Having left Modesto, Ca, 11/ 15 following a sad goodbye with Mom and other family members, I arrived in Hobbs, NM on Saturday afternoon, 11/19. My journey this time took me through Bakersfield to then spend nights is Barstow, Blythe, Tucson, and Las Cruces. My preference when I am on the road, “moving through,” is to park at rest stops along with truckers and other RVers. The parking sites are pull-thrus, plenty long enough, and I don’t have to uncouple from the truck. Moving out in the morning is simplified by doing so….and there’s always a place to get my little companion Mojo out for some exercise.
It was an uneventful trip, and the desert scenery was wonderful. I happen to love the desert landscape, and the sunsets weren’t too shabby. My favorite part of the trip was after leaving El Paso and crossing through the Guadalupe Mountains in New Mexico. The road was good, the colors were phenomenal, and the rock formations breathtaking. (To digress for a moment: the road conditions on major highways in California suck! CA does not need any earthquakes as their claim to fame – its roads are an earthquake in themselves!)
Arriving in Hobbs, I was met by those team members already there. A few were carrying over from the previous build. Habitat Care-a-Vanners have big hearts and giving spirits. The team assembled was another example of what is the very best about human nature. We had our welcome luncheon on Monday and got to know one another. For me, Tuesday was a full day of caulking the exterior of one of the two houses under construction. My “trigger squeezing” muscles felt it the next day. In fact, after a rather sedentary summer, all my muscles felt it the next day! Wednesday was spent putting a second coat of paint on windows, doors, and house trim.
On Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, the team was invited to the home of our construction supervisor and his wife. They had 65 people in attendance – all cousins, aunts, uncles, kids, grandkids, and maybe even some kissin’ cuzins! The amount of food set out took three different rooms to handle it all! Needless to say, we had a wonderful meal and the warmth shared with us was comparable to none.
On Friday, we put in half a day only, finishing up painting and preparing for insulation and wallboard to begin the following week. We were still waiting for city inspections of the framing and electrical before we could begin insulation. Because of the holiday weekend, and because none of the staff was available to assist on Saturday, we took that day off as well. Sundays and Mondays are our usual days off. We have some great young people helping out two days a week – elders and sisters from the Mormon Church serving their missionary time here in Hobbs for a few weeks. And, as I have said before, working alongside the families who are future home owners is a very rewarding experience.
Time for some fun! Carlsbad Caverns has been on my bucket list for a long time, and with the site a reasonable distance from Hobbs, a visit was in order! Another Care-A-Vanner and I drove the hour and a half to Carlsbad and took a tour of the “Big Room.” Wow! The size and depth of the Caverns is almost indescribable. The temperature was very comfortable, and though there were a lot of visitors there, we didn’t really feel the “crowd” until it came time to wait for the elevator back to the surface.
The second week of the first build and the first week of the second build, both of which I am serving as team leader, are somewhat of a blur to me. Unfortunately, I picked up a nasty bug somewhere and was forced to stay down and away from the team. Tonight, I am beginning to feel human again. Hopefully, I will be back up to speed when we begin our final week in Hobbs on Tuesday morning.
This evening we were treated to a light show like none other! The majesty of our Father’s sunsets is phenomenal and humbling. As I close my message this time, I am so grateful for the people who make Habitat for Humanity what it is, grateful for good roads, safe travel, and loving family and friends. I leave you with this: