Thursday, September 30, 2010

Playing Tourist again

Today we headed south to see two historical sites, one was Roscoe Village and the other was the Longaberger Basket factory.   Sandy had a couple more in mind, but reluctantly she agreed that time might not allow it.

Before we left, Sandy apparently decided to see if she could fly!   It didn't work.

As we were heading out the door, I heard a thump and turned around and there was no Sandy.  When I called to see what was holding her up, I heard nothing, so it was back into the motorhome.   There was Sandy sprawled out, face down, not moving in front of the refrigerator.   She finally answered my question about what happened, she had tripped on MY heater cord.   We slowly got her turned over and up right, while listening to much chatter about how clumsy she was.   MY heater cord got a good lecture.

As we finally got her upright and on the sofa, she asked why the computer was on the floor and did it break the power connector.   Putting two and two together, she really tripped on her own computer power cord.   But I'm sure it was my problem anyway.

The good thing was that it didn't stop our touring.  We grabbed an ice pack to help her bruised knee and head and headed out.   Tonight, nothing has been said about the fall.   No visible bruises yet and the bruised knee did not slow down her walking today.

We headed south on county roads which really requires an alert driver   The roads were smooth, but hilly and very curvy.    Thank goodness our Garmin GPS kept us right on track even when I took a wrong turn or two.

We stopped at the Roscoe visitor center and learned all about the building of canals in Ohio.  At one time, there were over a 1000 miles of canals in Ohio.   The barges were self contained with living quarters for the captain's wife and children plus a space for the tow mule.   I assume that when the barge was going against the flow of the water, the mule was needed.  If the barge was moving in the direction of the water, less need for a mule.

The visitor's center had a wonder model  of the canal locks plus there was a nearly intact section of the canal with 3 locks nearby.   but not wanting to spend all of our time looking a canals, it was on to the Longaberger basket factory. We arrived at noon and ate our lunch in the parking lot after checking in to see when (or if) they would have a factory tour. (it was at 1 PM.)

The factory is huge, larger than the space for 17 football fields.   There is space for over 1500 employees , each with their own basket weaving station.  Our immediate reaction is that they are really suffering with the slow down of the economy because of the unused space in the parking lot.  Our tour leader later confirmed that they have downsized significantly.   Even the factory tour business is slow, since we had our very own tour guide for over an hour.   In the area where the customer can make your very own basket, they had space for 20 customers with only one in use.  In the factory surplus sales, they had 30 check out cash registers and only one was manned and she wasn't busy.  (There were only 4 customers in the surplus sales area, which was the size of a large basketball court.   They are probably running at one tenth their capacity or less.

We could have seen the entire operation by going to an overhead Mezzanine to look down on the factory floor.  However, we paid the guided tour fee and felt it was well worth it to get the detailed description from  the tour guide, a 17 year veteran of basket weaving.   After the formal tour was over, we then went to the overhead Mezzanine and read the displays and looked down on the factory floor.

Having exhausted ourselves with the walking tour, Sandy agreed that perhaps we ought not to go to the third location she had identified. It was time to drive the 50 miles back.  Besides that, I was concerned for her health.

The weather today was delightful, up to 70 degrees.  Tomorrow is may change and by Saturday, we're expecting rain.   Hopefully not anything like the east coast has been getting.  Tomorrow is the beginning of the Swiss Festival here in Sugarcreek, so good weather is very much desired.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dinner Out, Nice.

Today was to be an off day, house work etc.   In the end, very little house work was done.

After an early lunch, we headed for Millersburg to do our laundry plus grocery shopping plus get some screws.  Okay, we found the laundramat (nice, but they wanted gold coins).  It was $2.00 a load, which is more than we had ever paid.   It was then off to Walmart for groceries.  No problem, we've been there before.

The hardware store was hidden away in the downtown area, but the Garmin GPS did a nice job of locating it.   Parking was something else, as nothing was level.   However, the store didn't have the length of screw I wanted, so we took the best they had and I hope we can make it work.

I forgot to mention that on the way to Millersburg, we went the long way by two businesses that were a "must see" in Sandy's mind.   The first one was a hand forging operation, which I was expecting to be using heat and molten metal.   No heat was involved in the operation.   They have a flat mold of the desired pattern and then they  beat the aluminum plate into the pattern, using a hammer.  I guess we have some of their coasters purchased years ago from some store.   But it was interesting and if you wanted to, you could buy a blank and supposedly beat it into shape yourself.

