Thursday, December 27, 2012

'12/#54 Almost Home

I hope everyone had a great Christmas. I know we did. We spent 3 days in St Augustine enjoying the decorations, holiday celebrations, the seafood, and the romantic atmosphere of this favorite town of ours. Many of you know, and for those of you who don't we honeymooned in St Augustine almost 23 years ago so this is a special place for us. When we are here we try to make time just for the two of us and the friends who live in the area understand if we don't get in touch sometimes. Romance is for two, right? In all the years we have been coming to st Augustine we have never been here for Christmas. What is already a beautiful town becomes magical with the lights, music, pageantry, and revelry of the season. I'm glad we finally were here to enjoy it but still miss Christmas with family....especially the children, old and young. We will be there soon enough and plan to have our family Christmas then.

Plaza de La Constitucion St Augustine on Christmas Eve

For know we are in Port St Lucie farther down the east coast of  Florida. We are visiting the uncles and just enjoying their company. We also have friends here that we worked with in Cody WY this summer and will get together with them. It is time to just relax and bide our time until we get back to Pinellas County and the rest of our family and friends. It has been a long time time since we have had our Grandparent hugs and I miss them and our children most of all. This may be the only down side of our RV lifestyle but the reunions are that much sweeter.

On a more serious note, I would like to tell anyone who I haven't told yet that I have the greatest wife in the world. Yes I love her but it is more than that. The day we were leaving St Augustine I had some (ahem) stomach issues and was completely out of commission. All is well now but we wanted to hit the road, partly because we had plans but more so because of the storm that was headed our way. While I was dying(a slight exaggeration) Mary got everything in the trailer stowed, the shore hookups disconnected, wheels unchocked, and the truck ready all while I was trying to get dressed. I was thrown in the truck, she hopped in behind the wheel, and headed south. She stopped many more times than is usually necessary for the 200 mile trip so I could deal with what felt like my insides fighting their way out. My point is that all of this was possible because Mary is quite capable of operating all aspects of our rig. There are too many couples with "pink and blue"(women and men) jobs that can't or won't do the jobs outside their "color" zone. Situations arise that don't allow for that luxury. Our predicament wasn't that severe but if it had been I know that Mary or I could have done it all and dealt with the situation. For those of you out there that subscribe to the "pink/blue" job theory now is the time to think twice about it. A couple is a team and both members must be able to work together on every part of the process to be successful. Driving, hooking up, breaking camp, planning routes are all part of our lifestyle and are part of each of our responsibilities. Because of this we and others like us are what I consider successful living the life we've chosen.

With a few more days in Stuart and then a short trip across Florida we will be back home. Yes I know I always say home is where we park it but home is also where the heart is. My heart is always with my wife but it is also with my children and grandchildren so home is also in Pinellas County. So this is goodbye for now from our home in Port St Lucie because ......

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Friday, December 21, 2012

'12/#53 One More For The Road

I know I said that I probably wouldn't blog again before we left Kentucky but here I am. Today was our half day at Amazon and with plans for the rest of the day I didn't think there would be time. It seems we have just become so efficient we didn't notice. All the outside hook-ups are put away, except for the power cord. Laundry is done and we got the grocery shopping done, all in record time. We treated ourselves to lunch and went home to work on the inside. Laundry was put away, the bed made, and the few Christmas decorations we had up were stowed. Pots and pans, dishes, silverware, coffee pot, and pantry have been stowed for travel. We are ready!

Tomorrow we will get up early since we have gotten used to it working at Amazon. My big concern is the power cord at that hour. The temps are forecast to be in the low 20's. A 50 amp power cord is awkward to roll up under the best circumstances but at those temperatures is will be like trying to roll up a 40' 2x4. We may just shove it into the back of the trailer or the back seat of the truck and roll it up when it warms up. I don't care, we are leaving Kentucky and headed to Florida! Soon we will not be waking up to freezing temperatures. Even better we will be with family and friends and have a belated Christmas celebration.

We are treating ourselves to dinner out tonight since everything is cleaned and put away. The slides will be brought in tonight so we will have one less thing to do in the morning. 5am comes around early but we will be ready. We will stow the power cord, hook up the truck, check the lights and be on our way. We will stop later for breakfast and continue our trek southward. I hope to stop for the night sometime after the temperature is above 60 degrees. I was hoping for 70 degrees but everyone is telling me about some damn cold front. Darn! We are tired of the cold if you haven't figured that out yet.

Well it is time to get ready for dinner. We will make it an early night with visions of palm trees and beaches dancing in our heads. So this is so long for the last time from our home in Campbellsville Kentucky because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

'12/#52 Happy Holidays From The Road

Shall we peek ahead to what's coming or not? Why Not? Thanksgiving has passed and marked the official beginning of "Peak" which is short for Peak season at Amazon. The month leading up to Christmas is almost gone and there is only 5 days until Christmas when we get together with family and friends to celebrate, until we get to eat another holiday meal, and until all the presents get opened. And I am sure there will be presents. Big ones and small ones, expected ones and surprizes, and of course the needed ones. You all know the traditional underware and socks that are gift wrapped and placed under the tree with the finest jewelry and most expensive electronics. It's tradition in my family and I know if it wasn't there it wouldn't be Christmas.

All of these Christmas presents come from somewhere, right? Well for those of you who believe in Santa Claus and flying reindeer and presents down the chimney now may be a good time to stop reading. I believe in Santa in my own way. I belive he works in mysterious ways through every one of us to make Christmas a happy time of year. Moms and Dads, Grandmoms and Granddads, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends are all Santa's helpers. So are the people who make the gifts. Not necessarily elves at the North Pole. People in shops and factories are also Santa's helpers. And what about getting all those presents to every child, old and young, around the world. Well I don't know about flying reindeer but I do see Santas helpers wearing the uniforms of the Post Office, UPS, FedEx, and others. I am not a nonbeliever, I just see it differently.

Included in that portal between Santa and every Christmas Tree are all the shops that make the gifts available in time for that glorious morning when sleepy eyes glitter, wrapping paper piles to the ceiling, and children and adults alike squeal with delite at the gifts Santa has brought. There are stores like Walmart, Target, K-Mart, and Toys-R-Us. And then there is Amazon and other on line stores This is not an advertisement, just an up close observation. Santa's helpers are here in force. Actually, Camper Force. That is what the work campers at Amazon are called. We come here for the shopping season to try to make sure that every Christmas wish is granted. I have picked toys and dolls and trains and puzzles. There are books and video games and DVDs by the truckload. We see computers and e-readers, radios and headsets and anything else that might be on that list for Santa. And our goal is to make sure everything is under the tree by Christmas morning.

The job is a little bit boring and the days are long but in the back of our minds we know that we are helping Santa. It is a little extra reward on top of our monetary compensation for being here through the Christmas rush or Peak. Some of us will get back to our families in time for Christmas morning and others will celebrate later when we do get there. But when all is said and done it is Christmas and nothing more needs to be said.

We just got a bit of a Christmas present from Amazon. Our release date has been moved up 1 1/2 days so we can get on the road sooner. I keep telling everyone I am not going to stop driving until the temperature reches 70 degrees. The rig will be readied in the next few days so we will be busy. This may be the last blog before we leave Campbellsville. So this is an early Merry Christmas to everyone from our home in Kentucky because........

Home is where we park it,
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Frank & Mary

Friday, December 14, 2012

'12/#51 Amazon, A Portal Through Time

Here at Amazon I do believe that they sell EVERYTHING! I know that I have mentioned some of the things we have picked. From electronics to toys, videos and movies, food for people and pets of all kinds...the list goes on and on. There are things we have seen that I don't want to talk about and things that I wouldn't know what to say about them. We laugh, reminisce, and sometimes are totally grossed out. I know of a couple of people working here that were offended by some of the products they have to pick. I am talking about the adult pleasure category if you know what I mean.

Then there are the things that I just can't believe are still around. I am not talking about used items that Amazon is selling for e-Bay vendors. I am talking about new, in the package, fresh from the factory products. I have seen blank and prerecorded VHS tapes and cassettes. Does anyone even have the equipment to play these things on anymore? Then there was the AM/FM Sony Walkman. Wasn't that the 80's? The other day I either picked or saw black and white, color, and Polaroid film. 35mm film at that. I guess someone hasn't heard about digital photography. Talk about a blast from the past!

