During our 2nd week at New Life Ranch, we completed a variety of tasks in order to get the needs met for the camp. The chapel was being used this week, so the men worked on spray washing and staining the staff housing. I (Jeanette) masked up the windows, then began painting the doors inside the horse barn. Mark began mudding some drywall inside the staff housing, then helped me with painting. The other two ladies continued working on mending & altering curtains for housing throughout the ranch.
A major storm didn't keep us down, and through prayer and faith God would keep us safe, the tornadoes moved north and south of us. We were safe in the shelter watching the beautiful displays of lightning while the storm passed.
The rest of the pictures below are of the ranch itself and some of its beautiful amenities.
Now on to our last week here and to finish up some of the larger projects! :-)
** Thank you Burneall Ekberg for some of the photos..
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.
It was amazing that we stopped 20 minutes away from this place and didn't realize it was so close to our resort until I began looking for apple orchards. Ha! So, this visit was a pleasant surprise.
Frank Lloyd Wright tried blending modern building ideas with nature as much as possible. He sure completed that task in this house, and it gave us a lot of ideas on what we would do with our next build. :-)
How sombering to visit the Flight 93 National Memorial. We often remember the victims of 9/11 and remember the twin towers, but don't often associate that with the heroic crew of flight 93 that took over the terrorists and saved further chaos and death.
We would encourage you to pay this memorial a visit. They did a fabulous job displaying details of that day; it was incredibly meaningful and educational, down to the times, details of each event and the interactive timeline allowed us to hear recordings of the passengers calling their loved ones just minutes before the crash. No, we could not leave here without many tears of sadness, but thank you to all who made this possible so we could walk through their shoes and remember all the heroes from one of the most horrible days in our country's history.
(See details under each photo)
Stay Details: Roaring Run Resort; Champion, PA - Site 132
Note: This resort is built in the hills/mountains of western PA. It was a bit difficult to find, and extremely difficult to park! The steep-grade hills in the resort made it difficult to keep traction and turn into our spot without hitting the rig on the truck. We finally decided to pull around, and pull through one site to get to ours. Challenge over! :-)
The resort does have a pool which was closed for the season; a very simple putt putt course and an adult lounge. Overall, we would not recommend coming here, especially if you have a larger rig.
We had a quick change of plans when we found out that Hammonasett State Park did not allow dogs. Kennels were full, and other parks in the area were full too, so we luckily found a boondocks welcome site in New Jersey that was just a little out of the way. However, it was a great and quiet night away.
The host has done a wonderful job over the years preparing RV spots for 5 guests. He provided a handout of stores in the area, and offered for us to see his mini-farm and even offered for us to fill up with his water.
Thank you Harmony Acres Farm for the wonderful and quiet nights! :-)
Oh my, the most stressful part of our journey has been the New England states and big eastern cities. Why? Because of the smaller roads, multitude of crazier drivers, and honestly; over 50% of the drivers we passed were on their cell phones!
We planned to go through NYC mid-day.. Mark drove through and did a fabulous job! I kept myself busy, as well as looked at sites. There were several near-hits from people trying to cut us off (while on their cell phones), but Mark did great to avoid them.
Once we were moving again, I took a breathe of relief. This day I long-stressed about was finally over! Whew! Thank you LORD!!
From here we will be heading west to longer stays. Certainly looking forward to the SOWERS project coming up in October! :-)
Stay Details: Boondocker's Welcome Location - Harmony Acres Farm
The hosts are wonderful! They have 14 acres, have worked very hard to clear some RV sites in their woods, and they came to welcome us and invite us to visit their animals! It will be a very nice & quiet 2-night stay before heading to Delaware.
I must say, Rhode Island is one of the prettiest states we've been to! Besides the mountains, plentiful trees, and rocky cliffs, everyone we've experienced in this state was very nice and all the drivers seem to be respectful to others.
We took a day trip to Newport while here, and found several gems:
Watch Hill Beach: Mark surprised me with a nice beach walk after we arrived at the campground. We were hoping to find the remaining fort and lighthouse at the end of the peninsula, but it was too rock and the sun was setting, so we were more than happy with beautiful sunset photos instead.
Fort Adams: Started as an Army post by President Adams in 1799, this is one of the largest standing forts in the U.S.. We bought the audio tour, and explored the fort with Pica, which was an added bonus. This fort was active in 4 different wars.
Ocean Drive and Cliff Walk: There are a few very beautiful trails you can take around the Newport Island to explore the beautiful homes. After lunch at Chili's, we took both. We enjoyed the walk better though, and you could see the pretty side of all the large homes/buildings.
Stay Details: Burlingame State Park; Charlestown RI - Site 341
This was a beautiful and very large campground that did not offer any amenities. All dry camping, it has two dump stations and all sites are nestled within the woods.
A bonus of stopping here, was there was a lady stranded in the site next to us. Her car wouldn't start, and she'd lost her keys. The ranger never came back after saying they'd help, so Mark began charging her battery. By the time her husband came with the backup key, the battery was full and the car started. The hour we were there, we talked to her, calmed her down and made her realize that the camping community are mostly friendly people.
Ultimately, the rangers never came, nor did they clean up the surrounding area. So, we did that too.
We were lucky enough to be there after school started, so there was nobody around us. We felt we had the entire woods to ourselves, which was very nice.