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

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

in the wind

We spent the week end getting familiar with the new bike. Saturday morning we headed out early. The skies were overcast and it started out cool but the weather man promised sunshine and warm temps for later in the day. We shared a quick breakfast and decided to head towards French Lick Indiana. We had stopped at the casino there on the way home from the truck show with Steve and Trish back in March. Rudee had forgotten to cash in a couple of her winning tickets so we thought today would be a good day to get our money.
We headed south on SR 231 and after about an hour and half we stopped for our first break at a McDonalds in Spencer Indiana where we shared a glass of iced tea and shed our heavy coats.
The biggest issue we have on the bike is that our headsets in our helmets are not compatible with the Harley. We have ordered new cords for the headsets but until they come in we cannot talk to each other while we ride and we both miss sharing things we notice on our ride.
Back on the bike we continued south and finally ended up in the town of Loogootee Indiana. It's a nice town with a really funny name. I have no idea where they came up with it but will have to research that some day.
We made a quick stop for lunch at a nice small cafe. Rudee always prefers the "local flavor" over the fast food chains and we usually end up with a tasty meal and today was no exception. After lunch we only had a few more miles to ride into French Lick. Our first stop was at the Casino where Rudee cashed in her tickets and got her $24. While she was doing that I quickly lost $30 in the slot machines :-(. Oh well, so much for being winners.
We didn't stay long in the casino and Rudee suggested we ride a few blocks down the road and visit the historic West Baden Springs Hotel. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Baden_Springs_Hotel
The Hotel has been completely remodeled and is quite a site.

Inside the dome is breathtaking. We walked around the rotunda and lobby areas imagining what it must have been like when Al Capone and Diamond Jim Brady were frequent guests.They do have scheduled tours that you can take or you can just roam around on your own like Rudee and I did.

We spent about an hour looking around and decided we had better get back on the road. We headed back north towards Rudee's Mom and Dad's house in Plainfield.
We only made one stop for gas and a short break on this leg of the trip and we both felt good when we arrived. We stopped into the Harley shop near their house and cashed in our coupon for a free t-shirt to add to my "hog" wardrobe. We called them just before leaving the shop and arranged for them and Rudee's sister and her husband (David and B.J.) to meet us at Applebee's.
We had a leisurely dinner and lingered for quite awhile afterwards talking and catching up. We eventually said our goodbyes and fired the bike up and headed home.
We had a long day on the bike and rode almost 300 miles and we are still smiling. What a ride.
We are planning on more rides and fun this week end when we attend the Indiana GWRRA Rally in Greensburg In. We are both taking the day off on Friday and will pack up the traveling circus and head to Hidden Paradise Campground in St. Paul Indiana on Thursday right after work. It should be a fun week end. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, May 21, 2010

"hog momma"

We made a big decision this week, a really big decision! We bought a new motorcycle. Our Goldwing was 9 years old and we had almost 60,000 miles on it and we felt like it was time to trade. We had done some shopping at several motorcycle dealers including checking out all the bikes at Neihaus Honda last weekend. Well we found the one we wanted at a dealer in Plainfield In. and this is what we got:

It's a 2010 Harley Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic. The paint is a limited edition pearl 2-tone. The darker color changes from blue to purple depending on the light. I saw one a couple of weeks ago at another shop and called Rudee and told her she had to see it. We stopped into Indy West Harley Davidson on Monday and they had one sitting on their showroom floor. Well I guess it "blew her skirt up" because we ended up making a deal on it and picked it up Wednesday. I guess Rudee is now my "hog Momma".
This is the first Harley we have owned it is a bit different from the Goldwing. One thing is it vibrates a lot more while you are sitting at a stop light but once you take off it smooths right out. The Harleys are louder than the Goldwings too. As far as options the Harley comes stock with a lot of things that are extra with the Goldwing such as CB radio and CD player. The Harley is less $$ too!
I'm sure we have surprised a lot of our Goldwing buddies but one huge plus is the Harley is shorter than the Goldwing which will allow us to build an enclosure on the back of the Freightliner so it will be covered when we travel. Picture a motorcycle garage on the back of our truck, Cool!
The weather has not been cooperating with us very well. Wednesday was cool and overcast and it has rained both Thursday and today so we have not gotten much riding in. The weekend is supposed to be nice with highs in the 80's both days. Our plan is to start wearing out the tires on that new bike. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

wet week end

Our friends Rob and Jany Runion rode in right on time Friday. I had the bike all ready to go so all Rudee and I had to do was hop on and RIDE!

The weather was nice and sunny but a tad cool as we headed west on I-74. The traffic was light and we made good time. Our first stop was just past Champain/Urbana for fuel and to stretch our legs or as it's known in the world of motorcyclist "a butt break" :-). Here is Jany catching up on messages.

We stopped again in Decatur Illinois at Cracker Barrel for another break and a nice dinner. We made it to Litchfield Illinois and found our motel before it got dark.

