"if you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much room"

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Riding the Blue Ridge Parkway Vacation Day 4

We checked out of the motel about 8:00am Monday morning and headed south into The Smokey Mountain National Park. We were heading to Cherokee N.C. which sits on the opposite side of the mountains from Gatlinburg. The 30 mile ride took us almost an hour because of the elevation changes and the switch backs along the route. The scenery was spectacular and we passed thru a couple of tunnels (little did we know these were only the 1st of several).
Arriving in Cherokee we looked for a restaurant with that "local flavor" we enjoy. We decided on the Little Princess Restaurant. Sometimes local flavor isn't what it's cracked up to be, and we were both disappointed in the meal. I really thought being in the South you couldn't go wrong ordering biscuits and gravy, this place proved me wrong. BLAH!

The Blue Ridge Parkway's southern terminus is at the National Park entrance in Cherokee. The parkway runs 496 miles north east to Shenandoah National Park in Virgina. The road twists and turns thru the mountains and valleys with a maximum speed limit of 45 mph. Commercial traffic is not allowed and there are no stop signs or stop lights the entire length. This is a motorcyclist dream road.

We headed onto the parkway and quickly started climbing. There was very little traffic and the weather was cool compared to what we had been experiencing. There are numerous overlooks on this southern stretch, just about every mile or two you can stop and look at the marvelous views across the mountains.

We passed thru several tunnels one of which was over 1500' long and had a nice curve in the middle of it. None of the tunnels had lights in them and driving into them from the bright sunlight was a hazard I hadn't thought of.

There are no services on the parkway and you have to exit for fuel, food and the occasional potty stop. The only exception is Mt Pisgah Inn which is high in the mountains and has a restaurant, store and bathrooms. They even have employee housing on site since it's miles from the nearest town.

We took our time and stopped at several of the pull off's. We tried to find the ones that had an information sign explaining the area or the view you were looking at. We pulled off in Ashville and found a lunch spot. The temperature off the parkway was at least 10* warmer and we were quickly shedding our coats as soon as we stopped.

We decided that Boone N.C. would be reasonable distance to ride before stopping for the night. We spent the rest of the afternoon doing the same as we had all morning, enjoying the ride, the scenery and each others company.

As we approached the exit for Boone we started seeing road construction signs and then detour signs. We made it to our exit but good thing we had not planned on going further, the parkway was closed for bridge repair.

We found a really nice Quality Inn with a Sagebrush Steakhouse across the street. We walked to dinner and then came back to the motel for a quick dip in the pool and then settled in for the night. I was able to research the road construction on the Internet and found that the parkway was closed for about 8 miles and then open for 5 and then closed again for several more miles. We decided to by pass the construction and head for Mt. Airy N.C. which is the hometown of Andy Griffith and the famous T.V. town of Mayberry is loosely based on. I have always been a big Mayberry fan and figured we had better check this out! I'll keep you posted.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Vacation Days 2 and 3

We were up and ready to hit the road around 8:30 Saturday morning. We headed south and east thru the Kentucky countryside. We were soon motoring thru Corbin which is near Cumberland Falls. This is the only place in the Northern Hemisphere where one can see a "moon bow". We have visited the falls before and decided to bypass it this time. We continued south on US 25E towards the Cumberland Gap. I'm not sure why Kentucky has 2 roads designated as US 25 but they do, one is 25e and the other 25W guess maybe they come back together to make one road somewhere along the line but have yet to figure out the logic on the numbers.

We stopped at the visitors center for Cumberland Gap and got a stamp in our National Park Passport book. We purchased this book a few years ago and keep it in the bike. The book lists all the National Parks and sites maintained by the National Park Service. When you visit these places they have a stamp with the location and the date, you simply stamp your book on the appropriate page to document the day you were there. We have several stamps now and look forward to one day filling our book completely. Here is a photo of the Cumberland Gap Tunnel at the Kentucky/Tennessee line.

We continued on 25E down to US 321 where we turned back to the east heading towards Gatlinburg. The road follows along a river in the foothills of the Smokies. We saw several campgrounds on this road that would be suitable for our rig and may consider a visit here again with the whole outfit.
We arrived in Gatlinburg at our motel about 3pm only to find out our room wasn't ready and would be 4pm before we could check in. We didn't let this bother us though and since it was in the low 90's we just pulled our swim trunks out of the suit case and changed in the lobby rest room and headed for the pool to get cooled off.
We stayed at the River Terrace Motel right off the "strip". The property consists of several buildings each from 3-5 stories and on several levels up from the street. We were on the highest level (of course) and had to go up 2 large hills to get to our room. Luckily the parking was level once up the hills. You entered our room on ground level but the other side was 2 stories up! We had a nice balcony that had a decent view and some chairs to lounge in. Our room is all the way on the right on the second floor in this photo.

And here is the view from the balcony.

We walked down to the strip looking for a dinner spot and found a good one. Bubba Gumps Shrimp! What a fun, high energy place. We shared a seafood steamer which was a big bucket of steamed shrimp, crab legs, mussells and clams. The meal was delicious and we took our time walking back to the motel just checking out the sites. I even agreed to ride the Sky Lift with Rudee! Those that know me well know I'm not a big fan of heights and have never been too keen on little chairs that dangle from wires. Rudee was surprised when I suggested it, the things we do for love :-).

