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!
Homer, Alaska

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Mission Completed, and Arrival at Homebase!

Well, we can put another year at SDF1, Campbellsville Amazon Fulfillment center in the books. My last night was Friday 12/21, and Al's last night was Saturday 12/22. The last couple of weeks were very busy, with no time whatsoever for any outside activities beyond eating, sleeping and working! We went to overtime starting on the 15th, which for the night shift meant 5 nights a week at 11 1/2 hours each night. Yes, very tiring, I won't lie! But it is satisfying to see a full checking account once again. And with the extra week of work and more overtime hours this year, we almost made up the budget shortfall I thought I would incur with my departing the beet harvest. I still feel somewhat like I wimped out on that, but I just could not deal with working outside in that blizzard! I regret reneging on my commitment, and promise it won't happen again :-).

What to say about the Amazon experience? Not very much different this year, a bit easier to deal with having been there, done that last year and now knowing what to expect. I won't deny its hard work, but really don't want to discourage anyone from giving it a try if they're so inclined. There are plenty of older folks than us doing it, and we're all tired and sore, but I figure if I can't keep up with them I have bigger problems than I know :-). It is physically demanding, but I find it much less mentally demanding than what I used to deal with, along with the physical demands. I will admit, though, if I were there much longer, I would need the services of my chiropractor :-). The Camperforce personnel in Campbellsville are also really great to work with. We make new friends each year, both other Camperforce workers and full time workers. We have a great campground to stay at (sshh we're keeping it a secret!). Yes, we are planning on returning next fall for a third season. If anyone is interested in working at Amazon next year, drop me an email and I'll fill you in with any details you might want to know.

So, we departed Campbellsville Sunday afternoon just after lunch. We had said our good-byes to most everyone we knew as we were one of the last to leave. Our very dear friend Laura was getting ready to leave right after us, and we did miss Shawn and Joy...they are staying on for a few more weeks, and I did not want to disturb their sleep! We ended up driving until pretty late, arriving south of Atlanta around 11:00PM where we stopped for the night. Another 6 hours on Monday found us arriving home for Christmas Eve, a very good thing!

So, what is next? Well, for the next three months we will be hanging out here in Homosassa, staying in our house and putting the trailer in storage, with a few trips out and about. The workamping job market in this area is quite fierce, and the monthly rental rates in campgrounds quite high. We have decided financially it makes more sense for us to stay in the house and store the trailer ($25.00 a month for trailer storage, how can you beat that??) while in Florida. We have a two week family reunion at Fort Wilderness to attend the end of January, as well as a short trip to Fort Wilderness to visit with my sister and her husband who are running in the Disney marathon. In March we are going to Pennecamp State Park in Key Largo for 5 nights. We also need to get our crack fixed, but have not made any progress on that front yet. The RV repair shop we initially tried here in Brooksville cannot handle the repair, and of course anyplace else is closed until after the holiday. So Wednesday we'll be jumping on that. They suggested that even though the trailer is out of its one year warranty with Keystone, it looks like there's a structural defect and that we should at least talk with them. I don't hold out high hopes, but we called and left a message with their customer service.

Al has already started his volunteer job at the Homosassa Wildlife Park, and I should be starting next week. So between that, visiting with family and friends, exploring the area more thoroughly, our planned trips, and a   complete cleaning and purging of the trailer, we should find that the time will just fly right by and it will be April before we know it! And on to the next adventure :-).

Thanks to all my readers out there...family, old friends, new friends, and friends we haven't met yet! I am humbled to see that I have reached over 66,000 hits on the blog, it is mind-blowing to think so many folks find my ramblings worthy of reading! I hope to keep up with it, post more pictures and find interesting things to see and do here on the Nature Coast of Florida, and another awesome summer touring and photographing the beautiful area of Acadia National Park in Maine. Any and all recommendations of things to see and do will be most appreciated.

So Happy New Year to all, may we all have a Happy, Healthy and Satisfying year :-).

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Counting Down

Six work nights and eight days until we pull out and head for home for Christmas. The updates have been sadly lacking and I apologize. It's back to the time of year where the day/nights consist of sleep, eat, work, take two Tylenol and repeat.

We have now reached mandatory overtime as of last week. That means I now not only work the fifth night, but we go to the schedule of 12 hours...5:30PM to 5:30AM. Once you get your sleep in, there's not much time left over for anything else! Last night we did get to leave early at 4:00AM as we met and exceeded target goals by that time. I did have to wait for Al, however, as he never does get to leave early...one of the only downsides of his job there.

We did go out and try to have some fun on Thursday night, when we were both off together. We decided to drive to Louisville, and see the Christmas light exhibit called Lights Under Louisville. Its an exhibit of Christmas lights that you drive through, set up in the Megacavern, an old limestone cavern under the Louisville Zoo.

The pictures are ok, as the vehicles are not allowed to stop along the route. Its very interesting, how they are turning this once-quarry into a commercial and recreational center here in Louisville. We had also planned on having dinner at a pizza place in Louisville that had come highly recommended, but it didn't work out so well. We found the address easy enough, and even found a place to park the truck ......not always easy to do with a dually in a city! Settled the dogs in, and walked down to the restaurant, only to see a big sign on the door stating they were closed that evening due to a private party. Bummer!

So, we're tired, counting the days until departure, stiff, and thinking of a myriad of things that need to be done after Christmas...getting the crack in the trailer fixed, seeing doctors and dentists, seeing if we can find the source of the on/off ticking in the truck....but they all pale in light of the tragedy that occurred yesterday in Connecticut. Our prayers go out to the families of the victims, and the first responders and counselors that also witnessed the horrific scene. The town and people will never be the same. I really have no words, so we'll let it go at that.

