The Amazon Experiment

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My Amazon experience in Haslet, Texas was quite an experience. Huh?

Well let me explain.

Some administrative stuff:

  • First day of work Wednesday October 14th, 8 hour orientation
  • 1st week of work started Saturday October 17th, 5 hour days for four days.
  • 2nd week of work started Saturday October 24th, 10 hour days for four days.
  • Remaining 7 weeks started on Saturdays and worked mostly 11 hour days for 5 days.
  • Last day of work was December 19th.
  • Base Rate: $10.75 per hour.
  • Completion Bonus: $1.00 for each hour worked.
  • Working both Saturday and Sunday Bonus: $1.00 for all hours after November 8th.
  • Gross Pay $6,600.
  • Amazon paid for our campground.

Building information:

  • 1.7 million square feet, largest of all Amazon facilities.
  • 250 truck dock doors.
  • 5,000 + employees.  Approximately half of these are hired during the peak or Christmas season.
  • Set records for in bound boxes and out bound packages.
  • 3,000 robots to move stock around facility.

My shift was DL4 – this meant I was on day shift and the first day of my work week started on Saturday and on a 4 day week the last day was Tuesday. A normal week is 4 ten hour days.  Overtime day was Wednesday and I had off Thursday and Friday. I was assigned to the In Bound department but I spent time in other departments as business needs changed. As I later learned the only real choice I had was if I wanted day work or night work. What shift you are put on and what department you are assigned to is based on business needs when you start.

My first day of work was training on Amazon policies, terms, safety training and a quick tour of the facility. I was one of about 50 workampers that were brought on that week. Amazon call us their CamperForce.   Amazon has 3 other facilities that use CamperForce in the mid-west.

Then onto the 1st week of work. Amazon has you work 5 hour days to start off to toughen you up. At first I thought why only 5 hours? After 5 hour days of being on my feet all hours except break time I was quite happy it was only 5 hours.  My feet were tired and hurting.  About the 4th week I toughen up.   At the start of your shift, and after lunch, you attend a stand up meeting. The department management goes over what happened the last work day, how much processed, safety tips along with stretching. I was assigned to shadow a person on the receiving line. You are at a station where boxes come down the line, you open the box, take items out and put the items into totes that are transported to the Stow department. You use a scanner and monitor in each step. Not something I thought I would enjoy doing the next 9 weeks but hey you do what “The Man” tells you to do. The next day at the stand up meeting they asked for volunteers to work on the dock. I volunteered. I guess I spent about 80% of my time there. I don’t know what my title was but I called myself a “box thrower”.

I have not done physical work since the summer of 1976. And I am sure it was not this physical. By the end of 10 hour days I was dog tired. On my 11 hour days and most were 11 hour days, I was double dog tired. But I did enjoy it, it is a nice change of pace. BUT don’t think I want to do this 12 months a year. NO WAY!

What was the work environment like? Very clean but boy was it loud. I have no idea how many miles of conveyer belts there are running through the building but it was miles and miles. Some of these belts were pretty slow, less than walking speed, when taking empty boxes to the trash compactor. The belts that moved the boxes to the Out Bound department were really moving. I guess the speed was in excess of 20 mph. With all these conveyer belts moving it created lots of noise. If a belt slowed down or stopped the sound decrease was very noticeable. The break rooms where in good shape but depending where you were in the building you could have a 5 minute walk to the break room.

What all did I do? Well 90% of the time I was in the In Bound department where mostly I was on the dock processing pallets of boxes to go onto the receiving lines. Not anything exciting but I got to move around and interact with my coworkers.

Now if the dock was slow I would get thrown onto the receiving line. This happened about 1 time per week. The problem with this was there is a definite procedure you must follow and I never really mastered this until the end of my time there. When you made a mistake or have a question you would push a button and an alarm would go off so a problem solver would know to come over to see you. Reminded me of being an ice hockey goalie and the puck got passed you into the net.

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View of In Bound Department.  You can see the truck dock doors in the back.  The 3 receiving lines flow from the dock doors to bottom of the picture.  There are two areas like this – north side and south side

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This is a side view looking from the North Side Inbound area down to Out Bound and then to South Bound area.   BIG AXX building.  To the left side of the picture you can see the 4 levels of Stow Department where the robots run around.

 

Now at times In Bound would have an excess of man power and you would be loaned out to other departments. I was in Stow for one afternoon. Totes would come up to my work station and I put items into shelving units that were brought to you by robots.

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In the foreground is a robot without a shelf on it. Behind and to the left is a robot carrying a shelf unit.  These are the smaller robots.  Larger robots move pallets around.

 

I also spent a day in packing. This was a pretty easy job. A cart would be at your work station with about 40 different shipments. I would scan the shipment and on the monitor you were told what size box you need to use to put the shipment in. Put the product(s) in, tape the box up, and send it down a conveyor belt. This got to be pretty boring.