Sunday we headed out a little too early. I figured all the stores would open by 9:00 but they all stayed closed until 10! We walked up the strip a little way and sat on a bench and waited until they started swinging the doors open. We looked in pretty much every shop along the strip and then some! I was a pooped puppy by the time we got back to the motel around 2pm. We headed for the pool again just to cool down. We saved our trip to the Aquarium for this afternoon figuring we could see it and then go to dinner. We dried off from the swim and got dressed again for our "date". We walked to the Aquarium which was right next door. There was a pretty good crowd but we were able to take our time and enjoyed the displays. They have the usual stuff you would expect plus they have a walkway glass tube that goes into/under the main tank where you can see all the fish and there large collection of sharks. Rudee hollored at these 2 guys and told them they had better smile or else!!

Here is Rudee petting a Horseshoe crab. "No Dear you have to put it back, we had sea food last night!"

We walked over to "No Way Jose" for a Mexican dinner and then back to the motel where we called it a night. We start on our Blue Ridge Parkway adventure first thing tomorrow (Monday). I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Rudee and I loaded the bike up first thing Friday morning. I dumped the holding tank and shut the water and water heater off in the 5th wheel and put the awning up and we took off!! We didn't get too far though, we had to stop at Uncle Smiley's in Crawfordsville for breakfast. While there Rudee's phone rang and Jane Remley had driven by and saw the bike, we invited her back to join us but she was on her way to work. Shortly after Bill came rolling in on his bike, I guess Jane gave him a call and he came over to have breakfast with us. Bill retired earlier this year, not sure how he gets by with him not working and Jane still doing the full time work thing? I don't know if Rudee would let me be a "house husband":-).
We headed south on US 231 after breakfast. The weather was nice and we were both in short sleeves. Our plan is to head to Gatlinburg TN for a couple of days and then just point the motorcycle and go from there. We are not riding any interstates to get there. We decided we didn't want to rush and try to dial it back a notch and smell the roses so to speak. The flat lands of central Indiana gave way to the rolling hills of the southern part of the state. We motored along with very little traffic. We have an intercom system in our helmets and can carry on a normal conversation as well as listen to the stereo even going 55 MPH. We talked and and watched the scenery go by and had the type of day that only another motorcyclist can understand. We found ourselves in Paoli Indiana for a quick lunch stop at a "local flavor" restaurant. While there we struck up a conversation with a Harley rider who had taken the day off work to enjoy a ride.
We took US 150 east to SR 56 and were soon in the Ohio River town of Madison Indiana. I have always liked Madison with it's stately old mansions facing the river and it's historic downtown area. You can just imagine the steam paddle wheelers docking down by the river. We crossed over into Kentucky on US 421 which rises and falls thru the hills of northern Kentucky. We took this road all the way into Frankfort. The GPS said we were about 2 miles outside the city but there was no sign of it. We came around a curve and the State House Rotunda was perfectly framed in a break in the trees, pretty sight. We changed roads onto US 127 and headed south.
The heat had climbed to the lower 90's and we were both careful to drink water and we stopped a few more times that we normally do just to stay cool.
We stopped for the night about 5:00 in Danville Kentucky at a nice Comfort Suites. They have an indoor pool that offered us a nice cool down after our hot ride. We ate supper at Applebee's and then just relaxed in the room. There were storms reported all around us and we heard some thunder but didn't get any rain here. Today is supposed to be another hot but nice day. Our route today takes south thru Sommerset, east across the Cumberland Gap and then south thru TN. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Mother

Today is my Mom's 78th birthday. I called her this morning and we talked for a little while. She has either dementia or the beginning of Alzheimer's depending on which of her doctors to believe. She has been having some issues with her memory for the past couple of years that has gotten progressively worse. This morning she was in good spirits and they were getting ready to go out for lunch with some friends to celebrate. Today is also their 60th wedding anniversary. Yep they got married on her 18th birthday. I guess my Grandmother said she had to be 18 to get married. I wonder if my Grandmother would have been so strict making them wait if she could have known they would still be together after 60 years :-).

We were able to take a nice ride with our Goldwing friends this evening. There were some storms in the area but we missed them and stayed dry. We rode the small town of Clarks Hill In. where we had dinner at the Clarks Hill Steak and Fish . We had a large group and even though we had a reservation for 30 made a couple of weeks ago they still were surprised we actually showed up with that many. I guess they expected some cancellations. The one waitress on duty got a work out and the food was slow coming but was tasty once it got to us.

We have 1 more day to work and then we start our vacation. We may try and leave tomorrow after work and ride a few miles. The weather is calling for storms tomorrow so that will be the determining factor. Friday is supposed to be a nicer day but still pretty warm. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

swim time

Work is slowing down again. I am back to only doing 2-3 inspections a day and am usually done by 2pm. It's great being done early but with all the uncertainty with the buy out I worry that they will start cutting people. This past couple of weeks I have gotten 2 motorcycles, an RV and a semi truck to write estimates on. The problem is they do not provide me with the programs or the resource material I need to write the estimates. I asked my boss what was expected and her answer was to "do the best you can". What the he**!! I can't just make up prices and labor times to replace things on RV's and motorcycles! I have been lucky so far and had the 2 motorcycles moved to shops and they are writing the estimates and faxing them to me. The RV was just an awning and a vent so I was able to call the shop and get the information I needed. I have no idea what will happen when I get one that is more in depth. In the past they have assigned these out to independent appraisers who had the training and resources to write an accurate estimate. These cost money and they are just being cheap and dumping it on us car guys. The good thing is they can't complain when I screw one up since they have never offered me any training or guidance, I can always just tell them "I did my best".

