Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Years Eve in Chattanooga

With the forecast for inclimate weather on the horizon, we decided to leave early. Monday morning in very cold weather, I managed to get the trailer hitched to the truck and we were off. Even though we did get a late start in the morning, we were able to reach Clarksville, In the first evening. Clarksville is just across the Ohio River from Louisville. We had a nice dinner and a warm hotel room for the first night.

The second day of our travels was shorter than usual, but we managed to reach Chattanooga. Upon arrival the temperature was 50 and the forecast was for night time temperatures to be in the 30's so we decided to stay in the RV. We found a nice park and parked the unit. The only problem was that when we started to open the RV the main slide did not extend, so we spent most of the afternoon waiting on a service technician to correct the problem. Once the unit was set up and opened out, we found that it must have been cold in the RV. Our water, Linda's eye drops, the liquid soap, and the bananas were  all frozen. It was good the Cracker Barrel was close by so we could at least eat!

When we arrived there was still snow on the top of our RV and several people asked if they could climb up and get some....Most lived in places where they had not observed snow for many years and they had the desire to just make a snowball and throw it at someone.

While waiting for the repairman, the couple in the neighboring RV saw our NOMADS signs and asked about it. We described the organization, and we certainly could see we had generated some interest! We had some very interesting discussions that afternoon.

It was a quite New Years Eve for us! We watched some old TV shows, watched the dog sleep and wished each other a Happy New Year!

We will continue our journey south tomorrow, it will be a short drive since we are going to visit some of Linda's old colleagues that now live near Atlanta.

Best Wishes to everyone for a Wonderful 2014!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Getting Ready !

The weather has been cold and snowy in Wisconsin, so we are ready to head south. Today, in Wisconsin, the temperatures moderated and this gave us the opportunity to get packed. Our orignial plan was to leave on January 1, 2014, but the weather forecast did not look so good, so we made the decision to leave early. We will depart on Monday and start out trip south.

The I-24 bridge that crosses the Ohio River is under reconstruction and there are very long delays and very narrow traffic lanes, so we have decided to travel to Bloomington, Il; then to Indianapolis, IN; and on through Louisville, Ky. We should make Louisville by the end of the first day. The second day will take us through Nashville to Chattanooga where we will stay New Years Eve. On New Years Day we do plan on visiting some old friends of Linda and then travel on to Rockledge on January 2. We will be working with the United Methodist Church there on some projects for home bound members of the church. We will keep  posting as we make our trip south.

We pray for a safe trip and a successful project.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Rock Cut State Park -- A close Call

After trying our new trailer we decided to make a trip to Rock Cut State Park. Reservations were made, we packed up and even invited my nephew and his family to come our and have dinner with us. It was a pleasant experience, the park was nice, the staff exceptionally helpful and we were enjoying our selves until just after lunch the second day. A Class A motorhome on the next site caught fire and we had to leave...everything was left behind.

The heat was so intense we had to leave the area, but our trailer did not burn, but it did suffer significant heat damage and smoke damage. Now the fun of working with the insurance companies will make life interesting.

New Equipment

We finally took the plunge and updated our travel equipment. On June 27 we took delivery of a new Chevrolet Silverado that had a much greater towing capacity than our GMC had. On June 30 we took delivery of our new travel trailer. The new travel trailer is much larger thatn our Viewfinder and we are going to enjoy the extra space! We plan on loading the trailer and heading to Ottawa Lake Campground on June 30 to break it in! Linda's son and grandson will be there so we should all enjoy life!

We are ready for the road!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Home Again

After completing the work at Pine Creek, Linda and I faced a challenge with my father. Dad is 98 and has some health problems, and during the final days of the project he required surgery. This created a challenge for us, but all worked out in the end. We are now home in Janesville and are contemplating our next NOMADS mission.

Project Finished

Pine Creek Camp is now ready for the campers to arrive. Soon the forest and the areas around the camp will be filled with the sounds of the younger generation enjoying some time away from their parents and living life to it's fullest. Certainly they will learn about Christ and what he means to many people. NOMADS should feel good about their part in preparing the camp for the campers.

The three weeks of work included mowing, cleaning, repairing, landscaping, but there were also some moments when NOMADS had some fun and enjoyed the fellowship of others.

