Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wednesday June 29, 2011-Addison Oaks County Park

We woke to another chilly morning, not complaining, just saying...

It's still pretty empty around us but that's going to change today. We learned that Ted and Donna will be here a little after noon, so we went for a ride to another of the small towns around here, Romeo. I found a couple more tools that I may need to geet the tire changed and bought them. Donna had told me that Ted would help me change it when he gets here. We just rode around the area looking at all the nice houses and yards and came on back to the park.

Donna called about 1:30 that they had arrived but were being told that the park was just about full. I went outside and looked around and found at least 13 sites with nothing in them and no tags being displayed and told her this. She argued with the same two girls that had given Stella such a hard time. The two sites on one side of us were empty and apparently open, but she said site #2, which was only three sites away was the only one available in the whole park. I told her it was a good site and they took it. She wrote down all the empty sites and said she intends to write a letter to the county commissioner to tell him how the park is being run.

They got all set up and we sat outside with them for awhile. We came back home but were ready to go to Ted and Donna's daughter, Kara's house for supper. She had fixed some delicious meatballs and spaghetti with a berry cobbler for dessert and we all enjoyed our meal. We all went to watch Ted and Donna's grandson Sam play baseball. Sam got a good hit and we were surprised to see much different rules for the game than we are accustomed to back in Texas. We all had a good time watching the game, and came on back here to the park when the game ended.

We sat outside chatting until after 11 o'clock. It was very chilly tonight and Donna got wrapped up in a blanket over her legs and a jacket. I'm sure that my friends back in Texas will be calling me dirty names right about now.

Ted and I decided to jump on changing my flat the first thing in the morning. It should be a bit easier with both of us working on it. I can't wait....:>)

So long.

Tuesday June 28, 2011-Addison Oaks County park

It was very cool again this morning and we just stayed inside where it was nice and warm. Late in the morning we decided to drive around this area just to see what was around us. We found the small little town of Oxford and a Meijer's store which is a smaller version of Wal Mart. We picked up a few items, mostly groceries for Stella to make something for Ted and Donna when they arrive.

I have noticed that some of the areas that we have gone into are called townships. This is a different term than we are used to in Texas, where we have villages and cities. I looked up the term township (abbreviated twp) and learned that there are civil townships and in Michigan only, charter townships. Civil townships serve as a local uni9t of government and has an elected board of trustees or supervisors. Charter townships serve as an administrative arm of county government, which in turn is an administrative arm of the state government. Charter townships may reorganize into municipalities. Thank you Wikipedia!

There are some beautiful homes in this area, many owned by employees in the automobile industry in nearby Detroit. I didn't have my camera with me today but we'll go back and I'll take some pictures to share.

We sat outside tonight in the cool night air. This is a pretty little park but I'm sure this will all change drastically with the holiday weekend coming up.

So long.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Photos as promised

Stella standing beside a 1957 Hudson Hornet in front of the Ypsilanti Auto Museum.

An ad from the era with features of the old car. Check out the prices on the other window sticker.

Here are three old Hudsons from the 1940's. They just don't build 'em like this any more...

A 1933 Terraplane, a name I've never heard. I'm not enough of a fan of these 30's era cars, but they all look about the same to me.

Here's the window sticker with info on the Terraplane. At least it was inexpensive. Of course, in it's day it wasn't all that inexpensive.

They're still working on some of these old cars. I didn't talk to the mechanic but did talk to one of the guys that works there and he said they have to make a lot of the parts for them. They have pretty complete manuals but parts are very scarce.

Those guys on American Pickers need to find this place. Old cars, old bicycles, old chairs and a few old men that probably won't part with any of them.

Look at this beauty, hanging from the rafters.

Get your genuine Hudson matched lights right here! They had everything including authentic Waltham clocks that were for sale here at one time. Who knows, for the right amount of money you might be able to buy some of these.

When is the last time you saw a set of curb feelers? I remember them as a child but its been a very long time since I was a child.

Obviously this is a Hudson starter guard but I have no idea what it was used for. I didn't know a starter needed a guard.

