January 20 to February 14, 2014 NOMADS Project, Mercedes, MS

February 15 (Approximately) to June - Gate Guarding, TX or LA.

June, 2014 - Up to Alaska!

September - NOMADS Annual Meeting, Branson, MO

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Not our favorite

Fayette, MO

We've finished our first week of volunteering at Central Methodist University.  

This is by far our least favorite NOMADS project.   As only three people signed for this project, it is not a formal project but a "drop in".   That means no leader and no normal routine.  

We were instructed whom to contact here, which we did.   Leonard was told to work with the maintenance crew.  Allan (the other volunteer) and I were asked to work with housekeeping.    They really don't seem to need us.   We've scrubbed gym bleachers, wiped down walls, washed windows and done a few other odds and ends.   I've yet to work a full day.   I feel they are just making work for us.  Having worked with other agencies, I have always felt we served a purpose.    None of us feel that with this project.  

Leonard and I have decided to leave on Friday and go about 60 miles east where we have friends who live nearby.  We will spend one week at a local campground before heading to St. Louis to fly back to MD and NJ for a week.

On a good note - while in NJ we will be settling on our house and my daughter Terri will officially be the new owner.   YIPPEE!  That new King Ranch F350 will be paid off.

This morning Leonard and I took a ride to see two state parks.   Boones Lick and Arrow Rock.   Boones Lick gets its name from the salt streams which animals would seek out.   At one time there were salt wells owned by Daniel Boone's sons.  

Then we drove to Arrow Rock State Park.   The visitor center is chock full of items from the area.   Arrowheads, old farm implements, household goods, armaments and an outline of the history of the area including information on Daniel Boone and Lewis and Clark

Arrow Rock gets its name from the rocks in the area that made good arrowheads.   We noted the town of Arrow Rock has 79 residents.  My kind of place!

While walking we saw lots of these wildflowers.   Can someone tell me the name?

Now I gotta figure out what I did to my camera.  These pictures are really faded out.

Until next time......

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How did this happen!

Fayette,  MO

I went to go on the Internet yesterday and found a message from SPRINT that I had gone over my allotment of roaming charges only 9 days into this month.   I did not even know I had a limit of roaming charges.  I will be charged a substantial amount any time I use Internet roaming until May 15 when it resets.  Looking into my record, they tell me never before have I come anywhere near my limit.

They explained about the signal on my Mobile Hot Spot that indicates I am roaming.  I've looked at literature I received with the unit and see nothing about that.    Looking at the unit, I am roaming here in Fayette.

I am now on the College's system but it keeps going in and out.  We are volunteering at Central Methodist University.

The only explanation I have is that two other people also fed off my unit while we were in OK.   But that was only for a few days so who would have thought.

Now that I know what to look for - you can bet I will.

In the meantime, I have sore shoulders and back.   My assignment yesterday was to scrub down the bleachers in the Gym.   They have graduation next week.    I would not do this job for pay but here I am doing it for free!   Still more bleachers this morning.   Then will see what's next.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Checking out what used to be ours.

Flippen,  AR

As we had three days between Gore, OK and Fayette, MO projects, we detoured a little to check out the status of property we used to own.   About 18 years or so ago we bought 14 acres of beautiful land in north central Arkansas.  We thought about some day retiring here.   The property was up a gravel road.  No changes there, the road is still unimproved.

We really liked the area.   We were just five miles from Bull Shoals Lake, a premiere bass fishing and recreation haven.  Bull Shoals has over 1,000 miles of shoreline.  

Our 14 acres sat up on a mountain and with some tree removal we could picture a fine view of the surrounding mountains and valley.  There was also a water fall on the property.  We thought we found the perfect site, even though it would need some clearing.

We would stop by to just check on it every few years on our way to Louisiana from New Jersey.  The last time there we found it was being used as the town "dump".  There were trash bags, old carpeting, building materials and all sort of debris.   To make matters worse, people had bought property across the road. 

On their property was a trailer - no, not like we all proudly own but a broken down, falling apart house trailer.  The front yard (and side yard and back yard) was decorated with cars up on blocks, stacks of wooden pallets, no longer used refrigerators and other miscellaneous appliances.  And did I mention the yelping dogs - lots and lots of yelping dogs.    We went right into town and put to place on the market.

