Wednesday, March 23, 2016

On the Road Again

Since I left Texas on March 10th I’ve experienced poor internet access and have been  pretty busy driving and working, I simply haven’t had a lot of time or energy to stroke the keyboard with any memories.

When I last wrote I was about to spend two and a half days completing my Search and Rescue (SAR) training and certification in Arkansas. On the first day of my second year full-timing in my RV I joined the largest ever class of graduates of the National Association For Search and Rescue (NASAR) SARTECH II program. Twenty-nine fellow students spent a tiring weekend proving our searching, tracking, and orienteering skills to become certified as qualified SAR technicians on future missions.

Habitat Volunteers 
The SAR program concluded on a Sunday evening and on Monday I drove two days from Arkadelphia, AR back to Hobbs, NM and the Habitat For Humanity affiliate there. I did so for the express purpose of attending the “key ceremony” for the twenty-ninth completed Habitat home in Hobbs. I had worked there in 2015 in two builds with the people shown in the accompanying pictures.

More Habitat Volunteers
It was a unique pleasure to witness the gratitude of a young family as they accepted the keys to their new home. After contributing hundreds of hours of sweat equity towards her home Thais Mackey received keys to her beautiful new, 3 BR home and zero interest mortgage.

She and her children with help from family began that very evening to excitedly move into the home.
Key Ceremony Flyer
Can you recall how you felt moving into your first home?

As an added surprise to the Mackey family I assembled the Habitat gift of a refurbished computer system to help the kids with their school work and personal development.

I had planned on the following morning to drive north to Taos, NM for another Habitat For Humanity Collegiate Challenge build, but was delayed 24 hrs because I was having engine trouble with the RV. After driving through a dust storm in west Texas it wouldn’t start on at least three occasions. I didn’t want to risk being stranded in the New Mexico mountains far from any RV service center.

The local Habitat board chairman, Paul Campbell, pulled a few community strings and got me into a repair facility first thing the next morning. I was expecting a very expensive fuel pump replacement job, but I not only squeaked through with just a fuel filter replacement, but Watson Truck & Supply provided the parts and service for free because of my Habitat affiliation. In appreciation I stayed the day in Hobbs and helped further build the 30th Hobbs Habitat home for the next deserving family.

Convenient Parking For Habitat For Hunabity Build !
Thursday morning I drove north to Taos, NM and set-up my RV directly in front of the adobe construction Habitat home under construction there.

On Friday I worked with about ten high school students as they built an adobe brick fence wall between two Habitat homes. Also on site for my first day working in Taos were students from University of Texas that were applying lathe on the house walls onto which a cement coating would be applied.

College Students Apply Lathe to Insulated Adobe Brick Walls
On the weekend I had a marvelous day off from travel and work to ski at Taos Ski Resort. I last skied there in about 1970. I recall it being a much more formidable ski challenge then.

Taos Ski Area Trail Map
The weather was just perfect and I encountered great spring skiing snow conditions. I felt better than the 20 year old I was when I last cruised the Taos slopes. Biggest difference between then and now: I now wear a helmet, have markedly improved ski equipment, and drink fewer beers between ski runs.

Adobe Wall Under Construction

This week I’m working with another Care-A-Vanner, local retired volunteers and 13 newly arrived students from Georgia Tech.

They are building recessed book shelves, dry-walling interior stud walls and applying the interior adobe wall plaster coating.

I hope to get one more blue sky ski day in this coming weekend before heading to the Phoenix area where I will attend a month long Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) course. I have a lot of studying to do.

View From Ski Patrol Headquarters at Taos


1 comment:

  1. Such a fabulous journey you're undertaking! -sarah