Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope you and yours have a wonderful day …

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bowling Green, FL Habitat Build

We're in Bowling Green, FL -- site of another first-ever Habitat for Humanity (HFH) Care-A-Vanner (CAV) build.  We are here with two other couples to spend time building a house.  The Bowling Green Habitat for Humanity affiliate put in full hookups with water, sewer and 30 amp electricity.  It is great!
Right up front, I want to show you some of the folks who are responsible for this -  The Hardee County HFH Board of Directors.  We met them last night at their board meeting.
These folks are 100% volunteers and the affiliate has no paid positions on their staff.  

Pretty impressive to be building homes because of people who work really hard after hours, on holidays and on weekends to make it happen!  There web site is at:  Hardee County Habitat for Humanity.  It was great to meet the board and attend their meeting.

We have had most interaction with Kathleen, the Volunteer Coordinator (third from right, below) and (far left at top picture).  Our CAV leaders Mary Kay and Ray pictured second from left and second from right on bottom picture) will be here five months and see the house finished.

The CAV team RVs are parked next to the Habitat office (the white house behind the RVs) and it is very convenient.  It even has a washer and dryer here.  And the house we are building is about 100 feet out our front door.

It is fun seeing this house take shape.  We arrived before the foundation was even poured.
 Ray and Ralph keeping a watchful eye

 The concrete workers doing their thing
 After the foundation and driveway got poured, we focused on the shed that Ray and Mary Kay, Ralph and Darlene had started.
 After the concrete dried for a couple of days, the framers showed up (like 6:15 AM!) and went at it.
 They are a bunch of hardworking guys.  And fast!
The walls were up and secured at the end of the first day along with some of the rafters.
 At the end of the second day on site, they finished with the rafters and sheeting.
 While we worked on odd jobs and the shed.
Mary Kay and Darlene are using a nailer to put up hurricane straps.

Another Habitat house is going up and we are glad to be here!

That is all for this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles ~ thanks for joining us!  Hope you all have a terrific Thanksgiving and a safe, enjoyable holiday!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Villages

We have heard about the Villages and have seen them advertised on TV.   We passed signs along I-75 as we headed south and decided to take a day trip to visit.

We saw a Produce Market outside of a town square and walked around.  This was on Saturday morning.

 After the outdoor market we went over to the Vistors/Sales Center.  It was nice and pretty upscale.
We met Gail Evans who was a great sales lady.  She wasn't pushy, provided a lot of information and took us on an hour tour of the properties.   This is a big place.  It has 90,000 residents.  There are five separate communities, each with a town square and a lot of shopping.

But first we stopped at a golf course to check things out.  They have over 20 executive (par 3) courses and over 10 18-hole championship courses.  We could enjoy this...
There are over 40 regional, neighborhood and village recreation centers.  They have a lot of social possibilities and activities.
The local paper has hundreds of interest groups.
The facilities are first rate and top notch.  The Villages have been around 40 years but you'd never know it.  The place is first class.  One thing I liked about it was although the Villages and the facilities are new or in very good shape, we didn't get the idea it was out of reach.  Regular people live here.  (Regular people with a retirement of some sort.)
Here is a photo of Gail.
From the Recreation Center, we took a look at an entry level home in the $155K range.  We are not planning on settling down or leaving the RV lifestyle, but I was curious at what the 'modest' homes looked like.

So we viewed on that was about 1500 square feet and a two bedroom.  It had a good size kitchen, two car garage, small yard and a fairly large living room/great room.  I really liked the layout.
After the PITI and 'association fees' - one could get into place like this for about $2000/month.  Interesting.

We told Gail we could take about an hour and we saw a lot in that time.  At the conclusion, she said we  had to see the cows near the Brownsville Square entrance.  Each square has a theme and this one recognizes the influence of the cattle industry in Florida.
 After our tour, we went back to the golf course to get some lunch.  It was about 1:15 and the place was  mobbed.  It was so crowded we didn't even stay.

So while we enjoyed the tour, had our curiosity satisfied, got answers to all our questions -- we both felt as if this lifestyle is not for us.  We continue to love what we are doing and can't think of anything else we'd rather be doing.  If if weren't for this lifestyle, we'd never see the Villages!

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Until next time...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thank You Veterans!