 When we arrived the bathhouses needed repair. The water pipes leaked, drains were plugged, the walls needed cleaning and refinishing. Just getting them functional and ready for use was a major challenge for the team, but at the end they were ready for use.

 The cabins were all cleaned and checked. Getting them ready included not only cleaning, but checking to insure the smoke alarms worked, the fire extinguishers were charged and ready for use in case of an emergency. Each cabin was checked to insure it had the proper supplies so the campers could keep their area clean during their stay.

Invitations were sent out and reminders were sent to previous campers to make them aware that camping season was coming and they would be welcome to be a part of the Pine Creek experience again!

 Flower beds were planted. The grass was cut to dress the camp grounds up before the campers arrived.

The grounds keeping equipment was serviced and prepared for use. The lawn mower will be used many hours this summer. Much of the lawn mowing will be done by volunteers from the local Pine Village Methodist church.

Each day we reviewed the progress on each project and new items were added to the list. Planning and communications among time members is the key to a successful project.

As NOMADS we always have some fun along the way. Here we see Paul enjoying a Birthday Cake! 

Tray Clayton (Camp Manager) earned our respect and appreciation for the work he does with this camp. He is a "one man show" most of the year so he finds himself multitasking!

Attending Worship service is always important to all the team members, but Linda and I find it interesting to attend churches. The churches we attend often leave a lasting impression on us and we find ourselves discussing them long after we have left a project. Pine Village Methodist Church is one that will leave us with many good memories. It is a vibrant church in a small sleeping village!

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Team!

The NOMADS team at Pine Creek consisted of 11 members. The team members came from Florida, Indiana, Georgia, and Wisconsin.

The team members are shown here with the Camp Manger. Hard work is a part of the mission, but more importantly is the fellowship and friendship that develops over the years. 

Week 2 Finished

The second week of work has been completed. Progress is being made and the camp will soon be ready for the campers to arrive. The weather has been favorable, but as we move to the third week rain is in the forecast, so our bodies may be dampened, but our spirits will be high.

Several activities have been completed or are nearing completion, while other activities continue.
 Repairing the plumbing in the bathhouses and other facilities has been a major activity for the project. Every facility had leaks and had many repairs that had to be made. Several electrical repairs had to be made as well.

 This is the "Queen of Clean" team. They have been working hard to insure all of the cabins and bath houses are spotless for the arriving campers. The facility has not been used for several months so you can appreciate how much cleaning was necessary to get the camp ready.

 The team completed the construction of a foot bridge over a creek. An earlier construction team had built a nice bridge, but there was no way to exit the bridge after crossing, so a set of stairs and platform was constructed to complete the project.

 There was an open pit on the camp where water was drained from the swimming pool. A cover was constructed and placed over the pit. This was done to prevent wildlife from accidentally fallint into the pit or for a wandering camper to fall in.
 The steps to the new worship center were improved. More steps were added so the rise on each step would not be so great.

 The appliances were all serviced and the kitchen was made ready so food could be prepared for the soul of young campers. WOW there is a lot to do to get a camp ready!

The group made an excursion to Fair Oaks Dairy Farm during the weekend. Fair Oaks is the largest dairy farm in the United States, and following a tour of the farm, the group observed a calf being born and then enjoyed cheese sandwiches and ice cream following the tour. 

 When the weekend was finished and we started back to work, the pool was just about ready for use. Final cleaning and filtering of the water was the last step in getting the pool ready for the campers.

It was with sadness we had to bid farewell to Ramon and Pat Carlson. Pat's sister passed away and they had to leave to attend the funeral. Our prayers are with the family during this time.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pine Creek Camp, Pine Village, In

Welcome to Pine Creek Camp. Earlier I posted a description of the camp and today I will post some photos of the grounds and the facilities. The campground is located approximately 10 miles northeast of Attica, In or approximately 3 miles south of Pine Village, In. The camp is situated on slightly more than 300 acres and has an abundance of woodlands, creeks, wild life, and misquotes!

As you leave the public road, guests are greeted by a pleasant view of the welcome sign and magnificent white fences.  Upon arrival all guests must check in at the main office.

