This morning was our last Oklahoma sunrise. In addition to meeting great people and making what we expect to be life long friends, and working on a great project, by working this Oklahoma disaster rebuild project we also got to add another state to our map. We now have 21 states and 3 Canadian provinces on our map of states where we have spent at least one night in the motorhome. We probably won’t get to add any additional states until we go to Iowa to our annual meeting in September, since we are trying to stay a little closer to home these days. We really enjoyed our stay in Oklahoma and wouldn’t hesitate to go back and work with the folks again.
Hated to leave, but today was a travel day and we enjoy travel. It was in the 40s when we got back from dinner last night but we knew it was going to be in the low 30s again this morning so we went ahead and did most of the outside departure tasks. We also started the inside packup. Everything has to be secured or put away so that we have nothing flying around if we have to stop suddenly or get bounced onto the floor on the rough highways. We both slept well which is always good for the night before travel. Sometimes our brains won’t shut down and we stay awake going over the departure checklists in our heads. We had breakfast, went over to the Badger Den and got some cinnamon rolls for later in the day and then said our goodbyes to all our team. Love them all!! Dennis and Carol will be joining the team in our place tomorrow and they will have another great week. Then next Friday Scot and Pat, Henry and Barb and Gary and Gwen will all be leaving and 3 more couples will join Dennis and Carol.
We departed at 8:10 and drove to I-35 to Oklahoma City, then took I-240 to I-40 East which will take us all the way back to Memphis. There was the usual areas of construction and congestion, but overall not a bad driving day. We noticed what appeared to be several large wildfires in the distance as we came across I-40. It is still very dry there and they continue to be under fire warnings. We made a fuel stop before leaving Oklahoma as fuel was less expensive there. Almost as soon as we crossed in to Arkansas we began noticing how much greener it was than 3 weeks ago. The redbuds and lots of trees along the interstate are blooming and putting on leaves. We stopped at a rest area about 36 miles after entering Arkansas and had lunch – leftovers from last night’s dinner. We then arrived at the Forrest City, Arkansas Walmart about 5:30. We will stay here tonight and it looks like several other RVers have chosen to overnight here too. Tomorrow morning we will continue east back to Alabama. Hope you all have a nice weekend.
It was even COLDER TODAY!!! It wasn’t suppose to be but it was 29 degrees this morning and we had a beautiful frosty sunrise. We were very thankful for the warm clothes we packed.
After a great devotional time when Gary shared his personal testimony we headed back to our job site. We all tried to work inside for the first little while today. You know that those work lights on a tripod can warm a small space up pretty quickly. We had two with two lights each and they can warm your hands quite nicely. We all started back where we left off yesterday, with drywall, electrical and stairs. A little later the VIM coordinator arrived and yea!!! he had the plumbing supplies. He also brought all the other supplies we needed. This is the first DR project we have worked where the coordinators actually work side by side with you. Hal, Chad and Kevin have been really good to work with. The house has really started to come together. The banister on one side of the stairs are complete, but the other side has to wait for the drywall to be installed. The safety rail at the top of the new stairs was completed. About half the downstairs drywall is complete. All but one of the new windows have been installed. The down stairs plumbing is almost complete, the upstairs bath has been insulated, window installed and plumbing and electrical started. We took pictures of our last day here and have been promised updates and final pictures that we will share with you when the job is complete.
On a disaster rebuild project it is tradition that whenever someone is leaving, the team goes out to dinner Thursday evening. Tonight, because we are leaving Oklahoma in the morning, we all ate together next door at the Badger Den. It’s a fairly plain place but the staff is very nice and helpful and the food is good. We had chicken fried steak and hamburger steak both of which were very good and we ate too much (and still have leftovers for lunch tomorrow). The last day with a group of NOMADS is always a little sad. We have made such good friends. We would love to stay. It’s been a great team and we hope to see everyone down the road sometime soon. After dinner it was time to return to FRED and prepare to travel. Tomorrow we will probably be overnighting at a Walmart in Arkansas.
We have been watching the weather in Alabama today and are so thankful that so far we have not seen reports of damage or injury from the storms in Blount County. Everybody be careful. This morning was COLD! It was really only 44 but with the 15-20 mph winds it seemed so much colder than yesterday. The predicted low tonight is 31 so it will be another cold start tomorrow. This is actually more the type of weather we were expecting when we came to Elmore City in February. We brought lots of cold weather clothes but have sure enjoyed the spring like weather. Hopefully it won’t be quite so windy tomorrow.
Today the stair team completed the stairs with the exception of the handrail and they are working on that. The stairs look wonderful. We built them with wider treads and shorter risers so that they would be easier and hopefully safer for our homeowner. Hopefully the handrails will be completed tomorrow because the homeowner came over this afternoon and we couldn’t talk him out of going upstairs without a handrail.
We also continued to install the drywall. The Drywall (formerly Demolition) Divas are getting pretty good at measuring, cutting and installing the drywall. We were excited that Henry was going to be able to do more work on the plumbing today but the VIM folks said that the Home Depot didn’t have all the needed supplies so there was some plumbing done, but Henry moved on to electrical. He had to install some outlets before the drywall was installed. The VIM guys were going to Oklahoma City for a meeting today and hope they can get the things necessary to complete the plumbing. Gary continued to work hard on the exterior of the house.
Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent, so tonight we went to Elmore City UMC for their Ash Wednesday Service. Pastor Caroline had a very good service with the placing of the ashes on our foreheads. At the end of the service, since tomorrow is our last day here, Pastor presented us with a beautiful quilt made by the Peacemakers, the quilting group at the church. It is so pretty and we appreciate it so much. The church has been so nice to us and so welcoming. Hopefully we can stay in touch with them as we have some of the other churches we have visited in our travels.
Today was another fun and productive day for our team. Pat shared a wonderful devotion this morning about peace. Our devotion times are so meaningful and set the foundation for the rest of the day.
Today was not as sunny as yesterday, but was still warm. Several of the team members spent most of the day outside preparing lumber for the new stairs and installing siding. The Volunteers in Mission (VIM) coordinators working with us today put the roof on the new porch and started hanging the drywall. Since the concrete was sawn by a contractor yesterday, Henry was able to prepare the trench for the new plumbing. Hopefully, the plumbing supplies will be delivered tomorrow. More milestones were reached on the new stairs. The first run of steps and the landing were completed and the opening for the second run was cut upstairs.
During lunch some of the team members mentioned a plaque “downtown” about the first tornado warning issued based on a Doppler radar signature, so after work we walked over to get a picture of it. A little Internet research shows that Gary England was a Oklahoma television meteorologist for many years and was the first to have Doppler radar at his station and was the first person to use it to alert his viewers of a possible tornado. And that just happened to be right here in Elmore City. Between that historic event and Footloose, why had we never heard of Elmore City before the NOMADS project?