1st day @ Furnace Creek, Death Valley

I finally arrived here on Tuesday about 3:00pm. I first wondered why anyone would want to vacation in such a hot place in the middle of nowhere surrounded only by wrinkled up dry, barren mountains. After asking a tour bus driver, why people  come here, I was reminded that for some people who fly into Los Angeles (or anywhere in California) and want to travel to Vegas then going through the hottest, driest, and lowest point in America is just on their way.

While signing all the new paperwork in HR, I realized that I would be working  at the Inn. The Inn was that mystical “diamond-the-rough” that i passed about 2 minutes ago, up around the corner and half hidden by palm trees. It just looks so fancy and out of place being stuck here  in the desert.


This is more like what my first glimpse of the Inn was. Just rocks & dirt spread out for miles around it, with some mountains wrinkled up behind it.



Sorry K.M., those are not my photos. I have not been up the hill to the Inn yet to get my own pics, so I snagged these off the internet.  Obviously whoever took the bottom 2 pics had to be closer then I was at the main highway.

Got my dorm room, which happens to be passed the Inn. So my dorm is secluded away from the main area of Furnace Creek, but they have a shuttle that comes every half hour.
Just my luck, I got confused about the shuttle schedule today and ended up being 6 minutes late for my 1st day of work in the general store. The Inn doesn’t open until the 9th so I am doing my training in the general store.

Today my manager was going to start figuring out everyone’s work schedule for next week and asked if I preferred mornings or nights. As long as I don’t have to close 1 night and open the next morning  then I don’t really care. She also asked me if I was full-time (meaning all year) or if I was just seasonal  (meaning that I would be leaving next May). See full time workers get benefits like dental insurance quicker and there is a better chance of getting housing by yourself (instead of a shared dorm room). There was also mention of a lead position coming up (which also gets you single-status housing faster and for less rent).

Now while I was at the canyon, none of the managers that I had, would ever consider giving me a lead position, so I will try not to get my hopes up to high here either. But for once it would be nice to have a boss think I was valued enough and worthy of the promotion for a lead job, and not just stuck in some entry-level job that any jr.high kid could do. It used to get frustrating to train some new person starting in the cafes and watch them get promotions or watch them go get new jobs that managers would never even consider me for.

But I guess life has a way of working itself out, because after getting turned down from 1 job interview and then getting ticked off at 1 of my managers within the same week…I probably wouldn’t have spontaneously bought my plane ticket to Alaska years ago, and which would have never lead me to try other locations including Death Valley, where I am now.

Packing for the next adventure

Yesterday was my last day of work. We were very busy, which was unexpected. So when I got home I rested and did not pack anything. I also got a late start today. You see I hate packing, so i keep trying to put it off. Yes I could win an award in any procrastination contest.

My electronics are not the problem, because the laptop, tablet & portable DVD player all fit in my purse with my wallet, hairbrush, glucose machine, cell phone and sudoku puzzle book. Don’t worry K.M. my camera goes around my neck on every flight. If i can wear it then it doesn’t count as  extra carry-on luggage.

I don’t take “checked” luggage, anymore as I hate running around airports looking for baggage claim areas. On my flight the purse full of electronics is my 1 personal item, then I get 1 carry-on bag. I bought my carry-on luggage before I went to Alaska in 2012, and have used it on quite a few different airlines with no hassle about the size. I just make sure not to cram it so full as that also crosses around my neck as I walk through airports. Believe me, by the time I get to my seat on the plane I have a sore neck. But at least I don’t lose any luggage. I will pay an extra $14 to make sure I get a window seat with extra leg room but I don’t  pay for luggage…crazy I know.

I have 1 box that my old roommate will mail to me next weekend, with everything else that I  will be bringing to Death Valley. The box is bigger then the box I mailed to myself at Mt Rushmore in June, but somehow I collected to much stuff while I was here so I am leaving quite a bit downstairs on the free table. I will have about 19 hours in Vegas, so that’s time enough to go shopping for new work clothes. It would be easier if every park had the same color uniforms, instead of having to go buy something special for each new job at each new  location. No wait, it would be easier if companies that “required” a certain color uniform would be required to supply the whole uniform. At Mt Rushmore I wore black pants but at Death Valley I need khaki. At Mt Rushmore it didn’t matter what color your shoes were but I need all-black shoes to work in Death Valley.  I think I will just have to order most of the stuff I want online and have it shipped to me after I get there. Furnace Creek Ranch is over 2 hours away from Vegas so I won’t be back to the city for a long time.

