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

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

computer woes ..... again!!

Monday morning Rudee logged on and was working with out any glitches. I wish I could say the same. My laptop would not log on no matter what I tried which is not much considering my limited computer abilities. I had a message on my phone that they had finally gotten my other laptop (a Dell) figured out and I needed to call them and could start using it ....... they think!!
The I.T. people are in Texas which is on Central Time which means they don't show up to work until 9:00 my time, so here I sit, dead in the water.
I called my boss and she suggested I come into the office and can hook up to the main frame computer and this would make their set up work on the Dell go faster (we hope). I arrived at the office around 9:30 and called the computer guy. He was able to log into my computer and take control over it to make the changes and downloads necessary to get me going. The whole process took most of the day. He finished up shortly before 4:00pm and I was able to use the remaining time to answer all the emails I got while on vacation. All in all it was a wasted day for me but they finally got their wish and switched me from a Panasonic Toughbook to a Dell. The ironic thing is, my new company uses the Toughbooks so I'll have to go back through all this again in a few months when they change everyone back. Silly stuff I wont miss when I retire.

Rudee had a training class Monday evening and was gone when I got home. I stopped at Mc Donalds and brought home my dinner since I didn't want to cook anything. Amanda brought the kids over for a little while and we had some "papaw" time :-).

The campground has been busy with overnighters the past few nights. Mostly motorhomes traveling through. I would think it's too early for snowbirds but maybe not. I guess I need to get out and mingle more but to be honest, I'm pooped!!

We have a busy week planned. We are taking our table over to Rudee's Mom's house to sell in a garage sell this week end. We found the one we wanted in Elkhart and decided to go back up this weekend and get it so we need to make room for it.

I really like the new Trailair pin box we purchased. I could tell a big difference on the way the 5th wheel reacted to bumps in the road on the trip home.

Friday is Grandparents day at Nicholas' and Avalynn's school. They put on a program and then we get to go their room and meet their teachers and eat a snack. We are looking forward to going. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

100 Posts

Wow, yesterdays post was number 100! I didn't know I had that much to say :-).

Saturday morning we had a quick breakfast and headed out the door to the Montana Factory for a tour. The tours were split into 15 minute increments and ours was the first one at 9:00 am.

Mark Kroll one of the Montana reps led our tour and was very informative. They build 3 different models in this factory, Big Sky, Montana and Mountaineer. There were no workers there since it was Saturday. We were shown how the 5th wheels are built starting with the bare frame and moving thru all the different stations. The trailers are actually moved thru the assembly line sideways and pause in each station where a variety of things are installed. The outer walls are built in a different building and it was odd seeing the profile of a 5th wheel sitting on a long trailer waiting to be mounted to a frame. We were able to tour finished 5th wheels that were set up in the parking lot. They also had a prototype floor plan that they asked us to view and provide them with some feed back on. Rudee and I enjoyed the tour and felt like the Montana Reps truly valued our opinions and suggestions.

We made a stop at Chili's for lunch before heading back to the 5th wheel. The weather was improving and the sun was starting to peek through the clouds that had been hanging around all week. We decided to take a bike ride so grabbed the helmets and took off. We rode thru the countryside just taking our time and looking at all the pretty Amish farms. We rode for a couple of hours just going in a large circle which ended back at the fairgrounds. Nice way to kill an afternoon.

Rudee fixed some leftovers for supper and we took a bicycle ride around the fairgrounds. We rode our bikes a lot at this campground, nice roads and lots of room and no hills :-). When we got back to our site I moved the bike into position and we loaded it up onto the back of the semi. I wish the weather had cooperated better and we could have ridden some more, maybe next time.

I had volunteered a couple of weeks ago to help cook at the pancake breakfast here at the rally. I showed up at 7:30 with spatula in hand and helped get things set up. There were plenty of eager cooks and all the griddles were manned so I was able to hang out as a "relief cook" if one was needed. Rudee came down for breakfast shortly after 9:00am and we both enjoyed the pancakes and extra goodies.

The rally ends tomorrow but we have to be back at work first thing Monday morning so we finished packing up to head home. We pulled out of the fairgrounds shortly after 11:00.

We both enjoyed the week. We didn't know what to expect since this was our first Montana Rally and was a little disappointed there were no vendors set up. We both enjoyed the seminars and learned a Lot about our 5th wheel and it's components. I really enjoyed the seminar about traveling to Alaska. I would have liked to had more of these type of seminars, perhaps some on work camping or maybe visiting National Parks or even the big RV gathering at Quartsite Az.

We made it back to the KOA shortly after 2pm and got set up in our new winter site. Rudee had arranged to have our telephone/internet service transferred from our old site. Well when we hooked it up it didn't work and they had put stickers on the box spelling out the word "dead". Our site is #21. The phone box on site #22 had new stickers on it that said site #21, This confused us for a little while but when we tried plugging into the box on site #22 it worked. I guess they must not have been able to get our box to work so wired up the next one and then put stickers on it with our site nimber. Rudee is going to call them tomorrow and see if they are going to correct it or if we are just going to have to live with it like it is.

