December 22nd I worked my last shift at Amazon, Chas worked her last shift that night and came home unemployed at 4:00 a.m. on the 23rd. Our time in Coffeyville has been filled with hard work, good friends, and new memories. The girls spent a lot of time riding their bikes around our little gravel lot they call a campground, and drawing with chalk on a concrete pad that will eventually be the new office and community space. There weren’t many other kids here, so they kept each other busy. There are steam locomotives in almost every town we visited, so we had some fun posing for pictures.
We found several very cool things to do within a short distance of our home base. The first adventure we took happened to be Riverside Park and the Ralph Mitchell Zoo in Independence, KS. It is basically a free zoo, with monkeys, tortoises, peacocks, macaws, and several other interesting critters. It has a nice playground for the kids, and a duck/swan pond in the middle. It is a nice place to spend an afternoon where the kids can run and play, in the summer they have a lot more activities going on including a small train ride, miniature golf, and a water park.
We also ventured to Bartlesville, Oklahoma one Sunday afternoon to visit Woolaroc, the Frank Phillips estate. We stopped and had a nice steak dinner on the way to the estate. Frank was the founder of Phillips Petroleum, his estate is now a museum and wildlife preserve. We didn’t get to see any of the wildlife on the estate since we arrived after dark for the Christmas lighting display. I would like to visit the museum again and would recommend it to anyone when you are in the area. We ended up picking up a nasty chest cold here that knocked our whole family for a loop, but we still enjoyed the adventure. The girls even got to hang with Santa in the lobby of the museum.
Working for Amazon is much different than I expected. They do things very different from anything I have ever seen, but it works for them. The work is very demanding on you mentally and physically, so it isn’t for everyone. If someone asked me to describe the job so a future employee would know what to expect, this is what I would say:
Prepare yourself as if you are going on a long hike through the mountains. Your day will begin by picking up 30 pounds of supplies, then walking 50 yards and setting those supplies down again. Then you repeat this process every 50 yards, picking up 30 pounds, then setting it in a new spot. Sometimes you walk on flat terrain, sometimes you go up and down hills (stairs, maybe 3 flights). Your supplies may be over your head, or down at your feet, so bending and reaching will be very important. You can sit down for 15 minutes after you are hard at it for 3 1/2 hours, then back to the hike. Another 3 hours pass, then it is time for a 30 minute rest/refuel. Then back at it for 2 more hours before a final 15 minute rest. The last stretch seems to move the fastest, so you can go rest before you start it again the next day. By the end of your day, you may have walked over 15 miles, and moved several thousand pounds of supplies by yourself. Not all positions follow this strenuous path, some move less supplies, but walk farther. Other positions may require you to move more supplies, but your total distance traveled will be less. Be prepared for a long tiring day either way, and if you are lucky, you will have someone to give you a back rub when it is all over.
I applied for the Camper Coach position a few days after starting my shift at Amazon. This position required me to be a liaison between the camper force and the management at Amazon. They are committed to making their work camper program the best program available to campers in the country. We had around 300 campers here at the Coffeyville location this season alone, I don’t know how many were company wide. The other coaches and I were able to bring suggestions to the management team that will ensure a much smoother program for 2013. I am glad I had the opportunity to fill this position, I think I helped get the wheels of change rolling in several areas that needed improvement.
Could I see myself working for Amazon again? Sure, if it fits in with our travel plans we would work for Amazon again. I don’t know what our schedule will have in store for us in 2013, but if it makes sense we will work the Christmas season next year. If we do work for Amazon next year, it may be at one of the other facilities, who knows at this point.
This portion of our adventure ending will begin our migration to Quartzsite, AZ where we will be spending a couple months in the desert… We Can’t Wait ! ! !