Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Not All Who Wander Are Lost
June, 2019 - Mount Denali, Alaska

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit with family and friends in Wisconsin. The boys cooperated and let me take the annual family pictures.



I was disappointed that there was no snow on the ground for a white Christmas. However, we were lucky to have good driving conditions. The only problem was the day we left. There had been some freezing rain overnight, and we saw several cars in the ditch during about the first hour on our drive back to Kansas. After that, it was smooth sailing. Along the way, we saw quite a few RVs heading south, many of them were from Minnesota.

We arrived back in Kansas at 8:00 pm on Thursday night to find our camper just as we left it. No problems there, great! We spent the night in Coffeyville and were back on the road on Friday morning. It was another long day of driving, about 8 hours. We chose to do one long day and then spend two nights at one spot, rather than break it up. That way we won’t be traveling at all on New Years Eve. Since it’s on a Saturday, we thought there might be a lot of traffic. Yesterday’s traffic wasn’t too bad other than around Ft. Worth, Texas.

So, we’re staying at Coffee Creek RV Resort in Santo, Texas. It’s about 40 miles west of Fort Worth off of I-20. The campground is very nice and clean. They are Passport America members so it’s costing us $17.50 a night for a FHU 50 amp site. We have lots of laundry to do and unpack from our trip. We also had some things we bought from Amazon shipped to Eric’s house. So, now we have to find a place for all of it.

The weather is supposed to be in the low 70s today, so we’ll enjoy a beautiful day while doing our chores.

Happy New Year and stay safe!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all my friends and family in blogger land.

Had a safe and uneventful 12 hour trip to Wisconsin yesterday. We left the RV at the campground in Kansas and are staying at a Super 8 for 6 nights while we visit with our family and friends.

Went to church with our boys and my mom and her friend tonight and then had dinner at my moms. Back to her house tomorrow for more family fun. My brother and his wife will join us for the day.

I’m loving and appreciate this time with my children!

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Five More Hours

We got a very welcome email from Amazon this week. They have released the workampers early so we will not have to work on Friday night!!

We could have actually been done working after last night, but we’ve chosen to work a half shift (five hours) on Thursday night. We’ll sleep Thursday night and then leave early Friday morning for our 12 to 13 hour drive back to Wisconsin. I’m so excited to see our boys again!!

Tonight Janie and John have invited us over for Christmas dinner. I’m sure we’ll have some good laughs before we say good-bye to them. It was sure nice having friends share our working time at Amazon.

The Amazon Coffeyville Distribution Center had a goal of breaking a record by shipping out over 300,000 units last Monday. There were posters throughout the plant advertising the goal. They did not make it. In fact, they missed last year’s record of over 276,000 units by only 36. Amazing that it came down to such a small amount.

The night shift, however, set a record of number of units packed in an hour and the total number of units packed for the night. From what was said by our managers, it sounded like they were blaming the day shift for missing the record. Still, that’s a lot of people buying online. Amazing!

We’re not sure if we’ll come back to Amazon. It’s very hard work! We’re exploring some other options for next year. Time will tell.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Exciting Plans

Carnival Spirit cruise ship

In case you haven’t figured it out, we’re going on a cruise!

We’ll celebrate our 35th anniversary in 2012. Our friends, Joan and Al, will celebrate their 40th and friends, Wanda and Dick, will celebrate their 45th. We had all discussed a special trip to celebrate these milestone anniversaries. One of the places we all wanted to see was Australia and New Zealand. After checking into prices, the cost was just too high for us to justify. So, we put the idea on hold.

We all did some checking and our plans have finally all come together. We found a Carnival cruise to Hawaii for a great price. Since we were all planning on meeting up in Arizona in January, the itinerary will fit right into our plans. It’s a 15 day cruise out of San Diego.

We’ll drive from Tucson to San Diego on January 19th and spend a night in San Diego. The hotel price includes parking our truck in their secure lot for the duration of the cruise. We’re leaving our RV at the campground in Tucson.

We cruise for 4 days and then spend the next 5 days touring the Hawaiian Islands. We spend a day each in Hilo, Maui, Honolulu, Kauai and Kona. Then 4 days at sea with a stop in Mexico before returning to San Diego on February 4th.

Kevin and I have been to Hawaii twice before. Once in 1987 for our 10th anniversary and once in 1992 when Kevin earned a trip through work. Both times we didn’t go to the big island. I have always regretted that we didn’t go to Volcano National Park. Now we’ll get the chance. We also haven’t been to Kauai so there will be plenty of new experiences on this trip. I’m hoping to see lava flows and evidence of the active volcano. This picture is from the park’s website.

Halema`uma`u at dawn viewed from Kilauea Overlook

After 10 weeks at Amazon, I am so thrilled to be going on a trip. Our earnings will be enough to cover the trip plus our living expenses for the winter months.  Our hard work will finally pay off!

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Santa’s Workshop

It has been very busy at Amazon the last few days. It kind of feels like what I imagine Santa’s workshop must be like with a lot of elves running around.

There are so many people working, that you have to be careful where you are walking. Fork lifts, bicycles, pallets movers, carts and people are moving around everywhere. They shipped out around a quarter of a millions packages on each of the last two days. Wow!! Supposedly, the last two days were the busiest, but we’ll see.

With all of that volume have come some problems. The conveyors are constantly stopping or breaking down. It’s all they can do to keep things running. Last night was especially difficult. At one point all the conveyors sending boxes to the shipping department were stopped. They actually had a group of workers manually scanning packages, printing shipping labels and carting the boxes off to the shipping docks.

Amazon continues to reward employees during this busy time. On Tuesday night everyone was given a box of three cookies and a bottle of juice during the first break. They are drawing six names every night to win Amazon gift cards. Our department had a power hour last night where the worker with the highest packing rate wins a $300 Walmart gift card.

They are also randomly giving little gifts. We’ve received candy, an ice scraper, a mini-flashlight and a combination tape measure, screwdriver and flashlight gizmo. There will also be a drawing for prizes on Dec. 23rd for those who had perfect attendance between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The good news is we have only seven work days left. I am so looking forward to going home for Christmas and seeing our boys! We’ll spend five days back in Wisconsin for the holidays. We’re leaving our RV at the campground here in Kansas. We’ll pick it up on Dec. 30th and head to Tucson for two months. Can’t wait!

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

*Dubbo Zoo -Hotels and Accommodation*

One of the places I’d really like to visit is Australia. I came across a zoo that looks like a great place.

The Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo looks like so much fun. It’s an open zoo in Central West NSW, ideal for families.

Find yourself surrounded by magnificent wildlife on wide open plains. Whether you stroll across the grasslands or hire bikes or carts, it’s a fun way to spend time with family and friends, away from it all.

I’d love to go to the Meerkat and Ring-tailed Lemur exhibits and see the giraffes in the wild.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo won the 2011 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence Award.



