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

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Getting back in the Groove

I can't believe it's been over a week since I posted but hope you all understand. We had a nice service for my Mom on Friday. We had a lot of family visit as well as old friends of ours and my brother's.
My sister elected not to attend this service (she lives in Tacoma Wa.) so she can attend the services we are planning in Florida. My parents have a plot in a cemetery in Zephyrhills and that is where they wanted buried. Both of them were cremated and my brother has the urn with their ashes. We are planning a trip south in March where we will have a small service and lay them both to rest.

Saturday we all got together at my Mom's apartment and moved her things out. I don't know how to describe the feelings I had that day. I went through a lot of emotions and had a tough time dealing with her "stuff". I guess the reality of it all had hit full force and I was not prepared for it. Luckily we had plenty of help and got the apartment cleared out fairly quickly.
We gave a lot of the furniture away once all the kids and grand kids had their pick of things they wanted or needed. The assisted living facility has an Alzheimer's wing and they said they could use her clothes so those were donated to them.
Once that chore was done I was totally wiped out emotionally and needed to just get out and do something fun. We had been dealing with this stuff for a week now and needed a release so we convinced Steve and Trish Suter to head up north with us to a casino in Michigan. I made us a reservation at a nearby motel and we headed out.
They have been great friends through all of this and a valuable resource as well as a shoulder to lean on.

We did pretty good at the casino Saturday night and I left with a small pocket of cash :-). Better still I came away rejuvenated and ready to face the world again.

The last week of work has been busy, busy, busy. We were scheduled to work 3 full days with a half day on Thursday and Christmas Eve off. Rudee had some vacation days to burn so she got the whole week off!
While I was slaving away she was a lady of leisure and spent most days in Plainfield helping her Mom get ready for their big family Christmas.
We have always celebrated with her family on Christmas eve with a big gathering and meal. Since Rudee's parents are getting up in years and have various medical issues they are not able to do all the things that have to be done to host such a big event. Between all the siblings, grand kids and great grand kids they were expecting between 20-25 people!
Christmas Eve morning Rudee and I picked up Amanda at her house and headed to Plainfield early. Once there we started cooking and setting up to "feed the masses" :-).
We sit up tables, chairs and a Christmas tree in the garage and do everything out there. I fired up two kerosene heaters and Amanda helped me sweep the carpet in the garage and sit up the tables and chairs. Once this was done I went in and helped Rudee in the kitchen.
With my Mother in Law supervising I made her famous chicken and noodles from scratch. They turned out really good but to play it safe we didn't tell anybody I had made them in fear they would sit untouched! :-)
Rudee and I were both bushed by the time the meal was over and all the presents had been opened. We started for home around 8pm. The weatherman had been predicting heavy snow for tonight and it was just starting to fall. The roads were in pretty good shape until we got about 20 miles from Crawfordsville when the interstate went from just being wet to being covered in snow with just tire tracks to guide you down the lane. We saw a couple of people slid off into the median and were being pulled out. I switched the truck into 4 wheel drive and slowed way down and we made it home safely.
Christmas morning we got up and found that Santa Claus had indeed visited us here at the KOA. Rudee got a nice bracelet and earring set and I got some "bling" for my bike :-)
We didn't have a lot of time to be lazy at home because the grand kids were up and waiting on us to come over so they could open presents too!
We had nice time at their house watching the kids opening gifts and playing with their new toys.

Rudee is back to work on Monday and I have volunteered for overtime. We have another short week with both of us getting Friday off. We have not made any New Years Eve plans and will probably just go to bed early to recover from the week of work. I guess we are starting to "feel our age" :-) I'll keep you posted.

Friday, December 17, 2010

busy week

This afternoon and evening we will be having the services for my Mom. We have been busy this week getting her affairs in order and it has actually gone smoother than I expected. I have spent a lot of time researching Estates and Inheritance issues on the Internet.
My Mom did not have a lot of assets but there is a small savings and her home in Florida to deal with. My brother and I met at the lawyers office who held my parents wills. The lawyer will be doing the legal side of things with the will but I drew the line when he wanted to handle changing the deed and title to the mobile home down in Florida. These are both in my name as well as my Mom's and I can handle both of these pretty easily since I just went through this when my Dad died last year. I figure there is no sense paying his outrages fees to take of something I can do myself :-)

My cell phone started acting up Wednesday night. I started to make a call and it said to insert the SIM card which has never, ever been removed. I kept having to shut it off remove the battery. This "reset" it and I could make a call or two and then it would do it all over again.
We do have the "insurance" on our account to cover the phone and I thought about paying the $50 deductible to replace it. I called AT&T and found out I was about 4 months away from qualifying for an upgrade with out being charged an arm and a leg. I talked to the nice gal in customer service and explained that I had been a loyal customer for over 13 years and could she do anything for me. She got a manager involved and got me approved for an early upgrade so off to the phone store we went.
We did check at the Verizon store and compared plans and charges. We ended up staying with AT&T and I got a "smart" phone! This thing is the coolest gadget I have ever seen! With all the gadgets it has I am having a hard time realizing that this thing is also my phone :-)

Rudee and I are off to fill some propane tanks and do some errands. The memorial starts at 4pm and runs into the evening. Looks like the weather is going to cooperate. I'll keep you posted

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

busy times

Thanks everyone for your words of support on my Mothers passing, it does lift my spirits.
We spent yesterday making the arrangements at the funeral home and flower shop. My brother met us and we were able to spend the day together.
Last year when my father passed away we had the forethought to make and pre-pay for my Mom's funeral services. This made it a lot easier on us this time around and we only had a few decisions left to make.

Rudee and I were able to go and pick up our new chairs this past week end. We borrowed Suter's enclosed cargo trailer and left for Shipshewana right after work on Friday. We had reservations at a motel in Elkhart and arrived there shortly after 7pm. We grabbed a quick bite at Applebee's before checking in and settling down for the night.

Saturday morning we met Mr. Lambright and the two of us loaded up the chairs. We did make a couple of stops in some of the shops in Shipshewana and finished up our Christmas shopping. Saturday must be a good day for the Amish to shop as well because the buggy traffic was very heavy and the special parking areas for them was completely full at most of the stores and restaurants.

We made it back home around 4pm and carried our chairs into the 5th wheel. They really look nice and are very comfortable. I even took a "test nap" in mine :-),

Sunday we headed for Trish and Steve's house to drop off their 2 chairs and return their trailer. Steve and I carried them inside their house where they are going to store them until moving them into their 5th wheel next spring.
Trish hadn't seen their chairs yet and she loved the material Rudee and Steve picked out :-).

After delivering the chairs we all went out to dinner. While sitting waiting on our food I got the call from my brother about our Mom. I was happy to be with our friend when I got the news, they were so supportive, thanks for your help guys.

I also want to thank my lovely bride Rudee. She is the best, and it's a comfort knowing I can lean on her for anything.

The funeral is set for this Friday and we are both taking this week off from work to be able to do all the things that need doing. I'll try to pop back in later this week and "keep you posted".

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sad news


I got a call from my Brother at 4:00 this evening telling me they had found my Mother dead in her apartment.
She lived in a nearby assisted living facility and had been in good health so this was somewhat unexpected.
We will be meeting with the funeral home tomorrow morning to take care of her arrangements.
I will keep you posted.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Yep, it's winter!

As I predicted work was a zoo this week. I was one busy insurance geek :-).
Tuesday morning we woke up to a dusting of snow which made the roads extremely slick. I was really careful and made it to all my appointments but saw several accidents in my travels. Back in my Sheriff Department days I always dreaded the first snow fall. I guess people forget how to drive in the stuff because we could always count on going from one accident investigation to another all shift long.

Friday evening we attended the annual Christmas party for our GWRRA motorcycle chapter. The meal is catered but we all bring something to share as an appetizer. We also do a gift exchange with a fun twist. Each person brings a $15-$20 wrapped gift, the men buy a "man's" gift and the women a "woman's" gift. Each person gets a raffle ticket and the gifts are passed out by calling out the numbers. Once all the gifts are in hand the fun starts. Someone sets a timer for 3 minutes and you can run around the room exchanging your gift for one you might like better. The only rule is you cannot exchange back with the person that just took your gift. When the timer goes off you are "stuck" with the gift you are holding. We then open our gifts and go around the room each telling everyone what they missed grabbing :-).
I got a couple of small tool kits and Rudee got a bag of M&M's and a bunch of lottery scratch offs (she won $6.00).

We woke up Saturday to a bunch of snow :-( !! Glad I didn't have to drive to work today! we got around 4-5 inches and it snowed off and on most of the morning. We did venture out to Lafayette in the Dakota. I even got to use the 4 wheel drive! Not that I really "needed" 4 wheel drive but, heck fire the truck has it and it gets my testosterone flowing! :-)

While in Lafayette we dropped our motorcycle helmets off at a friends house. He is a good painter and offered to paint them for us. Our helmets are flip face style and I like wearing it in the cold and/or rainy days. We bought them a couple of years ago and they are red to match the Goldwing and we look a little strange now since the Harley is purple and white. I also have a black open face one that I wear a lot in the summer. He priced some paint from Harley so they would match the bike but getting only enough for the 2 helmets was still going to cost $80 !! No way, black is fine with me :-).

