Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Memorial Day

Both Linda and I had a very busy Memorial Day holiday. I worked at BG all weekend (8-10 hour shifts), filled in here at campground each morning cleaning the bathrooms and also cleaned the pool every morning. Linda worked at BG every day and had long days too. Not a very eventful holiday for us although we did get to have supper together Monday evening while I was working. Yesterday (Tuesday), Stephanie and Jessie came by and we went out to celebrate Steph's birthday over dinner. We had a good time and luckily Linda got done work in time to come home and see Steph.
The campground was packed all weekend....I saw lots of campfires when I would come home each night from work and people still sitting out and enjoying themselves. most people left on Monday for the drive home (wherever that might be). Lord help the people who had to drive on Rt 64 as it was a madhouse each afternoon when I had to go to work. I saw another accident that must have just happened as there were no emergency personnel on the scene yet but other cars had stopped to help. The car had gone through the end area of the guardrail and hit a tree. It looked like a pretty bad accident but I hope everyone was OK.
Last night it rained through the night and is dreary outside today. I cleaned the pool, weeded the flower beds and may have to mow this afternoon. Will see how dry it gets after lunch. Back to work tomorrow at BG....

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A good time......

We had a delightful surprise this week when we heard from a fellow Excel owner that he and his wife would be coming to American Heritage park on Sunday and would stay for a few days. Tom is a contributor to the Excel discussion forum and someone that we have e-mailed over the last few months so we were pleased to hear that we would finally get to meet he and Donna. We went over Monday night for a cookout and had a great time, chatting with them about their travels thus far. They've been on the road for three years and have been to a lot of neat places. It seemed so good to socialize with another couple and just kick back, have a few drinks and good conversation. We hope to meet up with Tom and Donna down the road again.
I've picked up a new task here at the campground. I've been trained to take care of the swimming pool so each morning, at 6 a.m., I go up and vacuum it, check the chemical levels, back flush it (if needed)and make sure it's ready to go for the day. Takes me about an hour and fifteen minutes to do it and I enjoy being out in the stillness of the morning, prior to going to my other job where it's so noisy and busy.
This morning I had a little helper when I was working on the pool. I opened up one of the skimmers, to check on whether it needed any more chlorine tablets and lo and behold there was a little frog. He popped out from under the pool ledge into the skimmer basket so I scooped him up and took him over to grass. He was just a little thing so I hope he didn't swallow much of the chlorinated water.
The sunlight was especially bright this morning as I was finishing the last leg of pulling the vacuum back and forth around the pool. The light created a prism effect in the water so it was hard to see the dirt on the bottom of the pool as I moved around the edge. Kind of the 60's, trippin' effect that made me a little dizzy. Got it all done though and walked back to the rig, while it was still quiet....serenaded the whole way by the song birds in the trees.
Last night Linda and I went to "Team Night" at Water Country....another Busch attraction just down the road from BG. This park is getting ready to open for the season so they had dinner, games, free t-shirt, etc. for team members who attended. There are some really neat water attractions there that would be wonderful on a hot summer day. The attraction I liked was a "Lazy River" type of attraction where you float on a raft in a continuously flowing river. The thing that was different about this one was that it flowed faster than others I've seen and the rafts could hold two people so it would be a fun way to spend a hot day with a friend or your spouse. They had a big wave pool, chutes and slides, etc. A lot of fun areas and one especially designed with little kids in mind...called "critter ______"(the name escapes me). All the slides, chutes, etc were shaped like animals. It was a cute area ! We had a good time, got lei'd in Hawaii fashion and came home around 7:00. Our timing was great as Tom stopped over, as we pulled in, to say goodbye. His shirt was a complimentary shade of purple to go with the lei Linda and I had received at the party so we gave them to him. Imagine Donna's surprise to see him when he arrived back at the rig to see that he'd gotten lei'd not once but twice while he'd been out. Lucky dog ....hahaha...See ya down the road, Tom and Donna !!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Winds of Change

