Category Archives: The Adventure

Tales from our travels

This Week Mondays are for

Frustration!!!
I had big plans to finish the month strong, but my internet options are not being at all cooperative. I know, I know, it’s totally a First World Problem, but I’ve resorted to doing this on my phone (which has its own version of slow loading issues). I have yet to perfect my tiny keyboard typing, so this will be just a short farewell to November 😢 – sorry to see you go but I’m sure December will be full of joy too!!

Maybe it’s the full moon?

(Now to hit the ‘Publish’ – wonder if it will work??)

Aging Gracefully

Many people are surprised when I tell them we are in our seventeenth year of living  (and traveling) in our motorhome. (Trust me, I’m surprised too!) But what really seems to be the biggest surprise is that we are still in the rig that we started out in, our 2003 Beaver Santiam that we affectionately call Lizzie (after my adventurous grandmother!).

Cobourg September 2004

We (Gary) did a lot of research before we bought our home, and we’re very pleased that she has held up so well. We’ve done some renovations (new flooring, removing the sofa and putting in a desk and upgrading to a residential refrigerator back in Oct ’15) and Gary’s been really good about engine maintenance, massive oil changes, etc., etc., etc. She does have a couple of dings and ouchies, but after all, she’s travels many good miles and parked in countless unusual parking spots! But, every now and again, just like in your house, something just plain wears out. Recently we had that happen to the latch on our front door. Did I mention that it’s our only door? It had been sticking for a while, but we were finding that if you stood to the side, held your tongue in just the right way and asked nicely, it would eventually open. So I guess we weren’t drop dead surprised when the day came that it just plain wouldn’t engage with the mechanism and open. Thankfully, the bedroom window is usually not latched (shhhh – don’t tell the riff-raff), so Gary got out the ladder, climbed in through that window (it’s also the egress window so it actually hinges open from the top), and let us in. He then began the deconstruction of the door to try and diagnose the problem.
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Oy – so many screws, so many levers!
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Sure enough, it needed a whole new handle/latch assembly. And of course, trying to find that for a 17 year old motorhome was no easy task. He eventually found one he thought would work, and got it on order. The trick of course was that while we waited we couldn’t shut the door all the way unless we were inside.  Well, we could close it just fine.  There just was no way to open it.
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There may or may not have been a couple of times that the egress window was used during those days…..
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Ahem.

I am happy to report that the new latch is in place and once again all is right with the (door) world. Well, except sometimes, since it wasn’t an exact replacement, it doesn’t actually stay closed. But hey, I used to live in a house built in the 1860’s so I can deal with little quirky stuff like that!

She’s a good ol’ girl, our Lizzie is. She’ll be 18 in March, and while I’m not so sure what that equates to in “RV Years”, we think she doing just fine. We try to treat her with respect, and give her lots of praise when we make it safely to each new destination.  And as you can see in the post header, we even upgraded her outside lights to LED!  Lord willing, she’ll see us through several more years of adventures!

Thanks for stopping by,
Steph

 

New Month – Familiar Neighborhood!

Today was another ‘on the road’ day for us as we officially moved from our November project in Mississippi to our December project in the FL panhandle. Here’s what I wrote over on the “So where are we now?” page –

Nov 27 – Dec 22

Gateway Academy/Teen Challenge
1213 Hope Circle
Bonifay, FL 32425

We worked at this location on our fourth SOWER project, back in March of 2005. Wow – over 15 years ago! After that first time we returned for two other winters as an SOA (SOWER on Assignment – extended months usually for a particular purpose) to help set up the air conditioning in a new building. Although we may have stopped by a time or two, the last time we worked here was May 2008. So while some things seem familiar, others (like almost all of the staff and of course the boys!) will be new to us! And we do like that aspect of things. Hopefully we’ll get to connect with some friends from those good ol’ days and get reacquainted with the area. I’m counting on it being another blessed month!

We getting settled after a full day’s drive and looking forward to doing a bit of exploring over the weekend. Or maybe we’ll just take some naps! But this I know – no alarms for the next two mornings! Yippee!

 

Oh – Here are the answers to Wednesday’s geography puzzler. Sorry, Doug, you only got 50% correct! But thanks for guessing!

