Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Where and Why?

Where we are is Ozona Texas.  Some might ask “Where is that?”  One answer is that is at the far western edge of “Hill Country” and at the start of where West Texas begins.  It is also at the edge of the oil patch with some oil and gas wells and a lot of ranch land.  Cattle comes to mind first, but we have learned that the wool from sheep and goats is what really made this area grow, originally.

Ozona is in Crockett County, which was named after Davy Crockett, “King of the Wild Frontier”.  He was originally from eastern Tennessee but moved to Texas in 1835, shortly before his death at the Alamo in 1836.  It is a good thing that the county seat is here, because it is the only town in the county; its neighboring towns are all in the next counties.  There is absolutely no TV reception without satellite or cable (neither of which we have).  There are 2 FM radio stations however.  The nearest Walmart is 80 miles north, in San Angelo.

We are here at the request of the local Methodist church which has hosted Nomads once before.  That group did most of their work at the church itself, whereas we are working at homes throughout the community.  West Texas doesn’t get much rain, but the rain can do a lot of ceiling damage if roofs leak.  There is a lot of that type of repair for us, as well as remodeling a bathroom in the Community Center.  We are here with 5 other Nomads, and we will be joined soon by 2 others.  At one time or another, we have worked with all but one of them, so there is a feeling of “reunion”.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Why Are We in Wimberley?

On May 23, 2015 a massive storm system dumped as much as 13 inches of rain on the area feeding into the Blanco River, near Austin Texas.  The rushing rainwater quickly became a “wall of water”.  The river rose 36 feet in 4 hours; at one point, it rose 5 feet every 15 minutes.  Before it returned to normal, more than 15,000 trees, 350 homes, and 11 lives were lost.  More than 6,000 volunteers donated 47,000 hours helping with the recovery which is still on-going after almost 18 months.   The Nomads and a couple of other groups are still working here. 

Our team is parked at a former church camp about 15 miles out of town.  We have 9 individuals in 5 rigs and are working on 2 homes.  There is room here to park 7 rigs and, after a short break for Christmas and New Years, there is work planned through the end of March at least.  There is that much work remaining to be done.  We will be here for just this week only, before moving on to Ozona, in west Texas for the next 3 weeks.

We have previously worked with 2 couples and a single woman and just met one couple from Missouri.  It’s a nice combination of reconnecting with some folks and meeting new folks.  We will work for 2 ½ days this week.  On Wednesday we work ½ day and then go out for lunch as some people will be leaving.  We plan on working Wednesday afternoon to decorate for a community Thanksgiving dinner in Wimberley.  We will attend that dinner on Thursday.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Now in Austin

Once again the time has come to update our followers.  Because of our medical issues in Duluth, we had cancelled out of a service project in southern Missouri for late October and into early November.  We had worked with most of the other volunteers there at other places and times, so we were disappointed to not see them again.  One of the other couples, the Hilmo’s, we have known for a couple of years, and we’ve met them on the road many times, but we have yet to work with them.  We knew they were headed to the Escapees park in Livingston TX after their work was done in Missouri.  Since our service at Winnebago had gone so smoothly and quickly, we decided to push hard for Livingston and meet the them before they moved on.

After 1500 miles in five driving days (including the “little” side trip to Sioux Falls) we finally parked in Livingston on Tuesday morning – Election Day.  The park was nearly full, and we could get a site for only 4 days, departing Saturday morning.  In the meantime, we had time to recover from the back-to-back driving days and to spend some time with the Hilmo’s.

With 2 weeks to go before our next project starts, we headed west and stopped near Austin Texas.  This is about halfway but, more importantly, has TV over the air.  We had a chance to watch news and network programming again.

While relaxing in Austin on Saturday, we realized that other friends were working on homes needing repairs due to 2015 flooding, and they were only an hour away.  We met up with them on Sunday and decided to continue our recuperation this week but to join them in working during the week of Thanksgiving.  We just can’t seem to stay idle too long.

Today we did a little sightseeing in Austin.  The weather here is sunny and warm so it was good to get out for a drive.  Here’s a picture of Lake Travis from a restaurant high on a hill.  Lots of very expensive, huge homes in this area.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

On the Road Again, and Back “Home”

It has been a busy week in the Riewe household.  Last weekend was our quiet, stay-at-home, rejuvenation time at the cabin.  It now seems to have been so long ago.  Trouble was the weather: cool and wet.  It stayed that way into Monday, when we moved groceries and utensils back into the motorhome, and did our final laundry.  Tuesday morning was when we closed things up for the winter, opened the main electrical breaker, loaded the motorcycle, and hooked up the truck. 
Ready for Winter
We topped off the propane tank on the way into Duluth and set up outside of Steve’s house.  Tuesday evening we had a “going away” dinner with Paige’s mother, cousin John, and cousin Steve and his wife, Deanna.

Wednesday Bob had his last eye appointment early in the morning, and Joyce had a medical assessment later in the morning.  As soon as both were completed we hit the road to Elk River for a quick visit to see the granddaughters and have a turkey dinner at Brett and Jen’s.

As soon as the girls left for school Thursday morning we, too, hit the road again.  This time for Winnebago’s factory service center in Iowa.  We didn’t have a reservation so we took a chance on getting onto their drop-in list, hoping they could get us in on Friday.  We got there by noon, they had us in by 1:00 and had replacement parts scheduled for installation Friday morning.

Friday we had an invitation to lunch at the farm of friends Russ and Nancy Elmer, our next door neighbors at the cabin.  Just as we got there, Winnebago called to say our service work was complete. That gave us time in the afternoon to park the rig for the night and take off in the truck for our “home” in Sioux Falls.  In order to renew our drivers licenses we need to provide a receipt showing the two of us have spent at least one night in South Dakota.

Saturday morning it was back in the truck and back to Iowa to pick up the motorhome then head south.  It was a sunny, warm day here and apparently the weather was also beautiful at the cabin as we received pictures from Steve and others.  One of the nicest weekends this fall and we missed it!!

We still have a few more days of driving ahead of us.  Once we get to Texas we will sit still for a couple of days to relax.