A few months later we sold the property to the parents of the woman who would have been our neighbor.  We expected to find our old property now inhabited and looking like what we saw across the road.  We were surprised to find nothing had been built on it.  The only thing we saw were NO TRESPASSING signs.

The property across the street?   It looks like it might be abandoned but really hard to tell.

Wondering if our potential neighbors have moved from their other trailer to this gem?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Gone from the Ranch

Flippen,  AR

We left the Boys Ranch in Gore, OK this morning around 9 and arrived at our "home" for two days at Heart O The Ozarks campground in Flippen, AR where we have a good Internet connection with just my Sprint Mobile WiFi.   

Our time at the Ranch was not only busy but a great blessing.    The ranch has at least 17 horses and lots of cattle.  While we were there we were aware of two calves being born.   There might have been more.    One new Mom did not want to care for her baby.   Len and our friend Olan helped Larry, the Activities Director and one of the young men who live at the Ranch find the calf out in the fields and bring him into a stable to be bottle fed until the mom was rounded up.  Mom eventually decided she would take care of her charge.

Leonard and I used a ranch truck to ride up the hills behind the ranch where most of the cattle are grazing.  When we got to the top of the hill, we turned around to find the cows and calves had followed us up the hill to see what we were up to.

One day we took a ride to Muskogee to The Five Civilized Tribes Museum.  The Tribes are Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole.   Unfortunately no photography was allowed in the museum.  Next to the museum was the Honor Heights Park with flowers out in bloom.

Twice a week the boys are taught horsemanship.   One night Len and I got to ride.  This is something we both miss, having had to sell our horses when we went fulltime.

Our last night there, Larry and his wife treated us to a fabulous T-Bone steak dinner that included a salad and baked potato bar, hot rolls, green beans, corn, picked okra and green tomatoes, kidney beans with jalapenos and this dessert!

Larry with son Luke and wife Deborah

As Larry's house is being worked on, they served us at the Ranch Lodge, right next to his house.  

Those steps are killers!
The view looking down from the Lodge porch.

Each Sunday we attended church at Gore United Methodist.  This past Wednesday we also went to their monthly pot luck dinner.   The church is beautiful as are the attendees.

 Oh, that's right.  We went to the ranch to work.  This is just some of what we did:

Refinished kitchen cabinets

Refinished the dining room table
The men worked in Larry's house hanging Sheetrock, doing electrical and laying flooring.

Leonard and I plan on returning to the Ranch for a few days in June when we will once more be passing through Oklahoma.    Maybe there will be less tornado watches by then?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Need to adjust the contraption!

Gore, OK

Yup, had a great connection - FOR AN HOUR!

We will be getting an adjustable flag pole to hook on our back ladder on which to put the outside antennea then we sure hope we see a continuing improvement. 

Right now I have a good connection with just my Sprint Mobile Hot Spot WiFi.   But, hey could lose it any minute.

We leave Gore tomorrow morning as this project wrapped up today.    We will spend two days in Flippen, AR where we once owned 14 acres.  We want to see what has happened to that area since we decided to sell.

We arrive at Central Methodist University on Sunday for three more weeks of volunteering.   (What was wrong with my head when I signed up to work 6 weeks in a row!)

Once I can depend on a connection, I will load up some pictures of our time here.  It has been a blessing.  We even got to horseback ride for a short spell.   We both miss doing that.  

Heading over to the Activities Director's now for steak and fixins.

Gotta love this life.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I'm connected!

Gore, OK

The last two weeks have been frustrating.   I have had very poor Internet connection up here Oklahoma Green Country.  My own Sprint WiFi Mobile Hot Spot would go in and out.   Mostly out.  The WiFi here at the Boys Ranch was spotty at best.

Len read an article in the latest Escapees magazine about a Signal Boost from Wilson Electronics.  He called the tech at Wilson and was told we could buy it over in Fort Smith, AR about 40 miles from here.   We drove over to Best Buy on Tuesday night.  They had none in stock but ordered it.  We picked it up this afternoon and has Len worked to install it.  It is not completely set up but well enough I am now online.  Tomorrow he will better secure it. 