There are plenty of Dubbo hotels and accommodation to choose from. So, if you are ever in Australia the Toranga Western Plains Zoo may be a place you want to check out.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Single Digits and Happy Birthday

We are finally in the single digits. Only 9 days of work at Amazon before we are done!! I am so looking forward to the end. The money is great, but I have had enough of this hard work. Time for some fun and relaxing again.

This week Amazon scheduled each shift for six 10-hour days. Workampers are only required to work 50 hours max per week, so I am working 5 days. Kevin has not decided yet if he will work the extra day. As of now, next week is scheduled for 11 hours on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday; 10 hours on Thursday and 7 hours on Friday. If orders slow down, they may reduce some of those hours.

Last night the backlog was over 130,000. People are still ordering, and we’re still packing those boxes. Tom Clancy must have a new book coming out this week because I sure packed a lot of them last night. Who would have guessed one of the more popular items would be a President Obama Chia head :)

On Saturday was Kevin’s 56th birthday. I cooked his favorite lasagna dinner, and we had Janie and John over to celebrate with us. We enjoyed some cocktails, a nice dinner and then played some Wii games. It was a fun evening; a nice break from the long work hours.

The weather has been pretty decent. We’ve had a few stretches where the lows got below freezing at night. Kevin takes the hose in on those nights, and we use our tanks for water. This week is predicted to be around 50 for the highs, and above freezing at night. So, the hose is back out.

Lots of people here at the RV park have insulated their hoses or purchased heated hoses. Since we aren’t here for that many freezing nights, we just decided to go with the tanks if it gets too cold. So far, that’s been working very well for us.

Our lake has dried up, but never fear; more rain is forecast for this week. I’m sure we’ll be enjoying lake property again soon.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

*Medical Scrubs*

I know a number of people who work in the medical profession and buy scrubs for their jobs. If you are looking to purchase scrubs, you may want to check out this website:

They have a large selection of cheap medical scrubs to choose from. So, if your looking for scrubs, take a look. Maybe you’ll find exactly what you need!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Lake Property

When we set up on our site in October, we had no idea that we had been given a prime site. Usually you have to pay more for a lake site, but we have one for free from Amazon.

It’s not just lakefront property, it’s actually in the lake! When it rains, the ground does not absorb the water very well. Added to that is the fact that our site is one of the lowest in the campground. So, the water from the other sites runs into ours.

This area suffered from a drought last summer. When we arrived, they were 10 to 15 inches below average rainfall. So, the rain last week was very welcome. However, we were suddenly parked in a lake.


Our doormat had a couple of inches of water covering it.


Our front jack is sitting on a concrete block and a piece of wood, all under water.


On the Amazon front, we’ve sure been packing a lot of toys. Legos are a hot selling item. Lots of Barbies and other dolls. There’s a new company I never heard of called Melissa and Doug. Their toys appear to be more old fashioned with a lot of wooden toys.

Electronics are also selling like hotcakes. I can’t believe how many different types of ear buds/headphones I have packed. Ear buds from a company called Skull Candy are flying out the door.

Every day brings some strange items. Yesterday I packed a Dr. Who action figure that sold for $40. I had no idea how many different bobble head dolls are available, such as a flying monkey from The Wizard of Oz, or Chewy from Star Wars, or the characters from the movie The Hangover. I’m still seeing plenty of adult rated items. Lately, sexy Santa costumes seem to be a hot item.

Amazon is still scheduling 11 hour work days. We found out that per our contract, the workampers are only required to work 50 hours per week. If they want to work up to 60 hours, they can. But, we are only required to work five 10 hour days at most. That’s enough for me. My back tells me that 10 hours is enough.

Next week, they’ve actually scheduled every shift to work six 10 hour days. We only have to do 5 days. I’m all about that!!! Kevin may work some extra overtime. He is definitely handling the long hours on your feet better than I am. The good news is only 13 days left. And, then the fun begins! Can you tell I’m looking forward to the light at the end of the tunnel?

Amazon has been hosting some events to reward their employees during this peak season. The week before Thanksgiving they fed us all a turkey dinner. Last night we had a Holiday meal consisting of chicken, rice, carrots, salad and apple pie for dessert.

They’re also drawing employee names every night to win Amazon gift cards. Each week they’re providing a snack during one of the breaks. Last night there were managers giving out candy and little prizes like an ice scraper. It’s nice to see the company make a little extra effort to thank their employees during a stressful time of the year.

The weather has turned cold. Lows in the 20s and highs in the 40s. No more riding our bikes to work, time to take the truck!

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Madness Is Upon Us

Well, they weren’t kidding when they told us that the “peak” season at Amazon would be crazy. The madness and frenzy are now in full force! Based on the amount of orders, I’m having a hard time believing our economy is in trouble.

When we started our job in mid-October, the backlog each night was around 30,000. The backlog is the number of orders that need to be filled. The last few shifts we’ve worked, the backlog is over 200,000.

With that increased business comes increased work hours. The last 3 out of 4 days were mandatory 11 hour shifts for us. We’re also now on the mandatory 5 shifts per week. That means over 50 hours a week. In addition to all of those hours, there is voluntary overtime available. You are allowed to work a maximum of 60 hours a week.

Kevin worked a voluntary half shift of overtime last night, so he will have a total of 59 hours this week. I said “no thanks” to voluntary overtime, so I’ll ONLY have 54 hours this week.

As you can imagine, we pretty much are just working and sleeping. I have adjusted a little better to working nights. I’m now able to sleep about 6 hours after work. On days off, I’m sleeping 10 or 11 hours in a row. I’m very much looking forward to a regular sleep schedule again!

It’s hard being on your feet for so long. By the end of a shift, my feet and back are quite sore. I can honestly say this is the most physical job I’ve ever had, even more than the waitressing I did in high school and college. And, I was a lot younger then. Kevin spent much more time on his feet in his career, so he is not having as much trouble adjusting.

Last week we were moved from packing on the multi-item lines to the single items section. Now, we’re only packing single item orders. This means even less moving and pretty much standing in one spot. Kevin is sometimes assigned the job of “water spider” which means he brings supplies to the single packing stations to make sure no one runs out of boxes, tape, etc. He likes that job because he gets to move around more.

I’ve been working half of each shift as a “jackpot”. I stand between two conveyors and move the small boxes in the correct position to go through the shipping label machine. It’s boring, but I’m moving back and forth between the conveyors so my back doesn’t get as sore from standing in one spot. It’s good to have a little variety in the work assignment.

The good news is we’ve both lost a little weight. Not as much as we had hoped when we thought we would be “pickers” and walking the whole time, but still a little, which is a good thing.

At most we have 17 days of work left. I’m sure looking forward to the end. As hard as it’s been, the pay-off is excellent, and the income will allow us to take the winter off.

We are seriously considering working for Amazon again next year. Now that we’ve done it, we know better which questions to ask before making the commitment. If they give us day shift and a better job assignment, we’ll probably do it again. Many of the workampers have left or say they will never come back. We’ll have to see what happens.

