful.

Monument Valley

From there it was to Monument Valley, UT.  Talk about a fabulous area, don’t miss out on seeing this.

On my way to Amazon

Then I drove north to Interstate 50.  It is known as the loneliest highway in America.  And believe me it really is.  You could drive for miles and miles and never see a car or truck in either direction.  You would not want to break down on this road.

My destination was Fernley, NV, where I worked for Amazon for 8 weeks.  By the way it was probably the hardest job I have ever had.  Thankfully the 8 weeks went by fairly fast, although it took a couple of months to get healed from the aches and pains I suffered at that job.  OUCH!!!  On top of that it was very cold as well.  Four degrees when I left there.

I then drove to Reno, NV and parked my rig and flew to SO CA to spend a week with my family over the holidays.  It was really great seeing everyone and getting caught up.  I even played some golf.  Actually I tried to play some golf.  HA!  What a joke!

Time to warm up

Then I hit the road to get out of that cold weather up north and drove down to Quartzsite, AZ.  There I met up with a whole bunch of Lazy Dazers (about 20 rigs at different times) and relaxed in the wonderful Arizona sunshine.  Of course I also saw the crazy RV show and even saw a concert by Paul Winer (the Naked Book Seller) although he was fully clothed.  Great show by the way with SRO.

With the help of all my friends I was able to upgrade my rig with new LED lighting, another 12v receptacle and an outdoor motion sensor light.

Next stop – Imperial Dam

In February I left Quartzsite and headed to Imperial Dam just outside of Yuma, AZ  I really enjoyed my stay there with more friends.  Got to do a lot of hiking in the desert.  Plus don’t forget the wild donkeys.  HA!

Heading south of the border senor!

Then it was south of the border to Mexico with the Harvest Host Wine and Whale Watching Tour.  What a fabulous trip that turned out to be.  Visited 5 wineries, with great wine tasting at each.  The wineries were located in the Valley of Gaudelope with very beautiful scenery around.  Also stopped in Ensenada for a day, where we had a great lunch down at the fish market and an opportunity to stock up on lots of great seafood.  Of course we also had to have some cervasa’s (brewskies) at Hussong’s Cantina.

Later visited La Bufadora (the blow hole).  Another very scenic spot.

The wineries were great plus the wine was even greater!  Even got to see a colt that was born that very day.  How exciting!

I am NOT an illegal alien!

After crossing back into the US I drove to Tamarisk LTVA where I stayed for a week and met some really wonderful people.  We hiked ever day in the desert and one day we were surrounded by Border Patrol cars who thought we were illegal aliens.  No comprende  Senor! What a trip that was!

One of my very favorite spots

After spending so much time with so many wonderful people, I needed a break and decided to head for one of my most favorite spots in the Clark Dry Lake bed of the Anza Borrego desert in southern California.  It is 7 miles outside of Borrego Springs.  This place is so peaceful and always gives me a chance to reflect on my future plans.  It was here where I made my resume on workamper.com and emailed it to various people.  Within 10 minutes I had a call for the job I would be working at this summer. More on that later.

Back to the coast

Then it was off to the west coast to Oceanside, where I parked my rig at the Elks Club and took the train up to Orange County to see family.  It was back and forth visiting different members of my family and it was great seeing my Mom.  Love you Mom!

Heading up north

Then it was time to hit the road and head up north.  My first stop was the Trona Pinnacles outside of Ridgecrest, CA.  It is like a trip to another planet.

From there it was off to the Alabama Hills just outside of Lone Pine, CA.  This has been one place I always dreamed of venturing to even before I had an RV.  An absolute MUST SEE.

From there it was off to Mona Lake, where I stayed for about 5 days and ventured around the area seeing the tufa’s at the edge of the lake and the weird cloud formations.

I also took a side trip to the old ghost town of Bodie, CA.  Much of the town is still intact as it was a hundred years ago.  Really neat and another MUST SEE.

Then I finally made it to Oregon where I stayed at Goose Lake SP, La Pine SP and finally Crooked River Ranch.

My workplace for the summer

I met up with my area managers who I would be working for the summer in Prineville, OR.  I am the camp host at the Ochoco Divide, a NFS campground.  It is on the summit (4,726′ elevation) of Hwy 26.  This campground is nestled among giant (200′) Ponderosa Pines among other pine trees as well.  I have now been here 2 months and love this job.  I get to meet a lot of interesting people and have lots of areas to hike in.

Well that about wraps up another fabulous year of my fulltime RV lifestyle.  There were some tough times (truck breaking down) and some great times (caravan trip to Mexico) as well as taking time out to see my family, which is very important to me.  I had lots of times spent with great friends and even some time to myself to ponder how lucky I am.

I almost can’t believe it has been two years since I have set out on the road.  I would also like to thank all my wonderful followers who have been with me as I experienced each and every day.  Every day is a new adventure.

