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

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Very Strange Season

Wow. It's been three months since I last posted! Everyone probably thinks we gave up :-)!

Well, to start where we ended, we made our quick trip across the country from Wyoming to Florida in six days just fine. I sure don't want to do it again, though. We were very happy that we had zero issues with anything mechanical for a change! It was nice :-). Even the weather cooperated, with dry driving conditions all the way. Once we reached Campbellsville, Kentucky, we dropped the trailer at a campground and drove to Florida the next day. From there, we flew to New York and spent an enjoyable five days with family and friends during my brother's wedding festivities. Sadly, the weather did not cooperate for that, and it rained quite a bit. It didn't dampen the spirits, though, and we had a great time visiting with many folks we haven't seen since we left New York in 2011. I will say that I have not missed flying these past few years, but it was the most expeditious means of travel for the short time we had.

We spent a couple days with family back in Florida, visiting the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival for two days. We always used to go to that every year, but with our workamping schedules since going on the road, we haven't been able to work in a trip. So this worked out, and we had a great two days sampling many different dishes. Then it was time to make the drive back up to Campbellsville, where we picked up the trailer from the Holmes Bend Campground, where we had left it, and got set up in our regular campground for Amazon peak, Green River Lake State Park.

It's been a very odd season here right from the start. Al had all kinds of problems getting started, as first, they wanted him to apply for the medical office job via a temp agency, and that brought forth a whole host of hurdles that had to be jumped over. That didn't even work out like it was supposed to, and I ended starting as scheduled on October 17 while he was still waiting for paperwork. The HR people finally got him hired through Camperforce like normal, and he started the week after me. So we were both finally working, and after a few nights, we even ended up working on the same shift for the first time. That was nice, having the same nights off :-).

There were all kinds of issues with the campgrounds this year as well. They had hired more workampers than usual this year, and as the season progressed, the campgrounds closest to the facility were filled to capacity. Another campground that did accept reservations from folks failed to honor those reservations, and several people were forced to find a site elsewhere. There is usually about twenty or so rigs here in the State Park, but this year we ended up with more than double that number. That was a boon for the State Park at least, as they were able to collect more rent dollars this season. Once people came and stayed here, they found out how nice it is so we may not have quite as nice and quiet park as we used to!

I ended up working in the same department as last year, receiving. On the down side, it wasn't nearly as busy as it was last year, and we have very little overtime this year. Work in receive was light, and I was sent to the Stow department several times, which involves putting all the merchandise away in the warehouse. A lot of the merchandise comes in on pallets and does not need to be entered into the system by a receiver, so there usually is more work for the stowers. By the last three weeks, many of us were "loaned" to the pack department, and we spent the last week or so packing the orders. It truly wasn't a high-volume peak season, though, for anyone in our facility. They are saying that will change for next year, that the Campbellsville facility will be busier than ever before next year, and that they will still be looking for several hundred workampers to augment their work needs. Many first-time workers were very disappointed, though, at the lack of overtime, and they were pretty vocal about voicing their displeasure. All in all, it was an odd season, and whereas I did enjoy meeting up with former friends and finding new ones, I am glad the season is done, more so than normal :-). We are still here in Campbellsville, though, as Al is working an extended schedule through next week. We should be arriving home in Homosassa by New Year's Day.

Our winter plans are pretty much the same as normal, with our family reunion at Disney at the end of January, and visits from other family members. We hope to see friends in the Central Florida area while we are there. We will be doing our yearly doctor appointments and such as well. We've also signed up for a new adventure, which I will write about once it's been confirmed that we've been accepted and where we will be. But it doesn't affect our summer plans, which will have us returning to Luton's Teton Cabins in Wyoming once again, and we will be reuniting with not only Dan and Jonell from last year, but also Ken and Jodi from 2014.  Between working with good friends and the impending solar eclipse in August, we are really looking forward to the summer!

Our spring travels out to Wyoming this year will include stops in Texas, near Padre Island National Seashore and Big Bend National Park. If anyone has any "must dos" in those parks, please let me know :-).

That's it in a nutshell; everything we've been up to for the last three months. It was mostly working for Amazon, and I just really didn't feel a need to write about it when I have in previous years, and so many other folks have written about their experience. So have a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year, and I will catch up with everyone in the new year :-).

