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

Saturday, August 27, 2011

"tossin rolls"

We were up and out the door early last Saturday morning. This was the week end of our ride to Sikestom Missouri. We have organized this ride for several years and really enjoy the trip there and back.
Our meeting spot was the Forum Restaurant here in Crawfordsville and we wanted to arrive early enough to have breakfast before our scheduled 7:30 "kickstands up" leave time.
There were a total of 8 bikes (15 people) taking the trip with us and we pulled out of the parking lot right on time.
The weather started out great but they were predicting rain and storms for later in the day. My hope was to be safely at the motel before the storms kicked up :-)
We ran into a little construction on I-70 but the traffic was pretty light and we made good time. Our first stop was in Effingham Illinois where we took our first "butt break".
Rudee and I used to be able to ride 150 miles or more and just stopping when we needed gas. Now days we have to stop every 70-80 miles, guess we are getting old :-)
We left Effingham and the dark clouds started rolling in. The plan was to stop at Mt. Vernon Il. for lunch and it sure looked like we would be getting wet long before we got there :-)
The farther we rode the darker the skies became but about the time I thought the monsoon would start I saw the sign for the exit at Mt Vernon .... whew, we made!
I checked the radar on my Droid phone while we were eating lunch and it didn't look good. The entire 1/2 of Illinois was covered in shades of green, yellow and even some red! Oh-Oh, guess we better plan on getting the rain suits out.
We finished lunch and got everybody fueled up and back on the bikes. Still no rain, so out on the highway we went. "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" :-)
As we rode south we could see the skies clearing on the horizon. I kept thinking that if we could just get there we would stay dry!
Somehow, someway we managed to do just that. I guess the rain that was on the radar just "fell apart" . Hows that for being lucky?
We arrived in Sikeston around 3pm after riding a little over 320 miles.
The reason for our trip was to eat at Lambert's, "home of the throwed rolls". http://www.throwedrolls.com/
Our group got checked into our motel. Some of us went to the pool and others took a nap. I did both :-)
We all met in the lobby at 5pm and rode to the restaurant to put our name in for a table.
Lamberts do not take reservations and they are usually busy every night. In past years we have had to wait up to two hours for our group to get a table.
This year the wait wasn't as bad, even though the parking lot was pretty full we all got seated in neighboring tables in about 20 minutes.
Lamberts serves up "country style" food and lots of it! Besides your meal with sides they have what they call "pass arounds". These are big pots of fried okra, tomatoes and macaroni, fried potatoes and black eyed peas that are carried around the restaurant and spooned onto your plate at your table. The big draw though is the hot yeast rolls! They come out piping hot and when you hear the guy yell "hot rolls" just raise your hand and he will zing one to you! Better be ready because they come "hot and fast". The rolls are followed by a waiter with sorghum to drizzle on your fresh hot buttered roll ........... ummmmmmmm, makes me hungry just thinking about it.
Needless to say, you don't leave this place hungry!
Rudee and I shared a combo plate of fried chicken livers and gizzards. She chose mashed potatoes for her side and I got cucumbers and onions. Our meal was great as well as the service and the company! We had a great time.
Sunday morning we had a quick breakfast at the motel and lined up for the ride back to Indiana. Today was going to be a longer trip since we stay on the two lane roads coming home.
We wound our way through the countryside through Missouri, over the Mississippi River into Illinois for a few miles and then over the Ohio river and into Kentucky. We rode through several small towns and the larger city of Paducah. In Marion Kentucky we turned North and caught a ride on a ferry back across the Ohio and into Illinois at Cave-in-Rock where we stopped for lunch.
The afternoon ride took us North through the corn fields of Illinois before finally crossing the Wabash river back into Indiana. We made a quick stop for ice cream in Vincennes before riding the last leg of our trip.
We made it back to Crawfordsville at 7pm and were both worn out. We had a great time riding with our friends. I had reset my trip odometer before we left and it showed we had ridden just over 700 miles in the two days of our trip.
We were both pretty tired from being on the bike for the last two days and I sure wish I had an extra day to recover but Monday morning it was back to work :-(
My work week was a busy one and went by pretty fast, almost as fast as a week of vacation but not quite :-)
Looking forward to a lazy week end so we can recover :-), I'll keep you posted!

