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

Monday, August 31, 2009

lazy Sunday

I woke up Sunday and just could not get motivated. The 5th wheel was cool inside since it got down into the upper 40's so I turned on our portable heater we have in the bedroom for Rudee and left her to sleep in and headed for the coffee pot. I surfed the web and drank most of a pot of coffee. Rudee was up around 9am and she was in the same mood I was in. I guess we both needed a "do nothing" day.

We recently joined Netflix and had gotten our first movie so we watched it. Netflix works pretty slick. We have a list of movies we want to watch on their website and have them in the order we would prefer to watch them. They send us a movie out and we can keep it as long as want. Once we watch it we seal it back into the prepaid return envelope and drop it back into the mail to them. When the movie arrives back to them they send us another one on our list. We pay just under $9.00 per month and can have unlimited movies one at time. They also have movies and TV episodes that you can watch on your computer (streaming video) for free. I have not played around with that feature yet.

Kadinger's called us shortly after 4pm and we drove the semi over to his shop. Mike and Penny met us there and we had the winch cable cut off and everything back to normal in about 15 minutes. We decided that Steak and Shake needed some business tonight so we followed them over where we had a nice visit and meal.

Steak and Shake is near the super Wal Mart so we drove over to check on the price of diesel fuel. The truck holds 280 gallons (two 140 gallon tanks) and the last time we filled it up was in Kentucky on our way home from Florida in January. The gauge still showed 1/2 a tank but we figured it was time to get it a little closer to being full. Of course we have to do a little shopping while we're there. Rudee headed in to pick up a few things and I went to the service desk and bought a $200.00 gift card. By using the gift card at the fuel pump you save .03 per gallon. The truck ended up taking about 65 gallons to fill the drivers side tank and I turned the truck around and finished off the card on the passenger tank.
I showed 760 miles driven since the last fill up but since I didn't fill it all the way I couldn't figure the mpg this time. We usually get around 9 miles per gallon. We have driven more this year than I thought. We have had several week end camp outs and went to the Indiana GWRRA rally last May. I guess it all adds up quick but it's pretty sweet to fill the truck up and it lasts all year!

We are planning on going to play BINGO tonight in Lebanon, wish us luck. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Goody shopping.

We were up and rolling early Saturday morning. Niles had invited us to ride along with them to the big truck chrome shop about 60 miles north of here. Niles and Deb own LC Trucking and have 3 semi trucks one of which Niles drives. He does a lot of agricultural work hauling soy beans and corn. He needed to pick up some new chrome goodies for one of their trucks and I thought maybe Rudee would let me do some shopping too.

We met at our favorite breakfast spot, Flapjacks in Lebanon. Rudee and I shared a small breakfast as usual and we all jumped into my company car and headed out. I have to pay around $80 every paycheck for use of the company car. I rarely use it for personal travel in the summer because we are on the bike a lot. We use it more in the winter months and it's a nice benefit of the job.

The chrome shop has all kinds of "stuff" to dress up big trucks and you can spend a lot of money. I bought new hub caps and some chrome rings to outline the gauges on the dash. Niles spent a little more than me so I didn't feel too bad. He tried to get me to trade him bills but "no thanks, Niles!" :-).
They rode back home with us and the girls took off to the mall or wherever it is women go to when the guys have a project to work on.

I moved the semi into the empty spot beside us and started my winch project. I was pleasantly surprised to find out the winch was not a hard replacement at all. We had the old one off and the new one on in about 30 minutes. We did a quick test and all seemed well so I pulled the bike over and we loaded it up onto the truck. The new winch works well with one exception. They loaded the spool up with wire cable to the point that when we get the bike up on the truck and it is pulling it the last foot or so into position the cable starts to bind on the spool. I'm not sure why they did this but I wont need 1/2 the cable on the thing. We decided to try some re-engineering and put a pulley on to give it more pulling power. A quick trip to the hardware for supplies and a couple of turns with the wrenches and we tried again.

The pulley gave us some more pulling power but we still had the too much cable issue. I called Mike Kadinger who has about every tool imaginable and lives here in Crawfordsville. He was out of town but said he would call me Sunday when he got home and we could take care of shortening the cable in short order.

The good news is we are back in business with the bike ramp and should have all the issues resolved before our holiday campout next week end.

I decided to put the new chrome on the truck since I was in a "workin" mood. This is where things went south in a hurry. No matter how I lined up the baby moon hubcaps on the rear wheels they just wouldn't go on! I even got the rubber mallet out and did some "persuading" on them to no avail :-( I was not a happy camper. I decided to move to the front wheels and do those. Well guess what? The ones I bought for the front wouldn't work on my truck! Things were not working out. Remember the gauge bezels I bought? I pulled these out and realized I had only bought 6 and needed 8! Durn durn durn!! I decided it was time to put the tools away and go to lunch :-).

I treated Niles to lunch at Uncle Smiley's to thank him for his help. We had a nice lunch and when we got back to the 5er we watched the 2nd half of the Colts game on TV. They ended up losing to a late 4th quarter touchdown but it is "only" pre-season right?
The girls made it back from their shopping trip and Rudee had only a small bag with some make up. She is not a real "shop-a-holic" but does enjoy a shopping trip now and then.

