Sunset

Sunset

Sunday, December 20, 2015

2015 in REVIEW

2015 in REVIEW

As December comes to a close so does 2015. This is my second year in a row that I have posted a year in review. I wanted to do this so readers could get a glimpse into our life-in-RV. It's so easy to forget about what you have accomplished within a span of a year. Sometimes everything we did comes back to me in one moment and more often than not I sit there with a stunned face trying to remember everything that happened. Sometimes, I think that "this is all we did", "could we have done more", "where is all the fun stuff we wanted to do". Everyone comes to a stage in their lives where the meaning of adventure, fun and activities change by their lifestyle. I just keep looking at my list and think this is still on my list... I better get this done. If not, then why are we not living our lives the way we planed when we were younger? We happen to be one of those special case couples as full-timers where we are still somewhat young and somewhat experienced. We can still get out and do adventurous stuff or we can sit at a table and play cards or dominoes all night and still have fun. As I do get older (sorry, more experienced) there are items on my bucket list that are starting to get too dangerous to accomplish like dive with sharks, sky diving and learn to ride a motorcycle. I should move these closer to the top of my list in the years to come.

Same as the last two year started so did 2015 at Major League Baseball Spring Training, this year it was in Goodyear, Arizona. I made my pilgrimage to the desert to kick off American's Pastime in stunning fashion. I gave back to the sport I love by volunteering at Goodyear Ballpark as an usher for a few games so I could try and make the experience for other fans of attending a baseball game enjoyable. I also, attend practices and games supporting my home team Cleveland Indians. All the games I saw during the season just added more passion to the game I already love. In 2015 I attended 51 games, got 170 autographs and caught / retrieved 99 baseball. Of those 99 baseballs I gave 13 away to kids who where not as lucky as I was. When I started giving the balls away I started getting more during the games  I accomplish some pretty hefty goals, but hope to match or surpass them next year.

Hiromi and I had a blast crisscrossing America for the second summer in a row. Luckily, for use we did not have RV or car issues like we did last year. Most of our time on the road was well spent worry free. This summer we visited the upper eastern portion of America and crossed the boarder into New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island in Canada. We drove 8,225 in the RV while adding another 14,422 miles by car for a total of 22,647 miles in 2015. We added 6 new States and 3 new Canadian Providences to place we have been, updating our RV sticker map.


Along the way we adding more State Capitol Buildings and National Parks to our growing list of place visited while expanding our knowledge of American history. Sometimes it seems that we are adding more to our bucket list then we are removing. Most importantly we rekindled old friendship and forged new friendships along the way. 

***What did not go well or goal unaccomplished ***

As for our travels, everything pretty much went as planed. There was times we were close to places we wanted to see, but did not know it was there until we left. We have to do better in the planing stage. We learned from this and do more research on the city/town we are in. When reading other blog, travel book or just brainstorming I started writing down the places we want to go on index cards. I place the state in the upper corner filing all index card with the same state together. When planing I double check the index cards for that state we will be in and see if we will be close to that location. We found that it came in handy when planing our trip from Haslet, TX to Fort Myers, FL after we finished Amazon.

This might be true to everyone not just full-timers, but I did not work out as much as I wanted. I could come up with hundreds of excuses why I did not, but I could have walked or ran around the campground or did push-ups and sit-ups anytime in the RV. Every year it becomes harder to keep fit. I don't need a six pack (but it would be nice) I just want to lose weight and keep slim, but it's just a contentious losing battle with my gut. We both also, need to built strength in our wrist and legs for next season when we work at Amazon. By the end of our commitment our bodies were warn and broken.

*** Goals for next year *** 

After being married for 22 years to my best friend there are times I took it for granted. I want to work harder to be a better husband making it easier on Hiromi and work as a team. I have already started this when I had to quit Amazon because of injury and she continued to work. I clean and cook taking some of the pressure off of her. Now, I just have to keep it up when neither one of us are working.

