This month has long been a planned month-off from SOWER projects. Unlike last year, this year the plan happened.
Moving Up the Valley
On January 2nd we moved to a park in Palmview, Texas (Just west of Mission). I puttered on the rig and truck outside while Juanita worked on the inside. Eventually she was done and came outside watching me until she got frustrated with me doing so many little things that were not essential to us leaving. I seemed to be fighting some sort of cold/flu bug still so was in crawl mode. But we got rolling at 3:22 only a little bit outside the "between 11 to 3" window I had promised. We rolled as far as the driveway and then circled up with Jeanne and prayed then got on the road at 3:30 and drove a little over an hour west.
When we arrived the spot we were designated to go into was ribbonned off due to a large hole in it so we chose another spot from the several offered and were backing up into a little too far north to the manager's liking so he came and coached the backing up. I was pretty tired so moved the wrong way a few times, but mostly followed instructions over and over until our tires were cheek by jowl against the concrete pad for truck parking. I then took some time moving the rig a couple of inches north. Long enough that the manager gave up and left.
The rig was about three feet too far south for my liking, but it gave me a bit more room to finish caulking the new molding installed on the bedroom slide. The brace I installed under the molding seems to be working. There was no movement in the bottom molding or opening up of the joint at the lower corner of the bedroom slide when we hooked up to the truck. Hopefully it lasts. It seems to be a more secure repair than the one that was done under warranty several years ago. The slide seal I installed with the new molding is slightly too narrow so will shop for a wider version.
Prepping for Medfest
Each year Way of the Cross holds Medfest, a medical outreach, at their base camp north of Aldama, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Last year we helped with Medfest and the set-up for it. This year it looked like they had lots of help for the event itself, but we went down for a couple of days ahead of time to help get ready, then we returned with the drivers taking vans back to bring down the teams.
Juanita helped Martha and Doc set-up the area where the medical teams would be working. I helped Byron with some electrical upgrades, mostly watching him work and handing him things. Quite a change of pace from last year.
Copper Canyon /Mazatlan Trip
We had planned to do a package bus and train tour of the Copper Canyon starting on the 20th, but when we returned on the 13th from doing a couple of days volunteer work in the interior of Mexico we learned the tour had been cancelled. The core group of participants had backed out due to their fears after the recent drug related murders in Chihuahua.
So the next day we bought a guide book and the day after that we grabbed a bus across the border. Our self guided tour took us to many of the same places, but we stayed longer at a few and skipped or cut short a couple of the others. I think we may have missed a couple of things, but overall saw more and enjoyed travelling at our own pace and the flexibility to act on our mood and the circumstances. Spent a lot less money too.
Hands of Service is the ministry name of Arnie and Jeanie Lein, a retired pastor and his wife from Wisconsin. Each year they facilitate the construction of houses for the poor in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico. They are in their 22nd year of doing this and hope to work for "three more". I'm not sure what the count is now, but the last time we encountered them in January 2007 they had build over 50 homes.
They base their ministry at the Melody Lane Christian Renewal Center where we have our rig parked this month. On January 27th we got to go over to Reynosa with three people from Kansas and Ohio. We helped pour a slab for an addition to somebody's house and worked on painting and putting doors and a roof on a storage building that will be used to store the tools used for house building.
Annual Citrus Parade
I love a parade. Juanita usually goes where I go. This parade happans each year in Mission, Texas.
In our spare time we drove around a bit and managed to do some cross border shopping at Nuevo Progreso. We also dropped in and kibbitzed with the SOWERS and others working on Matt and Cari Butler's apartment at the staff housing WOTC motel.
Plans are, of course, only that, but current plans are as follows.
- Leave the valley on January 31st.
- Take the truck for it's scheduled transmission service in Corpus Christi on February 1st.
- Make our way over to a SOWER project near Huntsville, Texas for February 5th arrival and 8th first work day.
- Maybe do a week or two of a SOWER project in March depending on several things.
- Head north to Canada avoiding tornadoes (if possible) and tailoring our arrival to fit any work commitments and not being gone for more than six months.