Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Ta Do List

We met with Brian’s case worker for a few minutes before going over to his apartment to pick him up.  Then it was off to finish his Christmas shopping.  With that behind us, we stopped by Arnie’s Restaurant for lunch – that’s a great little restaurant with a delicious lunch menu.  They even serve a cup cake for dessert as part of each meal; it takes care of the “did we save room for dessert?” question.  It was a yummy meal and we came home with a kitty box (don’t have a dawggie).

Once we returned home, we got busy reinstalling the fender on the right side of the coach.  The repairs on the coach have now been completed.  We even installed hardboard above the tires to replace the torn membrane.  In spite of striking that off the list, the “Ol’ Ta Do” list has continued to grow.  It’s all little “stuff” and we should be able to clear most of it off the list today, but it’s “stuff” none the less.  Boy, I thought going fulltime would get rid of the Ta Do list forever; not so!!!!  ;-)

After picking up the tools and taking a quick shower (I was laying in the dirt to install the hardboard), Miss Judy made us some hot chocolate and we headed for the campfire.  We chatted with Ray and Pat for about an hour before coming home for dinner; the other half of the sandwich that we brought home in a kitty box from Arnie’s.

Today we plan on staying home.  Judy will work on one of her basket weaving projects and I will chase the ever elusive TA DO LIST!!!  You’ll have to tune in tomorrow to see if I slay that dragon.  Take care, Have fun, and God Bless.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Good Service Reports and Judy’s Normal

Good service deserves a good report.  Four and a half years ago we contacted Miller Insurance Agency in Lake Oswego, Oregon about our fulltime insurance needs and subsequently purchased a Progressive Insurance policy through them.  We can’t say enough good about both the Agency and Insurer.  Every time we’ve had a claim, both have been “Johnny on the spot”.  No hassles, no runarounds, no BS whatsoever. 

Yesterday morning the adjuster showed up to do an estimate on the damage caused by the blowout.  Within a hour he had reviewed everything, completed the estimate, and will put a check in the mail this afternoon.  He was extremely pleasant to work with and very thorough with the estimate.  Being that we have been with Progressive for 5 years (our last renewal was in August which will make it year five), we qualify for the disappearing deductible.  Progressive paid the entire claim of almost $900 – that will cover not only the repairs, but, also, the upgrade in tires.

Bottom line, if you are planning on going fulltime or looking to change insurance companies then you owe it to yourself to contact the Miller Insurance Agency for your insurance needs.  You’ll definitely be glad you did.

Continuing with the good service theme, we can, also, endorse Discount Tire (also known as American Tire).  Seventeen months ago we “upgraded” the tires on our coach.  Cedar Creek installed some cheap LT tires and one of them broke around the bead while another was our first blowout.  So we replaced them with Carlisle ST tires with a higher load range rating; that proved to be a mistake. 

First of all, let me say that there is a big difference in load range E tires that most fifthwheel manufacturers install.  Cedar Creek installed some All Country tires on ours (they are now installing Goodyear G614s which are better but still have a history of blowouts) and those were junk tires.  When we had them replaced you could easily tell the difference between them and a better LT tire just by picking up one of each – there’s a huge difference in the just the weight of the tires.

Anyway, Carlisle ST (special trailer) tires have had problems as well so Discount Tire is crediting us with 75% of the original purchase price (even though it has been seventeen months and about 8,000 miles) toward new tires.  They called us yesterday to let me know that they have our new tires on hand and to make sure that we are still planning to make the switch.

On top of that, they filled out all the paperwork and submitted a product liability claim to Carlisle on our behave.  Should Carlisle settle that claim (it’s doubtful that they will based on what I have read on the internet) then we’ll return that money to our insurance company.  But, in any event, Discount Tire did all the paperwork for us.

We will be replacing the Carlisle ST tires with Michelin XPS RIBs which are LT tires.  I learned in the Tire Safety seminar at the Escapade that LT tires are better quality than ST tires even though the STs have a higher load range.  Most RVer forums endorse the Michelin tires as the best for fifthwheel applications; they’re expensive though, but how much is your safety worth?

Lastly, we got Judy’s ultrasound and blood test results back yesterday.  She is deemed as “normal” which I find remarkable – she hasn’t been normal in almost 38 years of marriage (if she had have been normal, she would have never married me).  Anyway, Mecoasta County Medical Center in Big Rapids has been nothing but very professional and helpful. 

Also, the clinic that Judy went to in Big Rapids was responsive to her needs; even giving her the results of the tests over the phone and canceling her second appointment so that she wouldn’t have to make the trip or pay for it.  It’s nice to know that you can get good medical with nice friendly helpful people while wandering about the country.

