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.

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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.

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.

Das ist Gut, Ja?

Almost my last leg of journey north

I was tempted to spend another night at the beautiful Yakima Elks Lodge and Country Club but decided I need to hit the road and stick with my schedule.  So I packed up and headed for the last stop before I landed at the campground where I will be camp host.  My destination was Mount Vernon, WA.  The map showed about 225 miles thru the mountains.  I had to get gas so wound up going back to Yakima to fill up.  The Elks Lodge is actually in Selah, WA a small town next to Yakima.  The interstates going north are confusing and I got on the wrong one and had to back track.  Thus the total mileage for the trip north turned out to be 252 miles.  It was a long day as it was raining almost continuously and it was a lot of mountain driving.  I am glad that is over.

Stopped in Leavenworth

When I had posted my route many people mentioned that I should stop in Leavenworth, WA.  It is right on highway 2 which is the road I take to Mount Vernon, WA.  I was able to find public parking for my RV right at the end of town.  Fortunately it was not raining when I got there, so parked the rig next to a sports shop and walked a few blocks back into town.

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This is a really unique little town that is modeled on a Bavarian Village.  What a trip!

Good Mood Food

I thought this was a cool name for a restaurant.

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They even had a small par three golf course.

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These guys kept the golf course well manicured.

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Beautiful Mountains

This is a ski town and the mountains still had snow.

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Lots of very neat shops

This is the downtown portion.  Lots and lots of small shops.

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Here is one of the many hotels with a beautiful mural painted on the wall next to it.

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I loved the many murals painted right on the walls of the buildings.

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Another view of the town and local mountains.

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Pizza anyone?

I thought this was a really neat name for the local pizza joint.

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Great stop

I loved this town.  I really didn’t go into any of the shops as it was getting late and also started to rain.  On my next trip up here I would like to spend a day walking thru the many shops.

Lots of rain and traffic

I took highway 2 over to I5 and then headed north to Mount Vernon.  It was raining so hard I could not see much of the local scenery.  On top of that I hit Everett, WA and headed north during rush hour.  The gas tank was very low, but I knew I could make it to my destination.  I had called the camp host at the Mount Vernon Elks in the morning and he stated they had room.  He greeted me when I got there and showed me where to park.  WHEW!  This was a tough day of traveling.  Lots of mountain driving in the rain.

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!

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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.

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Us guys strike a few poses as well.

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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!!

 

 

Still alive and Kickin’

Lack of posts

I must apologize for my poor lack of posting.  It seems like all I do is eat and sleep and I haven’t really had much to say  But I am sorry as several of you have wondered if anything has happened.  As a matter of fact something has happened.  It is called the Amazon work camp.

I got my release date of Dec 18 which is the soonest they have ever cut us loose.  YEA!  I will probably leave her on the 20th and head for sunny SO CAL to be with my family at Christmas.

Getting really cold!!!

Yesterday we were hit with a cold front directly from the north.  It brought a couple of inches of snow and bitter cold weather.  The temps are forecasted to be single digits and Saturday it is supposed to be -3.  That is way too cold for me.  I have both my electric heater and my furnace running 24/7.  Chica is very comfortable aside from the bitter cold outdoors.

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Here she is laying on her heated bed.  I purchased a pet bed warmer from Amazon (naturally) and she loves it.  Her she is relaxing in her nice warm bed.

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We didn’t get a lot of snow but enough to cover the ground for a while.

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Dead Battery

I had a hunch that my battery was on it’s last legs but thought it would be OK.  I should have listened to my intuition and gone ahead and bought one a week or so ago.  Oh no.  Not me.  Well anyway I got up this morning and it was DEAD!  It was my neighbor Shannon’s day off and she offered to drive me down to get a new one.  I got it installed and everything is back to normal.  However I missed a day and my mandatory overtime day is tomorrow and I will be working for straight time only.  YUK!

Snow all over the mountains

I got this picture facing Amazon and the mountains in the back with all the snow.  It sure is beautiful, but I will take the desert anytime.

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Looking forward to SO CAL and Q

I am really looking forward to seeing my family over the holidays and then on to Q at the beginning of January.  I should be getting there about the 4th.

Stay tuned and I promise not to be so long between posts.

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.