Monday, August 15, 2011

change in plans

Friday evening I came home from work (ewwwww, four letter word!) to a great smelling 5th wheel. Rudee was busy baking fresh salmon for dinner. She did a great job and we both enjoyed our fish dinner.
After dinner we hopped on the bike and took a nice evening ride. I even stopped at a small ice cream shop and we treated ourselves to desert!
Saturday the weatherman was warning us of stormy weather but the skies were clear and the temperatures quickly warmed up. We decided to go out for breakfast and take another short ride while we could.
Once back at the 5th wheel we got some chores done and then headed for my brother and sister in laws home in Amo Indiana. Jon is a career Firefighter/Paramedic and has recently completed his RN degree. They are seriously considering full time RVing when he retires from the firehouse in a few years. That RN degree will come in real handy if they need to make a few $$ on the road.
Jon and Cheri's youngest, Ben, just graduated from High School and has enlisted in the Navy. They were having the family over for a cook out so we had a chance to send him off "in style". He reports for basic training next week, eventually he will be a Yeoman on a submarine. Needless to say we are all very proud of him. I would post a picture but forgot my camera :-(
Jon had slow cooked some pork for barbecue and it turned out great. Everyone brought a covered dish and, as usual, we had a lot more food then we could ever eat!
Around 8pm the storm clouds started building and we could hear thunder in the distance so decided it was time to leave.
We had to drive through the storm to get home and it packed a pretty good punch with some gusty winds and heavy rain.
We were relieved to find that all was well back at the 5th wheel once we got back. We had left the awning out and I kind of expected it to be ripped to shreds but it looked just like we had left it.
Our plan was to get up Sunday morning and head to Indianapolis and spend the day at the Indiana State Fair. The storm changed those plans though, seems like the same storm we drove through on our way home had hit the fairgrounds. The news was reporting that the wind had toppled the stage rigging at the band "Sugarland" concert. There were people trapped under the rigging and 5 people died in the accident.
We decided that even if the fair was open the next day we would not be able to enjoy an outing there knowing that people had been killed there the night before. Turns out they did close down for Sunday which was the right thing to do in my mind.
With nothing to do on Sunday and the weather being cool and overcast we decided to just be lazy. We spent the whole day just watching TV and relaxing. It's been a long time since we have done that and it felt pretty good just to relax for a day.
Monday is back to work for another week. We are leading a group of motorcycles to Sikeston Missouri this week weekend to have dinner at Lambert's Restaurant, "home of the throwed rolls". We are both looking forward to our trip. I'll keep you posted!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Now we're talkin!

The heat wave seems to have ended! The last several days have been perfect! Highs in the low 80's and dipping down into upper 50's at night. We have opened the windows up and slept like babies!
I guess everyone can thank us for the break in the heat. When we need rain all I have to do is wash my car and BINGO the skies open up. We buy an air conditioner to battle the heat and it cools down! Oh well, guess we are ready for the next heat wave. :-)
Tuesday evening I started hearing some thunder in the distance. I checked the radar and there was a nasty looking storm coming at us! Rudee helped me get the awning rolled up and we put away our chairs and anything else that would blow away.
Sure enough about 15 minutes later the winds picked up and we had a huge downpour for about 5 minutes then it quit and the sun came back out. I guess the worst part of the storm was just North of us.
Amanda and Ryan were not as lucky. They live 20 miles south west of us and got the worst of the storm. The winds knocked down several power poles in front of their house leaving the wires strewn all over the highway. What a mess!
They were without power the entire night and most of Wednesday. They did come and spend the night with us because they are on a well and without power to operate the pump they have no water.
Let me tell you our little 400 square foot home was plenty crowded with 7 us sleeping in here!
Looks like we may try to visit the Indiana State Fair this week end. We have both lived in the area all our lives and have only been to the fair a couple of times. Seems like when we were younger raising our family we were always broke this time of year. In August we had to buy school clothes, pay book rental fees as well as renew our license plates on all of our vehicles. This was on top of all of our "normal" bills that were due. This didn't leave any extra $$ for any "fun" things.
They are calling for more storms this week end but hopefully the weather will cooperate. I'll keep you posted

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

adding a little "culture"