Now I go back even further. Original Lincoln Logs, Erector Sets, and remember the balsa wood airplane gliders that went together in 2 minutes? You know slide the wings through the slots and throw.  But there is more. I picked plastic army men and multiclored cowboys and indians. Is that even politically correct? It brings me back to a more innocent time. We have picked more Candyland, Monopoly, Clue, Life, and Battleship games than I have seen in years. There are more favorites such as Hungry Hungry Hippos, Ants in Your Pants, Jenga, Don't Break the Ice, and recently Mouse Trap. I guess the kids these days are having some wholesome fun or the adults are just reliving their childhoods. Mary was all excited when she found original Gumby and Pokey characters. And what would family game night be without some popcorn. I have picked enough Presto Hot Air Popcorn Poppers to run a movie theater. The last one of these I owned was in 1987 and I bought it at a garage sale. So much for microwave popcorn.

Anyway, we just found out that our last day will be Saturday December 22nd. We should be on the road Sunday and in sunny and much warmer Florida by Christmas. With a couple of stops planned we should be back in Pinellas County before New Years Eve. So with 7 more days to work(but who is counting) we will say good night to everyone from our home in Kentucky because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Monday, December 3, 2012

'12/#50 Amazon... A Strange Place

We have been here for a month and have had some time to observe. What we have seen has surprised, amazed, stunned, and befuddled us. We laugh and complain about the way management does things. The products we pick make us shake our heads and wonder about the people at the other end of the Internet. And then there are the people we work with. Some are regular employees and then there are those like us. I'm talking about the seasonal workers that will be gone by Christmas. We have our fellow workcampers who are primarily senior citizens and there are the locals either taking whatever work they can find or taking a second job for some extra cash.

When we pick items to fill orders everything is random. Products are not stocked in any order. Plush toys, auto parts, peanut butter, and books could all be in the same cubby. Once you find the item the next thing you have to pick could be 2 levels down and on the other side of the building. It makes no sense. I now have the mindset that I am there to walk and walk and walk, and if I happen to pick an item....well that's a bonus.

The products we see are another story. I believe that Amazon carries everything! Books, CDs, videos on every subject imaginable. Toys, tool, and trinkets that most of us would never use or even know what to do with. Then there is the food. Yes, food. Mary swore she was doing someones grocery shopping one day. Peanut butter, ketchup, ramen noodles, tuna, and cereal. There is dog, cat, bird, rabbit, fish and reptile food for your pets. And then there is the adult entertainment. Not just books and videos. I'm talking about lotions, personal massagers(wink,wink), bondage kits, and other apparatus' that I don't want to talk about or don't know what they are for. And like I said any of these things could be sharing a cubby waiting to be picked.

Our fellow employees also have gotten our attention. Like all of our travel experiences we have met some wonderful people. There are workcampers in their 70's doing jobs that would kill people 30 years younger. Some of the younger workcampers are traveling and home schooling their kids. The locals working this as a second job are dragging. You can see the exhaustion and feel for them. Then we have the regular year round employees. They fall into one of three categories. Either they don't care either way about the seasonal employees, or they are happy for the help during the busy Christmas season. Then there is the third group that looks down their noses at us and act like we are second class citizens. It doesn't matter to us it just determines who we do or don't talk to.

One thing we have noticed about our fellow employees is the number of doppelgangers we have seen. Almost every day we seem to find someone who could be a twin or close relative of someone we have known. There are so many that remind us of past postal employees we feel like we are at home. Well we are enjoying our 2 days off and are looking towards 6 days weeks until we leave. We figure we will be working about 18 more days before we head to Florida, family, and friends. So until the next blog here's wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday season from our home in Campbellsville KY because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Sunday, November 25, 2012

'12/#49 Being Thankful

Thanksgiving is over and Black Friday has passed so I will contemplate some of the things I am thankful for. I am thankful for Thanksgiving for reminding me to be thankful. It is something we should do every day of the year. I am thankful that Black Friday is over because it makes a stressful time of the year more stressful. I am thankful for my and Mary's health so that we can live the life we have chosen and I am thankful for the lifestyle we have chosen. I am thankful for all the places we have seen and the people we have met in this lifestyle.

I know I am just listing things to be thankful for but like I said before, we should be thankful for these things all year long. I like to think that I am thankful all year but have chosen this time to say it out loud for all to hear. I hope that my children and grandchildren know that I am thankful for them coning into my life. I am thankful for my friends, old and new, who have my my life better by being in it. I am thankful for strangers who have made my life more interesting and I thank all of you who read this blog for listening.

I also want to thank the people who have passed through my life in ways that many would think have caused more harm than good. And I am thankful for all the things, good and bad, that have happened to me. You might ask why I am thankful for the bad things and people in my life? Well I am not so much a believer that everything happens for a reason but I do believe that everything that happens is part of the end result. This may be semantics but the bottom line is that everything that has happened in my life is what has brought me to this point in time and I am thankful to be here. I don't regret, because regret is a waste of time, you can't undo life. And if you could and did change something how would it have affected the rest of your life? I believe that I am here because of all that has occurred in my world and I am happy to be here so I am thankful for everything.

I hope you have many things to be thankful for especially, this time of year, and this is my happy Thanksgiving to all of you from our home in Kentucky because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Sunday, November 18, 2012

'12/#48 Another Week, Another $$$$

Well another week has gone by at Amazon and we have survived. Actually it hasn't been bad at all.....once you get the proper mindset. First rule is "it's a job, not a career". I'm not saying you don't have to work but don't kill yourself and as the song goes, "Don't worry, be happy". If something doesn't go right don't dwell on it, laugh at it and go on. Mistakes happen, right? Also if things could be done better or more efficient don't worry about that either. We are workcampers, temps, casuals, etc... at best. We are not going to change the world in 2 months. Besides, the regular career workers don't want us telling them how things should be done after we have been here for a whole 3 weeks! I know I didn't appreciate it when it was my career and we had Christmas casuals in the PO.

What's next..... Oh yeah rule #2. There is no rule #2. If you follow rule #1 and just enjoy yourself and the people you work with everything will be fine. After all we are workcampers. What are they going to do to us? Fire us in the middle of their peak season? And if they do what then? We get to go to Florida sooner!!!!! That means sooner to the grandkids, kids, friends, and much warmer weather. It's all good.

Speaking of the has been a wee bit chilly here. I know I said I wouldn't complain about the weather after seeing what the folks on the east coast have gone through with hurricane Sandy. I am just reporting the weather here. The highs have been in the 50's and the overnight lows have been in the upper 20's. When we walk to work in the morning it is right about freezing, give or take a few degrees. Yes, we walk to work every morning. Well almost every morning. If it is raining, snowing, or really windy we will take the truck but so far we have only driven twice in 3 weeks.

 It is only 2 blocks from the RV park and Amazon gives everyone in our park an orange reflector vest for safety. They know we walk and care enough that we get to and from work safely. Even the locals are aware of the workcampers. We have to cross a busy road to get to Amazon and traffic really flys down this road during the morning rush hour in spite of speed limit signs. Yet the locals headed to work always slow and stop to let us cross even though there are no signs posted about reduced speed or crossing pedestrians. Amazon is good for the local economy and they want it to stay.

Well we have 3 days off and we are going to enjoy them. Sleep late, catch a movie, or get together with friends. We also will get some errands done and get as many meals cooked in advance for the next week. It is nice to come home and have dinner all but on the table after a 10 hour day. So I will sign off from our "Old Kentucky Home" ( I have been dying to say that LOL) because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Sunday, November 11, 2012

'12/#47 Three Days Off. Yay!!!!

We have finished our second week of "conditioning" here at Amazon. The 5 hour days were a nice way to get the feel of what goes on and what is expected of us. Like any other repetitive job it doesn't take long to get the hang of it. The only problem we are having,and it is a minor thing, is finding our way around the building. This facility is HUGE! Add to that the randomness of the numbering of the areas and sections. As we work through the day we have to move around in a specific area where section #2 is at the far end from section #192 but #204 is right next to # 2. Go figure?!?! Not very efficient for a newbee who is trying to find his way around and is only here for 2 months as a temp.

