Thursday, December 18, 2014

Zero Donuts

Our last 'donut hole' day at RNO1 passed without a whimpers, just big smiles.

After the passing of Wednesday there are zero donut hole days left in our stint here at RNO1.  I was up at Noon.....I know.....only six hours of sleep.....I spent an hour, or so in the trailer finishing up what needs to be done before we leave on is now ready for the VW.

As is the case when you don't get up until Noon, it was not long until it was fast approaching sundown again.  We decided to go out for dinner, and at TLE's suggestion we headed to O'Cleary's Pub over in the Legends Mall for a few brews, and some good 'pub style' food.  As you might guess, we started our evening with a couple of drafts.....for me the Icky IPA, and for TLE the Samuel Adams Winterfest.  Every time I tip an Icky I am transported back to late June in South Lake Tahoe when I tasted my first after a great morning of mountain biking with good friends.  We then ordered bowls of their Bacon Potato Cheddar soup.....I get weak in the knees just thinking about that bowl of soup this morning....OMG!  I should have stopped with the soup, but I couldn't help ordering a plate of their fish tacos (2), and TLE ordered the Platter O'Cleary's....we ended up taking home some of each.  As I said, the soup would have sufficed as a meal.  

From there we worked our way over to Scheel's so TLE could look for some new bicycle shorts......her current pair are getting a little thread bare, and I'll leave it at that.  She found a nice pair for $96.....ouch!  I really can't complain......the last pair I bought in Tyler, TX back in 2009 cost $89, and they are still going strong.

We spent the evening watching the season finales for 'Survivor' and 'Hell's Kitchen'.  Natalie won 'Survivor', which is as it should have least based on those who made the final three....if Keith had made it along with Natalie I'm not sure how it would have turned out.

We were in bed a little after midnight looking forward to our last two days at just a few short days we will be sitting on the beach at Rincon Parkway, just north of's a TBT picture of TLE at Rincon Parkway back in 2009....

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

RNO1 - Day 27 - Two

Tuesday was a little bit different as days at RNO1 have gone.  Since we are near the end of 'Peak Season' it was time for the annual 'Camperforce Celebration' put on by the Camperforce staff at RNO1.  Of course, in order to include the day and night shifts it had to be held at 4 pm.  This meant we had to arrive at work 2 hours earlier than normal in order to participate.  That was different.......but it gets even more different......instead of finishing our shift at 4:30 am, we were allowed to finish at 2:30 am, and that's all good.  Where it got weird was when they gave us our two breaks, plus our lunch break in a span of 90 minutes from 9 pm to 10:30 pm.  Why?  I have no idea.....but, once again, I get slightly ahead of myself.......

We finished with the 'Celebration' around 4:40 pm, headed over to the 'Stand Up' area on the Nevada side for instructions on what we were to do until 6 pm, but, obviously, the night shift supervisors were not on hand yet since the night shift begins at 6 pm, so they had us spend the next hour and twenty minutes doing 'Bin Etiquette'.......this actually was kind of a cool job.....I can't speak for anyone else, but I enjoyed it.  Over the course of 6+ weeks I have come across many, many bins that needed serious re-organization, but that takes time, and my job is to 'stow', not fix messy bins.  We each took a row in 'Aqua' and spent time pulling everything out of one bin at a time, and then putting it back in so when it is time for the items to be 'picked' the 'pickers' will be able to easily find items for which they are looking.

Then it was time for 'Stand Up'......I was assigned to pick guessed it.....Utah 7TS.....the first floor.  I haven't been on the first floor of Utah for a couple of weeks, so it was enough different that I actually enjoyed my time there.  TLE was sent, once again, to 'Tranship' (Blue, 3rd floor).  Initially we had been instructed to take our regular break at 10 pm, then our regular lunch at 12:30 am, and so forth, but at 8:52 pm I got a message on my scanner telling all Camperforce folk to take a 10 minute break, and then our regular 15 minute break at 10, so we two breaks in a little over an hour.  Then, just a few minute after returning from our 10 pm break, we got another message at 10:28 pm telling us to take our lunch at 10:30, not 12:30......wait, what?  So, there you have it......two breaks, and lunch in a span of 90 minutes.  That meant our last stretch before quitting time at 2:30 am was three hours and thirty minutes.

TLE joined me shortly after lunch at Utah 7TS as they were out of work in Tranship, and we spent the rest of the evening picking in the same area, which was nice.....we were out the door and in the car on our way home about 2:32 am, and home just after 3 am.

That leaves just two more work days until 'liftoff', and the anticipation is building quickly.  We'll be off Wednesday, and then back to work Thursday and Friday nights....

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

RNO1 - Day 26 - Three

After a couple of days of no work you slowly begin to revert to  getting up earlier and earlier, and by Monday I was up at 7 am after going to bed at 11 pm Sunday night.  The sky was steel gray, and foreboding, and ultimately about 10:30 am it began to snow.........but just for an hour, or so, and by 12:30 it had stopped and the snow that managed to 'stick' was almost gone.