The building where guests are greeted appears to be a large building  and that is because it is also a horse arena. The facility is not only used by Pine Creek Camp, but is also used by the Purdue  Jumping and Horsemanship Team for training.

Immediately behind the arena is a stall barn with 25 stalls for horses. Horses used by the camp in the summer are housed here, however in the off season, some of the space is rented out to various parties  for housing their horses.

Fence lined paddocks allow the horses an exercise area, however the paddocks double for hay production for the camp horses.

Once you pass the horse paddocks, the first building you will see is the leadership building. This is the building where all the staff meetings are held, maintenance tools and supplies are stored at this facility and it serves as a guest house for visiting staff members.

After passing the leadership building, the next building is the "Ark". This is a gym that serves as a place for concerts, stage shows, and indoor activities when the weather does not permit outdoor activities to be completed. The building also houses the "camp store" where campers can buy gifts and souvenirs to remember their stay at camp.

 At the end of the road is the dining hall. The building has a panaromic view for the campers to enjoy as they eat their meals. The campers can look over a large sports field and have a view of the natural woodlands that surround the park area.

This is the view looking from the exercise field toward the dining hall. The dining hall is truly a magnificent structure.

The camp has an olympic sized swimming pool for the campers to enjoy.

Several outdoor worship and devotion sites area located on the campus. Worship is an important part of the camping experience.

The camp also has a family camping area that is equipped with electric and water hook ups. A dump station is available on site.

Often people ask me how doing the maintenance work and improvements on a camp can be considered mission work. Here is the answer, the camp provides young people with the opportunity to become closer to God and in some cases the camp experience may be their introduction to religious activities and this may just lead to a life long christian experience.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Weekend....

Weekends are always welcome. It gives us time to relax and recharge for the next week. This weekend we did the normal grocery shopping, laundry, and house keeping chores. We are staying near a small town, (Attica) in Indiana, but it has some history as well as some unique opportunities. One of the local businesses is Wolf's Chocolates, and you might know Linda had to find the shop and support the business!
Since we were on the road Mothers Day I guess you could say she was due a small reward!

We visited a new Indiana State Park near Lafayette. Prophetstown State park is a historic site that has a living history farm, a replica of an Indian village that would have been typical of prairie Indians, and a historical museum relating to the battle of Tippecanoe. We toured the park with friends and had a very enjoyable time.
 In our next Post I will give  you a tour of the campgrounds!

The First Week at Camp!

The first week at camp was a busy one. The job of getting the campsite ready for campers has been a large task and has involved a large variety of skills and activities. During this week the landscape group continued to "beautify" the grounds by cleaning flower beds installing landscape rock, and new plants. Linda and Caroline did manage to find a few snakes, but it did not keep them from doing their job.

My first job was to grade all of the roads and trails on the campsite. The winter and the rains this spring had made many of the areas almost impossible to travel, so with the help of the tractor loader and rear blade I was able to smooth them out.
 Another major project for the week was to get the swimming pool ready to be filled. This required a cleaning, some repair work and installation of a new pump. It required the chemicals to be moved and safely stored.
Another team was busy checking all of the bathhouses to insure the showers and all of the water worked. This has been a large task, but an important task. The team also cleaned all of the bathhouses and made the necessary repairs. Since the camp in in a wooded area, animals damage the buildings every winter and that requires a large amount of maintenance. 

Once the fire pits were cleaned, it was necessary to restock each of the areas with wood so the campers could enjoy campfires while they were camping. 

One of the improvement projects was the construction of a cover for an open pit on the camp. The pit cover will eliminate one of the safety hazards at the camp site. 

At the end of the day we all return to our home away from home. Always tired but feeling the day has been a rewarding day. The campsite is a welcome site at the end of the day!

Another Day at Camp!

The work has started with the priority on getting the camp ready for the campers. That translates to a lot of clean up and preparation. I spent the first two days on a tractor grading the roads and paths to the various living centers. Others have been working on plumbing, flower beds, getting the pool ready and other activities.

The entrance flower bed needed weeding and some plant selection, so when visitors arrive they will have a very positive impression of the camp. After the plants were weeded and the selction was made landscape gravel was added to the area to enhance the beauty of the welcome sign. 