Then we have the different areas where A & B are in one building, Q,J,D,K,C,L,M,N,&P are in another, and R,G,H,T,E,&F are in a third part of the building. The maps we have been given must have been drawn up by a drunken monkey or a postal supervisor. Again, not very efficient but that is not the biggest problem. The areas are not rectangular in shape. Some are "L" shaped or "U" shaped or are split in two. There are vehicle pathways we must avoid and conveyors we have to go around. Mary was in an area she hadn't been in before and literally got lost! Now this wouldn't have been a problem during our shift. If they want to pay people for finding their way, so be it. But it was time to go home and Mary couldn't find her way out or to a time clock. She finally found one of the trainers who pointed her in the right direction. At this point I was starting to worry because I had been waiting for her for 15 minutes past the end of our shift. Since we can't have cell phones on the floor I couldn't even call her to try and track her down. We are starting to find our way around so this shouldn't happen again.

Well, we have the next three days off before we start our 10 hour days. We are going to relax, do some laundry, and cook ahead so we will have dinners ready for next week. No one feels like cooking after a 10 hour day so it will be nice to have our meals all ready to just heat up. The weather has been a bit warmer but rain is expected on Monday with colder temperatures following. After seeing what those poor folks in NY & NJ are going through I think I will stop complaining about the weather.

So I will sign off with beautiful weather outside our window in our home in Kentucky because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

'12/#46 Week 2 At Amazon

Well we have started our second week at Amazon and like I said before we walk around a lot and look like we know what we are doing. It's just like my 30+ years in the Post Office. Now I know some of you who work for the PO are wondering why we are working for a place like the PO after gladly leaving that kind of work behind. Well, part of it is they pay good money for a short period of time which is what we want as workcampers. The other part is that even though it is like the PO we don't have the same mentality that comes with knowing you will be doing the job for 20 or 30 or more years. This is a job not a career. When our commitment is over it is over and if the job becomes more than we bargained for we can always say goodbye. There are no benefits to lose, no vacation time earned, no sick time to account for, and no retirement that needs to be invested in. In other words we don't have to care about the job at all. Show up, do our thing and go home.

Oh I forgot to mention that Amazon pays for our camping while we are here. Two months free rent is another perk that you can't ignore. Then there are the other workcampers or what Amazon calls "Camper Force" people. We have our own little community and get to make friends that we will socialize with during our time here. We also will probably meet up with some of our new friends down the road just like our old friends we ran into once we arrived here. It is the RV lifestyle and we love it.

Now on the down side I will tell you it has been a little chilly here. With highs only around 50 degrees and overnight lows getting close to the freezing mark(that's 32' for our Florida friends) we have had to find ways to keep warm. We have a nice gas furnace and two electric heaters that help conserve propane not to mention our favorite....the electric blanket. Then there is always snuggling which is my favorite. So we are doing just fine and will survive Amazon before we head back to Florida.

So I will sign off for now here in our home in Campbellsville KY because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Sunday, November 4, 2012

'12/#45 One Week Down

Well our first week is over and it wasn't bad at all. It was kind of interesting. The job will be pretty easy once we get the hang of it. Amazon starts everyone off with a conditioning schedule. The first 2 weeks are 5 hour days and then we go into our 10 hour days 4 days a week. To us it doesn't seem necessary but there are a lot of workcampers who haven't had jobs that required them to stand for hours on end on a hard concrete floor or they have been retired for several years. They are the ones who are taking more time adapting so for them the conditioning is a good idea. It also weeds out the ones who just can't or don't want to do the job. A number of people have already left and more are coming in next week.

Like I said we will be scheduled to work 4 10 hour days. That was something that a lot of people in the PO would have liked and the unions actually explored at one time. I personally would have loved it because of the 3 days off each week. Whether it was a 3 day weekend or a break during the week wouldn't have mattered. It still would have been nice. Now we are working that schedule. Our first week was Mon. through Fri. because of orientation, but our regular work days will be Wed through Sat. That means that we have 4 days off between week one and week two. S-weet!

We will get together with some friends and then check out some of the towns around Campbellsville. We will see what else there is to do and what other stores might be nearby. Also we found out that Taylor County, where we are staying, is a dry county. So, if we want any alcoholic beverages we will have to cross county lines. We don't drink that much and don't plan on partying alot while we are here but who is to say I may not want a beer or Mary gets a hankering for a wine cooler. It would be nice to know where to get it.
We are going to enjoy our days off here in our home in Kentucky because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Thursday, November 1, 2012

'12/#44 Thanks To The PO For The Amazon Prep

Who would've thought. 32 Years in the Post Office has done nothing else if it hasn't taught me how to deal with the working conditions at Amazon. Most people here are concerned with having to stand for hours on concrete floors. The scheduled breaks and lunches frazzle some of our coworkers. Then there is the factory environment. Many are bothered by the lack of windows, the constant drone of all the machinery, and the harsh fluorescent lighting but it feels like home to us. Yes a home we gladly ran from screaming, but home.

The one thing we never really did in the PO was get to be at work by 6:30am. Most of our years in the PO we work some form of night shift, so 6:30am comes around real early for us. As they say, "It would be better if 6am came around noon". We are managing and Mary is falling asleep before 10pm. Actually she fell asleep before 8:30pm last night. Our meal schedule is falling into place and we have found all the stores we need to be able to cook all the meals we need to make it through our commitment with Amazon.

Since we arrived we have met up with several friends we have made in our travels. First we caught up with Mr and Mrs Pat who we met and worked with in Dollywood last year. On our first day at work we ran into Doniel and her parents Don and Barbara. We worked with them in Cody this summer before they left to work the beet harvest in SD. We've done it and won't do it again. Just yesterday we ran into Richard and Sandy who we also worked with at Dollywood. We've all talked about getting together once our schedules are set. This is one of the joys of RVing. You never know when you will meet an old friend out on the road.

Well it almost time for dinner and shortly after that we will call it a night. Like I said, 6:30am comes awful early. So I will say good night from our home near Amazon in KY because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

'12/#43 It's Home In More Ways Than One

It's been five days since we got here and we are settling in. The rig is all set up and we did some winterizing in anticipation of colder weather. We drove around town and found stores, restaurants, and propane dealers that will make our life comfortable while we are here. Then the weather changed. The day we got here it was 80 degrees and Mary was in shorts. Two days later and we weren't expecting the highs to get out of the 40's. Thank goodness for electric heaters, electric blankets, and snuggling. Especially the snuggling. There is always a silver lining.

Next adventure, Monday was more of a meet and greet. It was held in the rec room at our campground. They mostly told us where the employees entrance was, gave us a new employee pep talk, and took our mug shots for our employee ID's. Our campground is walking distance to work so we were given reflective vests to wear when we walk. We also got our reporting time for Tuesday.

8:30am Tuesday morning we reported with 90 other people for safety and orientation. We walked into the building and there was machinery, rolling stock, and conveyor belts every where with the accompanying noises. It was a giant warehouse with concrete floor everywhere. It reminded us of the Post Office plants we worked in for years. The biggest difference was the lack of paper dust that covers everything in the PO. Like the PO we saw all the safety and harassment videos. There was also the usual demos on lifting, pushing, and pulling. Then we were reminded that Wednesday was our first day starting at 6:30am.

We are going to bed early tonight because 6:30 comes around awfully early. So good night from our chilly home in Campbellsville KY because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Saturday, October 27, 2012

'12/#42 Some Things Are Not Blog Material

It has been a while since my last blog. Partly because we have been traveling uneventfully & had a nice quiet stay with friends for a couple of weeks. Also I just didn't feel like blogging. Blogging is not a job for me it is something I enjoy doing. When it isn't fun I take a break from it. Hopefully this is the beginning of a more fun stretch & I will be blogging more.

After the truck fiasco we hit the road again. Our destination was still Indiana but instead of going through Elkhart we were heading straight to the Indianapolis area. The truck thing was a major "jello stir" that put us behind schedule. We stayed with friends for 2 weeks just winding down & enjoying each others company. That's what friends are for, right? Had to get the truck checked for a minor issue but everything was OK. Larry & I went to the shop while Mary & Alice went shopping. It worked well for everyone.

We have stayed with Larry & Alice several times. Every time we are there Mary says she wants to see the covered bridges in the area but for one reason or another it doesn't happen. This time we arrived just before the start of the covered bridge festival. Larry opted to stay home & watch the dogs while I drove Mary & Alice to the festival. Think giant flea market & craft fair with a covered bridge as the center piece. We had a good time & didn't spend too much money.We left there & drove to one of the other bridges that had it's own festival going on. It seems that towns with covered bridges use this to have a fall festival of some sort to help with the economy. Whatever works, right? With all the traffic there is not a lot of bridge sightseeing. Larry says he will drive us around to see all the other bridges another time when the festivals are not going on. Sounds like a plan.

