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Hangin' out with Family and Friends

After spending a week in Livingston, Texas getting our medical appointments out of the way and picking up our current mail we departed on Friday, April 12 to meet up with Karen's cousins Nina and Frank Phelan. We made arrangements to go camping together at Jim Hogg Park on the north side of Georgetown Lake in the Hill Country of Texas, about 25 miles north of Austin. We all had a great time catching up and hanging out at the lake.

This was the first time we have had an opportunity to spend time together since their daughter's wedding in Vermont last June. We'd never camped together, so we were looking forward to some good outdoor cooking and campfire time. The location was beautiful and the weather was almost perfect. We planted the seeds of future camping adventures together the next time we are in Texas; maybe the South Padre Islands?

On Saturday, Karen and Nina drove into town to have lunch with Auntie Ann (Nina's mom) who drove from Horseshoe Bay.

Monday, April 15 we departed Georgetown Lake for Sunnyvale, Texas just ten miles east of Big "D" (Dallas, TX) to visit my cousin Dina Hansen. We made plans for dinner at Terry Black's BBQ, Dallas's premiere destination for legendary Texas barbecue. We met Dina and her friend, Mel Smith and had a real feast. Not only was the food incredible but my cousin generously picked up the dinner tab! This was a wonderful, unexpected surprise. Thank you Dina, you rock! We talked about traveling and heard about some fascinating adventures and far off lands she has experienced. Karen and I agree that Dina will be a great traveling companion so we are going to stay in touch about travel opportunities...maybe an Antarctica cruise???

The next day, Tuesday April 16 we traveled to see JP and Erin Mally outside of Tyler, Texas. We've been supporting their Youth with a Mission (YWAM) ministry for many years. They lived in Mali, Africa until the political situation started getting dicey, so they came back to the states to be safe. We got to meet their two children, Keenan (age 4) and Vera (almost 2). Erin is also expecting their third child in August of this year! They are working at the Tyler, Texas YWAM base in various staff capacities. JP just got his Green Card and is working through the certification process on his nursing credentials. It was so good to see them in person and get a first hand account of their ministry journey. We love the opportunity to support them in this ongoing ministry as we continue to pray for their family and for God to direct their path during this unscheduled hiatus.

From Texas it was on to an Army Corps of Engineers campground at Afton Landing in Oklahoma for two nights. We stopped on Wednesday to see another friend, Dayna Murphy, who's a YWAMer now living on a 2 plus acre homestead in Porter, OK. She moved to Oklahoma to be closer to her daughter's family and is loving the challenge of fixing up her home and property. After seeing her place in Porter she drove over to have dinner with us in the campground.

Thursday, April 18 we went to visit someone I haven't seen in over thirty years. Lori Gracey worked for Gillard Photography, the business Bob Conrad and I owned in Fortuna, California in the late 1970's. I last saw her in Santa Rosa, CA when she was attending Graduate School at UC Davis in the 1990's. She is now married and living in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Karen and I made arrangements to visit and had a lovely time together. They gave us a tour of Broken Arrow and Tulsa then fixed us a wonderful steak dinner. We talked and talked that evening and didn't leave their home until after 11 PM.

From Oklahoma it was on to Camp Barnabas in Purdy, Missouri to see our friends and past RVICS members, Paul and Rhonda Harlin who are now on staff at the camp. We stayed at the camp RV property next to their Tiffin motor coach. They gave us a tour of the camp on Friday and we hung out. On Saturday, April 20 Paul drove us all to Branson, Missouri to see the Sight and Sound theater production of Queen Esther. It was an amazing show to experience!

On Sunday we departed Camp Barnabas and navigated north on US 44 to US 49 to spend three nights outside of Kansas City, Missouri. Two years ago, while attending our first Alliance RV rally we met John and Janice Lary who live near KC. They also have an Alliance Avenue 32RLS like our unit. We gave them a call and warned them of our approaching visit. Well, I guess they must like us because we decided to camp together again and booked two adjoining sites in Lee's Summit, MO at Longview Lake Campground not far from their home.

We set up on Sunday and ate a delicious dinner in John and Janice's rig that night. The menu included Burrito bowls and Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake for dessert. Um, um good! Monday we compared notes and told stories about the pros and cons experienced with our units and we worked on trailer projects. At dinner time I barbecued a London Broil we enjoyed with roasted potatoes and fresh green beans. Tuesday morning I got out the Blackstone and we had a first-class breakfast of "eggs-a-la-Hilen" (scrambled eggs with a bunch of goodies added), hash brown potato patties, crispy bacon and toast. We must have impressed Janice because she rewarded our efforts with a Tuesday night of Kansas City Royals baseball. We all went to Kauffman Field that evening. Janice has some well connected business associates and got us tickets at field level, section 119, row M on the third base line!!! We had awesome seats and companions; topped off with $1 hot dog night so we ate like baseball kings, you know like Royalty...hmmm.

We cheered on the home team to a 3-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. Thank you John and Janice for a great visit in Kansas City, Missouri! The time went by too quickly. We're already planning another get-together near South Padre Island, Texas next January or February2025 to see a SpaceX Starship launch in Boca Chica...fingers crossed.

So not a bad fifteen day run of five different camping locations in three states and 16 friends and family visited. We loved seeing all of these folks. We're so thankful we get to do this as we travel far and wide, playing hard with the people we love to share life with. From KC on Wednesday April 24 it's on to a one-night stand in Hamburg, Iowa at a Harvest Host, then to our next RVICS project in Marquette, Nebraska at Timberlake Ranch Camp for three and a half weeks.



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