Thankful and Blessed

Sunday, December 1, 2019

This week was a very busy, but wonderful week. We are so blessed.

Christmas decorations at Daddy Joe's BBQ
Christmas decorations at Daddy Joe’s BBQ

Monday was FRED’s annual checkup at the Freightliner Service Center, so we were up early, and in line at 7:45 am to register FRED in for his appointment. Quick and easy. Then the waiting began. To pass the time we went to some of the local stores and outlets to begin our Christmas shopping. Actually didn’t make any purchases. Surprising. We had lunch at Daddy Joe’s a local seafood and barbeque restaurant. It’s a funky little place with an interesting décor. We had the prime rib sandwich which was very good. We would definitely go back. After our late lunch we returned to wait on FRED, expecting his work to be complete by 2-3 o’clock. When we were still waiting at almost 5:00 we were beginning to get concerned. Shortly after 5:00 our technician came to tell us FRED was back in his campsite and everything was complete. We were surprised that they found a kink in the coolant tubing that required them to actually unbolt the engine and pick it up a little, re-route the tubing and refasten the engine. Fortunately for us all of that cost was covered by Freightliner because it had to happen during the build and we are just fortunate that it never caused a real problem.

After a good night of rest, we left Gaffney Tuesday morning in route to Johnston, SC to spend the holiday week with Max’s brother and sister-in-law, Randy and Debra. Except for a long delay on the interstate due to construction we had an uneventful travel day and enjoyed the start of our visit. So good to see our family. Wednesday we all four went exploring and shopping in a close-by town -, this time actually making some purchases for the great nieces. Thursday was a quiet day at home, with most of the day spent in the kitchen cooking for Friday when we actually celebrated Thanksgiving with Randy, Debra, David and Jen, Phillip, Lauren, Dorothy and Tabitha. It was a great day with lots of food and fun. We decorated Christmas cookies with Dorothy, played some games and visited. Saturday it was back to the four of us and we just enjoyed the day together and worked on a Christmas puzzle and Max entertained one the cats by throwing leaves in the air just outside the window. Today, we really enjoyed worshiping with Randy and Debra at their church which was beautifully decorated for Christmas. It’s been a great visit. We have one more day here in Johnston before we head south. We will update you next when we are on the road. Hope everyone had a great holiday, remembering to be thankful everyday.

Getting Back On The Road

Sunday November 24, 2019

Gutter CleaningThis was a very busy week preparing to be back on the road again. We spent Monday cleaning gutters, cutting grass, and closing up our house. Tuesday was errand day to Oneonta and to see Aunt Helen and Aunt Jean one last time before going to our winter NOMADS project. We had also picked up a few additional shirts for them to go with the things we had taken previously. Hopefully they will be set until we return. Wednesday was errand day in Trussville. There were the final supplies/groceries, one last stop at Lowes and then buttoning up Aunt Helen’s house.

Steering stabilizer installedThursday, we were on the road again. We headed to Atlanta where we stopped in Austell to get a steering stabilizer installed on FRED at Safe-T-Plus. We overnighted in their parking lot with another RVing couple there for the same thing (They also have a Phaeton). Friday after a test drive, we headed on east. We decided to make a stop at National Indoor RV Center to look around. It was time for a break. After stretching our legs for a while we headed on east.

Geocache with a view
While stretching our legs at the South Carolina rest area and found this little geocache while walking along the beach.

We had planned to overnight just inside South Carolina but after a late lunch at the rest area we decided to drive on to the Freightliner Service Center in Gaffney, SC. That was one of the best decisions we have made in a while. We arrived about 5:00, plenty of time to set up before dark. Saturday would have been a horrible driving/set up day. It rained all day. Lots of rain! Thank you, God, for giving us that little nudge to move on down the road Friday. Even though it was nasty weather, we still made our required trip to Sunny’s Donuts to stock up for the weekend.

So we are in Gaffney and tomorrow FRED will have his annual checkup with all the fluid changes that go along with that. He also has one recall to be handled. Hopefully he will get a clean bill of health and we will be ready to travel for another year. It’s funny. It’s almost like going to the doctor. You hold your breath until they come tell you all the tests are normal. Hope everyone had a great weekend. We enjoyed streaming Lester Memorial’s service this morning on YouTube. Miss everyone already.