Well, that’s enough for this morning.  We’ll be traveling to Grand Rapids today to visit with our son again.  Until tomorrow. . . . 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Yesterday was one of those perfect fall days with bright shining sun and cooler temperatures (temps in the low 60’s).  We were up bright and early, well, early anyhow, in order to get Judy to the hospital for her ultrasound and blood work (she’ll get the results later today).

We made a quick trip to Lowes to look for some ideas for repairing the damage to the membrane under the coach that was damaged by the blowout.  We found a sheet of hardboard that can be screwed up underneath using self tapping screws.  When I’m through installing that stuff, it will be better than new.

After another quick stop at Walmart to pick up several items, it was home for the rest of the day.  Judy worked on her quilting while I installed the newly painted fender on the driver’s side of the coach, measured for the hardboard (Lowes will cut it to size for us – we’ll pick it up after we get Judy’s test results this afternoon), and aired up all the tires.  The new air compressor is much, much better than the little one I’ve been using.

Nice Piece Of Equipment

Ray and Pat were pulling stumps yesterday afternoon so, here’s a picture I took so I could remember what w*rk looks like.

So This Is What Work Looks Like

While they were busy with that chore, Judy and I found a place in the sun where we could sit and enjoy a cuppa Joe (well, Judy had tea).  It so was nice and warm sitting outside that Alex wanted to come out and join us for a little while (and they say katts can’t smile – you should have seen him).

A Nice Sunny Spot

“So, how’s the Ol’ Ta Do List coming?” you may ask.  Slowly, vewy, vewy slowly!  But, I am making progress.  Today I will finish washing the windows leaving the repairs from the blowout on the passenger side and restringing of the day/night shades on the list. 

It will only take three or four hours to finish all the repairs caused by both tire blowouts (the first one was seventeen months ago).  We’ll be having a restringing day with Ray and Pat sometime this coming weekend as they have three windows to do as well.  Then the Mecosta list will be finished, but you just know that there will be another much longer list once we get back to Rainbow Plantation. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Continuing The Fall Theme

Another bell ringer for fall being upon us is that harvest time is now complete (or nearly complete).  That means it’s New England Boiled Dinner time which is exactly what we prepared for yesterday’s meal.  Cabbage, Carrots, Potatoes, and Turnip all boiled in the same pot with either a corned beef brisket or ham (in our case ham).  Also, a nice side dish of butternut squash and an apple pie for dessert, then you have a meal fit for a king (and a queen).

Being that it was Sunday, we attended worship at the World Outreach Church extension.  Pastor Allen Jackson’s sermons are recorded and posted on the church’s website for our listening pleasure.  It’s really nice to be able to hear good preaching where ever we travel.

After church, we joined Ray and Pat around the campfire for some social interaction.  They had returned from their “camping trip” Saturday evening much to Miss Kitty’s delight.  We chatted for about an hour and a half before it was time for us to come home and tend to dinner.  We turned on the old tele and watch a little football while the veggies were cooking.  Ray and Pat joined us around four o’clock for dinner and a little more social time. 

This is a great campground, we’ll have to remember to come back here often.  We have a nice secluded site with a beautiful view and the neighbors are pretty nice folks, if we must say so.  Here is the view from our living room window – not too shabby, eh?

The World From Our Window

Judy is having her ultrasound and blood work done the first thing this morning, so we have to get going.   See ya again tomorrow, until then take care!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Trip To The Orchards

What a great day.  It was cool and the sun never made it out.  It definitely had autumn written all over it.  The kind of day where you put on your sweats, light a fire in the fire place, turn on the ball game, and lean back in your recliner with a katt in your lap.  Yep, fall is in the air; now all we need is a pile of burning leaves to add to the ambiance.

What else comes with fall?  Why, apple pickin’ time and that’s just what our northeastern grand kids, and their parents, have been up to.  Here is a photo journal capturing the event.

First you round up the kids and pack them into the “kah”.

Packin' The Kah - Lola and Briana

It’s never a short trip when kids are involved even if the apple orchard is only twenty minutes from your house - “Are We There Yet?”  “Yep, we’re here, finally!”

Thank God We've Finally Arrived - Marc and Rocco

Let’s take a family picture so we can attest to the fact that everyone arrived safely at the orchard with no little kids injured enroute.  (Note, some have already found their apples and are sampling the wares.)

Arrived Safely - Rocco, Briana, Amie, Marc, and Lola

Now let the pickin’ begin.  “Lola, ya can’t eat’em all, ya gotta put some of the apples in the basket!” 

Lola returns with two apples - oops, there are pieces missing off from one!