We got a call from Daisy who lives on the other end of IN. She was coming over to the festival & wanted to meet up. Being this close we couldn't say no, so it was back to the festival for Mary & me. Again we had a good time & only spent a little money on things we wanted the first time around. It was good seeing Daisy & Jen but we had to go. We only had a few days before we had to leave the Larry & Alice Family Campground & do a few chores before we hit the road again.

The road was calling & so was Kentucky. We had jobs lined up at Amazon & wanted to get there a few days early. We like to check out the area for grocery stores, laundromats, restaurants, etc & just to get the lay of the land. We will be here for 2 months & hope to make a bit of $$$ to help feather the nest egg so to speak. Monday is our first day on the job & we have no idea what we are getting into. Stay tuned to find out.

Well I hope this is me getting back into the blog so I will sign off now from our new home in Campbellsville KY because......

Home is where we park it,

Frank & Mary

Monday, October 8, 2012

'12/#41The End Of The Funk

We've been here in Rapid City for 5 days now & you may have noticed that I haven't been blogging. It's not for lack of time or blogging material. I have just been in a bit of a funk for this period of time. If you read the last blog or have kept up on Mary's FB page you know about our truck problem & you know we are stuck here waiting for it to be resolved. With my lack of diesel knowledge I have nothing to do to help get us back on the road again. Thus a sense of frustration has taken over our home.

Now you have to understand that Rapid City is a great place to visit. Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Custer State Park, the Black Hills, & Devils Tower are all within easy driving of here. Several issues stop us from seeing these sights. First & foremost we don't have a truck to drive. Next on the list is the weather. It has been cold & windy since we got here. With high temps in the upper 50's & feel like temps closer to the 40's it hasn't really enticed us to unload the motorcycle. And lastly we were here just a few years back & have seen all the sights.

On top of all that it just sucks to be stuck anywhere. This the life we've chosen & this is one of the down sides of RVing. Lately some of our friends have had their own issues such as malfunctioning landing gear, no AC, toilet issues(no details please!), & a major oil leak in the motor home. All issues that can ruin the day but we all work through. You know what they say, right? What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I guess we will be stronger once we leave Rapid City.

We want to thank everyone who has been sending us well wishes & good thoughts to help us on our way. It really does mean a lot & helps us get through these trying times. The shop called early this morning to say the truck was all fixed & we are waiting on a ride to the shop so I will sign off now. The next blog should be from somewhere down the road but still from our home because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

'12/#40 Cody In Our Rear View Mirror

Our last day of work at the Buffalo Bill Village has come & gone. It was bitter sweet saying goodbye to our new friends & also getting back on the road. We plan to come back next season so we should see everyone again next year. But you never know. Like I always say, "our plans are written in jello". Many of us were leaving the next morning so there was a mass exodus of RVs heading out to all points on the compass. Some go to Texas, others go to Arizona, there are a few headed to Florida, & at least 1 going to Washington. These are some of the places RVers call home. Then there are those with destinations that are not home but new work camper positions. They are going to places like N & S Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Kansas, & like us Kentucky. Safe travels to all & if we don't see you next year in Cody maybe we will see you out on the road somewhere.

Ok, now lets talk about that jello crap I referred to before. We left Cody & headed east. All was fine until we started to climb the Big Horn Mts. The truck started to lose power & there was nowhere to stop. We were passing through towns(and I use that term loosely) with populations of as little as 10. No services & spotty cell coverage left us with no choice but to push on. Once we were out of the mountains we made a few phone calls. Mary found a shop & a campground in Rapid City S Dakota that were close to each other & could take us in the next day. With any luck we will be back on the road again soon & the jello will not have been jiggled around too much.

After limping into Rapid City we set up the rig in the dark. Most RVers will tell you that they get off the road before dark to avoid doing this as well as avoiding rush hour traffic, such as it may be in the area. Also most full time & extended travel RVers are retired so the calender has less importance than to those who have to punch a clock. It has been a long day so I will wrap this up. We will have dinner, watch a little TV, & call it a night in our home (hopefully not for long)in Rapid City,SD because......

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Thursday, September 27, 2012

'12/#39 It's All On One Hand!

We have been busy lately with D-Day approaching. D-Day is departure day for us. Things that rattle & shift have been stowed. The motorcycle & scooter are loaded, I installed my new tire pressure monitoring system on all 12 tires, & we washed the truck & trailer. I was so motivated I even got out the wax for the front end cap that seems to catch every bug within 10 miles of our travels. The wax will make it easier to clean off the bug carcasses at our next stop.

Some of our coworkers have left already. A few have homes & grandkids to get back to & another group are moving on down the road to new jobs. Most of these are going to the sugar beet harvest. Now if you follow us on the blog you know that we did the beet harvest in 2010. Even though it wasn't the worst experience in my opinion we all know that my opinion doesn't count. Mary's opinion was much different. She would rather have her finger nails pulled one by one before she would go back to the beet harvest. She tried to relay that to our new friends who were headed to the beet harvest but they were not deterred. I gave them a more realistic view of the job without sugar coating it & wished them well in their new endeavour.

Back to us though...we are getting the gift shop ready to close for the season. Inventory is being taken, things are being put in storage, & a final cleaning is getting done. There are only 4 more days & we are done! That means I can count them on one hand!!! There will be a pizza party the last day & we will say our goodbyes to all our new friends. After that we hit the road. We have decided to come back to Cody for another season. There is too much that we haven't seen & we have made such good friends we thought it was a good idea to come back next year.

Our next stop will be in Elkhart IN, the RV capitol of the world. We want to do a few things to the rig & visit some of the places we have grown fond of in our travels through the area. Amish foods, local crafts, RV factories, Amish food, RV surplus stores, & Amish food. You get the idea. When we leave it will be diet time.

Well I will call it a night on one of our last nights here in our home in Cody WY because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Friday, September 7, 2012

'12/#38 Scratch, Scratch, Itch, Itch

It's that time again. 21 more days in Cody & 17 more days of work. The days are starting to run together faster, the store is getting ready to shut down for the season, & everyone here is starting to get the "itch". I'm talking about "hitch-itch". That phenomenon that RVers get after we have been in one place for awhile. The urge to hitch up the rig & move on down the road. With our whole neighborhood consisting of workcampers the "itch" has become an epidemic. The signs are everywhere.

All around Workcamper Village vehicles are getting serviced & rigs are getting cleaned. Last minute shopping is being done & day trips are being planned. And finally, new found friends are swapping contact information to keep in touch. Some are even making plans to get together over the winter while everyone wants to know who is coming back to Cody next year. We are one of the many couples who will be back next year.

Our original plan for workcamping was to spend one year at each location & move on to another part of the country. That seemed to work out until this year. We haven't seen everything that we wanted to in this area so have decided to come back for another year. Cody is a good home base for the things we want to see, the job is waiting for us, the camping works out great, & we have made a lot of good friends . There is no real down side to returning. So all our followers can look forward to another season of stories & pictures from Wyoming.

Well it is time to go to work (17 days , but who's counting?) so I will sign off from our home in Cody for the next 21 days(again,who's counting?) because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Friday, August 31, 2012

'12/#37 Blogging Is Hard

I'm glad there are those of you out there enjoying the blog & I'm sorry I don't blog more often. I have a profound respect for those bloggers & other writers who publish with more regularity than I do. Coming up with ideas & material to write about on a regular basis is hard. I love the writing part of it because that comes easy to me but fresh ideas don't just grow on trees. I found that out when writing my column for the union newspaper when I still worked for the Post Office & that was only once a month! So I hope you will bear with me as I try to keep this blog going & hope you all stay with us on our travels. With that said......

Work(if you can call it that) has been BORING!!! The summer tourist season is over & the fall tourist season has not yet started. Cabins are not renting & the gift shop is a ghost town. It's a good thing the shop is haunted or there would be nothing going on. Yes it is supposedly haunted. Apparently there was a "ladies business" being run upstairs around the turn of the 20th century. It's very possible because there were a number of these "ladies businesses" being run in Cody at the time. It was still the wild west then & the cowboys needed to be entertained(wink,wink). We also have some furniture from a local mortuary in the shop that has been repurposed as display cases. With lights turning off & on by themselves in the display cases we figure some of the deceased's spirits may have tagged along. Then we have the bumping, banging, & footsteps from upstairs behind padlocked doors from the working girls(???). Add the merchandise that is moved during the night while the store is locked & the easy explanation is ghosts!!! It also make for some good stories & fun when there is little to do.

