Friday, March 31, 2017

Done at Elmore City

Oklahoma is a tough place to live.  We know it is located in “Tornado Alley” but they also have floods, ice storms, and wildfires that can all do a lot of damage.  They have so many of these natural disasters, and so frequently, that the residents have created a lot of helpful organizations to assist their neighbors. 

In our previous posting, we mentioned some of the flooding here last summer.  Some more details can be seen at

The statewide conference of Methodist churches has their own disaster support group (see ) complete with their own fulltime staff, trucks, and trailers to work with the local area victims and to keep us volunteers supplied with some tools and most materials.  They have been working in a number of towns near here since the flooding happened, and the Nomads have been here since mid-February.  Our team was made up of couples from Michigan, Missouri, Tennessee, as well as Oklahoma, most of whom we had not worked with in the past.  Our family of friends continues to grow.  We completed the last 2 homes in the town of Mayville.  Our team leaders, Dennis and Nancy, have their own blog and posted a lot of pictures of the work we’ve accomplished (see ).  Beginning next week, the Nomads will be parking at the county fairgrounds in Lawton and continue working there for another 5 weeks.

We will not be going to Lawton.  Instead we are going to take some time off to rest and recuperate.  While on Nomads projects, we work hard.  The last 2 days of this project, both of us spent most of the time on our hands and knees, laying carpeting.  After working projects since November, we welcome some time off!  We have scheduled a couple of weeks at different Corps of Engineers campgrounds, still in Oklahoma.  We will move slowly northward, following the pollen and dandelions.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Happy Pi (3.14….) Day from Oklahoma

Our weekend in Texas’ Hill Country was quite good.  In early January, we had spent a week in the southern part of it and heard of the Frio Canyon Motorcycle Shop and its Bent Rim Grill in Leakey, TX.  We got a souvenir T-shirt there but the grill was closed for remodeling.  The shirt advertised the “Three Twisted Sisters” which are nearby county roads #335, #336, and #337 and are a motorcyclist’s delight.  At that time, we only rode one of them, so Saturday we went back and rode all three, plus had lunch at the re-opened Bent Rim Grill.  It was a cool, cloudy day with a couple of very light showers in the morning, but the weather turned very nice by the time we got back to the RV park.  Good thing we rode Saturday because Sunday was much colder. 

We chose that day to head north.  After spending over 4 months in Texas (except for the week of Christmas) it was time to depart.  We had originally planned to stop in northern Texas but had made good time so we kept going all the way into Oklahoma which is where we will stay for the next 3 weeks.  Four hundred miles is more than I’d like to put on in a day with the motorhome but we did that (and a little more) arriving just before 6:00 PM.

We had thought that our next project would be repairing tornado damage, but instead learned that this area was hit with massive rainstorms in June of last year.  We are parked in a vacant lot between a cafĂ© and a food store (both very small) because the lot has electricity, water, and sewer hookups for us.  We will be working on a home in the town of Maysville, which is north of us.

According to the National Weather Service, this area was hit with about 8” of rain flooding homes and streets, plus washing out some bridges.  For more details, see .  Mr. Stevens had bought a home in Maysville some time ago, which his son now lives in.  Mr. Stevens had the garage converted into a small 2-story apartment for his use upon retirement.  We heard that he had about 3 feet of water in his lower level before the rains stopped and the water went down.

Earlier repair teams had completed the demolition, and re-framing, and had hung most of the new drywall.  We will be completing his home with new walls, painting, cabinets and vanities, and a new floor.  Once this home is done, there are more awaiting.  Nomads will be working here through all of April and into the first week of May.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Back to the Hills

We completed our month long volunteer commitment at the Escapees Care Center on 2/28, took a couple days to organize, and then headed out to our next project.  We enjoyed our time at Care and met lots of very interesting senior citizens and staff at the center.  Definitely not the physical work of the Nomads projects.

We have had a good time this past week, helping out a Nomads group at a Methodist Church in Taft TX.  We have known the leaders, Dave and Sally, for over 5 years and have worked together a couple of times.  They had a lot of work to do and a small team so we helped during their third week In Taft.  This is a small town not far from Corpus Christi.  A number of churches in this area work together for the community’s common good.  Nomads teams have been here many times and are well supported.  The local Kiwanis Club has provided lunch for the group every Thursday.  We met some very interesting people at the lunch this Thursday.  We sat by the Justice of the Peace from Taft and learned about her job.  She serves as the local “judge” who sets bail and sentences for traffic violations and petty crimes.  We also met the woman who serves as the Housing Authority.  She told us of her background as a member of a family of migrant workers.  They traveled in a vehicle from Texas north picking crops.  She has fond memories of being in Minnesota (but can’t remember what city) where a group of teenagers worked with the children.  That’s where she learned all about multiplication and the tables.  She also had her parents with her at the Kiwanis lunch.  Her father is a retired fire fighter now.  Her sister just retired from the National Park Service.  Very different than their migrant working days!

The Nomads team had worked on a couple of homes around town as well as 2 churches before we arrived.  We helped with re-glazing some windows and re-painting a fellowship hall at the Methodist church.  A retired vet and his wife hosted a fish fry dinner at their place on the Gulf of Mexico and the Presbyterian pastor and his wife hosted a BBQ at their home.  We were well fed, as usual!

Now that the project is complete we have relocated to the western edge of Texas’ Hill Country for some motorcycling in the hills tomorrow.  We won’t have a long break as there is a Nomads Disaster Recovery Project in Oklahoma that needs help so we’re heading there to start work on Tuesday for 3 weeks.  Tornados damaged many homes there last year and we will help with rebuilding.