Third time’s a charm?

We found out after several years of fighting our generator that it had been a problem even before we bought it. We’ve put lots of money and lots of man hours into getting a working generator, very important since our “house” is almost entirely electrical. It we stop somewhere without hookups, we are dependent upon batteries and the generator for heating or cooling. Last fall, after making a fix that had probably been the problem all along, LeRoy pulled that heavy thing and replaced it with a different one. It ran fine but in January, the line switch went out and the power wasn’t getting to the electrical system. Replaced that! Then in May, just outside Las Cruces, the generator quit running and when LeRoy went to start it, it backfired and hasn’t started since. Enough frustration! We bought another one and LeRoy has been installing it this week. Notice the black spot in the back of his white hair?

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Cross your fingers and toes! It should be ready for testing soon.

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Before he started on that project, though, we made a trip to Oklahoma. Last summer when Jadelyn had planned to come visit us, there were logistical problems and she didn’t get to come. So on Saturday before Labor Day, we took her with us to Inola, OK to see granddaughter Katrina. We had a lot of fun shopping and eating and giving Jade a lesson on Oklahoma’s favorite son, Will Rogers. She likes history in school and mostly enjoyed the museum. Will was a down to earth, yet extraordinary man. His comedy poked fun at congress and the government in general, not an individual. I wish today’s “comedians” would take a lesson from that. As you can see, Jadelyn has outgrown Katrina (and all the other grandkids except Ben).

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Since Jade is taking a FACS class this fall (it used to be home ec), she brought along her point sheet. For everything she cooked, she wrote down the skills used and got our evaluation. I taught her how to cook in my Instant Pot and she made Salsa Chicken, which could be eaten with tortillas or on a salad. Katrina helped her bake cookies and pumpkin bread. We ate well!

Jade baking

Earlier this week, the Friends church in Haviland and several houses there experienced flooding from the huge rains. Since we knew that many of the church members, including the pastors, were doing cleanup of their own, we drove out Saturday for a work day at the church. We spent the morning carrying things from the Sunday school classrooms to the fellowship hall to be disinfected and then carried back to put on tables until the floors and walls are done. Lots of seasonal decorations were stored in the basement closets, so all that had to be moved as well. We came home with a car full of wall decorations that had been borrowed from Northridge, here in Wichita. Those things were high and dry, but they needed to be returned.

As we neared home, our friends Max and Paula Reser called to say that they were at the Landing. We volunteered with the Resers each of the last three summers at Golden Bell. They left Divide just a few hours before another storm of pea-sized hail covered the ground there! We always enjoy taking visitors to Cy’s Hoof and Horn, a home town restaurant in Sedgwick. This morning we took them with us to church and then after lunch, they moved on to visit their daughter. They’ve been full time RVers for just more than a year now and I’m sure we will see them on the road again.

The crowning point of the week for this grandmother was this afternoon when we got a chance to play with great-granddaughter Rae. It is so much fun to have a baby around again! She was all decked out in Chiefs gear for the game this afternoon. We had heard that she’s really a daddy’s girl, but she seemed to like Papa pretty well, too!

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Granne and Papa worked hard to make her smile!

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We have lots of plans for this coming week, just doing what we choose to do this time. The sun is forecast to shine and we’ll be loving it.

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What’s this?

project

Another project? Yes, yes it is! Last spring we bought wallpaper for the bedroom, with the intention of waiting until we were back in Kansas. Well, we’re back, so there’s no time like the present and yesterday was the day. This is one wall before:

before

and the rest after:

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bedroom after

We’ve done a couple of things that should prove we’re going to stay married for the long haul: we’ve lived in the same 40 foot bus for 8 years and we’ve hung wallpaper together, both without divorce or killing one another!

 

 

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As though we never left

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Well, Liberty is back in the barn at the Landing in Kansas and it dawned on me that when you live in an RV, it is easy to feel as though you never left. We live in the same “house” everywhere we go and the outside views begin to blend together after awhile. Were we in Colorado when that happened? Or was it Yellowstone? What year was it? All those memories form the foundation of our lives.

We left Golden Bell after breakfast on Thursday morning, hugs all around with our volunteer friends and all the staff. We don’t currently plan to return there next year, so I had to have one last picture of this guy.

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Woodland Park is known as the City above the Clouds and we experienced that this year. It looks odd to see the cloud right in front of you, like flying an airplane in a cloud bank.

