Wednesday, November 12, 2014


While we were in Big South Fork we shared adjacent campsites with Bobby and Sharon Childers. Sharon is a long-time friend of Carole's. They reconnected via Facebook and the two planned a reunion at the Park.

As luck would have it, Sharon and Bobby love to travel and they love to hike. A great combination to my way of thinking. Sharon is now retired from her small business and Bobby is a Navy veteran who has worked for decades at King's Bay helping to keep our nuclear submarine force in tip-top shape.

We all did a lot of hiking while we were in the Park and also made plans to meet again in 2015 for a trip to Glacier National Park (which has been on my bucket list for a long, long time). Bobby and Sharon have been to Glacier before so they'll know how to get around the Park once we arrive.

I've always admired people who are mechanically inclined and who are adept at engineering. Bobby Childers proved to be exceptionally skilled in such when I toured the 1970 Holiday Rambler that he completely rebuilt and restored. When he and Sharon found it, the trailer was a total wreck (it was bound for scrap metal and they got it for $400). But they spent the better part of two years refurbishing and improving it. This is not only going to be their RV, but will be their permanent home.

They decided some time back to downsize so that they could enjoy the traveling life. Thus, the Rambler will be their house 24/7 after they sell their current home. I was absolutely stunned at the quality and breadth of workmanship that the Childers have poured into their Rambler. While we were camping, hardly an hour or two passed without someone stopping to see close up the fruits of all of their labor and skill.

Now we're looking forward to exploring Glacier National Park with them in August of 2015.

The four of us in front of the Childers' restored 1970 Holiday Rambler.
Motto the Childers applied to their home (aptly named "The Phoenix").
We stop along the Ladder Trail in Pickett State Park.


Sharon Childers said...

Thank you Bob for telling our story and how great friends share their lives with each other. I am so happy that we were able to make the trip and have such a great time. My soul has been renewed and I am so excited about retirement just around the corner and a life of travel and new life experiences. When the rambler arrived in November of 2012 things were really tough. I had to work a lot of weekends and my son went with his mom to inspect and possibly by the trailer. I had talked to my son and had total confidence in his ability to make a good evaluation of the camper. Also at this time I was scheduled to start radiation treatment for my cancer and new there may be tougher things ahead. So we were off to a very slow start and sharon was still having problems after her major neck surgery. Her youngest sister was staying with us and helping take care of the house and us. The holidays came and with help from my son and his wife we starting to get into the rambler a little. There were a lot of times I did not have good days and would come home from work,drive to Jacksonville 5 evenings each week for radiation treatment. My son and wife with 3 grand kids would come on weekends and work on the rambler. I'm a mess, Sharon's a mess and the rambler is a total mess, what a mess. 
My angel and my blessing came from a tiny voice. Tripp, my 5 year old grand son came into the rambler while I was working. He is breaking the rules, no little people in the trailer. I was about to get after him and send him on his way, I had work to do. At the moment it's very quite, the sun is coming through the windows and the sunlight is surrounding him. I'm sitting up on the floor with a take up tool in hand and its so peaceful for this long time. I was calm. My grand son said to me, if he could work with me it would make me feel better. Wow. Then he said, paw paw I love you and things will be ok.....after a moment with tears in my eyes I got up from the floor and went over to him at the door and got a hug that will always be in my heart. The Phoenix has resin and will always be in our family.

James Robert Smith said...

Sweet words, indeed.