This past week we decided to add a little excitement for ourselves & headed up to Billings. Remember that Cody is a beautiful place but with limited things to do. So we went to the big city for a little R&R. Also it just happened to coincide with Red Lobster's "all you can eat shrimp" promo. With no real seafood available in Cody, & Mary's & my ability to eat shrimp by the ton ..... Let's just say we got our money's worth out of this trip. We also did a little shopping at stores that are not available in Cody & roamed around the mall a bit. "Mall" is 4 letter word in Cody. One, two, three,.... Oh, I guess mall is a 4 letter word everywhere. Well you know what I mean.

It was back to Cody & the Buffalo Bill Village routine. Then we wait for the next wave of tourists to come. The "blue hairs" are expected now that the kids are back in school & family vacations are over. I don't know if this is good or bad but at least we will have guests on property & hopefully something to do. It is time for us to get ready for work so I will sign off for now from our home here in Cody Wyoming because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Monday, August 20, 2012

'12/#36 Going Back To Work For Some Rest!

I said in the last blog that things were not going to be boring for long & I was right. This past week we had some visitors. Monday evening there was a knock on the door & there was Daisy, Suzie, & Jen. The fun was about to begin. These 3 mature ladies should give lessons on how to enjoy life. There are no rocking chairs for these women. Add my wonderful bride to the mix & you have a whole bunch of crazy that will surely be loads of fun if I survive the next few days. This will be a long blog.

Day 1 started with breakfast & the laughing commenced with the 4 of them going from mature ladies to little girls in the time it takes to get Mary laughing & give Frank a milk shower. Thanks honey! I should have sat at my own table. The rest of the day we spent checking out the local sights in & around Cody. We started with Buffalo Bill Dam & worked our through Cody. Then we went to Powell for lunch. After a power nap we went to a workcamper pot luck & introduced our crazy family to the people we work with. We didn't linger after dinner because we had tickets to the Cody Night Rodeo. Mary & I had planed this ever since we knew they were coming to Cody. Pre rodeo you can go to the gift shop, meet the rodeo clowns, & get you picture taken on a bull. Yes, a live 2000lb rodeo bull named Hollywood! There was no doubt in my mind that the girls would do this. My only concern was for the bull. Everyone came out of it unharmed, including  Hollywood, with pictures suitable for posting on line! The rest of the night was a blast but we had to head home & get to bed because 5am comes awful early. Day 2 we head in to Yellowstone.

Wednesday morning we are up but the sun is not. It is tourist season in Yellowstone so we want an early start. 1 & 1/2 hours later we find the first place open for breakfast well into the park. Our next stop was West Thumb Geyser Basin. Nothing spouting but some beautiful geothermal features. The girls loved it. Next stop at Yellowstone's most famous feature, Old Faithful. We were able to get up in front of the crowd so we could see the eruption up close. Old Faithful did not disappoint. We checked out the Old Faithful Inn & I took pictures of the naughty girls on the Knotty Pine Porch. Get it? Naughty/Knotty? (groan) We headed north still looking for wildlife. So far only 1 buffalo laying on his side twitching his tail. The only sign that he was alive! Stopped & checked out Gibbon Falls. We looped back past the Grand Canyon area saving that for tomorrow. Entering Hayden Valley we finally found what we were looking for....brake lights! That means animals. Sure enough there were 2 small herds of buffalo. There was also a ranger there giving a buffalo sex education talk. Maybe more than I wanted to know. I'm glad I'm not a buffalo! Next stop home & in bed by 10pm.

Thursday morning came even earlier. This time we took the 2 hour drive on the Chief Joseph Hwy to the NE entrance to the park. Today we will see animals in Lamar Valley. Twists & turns through the forest then out into the open valley & what do we see but dozens, no hundreds of buffalo. The squealing from the back seat tells me that everyone can see them. Then the cameras start clicking. Farther on we see more & more herds. I can personally say the buffalo in Yellowstone are doing very well. Along the way we saw a couple of coyotes. Then suddenly a wolf runs right in front of the truck & up a hill. He stops, turns, & poses so we could get some great pics. A little ways down the road we spot some deer before getting to Roosevelt Lodge for a pit stop(wink,wink). Next stop, Canyon Visitor Center.

We check out the visitor center & head toward the canyon. The first stop is at the Brink of The lower Falls. Mary & Daisy opt for the 1/4 mile, 650' descent to the falls. That also means a 1/4 mile, 650' climb back. Suzie,Jen, & I settle for the overlook. Several days later the  adventurers return exhausted but excited about the falls(just kidding about the days but not the exhaustion). After a few more stops at various overlooks we headed to the south rim. On the way there are more brake lights. There are 2 bull elk grazing on the side of the road & so many people stopped that there is no place to park. Slam, slam, slam, & 4 giddy women with cameras leave me in the middle of the road with 3 options. #1 sit there & block traffic, #2 squeeze the truck into a spot the size of a Smart car, or #3 leave them behind. Fortunately someone left & I didn't have to go with my choice of #3. Lots of pics from a safe distance while idiots try to get too close. The ranger had his work cut out trying to keep them away. OH NO! It's the same ranger from yesterday, now giving a lecture on elk sex ed. TMI!!!!! The elk moved on & so did we.

 Lots more pictures & then we went looking for a place to eat lunch. We set up lunch at a picnic area & no sooner did we start eating another picnicker asks "do you see the buffalo?". We turn around & a buffalo walks right through the picnic area between our table and the next, maybe 25' away! Of course nobody has a camera. After lunch we make a short stop to see the upper falls & take more pictures. Then we head over to Artist Point for the best view of the lower falls & farther up the canyon. It has been another long day with lots of animal sightings so we head on home. Buffalo, deer, elk, coyote, & wolves make for a very successful trip to Yellowstone.

We leave the park & a mile down the road there are cars pulled over. We stop & we get to add moose to our list of sightings. It was the female & calf we have heard about recently. Mom is eating foliage from the Shoshone River while the calf stayed hidden in the bushes. We got lots of pics of the cow but none of junior. We move on.

We had a light dinner & called it a day. Friday morning we met for breakfast & said our goodbyes. I joke about being stuck in the truck with 4 crazy females but I wouldn't have it any other way. We all had a blast & I am sure they will visit us next year where ever we call home because......

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Friday, August 10, 2012

'12/#35 It's Slow Now But......

The past week has been a little slow on blogging news but that will change shortly. More on that later. We talked about our trip to civilization in Billings MT & all the stores we had available to us. There was also the mention of no sales tax. All that combined with our need for a new printer had us coming home with a truck full of things we could just not live without, including a printer. Well after 2 weeks with the printer in the box acting as an end table we decided to hook it up. This printer is completely wireless & required our full concentration. It couldn't be a simple "unplug the old & plug in the new" now could it? After an all day effort I got the printer working & communicating with both laptops. If any of you out there know me that is quite an accomplishment. My computer skills are just a little better than playing a mean game of solitaire. Mary is starting to call me her computer wizard. I'm not sure if she is being sarcastic or condescending but either way she was happy that she didn't have to do the job.

The next day we wanted to do something but not anything that would require a lot of driving, or walking, or exercise of any kind. We really wanted to just relax without vegging out at home. We decided to check out Old Trail Town right outside of Cody. It is less than 3 miles from our front door yet we haven't managed to find the time to go to this local attraction. Go figure??? Old Trail Town is a collection of buildings from WY that were built around the turn of the 20th century. These are not reproductions but the actual buildings. They have not been restored but are being preserved. There are stores & cabins that belonged to some of the Old West's historical figures. There are wagons, household items, & personal belongings that also are being preserved. There is also a cemetery here with the remains of some famous & infamous characters that made the wild west "wild". Add all this to the fact that it is situated on the original site of the town of Cody & you can get a feel of what life was like for the people who settled the area.

