Sunset

Sunset

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

CALIFORNIA CAPITOL BUILDING

CALIFORNIA CAPITOL BUILDING

26 Dec
A day after the wife and I spent a quit Christmas just kicking back watching TV shows we took off to see the California Capitol Building in Sacramento. The drive was just under one hour way and now we have been to five Capitol Building. The main entrance is closed and all visitors must enter from the L Street entrance.  After a quick airport like security check we were free to rome the halls of the Capitol Building. First was a stop in front of the Governor Office. There is a large bear statue and an armed guard standing watch on the door.  When I retired from the Navy, then Governor Arnold Schwarzengger, signed one of my retirement service letter thanking me for my twenty years of service. I was just feets away from where that process all started. 

We then walked around taking pictures of the inside of three story dome roof, the speaker floor and even rode one of the buildings elevators. Then we went outside to the front and took some pictures with the Capitol Building in the foreground.




We were starting to get hungry, so we made our way to sampling of flavored oils at Chef Olive Mix. 



Now I was hungry for some real food and we went around the corner and ate at River City Saloons. We order ours clubs at the bar and was eating peanuts and throwing the shells on the floor…. When in Rome!






One last stop to get saltwater taffy. As we walked out the store I saw an officer writing me a ticket as the meter must of ran out when we were in the store getting the taffy. When I walked to the back of the car to talk to the officer, she stopped writing the ticket and let me go. I did not have to say a word. Today must have been my lucky day.

 All them barrels of taffy and this is all we walked out with!!! What's up with that???



On our way back to Travis AFB we hit all the traffic and felt like it took twice as long to get back as it did to get to Downtown Sacramento. … One thing I found out from this is that California drivers are some of the less patient drivers I have ever seen.


 Being the weekend and Christmas traffic with everyone going back home I'm not looking forward to all the traffic we will be stuck in. The next few days will be long ones on the road. Tomorrow we are heading to LA to eat dinner at a Japanese restaurant the wife have been wanting to visit, then find a place to spend the night somewhere (California law is tough on overnight stays in public places). Then the next day a short stop to Palm Springs for the wife to sightseeing. Then finally, to Buckeye, AZ for our snowbird home at Leaf Verde RV Resort.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

DONNER PASS AND TOW DOLLY PROBLEMS

DONNER PASS AND TOW DOLLY PROBLEMS

22 Dec

We made it up and over Donner Pass with no problem. There was lots of snow, but none on the road so the drive was easier than we expected. There are a few decline grades of 4% -6%, but nothing as bad as we ran into earlier in the summer when we saw 23% grades.

Kids sled riding at rest stop near Donner Lake


 About the half way point to Travis AFB, we stopped to eat lunch at a rest stop, then we were back on the road for the last stretch.  About 10 miles down the road we saw the rock slide that was a road alert when we left. The road lane was cleaned up with piles of rock on the shoulder with cones to alert drivers. Shortly after that, a passerby passed us and slowed down waving her hands telling us to pullover. We followed them and exited at the next off ramp and got out. The inside of our tow dolly tire was smoking and looked like the ball bearing just melted away.


 We unhooked the car, drover to a quit (no traffic) area and left the RV and tow as we drove 4 miles or so back into the closes town. About 2 hours later we finally found a place that could do the work and went back to get the RV and tow to drop off at the shop.  Next was to find a place to stay for the night. We could stay at the rest stop, but have no idea how long we would have stay until the tow got fixed. Because of Christmas this week we could be waiting for parts until Friday, so we pulled out our Passport America book and started looking. Two miles back East from the rest stop was the closes park. …It’s a small world, the camp host family saw my wife and knew that she was Japanese and stared talking Japanese. They lived in Yokosuka, Japan for 7 as English teachers.  We got settled in and drove to the inn dinner across the highway to eat dinner. I had the steak and scampi and the wife had stuffed pork lone.


After we ate the soup that came in large bowl and bread I was pretty much full. I ate the veggies, some of the steak and asked for the rest to go. The owned came over and asked if everything with the meal was ok, because I did not eat a lot. I told her that after the soup I was full. I think while working at Amazon and losing weight my stomach has gotten smaller.  We returned to the RV and I turned in for the night.