Wishing all a Merry Christmas!!!

Work at Amazon finished!!!

I completed my workamping for Amazon on Wednesday 12/21.  We all gathered for a meeting with the GM of the fulfillment center and were told that he very much appreciated all our efforts in making Amazon’s peak season a success.  We were all asked to return next year and many of us have already made reservations with Desert Rose RV Park to return.

Dead battery!

Yesterday I had made plans for a follow-up Dr. appointment and also to meet a future fulltimer for lunch.  I got everything organized to travel to Reno and turned on my key.  NOTHING!!!  No noise came from my engine.  Not even the click of the starter.  I had started it about 2 weeks previous to this but it was a bit slow in starting.  I had hoped the drive to Reno at that time would charge it enough.

I immediately called Coach-Net (my emergency road-side service).  They had a truck out to my campsite within 45 minutes.  The driver hooked up the jumper cables to my battery and we waited a bit and then I tried to start it.  This time all I got was the clicking of the starter trying to start it.  We waited for some time and I tried to start it again.  NO LUCK!!!  My neighbor, Steve came over to see what was going on.  I explained to him that I was going to need a new battery.  He graciously offered to drive me into town to pick one up.  I removed my old battery and loaded it into his truck and off we went.  $110 later I got a brand spanking new battery and installed it into my RV.  It started up in a second.

New battery

Although I hated spending the money I was glad I finally did get a new battery.  I had purchased 2 new Trojan batteries in June, 2010, but wasn’t sure about the starting battery.

Since it took most of the day to take care of the battery I had to contact the guy I was meeting fort lunch and also postpone my Dr appointment.  I will probably take care of both after 12/29.  I am just glad I took care of this now rather than finding out the day I was to drive to Reno to catch a flight to Southern CA.  That would have been disastrous.

Freezing cold in Fernley

The weather here has really turned cold.  The night of the 21st it got down to 7 and last night down to 4.  I can’t wait to get into a warmer climate.  I am nice and cozy in my rig but it still gets a little chilly at night.  I will leave Fernley on Sat 12/24 and drive to Reno where I can park my rig and take a shuttle to the airport.

I will be returning on the 29th and will probably stay in a RV park for the night and then head south to warmer temps.  Today I will gas up and get everything ready to go for an early departure tomorrow morning.

I would like to wish all my faithful readers a very Merry Christmas.  I hope Santa is good to all of you and you get all the RV gadgets you have been hoping for. HA!

Working at Amazon

First I would like to apologize for not writing more often but just too pooped to pop after working and not really too exciting here except for working.  Once I get back on the road I will write more often.

Now I want to tell you about my experience working for an Amazon Fullfillment Center.

Applying for the Job

While boondocking in Quartzsite last January I came across the Amazon booth in the big tent.  The representatives from Amazon were looking for seasonal campers to help out during the peak rush season during the holidays.  I had read where it was a good paying job that only would last for a couple of months.  I signed up then and there.  They had you fill out an application and they actually hired you at that time.  However, I wouldn’t be starting until sometime in October and would work until Christmas.

I read a lot online by people who had worked there the previous year.  I even met several people on the road who had worked there and gave me their impressions of the job.  Some of the reviews online depicted the job as very tough and I also heard the same from those I talked with.  Long hours, very sore body parts and cold weather to boot.  I had my concerns about all of these subjects, but went ahead and filled out the application.  Then it was just a matter of waiting to hear from them.

I need my High School Diploma?

A few months later I started getting emails from them.  They mentioned that they would need my high school diploma for starters.  You have got to be kidding!  I looked everywhere for it and realized that was not one of those important papers I kept.  I even called them to see if a college degree would suffice but they said they would need the high school diploma.  I graduated from Henry Ford High School in Detroit, MI so I called the school to have a copy sent to me.  They said “no problem” what year do you graduate?  1962.  OK that might be a problem.  You will have to contact the records office downtown.  All I could picture was that the records were all burned up in the huge riot they had there in the 60’s!!  So I called and then had to fax all the information to them and they would perform a search.  I never knew the results of the search until my sister called me and told me she had received a letter from Detroit which was confirmation that I actually had graduated from high school dispite the awful grades I pulled.

Then the only thing left was a drug test and a background check.  I passed both of those and then they asked me to make a reservation in an RV Park in the Fernley, NV area.  I chose Desert Rose since I had already been there the summer before.  Then it was just a matter of waiting until I finally got my start date.

I get my start date

I finally got my start date (Oct 30) and headed to Fernley.  The nice part was that Amazon pays for your camping site.  All I had to pay for was the electric and propane.  They allow you to arrive 2 days in advance of your first work day.  I don’t have a toad so I was hoping I could find someone who I could ride to and from work.  Greg, my next door neighbor said I could ride with him.