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The tiny town of Alton, KS, where I attended school for 12 years, has a festival called Jubilee every year on the last Saturday of August. Alton’s population, according to the 2016 census figures, is 98, but the Jubilee brings back many times that number. There is a parade all the down Mill Street, the main drag, just a few blocks, but there are enough parade entries that it takes about an hour! There hasn’t been a high school in town since 1970 and the current residents attend Osborne High school in the county seat. The OHS band did a great job of playing the national anthem and the crowd was on their feet. This year my high school graduating class celebrated our 55th year since graduation during that time, so we rode in the parade, too. (Remember, LeRoy and I have been at 9200+ feet elevation all summer with very little humidity and almost every day began and ended wearing a sweatshirt. In Alton, it was 90+ degrees and 50% humidity! We didn’t melt (or even lose weight) but it was different for sure.)

My class was the largest in the high school in 1963, but there were only 11 of us even then. Two class members died many years ago and only 4 of those remaining were able to attend this year. Girls-4, Boys-0!

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Among the memorabilia that we dug through was a picture of the cheerleaders our senior year. Not to be outdone by their younger selves, they recreated that picture. The sounds that accompanied that pose didn’t sound much like football cheers, though, more what we call Senior Tourettes, the involuntary noises we make when getting up or down.

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For a small class, we’ve done a good job of spreading out across the US. Sherry Guge Workman lives in South Carolina (by way of Michigan).  Carolyn Bartholomew Stonehocker is a world traveler who lives in Prescott, AZ after many years in Wheaton, IL. Carol Brent Fogo and her husband are closest. They lived all over Kansas but have retired in Manhattan. And LeRoy and I? Well, name a season and we’ll tell you where we live! The other survivors who didn’t attend live in Kentucky, North Carolina (I think), Colorado, Washington state and California. Pretty good for sheltered Kansas kids!

After we were done with our part in the parade, I met up with my sister Mary Jo and husband Ray who almost always come back for Jubilee. The rural fire department furnished our hamburgers and hotdogs for lunch, although there were two other venues for food. After eating lunch, we went across the street for pie and homemade ice cream, which was supplied by Mt. Ayr Friends Church, the church where I grew up. Lest we get hungry at the reunion, there were cookies and veggies and anything else we might need to fill the cracks until the BBQ supper in the park! I shouldn’t have needed to eat today at all!

One of the main events of the Jubilee is an evening presentation by the Bull City Opry Company, made up of writers, producers and actors from the local community. Last night’s play was “It’s All Good!” and it was the 24th production.

This morning we were up and gone before 8 o’clock to beat the heat and we rolled in just in time to put the bus in the barn and meet the local family for lunch. The highlight of that meeting, other than hugs from everyone, was getting to hold and love on little Rae! I just have to say, she’s even cuter than her pictures. Who’s holding her is so much less important!

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Rae & Papa

We’re already working on a trip for next weekend. Stay tuned!

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Winding down

Today is our last day of RV park duty for the summer. It’s also one of the last weeks of camp activity at the lodge. The weather is cooler and the evenings are shorter. The volunteers are gathering for a campfire this evening as the Kansas contingent will be pulling out this week, Chuck and Mavis Parnell on Wednesday and us on Thursday.

The swimming pool building is nearly completed from the outside. There is still an immense amount of work to be done inside before the pool will be be usable again, but the building is looking good!

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The RV park office is complete and painted. We even have Wifi available for the volunteers again. It’s hard to remember that a few years ago all the things the camp hosts need were in a tub that we passed back and forth when we went off duty. It is a very attractive and useful building.

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In other parts of the country, our family is affected by school starting. Avery told us about the fall college schedule in Georgia and Ben and Bailey moved into their dorms at Friends University this week.

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Heidi and Tim are down to one chick in the nest and Jadelyn started 8th grade this week, as well. This is the first time ever for them to have just one child in the house. With the twins, there were always two. Now there’s no one else to pick on! The traditional first day of school picture on the front porch is down to one.

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The other exciting news is that even though Marc and Jordan are learning to function through exhaustion, their home now is full of baby sounds. Jordan says she’s found out that she probably won’t get to drink her coffee hot or eat her cereal crisp for a long time! This is probably my favorite picture, Grandad Tim getting acquainted with his first granddaughter. It looks like he has her talking back already!

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We had a phone care plan meeting for Raymond this week. Everyone there is gearing up to help him meet his goal, which is to GET OUT OF THE NURSING HOME! We sure hope his strength builds quickly so that can happen.

