It happens every fall around this time; all of a sudden I realize its been days, if not weeks, since I've written anything. And I always feel bad, neglecting my journal in this manner. After all, not only do I write to keep interested folks current on our whereabouts, but also to keep a record of where we are, what we're doing, and how things are going. So even if things aren't all rosy, I really need to keep things updated. I think every single one of us in this lifestyle is always assessing how things are, and where we go from here; figuratively, as well as physically!
I'm always saying this nomadic lifestyle is a constant work-in-progress. Howard and Linda Payne over at RV-Dreams constantly say no one way of full-time rv'ing is right or wrong, and this is true. What works for us may not work for someone else. Sometimes, even what we think will work for us, doesn't, and has to be adjusted. This has been a radical change of mind-set for me. I've always been a planner, thinking through a process, deciding a course of action, and once decided, seeing it through. Change was always difficult for me...if something is working, why change it? It was so much easier just to flow along with things the way they always had been.
But after awhile, it wasn't enough. Thankfully, Al and I have always seemed to evolve to a new level at the same time. It is way too easy for partners to move in different directions and not realize it until it is too late. I am grateful that we were able to make the decision together that this is what we want to do and find the means to do it. We had always dreamed of roaming the country in our later years (but not too later!) and have found the means to do so through workamping. Yes, I am envious, a bit, of folks we meet on the road who are completely retired, and have the financial means to travel without working. But then, I have to stop and think, I AM still doing what we've dreamed of, seeing the country and so many wonderful sites. So I mentally slap myself to stop the whining, and get on with it!
We've had a tough year, no doubt, as so many other of our RV-Dreamer group has. It hasn't gotten any easier towards the end, as my family is dealing with a family member with several serious health issues. For awhile it looked like I might have had to leave my post here at Amazon and go back to Florida, but thanks to two wonderful family members, the immediate crisis was taken care of and I think that we can get things done via phone until we go back at Christmas. I think a lot of full-timers our age are finding that it is difficult to deal with elderly parent issues from afar. Although, truthfully, if we weren't out here on the road, we would still be back in New York, with our business, and probably the issues would be even harder to deal with.
And I think that may be the crux of the whole argument that I've been having with myself the last few months. I still have no regrets at all about our decision to change our lives, we both feel it was definitely the right thing to do. I was questioning the timing of it though, and talking to a co-worker about it this summer. She came right out and asked me, would any of these things have NOT happened if we hadn't gone out on the road? Maybe we wouldn't have had the truck and trailer issues, but there were always issues with vehicles and the house that needed to be addressed. Our parents would have still gotten older; Chelsea would still have gotten cancer; Al still would have his heart issues (along with a myriad of other physical problems due to our jobs); in short, problems don't go away just because you changed your life. So wherever you are and whatever you're doing, they still need to be dealt with.
Many of you know that our trailer is going back to Indiana after New Year's to have more work done to it at the factory. We have been so disappointed with the durability of it. We are strongly considering trading it in after we get the issues fixed (before something else goes wrong!). I am looking for input from folks with fifth wheels who have POSITIVE experiences with their rigs. We simply can't afford to change rigs every few years, and need to have a reliable, sturdy rig for our travels. I realize that every rig will have issues, but I think we've had more than our share in less than three years: two holding tanks replaced, one fixed; propane leak in furnace system; one side wall replaced because of broken welds, a second one being replaced in January; converter replaced; oven replaced; shower pan replacement pending; tire blow-out causing side wall damage (luckily no worse); front cap paint damage from the sun (the new dark gray paint isn't doing so well for Keystone); and the myriad of smaller items that have broken, come loose, etc. that Al fixes himself. I will say Keystone has stood by the rig and repaired the structural damage, but it is a major hassle (and expense) to haul the rig up to Indiana in the winter. I'm grateful I have a place to stay while the work is being done, but what if I didn't? We plan on a couple of days at the Tampa RV Supershow inspecting rigs and seeing what kind of deals they're giving.
Tonight ends our third week of eight at Amazon. Al is already starting overtime tomorrow in AmCare. I am home tonight because my department was told last night they were giving VTO tonight.....voluntary time off. Saturday is still on the slower side, and they were bringing in new trainees again tonight, in preparation for Peak coming. I am in outbound (packing), and our overtime hasn't started yet....it should pretty soon though! So I took the VTO tonight, rather than go in and spend the 10 hours doing something like scraping the old tape off the floors and putting down new tape. Been there, done that my first year...didn't care for it!
Green River Lake State Park is more crowded this year than in prior years. A combination of one campground closing and word getting out about what a beautiful park it is has brought more folks here to stay. I've met a few of my readers here, and at work. Its always fun to hear "Aren't you Al and Karen...." and then have a nice conversation. Unfortunately, simply because of shifts, we don't get to socialize too much with folks working day shift. We simply don't see each other much! The busiest time in the campground seems to be between 3PM and 4PM...folks out walking dogs before heading in for night shift, and 4AM and 5AM as folks come home from night shift and others are getting up for day shift. Its a good thing there's not too many non-Amazon workers in the park :-).
I guess that's about all I have tonight. I don't know if I'll have anything more interesting to post in the coming weeks, but you never know. I have a couple of videos to share if you care to watch; they are short and kind of interesting if you wish to see what goes on in the factory. It wasn't our facility, but it's fairly representative of the workspace. Enjoy, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, wherever you are.
Video of Amazon
Sugarbeet harvest: video by Larry Harmon of this year's beet pile; we worked (very briefly) with Larry and Betty last year before coming to Amazon early. I thought some of you would be interested in the video showing the beet pile at the end.