We then moved on to the next major tourist trap.  It was a store with more clap-trap on multiple levels in three different but connected buildings.  I found a chair near the entrance and made myself comfortable people watching while Sandy examined the stores contents.  Eventually she returned and commented that    "It was just STUFF--   And we don't have room for more STUFF in the RV."   Speaking of stuff, about 2 weeks ago, Sandy acquired two small items that were to be mementos for our granddaughters.  The problem now is that they were so small, she can't find them.  She has about 2 or 3 weeks before we arrive at their house.

Back at the rig, we unloaded the clothes and groceries and relaxed for a while.   Sandy had commented a couple of days ago that she hoped we could find time to have a "Good Amish Dinner while we were here".  So tonight was the night out.   We went to what appears to be the number one establishment here in Walnut Creek and we were not disappointed.   The service was excellent, the acoustics in the dinning room were great and the food outstanding   Plus the prices were well below what I  had expected!

So now we're back at the rig, relaxing and beating on the keyboard or the mouse.   The news isn't until 11 PM, so we usually pass on it in the evening.  The Eastern and Pacific time zone news at night is at 11 PM, which is past my bedtime.  Even if I stayed up to see it, we wouldn't hear it!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Playing Tourist in Dover, Ohio

Today was another day in the endless series of "Playing Tourist".   We drove to a nearby town to go to a wood carver's museum.   What a delight!   I've seen some carvings, but nothing like we saw today.   The carvings were all about railroads and very detailed.

The carver had a great mind for visualizing the finished product.  A stranger showed him how  to  carve a pliers out of a piece of wood with about 10 cuts and he took it from there. One of his examples is a tree like arrangement with 511 individual pliers.  It was incredible.

Early in his career, he decided to carve "the history of railroad streamers".  He had replicates from the very early engines built in the 1700s to the latest steam  monsters.   He had a great eye for details.  When he was in his early 70s, he quit for a few years.   But then his oldest son noticed that he was somewhat bored with life and suggested that he carve "Great Moments in History" for the railroads and to do it with Ivory.   He took up the challenge and worked on it for the next 10 years.  Then he decided that he had covered all of the great moments, sat down in his chair, and suffered an incapacitating stroke and died shortly thereafter at age 87.

While he was offered big money for his carvings, he never sold one.  He did give a few away.  He actually earned his living by making kitchen knives.   He learned enough about metallurgy so that he could produce an outstanding knife.  Today the grandsons carry on the tradition of knife making.  There was no doubt that he was a very talented fellow.

During WWII, he contributed to the war effort by making a 1000 special  knives for the army commandos.  He made all of his  own carving tools.  The blade holder was curved so that it laid in the palm of his hand just right.  As he said, if you're going to work with a tool for 5 or 6 hours a day, it needs to fit your hand

While he made knives or carved train engines, his wife collected buttons, over 70,000 of them   They were not just stored in jars, but she attached them to display boards in interesting designs.  She was driven to collect buttons, going so far as to remove buttons from clothing that was being worn by her friends.  She would replace the button with a similar, but not identical button that probably would not be noticed by the causal observer.  (Replacing a 4 hole button with an identical button with only two holes.)

In  the afternoon, we headed out to see some early settlements in the area founded by groups that held everything in common.  One we couldn't find (Garmin sent us a astray) and one was available, but only open for touring on weekends.  In both cases, the settlements folded after several years.  

With that, we decided to call  it a day and return to our motorhome.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sugar Creek Ohio

It was a record setting move this morning, almost 14 miles.  We moved from a very interesting (quiet) Walmart in Millersburg to a country RV park on a hilltop near Walnut Creek.   Another week  of unlimited electric power available.  (This is hard to take.)  So everything is on electric (water heater, refrigerator, space heater and lots of TV time.)  

This morning before our departure, Sandy took advantage of the hair salon in Walmart and I visited with a local that came out to Walmart to ride his bicycle.  He was a local banker, so we were able to get a good opinion of Walmart's impact on the community.   In a nut shell, very few businesses failed.  But a number of businesses changed their business model so that they could serve the customers where Walmart wasn't.    His almost off hand comment was that while the business community did not want Walmart, most of the citizens silently wanted Walmart and have supported the store.