Off to work I go

Then it was off to work.  There was orientation the first day and we all learned what to do and what not to do.  The first week you are on 8 hour per day shift for 4 days.  Then you are thrown to the lions!  Ten hour shifts for 4 days, then 3 days off.  I hadn’t worked 10 hour days for many years so it was a little brutal getting used to it.  But that was the easy part.  I was assigned to Outbound, which meant packing products only one item to a box.  The first week was tough on the body.  You are on your feet for the entire 10 hours except for lunch and breaks.  But the hardest part is the pain you suffer in your hands, arms, legs and feet.

OUCH!!!

There were times I would come home and just VEG OUT!!  I didn’t want to fix dinner or even drink a beer or glass of wine.  I always like to have wine at the end of the day, but even that got to be a burden.  I got so that I took 2 Aleve pills daily to help relieve the pain in my hands.  The hand pain for me never went away and although I have only 2 weeks to go I still experience it daily.

The people are the greatest!

The people at Fernley are the greatest.  The Desert Rose RV Park is completely filled with Amazon seasonal workers.  I have met a lot of very friendly, fun people.  The Amazon people are also the best!.  They are all so friendly and always willing to help with any problems.  It is a great work environment although a VERY FAST PACE.   Would I return next year?  You bet your sweet bippy!!!  I will be there for sure.  I like it regardless of the pain to the bod!!

Benefits not too shabby!

The benefits aren’t bad either.  The pay isn’t bad at all, $11.50 and $17.25 for OT.  Plus they give you 10% off on everything you purchase through them up to $1000.  I have already bought a Kindle Fire

Nikon Coolpix S9100 camera

Silva compass (the same type I had when I was a Boy Scout)

IPOD Touch and Altec Lansing player

that I can hook up my IPOD touch to for a GREAT SOUND SYSTEM for this guy.  Nice and loud to play all my great R&R, classical, etc.  music.  I think I have used up my allowable employee discount.

Tough hours

There are times when it gets very busy and they put us on an 11 hour shift.  That is pretty tough.  I now have 2 weeks to go and this next week we are now on the 11 hour shift.  They are very good about overtime and you can have quite a few hours per week, but only 4 hours per week is required.  Also I read online that they send you home a lot because the oshipments have slowed down.  I have only been asked once to take time off and that was only for 4 hours each time.  There was one time I requested to go home early because my ride had been asked to take time off.  They were very accomodating in my request.

Would I do it again?

Aside from the aches and pains, I would highly recommend working for Amazon.  I intend to sign up for next year.  Amazon is very big on hiring recreational workkampers.  They really like us.  We are all responsible, on time, always at work, at don’t complain.

I hope this has helped to answer questions about what it is like to work at an Amazon Fullfillment Center.  If not let me know.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY!!!!!

Happy Thanksgiving to ALL!!!

Just working…

It has been a while since I last posted, but not much has been going on here except working at Amazon.  My body is finally getting used to the type of work I am doing.  I pack one item per box and it was very busy here.  On Wednesday they sent me home after just 1/2 day since the work had slackened off a bit.  They explained my name was drawn from a hat and after Thanksgiving day they expect it to be nonstop work with mandatory overtime as well.  I am already scheduled to work overtime on Saturday so my work week instead of starting on Sunday will begin on Saturday instead.

New camera…

I did receive my new Nikon Coolpix S9100 (from Amazon, who else) and yesterday gave me a chance to walk around the park and take a few pics.  My home for two months while I work at Amazon is the Desert Rose RV Park.  It is located 6 miles outside of Fernley, NV.  The city has a population of about 13, 000 so it is not very large, but it does have all the stores I look for such as Walmart, Lowe’s, etc.  There are also several gambling casinos there as well but I haven’t ventured into one of them yet as I have either been to busy working or spending time to let my body recuperate.

The park has many beautiful trees throughout, but we had some really high winds last week and it blew most of the leaves off them.

Most of the people staying at the park are workkampers for Amazon.  They are from all parts of the country and I have met some really nice folks.

This is my site.  You can rent a 20 gallon propane tank from the park, which I hooked up to my extend-a-stay propane connection.  I can now utilize the 20 gallon tank, my own propane tank and my barbecue as well.  I decided to get the 20 gallon tank because the weather here dips down into the 20’s and less at night.  I also run my electric heater as well.

 The weather has been really nice throughout the day, usually in the high 50’s or low 60’s so it is real pleasant.

I am so thankful to all my readers for following me on my journeys.  I really enjoy writing this blog, but  I find it difficult to write daily if I am not traveling and don’t have much to say.  I have another 4 weeks to go and I will finish my contract with Amazon.  Then I plan to fly to So. CA. to spend Christmas with my family.  Then it is on the road again and I intend to start posting more often.

HAVE A WONDERFUL THANKSGIVING!!!