Saturday, September 13, 2014

Day 152: Back to Alabama

September 13, 2014

It depended on which way you looked as to what the weather looked like this morning. One way the sun was coming up bright and shining. The other way there was dark clouds that looked rather bad. Fortunately we were headed in the sunny direction that turned into a partly to mostly cloudy day but no rain. It was a good driving day.

We left the WalMart parking lot at 7:00 and experienced little traffic on this Saturday morning even in Memphis. The roads through Memphis are in need of repair – some as rough as Alaska roads – but otherwise it was a pretty easy drive. We made it back to Blount County about 2:30. We have already seen some friends and family and look forward to seeing many more over the next several days. We missed you guys. We have much work to do to get Fred unloaded, washed, waxed, serviced and ready to go on his next adventure. The Colorado also is in need of a good waxing. It will probably take more then one good washing to get all the crevices clean on both vehicles.

Below are two pictures of how our driveway looked when we arrived. It took a couple of hours on the tractor to make it passable.

SO the great Alaska 2014 Adventure is over. This will be our last daily blog posting until the next adventure. We will post summary information on the trip in a few days when we have time to get that together. Otherwise, thank you all for coming along on this journey and hope you will join us again.

Max and Anne

Day 151: Branson to Trumann, Arkansas

September 12, 2014

It was 55 degrees and drizzling when we got up this morning. Really didn't warm up much during the day and it remained cloudy all day. We enjoyed the cooler weather with less humidity.

Today started the last leg of our adventure. It was a travel day and except for the fact that we were leaving Branson to go see family it would have been a sad morning. We left Branson and drove to Mountain Home, Arkansas to visit our aunt and cousins. It was so great to see them, even for such a short time. They took us out for a yummy lunch and then we had to get back on the road. We are now in Trumann, AR - between Memphis, TN and Jonesboro, AR, and about 6 hours from Blount County. We could have made it all the way today but we would have been after dark arriving and really would like some daylight to check over the house, etc when we first get back. So, if things go as planned, tomorrow will be the end of this great and wonderful summer adventure for 2014.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Day 150: Last Day in Branson

September 11, 2014

Can't type in that date and not remember what happened that September day in 2001 when our world forever changed. I hope you remembered to say a prayer for the families of those who died that day. And always continue to remember our military, police, fire, EMS, EMA and 9-1-1 dispatch personnel. The Rivoli Review provided entertainment tonight for our closing and one of the songs they did was “Freedom Isn't Free.”

Today was a cloudy day with cooler temps and some misty rain at times. We actually enjoyed a break in the humidity. We got email for our friends at Storm Mountain this afternoon and they have 5-6 inches of wet snow. Too bad we aren't still there.

Today started again with devotional at 7:00, followed by breakfast of pancakes, then singing, speaker, business meeting and seminars. It was another good day of fellowship, education and fun. One of our seminars was on disaster rebuilds – we know a lot about that already, and another on full-time RVing. There are some members who have been full-timing 16 years traveling around this country working NOMADS projects. This is a really great group of dedicated people “working to rebuild lives, homes, and facilities with God's love and our hands.” It is an honor to work with them. We have had a great time and made some wonderful new friends.

Tomorrow we head to Arkansas to visit some family and then probably back to Blount County some time Saturday.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Day 149: Another Day in Branson

September 10, 2014

This morning it was 81 degrees when Scout got his first walk at about 6:30. Certainly didn't cool off enough last night and the air conditioner had to run a lot during the night. However, shortly after Scout's walk it started raining and by 8:30 it was 75 degrees. That's better. Unfortunately, it did go back up into the mid-80's this afternoon. We still get the Rapid City (Storm Mountain) forecast and they have a winter storm warning for tomorrow. They may get 3 inches of wet heavy snow and will have a low of 28 tomorrow night. Wow – we left a week too early! However, that could be a very damaging snow because the trees still have their leaves and some branches may come down with the weight of the snow. We will be praying for our friends there. Speaking of Storm Mountain, we met some people here that live very close to there and who will be leading a NOMADS work project there in a few weeks. It's fun to meet all these people. Wish it wasn't so far away. We would love to go back with a team and do some more work at Storm Mountain Center.