We drove Deb and Niles back to Lebanon and dropped them back at their car. They had to get home to "rescue" Tucker their black Lab. He had been in all day and was probably sitting waiting on them with his legs crossed!

Leaving Lebanon we talked to Steve and Trish Suter on the cell phone. They have their 5th wheel parked in a seasonal lot in Thorntown about 8 miles from Lebanon. They were heading there when we talked and invited us over. We sat and visited under their awning for a while and since it was time for supper the four of us headed to Stookey's in Thorntown to eat. This has been a longtime favorite restaurant of ours. They have really good steaks and catfish. The place is family owned and are in their second generation. I decided to go "light" tonight and had a grilled chicken salad and Rudee had a ham steak dinner. She ended up bringing over 1/2 of her dinner home since we didn't share. I see a big pot of ham and beans in my future!

Back at Suter's 5er Steve built a fire and we talked, laughed, drank a glass of wine and roasted some marshmallows. The yawns finally took over and we called it a night and headed home. It was a nice topper to a good day. Here is a picture of Steve and Trish from a recent bike ride.

The weather has taken a turn this week end. We have had the portable heater on both mornings to take the chill off. I read on the Montana Owners Forum that one of the members was in Wisconsin and the lows were expected to be in the low 30's there. Yikes, where did the summer go! The highs today are supposed to be in the high 60's so doubt if we will do any motorcycling but who knows. The only thing we have planned so far is to finish up the winch. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

we have a winch!!

Rudee and I drove to Brownsburg to the UPS store (our "home address") and picked up our mail. They also had a package waiting for us. Yep the long awaited winch had arrived!

I took a quick look inside the box before we drove off and it is a brand spanking new 4,000 lb'er. The guy said it would bolt into the same holes that the existing one uses so I'm hoping it will not be an ordeal swapping it out. I guess I'll find out this week end. Stay tuned for "that" story.

We have been pretty happy with the UPS store that serves as our mail service provider. They have been very good at notifying us when we get a package. We have it set up to forward our mail every Tuesday and have money in our account to pay for the postage and packaging of our normal mail. We have it sent here to the KOA where we have our own little cubby hole where the staff puts our mail. The forwarded mail usually gets her Wednesday or Thursday. Of course whenever I'm close to Brownsburg I'll stop in and pick up the mail myself since it saves on the forwarding $$.

Rudee was having a Mexican food withdrawal so on our way back home we stopped at Little Mexico here in Crawfordsville. We had a nice meal and then had to make a grocery run. There was a big tent set up in the grocery store parking lot and I though maybe they were having a big sale. Turns out there was some kind if outfit that had a free zoo set up. We walked through it and saw a Llama, kangaroo, monkey, python (Rudee didn't get too close to that!!), and a big tiger. There was another section where you could pay $1.00 and see a leopard and a lion. We stuck with the free stuff. They also had a camel they used to give rides, it was a two humper :-).

We headed home after the safari and the shopping. Rudee has been watching TV and I have been surfing the web. I did find a nice deal advertised on the Escapees forum, a lot in the Yuma foothills that has been developed with 2 RV sites. The place has a nice patio and full hook ups and looks like it would be a great place to spend the winters. The price is "only" $105,000.00. Would be nice to have a lot somewhere but we're not ready for that yet, heck fire we want to travel some first and still are a few years away from doing that :-).

I had to appear in court yesterday for work. I wrote the estimate on a car and there was a lawsuit filed because the insurance companies were all fighting over who was at fault. I had to drive 2 hours up there, sat for 1 1/2 hours waiting only to get on the stand and they asked me three whole questions! I took the stand at 3:00pm and walked out of the courtroom at 3:03 pm only to have to drive the 2 hours back home. What a pain.

No real plans this week end except to get the winch replaced. We may even get to take a bike ride if all goes well, keep your fingers crossed. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

2 wheels!!

While doing the corn at Amanda and Ryan's house last Saturday the 3 grand kids were helping some and playing some. As the day wore on they played more than they helped but that's OK kids need to be kids right? Nicholas our oldest was riding his bicycle when one of his training wheels broke. He kept on riding with only 3 wheels and his Dad and I finally talked him into taking the other one off. He was scared at first but after just a few minutes was pedaling all over the place. He was so proud of himself. It was a special time for him and I was so happy to have witnessed it. Here he is a couple of weeks ago playing in the playground here at the KOA.

I remember when I first learned to ride a 2 wheeler so long ago. I was probably 6 or 7 years old and we were camping at Lieber State Park in west central Indiana. I was just like Nicholas and didn't want to stop once I figured it all out. My kids never seemed to like riding their bikes much but when I was growing up I rode a lot. My parents made me walk to school because they were afraid someone would steal my bike but when I went anywhere else I was riding. I had a paper route for several years and delivered papers while zipping and weaving through our neighborhood. I guess maybe this is where my love for motorcycling started. The best part is you don't have to pedal the Goldwing and the seat is a whole lot more comfortable :-)

Looks like the winch we need to fix the motorcycle lift is on it's way. The last update by UPS is it left Minnesota and arrived in Chicago early this afternoon. Looks like it may get here tomorrow :-) I'll keep you posted.

