Monday, November 29, 2010

The arch is what's left from the original courthouse that burned down; a picture of downtown Graham.

These last pics were in front of the old Post Office Museum and Art Center in downtown Graham. They depict early cowboy life in west Texas. The museum was closed, much to our disappointment and we never got around to going back, but, it would have been interesting to learn about life back in the 1800's. Guess it will have to wait until our next visit to the area....

A metal cowboy sitting by his fire, cooking his coffee, with his saddelbags nearby

As I was saying, the wire broke off, rubbed against the fuel tube, aka fuel injectors, and diesel fuel was spewing out right into the oil that was inside. Yes, believe it or not, (ladies, especially), when the head is on, oil flows through that whole area and then drains through small holes to get into the rest of the engine. Needless to say, the diesel was getting down there, too....anyway, Ron & Troyce took the tube out and tried to find a replacement. Well, they couldn't find one, so went to a brazier who welded it up and made sure it could handle the pressure before putting it back on. Ask Ron about that, I'm just getting it second hand and don't remember exactly what he said about it and I can't ask him right now because he went to bed. What Ron also found was that little wire had something to do with the Jake brake, again, can't remember exactly what he said, but, fixing it fixed the Jake so it would work a lot better than it has been.

They also found a hose that was leaking fuel, so fixed that, installed a new ignition switch and a few other things that needed attention. So, we are all fixed up and I'm sure Ron learned some additional things about his diesel engine that he can check on when something goes wrong. The best news was that after we had gone about 100 miles today, we stopped and Ron checked the oil and it was right where it was supposed to be, plus there was no spewing of oil all over the windshield and hood of the car!

This is what it looks like with the top off. See that blue wire? It was broken off and was rubbing against the fuel tube and wore a hole right through

This is showing the head gasket on

Their work area out in the yard, thank goodness it was nice weather

I just have to comment on the last two pics. When Troyce first saw this, he said, "there's your leak right there." Meaning, the clean area. A bolt had come loose and fallen out of the hole, allowing the diesel and oil to flow out of the hole, cleaning the area directly below it. It wasn't the oil cleaning it, it was the diesel in the oil. As you can also see, the spewing of the oil coated everything else in a slimy mess. Needless to say, when everything was fixed, a major power washing of the engine was done and now it looks very nice.

From these two photos, notice the clean area? The empty bolt hole above was shooting out both diesel and oil, cleaning the area directly below

"Dr" Troyce, down below outside, helping to locate the leak

The impossibly small hole under the bed to work on the engine from above

Monday, November 29

I thought it was about time I updated this blog, I have to get back into the habit doing it every few days or so. In my last update, we were getting ready to leave Coffeyville. We finally got around to leaving the campground at 11 am and drove 8 hours south to Graham, TX, where our friends live and it was after dark when we got there. I was so glad that the drive was over and we had nothing but long, lazy days ahead of us with NO WORK!! Well, working 10 hour days at Amazon, anyway.

Ron lost no time trying to find the oil leak we had been contending with on our drive to Coffeyville. What the guys found was that diesel fuel was somehow getting into the oil and causing the pressure to be so low the low oil alarm kept going off everytime we slowed down. But, I think the fact that every 150 to 200 miles Ron kept putting in a gallon of oil, that probably saved our engine from failure. I have some pictures to tell the story of how that came to be. So, not only did we have an oil leak, but, a diesel leak as well. They fixed some other things "under the hood" too, so it was good we took the time to look carefully around the engine.

We stayed two weeks with Troyce & Lisa, parked right next to their house. We got our doggie and kitty fix with their four dogs, plus the neighbors dog, a cockatiel and two cats and 2 kittens rescued from outside when their mother abandoned them. We shared Thanksgiving dinner with them and their family of three kids and grandkids and Troyce's parents. A great time was had by all and we all got our fill of everything. We even got to bring some of our pie back home to enjoy it. Our friends drove us all around their area to see what there was to see and we even treated them to a movie in the downtown movie house where we saw "Unstoppable". Last night, we took them to dinner to thank them for their great hospitality and help with our problem bus. We're hoping to see them again when the bus rally rolls around in January in Wickenburg, AZ.

