"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing"
- Helen Keller

Monday, October 27, 2014

Campbellsville KY and back to work

Green River Lake

We have settled in here at Campbellsville and are parked at Heartland Campground, a 10 minute walk to the entrance to Amazon’s Fulfillment Center where we have started working. Three years ago we worked for Amazon at their Coffeyville KS center. This facility seems a little better organized than Coffeyville and we are happy with our decision to come here. 

We are working D shift which is 5:30 pm to 4 am. The first 2 weeks our days are Tuesday to Friday but next week it shifts to Wednesday to Saturday. First 2 weeks are also only 5 hour days but that jumps up to 10 hour days with the possibility of mandatory overtime of an extra 10 hour shift. We anticipate that from mid November to Christmas it will be 50 hour weeks. We did get our preferred job of picking so that is good. Picking entails lots of walking. Its not a hard job and John calls it being paid to lose weight, as we typically will walk at least 5 miles (sometimes as many as 10) in a shift. 

One of the great things about doing a job like this is you are among lots of full time RVers. There are lots of rigs here, big and small, expensive and budget level (even a pop-up). The majority of the trucks are DRW pickups.  John wanted to see how many of each of Big 3 (Ford, Chevy, Ram) there were and basically it was evenly divided. Darn, John thought for sure it would be mainly Ram trucks, he is a little biased. 

We do have one couple here that we know: Laurie and George. We have been reading each other’s blogs for a long time and we met up with them last year in Augusta GA. George has been here since September but Laurie’s dad recently passed away and so she has spent the last 3 months in California helping her mom. She just arrived back this
week. It is always a treat to meet up with friends.

Saturday night Laurie and George invited us to go to a potluck out at Green River State Park where there are more Amazon people. It was a delight to get to know more full timers. Everybody is adjusting to their new jobs and it was fun to hear about all the different jobs they are doing. We are all in this boat together and are rowing as fast as we can.
Today we ran errands but also wanted to take in the fall color. 

Campbellsville has a college called Campbellsville University, a small Christian College right in the middle of town. Very pretty little campus and they say the dining hall is actually the best restaurant in town. We strolled the campus and then made the decision to return to the State Park for some leaf peeping and fall photos.

Next weekend when we switch to the new schedule we actually will have and extra day between shifts. We plan to take one of those days to do a little more sight seeing and that will probably be our last opportunity for that. Once OT starts we will simply be just too tired.

On a whole different note, John and I are starting a second blog dedicated to our new way of eating that we discussed awhile back. I’ve been wanting to share more but I know it will only interest some and so I will have a link in the side bar to it. It’s called Eating with the Flamingo. John is actually pretty passionate about this subject so I told him he has to step up and do more of the posts. I’ve written two posts so far and now it’s his turn. If eating with less processed food and omitting added sugar interests you than I hope you will join us there as we go down this journey. 

Hope ‘yall (we are in the south now) are having a great fall.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ready, set, go! work that is

We have arrived in Campbellsville KY and tomorrow we have our first day with Amazon. So for the next 2 months we will be back to the work world. On our pre-paper work it looks like we will will be on nights Tuesday thru Friday, and it looks like picking but we won’t really know until tomorrow. Whatever it is, we are ready to go. Campbellsville is actually a nice little town especially compared to Coffeyville KS where we previously worked for Amazon. This town actually has a decent selection of stores like Walmart, Lowes, JoAnn’s Fabrics, Penny’s and out our way is a new very nice Krogers. The campground is directly across the street from the warehouse so an easy walk. It really is just a gravel parking lot with hook ups but the family running it seems very nice and the laundry and community room are also in good shape. Most people camped here are working at Amazon so we are already meeting lots of nice folks. 

Inside the visitors center of Wild Turkey
Visitors center at Wild Turkey
Prior to arriving at Campbellsvile we stayed for a week at Taylorsville Lake State Park about and hour north of here. It was a beautiful park but it rained almost the whole time we were there so we didn’t get to take advantage of the trails or anything like that but we did get to know the folks camped next to us. Sam is a good ‘ole Kentucky boy who started the week there with a group of friends for deer hunting but the weather was so bad that most of the guys went home early. That left Sam with a lot of food and he was inviting the neighbors over to help him eat it. His wife did join him midweek, and Missy is a sweetie. Sam fed us most of the week. We enjoyed fish, frog legs and probably the best smoked chicken I have ever eaten. He had a new smoker and was trying to perfect a recipe and I think he arrived! His wife said they had chicken so much lately that she could hardly eat it again so Sam set the leftovers home with us and we got a second amazing meal out of it. Sam is just a very entertaining guy with so many fun stories he made the week, even in the rain, very enjoyable. His parting gift to us was a mason jar of his own moonshine and one of a drink called Apple Pie. We haven’t gotten brave enough to drink it yet.