I sure have had a lot of Blogsvertise ads all of a sudden. Sometimes, they only send me an ad opportunity every couple of months. Now, I’ve had three ads in two weeks. They pay an average of about $10 per ad, so I’m happy to publish them. Every little bit helps. Remember, the ads have a star * at the beginning and end of the title, so you can easily tell if a post is an ad. It’s up to you whether you want to read them or not :)

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

*A Fiji Vacation*

Recently while doing some research about taking a trip to Australia and New Zealand, I discovered that Fiji is also located in the South Pacific. The island is frequently included as a stop if you choose to book a cruise to Australia or New Zealand.

After looking at some of the information regarding Fiji, I thought it would be a wonderful destination. I discovered some Fiji all inclusive resorts that look fantastic.

There are many Fiji vacation packages available. It looks like an absolute tropical paradise.

Just imagine staying in your romantic villa with five course dinners included in the package. Once you arrive, the biggest decision you'll have to make it which spa treatment you want to do that day.

There are a full range of land and water based activities. Morning yoga, scuba diving, horseback rides in the jungle, and swimming with local dolphins are just a few of the things you can experience on your Fiji vacation.

What could be more romantic than a Fiji honeymoon or anniversary trip where you can enjoy world renowned cuisine al fresco with your partner on your private hanging bed or next to a hidden waterfall in the adjacent rainforest.

As winter gets closer, it sure is fun to dream about a tropical escape!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

We want to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!

I must admit, I’ve been feeling a bit sorry for myself lately. The work we are doing at Amazon has been more difficult for me than I anticipated. My arthritic joints are complaining.

However, today I am taking the time to remember all the reasons I have to be grateful. I am super grateful for our wonderful sons, a fantastic husband, and all of our family members. I am also especially grateful that we were able to fulfill our dream of fulltime RVing. We are so very blessed.

We are lucky to be in good health. Although my joints hurt sometimes, overall we are both very healthy and we are so thankful. I appreciate the many opportunities we’ve had over the past 19 months to experience first-hand the amazing beauty our country has to offer. Sometimes, the natural beauty has left me breathless.

So, no more complaining. We are two very fortunate people!

Last night we celebrated Thanksgiving with our friends Janie and John. I made a turkey breast with gravy, sweet potato casserole and rolls. Janie brought mashed potatoes, stuffing and an apple pie. We enjoyed a wonderful meal with great friends. After dinner we played the game, Mille Bourne. We discovered that both couples used to play the game with our kids, how fun.


Tonight it’s back to work. We only have to work 5 hours tonight, but it’s 10:30 pm to 3:30 am. We do get overtime because it’s a holiday. After tomorrow, we have 4 weeks left. Believe me, I am counting down.

Next week, the serious overtime kicks in. We’re working on Sunday, normally a day off. Both Sunday and Monday will be 11 hours. If the rest of the week is normal hours, we will have 52 hours for the week. Those checks are going to look so great in our bank account :)

Some of you have left comments wondering if we will pack any of your orders. Some orders get packing slips, some don’t. I have no idea how they decide which orders get a packing slip. But, if your order has a packing slip, there will be a line of small print at the bottom with numbers and letters. If the letters at the end of that line are ebreutz or kbreutz, your order would have been packed by one of us. Wouldn’t it be a hoot if that actually happened!

I’ll leave with you the gorgeous sunset outside of our window last night.


Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Half Way There

We’ve survived five weeks of working at Amazon and are half way done. The countdown to the finish line can now begin!

As I have said, the work is hard, but the paychecks will be very nice. My main problem is working the nightshift. I did finally get a definite answer that they won’t move me to the dayshift. So, five more weeks of sleep deprivation. Oh well, this too shall pass.

At least we don’t have mandatory overtime for this week. Since Thursdays are our scheduled night, we have to work on Thanksgiving. However, we don’t have to go in until 7:00 pm (that’s 2 hours later than normal) and we’ll be getting overtime pay because it’s a holiday. Tomorrow Amazon is serving a turkey dinner to the employees during lunch break.

Things this last week were pretty crazy. They were training about 40 new employees in our area, so everything was a bit mixed up. They keep talking about “peak” and how hectic it is. We’ll see.

The weather has been bizarre. We had several days of strong winds between 20 to 30 mph, day and night. All that wind noise didn’t help with sleeping. Then, yesterday it was in the mid 70s and we were wearing shorts. Today it’s cloudy and cooler.

We’ve still been able to ride our bikes to work most nights because lows are hovering in the 40s. We did have a few nights of near freezing temps, but so far haven’t had a need to take in or insulate our water hose. Kevin has bought all the supplies needed to insulate the hose, so when the time comes he’ll be ready.

Other than work, we haven’t done too much. Just relaxing. We rented Captain America from Redbox last night and both of us had trouble staying awake to watch it :)  The movie was actually pretty good, but we’re just so tired.

I have made a few purchases on Amazon using our 10% employee discount, so that’s been nice. I have several more items on my wish list, but am waiting to see if the price goes down for Black Friday. Yes, Amazon also has Black Friday specials. I ‘m not going to buy too much, though. Can’t be spending all of our earnings shopping :)

In case you were wondering what my last post was about, it was an ad through a site called Blogsvertise. I’ve posted ads for them before. Each ad I post pays between $10 and $15. They only send me ads to post every month or so, but it sure is easy money. The way for you to know it is an ad is that the title will have a star * before and after it. If you see the stars, you’ll know its an ad, and it’s up to you whether you read it or not.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Friday, November 18, 2011

*Taking My Daughter To See The Nutcracker*

Guest post written by Dean Cooper

My daughter is a real girly-girl. I guess that I shouldn't be surprised by it because her mom is the same way. I've even learned how to braid hair just so I can help her get ready for school earlier in the mornings. If only my fraternity brothers could see me now! (But I'm sure that some of them are doing the exact same thing, too.) So I thought that it would be fun to buy some tickets for us to go and see The Nutcracker together for Christmas.

We're going to go and see the ballet together just a few nights before Christmas, so I had to go ahead and order tickets to go and see it. While I was online looking up that stuff, I ran across the website I looked through it some and after that I decided to go and get fitted with some hearing aids. I've had the feeling that I need them anyway.

I haven't told her yet and am waiting for a few more weeks before I do that. But I went ahead and secured the tickets and I can't wait to see the look on her face when I tell her we're going to see The Nutcracker!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

And The Winner Is…

Last Wednesday Amazon had an event they called the Holiday Kick-off. We do not work on Wednesdays, but employees were paid to attend the event, so we walked over to see what it was all about, and get an hour of overtime pay.

It was actually a fun event. Members of management were dressed as elves or reindeer. They pulled a sleigh into the warehouse. In the sleigh was the plant manager dressed as Santa. Behind the sleigh was a local high school marching band playing Jingle Bells.

The event lasted for about an hour. There was a skit by some of the managers and some games in which plant employees were chosen to participate. They also drew names for about 20 to 30 prizes including cameras, Kindles, TVs and Xboxes.

