Not All Who Wander Are Lost

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

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.

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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!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Another Bike Ride

Prior to yesterday we had seven days in a row with rain. We did manage to take some walks during that time, but not much else. Highs last week were in the 50s. Time to be heading south.

Yesterday the sun finally reappeared. Temperatures were still in the high 50s and we had frost the last two nights. However, the forecast for all of the upcoming week is highs in the mid 70s. That’s more like it. With the frosty conditions this morning, the lake was steaming.


Since it was sunny yesterday, we decided to take another bike ride on the Wild Goose State Trail. I thought the leaves would be full of color.  We had a nice ten mile ride, but there was very little color. Quite a few brown leaves were on the ground, but the trees were still full of green. I’m thinking the trees along the trail aren’t the colorful type. There was some beautiful red sumac.


The fuzz is coming out of the Milkweed pods, and there’s lots of Goldenrod around. Not good for allergy sufferers. You can see the dry cornstalks in the background of the picture. I’m amazed how many corn fields have not been harvested. I ‘m not positive, but I think they grind up the entire dry cornstalk and use it as silage to feed the cows during the winter.


We got home in time to watch the Milwaukee Brewers win their first playoff game. After that, the Wisconsin Badgers handily beat the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Today the Brewers play game two, and the Green Bay Packers have a game. Kevin is in sports heaven right now!

Our park has several Shaggy Bark Hickory trees. The last two weeks, there have been a number of people coming by and collecting the nuts. I asked one couple what they do with them. They told me they are very tasty, and they also sell them. After a little online searching, I found out people are selling them for $9 to $12 a pound. I had no idea. I’ve been collecting a pocketful on my walks. So far, I have collected this many.


I understand they are difficult to crack and get out of the shells. I’m letting them dry out for a few weeks, and then I’ll see how it goes. I did crack open a few of them, and they are very tasty; reminded me of pecans.

On Thursday we went back to the dentist. Kevin had his root canal and I had a cavity filled. About $1,100 later, we’re in good dental shape again. Hopefully, other than cleanings, that’s it for several years.

We leave a week from tomorrow. Lots to accomplish this last week!

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