Back to the Mountain

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Wednesday morning we awoke to a cloudy and cold day in Gunter Hill COE campground but thankfully we were just far enough south that we had no freezing. By mid-day we were able to get out and walk through the park and do a little hiking on a trail. We would recommend Gunter Hill to anyone traveling in the Montgomery, AL area. Great level, concrete sites with nice spacing between sites and the Catoma Loop we were on had full hookups. Nice. We really enjoyed our mini vacation and escaped the 19 degree weather at home.

 

We returned home on Thursday to resume our work around the house and FRED. Saturday morning we went with some friends out to “the Star” and worked to get it ready to lite. The Star is a huge star on the side of our mountain that we light from Thanksgiving until the new year. It’s so large that pilots of airplanes on the flight path to land at the Birmingham airport will sometimes point it out to passengers. The star was originally the project of Max’s parents Sunday School class, many years ago. We have sort of inherited it so we still have friends that go with us each year to cut debris and replace bulbs. There is some climbing and repelling involved so we are really trying to recruit some younger help. Saturday was a gorgeous day for a hike and we all had a fun morning hiking to the star and working a while. Donna is going to order us more bulbs and once the power is turned on this week hopefully everything will be ready.

 

We also did another small modification to FRED Saturday afternoon. We needed another electrical outlet for the vanity and Max got that done. And we got some over-the-door hooks that we hooked on the bed frame to keep shoes out of the closet. Nice!

 

Today was another great day of worship at Lester Memorial. It was our last Sunday until March so we will really miss the Thanksgiving and Christmas services and festivities, but it is time for us to prepare to travel and get back to work helping restore lives and homes damaged by hurricane Irma.

A Few Degrees South

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Cold morning
We don’t do this kind of stuff in Alabama in November. November is usually our secondary tornado season.

Yesterday was a day of completing a bunch of smaller projects and getting Fred ready to roll as we watched the weather. There was NOMADS items to complete, tire pressure to check, and the aunts business to handle. It was a beautiful fall day. People were wearing shorts and t-shirts. The trees were displaying their beautiful fall colors. Then starting about 5:00 and lasting most of the night, we had rain, wind, sleet, and a thirty degree drop in the temperature. This morning it was 27 degrees. We had 8:00 dental appointments and then headed back home to get Fred and head south. Unfortunately, the weather did not follow the forecast. It was still below 27 degrees at 10:00am and the projected sunshine was nowhere to be found.

Thawing slide toppers
Carefully thawing slide toppers with a hair dryer.

We did not expect the 4:00am sleet/ice to still be around. We thought it would be above freezing by 10am. NOT. The slide toppers were covered by a layer of ice. They did not want to roll up as the slides came in. Yep – we are from Alabama. We don’t do cold. We don’t do ice – especially this time of the year. Lesson learned. If there is ANY chance of frozen stuff, slides should be brought in the night before departure. Instead, our toppers got a little work with the hair dryer to melt the ice in the springs to allow the toppers to re-coil. We got really cold making it happen but everything worked. No damage done, and then we drove three hours to Gunter Hill COE campground in Montgomery, AL. It’s a campground we have been wanting to visit and IF the forecast is accurate we will be avoiding the 19-20 degree temperatures overnight tonight. It should be at or just slightly below freezing here at Gunter Hill. Fred should be happy, and tomorrow with sun and highs in the 50’s we should be able to do some hiking, so we will be happy. We had time for a quick walk through one loop of the campground after we arrived. It’s a beautiful place and we look forward to time to explore tomorrow. A mini-vacation! All is good.

Weather Watching

Sunday, November 10, 2019

We had heavy frost a few mornings this week
We had heavy frost a few mornings this week

First, please accept our apology for the delay in posting last week’s blog. It was there, but never published. Oops. We will try to do better.

As we review this past week, there was really not much excitement. We worked hard and accomplished a lot but….not nearly as much fun or nearly as interesting as travel mode. Glad we will be back in that mode soon. We have really enjoyed being in our home church for three weeks in a row. Such a great group of loving Christians who live their love of Jesus every day!

Last Monday we played catch-up after having the family here. There was laundry, cleaning, and book work to do. Tuesday was dedicated to the bush hog and all that work was completed in one day, a real accomplishment. Now the pastures should be fine until spring. Anne did some more sorting and packing in the house while Max spent the day on the tractor. Wednesday the dumpster was picked up. We were glad to see it leaving. So glad we no longer have to worry about Jean’s storage unit or dividing up Juno’s things. So thankful for the wonderful help from our family. Thursday was errand day, and it took most of the day. There is always shopping to do when we are back in Alabama because we really don’t shop except for groceries when we are traveling. It’s expensive when we get back to Alabama and stay in one place long enough for packages to arrive. Fed Ex came four days in a row. And certain vendors are glad to learn we are still alive. Our favorite Publix grocery store is also glad we have returned. So we continue to work at Aunt Helen’s and our house and on FRED.

