Riding the Elroy-Sparta Trail

Friday, August 9, 2019

Cool morningIt was a beautiful cool morning. It as 53 degrees this morning. Anne actually had the fireplace on for a few minutes. Calvin and Marsha pulled out early this morning. Max heard their slides going in early – around 5:00 am. We were not up yet. We were up to say goodbye to Barb and Jack around 7:30. We will see them again in September. Safe travels everyone and safe travels to all the NOMADS traveling this weekend. Please keep them in your prayers.

Two empty sites this morning
Two empty sites this morning

We had a relaxing morning and then left to go ride one of the many bike trails in Wisconsin. We have been surprised at the many miles of trails available. Some of the trails are state supported and there is a permit required to ride the tails. Daily use is $5.00 and annual fee is $25.00. We considered the Omaha Trail but found online that the part we were looking at riding is actually still closed from the flooding last year. We elected to ride the Elroy-Sparta Trail with plans to begin in Wilton and ride toward Sparta a couple of miles and go thru tunnel #2, return to Wilton and ride toward Elroy 6 miles through tunnel #1 and return to Wilton. What we didn’t know is that the first 3.5 miles from Wilton north toward Elroy is also still closed from the flooding. It’s obvious they have been working on the trail section we rode and just as there are a lot of homes still in need of repairs, so it is with the trails. We road about 7 miles from Wilton past Norwalk, a quaint little village along the trail and back to Wilton, for a total of about 14 miles. It was a ride through some beautiful countryside – lush green fields, dairy barns, farm equipment. In Norwalk, right on the trail is a little Mexican diner with really good soft serve ice cream. We toured around the village for a while because they were setting up for a big truck and tractor pull festival starting tonight. It appears to be a big deal for this little town. On the way back to Wilton, Max had a flat tire. God blessed with a really helpful local couple stopping to help us. Their son worked his way thru college working in a bike shop so they could change a tube in short order. We didn’t get to visit with them for very long because they changed the tube for us so quickly. It was a great ride and a very nice day.

On the drive we saw some of the many rock outcroppings this area is known forOn the drive we saw some of the many rock outcroppings this area is known for.

Two Houses Again Today

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Last night’s storm pretty much died before it got here. We had some thunder and a little rain but basically nothing. Those clouds sure looked ominous. Today was a cool day with cool breezes. It almost seemed like an early fall day. The high today was 75, ten degrees cooler than yesterday. Nice! We didn’t see the deer on our morning walk today and the sand hill cranes were well off the road, but there are always Canada geese around.

Today’s devotion was given by Norm. He reminded us that when we turn away from God we forfeit the spiritual abundance that can be ours. It’s our choice. After devotion we all headed back to our houses. Harry went with Max and Anne back to Teresa’s house where we sanded the drywall and then did some more finishing where it was needed. We had done everything we could do at Teresa’s before lunch and then headed to Kendall, Wisconsin, to another job site. The other part of our team had been there earlier this week working on installing siding on a garage/lean-to. They were unable to complete that job because they ran out of siding. More siding was delivered this morning. The three of us were able to complete the job this afternoon. The garage looks nice. We really enjoyed the drive out through the countryside to the job site. Beautiful lush green fields, trees loaded with apples, beautiful flowers. The backyard at our house was beautiful, too. We had lunch sitting out under a tree in the shade. With the breeze it was almost chilly. Interesting, the bike trail we have been thinking of riding tomorrow is right next door. We could see the trail head from the back yard.

The rest of the team worked at Rhonda’s all day, painting, staining trim, installing windows and working in the bathroom. Tonight we had another excellent meal provided by Roxy and Winding Rivers UMC. It’s nice to get to have a quiet meal together rather than in a noisy restaurant. We have two couples leaving early in the morning, Jack and Barb, Calvin and Marsha. It’s been a great week and we wish them safe travels.

Team Picture Week 1
Team Picture Week 1

Two Houses Today

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

No storms again today, although they were predicted and came close to us. We are happy.

Again this morning we were able to walk before devotion. Today we saw a large doe and two sand hill cranes. It was so neat because the cranes were on one side of the road, facing the deer on the opposite side of the road. We didn’t know what they would do as we approached. The cranes took flight toward the deer and the deer ran to the crane side of the road and into the woods. Unfortunately, we did not get a good picture because we were walking directly into the sun. When we first saw them they were just silhouettes. We still see them in our memories.