Matthew showed up today around 1pm and I threw some steaks on the grille this evening. He works the night shift and was pretty tired by the time he got here. We had a nice meal and got caught up on all the happenings in his life. We decided to take a swim after supper. This is the first time we have been in the pool and Matthew and I enjoyed it, Rudee sat this one out saying the water was too cold. I didn't think it was too bad and we stayed in for 30 minutes or so. I don't really swim, mostly just bounce up and down like a huge fishing bobber, but it's fun all the same.

Niles rode up on his bike while we were "bobbing" and stopped to visit for a little while. He was trying out his repaired shoulder. Deb stayed home since this was his first ride since the surgery, she wants to wait until he is sure nothing is going to fall off before she hops on the back with him :-).

We are starting to get things packed up for our week long trip. We only have tomorrow and Thursday to work and then are leaving Friday. My plan is to stay off the interstate and travel the state roads all the way to Gatlinburg Tn. where we have 2 nights reserved, then we are planning on riding some of the Blue Ridge Parkway as we work our way back North. Matthew is spending the night tonight and will be leaving tomorrow afternoon sometime. We have our Goldwing dinner ride tomorrow night and then pack the bike up Thursday evening for the big departure on Friday morning!! I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Fathers Day

We were up and headed out the door at 7:30 Saturday morning. We were meeting the Suters in Lafayette for breakfast and then riding up To Shipshewana for some shopping (for Rudee) and some riding (for me!!). We rode north on US 231 to SR 25 and stopped at Olivero's in Lafayette where we had breakfast. Steve and Trish met us there right on time and we planned our route while we ate.

Back on the bikes we rode north on SR 25 to Warsaw where we picked up SR 15 and took it to SR 6 east to SR 5 which we took North into Shipshewana. We had reservations at the Rue De Blatz motel. They are supposed to be an Amish type of business but like a lot of motels it was ran by an East Indian family who lived on site.

Our first order of business was to get some lunch, gotta eat right? We had a quick bite at the Wanna Cup Cafe and went across the road to Yoder's shopping center when were done. Yoder's is about as close to a mall that this little town has. There is a grocery store, hardware store and a dry goods store all under one roof. There is also stores on the edge of their parking lot, strip mall style and this is where we found the outlet store Rudee was looking for. They have lot's of good deals on shirts and advertise low prices on Quilts. We bought the one we have now there a few years ago and were looking for another one. Rudee and I both found one we liked fairly quickly and the price was not out of line at $120.00. Rudee pointed out a sign that said 50% off all Quilts and when we got to the register we confirmed the price was only going to be $60 !! Cool, we get a deal! Now I know these quilts are not the hand made ones sewn by some Amish Grandmother by candlelight but we liked the other one we bought here and are hopeful this one will be as nice.

We left the outlet shop and headed in to Yoder's dry goods and I picked up a new pair of tennis shoes. I like the "new balance" brand and they are sometimes hard to find. They have a good selection here and they even have staff to help you find the right sizes and try them on.

By now it was time to check in to our room. We unloaded the bikes and hung around the motel for a few minutes until Rudee made it clear that she wasn't done shopping yet. :-) We loaded up on the bikes and went to downtown Shipshewana and walked thru all the shops that line this quaint little town. One thing about walking around an Amish town. You had better watch where you step!!

We all browsed thru the shops and Trish bought a few items. We decided to head to Middlebury Indiana for supper. This is the home of Das Dueschman Essenhaus. This is an Amish inspired restaurant where the meal is served family style. The meal consists of salad, bread, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, stuffing, noodles, and either corn or green beans and your choice of probably 25 different desserts. You can add either ham or baked steak (our choice) for an additional $1.00 per person. We ate way too much and had to waddle our way back to the bikes. Essenhaus also has a shopping area (imagine that!!) and Rudee and Trish went to check them out while Steve and I just relaxed in our after dinner haze.

When the girls came back we decided to take a carriage ride around the property. We paid our $5 each and "Marvin" our driver and "Ben" our 1 horsepower engine took us on a nice tour. Marvin explained this used to be a working Amish farm before it was taken over by the restaurant. The shops are in the old barn and out buildings. The farm house has been converted into a bed and breakfast type accommodations and a larger Inn has been been built. The grounds are immaculate and they even have a "garden quilt" made up of different kinds of flowers. Beautiful!

We made our way back the 7 miles to the motel and decided to just turn in early since we were all tired.

I don't know if it was because I went to bed early, or if it was just being in a strange bed but I was up early Sunday morning. I mean I was up real early, like 5am early. I tried to go back to sleep, I just couldn't. I finally gave up and got in the shower and was out the door by 6:30. I walked to the motel office and it was locked. There was a sign that said they had a continental breakfast at 7am so I walked back to our room and hung out for 1/2 hour before walking back at 7. Rats, the door is still locked and I really wanted some coffee!! It was back to the room and on the bike. I rode up the street to the gas station and bought a cup of coffee, ahhhhhhh I can be civil now. Steve and Trish were up and moving early as well so Rudee kicked it in gear and we headed out about 7:30. There still wasn't any movement in the office so I guess the breakfast was not a priority for them this morning.