“See Rocco, once you think you’ve found the perfect apple you need to check it over very, very closely for worm holes.  Ya don’t wanna bite into an apple and see a half of worm now, do you?”

Briana and Rocco

“Now it’s your turn to select an apple and inspect it, Rocco.”  Lola learned how to inspect apples last year; she’s inspector number 9.

Rocco, Briana, and Lola picking and inspecting

With a little training Rocco is good to go.  Now he’s inspector number 11.

No Worm Holes Here!  -  Rocco

Okay gang, the basket is full.  It’s break time!!

Tough Union - Breaks are in the contract.

One last bite and we’re outta here!! 

Rocco, Briana, Amie, Lola

So there you have it, a day in the country during apple pickin’ time.  Now, just don’t sit thar, go round up the kids/grandkids and head out for the orchards.  It’s a lot of fun and those apples won’t wait forever ya know!!!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Burrrr, Fall Has Fell

The storms that dumped boo-koo rainfall on Minnesota and Wisconsin passed over Michigan as well; only without depositing as much rain.  Once the last of the storms cleared during the day yesterday, the cooler temperatures came flooding in.  It was 78* when we woke yesterday morning and it’s 51* this morning making it a real live Northern Michigan fall day.  It has been windy over the past couple of days as well with wind gusts in the 40 to 50 MPH range.  I guess that will continue into today as well.  Oh well, we are snug as bugs in a rug in our little house in the woods.

Yesterday we made a three hour drive to Levering, Michigan to visit Judy’s brother and sister-in-law, John and Della and then, after a three hour visit and lunch, we turned around and headed back.  We took the back roads home so it took us a little longer to return making it a 10 hour day in all.

The leaves here in Northern Michigan are slowly beginning to change colors; it will be another week, or so, before they reach their peak.  There are lots of hardwoods in Michigan which make for a very pretty fall each year, but fall is just waaaaay too short of a season.

Thanks to everyone who sent good wishes for my baby.  She is feeling a little better, but will be glad to get this all behind her.  By mid week she should have the results of the ultrasound and blood work and know where we need to go from there.  The worst thing that could happen is having to have the gallbladder removed, but then it’s just a spare part anyway and could be removed via Laparoscopic surgery.

I must go now and let Miss Kitty out of the barn.  We “stuffed” her in there last night so that she wouldn’t have to be out in the cold (I think she would have rather stayed out in the cold).  Anywhoo, that’s all for now.  Take care and have a great weekend.

Friday, September 24, 2010

It’s Good News / It’s Bad News

Or, it could be better stated, It’s Income / It’s Outgo!!!  First the good news.  I talked with the claims adjuster about the damage done to the rig by the blow out that we had.  Being that we’ve had our policy with them for five years we qualify for the disappearing deductible – they will cover the claim 100%.  And, even though I’m doing the repair work myself, they will still pay for the estimated labor charges as well.  The claim check should easily pay for all the parts that I have purchased (we kept the receipts) plus the “several” hours of labor should cover the costs for the new air compressor and the new space heater that we had to purchase this past week.

Now for the bad news.  Judy has been experiencing pain in her right side (front and back) off and on again over the past two weeks.  She thought it was getting better, but Wednesday night it flared up again so it was off to the clinic with her.  The Nurse Practitioner thinks that it may be gallbladder related so she needs some blood work and a ultrasound done (currently scheduled for Monday morning).  Being that her insurance policy has a high deductible, guess who gets to pay for all of this.  However, the main thing is that we find out what is wrong and get her patched up as good as new again.

Other than that, we had a pretty uneventful day.  Ray and Pat did head out for a weekend camping trip so we are ranch sitting.  Also, we have the Miss Kitty watch.  She stays outside most of the time, but still gets hungry from time to time so needs fresh food and water.  She is a lovey dovey katt who will need a little loving and petting as well.  We can certainly handle the katt duties without any problem.

A-be-dat, A-be-dat, That’s all folks!!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Another Day In Paradise

We visited our son Brian in Grand Rapids yesterday and took him out to brunch at the RVers favorite restaurant – Cracker Barrel. 

On our way home we stopped at Menard’s to pick up some stainless steel sheet metal screws to reattach the fender skirts to the rig; they have been painted and are already for re-installation.  Also, we stopped by Sears to pick up the new air compressor that we ordered to replace that one I burned out last week.  That leaves us with just a couple more items to strike off the “Ol’ Ta” List while we are here at Ray and Pat’s.

On our way home we received a call from Terry informing us that their plans are changing.  We were planning to travel to San Antonio with them in January, but, due to circumstances beyond their control, they are going to have to cancel that trip.  So, I think that we will just hunker down at Rainbow Plantation and save our coin for next summer’s travels.  We are still planning on a Texas trip in the spring with Norm and Linda.