Hopefully, I will be coming to you next from sunny Florida! 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Just Elf'ing Along

Another fun-filled week at Amazon is on the books. Speaking of elves, has anyone seen this Elf on the Shelf? I've been packing many boxes with these in them, and I had to look it up...I guess if I had kids I would know about it! Anyway, supposedly this elf sits in your house and keeps an eye on you to see if you've been naughty or nice, and reports back to Santa. Personally, I think the idea is just a tad creepy, but hey, what do I know? Kind of like a tattle-tale thing to me!

So, we had an exciting start to our work week on Friday (Friday is my Monday!). I break the night into quarters...first quarter goes to first break, second quarter goes to meal break, third quarter goes to second break, and last quarter goes to quitting time...little games I make with myself to get through the night :-). Anyway, I'm packing away on my cart halfway through first quarter, and actually Al had just stopped by my cart to let me know he arrived and would see me at meal break. I heard the manager speaking on the PA system, but truthfully, all I hear is what I call the "Charlie Brown schoolteacher voice"...waa-wa-waa-wa-waa...know what I mean? I can never understand a word they say, just figure if they want me, they know where to find me :-). So I glance up the row, and see folks leaving their carts, and one of the assistants "walking swiftly" (you never never ever run in the warehouse!) down the aisle. As he got closer we heard him say, "there's a fire in the building, leave immediately through the front break room". Well, you don't have to tell me twice...unfortunately, I did leave my sweatshirt hanging on the cart as it was warm and I didn't think about grabbing it. What was odd, though, was the fire alarms in the building hadn't gone off...I later found out they had been pulled, and did work in the fact that the fire department was notified, but the alarms didn't go off. All in all the evacuation was quite orderly and no panic, thank goodness. Once out in the parking area, you have to report to your specified area and check in with the managers. Once the plant has been evacuated, the order to return cannot be given until every single person that was in the building has been accounted for. We'd been outside for quite awhile and everyone was getting pretty chilly...it wasn't a really cold night thank goodness, but I would say it was in the upper thirties, maybe low forties, dark, and it was getting cold just having a t-shirt on! Soon they were cracking out the emergency blankets and handing them out to everyone. Al was one of those handing them out, and he came over to make sure that I and the others I have become friendly with had gotten blankets. That's when we found out it wasn't a fire, but there had been a bomb threat and that is why they had to evacuate the building, and they couldn't clear everyone to return until the building had been searched. Why do people do stupid things like that? We heard that couple hours cost Amazon a half a million dollars in lost time, wages, orders, etc. If the person who made the threat is ever caught, its a federal offense, not to mention terrorism!

The rest of my work week was fairly uneventful. It is getting busier packing, although we were given voluntary time off the last quarter Sunday night. Yay, home at 2:30AM instead of 4:30AM :-)! There's no overtime this week for my shift on Wednesday night either. Plenty of time for my feet and shoulders to recover before starting again Friday!

Not too much else is going on. Dinners have become more simple as we don't have as much time to prepare..although I may prepare a couple things ahead of time that we just need to reheat over the weekend.  So there is no exciting recipes for me to share at this time. I did buy a new cookbook, "America's Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution". I like these cookbooks as they do a lot of testing of recipes before publishing, give you reasons why they do what they do in the recipe, and also tell you what brands of ingredients they find to work and taste the best. I'm trying their loaded baked potato soup recipe tonight.

Its been pretty warm the past week...its nice when its in the fifties at night...not as much propane usage! We do have two electric heaters, a larger infrared heater that we use in the living area, and a small ceramic heater that we put in the hallway. They work very well together ( Al did have to do a little rewiring and put a new outlet in so we didn't pop breakers), but I'm too nervous to leave them on while we're sleeping...do many of you leave them on all the time when its cold out?

Well, as we figure it, we have about 18 days left, about 12 working days...but who's counting? So keep those orders coming in...the time passes much quicker when I'm busy! We'll see what I have to report next week....thanks for hanging in there with us while we have no interesting travel stories to tell!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hi Ho Hi Ho

The countdown has begun..24 more days until the end of contract for those of us who are Amazon elves! Funny, I never looked SO forward towards Christmas's arrival before.

The weekend starting with Black Friday was crazy. Friday night they had every shift scheduled to work. I have no idea how the actual numbers were for the night, but there were so many people working in Crisplant department that we were literally tripping over each other. I'm so glad that is behind us. We have gone to overtime already, going to 5 nights and 50 hours  starting last week. We have gone into work, eat, sleep mode for the next three weeks. Making things more fun, we had to scramble again for car-pooling as they switched Al's hours to 6:30PM-6:00AM, while I stay at 5:30PM-4:00AM. Luckily, we have enough friends at the park now that I can bum a ride with :-). And it's only another 3 weeks.

What happens when you leave your husband home alone with a shopping list? You come home to a fully decorated trailer!

Laura and I turned the corner at the top of the hill leading into the campground and there at the far end of the campground was blinking lights, and a dressed-up for Christmas Mickey lantern. We're quite festive now, aren't we :-)?

A close-up of the Mickey lantern that my wonderful husband built...I've been wanting one for a long time and he finally had the time to put it together, as well as a Lowe's nearby, while waiting to start at Amazon. Isn't it cute? I can't wait to put it up while we're at Fort Wilderness this winter!

Thanks for the ideas about Nova Scotia, I'm going to start researching things to do there, and in the Bar Harbor area this winter. Its always good to have a list of things to do and explore for those days off...we certainly don't want to sit around doing nothing now, do we ;-)?

That's about it for now. Nothing too exciting, but wanted to check in and let everyone know we are still working hard and ready to process those important Christmas orders! Have a great week :-).

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Which is Worse?

I don't know which is worse...the endless political ads, or now that the election is over we're bombarded with Black Friday ads. I don't know anyone who actually goes shopping on Black Friday!

I've stopped watching the news again. I'm finding I'm much happier :-).

