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! :-)
It was great to finally arrive into our winter home state - - where we'll be for the main part of the winter. We love it out here because of the dry climates, and beautiful hills and mountains. This trip was no different.
We were in a good position to see Meteor Crater, Petrified National Park and Winslow, AZ, so we did. I must say that Petrified Forest was stunning! There's no many park you can go to see the Badlands, Ruins, Petrified Rock and Petroglyphs all in one!
Meteor Crater was also spectacular. A lot of people say it's just a hole in the wall, but it was much more to us. It was great to see how the impact of the meteorite traveled, and what a large hole it left for such a small little particle. Anyway, BOTH of these are with the visit!
We also stopped in Winslow on our way through, and when this happens, we really must "stand on the corner" as in the Eagles song. We did much more than that, and Winslow was a great little town to visit!
Stay Details: Homolovi State Park - Site 14
Notes: This park has options for electric or water only. We chose water only, as we were staying 2 nights. The park is home of runs from the Navajo people, and it was also home to about a dozen free ranging donkeys.
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.
Took a day trip to some fun sites just west of Oklahoma City.
𝐄𝐱𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐂𝐥𝐲𝐝𝐞𝐬𝐝𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐬: The icon of Express Employment, this is the farm that raises the Clydesdales and Percherons.
𝐋𝐮𝐜𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐞'𝐬 𝐨𝐧 𝐑𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐞 𝟔𝟔: This restaurant was built as a replica of the original gas station just down the road. The food wasn't very good, but the nastalgia was pretty cool!
𝐑𝐞𝐝 𝐑𝐨𝐜𝐤 𝐂𝐚𝐧𝐲𝐨𝐧: Then a quick hike in the canyon's Horsetail trail.
𝑇𝑜𝑚𝑜𝑟𝑟𝑜𝑤, 𝑜𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑟𝑜𝑢𝑔ℎ 𝑇𝑋 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑖𝑛 𝑡𝑜 𝑁𝑀.
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.
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.