The store is located on the very edge of the community, in a river bottom and along what used to be an old railroad track that has been turned into a  Rails to Trails right-away.  The trail is about 20 miles long and runs through significant Amish country.  Thus, the trail is heavily used by the Amish (in buggies or bicycles), keeping them off of the narrow highways.  The Walmart parking lot has 15 stalls just  for Amish buggies, complete with a roof and three sides.

After we settled in at the park today, we drove into Sugarcreek to learn the lay of the land.  In a nutshell, it was very quiet.  As one fellow said, "Come back on Monday because most of the stores depend upon the Amish and they don't shop on Sunday."  So I guess we'll go back on Monday.

Last time I commented about the tail wind that helped us along.  Today that tail wind brought in some cold Canadian air. It was 55 at 6 AM and it never got above 65 all day.  It was cold.  Fall is definitely here!


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Millersburg Ohio Walmart

We  only did a 160 miles today,  really very short.  But we earned it on the last 40 miles in these Ohio hillls  The roads  are very narrow and winding.  But very smooth.  We were concerned that we were going to be too early so we stopped for 2 hours at a rest stop.  That is rare one for us.

Tonight is another Walmart stop (tomorrow we treat  Sandy to another week in an RV park).  We're in this area to attend a festival called  Swiss Valley Festival.   The weather has been great.  It was a bit cool this morning,  but we made it. (I missed my electric heater and was too cheap to run the gas heater.)

The editorial boards report on yesterdays blog did not give me  very good marks.  Last week I received high marks, so I guess I'm slipping again.  Perhaps I was tired.  I'll keep this  one short,  thus less chance of messing it up


Friday, September 24, 2010

On the Road Again, Leaving Elkhart, IN

Finally, after 4 weeks, we're back to the real world again.  That is: We're roughing it in the motorhome, depending upon the storage tanks and batteries for our comfort.  Tonight, we're parked in a Walmart parking lot in Van Wert, Ohio.  Whle it seems a bit close to the interstate, it has been very quiet, perhaps the wind has moved the road noise elsewhere.

When we left Elkart, we headed east and north into the edge of Michigan, to a little town called white       Pigeon.   Our reason was to visit an RV Salvage store there.  We found it and it was typical small town junk store. It was sorted somewhat   We were hoping to find some small light fixtures, but no luck.

From Bontrager's Salvage, we headed south to Fort Wayne, IN, fighting the crosswind all the way.  Once past Ft. Wayne, it was mostly east and the wind was to our back, what a relief.   We stopped at a small town city park in Convoy, OH. to see about laying over for the night there.   However, they were getting ready for "truck pull" on Saturday and the park had too many folks around.   So on to our backup stop at the Van Wert, OH Walmart.

It is now 9:30 PM and at last count, there were over a dozen trucks and three RVs in the parking lot.   Off course, Sandy did the weekly grocery shopping and we fueled up the motorhome at Murphy's.  As some folks say, "Stopping at Walmart for the evening is one of the more expensive overnight stops."

We are really traveling foot loose and fancy free on this trip.  We're headed for Sugar Creek, OH for a Swiss Festival, and we have no idea what our route is and no planned stopping locations.  We'll play it by ear when the time comes.  Our ultimate destination in three or four weeks is at our daughter's location in New Jersey.  But hearing what the temperature was today on the east coast conveinces  us to make sure we move very slowly.  Supposedly, it was 22 degrees above the normal.

Have fun.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Our Last Day in Elkhart, Indiana

It has been a busy week for us since Sunday night.  We have been hosting a computer Workshop for our Escapee friends.  It represents a cross section of America from extremely talented people to those that do know how to power it up  (You gotta plug it in first.)  Most of the folks were reasonably skilled, especially that they could get their email.

The workshop was over last night and then we went for a "farewell dinner" at a nearby restaurant.  The service was so so, the food excellent and the meal size just too much!  We brought half of our lasagna home and it was our dinner meal tonight.   I suspect that it is a case that the food is a minor part of the meal price, so they make sure to overwhelm you with food so that you leave feeling stuffed.   (We did learn that for breakfast, if you order 2 eggs, you get 4 eggs.)

