Remember that when you leave this Earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received, only what you have given, a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage. -St. Francis of Assisi

Sunday, April 29, 2012


click on photos to enlarge

I was working Saturday morning, sitting at my desk, working on spreadsheets when I heard the mooing of cattle.  I looked out the window to see a cattle drive going down the road.

Our offices and the employee RV park and housing are on a dead-end frontage road of Highway 160.  I was surprised to see the cowboys moving the cattle along the road.

Most of the cattle were across the road walking on the grass along the side of the road.  Several of them decided to come into our parking lot and eat some of the grass and plants in the flower beds.
This beige one near the rear of the car was the loudest, he really did not want to move along.  The cowboy circled back a few times trying to get these guys to move.

I'm guessing there were at least 200 cattle, there were many calves in the group.

All of the pictures were taken
 with my iPhone from inside the office.

I didn't think it was a good idea to step outside
into the parking lot. information
Management of rangeland occurs on approximately 8.3 million acres of public land administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Colorado. Rangeland is a type of land, not a use. Composed of soil, water, air, flora, and fauna, rangeland resources generate many values, uses, and activities. Directly and indirectly, rangelands contribute environmentally, economically, and socially on local to global levels.
Rangelands provide protection to watersheds, quality water supplies, recreation, scenic beauty, and opportunities for enjoyment, relaxation, and solitude. Rangelands provide forage and habitat for many species of organisms, including insects, birds, wildlife, and wild horses by converting energy from the sun into food, fiber, and cover.
Rangeland also provides forage and habitat to domestic livestock. In Colorado, nearly 1500 livestock operators are authorized grazing use on 2500 grazing areas called allotments through an approved grazing permit/lease. Grazing is managed by the terms and conditions specified for each allotment on the permit/lease, e.g., kind and number of livestock, season of use, and amount of use permitted each grazing year.
Permit/leases are generally issued for a term of 10 years. When permits/leases expire, before being renewed they undergo a review for conformance with land use plans and compliance with environmental documentation requirements. An important part of the renewal process involves soliciting comments, interest, concerns, and resource information through public scoping. The public comments along with internal scoping and all other available information is used by BLM Field Managers to prioritize and rank permit/lease renewals for processing on a priority basis.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

iPhone...5g and a busy week

I am now using my iPhone as a personal hotspot, I set this up with Sprint and I will get 5g per month for $29. It is on a month to month basis, I told them I did not want to be tied into any contracts, because I did not know if this would solve my problems. Is 5g enough???

Spruce Tree House

If this works out, I will cancel the Sprint Mobile Hotspot that I have.  The Mobile Hotspot is unlimited, as long as your are in a Sprint serviced area. The mobile hotspot  is more expensive per month and charges extra for roaming over a specified amount per month.  My iPhone is roaming at this location, but I was told that the iPhone plan does not charge anything extra for roaming. Sprint sends me an email when I have used up all of my free roaming on the hotspot, I would hope they do the same for the iPhone  if I am going to incur any additional charges. I can also check my account online and will do that at the end of this week.

It has been a busy week, but I am not working a full 40 hour week yet. My schedule shows 5 days a week, 8:30 to 5:00, with a mandatory 1/2 hour lunch break. I don't think there is enough work for me to work 40 hours each week, this is ok because it gives me more time to explore the area. My normal days off (after next week) will be on Friday and Saturday.

Last Thursday was a full day of Orientation. I started training in the Accounting office on Friday and then on Saturday I trained in the Lodge on the computer systems for the front desk and gift shops.  I will use reports from these systems in my job in the accounting office.

On Monday afternoon, we were treated to a 1/2 day tour of Mesa Verde National Park from Aramark, this tour usually costs around $45.00.  The bus driver/guide was excellent.  He knows a lot about the history of this area.

Cliff Palace
this photo is from my iPhone, I will need to get some
photos with my "zoom" lense camera
Cliff Palace is the largest cliff dwelling in the park.
You can purchase a ticket for a
"ranger-led" tour to get closer to the dwelling.

Tuesday was my day off this week,  I rode the employee shuttle into town. They will drop you off and pick you up at any store.  Most of the employees just go to Walmart.  I asked to be dropped off at City Market, about a mile from Walmart, I told the driver he could pick me up at Walmart.  I was able to stop in a few stores and take a walk down the main street and see what type of shopping is available.

