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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Fast One Day Weekend

Location: Campbellsville, KY (High 88, Low 71)

Yesterday was our final day of our first work week this season. I went back and read the entries from our first week last year, and what a difference. Being back in the same area again made things much simpler. The first three half days were supposed to be training, but really we just jumped back in to doing the same work process that we were already familiar with from last season. So that made the first three days a much less mental challenge.

sunsetThe nights are already a little unsettled, as I also found them last year, and maybe that’s just something that isn’t going to get any better. Many of you out there may identify with waking up in the middle of the night for whatever reason?? Sarcastic smile Well, waking up around 2:30 or 3 am doesn’t work so well for me when the alarm clock is set for 4. Sometimes I just don’t get back to sleep and end up getting up at 3:30 because by that time it’s just not even worth it.

Today is our one day off, so we have packed several things into these few hours. We went grocery shopping this morning to get what we needed for the next few days. (This year, I am going to try to do a couple crockpot recipes each week to reduce the amount of cooking I have to do on our days off.) Harry worked on a couple maintenance projects he wanted to get accomplished. And of course, the ever-present laundry. Other than that, we’ve been taking it a little bit easy for today since tomorrow we start our ten hour shifts.

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I walked down the road a bit and took an updated picture of our campground. There have been a few rigs coming in almost daily over the past few days. It’s probably just as easy for people to come in a little early and avoid traveling over the holiday weekend.

We won’t be traveling anywhere, that’s for sure! Tomorrow we start Week 2!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Week 1 Almost Over

Location: Campbellsville, KY (High 90, Low 68)

Well, one more day left and our first week for this new season will be over. So far, the week has gone really well.

It looks like we’re going to spend a lot of time this year working on the sort line. We were in that area quite a bit last year too, so our amazon1training has basically been a refresher course while going over the changes that have been implemented since we left last December. I like working on the sort line. It’s very fast paced and each day goes by very quickly. It’s a very physical job though. It involves unloading pallets of product and emptying the trucks of product that come into the warehouse each day. So we’re getting a workout for sure. So far, I have not been sore at all at the end of the day. Of course we’ve only worked two five hour shifts, so we will see what I feel like at the end of our first week of ten hour shifts!!

I am also trying to be more aware of what I eat this year, and not go crazy with store bought snacks and eating pastries for breakfast and buying pies for dessert. (When I think of how I ate last year while we were here, I find it amazing that I didn’t gain ten pounds!!) I would love to lose a few this time.

heartland1A few more rigs have come into the campground over the past couple of days. So far I have no regrets that we made the decision to move to Heartland Campground this year.  Yesterday we needed to make a couple phone calls. We would have had to sit in town after we got out of work to make them. We’ve also been able to bring in a couple local channels which we were unable to do last year. But mostly, I just love being able to walk outside at twenty of six and just walk across the street to work.

We are getting a taste of hot weather this week. Our a/c has been on nonstop since we arrived, which is actually the first time it has been on more than a couple hours at a time all year. There isn’t any change in sight over the next ten days, but hopefully by mid September we will start to get down into the 80s at least.

We haven’t done any running since we’ve been here, as we only plan to do runs on days off. This week we only have one day off (Saturday) and then we start back in on Sunday with our normal shift. So hopefully next week on our days off we will get a chance to get a run in. Smile

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Like We Never Left

Location: Campbellsville, KY (High 89, Low 69)

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Well, here’s our crew! The first week group at Amazon!

 

 

Our day started yesterday at 8 am. We started out by getting our pictures taken for our badges and receiving our shift and assignment. Harry and I were happy to find out we were going back to receiving and we also got days. We have a different shift than we did last year and will be working Sun – Wed.

They’ve changed a few details from last year. We had a full day yesterday, with morning being the orientation stuff that we did on Monday last year. Then in the afternoon we did what they call Safety School, which was on Tuesday last year. It’s basically a tour of different stations where they introduce some of the techniques used in the various jobs. Like how to lift boxes, move pallets, move around conveyors. It was a good refresher, but I was also surprised at how second nature it all seemed. It really feels like we’ve only been away for a few weeks instead of 8 months!

