Thursday, December 29, 2011


Dear Verizon, based on your past performance, I just knew that somehow you would take unfair advantage of our business relationship. This news article confirms that for me.$2-to-pay-your-bill-online/

I guess that when you arbitrarily decided that unlimited internet was a 5 gb maximum, I decided that you couldn’t be trusted. Consequently, I kept my paper billing when I started paying my bill on the internet. Even though the internet bill pay is less expensive for you, sadly, you want to penalize me a $2 fee for saving you money !

Did you do the math ? The cost of a stamp and an envelope is well under $1. I can save myself money and it will cost you money, to process that payment.

Public loss of trust and confidence in Verizon may well cost you an exorbitant sum.

Monday, December 26, 2011


The taillight parade has began ! Thursday morning at 0230 hours, C and D shifts met in their C break room to recap the season and fill out our exit interview forms. On the side of the large room was tables covered with all types of fruit and other goodies to enhance the mood of the celebration. We were ramping down after another very successful Peak season. Amazoner’s measure their time in the number of peak seasons that they have served as Santa’s Elves. This was our third.


Note the round pin attached to the ID Badge lanyard. Click for large view.

The new records, there were so many that they all began to run together. However one thing was clear , we had shipped over five million items and received over two and a quarter million items !

We celebrated last night at the Huddle House restaurant with others from work. We ate too much way too late. I had the golden waffle platter with a side of hash browns.

Looking across the corn field to the highway, large Rv, after large Rv, is rolling by though the sun is barely up. Everyone wants to get home to their loved ones before CHRISTmas. The taillight parade is in full swing !

Lots of the neighbors have already hooked up their tows, here is a look.


It is a bit foggy as we start to round up our stuff. It’s time to fold the chairs,


roll up the rugs and load the extra propane tank. We’re headin’ for Arkansas !


Those that have not had sewer hookup, dump on the way out of the park. The dump station is located near the Laundry, showers and restrooms.


Though it rained a few days, it was much better than snow ! We will wait until we get home to wash the truck.


Here is a look at what some of  the loot looks like.


Tee shirts, small prizes in the goody bag, gold coins and gift cards, all in all, quite a cool send off from Amazon’s SDF-1 facility.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Working as one of Amazon’s Elf’s during the CHRISTmas season is a busy time.

But busy not only means work busy. There are other things going on at the same time. Other things that are not only motivational but are fun too. Here is a look at some of those things. 


Every so often a bingo number is posted up on a very large high definition TV screen, located just a glance above our computer terminal screens, at the front of the receiving  line.

A stereo system plays music as we work and on one night each week we have a DJ night where our requests are played. Jimmy Buffet’s Cheeseburger in Paradise has gotten pretty popular as cold weather is setting in.

We also have a brief “minute to win it” type contest after our lunch time safety and production meeting. Gift cards are a popular item, and we have gotten a few for various things such as perfect attendance. Here is a look.



The gift cards are worth $5. each, and they are small performance rewards, as the gold coins are. Betty has used the coins in the vending machines in the break room where they have an old fashioned Nu Grape soda pop that she likes. It is a cool way to touch base with a taste from our childhood memories.

Oh, we are not just playing all the time, we work hard and go home tired at the shift end. But we are having fun as we set new records and make history.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Lights ! Music ! Action ! Yes, the Ruley’s Family CHRISTmas light display has it all !


Located about thirty miles from Campbellsville, in Loretto Kentucky, it is marvelous place to visit.


This is the decorations for the garage.


This wreath is very large and it was made right on the farm. The wreath’s under frame is made from two different sizes of silo bands. You know, those steel bands that go around a farm silo.


Hanging on the end of a barn, in this photo, using the flash, the actual size is more apparent. The wreath is fifty two feet across ! The builder told us that when he hung it on the barn, it was all that his tractor’s front end loader could do to lift it in place.

We shot this video as we arrived at the Ruley’s place.

Over a million lights and the most gracious hosts.100_3068

There was even designated reindeer parking.100_3069

Santa’s cabin where Poco wanted his photo taken with Santa.


Santa had the Grinch behind bars !

CHRISTmas, Trains and kids, they just seem to go together. The kids are hard to see in this video, but we were enjoying their comments as they looked the train over.

Betty scored a cool hoodie while there.


Here is a look at both sides.


Remember the reason for the season !


Thursday, December 15, 2011


Our office slide out has a couple of desks in it that we mostly use for our laptops. It has been pretty cool to be able to quickly  jump on the internet to access back ground information about a fast breaking news story on the television. Today while in town on a day off from work, we picked up a cable that we would need to display our laptop’s screen on the much larger high definition screen, Here is a look.


