Friday, September 30, 2011
Stella wanted to wash the sheets on the bed and decided to go ahead and wash the clothes today, so I took her to the washateria that is only a short distance from us. We have been very impressed with this place so far, and I'm sure we'll have a great time when the rally-goers arrive.
Speaking of arrivals, Jim and Sheila Gratz came by a little before noon to tell me that they had arrived. They have been coming to our rallies from the very beginning, and it was good to see them again. They had decided to go over to the First Monday sale area but I told them that I didn't think we'd be over there today. Not long after they arrived, Mike and Patrice Fogarty arrived in the brand new Landmark trailer. They had just picked it up last weekend from the dealership that is just down the road. What a surprise!
We hung out with Mike and Patrice for the rest of the afternoon, and since today was Mike's birthday (Happy Birthday buddy!) he got to choose where we went to eat supper. He took us to Papadale's Grill where we had a very good meal. We returned to their new trailer and chatted with them for awhile before turning in for the night. It's good to be back with our good friends that we have many good memories with.
More of our good friends will be here for this weekend, so the fun is just beginning.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
We could not believe the drought damage that we saw as we came here. There were many dry ponds and cattle tanks that we saw and a lake that normally comes to the edge of the highway was about a quarter mile away due to the lack of water. I'm pretty sure that we'll see plenty more damage when we travel further south. This is not to mention the terrible fires that have ravaged the state.
Our friends will start arriving tomorrow, so there should be more to talk about then.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
About ten minutes later we were BACK IN TEXAS!!!
This was the longest either of us has been out of state, and it is good to be back "home". We made good time down the highway and only made one brief comfort stop. I did try to find a truck/trailer wash that I had seen on a billboard but it was somewhere off the road and we didn't take the time or the trouble to find it and we continued on. Maybe I can wash the truck and trailer after we get to the park. I forgot about the water rationing that was going on because of the extreme drought.
We got all checked in and processed and while setting up, Wendy Matthews, the rally coordinator for the park, dropped by to say hello. It was nice to finally meet her after talking to her so many times on the telephone to set up this rally. She invited us up to her office in the Grand Ballroom and when we got there, we were blown away with the beauty of this facility. They really have their act together here!
When we got through in the ballroom, we took a ride to look at the outdoor pavilion and have decided that this is where we will spend much of our time with the rally here. We came on back home and since we were tired from several days of traveling, we just stayed inside and relaxed. It was really too hot outside to do much else. Welcome back to Texas. Its supposed to cool off for the weekend and hopefully next week as well.
I got on the computer and let everyone know that we have arrived. We have some friends that will be in for this weekend's First Monday fun, so I hope I will be able to keep up. Wish me luck1
Monday, September 26, 2011
We made good time down the highway and when we programmed in our destination, the I-30 RV park in Benton Ark. we realized that we would be there before 2 o'clock. We decided to push on to the Sunrise RV Park in Texarkana Ark. We have seen this park a few times on previous trips and thought it would be a good place to stop. It was one of the nicest parks that we have stayed at since we left Rayford in May! It has full hookups including cable and free wifi Internet service. NICE....
I neglected to mention a couple of days ago that I had received an invitation to stop by and stay at Sam and Donna Weibel's house in Missouri. Sam is an ex Chief of Police and writes a nice blog that I follow. It was nice to get the invitation but we were not traveling in their area, so we had to pass. Sam and Donna are making plans to go full time at some point in the future. I wish them all the luck that we have had in our travels.
I plan to make a recap of our summer travels in the next few days. If you haven't read everything I have written or if you just joined up, please stay tuned.
The best news for us is that we are nearly back in Texas. Tomorrow's return to Texas soil will mark our longest trip out of state ever.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
It stopped raining somewhere between Indy and Terre Haute IN but it didn't take long for it to start raining again. It rained on us most of the way to our destination at Sikeston MO. We got here about 3 o'clock, but remember, we gained an hour due to the time zone change. This park is pretty nice and we have stayed here several times before.
