Our campsite this month is a space on the lawn in front of several of the staff houses and apartments. It looks a little awkward, but I guess if the school is OK with it, we will be, too. It's not very private, but it is homey.
NOTE: We have limited internet at the school and no cell phone service at all (though they tell us we can hike to the top of a certain hill to get a signal). So, please don't call or leave any voicemails -- eMail is preferred until 17 June. Thanks!
another special guest!
He caught up to us again on Thursday afternoon as we were arriving at our project in Kentucky. Geoff helped us set up camp and had a quick lunch with us. He needed to get to Charleston, West Virginia, by Friday morning (yes, he is traveling south to north by driving east to west to east ... again), so he could not spend the night this time, unfortunately. We understand that such sacrifices must be made by a dedicated new-county-traveler, however.
It is fun to be part of a family that loves to travel so much. Next month (June), Mallory, Devin, and Ellie, are going to meet us in Monroe, Ohio, for a coordinated visit at Deb's parents' home. It will be Ellie's very first road-trip. Seeing everybody on-the-road sure does make the country seem small!
Thanks for stopping by, everybody! WooHoo!
[Ken 05/17/2016] Tennessee has a lot of waterfalls. When you point to a trailhead and ask if there is a waterfall down there, you get one of those, "Well, duh..." responses. I think every hiking trail in Tennessee must pass by at least one waterfall. At least that has been our experience.
We visited a couple of the Tennessee State Parks. On just two of those "...rewarding but strenuous..." hikes we saw so many waterfalls that we lost count. The Spring run-off is long finished, so some of them were now kind of puny, but it was easy to imagine the fullness of their beauty in peak season.
happy mothers day!
WITH HER FIRST GREAT-GRANDCHILD, ELLIE.
THEY BOTH SHARE THE SAME MIDDLE NAME!
[Ken 05/08/2016] I was watching an old home video the other day (my mom and dad made a point of filming many of the details of their countless road trips). This particular video was a chronicle of the vacation they took in the summer of 1987. They were coming out West to see their new granddaughter, my first child, Mallory.
This video depicted a fairly normal jaunt for them -- their route took them from Dayton, Ohio, west to Denver, Colorado, by way of an eastward swing through Virginia, followed by a diversion south through New Orleans, and then even farther south to San Antonio, before actually arriving in Denver to see Mallory. This was typical route-planning for them. On this trip, they were on the road for nearly a full month on an expedition that must have logged about 6000 circuitous minivan-miles. The edited video was over five hours long (thanks, Geoff).
Believe it or not, I enjoyed every minute watching it. The video was a generous reminder of all of the road trips that we had taken as a family, my brothers, sister, mom and dad (great times, for sure!). I enjoyed watching the predictable "scenic vistas" and "panic vistoramas" dotted by miles and miles and miles of highway stripes passing endlessly by. And then the movement would stop as my dad would read to us, verbatim, a roadside historic marker of little significance.
Back in the minivan, "Just over the next brow,..." my dad would instruct my mom, "Don't get so close to that truck in front -- leave a gap!" My dad was filming from the front, passenger seat and he made every effort to produce the finest quality home video that money could buy. A film of the back of a semi-truck heading through a tunnel in the beautiful West Virginia hills just does not make for entertaining video.
Over each hill and around each bend, my dad always seemed to have one hand on the movie camera, and I imagine the other hand to be fidgeting in an indexed box of cassette tapes that he carried. The decision to play a tape of "On The Road Again" or return to the trip's theme of, "I Was Born Under a Wanderin' Star" was not to be taken lightly. They liked to play background music when they traveled, and especially as dad filmed. I have to admit, the cheesy home-made soundtrack did help to frame the colorful highway banter between mom and dad.
As I watched this family documentary unfold, it dawned on me that If both of dad's hands were accounted for, then mom must have been doing all of the driving. And when she wasn't behind-the-wheel, she also carried the extra cameras, and changed film, and kept the windshield clear of bugs, and fulfilled drink requests for "Tall, Cold Ones," and, and, and ......
That's my mom. She was always there, willing to take any venture and polish it to perfection. Just as she was the unsung hero in this remindful video, she had been the unsung hero of my youth. Whatever we did as a family, whatever we did together, she would always add her "everythingness" to it in order to make it the best experience that it could be.
Thank you, mom.
Ironically, I watched the video from the living room of our motorhome as Deb and I waited out a Tennessee rainstorm. Yep, the apples don't fall far from the tree, as they say. My mom and dad very definitely gave me the "Road Trip gene" (and that is the ONLY reason that I am now on the road as much as I am these days -- LOL!).
While I am so grateful that my mom endorsed Deb's and my ministry and mobile lifestyle, in a way, it's her fault <GUILT TRIP> that we are more than twelve-hundred miles from her on this particular Mothers' Day! Understandably, I will not be able to visit her in person on this special day, but I will give her a call. Mothers are very special, and mine is no exception.
HAPPY MOTHERS' DAY, mom!!! I miss you! I wish you were here! I will be thinking of you ALL day, today!
The canyon walls were strikingly beautiful as their fresh green leaves and Spring colors were punctuated by dramatic out-croppings of limestone. Other than one section of the trail with a stubborn, coiled copperhead snake where Ken wanted to place his hiking boot, the adventure was uneventful.
another front yard
Believe it or not, we are once again near shoreline -- Center Hill Lake is just down the hill from the camp's RV park. That will make it easy for us to find places to kayak, I am sure. Tennessee locals tell us this state has the "...highest waterfalls east of Colorado." In fact, there appears to be a great deal of "interesting water" in the area. In total, they boast over a whopping 650 waterfalls! And some of them are feeding Center Hill Lake. Since there is no satellite or over-the-air TV here, I am getting a pretty clear idea of what we are going to be doing in our free time while visiting this ministry!