Monday, August 24, 2009

new winch?

Another Monday in the books. Rudee and I both have been slow at work. I didn't get any new assignments until just before noon. I only had to drive about 35 miles up the road and got 2 assignments done so the day wasn't a total waste. I have 3 scheduled so far for tomorrow.

Friday I decided to send the winch guy an email so all he had to do was hit reply and send me the tracking number for the new winch. I am trying to take away any more excuses he may come up with for him not sending it. Well I got a reply today with a UPS tracking number!! I checked it and of course the UPS billing info was sent just today (not last Wed. like he told me on the phone!!) which means it has not been shipped yet but at least it's a step in the right direction. This guy has really made things a lot harder than they need to be. The email says he wants me to call him after we are back up and running and he will send me a return UPS label for the old winch. Maybe I should make him jump through the same number of hoops I jumped through. I am hoping the package will arrive before Saturday so we can put it on and test it this week end.

Our neighbors who trailer burned are back. They had someone pull a small (and I mean SMALL) 5th wheel onto their site yesterday. They have been hauling van loads of stuff in all day. There are boxes and boxes of stuff stacked all over the place. I don't know how they are going to fit it all in. They have their dogs back as well. Sure was quiet here without them . These are not good camping dogs and howl at every little thing, very annoying.

I have to appear in court on Wednesday afternoon. I guess someone has filed a small claims case against my company and I wrote the estimate for his damages. I'm not sure what he is alleging but had not heard anything from him or his body shop since I wrote it back in February until a lawyer retained by us called me a couple of weeks ago saying I needed to appear. I really don't remember much about the car, they all tend to run together after you do a few hundred or so. I guess I'll find out Wednesday and I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

nice week end

Dale and Teresa Pickett arrived here at the KOA around 6pm Friday evening, about 10 minutes before the clouds opened up and it poured rain :-(.

I had suggested to Rudee that we cook out on the grille tonight and then maybe have a campfire. I pulled the grille out and started to light it up and found that the burner had rusted through. Rudee suggested we go to Wal Mart and see if we can pick up another one so we hopped into the truck and headed across town. We found a nice stainless steel grille on sale for $50.00 and decided to buy it. We paid and headed back to the 5th wheel. When we pulled in the driveway we saw Picketts pulling into their spot beside us. We said a quick hello and left them alone to set up. I unpacked the grille and sat at the picnic table putting it together. Rudee helped me until the rain came, she ducked under the awning and laughed at me trying to finish the last few screws while getting soaked :-).

I fired up the new grille despite the rain. Heck fire, I won't melt right? I grilled the steaks while Rudee made us salads and baked a couple of potatoes in the microwave. We had a nice meal and the rain slowed down some but it was obvious we wouldn't be doing much outdoors tonight. Picketts had pretty much settled in to their camper content to watch TV so we did the same.

We got up Saturday morning and wondered where summer went. The temperature was in the low 60's and it was overcast and gloomy outside. We decided to go out for breakfast. Dale and Teresa decided to pass so Rudee and I headed to Uncle Smiley's for a quick bite. We made it back to the campground about 10am and started preparing for our pitch in picnic with our Goldwing chapter. We had a couple of packages of pre-cooked shrimp in the freezer and decided to thaw them out and take them and some seafood sauce on a platter for a nice shrimp cocktail. The picnic was at a local park and there were several already there when we arrived. Bill Remley and his brother Ron had brought their grills and took care of preparing the hamburgers, hot dogs and sausages. There was a large selection of side dishes and deserts to choose from. We all ate our fill and then some!

BINGO was the name of the game after lunch. Terri Remley was the caller and they had prizes for the winner. I won the first game and got a sack of goodies. We played 7 or 8 games and Rudee won one also. We all had a good time just hanging around talking all afternoon.

Back at the 5th wheel I started a fire in the ring. Picketts came over and we just relaxed by the flames. Robinson's showed up shortly after and were followed by Kadinger's and both sets of Remley's. We had 12 people around the fire at one time. Rudee made a large crock pot of chili and the others still had some left overs from the picnic so we had another pitch in. Niles got on the phone and ordered a couple of pizzas to round out our "buffet". We all had another good meal and spent the evening telling lies and laughing around the campfire. I really love those kind of nights, it doesn't get any better.

Sunday we were up and at it fairly early. We told Picketts goodbye since they were leaving to head back home. We had plans to go to Amanda and Ryan's to help them shuck, cook, bag and freeze their sweet corn. They have a small garden in their back yard and had a bumper crop of sweet corn they wanted to put up.

We arrived about 10 a/m and Ryan put us to work. They had picked the corn yesterday so we started shucking and shucking and shucking. Wow that was a lot of corn! Ryan has a small utility tractor with a bucket on the front. He had the bucket full and when that was all gone he went and filled it again! I don't know how many bags of corn they ended up with but we worked non stop for almost 4 hours!
Rudee wanted to take her Mom and Dad some corn so we gathered up a dozen ears that were left over and headed to Plainfield. We met them at a local restaurant for a very late lunch and had a nice visit with them.