We took our son Matthew and his gf Mandie out for lunch and they tagged along with us while we picked up some groceries. They had good news, Mandie has found a job in a store at the mall. They have been struggling to make it and the extra paycheck will help them a bunch.

Amanda and grandson Nicholas came up Saturday evening and picked Rudee up. The three of them went to the new Harry Potter movie. I'm not a "Potter" fan and decided to spend the time relaxing here at the 5er. They had a great time and Nicholas spent the night with us sacked out on our couch.

We have a float building workshop this afternoon with the motorcycle group and of course the Colt's have a game today too. We'll see how much "building" gets done in between plays. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New thrones for the King and Queen

We had a great time at Amanda and Ryan's house on Thanksgiving. Of course we all ate too much :-). Heck, isn't that a requirement for "turkey day"!
Ryan deep fried a large bird and it turned out fantastic. Had to have been the best Turkey I have ever eaten, very moist and flavorful. Besides the bird we had all the other customary dishes and they were all great.
We also combined our Thanksgiving celebration with a birthday party for our Grandson Nicholas. He turned 8 years old and is growing into a fine young man.


Friday morning Rudee and Amanda got up early and hit the stores for "black Friday" shopping. They left the 5th wheel at 4:00 a.m. :-0 !!
I told her I only recognized one 4 o'clock per day and this wasn't it, as I rolled over and went back to sleep! :-).


They didn't get to shop very long because we had plans to go to Northern Indiana. I drove to Frankfort and picked up our friend Steve Suter who was riding along with us (Trish, his wife, had to work all week end) and we met the girls at Hoops restaurant for breakfast.


After breakfast we transferred all of Rudee's packages from Amanda's van into our truck and headed North while Amanda headed home to take a nap. :-)


Our first destination was in Allen Michigan just over the state line. I had purchased a set of 50 amp extension cords from a fellow Escapee RV Club member ( http://www.escapees.com/index2.asp ) and stopped by his house to pick them up.


We made the short drive from Allen to White Pigeon Michigan and stopped at Bontrager's RV Surplus. http://bontragers.com/ For those that have never been, picture several pole barn type buildings crammed to the rafters with anything and everything that you would need to build your own RV.
They have switches, dials, lights, flooring, cabinets, fasteners, heaters, coolers, cookers and, of course, kitchen sinks :-). The only thing they didn't have was the heat turned on! The outside temperature was 29* and inside the building it wasn't much warmer :-(.

We browsed through most of the aisles but didn't find anything we absolutely had to have and the few items I was really looking to buy they didn't have :-(. Oh well that's the way it goes in the "surplus" business.

Steve was looking for a new recliner for their 5th wheel so I suggested we drive over to Shipshewanna Indiana to take a look at the furniture at Lambrights Comfort Chairs.

Camping friends Niles and Deb had purchased Euro Chairs here and Grumpy Williams had purchased recliners here as well. Both of them were very pleased with their chairs and recommended them to us.

Lambright's are a true Amish family who have a nice farm south of Shipshewanna. They also have a small "factory" and showroom adjacent to their farm. When we arrived a sign on the door of the showroom directed us back to the garage at the house where we could find them having a garage sale.

Beside the typical garage sale items in their garage they also had a couple of their "floor model" chairs they were selling for a discount plus they were offering a 20% discount on chairs ordered during the garage sale ...... cool!

We didn't see anything we liked at the garage sale so their son hopped in the truck with us and we drove back to the factory showroom to look at all they had to offer.

We all liked the quality of the chairs and since we were ordering and paying for 4 chairs all at once they cut us an even better deal :-). We ended up with 2 wall hugger recliners in a blue fabric to match the "saphire" decor of the Montana.

Steve, after consulting with Trish by phone, also bought 2 in a mauve color for their 5th wheel.

The chairs are being made as I write this and we will pick them in 2 weeks. :-). Here is a photo of the type of chairs we bought but in a little different color scheme.
One funny thing happened while we were at Lambright's. Rudee was looking at fabric samples trying to decide on a color and pattern. The sun was starting to set and it was getting pretty dark inside the building. Rudee, forgetting we were in an Amish business, asked our host if he could turn a light on. I got quite a chuckle about that since they don't have electricity :-).
We spent Friday night at a Hampton Inn in Elkhart and were up fairly early Saturday morning. I wanted to stop in to RV Surplus and Salvage ( http://www.rvsurplus.net/ ) and knew they closed at noon on Saturdays. After a quick "motel" breakfast we headed out only to find the stores parking lot empty and a sign on the door that they were closed all week end for Thanksgiving. Oh well, we are coming back in a couple of weeks to pick up the chairs, I'll stop in then.
Next stop was Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo Michigan where we tried our luck at the slot machines. We spent a couple of hours playing but no big winners :-( so we headed towards home.
Trish was due to get off work about the time we would be arriving at their house so Steve called her and we made plans to meet in Lafayette at Logan's Steakhouse. We timed it just right and arrived about 5 minutes apart and enjoyed a nice meal.
We parted company with Steve and Trish and headed back to the 5th wheel after a busy Holiday week end.

We have no big plans for the week ahead. I figure work will be extra busy since we had a long week end off and Rudee is planning on getting started wrapping all the Christmas presents she has purchased. Who knows what the week will bring but I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Rudee and I will make the short drive to our daughter Amanda's home to celebrate. Thanksgiving has always been a favorite of mine, not only because I love to eat (hence the bariatric surgery LOL) but also because it gives families the chance to spend time together. I will be driving to Avon and picking my Mom up and bringing her the festivities so she can spend some time with everyone as well
Last year we were in a campground in Georgia on our way back from Florida after my Dad passed away. The campground provided the traditional Turkey and we all pitched in a dish and ate together in their clubhouse. We were thankful for their friendship and hospitality and had a great time. I know many of you Fulltimers will be gathering together with your "campground families" in a similar fashion. We wish you all a happy and safe day.
Tomorrow is "black Friday" and all the hype is on about the great deals that can be had at the stores. People will be lining up at the doors in the wee hours of the morning hoping to pick up a bargain as long as they don't get trampled or worse.
Last year Rudee and her sister succumbed to the media pressure and headed to Wal Mart at 4am. They were in line and witnessed the mad rush when the doors opened. The X-box games were on special at ridiculously low prices and when the sales officially opened one guy knocked a worker and several customers aside and tore into the skid containing the games. He got his and begin throwing them to his friends nearby. By the time security arrived there was nothing left but an empty skid with no one around. Rudee said it was nuts! You couldn't pay me enough to get into that kind of mess!
We are both off work the rest of the week and plan to head up to Northern Indiana tomorrow and do some shopping at the RV surplus stores there. I am looking for a fender skirt that would replace the piece I lost on the 5er. I know it's a long shot but what the heck, I get to spend "black Friday" browsing leisurely through RV stuff, ain't ya jealous!! I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

More cold weather prep

I have been busy at work the last several weeks and the time is flying by. Its hard to believe that Thanksgiving is next week and Christmas is only a few short weeks away.

I wanted to cover the windows of the 5th wheel with plastic wrap to help with keeping the heat in and the cold out so decided I had better get that job done this week end.
I looked at the the window covering "kits" at the hardware store and the only box that was marked "outdoor use" was for a patio door. I compared this with the ones marked "indoor" use and found that the plastic was the exact same thickness and the tape used to apply it was the same so I bought the 10 window indoor kit and am going to use it on the outside.
Back at the fifth wheel I got our Cosco multi position ladder down from it's rack on the 5th wheel's rear ladder. I really like this ladder, it adjusts to different heights and is really stable to climb on. http://www.coscoproducts.com/eng/Products/Professional-grade
To apply the plastic you first have to prep the surface by removing any moisture where you are mounting the 2 sided tape. The kit has alcohol wipes to use for this and then I just wiped the alcohol off with a dry cloth. The tape is then applied to all four sides "framing" the window. The plastic is then cut to size (note: we left about 2" excess on all 4 sides and trimmed after applying).
Peel the outer covering of the tape to expose the "sticky" and place the plastic over the window. We found it easier to do the top and one side first then stretch the plastic tight and stick it to the bottom and opposite side.
The final step is to shrink the plastic by heating it with a hair dryer. The whole job took us about 90 minutes for our 11 windows.
The benefit remains to be seen but so far it feels like the interior window frames are not as cold as before but that may just be wish full thinking :-).

Rudee wanted to get started on the Christmas shopping so we headed to Lafayette. We called Matthew and he and Mandie met us in the mall parking lot at Hooters for lunch. We watched some of the football games on TV while we ate and then headed for the mall.
I guess I am the "typical man" and don't really like shopping. I am a "get in and get out" kind of guy :-). Rudee usually likes to "browse". She did have an idea of what she wanted to pick up and which stores she wanted to go to and it was not as painful as I anticipated :-).