We headed towards White Pigeon Michigan and found a local restaurant there for breakfast. We had planned to go to Bontragger's RV Surplus but when we passed by Rudee saw a sign that said they didn't open until noon on Sundays, rats.

We headed back south after breakfast. We had decided to try and pick up some cities that share their name with a country. Our Goldwing Chapter has a fun little contest going on where you go to one of these cities/towns and take a picture of your bike in front of sign showing the name. At the end of the year we will display our pictures and see who has traveled the most. We made a stop in Chili, Peru, Mexico and Norway all on our trip home.

While we were taking our photos in front of the Mexico post office another Goldwing pulled up. It was Mike and Penny Kadinger out for a Fathers Day ride so they joined us for lunch. We stopped back in at the "Siding" restaurant in Peru and had a quick light lunch. We sat in one of the rail cars this time and had a great time. Mike and Penny headed out towards their son's house for a visit and we continued south towards home. We rode into some rain at Lafayette but it didn't last too long and we just soldiered on. We made it back home around 3pm and were both pretty wore out. I threw a hamburger steak on the grille and Rudee thawed some shrimp out for dinner. We both called our fathers and wished them well today. I also got a call from Matthew (Amanda had given me a gift and card Friday). I hope all you Fathers out there had as great a day as I had, Happy Fathers Day.

We have a short week this week since we are taking Friday off to head out for a weeks vacation. Matthew is coming over Tuesday and spending the night so it will be a busy week. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The sirens blew and we flew

We made it to the end of the work week, yee haw!! Rudee had a team building activity last night. They had a bowling evening on the west side of Indianapolis. She has never been a fan of bowling but they tend to hold it against you if you don't "voluntarily" participate in their extra curricular activities so she went and pretended to enjoy herself. I stayed home for the evening ate left overs, sat in my recliner, and watched TV all evening, just a typical bachelor night at home :-). I did get one thing accomplished. Rudee bought me a new spoiler light for the motorcycle for Fathers Day and I installed it after I got home from work. The new one is a combination running/brake light as well as having LED turn signal lights. The install went well and I really like the way it looks on the bike. Thanks Honey!!

Our daughter Amanda had a test done today at the hospital and Rudee took the day off so she could go with her and drive her home since she had to be sedated. All came out fine and Amanda was back to normal by this afternoon. They came by the 5th wheel and picked me up around 5pm and we headed to the kids' day care where they were having a program. Our grandkids attend a day care/preschool at a local church. They had vacation bible school this past week and capped it off with a program. They sang several songs and then had a slide show of what they did all week. We even got treated to hamburgers, hot dogs and all the fixin's for supper. We had a fun time.

We made it back to the KOA just in time to hear that severe storms were bearing down on us. Rudee and I went out and put the awning up, put away our chairs and anything else that might blow away. We kept our eye on the weather radar and things kept looking worse. The sirens began to sound around 9:15pm and they announced on TV that we were under a tornado warning and to take cover. We decided to abandon our home and head for sturdier ground. We love our home on wheels but it's just not wise to try and ride out severe storms in one.
We drove over to the local hospital which is just up the road from us and went into the emergency room waiting area. They wouldn't let us stay there because of all the glass windows and moved us to an interior waiting room with out windows. There was a TV in there and we stayed informed on the storm which moved thru fairly quickly. We headed back to the 5th wheel about 9:45 as it looked like the worst had passed by. Back at the campground things were wet but there didn't seem to be any damage. They are saying we may get another round before day break, guess we'll just wait and see.

We are riding the bike up to Shipshewana tomorrow. Rudee has been wanting to get a new afghan for our bed. The one we have now is for a queen bed that we used in the old house and since the 5th wheel has a King bed she wanted to get one that fit it. We have reservations at a motel for Saturday night and will ride back home on Sunday. Shipshewana is right in the heart of Indiana's Amish country and we enjoy touring the area and seeing the beautiful Amish farms. This is also in the area where most of the RV's are produced and there are several RV surplus stores in that neck of the woods. We may have to stop in one of those and do a little window shopping. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

new view to the world

No we haven't moved to a new campground. I installed the new stained glass window in our door. The old window was made from frosted glass and you could not see thru it at all. We wanted something that we could at least see who was knocking at our door. I have seen these stained glass inserts and we really liked them. They can be purchased across the border in Mexico at most of the border/tourist towns. The big problem was we are a long way from the border and have no plans to visit anytime soon. Niles and Deb called us last week and told us about a vendor at the Heartland RV rally who was selling them. They emailed us a photo of one they thought we would like and we gave them the go ahead to make the purchase. I'm sure we could have gotten a better deal in Mexico but when you figure in the cost of the trip down I feel a lot better at the $100 we paid for it.

The window on the door of the camper is sandwiched between 2 plastic frames. The frames are then screwed together with about 16 screws. Taking it out was a simple procedure of just removing the screws and pulling the back frame off. I then put a bead of clear silicone around the other frame where the glass edge and frame meet. Rudee had to help me align the new glass piece and hold it in place while I fitted the frame back on and got a few of the screws tightened. I cleaned the extra silicone off the glass with a little WD-40 and then cleaned it again with glass cleaner. We are really happy with the look of it. Here is a before and after photo. What do you think?