In yesterday’s blog Katie mentioned that Miss Kitty hadn’t been over to say, “Hi” to them.  Well, she came over for a visit yesterday afternoon and Katie snubbed her.  Alex, on the other hand, had a “sit off” (not a stand off) with her.  Alex sat and stared out of the door while Miss Kitty sat under the lawn chair and stared back.  That lasted about a half hour before Miss Kitty decided that she had better things to do.

The Sit-Off

Ray and Pat were planning to leave on a long weekend trip, however, their refrigerator in the rig is acting up so they are letting it recycle over night in hopes of departing today.  We’ll learn the verdict later today.  Should they decide to stay home then they will have to suffer through the weekend with us by playing cards, relaxing, and sharing a meal.  Rough life, that’s for sure. 

So, what’s on the agenda for today?  Thunderstorms!!!  They (in this case the “they” are the weather dudes) are predicting storms beginning around 10:00 this morning continuing into the evening.  We have some indoor chores to attend to so this won’t be a problem for us; at least I don’t think it will, it all depends on how severe the weather turns out to be.

So, there you have it.  Another quiet, peaceful, relaxing day in Paradise.  Where ever you may be, we hope you are safe and sound and enjoying life.  Take care until tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Katie’s Random Thoughts

Katie here.  Boy, us katts are really, really liking the digs we have up here in Northern Michigan.  It’s beautiful looking out of our windows with all of the trees surrounding us.  We can watch the birds and, boy, oh boy, there are some big birds up here.  Dad says they’re called turkeys, but I don’t care what you call ‘em, they are big!!  They’re bigger than us katts, if you can imagine that.  Alex had better not get any bright ideas about chasing them birds, they’d eat him for lunch.

Mom and dad have been extremely busy relaxing.  Dad put the awning out and dug out the reclining lawn chairs just so they could do a whole lot more of nothing.  They do get up every once in a while to get something to eat or drink.  They refer to it as their purr-fect day. 

They have even been eating all of their meals right here at home.  Alex and I had thought that the food in the fridge had gone bad since they were eating out so much.  It’s nice to have them around the house more often, it gives us Ragdoll kitties a nice secure, homey feeling, not to mention more affection and treats – that’s just the katts pajamas!

Alex and I heard a rumor that summer is going to fall tonight around 11:00 PM, or something like that.  Anyway, it means cooler temperatures and more colorful leaves are a comin’.  Dad and Mom like Fall, whatever it is, but they both say it just doesn’t last long enough.  It means that winter is just around the corner and with that comes snow.  Ragdolls don’t like snow, it freezes our feet (that is, it would if we walked on it, but we’re indoor katts, ya know).

We had thunderstorms pass through last night.  You should have seen it, two adults and two katts hiding in the bed with the covers pulled up around their noses.  Even the teddy bears were crying.  Dad and Mom say it wasn’t really that bad, but I think they’re just tryin’ to act macho.  The lightening flashed and it went boom, boom, boom outside – enough to make the fur stand up on ones little body. 

We’ll have to see what today will bring.  Mom and dad are going to go see Brian today which means that Alex and I will have to play by ourselves for awhile, but Ray and Pat will be around for part of the day.  They are “fixinto” head out this afternoon on an extended weekend camping trip (retired people don’t have weekends, they have strongends), but Mom and Dad should be home before they leave.

Oh yes, Ray and Pat have a katt; Miss Kitty.  She’s an outdoor katt and likes to roam around the property lines.  She knows enough to leave the turkeys alone and picks on the mice instead.  She’s a snob though, she hasn’t even been over to say, “Hi” to us.  Last year when we were here, she’d come over to see who was occupying her property; I guess she remembers us and figures we belong here, but it would be mighty friendly of her to drop by with a welcome wagon gift or two; no dead mice though.

Oops, mom just put some fresh kitty food into my dish, gotta go!  See ya later!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hanging Around The Ranch

We managed to get quite a bit accomplished yesterday.  Judy did the house work, reviewed some banking changes (our bank is switching from Wachovia to Wells Fargo), and worked on her quilting and scrapbooking projects. 

While she was doing all that, I putzed around the house dabbling in a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  I washed the outsides of the windows, removed the fender skirt off the left side of the rig, sanded both sets of fender skirts (they’re ready for spray painting), started and ran the generator, got the day/night shades ready for restringing, and helped Ray split some wood.

Wow, that sounds like we were busy little bees, but we took it slow and easy and none of the jobs were big ones.  It just seemed nice to stay at home and get some “stuff” done while taking breaks here and there throughout the day to relax.

