January 2009

January's travels took us from the comfort of "Camp Carr" to the Exchange Club Fairgrounds in Brunswick, Georgia.  Total distance we towed the RV was about 90 miles.

Happy New Year!  What a great way to start off the new year – Lucille (Larry was still in Connecticut at this point) joined Yvette and Pat’s family for a scrumptious low country boil.  For those of you not familiar with this wonderful dish, it’s shrimp, smoked sausage, corn-on-the-cob, potatoes, spices and whatever else you want to throw in the pot – yum!  We declared it one of the best boils ever – the shrimp was freshly caught the day before, the corn was from Pat and Wayne’s gardens – everything was especially tasty.

One Saturday morning, Lucille, Yvette and Pat drove down to Richmond Hill to bring the gals’ Mom shopping.  We enjoyed lunch at Olive Garden afterwards.  The following Tuesday, Lucille was Yvette’s guest at the biweekly Exchange Club luncheon and meeting in Springfield.  This was Lucille’s first experience with any Exchange Club, a service organization whose motto is “Unity in Service.”  We found that practiced in Brunswick – more on that later.

Because there was another bad winter storm coming in the day Larry was due to fly back home, he returned a day early – he’d already had plenty of fun shoveling snow and scraping ice – he was ready for some warmer and drier weather. 

After having been parked for six weeks, we started packing up the rig to move down to Brunswick.   Lucille’s father had an eye appointment in Savannah that Monday.  So that Yvette wouldn’t have to take time off to bring him to the appointment, the two of us stayed another day and drove down to Richmond Hill, leaving Lucille’s mother at their apartment to enjoy a couple of hours on her own.  Caregiving is a 24/7 job so she appreciates every free moment.

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For a few days, we had the fairgrounds to ourselves.

On to Brunswick, Georgia, for our four-week stay there helping with the Habitat affiliate, meeting up with Dave and Mary, who got us involved with Habitat there.  Mary met us as we got off the interstate and led us to our campground – the Exchange Club Fairgrounds.  We were the first RV Care-A-Vanners to stay there (Mary, Dave and the other two couples were staying at a local church for another few days.)  One of Habitat’s board members is active with the Exchange Club and offered the Care-A-Vanners the use of their full hook-up sites if it didn’t conflict with any fairground event.  Wotta deal!  The only downside was that we had to close and lock two gates whenever we came and went but that was a small price to pay for an over 30-acre fenced-in grassy field, located in town, and very convenient to the builds and shopping.  Shelley loved being off-leash when we walked her there and especially loved playing with Molly, Dave and Mary’s Wheaton terrier, when they moved over there. 

That evening, Mary hosted a dessert social where we met Tom and Diane from Vermont and fulltimers Tony and Mary, all Care-A-Vanners with whom Dave and Mary had worked with before.  Ray and Mary Kay from Missouri came in about a week after we did – we were now five couples, or as Mary nicknamed us all, the A-team.

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Along with a group of Wisconsin college students, local volunteers and other Care-A-Vanners, we braved the cold to help construct this house on MLK Street, in Brunswick.  (Thanks to Mary V and Mary C for the photos.)

Our first build this year was Ms. Quinn’s future home on MLK Street.  We joined college students from Wisconsin as we wrapped the house in Tyvek, installed the doors and windows, put shingles on the roof, installed soffit and fascia all around and installed siding.  Work inside had to wait till the electrical, plumbing, HVAC and framing inspections were done. 

Brunswick experienced one of their coldest Januarys in years – there were days we were dressed in so many layers, Lucille looked like the Michelin Man.  When we sided the Quinn house, we had to warm up the siding pieces inside before we made any special cuts, otherwise they’d snap from the cold. 

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The first wall is raised with the future homeowner's help.  After two work days we had all the walls up and the roof trusses in place.

We then moved over to Ms. Jones house on Amherst Street, starting work from the slab (which had been poured by a subcontractor.)  Work had to be postponed two days one week – once because the truss manufacturer had the wrong-sized trusses on their truck and a second delay because of the extreme cold and high winds – not good conditions to install trusses.  At last, the winds calmed down and on a bright sunny day, Jon, our construction supervisor, brought his boom truck to the Quinn house to hoist the trusses onto the walls we’d already built.  Larry and Dick were walking the top plate catching the trusses and securing them in place while others on the ground crew secured them from inside the house. 

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Our hardworking Care-A-Vanner crew.

Of course, we had to eat -- our favorite restaurant in Brunswick is Fox’s Pizza Den – no matter what we order there, it is always delicious.  We also enjoyed the breakfast buffet with the gang at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel one Sunday morning as well as dinner at Jinright’s Seafood another evening.

Longtime friends Bill and Jann were staying at nearby Blythe Island Regional Park – we enjoyed visiting with them both at our place and theirs.  One night, we all enjoyed a dulcimer concert by the Songtellers, Rosy DeVane and Steve Sloan, at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel.  We got there early enough to talk with both Rosy and Steve and get front row seats for this delightful concert.

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Pat and Yvette drove down from Rincon to meet with us and friends Bill and Jan.

Pat and Yvette came down the last weekend of the month, also camping at Blythe Island Regional Park – we had a great time with them as we gave them a quick tour of the Habitat houses we were familiar with.  We then drove out to St. Simon’s Island and toured Fort Frederica National Monument. 

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Lucille and her sister Yvette near the tabby remains of the battery in Fort Frederica.

From our March 2007 travel update…  “Built by James Oglethorpe (famous for developing Savannah and its squares) in 1736, Fort Frederica’s purpose was as defense against the Spanish.  With 44 men, mostly skilled workers, and 72 women and children, he laid out a military town on a bluff overlooking the sharp bend on the inland passage up the coast.  Behind the fort, he staked out 84 lots with each family receiving a lot for building and 50 acres in the country for crops.  Population reached around 500; trades people and skilled workers prospered.  Sadly, Frederica was born of war and died when peace prevailed.  When the soldiers left, so did the dollars they were spending with the local shopkeepers and trades people – the town could no longer prosper.  By 1758, it had outlived its purpose and fell into ruin.  Little remains of the fort, except for some building foundations, portions of the barracks used to house the soldiers, part of the battery, and the cemetery.”

We were only about an hour’s ride from Richmond Hill so we made plans to join the folks for supper at Magnolia Manor one night, enjoying our visit with them.   We’ll do this again once more before we leave the area. 

Coming up:  We finish up working in Brunswick, then head to Jacksonville, Florida, to have routine maintenance work done on the RV; Wakulla Springs State Park where we’ll hang out with friends Art and Suzan; Summerdale, Alabama; Abita Springs, Louisiana; Livingston and San Antonio, Texas; a NOMADS project at McCamey, Texas; and the Phoenix, Arizona area to visit with family.


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