Tomorrow we both go back to work. I keep telling myself that I have less than 5 years left to go and each day gets me that much closer to living our dream. This keeps me going but I still get the post vacation blues. Good or bad, I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Homeless no more

Yesterday (Thursday) we decided we needed some help sleeping. Friends of ours have these small machines that play "white" noise that they use in their bedrooms. Rudee wanted to check them out so we made a stop at Wal Mart. We found one that plays 6 different sounds, has a volume control and a timer to shut it off. We set it up and checked out the sounds. We decided to try the "summer rain" noise. I have to say it did seem to help. I slept until 6:00 am this morning and probably could have gone longer but we needed to be out by 7:00 so Keystone could take our home and finish their work.

We headed to a small Cafe we spotted for breakfast and shared a nice plate of biscuits and gravy with hash browns. The food was good and we both noticed how very clean everything was.

Back at the fairgrounds we sat thru seminars given by Tireco regarding our tires and another on traveling in Alaska. We got good information from both. We would like to make a trip to Alaska some day but not sure if we'll have the $$ for several years.

We went back to the Cafe for lunch since we enjoyed their breakfast so much. They didn't disappoint us either. We had a quick lunch and headed for Keystone to check on our home. Darrell met us at the door and said "you guys must have ESP, I was on my way into the office to call you, your trailer is all done". He led us back into the bay and went over all the things they did. We had originally brought it in to get the furnace repaired and not only did they do that but they also found the structure damage and repaired that. Replaced all the exterior compartment latches with new ones, checked the electrical system for shorts and the gas system for leaks and fixed the black tank spray system. All of this was done for free on a unit that was no longer under warranty! We were very happy with their service and told them so.

I hooked on and Rudee followed me back to the fairgrounds and got parked and wet up on our site again. Whew, it sure is nice to have our home back!

We made it back in time to attend the seminar for fulltiming. Most of the information was stuff we already knew but it was fun hearing and sharing each others experiences.

The fairgrounds is hosting the Mennonite Relief Sale on Saturday morning. They have several tents set up and this evening they have lots of food available and you can preview the goods to be sold/auctioned. Rudee and I walked around and checked it all out. We had to take our umbrella due to the drizzle but it was still fun. We bought a BBQ Chicken 1/2 and a pork chop and took it back to our rig for dinner. Rudee heated up some of the fresh corn we got from Amanda and Ryan's garden. She also made a nice cauliflower salad and I had some cucumbers and onions that her sister BJ had given us. It was all really good!

Tomorrow we have a tour of the Montana factory. Our tour is at 9:00am and we are both looking forward to that. I guess they have a new "experimental" floor plan they are unveiling to us for our feed back. Should be interesting. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Rally day 3 and 4

We were back at it again at 4am. Not sure how long I can take this early morning, late night stuff.
The seminars kick off at 9am so we have plenty of time to socialize and drink coffee. Pull Rite Hitches put on a nice talk and demonstration of their hitches. We have a Reese Hitch on our truck but it was nice to see other products that are available.

We skipped the next seminars and went back to the 5er to get it ready to take over to have our new air ride hitch pin installed. I had the outside work done pretty quickly and Rudee got the inside ready. We hooked on and she followed me the 2 miles over to Trail Air. They were ready for us and had me pull into their shop and unhook. We had purchased a "wet bolt" kit for our suspension here at the rally and we were having them install them as well. Dale told us it would take a 2-3 hours and they would be done. Here is the finished product.

We decided to go to the Shipshewana Flea Market and see what kind of deals we could find. The flea Market is only open Tuesday and Wednesday and has your typical flea market stuff. We walked thru most of the vendors which took about 2 1/2 hours. We did pick up a few items for Christmas gifts but otherwise just browsed.

We made it back to Trailair and the 5th wheel was done. Rudee wrote the check while I hooked on and we headed the 1/2 mile to "Camp Keystone". Well I missed my turn and had to do a little "off road" towing to get turned around but we made it OK. Sheesh only 1/2 mile and I got lost.

Keystone has 4 sites behind their service repair facility that are free for their customers to use. We set up in one and went inside to let them know we had arrived. They told us they would be out at 7:00am to bring the 5th wheel into their bay.

We went back to the fairgrounds in the Dakota in time to line up for the car pool to Tiara RV who were having a hog roast for us. Fred and Roberta who are from Buffalo New York rode with us. We had a nice meal and even eyeballed some of the units for sale. No, we didn't trade and are very happy with our current rig. We dropped Fred and Roberta off at their rig and headed back to the factory and settled in for the night.

