The Hitch-hiker

I have a strange work schedule this week. Today I had to work the mid shift from 11am-8pm. While I was waiting for the shuttle to take me to work, I noticed a roadrunner jump up on a car sitting in the parking lot.

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I had my new phone in my jacket pocket, so I turned on the phone camera and walked closer to the car to see if I could get some pictures. I think I made the poor bird nervous but I got some cool shots.

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Just pure luck to get a shot like that. I started making jokes that the bird had magnets stuck on the bottom of its feet, in order to hang onto the car like that.
After getting about a dozen pics of the bird, I realized the shuttle was late. Then I remembered that the shuttle drivers go on a lunch break at 10:45. Yikes..that meant I would be late for work. I quickly contacted my boss to let them know the situation and she sent a co-worker up to the dorm to pick me up…I ended up clocking in 12 minutes late. I have the mid-shift again next Tuesday, so I will need to remember to catch the 10:15 shuttle so I won’t be late.

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A neighbor  (who has lived here about 30 years) took this close up shot of the male roadrunner. How do I know it’s male…that bright orange & blue stripe on the side of its head. That and the fact that the female is still pregnant and to fat to get up to the 2nd story window where this was taken. Well actually from the info that I found online… the female can lay 3-5 eggs at a time and both male & female sit on the nest till the babies hatch. So then why is our female so fat???

About a week ago Kim & I got pictures of coyotes, then today I see the roadrunner. I would love to get both in 1 picture. Kim says I need to spend more time at the golf course where she works as she says I will have a better chance to get that picture.  Well I have Saturday, Monday & Wednesday  off so maybe I will spend 1 of those days on the golf course.

Spring has sprung in Death Valley

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Earlier this week Kim & I went riding around looking for the flowers that everyone was talking about. We found lots of them down past the Badwater_Basin. These yellow flowers are called “DESERT GOLD”. They are growing everywhere.

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We also found a couple wild coyotes beside the road. Only 1 would come over to the truck, while the other one stayed across the road watching us. I still want a picture of a coyote and a roadrunner together. But have not had any luck with that yet.

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And while walking around taking pics of flowers, some guests that recognized Kim, told us where to find the location of some old ruins.

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We only rode down to mile #44, as we had to get back to the “ranch” to get a campfire going at some friend’s RV. Cooked baked potatoes in the campfire…I put Kim’s homemade chili on top of mine.

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Who would of ever guessed that sooo many flowers could grow here. The pink flowered are called “DESERT FIVE SPOT”, I have not figured out what the cluster of purple flowers are called.

This week’s dinners

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Thanks to Kim, I was able to take pics with my new phone. I can’t  figure out how to post on this blog from my phone, so I had to send the pics to my email, then download them onto my tablet. An ex-coworker on  facebook actually complained about people posting pictures of food. Hmm, I assume if it bothers her to bad then she will hit the unfollow button soon. But seeing as this is MY page I can post all the food pics that I want. Actually it’s MY page on facebook & Instagram also so I can still post pics of food there.

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This one above was listed  as chicken fajitas on our menu, but I just got the fajita meat without wrapping it up. The grilled veggies were wonderful. The Spanish rice was ok..not spicy at all. I would of rather just skipped the rice and doubled the veggies.

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As you can see I got more melons with dinner. I love being able to have watermelon or cantaloupe almost every day if  I want. The meatballs in the last pic was a bit sweet because the cook used a little grape jelly in them. I never would have thought of putting jelly in meatballs before.
Tonight I work the night shift again and pork loin or pesto chicken is on the menu. I will have the pork as I don’t like pesto. Tonight will be my Monday & my Friday. Meaning I had last night off and starting tomorrow I have the next 3 days off. After that I will have a week of working morning shifts.

In other news: Katie finally bought herself a small used camper for $3500. She has moved into it with her little dog. Only problem with that is (and maybe I am being self centered) I don’t see her as often. In fact I have not seen her in almost a week. Kim has updated her resume so she can apply for the F&B manager job here in Death Valley…even though she has also been excepted for a server/bartender job in  Crater Lake for the Summer. I am still procrastinating about where to go for the Summer…..but think I will wait to post anymore about that until after I have my mind made up.

Grocery Shopping

Kim let me use her truck while she was working a couple days ago, so I went to Pahrump, NV. I had hoped to buy a new cell phone to replace the tracfone I lost on New Years…but no such luck. Anyways, I went grocery shopping at Walmart.

Yes employees get free breakfast & lunch at work, but it’s not always good and definitely not the healthiest food to eat. But seeing as I have gained weight since being here I must be eating enough of it.
Well I am assuming that the return of annoying heartburn and  the need for bigger clothes is caused by my poor diet of free meals along with to much beer & pringles after work.