Well I really need to go wash the companies bedding, and grab the vaccum. Time is ticking away and as usual I have been sitting around playing to many facebook games…well mainly “words with friends”.

Saying goodbye again


BeBe with her pink striped hair was leaving, to go back home to Thailand. It was funny (and sad) to watch her pack and leave. I already miss the kid. But I can hear her singing on videos that she puts on facebook.


A group of 12 co-workers went out to eat in a little ghost town. Pretty sure that the only thing left in town is the “Gaslight” restaurant. For $1,100,000.00 you can buy the whole town. I am standing behind Johnny & Kerry. They went back home to Florida. The rest of us still here still tease each other about taking “Johnny breaks”. His 15-minute breaks could sometimes end up being 45 minutes.


This is Lucie, from Czech Republic. Her smile lit up any room…especially when she came up to the dining room on her days off. Always in some groovy colored active sports pants like the ones in the picture. She was ready for any adventure.

Now it’s my turn to leave. After stressing out whether or not to take the cafe worker job at the Grand Canyon,  I finally got accepted yesterday for a retail job in Death Valley. I fly out on Monday the 28th. I will be there until May 11,2016. So that means I will be celebrating the Winter holidays and my birthday  with the desert lizards. Actually 1 of the kids here at Rushmore  will also be at Death Valley, working as a cook.

Oh boy, now whoever reads my blog will learn how to “live it up” in the hottest place in the USA. Hopefully I don’t spend the whole Winter with visions of the old cartoons in my head, where bugs bunny crawls around the desert looking for water and has hallucinations about seeing a mirage that actually looked like Scotty’s Castle, Which is located in Death Valley…Wonder if that old cartoon was filmed in Death Valley.

Need better control


I wasn’t feeling so great this morning so I stayed home from work. When I went downstairs to the community room to use the microwave for lunch, I found this puzzle and decided to bring it up to my room. I love doing puzzles and consider them a relaxing activity.
Now some people think puzzles are either frustrating, boring or just a waste of time. I have never been able to really clear my mind enough to meditate so maybe doing puzzles is as close as I will get.  There have been studies done that say keeping your mind active is 1 way to prevent dementia. So I will enjoy this puzzle for my health. There is a website called “Ravensburger” that has a puzzle with up to 32,000 pieces, and it’s over 100 inches long. Don’t think I will be doing anything that huge for awhile.

Now while I was doing this puzzle, I ate crappy food. Then this evening I felt terrible and decided to check my blood sugar. I got a reading of 225. Wow! That just might be the highest I have ever personal had..at least the highest I have ever tested at. So afterwards I  started drinking extra water. Not sure if you can flush out excess sugar or not, but water is always good for something.

It’s after 10:30pm now, so time to turn this tablet off. Hopefully I feel better tomorrow for work. Will check blood sugar again in the morning before I leave for work. I will have better control of my eating tomorrow at work. I assume there will be the usual chicken or fish and I will load up on the veggie salad.

Getting Ready For Work


I bought new shoes at Walmart on Thursday. I had noticed that after it rained my feet were getting wet inside my old shoes. I had worn them so much that the bottoms of them were wearing thin and had cracks all the way across. Standing in a gift shop for work, with wet feet was no fun.

I took my shower late last night, so when I got up at 5:30am today, I had crazy hair all over the place. Luckily I have barrettes & ponytail holders. I also found my earrings that I bought last month. I found them when I was packing to move into my own dorm room.

Checked my blood sugar level again this morning and it was only 85. Now I am having my 2nd cup of coffee and applesauce. I have a strange gadget that heats up water. I doubt that its “allowed” in our dorm rooms, but my friend gave it to my when she quit working here. It makes an extra hot cup of coffee. I will have scrambled eggs, bacon, and a banana about 8am, when I get to the employee dining room.

