Palm Trees in southern Florida

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

An Amusement park job and modern America

Beer, burgers & pizza in the park

We are workcamping at an amusement park in Iowa, we get a spot for our RV (with utilities) and we are paid minimum wage for the hours we work. Not a bad deal as far as I'm concerned. The work is not hard, the people I work with are great and dealing with the 'public' in this setting is a lot of fun.
I'm scheduled for 4-6 hours, six days a week. Tuesday is my scheduled day off and during the week we get free access to the park.

Last Tuesday we did 'exciting' rides but it wasn't really warm out so we skipped the 'water' rides. Today we went to do the 'water' rides, local schools are not out yet so the crowds are down, it was good fun and it was educational.

Educational? The first roller coaster tossed my neck around a whole lot more than was comfortable, that was the only roller coaster.  Next we went on a ride that goes around and around really really fast, good fun for the first 30 seconds... I tried the 'Space Shot', it shoots you up 200 ft in 3 seconds then drops you. Air pressure powers it, it's quiet, sudden & very surprising.  My body was not as happy with the thrills as it was 30 years ago.

Today we rode all the regular rides that use the water, it's not raining and was well on the way into the 80's, good weather for water rides.  I'd worked at two of them and I was waiting for my chance to try them, we did & it was good fun. Not great just good, I must be getting older...
Then we went to the water park side of the amusement park & gave everything a try. That was good fun too.

We got wet & the sun felt good. As I was sitting there in the sun thinking about my day I had two thoughts. The first was how good the sun felt and the second was how tired I was after walking up all the different stairs so I could slide down the other side.  That second thought led to another thought, maybe we should have taken up workcamping when I was younger, like when I was 30?
When I was younger having an amusement park at my disposal for the summer would have been unbelievable, having a water park as part of it was something I would never have dreamed of.  An amusement park that sells beer, has a swim up full bar and I can just go to anytime when I'm not working would have been a fun job.

It was maybe 5 minutes later when I realized one of the realities of modern American life. If I'd done that I wouldn't have the medical coverage I have today. Medical insurance is important if something goes wrong. My last job had several people working there who were older than I am & were set up much better financially, they hung in with that job just for the medical coverage, 65 years old and Medicare was the goal.

A swim up bar with more than just beer

Not just any old beer either....

This bucket fills & as it gets closer to full water starts running out a pipe and over a small water wheel, that causes a bell to ring as the wheel turns, when it gets enough water in it the bucket tips over, hits a roof and slashed to the ground! Then it starts all over. The water is cold....

There is a merry-go-round, it's like you remember it.

This part of the RV park is all workcampers but it's a big RV park

The Big Wheel & The Space Shot as seen from the RV park

There be dragons!

The kids water slide & play area

Lazy River, it's heated & has a slow current, those are cabanas for those hot days

The log ride

The roller coaster, hard on my neck.

Still fun but ...

Notice those legs sticking straight up in the air? An older gentleman told me this was the best ride in the park. I'm still thinking about it. 

A water slide, with the water splashing over me I couldn't see but it was fast!

This one uses a float

This is 4 different water slides, it was good. Pitch dark in the middle & fast

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day 2013

Way back as Boy Scout in Hawaii I put flags on the markers in Punch Bowl Cemetery on Memorial Day.  In the Fern Township cemetery in Becida Minnesota on Memorial Day they have a service where they read the names of the veterans buried there. They are not forgotten.

Two years ago on Memorial Day 2011 I was driving to work at a warehouse in the Puget Sound region of Washington state. I was up early for this as I usually worked until midnight, I was on mostly deserted roads listening to the news/traffic radio. On the radio they talked of a mother in Tacoma Washington who had lost her 21 year old son the Thursday before to an IED in Afghanistan. I had some idea about how that poor Mother felt because my 20 year old daughter had died from complications from the leukemia treatment a little over two weeks before that.

Before she died Aurora asked me "why", just bad luck was my only answer. That mother in Tacoma would probably never get a good answer as to why her son was in Afghanistan. I have asked both my Senators, my Representative to the House and the President and I've never gotten a good answer as to why we are "still" in Afghanistan.

There are too many young people in the cemeteries today, "why" is the question this Memorial Day.  For some it was bad luck, others died in Europe or the Pacific fighting to keep America free, for many "duty" is the answer.  In my opinion, "duty" for the fallen is enough,  but we the living need to ask "why?".

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Alamo

The Alamo

Over the years I've driven I-10 three times, I've driven past San Antonio Texas three times, I've driven past The Alamo three times. When I was thinking about things and places I wanted to see, at least not miss, the Alamo came up. I looked it up and saw that I had gone right by before and put it on my list along with the city it was in.
The Alamo, San Antonio Texas today

It is a shrine
Later I made a template for my copy of MS Streets & Trips that has the RV mileage (6 mpg), speeds (slower than normal) & driving times (9-3) on it. I added push pins for all the places on my "I really don't want to pass this by like I did The Alamo three times" list. It's more than the Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde & Terlingua/Big Bend it's Pink's Hot Dogs in LA & a number of eating establishments I've seen on the tube (like the deep fried burgers- Dyer's Burgers, Memphis, TN).
The Alamo is on the list....