Drum roll here…..Kevin won a Kodak Easyshare camera. Cool. We have a camera we like better, so the Kodak will be sold. But, it was nice to win a prize.

It seems Amazon tries to do some nice things for their employees. They announced there will be some meals served during the peak season between Black Friday and Christmas and more prizes given away. A little can go a long way for morale during a busy season.

We finished our fourth week and have received our second paychecks. Tonight we get to work our first mandatory overtime shift. I’m not too excited about that. I wasn’t expecting mandatory overtime until Black Friday. The plant was shut down from midnight Saturday until 5:00 pm today for scheduled maintenance. Therefore, our shift has to work overtime tonight to make up for the lost time. Oh well, the payoff will be nice.

I’m still struggling with the night hours. I don’t think I’ll ever adjust to it. But, only six weeks to go. And, being able to take the winter months off is the carrot at the end of the stick. It’s worth it to us. Quite a few people have left. This work is definitely not for everyone.

P1120100We’ve been riding our bikes most days. Highs have been in the 60s lately, with lows in the 40s. It’s beautiful riding to work, but a bit cold coming home. However, it’s only a few blocks, so not that bad. The full moon has been absolutely gorgeous the last few nights.



Last night we went to dinner with Janie and John Dean. They are also fulltime RVers, about our age with two sons. I first met Janie online through our blogs. Last November, we met them in person in Las Vegas. We’ve kept in touch, and when they heard we were working at Amazon, they thought they’d also give it a try.

We went to Jack’s Place in Liberty, Kansas which is just a few miles from the campground. Jack’s is a bar in a very small town. They serve food, and the burgers are quite good.

After dinner, we came back to our camper and taught Janie and John how to play Wizard and Sequence. It was a great evening spent with great people! Lots of laughter, which is always a good thing. It was nice to get out and do something fun. I even forgot how tired I was for a while :)

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Short Trip to Arkansas

This weekend we visited our good friends, Dick and Wanda, who live in Bella Vista, Arkansas.  They used to live in Wisconsin, and we met them about fifteen years ago when they joined the camping club we belonged to.

Several years ago they sold their home in Wisconsin and spent a year traveling in their motorhome. They found they really liked the Bella Vista area and bought a condo.

Bella Vista is a little over two hours from Coffeyville so we left Saturday early afternoon and came back last night. On Saturday afternoon they took us to Bentonville, Arkansas which is the headquarters of the Wal-Mart Corporation.

080There is a Wal-Mart museum in downtown Bentonville located in the first Walton’s five and dime store which opened in 1950. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera so I only have a few pictures taken on my phone.




It was very interesting to learn about Sam Walton and how he and his brother built the Wal-Mart empire. I know there are a lot of Wal-Mart haters out there, but I must say I got the impression he was a nice guy, with good values and an excellent business sense. Since he opened his first Walton’s store in 1950, Wal-Mart has grown to 8,700 stores worldwide with gross sales of $450 billion in 2010.

Our next stop was the Crystal Bridges Art Museum building site. The museum is set to open on November 11. Alice Walton, daughter of Sam Walton, had the idea to built a museum of American art in Bentonville. The Wal-Mart Foundation has donated $1.2 billion to make her dream become a reality. It’s really quite something and will made Bentonville a destination for many tourists and art lovers.  I read that part of the donation was to ensure admission to the museum will be free.

There is a trail through a beautifully landscaped public garden to get to the viewing deck to see the museum. It’s a very impressive complex with two ponds formed by the Crystal Springs. Barbara Bush was there on Saturday for some type of special function prior to the opening of the museum. There was a police officer stationed at the viewing deck.



The fall colors were spectacular in Bella Vista. What a beautiful part of the country.

Saturday night we all felt a shaking sensation. Turns out there was an earthquake in Oklahoma, and we felt it in Arkansas. I’ll be interested to hear what people around here have to say about it.

On Sunday we played 18 holes of golf with Dick and Wanda. They belong to a couple of golf leagues so we were part of their outing. Kevin won $9 for the lowest net score. The skies were cloudy, but temps were in the 60s, so we had a pleasant day and a great time golfing with good friends.

After golf we went to a local pizza place, enjoyed some delicious pizza and watched the Packers beat the Chargers. We had no idea how many Packer fans there are in Arkansas.

Thanks Dick and Wanda for inviting us to visit. We had a terrific time!!

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Technical Difficulties

This has been a week of technical problems. I had some eBooks on hold through the public library. I got an email on Sunday letting me know one of the books was available. That’s great as I has just finished a book.

I downloaded the book to my computer and they hooked up my Sony Reader to transfer the book. When I dragged and dropped the book to the Reader, it didn’t transfer and I got a message the program was not responding. I tried a few times, with the same result each time. As it was time for bed, I gave up and figured I’d deal with it on Monday morning.

When I turned on my computer on Monday morning, it wouldn’t start. I tried a safe mode start and some fixes I knew of, but it wouldn’t start no matter what I did. I have a four your old Toshiba laptop with Vista. I’ve never had a problem with it, but wondered if it would be worth fixing.

Since we’re in an unfamiliar area, I went online on Kevin’s computer and found a few places that do computer repair in the area. No one answered my calls, so I left a few messages. A young man named Mike who owns his own computer repair business in Independence, was the first to call me back. I told him the problem, and he said he would try to fix it. He also told me that Vista is a bear to work with. He even volunteered to pick it up at the RV park as he was driving right by.

He came by Monday afternoon before we left for work and said he’d have an answer for my the next day. We agreed he would call if the cost was over $55. Tuesday afternoon he called and said it was fixed. He offered to bring it back to us. The total cost with tax was $60. Mike sure knows his stuff and gave us great service.

Apparently, some spyware had gotten into my computer. I am pretty good about doing scans and being proactive to prevent this kind of thing, but this time they got me. Mike checked everything else out, and he said it all looked fine.

So, now the computer is working. I hooked up the Reader again, and still couldn’t get the book to transfer. I did a little troubleshooting online, and ended up uninstalling and reinstalling the program. Still no luck.

I emailed Sony and told them my problem. I couldn’t believe I had a response within an hour. They had me reformat the Reader itself. Still not working. I emailed them back and they told me I should call their customer service number because it was too complicated to handle via email.

We had to go to work, so that call had to wait until this morning. By now I’ve had two days with poor sleep, and I must admit I was a bit crabby about the whole thing. Kevin will confirm that :)

I called Sony Technical Support and told them of my problems. Jose had me to go a site where he could access my computer remotely. I could see everything he was doing. He did some checking and thought it was not the Reader, but something in the computer program or the connection. He had me switch the cord to another USB port. Still no luck. He asked me if I was using the cord that came with the Reader. I didn’t know. I found the box, and there was the cord that came with the Reader still in the box.

I had been using a cord that came with my cell phone to tether it to my laptop. It had been working fine, but apparently the cord had gone bad. I changed the cords, and presto! It worked!!!

I am so impressed with Sony’s service. Although my Reader was still under warranty, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get any help figuring out what was wrong with it. The response from Sony was excellent.

