Hope you have been doing well since we last posted. We arrived back in Alabama May 5th and as planned in our last post have been busy taking care of doctor visits, trying to get caught up on business items, NOMADS work and working at Aunt Helen’s house. It’s been a busy time but nothing interesting enough to report. We now have all our and other family members “stuff” out of Helen’s house with the exception of items we will need until the estate sale is complete and the house is sold. A really big accomplishment for us. We have also reconnected with friends and family who live in our community, and worshiped at our home church – always a joy. Last Friday we went a couple hours northwest of our home base and spent the weekend at Joe Wheeler State Park. The campground was demolished in December 2019 by a tornado. The campground has just reopened and is so very nice. The sites are very smooth and level. Newly paved roads and bath houses with individual showers are also nice. The sites with water views and access are fantastic. Our site just barely had a water view but we certainly enjoyed our time there. Our friends Dave and Carol from Texas were on the way to some other friends’ home but stayed the weekend at the park in the lodge. We did some hiking and visiting and eating. If you are ever in Rogersville, AL (don’t know why you would be but….) you should eat at Fat Cat’s Seafood Restaurant. Super good fried catfish. Back to the mountain on Monday and this will be another week of estate work, etc. We are planning some other trips but…a lot depends on the estate sale and house sale. We’ll keep you posted and until then – keep on serving others.
As we ended the last blog post we had arrived in New Braunfels, TX for the Switch It Up Huddle. For you non-RVers, Switch It Up is a YouTube channel created by two of our friends from Kansas, Todd and Shelia. They have been RVing for a little over a year and chronicle their travels, ups and downs, etc. A huddle is a gathering for people who watch the channel. It’s a time to relax, have good food, give back to the community and meet new friends. Max and I have also been able to share the NOMADS story with some of the new people we met. This most recent huddle was held at a new, not quite complete, campground, Camp Fimfo (Fun Is More Fun Outdoors). Camp Fimfo is a large facility with many amenities including cabins for those who do not own an RV. It’s definitely glamping instead of camping and when everything is complete will be a great vacation site for families. Kids will love the pools, water park, play grounds, bounce pad, lazy river, miniature golf, zip line and many other amenities. We had about 180 people from all over the country and Canada at the Huddle. After our meet and greet Thursday evening, we were up early Friday to participate in our community give back, at the New Braunfels Food Bank. We almost overwhelmed the Food Bank because almost everyone participated. In our 3 ½ hours at the food bank we packed 864 boxes of dry goods (we worked on this), 540 fresh produce boxes, worked in the garden mulching and weeding, gave out food to over 110 families, worked in the kitchen (they prepare meals for seniors and use this service to teach culinary arts skills), swept floors, cleaned windows and donated over a $1,800 in spontaneous donations that were given by our group. It was a great morning and great way to begin our time together.
Friday afternoon we took a relaxing float down the Comal River. The river was pretty full when most of our group made that trip but it seemed everyone had a great time.
Saturday morning, we visited the Natural Bridge Caverns close to San Antonio. While not the largest cavern we have visited, it’s one of the most pristine we have seen. It’s been well protected. Beautiful. There was also a motor bike ride, a jeep tour, and shopping at the outlets for those wanting more to do. Every evening we had a great dinner together and then had entertainment, games, time to just visit and get to know each other. Sunday we had a wonderful church service with music provided by some of our group and the message by Shelia. Awesome! All too quickly Monday morning arrived and with hugs and tears, we all had to say safe travels until we meet again.
Leaving our friends is always hard. We drove to a Corps of Engineers park, Magnolia Ridge, in east Texas, almost to LA for two nights. It was a small 41 site campground – camping, not glamping – on the shore of Steinhagen Lake. Great park! There were very few campers in the park on Monday and Tuesday so it was so quite and peaceful. You could hear the birds singing and we saw an eagle shortly after we arrived. Wednesday we were back on the road and made a quick overnight stop in Laurel, MS, and the arrived back in AL Thursday afternoon.
Shortly after we arrived at Magnolia Ridge we were greeted by a bald eagle flying over. We didn’t have our camera out yet. We kept it with us the rest of the time but never saw the eagle again. So here are alternate pictures:
We will now be back at work on our aunts’ estates, cutting grass at Helen’s, etc. We do plan a few quick trips this month but since we aren’t sure what we are doing, you will just have to wait and see what we can get into. Stay safe, healthy, and use your talents to serve others.
Friday we drove back to Alabama arriving back at our home base in the early afternoon. Saturday was haircut and switch vehicle day and Sunday we headed out again, but this time in BB (Beyond Blessed, the B van) retracing our trip from Friday for the first few hours. In Meridian, MS we then took I-20 West rather than heading south on 59 which would have taken us back to Laurel. We spent a nice and quiet night at the LA Welcome Center and then arrived in Shreveport, LA on Monday. There we had a wonderfully fun visit with our dear friends Mark and Lisa. We were so excited to see them that we forgot to take any pictures. We had wonderful food, a tour of the city and most importantly, time with our friends. Tuesday, we continued west into Texas, arriving in Conroe, to visit with two more NOMADS friends, Carol and Dave. There we again had too much wonderful food, a visit to a nearby state park, and Sam Houston’s huge statue, but most importantly time with our dear friends. Such a blessing to visit with these four! Refreshed our souls.
Today we left Conroe and landed at Camp Fimfo RV Park in New Braunfels, TX. We will be here for the next four days participating in the Switch It Up Huddle. More about the huddle next time but suffice it to say we have had more good food and hugs this evening at our first gathering. Thanking God for safe travels and wonderful friends, until next time.
This was the last week in Laurel for NOMADS tornado recovery. But first, last weekend. Saturday afternoon our new team members Sadowna and Mark arrived. This was our first time to work with them and what a joy it was to have them join us. We had a great week! We all celebrated Easter at Laurel First UMC where the music and message were so good. We are so blessed to have a Savior who loved us enough to die for us even before we loved him. Hope you all had a blessed Easter – the best Sunday of the year!
Sunday evening, we all ended up in the nursery again for the fifth week in a row. How ironic that we had our last tornado warning on Easter. Some of the homes we have repaired were damaged by the Easter 2020 tornado. Fortunately this Easter, while there were trees and power lines down, and a few structures damaged, there were no injuries or severe damage.
Monday the four of us returned to the Todd house and installed the remaining siding on the back of the house, the garage doors and the front gable. That completed the work there.
Tuesday thru Thursday we were back at the Henry house where we were not confident we could complete our list in the time we had left. However, by Thursday afternoon, we had installed and trimmed out the three remaining doors on our list, caulked and painted the doors, patched the drywall that had been cut out for plumbing in one of the bedrooms, taped, mudded, textured and painted the patch, installed and caulked all the remaining baseboards, replaced another broken window pane and touched up paint and caulk where ever needed, had the Bible presentation for the Henry’s and the homeowners of another home that was completed earlier. Everything was checked off our list!! As said above, it was another great week!
Friday we regrettably had to say “see you down the road” to our new friends Sadowna and Mark, and to our Laurel friends. Closing down a disaster rebuild project is always so bittersweet. We are so thankful God allowed us to help in the Laurel community and hopefully we can return another day.