Louisiana and Alabama

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Max: Today I went to Baton Rouge with Gary, the NOMADS Disaster Rebuild (DR) Coordinator, to talk to the Disaster Response Team for the Louisiana Conference about the Spring DR project that Anne and I will be starting there in March. The RV parking for the project will be at Francis Asbury UMC, a church that was flooded and asked for conference assistance to repair the church. In return for the assistance the small congregation agreed to give up part to the church to be converted into a volunteer and disaster response center.


After returning to Oak Grove I walked around the parking lot a few time since there are no sidewalks in this area.


Anne: With Max going to Baton Rouge with Gary to prepare for our spring DR, I planned to stay at the RV and do some cleaning, and then a little shopping with Sharon, Gary’s wife. We still need to pick up a few things for FRED and there are several stores not far from Oak Grove. I actually did have about an hour of quiet time puttering around FRED but then I received a text notification. I have really gotten to where I don’t like for my phone to make those noises. And when it’s family my stomach sort of ties in a knot. Last night I had talked to Mom and she wasn’t feeling well and was complaining of more shortness of breath with doing her therapy. The therapist was concerned when he was there late yesterday afternoon. I could tell Mom didn’t feel well and she actually sounded a little more short of breath than usual. I asked her to call the cardiologist this morning to see if she could move up her appointment for next month and I suggested she ask to be seen later this week and I would come take her. Mom did call but she got the appointment for today. That meant my brother who really doesn’t like to handle medical things had to take her. Well, wouldn’t you know, the cardiologist sent Mom from the office to the emergency room. So, one hour after Max left I received a somewhat panic stricken text telling me to please be in route to Tuscaloosa NOW. So much for my plans. Three and a half hours later I arrived at the emergency room and the ER doctor had just entered Mom’s room for the first time. It was a long afternoon. Don’t know why the cardiologist didn’t make Mom a direct admit so she didn’t have to go through all the ER waiting. Long story short, she has fluid in her lungs, causing low oxygen saturation and shortness of breath. She was admitted. I expect they may run some additional tests tomorrow and adjust her medications and hopefully discharge her Thursday. That would be what I pray will happen. As most of you have experienced, it just gets scary when they are 93. And maybe more scary when you know all that could happen. I much preferred to keep my really elderly patients out of the hospital because there are just too many things they can catch and too many things that can go wrong. Please keep us in your prayers. No pictures from me today. Mom would kill me if I posted a picture of her in the hospital gown.



Biking the Natchez Trace

Monday, September 25, 2017

We didn’t have a set schedule for today. The only definite was that we had to be out of our RV site by 3:00pm. We also planned to do some biking on the Natchez Trace and we needed to be in Hattiesburg, MS before dark. With those parameters in mind we slept a little late, but then got ready to go bike riding so we would be back before it got too hot. Overlook signWe drove to the overlook at the Barnett Reservoir, unloaded the bikes and started riding. In this area of the Trace, since there is a good deal of commuter traffic around Jackson, they have built a separate multi-use trail. When we saw the amount of traffic we were glad to ride on the separate trail. This was a very nice wooded area. There were more people using the trail today than we expected.

We just happened to ride up to the Mississippi Craft Center which is located just off the Trace and the bike trail goes beside it. The building is very nice. The craft work inside was pretty amazing. The Center is tasked with preserving the dying arts in all sorts of mediums – wood, fabric, stone, and many more. Entry into the Center is free and it is well worth a visit. They of course also have gift shop.

After visiting the Craft Center we returned to the Trace where we walked on a section of the original dirt trail first walked by Native Americans and later by the soldiers in the war of 1812. That was a neat experience. There was a section of the bike trail closed for maintenance. Since we couldn’t ride that section, we road a portion of the urban multi-use trails in Ridgeland and Jackson. These trails also go through wooded areas as well as at times running beside the roads. There was always some separation from the streets so we felt safer. After returning to the truck we rode to the southern Trace Visitors Information Center. We couldn’t go inside because it is only open on Friday and Saturday.

We returned to FRED, got cleaned up and headed for Hattiesburg. Unfortunately, Highway 49 south of Jackson is in terrible shape. Potholes, rub board sections, it felt like it would vibrate the cabinets off the walls. We were very thankful that the further we drove the better the road became. We drove to Oak Grove UMC, just west of Hattiesburg, parked in the area with RV hookups, met with our team leaders and settled in for the next several days. Looking forward to some good times here.