While I spent time in the trailer getting things ready for lift off Saturday afternoon, TLE went shopping for some last minute Xmas presents.  It was sooooo cold in the trailer that even my little electric heater that normally gets things pretty comfortable in just a few minutes struggled to keep up.  I had most of my stuff put away within an hour, and there only remain a few last things, of necessity, to put away before the VW is inserted on Saturday.

Monday was our 26th day working at Amazon RNO1.  The 30 minute drive to Fernely was uneventful as always.  Each night we work, as we approach the Fernley exit, there are two truck stops (Pilot and Love's) that have their fuel prices up in big lights.  The prices have been steadily, but quite slowly, coming down.  The unleaded had been stuck at $2.65 for about a week, but last night it had dropped to $2.45!  Twenty cents since Friday!  Diesel is slowly coming down locally.....there are a couple of stations.....not too near us.....that are selling it for $2.99.  The local prices are around $3.11.  It looks like the station we have used for years near our home in SoCal has already come down to $2.85, and it is as low as $2.77 at other local stations....WOW!!!

The amazon work flow assignors changed things up Monday evening.....TLE was sent to Utah 8TS, whilst I was sent to 'Tranship' for the evening.  I'm actually coming to enjoy 'Tranship', and had a nice evening stowing there.  TLE and I met up in the Utah breakroom for our two 15 minute breaks, and met in the Nevada breakroom for lunch.  In 'Tranship' we stowed a ton, or two of various kinds of pet food ranging from bird feed to dog food, and everything in between.

Even thought the 'guessers' were predicting temps in the low 20's again, it was only 34 degrees when we exited frost on the windshield either!  We are forecast to have partly cloudy skies the next few days with a chance of precipitation on Friday.  Originally it was an 80% certainty it would rain, now just about 30%......that's good for us.  No fun driving in the rain, or snow, and it looks like Saturday, our departure day, will be partly cloudy in the all we have to do is get over Donner Summit on I-80 with no's only 45 miles to the summit from our location, and then it's all down hill from there.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Fingers crossed.....

So far we have  dodged the weather bullet for 6 weeks.......this week, our 7th here in Sparks, the weather forecast looks sketchy at best.  For the past week the 'weather guessers' have been completely wrong.  None of the predicted weather has arrived here in measurable rain, no snow, very few 20 degree nights, and no temps in the teens.....still, how many days in a row will they be wrong.....that is the question.    So, our proverbial fingers are crossed, and we are knocking on wood that our last four trips to Fernley and back will be uneventful.

Five day 'guess'

Sunday started out clear and beautiful, although not too warm, and ended heavily overcast with with minor snow flurries.   I watched the early NFL game between the Browns and Bengals, which was not very competitive.....the Bengals prevailed 30-0, and it wasn't even that close.

At 1 pm we met my cousin Lois, and her husband John for lunch at a local bar and grill called Pinocchio's......Yelp gives them 4.5 stars.....I could give them a solid 4.  At any rate, the food was secondary to spending more time with family, and that is what we did.  The conversation was non-stop, and as has been the case previously, we had a lovely time visiting for a couple of hours.  This will be the last time we will see them until this summer when we return to TVC for the summer.

From there we drove over to Costco to renew our supply of coffee beans, then over to the local Raley's fuel station, known as 'Aisle One Fuel Station' here in Nevada, to check the layout, and it will work for our 62' length.  We will be fueling up on our way out of town this Saturday using our .50 cent, and .25 cent off coupons to buy 70 gallons of diesel.  Our average price will come out to $3.01/gallon......besting our previous low price by .58 cents!  The station is at a higher elevation than where we are staying and on the way there we drove into a snow storm.....thankfully, we were able to turn around and descend back to a lower elevation, back out of the snow.

The Sunday night game on NBC was a much better game between the Cowboys and Eagles, and there was a chance the Eagles could have won a very close game.

Sunday was perfect in every way, and I wouldn't change a thing about it....thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Real Saturday.....

I commented to TLE Saturday night that since July we have been living by someone else's schedule (TVC, Cape Blanco,  & Amazon).......well, come December 20th when we exit the doors of Amazon RNO1 for the last time we will be back to living our schedule free, carefree, nomadic life once again....for the next 5 months anyway.  Every day will once again feel like Saturday, including 'Real Saturday', which is the purpose of this particular installment of our daily blog.

I was up a little after 2 pm and after two nights in a row of 8+ hours of sleep I felt rested.....TLE was up closer to 3, and by the time we had our eyes fully opened and a little breakfast the sun was down once again.  One of the interesting things about flipping your schedule upside down is that you can have a glass of beer (Ninkasi Total Domination IPA) with breakfast when breakfast is being eaten at 5:30 pm.......:-)  It was a perfect pairing for the scrambled eggs and sourdough toast TLE prepared.  Going outside to get the beer out of the Norcold slide out fridge was the only time I ventured outside.

The outdoor daytime temperatures are pretty much in the low 40's with the lows in the 20's.  One good piece of news is that our water hose has not yet frozen.  We've got another week to go, but I'm optimistic my insulation job this time around has been sufficient to prevent the freezing we occasionally experienced in Campbellsville, KY two years ago.  I used a thicker insulation this time, and was careful to be sure every exposed piece of plumbing was wrapped with insulation.  If the hose were to freeze it is not catastrophic because we do have a full tank of fresh water on board, and all I have to do is turn on the water pump to have water flowing.  Our water bay is heated by an electric heater so nothing in there will freeze either.