23 Dec


I woke up with high hopes that the tow dolly will be fixed today and we can get back on the road to Travis AFB. The campground we are at is cheaper using our Passport America pass then the base, but we did not get any food before we left since we were going to the base and we could go the commissary.  We have to get to base today, as the next few day, more than likely the commissary will be closed. Well, that did not happen.  We paid for one more night and went shopping for some food, then hung out in the RV until we got the call around 4:00pm. We will pick up the tow dolly tomorrow; as they are open until noon on Christmas Eve. The total coast to get the bearing and cap replaced just under $200. We should be back in full working order and arrive at Travis AFB by mid day on the 24th. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

... AND THEN THERE WAS NONE

... AND THEN THERE WAS NONE

It's official, my time at Amazon has come to an end. The last two days there has not been very much work for us CamperForce to do. Thursday, I walked into work and attended the free class on resume and interviews, then reported to my assigned stowing area and everyone was standing around waiting for work. One manager walked up and asked who wants to leave early, almost everyone signed up for volunteer time off. I remember there was times no one wanted to leave early and was looking to work overtime, my how we change our thinking when we are so close to being released. Friday, was pretty much the same. We stowed our carts and hanged around until 11:00pm when the remaining CampeForce (who worked over 320 hr to earn 5 hr paid vacation) punched out early to use our vacations time. By 11:01pm I was in my car heading home. It's a sad and happy time all rolled up into one. Sad, that we are leaving and everyone is heading in different directions.... oh and I will no long receive a weekly paycheck. Happy that now we can move on to warmer weather and start making plans on how to enjoy spending the extra money. There is no doubt in my mind that I will sign up to work next season at an Amazon warehouse, the only question that remains is what location I will choose next. The only thing I know for sure is that I talked my wife into working next season with me. January 15th is when I was told that Amazon will open CamperForce applications. If you are thinking about working as a CamperForce for Amazon next season, sign up. The work is hard and the hours are long, but overall I enjoyed my time working for Amazon. Now, we have a little extra money in our pocket that we can spend on our 2015 road trip.

I'm keeping my eyes open on Donner pass (I 80 WB) weather as that is the way we are leaving Nevada to head to Cali. Currently, the forecast called for light rain/snow on Sat (20 Dec) with 10% precipitation, Cloudy on Sun (21 Dec) with 0% precipitation and mostly clear on Mon (22 Dec) with a high of 53. We are currently leaning to leaving on Monday for the 4 hour or so drive to Travis AFB where we will stop to rest and spend our Christmas, before heading to Arizona for the rest of our winter. The wife and I are both looking forward to the warmer weather.

The other day, I read a blog where the author said something along the lines becoming a full-time RV'er will not change you. If you are not a social person before, you will not be social after becoming a full-timer. My wife and I both have very small social circles. It's tough for us to open up and let others into our little world. Maybe because we got hurt before trying to make new friends who only took advantage of our good will or whatever the case may have been. One of our goals as full-time RV'ers was try and be more social and make friends along the way. We are and probable always will be very picky who we let into our lives. We do the "RV'er wave" to people who walk past our site or when we walk the park. We introduce ourselves to our neighbors when we arrive to a new campground and we try and talk to as many people who want to talk to us. We have met people who have been nothing but kind and was easy to make friends with. There are a few who call or email asking us where we are and when will we arrive so we can meet again. And, even some who call us family. As full time RV'ers it's easier to be social as we already have something in common with the person next to us. If it's sharing a story and giving that person an idea on where to visit or talk about how our experience was different/same from them when we visited the same places. Another way for me to be more open and freely is this blog. I think one of the best things I have done since becoming a full-timer. Look at my blog members, my social circle have grown to six ... lol. And, most recently, working as a CamperForce for Amazon. I have talked to a lot of fellow campers making a few friends and even some non full-timers who told me to look them up when I drive though their state. Anytime you do something new, change is almost certain. Becoming a full-timer our socializing with others have changed and I think for the better.