Should you click on the photo to see it in a full size view, you can see that we are on the Happy Trails blog web site. Geri is a professional photographer and always has the greatest photos. When we display them in a slideshow mode up on the large screen the detail is absolutely stunning !

As you can see in the photo there is a significant difference up on the big screen.

One of my favorite uses for the big screen is when balancing the check book or paying bills on the internet. The laptop is on one desk out of the way, and I have the check book and the wireless mouse over on the other desk, while watching the large screen .

Often I will have more than one instance of internet explorer running and switch between them as I access the calculator function at each step.  Those much larger displays make it so much easier.

This photo is one of my favorites. It is a reminder of a great day out on the water. Betty and I were picking up the jugs with our friend Pete. Pete took the photo. It is currently our avatar on facebook. In thumbnail size it is obvious what the photo is. When enlarged on the laptop more detail is available. But, when it is up on the office slide out’s 32 inch high definition screen, you can see ever so much more detail. It is easy to tell that it is early Spring and also early morning. The boat is new and the color is startlingly fresh. This is a beautiful thirty pound blue catfish and I had just turned around and said, “ Now, this is what I’m talkin’ bout’ “.

This was one of several that we put back in the lake that week. Here is a look at the display on the big screen.


On the big screen all of the small details show up that made it an exemplarily morning, even down to my old worn and softly comfortable bib overalls. Pete had the presence of mind to capture the moment, and now, the big screen lets it all be shown.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


CHRISTmas wishes to everyone from the Indian Ridge campground, high above the Tebbs Bend Civil War Battlefield.


We are enjoying a much needed day off from’s CHRISTmas rush season. Taking our time, and an occasional nap, as we catch up on the little things around the house. You know the kind of small things that you are just too busy to get to during the work week.

Here is a short video, taken on this beautiful Fall day, from our living room window, as we laze around and think of being home for the holidays.

CHRISTmas Wishes from the Tebbs Bend Battlefield

Friday, December 2, 2011


A large corporation’s internal communications can sometimes be a nightmare. I expect that any little change in a company wide message or policy, can cause interpretation problems, and usually that means the consumer will take it in the pocketbook !

Or so it seems to me, anyhow. However, recently we got a pleasant surprise while dealing with the local Wal Mart here in Campbellsville Kentucky.

It has been our experience that when confronted with a policy change, a corporate worker often times just shrugs their shoulders and passes the buck saying “ it’s policy”. It is pretty hard for the person that is working in the grease pit to make a decision to go to management and tell them that “we just need to do the right thing”.

Here is Betty’s story about a grease pit worker and a manager that had the gumption to get the right thing done.

We visit Walmart’s that are located all over America’s heartland, as we put on about sixteen thousand RVing miles each year. 

It is logical for us to get the oil changed in our vehicles at whichever WalMart we are near. Our one ton dually has a 6.4 liter Diesel engine that uses fifteen quarts of oil at each change. Now, at an oil change every three thousand miles that’s quite a lot of oil and filters, yet, I expect that many other RV’ers are using more than 75 quarts of oil and more than five oil filters, each year.

In the past it has been our experience that the automotive department at WalMart has “our brand” of oil and the filter in stock. Now, 15 quarts of oil would be a very large arm full, but Motocraft oil can come in five quart jugs. so, three jugs about the size of a gallon of milk is easier to handle.

This time the oil change technician checked his information and told Betty that they had no oil or filter to make the change with. He thought that they had stopped carrying the five quart jugs and had removed the remaining stock from the shelves.

He sent Betty to the local auto parts store for the oil and filter. After she got back and was waiting for the oil change to be completed, she wandered through the automotive department and to her surprise, found the very oil in the five quart size, that she had wanted. As she got ready to pay for the oil change and pick up the dually, she told the oil change tech that the oil was in the store and quite a bit cheaper than at the parts store price.

Now here is where the tech could have just shrugged his shoulders and Betty would have left. But this guy had gumption. He said “ wait a second and let me check on something”. Soon the store manager was there and they handed Betty a oil change ticket that said free. Yes, They changed the oil for free. Here is a look at the service order.


The yellow highlighted part at the lower left is the cool part.

Now, ya’ just gotta’ love it when a person with gumption says,” there was a problem, but were gona’ take care of it. We just need to do the right thing.”

Thanks to two large corporate workers that had the gumption to recognize a problem and make a satisfied customer leave smiling.

