Summer 2009 Travels travel blog

This is the way the sign looked when we got here.

Here is the after

Again a before picture. The poly and the orange paint were so...

Here is the after.

The big directional sign. Note that Walnut Lodge is 3rd down on...

And the After. The big new welcome sign is carved out of...

Some pretty pink flowers. They are growing among the poison ivy -...

Ron sawing off the existing pipe to connect the sewer. You can...

Ron digging our the last bit by hand. Had to dig out...

Work group painting before installing the new plastic panels.

These are the old panels. They are yellowing & have several colors...

Ron's new screen door. Designed, built and hung. It even bangs like...


What a joy it was to pull up the hill and under our oak tree. Almost like being home again. We haven't been here for 3 years, but a lot of the staff are the same so we know a lot of people.

We are at Stronghold (www.strongholdcenter.org/). It is a camp run by Blackhawk Presbytery. You can read the history of it online and see pictures. But it is 360 acres of woods and meadows with buildings tucked into the woods. The Centerpiece is the Castle. We love it here. It is so quiet out in the Family Campground that we have deer and wild turkeys around us all the time.

Ron is doing a challenging job this year. When the campground shower house was built years ago - it was pretty rustic. Well, times have changed and they have decided that the open areas under the eves and and at the gable ends need to be screened in. Guess people don't like birds nesting above them in the shower. He is also building screen doors as there are no doors at all on it now and sometimes curious critters come in. Don't think I would like to meet a possum or a raccoon in the middle of the night either. So, since everything is a retrofit - he has to shim out especially under the eves to make the screens work. But he can set his own pace and do it without much supervision - so he is happy.

This year is fun as I am not working in the office as much but am working near our RV and the maintenance shop. One cabin had a name change so I'm routing out new signs for that one and repainting all the existing signs around the Center. In past years, a volunteer made all the signs by routing them out, paining the letters orange and covering the whole thing with poly. Then they decided that the orange letters did not show up so the letters were painted white. The UV rays have reduced the poly to flakes and the white paint is also coming out so my job is to take the signs down, get the poly off by using the belt sander, get the flaking white paint out of the letters with a Dremel tool and sanding cylinder and repaint everything with two coats of each color paint. Oh, the powers that be have decided that dark green paint with white letters looks better that natural wood.

I haven't figured out how many signs I will have to do - but I have figured out that I will be busy the whole 3 months that we will be here.

I am also camp host for the buildings (not the camping area) during the weekends. This means I sit at the desk from 4 to 7 on Friday night, 7:30am to about 7pm on Saturday and 7:30am to 3pm on Sunday. I check the groups in, get their $ if they owe any, answer questions, and enforce the rules. I also have to check the buildings after the groups leave to shut off lights and AC, look for damage, etc.

Anyway - for this we are getting a site and 3 meals a day when the dining hall is open. It is closed about 1 day a week when the youth campers cook out. The rest of the time we have pretty good food, including a salad bar and outstanding deserts.

Right now our site has only water and electric, but the sewer line from the shop to the septic field runs right under the nose of our RV. So one of Ron's jobs next week will be to put a sewer hookup in for us. (And maybe the campground host as well.) I don't think he will be digging it out himself as we have a work camp coming in so Ron will supervise them doing the digging and then he will do the hookup. Oops!! so much for that idea. He did have to dig it out himself.

This is going to be a long volunteer job as we are sitting here until Sept. 14. But the work isn't that hard, the food is good, Grand kids are not far away and I only work 3 weekends out of 4. I have Monday and Fridays off and only work when I want to the rest of the time. Life is good!!!

June 28: Went for a walk early this am to take some pictures of the big sign before we started re-doing it. Surprised a hen turkey and her brood on the road. The little ones are just starting to feather out.

Also found some pretty pink flowers. They were growing above the poison ivy but I didn't check to see if that was what they are. Looked on the internet but couldn't find any pictures of flowers.

I was able to pick a scant handful of wild black raspberries. Oh! so tangy!! Couldn't get to all of the bushes because of the poison ivy.

July 6, 2009

Well the big sign is done and the sewer connection is dug. See pictures above.

We had a work group from Chillacothe, OH, that was working on the shower house. Ron supervised the re-installing of the new plastic panels but no one was supervising the painting. SO! today I get to work the power washer and get some the the green paint off the sidewalk. Figured I would do it while it was green (in more ways than one) so it would come up easier. Then I will touch up the white paint where they dripped green paint on it.

I've also included a picture of the screen door that Ron built and installed. You should have heard the weekend campers exclaim about the changes that have been made to the shower house. The women especially appreciated the door. No more wondering if there were any "critters" in there.

More later.



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