This isn't a car part, its a kitchen match box. This is another of those things that I remember from my childhood. No one had self igniting stoves or pilot lights on ovens, so kitchen matches were used to light them. As I recall, these boxes either were hanging from the kitchen wall on a nail or were sitting beside the stove.

This is a 1953 Lincoln. The sign on it says that the Hydramatic automatic transmission was first built for the Lincoln division of Ford Motor Company. I always thought the Hydramatic was a GM product.

I don't know what the chassis was for but the photo is really about the Corvair collection in the museum. You very seldom see a Corvair on the road any more, thanks to Ralph Nader.

This is a replica of a Tucker automobile that was built for the movie "Tucker" starring Jeff Bridges.
If you can read the sign on the car, you will learn more about this particular one.

I hope you can read this. It is an interesting story.

This is full circle I guess, a security guard's three wheel bicycle. Again, they should call those Picker guys and let them make an offer.

Check out the old sign behind the cars. Notice they were selling the "Dodge Bros. Motor Cars and Trucks". I don't know when they stopped calling them that, but it was a long time ago.

An old Kaiser 2 door coupe. Another one that hasn't been seen in many years. This is a slick-looking car and must have taken a lot of work to return to this condition.

This will be the end of this group of photos.

So long.

Monday June 27, 2011-Addison Oaks County Park

When I woke up, it was freezing! At least to me it was. I checked the thermometer and found the outside temp was 58 and the inside 66. I covered up with my blankie and was fine, but it sure felt colder than that.

When we got up this morning, something had changed in the dish and we couldn't get any reception. I went outside and moved the antenna and after a little fiddling with the receiver, it worked again. I guess the cool night air affected it.

Remember yesterday when we moved over here and I had to put more air in the flat tire? I thought it was fixed but today I heard more creaking of the suspension so when I went out to check, I found that the tire was going down again, so my fix didn't last. Rats, now I've gotta get that done. Stella called Good Sam Road Service and found out that all they would do is send someone out to take the tire off and put on the spare. I didn't want to do that, so I cancelled the call to them. The spare tire has a different wheel on it than the pretty aluminum rims and I wanted our house to look nice. I'll try to find someone locally that can help me out.

Stella wanted to go into town and wash clothes, so while we were looking for a laundromat, I was looking for a tire repair shop. I found the Discount Tire store and stopped in there. The young men there seemed like no one had ever asked them for road service help. They seemed shocked when I asked them about it and couldn't think of anyone that could help me out. I told them that I was traveling through but they said that if I could bring the trailer in, they would work on it. Their parking lot is tiny and I don't think I could get the trailer in but they didn't offer any alternatives. I've been preaching customer service for years, and some could certainly be used here.

We searched all over Rochester for a laundromat but were unable to find one. We finally found the Chamber of Commerce and Stella got a yellow pages directory and we soon located one. While she was washing the clothes I looked up a couple of tire services in the area. Not being from around here, it was difficult to know where I was calling. This is a metro area with services listed as far away as Detroit. I called one service south of Detroit, who referred me to another one that I called. The man on the phone told me that they could come out and take care of my problem but they must work on bigger trailers because he asked me-twice-how large the trailer was and the size of the tires. He told me the minimum charge would be $130 so I thanked him for his time and kept looking. I'll check at the park. There are county deputies that patrol the park, and perhaps they can suggest someone.

We came back home and ate supper and just relaxed for the evening. I took the pups out and they certainly enjoyed the outdoors around here. There are only two other rigs in the circle near us so it's like we are all alone in this park. That, along with the weather, make this a pretty nice place to stay for a few days. It's not breathtakingly beautiful like Colorado, but it's not too bad.