Packing is ramping up at Amazon, along with every other job there. This week we were given the opportunity for voluntary overtime. I decided to take it, so this week I'm working 5 days, or 50 hours. It sounds like a lot, but being on the night shift isn't so bad. The nights I'm not working I'm just sitting home in the trailer amusing myself with television (not news), reading and crafts, so I might as well be working and make some money. I started a counted cross stitch design of an Amish quilt block design...its helping me get used to these darn bifocal glasses. After reading the jacket of Ken Follett's book "Fall of Giants: Book One of the Century Trilogy", I decided it was worth $9.99 for a book over 1000 pages and bought it for my Kindle. I hope its good, I have read and enjoyed some of his older books.

Al finished our Mickey light pole, and I'll take a picture as soon as we get it dressed for Christmas in a Santa hat :-).

Its so fun to hear so many people enjoy watching "The Big Bang Theory".

We were discussing out summer in Maine next year. One thing Al wants to do is visit Nova Scotia. If any readers have been there, I'd love to hear your thoughts on "must do" and "can't miss" activities. Mark Johnson over at Box Canyon Blog said in a comment we'll love it....I'm sure we will, but Mark, if you're reading this, let me know what you really enjoyed when you were there. I know you seek out the activities and spots that the general public doesn't know about ;-).

Well, the blogs aren't nearly as interesting this time of year, but I try to put down random thoughts to let folks know we're still out here, and yes, even having a good time for the most part. We have such a beautiful site to stay at for the three months we're here, and its so lovely to wake up and sit outside enjoying our lakefront property before heading into work. The folks that have discovered this gem along with us are great people as well, and a bunch of us are getting together to go to Thanksgiving dinner Thursday at a local restaurant, The Creekside.

So, on that note, that's the report for the week, and Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Random Thoughts

There will be nothing cohesive in this entry, just a series of random thoughts that have been wandering through my head as I enter my "packing zone" and count down the days until we head to Florida for the winter.

The election is over. Thank goodness. No more political ads. Whole new cans of worms however. Naive optimistic little me, I thought maybe we would see a new, more congenial tone, a willingness to announce that we are all Americans, and we should work together to solve our pressing issues. Doesn't it seem as the levels of discord are getting louder?

Secession? Really??

Doesn't the whole Petraeus scandal seem to be just a bit on the juvenile side?

I really resent being pigeon-holed as a certain type of person because of the way I vote. It's insulting. I can't believe these talking heads on TV get paid for the drivel they spout.

The Northeast is still reeling under the effects of Superstorm Sandy. I comb the internet for the local news of our former hometown. Luckily, the East End of Long Island escaped with a pretty hefty bruising, but not the outright devastation of the shoreline to the west and New Jersey. Brutal. The best in folks are brought out, and I am happy to report after reading this article that I am very proud of our former home area. Several of these folks mentioned were former clients of mine. We are especially proud of our hometown Sag Harbor, Al's former ambulance corp. and one of our best friends, Ed Downes, for their relief efforts on behalf of the devastated community of Broad Channel.

I enjoyed reading Kim's blog entry on the first 12 weeks of their life on the road. Missing things was thought provoking. I really don't miss my house as much as I thought, and I don't even miss the area...knowing we'll always be going back for visits. I miss the family and friends we left there. I miss the "experience of community" a bit. For example, it feels a little odd out here on the road and going to local festivals and events, and not knowing anyone there. Back in Sag Harbor, we literally could not walk more than a couple of feet at the Fire Dep't. carnival, or the Whaler's Festival without meeting people we knew.

On the flip side, we create new communities within the campgrounds we stay at, mostly where we're working for awhile. Taking the dogs for a walk takes quite awhile now, by the time you stop and chat with everyone...at least, everyone who is awake here at Green River Lake :-). And its wonderful. The RV community is a very caring, friendly group, generally speaking. We love to share our experiences!

I had a really nice chat with our neighbors Rhonda and Wayne. They have started a blog Turn When The Road Does. They've been out here for three months now I think. Having a great time :-).

Does anyone else like watching "The Big Bang Theory"? I think the show is a hoot!

I know there are "Survivor" fans out there. Isn't this a good season? How about "The Amazing Race"? I love James and James, the Chippendale dancers. They are so goofy and having such a good time. I love seeing that.

I sure am glad my job at Amazon is only temporary. I couldn't imagine having it as a full time year round job.

I am really looking forward to working in Bar Harbor Maine next summer. It looks like there is so much to see and do in the area. I can't wait to see real live puffins!

I'll end this entry as I have been the past few....cooking! We found we were able to cook an entire turkey dinner without too much difficulty...we roasted a turkey breast, made stuffing, mashed potatoes and steamed green beans. Excellent! And there was enough left over for turkey and stuffing sandwiches, and another dinner, turkey tetrazinni.

6 tablespoons butter
1/2 pound mushrooms thinly sliced
1 tablespoon Madeira
4 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 to 3 cups leftover cooked turkey, cut into 3/4-inch dice
1/2 pound linguine cooked to al dente stage
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese mixed with 2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet. When the foaming subsides, add the mushrooms and saute, over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes until the mushrooms have absorbed the butter and are tender. Stir in the Madeira and evaporate over high heat.

In another saucepan heat 3 tablespoons of butter. When foaming subsides, stir in the flour and cook for a minute. Whisk in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cook, over low heat, for about 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove sauce from heat and stir in the cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Fold in the mushrooms and turkey.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 1 1/2 quart casserole. Layer half of pasta, half of mushroom and turkey mixture and repeat with pasta and turkey mushroom mix. Scatter Parmesan and bread crumbs over the top and dot with remaining tablespoon of butter. Heat for 45 minutes or until heated through, sauce is bubbling and top is browning. If you wish, slide casserole under the broiler for a moment to brown the top.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunny Saturday

Along with most of the east coast last week, it wasn't really nice here in Kentucky. We didn't have the awful nor'easter like they did up north, but the cold front popped through here mid-week and it was on the chilly side, and not a lot of sun. Saturday, however, was a beautiful day, sunny and in the 70's. It was also our last day off together until we're done at Amazon. Al is working Tuesday through Saturday, and my shift is switching to Friday through Monday, with my overtime day Wednesday. We have found a dog walker for the nights we overlap. Mich and Bill are here in Green River Lake, with Bill working at Amazon. They also have a dog, which is why Mich isn't working as well. She was worried about leaving Abby alone for so long. So she is happy to walk our two for us, and we told her if they come back next year, and she wants to work as well, we'll swap off dog walking :-).