After the mall we made a stop at Best Buy. Our DVD player hooked to the bedroom TV died so we can't lay in bed and watch movies :-( . The TV's that came in the 5er were both pre-digital units and not the lighter flat screens. We changed out the living room one last year with a flat screen after the big "boat anchor" TV fell out of the cabinet while traveling.
We decided to go ahead and replace the bedroom TV and get one with the DVD built in. We had looked at Wal Mart but they didn't have one that would work for us. Best Buy had a flat screen TV/DVD combo that should work perfectly and it was on sale! Whoo Hoo!

We headed back to the 5th wheel with all of our purchases and picked up a small pizza to share and just vegged out in front of the TV the rest of the night.

Looks like Sunday will be another "project day" getting the new TV mounted. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

sad day, parked the bike :-(

The warm weather we had for most of last week had us spoiled. we were able to take after work motorcycle rides almost every night!
Friday we called motorcycling buddies Ron and Sandy Mendenhall to see if they wanted to join us for a ride. They said "sure, lets go!".
Sandy and Ron live south of Crawfordsville in a pretty house they built out in the country. When we arrived they were sitting in their driveway waiting on us.
I followed Ron as we pulled out and headed west towards Rockville Indiana. We enjoyed the 45 minute ride in spite of the fact they were having problems with their headsets and couldn't communicate with us over the CB radio.
We stopped for dinner at the 36 Saloon. Rudee and I fit right in with the crowd after parking our Harley and walking in with our leather coats and chaps on :-).
The place is decorated with stuffed animals and our table sat in the shadow of a big Buffalo which reminded us of all the fun we had on vacation in South Dakota.
After dinner we mounted up on the bikes again. Ron made a quick adjustment to their headsets and they were back in business and could talk to us again!
We took a different route home and almost had some venison to serve up for Thanksgiving. We were on SR 59 out in the middle of nowhere and I saw a large shape right next to the road. Ron must have seen it about the same time because as I was pushing the transmit button on the CB to warn him he was already hitting the brakes. We both got the bikes whoa'd down before getting close to the deer but he sure took his time getting out of our way. We were almost next to him when he finally turned and ran into the field next to the road. Looked to be about a 6 pointer but I would rather not get close enough again to actually count the "points" :-).

Saturday was supposed to be the big change in the weather. I had already made arrangements to store our bike at our good friend Grumpy's shop earlier in the week so I figured this morning would be about the best time to take it over since it was supposed to get cold and rainy. I loaded up our empty LP tanks into the Dakota and Rudee followed me to Thorntown. We parked the bike at Grumpy's and visited for a few minutes before saying goodbye to the Harley and heading to Colfax to get the LP tanks filled.
The rain started so we decided to drive to Avon and visit my Mom. When we arrived she had a big bruise on her head and told us she had fallen the night before. Luckily nothing was broken. She doesn't remember what caused her to fall but at least this time was not as bad as a few months ago when she fell and broke her wrist and cut her arm pretty bad.
We spent about an hour at my Mom's apartment before heading out to meet Rudee's sister and niece at O'Charley's for an early supper before heading home for the night.

Sunday we spent the day being lazy. We watched the Colts game on TV and enjoyed seeing them get another win. They have had a lot of injuries this year and we have trouble figuring out who some of the players are. I think about 1/2 of today's starters were working at the drive up at Mc Donalds last week end :-)

Sunday evening we did venture out to Pizza Hut in Lebanon to meet some of our "biker buds". We were having a planning session for this years Winter Rendezvous. The rally is in January and we want to build another float so we need to get started.
There were lots of good ideas and it sounds like we have a "plan". I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Indian summer!!

We are getting settled in to our winter site here at the KOA. Sunday I was able to get the skirting attached and hooked up the 100lb LP tank we use in the winter. The tank belongs to the KOA and they let us borrow it which saves having to fill our smaller bottles so often.

The last couple of days have been super nice. The temps have risen into the low 70's and we have been out on the bike the last 3 evenings. Tuesday we rode to Lafayette and met Steve and Trish at Hooters. Wednesday was our regular dinner ride and we had 10 bikes in our group as we rode to Frankfort for dinner. This evening we rode to Brownburg to get our mail and met up with Rob and Jany Runion. They invited us to ride with them to Zionsville and try out a new Italian restaurant. They had a Pizza and Rudee and I tried the lasagna. We all enjoyed our meals but thought they were a little over priced.

Tomorrow is supposed to be another nice day and then they are predicting that the temps will fall back to a more "normal" level and it's supposed to start raining for the week end :-(. Looks like maybe we'll get another evening ride in before putting the bike up for what could be a long winters rest. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Heading south for the winter!

We have been with out our internet for several days due to our phone line being disconnected. Now before you all start "chipping in" and sending me your hard earned $$ it was not because we didn't pay the bill :-). We had it disconnected so we could move south before winter arrives!
We hope going further south the winter will not be as harsh. Sounds like a good plan right?

We picked Sunday Oct. 31st as our launch date so Rudee had arranged to have the phone line shut down at our site. We got a late start on packing up and when I went to start the Freightliner it just grunted and groaned and would hardly turn over ..... Rats!! I quickly ran extension cords (it took 3 to reach the nearest post!!) and hooked up the battery charger. I knew it would take several hours to charge the batteries enough to get that big old Cat engine to come to life again so I told Rudee we had better wait until Monday to get going.

The weather has been getting very cool to downright cold and our furnace has been getting a work out. So far the temperatures have not dropped to far below that magical freezing mark but it wont be long before 32 will be a huge warm up :-(.

Monday I tried starting the truck again and it roared to life! I quickly got busy and got the outside ready for traveling. I then had to go and get the inside done as well. Rudee was at our daughters house helping her out. She had a surgical procedure done last week and needed a hand with the grand kids.
After getting everything ready and the slides pulled in I started out on the long move south. Putting the truck in reverse I backed the 5th wheel about 200' South from site #4 through site #13 and into site #22, our new home :-).
It took me a little time to position the rig because in the winter I use a 3" PVC pipe in place of the conventional type of sewer hose. The PVC pipe holds up better in the cold and I can position it at a good enough angle so the water drains and avoid any freezing problems. I re-used the same pipe from last year but had to get the rig in as close to the same position or it wouldn't work. I did a lot of climbing in and out just to move 4" forward and then 2" backwards and so forth. I finally got everything lined up and then had to level the rig. I needed boards on one side so by placing the boards beside the wheels I could pull forward, move the boards to where the tires were sitting before I moved and then just back onto them. This kept me in the same spot for the sewer pipe :-).
Once I got nice and level I unhitched and finished hooking up all the other utilities. I switched the white hose out for our heated Pirit hose ( http://www.pirithose.com/ ) and plugged it in. We are now ready for winter :-). Well not totally ready, we still have to attach all the skirting and will probably tackle that job this week end.

We are sure looking forward to the day when we can actually make our move to warmer weather in the winter but have no regrets of selling the house and moving into the 5th wheel, it's great!

We don't have any plans for the upcoming week. Maybe we will have just a lazy week end around our camp site here at the south end of the KOA! I'll keep you posted.

Monday, October 18, 2010

scary week end

We both thought the week end would never get here. We had plans to camp with a group of our friends at White River Campground in Cicero Indiana. The campground is a county owned park and they have been doing a lot of improvements during the winter and it has always been one of our favorite local parks.
Rudee had the inside of the 5th wheel ready for traveling when I got home from work. We had loaded the motorcycle onto the semi Thursday night so that chore was already completed and with Rudee's help, I got hooked on and packed up all the "outside" stuff. We were ready to roll in about 30 minutes.
We had not moved the 5th wheel since coming home from South Dakota the first of August and we were both a little "rusty" doing our travel day routines. Those first few miles are usually the worst, wondering if anything is going to fall off, break off, or blow apart :=O.
I was finally getting relaxed and comfortable towing the rig again when I notice that part of the fender on the 5th wheel was flapping in the breeze. My first thought was that a tire had blown damaging the fender but from what I could see of the tires in the truck mirror they all looked fine. I knew we were about 2 miles from western Boone High School and they had a large (and probably empty) parking lot I could pull into and check things out. We almost made it to the school when we met a semi truck going the other direction and the wind turbulence when we passed each other tore the flapping piece off the 5th wheel which was then ran over by 3 or 4 cars following the semi.
We got parked in the school and found that the piece was just a plastic molding around the wheel that had loosened and blown off. Hopefully I can order a replacement from Keystone. No one showed up at the school accusing us of damaging their car with our "flying debris" so we headed back out onto the road.
We made it to the campground and were able to get everything set up and the bike unloaded before it got dark.
This week end is the parks annual Halloween Weekend. They have a lot of special events planned topped off with the children "trick or treating" all the campers. When you check in they give you a small orange flag to stick in the ground at the end of your site to designate you want the trick or treaters to stop for candy. The flags are not really necessary though because almost everyone brings their lawn chairs to the end of their sites so all the kids have to do is follow the main drag through the park.
Our daughter Amanda and son in law Ryan brought the grand kids and they had a great time. They each had a big bag full of candy! I'm sure glad they were not spending the night after eating all that sugar :-)!
Right after the trick or treaters we had some special guests drop by. Blog readers John and Carol stopped in to introduce themselves and we had a nice visit. They are retiring from their careers in a matter of weeks and will be free to travel. They have, like us, sold their house and were living in their full time rig while still working in their careers.
We really enjoyed our time with them and look forward to seeing them again. They are going to be work camping in Colorado next year. You can follow along with them on their blog http://travelwiththeherrs.blogspot.com/ .