Not too much else to report, just cool weather and wet roads. I hope the rain stops overnight!
This morning Mack and I decided to get out early and build a fire to sit beside and drink our coffee. Mack spent all summer remodeling his house and had a lot of wood left over and that is what we have been using every night to burn in our campfires. We finished it up this morning! It was nice to sit out by the fire and chat. Stella even came out to sit with us for awhile.
After coffee, Stella wanted to go to the washateria to wash up our clothes in preparation for leaving tomorrow. I came back home and kept the dogs company and watched a little television between naps. .
When Stella got through washing, I went and picked her up and Mack came over to say that he had some errands to run. I told him that I wanted to fill the truck before we left, so we all piled into the truck and we took off. I don't know why Indiana service stations are allowed to advertise no tax fuel, but they do. I had noticed diesel fuel for about .30 per gallon cheaper at a nearby truck stop, so we went to check it out. Of course, the actual price was in line with everyone else in the area but we did save a few pennies and went ahead and filled up. We then went into Carmel to run errands and to get something to eat.
We went to the Ponderosa Steak house, which Mack said had started in this area. The chain of restaurants has grown to 225 locations and the food today was very good. We had another nice meal before we left to do a little shopping. We returned home and I took down our porch in preparation to tomorrow's leaving. We soon went over to Mack and Mattigene's motorhome to play a domino game called Train. Mack and I had played one game at Rayford and Matti had never played, so Stella and I gave them a short instruction on the game and we all had a good time. I actually won the game, but we all played pretty well and had a great time. We will look forward to more games when we all get back to Rayford.
It was a good thing that we hadn't planned another campfire tonight because it started to rain as soon as we got inside the motorhome and rained pretty hard until just before the game broke up. Its supposed to be another chilly night here. Wish the folks in Texas could get some of this rain too.
Friday, September 23, 2011
A very warm campfire that felt really good tonight.
As you can see from the photos above, we had another nice campfire tonight. Mack did some extensive remodeling at his house this summer and we have burned up the scraps of wood that he had left over.
We have had a great time with Mack and Mattigene this week and look forward to more time with them when we all get back to Rayford next month.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
We went into downtown Indianapolis to see the canal that was originally dug as another boat route from the Great Lakes to the Ohio River. Only eight miles of the canal was completed before they ran out of money.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Here is our new yard sign that we bought at the Hershey show. It has our names, a fifth wheel trailer, our Heartland Owners club sign and even a pink flamingo from the Texas Boomers.
This is the Indy 500 museum building. There is a very impressive collection of Indy cars as well as other interesting vehicles and photos of all the Indy 500 race winners.
It was a nice day at the museum. We rode into downtown Indianapolis after the museum tour and Mack pointed out some of the interesting buildings including the state capitol, Lucas Oil stadium and others.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
We left Zanesville in a light rain that continued much of the morning. It is much better than yesterday's trip in much heavier rain. We got away around 9:30 and made a couple of stops and arrived here about 1:30. Mack and his wife Mattigean, some of our winter Texan friends from Rayford are here in the site next door. We back up to one of the lakes and if the grass were mowed, it would be very pretty.
After we got all set up, we sat outside chatting with Mack, exchanging stories about our summers. Mack has spent his summer remodeling his house, while we have been traveling. When Matti got back from a shopping trip, we decided to eat at the El Nopal mexican restaurant that is near the park. The food was very good and it was like being back in Texas.
We came on back to the park and I was able to watch most of NCIS. This is the first show of the new season. Its not a big deal because I'm sure it will be released as a rerun next summer, so I'll eventually get to see it all.
We are making plans visit some interesting places while we are here. Stay tuned for the fun.
Monday, September 19, 2011
We had been on the road for about an hour when it began to rain on us. It rained harder as we got closer to the border between Pennsylvania and West Virginia but it soon dropped off to just a steady rain that stayed with us all the way into Ohio. We made several comfort stops during the day today and pulled into our new overnight stay in Zanesville Ohio about 5:30. We have learned that it is much better to stop when the urge strikes than to push on and try to make better time. We are more relaxed and an all day drive is much easier to do.