We took a break from visiting local breweries to visit a couple of distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. The two closest to us were Wild Turkey and Four Roses in Lawrenceburg. Wild Turkey is synonymous with Kentucky bourbon but now is owned by Campari, an Italian Company. They have poured lots of money into the company, basically building a whole new distillery. The visitors center is beautiful and overlooks the bridges crossing the Kentucky river, an absolutely amazing view with touches of fall starting to show through. The tour is just $5 and includes the 3 tastings. I’m not much of a Bourbon fan but I enjoyed the tour. We learned bourbon is basically moonshine (they call it “white dog”)that’s been aged in charred oak barrels for several years. 
The view of the bridges over the Kentucky River
from the tasting room at Wild Turkey's visitor center

Next up was Four Roses. This is actually a very old distillery but for many years one of the owners made the decision to only sell it as an export. It’s very popular in Japan and now is owned by a Japanese company who had the common sense to start selling it in the USA again. This is a smaller distillery than Wild Turkey and many of the buildings are the original ones. The original owner had spent some time in California and liked the Spanish style so that is how he styled the buildings, which seems a little strange in Kentucky but I liked it. I think I liked this tour even a little better, the young gal giving the tour really filled in a lot of history and info and made it fun. A couple shots of Four Roses bourbon and we were back on the road. We even got to keep our tasting glasses.

We have enjoyed our time in Kentucky so far, it’s our first time in the state with the RV. I’ll have to add it to our map. It’s hilly, wooded and just beautiful. Our first two weeks at Amazon we will only be working 5 hour days to get us used to the pace, something they didn’t do when we were at Coffeyville. We are hoping to get to a few more places on the Bourbon Trail and discover a little more of Kentucky. Once our 40 & 50 hour weeks start we know we won’t feel like doing much on our days off.  I’ve been doing better about posting and I am going to try to continue. So until then..

Happy Trails............................

Friday, October 10, 2014

Carlyle Lake, Carlyle IL

Sunset on Lake Carlyle (new header photo also Lake Carlyle)

Boulder Rec area Carlyle Lake
After leaving the St. Louis area we drove a short hour plus to Carlyle Lake and Reservoir near Carlyle IL. Campgrounds here were beginning to close, several had their last day as we were driving in, so I first chose the Boulder Rec. Area on the east side of the lake. It was a little further from town than I expected but we were ready for some time away from the hustle and bustle. We enjoyed all our visits with friends and family but I was missing just easy laid back time for just the two of us. That is exactly what we got here. The weather was beautiful and we took walks and rode our bikes around the campground. I did some cooking which I also longed for, we had been eating out entirely too much. It was pretty much a perfect week to recover from a busy summer and get ready for our stint at Amazon.

Nice sites along the lake
The Boulder Rec. area is one of 5 COE campgrounds on the lake and it is only open until October 13th. There is one loop of FHU, which of course were booked, and many sites with just electric (though they are 50 amp). There are both reservable and non reservable sites and again of course the great sites along the lake were booked but we found a site that was actually reservable but open for the next week. It did have a view out towards the lake and the channel that led to the marina. Great spot for a week. Our only trip out this week was once to town to fill up the truck, get firewood and ride the Carlyle bike trail.  

Does he look like a General!
The bike trail is in town by the lake is a paved trail and street bike route. The paved part runs from the east side at the General Dean Suspension Bridge all the way to the west side of town by the Walmart. The really great part is where it runs along the top of the spillway. While riding this trail we discovered two more of the COE campgrounds, East Spillway and Dam West. The East Spillway is a small area right on the spillway with sites with paved pads and patios, electric only. I loved this little area but John was hesitant because the dump station is about a mile down the road at one of the other COE campgrounds. The second, Dam West Campground, is also accessible from the trail and much like the Boulder one but more trees and it seems a little larger. The big advantage here is its proximity to town and the bike trail.  We stopped for a brew at the Wheelhouse which is just off the trail by the Dam West campground.
Bike trail along the top of the spillway

On the suspension bridge

Bike/Pedestrian bridge on the trail

Previously I was looking at us moving to the Rend Lake COE park south of here but after checking everything out we made the decision to stay at Carlyle Lake another week but move to the Dam West campground. We found a very long non reservable site.  The trees prohibit us from getting a satellite signal (we do get good antenna signal from St. Louis) but other than that it’s a great site. We have had rain on and off this week and these last few days are suppose to be very rainy so a little more indoor time.
Site at Dam West

Another Dam West site along the lake
On Tuesday of this week we did make a trip to Springfield IL to visit the Abraham Lincoln Museum and Library. This was high on my list for things I wanted to do this fall and though it was almost a two hour drive we felt it was worth it. It definitely was. I am going to write a separate post about that visit because it would make this post way too long.

Sunday we will be moving to a park just SE of Louisville KY, Taylorsville State Park. It is on a lake and gets pretty good reviews online. I actually made a reservation for this one.  That stop will be close to the Bourbon Trail, which is high on John’s must do list and puts us near Louisville to stock up at Costco and do a few things like that before heading down the road to Campbellsville and a couple months of work.
Mums let us know fall is here.

Hope all is well out there in the bloggesphere.
Happy Trails......................