Sunday came way too fast and it was time to start packing things up to head for home. Man I sure am looking forward to being able to stretch out a week end into 4 or 5 more days :-).
Rudee and I loaded up the bike and I backed the truck up to the 5th wheel to hook on. I always stop and get out a look to make sure I am lined up correctly. I have even joked that I am going to put the letters G.O.A.L.S. on my mirrors which stands for "get out and look stupid!". Well I thought I was lined up pretty good so hopped back into the truck to finish backing up the last couple of feet. Rudee was watching me but the problem was I wasn't watching her! I backed into the pin on the 5th wheel but it was not aligned (missed it by about 1/2") and the hitch pushed the 5th wheel back a couple of feet pushing the landing legs off the 4x4 blocks I had them sitting on causing the 5th wheel to drop! Hard! Yikes!!!
I got the truck shut down and decided to re-group. Nothing appeared damaged and I was able to raise the landing legs so the pin would line up with the hitch and with Rudee's help, was able to hitch up normally. The only casualty was my pride and I can live with that!

The rest of the trip was uneventful (thank goodness!) and we got set up back into our site here at the KOA. Our neighbor was getting her 5th wheel packed up and said she would be leaving after spending most of the summer here. She had been taking care of her father who had been ill and passed away a few weeks ago. She was anxious to get back home and try and get her life back to normal. We went about our business finishing our set up procedures when we heard a loud crash. I turned around to see our neighbors 5th wheel had came out of her hitch and had fallen onto the bed of her truck. Man oh man, this stuff must be like a bad rash and it's spreading! Rudee and I ran over and helped her raise the 5th wheel back off the truck. Unfortunately she had some pretty bad damage to her truck's bed rails and the the tail gate would not stay latched so I took it off and put it inside her 5th wheel. We were able to get her hitched back up so she could start her trip home.

We have another week of work ahead of us. Oh well that will put us one more week closer to retirement! Nothing real exciting on the horizon and we are already talking about where we plan on going for next years vacation. John and Carol invited us out to visit them at the Cripple Creek KOA ......... hmmmmm, sounds like a nice trip with lots of great scenery. May just have to pencil that into the calender :-). I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

which way do we go?

We got up early Saturday morning and got suited up for a bike ride. The weather was pretty cool but promised to warm up. We both started out in our leather chaps and heavy leather coats. Once we got on the bike I asked Rudee which way she wanted to go because we still had not decided!
After some more discussion we made the choice to head North to see how the fall colors looked. We figured this week end they would be at their peak and we were not disappointed. Here are a couple of photos Rudee took during our ride.






We did pack an overnight bag and ended up spending the night at a nice little motel in La Porte Indiana. I had called most of the chain motels in the area and all were either booked solid or only had $200 per night suites left ... yikes! I found the Blue Heron Motel on our GPS and Rudee called them since I was striking out. They had vacancies and even had a roomavailable with a jacuzzi tub. Well alrighty, now we're talkin!!
They held the room for us and we arrived late in the afternoon. The motel sat right on a large lake at the edge of town and looked more like a large bed and breakfast. The rooms were very large and very clean. Rudee defiantly picked a winner. Here is a shot of the lobby and one of me checking out the lake on the motel's dock.


After checking in we dropped our suitcase in the room and headed for Four Winds Casino which was about 10 miles up the road in New Buffalo Michigan. We played for a little while on the penny machines but neither of us was having any luck so we headed back out. We had stayed in the area with Steve and Trish last spring when we came up her for Rudee's birthday and had a great meal at Casey's just up the road from the casino. We decided to try it again and had another great meal.
Back at the motel we took advantage of the jacuzzi since our so called "garden tub" in the 5th wheel is nothing more than a 4" deep shower stall and Rudee misses having a bathtub to soak in from time to time.

Sunday we packed up the bike and headed back towards home, well we did have a short detour back to the casino where we re-couped some of what we lost the night before :-).
We took the "roads less traveled" home and enjoyed the fall colors and warm temperatures. Steve and Trish met us in Monticello Indiana for a late lunch and we rode together for a few miles afterwards until we had to part ways and head opposite directions toward home. The weather was almost perfect all week end and we had a really nice time. I'm sure going to miss this stuff in a few weeks when the snow starts flying :=(.

The KOA has been packed for the last week. The Covered Bridge Festival is in full swing in Parke County which is probably 30 miles away. I had to drive through the area yesterday and traffic was backed up at each crossroad. The State Police were at the intersections directing traffic or the whole place would have been at a stand still and this was on Monday! I hate to think what it is like on the week end!

We are preparing for our annual Halloween camp-out at White River Campground in Cicero Indiana. We have had reservations there for the past 4 or 5 years and always look forward to it. We have to make our reservations for the following year on Sunday before leaving. They "hold" your spot for you for one week but if they have not heard from you with in that week to let them know for sure you want it they let someone else have it, and yes all the spots are booked for the following year in just a couple of days.
We will hook on and pull out as soon as we can on Friday and we are both looking forward to getting the wheels rolling again, even if it is only for a short trip. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, October 8, 2010

turning colder

Sunday we went traveled to Lebanon to attend the showing of a friends sister who had passed away suddenly. Dale and Diana Beason have been friends and motorcycle riding buddies of ours for over 20 years. We have shared both good and bad times together as most friends do and our hearts and prayers go out to them both during this time.

After the funeral home visit we met some of the gang at 32 Warehouse Bar and Grille where we filled up 2 big tables. We all enjoyed a nice meal and a really exciting Colts game on the projection TV. Too bad they lost the game on a last second field goal but it was still exciting and we had fun watching it with our large group.

Work has been pleasant for the 2nd week in a row. I can't put my finger on why. I guess it is the feeling that the worst is over and things are calming down. I have more of a feeling of "belonging" and "acceptance" with the company now and it is a great change from all the uncertainty of the past. It feels good and I hope it continues.

The weather has started to turn colder and we have ran the furnace overnight for the last week. I'm not looking forward to the colder weather but know it's coming :=( . We have already made the arrangements to move into our "winter" site. They shut the water off to most of the sites here in the winter leaving about 5 sites with full hook ups. These sites are closer to the office and are a little easier to pull in and out of so they like to have them open in the summer so larger rigs can get in and out fairly easily. We will make the move on Sunday October 31st and start getting the 5th wheel all buttoned up to survive the winter.

Today is the opening day of the nearby Parke County Covered Bridge Festival and the KOA is packed. The rigs started rolling in Wednesday and there was a steady stream yesterday. Each town in Parke County participates in the festival and there are huge flea markets and craft fairs all over the county. We have attended in the past but now that we live in our 5th wheel we don't have the room for "stuff" so shopping at flea markets isn't as much fun as it used to be.

The weather is supposed to warm up this weekend so we are going riding. We have not decided where to just yet but didn't want to let a nice week end go by! I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

pay it backward?

Well we survived another week of work and it actually was a pretty pleasant week that passed fairly quickly. I like those :-).
I am slowly getting used to the computer system at work. My boss rode along with me on Monday and then turned me loose on my own the rest of the week. I am still a little slower than I would like to be but I am starting to feel a little more comfortable.

Thursday evening after work Rudee and I drove the 30 miles to Brownsburg to pick up our mail. After stopping at the UPS store for the mail we met up with friends Rob and Jany Runion at The Pit Stop Bar and Grille. This was our first time at this restaurant and will not be the last! They specialize in barbecue and I had probably the best pulled pork I have ever had. Rudee is not a big barbecue fan so she stuck with the Nachos from the appetizer menu.
After dinner we made a stop at Wal Mart for a few groceries and then headed back to Crawfordsville. We both had a sweet tooth so we went through the drive thru at Mc Donalds for an ice cream cone. When I pulled up to the window to pay the gal told us that we didn't owe anything, the car in front of us had paid for ours. What? I didn't believe her at first. I have heard of "pay it forward" but not "pay it backward" and pick up the tab for the person behind you in line. That was pretty cool and I plan to pass it along one day.

This morning we woke up to a strange sound. There was an odd pitter patter on the roof. what could it be? Oh my gosh, it's actually raining! We have been in such a drought around here I forgot what it sounded like! The ground is so dry they have issued no burning ordinances in most of the state. Hopefully this rain will help some because we are going on a camp out in a couple of weeks and Rudee bought some strawberry marshmallows and another bag of vanilla caramel mixed ones and we want to try them in some Smores
A couple of weeks ago we took our Grandson Nicholas geocaching. He had a great time but I kept forgetting to download the pictures I took of him that day so I will close this post with his photos. We are looking forward to watching another Colts game with friends tomorrow. I'll keep you posted.








