This holiday was FULL of surprises for us!
1st.. After being at Palatki for 8 weeks, we finally had a beautiful rain and snow storm, which intensifies the beauty in the area. However, this also means the roads getting to our location are extremely muddy and mostly impassable, so Palatki has to close. This raised some tense moments, as we had planned on spending our days off with Maria and her family, and did not expect a storm.
However, Maria drove the 28-hrs strait to arrive, and because the roads were not as bad as the day before, she braved the mud and 4 miles of back road to meet us at Palatki. We had a quick dinner, gave them a tour of our site, then opened gifts. It was a spectacular evening, but we had to send them to their hotel before dark.
The next 2 days were magical. We spent time in a neighboring hotel with them, and toured Sedona, Jerome, Montezuma Castle & Tuzigoot. We treated her for a birthday dinner out at the Haunted Hamburger in Jerome. I can't believe Maria is 40 already!! WoW! We celebrated with a cake in the hotel, then spent the evening swimming. We saw them off Tuesday, as we took a quick drive to Phoenix and browsed some shops.
Below are some photos of this Christmas and Birthday week.
We have finally arrived to the volunteer position we accepted back in Feb 2020! We could only imagine what this place was like, as we have never been to Sedona before.. The beauty definitely did NOT disappoint!
We received an escort from our new boss, and after a 7-mile rocky & gravel road, we finally pulled up to our new 3-month home. After setting up, we were given a tour of the archeology sites as well as the visitor center. We were given our uniforms & badges, and now have a few days to relax before getting to work with our training. The 2nd couple will be arriving tomorrow.
For now, all we know is that I (Jeanette) will be managing the visitor center/museum while answering phones, taking reservations, and giving the tour groups a short introduction and sending them down the path to the site where the docents await. Mark will be working as one of the docents in either the Cliff Dwelling site or the Pictograph Grotto, and giving visitors the information about the archeological sites. As on-site hosts, we will also be protecting the sites, cleaning the area, and getting things ready each morning for the visitors. Since there is another couple working with us, we will work W-Sa, and they will be working Su-W.
On our 3 days off, we hope to visit a LOT of attractions in the area, and get a real good idea of what Sedona is all about.
For now, we have a few days to relax before our training session begins. Enjoy the first pics of our travel and our new 3-month home! :-)
Visiting Albuquerque was pretty exciting, especially for Mark. Mark lived here when he was young, so we went to see his old house, run around town and see the sights.
Night 1, we drove up to the Sandia peak for some sightseeing. How awesome to see the views and the mule deer!
Day 2, we headed to his old house, school, and saw the hospital where mom worked. We also went to dinner at El Pinto, and the ambiance there was pretty cool! Finally, we went to his old candy store where he bought swizzle sticks for 10 cents each! They are 2.99 now, whoa!
We also toured some Native American ruins in the area which gave us some more really pretty views.
Stay Details: Hidden Valley Ranch; Albuquerque, NM
Notes: This RV park was really tight together, so we didn't feel like spending time outside at all. At the base of our steps was a railroad tie that separated our site from the neighbors, and it was about 2' to the neighbors hoses and sewer lines. The people were nice, cell service was good, but just know that you will not have a lot of room here. However, it was a great place to park close to Albuquerque, so we didn't have to drive far.
Arrived at our first SOWER project in October, ready to work 3 weeks for New Life Ranch; a Christian horse camp that holds many activities throughout the year, including camps for youth, and retreats for adults. The ranch is absolutely gorgeous, with a LOT of amenities for visitors. That also means there is a LOT of work to be done, and they rely on their volunteers to fill the gaps.
For our first week, Bruce (our leader), took us on a bicycle tour through the camp and showed us what needed to be done. During the week, the men power sprayed, then stained the chapel. The ladies labeled merchandise, sanded & prepped a fence for painting, masked the areas the guys needed to stain, and sewed curtains.
As SOWERS, we planned a dinner night and game night during the week, and had a wonderful time. We have really been Blessed with this team, as we all have plant based diets and work and get along well. However, after a week of work, we are all ready for a relaxed weekend to recover. :-)
Stay Details: New Life Ranch; Colcord, OK
Notes: NLR holds summer camp, retreats and day camps for mostly youth, but also adults. They also hold leadership development conferences and horse camps. They have speakers, activities, chapel, and a lot of activities including horse back riding. As volunteers, we have a spot on the far side of camp in a private area beside the river. The horse fences are nearby, and the camp has provided us full hookups as well as a laundry barn next door.
I would highly recommend that if you live in the vicinity, this ranch is a GREAT place to send your kids, grandkids and hold retreats.
If you would like to volunteer, contact the camp directly. I'm sure they would love your help.
We didn't expect much when heading through Missouri, but when Bonnie contacted us to see if we'd stop by to see them, WOW did plans change! We had a wonderful visit with Mark's cousin and her family, and even had a chance to bring the telescope and show Science toys to the kids (and their dad!).