Thursday 9/24/09

No trains to wake me up!! Too bad the factories all fire up at 4:30 :-(. The workers started arriving around 4:00 and with all the road noise and factory noise we were both awake ... again!!

Darrell arrived at the 5th wheel shortly after 7:00am and went over our issues and they came out with a fork lift and pulled our home away. We headed out for breakfast and then to the fairgrounds.

I figured the repairs would only take until noon or less. Well when we didn't get a call from Darrell by lunch time we headed over to check on it. We drove into the service area and they camp sites were empty so we drove by the bays. I mentioned to Rudee that we were lucky our repairs were simple ones because we saw one unit that had the front cap taken off and part of the roof peeled back. I suddenly recognized that it was ours!! Yowzer, what happened??!!
We found Darrell and he explained they had found that the bedroom wall had separated on the passenger side of the 5th wheel. The technician had found it when he noticed that a molding had an abnormal gap and they got busy repairing it. This would have been a major structural problem that I didn't even realize I had. Thanks Keystone for looking out for us!!

Darrell explained that they would finish the wall repair today but would have to do the rest of the repairs tomorrow so we would spend another night in the parking lot.

They pulled the 5th wheel back into "Camp Keystone" around 3:30 and I got us set back up for the night. We talked about going back to the fairgrounds and hanging out but I was pretty wiped out and decided to take a nap. Rudee let me sleep for an hour or so and we went out for supper at a nice restaurant in a restored historical house. The service was slow but the food was good. We made it back to the 5th wheel in time to watch Survivor and the season premier of Greys Anatomy before calling it a night.

Darrell will be back at 7:00 am and hopefully we will have our home back. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

MOC Rally day 2

Well I'm happy to report that the economic downturn has not effected the rail service here in Northern Indiana! I feel like I'm living in a Johnny Cash song. "I hear the train a comin"!!

I was up at 4:00 am, yep you read it right ..... 4:00 am !! AAAAAAAARRRRHHHHH I'm supposed to be on vacation.

Rudee was able to sleep a little longer but not much. When she got up I had already drank a pot of coffee and had my breakfast of toaster waffles. "Hey, let go of my Eggo" :-).

The seminars kicked off at 9:00am and we were in the big tent ready to go. They do have coffee and some other drinks available for us to take advantage of during breaks. The first speaker(s) were from Keystone RV customer service. They talked some on our upcoming factory tour and brought us up to date on just how things were going for their business. They were happy to report that they are building new buildings and are hiring additional people! Good news for this area which has been hit hard with unemployment. They also discussed maintenance that we need to do on our rigs. There were lots of questions and even some complaints and all were handled the best they could in this type of setting.

We took a break and headed for the 5er since there was only 1 porta pot and I had been drinking coffee for 6 hours :-). We decided to skip the next seminar and install our "new" kitchen faucett we bought at the surplus store. The faucet was an exact duplicate of the one we have so how hard could it be? The 20 minute job took me over 2 hours to complete! The faucet is held in place by a big nut on the bottom. I got the faucet apart by unscrewing the base from the body but could not get the nut off the threaded base no matter what I tried. Of course the "new" one we got at the surplus store came with everthing but the nut I needed! I went to Lowes and they did not have a nut to fit it and they even tried removing it as well. That thing just would not budge! I did go ahead and purchase another new faucet since we had to get it working. Back at the 5er I decided to install the "new" new one. I got it all together and when Rudee turned on the water it leaked like Niagara Falls! Rudee then took the "old" old one next door and someone had a saws all and were able to cut the nut off. Thanks, Dave!
I took the "new" new one back off and went back to putting the "new" old one back on. Are you staying up with me on this?
Well this time it all went back together pretty easy. I asked Rudee to go out and turn the water back on to test the connections. She walked around the kitchen counter and stepped on something. She picked it up and gave it to me. It was one of those little "o" rings used in plastic water fittings to keep it from leaking! The thing had fallen out when I was taking it all apart (the first time!). That would explain why the cold side leaked and the hot was fine :-).
Well I took the cold line back off, put the "o" ring in and put it all back together, for the 3rd time! Rudee turned the water on and voila, no leaks. What an ordeal!

By this time we were both tired and hungry. We had a late lunch and then hung out for the rest of the afternoon. We did make a grocery run, returned the faucet to Lowes and checked out our route to the Service Center tomorrow.

The group all gathered around 5pm and car pooled to the Miller's home in rural Shipshewana for dinner. This is the home of an Amish family. Their home/farm was pretty as a picture. They had their garage set up like a banquet hall and they were carrying food from the house to the garage for us. We all (101 of us at last count) sat at long tables and the food was passed down the line. We had cole slaw, ham, chicken, green beans, mashed potatoes and noodles. The food was very good and there was plenty for seconds. Then they brought out the dessert. Large serving bowls full of ice cream and several choices of pie. Rudee and I shared a piece of blueberry but they also had, banana cream, pecan, and strawberry/rhubarb (I think). The Millers took very good care of our large group and we all had a good time.