We ended up back at the 5th wheel where we had a late supper of, what else, corn on the cob! I'm pretty sick of corn right now :-). We decided to join Netflix and see how it works. We can get 1 movie at a time and there are no late fees. We have been renting probably 1-2 movies a week at the "red box" kiosk found at Mc Donalds and Wal Mart. We will see how this works out. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, August 21, 2009

company coming

We are having some friends camping here at the KOA this week end. Dale and Teresa Pickett have an All American Sport toy hauler 5th wheel. They ride with us in our Goldwing group as well as camping together several times a year. They should be here later this afternoon and we are looking forward to a nice week end. We are going to the chapter picnic tomorrow. Everyone will bring a covered dish and the chapter provides the main course. The picnic will be at a local park here in Crawfordsville.

I have been considering installing an air ride pin box on the Montana. The freightliners suspension is very stiff since it was designed to haul very heavy loads. Bumps in the roadway are transferred to the frame of the Montana, the air ride would absorb these and give us a smoother ride. I called 5th Airborne customer service to inquire about their air ride hitches. I figured since they are located in Goshen In. and since we will be in Goshen for a week in September attending the Montana Owners Rally maybe we could work something out to buy one. The customer service gal was anything but helpful. I told her I needed some info on her product and wanted to see about purchasing. SHe said I would need to contact a dealer and I could go to their website and look one up. I told her I would be in Goshen and did they have a local dealer, she said she had no idea and I could go to their website and look it up myself as long as I had Goshen's zip code. I thanked her for her time and told her I would be calling Trail Air instead since they did not seem to want to help me find one of theirs. I wonder what the owners of this company would think of the "customer service" their customer service people were providing.

Speaking of customer service. I called Frank my forgetful winch provider. His latest story is he was out of town and didn't place the order for my winch until Wednesday night and it was being shipped. I gave him my email and he was supposed to be sending me a tracking number. I am trying to be patient with them since he seems to want to help solve my issue. I guess if this time it does not work out it's time for plan B and that would include losing my patience and probably any hope of getting the winch replaced by them. I don't understand why it has to be this hard? If the guy doesn't want to stand behind his product then he could at least tell me this up front and I wouldn't be sitting here waiting on him. I will purchase a winch myself if I cannot get one through them and fix the thing on my own. I just wish he would be honest, upfront and follow through on the expectations he himself set. Rant over.

We will probably either cook out tonight or take the bike and go somewhere with Dale and Teresa whichever they want to do. Tomorrow is the picnic and probably some riding. Sunday we are going to Amanda and Ryan's to help them bring in the crop of sweet corn. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hump Day

The weather has been off and on so far this week. There have been pop up storms every day but so far they have all missed us. We have been hanging around the trailer and just being lazy the last couple of evenings. Tonight we are heading to Lebanon for our GWRRA monthly Chapter meeting. The meetings are usually pretty boring but the company is always good.

When we arrived in Elizabethtown Ky. last Saturday we had a few extra minutes to "see the sights". Our first stop was on the courthouse square. One of the buildings there has a cannon ball embedded in the side of it. The ball was fired in December 1862 when Confederate General Morgan's troops attacked the Federal forces who held the town. The confederates won the battle and occupied the town. I did a little further research and this was not the original building which burned in the late 1800's and was replaced by this structure. The cannon ball had been removed and stored in the attic prior to the fire and was found in the debris. The cannon ball was then placed back in the wall of this building in the 1930's in as close to the original position as possible.

We also went by the Brown-Pusey House. http://www.touretown.com/brownpuseyhouse.shtml
There was a wedding going on there so we did not stop to check it out. I later learned that General George Custer and his wife lived on the grounds when he was stationed here after the war to police the KKK and disrupt illegal stills. We both got a good laugh at the name of the place as well.

Some RVers like to 'boondock" which is spending the night with out any hook ups at all. Most do this as a way to save money when traveling. Wal Mart stores generally let you use their parking lots to spend the night in as well as truck stops. Last night I guess we had some "boondockers" next to us here at the KOA. I'm not sure when the rolled in but I heard their generator running very early this morning. Now keep in mind they pulled into a pull through, full hook up site and then ran their generator all night. I'm not sure why they didn't hook up to the electricity that was included in the site fees unless by coming in late they were going to try and leave early before the office opened and not pay the nightly fee. Who knows what people are thinking? Like this guy who I found parked in a rest park this morning.

I first thought he was broken down but I don't think so. Boondocking rules are pretty straight forward, don't put out your slides if you can help it, no stabilizer jacks down, awnings not extended etc. The thing is your a guest in the parking lot and it should not look like you have set up camp for an extended stay. This guy could have at least gotten his rig off the road!!