After doing the glass replacement I got a fire going in the pit and roasted us each a hot dog for dinner and Rudee cooked up some baked beans and mac & cheese. We sat outside for a while enjoying the fire. We finally went in around 8pm and watched a movie I rented from the red box at Mc Donalds. The movie was OK, name of it was "Remembering Sarah Marshall". I got it for Rudee thinking it was going to another "chick flick" but I ended up enjoying too.

We are going to meet Tim, Linda, Niles and Deb at a Mexican restaurant in Westfield tonight. Niles goes back to the doctor today for a check up. He fell last winter and really tore up his shoulder. He had surgery this spring and has been off work and more importantly, off the bike since then. He finds out today if he can go back to normal activity. We sure hope he can, we miss riding with them and it feels strange not being able to include them in our riding plans. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, June 15, 2009

plans change

Saturday morning we were out the door and on the bike early and heading out for a ride. We headed north towards Lafayette and stopped in a small restaurant with "local flavor". We shared some biscuits and gravy that was very tasty.

Back on the bike we headed to Montecello Indiana home of Indiana Beach Amusement Park. The park sits on the banks of Lake Schaffer and has been in operation for as long as I have been on this earth. They have roller coasters, water rides, a haunted house, ski lift ride and just about every other kind of ride you could expect at any amusement park. They also have a large beach on the lake with swimming and a "lazy river" that you float along in an inner tube. The entrance to the park is free but you have to buy an arm band to ride any of the rides. We just wanted to walk around and see all the people having fun rather than lose our breakfast trying the rides out :-).

There is one area on the boardwalk where the fish congregate next to the pier. They are all extremely large carp. Rudee has always bought some popcorn and fed it to the fish and today was no exception. They sell a "feed the fish" bag for $1.00 and she enjoyed watching the feeding frenzy, glad they were not sharks!! Here is a picture of them enjoying their "meal".

We got a call from Linda that her daughter Stephanie was racing in Peru Indiana and wanted us to meet her and Tim at the track. I'm always up for racing so we accepted. The sky was getting cloudy and since it would be a late night we headed back to Crawfordsville to exchange the bike for the car and were off again.

We got to Peru at dinner time so checked the GPS for a restaurant. The first one we found was a pizza place so we passed on that. The next one listed was The Siding and looked nice from the outside. We decided to give it a try. The place is really cool, it's a building built around 2 train dining cars. You can eat in either of the train cars or in a table in the other part of the building, very unique! They had a buffet that included prime rib for $16.95 per person. We opted to order off the menu and got a smaller portion of prime rib (8 oz) and it was delicious. We both had more than we wanted to eat and still brought some home for another meal. One of the train cars has seating for 10 so we may try and get a small group to ride up on the bikes someday.

We made it to the track just as they were starting hot laps. Stephanie was running good but had some bad luck on her qualifying race and had to start near the back in the feature. She was fast and is quite the driver. She carefully worked her way thru the field and finished a respectable 4th after starting 17th! I think she could have won the thing if she had a few more laps to reel in the leader. We made it back home around midnight and were quickly in bed sawing logs!

Sunday we went to Rudee's Mom and Dad's house. We had made plans to take them to dinner and to take a tour of the new airport for Father's Day. My father in law, Bill, retired from TWA after 30 years as a gate agent. He saw a lot of changes in his career and was wanting to see the new airport terminal that opened earlier this year. We picked them up and took them to lunch and then made it to the airport a little after 1pm. We got wheelchairs for both of them since it would be too much for them to have to walk the entire terminal. We all enjoyed the tour and Bill told us some of the "back in day" stories that were very interesting. The new terminal is a lot larger area than the old one. They did a good job giving it an open feeling but still keeping it secure.

We took her parents back to their house and headed for Lebanon to meet up with some of our Goldwing friends at Arni's for dinner. Niles and Deb had been in Goshen all week attending the Heartland RV Owners Rally. They told us how much fun they had and were impressed with the support given to them by the manufacturer. We had them pick us up a piece of stained glass we can use for our entry door. I will be installing it soon and will get some photos posted of it. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Strawberry festival day 1

We met several of our friends at a great little Mexican restaurant in downtown Crawfordsville, Little Mexico. Rudee had made reservations for us because we knew it would be busy on a Friday night and it's always hard trying to get a table for eight regardless. We all arrived about the same time and had a nice meal. Rudee and I shared a chimichaunga dinner and Trish let me taste her Margarita! ummm good. After dinner we walked over to the festival grounds where they had the stage all set up. There was a pretty big crowd gathered already but we were able to claim a patch of grass where we set up our chairs. We walked around the festival a little and our daughter Amanda. son in law Ryan and grand kids Nicholas, Avalynn and Olivia joined us. We looked thru all the craft vendors and oogled at the restored cars on display at the car show. We made it back to our chairs about 7:30 and settled in for the big show starting at 8:30. We killed time by playing with the kids and people watching. Country music stars Confederate Railroad hit the stage right on time and really ripped it up. We tapped our feet and sang along and had a great time.