Just like almost everyone else in the world find supplement income during the summer so we don't have to work 16 weeks at Amazon next year. But, still have time to enjoy our summer together without working traditional 9-5 jobs. I have somethings set in motion and if they work out I'll share them with you.

Keeping this blog updated. I know that we where on the road a lot and sometimes the internet connection was not the best. I want to try and post at least once a week instead of once or twice a month like I did in 2015.

*** Final note ***

We have completed another peak with Amazon Fulfillment Center earning enough income to supplement our lifestyle as fulltime RV'ers for 2016. For the coming year we have decided to take a break from crisscrossing America and stay in one spot during the summer. We will head home for the summer and stay at Cutty's in Louisville, OH.  What comes after that, only time will tell. Wherever the road leads us, we'll enjoy every minute of it. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

STILL IN HASLET, TX, BUT WITH A TWIST

STILL IN HASLET, TX, BUT WITH A TWIST

We finished our five days off, but my wrist was still hurting and I had to terminate my commitment with Amazon. Because it was due to injury I can still apply next season. However, Hiromi was the one to man up and finish her commitment strong. Now, the roles have changed. She is the one making the meal money, while I'm the one making the meals. After only two days I give major props to Hiromi (and all stay at home spouses) for doing the house duties for over twenty years when I was deployed for 6-8 months at a time in the service. It's so quite and after finish finding things to clean and stay busy I was going insane with no one to talk to. Now I know how important One-eye (our cat 15+ years old with FIV and one eye) was to her.  I just have to hang on for five weeks. I was so worried about dinner the first night that I wanted it done so when she got home she could just sit down and eat. I was a wreak I finished 45 minutes before she arrived home and had to reheat it on the stove when she arrive home. I think it was the first time in a long time that we actually talked to each other about how our day went (as we were inseparable since we started full timing) . I could not shut up and she was so busy at work she did not have time to thing about me :(

Who would have guessed that I would see a sunset like this in December?


Week 14 Amazon moved Hiromi from day receiving to night picking. Her salary was increased by $4.25 an hour for moving to night so that is good since I don't work anymore. But, I'll tell you how bad management is here in Haslet. They mover her on Black Friday~ Cyber Monday week and expected her to have high picking numbers... come on now! Move people a few weeks before the big rush to start buying for Christmas.

Week 16 and the hours have changed once again from 55 hour weeks (11 hour for 5 days) to 56 hours and 15 minutes (11 hours 15 minutes for 5 days). What good is adding 15 more minutes to the work shift... maybe a few more tots and that's it. Still only getting two 15 minute breaks and 30 minute lunch. They should add another break or make them 20 minute breaks  When they moved everyone to night there is more people than workstations and most of the camperforce are working as waterspiders (loading tots to the conveyor after they are full by the pickers). Haslet is more automated, but there is still a lot of labor work too. I'd rather be at a normal warehouse where picker is walking around to storage shelves picking the product and placing the tots on the conveyor belt themselves. This way every picker would be picking and doing their own waterspidering.

Hiromi only has one more week left and she will be done. We are both looking forward to leaving and enjoying our retirement. If, we work Amazon next year it will be a normal warehouse like in KY or TN.

My review of working Amazon. I would work Amazon again, just not at an automated warehouse like Haslet. And, never a day shift again,only nights for this night owl.

With the weather dropping to 30 something at night we were running our electric heater all day and night and finally it burned out. We got a new one that has temperature settings. When we set the heater to 70 and the RV heats to 70 it kicks off and when it drop below 70 it turns back on. Our electric is free and we would have to move our RV to the LP station to fill up our tank if we used our central heating all the time.




UP NEXT

Heading to Oklahoma to visit Japanese friends, Oklahoma Capitol Building and Oklahoma City NM. 



Tuesday, November 17, 2015

AMAZON HASLET, TX (UPDATE III)

AMAZON HASLET, TX  (UPDATE II)

Week 9

This week I was selected as CamperForce Ambassador. It's no big deal, and not pay increase. I teach safety class to the new Amazon associates. When I attended the safety class by first day, I thought this was poorly taught. Now, I can help out and make it like the other Amazon's I have worked, I only  hope that the new associates don't think the class was poorly taught. Classes are held after lunch on the first day of orientation, so I get to leave the receive department for half the day.

A bit of bad news... Make sure you check your time clock every week. Since CamperForce is not required to work 11 hour shift, I have been working only 10 hours shift. My last two days (26th and 27th) I have been docked points for leaving work early. For some reason my schedule shown that I'm to work 11 hour shift. the last thing I need is to get released for Amazon for doing nothing wrong. Hiromi checked her time clock and she had only one day incorrect. I talked to HR and they fixed it on the spot. I have also sent an email to CamperForce HR and waiting a reply of how and/or why this is happening as the prior 8 weeks time clocks are correct. At least I caught it now, then after I got paid for working 11 hours and have to deduct my pay later down the road.

Daylight savings time this week, just what my body has been asking for extra sleep.

Week 10

When arrived to the warehouse on Monday morning, we got a surprise announcement that mandatory overtime this week has been canceled. We took advantage of this time off and headed to Dallas to visit Dealey Plaza and the location of JFK Assassination. Parking $7.00 at the JFK sixth floor museum, $10.00 all day (cheaper if under 2 hours) at the Dallas County Court House and of course street parking but very limited in this area.

If you ever visit Dealey Plaza enlarge this picture and use it 
as a starting point.

The Assassination happened at the very end of parade route just before departing under the triple underpass on his way to Trade Mart make his speech.

Of all the history I have learned in school, I never heard of anyone else getting hurt in the shooting. I had to learn this from this visit. Dallas Governor, a police officer and a car salesman were also caught in the line of fire.  I always pictured that when I heard "grassy knoll" that it was a large hill, but when I saw it for the first time it was smaller than I thought and not as steep.When the shoots were first fired everyone thought it came from the grassy knoll. There is a wooden fence on top of this hill (no longer the original, but replaced sever times to look like it did on 22 Nov 1963).
Later to find out that the shoots came from the Texas School Book Depository on the sixth floor corner window.


About two block from this site is a Kennedy Memorial Plaza.

Afterwards we tried to find some place nice to eat, but could only find a McDonald's with in walking distance. While we where still in a big town we made two stops at sports card stores so I could build my collection of Red Sox and Twins cards to get signed in Spring Training and added some more Indians who will likely be in Akron next season to get signed when I go to their games. I left the two store with a box of 2015 Topps Update and over 200 single card. Good thing I packed two 5,000 count boxes to store all these cards in. In the box of 2015 Topps Update with 36 packs I pulled a few cards that are hard to come by.

Hank Aaron Etched in History (Etched in History 1 in every 621 packs)
Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner Yellow Printing Plate 1 of 1 (Printing Plates 1 in every 758 packs)

Two tough cards pulled from the same box. By far the best box I have ever opened in my 28 years of collecting.

Week 11

I moved to the new NORTH side of the building. A manager on our third day saw that I was on the North and Hiromi on the South and he moved us both to the North. I don't have to walk across the building any more for breaks and lunch. We had overtime this week and I worked dock work for four of the five days with a half day on the receiving line and half day teaching  safety / tour class as an Ambassador to new hires.

On our overtime day there was a power hour. This is an incentive for people to work harder to get something in return. That day, I was a assigned to line unloader. Totes that receivers filled would come down a conveyor and I would stack them on pallets to be moved to stowing. Usually, only  receivers on the line would get the reward. However, the totes that came to me was removed and pallets where being moved from my station pretty fast. At the end of the hour I was rewarded with a $5 Amazon LONESTAR bucks.

This is the first time in my 2 peaks that I have ever received swag bucks. These card can be exchanged for Amazon swag. I can only get sunglasses now or I can save them up and get something better. I'll let you know at the end of my commitment what I did with my swag bucks.

Week 12

A little bit of history was made last week when we got the number we set in one day. In one hour we received 89,000+ items, in one shift 840,000+ items and one day 1.48 Million items. All numbers are building and new world wide records.

However, when we both woke up and went into work, we felt like we hit a brick wall. Our body and mind is just drained. Hiromi's arthritic is getting bad, she can't even make a fist without her hands hurting. My wrist is bothering me when lifting and grabbing heavy boxes. Waking up at 4:00am I'm useless and just a walking zombie all day. We tried requesting to be moved to nights to any open department eight weeks ago, but never got approved. I walked into CamperForce HR and told them we are about ready to walk out and explained about Hiromi and my injuries. They said if we quit it would not effect next years application because of our injuries.Neither one of us are quitters, so we came up with a plan. We have earned five hour paid vacation so we used it on our last day of this pay cycle to receive a full 50 hour pay week. We also use our four, five hours approved time off (unpaid) to close out our work week followed by our scheduled three days off. We hope that these five days off will recharge our batteries so we can finish the last five weeks of our commitment strong.

  

Thursday, October 29, 2015

AMAZON HASLET, TX (UPDATE II)

AMAZON HASLET, TX (UPDATE II)

Week 6

I Googled  "Amazon Haslet, TX" and my last blog post is number 4 on the search. I guess someone at Amazon has read my blog, because I'm no longer on the dock crew, I have been on the receive line all week except for half a day when I was pulled to do .... you guessed it dock crew.  This week was our first with mandatory 11 hour shifts. 11 hour shifts are not mandatory for Camperforce, but we worked them to get a understanding on how they will feel during peak. There is a change form the other Amazon I have worked where the 11th hour is after the normal shift, At Haslet we have to come in one hour early. On those days we have to get up at 4:00am to be on the road at 5:00am for a 6:00am start. Just let me put it like this, on the days we work 11 hours they are very long days. Also this week we worked our first overtime day. I don't mind the work, because that's what I'm here for.  But, that fifth day after an already 42 hour week kicked my A$$. I have made more simple errors in that shift then I have the last six weeks combined. The upside to this story is that I caught my errors (at least the ones I know of) before sending my tote forward. After my shift I walked up to all the problem solvers and thanked them for helping me out all day. Start of next week we are back on 11 hour shifts and overtime ... 

Our off time has almost disappeared, if we are not working we are sleeping. We still get two days off, but that is used to do laundry, groceries, and cook our meals for next week shift. Leaving us very little time to get out and sightseeing. We did find Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Forth Worth. It's about an hour away, we go every other week for our groceries. It's the only place we have found that has our Japanese rice and the meats & chicken are cheaper then anywhere else we have looked.    
The other day we got home from work and found that a friend from last year I worked with at Amazon has pulled in and starts working this week.  If you have time check out her blog HERE

Week 7

We only worked a 40 hour week. Hiromi came down with a cold and there was no reason to work 11 hour shift. It gave her a few more hours of rest. Mandatory overtime this week was canceled at 9:00pm the night before. Hiromi was already in bed and I was on my way when the mass machine call went out. We had the choice to volunteer overtime, but Hiromi was still under the weather and we did not go making it three days off to rest. This week I was split between two days on the receive line and two day on dock crew. Amazon hired a new group of CampForce along with a new group of seasonal workers both assigned to receiving. We now have more workers than workstations. More than likely I will be back on dock crew next week, but only time will tell.

Hiromi has had a few broken nails and bruises from moving boxes off the receive line to her workstation. I on the other hand, have bruises and cardboard cuts on both forearms. Also, non work related from sleeping with my hand in a ball and slept on it all night and woke up with stiff wrist. The next morning I woke up with a stiff back. I guess I have to stay awake so I don't get hurt anymore.

The friend that arrived last week, she pulled out and moved to a campground closer to Amazon. She did not like the long drive into work. The drive is not that long to us, as we car pull and the people we drive with keep it fun and the time passes pretty fast.

Week 8

Last week on one of my shifts we set a building record of 445,000+ items received on one shift. However, we have not reached 200,000 items in one shift since that day and everyone seems to be excited if we reach 150,000 items. What's wrong with that picture? There is over a million items sitting in trucks outside the warehouse. Last year in Fernley, NV receiving close to a million in one day was the norm. On days I work the receive line I ask what my numbers are before I leave, just to see how I'm preforming. I have been around 2,500 - 2,900 items a shift, so I know I'm doing my part.

Starting week 8 and that means only one thing, we are at the half way point of our commitment and everyday from now is all down hill. I have to start looking and calling for reservation for December - February as this is the prime time for everyone to head South for the winter. The military base campgrounds should be no problem, it's Fort Myers that I'm worried about as we plan to attend Red Sox and Twins Spring Training in Florida this winter.

I was on the dock crew three and half days of the five days worked this week. I got a cardboard cut on my ankle and woke up to the whole area black and blue. We have decided to work only 10 hour shift even if they have 11 hour shift. Getting up at 4:00am and working all day is hard for anyone. Also, from lunch to the the next is break 3 hours 15 minutes, it's hard to keep a good attitude after that time block is completed. When working on 10 hour shift there is a break every 2 1/2 hours. It's only one extra hour of work, but we get to leave before the rest of the warehouse leaves and the traffic is almost nothing. We have not agreed on volunteer overtime yet. I would still like to work them days, Maybe, Hiromi can stay home on those days while I got to work.

Texas weather: days are no longer in the 90's it has cooled down to the 80's. Mornings are cool low 60's. We did have a storm come through last week with rain off and on all day that cooled everything down. Now that the storm has passed it's back in the 80's.




Tuesday, October 6, 2015

AMAZON HASLET, TX



AMAZON HASLET, TX

After leaving Ohio and on our way to Texas we have made it a tradition of sorts that anytime we are near Arkansas to make a stop in Hot Springs NP.  We stay at the NP campground for $10 a night no hook-up or $30 full hook-up. We spend a day at Quantum hot springs pool, ate lunch at the Ohio Club and found out about the 28 history maker tour of spring training baseball in Hot Spring. I told you I could find baseball history anywhere.




With our body and mind relax next stop Haslet, TX and Amazon for the next 16 weeks.We arrive at our KOA campground. For a KOA, I was not impressed. We were fighting off ants for a month that seemed to be everywhere from our sink, drawers and even in our bed. The shower house and laundry room was filthy, can't receive mail and the pool is not heated.

All these birds and still could not eat all the ants that still found there way into our rig


It took us a month, but we moved out of KOA and found an opening at A+ RV Park no ants (if there are campground takes care of them) clean showers & bathroom, can receive mail and an added plus FREE laundry. The drive to Amazon is a few miles longer, but still arrive at work around the same time. 

Haslet Amazon warehouse is huge, but once you walk it all day for a few days it seems small from the inside. We are assigned to the day shift in receiving. We wake up around 5:00am and out the door and on the road by 6:00am to starting our shift at 7:00am-5:30pm. For anyone returning to Camperforce Amazon the indoctrination class has the same power points & videos. There was two new personnel holding the safety training classes and were not very organized. No camperforce ambassadors, but they are looking for volunteers now and should be in full swing in the next few weeks; where campers will train campers. For the job, not to go to in deep, receiving is where product first arrives in the warehouse and we scan the product into the Amazon system and moves to the next stage for stowers. In the month we have been at Amazon, I have worked the line two days after our first week of training on the line. The rest of the time I have been assigned to the dock crew caring boxes off the trucks or moving pallets all over the building. For Hiromi, she has been assigned to ICQA for a few days and lately Prep along with the line. She like Prep and ICQA. We could have had ICQA when we arrived, but she is a day person and ICQA was for the night shift. I would have loved it, as I'm a night owl.

If your a camperforce on your way to Haslet and have any questions, let me know and I'll do my best to answer them or lead you in the right direction.

We have not been out anywhere on our off days, just the local places for groceries and eat out. We both want to just relax and unwind. We are at Amazon to work and play time will start after our commitment is completed. Hopefully, in the next few weeks we will get to Dallas and visit Memorial Plaza where JFK was shoot.




Thursday, October 1, 2015

SUMMER RECAP (JUL-AUG)

SUMMER RECAP (JUL-AUG)

I have not forgot about my blog, it just got really busy and internet connection was minimal. Instead of continuing to post separate journeys I have decided to roll them all into one big post and get caught up. This post will give the highlights of our trip to Canada, Portland, Boston (Round II), New York, Pennsylvania, and our visit home before heading to Texas for our winter job at Amazon. Sorry, it's a pretty long read, but at least I'm now caught up!

OH, CANADA
29 Jun - 6 Jul

Ocean front view, three Canadian Providence and two Independence Days all into one week from North of the boarder.

 It's not about how fast you get somewhere, it's about the journey you take to get there. While most other cars are speeding along passing us like we are standing still, we take our time to enjoy our surrounds and take in the History in the small towns we drive through.

Calais, ME the small boarder town leading to New Brunswick, Canada had Saint Croix Island IHS. We stopped to check it out and adding another stamp in our National Park Passport Book before we crossed over into Canada. It is the site of early French Colonization. By what I have read and understood the first winter was to rough and after the ice melted the French Colonization moved to a less isolated location. Also, from what I understood the French relationship with the local Nation Tribe was more friendlier, maybe because they worked closely together and did not try to extinct them like the British did when they arrive to the new world.




Our cell phone kept giving us text messages that we are now in international calls, but we have not even crossed the boarder yet. This was our first time crossing the boarder in our rig so I was a bit unsure what to expect.  About 5 miles back into town we crossed into Canada using the new entrance and there was no wait like there was when we crossed into BC last year. We are going to take the same way out when we leave Canada. There was no problems crossing, just showed them my passport and Hiromi's Green Card and we were in.


With most of the day gone we drove as far as we could before stopping at a Wal Mart to spent the night. The next morning we would arrive in Cap Pele at our campground, ocean front water view to Prince Edward Island. We would celebrate Canada and American Independence Day this week along with crossing into Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.

New Brunswick: campground, largest lobster, Hopewell rock.





Hopewell Rock high tide
Did some driving to light houses and cover bridges before returning for low tide. 



Nova Scotia: Sugar Moon Farm where they make maple syrup and Seafoam Lavender farm.





 Mystery Machine in some guy from lawn.

Prince Edward Island: St Dunstan's Basilica, Anna of Green Gables. Hiromi had to read Anna of Green Gables in school in Japan, so I thought it might be nice to see where the books were written.

Confederation Bridge to enter PEI. Free going in, but they get ya on the way out. C$45.50 to leave PEI so don't spend all you money... CASH only.







Before heading back home we had to stop for some ice cream.

With our week up we left in the early morning so we could get back into US in one day. We took the same boarder crossing as we did when we arrived and I started to get a little worried when the two RV's in front of us got pulled over and checked. We had no problem and passed in a few minutes of questions and searches of the RV and car. The two RV's in front of us had the passengers removed form their RV and three boarder patrols going inside their rig. Maybe they lied about the fresh fruit or alcohol they were bring into the US. Anyways, we where in the clear and on our way to Portland,ME.

The Class A and B that would get pulled over for further inspection.

PORTLAND, ME
7 - 10 Jul

We are staying at Blueberry Pond Campground in Pownal, located between Augusta and Portland. This is a good spot to hold up for a few days as it is the center point of the places we want to visit with no more than a hour and a half drive in either direction.

