Our February SOWER project was at Texas Baptist Encampment in Palacios, Texs. There were nine SOWER couples, plus a SOWER on assignment and some other couples from another Christian RV volunteer group.
February SOWER Project
The February project was at Texas Baptist Encampment. There were nine SOWER couples on site. One of whom we had worked with a couple of times before and one of whom we had worked with once at the A.L.E.R.T.Academy in Big Sandy, Texas. The others were new friends. In addition there were a couple of other couples from another Christian volunteer RV group and a SOWER on assignment. These all attended our morning devotions so we had a good variety of devotions as each took turns. People had the courage shared the most amazing things of past challenges and victories in their Christian walk and opened the Word from a number of interesting perspectives.
There was no shortage of work to do. Texas Baptist Encampment has been around over a hundred years and in that location for most of that time. God provides them with a different type of renewal program for their physical plant. Along about the time a building is in need of extensive repairs a hurricane comes by and takes care of things. Then, hundreds of volunteers show up to build a new building. It’s a bit more complicated than that, but that’s a summary of the history you can read on their web site or on the booklets they have available.
The current big project is to build a replacement for the chapel/auditorium that got knocked down a couple of years back. That replacement was constructed for the most part with drywall taping going on and the first coat of paint on the exterior when the February project started. There were some other volunteers and a contractor doing some interior finishing, but some of the SOWERS took on the challenge of painting the exterior of the new building. Working from a man-lift and adapting their work schedule to the wind and rain they succeeded in getting the final coat on it. The bright yellow really stands out even looking from the point across the bay.
Paul and Jim, another SOWER, mostly did electrical work: installing timers and conduit for exterior lighting and running conduit and wire for some new central air conditioning unit in some of the building. They also rebuilt a hydraulic cylinder and did a bit of woodworking and other repairs. Juanita mostly worked at gardening with Lib, another SOWER lady. We both really enjoyed working with our work mates.
One weekend we drove through some back roads to the point across from the camp. We encountered a number of ponds where they raise catfish and shrimp. I wonder if that could be done for salmon in B.C. It might prevent the tragedy of the pollution and sea lice killing juvenile salmon as they head out to sea through the toxic plumes from the ocean based fish farms.
After our tour of the back roads we rejoined a highway past the nuclear power plant and continued on our way to Mata Gorda, a seaside community at the intersection of the intracoastal waterway and the (insert name here) River. There are locks there to regulate water levels while allowing boats to pass. We have been over the water way in a few places on the Texas coast. That day we took a ferry across to the part of Mata Gorda out near the mouth of the river. Its days are numbered there is a bridge being constructed. More convenient, but less charming, I suppose.
The older part of town is behind a dike. I wonder what will prevent the new buildings outside the dike being washed away when the inevitable hurricane passes through. Studying the history of the Texas coast is a recital of when various hurricanes came through each area and leveled everything and/or swept it out to sea. We have seen displays of the damage in Corpus Christi and read of the damage at Palacios, and in the Houston area (That’s why there are no pear trees left in Pearland and very few plantation mansions left in BrazoriaCounty). But enough crepe hanging. The new condos, houses, visitor center and other structures are pleasant to look at and well situated close to the water for a real outdoor lifestyle. No sense in harping about what twenty or thirty feet of storm surge would do to them. So off we went to Bay City and Chili’s for lunch.
Mini Family Reunion
Well, the family is not mini, so maybe that should be family mini reunion, maybe it has something to do with my late mother in law being named Minnnie, but even I wouldn't go their. Anyway, the reunion was just a casual get together of a few of the family members. One weekend we went up to Houston and met up with Juanita’s sister, Shirley, who flew in from California for a few days. We` all stayed at the home of Juanita’s other sister, Ninabeth. We went to Ninabeth’s granddaughter’s basketball game and did several other shopping and eating things together.
Sunday morning we went to Sunday School at SagemontChurch in south Houston. The Sunday School reception area is bigger than some churches we have attended. After church we went to the other side of Houston to the house of Juanita’s sister, Gerry. A number of nieces and nephew’s etc (daughters of Juanita’s late sister, Maxine) showed up and we had a great visit.
Travel to March Project
We travelled a leisurely route to the March Project Leaving Palacios on Sunday and allowing for two nights in Bryan / College Station. While there we managed to visit the local Carnegie Library (see pictures above) which you may recall we was closed when we were there last year. On Tuesday morning we travelled across to Madisonville and then took the Interstate highway north to Buffalo and headed northeast to Tyler, Texas.
We lamented again the loss of Armadillo Willie's restaurant, but solaced ourselves with what was left on the Appleby gift card Rebekah had sent us for Christmas.
On Wednesday we had a long day travelling from Tyler to Siloam Springs. As we passed the turnoff to Big Sandy the rig seemed to want to go that way out of habit, but that project was full and we needed to be closer to the Canadian border to be home in time for the March work assignment.
Many of the towns and cities in Texas and Oklahoma have ring roads that allow you to bypass the centre of town. On one of those bypass roads we commented to each other that it seemed to be takinga long time to get around this town. Along about then I noticed an awfully familiar looking arrangement of fast-food restaurants. Then we relaized that we had missed the exit to the highway north on our fist trip through. We both had been trying to figure a sign on the local hospital and we had mised the inconspicuous sign advising us to exit.
Soon after crossing into Oklahoma we took one of the Indian Toll freeways north and then took another east most of the way to Siloam Springs, Arkansas right on the Oklahoma border.
After Wednesday night in the local Walmart Parking lot we headed to New Life Ranch located on both sides of a valley in Oklahoma near Colcord, Oklahoma. We had been warned about the steep road just before the camp gate so we were prepared to take it slow and easy. After a little confusion we found the right spot to set-up and proceeded to get settled in and then to head into town to get area information for ourselves and the other SOWER couple due to arrive on Friday. When we went to the tourist information at the local rest stop there was a likely looking rig sitting there so we took a chance and asked and it was our SOWER workmates for the next couple of weeks.