Monday, November 5, 2012

River Vista Adventure Continues

It has been a while since we posted anything so there is a lot to cover.  We have been busy keeping the park and the cabins clean for the guests, but it has not all been work and no play.  We have met some wonderful people and have made many new friends.  So bear with me as I cover the last  4 months.

We have had a couple of visits from family and friends.  The first was Sherree's cousin Paula Knofla.  She and Sherree have been close since they were young girls, but family, children, and marriage have worked to keep them apart.  The unfortunate death of Paula's Mom led to the latest reunion.  Paula's mom lived in Atlanta which is close to River Vista so Paula used the occasion to come visit us for a day after her mother's memorial.  We all had a great visit.

Our friends from Atlanta, Paul and Nita Crowder came up for a couple of days.  We took the opportunity to hike the Whiteside  Mountain Trail.  It was a little challenging but the breath taking vistas were worth the effort.  We also did a little goofing off as you can see.

Sherree is not a fan of heights!

We have also made a couple of trips with Tonya and our four grandchildren.  One was to Stepps Orchard to pick some apples and enjoy a picnic.
This girls like to ride.

They also enjoyed picking apples for the first time.

There was a corn maze and a pea patch maze.  Talk about fun!

 The other was to Latta Plantation for a trip into the past to see how people lived and survived during the period. We learned a lot about medicine and a lot about how little the medical profession itself knew about what caused illness and how to cure those illnesses.  If your family had to call the Dr. it meant it was  the last resort.  Most of the time if one called in a Dr., death was the probable outcome.  People were dressed in period costumes and acted the part and provided information about the people they portrayed.
Above left is Dalila and Erin thought she was great (top right).  Confederate soldiers living in the field, and ladies helping Tonya and Ella make Rosemary bracelets to ward off insects.  

Sherree has a half sister, Dorthy, from whom she was separated from very soon after birth.  They have the same father but different mothers.  Sherree's mom died shortly after Sherree was born and subsequently her and Dorthy went their separate ways.  They were finally reunited about 10 years ago after being separated for over 50 years.  Dorthy and her husband Reggie came to River Vista for a visit and we had a wonderful time.  We look forward to making a visit to their Florida home sometime in the future.  

Sisters always

Dorthy & Reggie.  A wonderful couple
Thanksgiving and Christmas are rapidly approaching and we are trying to get ready.  We also are starting to think about our plans for 2013.  Of course we will be back in the DFW area in January and possibly February for Dr.'s appointments and will head to Lubbock to spend some time with our daughter, Wendy, and her family.  After that is really up in the air. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Return to River Vista

We have made a full circle and are now back at River Vista for a few months.  There were 4 other workkamper couples here when we arrived.  Sandy & Billy Collins, Larry & Penny Froemming, June & Butch Beer, and lastly Ed and Sharon Linderman.  All are wonderful people and really made us feel welcome.  We had a wonderful evening with all of them shortly after we arrived as can be seen below.

Sandy and Billy, upper left in the photo,  left shortly after we arrived and the others are leaving at different times.  Sherree and I think we will have it all to ourselves in November and December. 

We have already had some new experiences.  Sherree called Bingo one evening and made snow cones one afternoon as I helped Tommy paint the spa building by operating the front in loader to lift him up.  My grandson, Jake, is really into heavy equipment so I have moved up in his eyes.

Ed & Sharon own their lot so Ed had 10.5 tons of granite rock delivered to add to his parking area.  I went over and helped him spread it around.  As you can see it was raining, which it has done on a regular basis since we arrived on July 8.  In fact it rained everyday at least once for the first 10 days we were here.  Almost everyone was complaining but Sherree and I have really enjoyed it.  It's nice to see rain after the dryness in Texas.

We also took a quick trip to be there when our grandson, Caleb, was baptized.  It was a wonderful day of celebration and worship.  We were thrilled to be there for such a momentous occasion in Caleb's life.

After the ceremony there were hot dogs, water melons, cotton candy, & rides for kids and adults.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Arrival of new Grandson

We left Caprock Canyons State Park on April 25, and hurried to Lubbock so we could be there for the birth of our latest grandson, Dawson.  He was due on May 15 which gave us some time to visit with our daughter, Wendy, and her family.  We had a great time  leading up to the birth of Dawson on the 14th.  Prior to our leaving Caprock we did make a trip to Lubbock to help them move into a new house.  As you can see in the pictures below, Jake took it all in stride.

After our arrival we spent  time enjoying our time with Jake, Wendy, and Gerald anxiously awaiting the arrival of Dawson.  He was almost a Mother's Day present,  but was welcomed to the world on May 14th the day after Mother's Day, but more on that later.  We enjoyed trips to the museum, picnics by the motor home, and long walks thru the neighborhood.

Finally the arrival of Dawson.  What can I say that the following pictures do not.  He is another wonderful grandchild that is welcomed into our family.  Dawson makes six and we love them all.

Fortunately our oldest daughter, Tonya and her family, drove in from North Carolina to be with Wendy, Gerald and Jake for Dawson's birth.  As you can see below we have a beautiful and fun group of Grandchildren.  It is truly wonderful what can grow out of the love of two people.