So, now all the technical gadgets are working well again. I love technology; but when it’s not working, it can be so frustrating. I’m surprised I didn’t think of the cord as the problem. I knew about cords going bad, just never thought of it. I blame it on being tired.

Things at Amazon have been a little slow this week. They actually asked for volunteers to go home early last night, and were asking for people to not come in tonight. We’re here to earn money, so we don’t volunteer to leave. I think people are waiting for the Black Friday deals to start, and then the shopping frenzy will begin. We did end up getting sent home an hour early last Friday, but that’s not so bad.

The items I’ve been seeing a lot this week are a new book by David Baldacci and CDs by Susan Boyle and Michael Buble. I may be strange, but sometimes I wonder what the story is behind the orders. Is it a teacher ordering multiple copies of a book? Who are these people buying all the gourmet cat food? Is the person who ordered $180 worth of cake decorating books starting a business? Why are so many people buying cereal and peanut butter from Amazon? Is there a baby boom, because I sure am packing lots of baby stuff? I know, I’m strange.

It’s raining today which is a good thing. This area is very dry. It’s the first rain we’ve seen since before we left Wisconsin.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Little House on the Prairie in Kansas

I remember watching Little House on the Prairie when I was a girl. The TV show took place in Minnesota. I’m sure I read some or all of the books, but I don’t remember much about them.
So, I was surprised to find that there is a site about thirty miles from here where the Ingalls family lived for over a year from 1869 to 1871.
It’s just a little site in a rural area outside of Independence, Kansas. There is a reproduction of the cabin the Ingalls lived in, as well as a historic school and post office that were moved to the site from the surrounding area. The school is on the left, the post office in the middle, and the log cabin on the right.
Can you imagine a family of five living in this little cabin? I think it’s probably less square footage than our RV. And, we don’t have three children living with us.
There’s only one bed, so I’m thinking the children slept on mats on the floor.
Not a very comfortable looking chair.
There was a map that showed the places the Ingalls family lived. I didn’t realize how much they moved around. The lived in Wisconsin, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota and North Dakota. I love finding these little out of the way places. This is someplace we never would have visited if we were living our old life. But, what the heck, since it was only thirty miles away, why not.
On the Amazon front, we finished our second week and have both received our first paychecks. Yeah! I have not gotten any response to my two emails regarding switching to days, so it looks like we are stuck on the night shift. While it’s not ideal, I’m managing and we’ll end us with some extra money for working nights, so it will have to do.
It’s interesting to see the many items people order. According to what we were told at orientation, Amazon’s business is up 60% over last year. So, I guess not everyone is hurting from the bad economy. We packed a lot of the new Steve Jobs and John Grisham books last week, as well as the Captain America DVD.
Last night, Amazon arranged for the party room at the local Pizza Hut, and invited seasonal camper workers to attend at your their expense. Our friends Janie and John are also working at Amazon, and they had just arrived on Thursday. So, the four of us went to the Pizza Hut gathering. There were more people than they had room for in the party room, so we ended up in a booth outside of the room.
We didn’t get to connect much with any of the other workampers, but we had a nice time with Janie and John and enjoyed a good meal together.
Tomorrow we start week three. Time is going fast. Before we know it, we’ll be done working, and have spending money in the bank.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Meeting Fellow Workampers

We’ve been off of work for four days in a row. I’m actually getting a little bored. I didn’t pull out any of my quilting stuff because we won’t have this kind of downtime again, so we’ve just been taking it easy. That’s a good thing, since tomorrow we start our next work week.

The weather has been fantastic. Highs near 80 degrees every day and mostly sunny. We had a little rain overnight, but nothing severe. We were fortunate that the storms went to our south. About an hour south of us they had baseball sized hail.

We’ve been taking walks around the campground every day to keep our feet in shape. While out walking, we’ve met a few other couples who are working at Amazon. I had read comments from two of them regarding working at Amazon on the forum. We also met our youngest son’s girlfriend’s aunt and uncle, who are also full-time RVers. They got here two weeks before we did. Small world, isn’t it :)

On Friday night, we sat outside for a few hours and chatted with our next door neighbors. They’ve been fulltiming for about a year and have a toy hauler in which they haul their Harley Davidson motorcycle. Only the husband is working at Amazon. Did I mention that there are quite a few couples where only the husband is working? I was surprised by that.

It’s nice to meet other fulltimers. It’s a good opportunity to share information and learn from others. On Saturday there is a gathering for the Amazon Camperforce workers at the Pizza Hut in Coffeyville. We’re planning on attending.

We watched some Redbox movies this week, the latest Transformer release and Bridesmaids. We were a bit disappointed in Bridesmaids. It had it’s moments, but dragged in quite a few parts. Also, in my opinion, some of the intended humor was more ridiculous than it was funny.

The Green Bay Packers game is not on TV in this part of the country today. Kevin has his satellite radio all set up so he can listen to it. This is exactly why he got the service, can’t be missing those baseball and football games.

I’m cheering for the Texas Rangers to win the World Series. The Cardinals beat our Brewers, so they’re on my **** list!

Go Packers!!!!

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

One Down, Nine To Go

We survived our first week, nine to go.

As I said, it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. For me, the worst is adjusting to the night shift. I’m able to sleep between five and six hours before waking up. I normally am not one to take naps, but I did nap for about 30 minutes yesterday. We don’t plan on keeping this crazy sleep schedule on our days off. I hope to get a very good night’s sleep tonight :)

The second hardest thing is being on your feet for 10 hours. Packing on the line does give you the opportunity to move around a bit, so you’re not completely standing in one spot all the time. But, after the first 8 hours, my feet are pretty sore. However, the next morning I’m feeling fine again, just tired.

Time does go pretty fast. There’s always another order to pack. Last night we found out that two of the lines are for big orders. That involves preparing larger boxes and filling those orders. A lot of diapers, formula, and bulk food items. These lines seem to have the most problems. Because of the size of the items, they sometimes get stuck in a chute or go down the wrong one. So, you spend a lot of time looking for your items or getting help from the problem solving desk.

Each shift you work the first half of the shift on one line, and then they switch you to another one for the second half. It’s supposed to help keep everyone from doing the same repetitive motions. I definitely like the smaller order lines better. Working the big order lines involves much more bending and lifting.

It’s quite interesting to see some of the products Amazon sells. I’m surprised by the amount of food products, things like boxes of cereal, peanut butter and coffee are popular items. Also, lots of baby and electronic items. Many of the orders are for books. I noticed lots of religious books, maybe it’s a sign of the times. Some of the most unusual items have been some adult rated items. I packed a book called “Tickle His Pickle”. And yes, it’s  what you’re thinking :)  I also packed a box of adult playing cards. Kevin had an order for powdered peanut butter. We’ve never heard of that.

I’ve had quite a few comments on my last few posts with questions, so I’m going to try to answer them all. Our shifts are ten hours. Amazon is paying the full cost of our site. I was surprised to learn that quite a few of the couples here only have one of them working at the plant. Amazon still pays for the full site.