On Wednesday evening, we went to a food tasting in the Metate Room, a fine dining restaurant at the Lodge.  The Lodge and dining room is not open all year, today was "opening day" for this season.  All of the food was fabulous.  We had appetizers, shrimp, salads, chili, and several entrees of chicken, quail, beef medallions, elk, wild boar, pork tenderloin and trout and 2 different vegetarian entrees. Even though the portions were small for us (we divided a normal servings between 6 at our table).  It still works out to each of us eating more than 2 entrees.  After awhile, I was taking a very small sampling of each item. 

Square Tower House
A large multi-storied dwelling, built in the A.D. 1200's.
This 80 room complex was only accessible by
hand-and-toe-holds hammered into the rock.
Imagine carrying food and water up and down such a precarious
staircase or using hand-made ropes to lower materials to your cliff house.

My manager will be up at the Lodge for the next 5 days, training the Night Auditor, so I will be on my own for a few days.  There are reports that we work on in the morning that need to be sent to the managers of all the departments before 11am.  I have been doing these reports alongside my manager and hope that no problems come up over the next few days.

Today I finally received some passwords and access to the computer systems under my own "login", a key to the accounting office and an alarm code for the front door of the office building.

The work is different that what I did as a tax preparer.  Even though I did accounting work for a lot of small businesses, the forms and programs are different here.  In the end, it is still numbers and debits and credits and balancing. 

I have not worked on all of the systems yet because all of the different parts of the park are not open yet.  The campground opens in the middle of May.  With the Lodge and Restaurant opening today, I will have some different spreadsheets to work on tomorrow.  I am enjoying the work and my co-workers.  I am meeting many different people, some workampers and some single women without an RV that are staying in the women's dorm.  There are not a lot of really young workers, just a few that are under 20.  Most of the younger staff that are working in the dining room and bar are in their 30's.

Since the 3g service on my iPhone is unlimited, I will continue to use the iPhone, without my computer, to check email and blogs and search for things on the web.  It is sometimes difficult to comment on blogs, using the iPhone, and it's not easy to type on the small keypad.  I read some blogs on the Kindle Fire when it is linked to my iPhone hotspot, but it takes too long to open blogs that have a lot of photos.  So, I am still working through all of this, it is an adjustment not to have "instant" access to the internet. It's probably a good thing, it will get me away from the computer and I will spend more time outdoors.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Orientation and Connectivity

On Monday night I stayed in Alamosa, CO. Then on Tuesday morning, I drove over Wolf Creek Pass heading west on Highway 160.  I had perfect weather for this part of the trip.  I stopped at the top of the pass to get some pictures. I also stopped at a scenic overlook on the way down. The RV handled very nicely, on the way down I used 2nd gear to stay at 40mph, without braking.  There was hardly any traffic on the road. The speed limit is 45 for cars and 25 for semi-trucks.

I stayed at an RV park in Cortez, CO on Tuesday, this town is the closest to my job.  I wanted to check out the town and to stop at the grocery store.  I arrived at the office on Wednesday at 8:40am and was done with all of the paperwork by 9:10, they even made my ID card and badge during this time, but they did not have the list to know what RV site I was assigned to.  I was told check-in could take up to 4 hours, they usually check in a large group all at once. Since I was early, they processed my paperwork first and I was able to leave.

I didn't want to sit in the parking lot waiting for my RV site, so I decided to drive into Mesa Verde National Park.  I had read that some vehicles were restricted on the roads in the park.  You are not allowed to tow a trailer or a car behind your motorhome.  You must leave them at a special trailer parking lot just outside the park.  The ranger at the entrance said I could go on all but one road.  That road is limited to vehicles under 25'.  My rig is under 25', so I may be able to go on that road when it opens for the season. The Lodge and Campground in MVNP are not open yet.  The Lodge opens on April 19th and the campground opens on May 10th.

It is a long, curvy mountain road to get to the different cliff dwellings sites in the park.  I was not going to stay for a long time on this visit, so I did not drive through the entire park.  I drove to the Visitors Center and walked around that area. Then I drove to Spruce Tree House and the Museum and Spruce Tree Cafe.  I walked down the trail to see Spruce Tree House and went down into a Kiva. This Kiva was not very deep, maybe around 7'.

*     *    *

Today was Orientation, scheduled for 9am to 5pm. They served pizza for lunch and we were done for the day by 3:30.  We met in the employee meeting hall.  This building has a large kitchen with a walk in refrigerator and an area with a TV, couches, and several game tables. On the other side of the building are the shower houses and laundry room.

Most of the subjects covered were about customer service and safety for food service employees. Everyone sits through the same Orientation, no matter what your job is.  I will be trained on the cash registers, so I guess that is why I had to sit through the information about customer service. There is always a possibility that I may have to fill in for someone in a different department. Not too much of a chance meeting with customers in the accounting department.

We met the Executive Chef, the General Manager and all of the managers for the different departments.  The Security Officer is in the RV site next to mine.

The property we are on was a campground, gas station and store at one time. The offices are in the old store/restaurant.  The general manager and all of the heads of the departments have their offices is this building that I will be working in. There are a few cabins on site for managers and some of the managers have mobile homes.  The college kids are in very small cabins (they look like storage sheds).  These do not have bathrooms or kitchens, they basically have beds, I was told they squeeze up to four in each cabin.  The website tells them they will be camping out for the summer. There is a girls dormitory inside of the National Park near the Lodge.

The RV sites are a bit rustic and there are lots of trees for summer shade. It smells of pine and spruce when I go out in the morning. I was thinking we would all be parked in rows in a parking lot, so this was a nice surprise.

There are gardens at some of the sites.  The neighbor nearest my back door has a plot all ready and fenced, just waiting until it warms up enough to start planting.  He said I could use one or two of the rows, so I may be gardening this summer.  I never even thought that someone would be gardening at the job sites.

*     *     *

The employee wi-fi connection is very weak when I am in the RV.  It probably will work better when I am in the employee lounge area.  My Sprint Mobile Hotspot is in roaming mode here.  Sprint is usually unlimited, but not in "roaming", so I have to be careful when uploading pictures and stuff.  

I may have to wait to post blogs for when I am in Cortez.  I had no problems with my cell phone or internet in that town.  

Two weeks ago, I purchased a Kindle Fire. I am having problems reading blogs on the Kindle.  I can see my blog and if I click on the "dashboard" it shows the blogs I read, but I can't scroll down the list.  Does anyone read blogs on the Kindle Fire, is there an app or something?

No pictures of Mesa Verde on this post, until I get my WiFi usage worked out.

I have no problems posting pictures from my iPhone to Facebook.  I can use the 3g on the iPhone to check emails and search the web without any problems. I may be able to do a few short blog posts with one or two pics from the iPhone, I will play around with that over the weekend.

Monday, April 9, 2012

On The Road Again....

After living in my daughter's house for 3 weeks,
 it was time to load everything back into the coach.

Things seemed to keep making there way into her house.  Clothes, computers, electronic gadgets, paperwork, sewing supplies and lots of miscellaneous stuff.  I also loaded up the refrigerator in the coach with leftovers from all of the good food we cooked and Karl made me a batch of Mango Salsa, yum!

And some Easter Eggs to make egg salad

Ha, ha ---  Diane commented this morning that I was like a college kid that came home to do laundry and raid the refrigerator.

I helped Diane and Karl with a garage sale last week, they are purging stuff and downsizing. They are planning on moving later this year.  They are in the process of painting every room in the house and upgrading some things.  I did not do any painting or remodeling, but I helped them to wrap and pack things that they are keeping and/or putting in storage. I have a few boxes of stuff at their house that will go into storage.

I also did a little bit of sewing, I made some large pillow covers to go across the back of the couch/bed in the RV and made a few pillows and pillowcases for me and for Diane.  Diane is spray painting all of their yard furniture in cool, beachy colors and I made some cushion covers for her.

*     *     *     *     *

I have to check in at my seasonal job on Wednesday, April 11th, Orientation is the 12th.  I'm not sure what day I will start working or what my hours will be.  I'm not sure I would really call this "workamping" as I will get paid for all hours worked.  I will pay $25 a week for my RV site rent. Traditional "workamping" is trading work for an RV site.  I will be doing accounting work, which is not really a typical "workamping" job.

I'll be posting more information about the job when I get settled in my new location.

Now I have to get caught up on reading all of the blogs in my "reader". Where does all the time go?

Drake Tax Software

Overnight stays in these states:

Overnight stays in these states:
It is the sandstorm that shape the stone statues of the Desert. It is the struggles of Life that form a person's character ~ Native American Proverb