I also spent one week in Out Bound. This was the most physical work I had. What I did most often was load trailers. Most trailers were floor loads and you would build walls starting about 2’ from the nose of the trailer and fill in behind the wall with odd shaped boxes. The walls needed to be tight side to side and floor to ceiling. Then build another wall 2′ in front of the prior wall and repeat. Very fast paced. If the conveyor belt bringing you the packages got backed up a blue light would come on and an alarm would sound. Like the hockey goalie again.

The campgrounds that were available for the CamperForce were not exactly first rate. All of the campgrounds had problems. We picked a campground that had the best rating for Vicki to live and work in while I was away at Amazon BUT it was 50 minutes away from Amazon. Other campgrounds where close but not very good campgrounds. Pick your poison.

So why did I sort of kinda of enjoy my time at Amazon? Simply the Camperforce people are just great to work with. I met and made good work friends with many coworkers. They came from many walks of life and had many different life experiences we spoke about. I worked with people in their early 30s to early 70s. So much to learn from this group from where they are from and what it was like to live in their area to what places they traveled to and of course lots of free advice.

Am I going back next year? Ya Boy, already have applied. Who knows what I will be doing but I know it will be fun getting back in touch with the people I worked with this past year and catch up with them on what they did the last 9 months. The campground situation is supposed to improve. There is a race car track right next to Amazon and they are adding to their campground. We already have our name on the list so hopefully I will have a 5 minute commute vs. a 50 minute commute next year.

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Trip from Likely, CA to Alvord, TX

Well it has been 3 months since I updated our blog. Combination of being very busy traveling to Texas, working at Amazon, traveling to CA for Christmas and then getting our winter camp set up in Quartzsite, AZ I have not been able to devote a block of time to complete a blog post. Maybe a little bit of the blog writer being LAZY. I hope to catch up with our doings in the next week. I plan to split up blog posts into several different time periods. So here is the first one with our travels to Texas.

My last day of work at Likely was October 12th. The plan was to work until 5pm go home and hook the trailer up and drive to Susanville to spend the night at a rest stop. This would have been a 2 hour drive and we would be set up to continue the drive to Reno for Vicki’s flight to Vegas. But Peggy, my counter part, showed up at 3 pm and told me to hit the road. Very nice of her. Allowed us to get on the road early and we decided to drive to Reno and spend the night at an RV park. This was an uneventful drive and night.

 

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RV Spot in Reno

The next morning we got up early to drop Vicki at the next exit for her to meet up with her boss to go to the Reno airport for the flight to Vegas for a 2 day meeting. Much easier to drop Vicki at an exit than take her to the airport and deal with that with a trailer hitched to the truck. All went well and I continued south on US 395. This is a good 2 lane highway without much traffic and again was uneventful. The mutts settled down after they figured Vicki was not coming back and they were very good. They have become good road warriors.

I had lots of pretty views of the Sierras to my west. With the trailer hooked up to me I was driving 55 mph and the speed limit was 65 to 70 mph. I got passed by many many trucks but they did not seem to mind. When I would come to an area where passing was safe I would slow down to allow them to pass and when they passed me I would flick my lights to let them know it was safe to pull back into our south bound lane. Most of the time they flicked their lights thanking me.

Here are some pictures of the trip.

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Sierras west of RT 395

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Looking south on a empty  RT 395

I spent the night in Beatty at an RV park without unhooking. Beatty bills itself as the Gateway to Death Valley. Again nothing special happened except Sadie and Buster would go to the door every time they hear a noise outside thinking maybe Vicki came back.

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Beatty RV Park

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View outside Beatty looking east

The next morning I wanted to fuel up in Beatty due to their low diesel prices. But I missed the station and decided to keep on driving since I had enough fuel to make it to Vegas. Well I did find a station in the middle of nowhere with good prices and stopped. An interesting place. See pictures below.

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Sign on diesel pump

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Fuel stop on way to Vegas

As I continued south I drove pass Creech Air Force Base just north of Vegas and I saw a drone on the run way. First time I ever saw one of these. Wonder where he was going? I continued driving through Vegas to Boulder City where we would spend the night. Luckily I was driving in Vegas in the middle of the day and not during rush hours. Vicki’s meeting was over at the end of this day so after unhitching, setting up and getting the mutts settled I drove back in to Vegas to pick her up. Her meeting was actually in Henderson just south of Vegas. I was hoping to find and In N Out for dinner but not going to happen. The group Vicki was meeting with decided to go out to eat together. Went to Olive Garden. But all guys of the group decided to do other things their last night in Vegas, go figure. So I had dinner with 5 ladies. Tough duty.

Next morning, the 15th, we left Boulder City and drove down to Kingman, AZ to catch I40 that would take us most of the way to Texas. We crossed the Colorado River next to the Boulder/Hoover Dam. Very pretty area.