Monday, September 27, 2010

"tanks" for the memories

Friday morning I checked out of the motel and attended my last 1/2 day of class. We had a short review and then some closing remarks from the Northern Zone Training Manager for my company. During his talk he asked the class to nominate one person who showed them the most leadership and positive attitude during the class. I was shocked when I was nominated and the class all decided that I was the "man". The training manager presented me with a coin bearing the company logo and seal. I found out later that the coins are a limited edition and each "zone" only gets 10 coins to present each year. I was very honored to not only receive the coin but also to be recognized by my peers. It was pretty cool.
We all had to take an assessment test covering all the items we had learned in the past week. The test is taken on line and is graded as soon as you finish and hit the "submit" button. I missed 3 out of the 50 questions for a 94. I passed !! Whoo Hoo!! Now picture me doing a "happy dance" :-).
As soon as I completed the test I was out the door and headed towards home.
The wind was howling today and the weatherman said a cold front was moving through. My little car was tough to keep in my lane and I kept thinking "I'm glad I'm not driving an 18 wheeler in this stuff". I did see a truck towing a 5th wheel and the wind had ripped off part of the outside bedroom wall. They had pulled off and were using duct tape to make temporary repairs. They had traveling companions stopped helping them and looked like they had things well in hand or I would have stopped and helped them.
I made it home shortly after 6pm. Rudee was waiting for me to arrive and after a quick change out of my work clothes we went out for a quick dinner and then back home where we turned in fairly early. I was pretty wiped out and I was really looking forward to a nice nights sleep in my own bed :-)
Saturday was unpacking and laundry day. We did manage to take a nice motorcycle ride in between all the work though.

Sunday we were up early. We were meeting our motorcycle friends for a scheduled ride to a museum. We met them in Lebanon and our first stop was to a gentleman's house who is a retired welder and now creates yard art and displays them at his house. He was quite a character and took us all around his property showing off his "art". He had dinosaurs, birds, turtles and just about anything else you could think of and they were all made out of discarded metal. Pretty neat stuff but I forgot my camera :-(.
Our next stop was in Crawfordsville for lunch so I was able to make a detour and pick up my camera. That was a good thing because our next museum was a "private tour" of the Ropkey Armor Museum ( http://www.ropkeyarmormuseum.com/) just outside of Crawfordsville Indiana. The museum is a private collection of military vehicles and equipment and is owned by Mr. Ropkey himself who welcomed us.





The museum is actually a very large pole barn behind his house and is quite extensive. He is a former tank commander and his collection leans heavily towards military armor but he does have several aircraft, trucks, jeeps and even a Viet Nam era patrol boat and UH1 "Huey" on display.










This was a "hands on" museum and you can touch and feel as much as you want. It was awesome being so close to these massive machines. He even had a Japanese tank that was captured by the Marines during WWII.
We spent probably 2 full hours touring the museum. If you are ever in this area and enjoy history, especially military history, this place is a "do not miss"!

Rudee and I dropped the bike back at the 5th wheel and hopped into the Dakota. We had decided to drive to Lebanon and combine dinner with watching the Colts play Denver. We arrived at the 32 Warehouse just in time for the game. We enjoyed our dinner and it was nice to watch the game on a "big screen" projection TV. We were able to cheer the Colts on to a victory. They are starting to look like the "contenders" we have come to expect after a pretty miserable opening game loss.
Monday will be my first day using the new computer system "live" They are supposed to start me out slow to help me get used to using it, we'll see how it goes. I'll keep you posted.












Wednesday, September 22, 2010

still in Ohio

I'm over 1/2 way through with this classroom stuff .... whoo hooo!! I'm ready to be back home. I am staying at a Hampton Inn right behind the office where our classes are being held. My commute takes all of 2 minutes:-). The motel is pretty nice but I sure do miss my own bed in our comfy little home.

So far the training has gone well and I am getting more and more confident using the system. We start our classes at 8am and end at 4:45pm with a 45 minute lunch break. I have eaten lunch at the office cafeteria each day and have been pleasantly surprised with how tasty the meals have been. They don't have a large menu, just a few deli type sandwiches and a daily hot plate special. Yesterday the special was 2 tacos with beans and rice. Today I had a turkey manhatten with corn. Pretty good stuff :-).

Tomorrow is our last full day of classes, Friday we do a review and then have to complete (aka: pass) an online assessment. We are scheduled to be done by noon but I am hoping we can get out a little early since I have about 6 hours to drive.

We have been having trouble with our water heater in the 5th wheel. It quit working a couple of weeks ago and we had a mobile technician come out. He had to order a part and finally got it replaced today. Rudee had to leave right after he left so she was not able to test it out. Hopefully she will have lots of hot water for her shower tomorrow.

No big plans this week end except to catch up on my weeks worth of laundry :-O. If the weather cooperates I'm sure I can convince Rudee to take a motorcycle ride in between loads :-). I'll keep you posted.

Monday, September 20, 2010

off to Ohio

This week end we had a great time with Nick. He stayed both Friday and Saturday nights sleeping on the couch. Saturday morning we introduced him to geocaching. He was really excited when Rudee told him it was a "treasure" hunt and was not too disappointed when he found out the "treasure" was just trinkets and the fun was in the hunt and the find.
I had picked out several caches in the area and we ended up finding all but 1 of them. Nick caught on pretty quick. We have two Garmin handheld units that we use for geocaching so he got to operate one and guide us to the "treasure".
We ended up back home in time to get ready for the Saturday night races in Putnamville Indiana.
One of Rudee's co-workers races his car here every week end so the rest of her team felt like it would be a great outing for the office. They even had t-shirts printed up with his picture on the front so he had his own rooting section :-).
We were supposed to meet everyone at a restaurant at 5pm and have dinner and then go to the races. When we got to the restaurant things started falling apart pretty quickly with several people canceling out for one reason or another. We ended up with only the three of us and one other couple. Oh well, their loss because the races were great!!
Jimmy (Rudee's co-worker) won his heat race and then started on the outside of the first row in the feature race. He ended up coming in second but was battling for the lead the entire race. It was really exciting.
Nicholas enjoyed the race cars and was on his best behavior. He is really growing up to be a nice, well mannered young man. We were both very proud of him.
We made it back to the 5th wheel shortly before midnight and we all headed straight to bed.

Sunday we made a little later start than normal since we had such a late night. I had my suitcases already packed and after loading them into my car we all went to breakfast. Rudee and Nick followed me in the Dakota so we could head separate ways after our meal.
I was driving to Cleveland Ohio today for the start of my training on our company computer system.
We had a nice breakfast and I hit the road shortly after 11:00am for my long drive. Rudee and Nick followed me for a few miles before turning off and heading for Nick's house.
The drive was pretty boring since it was all interstate. There sure did seem to be a lot of road construction going on. At least it was Sunday and the traffic was fairly light except around the larger metro areas.
After turning North from Columbus I noticed a definite change in the trees. The leaves are changing a lot more here that at home. It sure did look like Autumn here.
I arrived at my motel and got checked in about 5pm. Plenty of time to get settled in, eat some supper and be ready for the Colts game to start at 8pm.
The game was a lot better than last weeks and the Colts won by a large margin.

Today has been my first day of class and things went pretty well. The class seems well organized and we have a lot of hands on practice with training laptops. They are using my computer as the class demo unit so everything I do is up on the big screen for all to see (Yikes!!) , The best part is I get even more hands on practice rather than just sitting and watching someone else move from screen to screen while they teach us where to locate everything we need.

The office here is pretty large and they have their own cafeteria. I plan on eating lunch here everyday where I can relax some after a quick bite. Sure beats having to fight traffic just to rush around to wolf down a greasy burger somewhere and then rush to get back to class on time.

Only 4 more days of class left. I am trying to just be a sponge and "soak it all in". I guess we'll see how much "absorbed" once I start working on the system for real. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, September 17, 2010

teaching an old dog new tricks

In preparation for our change over to our "new" computer system I have had to take some additional on line training. That is pretty much all I have done since Wednesday, course after course on the companies web page.
I have finally finished all the assigned pre-training courses and am getting ready to travel to Cleveland Ohio for my week of "official" classes.

I will leave Sunday around noon for the 6 hour drive. I want to get there in time to watch the Colts play. I will either watch the game in my room or maybe hook up with some of my co-workers and go to a sports bar and watch it there. I'll just have to see how it all works out.

We are picking up our grand son, Nicholas, tonight and he will be staying with us this week end. We have had the girls over a couple of times and now it's his turn for some one on one with us. I want to take him out and teach him how to geocache. We will plan on doing that Saturday plus he has been wanting to take a ride on the Harley and his Mom and Dad gave me permission so we will be taking him on his first motorcycle ride too. Here is a photo of Nick, he sure is growing up fast.
The weather has been very pleasant here in central Indiana. We have even had the furnace on a couple of mornings to take the chill off when the temps have dropped into the low 50's.

I'm not sure how much time I'll have to blog next week during my training. I plan on taking the netbook with me and hopefully will have some time one evening to update the blog. I'll keep you posted.


