Preparation for Traveling to West Virginia

Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018

Last year, during the American Thanksgiving, Spencer Miller, Bernhardt Pulst and Justin Reimer joined me in building a bridge in West Virginia, under the direction of Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS).    After we finished the bridge, they all said that they would like to do it again.

In August, I contacted them to see if they were still interested in serving with me on an MDS assignment in West Virginia during the American Thanksgiving week. The response was swift and unanimous; they all wanted to go again. Either they were gluttons for punishment or they had just forgotten what it was like to travel and work with me. Whatever the case, I signed us up for the Thanksgiving week.  In September,  Spencer informed me that his brother, Braeden also wanted to join us.

The Sunday before we were supposed to leave, I was introduced to to a fellow parishioner, Roger Ferron, who is a accomplished welder, machinist and mechanic.   We were discussing the MDS trip and I informed him that during the previous year they were looking for a welder.  He expressed an interest in joining us, so I obtained his contact information and told him that I would check with the MDS office to see if they needed a welder and if they would be able to prepare the border crossing paperwork in time for him to join us.

By Tuesday morning I was informed that they could make use of a welder and they should be able to get the paperwork to us before we left.  On Wednesday I met with Roger to get the information required for his border crossing letter, only to tell him that I had been contacted shortly before our meeting that plans had changed and the project would no longer require a welder.   Roger was disappointed and still wanted to come along so I quickly emailed the office administrator in West Virginia and he confirmed that there was still a spot for Roger, even if they didn’t need a welder.

Everything seemed to be coming together, however, this now left us with a unique ‘ opportunity ‘.  My car can only fit 5 people and we now had 6 travellers; myself, Spencer Miller, Braeden Miller, Bernhardt Pulst, Justin Reimer and Roger Ferron; plus all of the luggage.  Either I would have to find a larger vehicle or we would have to travel in 2 cars.  After contemplating the different options, I checked the price for renting a minivan and decided that this was the best option.   The only caveat was that I had volunteered to take care of the multimedia at a Marriage Seminar and I would be too busy on Saturday to pick up the van so I had to pick it up on Friday evening.  I drove to the rental office and I was informed that they had a Chrysler minivan, but it was overdue for return.    The agent wasn’t sure if it would be returned in time for me to pick it up on Friday, so he showed me a Toyota highlander that he could give me, as a backup plan, even though we both agreed that the minivan would be the best option.   Fortunately the minivan was available by the time I arrived to pick it up.

I was informed on Thursday by the MDS office in West Virginia that there had been more changes in their plans and we would be finishing the bridge(s) in Moundsville, WV at the beginning of the week before driving the rest of the way to the project site in Clendenin.   The accommodations at the Moundsville site would no longer be available when we arrived there, so arrangements were being made for us to stay in a Sleep Inn.

The drive to Moundsville is only 5 hrs,  so I planned to leave at 8:30 am on Sunday.   This should give us plenty of time in case there would be any delays at the border.

The weather forecast indicates that there might be light snow in the Erie, Pennsylvania area on the way down to West Virginia, but overall the temperatures will be between 2  to 11 C ( 36 to 52 F ).  The temperature in the West Virginia area is supposed to be a little chilly; around the freezing point at night and up to 10 C ( 50 F ) during the day and it should be dry most of the week.



15 thoughts on “Preparation for Traveling to West Virginia

  1. Good evening Thanks for the e-mail will keep you in our prayers! Go with God and come back safe! blessings Bill and Hilda

  2. My sons have indicated that your music playlists on earlier trips were acceptable even to their generational tastes. I trust you made it a priority to review this year’s music selections for this trip as it seems to be an important ingredient to their willingness to travel yet again with you Ralph. On a more serious note Thanks again for giving them this great opportunity to serve in Christ’s name! Will be praying for a safe and fruitful trip, Godspeed!

  3. Hi, Blessings and God’s protection as you travel together. What an opportunity to mentor these young men. You never cease to amaze me. Will be praying for you. Erika

    Sent from my iPad


  4. Hi Ralf
    Thank you for once again letting me travel with you in my mind while reading your blogs. I am so lucky and proud to have you as my cousin.
    With love and blessings

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