More Snow

more-snow1No doubts about it, I’m definitely liking this work camping gig better than Amazon last fall, even though the spring weather has been fickle and unpredictable. The promised snow did come on the 22nd, and the wind was blowing hard enough that it was all but impossible to get pictures while it was falling. I snapped one of Cas in his first honest to gosh snow-fall, and another of the snow melting on the badlands after orientation got done, by evening it was mostly gone.

Speaking of work, it’s been going decently. I won’t say it’s a fantastic or amazing job, but as with most things in life, work is what you make of it. I choose to focus on the good things and ignore the inevitable drama and politics found in any workplace, even in one in as picturesque a location as this.

more-snow2Focusing on the positives, the Cedar Pass Lodge gift shop feels less like a tourist trap and more like a genuine learning experience. Unlike with many gift shops, a good majority of the product carried is made in the USA, and there are a lot of authentic Native American handicrafts that are actually made in the local reservation. Not only is it the real deal, but there are signs and cards out by each artist’s display with their name and tribe on it, and many have the story behind the art, and a little about how it was made. It’s not gimmicky, the tourists purchasing things from CPL actually learn something about the culture and history of the area, and aren’t just buying a cheap trinket. It means more work for us employees to have to learn the story behind all the things we sell, but no doubt it makes me feel like a better human being to be selling things of real value and substance.

more-snow3Not only is it authentic, it’s pretty. The view out the large front windows is the view behind my rig in that photo I posted last update. I may be stuck behind a counter a good part of the day, but I get to watch the sun play across the bends and folds of the badlands. Amazing view non-withstanding, the gift shop itself is well laid out and beautiful, and carries a lot of beautiful stuff. There are three counters and sections to it, I was trained and will probably continue to primarily work at the jewelry counter. I’m really not much of a jewelry person, but I knew I was in trouble from the moment I stepped foot into the Lodge. I won’t make it through the season without buying something for myself, I already know it. Luckily I’m not an impulse buyer though, so I’ll still be saving most of whats left of my paycheck after bills etc. to put toward solar power and other future projects.

I also get along well with my co-workers. Again it’s still early to tell, but in the week and a half that I’ve been working I already feel more of a community kind of connection with them than I ever did at Amazon. Part of that is me – I’m making much more of a conscious effort to get involved and go out and do stuff. So far I’ve gone out “hiking” with others 6 times I think? I’ve already lost count. I say “hiking” in quotations because with the younger crowd it’s less hiking and more climbing. There are no rules about having to stay on the trails in the badlands so more often than not we ignore the trails completely and start at the bottom of a cliff and climb up to the top.


It’s amazing exercise, climbing is. The first couple times I did it I was sore in muscles I didn’t even know I had. After my first day of work on the 23rd one of the cooks took a fellow gift shop employee and myself out “hiking” and we ended up after a hard arduous climb through mud and melting snow on the flat grassy top of a mesa thing. The badlands loop road stretched out before us left and right and the panoramic view of the badlands went a whole 360 degrees around us, it was incredible and yes, I have video of it.


We went down a different way than we went up and wound our way through a curving creek bed with walls rising up on either side. I tried getting photos but I was too close to show the real scope of what it looked like. Occasionally we’d step in a pile of snow and discover that it was much deeper than expected, the wind likes to pile it into the crevices. I made it back to the RV with muddy shoes but otherwise intact as the sun set.


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24 Responses to More Snow

  1. travelfables May 2, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

    Nice, thanks for the Snow pics. Never seen that area in snow 🙂

    • Becky May 2, 2013 at 10:54 pm #

      You’re welcome. It’s unusual to be getting snow this late in the season here from my understanding, I’m kind of glad it happened for the photo opportunity. 🙂

  2. Lynn Bonelli May 2, 2013 at 10:34 pm #

    We are heading to the Badlands at the end of the month (currently in Kentucky). Hopefully the snow will stop by then but I am really hoping to stop by and say hi. You’re blog is very inspiring. Love the picture too!!
    Lynn Bonelli recently posted..New Mexico: “Cleaner Than Real Mexico…”My Profile

    • Becky May 2, 2013 at 10:56 pm #

      Awesome! My schedule is not set in stone, but once you know specific dates drop me a comment or e-mail. This is the first gig I’ll have where blog readers can actually come visit me. Really you guys could come to visit me in other places, but the other places I’ve worked haven’t been nearly this scenic. 🙂

  3. Caroline near Seattle May 3, 2013 at 12:38 am #

    sounds like you made the right choice by choosing this job! It’s great that you’ve made friends and have been on several hikes. Hopefully that sense of community will last for the next several months and over-ride the usual work drama. You’ve got the right attitude; maybe you’ll set the tone for the workplace!
    I haven’t been to the Badlands or that area so I’ll be anxious to watch your photos over the summer.
    So what was the story on your leaking windows? I didn’t quite understand what caused the problem or how you fixed it.
    Have a great week! carol

    • Becky May 3, 2013 at 10:02 pm #

      Heya Carol. Yep, so far so good on the job front.