  

Saturday, December 13, 2014

10,000 VIEWS

10,000 VIEWS

I want to thank everyone who has visited this blog over the last 2+ years. I never thought I would ever get this many views and it's beyond my wildest dreams that it has happened. If I write it, they will come... I will continue to add post on my daily life along with our adventures on the road and upload videos to my YouTube page. 

Some sporting events that are on my calendar for early 2015 are the NFL Pro Bowl, NFL Super Bowl and MLB Spring Training all held in Arizona this year. We also have some State and National Parks we want to see that we missed last year when we were in Arizona. We want to make some stops before we arrive in Arizona, but we are still doing our research during the winter months... more to follow, in the next few weeks. Our 2015 Summer trip is cross country and back to the East Coast with a lot of stops along the way that includes Big Bend NP, Washington DC, catching up with old friends and several MiLB and MLB games (still working out all the details).

Now that my time at Amazon is almost over, I will have time to complete our 2014 summer road trip post. Keep your eye open for them to start popping up around Christmas to New Years time frame (depends on how good the Wifi is at our next campground).

If you like any of my post leave a comment I would love to hear from you. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

LIFE AT AMAZON AND BEYOND

LIFE AT AMAZON AND BEYOND 

I know it's been a while since my last post, but working 50~55 hr weeks on the night shift is no easy task for anyone. My little off time is spend with my wife (if one of us is not sleeping). Hence, this post being written early in the A.M. on my off day when I can't sleep because my body thinks I should be up putting items on the shelves so Amazon buyers like you can get your gifts for the holiday season.  

With my Amazon end date conformed (20 Dec), I'm starting to daydream of sitting by the poolside soaking in the Arizona sunshine and playing water volleyball with the gang at Leaf Verde. Until then, I officially have 8 more working days, then a short pit stop in Cali before heading to Leaf Verde for the rest of the snowbird season. 

Working at Amazon is not glamorous and definitely no walk in the park, it's hard work. In the end, I think it was worth it. Personally, I've lost 14 pounds and never felt better. On a down side, after a year and half  I cut my beard off (for safety reasons), but my hair is still long. I just tie it up everyday before I go into work, I meet some younger people around my age and I finally caught up with a fellow BLOGGER  (actually second time, we met at Zion NP this summer) I have been following since the wife and I started full-timing. Free campsite and a great hourly wadge (with overtime) we earned enough to enjoy summer 2015. I think I've talked the wife into working next season at Amazon with me, so we can double our pleasure for summer 2016. Work hard for two and half months out of the year and do whatever we want the rest of the year ... life can't get much more easier then this.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

AMAZON UPDATE, RENO ACES & 150 YEARS OF NEVADA

AMAZON UPDATE, RENO ACES & 150 YEARS OF NEVADA   

I have been working at Amazon in Fernley, NV for the last three weeks and just now have time to sit down and make my post. We are staying at Sparks Marina RV Park in Sparks, NV about a 30~45 minute drive to Fernley, NV depending on the traffic and road conditions. I 'm working at Amazon for the next 11 weeks or so as a CamperForce. It's a program where Amazon hires RV'ers to help out in their warehouse during the peak season of high sales during the Christmas season. I'm assigned to the stowing area. After items are received and disseminated they arrive to the department I'm working. My job is to scan each item, place them on the shelve and then scan the shelve. The item sits on the shelve until someone purchases it off the Amazon website. Currently, I'm working nights from 6:00 pm - 4:30 am at 40 hours a week and taking any overtime that is offered. Last week was the first time overtime was granted and I just finished working my first 50 hour week. I'm sooooo tired, but I will get all the sleep I want after I arrive in Arizona with my fellow snowbirds. Soon, we will be moving from 10 hour shift to 12 hour shift for the high demand of items coming and going in the next few weeks. I look at this not as a job, but from the consumer view. Like so many other people, I use Amazon and now I can see how it works from the inside. And, making some extra spending money for next summer is just a plus.