Over the last few years, thanking veterans or those in the military has become popular.  I grew up respecting the military and those that served because my dad was a career military man.  He was seven years old at the beginning of the Depression.  In the 1930's he, like millions of other young men, joined the Civilian Conservation Corps.  Next, he joined the Army National Guard, then the Army Air Corps and retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1961.

I watched how we treated veterans during an unpopular Viet Nam War in the 1960's and 1970's.  After Operation Desert Shield/Gulf War I,  George H.W. Bush insisted that we honor the military and support our homecoming troops with parades.  That is when I remember things changing and veteran's being honored again.

My blogging friend Rick, has an excellent post on the History of the Red Poppy commemorating Veterans's Day.
I highly recommend you visit his blog!  He has one of the premier blogs out there.

Here is another take on the History of Veteran's Day

Are you a veteran?  Or a family member of a veteran?  Today is your day and we thank you!

Check in with us again at the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Until next time...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Roadrunner Reads

I read from time to time and this is one of those times.  Seems as if I have about 5 or 6 books going at once.  How about you?  Do you read a lot?  What are you reading now?

Here are 5 that I have read recently or are reading now:

Centennial, by James Michener:
Every time I read one of his books, I feel like I am taking a semester long course.  I started this (again) about a year ago.  I get going, read 100 or 200 pages and put it down.  I love his works and am determined to finish this one too.  Reminds me somewhat of Lonesome Dove.

The Excitement is Building, by Millard and Linda Fuller
Interesting account of how Habitat for Humanity started and progressed in the early days.  Millard and his wife left their business and life in Alabama and went to Georgia where they participated in Koininia  Farm in 1969.  They launched Habitat for Humanity International in 1976.  Inspiring read.

The Divine Mentor, by Wayne Corderio
My brother recommended this book and as usual he was on the money.  This book is primarily about being a self-starter when it comes to spiritual growth.  When we left our 'old life' and familiar surroundings of family, friends, church and work -- one of the things I was concerned about was our spiritual well being.  This book tells one how to take responsibility for one's own growth and to have a daily devotional life that is fulfilling.  Great read.

Life in Hawaii, by Titus Coan
Pam and I had the good fortune of living in Hawaii 1983-1986.  We loved the islands and its history.  Missionaries to the island began in the early 1800's.  I recall reading Michener's Hawaii when we lived there and learning more about the missionaries who became land barons.  I was motivated to read this book (available for free online) because it was mentioned by Cordiero in his book, the Divine Mentor.

Killing Lincoln, by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
Reading historical accounts from different perspectives helps me understand some of what was going on.  Any book I read, I do so with a tinge of skepticism.  I wonder if the author is playing straight with the facts or is trying to build an argument.  Do you do that?  I found this book interesting and worth the time.

One last note --
Have you joined Goodreads?

If you haven't I recommend it.  If you have, let me know so we can see what each other is reading.

Thats it for this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Drop me a comment, let me hear what you are reading!

Until next time...

Friday, November 9, 2012

On the Road Again

From Macon, we headed south.  First we spent a few days at Grassy Pond Military Recreation Area outside of Valdosta, GA.  Yesterday we moved on down I-75 and are now at Bushnell, FL at the Escapees Sumter Oaks RV Park.

We really liked our three days at Grassy Pond.  It is a well maintained campground on some scenic real estate.  It is the off season for them and it was almost empty. We got there Sunday afternoon and stayed until Thursday morning for $20/night.
The site was level and we had full hookups with easy access for both TV and internet.  Across the street there were trees and shade but we liked it where we were.  They also had cable but we didn't bother hooking it up.  It was 30 minutes to Moody AFB from here and we went and checked things out there.  Nice base with a lot going on.

It was a good place to hang out for a few days.  I was able to work online and get some hours in and we did the laundry.  We also took advantage of the 3 mile hiking trail around the pond.
The 'pond' is really a small lake.
Yesterday we left about 8:00 AM and crossed the border into Florida.  I love stopping at the Visitor Center.  They serve orange juice and are always friendly folks there.  We also picked up a new map of the state.  The one we picked up last year is worn out.
We arrived at the Escapees park about 11:30 and checked in.  Looks like $18/night plus utilities which can't be more than $1 or $2.  The park is a bit older but still pretty nice and well maintained.  Looks like we beat a lot of the snow birds here.
We have plenty of room at our site and it didn't take long to set up.
I talked with my neighbor and got some good news/bad news.  They allow you to wash your RV here so I will be doing that either today or tomorrow.