There were homestead cabins that belonged to anonymous settlers as well as cabins that belong to more well known figures in history. George Custer's Indian guide's cabin is here as well as cabins that were used by Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid (aka Robert Leroy Parker & Harry Longabaugh). I think there are some some of the old Hole In The Wall Gang hanging around, what do you think? For our friends in the Post Office I thought I would include this picture that may have prognosticated the future of the US Post Office. Can you say down sized?? (Note lock on door)

The cemetery has some of the local characters that helped settle this part of the country. All of these remains have been exhumed & relocated to this site for historical preservation. The most famous of them is John Jeremiah "Liver Eatin'" Johnston who was made famous in the movie "Jeremiah Johnston" starring Robert Redford. There are photos showing the reburials including several with Redford as a pall bearer. Johnston spent some of his last years camping within sight of this location using the sulfur waters of the river to help his arthritis so the location seem appropriate. Bill Cody's grandson is also buried here & it is rumored that the picture on the headstone points to the location of Buffalo Bill's grave site, the location of that which has been in dispute since shortly after his death. More on that at another time.

I have more to tell you so I shall return soon.Now it is time to have some lunch before work so I will sign off until later from our home in Cody because .......

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

'12/#34 Still Not Civilization

Like I always say, our plans are written in jello. Our trip to Red Lodge & the Beartooth Hwy was changed at the last minute. We did go but changed our mode of transportation. The night before our departure my brain kicked into gear & important questions came to mind. In the morning I checked my mapping software for info on the route we wanted to take. My motorcycle doesn't have the best range & there were no signs of gas stations along the way. Between that & the knowledge that cell phone coverage would be spotty or nonexistent I erred on the side of caution & took the truck instead.

The ride to Red Lodge was pleasant with more of the beautiful scenery that we have seen & shared with everyone. We passed through a few small towns that were no more than a couple of houses & maybe a shop or two. None had gas available. We stopped at a few scenic overlooks & historic markers along the way. We also shared the road with a group of bicyclists. They have more guts than I, because there is no way that I would be cycling out here in the middle of nowhere! Yes they were in a group & there probably was a safety chase vehicle, but still....65 miles of peddling with almost nothing along the way!! NO WAY!!!!

Anyway, we arrived in Red Lodge, MT & found a quaint little town. Downtown is about 8 blocks long & the residential area is maybe a few blocks on either side. Red Lodge makes it's tourist dollars based on it's proximity to the Beartooth Hwy & Yellowstone. There was the usual collection of gift shops, restaurants, the historical hotel, & generic motels to take in the tourist dollars that keep the town alive. After walking the downtown area & having some lunch we headed to the Beartooth.

The road started climbing towards Beartooth Pass as soon as we left Red Lodge. That meant an altitude change from just under 5800' to almost 11,000' on twisting & winding roads. I can see why motorcyclists love theis route. It is technical, challenging, & just what motorcyclists are looking for. In the truck it was a little different. With dual rear wheels it sometimes seemed that there wasn't enogh room for 2 vehicles to pass. As we climbed higher & higher we started to see more snow. Yes snow at the end of July! It also seemed like we were at the top of the world. Everywhere we looked it seemed as if we were looking down on the scenery.

Then the descent back into WY started. More mountains, valleys, & snow feed lakes filled the camera cards. Eventually we came to the Top of The World. Big name for a little place that amounted to a couple of cabins, a gift shop/general store, & a gas pump. Yes, one gas pump straight out of the '70s. You know the kind with the numbers on little wheels that spin as the gas is pumped. And with only one side working there is only one grade of gas to buy, & only one price to pay....HIGH!!! At least now I know there is gas available on this route.

We finished the Beartooth & turned on to the Chief Joseph Hwy headed back to Cody. We did the Chief Joseph westbound in the early morning once before but it is a completely different view eastbound in the late afternoon. Lots more pics before we made it back to Cody after a long tiring day of driving some challenging roads. Well I will end this now that we are back in our comfy home in Cody because.....

Home is where we park it,

Frank & Mary

Saturday, July 28, 2012

'12/#33 Better Planning

We have looked at our work schedule, checked our day-off activities, & compared them to our to-do list since we arrived in Cody. Things have not gone as we had planned. As most people can attest, Murphy's Law is real & we are not immune to it. There have also been some changes in our work schedule & duties that threw the proverbial monkey wrench into everything. It also takes a little time to get into a new routine when starting a new job, but as work campers/temps that time is at best short & the adjustment or learning curve must be sped up. We are at the halfway point of the season & think we have figured it out.

The Billings trip opened our eyes. Work days are for work & rest  so we can get more out of our days off. We were trying to do too much on days we had to go to work & were crashing/wasting our days off. Now we spend the work week planning our weekend & jump into it well rested. This week we will be taking the motorcycle on the Beartooth Highway to Red Lodge MT. Beartooth has me excited. Not only do the locals say it is a beautiful drive but all my motorcycle magazines have been listing it as one of the best motorcycle rides in the country. This will be an all day adventure. Again this will be an excursion out of Cody.

Billings opened our eyes to the options available to us, we just had to plan better. In Billings we went to some of our favorite chain restaurants. The Texas Roadhouse had great food & Mary got a margarita the size of her head! Olive Garden allowed us to have some Italian dishes we always enjoy. And let's not forget Red Lobster....out here in the west beef is king. There is no shortage of steakhouses but good seafood can be hard to come by or cost prohibitive. Red Lobster, while it is a chain restaurant, is consistent in quality & reasonable in price.

And there were stores! Mary has more of the shopping gene than I but it is still nice to have options. On top of that there was a real mall with anchor stores, shops, & a food court! There were a couple of things we were looking for & some other things we found that we just couldn't live without(wink,wink). Add to that the lack of any sales tax in Montana & you have the perfect shopping storm. Needless to say we came home with that back seat of the truck full.

Well it is time to go to work & plan for our next weekend so this is goodbye from our home in Cody Wyoming because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Monday, July 23, 2012

'12/#32 CIVILIZATION!!!!!!!

We have been in Cody WY for almost 3 months & have been enjoying ourselves. The history in the area has come to life. It is like putting a face to a name. Text books, museums, & movies are fine but until you see the real thing in person it doesn't have real meaning. The scenery is breathtaking, majestic, awesome..... adjectives can't begin to describe. The wild life has been etched into our memories for ever. After all that we felt that something was missing.

Mary & I both grew up near big cities. I'm from Long Island just outside of NYC & Mary is from Arlington VA just across the bridge from Washington DC. We met, lived, & worked near St Petersburg & Tampa FL. Now we are living in Cody, a city with a population not much bigger than my High School. Talk about culture shock. Since we have been traveling we make a point of seeing local attractions, eating at local restaurants, & getting to know the local residents. That has made our travels the adventure that we are enjoying, but........again something is missing.

Watching satellite TV we see all the advertisements from NY & LA. It struck us that we missed some of the chain restaurants we frequent & the many different stores that are available in the metropolitan areas we were familiar with. It was time for a dose of civilization & the nearest city is Billings MT, 115 miles away. It takes about 2 hours to get there & many of our friends make the trip there & back in a day. We wanted a break from Cody so we took advantage of the hotel's employee discount & booked a room to make it an overnight stay.

Well here we are in Billings just driving around & checking things out. There are restaurants galore, stores of every shape & size, & there are people...lots of people! It may sound crazy but it felt good driving around in traffic. Not bumper to bumper traffic, just the normal flow of traffic found in most suburban communities. We have scoped out a few places to eat & will do a little shopping before we head back to Cody.

I will say goodnight for now in Billings MT away from our home in Cody because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Saturday, July 14, 2012

'12/#31 4th of July Continued

Things have been a little crazy around here, but I will get back to that later. First I would like to finish up our own personal celebration of our nation's birth. After the parades, the craft fairs, the shopping, & the rodeo, all under the most beautiful blue Wyoming sky we called it a day. We had fun & were exhausted so it was early to bed for us. Tomorrow, the 4th, would be another day.

To celebrate the birth of our country we felt that spending the day in our country's first national park was appropriate. Having been to the park a number of times we wanted to make it special. So what better way than to do it on a motorcycle? The freedom of riding, the exposure to the open air, & the unobstructed views for photography promised another wonderful day. The plan was to get up by 7am & avoid the last parade of Cody's 4th of July celebration. So much for plans, but who cares? It's our day off & we were just going to enjoy it! So instead our day started at 9:30am.

We had a quick breakfast & hopped on the bike. We were treated to the scenic tour of Cody via detours due to the parade. What would have been a 5 minute ride took about 20 minutes but the weather was beautiful & we didn't care. Yellowstone here we come. It is 50 scenic miles to the park entrance & then another 25 breathtaking miles to the next visitor center at Fishing Bridge. There was also an increase in elevation of over 2000'. What was a beautiful 90 degree day in Cody turned into a beautiful 65 degree day in Yellowstone. The only problem was that in our rush to hit the road we didn't pack for the change in weather. A quick stop at the clearance rack in the gift shop, 2 sweat shirts later, & a fill up at the gas pump & we were on our way.