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We drove east on I40 through central AZ and Flagstaff and onto Meteor Crater RV Park just west of Winslow, AZ. Visited the Meteor Crater, Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Park over the next two days. All very impressive and something to see. Of course we went into Winslow and did the required pictures of the girl in the truck. We had dinner at an upscale hotel which was a major stop on the railroad back in the day.IMG_0574 (003)FullSizeRender (005)

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IMG_0654After 2 nights at the Meteor Crater RV Park we pushed on to Albuquerque, NM to check out the balloon festival.

Entering New Mexico we were treated to some great views. This was the first time we visited the state of NM.  We need to come back and visit this state.  Very pretty with some great State Parks.

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Only stayed one night in Albuquerque and caught the last day of the festival. One night in a RV Park during the festival is very expensive.   Sometime in the future we need to do the whole week at the festival. This was something to see. It was sensory overload with all the balloons going up. I heard whistles as we approached the field and wondered what was going on. As we got closer to the launching fields I saw officials in referee uniforms controlling the action. It appeared to me it was very well organized. Each balloon was given a time to begin inflating and then what time lift off was. The refs controlled the actions with their balloons. Here are some pictures.

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Vicki making sure Smokey does not tip over.

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We had to keep moving on and drove onto Amarillo, TX staying there for one night and did not unhitch. Had pizza delivered to the campsite. We were hungry, tired and did not want to cook. Next day got up to big winds and jumped on US route 287 for the rest of the drive to Alvord, TX. We saw 30+ miles of wind mills.

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It was a great trip but very tiring as we pushed to accommodate our schedule. Sometime we will need to slow down and enjoy the trip.

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The Crew at Likely Place RV & Golf Resort

I thought I would do a blog on the folks I worked with this past summer at Likely Place.  Not only where they my co-workers they became good friends of ours as the summer progressed.  It was difficult saying good bye at the end.

Here is the outside crew:

This is Dwayne and his squirrel catching dog Peanut.  He mowed the tee boxes and rough.  He is an Army Veteran serving in Korea and drove a Multi Launch Rocket System tracked vehicle.   He is also the Fire Chief of the Likely Fire Department.

Dwayne and his and his pup Peanut

Dwayne and his pup Peanut

Below is George who mowed the greens.  He is a former heavy equipment operator from the Bay Area and now spends his summer in the high desert.  He also holds the course record from the Blue tees with a 69.

George

George

Next is Jose.  He is the Superintendent of Likely Place.  He has many duties including mowing the fairways.  He worked for Rich Hamel on his ranch and had a big hand in building the golf course and RV park.  In his spare time he runs a herd of cattle and is also the Assistant Chief of the Likely Fire Department.

Jose

Jose

These three men took care of the golf course without any other help.  It is amazing the condition of the course with only three men compared to other courses that have 3 to 4 times as many men.

Next is Phil and Nancy who are retired and live in their Class A year round.  They took care of picking up balls on the driving range and keeping the tees in good shape by repairing divots and picking up broken tees.  They live in the high desert at Likely Place in the Summer and AZ in the winter while fishing areas in between as they change locations. We hope to hook up with them this winter.

Phil and Nancy

Phil and Nancy

Below is Gordon.  He keeps the gas golf carts running.  Not an easy task with the age of the carts.  He served in the Army as a helicopter mechanic.  Gordon is a local who works on the family ranch by cutting, bailing and hauling hay when he not working on the carts.  There are thousand of acres of hay in this area and a good bit of it is trailered down to the CA Central Valley for the large dairy herds.

Gordon

Gordon

Now for the inside crew:

Below is Cathy and Lynn.  They run the Likely Grill at the course.  Good eats! Cathy is originally from Hungary who can come up with some great soup.  Lynn served in the Marine Corps and has been in the restaurant business for over 50 years including a place in Napa Valley.

Cathy and Lynn

Cathy and Lynn

Next is Dennis and Kelly.  Dennis is the Manager of Likely Place.  A better supervisor will be difficult to find.  He also served in the Marine Corps.  Kelly never stands still when in the office and also has a storage business in Alturas.

Dennis and Kelly

Dennis and Kelly

Below are Bob and Peggy.  Bob works outside cleaning carts mowing grass and any other maintenance job that needs taken care of.  He served in the Army and worked for California Fire by driving bulldozers to cut fire breaks.  Peg had the same job I had of working the golf and RV desk.  I was very lucky to have her train me.  She knew everything there was to know and was very patient with me when I was thrown in the office after another employee quit.  Vicki and I became good friends with these folks.

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And last and certainly least:

Me

Me on my last day of work.

