Thursday, September 22, 2016

Suffering the Post Alaska Blues

It seems our truck, Big Boomer, is suffering the post Alaska Blues.  Dad noticed when he steered, Big Boomer’s wheels pulled to the right.  So Dad took him to the truck hospital, AKA the International Service Center in Dallas.  The doctors there said Big Boomer busted a tie rod.  This was the same diagnosis last year when we left Arizona—but on the opposite side of the truck!  It took another $1,388, but he is feeling better now.  However, the doctors noted he may also need new king pins!  They estimate that will cost another $1,500.  Yeesh!  Advice for those going to Alaska in the future:  Budget in some extra money for repairs!  Almost everyone we knew from the RVillage 2016 Class had some unexpected mishap/repair; thankfully, most of the issues occurred at the end of the trip.

Guess it is a good thing my parents are earning some buckaroos at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Haslet, Texas from September to December.   This is their second season working as Amazon Elves for the peak holiday season.  Last year, they worked in the Receiving Dept.  This season all work-campers are assigned to ICQA (Inventory Control/Quality Assurance).  I won’t lie to you:  working at Amazon is a very physical job, standing for 10-11 hours a day, bending, lifting, etc.  Heck, you can log a ½ mile just walking from some areas of the parking lot to your work station!  But you can’t beat the gig for return on investment.  Not only do you earn decent wages ($10.75/hour) and a completion bonus of $1 for every hour worked, but you get a reduction of your living expenses because Amazon also pays for your full hook up RV site.  And the benefit of the paid RV site IS NOT considered any form of income on your W-2.  Unfortunately, the majority of the Amazon-approved campgrounds are at least 30 minutes from the facility, with some of them requiring driving on I-35, which can be a nightmare during peak drive times.  But you’ve gotta accept the good with the bad, right?

Big Boomer isn’t the only one suffering the Post Alaska Blues.  Mom and I miss the cooler Alaskan weather, having endured 2 solid weeks of 95F+ temperatures, which feel more like 100F+ when taking the dew point into account.  This is especially true when we are out doing our 4-mile walks.  Welcome to Texas! 

Since my parents started working on September 14, I try to keep busy and find fun things to do.  Like on Monday, I participated in “International Talk Like a Pirate Day.”  Too bad our pet cockatiel died last year—Sweet Cheeks would have made a great prop for my pirate costume!

"Arr, ye maties, Po-Po Sparrow here t' wish ye all a great Talk Like a Pirate Day!  So all ye Swashbucklers best be talkin' like a Buccaneer today or ye be findin' yer way t' Davey Jones Locker!"

Sometimes I go to work with them, too, and ride the roller coaster!

I’ve met some of the doggies in my neighborhood in Azle, Texas, like Rocky Balboa, Chewey, and Lucy.  Rocky Balboa, a miniature pinscher Chihuahua mix, is a tough nut to crack, but I think he’s starting to take a liking to me.

I particularly like chatting with the cows and goats from the nearby fields and, of course, the roadrunners who reside in the area.  Some of them seem to remember me from last year!

I’ve been on a nature hunt as well.  Check out these pics of some cool insects I’ve discovered!

This one has an egg sac on its back!

I'm also sharing photos of some pretty Texas weeds.  (Funny, when we saw these types of plants in Alaska, we called them wildflowers and marveled at their beauty!)  

Jeffrey and Donny visited my family on September 15.   Formerly from New Jersey, they moved their families to South Carolina upon retirement.  (Like most of us from the Northeast, you work like a dog, make your money, then get out of Dodge to retire).   They were in the midst of a motorcycle trip to Arizona and made a point to stop and visit us in Azle, Texas.  They had a long, rough ride, hitting some nasty weather along the way.  So they were so appreciative of Mom's home-cooked meal of grilled halibut, zucchini/mozzarella casserole, and my personal favorite, mac and cheese.  How wonderful to  spend time with old friends!

My family attended a Meet and Greet hosted by Susan and Rodger, our next door neighbors for the last two Amazon seasons, which gave us a chance to speak with friends from last year as well as work-campers who are first-time Amazonians.  It was great fun for all of us!

Well, I’ve gotta run—I’m helping Dad grill  Alaskan halibut for our dinner!  And it is an early to bed night since my parents have 10 hour days starting tomorrow!

Talk to you soon!


  1. Bummer about the truck repairs. Good luck at Amazon!

  2. Really glad you discovered the tie rod without anything worse happening. So sorry about the additional cost yikes. Our was very loosed as well and it was dumb luck we caught it in time. Stay out of the heat POPO and be good for mom and dad. They are going to be pooped out.