Monday, May 31, 2010

Saturday May 29, 2010-Rayford Crossing RV Resort

I had gotten a key to the Rayford room from Gwen because I asked her if we could have coffee in the rally hall this morning. I told her that I would come down and make coffee for the guys but she said that since the park was furnishing a breakfast in the morning, we could just come down and use their coffee pot and then it would be ready for the breakfast, so that is what I did. I went down very early and plugged the coffee pot in and came home and took a shower and went back down to drink coffee with the guys.

The breakfast was breakfast tacos from Mario's Mexican restaurant and they were very good. We enjoyed visiting with some of our friends after breakfast and we came on back home. The park is completely full for the first big holiday of the summer. These are the kind of weekends that its good to own a park.

I don't know what is going on, but somehow my computer is now translating everything into spanish for me. When I move the cursor over a word, it immediately gives me a translation to me. As far as I know, I haven't downloaded any software for this.

This afternoon, Ricky and Dee came over to the park to visit. We sat inside Tommy and Susan's motorhome and chatted with them for awhile and went to eat at Alamo Joe's mexican restaurant. We had a nice time with them and after supper, we all came back to the park. Since it had cooled off, we sat outside at Tommy's. Billy and Gwen came by and hung out with us for awhile. They had bad news for Tommy and Susan. They had originally planned to leave tomorrow but since this is a holiday weekend, had thought about staying until Monday but someone else had reserved their site on Sunday night for the next week, so they would have to leave tomorrow after all.That's the problem with staying in the popular premium sites, when someone reserves it, you have to either move or leave as planned. They said they needed to leave anyway because they have been here for a month and have things at their house to get done. We will miss them when they leave.

So long.

Thursday and Friday May 27 & 28, 2010-Rayford Crossing RV Resort

We didn't do too much these two days. The heat level is really going up down here, so it makes it difficult to do much outside. I did get the trailer moved over to site #104, which will be our site until we leave at the end of July. We like this site because it gets afternoon shade earlier, so we can sit outside in the evenings now.

Let me tell you, its been a long time since I've had to move the trailer without Stella's help, but I got it done. We had decided to eat out this evening and decided on the 3-B's Burgers for a change. We had heard it was good, and they really were. It was still hot and Stella complained that she really dreaded moving the trailer but we had to get it done today, before the long holiday weekend, so she was surprised when it was already moved. I had left her a few things to get put away inside, and had not had enough time to get some of the outside things done, but I got them done soon after arriving home. I took a shower and went to bed early tonight.

Friday was Stella's last workday this week. Gwen decided to close the office at Timber Ridge for the holiday weekend, so when she finishes today, we are done for the weekend. I fixed coffee for some of the full-timers here in the park, but it got hot in the sun, so they didn't stay long. I took Stella over and did our morning routine at the park and I came back home. I took care of some rally business for the October rally and stayed inside most of the day. We met Tommy and Susan at Mel's for supper. As usual, it was a very good meal and we were all stuffed! We came back here and sat outside for awhile until the skeeters came out and turned in for the night.

The park has started to fill and there are only a few sites left open tonight. The Memorial Day holiday weekend has begun!

So long.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tuesday and Wednesday, May 25 & 26, 2010-Rayford Crossing Resort

Our first two days of working at Timber Ridge Village were very uneventful. I took Stella to work both days and came back here to the park. On Tuesday, I stayed at Timber Ridge for awhile for Crystal to train me on the jobs I will be doing, getting the change out of the laundry room and doing various odd jobs that are needed here. Stella will have the most responsibility here and I am just her assistant. I walked around the park and picked up some trash and basically got familiar with the park. This job is going to be very easy.

Tuesday night Tommy fixed supper for us. He made chopped sirloin, mashed potatoes, corn and key lime pie for dessert. It was a very good meal and then we all sat inside their motorhome and watched the third installment of a three-part NCIS on television. We all love that show and it was nice of Tommy to have made supper for us.

Wednesday night supper was supplied by the park. They have bought a new video game, Family Feud, and wanted to play a couple of practice games before the crowds get here this weekend. Billy made hamburgers with all the fixin's for everyone that works at the park, and had included us and Tommy and Susan since he takes a lot of photographs for the park. Actually, Tommy had gone back to their house because he has a photo shoot in the morning down there, so he left before the burgers were ready. We divided up into the boys versus the girls to play the game and of course, the guys won!

I think the job is going to work well for us. I don't mind driving over to take her and pick her up but I think she is going to drive over by herself to see how bad the traffic is for her. We'll see how this works out. If this continues, we could take this job for the winter. We already have plans to stay here for the winter, so this may just work out. I'll let you know what we do.

So long.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Monday May 24, 2010-Rayford Crossing Resort

Today is our day off before starting our new job as workers at Timber Ridge RV Village. Stella will run the office and I will do odd jobs around the park. We went over and talked to Gwen today and she said we could stay here at Rayford and still work at the park, so that is what we're going to do, at least through the end of the month. I think it will work out much better for us because there is little to do at Timber Ridge because most of the tenants work and are gone during the day, but it is a bit of a drive over there. We'll see how it works out...

Stella wanted to get her hair cut this afternoon, so I took her over to the Kroger shopping where she got her hair done. As usual I sat in the truck and read. I did have to keep the truck running to use the air conditioner unlike Elkhart where it was pleasantly cool. I said I was tired of the cold weather, but now I am starting to change my mind.

We came home and cleaned up a bit and went over to Ted and Donna's where they were having a hamburger cookout for some of their neighbors in the Woodlands. It was a good turnout and a fun time. We were glad they invited us. We later went back over and helped clean up. Ted and Donna still had to take her Expedition back to their house and drop off the party stuff and I'm sure they were late getting back here. We did get in a very nice visit with them.

So long.

Sunday May 23, 2010-Rayford Crossing RV Resort

We went to Tyler's induction ceremony into the Junior Honor Society today. Here is Tyler holding his certificate after the ceremony was over. We are all very proud of Tyler.