After breakfast, we decided to go for a short drive, and do a little geocaching to enjoy the nice day. This area actually has quite a bit of Civil War history, and we visited the Tebbs Bend Battlefield. This was a small but fiercely fought battle of the Civil War, between a small force of untested recruits of Moore Is 25th Michigan and Confederate General Morgan's 800-1000 battle-hardened and confident dismounted cavalrymen from Duke's and Johnson's brigades.  This small but significant battle was completely overshadowed by the much larger and war turning point battle going on to the north at the same time, Gettysburg.  A complete description of the battle can be read here.

We stopped by the marina first to check out the houseboats.

There are also small cabins on floating docks here as well, where you can dock your boat.

Green River Lake is a pretty large lake, and this is only one of a few marinas scattered around its shores. On nice days there is quite a lot of recreational activity on the lake, and many folks must enjoy houseboating judging from the number of them in the marinas.

We found a total of three geocaches on the battlefield drive, bringing our total to over 150 caches found. The last one of the day was in this pretty little cemetery where the men killed during the battle were laid to rest.

We had decided since it was our last night off together for awhile, that we would go out for dinner to Colton's Steakhouse for Al's birthday. It was ok, but not a place that we would go running back for. The food was all right, but we received our appetizers AFTER we had our entrees. Service was definitely as little spotty. I like the steaks that Al cooks for us much better :-).

Ok, last thing, I have another crockpot recipe to share. We enjoyed this one as well. I guess it shows we're not doing too much besides working when all I have to share is recipes :-). 

Crock Pot – Chicken Chow Mein 

1-2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 and 1/2 Pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1/2 to 1 inch chunks
4 medium carrots, thinly sliced
6-8 green onions, sliced, including green
1 and 1/2 Cups of thinly sliced celery
1 Cup of chicken broth
1 Tablespoon of sugar
1/3 Cup of soy sauce
1/4 Teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 Teaspoon of ground ginger
1 medium clove garlic, minced
8 Ounces of bean sprouts
8 Ounces of water chestnuts, sliced
1/4 Cup of cornstarch
1/3 Cup of water


Heat oil in skillet and brown chicken. Place chicken in slow cooker and combine all ingredients except cornstarch and water . Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Turn slow cooker to high.

Combine cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl; stir until mixture is dissolved. Stir into the slow cooker. Keeping cover slightly ajar to allow steam to escape, cook on HIGH until thickened, about 15-30 minutes. Serve over rice or Chinese noodles.

I do cut the recipes in half most of the time, but for this one I just halved the amount of chicken and kept the veggies and sauce the same. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wouldn't It Be Lovely?

A random thought on this post-election day....wouldn't it be lovely if everyone would just settle down, get together, and work on practical common sense solutions to the issues we are all facing?

One thing I thought of over this summer is how, as travelers, we are being exposed to so many different ways of life right here in this country. We spend time in small towns in different areas. We see how folks are doing. Some areas have been downright sad to see. I read an article about a New York investment banker who was transferred to California, and decided to make a cross-country trip out of the move, going slowly and "seeing" America. The trip was an eye-opener for him, he had no idea how life was for the less well-off among us. I thought it would be a great idea for every politician to get out of their ivory towers and see how the rest of us are dealing with every day life out here.

This spirit of divisiveness in our country at this time saddens me a great deal. I am a non-confrontational type of person. I don't really find most issues to be black and white clear, but rather to have several shades of gray...and no, I haven't read the book, but judging by the numbers of them that I am packing many people are :-)! Being a small business owner for the major portion of my life so far, I usually see issues from both a management and consumer side of things. I believe I was raised to be a tolerant person. I don't understand how each side of the political spectrum can be so unforgiving to the other side. Compromise seems to be a thing of the past. Why? Why can't anything get done?

Enough said about that.

We are settled in to our schedules, working full time now. I have adjusted to the night shift fairly rapidly. My  feet are achy at the end of the shift, but there's no surprise in that, we're standing and walking on a cement floor. The weather has been unseasonably chilly, but it is suppose to warm up again on Friday. We use two electric heaters to cut down on propane usage, a Dr. Heater infrared heater in the living area and a small ceramic heater in the hallway keeps the bedroom area warm. There was frost on the windshield Monday morning as I left the warehouse, we had to defrost the windshield! Oh no! Not flip-flop weather at all.

Saturday night, even in the chilly temperatures, we gathered around a campfire for s'mores with our friends from last year, Shawn and Joy. They were here at Green River Lake last year as well..we all love it here, its so quiet and peaceful. A beautiful view greets us when we are not working. We had some bald eagles flying over the lake one afternoon, but too far away for pictures. Every morning as we drive in we see a ton of deer, usually a few polecats, the other night we saw a raccoon. On the way in to work Monday night Laura and I had a beautiful hawk sail on by in front of the truck, and snag some kind of rodent off the side of the road. It was beautiful to watch him for a few minutes.