The first two nights I wore tennis shoes. Last night I wore my Merrell hiking shoes. They were a bit more comfortable because the soles are thicker. You are not allowed to wear toning shoes. They have been deemed to be a trip hazard. I have a pair of Avia toning tennis shoes, and they are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever had. So, I was bummed that I couldn’t wear them. Kevin says his back and feet have not been hurting.

There are no pads on the floor on the lines because you have to roll your cart up and down the line to the chutes that have orders ready. There is an area called singles where you stand at a station and pack single items. There are mats in that area. We’ll probably have to work there at some point, as well. I think standing in one spot, even with a mat, would be harder. We’ll see.

Amazon has hired some returning workampers to be Seasonal Camper Coaches. There is a lady (I forgot her name) who has come around the last two nights and asked us how things are going. I told her about our problem of not getting the shift and job we thought we had signed up for. She said many people have the same complaint. She heard there was an HR meeting last week where it was decided the only way to get anything changed would be with a doctor’s excuse. So, I’m thinking we’re stuck with this shift. Of course, we could just leave. But, let’s face it. Everyone is here for the same reason, for the money. Between the two of us, we will make about $10,000 in 10 weeks. We feel the pay-off is worth it. So, we’re staying and will deal with it. After all, only 9 weeks to go :)

I’d like to welcome several new followers. It seems this Amazon topic is of interest to quite a few of you. I’ll keep giving you as much information as I can. Keep asking questions, so I know what you want to hear about.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

We Survived Our First Night!

And, it wasn’t that bad!

We spent the first half of our shift getting trained. There was one other couple getting trained with us. Our trainer, Tammy, took us through a simulator program that showed us how to do the packaging job, and what problems might arise.

We’re in Crisplant where all of the orders get packaged. It’s quite amazing how it all works. I think this is the least favorite area to work because it is quite noisy. There are many different types of conveyors all over the place, creating lots of noise.

After our lunch break (I’ve never had lunch at 10:00 p.m. before), we were assigned to a line and began working for real. There are eight lines that run the length of the warehouse. The lines are split into sections, and you are assigned to a couple of sections. Each section has 24 chutes in it, 12 up and 12 down.

Conveyors are bringing orders to the chutes. You are assigned to a cart for certain sections of the line. The cart is equipped with a computer, boxes, tape, labels and packing materials.

The chutes have lights on them. When two lights are blinking, that’s a priority order and you do those first. When one light is blinking, you fill those orders as you can. So, you’re pushing your cart along your part of the line, stopping at the ones that have the flashing lights, and filling those orders. This allows you to not stand in one spot all of the time.

Each chute has a bar code with it. You scan the code, and the computer tells you what size box to use, and what items are in the order. Most of the time, the correct items are in the chute. If there’s anything missing, it’s usually in a chute nearby, and it’s because the conveyor dropped it down the wrong chute.

The tape machine has buttons coded to match the box codes. You push the button corresponding to the box you’re using, and it spits out the correct size packing tape, already wet. I had the most trouble getting the tape on some of the larger boxes. Kevin and I both wore gloves to keep from getting glue all over our hands.

They provide the gloves, as well as earplugs for the noise. I didn’t find the plant noise that bad. I put in the earphones when they started blasting music. There are a lot of young people working in this area, and they like their music loud :)

I hope this isn’t too confusing. I’m trying to explain it the best I can because many people have expressed an interest in how it works.

My feet and knees were quite tired and sore by the end of the night, but nothing I can’t deal with. I did take some ibuprofen about halfway through the night, and that helped. I went to bed at 4:30 a.m. and slept until 10:30 a.m. I took a Tylenol PM before going to bed because I was very worried I’d be up after only a few hours. Hopefully, after a few nights, my body clock will adjust.

So, while our job and hours are not what we were expecting, it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. We’ll be able to do it, and are making more money by working nights. If they are able to switch us to days, we’ll still take it. 

Our normal shift will be M, T, Th, and F from 5:00 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. This week because we had training on Sunday, we’re working M, T, and W. Then we’ll have a four day weekend before our regular shift starts next week.

We met quite a few members of the Camper Force (that’s what we’re called) last night. Most of them are not doing the job they thought they were getting. So, I think the hiring process was a bit misleading. Everyone seems to have a pretty good attitude about it. After all, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. And, face it, we’re all here for one reason. To make some decent money for a short period of time. Amazon even has a logo for us :)

Camper Force

I think it will be worth it. By working at Amazon, we’ll be able to enjoy the winter without working. We like that trade-off!

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Hitch in the Process

Yesterday was our orientation day at Amazon. We were told it would be from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The first order of business was to take everyone’s picture for the ID tags. Then we walked through part of the warehouse to one of the training rooms.

There the group of 38 was split into two. Our group went on the two hour safety training tour. Everyone was given a radio with an earphone so we could hear our leader. That worked very well. He took us all around the warehouse, and showed us everything we needed to know about safety. He taught us how to be safe around the conveyor belts and fork lift trucks. We learned the correct way to push the carts, lift boxes, move pallets, pick up totes, etc. Most of it was common sense, but we got a good look at the warehouse. It’s huge, over one million square feet. Crisplant, which is the packing area for multi-item orders, was the loudest part of the plant due to a chain conveyor system that goes around overhead.

After we were done with the safety tour, we went back to the training room for lunch. They provided us with turkey and beef sandwiches, veggies and dip, and soda or water. It was simple but good. They raffled off a few prizes, tote bags, coffee mugs, shirts. We didn’t win.

After lunch the second group went on the safety tour, and we watched videos on harassment, diversity, business ethics, the usual HR stuff. We sat around for a few hours doing nothing while they got each person set up with passwords and checked documentation. This afternoon session seemed rather disorganized. There was paperwork to complete, and then we finally left at 6:30 p.m. We got paid for all hours we were there, so, although sitting around for a few hours with nothing to do was a bit annoying, it wasn’t all that bad.

We had a chance to talk to some of the other people. A few were returning. I was surprised they had to go through the whole orientation process again.

The hitch came when we were told what our jobs would be. They didn’t tell us until the end of the day after we had already done all of the rest of the process. We were told we would be working as packers in Crisplant on the night shift. WHAT????? That’s not at all what we thought we signed up for!

When we had our phone interview and were hired in April, we were asked what our preferences were. We told Paul, the interviewer, that we did not think we could stand in one place for 10 hours and would prefer walking. He suggested the picker job for us. We also told him we wanted to work days. Kevin and I both got the impression from that interview that we would be given the job of pickers on the day shift.

So, you can imagine that we were pretty shocked to find out that we were given the exact opposite of what we asked for. Paul was doing the training, so we talked to him about it. He said there must have been a mistake, but didn’t know if he could do anything about it at this time. He told us he would try to get us on days.