Cameron was his same silly little self. He tried to hide his face, but I caught him in this one.
It's nice to be back "home" at Rayford. Of course, it's good to be with some of our friends Ted and Donna and Tommy and Susan. Ted and Donna are leaving on Tuesday on their summer trip and Tommy and Susan are staying all month at the park.
We, along with Tommy and Susan, met Ted and Donna at IHOP for breakfast when they got our of church. We had to wait about 45 minutes to get a table, so don't tell me about a bad economy. The restaurants are always packed up here and there are so many to choose from, I don't know where all these folks come from. We came back home and changed and went to Texas City for Tyler's ceremony.
Thank goodness, our refrigerator came back on and has been working just fine since we got back. I guess we've been living right because it just magically came back on! Whatever happened, we'll take it!

We drove over an hour to TC and the ceremony only lasted about 30 minutes but it was worth it. They were all glad to see us and we were certainly glad to see them. We went out to eat with them, but Stella and I were still full from breakfast so we didn't have much to eat. We went back over to their house and stayed for awhile before we had to get back home. The trip back was pretty uneventful but traffic was pretty bad before we got to the downtown area.
We got back in time to sit outside with everyone back here at the park for awhile. Again, it's good to be back home.
So long.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Saturday May 22, 2010-Moving day, Benton AR to Rayford Crossing RV Resort

Today is the day we've been waiting for, our final day out in what was to have been a short two week repair trip to Elkhart. We woke about 6AM and immediately started ready to leave. At least the putting away is minimal and easy, but we are tired of it. We got everything ready and pulled out at 7:45. We decided to get breakfast at our first break, at a truck stop.

We stopped at a Love's truck stop in Arkansas, but noticed that it was not very clean and orderly. I realize that semi trucks frequently have oil leaks and the drivers are not always careful to clean up after spilling diesel fuel, but this place was a MESS! This station also didn't have any ready-made breakfast sandwiches or fresh pastries, so after we transferred some fuel, we took off for the T/A truck stop two miles down the road. Again they had no ready-made food, so we decided to try the breakfast sandwiches at a Subway. They were very good and we were glad we tried them.

We continued on down the road and finally got back into Texas! It sure felt good, although we hadn't been gone all that long. We had certainly added to our experiences on this trip. The truck break-down, of course the trailer repairs that had to be done twice, and now the refrigerator problem. It had not started working again, despite everything we could do. We had run out of space in the ice chest, so Stella tried putting a few things in the freezer since it was still cool.

We finally pulled into Rayford about 4:30 to find the park full. I am glad that Stella called ahead because we knew which site to go to and we are right behind Tommy and Susan and across the street from Ted and Donna. We got set up and went out to eat at Pitmaster's Barbecue, one of Stella's favorites. When we got back home, I came inside and after catching up on some emails, I went to bed. I didn't mean to be a party pooper, but I was tired. I think I was asleep as soon as I walked into the bedroom.

It's good to be back with good friends and at our home park.

So long.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday May 21, 2010-Moving day, Sikeston MO to Benton AR

Today was a much easier day of traveling. I slept like a log last night, and it's good to be back in warm weather so I can use the air conditioner in the bedroom. I sleep so much better with the white noise of the A/C and cold temps.

When we arrived last night there was another Bighorn trailer in the site near us. Our friend Rich and Effie Knight soon came out and talked to us. They had been to one of our rallies in Spring, so it was good to see them again. We had another nice visit this morning before we both pulled out. We left a few minutes after 9, which is later than we wanted to do, but we have another short day of driving so it really doesn't matter.

We stopped at the Express Fuel Center in Sikeston for fuel again. Their fuel is much cheaper than anyone else that we have seen on our trip, so we again took advantage. We paid $2.79 per gallon and took 61.4 gallons to go 596.9 miles for a 9.72 mpg average.

I must admit that Stella got the best of me on the VW game today. She saw three old VW's on the side of the road in one spot and saw a couple more along the road. I only saw two, so today she beat me. Beginner's luck...And the best thing, my arm doesn't hurt at all!

We made really good time all day and pulled into Benton about 3 and were happy that the I-30 park could take us in tonight. CJ had sent an email this morning to tell us that the park was very full and to call for a reservation early in the morning. Stella had done just that, but the lady in the office said that they only had two sites left and they were first come-first served and they couldn't take reservations on them. We made plans to go on down the road in case we couldn't get in, but we got one of the last remaining sites when we got here.

We went out to eat supper with CJ. JD was down with a bad knee, so he didn't go with us. We went to J.T Colton's Steakhouse for supper. We had a very good meal, and JD certainly missed out! CJ was nice enough to take him some of her steak, so he wouldn't go hungry.

We came back and went over to their house and chatted with them for awhile. JD got up and came out with us, so we got to spend some time with him too before we left.

The bad refrigerator didn't fix itself on the bumpy roads back down here, so we took everything out of it and put it into an ice chest. Some of the food had to be thrown away because it had warmed up too much to be safe to eat. That's all we need, to get sick from eating bad food.

Early day tomorrow and a long drive.

So long.

Thursday May 20, 2010-Moving day, Red Roof Inn to Sikeston MO

We decided to speed up our return trip back to Houston. Instead of taking an easy pace of 250 or so miles per day, we would skip the stops in Terre Haute IN and Marshall TX and drive from Elkhart to Sikeston MO, then to Benton AR where our friends JD and CJ were staying, and then drive on back to Houston from there. The two longer trips will be tiring but worth it. We will get to see our friends Ted and Donna before they leave for their long summer trip, and also Tommy and Susan who are staying at Rayford this month. We plan to roll into Rayford late Saturday afternoon and stay the night there.

We set the alarm for 6:00AM and got up and after showering, took the remaining items over to the truck and trailer and loaded it up. We had taken a lot of our stuff to the trailer the night before, so this morning there wasn't that much left. I walked down to the McDonald's in the next block and got us some biscuits for breakfast, and by the time I got back, Stella was all ready to go. We pulled out of the parking lot at 7:15 and made good time down the road toward Sikeston.

It started to rain on us around Terre Haute, as if we were being punished for not stopping there. We continued on through the rain and made a couple of stops along the way. We passed more FEMA trailer on the road and I noticed three parked in one of the truck weigh stations.