Saturday night will be our last night off at the same time, so we're going to go out to eat at Colton's Steakhouse here in Campbellsville for Al's birthday. Other than that we have no plans until Christmas, when we'll join the tail-light parade out of Campbellsville to our winter nesting grounds :-). Speaking of which, I read something I just couldn't believe the other day. We are lucky enough to be spending two weeks this winter with family and friends camping at Fort Wildnerness in Walt Disney World...how cool will that be :-)!!  Anyway, I was cruising the Disboards forum for tips and hints on staying at the Fort, and ran across a very strange post. Yes, I know there are a lot of strange folks that post to internet boards, but this was so out there. A lady wrote in a question, saying she is coming to stay at Fort Wilderness and is bringing her chihuahua with her, and the dog suffers from separation anxiety, howling whenever it is left alone. She wanted to know a "good loop" to stay in where she wouldn't be close to any other campers so the dog wouldn't bother anyone while they were in the parks all day. As you imagine, there were quite a few remarks from folks saying you should leave the dog home, or board it in daycare, things like that. So she writes back that she's decided that she'll rent seven sites, park her camper in the middle to create a "buffer" zone, and if people still complain she'll give them $100.00 gift cards to make up for the "inconvenience" of listening to her dog howl.

Ok, what do you think? I know what I think! :-). That's about all the thoughts I have for today. I'll see what I can find interesting to write about in another couple of days. have a good one!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Two in One Day!

I just stumbled across this post and thought it was really worth passing on!

40 Things to Say Before You Die


Recipes and Packing

Thank you to everyone for the kind comments and well wishes for our hometown. The worst of the storm has passed, and now the clean-up must begin. From what we've been able to hear, our families and friends are all ok, and no major property damage reported at this time. Pictures of the flooding and damage can be seen posted at The East Hampton Star. It could have been so much worse, but I've read that the storm, even though it had picked up strength as it approached, it also picked up speed, and as a result passed over the island faster than expected. We wish everyone back there our best, and hope for a speedy recovery, especially power!

I'm back to packing orders in Amazon. I work in the department called Crisplant, which is named for the company that designed the system.
This is a stock photo from Amazon showing the chutes that orders come in on. I work a rolling packing cart that moves along the row of chutes. As items are dropped into the chutes (double row, the chute above is an order and the chute below is a different order) the computer keeps track of them and when the order is completed the light at the end of the chute flashes on signifying to me that the order is ready to be packed. I verify that the order is correct, pack it into the correct size box, slap on the SP00 label (the white barcode label on the side of the box) and place it on the conveyor which takes the package on to the shipping department. It's not hard at all, just repetitive and hard on your feet!

Al has also started this week. He finished Safety School yesterday, and then had a meeting with his managers  at AmCare. He starts tonight, but doesn't get the "luxury" of starting half shifts for two weeks, he goes right to 10 hour shifts. I still have two more half nights, then start full shifts on Sunday night.

Gail from Gypsy Turtles requested the recipe for the Crockpot Lemon Poppyseed Cake, so here it is.

Lemon-Poppy Seed Bread
Makes: 12 to 16 servings
Prep 15 mins
Slow Cook 1 hr 30 mins to 2 hrs  (high)
Cool 10 mins

Nonstick cooking spray
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup plain Greek-style yogurt or sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Coat a 4- to 5-quart oval slow cooker or a 4-quart round slow cooker with cooking spray. In a large bowl stir together flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl whisk together sugar, eggs, oil, yogurt, milk, lemon peel, lemon juice, and vanilla until sugar dissolves. Add sugar mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until combined (mixture should still be slightly lumpy). Spoon batter into prepared slow cooker.
3. Cover and cook on high-heat setting for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until top appears set. Turn off slow cooker. Carefully remove lid so condensation from lid does not drip onto bread. Cover opening of slow cooker completely with paper towels; place lid on top. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Run a knife around edges of slow cooker; remove bread from cooker. Cool completely on a wire rack.
nutrition facts (Lemon-Poppy Seed Bread)

I did cut this recipe in half as there is only two of us and my slow cooker is a small 3 quart one. It came out great, although I shortened the cooking time to 1 hour 45 minutes.

We also tried a new meatball recipe last night that we really enjoyed, and thought I would pass along. If you like Asian style food you should enjoy these. I would recommend cutting back a little on the ginger unless you REALLY like ginger...it's very strong!

Teriyaki Meatballs

For the Meatballs:

1 lb ground pork
2 inches fresh ginger, grated
1 egg
1/2 cup Panko (or plain) breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 green onions, chopped finely
1/8 teaspoon or 15 cracks of black pepper
2 cloves of garlic, grated

Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees. 

Add the pork, ginger, egg, bread crumbs, soy sauce, green onions, black pepper and garlic into a large bowl.  Using your hands smash until completely combined. 

Form into small balls and add to a large oven proof skillet on medium high heat.  Brown a few of the side of the meatball.  After you have done this, cover with an oven proof lid and place in the oven.  Cook for 20 minutes. 

For the Sauce:

1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame seed oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar (or regular white vinegar)
2 inches fresh ginger, grated
1/2 cold water
2 tablespoons corn starch

Star by adding the soy sauce, brown sugar, water, sesame seed oil, vinegar and ginger into a medium sauce pan on medium heat.  Bring to a simmer. 

In a small cup, add the cold water and corn starch.  Stir until combined to create a slurry. 

Slowly pour the slurry into the sauce whisking as you go.  This will thicken the sauce as it heats so go slowly.  If you want a thicker sauce add more slurry.  If you get too thick of a sauce add more water. 

To serve, remove the meatballs from the oven and carefully pour the sauce over the meatballs.  Toss in the sauce.  Serve the meatballs over rice, garnish with sesame seeds and additional green onions. 


Recipe slightly modified from: Budget Bytes  

Hope everyone enjoys the recipes! See you soon!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Many of my readers don't know where our hometown is...that is, where we lived before we set out on the road. We lived in a beautiful old historic whaling town on the eastern end of Long Island, NY, Sag Harbor.