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Long Lost Blogger Surfaces in Texas

Cheese & Crackers it has been 3 months since I update this blog! I was just too busy having fun in Likely. Work four days, off four days. On my days off I would play golf at least 3 times. My excuse was the dogs loved to run the golf course. I would take Buster out the front nine and Sadie out the back nine with lunch in between. Lots of things to sniff and chase. Nothing ever caught but the chase was great fun for the furry freeloaders. Honestly by the end of our stay there I was golfed out. I did not think that could happen but it did.

Well what happened in these three months I have been lazy in my blogging.

Every year the group Likely to Lie invades the RV park and has two days of golfing. Not sure how well this group plays golf but I know they had fun. I lost count on how many times the beer cart had to be refilled but I think I could have filled up my pick up with empty beer bottles. They are a good group who had lots of fun AND behaved themselves.   Most were where in their late 50s to early 70s. This is a typical age for this park and golf course. Here are a few pictures.

Beer Cart

Beer Car

Tournament Cap

Tournament Cap

Next thing of note was Vicki’s trip to Sacramento for a halve day seminar. Nothing of any real excitement but one curious item. The seminar was help east of Sacramento at a golf course with meeting facilities. I guess I could have played golf while Vicki was in the seminar but I choose just to hang out in the parking lot and read after running some errands. I recognize now this was the first clue of me starting to be golfed out. This course had a flock of “wild” turkeys walking around. When I first saw the flock at a distance my eyes comprehended what they were but my mind just choose not to believe it. Wild turkeys hanging around an urban area with golfers and golf course workers moving around the course – just can’t be. But there they were. Later I was reading in the truck with the windows all opened and the driver’s door also open, it was getting pretty hot by 11:30, and I hear this strange sound. So I got out of the truck to investigate. As I rounded the corner of the door I was face to face with a turkey about 5’ away. We both jumped, with me jumping the highest relating to the intensity of my fright. The turkey just slowly walked off and after I took the pictures calmed down and continued reading.

Turkeys

Turkeys

Turkey that scared me.

Turkey that scared me.

Well I am sure all of you have heard about all the fires CA had this past summer. We only had one small fire close to us, about 5 miles away – see pictures below, and with us being in a location that firefighters and equipment can get to quickly it was taken care of in hours. We had two bouts of smoke in the area. Both lasting about 5 days.  I am lucky in I do not smell it. But Vicki does and has a runny nose and slight breathing difficulties at night. The clouds were tinted a slight shade of brown.  The big questions I heard on the phone and when people showing up at RV/Golf resort is “how is the smoke?”. Being an easterner who never really experienced forest fires I found this interesting. From what I gathered we were very fortunately not to have lots of smoke in our area given all the fires.

Fire in the distance

Fire in the distance

Zoom in of fire

Zoom in of fire

One of the fire truck from a close by fire station

One of the fire truck from a close by fire station

Another golf tournament Likely had during the summer was the Rich Hamel Memorial Tournament.  Rich was the rancher that turned his ranch in Likely into the Likely Golf Course and RV resort. He also had another ranch in the valley towards Alturas. Rich passed away last winter. He had the foresight to see all the RVs traveling up and down US Highway 395 and thought of building a RV and golf course. It took over 20 years. At first it was 10 RV sites and 4 holes. After 10 years the course had grown to 9 holes. About 10 years ago they finished the second 9 in a two year period and the RV sites had grown to over 55 sites. I believe Rich was the President of the California Cattlemen’s Associations. One does not think of CA as being a cattle area but believe me it is. In the foot hills of the Sierras and in the high desert there are many ranches. He also must have been a bit of character who would talk with anyone. I was told of a story where he was being honored by the Cattlemen’s Association and there was a protest at the event. One of the protesters told Rick he was a vegetarian. Rich told him that was funny because all of his cattle where vegetarian also. Got to love that humor.  See the memorial they have for Rich below.

Memorial of Rich Hamel

Rich Hamel Plaque

Rich Hamel Plaque

I understand in prior years the people who spent the summer at Likely Place would have a birthday party every month for the people who celebrated birthdays in the month. Well this year we only had one in August. Everyone brought a cover dish. As always at an event like this the food was very good and very plentiful. We also had live entertainment, a Country Western band. Now this group were all well into collecting Social Security and they were very good. While I am not a great lover of this style of music I truly enjoyed it and they were find folks.  I thought the golf carts in the background added something.  What about you?

The Band

The Band

Our son Geoff visited us for a long weekend during the time period of Kyle’s birthday, August 29th.  A very nice gesture on his part. We played 2 rounds of golf. Geoff being very competitive thought he should be able to beat this over the hill, white haired, out of shape, wrinkled old man. Nope, not gonna happen. But we had fun. Geoff of course brought along his dog Ziggy. Where did he get this name? Well Kyle had a German Shepard he named Marley, as in Bob Marley. Then some years later Geoff got his dog. Bob Marley had a son named David Ziggy Marley so Geoff named Ziggy, Ziggy. When we played golf we have a bunch of dogs running around and by the end of the visit Ziggy was “dog tired”.   Sadie and Buster have been golf course trained.  DONT TOUCH THE GOLF BALL! Well Ziggyhad a lesson or two on the course.   Ziggy photo bombed us in the picture below.