This morning, we left at 8am to head down the road. We had planned on running the generator so we could run the heater, but, found we really didn't need it. We had a nice, relaxing drive of 8 hours to the SKP park at The Ranch in Lakewood, NM. Along the way, we stopped for diesel at the cheapest price we are likely to see heading west; $2.95. There were plenty of cotton fields and oil pumpers to see along the way, apparently, there are still black oil deposits in them thar fields of west Texas and eastern NM.

We rolled into The Ranch at about 3PM MST time and had time to set up and relax before social hour at the clubhouse. It was 50 degrees when we got here, but, once that sun went down it started getting cold fast, especially since we're at 3540 ft and we came from 1100 ft....We tried to run our heater that's attached to the A/C, but, since we also had the block heater on, (for the engine) and they were on the same circuit, it kept popping the breaker. So, we're making do with two electric portable heaters tonight which can be run on different circuits. The lows are supposed to get down into the mid 20's, so we're in for a frigid night. Tomorrow, we will probably turn the generator on to run the heater because it's still going to be frigid at 9 in the morning!

Tomorrow, our destination will be the SKP park in Deming, NM, called the Dreamcatcher. We should have a much shorter day's drive, even if we do have to go back into Texas, to get there. There is a route that goes straight towards Alamagordo, but, goes up into the mountains and since there is probably snow up there right now, we'll leave that route for another time...we're complaining about the cold now...Deming is at 4250 ft, so the lows will be down in the teens...BRRRR!! Hey, we don't have a choice, we are at the southernmost route towards Yuma that we can go, we just have to deal with it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday, Nov 14

Hi all, well, I managed to tweak my back getting up on Friday morning before we went to work, and I ended up staying home while Ron went to work. I hurt too much to even get dressed to take him to work so I could visit the chiropractor. I put ice on it all day and by the time Ron got home, he managed to talk me into going to Urgent Care in the next town north, which is Independence, about 20 miles away. I got some muscle relaxers and we went home.

On Saturday afternoon, I went to the chiropractor and he put helped me with my hip, but, this morning, Sunday, it's still hurting, so I finally told Ron, I don't think I can go back to work to stand for 10 hours putting boxes on the conveyor belt, so we're quitting tomorrow. We'll go in early to say goodbye to all the friends we've made and then turn in our badges and be on our way south tomorrow. It's been an adventure and a learning experience. I guess my body was just not up to finishing out our time here, this job is definitely for the younger, stronger crowd.

Ron is outside right now, taking off the sunshades and emptying out the black tank. I'll do the inside stuff later today. Since we'll be on the road again, we should have some pictures to share soon. Ron seems glad we are leaving, so I don't feel guilty about not working one more week.

We'll be spending Thanksgiving with our good bus friends, Troyce & Lisa, in Graham, TX. He's going to help Ron figure out where our major oil leak is, we just hope it's something simple to fix and nothing major. After we get it fixed, we should be heading west again.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The day after the parade, was Halloween, my 60th birthday and our 31st anniversary. We decided to drive down to the big city of Tulsa to see what there was to see. We ended up watching the movie, "Secretariat", which was an awesome movie! Afterwards, we walked around at a nearby mall, watching all the little kids in their costumes collecting candy from the mall stores. They really scored big! We had dinner at Outback and I had the lobster tails, boy were they yummy!! For our twin celebrations, the restaurant gave us the desserts of our choice, free of charge, so we ordered two to go. Yesterday, I finally had my carrot cake with my coffee, it was delicious!

We haven't done much around here, hardly any sightseeing, only because on our days off, all we've wanted to do is just sit and rest. Yesterday, we drove about 60 miles northeast of here to meet and visit with a fellow bus nut. He has a GM bus and we got to take a tour of it and had a nice visit. Later in the evening, we met at Pizza Hut and got to meet a whole bunch more Workampers who are working at Amazon. Things are not going well for us Workampers there, as they have enforced a quota on us all. Some have had it and just walked out, others have given notice and will be leaving, others are just grinning and bearing it. After seeing how they treat their employees, having junk equipment to deal with and other things that happen during a normal work day, trying to get up to their quotas is almost an impossibility, but, we try our best and that's all we can do. I guess if they don't like it, they can always let us go, but, I don't think they are going to do that, because they need us too much for the holiday rush...we're still waiting for the rush to start. We still haven't worked overtime and probably won't before we leave here in two weeks, which is fine by me.