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Summer's End

And so we have reached the end of our sixth summer season on the road and then end of our third summer season here at Luton's Teton Cabins. It has been another great summer, fires notwithstanding! We've been pretty busy for the past month.
Al and Dan have continued to practice their fishing skills, bringing home many cutthroat trout for some feasting pleasures.

The fires had continued to create some interesting sunrises and sunsets.

Ford put out some very good rebate and financing possibilities, so we decided to trade in our 2008 F450 for this shiny new 2016 F350. I am fully expecting NOT to be writing about any more truck issues for a long, long time!

On the way to Idaho to pick up the new truck, we joined Dan and Jonell for breakfast at a new spot, Nora's Fish Creek Inn in Wilson, WY. It was great!

We took a hike high on the eastern side of GTNP, overlooking Jackson Lake.

The hike took us to Emma Matilda Lake.

A beautiful view of Oxbow Bend from above.

We had light snowfall mid-September, as seen from our campsite. Two days earlier, we had been riding horses on that mountain!

Just after Labor Day, a herd of a couple of hundred bison took up residence at Elk Ranch Flats, about five miles from us. They were quite popular with the visitors.

We took a late afternoon float trip on the Snake River with Dan, Jonell and Jane, another co-worker. 

We saw eagles,


and a young moose. It was a really beautiful evening.

Our friends John and Carol Herr were in town for about three weeks, and we met them one afternoon and went to visit the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson.

The museum was very interesting and had a good cafe for lunch as well.

On the way back to their campground on the Gros Ventre River, we spotted these two bull moose along the river.

Our friend Jack and Joyce Aughtmann arrived in town for a few days on their way to Oregon, and we went on a ranger-led safari caravan sponsored by the National Park. We saw the usual suspects, pronghorn, bison, beavers, and we also saw this herd of elk from afar, with the big male bugling away.

A real treat was this beautiful red fox, hunting for rodents below a ridge we were on. 

Towards the tail end of Jack and Joyce's stay, another couple that had worked with the four of us in Colorado, Joe and Sandi Wingert, arrived in town as well, on their way to Denver from their summer jobs in Buffalo, WY. The six of us got together for dinner in Jackson before Jack and Joyce departed. We were only missing Steve and Teresa Heede, who worked with us in Colorado, then last year here with us at Luton's. This is my favorite part of this gypsy life: meeting new friends and making lasting friendships!

While Sandi and Joe were here, we spent our day off going up to Yellowstone with them, visiting the Old Faithful Geyser Basin. We got to see two geysers go off, Old Faithful and the Riverside Geyser. It's always so awesome to visit this area and marvel at the geothermal features.

We are now finishing our last week here at Luton's, and we will be back on the road starting Wednesday. We have some hard traveling to do. Usually, we try and spend at least three weeks traveling and sightseeing before heading into Amazon for our fall gig, but this year we need to get back to Long Island, New York to attend a family wedding.  We didn't want to drive the rig that far back east and through NYC, so we are headed to Florida to drop the dogs off with family and then flying up to Long Island for the wedding. We will be there visiting for five days, then fly back to Florida and spend a few days there. Then it will be back to Campbellsville, KY., to start our sixth season at Amazon on October 17. I hope to have some nice pictures of my hometown, Sag Harbor, for another blog, as well as our adventures at the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot in Florida upon our return. Thanks for spending the summer with us!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Happy 100th Birthday, National Park Service!

August 25, 2016, is the 100th birthday of the greatest American idea, the National Park System. Prior to us going out on the road in 2011, we had been to a grand total of three National Parks in our life: Hawaii Volcanoes N.P., Haleakala N.P., and Acadia N.P. Since then, well, let's take a look!

Black bears in Smokey Mountains National Park

Mammoth Caves National Park

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park

Mesa Verde National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

Curecanti National Recreation Area

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

Devil's Tower National Monument 

Wind Cave National Park

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Badlands National Park

Acadia National Park

Roosevelt Campobello International Park

Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge

San Antonio Missions National Park

Pecos National Historical Park

Bandelier National Monument

Petroglyph National Monument

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument

Hovenweep National Monument

Capitol Reef National Park

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Bryce Canyon National Park

Arches National Park

Canyonlands National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Zion National Park

Jewell Cave National Monument

Grand Portage National Monument

Fort Sumter National Monument

Blue Ridge National Parkway

So we've been to 36 National Parks. Monuments, Historic Sites, etc., in the last 6 years. We only have 374 left to visit!

Happy 100th Birthday, National Park Service!