Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Home At Last!

We left  Fort Myers and headed North after completing our project. The first day the back of our RV was clipped by a tractor trailer as we fueled but damage was minimal, so we traveled on to Cecil, GA were we stopped for the night. We stayed in the Cecil Bay RV park and to our surprise we were invited to a fish fry. Even though I had to set up the trailer in rain, the fish was good and there was a great assortment of food...the hush puppies were great. The next morning we took off and had a good driving day with no incidents. We made it to Smyrna, Tennessee were we spent the night at the I-24 RV park. Greta had a great time since the park had a fenced area where dogs could run. She was in competition with a English Bull Dog to chase the ball, but it wore her out so she slept good for the night. All went well until we arrived in Paduach, Ky. We arrived in a torrential rain and setting up was not so much fun, but we did get the chance to visit with my parents. The weather was getting colder as we headed North on Monday. All went well until we reached Bloomington, IL. At that point it was snowing and as we arrived at Rockford the snow had turned to freezing rain, but we made it home without incident. We are now cleaning out the trailer and hoping for warmer weather to arrive soon.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Week Two Completed

The second week of work at ECHO has been completed and we are now headed into the home stretch. I am still working on the cabinet project and hopefully it will be completed this week. Linda has been doing some painting and some window washing. The team has been working on several tasks and some are now coming to completion.

With the arrival of the "weekend" Linda and I were not only busy with the shopping, laundry, and other house cleaning activities, we hosted the team for a "Wisconsin Night" celebration complete with Wisconsin Cheese and Brats! I also took Greta and walked in the Harry Chapin Hunger walk to raise money for the local food banks. The NOMADS team did not think I would walk, however I did get them to pledge $200 if I made the walk. I did complete the walk, and the team did pay up. We supported the Tice United Methodist Pantry and that church had 40 walkers that raised over $8000 for their pantry.

We are now starting to think of our trek home, but will blog more later this weekend.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

In the Sunshine State!

We are now on the NOMADS project at ECHO and have finished the first week. The weather has been wonderful even though a couple of days the natives were complaining... the morning temperature was 55 which was like summer time to us! We are in a wonderful campground and Linda has been enjoying the swimming pool.
Our site is level and has a nice "patio" where we can relax at the end of the day. We are also located near the laundry facilities and the swimming pool so that makes it even nicer. We are surrounded by campers from Illinois, Kentucky, and Indiana, sort of the Midwest Gang. The campground company has a wonderful $3.00 breakfast every Saturday morning which makes it nice!

ECHO is the acronym for Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization. This organization is a non profit organization that has developed many ways to provide food for people who are in need. This includes issues relating to sustainable farming in tropical countries as well as urban gardening ideas that can be used by city dwellers every place. The organization has several missionaries in training that will use what they have learned to help people live just a little better in many parts of the world. ECHO has locations in Florida, East Africa, West Africa, and Southeast Asia, the areas where hunger is the greatest problem.

When we arrived we were met by a couple that had worked with us on other projects as well. It is always great to see a familiar face after a long journey!

The NOMADS team consists of 14 members. The team members are from New York, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Our daily routine is to start each day with a devotion, then proceed to work on our assigned projects. Breaks are taken as a group so we are able to enjoy some fellowship...the spiritual growth opportunities and the fellowship opportunities are just as important as the work we do!

So what are we doing you may ask. Linda has been assigned to do power washing of the facilities. This includes washing buildings, sidewalks and other structures. I am glad she is getting this experience so she can wash our house this summer and not be on me to do it!

One of the houses where the interns live while on site needed more cabinet space in the kitchen, so the first idea was to just add a "lazy Susan" in the corner cabinet. The problem is there was no corner cabinet but a counter top over an open space so the project evolved into building new cabinets for the kitchen. The space was such that standard cabinets would not work and the budget did not allow for the purchase of cabinets from Loews or Home Depot, so I was given material int he shop and told to build something, including making the counter top. This is certainly not going to be a one week activity, I am sure I will be at least another week building the base cabinets for the kitchen.

During our fist weekend we did relax! I took Greta for a couple of long walks in the local forest preserve and she really enjoyed the outdoors. We managed to see the movie Selma, visit a flea market, and observe the matinees, Tonight we will attend a meatloaf dinner at the Tice United Methodist Church.

So far this has been a wonderful trip...lower gas prices, dry pavement, warm weather, we are just hoping the weather up north changes before we have to start back!

Linda:  So far I went swimming 2x even though I am wet most of the day power washing sidewalks and buildings-the green and black mold of Florida is very difficult to remove.  On our days off, we like to go on nature walks and do some exploring.  we did see the movie, SELMA.  Very moving.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Our Georgia Adventure!

New Years Eve was spend in Georgia with friends that Linda knew from the day she taught school in Latin America. Our trusty GPS got us to our trailer park in Cumming, Ga, but the route was very scenic and challenging. At one point our GPS took us in a circle, and we knew that since we saw some of the same sights more than one time. Finally we did arrive at Twin Lakes RV park. It was a nice park with full hookups, but we did have to unhitch so we could go to Steve and Sally Campbell for dinner and the New Years Eve events. We had a very nice dinner with the family and played games afterwards. We did retire early since we would need to make an early start the next morning to complete the next leg of our trip. We knew when midnight came because it sounded like a war zone and Greta really let us know something was going on. The next morning we left early and I am sure everyone was still sleeping in! As luck would have it our trusty GPS took us directly through downtown Atlanta. Glad there was not any traffic. Ironically we did not see any road construction on I-75 certainly a rare event. The evening of New Year's Day we arrived at Ocala North RV Park. We set up the trailer and met some other NOMADS for dinner. We made the decision to spend Friday just relaxing before making the last run to ECHO.

On Our Way!

It is Monday Morning and the weather is cold. The roads are dry and at 5:00 am the trailer is hooked to the truck, everything is loaded. We are off on another adventure. The day was very uneventful and the driving was good. Linda and I managed to make it to Metropolis and visit with my folks before heading across the bridge into Kentucky. It was just turning dark when we arrived at Duck Creek RV Park in Paduach. They had a pull through site and I hooked up the electricity, filled the water tank, and we were in for the night. This was a very nice park so Greta had the chance to go to the dog park and get her exercise. It was very soon after we were able to get into the trailer, it hit! I had the flu and spent most of the night in the bathroom on the porcelain throne!  I was so glad we had a sewer hook up. The next morning getting read to travel on was not very easy.

Tuesday I felt weak and sick all the way, but we did not have a long drive. We traveled from Paduach, KY to Chattanooga, TN. I was really glad to see sign directing us to Mack Smith Drive and the Holiday RV park. Set up the trailer and finally had the courage to eat a meal. Seemed the flu was gone and I was on the road to recovery. After spending the night in Chattanooga, we were on the road again.