Welcome to our Adventure!

Al and I are thrilled that you have found your way to our blog. We hope you enjoy reading our journal and viewing our photographs of the natural wonder of our United States of America. Let's hit the road together!
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Another Year at Amazon Completed

The last two weeks of peak at Amazon were, as always, fairly intense. Overtime schedules kicked in for the entire fulfillment center, and 60 hours a week were generally available for those in Camperforce that wish to work them. We do have the option of doing 50 hours, and that is what I (Karen) chose to do again this year. Al has done 55 hours OT the last two years, but this year in his department, Amcare, it was only 50 hours. He never minded doing the extra hours, but I found that even though it felt like I would have no problem staying the extra time each night, after a couple nights of 11 1/2 hours I was really becoming overtired, and my work was suffering as a result. I just feel as if I do ok on the 50 hours a week, so that is what I do :-).

An extra wrinkle to add fun and excitement to our last week was our refrigerator decided to stop cooling again, just as it did last summer. Luckily it was the end of our work week, and we hadn't gone grocery shopping, so it was pretty empty. Out came the coolers, and we put everything in the coolers and turned it off for 48 hours. Once again, it worked perfectly after doing this procedure. It is a giant pain in the rear though to go through this, tripping over the coolers for a couple of days! We have an appointment at Lazydays January 7 for some warranty work to be done, and look at the fridge has gone on the list...although if its working fine I'm sure they will say they can't do anything.

Our last night of work was 12/20, and we worked a half night, finishing at 11:45. We had our "exit meeting" which was very nice, receiving tee shirts and our perfect attendance gift cards, and had some very nice thank you speeches from HR folks and a couple of managers. After four years working peak here at SDF1 in Campbellsville, we have gotten to know many full time employees and all seem happy to see us return each year. We really feel that Camperforce is an asset to the facility and will continue to do our best to promote it as a good and decent place to come, where folks seem to like and appreciate you for your work. After the meeting, we joined several other Camperforce friends for a final breakfast together at Huddle House. Some we will see fairly soon in Florida, while others we may not see until next year. Its never "good-bye", just "see you later!"

We turned our wheels south towards Florida Monday morning, well lunchtime but it felt pretty early to us!, and drove to Chattanooga TN for the night. We took a slightly different route, heading south on Hwy. 61 to Hwy 111 down to Chattanooga, picking up I75 south of the city. It was a very pleasant drive through the countryside, without much traffic or trucks until reaching the city. There are a couple of hills, with 6% grades, but nothing troubling to handle. We would recommend this route to anyone comfortable driving with some moderate hills.

The weather turned lousy on us Tuesday, as we drove from Chattanooga to Tifton GA for the night. Heavy rains and thunderstorms made the going slower, and it poured all night and into Wednesday morning. We were trying to get home to Florida for Christmas Eve, when the family has dinner at Al's Uncle Ron's house for his birthday. So we persevered, although it was rather amusing to see Al outside dumping the tanks and getting things ready to go in his swim trunks, tee shirt and water shoes. After changing into dry clothes, we headed out and made our way to Homosassa, where, if it wasn't sunny, at least it wasn't raining and fairly warm!

So we had our Happy 81st Birthday dinner with Uncle Ron and the family, and a quiet Christmas day at the house with Ginny and Patti. Friday we had our friends Kenny and Jodi over for dinner, and then we all went to see the Celebration of Lights at the Homosassa State Wildlife Park. Today (Saturday) the guys went fishing for grouper all day out of Tarpon Springs (so we are expecting fresh fish for dinner tomorrow) and us girls all went thrift store shopping and to a talk at the Wildlife Park on the subject of Operation Migration, the whooping crane migration project. It was quite interesting, and these folks are quite passionate about their whooping cranes!

Plans over the next few days include a snorkel with the manatees, kayaking the Silver River, lunch with friends and a wonderful prime rib dinner cooked by Al for New Year's Day. So I should have some pictures to show soon, and interesting stories, rather than the quite uneventful past ten weeks!

So we hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, will have a Happy New Year, and is looking forward to 2015.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

We Do Still Exist!

Well, I did tell you I wouldn't be posting very much while at Amazon, and I sure didn't lie :-). We have been pretty busy here, although our outbound shift hasn't had as much overtime as in previous years and Al's overtime in Amcare didn't start until two weeks ago, unlike previous years where he went to 50 hours a week right away. But rest assured, we are still pretty tired :-0. I feel the most difficult thing we had to deal with this year was Al's schedule, There were a few weeks where he was doing a couple of night shifts and then a couple of day shifts. It wasn't easy to adjust to that at all, and hope he doesn't have to deal with that in coming seasons. I have a healthy respect now for people who work swing shifts on a regular basis, it isn't easy at all.

We have had a few difficulties here at Green River Lake State Park that were unforeseen. Sadly, the emerald ash borer has infested the beautiful trees in the park, and all of the ash trees were slated for removal this fall. They did not know this was happening until mid-October. The consequence of this was mostly for those of us working the night shift, and trying to sleep during the day when the chain saws and bobcats were hard at work :-(. We also ended up having to move sites halfway through our time as the row we were on was slated for tree removal. Not only did they not want to work around us, but we certainly didn't want to take any chances of a tree falling on us!

It has been, shall we say, an interesting season here in Campbellsville. Mid-November they recruited 100 of us Camperforce people working here at SDF1 to move north to there facility in Jeffersonville Indiana. After they left, any of the Camperforce workers who were working on the inbound side of SDF1 were moved to the outbound side of operations. So there was a big influx of new workers in our department, which was pretty nice as we now were working with some of our friends. But then they moved some of us around to other departments as well! I was trained on what they call "problem solving" which involves taking packages that have been "kicked out" of the shipping conveyors for various reasons and trying to figure out what is wrong with the order, and then correcting it. It can be pretty easy, such as just putting a new shipping label on it, to complicated...such as a wrong item was packed and you need to figure out what it was supposed to be and where the wrong item was supposed to go....to completely stressful, such as your label printer going down and the whole conveyor line of packed items getting backed up higher than the Great Wall of China. So, as I say, its been an interesting season.

We have one more week to go. Our release date is Saturday night at 11:45. We will start heading towards Florida and the warm and sunny weather on Monday 12/22, making it home in time for Christmas Eve dinner with Al's family. We are looking forward to it, and the next couple of months when we have many plans of seeing visiting family and friends. Until then, happy shopping...at Amazon :-).