Tag Archives: sunrise service

Washing in the rain

Jim washed the truck in the rain this evening as soon as we returned home from work. The easiest way to start any project is to pretend he is just going to do a little bit. This evening he was only going to scrub bugs off the windshield. Rain is forecast for tonight so he wouldn’t even need to rinse the windshield.

It started raining as he scrubbed. Quickly he washed the side windows, the back windows, then one door. Kept going to the front fender. What the heck, a quick pass on the hood. Here’s the other front fender, might as well. Not raining too hard yet, another door, a couple more fenders, the tailgate, then the chrome. Raining hard now, starting to come down pretty hard.

That’s the easy way to get a chore done. Before he knew it, the truck was washed and looked much much better. He would start trimming a holly in our backyard hedge the same way — plan to trim one or two bushes and realize two hours later he had trimmed and cleaned up around a dozen bushes. Just pretend it isn’t a chore and won’t take much time. Otherwise we might not want to start the chore.

We’ve been so busy these past ten days there’s scarcely been time to write. We’ve been doing volunteer work at Lake Junaluska Assembly with NOMADS. Jim’s main preoccupation each evening has been compiling and completing the twenty-page newsletter for our amateur radio club, WBCCI ARC. The newsletter takes a lot of evenings.

And Debbie needed to take another swipe at our tax returns before we finalized them. This post is in celebration of completing those things. We sent in the taxes Saturday and sent the newsletter to the printers yesterday. It feels like our time is a little more our own again.

early dawn picture at Lake Junaluska

This is a beautiful place. We stayed at Lake Junaluska Assembly ten years ago for a few days. We’re here for three weeks this time. The longer stay this time allows us to see more and in different ways. We probably weren’t out of bed by 06:30 a single morning last time. This time we’re out of bed by 06:30 most mornings, even some weekend days like for this early dawn lakeside picture.

How many children needed to retrieve 10,000 eggs?

A few hours later we walked down to the Harrell Center and looked upon the lawn beside the Stuart Auditorium to see one of the many waves of children searching for candy-filled plastic easter eggs, 10,000 eggs. Staff designated different sections of lawn around the several buildings for specific age groups of children. It all seemed very well-organized to us and still we were perfectly happy just to watch from afar.

Easter sunrise service at Inspiration Point

Another early morning (the very next one) we dressed as warmly as we could for Easter service at Inspiration Point overlooking Lake Junaluska. Not the coldest morning we’ve had but the temperature throughout the service was under 40 degrees. We most felt sorry for the brass quintet trying to keep their mouthpieces warm between songs. The sunrise service filled the amphitheater and was nicely done.

Part of this period's NOMADS crew

Last Thursday our NOMADS crew participated in the annual Lake Junaluska Beautification Day. One hundred staff members, residents and other volunteers met for a breakfast kick-off then divided into a dozen supervised work crews. The teams tackled high-impact visual improvement projects around the lake and Assembly buildings. Our team spent the day between spreading hundreds of pine straw bales under the Rose Walk’s 350 rose bushes and picking up trash around one of the hotels. At day’s end a brief slide show illustrated to all the workers what diverse things had been accomplished on this huge conference center. It was rewarding to see our part in this big effort.

We excel at taking work breaks

Bob and Linda are first-time NOMADS. We enjoyed working a lot with them last week at the west gate building (guess where it’s located?) scraping, priming, and painting the wrap-around porch ceiling. Four of us spent three days scraping, moving drop cloths, cutting in and rolling, and putting the light fixtures and signs back into place. It was nice work and mostly very nice working conditions although the wind was stout enough to require anchoring the drop cloths securely or they would flip over onto us.

We accidentally found First Methodist in Waynesville our first week here and have enjoyed attending two worship services there. The music program is wonderful, the church was gorgeously rebuilt after a devastating fire years ago, and every third member seems to be a retired pastor or bishop. Great programs, and we enjoyed visiting.

As we write this the rain pours down. The rain started over five hours ago and the weather-guessers predict up to 3/4″ accumulation. Tomorrow they think we might get almost 1/2″ of rain. We’re painting indoors on old plaster so maybe it’ll dry well anyway. It’s a good thing we like painting. There’s not a lot else on the work list for this week. We’ve had wonderful weather these three weeks and aren’t about to complain about a few days of rain — as long as we have good weather next week at the beach.