Kansas
Montana
Arizona
South Dakota

Stuffed, Sealed, Sent

Remember those old song lyrics – Signed, sealed and delivered?  Our job this week was similar except that thankfully we didn’t need to sign anything, and we’re leaving it up to the USPS to do the delivering! We were Stuffing, Sealing, and Sending!

Once a year the SOWER office sends out a mailing to all of our 641 members. It consists of the annual Roster (about 25 pages (2 sided), the Sowergram (minutes of the Board Meeting, Group leader reports, etc. (about 13 pages (2 sided)), and our Project Listing (PLS)(listing all the opportunities for service, also about 25 pages (2 sided).  All of which is printed ‘in house’.
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Thankfully both the Roster and Sowergram were already printed and the only remaining piece of the puzzle was the PLS.
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(Side note – this is a pretty amazing copier/printer! It spits out entire booklets, stapled with the holes punched. And if there is a color cover and back, it knows to put that on too! It’s been a long while since I’ve been in the presence of such copier wizardry!)
Once we got all the PLS’s printed we collated our items into sets. Lots and lots of sets.
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Once the envelopes were printed with individual addresses, it was time to get stuffing.
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Still stuffing….
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Since these were such robustly filled envelopes, we couldn’t count on the automatic sealer on the postage machine to do the trick, so after they were stuffed we got to seal them. One.at.a.time. No pictures of this because the sealer was also the photographer. But you can see my little paper plate in the above picture that held my little paper towel sealer. Yes, this was true old school sealing – just a step above the old lick and press technique!
The best part of stuffing and sealing all of the envelopes was seeing the names and reminiscing about the times we’ve served with so many of them. I wish I’d had time to stick little notes in them just to say hi!
After sealing came the postage-ing.
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Again, due to their bulk, they had to be fed in individually and like all machines, that machine did throw a couple of tantrums during the course of the job. But in the end, they were all stuffed, sealed and heading to the Post Office!
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Phew!
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SOWER friends, we’ve left them in the hands of the USPS. They’ve been stuffed and sealed with love and prayers – and now we can only pray that they find their way to you!!

While we were busy collating, stuffing and sealing, Toni and Dick (the official (and amazing) office subs were busy handling all of the routine office task. Though with all of the COVID complications coming at us, I’m not so sure any of it was routine! Thankfully they will be able to stay until the Christmas break so Ray and Alean (the regular office staff both recovering from COVID) can get fully recovered before they return to work. Our ‘job’ here is done – and we’ll be heading back to Mississippi and our sweet home in the morning! So glad we were able to practice our flexibility to come and help!

Stay well, friends! Don’t forget to start thawing that turkey!
Steph

Mondays are for Memories – Thanksgiving, 1990

Today’s memory is from long before any of us had even heard of the word “Blogging” – probably before even the internet. It was the year that, unbeknownst to me, I was on the cutting edge of culinary deliciousness when I introduced a “new” vegetable to the Thanksgiving menu.

UntitledWhat Thanksgiving Means to Me
Abigail Fitzpatrick, age 10
Grade 5

To me, Thanksgiving is a really special day when we all thank God, the creator, for everything we have and all the blessings that he has given us.
One year I went to my aunt and uncle’s house for Thanksgiving. My Gramma was there too. So was my other aunt and uncle. We could all smell the yummy food cooking and being made and taken out of the oven.
Then we saw it – the horror of our lifetimes! Brussels sprouts!
“Acckk!” we all thought to ourselves.
“Do we have to eat that?” asked my 9 year old cousin Jos.
“Yes, you must each have one,” said my Aunt Stephanie.
My cousin Tim, age 13, tried to give his to Cricket, my aunt’s dog, but the dog was smart too.
So we ate the rest of the yummy food and tried to bear the horrid taste of the Brussels sprouts.
In spite of the Brussels sprouts, Thanksgiving really means a lot to me.
Abigail Joie Fitzpatrick, 10

Abby is now the mom to five sweet kiddos, and while I cannot attest to whether or not Brussels sprouts are ever on her kids plates, I do know that kale makes regular appearances. I must not have done too much damage!

Happy Thanksgiving Week, everyone!

Steph