Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Not All Who Wander Are Lost
October, 2017 - Mexico

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Hardening Week is Done

We’ve completed our first week at Amazon as stowers. The first week is a hardening week, which means you only work five hour shifts instead of ten. So, we worked 5:30 to 10:30 pm this week. I wish it would be like that the entire time we are here. However, then we’d only make half the money.

We are stowers this year, which means putting the products on the shelves. It’s not a hard job. You take a large cart full of stuff and put it on shelves in the area you are assigned to. It’s really amazing how much stuff you can fit onto those shelves. You can spend hours in one row just filling those bins with anything you can imagine.

Amazon uses random stowing, so there is all kinds of stuff in every area. Everything is scanned, so their amazing computer system always knows where everything is.

Stowing is an okay job. Since you can fit so much in an area, you aren’t really moving around that much. Just slowly working your way up an aisle. My back was hurting after five hours, so I’m sure the ibuprofen will be needed for ten hours.

There is a chance that as the Christmas season gets closer, we will be moved to pickers. I would prefer that, but time will tell.

Today we’re going to Tulsa to look at some RVs at Camperland RV of Oklahoma. You just never know what we might find. We’ve never been to Tulsa, and I hear they have some nice parks along the river in the midtown area. There is rain in the forecast, so we’ll see how it goes.

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

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Training Finished

We arrived at Big Chief RV Park across the street from Amazon in Coffeyville, Kansas on Tuesday afternoon. I had made a reservation back in April, and called the week before we arrived to confirm. I was told there was no problem, they had a site for us.

When we arrived, we were told that there were over 70 sites occupied by pipeline workers and Amazon campers under 40 feet would have to double up on sites. We weren’t happy with that, but went with the managers on the golf cart to take a look. They wanted us to double up with another 5th wheel that was about the same size as ours. There was no way we could fit on that site. Plus, they were already plugged into the 50 amp plug. We were not going to accept a 30 amp plug in the same box as the 50 amp.

Eventually, they put us in our own site, but had us pull forward so they could fit a smaller camper behind us if needed. We have a full hookup site with 50 amp. If someone else gets parked behind us, they would have to plug into the same box as us, in the 30 amp plug, share the same sewer hole and water spigot.

A few Amazon workers have left this campground and gone to another park in town because they were not willing to share their site. Hopefully, this will leave enough open sites so we won’t have to share. The only reason we stay here is the proximity to Amazon. We ride our bikes to work most every day which saves on fuel and time. Amazon is not happy that the campground is doing this.

Training was on Thursday and Friday from 1 pm to 5:30 pm. It was the same stuff we’ve done each year so rather boring, but everyone has to do it. There have been some changes at Amazon this year.

They are stocking much more product than ever before. There will be over 1 million items coming in each week for seven weeks. That’s a lot of stuff. For that reason, all campers have been assigned to inbound up to this point. Inbound is getting the stuff into the plant and stocked on the shelves.

We have been assigned to be stowers on the night donut shift. That’s the shift we requested, but not the job. We had asked to be pickers like last year. Stowers put the items on the shelves, pickers take them off. I think stowing will be okay. You don’t move around as much, but its not standing in one spot all the time, and that’s what we definitely didn’t want to do. There is the possibility that once the Christmas rush begins, we may be able to move to the picker job, but no promises.

Another change is that there is no mandatory overtime for campers this year. The maximum you have to work is four ten hour days. Once overtime becomes available, you can volunteer. They think this will work out okay, because the only reason campers are here is to make money, so they will still work the overtime. For me, I’ll maybe work some overtime, but I’m thrilled that I don’t have to if I don’t feel up to it.

We start work on Monday. The first week is a “hardening” week where you only work a half shift each day. Then the next week we start the four ten hour days. We work Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 5:30 pm to 4:00 am. Another adventure begins. It’s only eight weeks, so not so bad.

Our son Korey and his wife Cathryn were on their honeymoon this week. They went on a Disney cruise and return today. I can’t wait to hear all about it. It was Cathryn’s first cruise. I hope she enjoyed cruising as much as we do.

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

Monday, October 14, 2013

Visiting Iowa and Missouri

We spent four nights at George Wyth State Park in Waterloo, Iowa. We really like this park. The weather was beautiful the whole time.

We did a little bike riding and some hiking. Kevin’s brother Josef is a professor at Wartburg College in Waverly. It was homecoming weekend at the college, so on Saturday we wandered around the campus checking out the activities.

The college has a new science professor who has brought some creepy, crawly friends to his classroom. Josef took us to the room so we could see the snakes, lizards and giants bugs. Very interesting. The same science professor also has four African desert tortoises that he allows to roam in a courtyard. After the homecoming weekend, the tortoises were going home with the professor for the winter.

Tortoise

We did some hiking with Josef and his family and went out to dinner both Friday and Saturday night. It was great visiting with family.

On Sunday we left Iowa and headed to Wallace State Park in Cameron, Missouri. It’s about an hour north of Kansas City, conveniently located just two miles off of I-35. We stayed here last year, but didn’t get to explore the park because we were dealing with our tire blowout the whole time.

This year we didn’t have any tire problems (keeping my fingers crossed)!!! Today we hiked 3.5 miles. There is a small lake in the park and lots of hiking trails. The leaves have some color in them, but not too much yet.

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I was hoping for some nice reflective photos, but it wasn’t meant to happen. This is the best I could get.