The new winch has not arrived yet. I guess I'll give the guy until Friday and call him for the 3rd time. Not sure what my next step will be, but will keep my fingers crossed that a next step will not be necessary. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

week end on the bike

We left Saturday morning on the motorcycle, our destination was Elizabethtown Kentucky where we were meeting up with several more of our Goldwing friends at a local motel. Each year one of our group, Marvin Henry, along with his new wife Joanne, arranges for all of us to attend a live country show.
We started out stopping for breakfast (what else, right!!) at Digger's Cafe here in Crawfordsville. This was our first visit to this small restaurant. There are only 7 or 8 tables and they were all occupied so Rudee and I sat at the counter and shared our biscuit and gravy w/ hash browns. The food was good and we enjoyed watching the cook work his magic on the flat top grille.

We headed south on US 231 to Spencer and then SR 46 to Bloomington, the hometown of Indiana University, where we picked up SR 37 and turned south once again. We eventually worked our way to SR 135 which has a bridge across the Ohio River into Kentucky. We arrived at the Country Hearth Inn around 2pm. The first thing was too get cooled off. The temps were in the high 80's and we were both beginning to melt! We quickly changed into our swim suits and headed to the outdoor pool for a refreshing swim. AHHHH that felt good. Back in our room we both got dressed as the others begin to arrive and get checked in.

There were 41 of us there and we all just split up for dinner since it would be difficult for a restaurant to handle that big a group on short notice. We went with a group of 11 others to a bar-b-cue place near the motel and enjoyed a meal of ribs, fries and salad.

The show was scheduled to start at 7:30 so we all made our way to the Lincoln Jamboree in Hodgenville Kentucky.

This show has been in existence for almost 55 years and several of the band members have been here for most of that time and they put on a nice show. We have attended several times over the years and have always had a good time. We made our way to our seats and the show started right on time. Besides the "house" band they also have guests appearing. There was a young man who played the banjo and sang bluegrass music, another who sang and played guitar and a young lady who not only sang well but was also very pretty to look at!

The show lasted for almost 3 hours with a short intermission about 1/2 way through. After the intermission more guest performers arrived and they did impersonations of famous country singers. There was Dolly Parton (complete with both her assetts), George Jones, Charlie Pride, Jim Reeves, Johnny Cash, Earnest Tubb, Don Williams and Elvis Pressley. We all had a great time and there was a lot of entertainment for our $8.00 admission fee.

When the show was over we all headed back to E-town. Some of the group headed back to the motel but quite a few of us went to Dennys for a late dessert. We were all surprised to see "Charlie Pride" from the show walk in. We invited him over and he surprised us with an impromptu concert right there in the Denny's dining room!

We made it back to our room and into bed shortly after midnight with plans to meet in the lobby for breakfast at 8:00 am.

Sunday morning arrived quick considering our late night Saturday. We had a quick breakfast in the lobby and had several choices of routes to take towards home. We decided to tag along behind Niles and Deb who were heading to Commiski Indiana for a fine dining experience :-) We were joined by 5 other bikes/couples. Niles led us thru the Kentucky countryside and we crossed back over the river into Madison Indiana on US 421. We rode north about 25 miles to Commiski which is a very small Indiana town with a post office, barber shop and one run down restaurant. We have eaten here before and it is more of an experience than a meal. The building itself looks as if it has been several business' during it's lifetime and is a "work in progress" to make it look like a reasonable facsimile of a restaurant. The food was good and the portions were large, except the cheeseburger that Rudee and I shared. It was a dry shriveled, charcoal briquette on a bun. The others all had one of their "specials" and we wished we would have followed suit. The high point of our meal was dessert. We had a huge piece of cheese cake, sugar free of course. Niles and Deb each had lemon meringue pie that was served in a large cereal bowl, they were huge!

Our group shrank after lunch as several opted to jump on the interstate to get home faster. Robinson's, Kadinger's and us all continued on the two lane roads taking a more leisurely ride home. We did make a short stop for Niles to check out a used truck for sale in Indianapolis. I guess the "heavy duty truck bug" has bitten him. The Peterbuilt was behind a fence at a dealers lot but we got close enough to it to whet our appetites to see it up close. Maybe Niles will take us for a ride when he brings it home! I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

where to go?

I have a dilemma. Rudee and I both have the week after thanksgiving off. We want to go somewhere and, due to the time of year, figure that south would be our best bet for good weather. We should go and spend some time with my parents who live in Zephyrhills Fl. I know this is the "right" thing to do but I really yearn to go see some new places. I really don't care much for the area they live in and we have been there so many times we have pretty much seen and done it all. I would like to go to New Orleans or Mobile or maybe even Texas and check out some new territory but feel guilty when I realize that my parents may not be around too much longer. I'm torn and it's not a good feeling at all. Here is a picture of them from December 07.

On one hand I only get 3 weeks vacation each year so I have to make the best of the little time I have away from work. On the other hand we are only planning on working our careers another 5 years and then we will have the time to explore anywhere we want to go.

My Dad has been in love with Florida as long as I can remember. We always went there at least 1-2 weeks per year when I was growing up. I was not surprised when they moved there full time a few years ago. I wish I had the same feelings for the state that he has but I really don't. The only thing it has going for it, in my opinion, is the mild winters. I have been researching places to stay if we go there. Hillsborough River State Park is just up the road from them and is a nice place. We could get a site there for the week but it only has water and electric hook ups. We have a "blue boy" which is a wheeled tank that you empty your holding tank into and wheel it to the dump station. That would be do able but I think Rudee is pretty attached to her hook ups. She likes her long showers and washer/dryer :-).