 It is working quite fast.  Best we've had in a long, long time.   The cost was $327, including tax.  Not cheap but so worth not having the aggravation.  

Now I can finally get back to blogging and checking on my blogger friends.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Settling down for three weeks

Gore, OK

Now that a week has passed since we arrived in Gore, we have somewhat settled down. 

Our first week of work went well.    On Saturday afternoon Olan and Lola Halbert from Houston, TX arrived.  We had worked with this deligthful couple last year in Hayesville, NC.   On Sunday Jim and Karen Caldwell arrived.  They live in Ohio.  Today we expect Jan and Bob Wood from nearby Arkansas.   Unfortunately Jim and Karen Hansen from Iowa had to turn around midway here as Jim had fallen the week before and has having some problems.   We were so looking forward to seeing this couple again.  We had worked with them on our first project in Jacksonville, TX.

Office with the 13,000 acre Tenkiller lake in the background.

A view of the lake

As for our work,  lots of painting and construction work.  There are 10 boys in the main house, two to a bedroom.  Three bedrooms were in need of various stages of painting and patch work.    Recently the Ranch had a department of health inspection and were told that inside of the kitchen cabinets needed painting as there was some paint chipping off.

Morning devotions

Lola in the kitchen

Doing some wall patching

The activities director and his family live in a trailer down near the lake.   We will be replacing windows, removing old insulation, installing new and hanging and painting Sheetrock in the master bedroom.

Yesterday we had off and did some touring.   We went first to the Cherokee Heritage Center in Park Hill, OK.     The musuem tells the story of the Trail of Tears.   The outside tour explains the Cherokee way of life. 

 We learned many things about the Cherokee.   One thing we found interesting is that our own Constitution in great part is based on the Cherokee constitution, being one of the first Democracies.

After lunch in nearby Tahlequah we drove to Natural Falls State Park and walked to the waterfall.   I declined the last part of the walk as it was very steep and I just knew I would be all in after the climb back up.  I do need to get in better shape.  Knowing that, Len and I got up this morning and took a nice walk around the campus.

Leonard with Lola and Olan Halbert

I sat this one out.  Whew!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

OKlahoma City and beyond

Gore, OK

We left El Reno on Thursday at 9 and arrived at United Methodist Boys Ranch in Gore, OK at noon.  More on the Ranch later. I am having a difficult time staying online.

We spent most of last Tuesday and Wednesday being shown around Oklahoma City by my cousin, Bonnie, who lives in Oklahoma City and  whomI've seen only a few times in the last many, many years.

Bonnie is the younger sister of my cousin Muriel, whom we spent time with while in Benson, AZ.

On Tuesday we went to:

Reflecting pool   It was the street in front of the building

Each person killed in the bombing is represented by a chair.  The bottoms light up at night.
 Smaller chairs note the 19 children.
This area is the "footprint" of the bombed building.  The walks around it are made from concrete salvaged from the site.
Tuesday night we had dinner at Bonnie's son Bill's house.

Bonnie, her son Bill, her son Brent, Bill's wife Melinda and Leonard

On Wednesday we went to the National Western Museum.  Len loved the displays of memorabilia from his favorite western stars.  There were limited areas inside where pictures could be taken.

On Wednesdays anyone 55 or older and who joins the Players Club at the Casino where we were camping can get a $10 voucher to play the slots.   The three us of got our vouchers and hit the games.   Len quit when he had $17.75, Bonnie quit while she still had $8.50 and I stopped playing when I had $16.25.   We took our large winnings and went to a neighboring bar for dinner.

Bonnie had eaten there before and Security at the casino had recommenced it.  This place has a very limited menu.  It seems what people go for is the fried chicken.  For $12.00 you get a whole chicken, lots of dill pickles, slice onions and plain white bread.  What a strange meal.   We ordered two chickens and a side of fried okra that cost $6.00.   And glasses of iced tea.   Our winnings paid for our meal and a hefty tip.  And we all took some chicken home for the next days lunch.

So here we are in Gore, OK at the United Methodist Boys Ranch where we start our three-week NOMADS project tomorrow.   I am receiving poor Internet reception.  I am currently sitting in the truck next to the school building where I can use their WIFI.

Looks like this will be the only way to get online for three weeks.