Sunday, March 29, 2009

March 29-- Bushnell Florida

As of March 24, we are in Bushnell-- parked one site over from my brother Wayne and his wife Mary Jo. It has been great visiting with them and touring the local tourist spots with them, which is why I have not been doing much writing on this blog site. The first morning here my brother invited us over for breakfast. As we were eating, two sandhill cranes strolled by the window in front of our table. I am sure they are finding the weather here just too nice to even consider migrating north! We have enjoyed our stay down here- the weather is cool mornings and evenings- afternoons warm up nicely to the low eighties. It has been dry here lately but we had a nice soaking rain last night which brought cooler temperatures. Citrus fruit is still on the trees- walking around this area the other night I noticed the smell of orange blossoms in the air. There are local produce stands all over, not only loaded with citrus fruit but also fresh strawberries, and many different vegetables ( we are especially enjoying the tomatoes). Thursday, the twenty-six, we hiked around Chinsegut wildlife and environmental preserve. It is known for its long leaf pine(the giant of all pines), but equally awesome in that preserve were the live oaks covered with moss and the many variety of palm trees. I am trying to improve on my bird identification skills-- there are several different kinds of woodpeckers down here and,of course many water birds as ibis, herons and egrets. The cranes were also seen strolling around Chinsegut and I hear the owls almost every night in our rv park. Today we toured Dade Battlefield, site of an American- Seminole war in 1835. Pictures I am posting here are of the preserve and of the sandhill cranes.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bushnel Florida- March 25

Monday we took a trip to Fort Walton. Spent some time at the beach there, but it was a cool windy day. There were warnings about a bad rip tide and dangerous marine life near the shore, but we at least did some wading. From there we went to Eden Gardens at Point Washington( note picture of the plantation with azeleas in bloom). We pulled a long day yesterday traveling from Pensecola to Bushnel Fl. KC seems to be feeling better, but we are taking him to a vet tomorrow in Bushnel.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

March 22- Americus and Dolthan

We attended the First Presbyterian Church in Americus. It seemed to be a small congregation, so I was surprised when a man stepped up front with a shovel to make an announcement. Turns out that the church was going to have ground-breaking that afternoon for a home it was building for a homeless man in the community. Driving back to our rv later that day. we saw many peanut farms and consequently John and I came up with many questions about the peanut plant-- how it is grown and harvested. We visited a friend in Dolthan Al., Roy Wise, who had all the answers to our questions as he had grown up on a peanut farm -- one thing we found interesting is that during the harvest nothing on the plant is wasted. After the peanuts are removed, the plant is dried and then baled like hay to feed cattle. Before I close here I have to share with you two signs which I saw in Blakely Ga: "Welcome to Blakely, we are peanut proud". And a store there had the name "Persnickety" and claimed that it was a "purveyor of fine things".

March 21- Spring has sprung officially

Today we drove from Pensacola Fl. to Plains Ga. We got a late start because KC had been ill and unable to keep food down. After it seemed he had kept down his morning food and seemed more active, we then left for our two day trip in our Honda Fit. By the time we arrived in Plains many of the Carter sites were closed, but we were able to see the museum located in the high school Jimmy Carter attended. All in all it was a good trip. Even though we could only see the buildings from the outside, we saw his boyhood farm/home, his church and current home where he lives. The thirty-ninth president of our country is still such a prominent political figure today and I enjoyed seeing the area that has been home to him for all of his life. The gas station which his brother Billy owned is closed now and looks like something straight out of the fifties era. We spent the night in Americus after driving around the Habitat for Humanity compound and viewing the models of different homes there that they are building around the world.

Friday, March 20, 2009

March 20- Okaloosa Fl.

Actually, we are east of Pensacola. We had a very scenic drive today, in fact, I (Diana) did not fall asleep once. Well, part of the day I was driving and white-knuckling. No sleeping or even day-dreaming while driving this rig! Anyway, it was enjoyable today driving on many bridges over large bodies of water on inter-state ten. Coming from Lafayette La., we crossed the Breaux Bridge over Henderson lake (a very beautiful swamp- with lots 0f tall grasses and cypress trees). Then we crossed the Atchafalaya River ( actually we crossed that river several times today). Then there was Whiskey Bay. And in this area there were many signs advertising cajun food-- especially crayfish and boudin in local restaurants ( boudin is a sausage stuffed with pork and rice). Wish we had taken the time to try boudin! Back to our journey: we next crossed Bayou De Glesias ( you can tell I had fun keeping track of these names). After that, Port Allen, before crossing the Mississippi River and entering Baton Rouge. Next we went over the Amite and Pearl Rivers near the Mississippi state line. Later, after a quick supper at the Florida Welcome Center, we crossed the longest bridge (for us today) across the Pensacola Bay. It was thrilling to see this wide expanse of water at sunset. We are now setting up for the night at (no suprise here) "River's Edge RV Park". We plan to leave the motorhome here tomorrow ( and KC) and take a two day trip to Plains Ga. I think KC will enjoy not being on the move.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

