Monday, August 21, 2017

Rocks and Friends

We are in Seneca, Kansas where we planned on watching the eclipse.  (C on map below)
A few days ago, friends invited us to view the eclipse with them from their cabin just north and west of us.

Our drive from our nice campground near Henderson Nebraska (A) was eventful.  We took a rock in the window as we went around Grand Island Nebraska.  A four lane highway was undergoing repairs and narrowed down to a two lane highway.  An oncoming big truck went by us when we heard a very loud Bang!  I looked for a mark on the windshield and my side window but couldn't see any damage.

About 5 minutes after that, there was a very loud Pop! And my driver's side window had cracked into a thousand pieces.  Nothing had fallen out and thankfully we were able to pull into a Walmart with lots of room so we could assess things.

We decided to tape it.  It was the outside of a double paned window, so there is no problem driving it.
I used clear duct tape and went up and down and back and forth to cover the entire window.  I also used Gorilla tape to tape the duct tape to the outside window frame.  We continued our drive from the Walmart to the Prairie Oasis RV Campground near Henderson, NE.  It was about a 40 mile drive and the broken window held up fine.

Once at the campground, we made some calls and assessed our options.  We determined the best one is to stop in at Red Bay in a few weeks on our way to the Knoxville, TN area.  We called and made a reservation at Deaton's Custom Auto Body and Paint for the day after Labor Day.

I'm guessing that it will be about an $800 job unless we can get that single double paned window replaced.  We'll see about it when we get to Albuquerque the end of the week.  We will be there for about a week.

After taking a rock unexpectedly, things got much better.  We continued to our campground - Prairie Oasis Campground and Cabins in Henderson.  It got good reviews on  We were not disappointed.  It was great.

Patty in the office was great and so was Todd.  We followed him to our campsite which is always nice.  We wanted a site where our satellite dish DirecTV would work and got one.  It was a very pleasant, flat, level and well maintained campground.  Later, Todd came around and made sure we had enough firewood for a little campfire later.  This was free -- it is usually $5 for firewood so this just added to our great impression of the place.  We highly recommend it.

Next stop was here is Seneca, KS.  We snagged a site at the Stallbaumer RV Campground and Cabins.  It looked like a good site and ended up being OK.  We ended up having to park in the drive-through site backwards in order to get a satellite DirecTV connection.  With the Solheim Cup going on, we wanted to see that.
Our satellite dish is on top in the front of the Roadrunner and the tree is just close enough to be in the way.  My electric cord is about a foot short when the coach was pointed in the correct position.  We just could not make it work.  If the pedestal was in the normal position of the campsite, we would have had no problem.  Instead, we turned the Roadrunner around.  Now the hookups were in the wrong position, and we ran them under the belly of the motor home.  It's nice to have options.

We connected with our friends Mark and Alisanne and got together for lunch in Marysville.  That was a fun time and we spent a couple of leisurely hours catching up.  We had camped with their family and ours when we both lived in Fairfax VA in the 1990's.  The joys of this lifestyle and meeting up with friends continues...

And so does some random possibilities.  Bruce emailed me a few days ago and said, "I saw on your blog that you are going to be in our town...maybe we can get together..."  I followed up and we did get to meet them at a local restaurant.  What a nice couple.

She is local bank president and he is a retired and now part time High School teacher.  They have had a number of RVs over the years and will be traveling in their recently purchased 2011 Itasca 42' motor home.   They are NOMADS and look forward to incorporating volunteering into their travels in a couple of years when the have more time for travel.  For now, they take trips, get in touch with random RVing bloggers and let us get to meet them.  Their blog is here.

It was a full, adventurous day and one filled with getting together with new friends and old friends.  Can't beat that!

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Meet the Care-A-Vanners In Sioux Falls

A few months ago, we went online to Habitat-for-Humanity's Care-A-Vanner build list.  It showed a listing for Sioux Falls and we had a few weeks in our schedule open, so we signed up.  We love Sioux Falls!
The build called for five couples and we ended up with four couples.  Turns out that was a good number and we all had some great memories from our time together.  I thought you might be interested in knowing who the other three couples that made up our team so I put together some information about them:

Carole and Scott are from Casselberry FL.
They have been full-timing since 2015. Scott was a police officer and later a college professor in his career days and Carole was a realtor before they hit the road.
They thought about full-timing in 2010 and actually bought their 1993 Dodge Xplorer in 2015 after a long and winding road of research and discovery.  Scott and Carole had been looking at all shapes and sizes - from the big class A motor homes to travel trailers.  When this popped up they drove a few hours away to look at it and after about an hour, made the decision.
The RV was repainted and christened 'Ripley' after a town in Ohio they were passing through while on a road trip.  There was something about that name that 'stuck'.  Ridley is unique and fits the couple well!  They put up their canopy that serves as their kitchen/living room.  Scoot and Carole have been on the road a couple of years and love to volunteer and workamp.  They have had some interesting jobs including house sitting in Alaska and Seattle.

They found some information about Care-A-Vanners on an Airstream forum.  They saw our post a few weeks ago about the need for volunteers at this build and contacted us to let us know they were going to sign up.  We're glad they did and thoroughly enjoyed our time with them.  They liked being on the build and said they'd been participating in future builds.

Brenda and Kit are from Gardener Maine.
He was a career social worker and she had a clinical psychologist practice.  They are long time Habitat for Humanity volunteers and have been on many oversees efforts building homes with HFH and the Fuller Center out of Atlanta GA.
They have been volunteering for years and in the past couple have sold their home in Gardner.  They also have a 'casita' in Benson Arizona at the SKP Saguaro CO-OP where they spend the winter months.  While they are on the road, it gets rented out.  The facility is part of the Escapees properties throughout the U.S.