The first week we arrived at Sparks Marina RV Park we made a trip to Reno about 10 minutes away. After walking around "The Biggest Little City in the World" just behind the Harrah's Casino is the home of the Reno Aces the AAA affiliate of the Arizona D-Backs. My second favorite player and fellow Kent State alumni Andrew Chafin spent most of the second half of the season in Reno. I walked into the team shop and looked around. They had game used jersey that the players wore during the season. I was lucky as they had one Chafin jersey remaining. I started talking to the store manager that I went to Kent State the same time Chafin did. Come to find out that the store manager's mother went to Kent State and that he lived in Akron, OH when growing up. America is really a small world. I traveled all the way across country and ran into someone less than 30 minutes from my hometown. The store manager told me that the jersey will be going on sale in a few weeks. I was able to put $10 down to hold the jersey until that day. The other day I got a call and picked it up the day after they went on sale. This is one of my BIG items to get autographed next year at spring training in Arizona.    
   






Yesterday, 31 Oct Nevada celebrated it's 150 Birthday. So, what did mother nature bring the next morning ... snow covered mountain tops. The wind also ripped my tire cover. Good excuse to get new ones.






Saturday, October 11, 2014

ON THE ROAD AGAIN, NEXT STOP FERNLEY, NV

ON THE ROAD AGAIN, NEXT STOP FERNLEY, NV

7 Oct

Two months have come & gone and before I knew it, it was time to movie on. After all the lights, sounds, water shows and showgirls wore off , Las Vegas is just like every other city I have visited. All the hoopla is what draws the tourist. However, if I learned anything as a full time RV'er it not about an endless vacation, it's a lifestyle. Living in Las Vegas is a lifestyle, treat it like a vacation and you wont last two weeks before your broke running trying to find a way back home.

As we left Las Vegas in our rear view heading North on 95 the view is nothing we have not seen all ready. We did pass the Death Valley NP entrance, the same road we took five months ago. 95 is a lonely stretch of highway with no view except open land. Oh, we did come across aliens, a brothel and a drone aircraft. Heading deep into the mountains we saw drone aircraft flying overhead. It must have been part of Nellis AFB range away from the main base just outside of the Las Vegas Strip. Is big brother spying on US Citizens? From what I've seen on this road trip my thinking is now 50-50.

We stopped for lunch at a gas station and Area 51 gift shop, I met some funny looking aliens.





Just behind the gas station that's located in the middle of nowhere is a brothel. The wife have never head of brothels in the US and is the first time I have ever seen one. It was something new we have never seen and I just wanted to share it with you. NO, we did not go inside to take a look.

We continued on until we stopped for the night in the town of Tonopah. It is the the half way point form Las Vegas to Fernley. So it was a good place to call home for the night. We parked in a Casino's large open lot reserved for semi's and RV's.



8 Oct

Woke up to a cool desert temperature of 55 F. They only way I know this is because there was a sign board flashing the time and temperature all night. We soon hit the road trying to warm up while driving and stopped at the first rest stop to eat breakfast. No semi's allowed so it was a quite morning. However, when we arrived a 5th wheeler had all three slides open along with their awning out. It's a rest stop NOT a RV Park. Keep your slides & awning closed. Respect the unwritten rules of RV'ing and don't "F" it up for the rest of us.

We stopped in Hawthorne a small town that I think only exist because of the US Army Ammo Storage. We pulled over at a vista overlooking Walker Lake. I put the camera on the tripod, set the timer and placed on the hood of the RV... this is view we had.  Because on the angle of the tripod leaning on the hood and front glass it gave us a diamond shade picture. 

We arrived in Fernley four days early, so we had to pay for these days, the rest of our stay will be covered by Amazon. I wanted to get the lay of the land so when I'm working the wife can get around and understand where everything is located. I want to make it easy for her. Speaking of Amazon, Next week I will start the seasonal workforace at Amazon. I have been getting mixed stories about this job, but I'll take the free advice for what it is and will start with an open mind. I'm nervous and at the same time excited. We did a dry run and it took me 35 minutes o drive from the RV Park to Amazon parking lot. Pretty easy, straight shoot on I 80. I will post more about this as the season goes along. 

