Saturday, February 23, 2013

Our Change of Pace

As mentioned in our last post, this project is all about community support.  The agency coordinating our efforts is called “Community of Hope, Neighbors Helping Neighbors”.  This past week our team of 9 people has split our time at 2 homes.  Most of us are at Eddie’s house where 2 doorways will be widened for easier wheelchair access and sheet vinyl floor covering is being replaced with ceramic tile.  Eddie had a stroke(s) many years ago and is very difficult to understand.  His main communication is done via the computer and Facebook – which now is down due to the rooms being emptied for the remodeling.   Darlene’s double-wide is getting 2 end rooms rebuilt due to a leaky roof which caused many issues.  New drywall was hung earlier; taping and painting are going on now, with some new plumbing, flooring and lighting to follow.  Both homeowners are so appreciative of the work we’re doing!

Yesterday afternoon we got a tour of the towns of Moss Point and Pascagoula and saw where many houses had been destroyed by hurricanes and flooding.  Some have been rebuilt, some are now being rebuilt, but many are still in need of repair.  We were shown around town by another couple working with us – Gary and Avis.  They’ve worked in this area many times with Nomads and Habitat for Humanity.  Turns out they lived for 34 years in Minnesota, between Gilbert and Biwabik, and know the Whiteface where our cabin is.  We’ve had a good time sharing our stories of MN with them.

We have had decent weather for working, with no more frost and highs in the 60’s.  This area isn’t quite as warm as Florida was for us but, compared to the rest of the country, we can put up with some rain and cooler temperatures.  We woke up to soggy grounds with more rain expected today. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Ready to Begin again

Friday was a short travel day for us: less than 100 miles.  We left southern Alabama for a quick loop around Mobile Bay and into Mississippi.  Our temporary address is Moss Point Mississippi which is just across the state line and almost on the Gulf of Mexico.  We are on the property of Caswell Springs United Methodist Church, in rural Jackson County, about 20 miles north of the Gulf.  We will be based here for the next 3 weeks, doing basic maintenance and household repairs for the needy throughout Jackson County.  This will be a change of pace for us, since we will be “commuting” to a variety of sites instead of walking down the hall or across the lawn, like our past projects.

We arrived here on Friday to join in a community fundraiser: a gumbo dinner followed by a talent show.  They had over 20 acts performing (singing, dancing, acting, etc).  It was a very enjoyable evening.  Saturday we did a little sightseeing back to the Gulf area, and some grocery shopping.  We will have to pack a lunch all week rather than return to the motorhome for meals.

Some of our members arrived yesterday and the last rig should be pulling in later today.  We will have a “get acquainted” meeting this evening and learn more about the work that is lined up for us.

Back here on the mainland, we are experiencing winter once again.  We actually had frost this morning, but that is somewhat rare here.  Our longer range forecast shows 40’s for lows and 60’s for highs, so we can put up with the rare frost.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Crisis? (I Don’t Think So)

Here at the Escapee’s RV park in Summerdale AL, we are less than 10 miles from the eastern shore of Mobile Bay.  It is a pleasant place to relax after our 2 day drive from central Florida, just not nearly as warm.  We will be moving tomorrow to the location of our next service project just north of Moss Point MS, which is on the other side of Mobile Bay.  We drove to the shore this morning, and went sight seeing south to Gulf Shores.  Cool, cloudy weather kept most people from the beaches, but not from the shopping and dining.  This area is full of northern Snowbirds and probably sees its share of Spring Break students as well. 