On our trip back to Goshen the skies opened up and the rains came. We made it back safe and sound and Fred dropped us off at our front door. The rain continued so we decided to just watch some TV. I went to bed pretty early (gonna wear ear plugs tonight!!) and Rudee followed shortly afterwards.

We are looking forward to Wednesday. We plan on doing seminars in the morning and then we are taking the 5th wheel over to Trailair during our lunch break. We are getting a new air ride hitch pin installed and they are going to upgrade our leaf spring shackles to "wet" bolts that I can grease. When they are done we will move over to the Keystone Service Center and camp in their parking lot for the night so we can be ready for our Thursday morning appointment. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, September 21, 2009

MOC Rally day 1

I would like to say we woke up this morning to the gentle sound of birds chirping but the actual truth is we were jolted awake by the sound of a very loud train horn! Yep the 6:05 to Bugtussell was running right on time when it passed by the Elkhart County Fairgrounds! :-)
Rudee decided this was not her day to cook breakfast so we showered and hit the road in search of food. We would have liked to take the bike but there were some showers around and it looked like it would start pouring any minute. We settled on Bob Evans and had a nice breakfast.

Next stop was Bontragger's RV Surplus in nearby White Pigeon Michigan. This place has pretty much everything that the RV owner could ever want or need. The only trick is to find it. They have 3 large buildings that are full of RV parts and pieces. We were looking for a bathroom sink to replace ours which got a crack in the bowl when my aftershave fell from the medicine cabinet. They had sinks that would work but they were all pretty scraped up and we decided to keep on looking. We spent about an hour just looking around but no big purchases. Heading into Elkhart I remembered that our buddy Nick Russell does a lot of shopping at RV Surplus and Supply on Bristol St. so we decided to check them out. Their building is huge and much better organized. We came up empty on sinks though. We did find a new kitchen faucet though. Ours has developed a small leak around the lever so I'll replace it with this one. Doesn't look too hard, only one or maybe 2 trips to the emergency room :-). Rudee found a dining room table that she liked better than the one we have now. The top on the one they have opens up to reveal a storage area. I can put all my work stuff (laptop, camera, DVD drive, chargers etc.) inside after I finish for the day and my "office" wont be so cluttered looking. I think we are going to go back either Friday or Saturday and buy it.

Back at the 5er we heated up some of Rudee's home made vegetable soup. We had a nice lunch at the picnic table at our site. There was nothing official going on for the rally so I got our bicycles unloaded and we took a nice ride around the fairgrounds. This facility is really impressive. You can tell they take a lot of pride in it and it shows. We visited with Bob and Brenda Wilson who are from Greenwood Indiana. We had met them once before at the Indiana RV Show and enjoyed catching up. He told me that Trailair who makes air ride pin boxes was located here in Goshen almost next door to the Montana Factory. I had mentioned I was looking to upgrade our pinbox and he told me I would need to talk to Dale at their factory.

Rudee still wasn't in a cooking mood so we went to a mexican restaurant for a quick dinner which was so-so. Hard to beat Little Mexico back home in C-ville. We took a little ride before going back to the fairgrounds and ended up finding the Keystone factory so we decided to look for Trailair as well. We found them and their bay door was open so we rode into the parking lot. There was a 5th wheel in the bay a a gentleman waved at us so we stopped. The guy came out and said his name was Dale. Cool. We talked about a new pinbox and now have an appointment for Wed. afternoon to have it installed. We have an appointment at the Keystone Service Center on Thursday morning bright and early. They have 4 full hook up sites in their parking lot so we were planning on spending the night over there Wed night so we'll just stop at Trailair on our way.

The first event for the rally was the Meet and Greet in the big tent. We made it back just in time to head over. The rally organizers went over all the events for tomorrow and a few of the ground rules and then introduced everyone. They even gave away some door prizes, no luck for us tonight. I did get a picture of blog reader Carol taking a picture of me. Smile Carol!!

The rally gets into full swing tomorrow and we are all going to an Amish home for dinner tomorrow night. We are both really looking forward to that. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

we're off to "Montana"

Saturday morning we drove to Amanda and Ryan's and picked them up. We were all traveling to Brooksville Indiana. Matt Merchant works with Rudee and used to work at a body shop that I frequented often. He moved to Lebanon last year with his fiance' Valerie. We have had dinner with them a couple of times as have Amanda and Ryan. They are a nice young couple and we were happy they invited us to share in their big day. Brooksville is in southwestern Indiana not far from Cincinnati Ohio. The ceremony was very nice. Amanda and Ryan had never been to a Catholic wedding before and it was a little different than what they were used to. I was raised in a Baptist church and am more used to the preacher doing all the talking, and sometimes a little yelling, during the services. Catholic churches take a more interactive role from what I can tell. They actually want you to do a little talking back :-). Here is a picture of the happy couple at the reception.