Today was our wind-down day, so the plan said.  But plans seem to change and Sandy spent almost the entire day helping a lady understand her Windows 7 Windows Live Mail system.  We probably set ourselves up by letting her change from AOL mail to G mail.  So she had many new things.  For starters, she previously only picked up her email online.  Now she can get it and then read/reply while off line.

We also set her Grail up to import her AOL mail.  Suddenly she had hundreds of old emails that were re-dated to today.  And to make matters worse, the old AOL mail was no longer on her AOL account.  It means her routine has too change, which is hard for people accept.  Nothing was said, but I don't think she was pleased.

We leave tomorrow and we don't even know where we're heading or what route, other than it is to the southeast towards Sugar Creek, Ohio.  There is a festival there next weekend that we're intending to attend.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

We have a working Battery again

For the last 3 weeks, we have had a few starting problems with our new Honda CR-V.  A week ago, we took it to  the local Honda dealer to have it fixed.  Their decision was that the battery wasn't bad. They have this handi-dandy computerized electronic tester that they can snap on the posts and it tells them everything you'd want to know about the battery.  It's decision was that it was a "like new" battery.  So what is a dumb customer to say?   Since we were going to be in the area for another week, we left with a return appointment scheduled.

Today was the return appointment day.  Since the first appointment, the car has let us down just about every day.  However, we've learned a little bit about it also.  If I would hit the starter button 2 or 3 times after the failure, it would finally turn over (very slowly) and start. We took it back to them this morning and as I was about to leave, their tech got in to drive it away.  Bingo, it didn't start for him until  he hit the starter a couple of times.  The check in attendant agreed that it had a problem.

At noon, they called and picked me up, it was ready.  Bingo, the fantastic battery tester agreed that it was a bad battery and we now have a new battery.  Thankfully, we were staying in the area for a few days.    Last night Sandy even commented that it was the pits when you have your doubts if the car will start.

We are in the area for a computer training workshop, led by Sandy and myself.  It is a group from the Escapee RV Club, who's rally we attended last week.  We have a dozen rigs and 19 people is the sessions.  It is a very  interesting mix of people and Sandy is very happy to use her teaching skills to help them out.  I think she is a bit disappointed that they aren't as enthusiastic with some of the programs as she is.  (But it is different strokes for different folks.)  And I'm one of her less enthusiastic folks when it comes to Windows 7.

I lead a session on mapping programs, but then I passed most of the effort off to a friend.  We had a demo copy of Microsoft's new Streets and Trips 2010 and Roger has been using it for some time.  So while it was on my computer, Roger was with me as we showed them how it did many traveler functions.   Streets & Trips 2010 now has the same capabilities as Delorme's Street Atlas when it comes to showing customer added layers.  The big difference is that in Delorme, you have to uniquely download each layer you want.  In Street & Trips, you get the data as one "mega-file" of nearly 5 megabytes.  You get everything, like or want it or not.  Everything is hidden until you want to show it.  I think I could love it! (Even if it is a MS product.)

Tonight we had a pizza dinner for the group and after I got back to the motorhome, I sat down in my easy chair and promptly fell asleep, only to wake up for the 10 pm news, which I didn't watch, but showered and made ready for bed.  So now I'm banging on the keyboard, hoping to be able to sleep in a little while.

Life is a blast, especially  when we're having fun.  More on the computer workshop tomorrow.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

An Antique Hay Baler

As I mentioned in the blog yesterday, we saw some interesting equipment at their antique farm equipment display.  What really took my eye was an old stationary hay baler very similar to what my dad bought and used when I was about 5 years of age.

They actually had two of them, and both had been partially re-constructed.   I introduced myself to a local farmer that was helping there and told him that my dad had a similar baler when I was a small boy.   His first question was, "do you have any photos of the baler?"  It was obvious that they are rebuilding the unit based upon what they logically feel needs to be there.   They have done a good job.

For those of you that don't grasp what I'm talking about, a stationary baler is parked (tied down) and power supplied by a belt from a tractor.  Then the hay is brought in from the field and pitched into the baler before it was hoisted into the hay mow.   Using a baler, I suspect that a farmer could store 4 or 5 times as much hay in the mow.