There is a small theatre here in Crawfordsville that is home to the "Sugar Creek Players". They put on shows several times a year and Rudee and I have talked about going several times in the last 2 1/2 years we have been here at the KOA.
While at driving between assignments last week I had the Crawfordsville radio station on and they had a commercial advertising the opening for the musical "Chicago". I jotted down the phone number for tickets and gave them a call. I was able to get decent tickets for Fridays show which also happened to be opening night The tickets were only $10 each, pretty good bargain for a night at the theatre.
To make our date night complete I made reservations at the fanciest restaurant in town, or at least the fanciest that I know of :-).
Friday arrived and we got all gussied up in our Sunday best and headed out for a night on the town.
Our first stop was the Irongate Restaurant for dinner. The chef's special was beef wellington so that is what we ordered. Neither one of us had ever had it before but it is one of the main dishes on the TV show Hell's Kitchen and we always wanted to try it.
The meal did not disappoint and we both ate too much but had a great time. The restaurant and the theatre are only a few blocks apart so we were able to walk between the two. I picked up our tickets at the "will call" window and we waited for a short time in the lobby for the "house" to open.
I am assuming, judging by the marquee, the theatre was the towns movie house at one time. It was not real ornate but was nice and the workers made you feel very welcome.
Once the doors opened we found our seats which were row 13 center and made ourselves comfortable. The theatre was small, probably only 18 rows total, but it was tastefully decorated and you could tell they took pride in its appearance.
The show started right on time and was a real treat. I really didn't know what to expect since all the actors were "local talent" but they were all very professional. The singing and choreography was top notch and we both thoroughly enjoyed the show. I think it has to be the best bargain in town. Two and half hours of top notch entertainment for $10! We plan to go back again some day.
We finally had some rain here and the temperatures are supposed to drop back into the "normal" range. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, August 8, 2011

staying cool

Wednesday we picked up our mail and had gotten the newest sale flier from Camping World. They had air conditioners on sale and we had been talking about adding a second a/c for about 2 years now. We talked it over and I did a little research on the internet just to make sure the price was decent. Saturday morning I called them and made sure the model I was looking for was in stock.
We wanted a low profile unit since it would mount over our bedroom and would extend our height and we both felt a full size one would cause some extra worry on low clearances.
Camping World is south of Indianapolis in the suburb city of Greenwood and sits right off Interstate 65. The drive took us a little over an hour and the parking lot was pretty full when we arrived. I was supposed to ask for Barbara who I had talked to on the phone and was holding the last Dometic Penguin they had in stock for me.
Babara had everything ready for us and we were able to avoid most of the crowd wandering the aisles. We paid the bill and drove to the back of the service area where they were waiting for us with the a/c on a fork lift. We got it loaded up and headed back home. Let the fun begin! Now we get to install this sucker!
The first step was to remove the crank up vent which the air conditioner would replace. I took the trim off the interior and then got the ladder out and headed up onto the roof. Of course I didn't bring the right tools with me but Rudee came to my rescue and brought up what I needed. The vent is about 18" x 18" and was attached to the roof with 32 screws! I guess they didn't want it falling off! :-)
Once the vent was off we cleaned the old sealer off the roof and then it was time to carry the air conditioner up. Hmmmmmm, this should be interesting :-).
I tied a rope around the unit and sent Rudee back up onto the roof. The plan was for her to pull with the rope while I climbed the ladder while pushing the unit up ahead of me. Now this thing weighs probably 50 lbs and is pretty big so it's not going to be easy.
With Rudee pulling I started climbing. The first 10' went pretty easy but then the higher I got the "bouncy-er" the ladder got :-O. Rudee kept pulling and I made it to the edge of the roof. Now we just had to hoist the a/c over onto the roof. I'm not sure exactly how we did it but somehow the a/c made it over the top of the ladder and was now sitting on top of Rudee who was flat on her back on the roof!
I was able to climb around her, the a/c and the ladder to get onto the roof we were able to move it off of her. Whew! That was a big job!
We got the a/c positioned over the hole where the vent had been and headed back down. All the rest of the installation could be done from the inside.
Our 5th wheel came "pre-wired" for a second a/c unit which means the factory had already ran the power wires and there was a breaker for them in the breaker box. That made my job a lot easier. I just had to hook up the wires in the ceiling to the wires in the air conditioner and attach the control unit to the bedroom ceiling. The a/c is held onto the roof by 3 long bolts that are inserted from the inside and compress a gasket which gives you a weather tight seal.
With Rudee's help I got it wired and bolted down. We positioned and attached the control unit and turned the breaker on. Hooray, no smoke or fire! Best of all the a/c works! Whoo Hoo.
We got the tools and ladder cleaned up and headed for the pool to get cooled down. We both felt pretty good about our accomplishment. We had never installed an air conditioner before and sometimes our little "projects" turn into nightmares :-). This one went really well and we make a pretty good team:-).
No big plans for this week, just working to get another week closer to retirement. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Week end on the motorcycle