Have you noticed the new Volkswagon commercials where they hit the person next to them when they see a VW? Well, Stella and I started playing that game on the way home, and let me tell you, her left arm is black and blue from my hitting on her. I guess she just can't see those little cars, but she paid the price! It has been fun, but then, I've been winning the game.

We got into Sikeston about 4 o'clock and after getting all set up, we went inside to relax for a few minutes before calling the van to pick us up to go to Lambert's for supper. We had another great meal and left, full as can be.

When we got home, I noticed that the refrigerator was not working. All the lights were off, both inside and out. I checked to make certain it was plugged back in, and the fuses were all good, but it just wouldn't start up. I suppose the bad board has gone out again, so we will make do to get back home and call someone to check it. None of the food has thawed and the fridge has stayed cool, so we're crossing our fingers that we can salvage most of the food. The good thing is that we didn't have that much food in either the refrigerator or freezer.

After all the problems with the trailer and having to return to Elkhart, and now the fridge going out, I wonder which one of us broke a mirror, or had a black cat cross our path? We are certainly having a run of bad luck!

So long.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wednesday May 19, 2010-Red Roof Inn, Elkhart IN

Well, today's the big day to get the trailer back. We stayed here in the motel room and ate some muffins that we had bought yesterday at the grocery store. We both cleaned up and were preparing to go out for awhile when we got the call from Jim F. He said we could come pick the trailer up but he wanted us to take it for a ride for a couple of hours to see if anything "shook loose". After going over what they had done, we left the shop. We drove around the pretty Amish countryside, down to Nappanee and over to La Paz before coming back to Elkhart. We stopped to look at the sides and saw that on the door side, some of the caulk had bubbled up, so we went to the
Elkhart Campground to buy some propane for the two empty bottles. After getting that chore done, we went back to the shop. When we looked at it with Jim, we noticed a tiny amount of movement at the caulk line on the door side, so he called Keith to come down to look at it. He suggested taking it back to the shop to be looked at further. Keith put some more long screws into the frame, and said it cannot move now. After repairing the caulk line and going over everything one more time, we left.

We came back to the motel and parked the trailer on the street beside the motel. Many transport drivers and other truckers that stay at this motel have used this parking area, so we are confident that nothing will happen to the trailer. I will go out to check on it periodically during the evening.

We walked next door to the Bob Evans restaurant for supper. They are okay restaurants but then all we had was hamburgers. We came back to the room and relaxed for the rest of the evening.

Tomorrow we start back for Texas.

So long.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010-Red Roof Inn

We woke this morning to another cold and rainy day. We can't believe how cold it is up here. Of course, when we get back to Houston we'll be wishing we were back in Elkhart and enjoying the cool temps.

We went to eat a light breakfast at McDonalds just down the street from the motel. We have learned that it is just as cheap to eat a real breakfast at a restaurant as it is to eat fast food, and probably healthier too. After breakfast, we went by the shop where our trailer is being worked on but the front end is still off it, so we didn't stop. We went to the grocery store to buy a few things to snack on while traveling and came on back to the motel. Jim F. called a little while after we returned here and said he would meet us at the shop.

When we got there, we learned that the problem was apparently with the Lippert frame not having been welded very well. They had repaired it and welded on another brace on both sides of the frame and installed a new board that is inside the frame rail to further strengthen the frame. Keith said they had also put in more gussets in the frame and that it should never give us any more trouble. I don't mean to sound ugly, but this is the same thing they told us week before last and it only lasted about 700 miles before it broke. I am not ungrateful for all the work that was done, just wary.

Jim F. said it will be ready to go tomorrow but they want us to take a drive around and hit some bumps to see what happens. It took several hundred miles to find the damage before, but if this is what they want. I'll do it.

We stopped off at Charlie's Butcher Block, a well-known meat market/deli in Elkhart. This place has been recommended by my friend Jim B. and it is worth it! We got a sandwich to split and it was delicious. The place was packed with locals at the lunch hour, but we will return there.

We came back to our room and laid around for awhile. I took a couple of naps and got some reading done, and we generally didn't do much of anything all afternoon. Stella wanted to go to the oriental restaurant next door, so like the good husband I am, I took her. I was careful to get through with our meal by a little after 6 o'clock, but I had forgotten that NCIS doesn't come on here until 8. It's that darn eastern time zone again!

So long.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday May 17, 2010-Moving Day, Elkhart Campground to Red Roof Inn

It was freezing this morning inside the trailer. I had checked the propane a few days ago when it was in the shop and we still had propane in one cylinder and the other was shut off, so I thought we would be good, but apparently the first cylinder ran out and the guys in the shop opened the second cylinder and they both had run out. Whoops!

It's still nice to sleep in our trailer and we will miss it tonight, but we got up early and were at the factory shop about 8:10 this morning. Jim F. was already there, looking at another trailer that had been brought in. He said that there was a lot of interest in our rig because there are questions about the Lippert frame being welded and gusseted properly and the Heartland aluminum frame that supports the walls and roof. I guess we'll see what they find.

We left to get a motel room and eat breakfast. Jim had reserved a room at the Executive Inn but we weren't sure if they took animals, and of course, we can't forget Cassie girl! We told him the Red Roof Inn was fine with us, and after leaving, we went to the motel and got checked in. Our old room wasn't available but another similar one was, so we took it. We ate breakfast and went back to the trailer to get a few more things but it had been moved to the corporate parking lot so someone there can look at it. We got our things out of the trailer and left and went to our room and unloaded everything. Cassie was happy to be in a great big 'ol bed again, so she was happy.

We decided to drop some of our clothes and to pick up some records that Stella was going to shred. Our trailer had been moved from the corporate lot back to the shop. When we arrived, the front had been stripped and they were preparing the sidewalls for inspection and repair. I talked to Keith, the tech that was working on it but he still didn't know where the bad weld(s) were. We got the things out of the trailer and left. We found the Salvation Army boxes and dropped off the old clothes and decided to fill up the truck. We had found some diesel at a good price, so we took 50.8 gallons to go 505.8 miles for a 9.95 MPG average.

It gad started to rain while we were filling up, so I decided to stop at the Pontiac dealer to have the Service Engine Soon light checked and repaired. This is a very small dealership and they don't usually work on many diesels, but they ran down the code and determined that a module was needed which they didn't have. They said they could get it in 2 or 3 days but we hope to be on our way back to Texas by then. We paid them for their time in checking out the problem and got a part number for what we need and left.