Friday, September 10, 2010

snake charmer

Saturday night we had a small adventure at Bally's Casino. We had both played some on the machines but since we had such a busy day sightseeing we were both tired and by 8pm were ready to head back to our room. Rudee suggested we stop in a little deli type restaurant they have at the main entrance and get a sweet treat to take back and share before turning in. We decided a piece of cheesecake looked pretty good. As the girl behind the counter was dishing it up I wandered into the seating area and came face to face (or foot to face LOL) with a copperhead snake. YIKES! This thing was about 18" long and didn't seem too happy to be out in the open in the middle of a restaurant. There was an employee standing there trying to decide what to do. He asked one of the waitress' to get him a broom and when she saw the snake, well that's the last we saw of her :-). Someone, maybe the waitress who had fled into the kitchen, threw out a large metal serving bowl and he was able to drop it over the snake trapping it.
I'm not sure how they handled it after that, we took our cheesecake and got the heck out of there.

Sunday morning we checked out of the motel and rode north through Memphis and turned west into Arkansas. We took the interstate through the busy metro areas but finally exited onto the more scenic state roads after getting away from all the population. We headed North towards Missouri as the temperatures started rising. Looked like another 90 degree day. We passed by a lot of cotton fields that appeared ready to harvest. They reminded us the snow that is sure to come soon (how depressing is that).
We arrived in Sikeston Missouri and decided to spend the night there and go to Lambert's for dinner. After checking into the Holiday Inn Express we headed for the pool to cool off. Unfortunately the pool was a little too cool ....... brrrr, we didn't stay long.

Monday morning we were back on the bike and heading towards home. We took US 60 into Kentucky which is a nice winding road that angles toward our next destination Evansville Indiana. We crossed over several rivers including the Mississippi, Tennessee and the Ohio before arriving in Evansville. Another great day on the bike.

Tuesday we turned the bike towards home. The weather today was calling for scattered showers and we could see the clouds building in the distance. The rain chased us all the way to within 3 miles of Rudee's parents house in Plainfield when it caught up with us and we got a good soaking. Lucky for us we were close to their house and the rain only lasted for a 10 minutes before moving on.
We unloaded our luggage into the Dakota and Rudee followed me over to the Harley dealership where we left the bike for it's service appointment Wednesday.

We both enjoyed our trip and were a little sad that it was coming to an end. We will pick up the bike Wednesday evening after work and then try to get settled back into the groove of things here at the KOA. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Southbound

We locked up the 5th wheel and hopped on the bike as soon as work ended Thursday. Rudee followed me to Plainfield in the Dakota which we are leaving at her Mom and Dad's until we get back.
Wednesday we have the bike scheduled into the shop for it's 10,000 mile service so we will be dropping it off Tuesday on our way back through and needed the truck to drive back home. Wow, that first 10k went fast. We have only had the bike for 15 weeks. We sure have been doing a lot of riding but I sure do miss it when the temperatures are in the teens and the snow is flying.

We dropped the truck off and Rudee's parents followed us to a local restaurant for dinner and then we pointed the bike south.
Our goal was to make it to Evansville. Once we were away from the Indy suburbs we made good time. We just missed seeing an accident south of Mooresville In. I noticed people hitting the brakes ahead of me about 1/4 of mile and saw a big dust cloud just over a small hill. When we topped the hill there were two cars smashed and one of them had been knocked into the dirt median (hence the dust cloud). The people were just climbing out of the wrecked cars and others were stopping to help. There was no safe place to pull the bike into so I continued on while Rudee called 911 and reported the crash.
We didn't make it to Evansville before it got dark like I had hoped but we arrived safe and sound shortly after 9pm. We checked into the Baymont Inn and called it a night.

Friday we left early since this was going to be a big travel day. The weather was perfect and we stayed on the state roads winding our way toward S.W. Tennessee. I really can't remember our exact route, I set the GPS and just followed it. we did skirt the northern edge of the land Between the Lakes. I'm sure this area would be getting busy for this holiday weekend.
We eventually ended up on US 51 and followed it into Memphis where we found US 61 and continued south into Robinsonville Ms.
We had reservations at Bally's Hotel and arrived there with enough time to cool down and freshen up before finding a place for dinner.

Saturday we left the motel shortly after 10am and headed into Memphis. Our first stop was the Peabody motel where we saw the ducks in the fountain. The motel has had ducks in their fountain since the 1930's. They live on the top floor and twice a day the "duck master" leads them onto the elevator and they ride either to or from the fountain. Not a bad life for a duck huh :-).

We also took a walk down the famous Beale Street. The street is lined with clubs and restaurants and this is the self proclaimed "birthplace of rock and roll".

We had some lunch at one of the Bar-B-Que joints before heading out again.

We took a short ride a few blocks to Sun Studio where Elvis, Jerry Lee, Carl (as in Perkins) and Johnny Cash all got their starts. The studio conducts a tour and we were going to take it until 2 busloads of people pulled up and piled in. The place was so packed with people that we had to leave or we were going to freak out with claustrophobia.
Our next stop was the National Civil Rights Museum which is housed in the Loraine Motel near downtown Memphis. The Loraine is the location of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who was shot while standing on the 2nd floor outside walkway.




We then did a drive by of Graceland which is Elvis' home (in case you are under 40 or have lived in a cave for the last 40 years LOL).
We visited and toured Graceland a few years ago so decided to pass this time and headed back towards the motel.
Rudee wanted a nice meal and US 61 is lined with bill boards advertising all the meals available at the casinos so we headed towards the Hollywood Casino. On the way we made a detour into the Fitzgerald to check it out. They have a parking garage so we were able to park the bike out of the sun. Toasted buns are nice on cheeseburgers but I don't like mine toasted on a motorcycle seat :-),
Fitzgeralds was a nice place and we saw a sign for a sale on a T-bone steak dinner in their steak house so we decided to stay there and have dinner.
The steak was pretty good and we played some of the slots while we were there and had some decent luck with those and walked out a few $$ ahead of the game :-).

Sunday we are checking out and heading north once again. Our plan is to follow the Mississippi River into Missouri and maybe even catch a roll in Sikeston. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

dodged a bullet?

We had a nice time at the picnic on Saturday. The weather was perfect and there was food galore. We enjoyed our meal and visiting with everyone.

Sunday we met Steve and Trish Suter in Lebanon and took a nice motorcycle ride with them. The weather had warmed back up though and by 3:00 we decided being back at the 5th wheel sitting in the a.c. sounded pretty good :-).

Our son Matthew and his fiance' Mandie came by Sunday evening and we spent some quality time with them.

We have had some changes in recent weeks at work. The first one was when I reported back to work from vacation I found out my immediate supervisor had been demoted.
This really didn't surprise me too much because they seemed to have at least one too many supervisors and since she was from the "old" company it just seemed logical.

So that leaves 4 of us from the "old" company that do the same job being integrated into the bigger company that bought us out.

Today my new boss called me and told me they had made some more cuts and I thought "OK, here I go".
Instead he told me that they had given walking papers to my old supervisor and one of the other guys. So I guess I dodged a bullet for now. My boss seems to think things will settle down some from here though. I sure hope so because working with a dark cloud over your head for the last 2 years has been a real pain and pretty much effects every aspect of your life. I guess the only thing I can do is keep up on my work and continue to do my best from day to day.
We are still doing training for the "new to us" computer system and I will be going for a week long training in a few weeks.

Rudee and I did make a decision on our destination for our long Labor Day Week End. We are going to try and get within 6' of Elvis :-).
Yep we are heading to Memphis Tn. We took a short trip there several years ago and toured Graceland. This time I want to see some of the other sites and hope to get down to Beale Street, The National Civil Rights Museum and maybe even see the ducks march at the Peabody Hotel.
We are leaving right after work tomorrow and will spend the night somewhere on the way down.
We plan on staying off the interstate as much as possible and just taking our time and enjoy the ride. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

TGIF

Rudee and I both thought Friday took an extra long time getting here this week but it finally came.
We both had busy weeks in our jobs which usually means the time goes fast but not this past week for some reason.
I had to sit through a 4 hour training session on Wednesday morning. My company requires we take certain classes before our big week of training in September. This class was one we had taken back in January but for some reason we had to take it all over again. Same instructor, same 4 people in the class, same everything. Pretty much a waste of time.
They did say our training has been pushed back one week to the 3rd week of September. I am looking forward to learning and actually working with the new system, hopefully it will improve my outlook on my job some.
209 weeks 5 days until I turn 55. This is the day I have set for my "retirement". Not sure if it will actually be on my birthday but I will be eligible to draw what little there is in my pension after I turn 55. Rudee is the same way only it goes more by her years of service combined with her age to hit a magic number. She will be eligible to draw hers the following March and then we will be free to do some traveling and work camping.
We will not be able to completely sustain ourselves while traveling year round with only our pensions (I also get a small pension from my days at the Sheriff's Dept.) and will need to supplement our account some. That's where the work camping comes in. We will work camp at various jobs and sites for a few months (or the entire season) to pad the account and then resume our travels. If there is any Social Security left when we reach that age we should be able to "officially" retire and not have to work camp unless we want to.
So unless something catastrophic happens that is our timeline. At this point we are keeping ourselves busy paying off our debts and counting down the days until we can hit the road.