Poor Picture of Sandhill Crane and Deer in Road
Poor Picture of Sandhill Crane and Deer in Road

Marsha and Calvin shared devotion with us today. They combined two devotions, one from Upper Room and the other from Max Lucado. Really good. They reminded us that our God of the Bible cannot be contained. In our quest to know and understand Him, we place constraints on Him. Isn’t it great to know that God is never surprised and never wonders “How did that happen?” He is big enough. Thanks, Marsha and Calvin.

After devotion, Harry and Anne and Max went back to work at Teresa’s home. Today we hand sanded the drywall joints and completed the second coat. We primed the door casing and installed the closet doors.

We completed those items shortly after lunch and went to join the rest of our team at Rhonda’s home which they started this morning. There is lots to do a Rhonda’s. There Max worked on installing new windows and Anne worked on staining and putting polyurethane on some beautiful door and window trim. This house is old, with some plaster and beautiful yellow pine paneling. Rhonda’s house is in the process of being bought out because of the amount of flood damage and the house we are working on is her replacement. We need to get two bedrooms, and bathroom usable so they can move in and they will complete the work as they live there. They are currently with some family but it is time to move. The family is doing a lot of the work themselves but they just need a little help. We will probably be working at Rhonda’s with our team next week. It was a good day.

BTW – you can forget the first line of this blog. Max is now outside taking pictures of a big storm going by us.

Wednesday evening storm
Wednesday evening storm

Tuesday at Teresa’s

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

No storms today – about time. It was a little warmer than we would like but it was a beautiful day.

Deer beside the roadWe had time for a little longer walk this morning. We again saw a beautiful deer while on our walk. She was right beside the road in the ditch that was full of tall grass. We almost walked by her without seeing her. She was not at all bothered by our presence. Cool.

Max and Anne led devotion today. We used Proverbs 18:21, Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose, and Proverbs 15:21. We challenged the team to speak nothing but life and encouragement. We all need to pray that God helps us to be a carrier of peace and hope amidst the chaos of our world.

Harry, Max and Anne returned to Teresa’s house after our morning team meeting. Today Max and Harry completed the installation of the drywall and Anne started the work on the taping and finishing of the drywall. Anne and Harry got all the tape up and everything with a first coat of mud. Max completed the trap door into the crawl space. It was a busy but productive day. The other part of our team worked installing siding on a small storage building. We all had dinner with some of the members of Winding River church. Such a sweet congregation. Hope you are having a great week. We are.

First Work Day In Wisconsin

Monday, August 5, 2019

The first work day of our DR project in New Lisbon, WI. Firsts are always exciting. Before work we walked for about 20 minutes. Not quite as long as we would like but all we had time for this morning. The country road in front of the church has very little traffic so we are combining walking on the church property and the road. Certainly not as nice a walking area as some projects but it’s working.

Then it was time for our morning meeting. Barb lead our devotion time today and had us all read a part. We were all various tools in the carpenter’s shop. Today Anne was the screw and Max was the plane. The point being we are all tools in the work of Jesus here on earth. We all have a purpose and we all contribute God’s plan if we allow him to use us. Good reminder as we start working in Wisconsin.

After devotion we talked about the various houses needing work and what Lanette our project liaison considered our priorities for today. Max and Anne, joined by Harry, began work in Teresa’s house located about twenty minutes from the church outside of the town of Mauston, WI. Jack came with us to introduce us to Teresa, explain the scope of our work and get us started. He then left and went to another job site where the team worked last week. We first took down part of a wall and then framed in a new wall. We usually feel the first day is a really slow start but today went well. Harry is a new NOMAD. This is his first project but he really jumps in and gets to work. He is very knowledgeable and with the three of us talking through our work plan, we were able to get a lot done. We rebuilt the wall and installed most of the drywall. The remaining portion may go a little slower but we were pleased with what was done today. Out at the other job, Jack, Barb, Calvin, Marsha and Norm completed their tasks. However, as of this afternoon, other tasks have been added to that job site and after a contractor completes some of his work, NOMADS will probably be back to work there.

Today was another beautiful day but tonight we are again experiencing nasty thunderstorms. We have been under a severe thunderstorm watch since before lunch that continues until 10:00pm. The parking lot is full of water and the winds have had FRED rocking tonight. We had a little hail but fortunately nothing of any size. We are surprised at the weather. Thunderstorms three nights in a row. We could stay in Alabama for that. The prediction is more of the same tomorrow but then we get a significant drop in temperatures and some nicer weather. Hope they are right.