Late in the evening we got knews that our daughter, Kate, is now officially engaged and will be married this coming October.  2015 is going to be full of weddings in our family.....on January 17th our 3rd daughter, Sharon, is getting married, then in June my brother's oldest daughter, Danielle, is getting married, and then, of course Kate in October.  Congratulations to Nick and Kate.....we could not be more pleased!

Nick proposing to Kate

The Ring

Thanks for stopping by!

RNO1 - Day 25 - Four

I like even numbers.....they are so symmetrical, and my mind is always looking for the symmetrical in life and my surroundings.  So, seeing that there are only four work days left until we roll makes me fact it goes further.....we only have to scan our badges 24 more times.....12 more breaks with our friends.....Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday......yep that's what I call symmetrical!

The forecast rain has not materialized this past week, but the 'guessers' are predicting it for this coming Friday with  a chance of snow, but the all important weather forecast for Saturday, the day we depart, is partly cloudy.  I remember our departure day two years ago in Campbellsville, KY was in a snow storm, which we drove in for about 6 hours until we finally descended off the plateau near Chattanooga, TN.....there is no way I want to do that again.  By Sunday afternoon we plan to be sitting on the beach in Ventura watching the sun set.

Friday mirrored pretty much our other work days......the time flew by quickly, and it was once again time to fire up the Beetle for another round trip to Fernley.  Once again TLE was assigned to 'Tranship', and I to 'Utah', 9-TS (3rd floor).  I guess I should appreciate that, because it doesn't get more symmetrical than that, huh?

Unlike our time working as 'Pickers' in Campbellsville when I was ready to be done with a month to go, this time I don't have those strong feelings.  I'm glad we are almost done, but I'm feeling that bittersweet feeling I usually get when it is time to say our 'until next times' to friends and family.  We came in with the intent not to volunteer for any extra hours, or days, and just to the MOT (Mandatory OverTime) as required.....we only had one MOT week and even got some VTO (Voluntary Time Off), so that worked out perfectly.  My body clock has finally switched over after 6 weeks, and I am sleeping until 2 pm after work days, just as I did today.

It's a shame they are closing RNO1, because if there weren't we would certainly be inclined to return again for another 'Peak Season', but that is not to be.  Our plans for 2015 are starting to come together, and we are getting excited.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 12, 2014

RNO1 - Day 24 - 4 miles and VTO

Just so you will have some perspective, the exit for Amazon in Fernley, NV is mile marker 48 on I-80.  Our exit in Sparks is Sparks Blvd., which is mile marker 20.  We were on the Interstate by 5:05 pm headed eastbound, and at precisely 5:10 pm just as we were coming even with mile marker 24 traffic came to a dead stop.  After about 15 minutes we tuned into a local AM radio station to see if we could get a traffic update.......the news reader announced that there was an accident on I-80 eastbound at mile marker 28.....we were 4 miles away from the accident site.....behind 4 miles of red tail lights.  We finally passed mile marker 28 at 6:30 hour and twenty minutes after traffic stopped.

We finally arrived in the Amazon parking lot at 6:55 pm along with many other associates caught in the same traffic jam........just about 1 hour late for work.  Of all the things I imagined that might cause us to be late I was most worried about, sleet, snow, torrential rain.  In retrospect, an accident was statistically more likely to make us late,and that is what happened on our 24th day at Amazon RNO1.

TLE and I checked in at the 'Stand Up' area to see what our assignment this night was, and much to our chagrin we were both assigned to 'Tranship' on the 3rd floor of 'Blue'.  The good news is that is was pretty easy to stow up there......lots of holes to stow stuff.    When I came back to the staging area to pick up another cart there was a sign on the wall advising that VTO (Voluntary Time Off) was available, and to see the 'Problem Solver' if you were interested.  Both TLE and I were interested, and put our names in for said VTO.  After our 10 pm break we both returned to 'Tranship' and noticed immediately there were not a lot of carts left to stow, and, in fact, when I returned about 10:45 for another cart I was told to stow the last cart and then I was free to go home (along with The Lovely Elaine).  

We were both in the car headed for home by 11:15, and home about 11:45......I found out just as I was reporting to our manager to be excused for the night that they were running short of things to stow (airport closures due to weather in the east had delayed shipments) and that those remaining were going to be asked to "Pick".......when I heard that I was so glad we had opted to take VTO.  While we did work as 'Pickers' in Campbellsville, KY for 11 weeks two years ago, it is not my favorite job.  'Picking' requires you to know how to find all the 'Stowers' we only have to know what floor we are on, and we just walk around pushing a cart looking for space to 'stow' our stuff.  Learning the layout of each 'Pick Mod' was one of the hardest things when we were 'Pickers'.

At any rate that was the sum total of our 24th day at Amazon.......only 5 work days remain before departure.

Thanks for stopping by!