We stopped at the Indiana Live Casino on the way back home. The place was packed which is typical for a Saturday night. I managed to come out on top this time. I walked out with exactly $2.05 more than I walked in with. Of course if you count the $2.00 tip to the valet. I won a total of .05 cents :-) Oh well a win is a win. Amanda fared the best, she won $64 and was a happy camper. We made it home shortly after 10:00 and headed to bed.

Sunday was a travel day for us. We were heading to the Montana Owners Club (MOC) North American Fall Rally in Goshen Indiana. We joined the club shortly after purchasing our 5th wheel and this is our first rally. I do participate some on their internet forum and have "met" some of the members there. I look forward to actually meeting them in person now. We decided to bring along the Dakota on this trip so Rudee played "tail gunner" on the trip north. We arrived around 2:00 pm and were directed to our spot here in the Elkhart County Fairgrounds. There were several here already and I couldn't pass up a photo of all the Montana's.

We got set up fairly quickly and walked around and met some of the folks. When I introduce myself I tell them that We're the ones with the big truck, that usually breaks the ice :-). The rally actually starts tomorrow evening and they have a full schedule the rest of the week. Rudee and I are looking forward to it. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Busy week

We have had a really busy week. Monday morning I logged onto my computer and had 7 new assignments spread out all over Central and Northern Indiana. I can do anywhere from 3-5 assignments per day depending on how far I have drive. Scheduling the appointments becomes a challenge when you get several at once. I was lucky and made contact with most of the people and set up my routes to be as productive as possible. Needless to say I have been running hard all week staying on top of my work load. Yesterday the assignments slowed some and since I'm going to be gone all next week they have cut me off from getting new ones as of 5:00 today. I still have to go to Fort Wayne tomorrow :-( though.

Monday evening we met Steve and Trish in Lebanon for BINGO. I guess it was "girls" night because both of our ladies "bingo'd" twice! Thanks to them we left with a few more $$ than we came in with :-)

Tuesday Rudee and our daughter Amanda went shopping. One of Rudee's (and Amanda's) co-workers is getting married this Saturday. We are all going to the wedding and they needed clothes to wear. Rudee has not had a real need for nicer clothes since she is working here at home and she hasn't been clothes shopping for anything but jeans since her weight loss. I guess she is overdue for something nice :-). They came back and she was not happy. She couldn't find anything :-(. This is not good. It means I'm going to have to take her shopping ........ oh no.

Wednesday evening was our scheduled meeting for our Goldwing group in Lebanon. Rudee decided we would leave early and hit the stores. Luckily she found her an outfit and shoes so all is well.

I was able to finish my work a little early today and decided to repair our toilet. The toilet was not holding water like it is supposed to do after you flush. RV toilets work a little different than house toilets. There is a "flapper", for lack of a better term, and a foot pedal. You step on the foot pedal and this open the flapper and "down she goes". Let off the pedal and the flapper closes and about a cup or two of water should remain in the bottom of the bowl. Lately ours would not hold this water, it leaked down past the flapper into the holding tank. I called the manufacturer Sealand which is owned by Dometic and they sent me new replacement gaskets free. I followed the directions and took the toilet bowl off the base and took out the old gasket and replaced them with the new and improved gaskets. The whole thing took me about 20 minutes and had me pretty worried, it went too easy :-). I expected a huge water leak (or even worse leak) but it all went back together easily and worked like a new commode again. Sweet! and I didn't break anything and there was no bleeding or swearing involved!

Rudee has been busy sprucing up the place, getting ready for vacation. We have 1 more day at work (of course I have to drive to Fort Wayne again!) and then Saturday we are doing the wedding thing. Sunday we'll hook on and head north to Goshen Indiana for the Montana Owners Rally. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mystery Ride

Saturday morning we loaded up some snacks into the bike and headed out to meet some of our friends for a "mystery ride" The ride was being organized by our Chapter Directors Bill and Jane Remley. The ride was starting in Lebanon at 9:00 am and making a stop here in Crawfordsville at the National Guard Armory around 10:00. That leaves us time for breakfast. Sweet!
We met Suters and Rob Runyon at Uncle Smiley's at 8:30. We had plenty of time to eat and then lingered over coffee swapping lies :-). I gassed the bike up before we headed to the Armory so we could start the morning with a full tank. The group from Lebanon arrived right on time and we ended up having 16 motorcycles following Bill as he led us to "who knows where".

We headed due west and were soon leaving Indiana. This part of Illinois is farm land for as far as the eye can see and let me tell you as flat as this area is you can see a long, long way! The corn was well above eye level and still green although the soy beans were changing color from green to brown and would soon be harvested. Rudee and I just enjoyed the scenery and the perfect weather as we rode along.

