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!