We could go back to Grove Ridge which is near them as well. They have full hook ups with cable TV. No shade though and the roads are very narrow and it's difficult to get the big wagon train in and out. Gordon and Gail may be there as well which makes it a lot more appealing. We are just not sure what to do but will probably end up back down in Florida, we'll see.

I tried to load the bike up last evening after work. I was really hoping the batteries was the problem but it's not. The winch did the same thing, it pulls the bike up the ramp slowly and then when the bike is at the top and the winch has to pull the entire ramp it doesn't have the ummpph to do it. I called the guy back at Rampage Lifts who told me he was sending me a new one and he was out. The lady said she would have him call and I should receive a call in another hour or so. Guess what? Yep, no call. I called again this morning and left a message wanting him to call me back. That was 4 hours ago and still no call so I called him back and he answered! He apologized for not getting back to me and he is going to send me a new winch out. This one is a larger capacity and should take of things (I hope!). He said the bolt holes all are the same so it should be just a matter of swapping them out so shouldn't take too long to repair. We have a week end camping trip planned for Labor Day week end and would like to take the bike with us.

Last night we had Olivia come and visit. She is a hoot! We took her to New Ross for dinner and met Rudee's Mom and Dad there. She was so good. We played and laughed all evening and she ate a large supper too. Afterwards we took her back to her house and visited with Amanda and Ryan for awhile before heading back home.

We are going to take a ride to Muncie tonight. Some of our goldwing group are meeting in Lebanon at 5pm so we can ride over to the GWRRA Indiana Chapter E meeting. The weather looks like it's going to cooperate and be a nice evening for a motorcycle ride. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

the week goes on.....

Rudee called me this morning and gave me a play by play report on the happenings next door. I guess two guys showed up in a pick up truck and started sorting thru the burned out trailer. She went out and talked to them a little and found out the trailer owners had called them and they were there to haul it away. They worked for most of the morning clearing things out and finally hooked on and hauled it away. They left several large piles of "stuff" on the ground in the site for the owner. Speaking of them, she came by for a few minutes but Rudee didn't get a chance to talk to her so not sure how things are going for them. Hopefully they will find another place and can start rebuilding their lives again, sad story for sure.

Work has been busy and I still have not gotten the new computer up and running. My email system is still down and my old computer is only working good enough for me to "get by" on. I can still function just not as efficiently as before. I guess they are having to reconfigure something in my "profile". The people who set all this up are in India and the guy I am working with is from our I.T. department in Texas so it is a global effort trying to get my little box running like it should :-).

Rudee and I carried the trash up to the dumpster a little while ago. We walked past a Class A motorhome pulling a Jeep that was just pulling away from the office. We started to go into the office and heard a big crash. We went around the corner and the Class A had hooked the chain link fence post with it's rear bumper. The post is now leaning way over and the motorhome bumper is broken and hanging off. These things happen and you have to face the fact that if you try and drive something as long as our rigs are, chances are you are going to scrape a bumper or two (or ten!!). We had not had our Montana too long when I swung wide to enter a parking lot and forgot that the rear end of the 5th wheel tends to swing as well. I got too close to the edge of the road and the back end scraped a mailbox when I turned :-( Oh well, gives it some character.

Looks like we will have a grand kid tomorrow evening. Olivia (our youngest) will be coming to stay while her Mom, Dad, Nicholas and Avalynn go to to the school and find their new classrooms and meet their new teachers. We are planning to meet Rudee's parents at The New Ross Steakhouse. We took them there a few months ago and her Dad really liked it. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Fire !!

Rudee had an exciting day here at our home on the KOA range. She was slaving away at her desk and saw some smoke. She thought it was odd that someone would have a campfire or were grilling out when it was pushing 85*. She opened the day/night shade and smoke was pouring out of the camper next door. Rudee called 911 and reported the fire and then ran out to make sure everyone was out. The neighbors were not home and (lucky for them) had left their dogs outside tied to their picnic table. The fire department arrived and put out the flames but not before it had gutted the old camper and destroyed everything inside. They came back to find the fire trucks there and their home still smoldering. We really had not had a chance to talk with them too much before the fire. We assumed they were living fulltime in the trailer due to economic reasons and they confirmed that they were now homeless and all their possessions had been in the trailer. They were offered room at a shelter about 20 miles south of here but not sure if they are going there or somewhere else. The camper was probably 35 years old and the license plates had expired in 1984. They told Rudee they had no insurance. The main thing is they are all safe. He normally works nights and would have been inside sleeping and as fast as these things burn, probably would not have survived.

The campground staff are over there now cleaning up some of the debris that was scattered by the fire department. I have a feeling the owners have left and will not be back seeing as there is really nothing left here for them. Hopefully the KOA staff will get the camper hauled away soon.

We had a busy week end. Saturday morning I took the Freightliner over to Niles and Deb's house and we changed the batteries out. They followed us back home on their bike and we hopped on our's and headed to Peru to watch the races. We no more got to Peru to meet up with Tim and Linda when Linda called and Stephanie had blown her engine in a make up race. She was done for the night and they were packing up to leave. We made plans to meet them at a local restaurant for dinner instead.

After dinner we rode back to Niles and Deb's and, since we had made plans to take a long ride on Sunday, Rudee and I spent the night at their house.

Sunday morning we headed to eastern Indiana where I wanted to check out a campground near Connersville. We stopped for breakfast in Cicero and headed east from there. I was leading and we soon found the campground, Robinson's Whitewater Campground, and did a quick ride through. We are going to a wedding near here in September. The campground was nothing special but had nice long pull through sites, full hook ups and some shade. Looks like it will work just fine for a quick week end trip.

We turned around and started towards home. The temperature had starting rising and by noon was pushing into the upper 80's. We stopped in Metamora for lunch at a small diner. The food was only mediocre but at least we were in the air conditioning for a while.

We headed north to Richmond where we took US 40 back towards Indianapolis. There are several historic homes along this stretch of "The Old National Road" and we enjoyed the scenery as we rode.

We made it back to Robinson's around 4:30 and after a quick break (and to hunt for my cell phone) we headed back home. I did find my cell phone which had fallen from my belt in their guest bedroom while I was getting dressed. Rudee and I made it back home by 5:30. We were both drained so we did a drive thru at Burger King and brought it home with us. We just vegged out the rest of the night.

The weather is calling for more heat and maybe some storms this week. We have another motorcycle trip planned for this week end so we'll be getting things ready to go. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Computer woes

My company sent me a "new" laptop that arrived Tuesday. It came with the instructions to "open the box and then call I.T support" so that is what I did. They assigned me to Randy who said it would take "a couple of hours" to configure it. We decided that Wednesday at 2pm would work for both of us and I would call him back. Fast forward to two o'clock yesterday, I got Randy on the phone and we started working. I had to back up some of my files on the old computer and then he would download them to the new one. I started the process and it took forever for one of my files to upload. Finally at 5pm he told me to just let it run and we would start again in the morning.

We went out with the Goldwing group last night to a restaurant in Stylesville In. The service was fast and the food was really good. Rudee and I shared a 12oz rib eye dinner. The steak was huge and when the waitress brought it out mentioned they also have a 20oz one, wow! They had a sign up that you could get a 1/2 rack of ribs all wrapped up ready to take home and heat up for $5 so we decided to get some and heat them up for supper Thursday evening. The ride home was nice and the full moon was slowly rising in the east while the sun was setting in the west. We had a nice view no matter which way we looked.

This morning (Thursday) I called Randy back at 9am (he is in Texas so is on central time) and we started in on my new laptop. The file had finished uploading sometime last evening so he said it should be a quick process today ....WRONG! I have some kind of glitch signing into the companies VPN. I can use our internet here at home or my air card and things work fine, sign on to the VPN and nothing works. I have to be on the VPN for him to finish the set up as well as for me being able to get and send emails. What a pain, we tried different fixes all morning and finally at 12 noon he gave up and is escalating the problem up the line. I hate having computer problems! The sad thing is, my old computer had no problems, they are just trying to faze them out because they are the "old" company issued laptops. This catches me up to the buy out of my company in 2007. We have been sold again (in July 2009) so I can foresee doing all this over again in several months. SHEESH!

I got the Ok to use my old computer and am getting a little work done, just can't use my email because they are monkeying around with it. I foresee another 1/2 day or more trying to get this thing working. At least things have slowed down some the last couple of days. I got a bunch of assignments Friday and Monday and have taken care of most of them so maybe it will work out and I wont get too far behind in work.

This week end they are talking about temps in the 90's. We may have the kids over to take a swim. I also purchased the batteries for the truck ($300, Ouch!!) and need to get those installed. That should not be too bad a job but remember who your dealing with here! I foresee hours of frustration, colorful metaphors, blood and bandages in my future! I'll keep you posted.

Monday, August 3, 2009

riding with friends

We headed out on the bike first thing Sunday morning. Rudee and I were meeting Robinson's and Suters at Flapjack's in Lebanon for a day of riding. We pulled into the parking right on time at 8:30am and Suters were walking in the front door and Robinson's were circling the parking lot preparing to park. Perfect timing :-)
We had a nice relaxing breakfast lingering over that last cup of coffee and just enjoying the morning. Niles and Deb took the lead when we left the restaurant and headed south on State Route 39. Traffic was light and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. We passed through Lizton, Danville and after a short detour for construction, Monrovia. The road in this area becomes more hilly and has some nice "twisties" that motorcyclist love so much. We soon found ourselves in Martinsville and stopped to gas up and take a much needed bathroom break. That coffee came back back to haunt us! :-)
We really didn't have a destination in mind and just continued south thru Bloomington and around Monroe Reservoir. This is Indiana's biggest lake and is very popular with the boaters and we saw several sail boats mixed in with the speed boats and fishing boats.

Niles led us over to the Lawrence County Recreation Park where ABATE of Indiana owns several acres of ground. They have an ATV track thru the woods and there was a large crowd of people enjoying the trails. We came here to visit the Indiana Motorcycle Safety Memorial.