Today we’re heading to our old home town of Mount Pleasant for a shopping trip.  A new shopping center has been built since we lived there and now there’s a Super Walmart, Sam’s Club, Target, Menard’s, and JoAnn Fabrics.  We both have some “stuff” that we need to pick up for our projects and will hopefully be able to acquire them with a “one stop shopping” trip – time will tell.

Well, it’s off to take my shower, dress my body, and head out the door so see ya later alligator!!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Nice Fall Sunday

The house looked like it was called for and couldn’t come so we spent periods of time (off again, on again) cleaning and doing routine household chores.  Now, only the desk looks like a tornado passed through.

Judy's Picture Of The Day

In the midst of doing our chores, we went outside and sat around the fire with Ray and Pat.  They were celebrating their 46th wedding anniversary, Happy Anniversary to them, and it was our privilege to celebrate it with them.

Sitting Around The Campfire

The temperatures remained in the low sixties, but with no wind it was quite pleasant outside, however, this is a Sunday and you all know what happens on Sunday afternoon – Football.  We don’t like professional football as well as college ball, but the Patriots were playing and that says it all!

The Leaves Are Beginning To Change

Last evening we joined Ray and Pat for some lively conversation and ummm, ummm good dessert.  Pat whipped up a home made blueberry pie (made with blueberries that she had picked this summer) and served it with a nice dish of ice cream.  Our discussion flowed from one topic to another, but pretty much surrounded the RVing lifestyle.  They began their travels back in 1995 so they have lots of stories to share.

We spent the rest of the day watching television and playing on our computers.  Never did sit outside to just read a book; maybe today.

Speaking of today, since it has felt so good to take a few days off, we decided to take another day off.  That means that we will be hanging around the house again today. 

I plan to start crossing things off the “Ta Do” List while Judy has a couple of craft projects that she’s working on; one quilting project and one scrapbooking project.  Here’s the “Ta Do” List that I hope to get accomplished while here in Mecosta:

  • Repair the damage from the blowouts (includes painting both fenders)
  • Restring three day night shades (Ray has three that need restringing as well)
  • Wash all the windows (outside and inside)
  • Repair the ceiling light in the kitchen (this will be a five minute project)
  • And, if there’s time, repair the hole that was punched in the gel coat under the “gooseneck”.

Also, Ray has a couple of RV projects that he would like some help with.  They are upgrading their TV so we need to reconfigure the entertainment center.  Plus, like most entertainment centers, there is an abundance of cables that seem to run everywhere without any rhyme or reason so we will attempt to neatly bundle them up, eliminating some if possible.  

That should keep us busy for awhile, however, we plan to take it real slow and easy over the next two weeks.  We’ve been on the go all summer long and are immensely enjoying this laid back lifestyle.  Until tomorrow . . . . . .

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Taking It Slow and Easy

‘Twas a fairly slow and easy day, but we did drive to Walmart in Big Rapids to restock the ‘fridge and the pantry.  On our way, we stopped at Sears to buy a new air compressor; our old one bit the dust while I was “topping off” the tires at the Escapade.  With the cooler weather setting in it is important to keep the tire pressure up to specs as under inflation is one of the biggest causes of tire problems.

The rain quit by noon time, however, the day remained overcast and cool which meant that we would play inside for the rest of the day.  So the television was tuned into college football while we played on our ‘puters. 

I downloaded the new Picasa 3.8 software along with Photo Story 3.  Then I created a photo story using our wedding photos.  It was a pretty rough cut but it only took me about twenty minutes to select a dozen pictures, sequence them, add motion, add music, etc.; a pretty neat program.  We want to do one with about 50 photographs, add a title page, take time to select appropriate background music (maybe even add some narration), and burn some DVDs.

While I played, Judy J. was busy doing some house work and catching up on the budget (it nice to know that we still have one after all the money we’ve been spending).  She did make some birthday cards and played on her computer for a while as well.

We made a nice dinner to eat at home for a change and continued to watch football until bed time.  I “stood” up into the wee hours of the night watching the Michigan State / Notre Dame game; State won, yay!! 

One thing about the fall in Northern Michigan, it stays lighter later in the evening, but it doesn’t get day light until seven in the morning (or later).  This means that our alarm katt (Alex) is all messed up and we end up sleeping in which leads to a later start to our day.  But, it feels nice in any event.

Well, that’s enough rambling for today.  The sun is rising and hopefully it will be warm enough to sit outside and read.  We haven’t done that in forever and look forward to doing so.  Also, Ray and Pat have some walking trails through the woods so we just might go for a little stroll later this afternoon.  Fall in Michigan, one of our favorite times of the year!   

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bye Bye Escapade

After a bunch of hugs and “See Ya Down the Roads” it was time to pull up stakes and point our noses northward.  But, first we had to make a drive by the infamous dump station to vacate our tanks of unwanted black and grey water.  There was no waiting line so within twenty minutes the dumping chore was complete without any unexpected consequences.

Out the gate, turn right, take a left onto CR-29, then a right onto CR-4, finally a left onto Route 13 (which turns into Route 131 when you cross the Michigan border), and then just drive north for about three hours and you're almost home. 

We left about 10 or 15 minutes after Ray and Pat but caught up with them at our first “pit stop” in Michigan.  They were getting ready to take off as we came tooling in.  We caught up with them again just as they were exiting at Cedar Springs for a Meijer’s fix to pick up a few items.  We continued on and beat them home by almost an hour; it turned out that their “feed me” alarm went off so they stopped to appease it. 

After getting the routine “set up camp” items completed, we turned our attention to relaxing.  A little katt napp snuck in and then it was time to focus on making the “What are we going to eat for dinner?” decision.  Now, what’s quick, yummy, and totally healthy?  Why pizza, of course.  Pat had a coupon for two pizzas and six garlic bread sticks for twenty bucks at Mancino’s Pizza – Done Deal; just add some chips and soda and you’ve got health food at its best.  All we needed was a large bowl of ice cream to top it off, unfortunately we didn’t have any on hand.

Following dinner, it was home for the evening where we slipped into our jammies and climbed up into our recliners for an evening of rest and relaxation.  It sure seems quiet here after all the activities of the past couple of weeks.  We had a great time, but now it’s time to sit back and rejuvenate our batteries for a couple of weeks.  Here’s some pictures of our new home location.

Home Sweet Home Our Front YardOur Back Yard The Neighbor's House

Not sure what’s on the agenda for today, but it’s raining outside right now.  Could be a “stay inside day” with college football later this afternoon.  However, rain or shine, we have a very pretty spot to enjoy what ever comes our way.  We’ll gladly let you know tomorrow what we did today so until then, just keep hanging in there!

Friday, September 17, 2010

It’s A Wrap

The title says it all, Escapade 2010 is now in the history books.  Today we pack up, dump tanks, and head out for parts unknown; i.e. Mecosta, Michigan.  But, before that happens, let us tell you about our final day at the Escapade.

I began the day with a seminar on Tire Safety followed by a Geeks On Tour seminar on Story Book software, both were very informative.  Miss Judy attended a Healthy Eating seminar and a Kayaking seminar, both were a bust.  The healthy eating wasn’t healthy eating at all rather a presentation of an Atkins type diet which is far from healthy eating while the kayaking instructor was late getting there and was the “know it all” arrogant type.

Geeks On Tour, Jim and Chris Guld

After our morning seminars, we went out to the South Side Diner for lunch with Jim and Lisa Koca, a couple that we had met when we attended the Branson HOP way back in November of 2007.  We’ve kept in touch over the years and it was nice to see them again.  The South Side Dinner was featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives highlighting their Philly Cheese Steak sandwich.  Although it was a good sandwich, it certainly was not the best Philly Cheese Steak that we’ve had, but the company was great.

South Side Diner Jim and Lisa

On our way to lunch we stopped by the Old Bag Company (old manufacturing buildings converted into cute little shops) for a look see.  Elkhart County has several quilt gardens planted around the area with one them being at the Old Bag Company. 

Quilt Garden Quilt Shop at the Old Bag Company Another Shop at the Old Bag Company

At 4:30 the closing ceremonies began with recognition of all the people who worked so hard to bring us Escapade 2010 followed by the drawing for the grand prize (foiled again), a picnic dinner, Entertainment by One More Time, and ending with DJ music and a dance.  All in all, we had a good time, however, from all reports, this was not one of the better Escapades.

Sonny and Cher Brenda Lee and Elvis

Now, all that is left to do is say “See Ya Down The Road” to our many friends before heading out later this morning.  Here’s to an uneventful travel day which will be less than fours hours away to Mecosta, Michigan where we’ll be planted for the next two and a half weeks.  Until tomorrow, we hope you all have fair seas and following winds.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Taking It Easy

We held to our convictions of taking it easy and not eating out.  It was tough, especially the not going out to dinner part, but we held steadfast. 

We went out for a stroll about the fairgrounds yesterday morning mainly to socialize and socialize we did.  However, we did succumb to a jelly doughnut for breakfast at the Hospitality Center, but spent rest of the morning chit chatting with friends as we walked about.

Heritage Park In The Daylight Heritage Park

After lunch I finished airing up all the tires on the rig and the truck while Judy went to the craft sale – she didn’t buy anything, whew!!  When Judy returned, we headed over to the Community Center for the Featured Speakers; Joe and Kay Peterson, Founders of the Escapees RV Club, who entertained us with a funny skit.

Joe Peterson Kay Peterson

Then we did some more socializing until the 4:30 Happy Hour and Door Prizes (walked away empty handed again – shucks!).  The skits were a real stitch.  First Inspector Gadget demonstrated a couple of new RV Gadgets; obviously they didn’t work.  Next Q. T. Dumpster cleaned up the mess left by Inspector Gadget.

Inspector Gadget Q. T. Dumpster

Then Dr. Phil Goode, who has his doctorate in sex, gave us a philosophical talk expounding on his great knowledge of the subject.  “Ladies and Gentlemen.  It gives me great pleasure!”  Then he left the stage.  Finally, a funny song to the tune of “Roll Out the Barrel” entitled “I Love Beer”.

Dr. Phil Goode "I Love Beer"

After dinner we went over to Ray and Pat’s where we met a new couple, Lloyd and Delores, and played Mexican Train.  Lloyd and I hit it off because of our love for aviation, he has a Cessna 182 that he is selling (why wasn’t I born a little richer and not quite so handsome?)  It was a relaxing and fun evening and I won at dominoes.

Today is the last day of the 50th Escapees RV Club Escapade here at the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds in Goshen, Indiana.  So check in again tomorrow for the wrap up.  Until then, keep a song in your heart!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy

Ye ol’ bod is beginning to wear a little ragged.  We were sooooo tired that we “stood” in bed this morning until zero seven thirty hours (hence the late journal entry this morning).  Today is definitely going to be a laid back, catch your breath kind of day with NO EATING OUT!!!  If we keep eating like this, we’re not only gonna haveta buy bigger clothes, but a bigger house as well!!!

Okay, so what wore ya out, you may query?  Well, Judy spent most of the morning in crafts making a beaded Christmas ornament and then went back after lunch to work on Spirelli note cards.  Then she attended a seminar on Legal Documents. 

I attended two Basic RV Systems seminars in the morning, spent some time airing up our tires, and attended a seminar on Why Use Water Filters.  Then it was 1630 hours and time for the Escapade Happy Hour and Door Prizes (still didn’t win anything - darn).  It was Fun and Games day with a competition to see which team could stuff the most balloons inside panty hose being worn by three different contestants.

Let The Stuffing Begin

Here’s Dortha’s team hard at work.

Dortha's Dreams

Right after the happy hour, a group of us met outside for a surprise presentation to Don and Jenny Manuel.  They are newly weds (last spring) and choose to spend their honeymoon at the Escapade so Don could meet all of Jenny’s RVing friends.  So the group took up a collection to send them on a HOP (Head Out Program) tour that will take place today.  It’s an all day trip around the Goshen area doing sightseeing and shopping culminating with a dinner at an Amish home.

Jenny, Don, and Dortha

Then a group of us (the Frericks, the Meachems, and the Walters) went to the Dutchmaid Diner which has a nice reasonably priced buffet with very good food.  I don’t dare list what we had to eat because it was waaaaay tooooo much and I don’t need the extra calories that I’d get by just talking about it.

Eating Again - Darrell, Ken, Cindy, Jim, Dee, Jim, Ellie

We returned back to the Fairgrounds just in time to go to another seminar entitled Destinations Of The Southwest.  We sat in the back just in case we started to get the “sleepies” (which we did).  So, we snuck out early, however, on our way home, we stumbled onto a Jam session taking place and ended up watching and listening to that for a while.

Jam Session

By that time our pajamas were putting up a real stink because we hadn’t taken them out of the drawer yet and we could hear them clearly at the other end of the Fairgrounds.  So, we made a beeline for home, slipped into them, and sat in our recliners for a while in an attempt to settle down a little before hitting the hay.  Then it was beddy bye where we stayed put until the previously mentioned “zero seven thirty hours” this morning.

The Park In The Fairgrounds

Like I said, today it going to be a “take it easy” day.  We’ll take a stroll around the Fairgrounds for some exercise, but mostly to see who’s out and about.  General RV brought in an Allegro Bay RED (rear engine diesel) motorhome that we want to go see.  Then we’ll pull out our lawn chairs so we can “sit a spell” and that will be pretty much it.

In the words of the late Paul Harvey, “Good Day!”

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Our First Full Day

So, what did we do yesterday?  That’s a good question.  We’re going to have to stop and think about that for a minute.  Here’s the short version. 