SO….
I sat my fat ass down and remembered how I stopped the heartburn before. I stopped eating crap (or at least what I call crap), and it worked before because the heartburn instantly went away when I left my family’s home in NH, and I was no longer eating with my aunt anymore. I had moved to AZ, and was eating mostly fruit, veggies & frozen fish.

Then when I moved to Las Vegas, I was able to lose more weight. In fact I weighed about 40 pounds less then I do today. Now how does anyone lose weight in Vegas…easy when you don’t have a steady job to pay for food. Then when I went back to work for Xanterra, I was able to eat more…and I do. Which is why I am 40 pounds heavier then when I left Vegas 7 months ago.

Now all I have is a mini dorm-fridge & a blender, so I have no way to store or cook a bunch of frozen fish. But I can eat good stuff like

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Kim brought me home these veggies last week. They are great with hummus.
I also bought the food below at Walmart this week..

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I don’t really like just straight almond milk, but when it’s mixed with peanut butter, protein powder and a banana then it’s not bad. Only thing is…I learned last night that I have to hide bananas because otherwise Kim will eat a few while I am at work. Did you noticed the little packages of Chia seeds & hemp seeds? Well those will go into smoothies. I love the effect chia seeds have in smoothies but the hemp seeds are a new item for me to try.

I will be making laughing to myself when I go into work with my hemp seed protein smoothie. You always here about work places having a zero-drug policy or being a drug-free zone and I plan on sipping on my hemp smoothie at work all evening.  The package of hemp says it has 5 grams of protein, 1 gram of carbs, and 10% of the daily value for iron. So I am calling it my new health food.

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Devil’s Golf Course

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This is a very unique spot on the way towards Badwater_Basin.  All those chunks you see on the ground are salt. Salt that goes 20 feet deep. Now Badwater_Basin also has salt covering the ground but nothing like this. Not sure if anyone has tried to replace their table salt with the salt found here. Who knows, even though this salt is dirty it might actually be better for you. (Can you see the snow on top of the mountain). 60 degrees outside when I took this shot and I still see snow. Gotta love Mother Nature.

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In this picture, an international family was trying to get their dog to come back to them. I assume the dog had been riding a long time in the car and was just happy to be free. It was running all over the salt chunks on the ground. I did not stay long enough to see what it’s paws looked like when the dog was done exploring.

The first time I came out here, with Robert, I walked for a ways out onto the salt. I was a bit surprised that the ground was so hard.  I guess I expected it to be more spongy.

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A little closer look at the ground and you can see that there would be no way to play golf here…unless of course you really were the devil. Yes whoever named this spot in Death Valley had a sense of humor.
I love the view of all the mountains around this area. I was standing near the same spot that I took the first picture above…just looking the opposite direction.

Seasonal Jobs

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I recommend this book to anyone who wants to work in a national park. I found parks that I did not even know existed, and parks that I have heard of but didn’t know much about.

First figure out which season you want to work…a busy Summer or a slow snowy Winter season. Do you have a favorite state that you want to explore? You will find maps and lists of airports near each park along with some driving directions to get there. There is info about camping, hiking,  & seasonal activities.

When you live/ work a few months at a seasonal location, it’s nice to know where to shop for things. Well this book has a list of local grocery stores and restaurants, and festivals for each area.
Then after you figure out which park or region of the country that you want to spend time in, I suggest that you check out a site http://www.coolworks.com . You can browse job listings there to see what employers offer for housing, employee benefits, food, and pay. Be realistic on what you can live with (or without) for the entire season.

This week my roomie, Kim, has applied to 7 jobs in Glacier (MT), Yellowstone  (WY), Crater Lake (OR) and a little community outside of the Grand Canyon  (AZ). The couple that invited a group of friends  into their RV for christmas dinner will be returning to Yellowstone, in May. I have never seen Yellowstone even though it was the first seasonal park job that I ever applied to, when I attended a recruiting event in 1999. I turned the job down after I got it because of family issues.

New job locations that I am researching for the Summer season:
1. Yellowstone (WY)
2.  Mt Rainer (WA)
3.  Acadia (ME)
4.  Denali  (AK)
5. Theodore Roosevelt (ND)
6. Badlands (SD)
7. Crater Lake (OR)

K.M: if you read this and wonder “But what about the Grand Canyon, why isn’t it on your list?”

Well I still call GC home, housing at Desert View was the best. But my list was for NEW places.

I have sunshine on a cloudy day

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Now there is some little rays of sunshine. If you always look at the sun then you will never see the shadows. We had rain yesterday evening and woke up to a bit of snow on the mountains. News reports say that Los Angeles area had an earthquake, but we did not feel anything here in Death Valley.

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I am on a 3-weekend from work, which is why I had time to enjoy the clouds.  If life gives you clouds, then it’s up to you to make your own sunshine.  It’s  about 64 degrees outside right now and I should go find something productive to do.
Yeah, next joke… LOL

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