Monday, October 27, 2008

Little House on the Prairie

Jim and I took one of our Mondays off and went in search of the actual home sites of TV series, "Little House on the Prairie". It is 13 miles SW of Independence, Kansas, which is only 20 miles north of Coffeyville. Our daughter, Beth, LOVES this series and at 34 years old, still watches the reruns faithfully. So this post is for you, Beth. Your dad and I went there just for you!!! You see this sign and the site is down a real small, gravel country road.

The log cabin is a replica, but resembles the actual house. But this is the actual site of the house.

It is a tiny house and not very tall. I'm only five foot and look how I barely fit inside the doorway.

I took this photo from the doorway. Look how little it is inside. And if Laura lived here, her older sister was also there with their parents so we are talking about four people living in here.

Here's "your pa", Beth, standing in front to show the proportion of how deep the house was.....not so much.

Along side the cabin the historic society has moved in a post office to the left of the cabin and a church to the left of that from nearby towns to add to the atmosphere of the site. It is quaint and very nice.
Well, that's the tour of the "Little House on the Prairie" house location. Hope you enjoyed the tour. There's a lot more interesting places around here. Cute little shoppes and coffee houses in these itty bitty towns that I will tell you about another day. That's it for now.
Remember, you are loved!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Red Hat Event

Fellow Escapee, Lesle Thomas, and I went to a local Red Hat event. It was for lunch and a tour of the Brown mansion here in Coffeyville. It has 16 rooms and many features ahead of its time like alarm system, a hand pulled elevator and a walk-in ice box that used 500 pounds of ice a day. This mansion is unique in that all the furniture is original to the mansion and not just antiques of the period found and stocked into the house. You can get more information at

There are Tiffany lamps and stain glass inserts all around and the walls "look" like wallpaper but are actually canvas covered walls that were hand painted by an artist....amazing. Here is a photo of some of the 55-60 women who came for the luncheon/tour. The Mansion sponsors the event charging $15 as a money maker to maintain the mansion. They offered delicious homemade salads of all kinds with petite cheesecakes for dessert. It was nice to meet the local ladies and hear about some of the places we need to see.

Even with all these ladies there were very few duplicate hats or outfits. I was in heaven as most of you know my favorite colors are purple and red together! Many thanks to Paula Nankivell for giving me instructions to make her crochetted necklace as I needed something red to wear on my purple blouse. See, Paula, it came out pretty good! Paula sells her necklaces and gives the proceeds to Escapees C.A.R.E., adult day care facility in Livingston, Texas.
Well, it is noon and time to make "dinner" which we eat about 2-3pm. I'm making Colorado style green chili with flour tortillas. Luckily, we bought some roasted green chiles at the farmers' market in Alamosa and froze them. There are a couple of good Mexican restaurants here in Coffeyville, but everything is with red chile sauce....they don't know about using green chili on chicken enchiladas! So we are making our own, using our daughter Christine's recipe.
Talk with you all next time. And remember - you are loved!

Monday, October 20, 2008

We survived week one!!!

Yes, we did survive the first week. That first ten hour night was a killer though. At the last break at 1:30 am I went up to the Inbound Area Manager and asked, "Is it OK to cry during your first ten hour shift?" He said, "Sure, here's my shoulder; cry right there." When I went into the break room the look on Jim's face was total shock. "Are you going to make it, honey?" I cried - I wasn't sure I could or would. But I did. By Wednesday at 3:30 am I was pretty good at the end of the shift.

The work isn't hard, but it's the ten hours on your feet and the walking. Jim is in Receiving so the boxes come down on a conveyor belt and he opens them and scans each item and puts it in a tote; then he puts the tote on another conveyor belt and the totes get stacked in large open top boxes. A very tall forklifts hoist them up to different floors to be put away.

That's where I come in as I got moved over to Stowing and am walking 7-8 MILES a night. I mean you pick up product at point A then walk a good quarter mile to put that batch away...then pick up the next cart of totes full of product and walk another quarter to put it away in bins. I love the walking and getting in the 15,000 steps a night, but sure could use a hot tub for backaches and sore feet.

So from Wednesday through Saturday all we do is work, sleep, eat and that's it. We get to sleep at 4:30 am wake at noon or 1 pm, grab a bowl of cereal, check emails and blogs, then it is time to prepare lunch, pack lunch boxes with "dinner" and snacks and get ready to leave for work at 4:30. You don't have time to much else. On our days off we do laundry, grocery shop and try to sightsee one place a week. We are so close to Tulsa, Joplin, Branson, etc. so there is alot to do on days off. This first "day off" period we simply rested our bones!!!

Last Monday and Tuesday I did a couple of activities, but I will write about them tomorrow.