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Tomorrow we leave and head to Big Chief RV Park in Coffeyville, Kansas until just before Christmas. We’ll be working at Amazon. We got a call from Amazon today confirming our job assignments. We will be working 8th shift which is nights on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and our job will be stowers. That’s the shift we asked for, but not the job.

We had asked to be pickers again like we were last year. Stowers put the products in the bins rather than taking them out. It means staying in one area of bins and filling them with products. There is some walking, but not as much as pickers. Hopefully, stowing won’t be too much standing in one spot. That’s what we definitely don’t want to be doing. We’ll see how it goes. Our orientation is Thursday and Friday, so we’ll know more after that.

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

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Repairs Done – Iowa Here We Come

We left our camp hosting position in Beaver Dam Monday morning and headed to Burlington RV for some repairs. We had an appointment to have the cosmetic damage from last October’s tire blowout damage repaired. Also, we were having them replace the skylight which got a hole in it when the tree branch attacked our roof in Texas last March. Kevin had repaired the tear in the rubber roof using Dicor tape, and that has held up very well.

I had communicated with Burlington RV during the summer to make sure all parts were here and all painting of those parts was done before we arrived. We had an appointment for 1:00 pm on Monday. When we arrived, we were told they could not get to the repairs until Tuesday morning. They have a free hookup area in their parking lot so that’s where we spent Monday night with 50 amp electric service and water available.

They had two technicians come in at 7:30 am on Tuesday and start early to get the job done in one day. We were out by 7:30 am. That’s pretty early for Kevin’s liking. We went out for breakfast and then hung out in the RV dealer’s waiting room for a few hours watching TV and using their computer.

We had heard lots of good reviews for the movie Gravity in 3D, so we went to the noon matinee. It was good, but I wouldn’t say it was outstanding. But, it was something to do. After the movie we headed to the outlet mall. Most of the stores are name brand, and the prices are way more than we are willing to spend. I did buy some underwear at a good price and bought some lotion at Bath and Body Works.

Then it was back to the RV dealer for another hour of waiting. The good news is the repairs are all done, and everything looks great. We’re spending tonight in their parking lot again, and tomorrow we head to Waterloo, Iowa for a few days. We’re going back to George Wythe State Park where we stayed last year.

Kevin’s brother lives nearby, so we’ll be visiting with family for a few days before we head to Coffeyville, Kansas for our job at Amazon. The weather has been beautiful again and is predicted to be great the rest of the week.

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

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Scooby-Doo Where Are You?

We had another beautiful weather weekend which brought out several campers. As usual, they all left on Sunday. But, we did have a couple come in for a two day stay on Sunday. They were in one of the smallest trailers I’ve seen. It was kind of cute. They never put the bed on the side out, so I’m guessing there must be another bed in that small trailer. They even had a very big dog with them.

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Sunday afternoon we drove to the Horicon Marsh to see if there were any birds migrating through that area. The marsh is part of a wildlife refuge, and every year thousands of geese stop off on their way south. It has been quite warm this fall, and most of the geese have not arrived yet. We enjoyed a very nice hike and did see some birds. We also saw these black turtles. They have red on their bottoms. Not sure what kind of turtles they are.

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There was one group of geese in the field. At first I thought there were only geese out there, but then I heard the sound of cranes. Sure enough, there was a group of cranes out there, too. They are along the back right in front of the corn. There wasn’t much fall color yet.

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There were lots of pretty wildflowers growing along the hiking trail.

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After dark on Sunday, we saw a motorhome come into the park. It didn’t stop, but went right to a site. Our park is self-registration so this is not unusual. When we looked out the window on Monday morning, we were quite surprised by what we saw.

Ruh-roh, it’s the Mystery Machine in our park!! I walked over to take a picture, but Scooby, Shaggy and the gang were nowhere to be found.

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It turns out the owner is a retired Air Force worker who painted airplanes while in the service. He painted this motorhome by himself. He also has a very nice restored VW bug that he tows behind it.  I wonder what the inside looks like.

Our time in Wisconsin is quickly coming to an end for another year. This is our last week, so we are taking care of last minute errands and chores.

On Monday morning Kevin and I played our last round of golf at our favorite course in the area. It was another beautiful day, and we had a good time. I actually had a pretty good round. In the afternoon we drove both vehicles to my mom’s house. She allows us to store our car in her garage for the winter. She has listed her property for sale, so we may lose our car storage in the future. Time will tell.

On Monday evening we had a farewell dinner at Chili's with my mom, her friend Richard, and our son Eric. We won’t be coming back for Christmas this year, so we won’t be seeing my mom for over six months. We’ll see our boys in January when they join us in New Orleans for a cruise.

On the drive into town, I saw these maple trees. These are some of the first trees I’ve seen that are starting to get color. P1150073

Yesterday I had a Skype conversation with our son Korey and his wife Cathryn. They gave me a virtual tour of their apartment. It sure is nice to be able to stay in touch with distant family and friends.

Kevin is finishing up his work here at the campground today. Tomorrow we plan to wash the fifth wheel before we hit the road. Friday Kevin is golfing with a few friends and Saturday our son Eric is coming out to replace the motor in our air conditioner. It has been acting up lately. Eric is an HVAC service technician and was able to order the new motor for us and will install it. He asked for brats for dinner. That’s the least we can do :)

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