Picture of Us at Likely Place with Ziggy

Picture of Us at Likely Place with Ziggy

After Labor day we had some weather moving in at times with snow in the Werners. I always find weather fronts interesting and thought I would share.

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I also started to search for summer employment for 2016. So I asked Dennis, my boss,  if he could give me a reference. This was his first cut at it.  Think I have a chance next summer at a job?

First cut of my reference letter

First cut of my reference letter

I had to take a trip to Klamath Falls, OR for a drug test for my next job at Amazon in Texas. Well after a 2 hour drive and “studying” for the test they had this sign hanging in the office. Took my mine off my “situation” for a bit.  As Curly Howard would have said “I resemble that remark”!

Forrest Gump words of wizdom

Forrest Gump words of wizdom

For my last round of golf Vicki and I took a trip to Fall Rivers to play at their course. I had heard lots of good comments on this course and we actually paid to play golf. First time this summer that we paid. It was a very nice course but they are having some water problems and the course was not as lush as it normally would be. I had a great round and we had fun. On the way back we ran into a bike gang. Luckily we could out run them after they posed for a picture.

Bad Boy Bikers

Bad Boy Bikers

Below are some pictures I found interesting.

We have seen many antelopes while in Likely area but never got a picture of the.  Well here is a mural of them in Alturas.

Mural of Antelope in Alturas

Mural of Antelopes in Alturas

Wong Potatoes

Wong Potatoes

Every time we went to Fall Rivers I saw this building.  But I really would like the Right Potatoes – how about you?

Well that takes us to the end of summer at Likely Place. If you are a golfer and a RVer I would highly recommended this place.   Very nice golf course with great views. Nice RV sites. And the folks that own it are work there a great people. If you are not a golfer but need a place for a day or so of relaxing, again a great place to stop. I don’t think we will be there next year but I certainly want to come back as a RVer/golfer or as an employee again. Time will tell.

See ya in the funny papers.

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Lots Going On, Lazy Blog Writer

It has been over a month since my last blog. We have been pretty busy and I have been lazy getting around to sitting down in from of our PC and hammer out a blog.

Well one of the first things we did in June was going to a fish farm across the valley about 5 miles from where we are. But not any fish farm but a sturgeon fish farm. One of the largest in the world.   It is located on a cattle ranch that has a great supply of cool fresh water. If I remembers the number correctly it has 3,000 gallons per minute and the temperature stays between 64 and 68 degrees year round. No matter what the outside temperature or drought conditions and has for as long as this rancher and his family has owned the ranch. His family settled this area in the 1870s and has raised cattle and I can guess he had some Indian problems early on. Finally about 20 years ago the rancher convinced UC Davis he had this water supply. UCD found it hard to believe he had this volume of water with the cool temperature up here in the high desert.

Now why does he raise sturgeon? For a non-connoisseur of high end eats, like me, sturgeons are used for their caviar. He receives the sturgeon when they are about 200 pounds. This is when they can tell the girls from the boys. Of course he only gets the girls. When they reach 800 pounds, about 3 years later, they are ready to harvest their eggs and meat. The caviar retails for around $80 per ounce. An 800 pound sturgeon gives 80 pounds of caviar.   The ranch does not own the fish. They are owned by a company in San Francisco. He provides labor, water and the land. If the caviar is “gold” caviar it is sold to Royalty and goes for several thousand dollars per ounce.

Here as some pictures of Sturgeon swimming in circles against the current in their penin the 250 to 300 pound range.

Fish Food

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We also were visited by some astronomers. Here is one of their telescopes. Literally people come from around the world show up here because of the clear skies and very little light pollution. Last year they had a group from Sweden. The furthest astronomer in this group was from south Texas next to Big Bend National Park. Next week we have about 25 people coming in to look into the heavens.

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In June I also received a care package / retirement gift from a golf buddy from Pittsburgh. Pro-V golf balls, T-shirt and Tasty Kakes. Below you will see he had the golf balls personalized. Robin is my nick name in our annual golf match we play. My team mate is Batman so you can figure out we are the Dynamic Duo. His golf team is the ADG, as in The Apple Dumpling Gang. The Tasty Kakes did not survive long enough for a picture. He gets a kick that I am a goose poop picker upper.

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Also in June we had Father’s Day so I posted my Dad’s picture from his Senior Year yearbook on Face Book. He and his best friend always said they graduated 31st and 32nd in their class. Well their class at West Lampeter Vocational High School in 1927 had 32 members. I can honestly say I did my best to keep this tradition intact.  Dad is in the upper left.