It has been very hard watching as the huge storm Sandy has been bearing down on our lovely hometown. We've been thinking about all our family and friends back in the area, and hope that  physically they are all doing all right and that there will be a minimum of property damage done to their homes and businesses.

It's never a good sign when a major news station comes to town: CBS. I guess a saving grace is that Jim Cantori from The Weather Channel wasn't in the vicinity!

Even all the way here in Campbellsville KY we have some effects from this massive storm. The wind last night was the worst we've seen here, and it's going to be lasting all day. Some rain is moving in this afternoon, but thankfully its not cold enough here to get the blizzard. I just can't believe the scope of this storm. The economic effects will be felt for a very long time, I'm sure.

Otherwise, things are going fine here. I'm breaking into my shift, and Al is starting today at Safety School, and begins his shift tomorrow. I will have a more complete description of my work in the packing plant soon. Be safe out there!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ready, Set....


Monday was the "Meet and Greet" day here at Campbellsville. There's a meeting room at Heartland RV Park, the gravel parking lot campground across the street from Amazon's fulfillment center here in Campbellsville. Many folks choose to stay here for the convenience of having full hook-ups and the ability to walk to work. We prefer staying here at Green River Lake State Park and having the spacious sites, grass and beautiful lake view :-). To each their own. Monday's meeting was all about meeting other workampers who are starting at the same time, the Camperforce staff, receiving your shift and department assignment, and answering any questions that anyone may have. They also lay down some of the ground rules, pertaining to dress and conduct codes,and what you can and cannot bring into the facility. There's a pizza buffet provided for lunch, clear plastic fanny packs given out for carrying any personal (approved) items to work with you, water bottle clips (cold bottled water is provided to all workers any time they want it on the workplace floor)  and Bingo was played for a couple of prizes to round out the afternoon (I didn't win). Al attended with me as well, and had a chance to speak to two of the Camperforce reps, Jenifer and Kelly, about his status. Jenifer assured him that she was hounding the Seattle staff about the background check, and would let him know as soon as it came through. We did meet three more folks that are staying here at Green River Lake, two single ladies that will be working in Stow, and a single gentleman who is working with the IT staff.

Tuesday was Orientation and Safety School. I arrived at the Amazon facility just after 8AM, and waited outside with everyone else for Kelly to come and collect us. There's 50 workampers starting this week. Kelly came out with our ID badges, and promptly had us "badge in" to the breakroom. From there he explained the clocking in procedures, and we proceeded to the Camperforce meeting room for orientation. Here we handed in our payroll tax paperwork, filled in the I9 paperwork that proves you are a bona-fide citizen, watched the two "award-winning" videos on workplace harassment/violence, and generally learned about the various departments throughout the facility. Rules and regulations were discussed, and the "point system" for attendance was provided. This is Amazon's system for tracking attendance, and points are put on your record for various infractions such as returning late from lunch or not showing up for a shift. If you receive a total of 6 infraction points you are let go.

After the meal break we headed off to Safety School. The first part of this was a walking tour of the facility, with a trainer pointing out the various departments, how areas were marked off with different colored tape on the floor, vending machines that provide your water, gloves and boxcutters, and the all important restrooms! We were taken through the stretching routine (stretches are mandatory at the start-up meeting the beginning of your shift and after your meal break). Then we went through the five safety stations that demonstrated things such as lifting and moving pallets in a safe manner, proper conduct around conveyors, proper lifting of totes and boxes, and maneuvering your carts safely throughout the facility. A short quiz was given, and that was the end of the day!

Al picked me up from the warehouse, and we went grocery shopping for the week. Upon arrival back at the campground, we were delighted to see an email from Jenifer that he had been cleared to work, and would start with the group next Monday, and go straight into AmCare on Wednesday. That's a good thing! For the rest of the week I work tonight, Thursday and Friday, 5:30-10:30. Here in Campbellsville they start you on half-shifts, to help you build up a tolerance to spending all those hours walking on concrete. This is supposed to reduce the amount of injuries. It eases you into the long workdays, at any rate :-). This weekend, Al is going to Lexington to take a two day refresher course for his Kentucky EMT license, which will keep him certified for another three years after his license expires next year. Another good thing! So long as Amazon keeps wanting him in AmCare, its definitely worth keeping his license here in Kentucky valid.

So we are keeping ourselves busy. The patch on the galley water tank worked very well, so he closed up the belly of the trailer again. We have been getting swarmed by ladybugs the past couple of days, and whereas I really like them and they are supposed to be good luck, I can't deal with having a couple hundred walking around in my trailer! So we've been sucking them up in a clean vacuum bag, and then releasing them back outside. Sure hope they migrate away soon!

Does anyone like Lemon Poppyseed Muffins? I tried an unusual recipe last night, for a Lemon Poppyseed Cake that you make in the crockpot! It came out very good. I'll post the recipe if there's any interest in that.

Stay tuned for the further packing adventures to come :-).

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Repairs, Trees and Halloween

I have to thank Dave over at Flip Flop Vector as he started the whole "dark side" conversation that got flowing here, there, and everywhere :-). I always thought that my posts about the sights we've seen were the most popular, but apparently everyone does like hearing about our issues as well!

Al did find a crack in the galley gray water tank. It's on the top of the tank, and it could have been there for quite awhile and we didn't know it. This is the first time since last fall that we haven't had sewer hookups, and usually he leaves the galley gray tank open. Now that we fill it, up pops the problem. With careful management of the tank, we probably could have left it....we would just have to make sure it didn't fill to the top. But, I do have a handy man here, and he decided to fiberglass the crack to resolve the problem. We had fiberglass supplies leftover from the shower pan repair this summer. I don't think I wrote about that, but during the summer we noticed a crack starting in the bottom of the shower pan near the drain. Does anyone else have one of those shower floors that 'flexes" when you stand on it? That is really annoying, and I believe ultimately led to the pan cracking. Why can't they put adequate support underneath these things? Anyway, he had ordered fiberglass materials for that and fixed that up, so now he did the same thing to the tank. I felt like an operating room nurse, as I stood next to him and handed him the tools and materials as he needed it. It was especially interesting as he was on his back under the tank, and fixing the top where he could only see with the aid of one of those bent mirrors :-).