It may not mean much to the rest of you, but to me it was a link into my past.  Several years ago I saw a partial version of one at  Pioneer Village in Minden, NE.  It is just a piece of farm machinery that was rapidly made obsolete as farm machinery improved to make "haying" for efficient.

There are obviously some very talented farmers in the Nappanee area because of the types of rework that had gone into the tractors.    In one case, they had an "Oil-Pull Rumley" tractor, which was originally built in Waterloo, IA.   It was apparent that he had built a new frame for the unit plus a gear mounting plate.  The gear mount was made out of one inch steel, roughly 3 feet square, something more then what a man could handle alone.

They also had an operating threshing machine   The thing about a threshing machine is that it generates lots of dust.  Farmers always tried to site the threshing machine so that the straw stack and chaff did not blow into the work area.   As I watched the threshing machine operate, it didn't take much imagination  to visualize how dirty a job it could be.

They had a mix of old steam engines and old gas engines.  I tried to avoid getting too close to the steamers.  I know that at Mt. Pleasant Iowa, if you bring a steamer in to their "Old Thresher's Days", it has to be inspected by the state to insure that the boiler meets state safety standards.  In this case, I'm not certain that much attention  is paid to the details.

In a nutshell, they made my day.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Nappanee Apple Festival

We moved from the fairgrounds at Goshen at the conclusion of the Escapade yesterday back to the Elkhart Campground, where we had already spent 2 weeks a while back   So back here again to spend another week.  Considering how much I dislike staying in private parks, it is amazing that I'm here.  But we're hosting a computer workshop next week here, so the reason.

Today I suggested to Sandy that we do something different and become tourist for once.  So off we went to Nappanee, IN to see what their Apple Festival was like. It is 20 miles south of here and a very nice Amish community that we have been through many times before.

The parade was a typical small town parade.   It had the usual color guard, grand marshal and the local  high school band to start it off.  Then they brought the local fire trucks, all of them.   We didn't count them, but for a small town of about 2000 souls, they had enough equipment.  What really surprised me was that they have a ladder truck that could look  down on the water tower (I think).  It was huge by my rural standards.

After the parade, we walked around to some of the displays in the heart of town before deciding that we'd seen enough.  It was then back to the car (a very long walk) and off to a local cabinet maker that had made some parts for our TV mount.    He was still at the festival, so while we waited, we called our daughters to catch up on what is happening in their world.

It was way past lunch time and we headed back to our motorhome and found ourselves at their antique equipment display in the park.  So we reversed course, found a McDonald's for a quick lunch and then went to the antique engine display.  (We'll talk more about that tomorrow.)

We had seen most of the antique equipment when it began to rain, so we beat a hasty retreat to the car and left.  We stopped at a quilt show so that Sandy could get her fix on indoor things while Gene rested in the car.

Driving back to Elkhart, we decided to stay off of the main highway and took a very good oil road.  However, after about 5 miles, I got tired of stopping at every intersection (4 way stop), so we headed for the highway and back to the motorhome.

It was a very pleasant day.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Escapade 2010 is History!

It's all over but some of the late shouting.  After being given beautiful weather all week, mother nature really threw us a curve ball today.   It was windy, cold and with a light mist, and with a heavy down pour a couple of times. It was not enjoyable to be out in it.

Sandy's computer class went pretty well I think.  At least there was not a show stopper such that I got involved. (For that, we're always very happy.)  The panel on Boondocking that I was a member of seemed to  have a very receptive and friendly audience.  Boondocking seems to have a lot of interest.  

It was then the Closing Ceremony  this afternoon and a party tonight.  Sandy and I decided it was too cold to walk the half mile so we are staying home.  

Tomorrow we move back to the Elkhart Campground in Elkhart where we're hosting a computer workshop for 3 days next week.   The numbers are very small (16), but we decided that it was enough to do it.

Sandy's seminar went well for her, but she did notice that there were a number of "no shows", that is,  people that said they'd be there and then didn't come.   But she had enough walk-ins to take all of the empty seats so that it looked like a well attended class.