The mornings have been a little cooler here and there is a noticeable change happening. I think the dog days of summer have ended and Fall is approaching fast.
This morning I turned the fireplace on to take the chill off and Rudee has been turning the electric heat on upstairs so it's not as cold getting out of the shower.

We have a picnic to attend today with our motorcycle group. It's being held at the park here in Crawfordsville so we wont have far to go :-).
The weather is supposed to be really nice this whole week end so maybe we can do some more riding. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

worn out ...

As I said in the last post, we have visitors with us this week end. All three grand kids are here, Nicholas (7), Avalynn (5), and Olivia (4) while their Mom (our daughter Amanda) travels to Illinois to help a friend move. Their father, Ryan is working all week end and instead of him having to bring the kids every morning we decided it would be best, and easier, for them to just stay here.
Early Saturday morning we had a thunderstorm roll through and wake Rudee and I up. The storm wasn't too bad and only lasted a short while and we were back to sleep. The kids never even stirred.
You might wonder where we sleep everyone. Nicholas takes the couch and the girls get to sleep on a pallet made of blankets on the floor. I guess it is not the perfect place for the girls but they like it and seemed to sleep just fine. Me, I wouldn't be able to walk straight for several days and would be stiff and sore for another month at least :-).

The weather was very overcast and it looked like it may start raining again at anytime. I suggested we take a road trip and we decided to visit the Indianapolis Zoo.
Rudee loves the Zoo. I could really care less, but it seemed like a good way to entertain the kids so off we went.
Indianapolis does have a nice zoo and it is worth a visit if you are in the area. We started out at the Dolphin Pavilion where there was a free show starting in 15 minutes. The pavilion is a very large building with a large pool where the Dolphins live, work and play. They had a nice 30 minute program where we learned about bottle nose Dolphins and watched as they jumped, played and did tricks. We all enjoyed the show.

The Zoo is laid out in such a way that you follow a tree lined, winding path that takes you through the different displays. We saw a large number of exotic animals and the kids really enjoyed themselves. Olivia kept wanting to see the Monkeys, of course they were near the last display but she got her wish and was really excited to see them.


We all boarded a small train and took a ride through the Zoo and got to see some of the animals from the train as well.



Nicholas got to feed a Giraffe and we all got to touch a shark. YIKES, 1,2,3,4,5 yep still got all my fingers :-).





One thing that bothered me was they had an area smilier to a small amusement park with several rides including a small roller coaster. What's up with that? Do people really come to the zoo to ride carnival rides? To me this was kind of disappointing and looked more like just an effort to reap as much money from the visitors as possible (yes the rides cost extra) and took away from the "zoo" type feel of the place.
We spent about 4 hours touring the displays and were all getting pretty tired by the time we headed to the exit.
The rain never came and it started to clear off on the drive home. Once back at the 5er we decided to just veg out in the air conditioning. We ordered a Pizza for supper and ordered up a movie through our Wii/Netflix connection on our TV.

Sunday morning it was my turn to cook breakfast. Well actually Rudee did a lot of it and I kind of took over half way through. Rudee and the kids had French Toast with bacon. I made myself an egg Mcmuffin.
The kids stayed entertained watching cartoons on the TV most of the morning. Shortly before noon we headed to the pool for a swim. The water was a little on the cool side but they didn't mind and spent about an hour swimming and playing. They all really enjoy the water and never want to leave but we did have to feed them before their Mom showed up :-).
Amanda arrived shortly after 1:00 and things really settled down. Rudee and I just couldn't believe how quiet things were in our little home on wheels :-).

Since it was a pretty day we decided to take a motorcycle ride and ended up in Lafayette, In. Rudee had gotten a $10 gift card to use at Red Lobster so that's where we had dinner. We shared a platter with crab legs and shrimp scampi and were both stuffed when we finished.
We thought about stopping on the way home for an ice cream but neither one of us had any room left for desert so we just enjoyed the evening ride home.

Things are getting exciting at work. They are integrating us onto the parent companies computer system so I have been taking a lot of on line training. We go "live" on September 13 and during that week they are sending us for a week long training in Ohio. Rudee and I both have Friday the 3rd and 7th off so this week will be my last full week of work until after training.
We are not sure what we are going to do over our long Labor Day week end. We are going to take the bike somewhere but have not figured out just where yet. We are leaning towards the Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia area but this seems to change daily. I'll keep you posted.








Friday, August 20, 2010

typical week

This week has been pretty basic for us here at the KOA. Rudee and I both worked all week (boo!).
We did attend the monthly meeting for our motorcycle group on Wednesday night. Along with the meeting we had an auction as a way to raise some funds for the chapter. The items were donated and we had fresh backed goods, motorcycle accessories and some knick knacks.
Yours truly was the auctioneer which isn't too hard of a job but meant I couldn't bid on anything :-(.
We raised a little over $300 and this money will keep the chapter afloat for a while longer.
We have some guests staying with us this week end. All three of the grand kids are going to be staying with us until Sunday afternoon. I'm sure we will both be ready for some piece and quiet by the time Sunday rolls around :-).

Rudee and I have been "fighting" over the laptop every evening for over a year. I decided that enough is enough and found a nice Acer Netbook on sale at Wal Mart so I bought it. Now we can both surf the web together and the Netbooks are really small so we can take it along with us on our motorcycle trips as well. It's pretty cool.

We took the grand kids swimming this evening and they are watching a movie now. Hopefully we wore them out enough so they go to bed soon. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, August 16, 2010

week end bike trip

Every year one of our friends in our motorcycle chapter organizes a ride to Elizabethtown Kentucky. This week end was it.
Rudee's sister and brother n law were going as well and had called us asking we meet them in Plainfield so we could ride together.
We had to be up and on the road early Saturday morning and we left the 5th wheel at 6 a.m. :-O. It wasn't even daylight yet!!
We had only ridden about 1/2 mile when the dry roads changed to wet roads. The rain must have just quit and we lucked out and didn't get wet.
The sky started getting brighter the closer we got to Plainfield and it looked like the rain clouds had moved out.
We met David and BJ at the Denny's for breakfast. David's twin brother Dennis and girlfriend Marcia also joined us.
We had a nice breakfast and then fell in formation for the ride. David led us south through the rolling hills. The traffic was light and we made good time. We stopped for gas before we got to Louisville where we hopped on the interstate to bypass the busy city streets.
Once we were south of the metro area we exited off the interstate onto US 31W. The traffic had increased quite a bit since this morning and the temps were starting to heat up as well.
We stopped into a Hooters for lunch (I only go there for the chicken wings ... honest) and were able to cool down (in the air conditioning) and heat up (with the hot wings) at the same time :-).
After lunch we rode the final 40 miles to Elizabethtown and found our motel.
Rudee and I were staying at the Baymont while both sets of Greenlee's were next door in the Ramada.
Rudee and I made a bee line for the indoor pool where we had the entire pool to ourselves.
We spent the next hour just chilling out in the pool before heading back to our room.
The rest of the chapter had ridden down by a different route and were staying at the Howard Johnson's. We met up with them shortly after they arrived around 4:00 pm.
Several went to the pool for a quick dip and we hung out with Rob and Jany Runyon in their room.
We made plans to go to Texas Roadhouse for supper so Rudee and I rode over to put our name in for a table.
The restaurant was pretty busy even though it was still early. We had to wait about 30 minutes for our table but the meal was worth the wait.
The reason for the trip was to attend the Saturday night show at the Lincoln Jamboree in nearby Hodgensville Kentucky. This show has been going on every Saturday night for over 50 years. The owner/emcee, Joel Ray Sprowl, is back on stage after suffering a stroke last year.
The house band is a mix of young and old (some of the players having been there 30+ years) and play a mix of country and gospel music while Joel Ray introduces the songs and entertains with his corny jokes and banter.
They even have guest impersonators including Dolly Parton, Charlie Pride, Don Williams and even Elvis Presley.
The show lasted for a solid 3 hours and we all had a good time. Plans were made to meet at the Denny's in Elizabethtown for a late night desert so we all loaded up and headed that way. There were about 20 motorcycles all riding in staggered formation for the trip. Rudee and I were near the back and it was quite a sight to see all those bikes ahead of us.

Sunday morning we hooked up with some of the group and followed them on a winding trip towards home.
We stopped in Smithfield Kentucky at the Our Best Restaurant for lunch. They specialize in "home cooking" and our group of 20 enjoyed our meals and the southern hospitality. They even had fried green tomatoes which is one of Rudee and my favorites :-).

The rest of the ride home was hot, hot, hot with the temperature rising into the mid 90's.
We made it home around 4:30 and were both about ready to pass out from heat stroke. I parked the bike and we quickly got our swim suits on and walked over to the pool and jumped in .......... ahhhh, that's the ticket.

