A short post for a long week! We are at Union College, in Lincoln, Nebraska. Maranatha Volunteers International is using volunteers to completely refurbish 34 rooms in Rees Women’s residence; the girls’ dorm. Built in 1958, with an addition in 1965, the rooms are ripe for refreshing! We are only doing a small percentage of the rooms, but there will be more projects in the future to cover the whole building.
I got to the college a few days early, and was privileged to help set up for the project. Director David has basically built a factory in the campus maintenance buildings, to create 68 cabinets, 340 drawers, and 34 bookshelf units. A massive undertaking to be accomplished in three weeks, and done by volunteer labor!
So I feel like I’ve spent every waking hour in the cabinet shop… and that’s not too great an exaggeration! Meanwhile, other teams are tearing apart the dorm rooms- removing built-in desk cabinets and bookshelves, repairing walls, and tuning up A/C units. The walls will be repaired and painted, lighting and electrical fixtures updated, new flooring placed, and then our newly created desk cabinets and new countertops will be installed.
Another group of special people are aiding the cafeteria staff preparing food for this whole team. Cherryl is working in the kitchen to make sure we all have plenty of good food to keep our energy up!
Not sure who this guy with the wild thinning hair is, but I see him in the mirror a lot…
Lots of lumber turning into cabinets!
Some have been stained, and will soon be lacquered.
Jerry, one of the great workers on the cabinet team, said he bleeds too easily- his blood thinners make him bleed whenever he is bumped or scraped… and he did that a lot. So I got him a remedy he could try out…
We decided we should sign one of the cabinets, so if the world (or the dorm) lasts for another several decades, when they refurbish the rooms again they will find our scrawlings and the date… a sort of time capsule.
So I have no pictures of the demolition of the 34 dorm rooms, but the college has had some photographers around, and they put together the following video:
Far from being a prison like the Leavenworth in Kansas, this Leavenworth is a charming little Swiss village hidden in the mountains of northwest Washington. The buildings are all attractively old world styled, and beautiful flowers are everywhere. I could have stayed a month just to try all the inviting restaurants!
A great little art show was one of the first attractions.
Gustav’s won our patronage for lunch, and served up a great feast!
I’m not sure what the extremely tall blue striped spire is… any thoughts?
We met a VERY TALL Knight:
We didn’t ride a horse drawn carriage:
I enjoyed just looking at all the interesting architecture
And the beautiful locale
But best of all, a Father’s Day on the river!
Nearby Wenatchee has a beautiful park on the river, and a sculpture memorial to a legend about the Coyote: It seems a long time ago, some Swallows dammed up the river so the Salmon couldn’t get upstream, and the Indians upstream were starving. So the Coyote disguised himself as a little baby, snuck in among the Swallows, and while they weren’t looking he sabotaged the dam. He then guided the Salmon upstream, and everyone lived happily ever after. Unless of course you were the Salmon eaten by Indians. I’m not convinced it is a true story…
We are now back in Lincoln, Nebraska, where we will be volunteering with Maranatha to remodel some rooms in the girl’s dorm at Union College. That project starts Monday, and should make a substantial improvement in some of the girls’ rooms.
We had a tremendous thunderstorm one evening! Amazing how lightening can flash instantly across the whole sky, every couple of seconds, for hours!
Here is the view from our current motorhome location:
One other fun thing… While in Florida, we decided to upgrade our Jeep. We wanted a bigger four wheel drive vehicle that we can tow behind the motorhome, and can fit 6 people and luggage if needed. We decided a Chevy Suburban would be ideal. I called my buddies at Mile High Car Helper for advice only, since I didn’t think they could help me from Denver. But I was wrong! They arranged for my Jeep to be picked up, and found a beautiful Suburban for us, and had it shipped to Lincoln to meet us!
It looks absolutely brand-new, and is just what we wanted. If you need to buy a car, Rich and Ryan at Mile High Car Helper in Denver can work miracles! Even with all the shipping, I saved thousands over what I had been able to work out without them. Painless and easy.
The paint on our beautiful home is all brown and tan swirls, and makes me think of ice cream… so I’ve been calling it “Fudge Ripple”. Now with the white Suburban, I was afraid we’d have to call it “Vanilla”. But Becky suggested “Marshmallow”… So now I guess we live with Fudge Ripple and Marshmallow. Life is good!