Bye-bye for now and remember - you are loved.

Monday, October 13, 2008

First week of work done

Here is a recent sunset in the rv park. No --- I didn't alter it to make it look like that. It's something, isn't it?
Well we finished our first week of work and are still going back next week :) Our feet and lower back are beginning to get use to standing on cement for five hours at a time. We have "ambassadors" who do our training and stay with us the first week. They recommended Dr. Scholl's "Back Ache" insoles and other workampers suggested Dr. Scholl's Ultra Cushion socks. Both have helped alot, especially the socks. We also take Tylenol or Advil every four hours that also help with the pain.

Next week we begin our regular shift of four, ten hour days. We are worried about that first night. Other workampers said when you finish the first ten hour shift, you really ache and you sleep ten hours, shower and get on the bus to go to your next work shift...maybe down a sandwich on the bus, cause you slept through dinner time. Oh, well, we'll see how we do. Jim sleeps only five or six hours a night.....yes, he still wakes up at 4 am. Huh, now he will go to SLEEP at 5 am and get up at 11 am!!! Me, I need eight solid hours of sleep, so I won't be getting up till 1 pm; just in time to start cooking, then wash dishes and have a couple of hours to be outside in the sunshine before catching the bus again at 4:30 pm.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dalton Defenders Day

Coffeyville has Dalton Defenders Day the first weekend of October each year. It is in memory of October 5, 1892, when the Dalton gang came to Coffeyville to rob two banks at the same time. The townspeople defended themselves and a gunfight took place. Four gang members and four citizens lay dead at the end.

Alot of the gunfight took place in front of Isham's Hardware store. It was built in 1890 and is STILL standing. On the side of the building is a huge mural of the town with historic points of interest shown. There are "markers" in the ground all over downtown showing where each person died, where one of the bank stood, etc. One of the banks is still standing and has been beautifully renovated.

On Defenders' Day (held October 3rd this year) there is a reenactment of the gunfight held in the downtown plaza. The townspeople dress up in period clothes and walk around town. They hire a professional gunslinger company who provide actors for realism, and along with some townspeople, there is a very, very loud shoot-out reenactment, complete with a narrator. It was very enjoyable!!!

Along with the reenactment there were several booths on the street with folks in period clothing selling homemade soap, a man making brooms, a couple carding and spinning alpaca fleece, etc. Here are some photos of the event.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Time Out, Chorizo!

Being at the end of the road, every person who walks their dogs passes in front of our door. Chorizo barks at them every time. We have been trying to discourage that. So when he barks we warn him and if he persists we tell him to go to "time out". He then climbs the steps to the bedroom and goes to the far side of the bed in the corner and sits...somehow he figured this out on his own. There he will stay until we call him out...we've seen him stay there for 15 minutes.
So now when he barks at a passing neighbor all we have to do is say "time out" in a questioning voice and he stops barking....or he knows he will go to the corner. Some kids should be so well behaved!
We go to work for our first shift in an will be easy as it is only a three hour orientation tonight. Let you know how we far after a couple of shifts.
Remember - you are loved!!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Working Nights!

We are going to be working nights at from 5 pm to 3:30 am, Wednesday through Saturday, then have three days off. Jim will working in Receiving and I will be in Stowing (put items away in the bins-opposite of "picking"). We are pretty happy about the schedule and about working nights - at least we will see daylight sometime each day.

Last night the owners (Mark and Kym Kays of Express Pro, the temp service we actually work for) came to the campground and provided hot dogs for everyone. Kym handled the large grill and Mark handed out the schedules and answered the many questions.

Jim and I are looking forward to start work Wednesday. I spent last night looking up articles on night work and the best sleep patterns and diets to follow. After talking to some of the night shift couples here, seems most eat two meals a day and only bring snacks for the "dinner" at 10 pm, eat breakfast when they get up and a big "supper" just before they go to work. The Kays have arranged for school buses to transport us to and from work, so we certainly will be saving on diesel.
Oh, we had a pleasant surprise last night. As everyone was gathering I saw someone who looked familiar.

Yes, that is Jim Cumberland from the "Desert Rose Beauty Contest" last February at the Gypsy Journal Rally in Casa Grande, AZ. The lineup is left to right Paul Anderson, Jim Cumberland, Jim Chapman (when he had a mustache), Jay Carter and Smokey Ridgely. In fact Jim C. will be working with me as a stower on the same shift.
It is nice to have Marcia and Jim here with us in Coffeyville.
That's it for today, folks. Talk with you later. Remember - you are loved!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Around Town

A little about Coffeyville, Kansas. It is located in the southeast area of Kansas just 4 miles from the Oklahoma border - 70 miles north of Tulsa and 90 miles west of Joplin, Missouri. It has ab0ut 9,000 people and boasts 54 churches, a lot of Chinese restaurants, a great authentic Mexican restaurant called El Charro, and a big, newly renovated hospital complex. It reminds me very much of our hometown of Alamosa, so everything feels familiar. Besides the million square feet distribution center, there is a John Deere plant that manufactures transmissions for their largest trackers. Here are some photos we took of the area.