Stella has been wanting some frozen custard, so we found a Culver's and had supper there. Another good husband award for Jay! I got Stella coffee today (twice) and now got her the frozen custard she wanted. What a guy!!

Closing on that one...

So long.

Sunday May 16, 2010, Moving day-Terre Haute IN to Elkhart IN

We got up this morning and went to the cafe at the park for breakfast. We were both tired last night and I slept in until 6 o'clock this morning, about 3 hours later than usual. And don't forget that we changed time zones last night when we got to Indiana.

We had a nice breakfast and still got away about 9:30. It's funny because we hadn't done anything to get ready to leave, but after breakfast I stopped to speak with one of the Heartland owners that I met last night and he was about halfway through his "putting things away" routine and we still beat him out of the park!

It started to rain again just as we got going, but we still made pretty good time. We stopped at a rest area just before getting to the loop around Indianapolis for our first stop but it was not as pretty as some of the others we have stopped at. The rest stops in Texas are the most functional and largest, but some in Indiana and Illinois are prettier.

We got to Elkhart about 3 o'clock and got checked into the Elkhart Campground. They are doing some repairs/improvements here and the back rows where we stayed last week were now closed. They seem to be putting in underground cables in conduit and new water lines, but I didn't ask anyone. Perhaps the next time we come up here, we'll have cable to watch and better water pressure.

Stella and I are exhausted from all these days of traveling but we want to get the trailer fixed once and for all. I am still confident that they can do it here.

So long.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Saturday May 15, 2010-Moving day, Sikeston MO to Terre Haute IN

We woke this morning to much cooler temperatures and cloudy weather. I had looked online at the weather forecast (guess) and there was not much of a rain forecast for either Sikeston or Terre Haute, so it looks like a good day for traveling.

The very first stop we made was at the Express Fuel Center right next door to the RV park. They still have the cheapest prices on diesel that we have found on the entire trip, so we took advantage of it again. We took on 61.6 gallons to go 593.1 miles for a 9.6 MPG average. We pulled out of the station at 9:30AM. Also, as soon as I stopped fueling, it started to rain. Big 'ol drops that would have soaked me if I had still been outside. The rain only lasted a few minutes, but we had rain showers off and on just about all the way to Terre Haute.

We made good time today and only made two stops. We have decided to stop more often to stretch our legs. We have been really cramped when we arrived, so we're experimenting with stopping more. Since we only do short days, we have plenty of time. We are both tired of driving and can't wait to get the trailer fixed and go to Timber Ridge to relax and not travel so much. This is a different kind of traveling this week, but it should be over soon. I have been talking to others that have gone through this same issue, and am confident that the problem is with the aluminum sidewall either being welded improperly or not welded at all.

We pulled into the KOA at about 2 o'clock our time. Don't forget that when we crossed into Indiana, we are in the Eastern time zone and an hour ahead of you in the Central zone. They have a new process for those that make early reservations and have an email address. They emailed me a confirmation number, so when we were approximately 10 minutes out, we called and someone was waiting to escort us to our site. I still had to go to the office to formally check in, so it really didn't save me any time but they're trying. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that it started raining much harder when we arrived. We got all set up in short order and after the rain slacked up I went to the office to check in. The people in this park are very helpful and friendly and we like this park very much. It's still a KOA though...

They served a supper of chicken over biscuits that we decided to eat. When we got through eating, I made the rounds of Heartland owners in the park and visited with them for awhile before coming into the house and relaxing for the rest of the evening. I worked on this blog entry and went to bed early.

So long.

Friday May 14, 2010, Moving Day, Benton AR back to Sikeston MO

Since we know that we must go back to Elkhart to get this thing fixed, we got up this morning and got ready to leave Benton. JD had suggested that I remove the tightening bolts on my stabilizers on the frame of the trailer, since we wouldn't be using them as we travel and they require tightening before we leave and then I have to crawl under the trailer and loosen then when we arrive for the night. It made sense to me, so I took them out and put them in a sack in the underbelly. Now you can remind me where put them I when I can't find them.

We ate in the trailer this morning but still didn't get away until a little after 10. That's okay because we don't have that far to go. We only made one stop for fuel and potty at a rest stop and went on down the road.

I saw only one group of three FEMA trailers today. I know they're not all gone but this is all I saw today. I did see another group of Corvettes. Most of the times we've traveled up here we've seen a group or two of Corvettes. I saw several year models and body styles of 'Vettes that were going in the opposite direction of us.

Since we are traveling on the weekend, Stella called ahead and made us reservations for tonight in Sikeston and tomorrow in Terre Haute. It has been suggested that we try to get "frequent camper" discounts from these two parks. And no, smarty, we didn't come back this way to eat at Lambert's again. The food is great there, but we ate here both coming up and going back and that is enough. It wouldn't do for me to live here...

Did I tell you about seeing the trailers that belong to a group of people that stay at Rayford during the winter? There is a group of four or five trailers that belong to some people that do blacktop work, and have been coming to Rayford for the last couple of years. I recognized a Corvette that one of them drives and then noticed two pickup trucks with their company name on the side. The last thing I noticed was a really long trailer that one of them just bought. It looks like it's about 45 feet long. Small world...

So long.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thursday May 13, 2010-I-30 Campground, Benton AR

Well, here we are in a nice little park beside I-30 in Benton Arkansas, sitting three doors down from our friends CJ & JD. When we woke this morning, we decided to get started on our chores while we are here, and waiting on word from Heartland about what will be done with our trailer.

We started by taking the trailer to JJ's Truck Stop near Benton to get the truck/trailer weighed. Again the GPS failed us by telling us to exit only a couple of exits from where we are, when I knew we had to go about 10 miles to the truck stop. We found it in spite of the bad directions and got everything weighed. The combination of truck and trailer weighs 23,100# with the truck alone weighing 8740# and the trailer weighing 14,360#, all within reasonable limits. A little over the individual limits but not bad, and after all, it's everything we own and need. There are a few things that we can get rid of to make the numbers work better.

