Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Preparing Camp

We returned from out short mission trip to Tok and Native villages to Camp Baldwin to begin the tasks of preparation for summer. The morning lows have been in the LOW 30s.
One of our first stops was to check in with the pastor and staff at First Baptist Church, Delta. From the parking lot in the rear of the church we have an excellent view of the north face of the Alaska Range. Fresh snow blankets the mountains.

Our first visitor at the camp is this young moose "praying for spring" and nibbling on the new grass on the playing field.

We cleaned the dining hall and washed every pot and pan in the kitchen. On Sunday we hosted the church youth and their parents for an end-of-school cook out in the rain.

Alaskan kids don't let a little cold rain stop them from playing.

The drizzle stopped long enough for Dale to climb the slippery ladder to mount the camp's sign. Lynne attaches the lower end of the other sign while I man the camera.

My cousins, Don and Clara visited with us from Texas. They are on a driving trip from Anchorage, to Talkeetna, Fairbanks, and then south back to Anchorage. Don spend several years as a teen in Delta and had not been back since. He said Delta Junction hadn't changed much in 50 years.
They said that our s'mores were excellent.

The girls and the boys bath houses  get  frequent cleanings.

We climb the bunks to change mattress pads and then make up the beds with sheets and sleeping bags for the Vacation Bible School team from North Carolina that will be arriving this week end.
Lynne insisted that she document my efforts. A volunteer should be able to say what they are volunteering for, but a servant does what ever is asked. 
I've enjoyed being desert chef, and have made 14 doz. chocolate chip cookies, 4 doz. haystacks, and 4 doz. porcupine balls, as well as helped prepare meals. And 60 brownies (at last count, I think a few were missing). Today I'll bake more cookies for the upcoming teams.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

On to Alaska

        I left Beaumont for California and Alaska on April 13, heading first to Kilgore. While getting gas in Tyler, I was hit by my first adventure, a hail storm that cracked the front windshield. 
        Wifi connections have been few and far between. Cell phone service has also been spotty or "out of service area", so this is my first chance to send a blog from the library in Delta Junction, AK.
       Driving through New Mexico I had my first flat tire. In Arizona, another tire blew out. After replacing 4 tires, I continued on to Prunedale, CA to be with my cousin Diane who had major surgery. She is pictured with her son, Toby. Today she is recovering well. Continue to pray for her.

I must leave this picture large and brag on my youngest son, Chris, and his three year old son, "baby" Chris.  Isn't he cute? Looks like his daddy.

"Baby" Chris is quite a lap full for his mom Maggie. We had an enjoyable but short visit with them and her extended family before I continued on from CA, back tracking I-40 to the Grand Canyon.
        I reached the Grand Canyon Mathern campground late afternoon on a Thursday to learn that all the RV sites were full.
        However I was pleased to find a site at the Desert View campground on the Eastern ridge. I woke at 4 a.m. and drove to the Watchtower to photograph the rising sun over the canyon.
        The awesome view of the black starry night fading and the distant cliffs glowing with pinks and purple, never fail to inspire me to praise the Lord for His handiwork.
       From the Grand Canyon, I drove across Arizona and New Mexico into Colorado to Mesa Verde.
       I met with Lynne and Dale Martin from North Carolina and Lynne's brother, Dave, and his wife, Betsy. I caravaned with the Martins to Alaska. Mesa Verde was an inspirational meeting place. We hiked a mile and a half trail, climbing over 1,000 feet to an overview of the mesa.
      The following day we toured several of the ancient ancestral Pueblo ruins. To reach Cliff Palace we hiked down over rocks to the below the rim and had to climb four 10 foot log ladders to return to the rim.
      We also hiked to the Spruce Tree House pueblo.
        Leaving Colorado behind I followed the Martins through Utah into Idaho where we were greeted with a heavy snowfall on the continental divide. The weather was cold and damp into Montana, but cleared as we entered Canada.
        I have too many photos of Canada and the Yukon, but only included this one of the RV and the Rocky Mountains.
        We drove steadily through Canada with an overnight in Whitehorse, Yukon to spend Mother's Day at the Baptist Church. Dale took Lynne and I out to lunch. After six days enjoying the sights, scenery and animals along the Alaskan Highway we were eager to cross the border back into the USA.
        We continued on the camp in Delta Junction, AK to begin preparing for summer camp.
        Returning to Tok, AK, we were greeted by the Dials who are missionaries preparing the Mission Resource Training Center. However before the showers and bathrooms were complete we hosted a team of basketball players who held basketball camps in four of the Native Villages.
       In addition to cooking, laundry and general duties, I was asked to design a sign for the center.
      Here I am using a power saw to cut out plywood letters. Some of the young people painted the letters for me.
     The Dials say "Thank you" to all of you who sent coats for them to share with the Native Alaskans in outlying bush villages.
        Dale had the job of mounting the letters. I supervised and took pictures.
      We are now back at Camp Baldwin in Delta.  The water lines are operating. Although this morning at 30 degrees, the water was slow. We will be traveling to Fairbanks on Friday to make our first huge grocery purchase at Sams and a trip to Walmart.
      I hope that I won't get this far behind again!!!