This is the Coffeyville Aviation Heritage Museuem Veterans Memorial Stadium in Pfister Park where local high school football games are held. This a huge stadium for high school football games IMHO. It holds 5,500 people and this is what it looks like filled.

Coffeyville suffered a big flood July 1, 2007, when the Verdigris River overflowed after two weeks of rain. It took ten days for the water to subside. Adding to the misery, the local refinery let out 43,000 gallons of crude oil. Over 400 homes and other structures had to be demolished because of the water/oil mixture.

Here is Jim standing by a telephone pole here in the campground that marks the flood level.
The Walter Johnson Park is very nice. It is part of a fairground so there is a lot of space and great paths to walk.

We'll find out tonight at the Saturday's social what our schedule will be and if we will be working days or nights. I'll let you know. Remember - you are loved!!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I decided to change our blog template because I wanted a larger text area. I tried to add a photo of our truck and rig to the header, but it came out very large vertically. So if any of you know how to make a narrow image in the blog header, pass on the information.

We are great fans of Nick Russell's blog at Nick and Miss Terry, his wife, are fulltimers who produce a newspaper on the road as they travel in their MCI bus conversion. We subscribe to the journal and have attended their wonderful rally in Texas last February. Recently Nick wrote a beautiful description of friendships among fulltime rvers, and with Nick's permission I wanted to share it with you.

Nick Russell – Gypsy Journal Blog
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Reprinted with permission

...The friends we have met on the road are some awesome people. Our backgrounds may be very different, but we all have much more in common than we ever did with those folks in our hometown. We share a love of travel, a sense of adventure, we’re all pretty much nonconformists, and we have all come to the realization that owning “stuff” doesn’t make you happy. We know that happiness is the freedom we have to roam this wonderful country of ours, to explore the back roads, and to just relax under the awning with a cold drink while the rest of society is caught in a traffic jam during their evening commute.

Overall, fulltime RVers are some of the most laid back, open-minded people you will ever meet. They make up a wonderful cross section of American society. At our rally last week we had blue collar working folks in older RVs, retirees, Baby Boomers in fancy new rigs, at least one millionaire, gays, straights, couples, solos, liberals, conservatives, born again Christians and atheists. But it didn’t matter. Nobody wore a label. We were all just friends hanging out and having fun.

Miss Terry always says we have two kinds of family in our lives – the family we’re born into and the family we choose. With a few special exceptions, I try to keep at least one state line between myself and most of my blood relatives. It just seems to work out better that way.

But we think nothing of driving a couple of hundred miles to get to a campground to meet up with some our extended RV family, fuel prices be damned. Of course, one other great thing about our RV family is that we all have wheels under our homes. So as much as we enjoy their company, we can leave before the warts start to show.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Coffeyville, Kansas

I know this is titled as Coffeyville, but I have to say something about the steep road US 65 from Springfield, MO to Branson! Does anyone know what the grade is on this road? Can you tell from the photo how steep it is?

That last quarter mile up to the top of the hill really made the truck slow down.
OK, now onto Coffeyville. It is a nice town and will be very liveable for the next three months while we work for

We went to the local public library first, naturally, and I was happy to see it is very up-to-date and well used. When you walk into the building the adult library entrance is to your left and to the right is the children's library entrance. That is really nice to keep them separate.
Inside the adult side there is a separate section for teens with mod colors and "with it" furniture. It is separated from the main library by rolling fabric sectional walls. They have posters on the wall and a couch for chilling and conversations.
We drove to Independence (20 miles north) yesterday for our meeting with Express Pro, the temp agency hiring for Amazon. It was a fast, efficient process. On the way we saw the building. OMG!!!! It went on and on and on. It is all one story but very, very big. I heard tell that it is a million square feet and you could fit 4-5 Super Walmarts inside!!! We won't know till the company hot dog cookout on Saturday to find out what our jobs will be and what schedule we will have = days or nights.
I think I want to work nights which is 5:30 pm to 3:30 am. Then you could go to sleep for six hours and wake up to daylight and can do some things during the day. If you work days from 6:30 am to 4:30 pm you will never see daylight during winter.
Well, more in the days to come. I'll take photos of the campground and sites around town to post.
Remember - you are loved!!!