Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Finding Treasures on Florida's Treasure Coast

Our home for the last week has been Vero Beach on Florida's Atlantic coast. The miles of beaches, abundant sunshine, and the kindness of the people reflects the accuracy of the local nickname ... this is truly a Treasure Coast!

We are doing our first build with Habitat for Humanity's Care-A-Vanners program. The Indian River affiliate provides full hook-up sites in the back of their Home Center in Vero Beach. The ten sites are home for volunteers who both help at the build sites and in the retail store. When the other Care-A-Vanners found out that we were "newbies", they commented that we picked one of the nicer sites for our first build. After a tour of the facilities, we had to agree ... it is a "treasure"! There is a Care-A-Vanner's lounge that has a full kitchen, washer/dryer, nice showers, TV with Netflix, and even two peddle kayaks that we can use to explore the local waterways. 

Speaking of waterways, that brings us to another "treasure" of this coastal area ...

... the miles of sandy beaches along the Atlantic coast are an easy five mile bike ride away. Vero Beach attracts A LOT of snowbirds, but it did not seem to be as busy or touristy as we have experienced during past visits to Daytona Beach. The first part of the week was warm and sunny, so it was refreshing to take an afternoon stroll after a morning of construction. Unfortunately, I also learned about "sand flea" bites. In one word .... ITCHY! 

On Saturday, we drove down to Fort Pierce to check out "the largest Farmer's Market" in Florida. While there were way too many people there, we were able to find a number of other "treasures" including Pirate Fest, manatee and dolphin watching, and ....

It was great to sit in their garden and enjoy sunshine, palms, flowers and a good IPA for Doug and a coffee-infused cream ale for me.

But by far, the best "treasure" that we have found on the Treasure Coast has been the people that we have met and worked with!

Our neighbor's RV towers over the Wildebeest ... it is the shiny new 43 foot Newmar that I am slightly in awe of. Of course, after almost two years, I have grown to love the Wildebeest more each day. We have enjoyed meeting and talking with them and other Care-A-Vanners who, like us, are fairly new to full time RVentures.

Another "treasure" is experienced Care-A-Vanners like Barry who bring their years of construction knowledge and skills to the work site. His encouragement helped me believe that even I could achieve great feats with the help of power tools!

But by far, the brightest "treasure" has been meeting and working alongside the future Homeowners!

The families hoping to be future Habitat for Humanity homeowners need to contribute 300 hours of "sweat equity" while continuing to work at their jobs and take care of their families. I worked with Rhonda and Jackie at the Home Center and the job site.  Their determination to provide a home for their family and gratefulness all we do to help them remind each of us of the true "treasure" of the Care-A-Vanner program.

Jackie's house is scheduled to be done in two weeks, and she was very proud to show off her future "home"... and I was honored to help with some of the finishing touches including tiling, varnishing, and hanging towel racks.

The days start early for us "retired" people, but as we begin at 7:30 with "circling up" and joining hands in prayer, I am reminded of the greatest "treasure" ... Habitat for Humanity is not a hand out; it is a hand up.

Every day at the build site is a new learning experience ... which I will share in my next post ... and full of new "treasures"!

But until then ... seek out the "treasures" around you ... and enjoy the adventures in your life!

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  1. Hi Chris and Doug...I can feel the sand between my toes and we have experienced sand fleas at Great Sand Dunes Ntnl Monument.... But I think the itchiness I am feeling is just Minnesota winter dry skin....I am waiting for a prescription, I have a bacterial bronchitis again... Once a year whether I need to not not!!!... Warren is "fine".... Love is like manure, it doesn't do any good unless you spread it around... Happy Valentines Day..... AAAAAAnn

    1. The sun just got brighter as I think about your smile! Hope you are feeling better soon. If you want to escape the cold and snow, the Habitat affiliate is always looking for volunteers to work in their ReStore ... enjoy sunshine, keep busy, help others .... win-win-win situation!

      And remember ... All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt. Sending warm hugs ... Happy Valentine's Day to you, dear friend!

  2. Cool blog. I love hearing about your adventure. I must admit, I am a bit jelly

    1. Happy that you enjoy the blog and are able to follow along! I have to admit also that I am humbled and still in awe about all the beautiful moments that we are able to experience ...

  3. Chris, I have been reviewing your blog and really, really appreciate you sharing. Thanks for this specific Blog about the Care-A-Vanners program. My wife and I are now checking it out and plan on getting involved. What a great way to give back and RV at the same time.

    BTW. I have been adding your posts to our MAP we build so others can read your great reviews (Just links to yours) www.mhrig.com

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