From the left, Erin (20 months), Sherree (no age given), Ella (3 1/2), Joshua (9), Dawson (10 days), Caleb (5), Dudley (too old), & finally, Jake (2).

Friday, July 13, 2012

Caprock Canyons State Park - Camp Hosts

We have just completed a three month stay at Caprock Canyons State Park in Quitaque, Texas.  It is a 13900 acre park in the Texas Panhandle.  It was quite a change from our last location in the Appalachian Mountains in north Georgia.  In fact when we arrived and Le'Ann, the park interpreter was giving us a tour, Sherree was thinking, "This place is awful.  I'm not sure I can stay 3 months".  After less than 2 weeks we fell in love with it.  During our stay we experienced a winter snow storm, 50 mph winds, and a short hail storm, (no damage).  Least you think that sounds bad, it's not.  Each event was short lived and besides it kept things exciting.

The snow storm lasted only one day but the park was closed due to roads in and out being treacherous and unsafe.  The park superintendent, Donald Beard, made the decision to close, and it left Sherree and I  alone in the park.  It was really beautiful as you will see in the video at the end of this post.  Standing outside the motor home, experiencing the cold and quite was a spiritual experience.  Watching the deer and the bison standing in the snow gave us an idea as to how the earlier settlers in this wonderful land must have felt.  Of course we had all the modern comforts to fall back on that the pioneers did not, but still being alone at such a time was breathtaking.

The hail storm lasted only a few minutes and we invited a family with two young boys that were tent camping across from us to sit out the storm in the motor home.  With the pounding of the hail on the roof the boys sat there in wide eyed silence.  We had many windy days but only one with a brief period of 50 mph winds.  We did learn that when the weather service says breezy that we should hold on to our hats and if it said windy I needed to hold on to Sherree to keep her on the ground.

There is a lot of history in this area and the following is a short blurb taken from the TPWD web site.
" The region's historic era began when Spanish explorer Coronado traveled across the plains in 1541. After Spanish colonies were established in New Mexico around 1600, two-way trade between Plains Indians and New Mexicans began and gradually increased. The Plains Apache, present when Coronado arrived, acquired horses and became proficient buffalo hunters. They were displaced by the Comanche, who arrived in the early 1700s and dominated northwestern Texas, until they were finally subdued in the 1870s. During the Comanche reign, trade prospered and New Mexican buffalo hunters, known as ciboleros, and traders, known as Comancheros, were frequent visitors to this area. Las Lenguas Creek, a few miles south of the park, was a major trade area, and a site excavated on Quitaque Creek has produced artifacts indicating that it may have been a cibolero camp."
The rangers at the park made our stay even more memorable.  They were always more than willing to answer our questions and to help us in any way they could.  Le'Ann was the park interpreter and the person that was very helpful in obtaining our first Camp Host position.  Joyce worked the front desk and always had a smile on her face.  James was the lead ranger and the one we normally went too if we were looking for something to do.  We stayed busy with restroom cleanup each day and picking up trash from around the park.  Freda, Dennis, CL, and Rebecca were the other rangers that we came to know as very good friends. Last but not least was Donald Beard, the park superintendent.  He always had good word to say and offered to help us in any way he could.

There was another couple that acted as Camp Hosts for two of the three months we were there.  That was Fred and Nancy Greer.  They are a retired couple from Plainview that have been spending time at the park as Camp Hosts for the past several years.  We became good friends and enjoyed some nice long walks and visits at the end of a busy day.  Nancy made some homemade Butter Finger ice cream and even made some apple crisp in a dutch oven one day which she shared with us and the park staff.  It was a wonderful thing to do on a hot west Texas day. 

As I mentioned earlier we cleaned the rest rooms and showers each day and picked up trash around the park wherever we came across it.  Kudos to Sherree for teaching me the correct way to clean the restrooms.  By the end of our stay we had received several compliments about how clean the restrooms and showers were.  Sherree really got into driving the Mule and the Gator, especially on those days that we rode the trails to check the primitive facilities and sometimes just to explore.  Almost everyday brought something new to learn and experience.  We cleaned out fire pits and grills and on a couple of occasions we re-set some fire pits.  We helped assemble and install some picnic tables and I helped install some new lights above the restroom/shower entrances.  Due to the drought, Lake Theo was very low and on several days we picked up trash that had been underwater for a long time.  We even pulled up some old tires.

We saw wild life everywhere.  There were mule deer, bison, (more about them later), feral hogs, rabbits, and at night we could hear the coyotes in the distance.  There were doves, quail, hawks, owls, road runners, and turkeys.  Even the turkey buzzards were fascinating to watch as they soared effortlessly thru the blue sky.  And of course there were lizards and a snake or two.

