On The Road Again! Again.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Sorry to leave you hanging, but this was a very busy week. After dentist visits Monday, Anne left at 4:30 Tuesday morning for Atlanta to be with her brother Jim and sister-in-law Marguerite who was having a procedure on her kidneys. Traffic was horrible! Max stayed in Alabama to take his Aunt Helen for some skin cancer surgery. Wednesday morning Anne drove home and took Juno to have some GI testing done. Thursday we drove to Tuscaloosa to see Anne’s Mom and back to Trussville to see Aunt Jean. That brings us to today. Whew!

Today we awoke early to a beautiful spring day. We enjoyed looking out at the trees and bushes putting on blossoms and new leaves. We got everything (we hope) loaded into FRED by about 10:00, stopped by Helen’s to check her surgery site (looks great). While there we picked a few of this spring’s last jonquils to take with us.

Then we headed to Cedartown, GA about 10:45. We stopped in Allgood to top off on fuel since we don’t like to park FRED for 3 weeks with less than ½ tank of diesel. Cedartown is only about a 90 mile drive. The storms from last night were gone and it was a beautiful day to drive the state highways. It was a bit windy at times. Our team leader had asked those that could to arrive on Friday rather than Saturday to help clean up the campground. When we arrived almost everyone was here. It was so great to see Jim and Mary Jo our team leaders, Janet and Harry, and Joyce and Ken. We also met Richard briefly. Sheila and Frank should arrive tomorrow. This should be such a fun project because we already know and love everyone. It’s also going to be a good deal of demolition which is also fun. After getting FRED set up, we started visiting and getting caught up with everyone. Good times.! The campground is right beside the Silver Comet Trail and we will probably be riding on it tomorrow. We look out our front windshield and can see people riding by on the trail. Between the campground and the trail is a pasture for cows – and deer and turkey. Well today the cows preferred being with us rather than in their pasture so we had a round up to get them back in their pastures. Of course, when the young ones can step back into the pasture thru the barbed wire fence rather than going thru the gate we suspect that keeping then away from the campsites may be a lost cause. The owners did return later in the afternoon to work on the fence so maybe we won’t wake up to lots of surprises left for us to step in in the morning. For supper we had a fire and grilled some sliders, and had beans, black beans and rice, chips, salsa, brownies, ice cream, s’mores (made with peeps), and probably other things we are too stuffed to remember. Anyway, it’s wonderful to be back at the Cedartown’s Murphy Harpst Children’s Center and we look forward to accomplishing a lot for them.

“When We Carve Away All The Bad Things…”

Sunday March 5, 2017

cross-on-stumpThis cross greeted us when we arrived at our church this morning. In the early morning hours of Sunday, January 22nd, while we were between NOMADS projects, the City of Oneonta, Alabama was hit by strong winds that caused damaged to many homes and buildings. Lester Memorial UMC was one of those damaged.

Many people from the church and community met that morning to cleanup as much as possible around the church and surrounding homes. Of the many trees blown down one large one was in the church parking lot. The Blount Countian, our local newspaper, published an article by Richard Thorne about how the cross on the stump came to be:

A cross carved from a tree trunk sits by the parking lot of Lester Memorial United Methodist Church. The old oak tree was felled by a storm in February [sic] and Blount County resident Fred McCarl offered to clean up the tree for the wood. When he finished, he says he was inspired to carve the cross from the remaining stump. McCarl wrote about the project, ‘When we carve away all the bad things from around us, we can see the beauty that is on the inside. I pray the cross continues to make an impact on many others.’

crossIt was really neat to see the cross for the first time this morning. It reminded us of all the crosses at Storm Mountain Center in South Dakota where we did several weeks of NOMADS drop-in work in 2014 when we were in route to and from Alaska. You can read about it at Alaska 2014 – Day 12: Trail Clearing at Storm Mountain Center. Good memories of Storm Mountain and our friends there.

Hope you have a great Monday.

Back to Alabama

Saturday March 4, 2017

We spent last night in a Walmart parking lot in Forrest City, Arkansas. Some people think that it is awful to stay at Walmart. We prefer to stay in a parking lot at Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot, Cracker Barrel, etc when we are just doing a quick overnight. We want some place close to our route and don’t need a campground since we carry everything we need – kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, etc. We usually try to arrive shortly before or just after dark and are back on the road 6:30-7:00 am or before. We check with the manager and make sure it is OK and ask where they prefer we park. It’s not really all about the cost, although we don’t like to pay $25-30 for a quick overnight stay. It’s more a matter of convenience. It sometimes is more expensive than a campground because we usually shop wherever we stop. In fact, we made at least three shopping trips across the parking lot for groceries for the weekend. The Forrest City Walmart lot has a sign that says “No overnight truck or RV parking” but the manager allows both to stay overnight. Last night there were five RVs and seven 18-wheelers there. It was a quiet night and we rested well. We were back on the road at 6:30. We continued west on I-40, then I-55 in Memphis to US 78/I-22. It was a nice sunny day and an uneventful trip back to Alabama.

We received a call shortly be getting home from the assisted living because Aunt Jean fell out of her wheelchair with a little assistance from another resident. She was not hurt and all is well. After getting FRED home and emptying the tanks, we checked on our other LOL’s. vegetable-soupWe made veggie soup for lunch tomorrow (and had a sample for supper). Anne’s sister-in-law with ovarian cancer, Marguerite, is not doing well and we would appreciate your prayers. She is having what we think is an adverse reaction to a new cancer medication and she is being admitted to the hospital. This next week is going to be very busy, but we will try to keep you posted on what is going on. Maybe we will remember to take some pictures but…..it may be mundane and boring. Enjoy worship at your church tomorrow. We look forward to returning to our church. We miss Lester Memorial when we are gone.