So long.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday June 26, 2011-Moving Day-Detroit-Greenfield RV Park to Addison Oaks County park

Today is the day that we moved on from Ypsilanti to Leonard MI but the day started off badly. We had a flat on the left rear of the trailer when I went outside to start working. I figured that the way the tire got flattened was when I ran over a stump getting into the site here and decided to try to add air to the tire before we called for road service for help. Then I discovered that the air chuck on my compressor just fell apart, so I walked to the office and borrowed one there. I ran into another friend, Ed, that I knew from Mission West that works here during the summer. Ed let me use the air chuck off the big compressor they have in their shop.

I went back home and added air to the tire and it worked! I was worried that the stump might have damaged the tire but it had not, so I put a little more than 70 pounds in when my compressor started heating up from running so much and I stopped. We finished getting ready to leave and stopped at the park shop and I finished filling the tire. We actually pulled out about 10:30 but our destination is only about 70 miles away, so we were right on time. We had talked last night about leaving about 10, so we weren't too late.

We made good time down the highway toward Leonard, and only stopped once to check the tire. Everything was fine except that the roads in Michigan Suck! We had the dreaded back and forth chucking of the trailer for about five miles and the roads in the rest area were absolutely the worst.

We got here about noon without any problems. They have a really funny way of reserving their sites. When I called to reserve a site, I was told that I would have to move sites if I reserved but if I did what they call a walk-in, I could get a site and stay there for the entire two weeks that we will be here. They also told us to go down into the park and pick one out but then instead of backing the trailer in and calling them to give them our site number, they said I had to drive out with the trailer to tell them which site we wanted. We had to drive out of the park and about 2 or 3 miles to find a place to turn around. Crazy rules!

We got a nice place and got all settled in when the park host, Jim, came over to chat. Both he and his wife still work and they are leaving later tonight. We had a nice talk with him. He owns a Montana trailer and asked many questions about our Bighorn. He said he is looking for a new trailer and I told him about the Heartland brands and he seemed interested.

We were tired and fixed some supper and just hung out tonight. Been a long day...

So long.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Saturday June 25, 2011-Detroit-Greenfield RV Park

The world-famous Oscar Mayer Weinermobile was the main attraction at the Henry Ford Museum. When I learned that they had the original, you couldn't hold me back to check it out. WOW!!!

Ford was obsessed with the famous people of his time. This is a replica of Amelia Earhart and one of her airplanes. Earhart's accomplishments include:

Woman's World Altitude record (14,000 ft.) (1922)

First woman to fly the Atlantic (1928)

First woman to fly the Atlantic solo (1932)

First person to fly the Atlantic twice (1932)

First woman to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross (1932)

First woman to fly, non-stop, coast to coast across the United States (1933)

Many other awards and records including speed and endurance records.

This is a HUGE Canadian train with this red snow "thrower" on the front end. All of these trains are sitting on tracks inside the museum. I can only imagine the foundation under these things.

Another large steam locomotive. Not included in this photo were the cars in the train, coal tenders, passenger and cargo cars, etc. I am in awe of the breadth of the Ford museum. So many objects in this collection, it blows my mind!

There should have been a photo of the simple house that Henry Ford was born in, but somehow it didn't get loaded. I told you that my computer has been acting up. I was told that the house is approximately 3 miles from the original location and moved here. As you can see on the sign, Ford sent people all over the country to find exactly the dining room stove that he remembered. Remember, Henry Ford was a billionaire in the 1920's. He could certainly afford it!

The original Ford Motor company plant. They didn't stay in this building very long. We didn't have time to tour the Ford plant near the museum. I remember that my Dad, who was a Ford dealer for many years, took me to the Ford plant in Dallas Texas when I was just a small boy. I still remember the automation there in the early 1950's. Perhaps one day we'll return here and tour the plant.

This is a replica of the Wright brothers bicycle shop. They were another of Ford's interests, as was Thomas Edison. I will include some of the photos of Edison's laboratory and shops very soon.

They use both Model T's, other old cars as well as horse-drawn wagons and carriages to transport guests around the museum grounds. This is one of the more interesting ones carrying passengers.

Here are some birds enjoying the exhaust residue from some of the horses. I know it's gross, but it shows that the Ford museum is a part of the "green" movement that limits pollutants. After all, birds need nutrition too.