After picking up trash and cleaning the bathrooms one more time this evening, we’ll hand over the camp host baton for the season. I’m helping with camp laundry Monday and Tuesday and by Thursday we’ll be ready to hitch the Escape to Liberty and head down the mountain. This summer is just about in the bag.

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Count your many blessings

Name them one by one! Oh what a week of blessings we’ve had, including multiple answers to prayer.

Number one blessing for us is that, after more than 100 days in the hospital, our great granddaughter Rachel Leigh Compton is at home with her parents! Jordan and Marc are learning the real meaning of exhaustion, I’m sure, as all new parents do when they bring a new baby home. In the meantime, baby Rae is just sleeping through the excitement. I can hardly wait to see those little cheeks and that tiny nose in person!

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Blessing number two is that Raymond has successfully completed 7 weeks of chemo and radiation and has been moved back to the nursing home in Truth or Consequences for rehab! No news yet on how successful the treatment was at treating the mass in his throat, but it has significantly shrunk from the time they discovered it. He still has his trach and stomach tube for feeding for the time being. Facebook reminded me this morning that one year ago today he was dismissed from the hospital into rehab after his double amputation. How’s that for an eventful year?

Blessing number three is friends. Almost all of the summer staff have scattered to get ready for college or jobs. The volume level has gone down considerably, but we sure do miss the energy they offer to the camp! Several more of our dear Golden Bell volunteer friends have headed home for the season, some for good since they have decided not to return. We’ve added many more names to our Facebook friends list, as it is our friend for keeping in touch. Makes me think of the song that says “Friends are friends forever, if the Lord’s the Lord of them.” See you later, friends!

Our days off at the RV park gave us the opportunity to spend more time with our friends from Osborne times, Jim and Joyce Caldwell. They have a beautiful little house with a million dollar view between here and Buena Vista, CO.

Jim has made friends with the wildlife, too.

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We spent most of the afternoon on a ride on back trails through beautiful landscape that we’d never seen before. We stopped for a picnic lunch in a big aspen grove, which also featured several BIG aspens! I’ve never seen anything like this!

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The next blessing is health. My 55th high school reunion is planned for the 25th of August in Alton and the crowd is going to be pretty small (there were only 11 of us to start with) due to health challenges for several. Other bus friends have had some pretty severe and debilitating health problems this summer. We take for granted that if we need to walk a ways, we can, but we realize that is really a gift from God. After suffering knee pain most of the summer, LeRoy is doing much better, although not healed yet. I am being treated for yet another sinus infection, which is aggravated by smoke from the California fires. Still, we are able to function pretty well, walking thousands of steps a day, cleaning bathrooms, making beds in the lodge, hauling trash and doing projects in the RV park. Ever since the park office was completed last year, LeRoy has wanted to build a porch. This weekend he got his chance. (And yes, it involved a ladder.) One of our co-hosts loves to paint, or at least she does a lot of it. I’m sure it won’t be long before the addition takes on camp colors.

Speaking of projects, the swimming pool building is taking shape pretty consistently. The roof is up and the girts are going on the side so the outside skin can go up. We hope to see it all enclosed before we leave.

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One more day of this 3-day RV park stint and we’re off for 3. The next “on” days will be the last before we leave for Kansas. Looking forward to seeing family and friends there, just not so much the high temperatures and humidity. Later!

 

 

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Rather unremarkable?

Aside from several afternoons of rain, this past week didn’t have much to set it apart from any other. And really, it is August in the mountains of Colorado, so the rain isn’t exceptional, either. However, here at Golden Bell, something VERY remarkable is taking place this week. The new swimming pool building is beginning to take shape! For several years, the metal structure that contained the pool had been deteriorating and the pool had been closed for a while. This year, the old building was torn down, leaving just the front part where the bathrooms were housed. The old HVAC ductwork was still visible though not in working condition. But this week, we saw a difference!

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By the time the crew left yesterday, you could see a foreshadowing of what is to come.

pool building

This summer the RV park has not been very full. We’re used to that mid-week, but weekends have usually been busy. This weekend was an exception. One church congregation, Hope Chapel, took up nearly every available space. There must have been as many pedal powered vehicles as there were children, and that was a big number! Mountain bikes, tricycles of every description, small bikes with training wheels and just bikes, bikes and more bikes! I think those children are going home exhausted! To my knowledge, there were only two bicycle casualties. One little girl rode through an open RV slot and realized too late that there was a drop off at the other end. She went head-over-bicycle, but was able to get up and ride off. Another girl applied front brakes going downhill too fast and ended up in the emergency room. Just a chipped tooth, no broken bones, thank goodness. Our fellow co-host, Ted Bonner, who had been on duty all weekend until this morning, posted on Facebook that they were invited to the Hope Chapel worship service and were thanked for making the weekend a pleasant one. That’s always nice to hear.