Want to know who the workers with gumption were ? Just click on the photo to make it larger their name’s and initials are in the highlighted area.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


One of the small tokens of appreciation at Amazon’s SDT-1 fulfillment center, are gold coins that can be used in several ways. Their actual cash value seems to be in the neighborhood of one dollar. Or, that’s the value of a large Coke in the vending machines where the coins will actually work just like regular currency. Here is a look.


In the short time we have been here they have fed us a meal at lunch time on two occasions, and extended one lunch time by 15 minutes, so we could relax and enjoy the meal.

In this fast paced blue collar working adventure, those small things are greatly appreciated.

As the management team constantly makes adjustments to the flow of product, both inbound and outbound, associates can be moved from one job to another. This makes for a blue collar working adventure that Betty and I both enjoy.

All too soon the CHRISTmas rush season here at Amazon will be over and we will be moving on down the road.

As the month of December arrives, we are thinking more and more about our pending move to S/W Arkansas to be with Family and Friends for the Holidays.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Thanksgiving week at Amazon’s SDF-1 Fulfillment center in Campbellsville Kentucky. Though the “peak season “ is underway, we have had a couple of short days. One for VTO, voluntary time off, and one for the Holliday. So, between us we have put in a quite easy sixty eight hour week.

The VTO is over for the season and the fifty plus hour weeks begin. That will mean a hundred or more hours between us, each week until we are released just before CHRISTmas.

Across the battlefield a patch of sunlight has broken through the clouds and the old fort site,  above Tebbs Bend is standing out brightly, on a overcast day.

Thank you to the Men and Women that serve America to keep it free. You are the reason that Betty and I can enjoy the lifestyle that we enjoy so much.

I remember back when I was serving, way off somewhere in a strange and dangerous place, that it was good to know that folks back home were having a great meal and giving thanks, and that some day, I would be giving thanks while others served.

That day has came for us, thank you America’s Military ! We keep the home fires burning for you.


Friday, November 18, 2011


Last Winter in Campbellsville Kentucky, at Indian Ridge Campground, we had a pretty rough Winter.

We had a opening where we could move up on the very scenic ridge beside friends, but were concerned that we had never spent the Winter in our then new Coleman fifthwheel, so, we stayed down out of the North wind swept ridge.

Even then we had a couple of problems, one was insulated and a heat tape added, earlier this year, though we never did freeze all the way up, we did have a exposed grey water dump valve that wouldn’t open because it was frozen. Here is a look.100_3030

Since the valve is on the sewer manifold that is exposed, below the heated basement and belly, and is dry below the valve, we won’t leave the heat tape turned on all of the time. The heat tape manufacturer advises to only put the tape on pipes that are filled with liquid. The cord that plugs in will remain exposed and easily accessed. So, when the valve freezes in the closed position, we will plug it in, long enough to thaw the valve and dump the gray water tank.

Our other gray water tank and the Black water tank, have their valves up inside the heated belly of the trailer and have not frozen up so far. If they ever do freeze, we will have to give the project another thought or two.

After securing the heat tape in place with gorilla tape, it was time to apply some insulation.


The insulation is foil backed and self adhesive, but, I taped it with Gorilla tape anyhow.


Here it is on the pipe above the valve.


I made sure it was sealed up to the belly skin, thinking that would help in windy conditions.


The valve, being a difficult shape to wrap, didn’t come out as neat looking.


This type of heat tape seems to be no longer available in most hardware stores because of a change in the electrical code, or so they tell me.

I had to find this one on Ebay. Here is a look at the simple items needed for the project.


I really like the Frost King insulation. It was easy to work with and we have lots of it left over for future projects.


Last year at Amazon in Campbellsville we were Seasonal Campers.

This year, however, we are the CAMPERFORCE, a “branded” word. Here is a look at some of the inbound receive team’s Personal equipment.


The yellow plastic thing at the bottom is a safety knife that we open all of those cardboard boxes full of the stuff we receive into SDF-1.

The blue cards go on the lanyard around the neck and are used several times each day for everything from accessing the facility to logging onto your computer terminal.


The new lanyard is softer and smoother. Here is a closer look. Note the extra plastic latch that will break away  easily if caught on something.


I guess that we all have experienced a paper cut some time or another, that’s the reason for the thin, stretchy, rubber palmed, gloves. As you may well imagine, the cardboard boxes have traveled many miles, are handled many times, and a cut could be quite infectious.


Who would have thought that a computer keyboard could be operated while wearing gloves !

The gloves and knife as well as many other safety related items may be received from a free vending machine that you just “swipe”your ID Badge on.

The top card in the photo above gives an idea of the kind of hours that can be available should you want extra hours.