The storms and wind have continued and last night we had another tornado and severe storm warnings. I worked my last shift in the grounds dept yesterday (5 a.m. - 11 a.m.) and then went to my new dept (culinary) and worked for 3 hours. Linda and I rode together to work but she wasn't done with work by the time I finished up at 3 p.m. so I went home and came back to get her when she finished at 6 p.m. I had noticed that the westbound lane of 64 was backed up, meaning that there probably was an accident so we took the back route home. As we started home, the storm hit.......heavy, heavy rain and wind. We got home and settled in for another night of nasty weather.
Today, the winds are still strong and the drizzly rain comes in waves. I have Monday and Tuesday off and will return for my first regular shift, in my new position as "Lead Supervisor" on Wednesday. The park is still only open on weekends so Wed and Thur will be spent handling incoming orders and moving stock. Teri is the other supervisor in the unit where I will work and she showed me around yesterday. Not much to it....kind of like a concession stand but with some bottled beer thrown in. You have to be "bar coded" to serve the beer so I guess that is something I'll have to be signed up for. Will get to work with my boss on Wed and Thursday so I can learn more about the organization and what they want done. She is from Poland, with a strong accent. I'm interested to learn about the hierarchy of positions within the dept so I understand what the positions are when I see them posted on the openings board. Like my position is called Lead Supervisor but it really isn't a big deal at all. I guess there are Unit supervisors, area supervisors, etc. I will learn more as time goes on. Next week there is a "Team Night" at water country....the water park. There will be a luau, games, chance to use the rides, etc. This comes just prior to us opening for the season when we'll be open everyday from May 23rd on. I picked up my ticket but Linda needs to get hers yet. Sounds like it will be a fun time !
Seems like it's taken forever for us to get to the point where we will really be open (7 days) and not just on weekends. I guess that is a sign that summer is just around the corner. I think it would be more enjoyable to start work, at BG, just before the season gets underway and not earlier than that. We are learning our tolerance for the boredom that comes with the slower seasons and our job for future years work will be to figure out when to move from one region to another (Or one job to another), as the seasons change and business increases in the new area. It is fun learning about all of this. We are already looking into jobs for this winter....More later....

Saturday, May 10, 2008

We're in hot water....

Yesterday our hot water tank quit heating the water so Linda looked up the name of a guy that the folks around here have used and called him. I had today off, from BG, so I was home to wait for him to arrive. He got here around 2:00 p.m. and in short order he had figured out that the thermostat was shot in it, since it wouldn't work in either the propane or electric mode. It's a very small part...about the diameter of a quarter. Since we are still under our two year warranty, this will be covered by the factory. With most other manufacturers, they only have a 1 year warranty (or less) and this wouldn't have been covered but Peterson Industries covers everything, bumper to bumper for two years. I did get to try out the beautiful showers here, at the campground (pictures were posted in an earlier post) and enjoyed the massaging shower head.
After the repair guy left, I went to BG to get my paperwork for my new uniforms in the culinary dept. only to find that my supervisor hadn't left them for me. Tomorrow I work my usual shift in grounds ( 5 a.m. - 11 a.m.) and then I'll go back to get my paperwork, pick up the uniforms from costume dept., change and then go work for a while in my new area. Linda works tomorrow too at BG so we may ride together.
Weather here has been a little dicey the last week. You all probably saw on the news about the tornado that touched down in Suffolk, VA....that is about an hour from us. We got a lot of the same storms and had hard showers yesterday periodically throughout the day. In fact, I called Linda (she was here at the campground and I was getting ready to leave work at BG). The sun was out and it looked pretty decent at the park. She said it was raining horribly, at the campground, and to drive careful on the way home. Sure enough, I got within three miles of the campground exit and it was like driving into a wall of water. The wipers couldn't take it away fast enough. Traffic slowed down and I put my four way flashers on so I was sure that other cars would see me. It was pouring the whole way to the campground and I picked Linda up outside the rig and drove her up to the office since it was raining so hard. Part of that storm was a tornado that touched down in Fredericksburg, VA.... within 90 minutes of here. There is a chance for more bad storms in the next day or so. Hopefully tomorrow will stay dry until I get done with my grounds shift in the morning. I hate having to work in a raincoat and the pouring rain!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Just cause it's snappin' and poppin', don't mean it's Rice Krispies....