Friday we drive through Marion NC (stopping at the SKP-ACRE rally for lunch with Herb and Lois) then to Belmont NC to pick up Jerry and Ann and caravan with them to Myrtle Beach SC. If we don’t talk with you before then we’ll try and share some pictures from sunny Myrtle Beach!

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Everyone is packing

Yesterday morning Debbie and I awoke early and drove into St Augustine for Easter Sunrise service outside Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church. The Service was in the Columbarian. Tiki torches provided light around the perimeter and chairs provided comfortable seating for 50 people. It was an intimate setting and seemed very appropriate. We enjoyed the music and the message.

We had the final event for the week yesterday evening at the Easter Rally. We sat with Gilliams from TN and Kolesars from VA. The rally evening fellowships offer the opportunity to sit with different couples each night. We got to know both couples a little better yesterday, and will look forward to seeing them again at another rally.

The Florida State Unit of WBCCI provided us a catered ham dinner plus cake and ice cream. The dinner was very good, and Debbie and I volunteered to help with serving the cake and ice cream. Some rallies offer volunteer opportunities for the participants to help carry a little of the load. We find volunteering is a fun and easy way to get to know a few more people.

After the ceremonies and dessert everyone started saying their farewells. We saw, as we walked back to our Airstream, people preparing for this morning’s departure. It was a pleasant evening and we had a little more daylight. Why wait until the morning and unknown weather conditions? Tomorrow might bring rain or locusts!

We latched the awnings and all the windows except the bedroom ones. I lowered and secured the tall antenna and mounted the towing mirrors on our truck. In the morning I would check these things again as I complete preparations to tow our Airstream home to the next destination. I saw one of our Airstream friends walk around his Airstream, clipboard in hand, going through similar steps.

A checklist helps avoid costly omissions like a broken window or awning, or an improperly connected hitch, or snapping off a raised antenna. We have, we think, good checklists. And we used them frequently. Debbie and I have committed to memory the steps for hitching and un-hitching.

I’m responsible for the awnings and hitch segments and Debbie for the kitchen and toiletries. I prep the hitch, back the truck, connect and lock the hitch and its parts. Debbie secures the stove, stows the teapot, kettle, water pitcher, fruit bowls, soap dispensers, toothbrushes. I reef and latch the awnings. Otherwise, we each tackle the preparation for travel as if the other is not doing so.

The other steps include disconnecting and stowing fresh water hoses and filter and shore power cords, and stowing outdoor rug, doormat, chairs & tables. And we remember to safely store our only pet, the aloe plant Monroe Bowles gave us in Okeechobee, FL, in January.

Debbie and I walk around the Airstream at least two times each for our “de-park” inspection. We look at each other’s work as well as our own, carefully examining each window and awning latch, hitch part, step, vent, antenna and light. We slowly and methodically walk around the trailer checking every detail of road-worthiness. This is our final pre-flight check.

We’re ready to go 22 miles to our next State Park. Our preparations would be identical if we were going 220 miles or 400 miles. We don’t want to leave gear behind, we don’t want to damage our Airstream or truck, and we don’t want to create a problem for anyone else on the highways.

We have heard stories of people whose windows broke while on the Interstate, apparently from wind currents slamming the window open and closed. We have seen batwing television antennas crashed into the roof, possibly piercing the roof skin. We have seen sewer hoses dragging from their storage place as the trailer traveled up the road. We know one ham whose raised antenna smashed into an overhead bridge. The antenna apparently smacked into and broke roof-mounted solar panels, to add insult to injury.

Our experience with this has been good, so far. We left a sewer fitting in one campsite, and two levelling blocks in another. Total losses? Less than $20 in five years. One mistake could cost thousands, though. We’ve been fortunate. We might return to a checklist yet.

The routine activities of packing and hitching up take between an hour and two hours, depending upon how “unpacked” we became at the site. Here we used all three awnings, our rug, the grill, a folding table, and had all our family pictures on the shelf inside. When we are staying one night, we can unhook from utilities (if we even connected to them) and be hitched up and on the road in 1/2 hour.

Yesterday and this morning we probably spent over two hours, although some of the time was mixed with saying farewells. We enjoy this part of the rally, too. Five years into Airstreaming we still get excited when we pull onto the road towing our Airstream. Did we remember everything? What will the inside of the trailer look like when we arrive? And, what adventure lies ahead?