Meanwhile, while he was underneath the trailer moving things around, another issue cropped up. I noticed the power would blink off now and then. He traced that back to a loose ground wire in the electrical panel, and fixed that. And as I was giving the shower a super scrubbing, some of the silicon caulking was peeling off, so we re-caulked the shower. So the only thing left is the ugly crack on the outside fiberglass, and that will have to wait for professional help in Florida.

We also had a couple of physical things to take care of. Chelsea has developed a hot spot on her leg, and was busy chewing on it, so off to the vet she went. Antibiotics and some prednisone should take care of that.  He did say that she probably has some arthritis and that may have been what she was chewing at, and we noticed while she's on the prednisone she is perkier and her limp isn't as noticeable, so we may have to investigate some arthritis management this winter for the old girl. And I went for an eye exam, and they prescribed GLASSES! Oh no! So I picked those up and have been trying to get used to them. Bifocals. Ugh. I am having a hard time with reading my kindle with them. I can't make the whole page come into focus, and the edges of the page are a bit distorted, like a funhouse mirror. I sure could use some advise on using them!

We did go out geocaching a couple of times as well. We pulled out our SeaEagle Runabout for the first time this year, and went to Sportsman Lake near here. There's a set of geocaches placed around the lake, and you can only retrieve them if you have water access. It was fun, and a nice day, and felt good to be back on the water. We are really looking forward to doing kayaking down in Florida this winter :-).

We also took a day trip to The Bernheim Arboretum in Clermont, about an hour and a half drive from here. The campground is very busy this weekend, it is the "Halloween in the Park" festival taking place, and the campground is full to capacity. It seemed like a good thing to leave for the day :-). Little did I know I was jumping from the frying pan into the fire, as this weekend is "Colorfest" at the Arboretum, and it was jam-packed there as well! It was very pretty, though, but sadly the day never cleared off like the weatherman said it would, and it remained cloudy and chilly all day. The colors were beautiful, and I did take some pictures, although it would have been spectacular with the sun shining.

We did some geocaching around Lake Nevin. There were several caches placed here. There are many trails throughout the arboretum, and we hope to get back to explore some more of them when it is not so crowded.

Pretty colors

I really like these red trees in the lake

Closer look

Chelsea loves the grass!

We did a multi-part cache, and the last spot told us to go "20 feet straight from the thing". Well as we were searching for the co-ordinates, we kept wondering, what is the thing we're looking for? Well we knew it when we found it :-).

When we returned to the campground, it was almost dark and trick or treating was in full swing! I went out this morning and took some pictures of the campground and the decorated sites. Some of these folks really go all out.

This is our row this morning. By this afternoon, it will be empty except for 4 of us Amazon people!

Individually decorated sites

I categorize this under "really!!??". Looks sturdy to me, what do you think :-)?

These four pictures are all one site decorated. That's a lot of work for one weekend!

Another row with those beautiful trees at the end. 

Well, there's a mass exodus out of the campground now. The line at the dump station is rather impressive! Glad I'm not waiting in it :-). After this weekend it stays pretty quiet and peaceful here, and after November 1st its pretty much all Amazon workers here. Speaking of which, I go in for paperwork tomorrow, and start on Tuesday. I know I'm working the donut shift to start, Monday Tuesday Thursday Friday. Once peak sets in, we'll see what happens. I'll find out tomorrow which department I'm starting in, although we know from last year that can and probably will change :-). The key here is flexibility, and who knows better about that than RV'ers? 

That's about all from Campbellsville today. I really appreciate all the comments and well wishes from everyone. Mike and Anne, great to hear from you. Please drop us an email, we'll be going through Massachusetts next spring and would be great to meet up with you. Stay tuned for the further Amazon adventures to come!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Days of Wine and Roses?

I've been thinking a lot lately about a post I read a couple of weeks ago, by Dave over at The Flip Flop Vector. He's been on the road now for six months out of a planned 12 month trip around the country. Its been interesting to read his perspective on the RV lifestyle and how they are adjusting to it. Its still amazing to me the number of folks who set out to do this who have never RV'd before! He's finding it a bit different from the way they've imagined it, and the jury appears to be still out as to whether they will continue the journey up to and after the 12 months.

What was so thought provoking, though, was that he felt reading all the blogs of other folks, like us, that are living the lifestyle, makes it sound as if we are all leading an idyllic life of leisure as we progress through the country. And I've been trying to decide if my blog is guilty of this as well?  I certainly don't mean to :-)! Are we enjoying our life? Much more than we used to, yes! Our life in New York was great as well, and we will never complain about the business we had, it provided us a very nice life and gained us the savings we needed to get to this point. It became "not enough", though, and we wanted to slow our pace down at this stage, and enjoy our traveling while still young and healthy enough to do so.

Would we like to "lounge back in our leather recliners sharing a glass of fine French wine with our two AKC award winning Pomeranians fast asleep in our laps as we discussed how to invest our lottery winnings while viewing the seagulls outside of our Prevost coach scooping up their meal as the sunset disappeared along the Oregon coast".? (Thanks Dave, that's a beautiful visual!) Well, sure, it would be nice...but truly, how boring would that get day after day after awhile. More dollars would help, don't get me wrong on that count, but we all do whatever it takes to make our lifestyle work. There are many full-timers out here who don't work and don't have to, but I think for us, even if it wasn't necessary for us to work, we still would. So far, the experiences we have had have been good, and the friendships formed treasured. (well, except for the beets, didn't particularly care for that experience!)