Now about the bison.  The herd is about 70 to 80 strong at the present time.  Some of them are direct descendants of the Charles Goodnight herd.  Mr. Goodnight was a cattleman and had a very large ranch in the Panhandle.  Most of the bison were killed to make it possible for Goodnight to raise his cattle.  His wife became concerned that the bison would be lost forever and convinced him to spare some for future generations. He did just that and the park is trying to carry on that goal with the official Texas bison herd at Caprock Canyons.  The bison are magnificent animals and in seeing them made us wish that we could have seen the huge herds that once roamed this area.  It must have been awe inspiring.  We all owe a debt of gratitude the Goodnights for  saving some of these animals for us today and we also owe a big thank you to the rangers, (past, present, and future) that make is possible for us to enjoy them even today.  The herd continues to grow each year with the addition of new calves.  While we were there, seven or so were born.

I could go on and on about our time there.  Something about awakening to the sounds of the birds singing, the rustle of the leaves as the wind blows, the solitude of the canyon trails, and the beauty of the wild flowers and blooming cactus filled our hearts and souls with peace.  The quite still voice of God.

The following slide show is just an attempt to convey the fun we had and the beauty we enjoyed.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Christmas 2011

We are back!!  The first order of business is to post our Christmas activities.  We had a wonderful time with our family.  Everyone was there.  Tonya and her family and Wendy and her family.  All in all there were 11 of us, with one on the way.  Wendy was  3 months pregnant.  In May we will welcome our sixth grandchild.  Boy or girl?  Not yet known.

We all met at a place called  Zidon-Avisha just east of Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  It is sort of like a hunting lodge but there is no hunting, just fishing.  It is owned by a wonderful couple named, Duane & Suzanne Cunningham.  Duane is a local businessman who owns a company that manufactures tar paper for roofing.  Two of his biggest customers are Home Depot and Lowe's.  The lodge had four bedrooms three baths, a huge kitchen, large family room and very nice game room, complete with a pool table and ping pong.  Along the back was a screened in patio.  On one end was a car port and the other end a nice fishing pier.  Sherree and I slept in the motor home while everyone else enjoyed the comforts of the lodge.  All of this and Duane and Suzanne lets us stay for over a week for gratis.  The following slide show is somewhat long but we had so much fun that I just couldn't decide what to leave out.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Still here

Just a short post to let everyone know we are still among the living.  We have been working on our Christmas post but before we could complete it we started our camp hosting duties at Caprock Canyon State Park in the Panhandle of Texas.  We have no internet connection except when we travel to Lubbock to visit Wendy.  We will try to update the blog on our trips to Lubbock but it will be infrequent until the first of May. Look back now and again to see if we have been able to post anything.  Keep us in your prayers.  We look forward to getting the blog up to date.

Monday, December 19, 2011

On the Road Again

Well, we are on the road again.  Just left Dillard, Georgia where we have been workkamping at the River Vista RV Resort since the first of October.  The people there were great.  Karen and her husband, Bob, are the managers and were very easy to work for.  We were pretty much on our own to keep the cabins cleaned, as well as the wash rooms, and laundry rooms.   We had to put in 15 hours a week each to cover our sight.  If any additional hours were required we were paid a small stipend and we averaged about 20 hours a week.

We made a great friend with Tommy Hartman, the maintenance manager.  He is the brother in law of the owner and was a lot of fun.  His stories were always fun to hear, sometimes with some colorful language.  Tommy is a recovering alcoholic and was not ashamed to say it.  His journey to sobriety is an inspirational one. He gives all the credit to God for helping him.  We will not soon forget Tommy nor any of the wonderful people we met and worked with.  Below is a grouping of everyone.

We would love to come back next year but there are some changes in the plans at the resort.  It appears that next year the workkampers will be required to work 40 hours each a week.  As much as we enjoyed our stay, we are retired after all and full time jobs are not what we are looking for, but the managers have indicated that they would try to work with us if we really wanted to come back.  Time will tell.  Below are a few pictures of River Vista.

Our Spot for 3 Months.  Could not find the pot at the end of the rainbow however.  Bummer
Putting up Christmas decorations.  Really don't like icicle lights anymore.
Just so you will know we did work.  Sherree at one of the cabins we cleaned.

Where are we off to now?  Our first stop will be Stone Mountain RV Park in Stone Mountain Georgia, where we will spend a couple days with our friends Nita and Paul Crowder.  This will the our last visit for some time so it will be bitter sweet.  We  have been friends for over 40 years and have always been close.

After Stone Mountain comes Tuscaloosa, Alabama to spend Christmas with Tonya, Donnie, Wendy, Gerald and all the grand kids.  We are meeting at  Zion Avisha Wildlife Retreat and Hunting Preserve.   I know it doesn't sound very festive but it is a beautiful place and the grand kids will have a lot of room to run and play, plus Gerald's sister made arrangements with the owners for us to stay for free and you can't beat a deal like that.  We will be spending 6 days together and we are really looking forward to the visit.  I'm sure I will be blogging about our Christmas, so be prepared.

After Christmas, comes a month back in the DFW area for some RV maintenance and our annual Dr.'s appointments and get togethers with old friends and family.  We are looking forward to a full January in Dallas.

The first of February will find us at Cap Rock Canyon State Park in the panhandle of Texas acting as camp host.  We will be there from February through April and then head to Lubbock to welcome our new grand baby in May.  We will stay in Lubbock for a couple of months to help Wendy with the new baby and spend as much time with Jake, our grandson, as possible.