This trip to the park we wanted to see something we hadn't been to before, so we headed north with Roosevelt Lodge & Mammoth Hot Springs our destination. Traffic in the park had picked up quite a bit since our last visit. With tourist season in full swing & the holiday it was expected but it allowed everyone to slow down & take in the scenery. That's what everyone is here for anyway, right? Not as many animals as we have seen in the past but we still managed to get into a buffalo jam. It is a little different on a motorcycle. Inside a 9000 lb truck a 2000 lb buffalo is more awe inspiring than intimidating. On a 700lb motorcycle things change. There were no issues but the difference gives one something to think about.

Between our late start & the traffic it was early afternoon by the time we got to Roosevelt Lodge. The lodge is more rustic than some of the other hotels in the park & they feature activities like horseback riding & wagon rides. It is still awesome scenery in the area but with no thermal activity & less volcanic evidence around it is not as impressive as some other parts of the park. It was getting late & we were getting tired so it was time to head home. Mammoth will wait for another day.

By the time we got back to Fishing Bridge we were getting hungry & a little saddle weary so we stopped to fill the fuel tanks on us & the motorcycle, plus give a little rest to our posteriors. After 200 miles we needed to walk & stretch a bit. Every time I mentioned that we should get going Mary cringed not wanting to get back on the bike. We had another 2 hours to go to get back home & I did not want to be riding during dusk since that is when the deer start coming out. I don't want to have a deer vs truck incident but I really don't want to have a deer vs motorcycle incident. We all know who loses in that one. So on the bike & homeward bound.

Now I mentioned earlier that photography on a motorcycle is different than in a car or truck. With no roof, window, or door pillars the view is unobstructed. As anyone who has followed our travels knows, Mary is quite the shutter-bug. This day was no exception. Mary  had to switch batteries on her camera then she started with my camera & used 2 batteries & 2 memory cards. By the time we got home she had shot right around 1000 pictures. Yes, 1000, all in one day. That is a new record for her. I have to say she got a ton of awesome pictures as usual, & once we go through them all I am sure they will get posted in the blog & on FB.

Well that is all for today, so this is goodbye from our home in Wyoming because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Saturday, July 7, 2012

'12/#30 Enjoying Workcamping Again!

With the registration desk behind us we jumped right back into workcamper mode. We started with 2 days off & work being the last thing on our minds. Relax, enjoy, & unwind were to be the watch words for the next 2 days.

Day 1 was July 3rd & Cody was in in full Independence Day mode. There are craft fairs, food vendors, & entertainment going on for 5 days. It all starts with the Extreme Bull Riding on June 30th. This event is the kick-off for the Cody Stampede Rodeo that runs through July 4th. July 1st is the children's parade that includes all the trappings of the regular parade but only goes for 2 blocks & also allows any kid from the state of Wyoming to participate with a group or on their own. We missed that parade but it sounded like a lot of fun for the kids.

On July 3rd(our first day off from work) we watched the next parade. Every local group & most businesses were represented. There were bands from around the state including the Wyoming State All Star Band. This band has over the years traveled to Ireland & participated in the Rose Bowl Parade & the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. Quite a resume if you ask me! Fire trucks, police vehicles, & horses of all shapes, colors, & sizes made their way down the main street in Cody. There were numerous floats promoting local organizations & also commemorating the town's history & founding father, William"Buffalo Bill" Cody. Local pride in small town America.....there is nothing like it & it is a perfect way way to celebrate Independence Day. After the parade we walked down town to the craft fair & spent a little money supporting the local artisans. Some ice cream from a local shop & it was time to take a nap. Our day was far from over!

As I mentioned before the Cody Stampede Rodeo is happening all this time. We managed to get tickets to the semi-finals on July 3rd. This rodeo is not the normal Nite Rodeo that goes on every night in Cody. This a nationally sanctioned event that qualifies some of the best cowboys in the world to go to the championship rodeo in Las Vegas later this year. This is a BIG event on the rodeo circuit. Needless to say we had a great time. There were some beautiful animals & some very talented cowboys & cowgirls. It was as exciting as any sporting event I have gone to in the past & was the perfect ending to a wonderful day in Cody.

I will continue later, so this is so long for now from our happy workcamper home here in Cody Wyoming because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Sunday, July 1, 2012

'12/#29 I'm Not Dead!!!

As Mark Twain has been quoted,"rumors of my death have been greatly exagerated". It has been some time since I have blogged & I will tell you why. As work campers here in Cody WY we had somewhat mundane jobs. We enjoyed the people we worked with as well as the tourists that passed through the store. Two weeks ago there was an upheavel in the staffing. There were some firings & some quiting that left the front desk of the hotel attached to the store short staffed. The owners felt that we would be well suited to fill those positions & asked if we wanted them. Since she was between the proverbial "rock & a hard place" we said we would try it. She was very appreciative.

Well let me tell you, this job is not physical at all but is very complicated. Add to that the fact that we are right in the middle of peak season while we are trying to learn the job. It would by like learning how to make a parade float durring the Rose Bowl Parade! Needless to say it has been frustrating & stressful. We are coming home mentally drained, tense, & (most important) unhappy. It was time to step down from this "promotion" & move back to our original jobs.

Fortunately the openings were still there & we did agree to stay another week until the front desk jobs were filled. You have to remember that we are retirees who are now work campers. Our careers are over & we now work jobs, part time temp jobs at that. We do this so we can travel, see the country, & enjoy ourselves. This stressful kind of job that requires more training than we recieved is more suited to a long term job commitment. More training & better timing would have made a difference.

The past 2 weeks have been work & sleep, work & sleep and that is not how we planned on spending our retirement. Tomorrow will be our last day at the front desk. We will then be able to start enjoying ourselves & everything the Cody WY area has to offer. When we start that I will have more to blog about. So until then this is goodnight from our home in Cody because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Friday, June 15, 2012

'12/#28 The Best Things In Life

We spent another day in Yellowstone with our friends before they headed north to Glacier National Park. The weather was more cooperative, in fact it may have been ideal. We spent a good amount of time around the Old Faithful Area. Reports say that the Old Faithful Geyser is not as impressive as it used to be. Time & geological changes have reduced it's intensity & predictability but I still wanted to see it. After all it is Old Faithful. Well we saw it twice that day & contrary to reports that it is disappointing compared to it's previous appearances it is still quite impressive. The whole area is awe inspiring with it's geysers, steam vents, & hot springs. Think about water & steam, flowing & spewing out of the ground! All this because of the volcanic activity below the surface!!! They say if the Yellowstone Caldera were to erupt it would be 100 times greater than Mt St Helens

While the geothermal features make Yellowstone unique there is lots more to see. There are the mountains, valleys, trees, flowers, & animals. Oh the animals! We have seen deer & elk with antlers that make you wonder how they hold their heads up. We have spotted coyote & got a brief glimpse of a wolf .There are weasel & marmots scurrying around the trees & near the water. And we have seen buffalo, oh have we seen buffalo! Single buffaloes up on a hillside or drinking from a lake or stream & the occasional buffalo standing in or near the road have cars stopping to take pictures. But the "buffalo jams" really occur when herds are moving across fields, or better still, across the road! This is calf season & there are baby buffalo everywhere. The herds move looking for food & water with the calves seemingly attached to mom or dad's side. Once in the fields the calves run & play while the adults stay near by grazing. If camera shutters were louder the noise would be deafening. The adults are majestic while the babys are adorable. We were fortunate to see a mommy & her baby walk across the lawn right in front of Old Faithful while the crowds waited for the next eruption.

After 2 days seeing the park with our friends it was time to say goodbye. The 4 of us commented on the joys of our chosen RV lifestyle & came to an agreement. While we see some of the most amazing things this country has to offer it is the people we get to meet in our travels that impact us most. The locals are the windows into the different cultures that make the US so diverse, but the friends we make are what tie us all together. We meet, we work, we keep in touch, & our RV family grows...and I think it makes us all better people for the experience. Mary & I consider ourselves very fortunate to have some of the best friends one could ask for.

So safe travels to our friends & goodbye to everyone until the next blog from our home here in Cody Wyoming because.....