Of course we had to stop by the State Capitol Building, Lenny the 1700 lbs chocolate moose, Nubble Lighthouse and lobster restaurant and Portland Sea Dog MiLB Baseball game.

Maine State Capitol Building




Lenny 



I can't remember where we took this picture, but since it's chocolate....
Hiromi loves chocolate and Lindor is one of her favorites.


Nubble Lighthouse and Lobster





Portland Seadogs

My favorite player Travis Shaw game used jersey was in the team shop, I just had to add it to my collection.

 Batting practice ball
 Travis Shaw number forever on the stadium wall of greats

 Mets prospect Gavin Cecchini on the on deck circle
 Gavin Cecchini autograph on baseball after the game

BOSTON, MA (ROUND II)
11 - 12 Jul

Making a quick pit-stop, we are back in Boston for a few days. We returned to Hanscom AFB to visit the Lowell NHP and see a Short Season baseball game. When we left the team's season has not started yet. The season starts for these teams in mid June after the MLB Draft and completion of the College World Series. These teams are made up of newly drafted players and low level players kept at extended spring training. Also, it will be our last military base we will stop at for a while. We need to restock after eating everything in Canada and crossing the border with cobwebs in our cabinets.

Hiromi stayed at the campground and had the day to herself, while I headed to the city of Lowell to visit Lowell NHP before the short drive to the stadium to see my Indians Mahoning Valley Scrappers take on the Lowell Spinners. I will always root for the home team, unless they are playing an Indians farm team or a Kent State Alumni is on the visiting team.

Lowell NHP was a building with a very little exhibit. The movie did fill you in on the history of the city and how it keeps redefining it's self to remain a growing town.



To give the fans who was waiting to enter the game on this hot and sunny day there was a wrestling rig and match before the gates opened.


I love MiLB game between inning today they had a dog catching freezebees.

I thought I have seen everything in a baseball game, but the game ended in the 13th by a catcher balk and the Scrappers lost the game. You will NEVER see this call in the Major Leagues. Good news, I did go home with 3 balls. Gave one to a little girl when walking out the park, her brother had one and she did not... it only seemed fair they both leave a ball.


BASEBALL HALL OF FAME COOPERSTOWN, NY
13 - 16 Jul

Before arriving to Baseball's Holy Grail of greatest baseball players who live in immortality, we stopped by Martin Van Buren NHS. The 8th President of the United States, one of the founders of The Democratic Party and later founded of the Free Soil Party (known today as The Republican Party). We toured his home, but no pictures allowed. Just from the outside.




Four days in Cooperstown and four days spent at the Hall of Fame. For military active or retired entrance is free, and for a baseball fan like me that's music to my ears. Hiromi would drop me off in the morning and I would spend all day in the Hall of Fame. She would pick me up in the evening and we would walk around downtown before driving back to the campground. There is no way I could add ever picture I took inside the Hall of Fame but here is a just a few.










ALTOONA & BUTLER, PA
17 - 22 Jul

My last push to see four more baseball games before heading home to see family and friends. First stop Altoona, PA  to visit Allegheny Portage Railroad NHS then see the Altoona Curve. First we would learn history of how supply ships would be moved over the mountain by train and drop off on the other side to continue it journey to the West or East.






I would get to see three baseball games in two days as one game was a double header to make up a rain out earlier in the season. I would go to the first game alone. The double header was two for one tickets. Hiromi could not stay all day and watch baseball so she dropped me off and came back for the second game that was followed by firework. With the roller coaster them park in the right field wall something different from other minor league parks.The first day I would get one ball and the double header I would add three more.







The next day, we headed to Butler, PA to see two current Kent State play in the College Summer League. The stadium rule did not allow fans to keep any foul balls. Good thing we got there 5 hours early so we had a parking spot for our RV and got six balls from bating practice. I  gave one to a boy I saw on the other side of the fence where no batting practice homeruns were getting hit to. When I got inside the stadium I was able to get pictures with the two current Kent State players.