But it turns out they were right! (Imagine that!) Leavenworth, Washington is a very charming mountain town that looks transplanted from Switzerland. We had so much fun, and I took so many pictures, that I haven’t had time to get them together for this blog. So here are a few pictures from a walk in a park in Leavenworth. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get the rest of the adventure online…
SAGE Center is an agricultural museum in northern Oregon. We combined a trip to the SAGE center with a visit to Pendleton Mills, where they make the most beautiful woolen goods! Here is a short video with a hint of what goes on there…
More Flight Time
I was privileged to catch a couple more flights: first to Spokane, Washington and then to Lewiston, Idaho with the corporate jets.
I also got a couple flights in Loren’s “new” Cheyenne twin turbine zooming machine! Big, fast and beautiful!
Self-Portrait in the Shiny Spinner:
Bridges over Pasco:
Towing it back to the hanger from the fuel station:
Foxy Flying Wife:
The family had lots of fun putting together a “Family Airline Flight Safety Video”, which will be required viewing prior to any flight!
Working our way to Lincoln, Nebraska, we stopped in Independence. As with so many of the towns we visit, there is a lot of interesting architecture.
There are several denominations of churches within a few blocks… always interesting to see. These two were so close I thought it would be illustrative of how tightly packed the churches were… and then realized it is an addition to an existing, growing church.
A horse drawn history tour:
President Harry Truman lived in this house, and used it as a Summer White House:
A nice “Peace Park” is watched over by this elegant little lady:
After seeing so much traditional architecture, it was slightly surprising to come across this interesting spire:
We were naturally drawn to it… turns out is is a temple for the Community of Christ; which seems to be a “Reformed” LDS denomination. There were lots of cars in the parking lot, so we dared to enter. We were just in time for the last number of a fantastic Choral Concert. Awesome acoustics in the hall were perfect for the beautiful choir.
In a storage area of our campground I spotted an old silver trailer. I knew it wasn’t an Airstream, but thought it might be a Silver Streak or another make I knew as a kid. It turned out to be a Spartan Mansion… Spartan was an aircraft manufacturer in the early 1900’s. J. Paul Getty bought the company around 1935, and with housing shortages in WWII started using aircraft manufacturing techniques to build portable housing. There were a couple of models with palatial names like “Manor” and “Mansion”. While a “Spartan Mansion” may seem like an oxymoron, they were quite nice for their time, and a refurbished 1951 Mansion sold recently for $350,000. Not this one:
After arriving in Lincoln, we parked our “home” at Union College. We love this school, where both our daughters spent some time, so we have volunteered to help Maranatha upgrade the girl’s dorm. The volunteer time starts in about 3 weeks, so we have time to Jet to Washington to see our kids and help Karen close out the school year and inventory her kindergarten classroom.
Karen has been wanting to build a teepee for a while. When finding that several of her kindergarten class didn’t have a clue what a teepee was, she decided to get it done. Here is how you build a teepee in less than 40 seconds:
Show and Tell
Bryan’s second grade class was to have a “Show & Tell” day… and Bryan wanted to bring the lawn mower, because he enjoys mowing the lawn. Since that seemed a bit unwieldy, we decided to document a bit of mowing. The K-2 classes found this great fun:
My son-in-law Loren has bought into a beautiful plane- a Piper Cheyenne. A pressurized turbine twin, it has seats for 7 and looks fast even sitting in its hanger!
Outside the hanger are several helicopters, including an old Bell helicopter that seemed to be meticulously restored. It made me think of the old “Whirlybirds” TV show I saw as a kid. Cool.
Flight to Lewiston, Idaho
Just in case you haven’t been fortunate enough to read it in previous blogs, my son-in-law Loren is an Ophthalmologist working for a great company that flies surgeons and teams to cities all over the northwest. And I bum rides when I can, for the simple pleasure of flying right seat in beautiful Citation Jet III’s. It’s quite a ride! Smooth, quiet, with amazing acceleration. We had moderate icing on the way to Lewiston, Idaho, and rain all the way back. No big deal. Just fast and fun!
Last day of School
The final day of class had lots of fun, food and frivolity!
And now the Friday night sunset that closed the final day of school:
The Corvette below was the personal car of Zora Arkus-Duntov, the “Godfather” of Corvettes, from vision, design and development. While he obviously drove any number of ‘Vettes, this is the only one he ever purchased.
I’m sure the only reason I’m so fond of Corvettes is that we share the same birthday. On my 50th birthday (a few years ago) my good buddy Gary let me drive both his 50th anniversary Corvette convertible, and his 50 year old ‘vette! What a treat!! Thank you Gary! (His looks exactly like the title shot above). That same year we were driving through Bowling Green, Kentucky, where the Corvettes are made, and spent some time in the National Corvette Museum. Since it was the 50 year celebration, there were literally acres of Corvettes parked everywhere; on grass fields as well as paved parking lots surrounding the factory and museum. It’s a really fantastic museum, with more Corvettes, Corvette history and memorabilia than a person can take in. But I tried!
Below is an interesting tidbit about the original Corvette emblem…
This ’53 has been cut away to show you its innards. I won’t show you mine…
Another ’53 as a mosaic, with thousands of tiny shots. I love these.
This one looks a lot like my Uncle Hollis’ Corvette. He stored it at my house one year and I had to keep it exercised occasionally.
Just before Valentine’s day in 2014, at 5:39 in the morning, the ground shook under the largest domed display room in the museum. Then the floor literally dropped out… a huge sinkhole caved in the area supporting 8 cars! Some of the Corvettes fell about 40 feet, as rocks and earth fell all around them. Some were buried so deeply that they were only found by digging exploratory holes in the rubble. The entire sinkhole fit within the perimeter of the display room, with most of the cars around the edges remaining where they were. The cars were eventually hoisted out of the newly formed cavern, and several were restored. Three were so badly mangled that restoration would be impossible, so they are now displayed as they were brought up. Pretty grim! The event made world-wide news, and prompted a lot of jokes too…
The least damaged car was still drivable:
Some folks laugh a bit at Branson, MO… saying that’s where entertainers go out to pasture or whatever. But I’ll admit we find a lot to like here. On a previous trip we saw a group called SIX. All brothers (guess how many!) who have been singing together forever. They are fantastic! So we got front row seats to see them again! They not only sing well, harmonize incredibly, but also make all the band sounds with their mouths. Percussion, horns, crazy sound effects – all done in an awesome fast paced show that… well, I guess you can tell I really liked it! Just before the intermission, one of the SIX, spiky haired Kevin, said he was going to give a CD to someone very special… looked around the front row, and gave it to Cherryl! He then asked our names, and where we were from. We told him we were nomads, and lived in our motorhome. Then during the break we had a nice couple ask us about motorhome living- so we got to meet some new friends! A great concert!
Silver Dollar City
My favorite attraction in Branson is Silver Dollar City, a very cool amusement park themed in the 1880’s. There are world-class roller coasters, other rides for all ages, and lots of old-time shops. Blacksmiths, carpenters, leather workers and more work at their trades and answer questions about how things were done back then. It is very hard to ignore fun things like funnel cakes, pecan rolls and sourdough bread. You might even find some great ice cream… What is most appealing about the place it its wholesome atmosphere… there seems to be just a warm friendly vibe; patriotic and Christian, but definitely not pushy. Very nice.
One machine from the 1880’s surprised me- a device to make dovetail joints…
There are lots of animals in the park too. Here is a Western Mediterranean donkey, said to be probably like the one Mary rode to Bethlehem. This one made this blog because she shares my sister Lori’s birthday. But thankfully that is about all they have in common…
The start of Silver Dollar City is actually Marvel Cave. Indians found it by mistake in the early 1500’s when one of them fell in the opening and was never seen again. When they saw “steam” rising from a cave opening, they decided it was an evil place. They notched the trees all around to warn other Indians to stay away. This accounts for the fact that almost no Indian artifacts were found in the cave, unlike most caves in the area. Starting in the late 1800’s there were tours offered, if you didn’t mind climbing down a long rope, a 70 foot ladder, and then wearing special leather overalls with reinforced rear ends as you scooted down a huge debris field. This would get you to the bottom of the Cathedral Room, which is the largest cavern room in the country. From there you could explore by candlelight, and when done use a pickaxe to hike back to the ladder and rope.
By the mid 1900’s stairs had been installed, and a better exit built, and tourism soared. To entertain people as they waited in line, shows were put on. Then more exhibits, and more shows, and it expanded over the decades into what is now Silver Dollar City. So really, SDC is the waiting room for cave tours!
The cave is visited by heading down 500 or so stairs, into the Cathedral room. This room is about 20 stories high; a room so vast that the Statue of Liberty could stand upright (If she could get down the stairs). Then, through the Serpentine passage, and down to a long waterfall into an underground lake. From there you climb a little bit, and get on a train to take you out the back of the cave and back up top.
Except. When a lady in the tour ahead of you has a medical problem at the very bottom, your tour has to wait partway through, watch the emergency people go past you, and eventually have your tour cut short and reverse direction. So no train to the top… lots of climbing up stairs! We never did hear about the lady at the bottom. Hope she’s not still there!