I had to laugh at one of the other campers in the park. He and his wife had a major fight on Friday night when they got in, over his lack of backing abilities. The wet ground didn't help anything, but they put on quite a show. They continued today as they prepared to leave. He yelled, he screamed and she yelled and screamed back at him. Stella and I just shook our heads at them. It takes antics like this to make our day!
Sunday we went to Chocolate World to see how the Hershey chocolate is made. We rode a small tram through a miniature version of the plant. It was designed for kids, but it was kind of interesting to see how the cocoa beans are processed into chocolate.
I know, I know, this photo should have been included in one of the first group of pictures of Hershey PA, but I just didn't stop to take the shot until today. Welcome to Hershey!
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Wednesday we were on the schedule to "work" the show from 9-1 with our friends John and Debbie. We had worked with John at the rally in Goshen and it was good to see them again. We talked to a few people today and mostly visited with our friends as well as other Heartland owners that dropped by. The day went well and we enjoyed ourselves again. We even hung around after our relief got here. It wasn't much like any work I ever did!
We sat outside John and Debbie's place at their fire but it began to rain and we were chased back home. It stormed all night long with heavy rain and thunder and lightning. It sure made good sleeping!
Thursday it continued to rain but we went in anyway. The rain was slacking by the time we got to the tables but we had a few people that came by. We talked for a long time to Bob and Kathy and another couple that we had met at the RV-Dreams rally. We had another nice day at "work" and Jim again rewarded all of us with a pizza lunch. We went home and hung out until time for another campfire at John and Debbie's place. At least the weather made it worthwhile to have the fires. It's getting to be the fall around here with leaves falling and temps in the upper 40's in the mornings and mid 70's during the day.
We were off again today but went up to the show to look at some of the other brand trailers and to buy some more LED light bulbs. Oh and I almost forgot that we picked up a new yard sign that we had made here. The signs are plastic so they should last a long time and the lady that is selling them hand paints everything, sometimes while you wait. We had chosen to have ours done and picked it up the next day and today was the day! I'll take a picture of it and show you how it worked out.
Tonight we went to a nearby town to a place called the Shady Maple Smorgasbord. They have the largest buffet lines that I've ever seen. Most of the food is fresh from the area and delicious. I think there were 23 of us tonight. I wish I'd had my camera with me to take some photos but trust me, this is the biggest and best buffet we've found.
Here are a few pictures from the week
Part of the group at Duke's Bar and Grille.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
After breakfast, we drove over to the Amish country in the area, Bird-in Hand and Intercourse PA. We saw many Amish in their customary buggies and wagons and working in the fields, much like what we have seen in Indiana. We went to a shopping village with many hand made items. We all enjoyed an ice cream sold by a lovely young Amish girl. We enjoyed listening to some local singers that entertained everyone in the square area. They were pretty good and we stayed there about an hour.
The interesting names of the towns was worth some research. Bird-in-Hand was founded in 1734 and got it's curious name from a legend of two road surveyors who were working in the area discussed whether they should stay in their present location or go into the hotel in Lancaster. One remarked that "a bird in the hand is better than one in the bush", meaning that it is preferable to having a small but certain advantage than the mere potential of a greater one, and so they stayed. The sign in front of the inn supposedly portrayed a man with one bird in his hand and two birds perched in a bush and was known as the Bird in Hand Inn. Variations of this sign are seen in the town today.
Intercourse PA was founded in 1754 and originally named Cross Keys. The theory of he name Intercourse is that it was named for the crossing of two famous roads, the Old Kings Highway from Philadelphia to Pittsburg that ran east and west through the center of town. The road from Wilmington to Erie intersected in the middle. The joining of these two roads is claimed by some to be the basis of the town name of Cross Keys and eventually Intercourse. A final idea is the language used during the early days of the village. The word intercourse was commonly used to describe the 'fellowship' or 'social interaction or support' shared in the community of faith, which was much a part of rural villages such as this. Now, because of the unusual name, the town signs are the frequent target of thieves.