We did take a quick bathroom break (remember all the coffee we lingered over?) and were back on the road in no time at all. Bill had told us that the ride was about 100 miles and sure enough when my odometer told me we had gone 101 miles he announced we were turning into our destination, Amishland's Country Buffet in Tuscola Illinois. The restaurant is in a huge pole barn that also houses several craft stores. We decided to eat and then shop since eating always takes precedent over shopping :-).

There are several Amish area in Indiana our favorite being the Shipshewana area in the north central part of the state. We have eaten at several "Amish" style restaurants and most are just trying to draw you in by putting the word Amish in their name. This one was no exception. The food was basic buffet type food and nothing led me to believe that the Amish had anything to do with it. The fact is if I were Amish I would be insulted by a business like this trying to make money by attaching themselves to my faith and lifestyle. Rudee and I each had the salad and soup bar since we really can't justify the expense of the full buffet compared to the amount of food we eat.

After lunch we walked around and looked in all the little craft shops and ended up sitting on a park bench for 30 minutes or so waiting on the group to assemble. Here is Dale Beason and Marvin Henry basking in the afterglow of a big meal.
Once everyone was together we headed back towards Indiana. Bill and Jane led a nice ride and invited the entire group to their house for home made ice cream! They even had a cup of no sugar added ice cream for Rudee and I! Thanks guys, that was really thoughtful. I did sneak a couple of bites of the "good stuff" too.

Rudee and I made it back to the KOA around 6:00pm. We picked up some tacos at Taco Bell and ate them in front of the TV and just relaxed the rest of the night.

Sunday we decided to go for another ride. We headed to Brownsburg to pick up our mail and made a stop at Flapjacks for breakfast. The restaurant was busy and we had to wait about 10 minutes before a table became available. Crawfordsville could use a Flapjack's, they have good breakfasts and are reasonable.
We called Rudee's sis and bro-in-law David and BJ to see if they wanted to take a ride with us. They live in Plainfield near Rudee's parents. We arranged to meet them at their house after we ate. My phone rang during breakfast and Niles wanted us to ride down to Seymour with them and look at a truck. Sure thing! We told them we would meet them in Greenwood in an hour, cool. David and BJ were waiting on us and we headed out to meet the Robinson's. Niles took the lead after we all grouped up and we headed south to Seymour. The trucks he wanted to see were for sale at a horse trailer dealership. The business was closed but we could still walk around the lot and window shop.

Niles and Deb have a Heartland Big Horn 5th wheel and he tows an enclosed trailer behind the 5th wheel to haul the bike in. He is weighing his options and is considering hauling his bike on the back of a bigger truck, either an MDT or a HDT (like mine) and doing away with the cargo trailer. Many states do not allow towing more than 1 trailer and several have length restrictions as well. He just can't seem to make up his mind on the "perfect" set up. I feel your pain Niles, went through it myself.

After slobbering all over the windows of the trucks in the lot (they were SUPER NICE) we made a stop at Chili's for lunch before heading towards home. We decided to take SR 135 north thru Brown County. This road is probably the best motorcycle road in Indiana. We made a stop in Nashville for a short break and found the ice cream store still open :-).

Rudee and I made it home around 8:00 and were two tired but happy motorcyclists. We picked up a couple of sandwiches at Mickey D's and carried them home with us for a late supper. We have 1 more week of work and then are going on vacation. We are attending the Montana Owners Club Fall Rally in Goshen Indiana. This is our first outing with these folks and we are looking forward to a good time. The Montana factory is in Goshen and they are having seminars as well as a factory tour and other events. We will be busy getting the rig ready and trying to get all our work done so we can "punch out" Friday. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, September 11, 2009


I'm sure you all, like me, remember that morning like it was yesterday. I remember just staring at the TV screen watching the first tower burn and the horror of the second tower being struck knowing that people were dying. I remember the helpless feeling I had and wanting to do something but knowing there was nothing I could do. I remember wanting to have my family close and know that they were safe beside me where I could protect them. That day effected us all and forever changed the way we live our lives. We need to remember those that died and the emotions we all went through and not let it happen again.

Rudee and I took a walk around the campground last evening and I realized I had not posted any photos of our neighborhood here at the KOA. I'll start with our home, site #4:

Here is the office and the pool.

We spotted this squirrel having a snack on one of the picnic tables.

Here is the playground area

and the view from our patio.

We found out yesterday we will be moving to a different site for the winter. Jamie, the manager, wants to leave the water on at only a few of the sites and she can isolate sites 21-24 while shutting off the rest of the campground. She understands that moving our phone line is a pain and we wanted to make the move a permanent one but she wants us back in either site 1-5 or 11-14 next spring. She says 21-24 are her most popular sites for the overnighters and wants to keep them open during the season. I understand her side of things and we explained our concerns and as a compromise she agreed to pay to have our phone line transferred between sites. I thought this was very nice of her. We move to site 21 on September 27th and will be there until she turns the rest of the water back on, probably mid April.