Later in the day we saw a cute couple out for their evening walk
It is supposed to be sunny and 73 degrees today so we are looking forward to that.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  We appreciate it and look forward to hearing from you.

Until next time...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Macon Habitat Dedication

Sometimes when we work on a Habitat build we are fortunate enough to be there when a home is being dedicated for the owner.  While we were in Macon, GA with the Care-A-Vanners were were able to participate in the dedication of the RV sites at the Habitat/ReStore facility.

As you may know, RVers who participate in Habitat for Humanity's ongoing builds are called 'Care-A-Vanners'.  There are 6,000 Care-A-Vanners (CAVs) around the country with about 1500 currently participating or scheduled for a build.

The affiliate in Macon wanted to get a steady stream of CAV volunteer help, so they laid out plans to install 6 RV sites with hook ups and a dump station on the property.  They have a large parking area which makes it a great location.

Sometimes Care-A-Vanners have to park at a campground which is a good distance away from the Habitat office and/or the build site.  Macon is different.

They installed electrical hookups and water for six RVs and a dump station on the property.  So it is a great situation.  After months and months of planning and with a lot of coordination and hard work they built spaces for us.  We arrived two weeks ago as the very first CAV team to use the facility.

This is a big deal.  It has the potential to house hundreds of volunteers in the future who can come and make a difference in the Macon Area.  With the goal of 'affordable housing', this effort is just one more addition to the many efforts the Macon team is pursuing in order to build houses.

Not many Habitat affiliates have RV sites on their property.  We are very impressed with what they did.  I believe it starts at the top and Harold (Macon Area Executive Director) is one of the premier Habitat affiliate leaders.  He has a great team.  I wish I had gotten a photo of the whole group but some of Harold's team includes:

  • Steve - Volunteer Coordinator.  He is the best volunteer coordinator we have worked with anywhere. 
  • Don - Construction Manager.  He leads all the work.  The homes in Lenmore Estates are very well built and something all can be very proud of.
  • Jim - Development Director.  Jim put together the Dedication Ceremony that went off without a hitch.  While we were there he had a 'Customer Appreciate Day' and is busy setting up the annual 'Light the Night' fun run/fund raiser with Chik-Filet and others.
  • Jennifer - Office Manager.  In addition to keeping everyone on schedule and running the office, she is the first person prospective homeowners speak with.  She guides them through the application process and like everyone, she wears many hats.
  • Sundra - Revitatlization Manager.  She is new to the group and is working with the homeowners and neighbors in Lenmore Estates to foster a positive and friendly community.
  • Charlie - ReStore manager.  He also comes early and stays late to make sure the store runs well has plenty of inventory.

I can highly recommend this location and this Habitat team to any RVers that want to sign up and participate in the great things that are going on here in Macon.  Just go to the Care-A-Vanners build page and register.

On Friday of our second week there, the affiliate had a ceremony of dedication.  The local staff, Board of Directors, Chamber of Commerce, dignitaries from the city and local businesses, as well a friends of Macon Area Habitat attended.  Our national coordinator for Care-A-Vanners made it a point to be here and joined in the ceremony.
The ceremony was very appropriate and Harold had inspirational words.  It was very encouraging to see the dream of hosting Care-A-Vanners pay off.  It was great to be here at this time to participate.
Jim did an outstanding job of organizing the people and the program and all the festivities.

James has an RV and is on the Board and had the honor of cutting the ribbon.  He was instrumental in getting the hookups and dump station in.
After the ceremony, we had breakfast and refreshments and got to meet folks.  Very nice event.

The real fun and purpose we are pursuing is about helping people change their lives and to create homes.  The Habitat RV sites in Macon will help hundreds after us join in the impressive work out a Lenmore Estates (where four homes are currently under construction.)
Most of our work the second week was putting up siding at this house.

We had a great team and we gathered for a group shot the last day.
First Care-A-Vanner Team at Macon Area Habitat Build - Oct/Nov 2012

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  If it has been a while since you left a comment, feel free to do so - we love them!

Until next time...