It was nice to spend time with our friends and we had a good time with them.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Around noon, we went to the RV-Dreams rally that is being held at the Thousand Trails Hershey Preserve campground. We have been invited to the rally as Heartland Ambassadors.
We met Howard and Linda about five years ago at one of our Texas Boomer rallies at Rayford. They were just getting started in their full-time lifestyle and we have kept up with them since then through their blog and by running into them a few times at different locations. The latest time to see them was when they weighed rigs at the last Heartland National rally in Goshen.
They played a couple of games and we gave away our door prizes, and everyone was having a great time at the rally. When we got ready to leave, we found that it had started raining which made our drive back home a bit of a problem, We were on narrow unfamiliar roads, after dark and raining, so we had a miserable drive back, but we made it.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
After dodging the trees, we made our way out of the park and back onto the toll road heading toward Pennsylvania. We made a couple of pretty long pit stops including one for a lunch break, At least the rain had stopped! We were very apprehensive about the weather when we got near Hershey because of all the flooding. We are meeting several other heartland owners here for the show and some of them that were planning to stay at the Hershey Highmeadow Park are having to find another place to stay because the park was flooded and will be closing. I understand that a couple of them are coming to Conewago where we are but it's already full.
We will be meeting Howard and Linda Payne at their RV-Dream rally at the Thousand Trails on Sunday. It will be good to see them again and we should meet some really nice people at their rally. The group here will start to arrive on Monday and the fun will begin!
Now to a more somber note from history. No, not the 911 attack on the World Trade Center that is all over the news now, but back to 1961 when Hurricane Carla struck the Texas Gulf coast on September 11th as the most intense storm ever to that date with sustained winds of one minute or more of 175 MPH winds. Hurricane Audrey in 1957 was the same intensity as Carla but lacked the size. Hurricane Camille in 1969 exceeded Carla in intensity but not in size. Recently, Hurricane Katrina, famous for the huge evacuation of the Gulf coast ranked well under Carla in intensity and size. As a teenager in 1961, my family and I evacuated from Galveston from Carla but our house didn't suffer any damage. Others in Galveston didn't fare as well and somewhere between 6 and 12 (sources vary on the exact numbers) lost their lives on the island. I am proud of the fact that I have experienced and ridden out all of the hurricanes in my life but I don't want to do it again. I plan to leave the area-if I'm here in the late summer at all-and will avoid any storms that come up.
May God Bless us all.
Friday, September 9, 2011
We jumped up on the Indiana toll road and made good time into Ohio. We stopped at the first Service Area (rest stop with extras) because we knew that some of the stops had RV hookups and we had decided to stay in one tonight. We learned where we needed to exit for the last stop with hookups-near the Pennsylvania border-and made our plans. I thought the cost was $10 per night for electricity and water, but when we got there, we learned that it was actually $20 and all of the "sites" are back in's that wouldn't take our trailer-much too short! Stella called ahead to the Ridge Ranch RV Park and made us some reservations. It was only about 15 miles to the park, so were soon there.This park is not a favorite of ours but it will do for one night.
This tree made Stella say bad words to me, but I got us in and didn't bend or scrape anything! Just barely made it in, but we're there.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Speaking of wet, we learned this morning that there is flooding in Hershey PA near to where we are going. i called the park and learned that it is still raining there but the park is not in any danger. One of the access roads into the Giant Center where the show will be held was buckled by water over the road and is apparently impassible. I monitored the situation throughout the day and everything is still a "go" for our next destination.
One thing we did learn about the Amish while we were here is that they are allowed to have telephones in their homes but can have one in a separate building. We had noticed the small buildings beside the driveway near the street and thought they were for the children waiting for a school bus to sit in. When we heard this, I noticed a telephone box with cables coming from it in all the buildings. And all that time I thought the Amish avoided most of the modern conveniences.