Our home for the next few days
Our home for the next few days

Sunday On The Road

Sunday, September 24, 2017

We saw this on our odometer when we started out this morning.
We saw this on our odometer when we started out this morning.

We had a restful night last night, except it was a little too warm. We ran the generator to cool FRED off, but didn’t leave it on all night so we got a little warm. Otherwise, everything was fine. The rest area did fill up with 18 wheeler drivers getting their rest. Of course, their rigs were running but inside FRED it was just white noise and didn’t bother us at all.

Eastwood Memorial UMC
Eastwood Memorial UMC

When we got up this morning we decided at the last minute to go to church in Caruthersville, MO at Eastwood Memorial UMC. We went to early service which was a small service held in the chapel. It was a lovely chapel and a very welcoming community of believers. We really enjoyed the service, the pastor and congregation. One of the life long members of the church showed us their amazing pipe organ.After service one of the members took us to see their sanctuary which was beautiful. The pipe organ was amazing and even more amazing is that in the small community they have someone to play the pipes every Sunday. Wish we could have stayed for the 11:00 service too, but we had too many miles to go. One of the things the pastor talked about during the service was the two week mission project the church just completed. They hosted Operation Healthy Delta Innovative Readiness Training which is a military training exercise that provides no-cost, basic health care services to the Southeastern Missouri region. A UMC in Charleston, MO joined Eastwood as the two locations this year. While the members of Eastwood were not involved in the actual health care, they worked hard to show hospitality to the service men and women stationed at their church. For example, they hosted a fish fry for them last week. We really enjoyed our time at Eastwood and would definitely stop there again the next time we are in the area. We will include them in our prayers.

The children’s room was decorated with these beautiful murals.

After worship one of the members gave us some pears and another give us some beeswax chocolate chip cookies. The cookies didn’t survive long enough to get pictures but they were very, very good. We are going to try to find a recipe and learn to make those cookies. After a tour of the church we climbed back into FRED and headed back to I-55 South. We stopped about every two hours to change drivers and reached Jackson, MS uneventfully.

Tonight we are at Timberlake Campground on the Barnett Reservoir just outside of Jackson, MS. It is a large, beautiful lake. The campground has nice concrete pads, full service and we are right on the lake. Nice, quiet peaceful location. Too bad we can’t stay a few more days. We will have to come back here sometime. We plan to ride our bikes in the morning, weather permitting. We are very close to the Natchez Trace so we may do some riding there or on some bike trails around the reservoir. We will see what tomorrow brings.

On The Way to Mississippi

Saturday, September 23, 2017

We were up at 6:00 preparing the rig to travel today. Anne went to Middle Amana to pick up our order from the bakery. So good! Cinnamon rolls, bread, cinnamon bread and chocolate chip cookies. Yep that’s why we gain weight on these trips. Got to get back to work. On the way back there was a beautiful view of the sunrise. Gorgeous start to the day. While Anne was out and about Max dumped holding tanks and got the coach almost ready to roll.

After enjoying our cinnamon rolls it was time for our last “goodbyes”, “see you down the roads” and then we were on the road again. We left at 8:50 headed south with plans to make it to southern Missouri today. From Amana we drove back through Tiffin. Should Tiffin Motor Homes have their home office be in Tiffin, Iowa? I’m pretty sure Mr. Tiffin would say no, especially since he doesn’t like cold weather. But it would be sort of cool. It would be too far for us to go for service, so guess they better stay in Red Bay.

Mark Twain statue in Hannibal, MO
A bad picture of a Mark Twain statue in Hannibal, MO

We were very thankful that we started the day with almost no wind. We did have a little wind this afternoon but nothing like yesterday. We drove US 218 and US 61 to I-70 to I-270 around St Louis, then on I-55 and are spending the night at the very nice Missouri welcome center near mile marker 40 tonight. We could have driven further but we are going to Jackson, Ms tomorrow and don’t want to get there too early so this was a good stopping place. Supper of chicken salad in the rest areaWe had chicken salad (made by Max) and watermelon for supper and are settled in for a quiet night we hope.