Today we had some excitement at the campground that no one had anticipated. Wednesday's have been my day off from BG so I was working around the campground. In the morning, I raked pine needles off a bunch of the sites to give the new grass a chance to grow and not get smothered out by the heavy blanket of pine needles. After lunch we started to mow. Dave, the maintenance manager, started on the office side of the road and I went to the opposite side of the road to mow. Today was sunny, warm and there was a nice breeze. An hour into mowing, when I was directly across from the office, I look over and see Linda running down the field towards Dave.....waving her arms. I look towards the office and see Jenny on the phone out front. I was immediately concerned that there was a medical problem with Jenny's new grandson, who is only about a month old. The fact that Linda was running meant that there was something up....Linda doesn't "run" for just any little ole thing ! I continued to mow and as I come back around the field to face the office I see Linda carrying stuff out of the office. About this same time I hear the first siren and look to see the first firetruck and ambulance coming down our road. Now I know something is going on but I'm still not sure what. I didn't see any cars out front of the office since I thought perhaps someone was having a heart attack in the office. I drive over to the parking area directly across from the office, where Linda is and ask her what is going on. She has boxes of stuff there and two CPU's from the office. She said that she and Jenny heard snapping and popping in the office and when Linda went to investigate, she saw smoke coming out around the window frame. She immediately told Jenny to call 911 as there might be a fire. That is what Jenny was doing on the phone when I looked over and saw her on the phone. The fire company was really fast.....she had hardly hung up the phone and they started arriving.
They went straight to work, hooking up their fire hose and assessing the situation. Next thing I knew, a guy had an axe and was chopping at the wall, near the window. As soon as they had busted an opening in the wall, we could see the flames. The sudden availability of oxygen fueled the fire and it started to go up the wall. The firemen got right on it with their fire hose, dousing the flames and stopping the spread of flames. Everything was brought under control and within a short period of time the firemen had things taken care of and were packing up their things to leave.
Everyone was very thankful that the damage was minimal....some smoke and water damage inside the store and a hole in the wall on the outside. Within an hour, Linda and Jenny were moving the computers and paperwork back into the office. I went back to mowing and Dave was left to patch up the hole in the wall and help air out the office.
Preliminary findings were that the outlet was improperly wired.....someone had tapped into the inside receptacle by just pigtailing onto the existing wiring, without putting everything inside a junction box. Thanks to Linda and Jenny's quick response, they saved the office. If the fire had broken out when the office was closed at night, chances are that the whole place would have gone up in flames before anyone could have responded. Everyone was very lucky today !!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Slow Down America !!!!!

Yesterday I had to go to Busch Gardens for an interview for the supervisor position I applied for in the Culinary Dept. It is 12 miles to Busch Gardens from where we are staying. In the 75 minutes that I was gone, there were three accidents on I-64 that I saw....either on the way there or on the way home. People drive like maniacs on this road and several people have told us that they prefer the back roads to driving on this route. Luckily the first accident was just past the BG exit so I could drive up the shoulder and still get off the road for my appointment.
Since buying our truck and 5th wheel we had researched what was the ideal speed to drive at for optimum miles per gallon. I think I may have talked about this in a previous post but it is worth repeating. When I leave for work in the morning, I set the cruise at 58 m.p.h. and it takes me 15 minutes to get there. Although the speed LIMIT is 65 on this route, it doesn't mean that we should automatically drive at 70 or more. DUH ! Kind of like the "supersize" concept that fast food has created....if we make it bigger then they will "want" to buy it and we'll make more money..This is true ! Research shows that by giving someone a bigger size they will eat 45% more food than if they were given a smaller portion and could get more. So, back to fuel efficiency....As a rule of thumb, fuel consumption increases approximately .08 MPG for every 1 MPH above 55 MPH. In other words, increasing vehicle speed from 65 MPH to 70 MPH will increase fuel consumption by .4 MPG. Not earth shattering but think about it on a global scale (or at least in the US...wouldn't want to slow the folks down on the Autobahn where the recommended speed is 81)....This would save a significant amount of gasoline. I know the difference it makes when we go 57 vs 60 in the big truck...we drop from 10 m.p.g to 8 and need to find a truck stop a whole lot quicker than if we'd gone slower.
To get an idea of how these measures add up, just look at the airline industry. High fuel prices are killing them. And so, little things can mean a lot. For example Southwest Airlines has started flying slightly slower. It projects that it will save $42 million in fuel this year by extending each flight by one to three minutes. On one Northwest Airlines flight from Paris to Minneapolis last week, flying at an average speed of 532 miles an hour instead of the usual 542 m.p.h., the airline saved 162 gallons of fuel, worth $535. Slowing down added a mere eight minutes to a nine-hour flight!

BESIDES SLOWING DOWN, airlines have lightened their loads. US Airways has replaced heavy meal carts with models that are 12 pounds lighter, saving $1.7 million a year in fuel. The airline also tossed the glassware in first class in favor of less jet-set but lighter plastic cups. Carriers also are pulling magazine racks, trash compactors and ovens.

American Airlines capped electrical outlets in the lavatories and cut the power converters from the wall. It took out phones in seat backs and removed the heavy telephone wiring that was folded inside -- saving the airline millions of dollars a year.

JetBlue's aircraft are 1,079 pounds lighter after removing extra trash bins, flight kits, supplies and seats -- "all the little things that, when combined, make a decent difference," JetBlue spokesman Bryan Baldwin said. The weight loss will save the carrier roughly $16,000 for a three-hour flight.

How much junk is in your trunk ? I know that a man, here in the campground, gave Linda a TV that he was going to get rid of and guess where we're carrying it ? Yep, in the car...gotta find a new home for that.
So, remember when the national speed limit was 55. There was good reason for that....slow down a life and save money too !!

**Thanks to RV Travel for the tidbits on the airline industry.