Today we are watching the weather very closely. We really don’t want to winterize FRED for one night so we may make a quick trip south to avoid 19-22 degree weather Tuesday. We keep thinking the forecast will moderate but don’t want to take chances either. Oh well, we have no particular schedule right now so a little road trip could break up our work schedule. Not the worst think that could happen. We may be blogging from points south by mid week. Hope you have a great week. Stay safe!

Another Week In Review

(Monday, November 6, 2019 – Just noticed we forgot to publish this on Saturday.)

Saturday, November 2, 2019

November entered with a chill.
November entered with a chill.

Today was a beautiful Alabama fall day. It has been just plain cold this week. The past two days the lows have been 28 and 30. Tonight the low is predicted to be 35 and we will warm up the rest of the coming week. We had lots of rain early in the week and our drought is officially broken. That’s a good thing, but it was a little too much rain too fast and then it was abnormally cold. The coming week should return to a more normal Alabama fall.

Last Sunday afternoon, Max’s sister Marsha arrived as we prepared to spend a week working on LOL stuff. Later in the day Max’s brother Randy and sister-in-law Debra arrived. It was great to visit with family again. Monday morning we began our week’s work. The first task was to empty Aunt Jean’s storage unit. There was just no reason to continue to pay rent since she is not going to ever return to assisted living. Jean’s only other relative, a niece, Lois, meet us in Trussville to start the monumental task. There were lots of memories, laughing, and a few tears shed throughout the day as we decided what each person wanted to have as a remembrance. Doing this task before her death in some ways was a little easier. We shared fun stories of our times with Jean as we decided what we wanted to donate to our local charity and what items we just couldn’t part with. By mid afternoon we were on the way to Hope House with donations and Lois was on the way home with her items. Max and Randy had to return Tuesday morning to pick up the final few items and officially close our account with the storage facility.

The reminder of the week was spent on the mountain emptying Aunt Helen’s and our basement of Max’s mom’s items. Thursday, Anne went to Tuscaloosa to close on the sale of her mom’s house. Another bitter sweet day. Otherwise, the five of us spent an exhausting but good week visiting and sharing more memories while emptying the two basements. There were several more trips to Hope House with goodies we hope their clients can use and when they headed home today, Randy and Marsha had their vehicles loaded with precious treasures.

We are so very thankful for our family. We are all ready for some rest but it was good week.

Week Two Back in Alabama

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Today ended another busy week trying to get things taken care of here in Alabama. Of course on Sunday we went back to our home church, Lester Memorial. It’s always good to be back to worship at Lester and be with our Sunday school class afterwards. The aunts were glad to see us when we went for a visit after church. They again had no complaints and had nothing but good things to say about their caregivers.

Sumatanga signWe contacted our friends Rita and Dave Sunday afternoon to arrange to go to Camp Sumatanga for a quick visit Monday morning. Rita and Dave are doing a great job leading the NOMADS team working at the camp. It was great to have a few minutes to thank the team for coming to Alabama and working at our camp. We have worked with several of the team members on other projects so it was of course great to see those guys again. While at camp we stopped by the office and visited with Daphne, the interim director. We went back home by way of Oneonta and stopped by our local produce stand and they had a few small watermelons that had been picked Saturday. So… yes, we got one more last melon. Such a treat to be having good melons this late in the year. Tuesday and Wednesday, we stayed at home and worked on various business items for the LOL’s and for us. We also started working on cleaning Fred. Front cap is clean and the back cap is washed and waxed. Got to get the sides done before we get back on the road. Fred has been in lots of rain and picked up lots of road grime since we last gave him a good wash. Thursday we made a play day and went to Huntsville for some shopping. Friday and Saturday have be total wash out rain days so we have again been working at home. We still have lots to do at our house.

Today was the Covered Bridge Festival in Oneonta and the annual Pancake breakfast for the Blount County Children’s Center. Unfortunately, the rain meant most of the outside activities were called off but we enjoyed visiting with old friends and fellow employees from Max’s years at the court house and of course some great pancakes. It’s been a good week.  Hope your week has been good too.