      As for the windows, I tightened some screws and cleaned my drain holes, won’t know if I have a real problem with them until the next time it rains hard which it hasn’t done yet.

      • Caroline near Seattle May 5, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

        That was an easy fix ! Don’t you wish all maintenance issues were all so easy?

        • Becky May 6, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

          Indeed! Although I’m not 100% sure that it’s fixed, that’s why I’ll be keeping an eye on it next time we get a decent rainfall. Looking like a chance for afternoon thunderstorms the rest of this week so I should be getting my chance soon.

  4. Evelyn May 3, 2013 at 7:55 am #

    I’m so glad you’re enjoying your gig in the Badlands and your job in the gift shop. Are you going back to Amazon this fall?

    • Becky May 3, 2013 at 10:02 pm #

      Yes Evelyn, although it’ll be later in October when this gig gets done.

      • Evelyn May 5, 2013 at 8:24 am #

        We’re scheduled for our orientation on Oct. 17th and will be staying at Big Chief again. They have new owners and are taking reservations. I spoke to the new manager yesterday and she was very nice. Enjoy your summer and we’ll see you in October!
        Evelyn recently posted..Three Years and Going StrongMy Profile

        • Becky May 6, 2013 at 8:58 pm #

          Great! I’ll probably be the week after that on the 24th, but I still gotta get proof of education to Michael, a bit miffed that I gotta do it again after having done it last year. I won’t be scheduling with Big Chief until after that but I intend on going back to that park, just so convenient! Looking forward to sharing stories of our summers then! 😀

  5. cozygirl May 3, 2013 at 9:34 am #

    JUST GORGEOUS! We get that way I’ll splurge on a piece of jewelry :O)

    • Becky May 3, 2013 at 10:03 pm #

      There’s so much to choose from! It’s tough. 😛

  6. PamelaP May 3, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

    I’ve only had the opportunity to go to the Badlands once but I was blown away by how spectacular they are. I’d be in trouble if I was selling hand made jewelry. I make it myself and really appreciate (and buy) other artists jewelry.

    Are you planning on coming back to Amazon? If so, which location? I’ll be at all three locations this peak season and I’d love to meet you!

    • Becky May 3, 2013 at 10:04 pm #

      Yes back to Coffeyville, although it’ll be later in October this time when this gig gets done.

  7. Marcia GB in MA May 4, 2013 at 7:59 am #

    Nice pics! And great to hear that your job is going well. You’re off to a good start!

    • Becky May 4, 2013 at 10:21 pm #

      Thanks Marcia!

  8. Dragon May 5, 2013 at 1:09 am #

    I’ve never considered taking a trip up to the Badlands before but your pictures really makes it a tempting trip. Stay warm up there and good to hear that you’re fitting in nicely. Thanks again for the awesome pictures!

  9. Becky May 6, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

    You’re welcome Dragon, it’s a really neat and beautiful place. At least I think so. Part of it might be how different it is from every place I’ve spent a significant amount of time in before, the lack of trees and open skies still surprise me. 🙂

  10. Old Fat Man May 6, 2013 at 11:27 pm #

    The Badlands are pretty neat. The one time I got to visit it was very cold but I still enjoyed the Park. I just stumbled onto your blog a couple of days ago and am still catching up from the start. Congratulations on a great choice of lifestyle.

    • Becky May 9, 2013 at 12:14 am #

      It really is quite pretty in the snow. And this summer highs above 100 wont’ be uncommon from what I’ve heard, that’ll be a whole nother ballgame. 😛

      Also, welcome to IO and glad you like it!

  11. kristine May 8, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

    Great pics and update. This florida gal hopes never to have an rv snow picture but yours was cute!! The 40 degree nites here in mass are killing me but seems to be warming. Spring is springing very pretty. Keep us posted. I do hope to make some friends at amazon in Kentucky. Talk soon kristine

    • Becky May 9, 2013 at 12:15 am #

      Glad to hear things are going well Kristiine. Nights here have been upper 20’s to low 30’s past week or so, but tonight we’re getting a spell of nights in the low to mid 40’s, it’s like a heat wave! 😛

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