We have completed our two weeks of “work hardening” , five hour days. The “peak” of the season is starting and we will be busy busy busy !

Sunday, November 13, 2011


As we travel around America’s Heartland, we find ourselves in different internet availability situations. Here is a look at how we are connecting at our current location.’’


As we watch the Arkansas vs Tennessee game, that is pumped into the fifthwheel’s surround sound system, we are , writing a blog entry, and downloading a update on the other laptop. Both laptops are connected to the internet, each in a different way. One by 3g device and one by cell phone tether. Our third way to connect would be via the campground’s various wi-fi signals that are present. Here is a look at the  campground’s various wi-fi signals that are available.


Having multiple internet methods sound expensive ? Nope, it doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy. Here is look at our smart telephone tether, hanging by a fly swatter handle to get it away from signal blocking metal and the television behind it gives it some directional ability towards the nearest cellular tower.


The other laptop is hooked to our air card 3g device. It is also on a short USB cable to elevate it. Here it is, held in place with a bread sack tie twist.


In one of our locations, DSL is available and our cell phones just are not going to work. So we use our centurytell provided DSL modem, our fourth way to connect.  Here is a look.


Having lots of inexpensive internet options keeps us up to speed with family and friends as well as to be able to pay bills and look for cool blue collar work adventures.

I guess that the bottom line for us is that though it isn’t expensive or fancy, it does work for us.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Working indoors is something that we just don’t care much for. We would just as soon be outside experiencing the weather, what ever it may be.

Having said that, I remember those bad Winter days last year, when there was 1/4” of Ice on the ground, with 4” of snow on top of it. That building that we would rather be on the outside of, felt pretty dadgum good !

As I sit typing this in our office slide out, this is the view.


We have completed our orientation and safety schools at, and are now working on our two weeks of five hour days that Amazon calls “work hardening”. This is to get us ready to work those ten and eleven hour days during the CHRISTmas rush season that many call “crunch time”.

It has been a joyful time to reunite with our Amazon family.  So many have moved on up the chain of command and now have bigger jobs with more responsibility.

The inbound receiver’s now have a new training program that is done on the actual receive station. We all wear headsets to follow our instructors as we do the various drills that make up the course. It is a good experience that refreshed last years skills and gives us new skills to work with.

Each day we will have a couple of hours of training and a couple of hours of hands on work.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Sinking Spring Kentucky, birth place of President Lincoln.


Stately oak trees near the RV parking area, located on the left just before arriving at the museum, just turn left onto the heavily graveled parking area.

It is only a very short walk to the museum and the start of the various tour trails. A cool RVer’s advantage is that the parking area is located in the middle of and very near the trails that are ADA accessible. This makes it possible to have lunch before or between doing the trails.

Don’t go on into the automobile parking area, while towing, that would be hard to get out of.


Beautiful plaque at the entry way to the museum. Be sure to catch the movie first, it will set the stage for everything on the site and will enhance your experience.


A  museum log cabin interior.


56 steps one for each year of his life, lead up to the memorial. Many US Presidents have made the climb to the top. It was pretty cool to walk in the steps of such powerful history and think about how the Lincoln family did things as they lived here.


The formal entry way into the memorial that housed the log cabin. We had to go in by the back door. It didn’t bother this bib overall wearing red neck though, we’ve been avoiding “polite company” and coming in the back door all of our lives.


The Sinking Spring, was the Lincoln family’s water source. Cool and damp at the bottom of the stairs, it made us wonder if a young Abraham Lincoln had, on a hot Summer afternoon, slipped down the steps for a cool drink of milk or maybe some other kitchen delight that mom had stored there.

Betty and I walked down into the spring, while we speculated on such matters, and shot this video. Here is a look at our short, 28 second long video.

This was an easily access, close to the highway, free and enjoyable place to visit our nation’s history.

Thank you National Park Service !

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


We arrived early at Indian Ridge Campground. We had been running ahead of a strong Nor’Wester, the same one that dropped so much snow on New England. Still, though, we had to set up in a cold rain. That rain passed through overnight, and the weather has been just great since then.

It is good to be back in the campground that has such a commanding view of the Tebbs Bend Civil War Battlefield. Here is a look at the campsite and the campground.


Click on photo for a better view. Union troops  were entrenched up on the ridge behind the house, guarding the Green River Bridge.

Here is a 32 second video look at the battlefield from our living room window.

At the front of our fiver is the office, recreation hall, pool and so on and so forth. Here is a look.


Picnic table side of the fiver.


Got the 100 pound propane tank filled today, just in case that next front that the weather man is talking about gets rougher than he thinks !