The evening was spent socializing around an open fire. Yes one of my assignments yesterday was to clean out the fire pits on the camp, all 18 of them!

The first evening after work we had a social gathering around one of the fire pits and did some cooking  and socializing. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

We Arrived

The trip from Janesville to Pine Creek Camp was quite uneventful. Linda and I did stop in Chenoa, Illinois to visit some friends on the way and were sadden to their failing health. We had a wondeful lunch in Kentland, IN, we stopped at McDonald's!

Upon arrival at the campsite we were met by the team leaders and shown our parking site. I maneuvered the trailer into place and we started the set up. The site is quite primitative, but it works!

On Sunday we attended the Pine Village Methodist Church. The church as about 100 regular attendees, but there are many young children in the congregation, so that was a surprise to us. The pastor has a very good service to honor mothers. Every pastor does something unique to try to keep the interest of the people in the congregation. This pastor puts a "fill in the blank" paper and this will help you to remember what he said in his sermon.

Pine Creek Camp is owned by the United Methodist Church, but it hosts many other groups besides Methodists  The camp has a state of the art equestrian center (donated by Eli Lily) and several opportunities are provided for young campers to engage in horsemanship training. The Purdue Equestrian  team uses the facility to train for their events. The campsite hosts between 50 and 100 youth each week during the camping season, which begins in early June and ends in early August. In addition to youth camps the facility is rented out for family retreats or other events that would fine the facility useful. The camp sets on 330 acres of land that is woodland with creeks and streams. There is also an abundance of wildlife on the camp.

Job assignments will be made soon and the work list will be prioritized. so in my next posting, you will find out what we are going to be doing for the next three weeks.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Pine Creek Camp, Indiana, Our Next Mission Trip

This week we are cleaning out the travel trailer and starting to pack for the trip to Indiana. Our trip will take us to North Central Indiana (near Lafayette) where we will be getting a campground ready for young campers. The list of NOMADS has been given to us and we are anxiously awaiting our departure so we can meet new people and make new friends. The work list has been prepared and there is a long list of work to be done, so we will be busy. 

As we start our journey, we will make regular posts about what we are doing and the friends we meet along the way. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Our Next Mission

Our next mission trip will be in May. Our journey will take us to Pine Village, Indiana to the Pine Creek Camp. Our tasks will involve clean up and preparing for the summer camping season. We will post notes about that assignment once we arrive on site.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Home at Last!

We finally arrived home after four weeks on the road. Home was certainly a welcome sight! In looking back at the trip it was a very rewarding experience and we are already looking forward to the next mission trip. Not only did we learn some new tasks, work hard, and make new relationships, but we also experienced spiritual growth. We were surrounded by people of faith who were living their faith and not just talking about it. Every one at ECHO had a very positive attitude and their faith was very obvious.

As we came back, we often talked about the impressions the people we met had left on us. No doubt the one thing we will remember is our experiences of worship at Tice United Methodist Church. Our first Sunday many people of the congregation came up to us and introduced themselves and made us feel very welcome. The songs that were sang were very uplifting and the people were clapping hands and hands were raised! I will never forget the organ player and how he really put everything he had into making the music lively. The service was opened each Sunday with the minister asking for "God Sightings" for the week. In other words who has experienced something during the week where they felt God had impacted their lives, and many people responded.

As we returned to Wisconsin, we had maps and a GPS to help us find our way. I realized that our life is much like the journey we had just taken, but God is our GPS. The only problem is that too many times we try to travel the path we want to travel and not follow his plan. If I leaned one thing on this trip it is to put all my trust in God and he will take care of us.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Traveling Home

We left Florida on Friday and drove as far as Ashburn, GA where we spent the night. We arrived at the hotel fairly early so I got plenty of rest and we had a real nice dinner at Shonney's. After a wonderful breakfast, we hit the road. The road conditions were good and the traffic was light, even in Atlanta, so we made a lot of miles. Our journey took us through 4 states. We managed to travel to Metropolis and spend the night there. This gave us the opportunity to see my parents and have a Birthday Lunch with them before heading onward. Sunday we had to stop at Tuscola, IL due to high winds, rain and freezing conditions making driving risky as nightfall approached. We should finish our journey on Monday.