Rudee and I checked out the pool and was disappointed that they didn't have a hot tub. We tried to swim but the water was just too cold for us so we gave up after just a quick dip.

Saturday morning was very grey and overcast. The weather was supposed to be nice today. What happened?? We all took advantage of the free motel breakfast and since Illinois is on Central time and Indiana is on Eastern we found ourselves with some extra time to kill before the rally opened up (oops).

The rain started while we were eating breakfast and continued most of the day. The temps never really warmed up either. We all put on our rain gear and, leaving the bikes covered in the motel parking lot, walked the block or two down to Neihaus Honda.

The dealership was having their customer appreciation celebration all weekend. They have vendors set up in their parking lot as well as special deals on motorcycles and accessories. We walked through all the vendors and made a few small purchases. Rudee and I looked at some of the bikes for sale but nothing "blew her skirt up" so no new motorcycle this trip :-(.

We decided to leave around noon and rode over to a Mexican restaurant for lunch. We made quite a sight at the restaurant, all four of us were dripping wet and shedding our helmets and rain suits. after lunch we got "dressed" again and headed south on the interstate for our 200 mile ride to Sikeston Missouri. The rain continued until we got just south of St. Louis when it finally quit. The sky was still overcast and the temperature never made it out of the 50's, not the greatest riding weather but we were having fun.

Our destination was Lambert's Restaurant "home of the throwed rolls" and we didn't even stop to check into our motel, we rode straight to the restaurant and got there about 6pm "our time".

Lambert's is quite the place. They serve huge meals of good old southern style cooking. They also have what they call "pass arounds". Waiters and Waitress' walk through the restaurant with pots full of fried Okra, macaroni and tomatoes, fried potatoes and sorghum. Then there is the "roll guy". He pushes a cart around with fresh baked, hot yeast rolls. All you have to do is raise your hand but be ready to catch it because, even if he is across the room, he'll zing a hot roll to you. They are delicious and you have to be careful or you'll fill up on rolls and not have room for anything else.
We all ate too much and waddled out to the bikes. Good thing we only had a mile or so to ride back to the motel :-). Rudee and I tried to get into the pool again but wimped out when the water got above our ankles, brrrrrrrr too cold for us!! We just gave up and went back to our room and went to bed.

Sunday was another cool overcast day and it looked like it would start raining at any moment. We were going to ride to Evansville Indiana (another 200 miles) and spend the night there.

We stayed off the interstate and road on US 60 from Sikeston all the way to Henderson Kentucky where we turned north onto US41 and crossed into Evansville Indiana. We had a nice relaxing ride and was able to stay dry all day.

We found our motel and after checking in we rode over to the Aztar Casino Boat which sits on the Ohio river in downtown Evansville. This is one of the first casino boats allowed in Indiana and is showing it's age. The newer ones are larger and have more up to date machines but we did enjoy our 2 hour gambling trip. None of us won any big $$ but we didn't lose much either. Rob and Jany's daughter attended college here so they took the lead and took us to a nice German Restaurant for supper. We had a nice meal but didn't try any of the more exotic menu items.

Monday morning the weather was more of the same, overcast and gloomy. The temperature dropped some during the ride. We started out in the low 60's but it was down into the 50's before we got 1/2 way home. The rain also started and came down pretty hard at one point. We followed Runions all the way to Brownsburg so we could pick up our mail. We had a great week end even if the weather was not as nice as we had hoped for.

Rudee and I will get back into the swing of things at work this week (yuck). We don't have any real plans for this week end but I'm sure we'll be up to something, I'll keep you posted.

Friday, May 14, 2010

finally Friday!

We have our bags packed and are ready to head out as soon as work ends today. We are riding to Litchfield Il. with Rob and Jany Runion to attend the Neihaus Honda Customer Appreciation Days.
Rob and Jany are going to meet us here late this afternoon and we'll head out. Litchfield is about 200 miles away and we have a room reserved for tonight near the dealership. We plan on spending the morning walking through the vendors and "window shopping" then we are heading to Sikeston Missouri (another 200 miles) to visit Lambert's Restaurant and spend the night. Sunday we will point the bikes toward Indiana and take a leisurely ride towards home. We have all taken Monday off and will spend another night "out on the road" before coming home Monday afternoon.
We are sure looking forward to getting away, even for only a few days. The weather looks like it may cooperate. There is a chance of rain late Sunday and Monday but that seems to change about every hour.
We had the chance to get together with our good friends Steve and Trish the other night and met them for dinner in Frankfort. They had just picked up their trailer they use to haul their Goldwing in when traveling. They had a decal applied to both sides of it by a local company. The company made the decal from a photo of them riding the Dragons Tail which is US 129 at the Tn./N.C. border. The road is famous for it's twists and turns (300+ curves in 11 miles) and riding this stretch of road is on most motorcyclists bucket lists. Steve and Trish were on it last year and here is their photo now displayed on their trailer.