Those of you who know me, know that I am so not a night person. Working from 5:00 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. is going to be very hard for me. I have a very hard time sleeping during the day. We were also given the doughnut shift which is Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. We would have preferred working four days in a row, so we could have three days off. Oh well, that’s not the worst. We can deal with that.

So, we start our night shift job today. I’m going to give it a try and hope that Paul can get us switched to days. Kevin is much more of a night person, so he thinks he can handle it. Time will tell, but I’m pretty bummed about all of this.

The good news is that the night shift gets paid $11.00 per hour rather than $10.50.

There was one other thing that was different than we were led to believe. When we were hired, we thought we would each get a $500 bonus if we stayed through Dec. 23rd. That’s not the case. You get a bonus of 50 cents per hour you work, if you stay until the end. That’s more like $250 to $300 per person depending on how much overtime there will be.

So, I’m not too thrilled about this turn of events. But, we drove all the way down here, and we are going to do our best to make it work for us. Who knows, maybe it wont’ be as bad as I think.

There are no phones or cameras allowed inside the plant, so I won’t be able to show you any pictures. Just believe me when I tell you it’s massive.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Checking Things Out

This morning we drove to Coffeyville to check things out. It’s a pretty small town about 7 miles from us, with one main road that has tons of fast food places, but no Dairy Queen :(

There is also a new Wal-Mart in town with a Redbox, so we were able to rent the new X-Men movie for tonight.

Since we had a buy-one, get-one coupon for a Blizzard, we had to also check out the town of Independence, which does have a Dairy Queen, as well as another Wal-Mart. Independence is about twice as far as Coffeyville, so I don’t see a reason why we’ll have to go back there, unless we need a Dairy Queen fix. Both towns are pretty small. We are about an hour from any type of larger city, either Joplin, Missouri or Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Since tomorrow is our official start day at Amazon, it’s also my first day of eating less, especially snacks. So, we may not be visiting Independence again :(

Because we will be doing so much walking at work, I hope to use this as motivation to eat better and lose 10 pounds. We’ll see how that goes. I’m hoping that instead of paying to belong to a health club, I can get paid to lose weight :)

When we got back from shopping, we rode out bikes over to Amazon. Even though our campground is across the street, it’s still a couple of miles to the employee entrance. Amazon is huge.


It took us about 7 minutes on our bikes, and they have bike racks for employees. So, as long as the weather holds out, we’ll be riding our bikes to and from work. Kevin wanted to walk, but that will take too long when our start time is at 6:30 a.m. The bikes are a good compromise.

Quite a few readers have expressed interest in how this Amazon job will work out. So, I will try to give you a good look at exactly what we’ll be doing. Hopefully, I won’t be boring anyone.

Did you know that Kansas is the Sunflower State. I haven’t seen too many of them, but it may be too late in the season. It’s quite dry here. I think this area may have experienced some drought this summer. These are the only sunflowers I’ve seen so far, and they are next to Amazon’s parking lot.


Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Very Eventful Travel Day

The day started with a beautiful sunrise.


Today we were only going to travel about 100 miles to Coffeyville, Kansas. We weren’t in any hurry, so we got up, packed up and were on the road at about 10:00, planning to arrive at around noon.

About 15 miles before we were supposed to reach our destination, we saw a huge cloud of smoke ahead of us. At about the same time, I noticed all kinds of loose hay scattered along the side of the highway. Traffic on Highway 169 came to a stop. This is what I saw about 100 yards ahead of us.


I also noticed that the grass along the side of the road next to us was smoking.


Pretty soon I saw actual flames in the grass. The wind was blowing the smoke and ash towards our camper, and the fire was growing. I kept thinking a fire truck would come, but as the fire got bigger, I got scared. So, I called 911 and reported it. The dispatcher connected me to the Sheriff’s Department, and they did not know about this grass fire. They only knew about the truck that was on fire ahead of us.

Within a few minutes, a pumper truck came driving up along the shoulder and began spraying water on the grass fire. I’m sure glad I called. It would have been a really bad day if our RV caught fire!

After waiting for about 1-1/2 hours, a DOT worker came and told us it would be another 30 minutes or so to clear the debris off of the road. We weren’t going anywhere. There was no way to turn around. At one point, there were two semi-trucks stuck across the road while trying to turn around; one on each side of the accident. We were thinking we might never get out of there.

P1120077 P1120078

Luckily, both trucks were able to get themselves turned around before traffic started flowing again. Our total wait time was 2-1/2 hours. Here’s what we saw when we finally were able to get past the fire. The driver of that trailer was not having a good day!!!


We’re staying at Big Chief Campground which is across the street from Amazon. Sharon checked us in, and she was very nice. We’re in site E-10. Last season was the first time this campground was open. It’s basically a big field with pull-through sites with full hook-ups. They are in the process of building a new  bathhouse which will have laundry facilities. That’s a plus.

But, the location is great, and Amazon is paying for our stay. Sunday the campground is sponsoring a cookout after we get back from orientation. Tomorrow we’ll do a little exploring. Right now it’s time for Happy Hour!

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hillsdale State Park, Kansas

We left Iowa yesterday morning, and drove for about 7 hours to Hillsdale State Park in Kansas. We encountered some rain a few times, but it wasn’t too bad. We both prefer shorter travel days, but I had checked out this park online, and it looked very nice. So, Kevin drove a few extra hours so we could spend 2 nights here.

I’m so glad he did. This is a great park. I’d say one of the nicest we’ve stayed at. It is situated along the shores of a reservoir that was built as part of a flood control plan in the 1980s. There are 200 campsites in 6 different camping loops, with 3/4 of them having electric and water hook-ups. The fall camping fee was $20.20 per night, which included the daily fee for park entrance.

We’re in the Scott Creek loop. That’s Scott Creek behind our site. We have a fantastic view out of our back window. When the reservoir was built, 70 percent of the standing timber was left to provide fish habitat. That’s why you can see dead trees sticking out of the water.


Each site has a pole cemented into a tire with a hook on the end. It’s to the left of the picnic table in the picture. We can’t figure out what the poles are for.

The park is huge with just under 3,000 acres. In addition to the camping, there are 2 beaches, shelters, hiking and biking trails, boat launches, fishing and a marina. This morning we hiked for 2 hours. After lunch we rode our bikes for an hour. Trying to condition our bodies for those long hours on our feet at Amazon.

Here’s one of the beaches. Today was a beautiful day with highs in the mid 70s, but the beach was empty except for a few geese. The marina is to the right.


I saw this huge wasp or hornet on the sand. It had to be at least 3 inches long. I’ve never seen a wasp or bee this big, it was scary looking.


The hiking trail loops around the water, and so we saw our camper from across the creek. That’s our home in the middle.


There were many trees with these large green balls growing on them. We don’t know what they’re called. However, several years ago when we were in Amana, Iowa, one of the shops was selling these balls. Supposedly, they keep spiders out of your basement. At that time, I bought some and put them in the basement at home. I can’t really say I noticed a difference in the amount of spiders we had down there that year.


We got a kick out of this sign.