HOME SWEET HOME: CANTON, OH
23 Jul - 27 Aug

It seems no matter how far I drive away from home, I always find myself returning. We have seen a lot of nice homes in many cities in the last three years, but home will always be Canton, OH.

The first weekend I made a trip to the flea market and struck baseball card gold. For only $30 I would get 30,000+ sports cards. It took awhile to get them sorted by brand, year, number order and logged into my sports card database. My collection currently stands at 98,591 items. My baseball card collection is complete up to the 2015 season, all I have to do now is inventory my football, basketball and non sports cards I have been collecting since 1987. What will my total collection final count be and how much will it be worth?
 My Kent State Alumni on custom made 5x7
17 in two years

 Hiromi and I would go fishing at an extended families private lake. Eight of us went, we had a good day and caught a lot fish.




My family has tickets to the Hall of Fame Football game that kick off the NFL season for as long as I can remember. Funny how I was home to see the game live. The Steelers vs Vikings with the stands full of black and gold Steelers fan. However, the Vikings would win the game.




 Best seats in the house (Row E 50 yard line)

My last baseball game of the year and first time I've been to Canel Park since the team's new owner changing it's name from Akron Areos to Akron Rubberducks.  It was firework night so of course Hiromi came to the game. I liked the upgrades to the Homerun porch in right field and party corner in the left field. It's easier to watch the game for the fan instead of the seats that were there. My goal was to get autographs of the young prospects. The autographs was pretty easy to get, only three fans asking for autographs and the players I called out came over to sign. Our seats was behind the dugout. When getting autographs a father and son had first row seats, but the wall was to high for the son to see over so we traded tickets. Good thing happen when you do good for others as I got two ball in that seat. One from the pitching coach when returning from warming up the starting pitcher before the game started and another foul ball down the line that I reached over the wall to grab. I tried to find that father and son to give him one of the balls, unfortunately I was not lucky.






With the end of the 2015 baseball season just around the corner, I figure this is the best place then any to give my number to the 2015 season. I attended 51 MLB, MiLB or college summer league game, while getting 170 autographs and caught / retrieved 99 baseballs that have left the field of play.I gave away 13 balls to kids who did not have one, Not to the ones who kept asking for one, but to the ones who I seen trying all game to get one and never got lucky enough. If I give one away another one will come my way.  The game attended are up a few from last year while the autographs remained about the same. The ball total is a dream and I can't even believe how many I got. From 2005-2014 I only had caught 24 balls. In the 2015 season along I more than quadrupled the number of baseball caught in the the last ten years. I don't think I'll ever get that many baseball again, but this season is one that I will never forget.


A lot of people outside of Ohio know Kent State not for being the second biggest University in Ohio behind The Ohio State. They know the history on May 4th 1970 when the Ohio National Guard opened fire on unarmed college students protesting the Cambodian Campaign announced by President Nixon just a few days earlier. I took a trip back to my University to take these picture that remembrance of that event.




I knew when I saw this potato that any food my mom would cook would taste good.



In Aug 1979 my family returned from our summer vacation in Florida and as my grandfather pick us up and driving us home a plane crashed at Akron Canton Airport. The pilot of that plane was the catcher of the New York Yankees and Canton's own Thurman Munson. That day was the first time I ever saw my grandfather cry. I visited the Yankee's captain final resting place.






 Hiromi before and after pictures of her hair cut.





Hiromi never fired a gun and it gave dad an excuse to pull his guns out. We spent over an hour at the shooting range. I have to find the time to post the video of Hiromi's shooting to my youtube page... it's a must see.








I have to thank my Aunt and Uncle for giving us a place to park our RV while we were home. Also, to my Mom and Dad who let us stay with them instead of getting a campground and having to drive everyday to see them.

My mom said she don't take good pictures,... I beg to differ.


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