The work hardening process has also been changed a bit due to standardizing the camperforce program across the different facilities. Last year our first two weeks were adjusted…week 1 with 5 hour shifts and week 2 with 7.5 hour shifts. This year we just have the next three days of shortened shifts. Today through Friday we’ll be working 5 hour shifts from 6 am to 11. Then we have Saturday off and start our normal 10 hour shifts on Sunday. Time to see how our legs are going to hold up!

It was a much different experience than last year’s first day in the warehouse. Last year we were pretty overwhelmed with trying to remember everything, like just how to get from Point A to Point B. This year it felt normal. We knew our way around. It was fun to see familiar faces and have people waving and welcoming us back. All in all, a good first day.

Week 1 of 17 is underway!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Trip Over and Back to Amazon

Location: Campbellsville, KY (High 89, Low 70)

Our last two days of the trip went very well. This is the route that we took home from Texas last spring and we found it so much easier maplelakes2than the way we went last year through West Virginia. For a couple of reasons…there were no downgrades to speak of, other than normal ups and downs. Also, there’s a better selection of campgrounds in Ohio than I have ever found in Virginia and West Virginia. I suspect we will be taking this route every year.

We stayed at two new campgrounds…

maplelakesMaple Lakes in Seville, OH…

 

 

 

and Cedarbrook in Lebanon, OH.

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From Lebanon it was a pretty quick 200 mile trip to Campbellsville, KY. I75 rest stopWe lucked out with pretty good weather for the entire trip, other than a few rain showers the first couple of days. We made a point of stopping for lunch at a rest area each day to stretch our legs and break up the trip.

 

We arrived at Heartland Campground in Campbellsville yesterday heartland1afternoon. From Lexington, KY onward the roads looked pretty familiar, and it was nice to come into town and know where we were going. Heartland is all gravel with spaces marked out in stones painted in white lines. The sites are surprisingly large. We have enough room on the side to pull in our truck. I think our site here may even be larger than the one we had last year at Lakeway. There’s no green at all, but we knew and expected that.

The real benefit is….

amazon3proximity to the job!

This is the view from our rig. That white building seen in the distance is Amazon.

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Here’s a closer view from the end of the campground road.

 

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Looking back at the campground from the road…

 

 

We have our first day today, which will consist of Orientation and Safety School. I expect that a lot of information will be familiar from last year. There’s certainly a lot more comfort level this year, as we already have a good idea what to expect – although I am hoping that our running over the past few months will help to reduce the number of aches and pains!!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Trip is Under Way and 60 Mile Bike Ride

Location: Westfield, NY (High 78, Low 64)

catskilldepartureAs I expected, the past few days flew by and this morning we were ready to head out on the road at a really early time for us – 8 am! It was a really cloudy day but we were very lucky that we encountered only light rain. It was one of our eriekoalonger travels days – a little over 380 miles, and we were happy to pull into the Westfield/Lake Erie KOA a little after 3 pm. We have stayed at this KOA three times now and coincidentally have had this site every time. We are only here overnight and tomorrow will be moving on to Seville, OH.

IMG_3010I wanted to share a few pictures and details about one of my favorite events last week when we were up in the Adirondacks – a SIXTY mile bike ride we took around one section of Lake Champlain. Even now a week later, I am still so excited that I successfully biked 60 miles in one day – “successfully” meaning that I didn’t feel like I was going to fall over and pass out by the end of it.

IMG_3019It was a gorgeous day, with a brilliant blue sky as we started on our day trip. We drove to the Cumberland Head ferry in Plattsburgh and left our cars there. IMG_3023

 

 

We biked from there north through several little towns, including Chazy Landing and Rouses Point. Our bike route also took us through Point Au Roche State Park.

 

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I found out where the name of the town Chazy comes from!

I enjoyed reading all the historical signs along the way. I wish I had gotten a picture of the one that said “Benjamin Franklin paused here on a trip to Montreal”.

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We biked over this bridge that goes from Rouses Point, NY over into Vermont.