First Sunday at Winding Rivers UMC

Sunday August 4, 2019

It was a beautiful morning in New Lisbon, WI. It was 62 degrees when we did our walking before church. It warmed on up this afternoon to the mid 80s and then we had more afternoon rain and cooler temps. Nice.

Worship at Winding Rivers UMCWe worshiped with the congregation at Winding Rivers UMC and were made to feel very welcomed. The pastor is on vacation and will be back Thursday so a lay speaker from another church brought the message from James 2:15-17. We sometimes say “I believe in God But…..I want to be independent or I want to be happy at all costs, or ….. whatever it is for us. Is our faith dead? Good message from Pastor Carla. She is also an UMCOR trained case manager for the flood rebuilding efforts. We were impressed with the small congregation. They are very active in their community with all types of outreach activities including, of course, the flood assistance. Tonight the church fed the team a wonderful meal before our team meeting. We got to spend some time getting to know the church members better and then time getting to know our team members. Our leaders Barb and Jack gave us general information about the project and area and we will lean more about our particular assignments tomorrow. There are about 150 homes in need of repairs which is why we already have NOMADS teams scheduled for next year.  It was a good day and we feel like we will enjoy working here.

Alabama to Wisconsin

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Wednesday was another beautiful summer day with some scattered showers but no rain for Pine Mountain. We spent the day finishing up on our packing and closing down the houses. Now that we have to close down Doc’s and our house we sometimes get confused as to what exactly we have done and not done. Wednesday afternoon we headed to Cullman for a retirement party of a dear friend. We were able to visit with a number of friends from Anne’s work days. It was great to spend time with old friends. When we returned home to Fred, just after getting into bed, Max received a notification that the road we use to leave the mountain was going to be closed from 8am -4pm Thursday. We do not usually take Fred off the mountain by any other road because the other roads are so rough and winding. Flexibility. We reset the alarm clock for an early wake up. Fortunately, we were almost ready to roll.

Where we spent Thursday night. That is a very large hemp field across the road.
Where we spent Thursday night. That is a very large hemp field across the road.

We pulled out of the driveway at 7:27 and were On The Road Again!! Felt so good. We saw the paving crew at the foot of the mountain setting up for their work day.  Thursday we had an uneventful drive through north Alabama, and Tennessee to Crofton, KY where we “moochdocked” with some NOMADS friends. We backed Fred into their driveway and parked along side their RV. They have their house up for sale and are living in their rig in their driveway for now. It was great to see Mary Ann and Gene again. We also got to see Carol and Dave, some other NOMADS friends who also live in the little town of Crofton. Mary Ann and Gene grilled hamburgers and provided a great meal for us all with lots of good time to catch up with each other. We had not seen Carol and Dave for a couple of years when we had stopped by their house on the way to Illinois. Great visit! Thanks so much Gene and Mary Ann. Love you both!!

Wisconsin added to RVing map
Wisconsin added to our RVing map

Friday morning we were back on the road about 7:00 to head on north, through Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois and spent the night at the Wisconsin welcome center about a mile into Wisconsin. Overnighting is legal in Wisconsin rest areas. It was our first night in Wisconsin in our RV so we now get to add another state to our list. It was a nice large rest area with lots of room to walk. We walked last night and again this morning. We stopped several times, once for fuel and the others at rest areas changing drivers and walking. We took a longer break for lunch and stopped for the day at about 5:30.


After a good nights sleep we had a relaxing breakfast and then talked with a host in the visitors center to get information on Wisconsin, specifically the area around New Lisbon where we will be living and working for the next several weeks. We left the rest area about 9:30 and arrived at Winding Rivers UMC about 12:00. Our leaders, Jack and Barb, helped us get parkedCulvers ice cream and set up. Then, especially for Dave, we went to Culver’s for a late lunch and ice cream. Yum, yum. It was really good, Dave. Later this afternoon we talked with Jack and Barb about the NOMADS work here in New Lisbon. We are looking forward for another great project.


Storm coming in

Currently we are watching the clouds roll in. According to the radar we have a nasty storm headed our way. We can’t see the storms moving like this at home due to our hilly terrain. Wow, it’s cool to watch. Yes, we already have the weather radio programmed to our area (it has not gone off) and our 911 address posted on the refrigerator. The temperature has dropped 10 degrees in the past 15 minutes and it is raining like crazy. We will post again tomorrow since we are back on the road. Hope everyone is having a great weekend.