Rudee has been cooking a nice roast with potatoes and carrots in the crock pot. It smells great! We are heading on a "mystery ride" tomorrow with the motorcycle group. Bill and Jane Remley are leading and all we know about it is that we are leaving at 10:00 in the morning. Sounds like fun, I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

new camera

Rudee bought me a new camera for my birthday. I have no idea how she knew what to get me?? Maybe it was the ad that I gave to her for the model I wanted and where to buy it :-) I guess I wasn't as subtle as I wanted to be but I did get a new camera! It is a Nikon P80 w/ 18x zoom. The reviews are mostly positive with only the die hard shutterbugs giving it lower marks for some features they like that it does not have. For me and my limited ability it should be a great camera.
So now I am going on the record here and pledging to post more (and hopefully better) photos. I'll start out with these of the grandkids taken in New Ross when we went to dinner with them.

Olivia looks like she is preaching a sermon :-).

Work has picked up slightly since I am doing the Fort Wayne territory again. My month was supposed to be October but my boss asked me to switch to September instead. No problem, I have a weeks vacation scheduled for the last of the month so that's one less week to have to make that 5 hour round trip.

Wednesday night we rode the bike on our scheduled dinner ride with the Goldwing group. The weather was perfect for riding and we enjoyed a trip to Mulberry Indiana to Robert's Southfork Grille. The food was good and we had a large group attend. On the way home we stopped for ice cream at Culvers for a late dessert. We made it back to the 5th wheel around 11:00pm, whew, I'm getting too old for these late nights :-). Here is some of our group getting ready to head to the restaurant.

We have so far been pleased with our Netflix subscription. The last 2 times we have returned movies the replacement movies have arrived the following day. We were renting movies from the "red box" at Mc Donalds and Wal Mart but were having a lot of problems with the movies skipping and stopping. The last one we had we couldn't watch because it kept pausing. No problems so far with Netflix. We plan on just hanging around the 5er tonight and maybe watching the new movie. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Happy Labor Day

Sunday I was back up again at 5:30 am. What's going on? I guess I can't sleep when it's dead quiet. Tim and Lynda were parked next to us and I tried talking them into getting up around 4:30 and making some "train" noises or at least doing a little barking so I could sleep in. They said "no thanks".

We had another pitch in breakfast and then the rain started. We decided since we couldn't ride the bikes then we could at least do some shopping. Grumpy offered to drive us to some of the local flea markets so Rudee and I along with Steve and Trish headed out with him. We stopped at 2 large ones and browsed through all the tents while the rain continued.

No bargains were found and we all pitched in to buy Grumpy's lunch as a thank you for using his diesel fuel. We went to a mexican restaurant on the east edge of Nashville. The place was crowded and we soon found out why. The food and service were both very good.

The rain stopped while we were eating lunch but the skies stayed grey and it looked like the rain would start again. We drove back to the campground and hung around for a couple of hours. The skies finally showed some sign of clearing so Rudee and I led Suters and Picketts
in search of a geocache.

We enjoy this hobby and have been doing it off and on for over 3 years. Geocaching is a high tech treasure hunt using a GPS as your guide. People place the caches all over and then post their location coordinates on http://www.geocaching.com/about/ You have to become a member to get the coordinates but the good thing is it's free to join. All you have to do is enter the coordinates into your GPS and follow it to the cache.

The one we were looking for was near a cemetery. We parked the bikes and walked thru the cemetery into a wooded area behind. Following the GPS we located the container under the base of a tree. The caches typically contain at least a log for you to sign that you found it and some of the larger ones have items to trade. You might get a key chain and leave a marble (or whatever else you brought to trade). This is a great way to explore a new area and is a lot of fun.

We made it back to the camper right about time for supper and I got Duped. There were Happy Birthday banners hung up and the rest of the crew was busy cooking and setting up for a party ............... for Me!!

Tuesday September 8th is my 50'th birthday. I guess I'm both an old fart and a young pup depending on ones perspective. I guess I'll settle for feeling like the young pup and looking like the old fart :-).

They cooked up steaks and the ladies brought out all kinds of salads and side dishes. We had a feast! Cake and ice cream followed the meal and they even brought out presents and sang to me. Thanks guys, it was fun and I appreciate it more than you'll know.

Monday we all hopped on our bikes and went to Brownie's Cafe for breakfast and then Dale and Teresa Pickett led us on a great ride through the hills of Brown County In. We had fun and it ended way too soon but we had to pack up and head home.