It’s for one of the other camping loops. We realize that it’s referring to the fish; but at first glance, it made us think of crappie, as in something is crummy or nasty.

It was a pleasant surprise to discover that one of the camping loops actually has a small laundry room with 2 washers and 2 dryers. I was able to wash all of our dirty clothes, so we won’t have to think about it during our first week at Amazon.

As I said, we really like it here, and definitely would come back again. Tomorrow we head to Coffeyville. It’s only about 100 miles from here, so it will be a short travel day.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Another Fantastic Day

Today was another gorgeous day, made even better because it was spent with family.

In the morning, we rode our bikes in the opposite direction we traveled on the bike trail yesterday. We ended up in Cedar Falls. Much of the trail is along the banks of the Cedar River, very pretty. I just love these bike trails.

We came upon the Ice House Museum in Cedar Falls. It was closed, but had an information sign. This large icehouse was built in 1921, is 100 feet in diameter, and 30 feet high.  In it’s day it stored 6,000 to 8,000 tons of ice harvested from the river.  The blocks weighed up to 200 pounds and could last up to 12 months stored in the sawdust. The last ice was harvested in 1934. In 1975, funds were raised and the building was restored.


Our ride also took us through Island Park. I saw this building with the sign that says Island Park Beach House. I was joking with Kevin that it was the smallest beach house I’ve ever seen.


It turns out there was a lovely beach house built along the shores of the Cedar River in 1920. Sadly, it fell victim to the terrible flooding this area experienced in 2008 and was demolished. Here’s a picture of what it looked like in the 1920s.


I saw this huge bird in one of the trees in the park. I thought it was possibly an owl. After zooming in, I think it’s actually some type of hawk. It was really big. Maybe my blogger friend, Judy, will know what it is.


P1120047Kevin noticed that all the houses along the river have a unique architectural style. The first level is the garage built out of concrete block. The main living area is built above the garage. Kevin’s brother, Joe, told us that there is frequent flooding along the river, and these homes are built with that in mind. Interesting.




We had made plans to golf with Joe so we met him and his wife, Julie, at their house in Waverly and headed to the golf course. Kevin, Joe and I golfed, and Julie rode along in the cart with Joe. Kevin and Joe haven’t golfed together in many years, and I think they really enjoyed themselves. I didn’t play very well. The course had many rolling hills. I felt like I was always standing on an incline, and my fairway shots were not good. Oh well, it was such a nice day, and we had a good time anyway.

Joe and Julie took us on a tour of their workplace. They both work at Wartburg College.

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Julie took a vacation day, and Joe doesn’t have classes on Tuesday, so was able to arrange his schedule to spend the afternoon with us. Julie works in the IT Department, and Joe is a Math and Computer Science professor. Here’s Dr. Breutzmann in his office.


Waverly also has a bike path, so we walked a portion of it along the Cedar River. We spent some time visiting at their home, and then they treated us to dinner at a great Mexican restaurant in town. Their son, Robert, was able to join us for dinner. Thanks for a great day!

P1120053A full moon was just coming up as we arrived back home. A beautiful end to a perfect day.









I had to laugh at the comment fellow bloggers, Kevin and Ruth, left yesterday. They wanted to know why we paid an extra $5 a day for a full hook-up site. I had that same question. We’re only here for 2 nights, and I thought an electric only site would be just fine. Kevin had other ideas. He told me he didn’t want to have to spend the time filling up with water when we got here, and he didn’t want to guess how much water to put in, and he didn’t want to tow with the weight of extra water when we left, etc., etc., etc. None of it made sense to me, since he’s done all of that in the past. Well, after a little teasing, he admitted that he’s on vacation this week between his job in Wisconsin and Amazon, and he just didn’t feel like messing with the water. I get it, that’s just fine. We tend to be frugal, too; but sometimes you just want to splurge a little. This was Kevin’s little splurge :)

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

We’ve Arrived in Iowa

Yesterday we had an uneventful drive from Beaver Dam, Wisconsin to Cedar Falls, Iowa. It was another beautiful day with highs in the 80s. I love uneventful driving days!

We’re staying at Black Hawk Park. It’s a county campground, and is very nice. We have a full-hook up site with 50 amp service for $22 a night. They also have electric only sites for $17. 


We’ve heard that Iowa has lots of bike trails. That’s the case at this park. There are miles of bike trails that go through this park. You can ride to many of the surrounding cities. Yesterday we rode for about an hour. The trails are paved, and it was a great ride. We went to Big Woods Lake Park. There is another county campground there.


I’m loving these bike trails. Today, we’ll ride in the opposite direction we went yesterday and see what we can find.

The main reason we stopped in Iowa on our way to Kansas was to visit Kevin’s brother, Joe, and his family. Last night Joe and his youngest son, Robert, came for a visit. Joe’s wife, Julie, was at a meeting, so we’ll see her today. We cooked hot dogs and smores at the campfire and had a nice visit. Today, we’re driving up to there house in Waverly.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fabulous Weather and an Interview

The past seven days have been some of the most beautiful weather ever. Sunny, highs near 80* every day, and no humidity. The sky is that gorgeous crisp blue color you only get in fall.  The great weather brought many campers to our park. We only had one vacant site by the time Saturday evening rolled around. The fantastic weather has caused the trees to explode with color.


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Unfortunately, the unit camped right next to us this weekend were the most annoying people we’ve encountered during the entire season. We don’t have a problem being friendly, but the woman talked non-stop. As soon as she saw us, she was over here. Then she acted like she was our helper, telling other campers the rules. Their dog was a yappy little barker. Her grandchildren came Saturday afternoon and ran wild through the park without any supervision. They were running around behind our camper. I was afraid they’d knock our satellite dish over. One of them had an accident in the bathroom. They were just a real pain!

Thank goodness we’re leaving tomorrow. We’ve had enough of “customers” for a while. Don’t get me wrong, we loved our summer here. But, after almost six months, it’s time to move on for a while. We’ve agreed to come back next year, and are happy to do so. Kevin will be the caretaker again, and we’ll be camphosting, too. Just need a break :)

On Thursday I went to Eric’s one more time before we leave. He had to replace a few boards while siding his garage. So, I gave them a coat of paint for the winter. I also did our laundry. Now it’ll be back to laundromats for a while.

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from Shane who hosts a website called He’s been reading my blog, and wanted to know if we’d be willing to be interviewed for his website. I said sure. So, he sent me some questions, I responded, and here is the result. Isn’t the internet amazing.

Tomorrow we leave for Iowa for a few days to visit Kevin’s brother and family. We’ll make our way to Coffeyville, Kansas where we begin our job at Amazon on October 16th. So, the next adventure begins.

I’ll leave you with a picture from our “yard”. If you haven’t guessed by now, we’re Wisconsin sports fans. Our Milwaukee Brewers won the first round of the play-offs in dramatic fashion in the tenth inning of game five. They begin round two against the St. Louis Cardinals this afternoon. Go Brewers!!! So far this season, the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers are undefeated. How exciting!!


Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!