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We also went to a rodeo in Reno, NV. Now Reno is about 3 hours south of us but it was well worth the trip. Something to see how these young men and women become one with their horses. We really enjoyed this.

Back Stage

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Bronco Busting

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Calf Wrestling

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Three Teams pulling a wagon.  It was amazing how he moved his wagon around the arena including backing it up.

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Some youngsters with their moms parading around.

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Later on in June we took a trip to the Fort Cook Museum in Fall River Mills, CA. FRM is a 2 hour trip from Likely. We traveled south and then west going to FRM. We went by a horse ranch that had over 100 horses running loose. We also saw a flying helicopter with a fire bucket under it. Unfortunately I did not get a picture of either.   But here are some pictures of the museum. This kind of stuff really interests me and you can find them almost anywhere in the US.

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Fire arms from back in the day.  I would guess some of these would be worth some real money.

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Different types of fences that was used.

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Sheep hearder’s wagon.

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Of course we went to the Alturas 4th of July parade. Now you have to remember Alturas is a town of around 3,000 people and only have one fast food restaurant – Subway. But I really enjoyed it.

Sherriff’s Posses.  The Sherriff is on the right.  We played golf with him 2 months ago.

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Gotta have some Cowgirls

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Fire is a BIG thing is this neck of the woods.  This is a BLM (Bureau of Land Management) truck.  One of the firemen plays golf down at Likely.

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Alturas’ fire truck.

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Of course we had Smokey the Bear.

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And we were in the Likely Place annual 4th of July golf tournament held on the 5th. We did OK coming in 3rd out of 6 couples in the mixed division. It was a Stapleford format. If as a team you birdied a hole you had to move back a tee. If you boogied a hole you moved up a tee. Also on the par 3 drop hole, my favorite on the course, you had 7 different flags to shoot at. Vicki was 2nd closet to the pin. We almost came out ahead with our winnings less our entry fee but we had to have some grape juice at the the 19th hole.

Why is my name second when all the other teams have the guy first?!

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Well that is about it from Likely Place. Here are a few interesting pictures from this past month.

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I think this is a Red-tailed Hawk Sadie, Buster and I saw on one of our walks.

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Larry the Lizards from Likely that was under our trailer this month.

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Quote for the Blog:

Let your mind wander back a bit-

When times were real and true.

To a land that was conquered with guns

And spurs, branding irons, and a good lasso.

Andy Devine

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Changing Gears, Exploring and Settling In

Since my last post there has been some changes to my work life, good and bad.

On Wednesday May 13 my boss asked me if Vicki wanted to work in the RV / Golf Office. There was an opening that he wanted to fill. Well Vicki makes a hold bunch more money than $9 per hour and she likes her job but I said I would ask. Vicki said she could help out but could only work on the weekends and I knew they needed someone who could work 4 days on, 4 days off and that would not work. Hmmm but what about me?  So that night I thought it over and on Thursday morning I told Dennis I could work in the office. I suggested I could still work outside on my days off. I thought I would miss working outside and I was right. The good – more hours and a predictable schedule. The bad – not working outside as much. So from Friday May 15th to Monday the 18th I was in training working inside. Lots to learn for an old broken down accountant in a short time. Basically there are two jobs. One is taking care of the RV park check ins and the other is taking care of the golf course and checking people in. The RV side of the job is working on a “turbo charged” Excel spread sheet called Camp Master. I have worked on spread sheets for the past million years of my career but need to get conformable with all the different drop down menus and how to navigate around the spread sheet. The golf side is all on the cash register and the Point of Sale machine, credit card reader. The Point of Sale machine is pretty simple. However the cash register is a bit challenging. There are codes to input what kind of sales and how they paid. I think I have been doing a pretty good job but I still have a way to go.

On Saturday the 16th Likely had their biggest golf tournament ever and I also did some course marshalling in between my training. Now a big tournament here in the high desert was 82 golfers. Could have had more but we ran out of golf carts. No big problems as I was marshalling but when you have a beer cart running around the course selling beer ya never know. Luckily I did not have to use my Marshall Matt Dillon skills to work. Like I have any.

On Tuesday May 19th I was on my own in the office. Luckily Peggy, who trained me and is in her second year here in Likely, is a great person who did not mine me calling her. I made my share of mistakes but made it through the first two days but then here comes the Memorial Day weekend. Starting Thursday lots of people were coming in to stay during the holiday and play golf. There were some large groups that I had to take care of. All went well but it was tiring and I was whooped by the end of the days.

Now starting when our big tournament this area was getting hit with record setting rain. Turns out this May set a record for rain fall. In excess of 5 inches. Now this does not sound like much but in this neck of the woods it is a bunch. But folks still came out to camp and play golf. The golf course held up pretty good but some of the areas of the RV Park developed large puddles and the big rigs made some large ruts.