We made it back and were all set up again in our usual spot at the KOA by 4pm. Rudee and I were tired but both agreed that the week ends, even the 3 day holiday week ends, pass by way too fast. We are meeting Rudee's parents and Amanda, Ryan and the kids at the New Ross Steakhouse Tuesday evening for my birthday dinner. I'm looking forward to it and I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

holiday week end

Bean Blossom Indiana and the Bill Monroe Bluegrass Campground was our destination for the long week end. We were able to get hooked on, packed up and pulled out of the KOA by 4pm Friday. I didn't want to drive through or around Indianapolis during rush hour so I pointed south on SR 231 and we were off.

The trip to the campground was on all 2 lane roads but we made good time. We arrived at the campground at 6pm and Niles and Deb Robinson pulled in right behind us. The campground has more of a fairgrounds type of feel to it. The sites do have water and electric but no sewer hook ups. We were led to our sites by one of the work campers when we ran into a problem. The sites are very close together, as in way too close together!! Luck was with us though and the work camper called back to the office and they said we had the whole back row of sites to ourselves and could spread out as much as we wanted. I moved the rig down a few sites and we all had plenty of room.

Saturday morning I woke up at 5:30 and just could not get back to sleep. There was no noise at all to bother your sleeping so I don't know what happened but I did have plenty of time to enjoy my coffee :-). Breakfast was a pitch in affair and was very good. We all loaded up on the bikes and headed into Nashville Indiana to visit the shoppes. The whole business district comprises of arts and crafts shoppes, candy stores, knick knack shoppes and some restaurants. Rudee picked up some socks for the grand daughters and other than that we just looked around and enjoyed the stroll.

We took a short ride and went to the Farmhouse Cafe and Herb Shoppe for a quick lunch. Unfortunately quick was not in the restaurants vocabulary. We all had cold sandwiches or salads and Rudee and I shared a fruit plate and it still took an hour for our food to arrive. The meal was good, just slow.

Back at the campers we all vegged out. Lynda Mockler (Tim Ranney's main squeeze) grilled up some hot, hot, hot wings and Rudee made up a batch of homemade seafood chowder and that was supper. UMMMMMM Good. We enjoyed a campfire and the park had a nice fireworks display after the sun went down.

The weatherman says it may rain tomorrow (Sunday) but we are hoping to get in a ride or two. Keep you fingers crossed. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Want to trade places?

I read and participate regularly in some of the RV internet forums. I also read several RVers blogs and enjoy sharing their experiences by proxy. Rudee sometimes thinks she is a "computer widow" and is not shy about letting me know when it's time to shut it off and turn my attention elsewhere :-).

I read a posting today on one of the forums from a fellow who has been volunteer work camping in a National Forest campground. This guy went on and on about how terrible his job was. There were 6 whole campsites in "his" campground. The hosts site did not have any hook ups (he knew this going in) and the problems he had to deal with were almost more than he could bear. I could hardly believe what I was reading. I guess this guy either had no clue of what he was getting into or just has no clue about life at all. His only real complaint was having to deal with the stupid questions people ask, things like "where can I park to take a hike?" and "can we change campsites when the one with the view opens up?". Such problems!!

I have very little sympathy for someone who is living my dream and then complains about it for no apparent reason. I'm not sure what he did to make a living before being able to fulltime but I think he needs a refresher course on the 9-5 grind. I would gladly change places with him. Spending the summer living in a National Forest and dealing with the "problems" and "annoyances" he had would be heaven compared to what I have to do now to make a living. I'm sure many of you would agree.

I have read postings of several who say they would never clean up restrooms as part of their work camping duties. I would gladly clean restrooms for the chance to travel and see this great country. I can only assume the ones who refuse to do such a "menial" job have the income to support their lifestyle without having to work.

I have been a regular reader of Howard Payne at http://www.rv-dreams.typepad.com/ They have been fulltiming for 3 years now and have been doing some work camping to help with the expenses. I don't always agree with Howard in the way he does things and have questioned his motives on several occasions. They have been in Northern California work camping this summer and I have to say that Howard has earned some additional respect from me. He has cleaned restrooms, pumped out holding tanks, dumped fish guts and a lot of other less pleasant jobs. He does not complain about his duties if fact he is the opposite and is grateful for the new experiences and the opportunity to be able to live the life of a fulltime Rver no matter what the "cost". Not bad for a guy who was once a successful real estate attorney whose favorite past time was golf at the country club.

BINGO was a big bust Monday night. We played but no big wins, or little ones either :-). Rudee has kept me running all week. We are getting ready to go for a 3 night campout with several of the goldwingers. I have everything put away on the outside that I can until it's time to hook on and she has been working on stowing our stuff inside. We will be hooking on and leaving as soon as I get off work Friday so we'll be loading the bike up tonight. We are looking forward to getting together and camping with our friends, we always have such a good time. I'll keep you posted.