The weather at night is getting colder, but, so far, the days are still nice with temps in the 60's/70's. The only time we get to enjoy the weather is on our days off, as we're inside most of the day and now with the time change, it will probably be dark when we go home.'s float

When they started the engine on this baby, it blew almost all our eardrums out, talk about LOUD!!!!

This was impressive, Clydesdales pulling the stage....

The fire dog, wonder what he's thinking...

Looking up at the parade beginning and then down the street

Last weekend, we went to Neewolah Days, (Halloween spelled backwards) in Independence, which is about 15-20 miles northwest of Coffeyville. It was actually a week long event, but, we just went to see the parade and walk among the vendors. It was a beautiful day for a's some pics of some of the parade participants...

Cloggers, kiddie train rides, jail time, face painting

The original interior of the Condon Bank, one of two that got robbed that day

Sightseeing by buggy in Coffeyville

A car show

Re-enactment of the Dalton Gang robbing two banks in Coffeyville, KS in the 1800's

At Dalton Defender Days, this was a sightseeing buggy for hire

Well, I figured out how to do it, went back to old editor and am able to post pictures again...whew! So, on to those pictures I wanted to post in the first place!

Sunday, Nov 7th

I still can't upload pictures, not sure what is going on. The normal box I used to get doesn't pop up anymore, now it's another box and when it says "choose pictures", the cursor won't change to a finger pointer, very frustrating!! Anyway, we only have 8 more working days left at Amazon. We're leaving on Nov 22nd, heading down to Texas to have a turkey dinner with good bus friends and to see if we can find our major oil leak. When that gets fixed, we'll be on our way west, with a stop in Benson to visit friends, then, on to Yuma. I may have to start a new blog just to see if that fixes it, who knows...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

I'm not sure what's happening with the "insert image" on blogspot, but, it does not look like it used to and I can't figure out how to add my pictures to my blog. A little box comes up with nothing about browsing to get pictures, I try to add them, but, nothing happens, does anyone know what's going on? Until I figure that out, there will be no pictures to see and I wanted to put some up about the Dalton Defender Days...

Saturday, Oct 9

Hi all, well, we just finished our fourth week of working and we're starting to come alive again. It used to be that on our first day off, we'd just be drugged, at least, I was. I would be sooo tired, all I wanted to do was NOTHING!! But, I must be getting used to the job, because now I'm feeling perkier by the the next day.

We have been enjoying beautiful weather this past week, today is just as beautiful with temps around 80, a nice day to have off. I have found a massage therapist here in town, so plan on making an appointment for next week. After folding boxes all day, I'm sure my shoulders are pretty tight and a nice massage would feel wonderful! I have been visiting a chiropractor since we got here and he's been helping me a lot. I know I'm in much better shape now than I was before we came into town and I credit him for getting me back into alignment.

Last weekend we went to Dalton Defender Days here in Coffeyville, a re-enactment of the day the Dalton Gang tried to rob two banks in town. The men of the town stepped up and ended up killing all but one of the robbers. There was the re-enactment, food vendors, a car show, crafters of all kinds, buggy rides around town, cowboy poetry, hot dog and pie eating contests, as well as a cake walk. It was a very small town celebration, but, still fun. The highlight for me was having cloggers come up from Tulsa to put on an exhibition. That is what I miss a lot about traveling, I LOVE to clog and it's hard when you're on the road all the time. We came right through prime clogging country and not once did I get to clog with anyone. At least I know that there is a clogging club in Tulsa, if we ever come through there in the future.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday, Sept 26th

Hi all, sorry it has taken me so long to get back to this blog. We've been busy and on our off days have just been vegging. We finished our half day week and our full 10 hour a day week. Tomorrow we'll start our second full week. The work itself is easy, just repetitious. But, the toll on the body is tough, standing for 9 1/2 hours a day is not fun, my back hurts after awhile and my feet start hurting too. Friday, several times, I thought of going to medical for some Tylenol for my back, (it hurt even with the back brace on) and Biofreeze to put on my arm. But, I managed to just go on and pretty soon, the pain went away.