We had a nice week end and it helped recharge our inner batteries for the work week ahead. No real plans for this week and it looks like this heat wave may finally be over. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, August 9, 2010

little bitty part let me down

Sunday we slept in longer than usual. I was up at 8:30 and Rudee rolled out of bed about 10:00. I guess we were both pretty wiped out from our big travel days.
We rode the bike over to Plainfield and stopped to visit my Mom in her apartment. She was not feeling real chipper so we only stayed for 30 minutes or so.

We also stopped at Rudee's parents house to visit. Her Mom was out shopping but we did get the chance to visit with her Dad for a little while.

We needed to be home by 4:00 because Amanda, Ryan and the grand kids were all coming over. We just made it about 5 minutes before they got there. Rudee and Amanda then drove into town and picked us all up some pizzas for dinner.

After dinner Ryan wanted to check out the air leak on the Freightliner. I showed him where it was leaking and, with a pair of pliers, he removed the leaking part. Turns out it is a switch that is screwed into the air line and the switch had gone bad and was leaking. Pretty easy fix once I get the correct part.

I didn't want to go to bed Sunday night. I was tired but I knew that when I woke up vacation would officially be over :-(. I finally gave up the fight and turned in around 11:30.
Monday morning Rudee and I were both busy at our desks reading and returning 2 weeks worth of emails. Mine took me a full 45 minutes just to read them all, much less act upon any of them.

Rudee's company had started assigning her new work in the middle of last week so she is already starting behind. Why do they insist on doing this? They wont let you even catch your breath before they are piling it back onto you.

My company at least didn't give me any new assignments until today but I had a full morning of playing catch up on some of my old stuff.
I did have to drive to Indianapolis to look at a car and this gave me the opportunity to stop and pick up the switch I needed for the truck. Once I got back home and got off work I went out and installed it. Holy Smokes! It works! and no leaks!

Here is a picture of the part. Cost me a whole $6.22. Man if I had only known that on the way home I could have found one on the road somewhere and our ears wouldn't have been ringing from that constant loud air hissing sound all the way home. Here is the part:

We drove to Lafayette and took Matthew and Mandie out to eat. The battery on our Chevy Impala that we loaned them had gone bad so we stopped at Wal Mart and got a new one. Matthew and I installed it once we got back to their apartment. We hurried to get the thing in because there was a storm rolling in and we could here the thunder rolling in the distance.

Rudee and I decided not to hang around and get caught in the storm so we headed home.

Nothing much on the schedule for this week. Maybe we just need to hang around the KOA here and soak up the cable TV and be lazy. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

the long drive home

Friday morning we were all up and packing things for our trip home. We said our goodbyes to Mike and Les who we were blessed to meet here at Custer's Gulch. Hopefully our paths will cross again sometime. Safe travels guys.


We slowly made our way through Custer, Hill City and finally Rapid City where we hopped on I-90 and headed east.

We couldn't believe the amount of motorcycle traffic coming at us. There was a steady line of motorcycles, vehicles hauling motorcycles and toy hauler campers that obviously held motorcycles, all heading towards the big rally in Sturgis.
Mike and Les will have a lot of company this week :-).
As we were leaving the campground I heard air leaking in the dash of the Freightliner. There are two air pressure gauges on the dash and both were showing normal and everything else was working normally so it was more of a loud "hissing" annoyance than anything else.

South Dakota is a pretty long state and took most of the day before we reached the Minnesota state line.

Rudee had the laptop fired up and had found a campground, Adrian Municipal Campground in Adrian Minnesota. She called and they had room for all three of us and it was only $22 for full hook ups.

We arrived to find the campground was part of the city park. The camphost was very nice and when she saw our rigs she decided to take me to the sites in her golf cart to make sure they would work for us. The sites looked fine and we quickly got parked. There was a steak house just outside the entrance to the park so we all decided to walk there.

After dinner we all agreed to be up and ready for the road at 7 am and then we all turned in.

Rudee and I watched a movie that lasted a little longer than we would have liked and didn't get to bed until after 11:00 That would have been fine except for the large, loud, scary thunderstorm that rolled through around 2:00 am and woke us up. :-(

Saturday morning we were all up and headed out right at 7:00 am. We had about 650 miles to cover to get home and it was going to be a long day driving.
Rudee made us an egg, bacon and cheese muffin for breakfast as well as packing us some snacks to eat on the road.
The air leak was still going strong and was getting louder. I did find where it was leaking from on one of our stops but couldn't get it fixed. I finally stuffed a towel around it to quiet it down some but I still had to turn the volume of the radio and CB almost to maximum in order to hear them.
The drive was pretty monotonous and boring. Once I get the big circus train up to speed it's just a matter of setting the cruise control and hanging onto the steering wheel.
We made pretty decent time until I took the wrong exit in Waterloo Iowa. I was looking for US 18 and ended up on US 18 Business which took us through the business district with all of it's stop and go lights.
We all made it through my little detour just fine and were soon back on the "big road". Heck fire, I always wanted to see what Waterloo looked like. :-).
Ron and Terri decided to take an extra break for lunch. We were wanting to get home before dark so we decided to forgo lunch and just keep hitting the snacks Rudee had made. Niles and Deb followed Ron and Terri into the rest park and we all said our goodbyes over the CB.
Rudee and I continued on alone and were in and out of rain for the next 100 miles. We finally broke into blue skies and were in the clear for the rest of the way home.

We made it home at 7:15 and pulled back into our site here at the KOA and did a quick set up. We were both hungry so we hopped into the Dakota and had a late supper at Applebee's.
Back at the 5er we unloaded the bike as the sun was setting and then just called it a night, we were both dead tired.

We spent 2 weeks in the Black Hills and had a great time sightseeing, riding our bike, and spending time with good friends (both old and new). We drove 2150 miles traveling back and forth and the truck and 5er both did great (except for that @#$& air leak!!).

Monday morning we are both back to the 8-5 world and are pretty bummed about it. Post vacation depression I guess (or maybe just the fact I really can't stand my job anymore).
Our goal this week is just to get settled back in and get back into the swing of things. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Sturgis, hmmmmm.

Wednesday morning our little group left the campground around 10:00 am. Niles led us through some nice back roads and eventually we arrived in Sturgis where we planned to spend some time walking around and seeing the sights.
The place was hopping and we were having trouble finding a place a park. During the rally the entire downtown is blocked off for motorcycle parking only but since we were a few days early the spots were all full with both cars and bikes.
We eventually found spots near the end of the "strip" and started walking. What a difference from when Rudee and I were here a couple of days ago. Most if not all the vendors were set up and open plus the crowd had arrived and the sidewalks were full of bikers.
We walked the entire main street and then turned around and walked back. Here are some photos:




I even spotted a celebrity, Paul Tuttle Sr. from Orange County Chopper:



We all made a few purchases and were all pretty pooped from all the walking. We only saw one scantly clad gal. She was selling beer from a booth and left very little to the imagination (I didn't know they made implants THAT big!!).



Niles then led us back to the town of Nemo where we stopped in a neat little restaurant for supper. The restaurant was part of the 4 T Ranch which is a guest ranch that has been in operation since the 40's. They had a lot of photos on the walls of the old days and the place had not changed much since then.
After dinner we rode back to the 5th wheels and relaxed around the campfire.

Thursday was to be our last day here :-( and Rudee wanted to try for the Bad Lands again. We headed out early and made a quick breakfast stop before passing through Custer State Park.
I stopped for gas just East of Rapid City and decided to stay on a side road instead of getting back on the Interstate. The road was nicely paved and had very little traffic. Rudee noticed that something kept hitting her foot as we rode. I stopped and that's when we saw all the grasshoppers. There were thousands all over the road!
Once we got to the Badlands I stopped at the first overlook and the front lower 1/2 of the bike was covered with dead bugs. We even had grasshopper pieces all over our shoes and our jeans, YUCK!


We had a nice leisurely ride through the park, taking our time and enjoying the unusual landscape.
















The visitors center has a gift shop and full service restaurant so we had lunch there before heading back towards the Black Hills. I took the back roads home and on the way we stopped for a break at a gas station near Rapid City. I stayed by the bike while Rudee went inside and that's when a large group of about 15 bikers pulled in. I guess my old Cop senses were on alert because I immediately thought these guys looked like trouble. I couldn't put my finger on what it was but when they passed by me and pulled up to the pumps I saw why. They were all wearing their "colors" (vests with patches) that identified them as members of the Hells Angels motorcycle club. Luckily Rudee came out of the store about this time and we saddled up and headed out pretty quickly. I'll use the bathroom at the next stop, thank you very much! :-)
We arrived back at the 5th wheel around 4pm and loaded the bike back up onto the Freightliner. We then drove into town and had one final meal in Custer. We made a quick stop at the grocery store and another to top off the fuel tanks and were soon back at the campground where I got hooked on. Rudee busied herself getting things ready inside and I did all I could do the outside to get ready to leave Friday morning.
We are all traveling together on the way home. I am hoping we will get at least 500 miles in tomorrow so we can be home Saturday, I'll keep you posted.