We had daily devotion at 7:00 am and our guest pastor was again very good. We have been blessed with really good speakers. After devotion it was pancake breakfast. They know how to make a good pancake here at the KOA. (And the price is right – $0.00) It was then time for some singing and preaching before we had another business meeting. The remainder of the day was filled with seminars on various topics such as team leadership, vinyl siding installation, writing and publishing a book, home inspections for required repairs, and electrical wiring. Tonight was the pot luck dinner and we took smothered slow-cooker pork chops. All the food was good, so of course we ate too much. There was also entertainment after dinner by “Irish Band” There was some toe tapping, clapping, and a little dancing, People seemed to be having a good time.
Installing vinyl siding is more complicated than it looks.
After dinner entertainment
Tomorrow there is more of the same, except it is supposed to be a little cooler. We sure hope so.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Day 148: NOMADS Meeting in Branson

September 9, 2014

Today was another nice sunny, but hot day in Branson. It didn't cool off much last night. And as an update to yesterday's blog, as to why it's more fun to hike in Alaska. In addition to the decreased heat and humidity, no snakes, poison ivy or spiders, there are NO CHIGGERS. There are LOTS of chiggers in Missouri.

Today, again, started with devotion at 7:00. Today our leader was a pastor who is now the director of the Lakeview Methodist Conference Center in Texas, Matt Idom. He was funny and very good. Funny is helpful at 7:00 am. When our meetings started, we had some speakers who's organization had been recipients of NOMADS work teams and then a business meeting with different board members presenting different topics. That will continue tomorrow. Today was also the silent auction and the live auction. This is a major fun raiser for the NOMADS to help the various organizations where we work. In most circumstances the places we work – camp, church, etc – provide the supplies such as paint, lumber, etc and we give our labor toward their projects. Some in need of our services are also in need of financial assistance to purchase the supplies needed for the work.

The Auction Committee members make silent auction anything but silent as they encourage everyone to continue bidding and “spend your money.” After the silent auction closes they have a live auction conducted by one of the members who is a retired auctioneer. That was a hoot to watch. Hopefully tomorrow they will announce the proceeds from the auctions. It seemed to be going well. Anyway it was a fun afternoon and again we met some more members. For dinner tonight we all went out to dinner at McFarlain's Restaurant. They did an amazingly good job of serving all 317 of us quickly and efficiently. The food was good, too. That's about it for today. Tomorrow we have more business meetings and educational seminars. Not our usual EMA/911/medical seminars so we will tell you more about that tomorrow.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Day 147: Hiking in Branson

September 8, 2014

This morning was a little cloudy with temps in the 60's. The clouds cleared later in the morning and it was a bright sunny day with high of about 84.

We started the morning with a 7:30 devotion with the Bishop of Arkansas bringing the message. As was last evening's service, it was very good. Both of these Bishops are excellent preachers. After the message we again had pancakes for breakfast with the entire group. Don't think we mentioned this before - there are 317 Nomads attending the conference. Today was the day for various sightseeing trips to the surrounding areas. We decided that since this was our only free day left before we get back to Alabama that we needed to get some exercise rather than ride a bus all day. We will be in classes most of the day the next 3 days. We went to the Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area to go hiking. It is “140 acres of wooded hill country that has been set aside to preserve an area of the natural Ozarks that have attracted tourists for many years.” It is a lovely area but we were somewhat disappointed in the lack of good trail markings. At places they were very well marked and at other crossings there was nothing. Fortunately we had a map of sorts and didn't get lost. We did decide that we are ready to go back to Alaska. It is not nearly as much fun hiking with heat, humidity, snakes and poison ivy. Oh, and spiders! Poor Scout got so hot and tired. He was so funny climbing up on a rock with a little bitty puddle on top and trying to lay down in it. He was so pitiful that when we left the park we went to Table Rock Park to the boat launch and let him swim a while. We think he would have been quite content to stay there the rest of the day. Table Rock is a large Corp of Engineers lake. Very nice! If we had found it earlier we might have gone boating today. We will have to remember this lake for future travels. We finally talked Scout into getting back into the truck and went home for showers and dinner. We did make a quick trip to the outlet stores tonight, but did not find anything we wanted to bring home. That's it for today. Tomorrow the seminar classes start. 
Trail down to a (dry) waterfall
Old homestead house in the park
Scout trying to cool off in a little bit of water
Not body surfing - just cooling off.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Day 146: NOMADS in Branson

September 7, 2014

It was 62 degrees this morning with a bright sunny sky when we went to breakfast at 7:30. There is a “convention center” here at the campground, where most of our meetings and meals will take place. It has a kitchen, one large room for about 400 and then some smaller rooms for classes. Breakfast was pancakes – good – and we met a lot of new people. Fun. After breakfast there was a memorial service. 

We then had some free time and went into town and washed the truck, looked around town, and ran some errands. Branson has all sorts of shows/entertainment venues, lots of restaurants, a zip line and outlets. The show venues have all sorts of outside displays to try to entice people inside.

This afternoon we had meetings and then a church service tonight with the Missouri Bishop of the United Methodist Church preaching. Very good message and service. It was a good day.
Get together for new members and first time attendees