The last day of my four days on was Friday the 22nd. Saturday Vicki and I got in the truck and did some exploring on Saturday. Drove up to Alturas and then headed east to Cedarville and discovered a neat little shop with old timey stuff and had this hanging on their wall. Not sure with a the small little hole is for but you old folks know where this came from. seat

Next we continued heading east into Nevada on a dirt road. The object was to see some wild horses. Well we did see horses but are not sure if they are wild or not. I understand when people cannot afford to keep their horses they will turn them loose on the range. One of the locals said we were far enough into Nevada that they were wild but another said their nose were not shaped correctly. To me they seemed pretty tame and were more interested if I had something for them to eat than being scared of me. Horse 2 Horses 1 Whichever they are they are good looking animals.

After that little adventure we drove back to Cedarville and then headed north to Fort Bidwell. I was told this is the sight of one of the last Indian battle that took place. We then drove over a one lane dirt pass that took us west back to US Rt395. With all the rain we had the road was pretty muddy so I threw the truck into 4 wheel drive. We did not have any problem making up and over. In this 20 some mile drive that took us about 2 hours we only saw one other truck. They were a family from Oregon with a 4 wheeler in the back of their truck.   Great views and there was still snow in the shelter areas. IMG_0501 IMG_0499 Rain Day IMG_0512 (2) When we got back on Rte. 395 we were in Oregon and could see Goose Lake. This lake spans CA and OR. Pretty big lake but water looked low to me even with all the rain we had. I guess because of the drought we have had.

Sunday and Memorial Day Monday Vicki and I chased little white balls around the mountain. When I took this job I was wondering what the golf course would be like. I am presently surprised. It has a nice layout with many dog legs and up and down hill holes. Number 16 is a 167 yard drop hole that I really like. And all the holes have great views of the surrounding mountains. When we arrived here the greens were very slow but are now running pretty fast. When I play by myself during my days off and Vicki is working I take Buster out on the front nine and then take Sadie out on the back nine. Never saw or heard of a course that allows dogs out on the course but this one does and it is really neat. And the dogs love it.

Wednesday the 27th found me back at work. Not much to report during the next four work days. I am getting more conformable with my job. Saturday night we went to the annual Alturas Bull Riding Event.  Starts with Mutton Busting.  Kids 5 years all trying to hang onto a sheep for 8 seconds as it runs across the arena.  Then we sang our National Anthem as a cowboy holds our flag as he rides.  Can it get any better? Bull Riding

Then the bull riding. bull riding 2

Sunday May 31st Vicki and I took a trip over to Klamath Falls, OR for our monthly food shopping trip.  But first we ran into a traffic jam coming out of the RV Park as we cross some range land. traffic jam in Likely

It is a very pretty drive.   We played peek-a-boo with Mt. Shasta.

shasta

Every time I see Mt. Shasta I think of our son Kyle and the memorial trek that seven of us took in August, 2006. I made it to what I called base camp at 11,000 feet while our son Geoff, my cousin’s sons Kurt and Eric along with three of Kyle’s buddies Tim, Ty and Mike made it the whole way. Not everyone makes it to the top but this group did. Mt Shast

Well except for the old guy. Physically for me the trip up was pretty challenging but the trip down was painful. All three knees were in pain left knee, right knee and hind….

A bitter sweet memory that I will always cherish. It was a two day trip. First day was hiking from 6,950 to about 11,000’, where we made camp. The second day was final trip up the top at 14,179’. On part of the way down you can glissade (spelling??) down about 2,000’. This is where you sit on your butt and slide down  snow/ice. Not for the faint of heart. You can really pick up speed. You have to use your ice axe as a break. On the second morning I got up with the guys at 3 am to wish them good-luck and went back to the warm sleeping bag. About hour later I got up and looked up the mountain. Everyone had a head lamp on and from my view point it looked like a string of white Christmas lights stung out on the trail to the top. I guess about 30 people were making the summit trip that requires crampons and ice axes. I started down about mid-morning and the guys were passing me about 3 pm. Vicki had pizza and beer waiting for us. NEVER did pizza and beer taste better.

Not much else to report. During one of my off days I also do the wash.

High Desert Wash dahy

Also I have gotten in the habit of taking the dogs for a walk on the back nine.

dog walkThey really enjoy all the different smells and chasing rabbits and ground squirrels. Only problem is Sadie with eat almost anything and will roll in things. This afternoon she is getting a bath.