Tonight, we're  unwinding in our motorhome, keeping the  keyboards happy.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Rally is Winding Down

It has been an interesting week here at the Escapade.  Obviously, I have some strong opinions about some of the  changes that have been made such as:  Fewer seminar choices for each session, 90 minute seminars, doing door prizes during the normal social hour time!  Also, much less evening entertainment.   I guess I'm just an old "stuck in the mud" fellow.

Today, be blew the budget and bought a top of the line brake controller.  It works off of the motorhome air brakes and I'm certain I'll love it.  We purchased it at noon, he was to show up at 5, but showed up at 2 and had it done by 5 pm.  He was skinny enough that he did the under body work without using a jack.

Last night we watched a program on touring in the southwest and tonight another program on touring in the northwest.   We know the couple that did the presentation and we're ready to do more western travel.  There is a lot  out there that we haven't seen yet.

Tomorrow is Sandy's big day, leading a workshop on "Using Open Office".   Maybe she will relax some after it is over.  My big day is being on a panel tomorrow morning on "Boondocking".  We're allowed only 90 minutes and I'm sure we could use 90 minutes times two.

We trust all  is well with our friends.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mid Escapade and we're busy

We're composing this online, so it shall be short.

It has been a busy Sunday, Monday and Tuesday for us. The organizers seem to have forgotten one cardinal rule, "The mind can only learn as long as the seat can endure the sitting." And some bright soul decided that the sessions ought to be 90 minutes long verses 60 minutes for previous years. To make matters more strained, the folding chairs do not have good padded seats. (No padding at all.)

I have a few other choice opinions that I'll keep to myself for the time being. I intend to submit them on the comment sheets (and I'll sign my name.) But for now, this is one of the poor Escapades we have attended!

We are getting our walking in, as we had expected. We're parked on the outer fringe of the parking area and we probably have about a half mile walk to get to the sessions. They do have a tram running a loop to service all of the areas. It just take too long to make the loop.

We have a battery problem with out Honda, so today I made an appointment with Elkhart Honda. Then I measured the voltage and then tried to start it. To my surprise, it started. We ran it a few minutes before turning it off. I've only used my jumper cables about 5 times in the last week, which is just too often. The last straw was when we were out running about before stopping for gas as we headed for the motorhome. Bingo, when we wanted to leave, it wouldn't turn the engine over. I was a bit ticked off!

There is a well used train tracks about a quarter of a mile south of us and we are getting plenty used to the sound of passing trains (at high speed). They don't use the train whistle at night, but the 6 AM express announces every cross street to us.

The weather has been fantastic!


Saturday, September 11, 2010

We arrived at the Goshen Fairgrounds this morning

Since Sandy has to sign people up on Sunday if they want to attend her seminar, we decided that we needed to arrive a day early, so today was the day. We made no special effort to get out of the Elkhart Campground early and ended up leaving at 8:50 AM, or a normal departure.

We headed east and then south, picking up a road that would bring us into Goshen from the north. Well, that was the plan. We were behind a big flat bed semi with a big concrete arc laying on it and his speed was about our speed, so I didn't try to pass him. As we neared highway 120, he stopped right in the middle of the bridge. Traffic was moving north on the other lane, so we decided to sit tight as traffic backup for a mile or two.

They had a big crane floating on the river that turned to lift the package off of the semi, but then it hesitated. Finally, the flagmen decided to wave us around. That was the good news, the bad news was that when we arrived at the light at highway 120, we were stopped for road re-surfacing. We just happened to arrive when they were scrapping or tearing up the old asphalt on the highway at the intersection. They were letting east-west traffic thru, but no north-south traffic. Again, after about a 20 minute wait, we were cleared to go.

As we floated south past Bristol, we picked up highway 20 going east. It was no big deal until we arrived at our next turn and was met with a "Road Closed, Bridge Out" sign. Talk about a bummer. The good news was that we were able to travel on good (but narrow) county blacktop to the county fairgrounds. It was about 10 miles and probably 10 turns, but we made it.

Once on the fairgrounds, we were parked in short order even though it started to rain lightly. As we attempted to unhook our Honda, we were thrown another curve ball, the battery was dead (or acted that way). So it was jumper cable time again. I'm not sure if it is a bad battery or a poor connection, but the good news is that we don't need the car all week. Then it will be Honda's problem back at Elkhart!

The weather has turned cool and rainy here in Goshen. The good news is that the rain is over, they say!