March 19, Louisanna

We finally got out of Texas, left about one in the afternoon after our jack was replaced. Tonight we are now stopped at Bayou Wilderness RV Resort (located near Lafayette LA). The park has a bayou in the middle of it, complete with cypress trees and Spanish moss. It is a very picturesque place. Tomorrow we will probably push on to Fort Walton, Florida. KC, our cat, did not seem to be too happy today now that his home is rocking and rolling again.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Livingston, Texas- March 18

I think the cool weather is behind us now, it gets pretty warm now in the afternoons. We have been enjoying the Spring foliage a lot. Besides the many colorful azalea bushes we have seen flowering dogwood, hibiscus, lantana, wisteria, and the Texas bluebonnet of course! Also learned of a new one to me: the confederate jasmine. Yesterday I helped with a luncheon here in the park, hard to believe that we fed one-hundred people! This rv park is home for many travelers who spend little to no time on the road now. They have built homes here, or just put their rv under a shed(see picture to the right). John and I have met a couple who for ten years were Mission Builders for the ELCA church. They had some interesting stories to tell of their work.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Thoughts on a Sunday

I know this blog should be brief and not filled with heavy thoughts- but please indulge me..... John and I had a very pleasant day in Houston yesterday (even though the weather was still cool and damp), visiting with our friend there. The joy of that ended when we approached the entrance to our rv park and saw our way blocked by emergency vehicles. Apparently thirty minutes before a pick-up truck, going at a high rate of speed had hit a car coming out of the park. As John and got out of our car and joined the by-standers, a man came up with a blanket wrapped around him. He was the only survivor, and was begging the people around him to take care of his bike( which had been badly mangled in the accident), his tent, and to look for his dog while he went to the hospital. Apparently those three things, and his car which had been badly burned in the accident, was all he owned. Now fast forward to our experience today. John and I had decided to attend church services at church twenty miles from the rv park. The Lutheran church, especially its pastor, had not been very welcoming to us at the Wednesday evening Lenten service. We were also warned about the other Lutheran church, as it was a bit strange. That sounded like a challenge to us, so that is where we went today. We easily found the church, located near Livingston Lake and on highway 190. We entered the church and found only fourteen members in attendance. All of them, including the pastor, welcomed us warmly. We got to know each other fairly well before the service. For the sermon the pastor spoke about an experience she had while driving through a wealthy suburb of Houston. There she encountered a mega church with the words: " the power to be wealthy". She tied that thought well in with the Gospel message today, which was John 2,13-22. During communion, at the altar rail, the pastor gave a personalized blessing to each communicant. I thought the blessing at the end of the service was unusual but beautiful: " Go in peace.Feed the hungry".
After the service we discovered more about the church by talking with the members. Shortly after Pastor Sharon came to serve the church, all the members left because she wanted to bring in poor people and the homeless. In the eight years since new members came and a new building was built. We were curious to find out more about the church, so a few members and the pastor invited us to join them for lunch at a local restaurant. During our meal the pastor told of of her ministry in Onalaska. Much of her work involves the poor and homeless who stop at the church. She has taken in a scantily-clad woman, obviously mentally ill, for a night in the parsonage. She is in process of caring for a family whose father has black-lung disease. The family lives in a mold-filled condemned across from the church. The Texas prison for death-row inmates is near the church. Pastor Sharon has provided spiritual counseling for one of these men. She says she cries a lot and often prays for the people she encounters in her ministry. Many people are indigent in the area around her and have no easy access to welfare or food stamps. Many times the pastor find it necessary to dig into her own funds after the church's food pantry and other funding run out. After the meal we hated to say good-bye to our new friends. But then we thought that hey, we are retired, no need to push on if we do not want to. At least we will plan to be back for the Wednesday Lenten service. We liked the strange goings-on at Lake Livingston Lutheran church.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Livingston Texas ,March 13