Do we have problems? Sure do! Maybe I try to paint them as lighter than they are, I don't know. We've definitely had our share of issues with the trailer. When we first picked it up, we discovered a propane leak in the furnace. Not good! Especially as I have a phobia about propane (all electric in the sticks n'bricks, and oil furnace) and I had to learn to get comfortable sleeping over two propane tanks. Last fall while here at Campbellsville we had the black water holding tank crack, and it took six weeks before it was repaired. All I'm going to say about that is after working 10 hour shifts, towards the end it was getting harder and harder to rise up off the port-a-john! This fall we have two new issues that we have discovered in the past few days.  As we were leaving Hillsboro, and Al was cleaning the leaves and snow off the roof and slides, he noticed a crack in the fiberglass side going from the top of the living room slide towards the roof. That will have to get checked out as soon as we get to Florida and hopefully isn't anything extremely serious. And on today's agenda is a repair to a crack we found yesterday in the galley gray water tank. This repair he's doing himself. It is good to have a handy person around :-).

I did find the emotional toll of leaving worse than I had expected. We didn't have children or grandchildren as so many others have, but we've always been very close to our families and for the most part have lived close to them all the time. So that was difficult. We had attended the RV-Dreams Rally in Tennessee about 3 weeks after we had left New York...I actually had Linda tell me I needed to stop crying! :-). Well, I did, and as I see everyone is doing just fine without us, I've adjusted just fine :-). We both really look forward to visiting family and friends, whether we go to them or they come to us.

I wish I had a bigger refrigerator. I do miss my washer and dryer. There are definitely times I miss the fenced in yard where we could let the dogs out by themselves. Long hot showers are to be treasured. But as I sit here looking out my window at the beautiful lake (no sunset, its morning) I think its not such a bad trade-off. I really enjoy that our days off of work are really days off, not days to be filled with lawn mowing, leaf raking, chores and errands.

Anyway, that's just some ramblings I have as I wait to start here at Amazon. I start next Monday, and hopefully Al does as well. He is waiting on a background check, and then will be cleared to start. Let's all raise those wine glasses and have a toast to the good life, whatever it may mean to each and every one of us.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Another Waiting Game

Well, we are playing the waiting game once again, but we are in a much nicer place to do so :-). Here at Green River Lake S.P. we have several miles of hiking trails to explore, and the dogs, especially Casey, have enjoyed romping through the woods. I am also finding that the hills here that busted my buns last year are much easier to climb up and down this year! I guess I'm in a bit better shape, and there's much more oxygen down here than there was at 7700 feel and higher :-).

I do have a start date at Amazon, 10/22. Yay! And Al is awaiting his super-duper background check to be done, as he needs more rigorous checking than I do...he will be dealing with 'injured" people after all. We are hoping that it gets done as quickly as possible, so he can start at the same time that I do.

In the meantime, we are doing a little exploring and hiking. Last Thursday we visited Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, about 1 hour 45 minutes away from here. We were talking to our friend Joy, and she suggested this as a pleasant place to spend some time. And it certainly was. The main entrance to the park is lovely, and deserves kudos for being accessible to disabled folks. There are a couple of very well maintained paths that are paved, enabling anyone to have a great view of the falls.

Cumberland Falls, sometimes called the Little Niagara, the Niagara of the South, or the Great Falls, is a large waterfall on the Cumberland River southeastern Kentucky. This is the top of the falls, at the first viewpoint. 

The view downriver from the falls.

Continuing down the paved paths, you can view the falls from the level of the river. Cumberland Falls are also known for a unique feature called a "moonbow". The 125 foot wide waterfall has a 68 foot drop that showers onto the boulders below. The mist rising from these falls creates this unique natural phenomenon that is not visible anywhere else in the Western hemisphere on a predictable schedule. The falls are situated in such a way, facing north and flowing north, as to reflect the light of the moon and make a rainbow-like arch, an optical phenomenon called a moonbow. The moonbow can be seen here on clear, strongly-lit nights, usually the full moon.

We decided to hike to Eagle Falls, on the other side of the falls. This is the top of the falls from that side.

It was quite an uphill climb for awhile, and we ended up high above the falls!

The trail wound around and under several large rock ledges.

The trail went close to the river at one point, and it was beautiful with all the rocks and the leaves starting to change.

We reached peaceful Eagle Falls, and just sat and rested for awhile admiring the scenery. They weren't nearly as awesome as Cumberland Falls, but beautiful as well. 

We finally headed back to the truck. I was glad it wasn't warmer than it was, in the low 60's, as the hills definitely gave us a good workout, and we need to get adjusted again to the humidity levels of this part of the country :-). As we drove home we made a well-deserved stop at Culver's for some frozen custard :-).

Over the weekend we've been exploring some more trails in the park, and doing some geocaching. Geocaching doesn't seem really big here, there aren't too many caches and some haven't had finds since spring! We have dropped a couple of trackables though, and replaced some wet logs, so we're doing our part :-). An interesting thing happened yesterday though. As we were coming off the North Trail near Green River Stables, a truck approached, and then slowed down. Al and Casey were ahead of me and Chelsea (pokey puppy) and I saw him lean in and start laughing. As I approached, I saw it was Miss Vicky, who I worked with at Waldenwoods in 2011! It was so nice to see her again. Vicky and her husband Tim are working at Amazon this fall as well. They're staying at the Stables campground, so they'll be close to us. We visited for quite awhile, and hope they come over to see us again. One of those random meetings on a backroad that could only have been meant to be...we had to be coming out of the woods at the exact moment she was driving by, otherwise we probably wouldn't have crossed paths. 

Today its very windy, and a possibility of thunderstorms tonight. We hope they go around us! In the meantime, as we have another week to wait before starting, we are doing some projects, and trying some recipes we haven't had time to try. We'll let you know how the meals come out, and as for projects, hopefully at the end of the week we'll have a Mickey Mouse light pole to show everyone :-)!