More than once, I think, "what are we doing here, putting our bodies through all this at our age?" But, the money is good and our camping fees are being paid. But, yesterday, my hands kept going numb and today, they are still stiff. I bought some new shoes called Sketchers Shape-Ups. They are the oddest feeling shoes, they "rock" back and forth and the heel really isn't hitting the ground. It's hard to explain if you don't already know about them, but, as the literature says, it simulates walking on sand. It's a good workout for the hamstrings and calf muscles. I talked to a friend last night and she told me to start wearing them exclusively for a week and even though my legs are really going to be hurting, to tough it out and after the week is up, I'll start realizing how comfortable the shoes are and my leg muscles will be stronger. It really benefits the back in the end, and I'm all for no backaches after being on my feet all day. So, I, personally, will give it about a month and see how I feel after that. If I think I can't take it no matter how long we're here, I may stop, or go part time. Ron seems to be doing fine so far. He has "graduated" to a position called a "water spider". Don't ask me where they get these names because it has nothing to do with water. He goes around and restocks our boxes that we are using and the thing he likes about it is he's walking, instead of just standing in one spot all day. The downside is he's not near any fans, but, as the weather is cooling around here, that might not be a big deal.

Speaking of the weather, two days ago it was in the low 90's, today it's in the mid 60's! Sheesh, what happened to gradual weather, today, we have the heater on. Tomorrow, should be about 7 degrees warmer and then by Tuesday, the temps will be perfect, in the high 70's. I am ready for more moderate temperatures, even though we've heard from co-workers that it is always warm back where we work. That's okay, warm is good, just as long as it doesn't get overly hot, like it did earlier this week. I was sweating even though I had a fan on my back!

The other nice thing about this weekend? We did not have to work overtime!!! Apparently, at the beginning of the week, we were backlogged on orders big time, by Thursday, we were way down, and everyone's overtime was cancelled, I'm sure the regular workers were thrilled to find that out. Looks like the added numbers of workampers coming in helped tremendously, for which I am glad. I would like it if overtime didn't start up again until sometime in October, only because I would like to get a little more acclimated to standing all those hours before adding one more 10 hour day to my schedule.

No new pictures to post because after standing on our feet all day during working hours, I just don't feel like walking around town to take pictures of all the murals. But, maybe as I get more used to being on my feet, I'll be out and about more often. For now, we have Wed, Sat & Sun off, but, if overtime starts up again, we'll be working Sundays.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday, Sept 14

Hi there, well, we had our orientation day at work, yesterday, which consisted of lots of paperwork and a safety class out on the floor. We did lots of walking all around the warehouse, showing us where the break rooms and bathrooms were. Of course, to us, it was a little overwhelming and we were getting all turned around. It was an all day thing, but, today, we went to our assigned depts and were trained in what to do. We are in single sortation, meaning we scan one item, put it in the right sized box and place it on the conveyor belt. We're only working half days this week, to get us used to standing and walking. We're off tomorrow and then work Thurs & Fri, then off for the weekend. Next week, we work our full ten hour shifts for four days. The week after that, we are on mandatory overtime. Last year, the workers didn't start working overtime for several weeks after starting, but, this year, their sales are way up and they desperately need our help, as the regular workers have been working overtime since June.

At first, before we actually started doing something, my feet were already starting to hurt, just standing around, but, as soon as we did start working, I forgot about my feet and did my job. I have to admit, I had fun today, it was amazing to see all the items that Amazon has for sale and here I thought, all they sold were books, CD's and DVD's...boy, was I wrong!!  As I said, tomorrow is an off day for us, and we will be back bright and early Thursday and Friday mornings for our 5 1/2 hours. I'll update you on Saturday on how we did....