April 21st, 2014 | Author: steph
Remember the coal trains that travel along the tracks right across the street from us?
I don’t have a clue where they are headed as they trundle by here, but I do know that they get loaded up just outside of Jackson.
The tracks pretty much follow the drive to the school (and continue on down the road to wherever coal goes).
Given that the standard maximum grade for freight trains is 2.2%, it’s been pretty interesting to see the different access venues for reaching the other side of the tracks. These are just some of the options we saw on the 5 mile trip from town to the school.
There are your over the track crossings-
Yes, one of them was just a regular railroad crossing.
But to be sure, the tracks are not usually that close to the road level. There is usually a bit a hill involved in these crossings.
So up and over they go!
Sometimes they are paved
but most often not.
Like the one that the school uses to access their property on the other side of the tracks.
Then there are the underpass options. Sometimes (for whatever reason, I don’t know) they put in a nice bridge.
Well, I guess it was a nice bridge at some point.
And sometimes a little bit smaller, not quite as nice, bridge (but then again, that road is a bit sketchy too).
And sometimes they just seem to make a little tiny tunnel
and you know that if you live on the other side of that tunnel you will never drive anything bigger than a Honda Fit.
Finally, if the grade just becomes too steep to manage, the tracks themselves will dip into the mountain
eliminating the need for crossing the tracks altogether.
Let’s just say I’m quite thankful that we are parked on This side of the tracks!
April 19th, 2014 | Author: steph
(Let’s overlook the fact that we’ve been here for over a week,OK? 😉)
So, Jackson, KY. When we stopped at the welcome center the helpful guy stocking the shelves commented that he just couldn’t figure out why anyone would want to go to Jackson. Humph. Well, while Jackson is indeed pretty much out in the boonies, it is home to Oakdale Christian Academy which has been home to us this last week (and will continue to be for the next!).
It’s been a good project so far. Gary has been busy working on the plumbing at the under-construction girls’ dorm
and I have been helping out in the library and also processing mountains of “Box Tops for Education”.
We did have a bit of excitement earlier this week when it snowed! Really? Mid April? Kentucky?
(Must have been a tax day joke?)
But crazy weather aside, this is a great spot. I’ll let the school web site tell you more about the school and its interesting history, but currently it is a Christian boarding school with about 60 students from all over the world. The campus is lovely and in the process of updating and upgrading many of their buildings. I took a little “walk about” this morning…..
I knew they owned some property across the street, so I decided to check that out too.
Yes, those tracks are pretty darn close, but fortunately the trains, even though they are long coal trains, do not run all that often. (Could’ve been a long couple of weeks otherwise, right?) Getting on the other side of the tracks afforded a good view of the campus too!
That’s their new gymnasium. Oh, and they also own up to the top of the hill – though they haven’t quite come up with a great use for it yet. 😉
Classrooms and dorm rooms.
But back on the other side of the tracks there was some pretty interesting stuff too.
And even a small cemetery where the founder and a few others are buried.
Another view of the campus from graveyard.
Once I got back down, I checked out the stream that runs behind the buildings -
It’s really lovely, isn’t!
But the school isn’t just about buildings and landscape. We haven’t had the opportunity to get to know too many of the students, but we’ve come to know and love the staff. Especially the bluegrass playing ones!
So much fun on a warm spring evening! ☺️
As we’ve watched the staff, administration, and dorm parents interact with the students here, we can definitely see where it is being true to its mission statement -
…to change lives by providing a challenging educational program and a Christ-centered community for teenagers from a broad spectrum of experiences, leading them to lives of learning, serving others, and loving God.
More pictures of the campus and the other side of the tracks can be found HERE!
April 14th, 2014 | Author: steph
and a sweet week with our niece, Christiana. Chris’s mom and dad had given her an “Uncle Gary Gift Card” for Christmas to facilitate the replacement of 5 very leaky windows in her Chattanooga house. We were delighted to be able to work in the visit on our way to our April project in Kentucky,
and I do believe she was delighted with the work that was accomplished. Even though there were a couple of glitches, it was still a great week!
We took up residence right outside her house and just ran our electric cord through her front window so we could keep our batteries charged and the fridge running. It really worked out well -
We could enjoy all the amenities of her home while still sleeping in our own bed. It’s a really good plan.
The windows about to be replaced are these two in the front and then the three down side on the first floor.
We started on the front ones – Out with the old
and trying to figure out how to get the window frame square for the new ones -
It was very interesting (um, maybe frightening) to check out the construction behind the original windows (well, not original to the house, just original to the most previous renovation.)
Yikes! And eventually, in with the new!
We ran into a couple of complications on those first two windows, but after a good dinner at a great local burger joint, we were ready to move to the side!
These were a bit more tricky just due to the distance off the ground, but we all kept plugging away. Gary of course did most of the plugging (away). Chris and I worked on painting the trim and stuffing insulation into the cracks (which helped explain why her house was always so cold!), while Gary squared up the openings and got them ready for the windows.
Hi, Chris! We’re coming with the window! Actually placing the window in the opening was a three man job – Chris on the inside and both Gary and I on the outside lifting the window into place – which is why I don’t have any pictures of that. Could not figure that selfie out!
We are very familiar with “old house” renovations, but it never ceases to amaze me just how crooked these old dwellings can be.
We’ve got him framed now!
Let me just interject here that it wasn’t all work and no play. Why even an early evening run to the local Lowes can allow for some beautiful views!
We checked out some great local eateries
and I even got to accompany Chris for a run up Lookout Mountain to Covenant College where she works.
And what a beautiful morning that was!
But back at the house the work continued. We only were able to change out 4 of the windows due to one of them being damaged, but along with the windows Gary was able to get the mailbox properly installed in some concrete, fix some goofy electrical issues, put up some new house numbers and change out a couple of defective lights in Chris’s closet and laundry room. All in all, a very good week!
By the end of the day Wednesday (we were all leaving Thursday morning), the house was put back together, and even though there was still some touch-up painting to do (it had to wait for the caulk to set up or I would have done it. Honest.) it seemed like a job well done.
Chris has always been near and dear to our hearts. She was living in Philly while we were getting ready to sell the house and hit the road so she joined us for many of our garage sales. And she also went home with a fair bit of our “stuff”, so when we get to visit her it’s always a wee bit like coming home! We love you, Chris – it was so fun to come and work and play and eat and laugh with you! Maybe we’ll see you on our way south in the fall and take care of that last window! See if you can hang on to that extension ladder, okay?
April 11th, 2014 | Author: steph
April 07th, 2014 | Author: steph