Home is where we park it,

Frank & Mary

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

'12/#27Yellowstone w/Tour Guides

Yes, it's been a while but not much going on. Work, chores, etc & Mary ate something that didn't agree with her. That was our days off this past week. This week is going to be different. We have friends coming to town on their way north. We met them last year at Dollywood & have become good friends. We are taking a few days off to spend time with them & plan on seeing more of Yellowstone. This time our friends will be our tour guides since they workcamped in Yellowstone a few years ago.

The goal today was to see the critters of Yellowstone & especially bear or moose. We also wanted to see more of the geo-thermal features in the park. We saw buffalo again & fools who need to see them up close. That is what telephoto lenses are for. Buffalo can sprint over 30mph & have been know to gore those who get too close. Notice the fools in the photo above & my nice close-up below from the safety of the car.

We saw a coyote & a babby weasel during our travels. We also saw a nice rack on the side of the road. This rack was attached to an elk who had a friend with a less impressive set of head gear. Can you say "antler envy"? I forgot that we had seen big horn sheep near the entrance of the park. Hopefully we will see them again on our way out. Big horn sheep are something to see but they don't have elk antlers.

Our next stop was the Norris Geyser Basin. We have seen the West Thumb Geyser but Norris was much bigger & more impressive. It is mind boggling to think that all these geysers, steam vents, & mud pots with their steam & boiling water is a sign that we are walking on top of one of the worlds largest active volcanos. If this volcano should erupt it would make Mt St Helens look like a small burp.

It has been a long day so we headed for home & what should we see? The big horn sheep are waiting to bid us adieu. We stopped off to have dinner with our friends /tour guides & called it a night. We will continue our explorations of Yellowstone tomorrow. So for now it is goodnight from our home in Cody because.....
Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Saturday, June 2, 2012

'12/#26 Back To Yellowstone

Here it is the first of June. That means we have been here a month. Time flies when you're having fun. Not much to say about the jobs here since it has been very slow tourist-wise. They say it will get busy soon & we hope so, because it can get very boring with no customers. The worst part of the job is watching the clock.

  This weekend we went into Yellowstone so Mary could see grizzly bears. This time we took the NE entrance since everyone is telling us that we will see wildlife there IF we get there early. So the alarm clock went off at 4am. Yes AM! Now if you know us at all you know we are not morning people. For the last 25-30 years the only time we saw times before 8am we were on our way home from work, so this was definitely out of character for us. 75 miles of beautiful & rugged countryside later we were having breakfast in Cooke City Montana. Out here in the wide open spaces they mean wide open. Once you leave Cody everything is at least an hour away. By the time we got to Yellowstone it was almost 8am.

The rest of the day was nothing short of amazing with prong horn deer jumping in front of the truck,deer grazing, & buffalo every where. No bears!The mountains are stunning, the valleys are serene, &a natural beauty is around every bend in the road. Pictures do it no justice but we take them anyway to share with everyone. We hope you enjoy them here & on our FB pages.

  The road started climbing as we approached Dunraven Pass. Just a week ago this pass was closed to traffic because of snow. In fact it had not been open yet this year. The snow at times was taller than our truck & this is JUNE! As we drove through the pass we got into a sort of traffic jam with the locals. This shot is through our windshield.

Coming down from Dunraven Pass we stopped to see the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. We have been to the Grand Canyon & what this canyon may lack in size it more than makes up for in beauty. The colors from the mineral deposits & the water falls are breathtaking.

It was time to head home with another 100 miles to go so we pointed the truck east towards Cody. By the time we got home we had driven over 225 miles & walked countless more. We were tired. The rodeo was in our plans but that will wait for another day & another blog.

So this is goodnight from our home in Wyoming because...

Home is where we park it, Frank & Mary

Saturday, May 26, 2012

'12/#25 Snow?!?!?!?!?

May 25th started like any other day for us. We woke up, showered, had breakfast, & got ready to head out to enjoy our days off. But as Mary stuck her head out the door she squealed with delight' "It's Snowing!". She hadn't seen a real snowfall sice she was 11 or 12 years old. That was over 30 years ago. She had never had the joy of digging out of a snow bank to get to work or even driving in snow. These are the reasons many of us move south. By 2pm the novelty had worn off & Mary was tired of the cold & wet.

With cameras in hand we headed out to document the weather. Now remember this is Memorial Day weekend. It's almost June & it is snowing. The locals tell us we can expect snow through the middle of June & they have experienced snow storms as late as the 4thof July!!! After dinner the snow had accumulated a bit & put that pictuesque winter frosting on everything in Cody including workcamper village.

It has been snowing for 2 days up in Yellowstone & the reports are that many of the roads are closed. Cody is at an elevation of 5000' & much of Yellowstone is above 7000' so the snow had not affected us until now. The mountain west of Cody is now covered with snow that was not there when we first arrived. Our truck, camper, & motorcycle are now getting snowed on for the first time. Thank goodness for our electric heaters & propane furnace not to mention our favorite....the electric blanket.

The next day most of the snow had melted but the weather was still cold & overcast. The temps have inched up into the low 40's & dropped overnight into the low to mid 30's. To think that a week ago we were wearing shorts in 80deg weather. Summer is comming soon & with it so will the tourists. Then we will be really busy, or so they say. For now we are just getting into the "groove" & learning our way around.

So until the weathers warms up or the next chance I blog, whichever comes first, goodbye from our snowy home in Cody WY because.......

Home ios where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Monday, May 21, 2012

'12/#24 Yellowstone!!!!!

This past week we mainly worked & hung around town. We still did not have our truck back because Ford didn't want to send the parts to the dealer. Something about odometer readings. Anyway, the dealer got the parts on Friday & we had our truck back on Tuesday. That allowed us to make plans for our next days off.

Friday we got up & headed to Yellowstone. Finally!!! We wanted to get there before all the tourists & before it warmed up too much. Once it warms up & gets busy the critters of the forest head up into the mountains. Well we were rewarded for our patience. The weather wasn't the best but it made for an interesting day. First it was cold & cloudy. The clouds over the mountains made for some interesting pictures. Farther on Mary found snow & was playing in it like a little kid. The lake there was pretty much frozen over.

Like I said the weather was far from perfect & as we headed towards Lake Yellowstone it started to hail. Nothing major but just enough to make us laugh & wonder what was next. Well next was the geyser basin at West Thumb. Here we saw pools of bubbling water surrounded by snow next to a partially frozen lake with elk grazing 100' away. The bubbling water was actually boiling water with temps at the surface of  near 170 degrees! It was amazing, stunning, beautiful, & all those adjectives that people try to use to describe the indescribable. Words can't describe it & pictures do it no justice. This is one of those things that you have to see in person which is why we live this lifestyle.

After 3 cameras, 3 dead batteries, & close to 1000 pictures we headed home. We have our work cut out for us sorting through & posting all these photos. With more to sort & more to take on our next trip into Yellowstone this is goodbye until the next blog from our home in Cody WY because....

Home is where we park it,

Frank & Mary

Friday, May 11, 2012

'12/#23 Heeeere's Cody!

When ever we get to a new place we always ask for recomendations for shopping, laundr-o-mats, restaurants, haircuts, etc. All went well until the hairtcut topic came up. Everyone we asked said we should ask Jan & Don. We couldn't understand why. Were they the only ones who knew where the barbers were? Could it be they kept the locations of all the hair salons to themselves? Or were they the only ones with hair that grew??? No, it turns out that Don had his own barber shop & Jan had a beauty shop next door. After they retired the decided to keep their skills(& sissors) sharp by supplimenting their retirement by giving hair cuts to their fellow work campers. So for $10 we both got excellent hair cuts, good company, & a cup of coffee! How can you go wrong?

After the de-fur-ing we were invited to join them & another work camper couple for lunch at a local Chinese buffet. One of the things that is hard to come by & we miss dearly in our travels is good Chinese food. So when we get recommendations we check it out. As promised the food was delicious. Combine that with good company & our day off was going great. With our bellies full & our friends heading off to work we decided to check out the Cody WY scene.

The main street is Sheridan Ave & it is about 10 blocks long. Along this stretch are shops, restaurants, & local historical sights. We had a nice walk through town, did a little shopping &  a lot of browsing. We will be here all summer so we will have plenty of time to spend our work camping paychecks. We took our cameras so we can post the pictures I have been promising.

Right now I am blogging while Mary takes a nap. I guess the walk was too much for her. So enjoy the pics & until the next blog this is good bye from our home in Cody WY because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary