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

Monday, September 26, 2011

wet week end

This past week end was pretty much a wash out. Saturday we loaded up and drove about 15 miles to Thorntown where they were having the Festival of the Turning Leaves. We met our daughter Amanda there and walked around looking at all the craft sales. They have a parade that started at 1pm and we found a nice curb side spot to watch. Both of our grand daughters were in the parade. They participate in a tumbling/dance team through their school. They were so cute in their little purple out fits :-).
Right after the girls went by the rain started. Amanda drove over to pick up the girls and Nick, our grand son, hopped in with us. He wanted to spend the night and Rudee wanted to spoil him some more so ........ ;-)
The rain continued off and on the rest of the day so we decided to take Nick to a movie. We saw "Money Ball" which is a movie about the California Angels baseball team. Pretty good movie but really long, we were all ready to get up and move around some when it it ended.
Sunday we fired up the semi and drove Nick home in it. When we bought the truck it had 2 spare tires mounted on steel rims behind a home made diamond plate "box". I decided to chuck the worst of the two along with the box to free up some storage room on the bed. When I looked the tires over I decided neither were worth carrying anymore. One had a large split on the sidewall and was a no brainer. The other one was a re-capped tire and had never been on the road but the rubber had deteriorated on the side wall and just did not look reliable. I am not too confident on using re-caps anyway and of course you can't use them for steer tires anyway, so decided to chuck them both.
Son in law Ryan had some steel to take to the recyclers so I was able to add them to his "pile" so the rims will eventually be recycled.
Back in Crawfordsville (in the rain of course) we stopped at Wal Mart and put some fuel in the truck. Still have a little way to go to get it full but it's a little hard on the pocket book to fill it up all at once .... ouch!
Looking ahead to another week of work. Hopefully the rain will quit and Peyton Manning will recover so the Colts can win a game! I'll keep you posted.

Friday, September 23, 2011

curve ball

Another week at work down .... yahoo!!
We got some news this week that our tenant is wanting to move out of our rental property down in Florida. She is wanting to buy a place in the same park and wants out of the lease 8 months early.
We are working to come up with an acceptable agreement to let her out of the lease. She has been a good renter and we are happy for her to be able to have a house of her own, but we still have to protect ourselves and our investment.
Looks like we may have to take a trip down to Florida pretty soon to take care of all the rental stuff. This kind of throws a wrench into our plans, but we need to learn to "roll with the punches" :-).
We have been checking into a rental management company and have even went so far as to get the paperwork needed to sign up.
This would cut into the monthly income the house generates when it's occupied but they do handle everything related to the house including advertising, interviewing and background checks on new rental prospects as well as taking care of all the day to day things that crop up. Looks like it might be a way to go since we may be several states away committed to a work camping gig when something needs handled.
The weather has turned a lot more "Fall like" around here. The farmers have kicked the harvest into high gear as well.
No big plans this week end, there are a couple of festivals going on in nearby towns and we may visit one or two. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Back "home"

Sunday morning I was up early and watched the sunrise behind the 5th wheel. What a pretty start to my last day on vacation :-).
Rudee was was shortly afterwards and I microwaved some bacon slices and toasted us some English Muffins for breakfast.
We started our individual routines of packing up the RV for travel. Rudee does the inside chores and I do the outside ones :-).
I had to add air to most of the tires since the weather has been getting cooler. The rear tires on the truck all needed between 5-10 lbs as well as all the RV tires were slightly low.
When we first got the semi I installed a retractable air hose to the onboard air compressor so filling the tires is a pretty simple process.
The fairgrounds RV sites were all on grass and that grass was now very wet with dew. Our truck does not do real well on wet grass and I was a little nervous that the truck would "spin out" trying to get in position to hook on. Once the wheels start spinning you are usually done and need to be pulled out.
I took it slow and backed under the 5er without any problems. Once we had hooked on Rudee helped me load the bike up and strap it down. We pulled out right at 10am and slowly worked our way through town to I-69 and headed South.
The drive home took us a little over 4 1/2 hours with a stop for lunch. We did run into some sprinkles but no heavy rain and were able to get set back up in site #4 at the KOA by 3pm.
We even took a quick trip around town after unloading the bike just to cool down after working hard sitting up :-).
The grand kids came to visit us Sunday evening and we had a nice time seeing them. Nicholas (the oldest) didn't make though, he was at a friends house.
Monday it is back to the routine of work everyday. YUCK! Don't get me wrong though, I like to be busy and don't mind working bit I am sure looking forward to being able to work at a "fun" job instead of the drudgery work I am doing now. To say I hate it is an understatement and I struggle everyday to stay focused to do the best I can do. It is defiantly time for a change. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Rally - last day

We got word Saturday morning that Rob's Dad made it through the surgery but it was touch and go for a while. He still has a long way to go and our thoughts go out to Rob, Jany and all their family.
We talked about riding the bike into town for breakfast but it was just too darn cool out .... brrrrr. We decided to check out the breakfast being offered in the registration building so we walked up there. We found Mike and Penny Kadinger sitting all alone so joined them and had a nice chat while we ate.
The weather warmed some later in the morning so we ventured out for a short ride. We were looking for two things. The first was a bent tree. Seems like years ago when this area was inhabited by the Pottawatomie Indians current US 12 was originally a popular trail for them to travel from Chicago to Detroit. They would mark the trail by bending over small Willow trees and somewhere in this area is a surviving tree that is bent like a pretzel. We rode for several miles but could not locate the "bent tree" :-(
The second thing we were looking for was Old Sam's grave. Seems like Old Sam was a horse whose owner, a local resident enlisted in the Union Army during the civil war. I guess Old Sam was enlisted at the same time as his owner :-). The two found themselves in the bloody battle of Chickamauga in Northern Georgia. Rumor has it that Old Sam was the only horse to survive the battle and that made him a local legend. Sam was returned to the Coldwater area after the battle by train. The story is that when Sam was unloaded from the train he broke free from his handlers and took off running. He ran straight to his former home, a barn on his owners farm where he lived out his remaining days. When Old Sam died some of the townspeople wanted to give him a proper burial in the local cemetery but this was against the law. They ended up doing it anyway in the middle of the night. Years later the grave site was revealed and a marker erected to Old Sam, Civil War Equine Hero, the only horse to be buried in the Coldwater Cemetery.
Downtown Coldwater was having their Applefest Festival and the downtown was lined with vendor booths selling their wares. We walked down both sides of the block checking everything out. Most of the booths were homemade crafts and food. We did purchase some homemade caramel corn but passed on everything else. Sure saves $$ living in an RV, no room to put a 40lb painted pumpkin or a Tin Man made out of soup cans :-)
We relaxed most of the afternoon and I even built a campfire to take the chill off. Some more of our Chapter Members road up for the day and we visited with them for awhile before they left to make the ride back home.
The last event of the rally is the light parade. All the motorcycles line up and parade through town after dark showing off all our pretty lights. I always thought of it as a way to say "thanks" to the town for letting us invade for the week end.
There was a huge line of bikes and the parade was a lot of fun. The citizens really turned out, many were sitting in the driveways and some even had campfires going to keep warm and watch the parade!
Sunday morning we will pack up and head for home. We are in no big hurry and will take our time packing up and leaving.
Monday morning will be back to work for me, now that is a depressing thought! Things are in the works though and we hope to have some plans finalized soon so I can actually set a date to pull the plug. Looks like things may happen pretty fast so stay tuned! I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Rally, day 2

We started Friday morning a little slower than normal. I could really get used to this not working thing, of course that will not happen for several more years but we are looking forward to the adventure ahead of us.
Rob and Jany had laundry to do, so they spent most of the morning doing that chore. We had some work (there is that four letter word again!) to do so stayed inside and got all that done.
A couple of days ago Rudee made a large pot of clam chowder that was out of this world good. We have been eating it everyday for lunch since and sadly today's serving finished it up.
Once Rob and Jany were back we strolled through the vendors and basically just hung around. Rob was absent several times during the day and spent a lot of time on his cell phone. Late in the afternoon he got one final call and announced that they had just closed the deal on the toy hauler!
Congrats to you guys, it is one great looking unit!
We celebrated by cutting into a pumpkin cake we bought at an Amish bakery. We bought the biggest one they had anticipating having lots of friends camped around us and having pitch in dinners and ........... Oh well, more cake for me! :-(
The rally sponsored a pizza party for dinner followed by a block party in downtown Coldwater. They roped off all the parking downtown for motorcycles only and most of the stores were open. They even had a band and some street vendors. We enjoyed walking through the shops and sitting and listening to the band.
We started back to the fairgrounds at dusk and settled in for the night, or so we thought. Jany came over and said Rob had just gotten a call that his Dad had taken a turn for the worse and was being rushed into surgery and he had better come to the hospital as soon as he could get there.
We helped them tear down, hook up and watched them pull out :-( Good luck guys, we are praying for you.
We made it to bed around midnight but did not sleep well. We are both worried about Rob's Dad, he has been in the hospital since July with all but a few of those days spent in ICU. This time has been rough on their whole family and our hearts go out to them.
So now, here we are. I'm not sure what to do from here. Rudee has talked about just packing up and heading back to our spot at the KOA a day early. I'm not sure if I want to do that or not. GWRRA has been a part of life for a long time and this will most likely be our last rally. We always looked forward to attending when we could all camp together, ride together and have fun together. Maybe this rally just reinforces our decision to "move on" and change our lifestyle. I miss the old days but we are looking forward to new adventures, new friends and new fun. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, September 16, 2011

it must be me

The rally officially started at noon yesterday when registration opened. We spent most of the morning being lazy. Rob wanted to run into town to fill up a propane tank so I grabbed our grille tank, which was getting really low, and we piled into his truck. He cranked and cranked and it wouldn't start. We could smell the diesel fuel so figured it must be glow plugs since it was pretty cool. I got my power cord out and we plugged the block heater in for about 30 minutes and it fired right up.
By the time we got the truck running the girls were ready to go to town so they joined us.
We stopped at a propane place that said to just leave the tanks and come back in 30 minutes and they would be full.
Stopping at Meijers we stocked up on some food stuffs and Jany found some deals on clothes.
We also stopped in to take another look at the toy hauler they are considering :-) No deal yet but maybe things will work out for them.
Back at the fairgrounds we had to stop and pick up our arm bands at registration so we could get back to the RV's, guess we are "official" now.
I did get the chance to talk to a couple of my fellow Chapter members about the camping spot selections. I am being told that the Chapter Director and his Asst. Chapter Director decided NOT to park with us. They could see us and it was suggested to them by the others in their group to come to the section we had saved for everyone but they refused. So I guess it must be me.
The message the four of you are sending has been received loud and clear.
Their actions remind me of High School where the kids would play these type of immature games. I refuse to be a part of it, those days have long since past and I am hopefully more of an adult than that.
The rally gets in full swing today. The temps are still cool but the skies are clear and we are looking forward to having fun with our friends. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Sunday morning we were up before the chickens. We left the campground at 5am to make the ride to Indianapolis for the Ride for Kids which is a charity motorcycle ride that benefits the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.
There was very little traffic at that hour and we had a nice 3 1/2 hour ride to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where the ride was held. We checked in and and got in line. The ride was fairly short but enjoyable and we got to take a lap around the Brickyard when we got back. They served us lunch and had a short program afterwards. There was over $23,000 raised during the ride.
We made it back to the campers as the sun was setting and were all tired and went to bed shortly after getting the bikes covered up.
Monday was designated as "salvage yard" day. The Elkhart area is "RV Capitol" and most RV's are made right here. There are many business' that directly supply the factories also here. There are also several salvage business that sell the "surplus" RV parts. If you need a new appliance or are doing any remodeling this is the place for you!
We made a large loop through this area stopping at several of the stores. Rob got a new vent to replace one that has a hole in it for the roof of their RV. I found some cabinet door latches that match the ones in ours to replace a couple that are broken. No real big buys but we had a lot of fun looking through all the stuff!
Shipshewana has a huge flea market that runs every Tuesday and Wednesday. This is not your average flea market. This place is huge and is more like a festival than a flea market. We dropped the girls off so they could shop and Rob and I drove to Goshen In.
I have a Trailair hitch on the 5er and the airbag on it is now crooked. I took some photos and wanted to show them to the manufacturer to see if they could tell if something was bent or just needed adjusted. I talked to Russ at Trailair and after showing him the pictures he thought it just needed adjusted but gave me a new airbag (no charge!) just to be on the safe side. Great customer service!
We drove back to Shipshewana and the girls were all pooped out and ready to leave so we picked them up and headed into Shipshewana to check out some of the shops there.
We ended up in Middlebury Indiana where we had supper at Das Dutchman Essenhous where the meals are served "family style" . We enjoyed plates of fried chicken, baked steak and bowls of corn, stuffing, noodles and mashed potatoes. The food was good but a little on the pricey side at $17 a piece.
Wednesday was moving day. We loaded the bikes back onto the trucks and got hitched up for the big move 35 miles up the road :-). Our destination was the GWRRA Region D rally at the Branch County Fairgrounds in Coldwater Michigan.
We checked into the fairgrounds office and paid for our camping. $15 per night for full hook ups and they said they are open for drive up camping as well all summer long. Will have to keep that in mind as they are only about a mile off of I-69 and would be a perfect overnight stop.
We parked and got everything hooked up and was able to save several nice sites for the rest of our "gang" who were due to arrive later today.
Rob has got "toyhauler" fever and has been looking at upgrading to a 5th wheel. He found one he wanted to look at here in Coldwater so we road the bikes over to take a peek. We all really liked the lay out and it was priced pretty fair. They are talking about it pretty heavy so this one may be "the" one.
Back at the campers we waited for our friends to arrive. Rob called them and they were only 20 minutes away and he let them know we had sites saved and how to find us.
They arrived and headed our way but something changed their minds and instead of parking by us they parked several rows behind us. Not sure what is up with that. Guess we'll find out later today. I took a shower so don't think it's that :-).
The weather is due for a change here and they are predicting lows in the 30's and frost!! Yikes. Two weeks ago it was in the upper 90's and now it is going to frost??!! Looks like the furnace will be getting a work out for a few days. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Looking ahead

Friday was a pretty easy day for me at work. My assignments are sent to my computer from a dispatch center. The following days appointments start flowing in sometime the day before. When I logged off late Thursday I still had not recieved anything to do for Friday :-).
Fast forward to Friday morning and still nothing, I figured maybe they had shut me off since I would be off the entire next week so I could "clean" things up before leaving.
My boss called me in early afternoon and told me he had messed up and thought I was taking the day off! No big deal and he was laughing about it, so I got a little paid "down time"!
The plan for Friday was packing up to be ready to travel. Rob and Jany were heading to Crawfordsville and boondocking at the Wal Mart. Rudee suggested we go ahead and meet them there as well. "Sounds good to me". Our site at the KOA is not long enough to hook our entire "train" together and not block the road. This means that we would have to hook on really early in the morning and I'm sure our neighbors don't want to hear us clanging and banging at O'dark thirty :-).
I checked with the manager at Wal Mart and got the "okey dokey" and advice on where to park. Maybe we are getting the hang of this "boondocking" thing :-).
We both like to "surf the net" and Wifi is not always available. Neither of the parks we are heading to next week have it so we would be "out of touch". I have been looking into options and decided to try a Mifi Card through Virgin Mobile. They have mixed reviews but the thing that attracted me was the "pay as you go" function. There are no monthly contracts and if we are work camping in a park with wifi we can use that for free and not have to pay big $$ every month. Virgin uses the Sprint network and for $50 you get their version of unlimited access (they slow your connection from 3g speed to turtle speed if you use over 2.5gb in your 30 days). You can also buy 1gb for $20 that expires in 30 days and 500 mb for $10 that expires in one week. You can purchase "top up" cards at Wal Mart or just log on and purchase it on line through Virgin Mobile.
We plan on giving it a work out this next week and see how it does.
I was up early Saturday morning and went to McDonalds for coffee instead of dragging the generator and cord out. I bought Rob and I each a large cup and brought them back, neither of the girls drink coffee so they were on there own :-).
I led as we pulled out and headed North towards the Amish Country of Northern Indiana. Rob and Jany have a travel trailer and he puts his Goldwing motorcycle in the bed of his 1 ton dually Ford truck useing a loader similier to the one we have on the semi.
We made it to our "home" for next few days just in time for lunch. We are at Grandview Bend Park in Howe Indiana. The park is a Passport America, Coast to Coast, Campclub USA and Escapees discount park. The best deal for us was using our PPA discount and paid $12.50 for the first two nights and then $15 per night after that. The sites have water and electric only. They do have a dump station available. We are staying here for four noghts before heading into Michigan for a Goldwing Rally.
Sunday we have a charity motorcycle ride to attend and we are planning to hit some of the RV salvage yards as well as the large Shipshewana Flea Market. Stay tuned, I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Maytag Repairman

We have a Splendide combo washer/dryer installed in the kitchen pantry in our Montana. Rudee loves not having to lug our dirty clothes to the laundromat. Our unit gets quite a work out and lately the clothes have not been getting dry no matter how long they are in there. She called the manufacturer and they said that a good internal cleaning was needed and should solve the problem. They emailed the instruction so we could "do it ourselves" and not have to pay a professional.
Saturday morning was designated "washer repair day" and yours truly was appointed "repair guy" :-)
I unhooked the unit and, with Rudee's help, got it out of the cabinet and carried outside under the awning for the big "operation". Reading the service instruction I quickly learned that none of the directions matched up to any of the things I was looking at on the washer. "Whoops, this aint lookin real good". I started taking out screws and removing panels :-O and still could not make head nor tails out the directions they had sent us.
I went ahead and unhooked every hose that I could unhook and made sure they were all clear. I did find a wooden Popsicle stick and 11 cents in one of the hoses. How in the heck did a Popsicle stick get in there??!!!
After cleaning everything we could get to I put it all back together and we positioned it back into it's cabinet. We did a test wash and still not drying, guess it's time to call the "Maytag Repairman", maybe he can understand their goofy directions.
I was off work on Monday to celebrate Labor Day so we decided to head to the small town of Clinton Indiana. There is a large Italian influence here and they have held the "Little Italy Festival" over Labor Day weekend for many years.
The street next to the Wabash River is open for pedestrians only and is lined with vendors for several blocks. We saw this really neat restored travel trailer that had been converted into a food vendors trailer. I am guessing it is 50's or early 60's model and really liked the windows and lines of the trailer.
The festival was mostly food booths selling typical "festival" food. We walked up one side of the block and back down the other side. Rudee did find a vendor that had a leather purse she liked (which is no easy accomplishment!) so she was able to "retire" her current purse with the broken zipper :-).
I have a short week at work this week and then we are heading to Shipshewana Indiana for a week to enjoy some Amish cooking and relax. We are going to attend a Goldwing motorcycle rally while we are up there as well. Rob and Jany Runion are joining us with their camper and we are all looking forward to getting away for a little while. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

where did the summer go?

Hard to believe it's September already, this summer has flown by! Reminds me of days long ago when we were out of school for summer break. School would end the last week of May and start again around Labor Day and the summer months would fly by. These days the kids go back to school in the middle of August and have at least 2 weeks less vacation then we did. I guess it did pay off being an old fart :-)
The KOA started filling up Thursday night and by Friday evening there were only 1 or 2 open sites left. This week end is typically the last summer hoorah for the week end campers. They are predicting hot temperatures in the upper 90's for 1/2 of the week end and then rain and a big cool down for the other 1/2.
We are babysitting the grandkids Friday evening and Saturday morning so our little house on wheels will be pretty full! We have some activities planned so we can "spread out" some.
We have a few things in the works for a winter job but nothing written in stone yet but our future is looking bright!
I will try and get some photos this week end of our activities, I know blogs are pretty boring with out photos, just need to remember to take the camera! As always, I'll keep you posted!