Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Couple of “Firsts” for Us

This past week was our first one working on a DR, or Disaster Recovery project.  Here is what our leader has posted as accomplishments: .  Work on Miss Mae’s house was begun about a month ago and completed last Thursday.  She has been living elsewhere for the past year.  Paige and Joanne installed a laminate floor in her bedroom – turned out very nice!!  On Thursday we had a ceremony to celebrate the completion of the work and give the keys back to her.  She is an 86 year old with a lot of energy and spunk!  In addition to getting a lot of repairs done this week, we also had the time to take in some local sites, like Joe Patti’s seafood market – yum!!
Pensacola’s biggest claim-to-fame is its Naval Air Station.  All Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard pilots get their initial training here, and the base has an excellent museum showcasing the history and equipment used by their flyers.  We spent most of Friday here.

This base also happens to be the home of the Navy’s Blue Angels, who have just returned here from their winter training base in California.  They practice every Tuesday and Wednesday here, but are gone to airshows around the country nearly every weekend.  We could hear them practicing but weren’t able to see them.

Saturday we said our “goodbyes” to the Nomads and hit the road, traveling north and west into Mississippi where we stopped for the night in Hattiesburg, home of Brett Favre. 
Tonight is another “first” for us: parked at Walmart with no hookups (boondocking).  It’s a rainy night here. Tomorrow should be a short day up to Jackson and over to Vicksburg, the location of a major battle of the Civil War.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Spring Break

We spent 4 days relaxing at the Gulf Islands National Seashore, just south of Pensacola Florida.  When we arrived on Tuesday the weather was sunny and pleasant, but very foggy for the remaining 3 days so we didn’t get to see a lot of the scenery.  The campground was near Fort Pickens on a narrow barrier island with the Gulf of Mexico to the south and Pensacola Bay on the north.  The fort was built prior to the Civil War, and remained active though WWII.  Geocaching took us around the fort and to a number of nearby artillery locations.
The wind can blow white sand from the shoreline across the road where front end loaders are used to keep the road open.  With white sand and heavy fog this can look like a blizzard with white-outs.:

You may have heard about the military helicopter which went down with the loss of all 11 soldiers on board, due to foggy conditions on Tuesday night.  This happened very near us and we saw the staging area where communications and the rescue and recovery were being handled.  A sad time!

After a rainy Friday, the sun came out on Saturday when we moved back to the mainland and where we joined another Nomads group.  Here is most of the group, having lunch on Sunday after attending church:
On April 30th of last year, the city of Pensacola and surrounding areas in Florida were hit with very heavy rains (more than 30 inches in 26 hours is what I have heard).  Many roads were washed out and lots of property was damaged.  The repairs are still going on.  For disasters like this, Nomads set up what’s called revolving teams.  We have space to park 6 RVs for a number of months and members sign up for as long as they like, from as little as one week to a couple of months.  Each week some workers might leave to be replaced by others.  We have plenty of time to get to our next regular 3-week project in Louisiana, so we signed up for next week.

We have 10 volunteers ready to go to work tomorrow. An introductory meeting just ended, so we had a chance to meet one another and learn about the work.  Wallboard, floors, baseboards, and cabinets have been installed in most places.  One lady’s house will likely be completed tomorrow, and some of us will begin to work on the next assigned home.  Nomads are not the only volunteers here; there is also a group of Mennonites living in the same campground, as well as lots of college students on spring break.  The local Habitat for Humanity group provides dinner for all the volunteers one night per week, and there were over 100 there last week.

We are really looking forward to getting to work.

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Few Days of Rest

We have had a couple of quiet days here at HoHum park, on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico.
On Saturday we explored the area to our west, including wandering in some shops in the small town of Apalachicola (try saying that a couple times!). A sign for an adult daycare caught our attention:
Closer to where we are parked is an interesting lighthouse, see

Bob made the 138 step climb.

The views were great:
Also nearby, in the town of Carabelle, is the world smallest Police Station.  Although we didn’t get a photo, you can see details at

Today, Monday, we took a road trip north to Tallahassee to check out a yarn shop (without buying anything).  On the way we passed a graveyard for old trucks; see

Late this afternoon a pod of dolphins passed just offshore.  We didn’t get a picture, but neighbors say that they come by twice every day.  

Tomorrow we will move again.  This time to a Fort Pickens on the Gulf Island National Seashore, near Pennsacola Florida.  We will pick up our mail there and relax for a few more days before volunteering next week for some rebuilding of flooded homes in Pennsacola. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Back to the Mainland

Last weekend we enjoyed some warm weather with fellow project members by sitting outside.  Paige and Lee both enjoy knitting and Lee entertained us by spinning some wool on her portable spinning wheel.
We stayed busy for the last week at our Nomads project in Williston, FL.  Paige worked with Bob, Ken, and Tony who were building a handicap ramp for a family just outside of town.  The weather was warm this week, mostly in the mid-80’s, and we got very hot while working.  The family was very appreciative and happy to have this done for them.  It made us all feel good!  Others in the group did some work at the parsonage and painted parking stripes. 
After 3 weeks in Williston, Florida, we packed up this morning and hit the road once again.  We traveled north, back to the mainland of North America and west along the Gulf of Mexico, staying in Florida’s “panhandle” region.  We stopped at the HoHum Resort just east of Carabelle for the next 4 days.  We are also very close to the line between Eastern and Central time zones, so we can leave our clocks as they are on Saturday night and be accurate again when we cross the line on Tuesday morning. 

It didn’t take long to meet a number of our new neighbors and we chatted with some from Michigan, Maryland, and Minnesota (Champlin). 

We plan to do a little sightseeing along the coast and have some more seafood before moving to the western end of Florida later.  We will post some pictures soon.