Steve and Trish, Mike and Penny, Jimmie and Becky Owens made up our little group. We even had an early birthday party for Trish who turns 29 next week. I'm pretty sure this is at least the third time we have celebrated her 29th :-). Happy Birthday Trish, we don't care how many times you turn 29 !!

We will probably go back to the festival again tomorrow. I'm sure there are some of the vendors we didn't get to see and the ribs they were cooking in the food court sure smelled good :-).

We took a walk around the campground after work and checked the pool out. Rudee stuck her hand in the water and pronounced it too cold to swim. I guess we'll need to wait another week for the sun to warm things up. We did see some brave souls swimming a little later though. Says something about the resiliency of youth huh.

The campground is pretty full tonight and there are banners hanging around that announce the Indianapolis Shrine RV club has arrived. The KOA here seems to do a pretty good club campout business because this is at least the 4th camping club we have seen staying here.

No real plans for tomorrow, just flying by the seat of our pants, of course I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

long week

So much for being caught up at work. I got slammed with assignments today so will be swamped tomorrow and into next week, oh well I guess it's better to be busy at a job your sick of rather than slow.
We did get to ride to dinner last night. We met up with Mike, Penny, Bill and Jane her in Crawfordsville and rode to Lebanon to the Big Lot's parking lot which is the designated meeting point for the rest of the chapter. We had 3 other bikes meet us there and the 6 of us headed out to Linden for dinner. We took a nice route thru the countryside and we really enjoyed the ride. Dinner was so-so but the company was great. We made it back to the 5er about 9pm and headed to bed shortly afterwards, big time partiers we are not!! :-)

We had some more rain with some lightning and thunder mixed in about 4am this morning. I enjoy listening to the rain but could have done with out the surprise puddle on my side of the bed. I rolled over onto wet sheets (cold too!!). I guess that's what I get for leaving the window open when they are predicting rain.

We rented a movie the other night from the "red box" at Mc Donalds. These are vending machines that you rent a DVD for $1.00 per night. They have a pretty good selection and you can return it to any red box location. We got the new Clint Eastwood movie "Gran Torino". We both enjoyed the movie but it is not kid friendly, it earned it's "R" rating but had a good plot.

The campground has been probably 50% full all week and I expect it to pick up some more for this week end with the festival starting tomorrow. We made a quick re-supply run to Wally World and when we pulled back in to the campground the pool water was being delivered. They had to replace the drain with a new model that was safer for the public (required by a new law) and have been delayed getting it open. I doubt the water they were pumping in was heated so don't expect me to "dive in" for a week or two until it warms up! I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

and the week trudges on

back in the drudgery's (is that a word??) of the work week. Rudee has been fairly steady but not swamped with work, I on the other hand have been busy. The hail claims from last weeks storm are still coming in but are slowing down some (I hope!!). I have been working thru my lunch so I can stay on top of things and finally got to the point late today where I can say I'm caught up!!

We had some rain last night and this morning, no storms just some passing showers. We have had a pretty wet spring and I'm glad I don't have to mow the grass anymore :-)

We are making plans to go to the Strawberry Festival this week end here in Crawfordsville. We went last year with our son Matt and his g/f Mandie. They have lot's of craft booths and food vendors as well as a stage with entertainment throughout the day. Friday nights headliner is country music recording artists Confederate Railroad and then Saturday night they are having a Beatles tribute band. We are going to try and go both nights, it's free and should be a good time.

I had the sudden realization the other day that I turn 50 this year!! YIKES!! I had no problems with turning 30 or even 40 but 50 looks like it may be a hurdle. I'm not sure what it is, probably just a frame of mind, but 50's seem so old to me. I know there is nothing you can do but take it with grace and dignity but, yuck!! 50 ???

I bought 2 "new" pair of work pants last night. I have been shopping at the Goodwill for pants and shorts since my waist size has been changing so quickly. I have to wear docker style pants to work and am pretty hard on them so really didn't want to invest the $$ in new pairs I would either grow out of or wear out in the next couple of months. I got 2 nice pair for under $7.00. One of the rules we (and other fulltimers) follow is that when you bring in a new item you need to get rid of an item. This way you don't get overloaded with things you no longer use or wear. Saves on space and weight and we try our best not to "overstuff" the Montana.

We are looking forward to going to dinner with our goldwing friends tonight. We are heading to Linden Indiana to a small restaurant. The weather may clear up enough to allow us to ride. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, June 8, 2009

week end riding and resting

We hopped on the bike Saturday morning and headed out. We made a stop our friend Dave William's shop, Grumpy's Goldwing Service, and he put a new set of tires on the bike. We had Dunlop tires and they were cupping badly and this seems characteristic of this brand so we bought a set of Bridgestones and will see how they do. We don't take any chances on our motorcycle tires. You only have 2 of them and you don't want either one to have a failure while your riding.

After getting the tires installed we headed back out on the highway. We rode to the Cecil Hardin Dam near Mansfield Indiana and took a break and watched the people out playing in the water. I noticed that of all the boats on the water, not one was pulling a water skier. They all had big tubes or rafts behind them that you lay on and get bounced all over the place. One boat even had a thing that looked like a blow up couch. I don't think I would want to try and take a nap on it though, it looked a little rough :-)

We circled back towards home and grabbed some tacos at Taco Bell and took them home for supper. We put a movie in the box and settled in for the night. It was a nice day.