Update notes:

I'm still behind in my post. I have them started, but not completed. Our trip to BC Canada, WA, ID, UT and some more on our stay in Las Vegas. There has been a lot going on and I will do my best to get all our adventures updated. There is just not enough time in the day to see and do everything and them write about it, before waking up and doing something different the next day. I'll find the time and keep my promise. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

VIDEO UPDATE

VIDEO UPDATE

I finally stopped procrastinating and completed another part of our 2014 Pacific Midwest Road Trip. I know, it's been four months since my last video update but I just had to find the time to get off my A$$ and do something about it. I think I was worried that my last video only received a few hit and I was debating to putting all that time and effort into another video and getting the same results. Then, I came a cross a blog Alyssa Padgett it's just what I needed to give me that push. The stars aligned and her posts where dead on. I commented to one of her post and gave her a links to this blog and my fist video. I did not know what to expect if any reply at all. When she replied with her encouraging words I worked my tail off and not only did I completed one, but two full videos and a few short one.

I never took any classes on how to take pictures or edit video, but I found out I love to do it. I even learned some tricks that my camera can do more then just point and click (I will share them in a later post). The most important thing I learned on this journey, I don't care about how many views or likes I receive on my videos. I like making them, so I make them for me. If people watch them great, if they like them even better.

Bottom line, if you love doing something take the leap of faith and just do it!

Here is the link to the VIDEO. While you are there take a look at my other videos too... if you like.

UPDATE:

I just added a link to my YouTube channel on the side. You can now view my videos without me having to post a link every time. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have making them.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

MY BIRTHDAY IN LAS VEGAS

MY BIRTHDAY IN LAS VEGAS

22 Sep

The title might be a little deceiving. I'm way pass the age of 21 and I'm married so, why would a married man over the age of 40 something spend his birthday in Las Vegas.... it just happens to be the place the RV is parked. 

I woke up no different than an other day, felling the young age of 25 (every year I'm now 25).

I had no idea what my wife had planed for me if anything at all. The first thing on my to do list was take care of a pre-employment drug test for Amazon. (Received confirmed email... I passed) After I got back the wife told me to get back into the car. I usually open the car door for her, however, today the tide has turned and she opened the car door for me and did all the driving. First, she took me to a Pro Bass shop. I'm not big on hunting but, I like to fish. However, this trip was to see the sting ray feeding. Unfortunately, the feeding was canceled for today. We did walk around, where else other then Las Vegas is there a casino in a Pro Bass Shop?





Next, she took me to Mandalay Bay Casino and took me the shark tank. Price $18 a person, but I told them I was working in NV and showed my military ID and we got $3 off per ticket. I never want to go, but every time we got to a zoo or aquarium I'm like a little kid standing close to the glass window looking deep into the blue waters looking at all the sea life. I guess I'm just amazed at whats on the other side. A lot of the pictures did not turn out very good, because I did not know where she was taking me and left my good camera in the rig. We only had the small camera and the fish moving fast in water made most of the close up pictures blurry. 
 Check out that shark over my head.







Then, we walked by a store "Art of Music" in Mandalay Bay. Who did I see signing autographs no other the the baseball's all time "Hit King" Pete Rose. If you don't know by now, I LOVE baseball and there is a living legend sitting right in front of me. I had a felling he's prices would be high and I was right, but at least I got to see him (no pictures).

Finally, she took me to a Japanese owned all you can eat sushi restaurant. There was a time limit of 45 minutes, but the restaurant was not busy and we were there over a hour eating everything on the menu. Living in Japan for 10 years, I've learned to try everything at least once. (Who knew I would ever like eating raw horse?) I saw something on the menu I never heard or tried before. The name alone would put a frown on so many people they would not even try it. It's a large mushroom with a hollow center stuffed with spicy tuna deep fried in tempura batter, then sliced in half and served. The mushroom had a crunchy taste with the tempura batter and going down the spicy tuna kicked in and it was good. Sounds tasty? Would you try it? The name of this dish is called monkey ball. How about now, will you still try it after knowing the name of the dish?

 A small example of the MANY sushi we ate.




 Monkey Ball

Who says the only thing to do in Vegas on your birthday is get drunk and gamble. There is a lot to do in Vegas, after looking pass all the flashing lights and sounds of coins dropping from slot machines. We did not spent one cent on alcohol or gambling and had one of my best birthdays ever!