We decided to wait on the St. Louis Zoo and other area attractions because our resort was over an hour away from the city. Next time we come through, we'll get a closer location and meet up with Bonnie to do more things.
Stay Details: Lost Valley Lake Resort; Owensville, MO
Notes: What an amazing resort this was! With a LOT of amenities for the kids, this place had just about everything you want to do on a vacation, including indoor basketball, tennis and pickle ball courts AND its own movie theater! We did enjoy picking a movie (Aqua Man), bringing our own popcorn and drinks, and sitting down to our own movie theater experience.
There is a variety of sites; everything from tents, rental RVs, then to full hookups. This place is about 45 minutes off I-44 through the steep hills, so be prepared with groceries BEFORE you go. Otherwise, be prepared to have fun and take advantage of their many amenities.
Stopped over to see Katie & the family before heading west. This was the 2nd camping trip we've had with them this year and we always have a blast (like we do with the other kids).. This time, the weather was beautiful except for some tiny bit of rain in the morning, and everyone had a great time. In the morning we went to the zoo, and Sunday Mark went to see the kids sing in church, then helped Tony with the car in the afternoon. I stayed back with a sick me and sick Pica, but felt better the next morning.
Stay details: Charlestown State Park; Charlestown, IN - Site 141
Notes: We choose this campground close to Katie because it has large sites where we have plenty of room to put multiple tents. The sites are electric only and have no sewer or water at the sites. There are water spigots around the campgrounds, and the shower houses are clean and well taken care of. The playground is in the main loop and has a climbing gym and swings.
The kids have returned to school; laughter throughout the campground has gone silent.. The game room is lonely, the pool is still, and the sound of the clock echoes near the fireplace. The RV is nestled in the woods atop a hill. The closest neighbor a good walk away. The aroma of freshly baked Peach Crisp fills our rig, and Pica watches silently as the squirrels play in the trees nearby.
It’s time especially like now that we reflect on how important family is.
There’s nothing like camping after everyone’s back to their normal lives, but most of all.. There’s nothing like the laughs, fun & comfort we have every time we visit with family and friends.
As we head south for the winter work and ministry projects, we want you all to know that we truly treasure all our time with each and very one of you. In person and on FB.. You are all loved.
Stay Details: Rocky Fork Ranch; Kimbolton, OH
Note: Owned by Travel Resorts of America, this resort was fabulous, and nestled in the hills. Most spots are pretty level, but the roads getting there are definitely hilly. The resort is built around a horse ranch, and has plenty of activities to keep you from getting bored. They also have a restaurant, store, putt putt, two swimming pools, shooting range, bow & arrow target shooting, and a wonderful club house, game rooms and bath houses. This place is definitely worth stopping by if you're on your way through.
Ruth & Darrell invited us to the fair before we left. It was large, beautifully set up, and had a lot of wonderful events. Here are some highlights from the fair:
Long ago, we planned a visit with friends here at Wooded Acres. We purchased the same brand campers, and we really hit it off talking about upgrades and comparisons. We both love our campers! The guys spent most of the weekend getting things done to our rigs (washing, maintenance, upgrades, etc), then we played games and fellowshipped the rest of the weekend. We will definitely make this an annual event! :-)
We did have a pretty significant storm on our first night, which the news states there was a tornado nearby. There were several trees in the park that snapped, including one tree on our next-door lot. If Greg & Lori had stayed there as planned, their camper would have been hit. Praise the Lord for HIS protection!
Greg & Lori brought Mabel, and after a day of getting to know each other, Pica seemed to enjoy her company as well. However, Pica loved her vantage point better, and liked being on the couch next to daddy. :-)
Stay details: Wooded Acres Family Campground; Houghton Lake, MI - Site 86
* Note: This campground has new owners that are working very hard to clean things up and make everything nice. They are doing a wonderful job! There are about 50 campsites, and most are without sewer. There are a lot of longer term sites, and the grounds are highly wooded. There is a pool, playground, clean shower houses, and shuffle board.
After a beautiful (and rainy) 3-week stay in Davison, we are ready to move on to our next travel adventures. The last few details of the month that I did not previously mention:
1) Had 4 doctors visits. We are good until next year!
2) Had a wonderful visit with church friends, Gerald & Priscilla. They fed us a delicious meal, and we played Mexican Train Dominos after dinner.
3) Maria made me another sticker for the camper! This time I put it on the main door. :-)
4) Pica thought she was hiding.. Ha!
5) We upgraded our coffee maker to a complete coffee bar. Now I can make my favored latte's!
6) Taking bike trips is amongst our favorite things to do. This time it was a 20-mile Flint River trail to Stepping Stone Falls. An absolute beautiful ride with awesome scenery.
Stay Details: Outdoor Adventures; Davison MI
* This is our home resort affiliated with our campground membership. It is getting very busy these days, but we love this resort because it has a lot of ammenities. We also love our new favorite site, #98, that sits in the corner near the exit.