Sunday was even more laid back then Saturday and we pretty much just relaxed around the 5th wheel. We did have some visitors Sunday afternoon. My brother Jon and his wife Cherie stopped by while they were out riding their new Harley. He has only had it for a couple of weeks and it is one sweet ride. Rudee hopped on the back and he took her for a ride around the campground. I don't think she is ready to trade but the only reason would be she doesn't want another bike payment.

We sat under the awning and visited with them for a couple of hours and enjoyed catching up with them. Jon is an Asst. Fire Chief in an Indianapolis suburb. He is also a paramedic and is going to school to get his RN degree. He can retire in a few years and plans to start his nursing career then. Cherie is a manager at a bank branch in Indianapolis and she is going to start her nursing studies this fall and not to be out done their daughter is also getting her nursing degree. Wow!!

After Jon and Cherie left we decided to take a short ride ourselves. I got the bike out and we headed to Lebanon to Arni's for supper. Mike and Penny Kadinger met us there and shared our table. We then all rode back to Crawfordsville and stopped at the Dairy Queen for dessert. Since it was such a nice night we sat at one of the picnic tables outside and enjoyed our ice cream treats. While we were there a Goldwing rode by and it was our friends Bill and Jane Remley, they saw us and circled around and joined us for awhile. We finally made it home about 9:30 and headed to bed shortly after. I really enjoy these type of days when you don't have things planned out and can just float along with the breeze. I'm looking forward to the time we can do this during the week as well. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Just some random thoughts

Things leveled off at work some. I only had a couple of new assignments yesterday. I worked thru lunch the last 3 days so I could stay on top of my workload and it seemed to work. I drove about 200 miles yesterday and wrote 7 estimates on damaged cars. The hail storm was bad but did not cover a large area, probably only 5-10 square miles. The last one we had here covered the whole city and we were swamped for weeks so this one is small in comparison.

We like living in "our" campground. We don't meet as many of the people passing thru as I would like, some of their stories could be interesting. We have gotten to know our neighbors next to us some though. They have been here since the middle of April and are from Tucson Az. but grew up here in Indiana. They come every spring to help his brother on the farm for planting season. They have been RV'ers for several years and have had many travels in their class B motorhome. I would describe them both as "healthy" as they both exercise regularly including long distance bicycle riding and they both are very careful eaters. I enjoy talking to them and they have been good neighbors but they are moving on this week end heading back home. They are spending the summer in Arizona and this fall they are being deployed to the South Pacific. They have joined the Peace Corps!! What an experience that will be. She told us that they want to have one more adventure before they get too old. They are going to his 50th high school reunion today and are pulling out tomorrow to head home. We wish them luck and safe travels.

They are putting in a natural gas pipeline from Colorado to the east coast and it runs thru Indiana not far from here. There were several workers staying here (and all the other open campgrounds) all last winter. They moved out about 2 months ago and now another crew has arrived to do the finish work. I talked to one couple the other day who have moved onto the site behind us. They were at another campground and were asked to leave because they have a pit bull dog. The dog seems well behaved and has not barked or growled at all. They have a little boy who is probably 6 or 7 and he and the dog play a lot. I know that pit bulls have gotten a bad reputation and I know not all pit bulls are aggressive but I'm still nervous around these type of dogs. I will keep an eye on the grand kids when they are here for sure! I guess I don't get it? Why does someone have a dog like that in a camper anyway? I'm not trying to be judgemental but campers are small places and theirs is a lot smaller then ours and they have 3 people and a large dog? Plus the fact that so many campgrounds wouldn't let you in with that type of dog would be enough persuade me not to have one.
I was up early again this morning even though I was looking forward to sleeping in a little. I have tried to be very quiet so Rudee can sleep but she is up and in the shower now. I enjoy a little quiet time in the morning as well. Just a little while to drink some coffee and do a little writing in the blog.
We made anew purchase the other day that we really like. We bought a water filter/pitcher combo. This is one of those deals that you put tap water into the top of the pitcher and it runs thru a filter and you have "spring like water" in the bottom of the pitcher. Rudee really likes it. I have to say that it does beat having those gallon jugs of drinking water from the store. Niles and Deb recommended it to us and we are glad they did, it's a keeper!
We have nothing planned today. We may take the bike and head out for breakfast and then just keep on riding. I guess we'll decide where to go and what to do as we we go along. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Happy Anniversary to me!

I mentioned that yesterday was a big day for me. It was exactly 1 year ago that I had my bariatric surgery. When I walked in the doors of the clinic the first time I weighed a whopping 396lbs (yikes!!) and as of yesterday morning I'm at 213lbs. I have lost a whole person! People often ask me how it feels, well it feels WONDERFUL !! There have been a few ups and downs but nothing bad. I have over eaten a time or two and paid the price for it, I have also had some issues trying different foods but this stuff goes away pretty quickly. My diet is pretty unrestricted now. I do watch how much sugar I eat. They explained that since my plumbing has been redone sugar absorbs into my body differently than before and too much can have some bad effects. I have an occasional sweet treet (in limited quantities) though. I don't drink soft drinks at all. The carbonation in them swells inside your body and would stretch out my little tummy and I would start to gain again, so no Cokes for me. Here is what I looked like before the surgery.

and here is what I look like now. Handsome dude huh??!!