Tonight 1 of the employees is putting on a program with his barber-shop choir before the NPS’S regular lighting ceremony. That means I will stay to eat dinner tonight at work, and probably won’t get home until after 7:30pm. Well depending on how tired I am, I might stay for the lighting ceremony seeing as I have not seen it yet.

Good Morning


Yesterday I went on an employee trip to Walmart in Rapid City. Found out they are hiring “greeters” for $9.40/hour. The Subway inside Walmart is also hiring. I liked working at Walmart when I was in Vegas, but being a greeter seems like a boring job. Well I will apply for it anyways.

Anyways while shopping I decided to check on blood sugar monitors. Finally with the help of a random stranger waiting in the pharmacy check-out line, I bought the ReliOn monitor. I did not test myself until this morning after waking up late (if you want to call almost 6:00 am late). I got a reading of 101. According to everything I have read, results of 101-125 means you are pre-diabetic.

It’s about 9am now and I still haven’t eaten the apple. It’s hard to eat while busy typing on my tablet. But I will eat it before going down to the post office in Keystone this afternoon. I need to send out souvenirs to my youngest daughter for her 5 month old son.
While I am in Keystone I will probably get lunch at Teddy’s Deli. I haven’t been in there yet and a couple other people working around Mt Rushmore seem to like it. I will get a picture of it later.

Other news from this past week:  I finally moved downstairs in the dorm…in my own room!
Oh ( /) (\) (/) (\) that’s me doing a happy dance. I also got notified that I did not get the Winter job in Death Valley. 2 of the kids here had also applied there and they also got turned down for jobs there. I have other apps out, but really thinking of just staying in Rapid City for the Winter.

Blood Sugar Drop

I did not eat a real breakfast yesterday before work. I had the usual 2 cups of coffee, and then a vanilla pudding, banana, and a bottle of cran-grape juice. Soon after clocking into work, I was feeling light-headed, dizzy, slightly nauseous and needed to go to the bathroom every half hour, which is a bit excessive for me. I was also having a harder time concentrating on a conversation that I was having with a manager, but somehow faked my way through it.

I usually take my first 15-minute break about 10:15, but yesterday  I took it at 9:45, so I could hurry downstairs to have cereal and a peanut butter & banana sandwich. Peanut butter helps real fast when I feel like this. I was almost feeling back to normal by the time I got back up to the gift shop. Now I have been checked for diabetes  a few times and even though it runs in the family, I have never been diagnosed with it. Years ago  I had even bought my own  glucose monitor and used to check my blood sugar often. But with all my moving around, I left it behind. Few of my relatives have died from diabetic issues and my dad had taken pills for years but for about 8-9 months has had to take insulin shots.

My life has been what you could call unstable for years…moving around so much without the ability to have medical Insurance or even see a regular doctor. Yeah, even with all the talk around about Obamacare I still have no insurance.  The nearest urgent care here is 1/2 hour away in Rapid City but without my car it might as well be hundreds of hours.  If I get the job at Death Valley, the closest medical facilities are in Las Vegas which is 2.5-3 hours away, and would be impossible for me to get to. I lived in Vegas for about 7 months but never saw a doctor. When I am in the right location then I have no money or insurance…so the right location makes no difference. I need location, money/insurance, time, and transportation to get to health stuff to happen all at the same time.

When I had first arrived for work at the Grand Canyon in 2007, I used to grab potatoes…baked, mashed or even the deep fried breakfast potatoes to relieve the strange symptoms. Now I hardly eat potato except when there is potato salad for dinner, or a rare treat of sweet potato fries. Real fresh produce (or healthy UNPROCESSED  food) is a rare thing in national park areas where I work. So I am not sure how a full-blown diabetic can survive long term in these places.

Today is my day off and I already ate crackers with peanut butter with my morning coffee and just zapped some mac & cheese in the microwave for lunch. It’s not a healthy meal, but on my days off from work, I hate waiting around for the shuttle schedule, to get a ride up the hill to the employee dining room (EDR), And most seasonal jobs in parks only have employee meals at a certain schedule, which never fits my needs. At least at the Grand Canyon I could eat whenever I wanted.