The name of their Tiffin Allegro Bay is "BHOWER", which stands for Bigger House on Wheels Includes Everything.  Their previous RV as a 5th wheel which they named HOWER.

They are going to be volunteering next week in Brookings SD with another Care-A-Vanner group, then in November will be leading a group from the Fuller Center on a house building project to Sri Lanka.  They have been on similar efforts to Nicaragua, Guatemala, Ecuador, and Boliva.

The third couple in the group is David and Jo Ann Lininger.
They left their home in Missouri and have been on the road full-timing almost three years.  They have  three kids in the surrounding states and I believe they said they have 11 grand children.
They have been active in their church building ministry called, "Laborers for Christ" and have split their volunteer time over the years between that group and the Care-A-Vanners.

Among their many skills, I think it was Jo Ann who seemed to 'connect' first with the home owners at each house we worked.  There were two houses and two families and she befriended both very quickly.  It was fun to work along side of them.

From Sioux Falls, they were traveling to the headwaters of the Mississippi River.
Here is a group photo of the team along with the home owners, staff members Heidi (on the right saw horse) and Paul (far right).

We have many fond memories of our time in Sioux Falls!

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Farm Island State Recreation Area - SD

We were in Pierre (pronounced "PEER") South Dakota to see the State Capitol and found a great campground.  We loved this place.  Outside of town is the Farm Island State Recreation area.  We pulled in and went to our original site, but trees blocked access for our satellite TV and we were able to pick from a list of open sites.  
We found this one that was terrific.  It must be an open camphost site, because unlike the others, it had water and sewer.  The great thing about the place was not only the great view, the level site and the hookups, but also the personnel in the Office.

Brannon was completely willing to work with us and help us find a spot that worked for us and it was great.  Often times people are not able (or willing?) to move some things around to get the best site.  But this was different and we loved it.

We got settled in and enjoyed the nice surroundings.  The next evening, we were treated to a Classic Car parade.  35 or 40 cars came parading through the campground for our enjoyment and it was great!
That was a real bonus!  A nice summer evening and watching all these cars cruising by!

The next day I explored the area on my bike.  I was up for a good ride and left the campsite and rode over to Farm Island.  The flood of 2011 put everything in the area underwater, but they had the trails restored.  
The trail went along side of the Missouri River.

Farm Island was a Civilian Conservation Corps site back in the 1930's and it had some markers along the trail which showed some old pictures from then.
After a few miles around a loop, I returned to the trail near the campsite off Farm Island and toward Griffin Park near downtown Pierre on the Lewis and Clark Trail.
It turned out to be about a 10 mile bike ride which was just about right.  It was a nice weekend, a nice campground and we enjoyed our time there.

Thanks for joining us on this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Quick Week Gone in Sioux Falls

We finished up our first week at the Greater Sioux Falls Habitat for Humanity Care-A-Vanner build last week and are already half way intoour second week!  It has flown by.  The affiliate has three houses currently under construction and we have worked at two.

We finished up our time (there is lots more work to be done) at our first house with some work in the basement,
finishing off the house painting and
some work on the front porch deck.
On Monday morning, we moved over to our second house and put a coat of paint on it. First we had to assemble the scaffolding on the side of the house.
 We did a lot of painting from ladders also.
 After the second coat of paint went on the house today, we started on the soffit under the eves.
 It helps when you have a major league soffit cutting tool.
We paused for a group picture mid-afternoon and then finished up the soffit on the back side of the house.

We are enjoying the work and getting to know our fellow Care-A-Vanners.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Different Kind of Day with the Care-A-Vanners

We have been thoroughly enjoying our time in Sioux Falls.  We have completed day two of our Habitat for Humanity build and working on some fun tasks and learning a lot.

This morning during our devotions,
David was using a framing hammer for an object lesson.  I never knew that a framing hammer is exactly 16" long - the same distance as the standard distance between studs.  So I can use my hammer to take a quick check.

Also this has been a unique build (they are all a little different) in that we have been furnished breakfast, coffee, lunch and water from the local Caribou Coffee and Einstein Bakery store here in town.  So a big shoutout to them!  Thank you very much!!
Jessica, our Volunteer Coordinator and Point of Contact for our time here has been on site every morning to greet us, make sure all our paperwork is squared away (sign-in sheets, waivers etc) and generally be there in case we have items.

After two days we've finished the siding on the garage on three sides and are going to paint tomorrow.

As we were eating our lunch, Dan arrived.  He is a reporter for local CBS affiliate in Sioux Falls.  He spoke with quite a few of us.
Later in the day, he posted his report on the 5 o'clock news:

It's not every day things turn out this way, but it was a lot of fun.  Back to work tomorrow and painting the garage and maybe we will get started on building the front deck and porch.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Kicking it Off in Sioux Falls

We had our 'Meet and Greet' meeting with some of the local Sioux Falls Habitat for Humanity staff.  Our Care-A-Vanner group consists of four couples and all four are full-timer RVers.
We have two couples whose domicile and mail service center is here in Sioux Falls and two whose address and mail forwarding service is located in Green Cove Springs FL.
One never knows what to expect and each build is a little different.  Our meeting was held at the Bracco Restaurant and it was great!
We got a chance to meet the Executive Director - Patty Brooks, the Volunteer Coordinator - Jessica Shulte plus more folks on their team as well as their spouses and Paul Johnson - Construction Supervisor.

Other Habitat supporters were there and it was a very nice couple of hours to meet and get to know the people on our end of the table.  It was a lot of fun and the affiliate was very generous to host us their for dinner.

We got a group photo before we started, heard about the work we will be doing (outside siding for starters).
We are off to a great start and looking forward to the week.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!