I began the day with a seminar on Picasa (a photo managing software) while Judy J. visited the Hospitality Center to get a handle on the rally agenda changes (they publish a daily bulletin to keep us apprised of the latest news, etc., that lists any schedule changes at the rally). 

Then we did our “walk about” to socialize a little.  We came home for lunch and then made our appearance at a RV-Dreams gathering taking place at noon time.  From there we did a walk through the Indoor Market and picked up some information on workamping at Dollywood and on a Community Credit Union that is located in Texas.  Being that Dollywood will accept six week work assignments, it’s something that we may consider.

At one o’clock, I attended another seminar while Judy went to a basket weaving class; this time it was making a beaded bracelet.  After that, we both attended a RV Driving Demonstration for a few minutes, but our attention was diverted by people walking about with soft served ice cream cones.  So we went in search of the cone’s point of origin which we found in the Hospitality Center – just yummy on a warm summer’s afternoon.

The Social Hour is held each day at 4:30 to 5:30 where there are drawings for door prizes (you must be present to win – we were, but we didn’t).  Also, One More Time, with the help of 14 volunteers, sang a Diana Ross and the Supremes song (Stop In The Name Of Love).  It was hilarious.

From the Social Hour, the Camerons, the Emonds, the Martins, the Pattersons, and the Paynes went out for dinner at Applebee’s.  Good food with good friends; that’s what this week is all about.  We didn’t get home until around eight o’clock and our PJ’s were screaming for us by then thereby bringing a close to another day at the Escapade.

So there you have it.  We took some pictures, however, they weren’t worthy of posting so better luck today.  This could be our busiest day at the Escapade; note the word “could”.  We may not attend everything that we have highlighted; after all, we are retired, ya know!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Let The Escapade Begin

Yesterday was the kick off for the Escapade.  There are over eight hundred RVs with over 2000 people in attendance.

Just Some Of The RVs Parked At The Escapade

It was a busy day to say the least.  Judy got an early start by going over to the Ag Building just before eight to register for several craft sessions throughout the week.


Once Judy finished her sign ups, we did a walk about to “kick the tires” on some new RVs.  We looked at several Heartland fifthwheels, a Coachman class C, and a Phaeton diesel pusher.  Only the Phaeton said, “Take me home”, but I had forgotten my wallet.

Next we strolled through “The Row” where Escapee Chapters and BOFs (Birds Of A Feather) have their displays.  Yes, it is like old home week; we keep bumping into people we know all over the place.  We met a woman named Daryl and as we were talking with her Larry (as in Larry the Cook) approached – we just had to do it, so here’s Larry, his sister Daryl, and his other brother Darrell.

Darrell, Larry, and Daryl

We came home for lunch and a little resting before heading back to the “Comm Building” for the Orientation and Opening Ceremony followed by an Ice Social and Entertainment.

Around 2,000 People In Attendance Kathy CarrKaye Peterson, Founder Of Escapees Angie Carr

At 5:00 the class of 2007 was having a Happy Hour get together with hors d’oeuvres.  In the Escapees organization fulltimers are divided up into classes by the year that they began fulltiming. 

Class of 2007 Pot Luck

A lot of the members of the class of 2007 follow Howard and Linda Payne (not to be confused with Norm and Linda Payne) of RV-Dreams and were pleasantly surprised by their unannounced visit to the Happy Hour.  They are currently workamping in Michigan and weren’t expected at the Escapade.  Howard and Linda will be participating in the Fulltimer’s Open Forum this evening. 

Linda and Howard Payne

We began fulltiming in 2006, but have been adopted by the class of 2007 since the class of 2006 is pretty much inactive.  Howard and Linda, who began fulltiming in 2005, were also adopted by this fun class.

Adoptees Into The Class of 2007

Having mentioned Norm and Linda, Howard and Linda wanted to see them again so Judy and I escorted them over for a surprised visit (see Wandering America, November 2009 Travelogue for our last get together with the Jones, Pattersons, Paynes, Paynes, and Russells).

At 7:30 there was a live entertainment variety show starring Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, George Jones, George Strait, George Burns, Roger Miller, Hank Williams, Buck Owens, Willy Nelson, Archie and Edith Bunker with appearances by presidents Nixon, Clinton, Reagan, and G. W. Bush.  Also, Jack Benny, Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne and Rodney Dangerfield were on hand to brighten up our evening.  These were all impressions done by Johnny Counterfeit who entertained us for an hour and a half making it a very enjoyable evening.

Johnny Counterfeit and His Band Johnny Counterfeit

As you can see, we are having fun and enjoying ourselves.  A lot gets packed into a day before our heads hit the pillows.  Today the seminars begin with more fun packed in between.  See ya tomorrow.