After returning home, I worked on setting up our computer network, so we can receive a secure Internet signal. It wasn't too hard and I had excellent help from the 3-G store where I bought the router.

I spent the afternoon surfing the 'net and getting the blog caught up while Stella worked on rearranging the cabinets and getting our clothes ready to be examined and some being discarded.

Jim F. called from Heartland and gave me some great news. He said he has no idea what may have happened to the trailer, but said they will make it right. He said he will pay us for our fuel from Benton to Elkhart and if necessary, pay for a motel if they have to keep the trailer over night. I know that they worked very hard on the trailer but something just broke. We don't know what it was, but I'm confident that we will find out and get it fixed.

CJ and JD made supper for us, some delicious tacos and a wonderful coconut pie for dessert. What a nice way to end this day. We got a lot accomplished today, and hopefully we'll get the trailer fixed up and be back to Timber Ridge to work in another week or so.

So long.

Wednesday May 12, 2010-Moving day. Sikeston MO to Benton AR

Our worst fears have returned. The front end damage has returned. I know that we hit some serious bumps on our trip today, but not that bad and this is what I found when we got here.
This is not as bad as it was to begin with, but it's bad enough. This is in exactly the same place as the original damage, so there must be something going on inside the framework.
We left Sikeston about 9:30 and stopped next door at the Express Fuel Center where we had stopped coming up. The fuel here is the cheapest that we have found, so we're taking advantage. We took 52.8 gallons to go 492.5 miles for a 9.3 MPG average. Not too good, but it has been very windy on the entire trip.
We made good time again and saw some more FEMA trailers coming north and east. Remember we had seen some when we came up here and I had talked to one of the drivers. These trailers are easy to spot because they have no markings on them at all and from what I've learned about them and the condition they are in, I wouldn't want my name on them either.
We made a good choice on our break. We stopped at the tourist information rest area about 30 miles inside the Arkansas border for a routine break. When we walked up to the restrooms, we noticed a lot of people around some tables. I first thought it might be a church bake sale or something similar, but when we walked up there, we saw that they had sandwiches, hot dogs with all the trimmings, chips and soft drinks, and everything was free! I asked one of the ladies who was sponsoring this, and she said it was just a few of them that wanted to do something. She would not accept any money, not even a donation, so we lucked out.
We should have gotten here about 2:30, but the GPS led us wrong. She had us exit before we got to the park, so we had to go around the block (which was a couple of miles long) before we got to the right turn off and into the park. Wow, I know those things are not infallible, but this is her first serious mistake. It's ironic too, because just yesterday we were looking at new GPS units made specifically for trucks and trailers. We saw one with a huge screen but it was over $500, so we probably won't be getting one of those. Unless, of course, someone wanted to buy one for us and donate it...
When we got here, JD and CJ came over to look at the trailer after we had gotten it out of the shop, and that is when JD and I found the new damage. I don't have a clue what happened except that whatever was done to the trailer didn't fix the problem. I feel certain that Jim F. and Heartland will take care of this and stand behind their work. I emailed him the pictures and he told me to get the rig weighed and get back to him. I will get that done tomorrow.
JD and CJ took us out to eat at a place called Ta Molly's Mexican restaurant. The food was very good and the company was great. We returned home and went inside for the evening. The weather is certainly different here from where we came from. It was downright cold in Elkhart the last couple of mornings, but I'm back in short pants here with temps in the upper 80's. I'm sure that Houston will be even warmer. It's just a matter of getting there now.
So long.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tuesday May 11, 2010-Moving day, Terre Haute IN to Sikeston MO

No damage! The sidewall separation is gone now. You'd never know that just a few days ago, this was a bare wall with no fiberglass skin.
They have some cute donkeys for guests to pet and feed. They usually make a lot of racket with their hee haws but this time they were pretty quiet. Some people might say these look like family members, but not siree, not me!

Here we are in our site. This is one of the prettier parks that we overnight at. I didn't have time to load these into yesterday's entry, so I decided to share them here.

We woke this morning to rain, rain and more rain. It had rained all night, but we were snug and dry with no leaks. The good thing is that the rain washed the bugs off the truck and trailer. We went down to eat breakfast here at the park. They serve a pretty good breakfast here and it's cheap and convenient.
We left about 9:30 and made very good time. Terre Haute is right on the border of Illinois and at least the roads improved a little in Ill. I'm not saying anything bad about the roads in Indiana or anywhere else, but I think it's a shame that our highways have been allowed to get into the condition that they are in. To me, the highway system should be maintained much better than it has been. I'm not going to get into a rant about taxes and politics but I think it's criminal to build highways or anything else and then not maintain them.
We pulled into the Hinton RV Park in Sikeston MO about 1:30, but remember we went from Eastern time to Central time, so we gained an hour. I know, it screws me up too. This is a nice little park, just not as pretty as TH. We like it because it's close to the highway and easy to get into and out of.
It's also near Lambert's Throwed Rolls. That really doesn't matter because they have a shuttle bus that will come pick you up and bring you to the restaurant. It was a good thing the bus has a big wide back door, because I needed it after eating their great food. We had another great meal and came home to watch television for the night. It had threatened more rain but has held off so far. It will probably pour down when I go out to get things ready to leave. Next stop is Benton Arkansas.
So long.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday May 10, 2010-moving day, Elkhart Campground to Terre Haute KOA

Today was our last day in Elkhart, so we got up pretty early to get ready to leave. Stella made me very proud of her by staying up late and getting another large box put away to clean up the inside of the trailer. Wow, will winter never leave? It was 33 degrees this morning when I woke.

Remember I told you that we had found a problem with the slide in the living room? I called Jim F. to report the finding and he said that we could bring the trailer over for the slide adjustment. It took us a little longer to get packed up than we first estimated, but we left the campground about 10:30 and went to the Heartland factory. I went in and got our friend Keith, who brought Brian with him and together they got the slide adjusted and some caulking that was not up to their high standards, so they fixed that too. We got away from the shop at 11:11, and hit the road to Terre Haute.

We breezed on down the road under clear skies and warming temperatures. By the time we left the shop, it had warmed into the low 50's, so it was a very pleasant day to be traveling. We made good time and blew right past the location where we had broken down on our trip up here.