We were visiting family in Del Rio Texas and it was time to go. We had some time before we 'had' to be in Iowa for our first workcamping job (besides an obligation, free rent & electricity are a powerful draw!) and there were two things from the list I wanted to do in the general 'area' of where we were. I really wanted to spend some time on the beach down by Padre Island & see if i could find a silver coin from the Spanish treasure fleet that sank there in 1554 (plus I like the beach) and I wanted to see The Alamo. We just didn't have enough time to justify the fuel money for a short stay at the beach so we passed that up and set the GPS for The Alamo.
(With any luck we'll get down to the Padre Island area this winter, but that's a blog for a different day .)

It's tough to find a parking spot for a car 27 feet long, 8 foot wide and 10 foot high in that part of downtown San Antonio, not impossible, just tough.

Over the course of my years in the Coast Guard and on the internet I've become acquainted with a lot of people from Texas, they were generally a 'little' different. Not a bad thing, just something I noticed. After my visit to The Alamo I had a better understanding of the Texans I'd met over the years.

There is a lot more too it than this, they didn't allow photos in the main building so I didn't get any photos from in there and I am not touching on the how & why at all.
If you are interested I am sure a quick look on the internet will fill you in.

The Alamo was worth taking a look at.

This is the lay out during the battle

Different cannon on display

Monday, May 13, 2013

Monday's aren't so bad, it's your job that sucks

I saw that on a photo of graffiti on facebook, it's odd how you find those little things are so true..

I just finished an other weekend of working at an amusement park on the "rides". My job, it's all about people. Simple work, standing on my feet in the weather helping people get on (or off) a ride.
Amusement parks were about crowds & lines in my world, up till now.  The lines are for the most part not my problem, I see the crowds one person at a time or maybe in small groups now.

Most of the people I see are kids. The little ones have wonder or fear or determination on their faces, the middle schoolers (there have been a lot with organized trips) are busy interacting with each other. The parents, grand parents & other adults represent a wide range of behavior. It has been fun.

Another big part of what I do is the people I work with, people who in many cases are my neighbors in the RV park too.

Next weekend the park will be open 7 days a week and I'll start working 6 days a week ....

Not really much to say, I'm just tired of looking at those photos so I'll put a few up from the trip so far.

I like following roads... we took the VW bus from where 101 ends in Olympia Washington down to LA at exit 1E (or something like that, I'd have to find the photo).

That's why I took the photos of the beginning of I-10

The start or the end of I-10 in Santa Monica. I guess it depends on your personal view point.

The Santa Monica beach on New Years Day 2013
 When we make it to Jacksonville Florida I'm hoping the other end of I-10 is close to the Atlantic Ocean too.
I just looked, it's not  :-( 
But it is 2427 miles to Jacksonville where it turns into I-95 running north & south.
The west coast start of the I-10 Freeway

In Tombstone Arizona, the Bird Cage Theatre

 I did some research on Earp, Tombstone, the people who are him during this time. It was interesting.
The balcony, if you've seen the movie "Tombstone" with Kurt Russel this is the place

The stage
A "working" room

 The Bird Cage Theater fit in a lot better with the westerns I saw as a kid, it looked large enough.

After seeing the actual saloon where Wild Bill Hickok was killed in Deadwood South Dakota  I was disappointed by it's size. It was way smaller that those places were in the movies!

Tombstone rekindled my faith in the movies!
The sign outside the room


Alpine Texas from the west
Downtown Alpine

 I had an in-law that lived in Alpine 40 years ago and have heard many stories about it so I had to take a look.

My bike had 2 flats in the 2 days we stayed there, that equaled what I'd had in 2 months in Quartzsite.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

I have to go to work today & other photos

The long road to Terlingua
The snow mostly gone with the rain we had last night. There was enough snow that the amusement park was closed yesterday but not today it seems so it's off to work I go.

It is odd working after taking time off, I have nothing to else to do really but that usually takes all day... Like I said, it's odd.

I go to this blog to see what's new on the blogs I follow and the snow pictures were depressing me  :-)

According to the weather guy on television last night it is supposed to warm up now, upper 60's today and in the 70's for the rest of his guess.
That would be nice.

Sun Rise

Is Area 51 real?

Is this the fabled Lost City Of Gold?

There is something about these Arizona mountains

A peak down by Big Bend NP

Our dog on the beach in Santa Cruz, what would a small picture collection be without a dog?

Somewhere in South Texas