That is it from “Likely Place RV and Golf Resort”, that is what I say when folks call in……

“Time will slow a bit – from those who on their journey stop an smell the rose” Andy Devine

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First Two Weeks of Work Is In The Book

Well the 1st two weeks of work went pretty good.  Thursday April 30th was my 1st day.   My first duty of the day is to drive around the course and check the tee boxes and greens to make sure they are in good shape. On the tee boxes I fill divots with a sand & grass seed mixture and pick up broken tees. Lots of bending in this effort. Great exercise to start the day. I also check the tee boxes and greens for “gifts” left over night by our local geese populations and shovel these “gifts” off into the sage brush. This I refer to as the morning Goose Poop Patrol. There are 3 tees and 3 greens the geese seem to favor so not that big a deal. I get to be the first one on the course in the morning and see the day begin with wild life – geese, jack rabbits, mule deer and lots and lots of ground squirrels. On my second week I ran into two bull snakes. I am told these guys eat the ground squirrels and will kill rattle snakes that are in the area. So these are the good guys of the snake world. The snake picture below is about 4 feet.

Bull Snake

I also pick up range balls on Thursday and Sunday. Kind of fun doing this with the cart and ball picker but on Thursday I shag the balls that are hit into the brush. Again good exercise but gets kind of tedious. This past Thursday I shagged 15 gallons worth of balls.

My regular schedule is working Thursday thru Sunday and have off Monday thru Wednesday as days off. But on Monday and Tuesday, May 4th and 5th, there was a high school golf tournament that I worked. Not much of a problem with players, some of the parents needed some marshaling but nothing too bad. Some of the players had some real nice and smooth swings, others not so much. The best swing I saw was from a young lady who hit it pretty far and always right down the middle.   Some of the players traveled as far as 4 hours away to play. This shows how remote and unpopulated the area of north CA is.

With the tournament my first day off was Wednesday May 6th and I had lots of catching up to do with work around the house. I agreed with Vicki I would take over all the washing, cleaning and cooking with this live style change. Only fair. She works a regular 40+ hour week and I work 20 to 25 hours per week. So Wednesday I did the wash and cleaned the trailer. I also did a complete inventory of the food we have on hand so we could come up with a shopping list. Vicki finished up work at 3:30 and we drove to Klamath Falls, OR to grocery shop, buy dog food, have dinner out and buy fuel. With no sales tax in OR and cheaper fuel prices I think this makes sense. This is close to a 2 hour trip one way. It was really a nice drive over to OR and we saw some deer. While we were eating dinner at the Black Bear Diner it hailed. Luckily it was over by the time we left Black Bear. Black Bear Diners are up scale chain of dinners in Northern CA. The food is very good with good prices. We always enjoy eating there.

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We did not get home until 10:30 and the drive was uneventful. But we were looking out for deer on the drive home but not one was seen.  It was a long day.

My following week was a normal week and I am getting settled in my duties and getting to know the guys on the course. One of the guys is a member of the Likely Fire Company. If you recall from a prior post Likely has a population of 75 folks. He was wearing a T shirt one day and I asked him if they had these for sale. Yep for $15. I am thinking this will be a collector’s item someday.

Saturday was Likely’s opening day tournament and Vicki and I played in it. Cost was $20 per player. We came in 2nd in the mixed foursomes division of which there was 4 mixed teams. We played well and shot an 80 with the 1st place team shooting a 76. AND I behaved myself, at least I think so. Vicki was still talking to me at the end of the round. We won $75, YAHOOOO. So we netted $35 so maybe this will be another source of income…… We played with the Sheriff of Modoc County and one of his deputies. We did not know this until the 5th hole. Pays to behave until you know who the folks are you are playing with. We enjoyed playing with them and they tied for 1st in the men’s division.

For Mother’s Day there is a couple of things to report. As normal a good friend of Kyle’s sent Vicki flowers that arrived on Friday. He has been doing this every year since Kyle’s death nine years ago. What a great guy. With us being out in the boonies Mark and I were concerned if it would make it here and on time. Mission accomplished but then I am not surprised. Mark served our country in the Air Force and he was a boomer. He operated the refueling pod on aerial gas stations.   Lots of responsibility there coupled with danger of flying around with thousands of pounds of fuel. Thanks Mark!

Mark's flowers

After my Sunday work on the golf course we went to big town of Alturas to have a late lunch / early dinner at an Italian restaurant. Good eats while Vicki had two glasses of wine and I had ice tea. What’s up with that?!   Mother's day pic

With Geoff living about 400 miles south of us he could not make the trip but did call Vicki in the evening. We had a long call with him on Saturday also.

Monday I did my chores around the house and just vegged out as Vicki did her 8 to 5 job. Today, Tuesday we are having rain. Kind of nice to see but it is rather raw with the temps not getting out of the mid 40s with clouds hiding the mountain tops.Rain Day

I got my shirts for Likely Place so I guess I am official.

Harry and shirt

Seems like we are adapting pretty well to living here. The folks that live here in the summer are all really nice and good to talk with. After the golf tournament Vicki and I sat out  on the deck and got to know them. They talked about their life living here and the wild life with bob cats and the occasional mountain lions in the area. Always interesting to hear about different areas of our country from the locals.

Well that is about it from Likely, CA.

Something to keep in mind:

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller

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