The nearest large city is Mobile AL, at the head of the Bay.  This city, and its port terminal, was chosen as the place where Carnival is having their cruise ship “Triumph” towed for repairs.  The local TV is hyping this towing as “The Cruise Ship Crisis” where the passengers are “trapped on board”.  Personally, I think they are no more trapped now then when they left Galveston.  It’s just that they had propulsion and electrical power when then entered the Gulf of Mexico, and they don’t now.  So it’s been a longer trip for them, and less comfortable, but crisis is way too strong a word to describe their misfortune.  For more details, see  

Before dinner this evening we went back to the shore and got some photographs of the huge ship across the bay

We were about 10-12 miles away, so you can just imagine how big this vessel is: fourteen stories high and carrying 4200 people.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Back on the Mainland

Monday’s drive of about 270 miles was mostly on Interstate Highways 95 and 10.  We like to support the Corps of Engineers who often include camping facilities as a part of their flood control projects.  We pulled into their place just north of Chattahoochee, FL (where the campground is just barely into the corner of Georgia).  Because of a weather front which was stalled to our west, we will stay here for two nights and leave again on Wednesday to avoid some heavy rain.  Aside from the rain here, it’s very quiet and peaceful.

For our “day off” on Tuesday, we backtracked slightly to Florida’s state capital city, Tallahassee.  While there we spent time browsing and buying at Barnes and Noble and enjoyed some coffee at Starbucks.  We drove there and back on some different backroads and saw a whole different Florida – not at all like the southern peninsula. There were some hilly and curvy roads for a change.  Some of the homes we passed looked like the stereotypical southern mansions.  Very beautiful scenery with landscaping including flowering bushes. 

To show how dull are: we reset all of our clocks back to Central Time (it’s about time!).  We’ve been in Eastern Time for over 150 days.  How’s that for exciting?  Now we can watch the 10 p.m. news again!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Where Did the Time Go?

It’s hard to believe we’ve let a whole week go by without posting.  I guess we are having fun, since time flys so quickly.  The body shop had our car from Monday morning through Friday and did a great job.  We got it back mid-afternoon on Friday, which made it too late in the day to pack up, so we did the next best thing – going out to dinner with the Nomads at Rockledge; back to the Dixie Crossroads seafood place for our 5th visit since mid-November.

We finally left the Space Coast area on Saturday morning, taking state highways and county roads around the north side of Orland.  We wanted to check out the Escapees park near Bushnell, FL anticipating just one night.  Prior to checking in, we recognized more Nomad friends whom we haven’t seen since the Buffalo NY area last fall.  We revised our plans to stay here 2 nights and catch up with them.  We shared pizza, played cards, attended church on Sunday and were invited to the pastor's 90th birthday lunch, took a ride to see another Nomads facility and visit more Nomads friends, and caught an ice cream social at the campground.  A very fun 2 days!

This post is being written early on Monday.  Right after breakfast we will be packing up and heading north and west.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Back to the Space Coast

As mentioned in our prior posting, we made the trip to the Lipizzaner stables and training facility in rural Florida, east of Sarasota.  This wasn’t a formal performance, but more of a training program for the younger horses, to get used to crowds of people and to hear applause.  They learn to become “crowd pleasers”.  It was an enjoyable afternoon in the Florida sun, after a brief morning shower.  This breed was used as “war horses” in the 1800s and nearly became extinct during WWII.  This branch of the family tree came to USA during the 60’s.  They put on quite a show.

On Friday we packed up and said goodbye to our new riding friends Ron and Arlene, and departed from Little Charlie Creek RV Park, back to Florida’s Atlantic shore known as the Space Coast area.  We are less than 10 miles from where we spent most of January, so we have stopped back there to see some old and new friends.  Another group of Nomads is back at Rockledge.  We have worked with one couple last fall in TN, but we didn’t know the others.  We stopped in to meet with them on Saturday, and went to church services there on Sunday.

This is being written on Monday, after dropping off our car at the body shop this morning.  We have a rental car while ours is being fixed.  We spent the day doing some errands, shopping and exploring.  We found a fairly large, quite new, retail center with lots of outdoor lunch choices. 
They offer live entertainment there on Fridays, which we might have to consider.  This Florida weather is easy to get used to: cool enough overnight to close the windows and run the heater for a short time each morning.  The afternoons have been T-shirt weather, but it cools off again about dinner time.