This week has been a musical one over at the cabins and the lodge. Each year a youth orchestra camp takes over a lot of the premises. Usually I have been in the gift shop and have been unable to attend their concert but this year I wasn’t working. However, we missed it again because we had been given the wrong time. Another part of the grounds was taken up by a children’s chorale from Colorado Springs and we plan to attend their concert today.

Tonight will be our final staff and volunteers chapel for the summer. They have been very special times for us as we get to know the summer staffers better. Since the Nazarene church camps are over for the year, summer staffers are heading home to get ready for college to begin in the fall or other jobs. Bry, one of the student nurses, left yesterday and will spend a week at home before leaving for Army basic training. Several of the senior volunteers have gone, as well, and the dining room gets really quiet these days. Knowing that next year’s crowd will look very different makes us glad we have good memories of this and past years.

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Moving is exhausting!

There’s a long story to that moving thing. All three of the couples who are camp hosting the RV park here at Golden Bell are full time RVers and all of us are South Dakota residents, using the same mail forwarding service, My Dakota Address. That is, until late this week when one couple got an email from the business saying that they were going out of business on July 31st and that the post office would be returning our mail to the sender as of the 25th, which was already past when the email arrived! Since the other two of us hadn’t heard from the company at all, we contacted them and learned that, sure enough, we were now homeless! My Dakota Address had suggested another service, but we decided to do our own research. We know that our vehicle insurance rates are at least partially based on the population of our city/county of residence, so we didn’t want to transfer to a larger city. With the recommendation of a fellow full timer, we checked out My Home Address. Their rates were very similar to others we checked and the owner was very helpful, so we are now residents of Emery, SD. Since we aren’t allowed to just send the post office a change of address, we have to personally notify everyone who sends us mail. So consider this your official notification. Our new address is 411 N. 6th St., #4958, Emery, SD  57332. Now on to the multitude of businesses and individuals who don’t follow this blog!

On a brighter note, though, we had a wonderful visit yesterday with friends from the long ago and far away. Back in the early 1970s, we moved to Osborne, KS for LeRoy’s first professional job after college. About the same time, another couple moved there right out of dental school and started a dental practice. Jim Caldwell soon became a friend, as well as our dentist. He and his wife Joyce had two children about the age of ours. When we moved there, we brought with us a dune buggy habit that we shared with several other couples, including the Caldwells. We traveled together the 5 or so hours to the Little Sahara sand dunes in Oklahoma every few weeks. We moved to western Kansas in 1978 and they moved to Colorado shortly after that. That’s about the time we lost track of them…until Facebook! Jim and Joyce live over toward Buena Vista, just an hour or so west of where we are now and they came to visit us yesterday. What a time we had catching up with them and their kids and learning about their grandkids, all of whom live in Colorado.

 

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We’ve had lots of rain (and more than our share of little hail) this week, enough so that the fire ban has been reduced from Stage 3 to Stage 1, so campfires and grills are permitted again in the campground. Since many of our sites are filled with tent campers, it has been a real hardship for them not to be able to cook outside. In all the years we tent camped, we never ran into that. I wouldn’t have wanted to be in a tent with this stuff on the ground!

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We try to support the local fire departments whenever we can since we’ve been in Teller County many times over the years when there were fires to be fought. Yesterday we went to the Florissant Fire Department’s annual pancake breakfast. The pancakes, eggs, sausage and biscuits and gravy were very good. Apparently we were not the only supporters.

FFD pancakes

We’ve been in touch with Raymond and several of his caregivers this week and he seems to be doing pretty well, all things considered. It has become more and more difficult to understand him as his treatment has progressed. Currently the hospital is trying to find a new place for him. If he can pass a swallow test and be able to get rid of his trach and feeding tube, the assisted living facility in Truth or Consequences will take him back. With a couple more weeks of treatment still to come, though, it will be a while.

Baby Rae is doing better all the time and everyone is hoping that she will soon be able to go home. I suggested to Jordan that she take a picture of the nursery at home and show it to Rae as an incentive! She is gaining weight and now weighs more than 6 lbs. but still doesn’t seem to want to have to suck to get her food. Prayers would be appreciated!

We’re short timers here at Golden Bell. In less than a month we’ll be headed back to Kansas. We’ll try to stay warm until then!

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