I came back home and started putting things away in preparation for leaving. I got the porch taken down and the lawn chairs packed up and put away, but soon after I got through, another Heartland owner, Tony and Joan from Maryland came over to visit. We sat outside talking to them for over an hour until it began to rain again. The temperature never got above 58 today, so it was starting to get chilly sitting outside and we were all getting hungry, so we bid them goodbye. It was nice to meet them but we wish we had met them earlier. They will be leaving here soon to go to Albuquerque for the balloon festival. We told them of our experience there and gave some pointers about places to go and things to do there.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
We went out for breakfast this morning at the Middlebury Hills restaurant. Remember we found this place through our new friends Jim and Dee, but our favorite waitress, Lisa Marie, was off today. We had a delicious breakfast and went on over to Shipshewana to Yoder's Meat & Cheese Mkt. because Stella wanted some of the Amish foods that they sell. We also stopped off at a cheese-making factory and watched two different batches of cheese being made. It was very interesting, but they are very busy in the store and there is no one to point out what is going on with the cheese-making so we watched for a bit and moved on. We came on back to Elkhart and I ran a couple of errands for a few things I needed and we came on back home.
Of course we have been monitoring the temperatures back in Texas and are happy to hear that the heat wave has broken, at least for a few days, but now we are concerned with the wildfires that are burning in several areas, some near Spring where we will be returning to soon. We will continue to follow the reports and wish everyone well that is affected by the fires.
We only have one more full day here and must say that we have enjoyed our relaxing time. We are still unsure of whether we are going to get the hydraulic leveling system, but if we do, can't wait to show it off to everyone soon.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Another warm morning here. It was in the upper 70's this morning and only went up from there, to the mid 90's again today. We didn't do too much except get rid of some more clothes. I believe that we have removed somewhere in excess 250 pounds from the trailer and we have a few more things to look at.
We went to the grocery store which wouldn't have been too noteworthy but Stella left a sack of the groceries on the rack. Well, it wasn't really her fault because whoever sacked it up for her didn't put it in the basket for her. I didn't have anything to do with it because I had gone to the truck so don't blame me!!! When we got home and she realized what had happened, she called the store and they found the sack with our stuff in it, so I drove back over and picked it up. They must have taken pity on the forgetful old woman (DON'T YOU DARE TELL HER I SAID THAT!) because they put an extra portion of the sliced ham in the sack for MY trouble.
Hopefully this will be the last of the warm mornings that we have here. It was still pleasant outside but the low 70's are not as nice as the low 60's. Luckily for us the temperature never got above the 70's, so we sat out in front of the trailer and read. It was very nice sitting under the awning in the shade.
My friend Bob had returned after having the Mor Ryde work done on his trailer but they pulled out this morning. He said they were going up into Michigan and then over into Canada before heading west for the winter. I envied him the new Landmark trailer and wished him well with the new rig. He pulls it with a Freightliner truck that cost more than my truck and trailer together, but it's sure a nice rig!
We came back inside and watched some pre-season football on television and just hung out all afternoon. We are enjoying our laid-back days here.
It was cold this morning! When I got up about 6AM it was 49 degrees outside and 60 in the trailer. THATS why the blankets felt so good. I turned on the little heater, glad again that we had brought it along for the trip. Stella fixed us some delicious pancakes this morning and then went to work for one of her clients. She spent most of the morning working on the computer and on the phone with Eric and they got a lot accomplished. I sat outside in the cool air and read on my Kindle. Some of our friends from the Pennsylvania rally that we went to came in this afternoon and came down to see us. I guess the cooler weather today spurred me on to walk more today. I went for three walks around the park today.
When I woke this morning, it was 45!! degrees. I had gotten chilly in my recliner before I went to bed and had turned on the little heater and was glad I did this morning. It was still on and the temp inside was a toasty 73!
I took more walks today and read a new book on the Kindle-the entire book! It's been a long time since I've done that. We didn't leave the park again today. Stella worked on the computer for her client and in the afternoon she defrosted the refrigerator and freezer. It always worries me when she does this because it takes several hours for the fridge to cool back down.