Looks Great guys.
I hope to have some great photos of our "weekend away" so stay tuned, I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mothers Day

We finished up a busy week at work. It's nice to be able to say I have had a busy week, gives me hope that they will not be cutting any of our jobs. I did have some additional training on Friday and some last week as well as we gear up to make the "official" change to our new company's computer operating system. The big change over for us is set to occur in September and will be a big change from our current way of doing things. Now I get all the assignments for my territory and then call the customers and set up appointments to inspect their vehicles. This can be time consuming trying to make contact, leaving messages, scheduling etc. With this system the assignments roll in at will. Last week I got 7 new ones Tuesday and 5 on Wednesday that I had to schedule to fit into my travels. The company that purchased us last year handles things differently. Each appraiser is assigned to a dispatcher who receives the assignments and sets up the inspection time. The inspection is then assigned to one of us with a "window" of time for travel and to complete the assignment. Their computers use GPS and mapping systems to route our travel and distances in order to schedule us.

Both "systems" have their good and bad points. I get tired of the "chase" when leaving messages and waiting for the customers to call back to schedule. I also don't like the feeling of being "dumped on" when I get a large batch of assignments at one time and have to set up my schedule for several days in advance. The good part of our "old" system is I have the freedom to plan my own day to some extent. With the "new" system my day is mostly planned for me. There are slow times when I wont have inspections to travel to on both systems but with the new one I may have 2 inspections in the morning and nothing in the afternoon. Normally I would head back to the 5th wheel and just work from home for the afternoon but now I may get a late inspection assigned by the dispatcher so I have to be ready to head back out.
They say that they try and route you so when you complete your last inspection you still have time in your "work day" to travel back to your home, We'll see.

I wanted to wish all you Mothers a Happy Mothers Day!! I surprised Rudee with a diamond tennis bracelet that she had been hinting around about. Don't get too worked up, we didn't win the lottery, I just splurged a little for my honey.
We spent yesterday morning with my Mom at her apartment since she will be spending most of Mothers day with my brother and his family.
We also went to Plainfield and took Rudee's parents out to lunch at Olive Garden. Amanda and Avalynn met us at their house a joined us at the restaurant.We had a great day spending time honoring the Mothers in our family.

The weather turned cold this week end and the wind really howled yesterday. The temperatures barely made it above 50 yesterday with a wind chill down in the brrrrrrrrrr range :-).

We have a small motorcycle trip planned for next week end so we are hoping the weather improves. We are going to head to Litchfield Illinois to Neihaus Honda Customer Appreciation Days. They have a big celebration with vendors and fun. We are looking forward to taking a little trip and of course: I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

bad Phil, no blogging!

I guess I have neglected the blog lately .......... BAD PHIL!! We really have not done anything exciting mostly just working. Last weekend we did drive to Universal to mushroom hunt on the property of a friend of Rudee's parents. No luck though.

I have had a busy week at work. We started out with a 3 hour training class Monday and then I got hit with a bunch of assignments and that continued most of the week so I was running pretty hard.

We were able to take a nice motorcycle ride Friday evening and met up with friends, Rob and Jany Runion for dinner. We even made an ice cream stop for desert! The temperature was nice and warm but the wind was blowing pretty strong. They were predicting thunderstorms for overnight and they arrived about 3 am. The thunder and lightning woke us up but thankfully didn't last too long.

This week end we drove over to the I-65 Chrome Shop in Remington Indiana. I bought some "bling" for the Freightliner so we look a little better running down the highway :-). We got all new chrome lug nut covers and front hub caps to replace the rusty ones we currently have. I also got 2 new chrome air supply knobs for inside the cab. These should dress it up pretty nice!

I like reading the various RV forums and enjoy reading the questions from couples that are brand new full timers or are considering taking the "plunge". One thing that comes up occasionally is "what is your exit plan"?
There are always a variety of answers to this. Some say they chose to keep their current home so they "have someplace to come back to". Others sold their home and are keeping the equity from the sale "in a separate account" so they can purchase another home. There is really no clear majority.
Rudee and I have a plan on achieving the kind of fulltime RV lifestyle we desire. We have put that plan in motion and are going full steam ahead. When we sold the house we knew we would not be able to save the proceeds for a "rainy day". Those $$ were used to help us on our way to early retirement. So do we have an "exit" plan. Well, no, we don't. We didn't have an exit plan when we bought our house or when we decided to start a family, or when we made the decision to get married. This was/is a major lifestyle change for us but if it does not work out, so be it, we will survive just like we have always done, together.
Maybe that is too reckless for some people who need to have the safety net back to "normal" living. I wish I had the kind of money it would take to have a house (or the funds set aside to buy one) and still do the fulltiming thing but I know that's not realistic for this poor working stiff. Instead we will continue to work our plan, pay off our bills and enjoy our lives here in our 400 square foot home on wheels. And of course, I'll keep you posted.