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.
This holiday has always been very special for us, mostly because it means time with the kids and grandkids. This year we reserved 3 weeks around this holiday and landed a beautiful corner site that allowed us to have that quieter privacy we enjoy, yet be close to the exit.
During out stay, we were Blessed to have visits from Maria & Joe's families and even some friends! We really enjoy taking the kids & grandkids swimming and enjoying the multitude of events going on around the resort. This resort has gotten very busy over the years, and we try to do fun things on less crowded days.
We saw fireworks on three different days, but Pica is more than ready to be over this holiday.
During the holiday week we also attended Katelyn's Open House.. Our first graduating grandchild!! The collage of photos below shows events during the week.
Sure have loved 'catching up' with family!
Mark and his siblings were Blessed to be able to celebrate Ruth's 60th birthday with mom & dad this year. We all had a great time at Red Lobster!
Arriving at Charlestown S.P. meant meeting up with our daughter and her family. The only problem with being on the road is missing family. Being back in the north for 3 months allows us to catch up with everyone. By the end of this time, they all might even WANT to get rid of us! LOL!
Katie & Tony came out with the kids this weekend and camped for the night with us. The last time they camped with us, there were heavy rains and a tornado warning. This time, there was beautiful (warm) weather and sun. We all had a great time catching up, talking, having fun with the kids, and just being together. We look forward to seeing them again later this year.
Stay details: Charlestown State Park - Charlestown, IN
Note: This area was once the Rose Island Amusement Park, until the major flood of 1937 which created a 25-mile wide Ohio River flood which non until put 70% of Louisville under water, but also desimated the park . It was then purchased as an ammunition plant, then dedicated to the state of Indiana in 1995. The park itself is very large with 8 hiking trails and a campground. The campground consists of 189 campsites (129 electric, and 58 full hookup). The sites are well spaces at a great angle so you're not looking inside your neighbor's windows. It has one small playground, several trash bins throughout the park, and a good amount of shaded sites to choose from.
While we were here, we did encounter several ticks on us, the kids and the dog. We decided not to take any more walks in the woods.