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Our Week Off is Ending

We've nearly shot the week of down time and it has been relaxing. Tomorrow, it is the mundane things like cleaning, shopping for groceries and organizing our home so we can move it about 20 miles to Goshen. No big deal, it all just takes some time.

Today we went to Nappenee to see about getting some boards cut to frame in our new TV that we bought last spring. We had two candidate suppliers; one from a friend's recommendation and the other was a heavily advertised supplier, both on the same road about a mile apart.

Our first stop was to the heavily advertised cabinet maker. However, his price nearly knocked me off of my feet. I don't know what he was pricing, but it must have been gold. The second cabinet maker (recommended by a friend) looked to be a two man operation. He had all of the tools in the shop and from the dust in the air, he was certainly making saw dust. We laid out what we needed, showed him our sketch and in about a minutes, he had a price. It pays to listen to friends recommendations, as his price was one fifth of the first cabinet maker. It didn't take long to decide.

With that task settled, we headed back to Elkhart, stopping on the way at a road side fruit market that had an ad for fresh blueberries. Sorry, but he sold out of them last week. What a disappointment.

We sure do love this mild weather. No Air Conditioning needed!


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Between Rallies in Elkhart, IN

We decided last week to remain here at Elkhart Campground in Elkhart verses heading out a hundred miles and find another one. So we have been trying to make good use of our time here. (But not really succeeding.) That is, we do something, but we also spend a lot of the day back at the rig.

Today, we went to the Shipsawana Flea market, which is about 40 acres of fleas. It is mostly nick-nack stuff which no one needs. But we found it interesting to walk all of the market streets and study the vendors and the people.

After we tired of the market, we went to the local "all things to all people" store that has just about all you'd want, especially if you were from Amish country. We picked up some bananas for a noon snack and Sandy decided she just had to have another sweatshirt. I was looking for a replacement hat, but they didn't have anything that fit my style

We then stopped at the local bulk food grocery store. It had about a dozen buggies tied up on the side of the building plus about 50 cars in the lot - it was nearly full. My guess is that all of the locals were shopping before they started baking for the weekend.

One would have expected that this campground would be slowing down now since it is after Labor Day, but not so. We do know that the Escapee Elks are having a rally here now and there are a number of daytime travelers stopping. ( We can see the entry road and while there is no lineup, there does seem to be a constant flow of rigs arriving in the afternoon and departing in the morning.

The weather this week has been great. About 50 at night which makes for great sleeping and 70 to 75 during the day. Just about right.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Labor Day Week-end, 2010

The rally is over and the weather has changed drastically! This morning, we turned the heat on for a while, it was only 64 degrees in our house on wheels. Then about mid morning, the breeze picked up from the west and kept us well ventilated the rest of the day.

For excitement today, we had the address of the church we plan to attend tomorrow and headed downtown to find it early. Of course, I drove and Sandy navigated with her trusty GPS. Amazingly, it got us there and to the right street. There was a question on the address, which was "West Street South". Her GPS gave her 3 choices and luckily, I picked the right one.

From there, we headed to the "second" service site, which was the school, about 3 miles north. We found it also with no problem. On the way, we stopped at a farmers market and bought some sweet corn. Compared to what we have been seeing in Iowa, this stuff looks pretty scrawny. I had heard that this past August was the driest on record in Indiana and she confirmed it. The ears are not fully filled out, but she also discounted the price from what we've been paying in Iowa.

Then it was a quick stop at Walmart (they are never quick) for our weekly grocery supply. Apparently, everyone was shopping because the place was a zoo for people. I'm sure it is in anticipation of the ball game this afternoon (Notre Dame verses Purdue)

Back at the park, I realized that one of our compartments underneath had water in it. I think the water line had too much pressure at times and it leaked. So we evacuated all of the stuff to a dry area outside. There was no visible water, but the boxes were damp, as was a few other things. So they were aired out and the wind and sunshine appears to have done a great job of drying them out. Tomorrow, the water leak shall be corrected! Until then, we are not connected on to city water.

I thought with the rally over and many people leaving, this place might be a bit barren for RVs. No such luck. I think they have a full house for this weekend and the park wi-fi isn't working very well. Plus my air card seems to be very slow. Oh, the joys of traveling.