So long.

Friday June 24, 2011-Detroit-Greenfield RV Park

These are parts of a B-24 bomber that is being rebuilt by volunteers at the YAM (Ypsilanti Air Museum). This will be a big part of the new museum that they are currently working on.

A pilot training module. Now I can see why pilots are paid all the big bucks. Look at all the gauges and dials that they have to monitor.

There were no markings on this desk near the pilot and co-pilot so I assume that its for the bombardier? More gauges and dials and a few switches to operate.

A better view of another of the pilot trainers. I suppose a co-pilot is not needed in this one, or he/she has to stand up. How humiliating!

They had to move one of their two jets outside for a wedding that was held here. I'm not going to comment on someone getting married in an air museum. They probably worked there or were in the Air Force together.

A Vietnam-era Huey helicopter. It was either well-reconditioned or well kept because it looks perfect and ready to fly.

Vietnam-era weapons. I have owned the same weapons with the exception of the grenade launcher. I can think of several times that one of those would have come in handy, but then I couldn't have explained to the Chief of Police why I used it.

Another Vietnam-era fighter jet. I believe the docent told us this is an F-4 but I'm not sure about that.

Again, no markings about the size and use of this truck, but I can tell by the benches in the bed it was used for troop transportation. I'll bet with that short wheel base and tough military suspension, it was a rough rider.

The bomb load in the trailer being pulled by the truck. Although the lumber in the trailer deck is new, the trailer seems to be authentic.

Imagine one of these falling on you. A 250 pound fragmentation bomb would certainly ruin your day!

This was just one of the museums that we went to today. We also went to the Ypsilanti Automobile Museum. I took many photos of this museum but my blogger program and my Picasa program are very slow to upload the pictures, to I'll add the car shots on a later entry.

So long.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thursday June 23, 2011-Moving Day-Goshen Fairground to Detroit-Greenfield RV Park

At our new home at the Greenfield RV Park in Ypsilanti Michigan.

We woke later than we wanted to this morning. I guess it was the rain off and on all night. We made pretty good progress until our friends came over to see us off but it was absolutely worth it! We wouldn't have it any other way because our friends mean much more to us than getting away early. We're only going about 170 miles today, so its really not a big deal at all. It also rained a bit, which slowed me down some. I put the awning out when taking the porch down so it wasn't too bad.

We pulled out about 10:40 and made good time on the road. We made a good stop at the last travel plaza on the toll road before we exited and got something to eat and some coffee, so its all good. We pulled into the Detroit-Greenfield RV Park in Ypsilanti Michigan about 2:30 and were all set up and relaxing by 3:30. We sat outside having coffee when some people that we met at the Mission West RV park came by. They are staying here and working at this park this summer and we had a nice visit with them. We made arrangements to go to breakfast with them tomorrow and exploring the area after.

Since the rally has been going on, we have eaten so much food, so we went very light tonight. It will feel pretty good in the morning to wake up with a less swollen stomach. Of course, thats what rallies are all about-overeating.

It started to rain later in the evening and rained all night. The television news weathercaster predicted 10-15 degrees cooler for tomorrow so we're looking forward to that! I'll tell you one thing, this park is an absolute mudhole when it rains. I knew there was no grass and had put out my patio mat and was glad I did when it started to rain. I went out one time to check that I had put the truck windows up and had to wade in water. Then some squirrels started dropping or throwing something on the roof of the trailer. It didn't seem to bother Cassie or Tramp but I had to go out a few times to check. Don't worry, I took my pistol in case those squirrel attacked me. Lucky for them they didn't. It could have been bloody!

So long.

Wednesday June 22, 2011-Goshen Fairgrounds

There wasn't much to report for Wednesday morning.

This evening, we got together with most of the others left in our area of the fairgrounds for a farewell potluck dinner. We had a hodge-podge of food but we had a good time with our friends until a rain shower ran us back inside our trailers. It also kept me from taking down the porch and steps in preparation for us leaving in the morning. It rained most of the night and was very cool so it made for some good sleeping! I certainly took advantage...