Here is what their website has to say about it:

"The memorial, located at the entrance of the Lawrence County Recreational Park, celebrates the memory of those who have advanced motorcycle safety in the state of Indiana."
"The memorial stone itself was cut from the same vein of granite in India from which theVietnam Veterans Wall in Washington, DC was made. The eight foot tall stone weighs over four-and-a-half tons and is etched with an American flag, a flying eagle and a road scene that snakes around three sides before fading into infinity. Wearly Monuments of Muncie personally oversaw the cutting and placing of the stone. The gleaming black stone sits atop a marbleized, illuminated base and is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year"
There are several names on the memorial itself, two of which were personal friends of ours. Gary Stevens and Brad Meadows. Both of these fine men were active in the safety/education section of our Goldwing group. Gary was a Fort Wayne police officer and was the lead instructor at my first experienced rider course way back in 1990. Brad was a self proclaimed "master craftsman from Southern Indiana" and was a great guy. He was the lead instructor for my second experienced rider course in 2001. Both men dedicated themselves to promoting safe motorcycling and are greatly missed.

We left the memorial and headed out into the countryside working our way back to the north and west. We began looking for someplace to eat not knowing how hard a task that was going to be. We went to Bloomfield and as we were pulling up to a restaurant the owner was shutting off the "open" sign and locking the door. We headed on to Worthington and pulled in to the Front Porch Restaurant at 2:05pm only to find out they closed at 2:00!! Back on the bikes and onward we rode to Spencer. By this time I had started chewing on my leather glove. It was little dry and chewy but I was hungry :-).

We pulled into Chamber's Smorgasbord at 2:25 and the sign said they were open until 2:30 so we rushed inside. They still had plenty of food and after seeing us knocking each other (and anyone else in the way) down to get in they decided they had better feed us! :-)

We left Spencer happy and well fed. We headed north on US 231 and were soon back home in Crawfordsville. I decided to try the motorcycle lift again thinking that maybe the batteries on the truck might be causing the problem. I have noticed that the truck has been hard to turn over lately and this made me think the batteries might be going bad. Rudee and I got everything set up and like before the winch would stop about 1/2 way. I hooked up some jumper cables to the the pick up truck and then to the winch. This helped some but I could not get a good contact with the jumper cables. The test convinced me that the batteries may be the problem so we are going to have them replaced and see of that takes care of the ramp issue. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

grand kids visit

I survived my drive to Fort Wayne and back on Friday. I stopped at Amanda and Ryan's house on my way home and picked up the kid's clothes, pillows, car seats and swim gear. Amanda was having a garage sale both Friday and Saturday and reported she had done well on Friday.
Once I got home Rudee was clocked out and shut down from her work computer so we were free for the week end. We drove the truck over to the day care and picked up the kids. They stay at a day care operated by a church near their house. They are doing very well there and the staff seem nice. They have a lot of kids there but in turn have a lot staff as well. The kids are divided into "classes" based on their ages a lot like regular school.
The kids were all excited and Avalynn told everyone she could see that "I'm goin' swimmin" it was funny. We loaded them up in the truck which with the car seats and booster seats is a chore in itself. We never had those things when I was little, in fact we rode in the back of my Dad's pick up truck (with a camper shell) sitting in lawn chairs! I guess you could be arrested for such "abuse" to kids these days :-)
The first thing we did when we got back was to change into our swim suits and head to the pool. The water was a little chilly at first. That didn't stop Nicholas though, he jumped right in. Avalynn was right behind him so I figured if they can do it then so can I. BRRRRRR that first jolt is the worst! We swam and played for about 45 minutes and I think Olivia was yelling and screaming for most of that time. She was sooooooooo excited and having so much fun she would yell and screech.

We had a coupon for a free large Pizza at a local pizza place that delivered and we had picked up the movie Horton Hears a Hoo (or is it Who?) and figured tonight would be a good night for pizza and a movie.

The movie was great for the kids and kept them entertained until bed time. Rudee made up their beds, the girls were on the floor and Nicholas got the couch. I guess it pays to be the oldest. We were all tired from the swim and went to bed shortly after 9pm.

Saturday morning Rudee made them biscuits and gravy per Nicholas' request. He loves his Grandma's B&G's, I do too for that matter. After breakfast I took all three of them for a walk to the trash dumpster to get rid of the pizza box and then we went to the playground to burn off some energy. Well they burned off the energy, I just pushed the swings a little. Here are our three little rug rats Nicholas, Avalynn and Olivia.

We dropped them back off with Mom and Dad around noon. Rudee and I headed to Modern RV in Anderson. She wanted to get a new patio rug since our's was showing a lot of wear and tear. We found a nice burgundy colored one that matches the awning material. While there Niles called and they were at the KOA wondering where we were at. Darn, visitors and we were not home :-(
We made plans to meet them at their house since it was about 1/2 way between us. We spent the rest of the afternoon visiting with them and made plans to go for a bike ride today. We are meeting them and Suter's at Flapjack's in Lebanon and heading to southern Indiana. No real destination in mind, just riding. I'll keep you posted.