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We took a little break in Grand Isle, VT to wait for this drawbridge to go back down.

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We were at 51 miles at this point and still smiling!

 

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I could see these kayakers from the bridge as we were waiting.

 

 

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Finally, 8 hours and 60 miles later, we arrived at the ferry landing in Grand Isle, VT.

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Here is Harry very glad to be standing up! Smile

 

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We enjoyed a quick ride across the ferry back to our cars.

 

We had a great bike ride and I’m looking forward to doing another long ride next year. But we may need to prepare our posterior regions with some shorter rides first so we can enjoy the ride a little more next time.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

That Didn’t Sound Good

Location: Catskill, NY (High 77, Low 49)

Well, all’s well that ends well, as they say…but we did have a little scare last week with our fiver…

It began when we were in our bedroom in the evening and sat down on the corner of our bed. All of a sudden we heard a sound like wood cracking and we felt the bed go down on one side. After some investigating, Harry pulled out the big draIMG_2827wer at the foot of our bed and crawled underneath with a flashlight. He came out looking a bit shaken…turned out the screws holding the roller under that side of the bed had completely failed (heads sheared right off) and the bed was now sitting on the floor as opposed to the roller.

We had a small moment of panic as we realized that we couldn’t bring in the slide without the roller under the bed. Ok, maybe we were more than a little panicked. Luckily we had plans for the next day with our Heartland friends Bonnie and Dick, and when we called to cancel, Dick had some helpful advice for Harry on how to fix the problem. So we were actually able to go to bed and get some sleep with plans to tackle the issue in the morning.

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In the morning we got to work….pulled off the mattress, and then Harry removed the screws holding the plywood on.

 

 

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We were surprised to find that once the mattresses and plywood was removed, it was actually very easy to lift the frame and place the roller back where it belonged.

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He used vice grips to remove the useless screws from the aluminum frame.

 

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This is where the roller is supposed to be.

 

 

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$1.81 in supplies!!

 

 

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The hardest part was getting the holes drilled straight.

 

 

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Fixed!!!

 

 

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Two happy cats enjoying their bed put back together!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

All Good Things

Location: Peru, NY (High 71, Low 55)

IMG_2830I found myself this afternoon thinking about the old saying that all good things must come to an end. Not that we don’t have events coming up that we are looking forward to, because we are. But at the same time today feels like the beginning of the end in so many ways…our last day up here in the Adirondacks, this IMG_2850week the last few days that we will be here in NY for the summer…the start of saying good-bye to friends and family for another seven months. I love our lifestyle and the fact that we are looking forward to another winter spent without having to dress up for freezing weather, plan for snowstorms and IMG_2944everything else that comes along with a winter spent up north…but I also hate when it comes time for saying goodbyes. Unfortunately, this is the week of farewells.

We’ve already had our first – said goodbye yesterday to my mom and stepfather. We had a great couple of weeks up here. We didn’t do a lot of running – managed to run four times for a total of 17 miles. But we were still pretty active – went for a hike of 11 miles one day and went on four IMG_3023bike rides for a total of 130 miles. I have several blog entries to do to get caught up on the past couple of weeks and will try to get to those over the next few days. We had a lot of fun and saw a lot of the back roads around here from the seat of our bikes.

IMG_2991We also got our email from Amazon about our drug testing. At Campbellsville, KY, we get our start date first and then shortly after that, we are sent an email with a location in our area where we need to go to have the drug test done. We were happy to get a location in Plattsburgh, which is the only real city in the area and is less than ten miles from the campground IMG_3010where we stay when we are up here. We went right away the same day that we got the email and took care of that last little required piece. Our start date is the 26th of August, which is now only a little over a week away. We have been surprised to discover that we are looking forward to going back to Campbellsville despite the long hours and work that we know will be coming along with that.

Tomorrow morning IMG_2998we will be packing up and heading back to Catskill for a few last days. Time for a couple more get-togethers with friends and family, the annual checkup for our two furballs, which I’m sure they will be excited about, and then on Friday we will be saying so long to another great summer in upstate NY.