So long.

Tuesday June 21, 2011-Goshen Fairgrounds

We had promised Jim that we would make coffee for him this morning because he was pulling out this morning. I went out to walk around for a bit and found the owners of a Big Country across the street from us that was with the new rally. We chatted a bit and I learned that they bought the trailer in February from Ron Hoover in Donna at our dealer open house there. They had come as guests of another Heartland owner that had come to the open house. They didn't know about the Heartland rally that had just ended or about the forum or owner's until I told them about them. Its a small world.

Stella made some pigs in a blanket for Jim as well as coffee, and Ken and Kathy also came over. We all sat around and talked until the time came for Jim to hitch up and leave. Ken and Kathy went back home and Stella and I went over to pick up our friends Doug and Judy for a trip to Shipshewanna for the day. It was overcast but very warm at the flea market but we stayed for about two hours before giving up the shopping. Doug and Judy were in the market for some new recliners and possibly a couch, so we took them to Lambrights chairs to look at them. Judy found some chairs that she liked but they decided to wait to make their purchase. Lambright makes some of the finest chairs that we have seen but we just got some new chairs. Lucky for me, if Judy and Stella had gotten together, Doug and I would have had to install chairs and no telling what else.

We ate at the Essenhaus restaurant in Middlebury today. This is a large Amish store and restaurant that has a lot to offer. I can recommend this place for it's authentic Amish food and the many Amish-made items sold in the store. If you're in the area, do stop by. It's wonderful.

We came back to the fairgrounds and dropped Doug and Judy off before we came home in time for me to get in a short nap and then watch my usual Tuesday night television fare of NCIS. It was another nice day in the midwest.

So long.

Monday June 20, 2011-Goshen Fairgrounds

We woke to the first full day after the rally ended and made coffee. While drinking our coffee, Jim B. came by and invited us to go to breakfast with him. Of course we agreed and we were soon on our way. Jim had heard of a new place called Stackers Pancake House from a bus driver, so we decided to go check it out. Man, let me tell you, we loved the breakfast there. Jim and I tried the home-made corned beef hash with eggs and it was very good.

When we came back to the fairground, Stella decided to go to a washateria to wash up our clothes. I took her and dropped her off and went to look for a computer battery for my laptop. Mine has gone out and I have to keep it plugged in to work. If it comes unplugged or if the dogs get tangled up in the cord and it unplugs, the computer immediately goes dead. I went to all the computer stores in Goshen but couldn't find anyone that stocks laptop batteries. I went back and picked up Stella up and took her home in time to learn that Jim was taking all the Chapter Leaders, Ambassadors and Moderators that were still in the park out for supper tonight. We all met at the Lux cafe in Goshen. We all had a great time talking about the rally and just visiting.

I told some of the guys about my air horn shorting out the other day. The power wire had gotten pinched in the waterproof lid of the fuse box, so when we got back to the fairgrounds, Terry H. told me to stop by his place and he fixed it for me. The wire wasn't broken but had been pinched enough that the power had been cut off, so he replaced it. It works well now, and I think I cleaned out some earwax when I gave them a little blast with the train horn. It's nice to have friends that carry lots of parts and are willing to help.

Another rally started arriving today, so it became apparent why so many of the Heartlanders had to move. This was a pretty small rally, but they filled up the sites around us. Everyone around us had either moved or left the park, so we were the only Bighorn among the rally-goers. We can handle it because we have other Heartlands just around the corner if we need back-up. Probably won't, but they're there if we need them.

So long.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sunday June 19, 2011-Goshen Fairgrounds

Today was the last day of the big rally. Many left early but then many also came down for our farewell breakfast. We had the big country breakfast that was catered for this morning. We all had plenty to eat and with hugs and handshakes most of our friends began to leave the rally grounds.

We then attended the church services that were provided by our friend Buddy Riddle. Buddy preached a good sermon that we all enjoyed. It was a good time with friends and a fitting way to end a great rally.