Yes, we are still in Livingston Tx. We continued to have problems with our leveling system, so once we arrived here we took it to an rv dealer. Turns out that our rear jack is defective, so we are waiting for a new part to come in from Indiana. That has given us time to visit with my brother Jared and his wife Sherry. Today we took them for a drive to tour our environs. Saw Lake Livingston(which provides the water supply for Houston). Also visited Indian Village- home of the Alabama-Coushatta tribe. They are a branch of the Creek Indians. We are back in the winter clothes we wore when we left Missouri (and I had come so close to packing them away). It was thirty-eight degrees today for the high, and we have had two days of steady rain. It all has not gotten us down, we find enough things to keep us busy- hopefully we may get out of here Wednesday or Thursday.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Livingston Texas,March 11

As we have traveled further south, we have moved further into Spring. Azalea bushes are in bloom--the iris and wild honeysuckle are out in their full glory. We may be passing out of Spring faster than we would like.
We mentioned earlier that we have our eighteen year-old cat KC traveling with us. So far he is still alive. I am just afraid that the stress of this life may kill him yet. The first couple of days he cried a lot at night. I am glad he stopped that because he needs his strength to face the challenges of each day. He found a spot by our bed which he thinks is safe ( note picture of him in that area). In the days following he gathered courage to join us in the dining area for breakfast. Things at first seemed calm for him until we had to bring in the sides to travel. The floor under KC rises and moves- he runs to the bedroom for safety, but we start to bring that side in and the bed threatens to crush him against the wall. I have to quickly grab him before he tries to disappear into that black hole under our bed( we have a storage area under the bed which we thought was all closed in but there are spots there into which the cat simply disappears). Back to our story- we start the engine- and KC is back in his safe spot- we lurch forward and hit a dip in the road. All of a sudden there is a crash and something falls in one of our cupboards. KC jumps on a ledge by our bed and butts his head against the wall. I bet that if he could figure out how to do it, he would put his paws over his head for protection! We eventually stop at a rest stop and KC steps out confidently and sits in the driver's seat which John just vacated. As he is calmly gazing out the window, WHOOSH-- go the air brakes in a semi truck sitting next to us and KC again dives for cover. Toward evening we stop for the night and I start to fix supper. KC picks up he usual routine of following me around and then lying at my feet. I open a cupboard and BOMBS AWAY-- cans fall out and KC runs for cover. He did not come out for a long time after that near- life threatening episode. As I am writing this he has now come out, looked at me, and softly mewed. I guess all is forgiven, until it all starts over again tomorrow. I really do have to learn how to pack the cupboards better. KC has probably gone well beyond the nine lives alloted to him. He is a trooper and,needless to say, a very loved cat.

Monday, March 9, 2009

In Livingston

We arrived in Livingston, TX today. This will become our home base even though we won't be living here so have to register vehicles and change driver's licenses, etc. We will stay here about a week before heading out toward the east coast via the gulf coast and beaches. One thing we need to get done is have a defective jack replaced. There are four of these, one at each corner, that are used to level the unit. The bad one was leaking hydraulic fluid and should be covered by warranty. Some have asked for info about the unit. It is about 37 feet long, 12 feet 10 inches high and 8 feet wide. It has a queen bed in bedroom, bath and half, dinette, full kitchen, sofa bed and 3 recliner chairs if you count the driver and passenger chairs. Storage area underneath holds about 160 cubic feet of stuff plus fresh water tank, grey and black water tanks, propane tank and gas tank.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

first day-March 7

Wow Mike, I bet this entry surprises you. Would you believe I am very warm tonight writing this- and would you also believe this rv park had sleet and snow last week-end? So it was ok that we were slow in getting started. We hung around Farmington an extra day so we could show off the rv to some former classmates of your Dad ( high school)- and we also did some hiking with our brother-in-law Jim in Hickory Canyon. What a beautiful warm day that was. We had a slow start this AM because one of the rv jacks was slow in coming up and was leaking hydraulic fluid. As we were analyzing the problem the rv suddenly lurched and the jack came up. Not sure what it will do tomorrow. Where are we now? Somewhere north of Little Rock- in an rv park noted for its gospel music and Bluegrass- what we could make out in the dark, it has a huge outdoor theater. Unfortunately the shows do not start up until next month. Not sure right now whether we will be here one or two days. Our home is sitting quite close to a lake- the night sounds are great with geese honking, and frogs courting -- if the scenery is pretty tomorrow in the daylight, we may stay around another day. We saw Spring today and do not have to wait any longer to see blooming daffodils. I have waxed poetic long enough- more later.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The journey begins...

John and Diana Schramm are taking a journey around the country in their 2009 Bounder RV. This blog will chronicle their adventure as it happens, so friends and family can follow along with them.