This park is weird. This morning there were several rigs that pulled out including some of the long term residents. I guess its getting late in the season and the summer seasonals are leaving for their winter homes. This afternoon, several rigs came in and the place is almost filled up again.
We also noticed that its fully dark at 8:30 instead of 10 like it was in June. We can feel winter coming on...
Friday, September 2, 2011
Stella gathered up three big trash bags full of our clothes and I removed several large boxes of stuff from the under belly storage, so it was a productive day. As long as the weather stays hot, we'll just stay inside and work on stuff in the trailer. We may as well be back in Texas.
I see on the weather channels that there is a tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico and hope that it doesn't do anything but drop some needed rain on the Gulf coast region. I know that they need the rain but not any damaging winds or high tides, so hopefully it will only do good things.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
We went down and saw Jim and Linda before they left. It was interesting to watch them put everything in a precise place and tie everything down, not throwing things in place like we do. That's not really true because we are careful with our things, but they have not had time to acquire as much as we have. That too will change because we have to put the trailer on a huge diet and get rid of as much as we can. We plan to work on that in the next few days.
I worked on the computer all day today, getting caught up on my blogging and reading several other blogs. I've noticed that my readers that are following this blog have recently increased, so thank you! I hope that our travels and adventures continue to be interesting to you. Please don't hesitate to leave a comment or email me if you have a suggestion.
The young technician that was working on it was having trouble figuring out where the line break. He had determined that someone had drilled a hole into the frame of the trailer and nicked one of the electric wires that ran to the running lights. He finally went for help and said that our truck was wired different than their shop truck. I gladly moved our truck into place in front of the trailer so that he could run down the problem. He finally found the problem but said he would have to take the bottom of the trailer loose again to make the repair. That didn't make me very happy but if it gets fixed, thats all that matters. He finally got everything done about 2 o'clock and we went back to the park. We were set back up in less than an hour, including the porch being set up. We had felt that as long as we were moving the trailer as often as we were, it was unnecessary to set it up.
Our friends Jim and Linda came over and we made plans to meet them at the Texas Roadhouse for a farewell dinner. We had a fine time with them and will miss them when they're gone. We came on back home and sat outside for awhile until the skeeters ran us back in. It had been a long day and we were glad it was finally over.
We went to have breakfast at the Bristol Cafe, a small family restaurant and had a good meal that wasn't too expensive. Has anyone else noticed how expensive coffee is now? Wow. We only paid $1.25 per cup here, but thats very cheap compared to many other places. After breakfast, we went back to the park and sat under a shady site and read or played games for a couple of hours. The dogs enjoyed the time with us in the truck. Around 2 o'clock, we got the call that our trailer was being finished up and we could go pick it up. Keith was just finishing up the new caulking job and I got a chance to talk to Jerry, one of the welders with Lippert. He said that all the work that had been done should take care of our problem and he also explained the use and care of the new hitch. Jerry told me I have the ultimate in fifth wheel hitches in the Trail Air with Tri Glide. We are excited about the repairs and new hitch.
There were a couple of things that RVC had left off our trailer including the running lights not working. The brake lights and turn signals work fine but the side lights don't. We went back over to their shop but they were busy and couldn't take care of everything today and asked us to come back tomorrow. We weren't thrilled over coming back over in the morning, but knew we had to do it. We returned to the park and didn't even unhook the truck so we could get an early start in the morning.
Bob, our new friend had damaged his new Landmark and was also at RVC to have some painting done there. He wasn't very happy about the work that had been done but they were still working on it and later got it fixed to his satisfaction. He too returned to the park and I got a chance to talk to him again. He leaves tomorrow to have the Mor Ryde system installed.
We sat outside with Jim and Linda until it got cool and the skeeters came out again, but we enjoyed our time talking to them. They leave for the first time in their new trailer on Thursday. Its an exciting time for them and we can remember our first time in a new trailer. Memories...