We all went back to our trailers to relax for a bit after the busy week. A good group of us got together in one of the pavilions near the rally hall for an impromptu potluck dinner of leftovers from rally meals. We ended up with plenty of good food and good visiting with some of the new friends that we have made this week.

So long.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Saturday June 18, 2011-Goshen Fairgrounds

Today was our day to visit the Heartland factory and the Motorhome/Recreational Vehicle Museum in Elkhart. Most of us rode buses to the factory but Stella and took our truck because we didn't want to go to the museum again. It was another nice day but not as cool as it has been.

Here is a small group of Heartlanders walking around several trailers that were out for us to go through near the factories on the grounds.

This is a new model that just came out, one of the Prowler models. Prowler was a Fleetwood trailer that was the #1 selling trailer brand for ten or eleven years in a row. When Fleetwood went under, Heartland bought the rights to all their brand names. It looks as if Heartland has another winner in the Prowler.

This is Kary Katzenberger, brand manager for the Landmark and Bighorn brands for Heartland. Kary and other brand managers and employees took us on the tours of the plant. Very interesting and informative.

In one of the very first steps in building a trailer, they start with a bare frame. The frame is turned upside down for the suspension and running gear to be installed and then it comes inside the building where the rest of the work is done.

Here you can see the framework and the tanks that have been installed. They don't allow tours during the working hours of the plants, and these people go to work about four o'clock in the morning and get off by three o'clock in the afternoon, so they get their time in and still have the afternoon to take care of their personal business.

Many Amish people work in these plants. We met one man a couple of years ago and learned that their religion does not allow them to own an automobile but they can ride in someone else's car. Some groups of Amish are allowed to own and drive cars, so they come around and pick up the others to take them to work. Interesting lifestyle.

Here is the decking of a new trailer. The tanks, wiring, piping, insulation and other materials have been installed and the laminated deck installed over all that. You can see that a lot of insulation is used in the floor. I guess thats one reason that the floors are so solid in our trailers.

The carpet and linoleum has been laid in place. The angled strip that you see is a part of the slide-out. The slide goes over this strip, which lifts it up as it glides in.

They are starting to install the cabinets in this trailer. Much easier to install now than to wait until the walls are in place! There will be steps installed to the right of the cabinets to go up into the bathroom and bedroom.

This is a laminated roof of a new trailer. The openings are for skylights or air conditioning units that will be installed further down the line.

After completing the plant tour, about four hundred of our friends gathered in a new plant building that we used for our lunchroom. We had burgers and brats for lunch today. It was a great time with other Heartland owners. I would urge anyone that didn't get to go this year to try to plan a trip to our next "homecoming" rally in Goshen in 2013. It's well worth the trip.

Brian Brady, President and CEO of Heartland spoke to us for a long time before taking questions from the floor. We met him in 2009 when we attended our first rally here and were very impressed with him. He insisted that everyone call him Brian instead of Mr. Brady.

We returned to the fairgrounds and hung out and relaxed for a bit while many of the others went to the Motorhome/RV Hall of Fame and Museum. I later learned that Jim had to send some of the buses that he had reserved back because so many people decided to drive their own vehicles and thats too bad. I wish we as a group had let him know so that he didn't have to spend the money on the buses, but I guess we all learned something here and the next rally will be better for it.

We later went to our last get-together. We had a good catered meal that all enjoyed. You might be wondering how 450 people got fed and I'll tell you. We had two lines of food on either end of the hall. People could go on both sides of the tables to fill their plates. Then each table (eight people to a table) was given a number which were drawn, with two tables being given the same numbers. That way, when your table number was called, there were two tables being fed on either end of the room. It may sound confusing but it worked. 450 people were served in about 30-45 minutes.

We had some great entertainment after the meal. A man named Dave Tressell, who is a hypnotist, had about 15 volunteers come up. He hypnotized them and it was hilarious! I got some video of it but I'll have to attach it to another entry. I don't want this one to be so long and need to get it posted. It will be worth it, so check back here and I'll post it later.

So long.