Today is my sister, Bobbye Sue's birthday, so I called her at work to sing her Happy Birthday. I haven't heard too much from her in a long time, and I'm sure she had her reasons, but it was good to talk to her again, and I hope we will stay in touch. Family means a lot to me and we all need to do whatever we can to preserve our families.

We got to the KOA in Terre Haute about 3:45 and got set up by about 4:30. We really like this park. It is easy to get into from the freeway and very shady for cooler temperatures in the summer. I'm sure that we'll come back here.

So long.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sunday May 9, 2010-Elkhart Campground

Yippee, we're back in our home and in the campground! I let Stella sleep as late as she wanted, after all, it's Mother's Day. I even took her out to breakfast for two reasons. One, it's Mother's day and the second is that we really don't have anything for breakfast since we haven't been to the store. My intentions were good, but all the better restaurants were packed, so we ended up just picking up a couple of McDonald's biscuits for breakfast.

We had some chores to get done today, so we started by going to the washateria and washing up all the dirty clothes. That took a couple of hours, and then we went over to Goshen to a truck stop there that is very popular with the RV transporters because it has the cheapest fuel. We took 100.6 gallons to go 1390 miles for a 13.8 MPG average. I ran into a man at the fuel pump about our trailer. He said he went through the Heartland factory tour last week and is interested in a Bighorn. I gave him a contact card and told him about the Heartland Owner's Forum and the Owner's Club and he said he will look into it. He said he just came back from the Rio Grande Valley and I told him about the luncheon in Donna next year. Who knows, maybe we'll see him there.

We took one last drive out in Amish country on our way to Goshen in the beautiful weather. It was cold this morning, but warmed up to about 55 degrees during the day without a cloud in the sky.

We both think the farms are prettier down here. We will miss the serenity of this area, but we'll be back. There is plenty to do here and we kept busy every day. We didn't make it to Auburn to some museums there but there's always next year.

We then came back to Elkhart and found a Kwik Lube and had the oil changed in the truck for the trip back home. We have to stay on top of the maintenance on the truck. The young men in this store were as nice as anyone we have run into here. We can't believe how nice everyone has been up here from clerks in the stores to the cell phone man that helped us with our phone woes and sold me my new IPhone. Yes, we will definitely be back here next year.

We finally got to eat our for Stella's day. She chose Red Lobster but it took us almost an hour to get in. The food was good and the service was excellent and we enjoyed our meal. I made some calls for Mother's Day during our meal and will make some more later when we get back home. Man, that sounds good, to get back home! I don't know if I was more thankful for selling the house or getting the trailer back. Either way, it's good to be home.

So long.

Saturday May 8, 2010-moving day-Red Roof Inn to Elkhart Campground

Today is the day that we've been waiting for, the day we move back into the trailer. We woke for the last time in the motel room and after cleaning up, we went to eat breakfast at Ryan's buffet breakfast.

It was freezing cold and raining this morning, but we got 'er done. After breakfast, we returned to the room and loaded up most of our stuff including Cassie and came to the campground. We still had a mess to put away in the trailer but Stella worked hard getting things put away and stowed in their proper place. I helped where I could, but she pretty much shooed me out when I tried to help. I guess its a woman thing...

I took a box full of things that we didn't want any more to the office here at the campground. All of these things were good, they were just things we didn't want and couldn't see throwing them away. Maybe someone will get some use out of them. We hope so.

We found one problem that we'll have to contact Jim with Heartland about on Monday. We found some wet carpet beside Stella's chair in the living room and then noticed a gap at the slide, so we're sure that's where it came from. It should be a simple adjustment for one of the technicians. I plan to call Jim early on Monday morning so I can get the trailer in on our way out of town.

We ate our first home-cooked meal in a couple of weeks this evening. We only had soup and a grilled cheese sandwich but after eating out for all this time, it tasted like sirloin. We really did okay during the time the trailer was down, even though we ate out all the time. We didn't go to the grocery store, and although we tried to salvage everything in the refrigerator and freezer, some things just didn't make it. One package of sausage swelled up and we threw it away. There are some more meat items that we will likely get rid of. Why take the chance of getting food poisoning for $10 worth of meat?

The rain stopped but it got cold again and the wind started blowing hard, so we just stayed inside, nice and warm. I got to see an episode of NCIS that I wasn't real familiar with and went to bed pretty early.


So long.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Friday May 7, 2010-Red Roof Inn, Elkhart IN

Here we are, ready to pick up our trailer after it was worked on at the factory. We are straight ahead in the service bay.
Here is the nice shiny new-looking trailer with just a few boxes left to load into it.
Here are just some of the many boxes that we used to store almost everything in our trailer. All the service guys that helped us unload remarked about how much stuff we have in the trailer. We told them that it's our house and everything we own is in there.
This was all that was left to load up when we took a break for lunch. We are almost done!

We woke to cool weather again up here in Elkhart. It rained briefly while we were going over to the factory, and once inside, it really rained! That's all right, we're loading up our home again and we will be back in the campground this afternoon...

We worked hard all morning, unloading boxes back into the trailer and took a short lunch break at the Steak and Shake nearby. We came back and finished up the loading and watched Keith, our technician that had worked on the trailer, when he put the last decal on the door-side rear. He made it look so easy, I think that even I could do it, but I'm sure that reality would set in if I tried to do it and I'd screw something up. When it looks too easy, it's probably not.

We got through about 3 o'clock and pulled out of the shop to go back to the campground. Almost as soon as we turned into the park, it started to rain and by the time I got through, it was pouring. We ran next door to JD and CJ's house to get out of the rain and to make plans for supper. We went to the Texas Roadhouse, since we still had some discount coupons and had a final farewell meal with them. They are leaving in the morning and we will be leaving on Monday.

When we got back to the motel, we hadn't been inside very long before we got a call from the office, asking if we were all right. We had heard a fire alarm going off but didn't know where it was coming from. We went outside and saw the flashing lights and buzzer and were told that someone had set the fire alarm off but nothing was wrong. To be on the safe side, we took the computers and Cassie with us when we went to eat. Along the way, we learned that we are under a tornado alert until 11 o'clock tonight. What do we do now? We can go to the motel if its not on fire or go to the campground and risk being blown away by a tornado.