Work has been a zoo this week. We had a large hail storm hit Tuesday evening and I have been swamped ever since. Thankfully the storm was concentrated in a small area or it could have been much worse. My boss is talking about us having to work on Saturday. She will make the final decision sometime tomorrow. I have been getting 7-9 new assignments per day all week and so far have been keeping up and am hopeful that after tomorrow the worst will be over but we'll see.
The campground has been busy as the summer travel season starts. Most of the schools around here on on summer break now and we are starting to see some families passing thru. I like to keep an eye on the different rigs that stop in here. motorhomes outnumbered 5th wheels probably 4-1 for the past few months but now it is the opposite. I haven't figured that one out yet, interesting though.
The weather is supposed to be nice this week end and since I may have to work we haven't made any plans. Would be nice not to have to work and have a lazy week end! Hey a guy can dream can't he. Well whether I work or get to play this week end I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

new car

Well my new company car finally arrived. I had filled out all the paperwork way back in February and after the papers went thru the normal twists and turns the car was ordered the first of April. I got to pick out the type of car and the color I wanted. My choices were a white 2009 Chevy Malibu or a 2009 Chevy Malibu that was white!! I was actually surprised when it turned out they delivered the correct car, color and all. I figured it would be a black Toyota knowing the way my company tends to do things. I got the call yesterday that it was in so made an appointment for 2pm today to pick it up. I got to the dealership right at the scheduled time and it only took about 10 minutes to do the paperwork and go over the car. Transferring all my stuff from the old car to the new one took me a lot longer! In order for me to work out of the car I have a small inverter that powers my printer that sits in the back seat and I can recharge my laptop from it as well. The car is pretty nice and has similar features as my old one. I get to use it as a personal vehicle and Rudee can drive it as well but they do take $$ out of my paycheck every week for having a company car but it still works out to be a pretty good deal.
We are getting settled back into the swing of things hear at our little spot of heaven at the KOA. Rudee talked me into getting the bikes off their rack and we rode a few laps around the campground. We are both in better shape than we were last year but my butt still doesn't fit on a bicycle seat very well!!
We had some more storms around this evening and could hear thunder pretty close but it didn't rain here. I guess we were lucky because I saw a news report that there was hail falling in Indianapolis.
Tomorrow is a big day for me but I wont spill the beans about it now, I'll write about it tomorrow and as always, I'll keep you posted.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Rally time

We got up early Saturday and I got busy attaching some "safety" chrome goodies to the bike. I have not purchased a lot of extra's for the bike and decided a few pieces of chrome might spiff it up some. While I was working Rudee cooked us up some breakfast. What a gal!! We shared a ham and cheese omelet and then headed in to the rally.

We did some walking around and caught up on the happenings of friends we know thru GWRRA but probably only see at these type of events. We were invited to go to lunch in downtown Greensburg at Storie's Restaurant. Our group went from 6 people to 8 then 10 and at last count there were 16 of us eating here. The restaurant sits on the downtown courthouse square and the food was good. Greensburg has a very unique courthouse. There is a tree growing out of the clock steeple probably 200' above the ground. In 1870, after the courthouse was built, the local residents noticed several sprigs of something on the roof. The sprigs grew into trees and at one time there were 4 trees with trunks about 4" in diameter growing thru the roof. Today there is only one tree left and it sure doesn't look to be 140 years old so I am assuming this tree must not be "original equipment":-) but it is unusual to say the least.

After lunch we took another observation ride thru the countryside. The route was provided at the rally and took us down some of the local roads showing off the area. We had a nice ride of about 80 miles. Back at the rally things were winding down so we headed back to the campground where I got the grill out and I started cooking. I guess I was the "head chef" because I ended up cooking Robinson's and Greenlee's steaks and our hot dogs as well as a piece of chicken that just seemed to show up :-). We all shared our side dishes and ate together under our awning, it was fun.

We had to be back at the rally at 6:30 for the Grand Parade line up and then closing ceremonies at 7:00. The closing was boring as usual but we did have several of our friends win plaques for placing or winning various activities. The parade started at 8:30 and there were 135 motorcycles parading thru town. The police had the intersections blocked and the residents all lined the streets to look at the bikes and we would wave and honk our horns thanking them for letting us invade their community for the week end. This is always our favorite part of the rally and we had a great time.

With the rally over we headed back to the 5th wheel. On the way we started hearing about strong storms heading our way :-(. I decided to put the awning up and put away all our stuff in case we got some bad weather. Sure enough about 10:00 it started raining and the TV said we were in a severe thunderstorm warning. The rain lasted for about 20-30 minutes but the strong winds and hail they predicted never happened so we lucked out there.

Sunday morning we went out for breakfast again since Rudee didn't want to have dirty dishes on a travel day. When we got back we started packing up to leave. I had pulled my truck out the night before since it had dried up enough for me to get traction but with the latest rain I knew I would be stuck again if I tried to hook on. Niles volunteered to hook on to us and pulled the Montana out onto the road with his 4 wheel drive Dodge dually so I could hook on from there. Thanks, Niles!!

We all caravaned home and we were back and set up in "our" spot at the KOA by 2:30. We had quite a week end at the rally. We got to do a lot of riding and enjoyed spending time with all of our friends. We look forward to doing it all again real soon. I'll keep you posted