Saturday morning Rudee and I hopped on the bike and headed to a local restaurant, Michael's, for breakfast. While eating we tried to decide where we wanted to ride to but really didn't come up with anything. I finally decided to just head south figuring their were more trees and hills in Southern Indiana and thus more shade :-).
With that big decision over I pointed the bike south and we headed out looking for curves and shade! LOL.
We headed south on SR 59 and passed through several of the small towns that Indiana is known for. Seems like you cannot go more than a few miles after leaving one small burg before having to slow down for another. Each one of these towns has it's own personality and several have signs at their entrance boasting of famous residents or achievements.
I enjoy these times where Rudee and I can unwind, talk, dream and just be together.
We stopped for lunch in Clay City Indiana where they boast to be the "Mayberry of the Midwest". We ate a small restaurant in the middle of the "downtown" block of business'. The place was not busy, partly due to the road construction going on that detoured most of the traffic away from the "main drag". We enjoyed our lunch and talked about not wanting the day to end. That's when I suggested we just keep on going! We had enough points built up on our Choice Hotels membership that we qualified for a free night at any of their chain of Comfort, Quality, Clarion etc hotels.
We decided that Evansville Indian would be a good destination and should have a number of hotels to choose from so I got online with my phone and searched for a room.
I was able to book a room for the night at the Clarion and we fired up the bike and continued our ride.
We took our time and stayed off the main highways for the most part. We ended up arriving in Evansville around 4pm. Now remember we were only planning on a day ride, we had no toothbrushes, toothpaste or deodorant so we stopped at a CVS pharmacy and bought some trial size "supplies" before checking in to our room.
You know people give you some funny looks when you are checking in and your luggage is a small plastic bag! :-)
I still had a gift card to Red Lobster that Amanda and Matthew gave me for Fathers Day so that turned out to be our restaurant of choice for dinner. We had a nice meal and since Evansville is on Central time (1 hour behind us) we were able to beat the Saturday evening rush.
We did take a stroll through the Casino Boat but really didn't have a lot of interest in it. We played some of the slot machines but they seemed a little out dated and the place was crowded and smokey.
Walking back to the bike in their parking lot we stopped at an overlook for the river where we sat and watched a big barge hauling coal pass by. Sometimes I forget to stop and smell the roses because work and other commitments get in the way. I'm looking forward to doing more of this once we hit the road as full time RVer's.
Back at the motel Rudee made me get undressed! Whoo Hoo! :-)
No it's not what you think, she was hand washing our clothes. Remember we didn't pack anything for this trip? Yep gotta wear today's clothes tomorrow and it's been in the 90's ..... ewwwwww. She turned the sink into a washing machine and since I was already undressed I took a shower :-).
We hung our clothes near the a/c fan hoping they would dry by morning and called it a night.
Sunday we ended up putting on clammy clothes :-). Guess they were still a little damp :-) No worries though, the weather was going to be in the 90's again so they will dry in less than 2 miles of riding :-)
We took a long route home following the river for several miles before turning North. The temperature climbed pretty quickly but we took frequent breaks and we always try to drink plenty of water to help us stay cool. The last 50 miles was the worst though. We were both getting pretty hot and all we could think about was how nice the pool was going to be once we made it back home.
When we did make it home I didn't even park the bike in it's normal place, just park it where it stopped and jumped off! We changed into our swim suits and were in the pool in less than 5 minutes after pulling into the KOA ....... ahhhhh that pool felt good!
Rudee will be in Plainfield for the next couple of days helping her parents. Her Mom may get released to come home this week. I'm sure she is ready to leave the rehab facility! No big plans for me, just going back to work so I can be another week closer to retiring. I'll keep you posted.