After eating, we came back to the motel and all was well. We sent the last night here, since we had paid for the room. Tomorrow we're back at home in the trailer.

So long.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thursday May 6, 2010-Red Roof Inn, Elkhart IN

We woke this morning, hoping to get the call that our trailer was ready, so we could start moving back in. CJ and JD called and asked us to go eat breakfast with them at Cock-A-Doodle, a local restaurant and favorite of truckers and Police Officers. The food was good and there was plenty of it!

We left the restaurant and decided to go by the factory to check on the trailer's progress but I wanted to stop at an AT & T store to have my phone set to send and receive email. We met a very nice man named Tom Jenks at the store on Cassopolous. He spent almost two hours trying to help me get set up, but he finally called technical support and learned that there is something wrong with my phone. I haven't had this phone that long and have never had it set up for email, but its bad. I made arrangements to have a new phone sent to me at Rayford and while there, I looked at some new phones. To make a long story short, I ended up buying a new IPhone with all the bells and whistles. Poor Tom spent about five hours selling me a phone and all the accessories. Of course, a lot of that time was spend showing me some of the features of the new phone.

About 2 o'clock, during Tom's ordeal of selling me a phone, I got a call from Jim F. at Heartland. He said that the trailer was done and that we could come over and start putting our things away. We finally got to the factory about 4 o'clock and began working on the trailer. I got everything in the underbelly storage put away and helped Stella with some of the inside stuff. We emptied three boxes back into the trailer but there are still a lot of boxes to be done tomorrow. We walked around the outside of the trailer and inspected it but weren't able to open the slides to check the interior. We'll check it tomorrow. At least we've started to move back into our home.

We were tired and went to eat at Cracker Barrel tonight. It was a nice way to end the day and we went for a ride around Elkhart before returning to the motel for another night. I think we have decided to stay one more night in the motel because we won't have any place to keep Cassie tomorrow during the day while we reload the trailer, so we'll leave her here in the motel and come back during the day to let her out.

Whoopee, we're almost back home!!

So long.

Wednesday May 5, 2010-Red Roof Inn, Elkhart IN

Today was a very easy day. Stella and I went to the Golden Egg restaurant again for breakfast and came back to our motel room. I called Jim F. at Heartland to find out about the trailer but learned that it was not ready yet but may be finished this afternoon. I told him that we were thinking about the Mor Ryde suspension and asked his opinion of it. He said that everyone he knows that has it loves it but he has no first hand experience with it. I told him that I would call back in the afternoon to check on the progress.

Stella said she needed to wash some clothes, so we went to Wal Mart for her to buy a few things and soap to wash the clothes, and after we got that, we went to a local laundromat. I did my usual and sat in the truck reading while she washed the clothes. We rode over to Mor Ryde and spoke to Howard and Linda again who were waiting for their unit to be completed. We told them that it didn't look too good to get ours done this time, but we would get it done another time. We talked to Ben, the salesman at Mor Ryde and gave him the news. He said he could get us in as late as noon tomorrow but that they would have to work late on Friday, possibly as late as 4 o'clock but we decided not to do that. I don't want anyone to have to work late on a Friday afternoon to work on my suspension. We will just get the work done when we come back to Elkhart for the Heartland rally.

We came back to our room and relaxed for awhile. I called Jim again and learned that the trailer work was done but they needed to run it through their rain check tank to check it for leaks and that it needed some decals that had not come in yet. He said he hoped they would come in tomorrow or Friday.

Now bummed about the news about the trailer, we stayed here for awhile and later went to eat at Applebys. The motel had given us discount cards for several restaurants around town and we used one tonight. The food was good and we went for a ride after eating into Michigan. We drove about 25 miles into Michigan, just enjoying the evening and the weather.

So long.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tuesday May 4, 2010-Red Roof Inn, Elkhart IN

At least Cassie isn't stressed out by everything that is going on with the trailer and having to stay in this motel room.

Today we had made plans to meet with our friends JD & CJ for breakfast at a place called The Golden Egg Pancake House. We had a great meal and while there, they got a call from Heartland telling them that their trailer was ready to be picked up. When we finished our meal, they went to get their trailer and I called Howard and made arrangements to meet with him and Linda at Mor Ride where their trailer was in for their installation.

We, along with Howard and Linda, met one of the salesmen named Ben, who showed us the advantages of using their independent suspension system on our trailer. We decided to go ahead and have this installed later in the week. Ben needs to check his schedule to make sure he can get us in and will call back with a time and date for our installation. We had a very nice visit with Howard and Linda and when their lunch arrived (furnished to customers by Mor Ride) we left.

We went over to the Shipshewana flea market which opened today for the first time this season. We shopped for a couple of hours and came back to the motel. I spoke with Jim from Heartland and learned that our trailer will be ready for pick up tomorrow. We later spoke with Ben and he has us set up for an appointment at his shop on Thursday morning, so although we'll have busy days for the next couple of days, juggling the trailer between Heartland and Mor Ride, we'll have everything installed and ready to go by Friday evening. We'll see how this works out...

We came back to the motel room and hung out the rest of the night. This is important because I got to see my television shows tonight. I do have my priorities!

So long.

Monday May 3, 2010-Red Roof Inn, Elkhart IN

We woke this morning and ate some of our leftover muffins for breakfast. Soon after we ate, and while preparing to go out for the day, we got a call from CJ, who asked us about eating breakfast with them. Since we had already eaten, we had to decline but said we would get together with them for supper this afternoon.

We went to Martin Marketing, the supplier of the Heartland branded clothing and accessories, to check on an order that we had placed some time ago. We learned that one of the shirts had been back ordered and was no longer offered, so since it was Stella's choice of shirts, she sat down with the catalog and ordered a new shirt. We picked up a few other items and made plans for the fall rally in October. I met the owner of the company, Brad Martin, who told me that he was willing to work with me on supplying items for the rally. I am looking forward to dealing with him in the future.

We drove over to Napannee by way of Wakarusa. As I told you yesterday, I did some research on these town names in Indiana and learned that in 1836, rural Olive Township was established and as the population grew, a post office called Mt. Olive opened. As the population grew, it was renamed Salem, but there was already a town in Indiana named Salem, so the name was changed to Wakarusa. The name Wakarusa comes from a word in the Potawatomi language meaning "knee deep in mud". The only information I could find on Nappannee is that this is the only city in the United States that uses each letter in it's name twice. The word Nappannee probably means "flour".

We had driven through Nappannee yesterday and had seen a couple of dually trucks at the Chevrolet dealer in town. I had left them a message about my interest in these trucks, but didn't hear from anyone, so we decided to drive over to check them out. Both trucks were very nice but we have decided not to buy a truck right now until we get the trailer squared away and right again.

We came back over to Elkhart. Incidentally, Elkhart's name source is disputed. One source argues that the city's Island Park is shaped like an elk's heart and the other source states that the name comes from the Shawnee Indian Chief Elkhart, cousin of the famous Chief Tecumseh, and father of Princess Mishawaka, the namesake of the neighboring Mishawaka IN.

We had supper with our friends JD & CJ at the Oriental restaurant in front of the motel. When I got back to our room, I found that I had an email from our friends Howard and Linda, who were in town to have some Mor Ride equipment installed on their fifth wheel trailer. Howard and Linda are well known for their website We met them a few years ago at a Texas Boomer rally and ran into them again in Branson MO where they had a rally and we were attending a Heartland National rally. It was good to hear from them and we will meet them tomorrow.

So long.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Saturday & Sunday, May 1 & 2, 2010-Red Roof Inn, Elkhart IN

They certainly believe in large barns up here in Amish country.
A very pretty farmhouse and barn. There are many of these throughout this area. I don't know how they keep them so neat and clean. The grass is always cut and manicured, the paint is well kept. Gorgeous!

This guy must stay very busy. He does it all with buggies.

I don't know if this is a buggy builder's lot or a sale lot for buggies. Incidentally, it's not near E.J.'s place, pictured above.

You can see several buggies parked between the building and children playing in the yard. The odd thing about this group of kids is that they were not shy when we drove by, waving and not trying to hide their faces when we took photos. Some of them waved for us to stop, but we didn't because of the traffic on the road.

This is The Dime Store in Wakarusa IN, home of the largest jelly beans and "the mother of all jaw breakers" that sold for $8.50 each! Even if I could eat that much candy, I wouldn't have bought one of these things!

A pretty farm. This appeared to be a large corn field. They grow an immense amount of corn in this area.

One of the large "Christmas trees" outside one of the Heartland offices in Elkhart.
I'm not certain what kind of tree this is, but there are a lot of them in the area up here.

More pretty trees in front of the office building.
Saturday morning we slept until after 8:30 but got up and went to eat at a large chain of restaurants that serves a breakfast buffet on the weekend. I apparently got something that didn't agree with me because I was sick the rest of the day. Nothing that I ate tasted bad but it certainly did a number on me. We just stayed around the motel room all day. This room is about twice as big as our trailer's living room, but we certainly feel cooped up in here.
Sunday morning, we slept until almost 9! Of course, I've been staying up until almost 11 at night, mainly because I have started to drink coffee with my meal. It doesn't bother Stella to drink coffee at night but it certainly does for me!
We decided to drive out to a large Farmer's Market between Elkhart and Wakarusa but it was closed today. Too bad for us...
We went to Wakarusa (what a neat name) to see The Dime Store, which claims the largest jelly beans anywhere. I can testify that they have probably the largest selection of candies that I've seen in a long time. They have a lot of the old-fashioned candy that we had as kids. When is the last time you saw Black Jack gum or candy cigarettes? We got a good selection for the boys and then took a scenic drive through the country. We drove through Wakarusa, Napannee, Shipshewana, Bristol and then back to Elkhart. Tell you what, I'll do some research on the names of these times and write about them in the future.
We ate supper at a Chinese buffet restaurant in front of the motel and it was very good. Much better than what we have gotten in Houston the last few times we have been out there. So far, we've been eating out about once a day and since we haven't bought groceries, we're not doing too bad.
So long.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Friday April 30, 2010-Red Roof Inn, Elkhart IN

We've gotten into a bad habit of sleeping in until 8:30 or even later! You'd think we don't have anything to do. We ate a muffin in the motel room and finally struggled out and got on the road to Auburn Indiana to visit the three museums there. There is a Cord-Deusenberg museum, an Auto-Truck museum and a Military museum there and we plan to visit all three. We left for Auburn about 11 o'clock, forgetting about calling Jim Fenner at Heartland about seeing our trailer. I called him while we were on the road and he told me that we might want to go see it today and not bother the guys that are coming in tomorrow on overtime. That made sense to me, so we made our way through the beautiful countryside back to Elkhart.

We decided to eat a quick bite at the Colonial Pancake house in Elkhart. This is the same lace that I had eaten at when I was here, 10 years ago when I tried delivering trailers. I had not been diagnosed as diabetic for very long at that time, and I came in hungry. I had a stack of pancakes for my breakfast, never thinking about my blood-sugar levels, so when I got hired in at Pinnacle Transportation, they sent me for a drivers physical. My sugar level was about 330 at the time and the doctor told me he could have failed me for having a level that high, but I explained what had happened to him and promised that I would be more careful if he would just let me go this time. He did, and I went to work and the rest is history.

We went over to Fenner's office and waited a short time for him to return. He took us over to the trailer in the production line. They had put the front landing jacks and all four wheels on caster wheels so it could be moved around on the floor in the line. The fridge had been removed so it could remain plugged in and cold but otherwise is looked pretty much like it had when we saw it the other day. I was reassured to learn that they will inspect the roof where the water had gotten in and floor by Stella's chair where it had been wet for damage and would repair if necessary. I am convinced that everything will be fixed when we pick it back up.

We also learned that a representative from Flair Industries had come over to look at our chairs. He had decided that it would be better if he just replaced the chairs, so next week we will be getting brand new chairs. Wow, what service!

We got a few more things out and came back to our motel room. I later went down to the office and got us some coffee (good husband that I am!) and we watched television for the evening. I still don't care for motel living and wish we were back in our trailer, but at least its quiet here.

So long.