Redwood National Rally

Is this the one??

We started our week off with a visit to the Heartland corporate office in Elkhart to meet with Andy W so he could walk through a coach with a floor plan we’re interested in.  There aren’t many out there yet but he had a couple on the factory lot for us to take a look at.

While Michael and Andy discussed possible changes/updates to certain things I did some measuring of cabinets and storage spaces so I could plan ahead if this happens to be the coach we move forward on.

Hi John!

We were a few minutes early for our meeting with Andy so I messaged John who used be my ‘boss’ when I was blogging for Heartland to see if he was available for a quick ‘hello’.  He was and came out to the lobby where we visited for a few minutes before he headed back to work and we joined Andy for our meeting.

Back at the campground, Michael and I walked around to a few coaches so that Michael could take some axle tag pictures.  We ended up parting ways for the last one…Michael went on his own and I headed home.  On my way, I heard my name called and looked around to see who was calling me.  I figured it was one of the Redwood owners I’d met since being here…but it was coming from a woman in a Montana…hmmm.  I had NO earthly idea who she was.

Sandra and her husband (I forgot to ask his name!)

Come to find out, Sandra W., has been following my blog for a couple of years and knew we were going to be at this park and happened to see me walking by.  Sandra started following the blog back in 2016 when we were workamping at Anderson Cove Campground and continues to follow.  Her husband even realized who we were when he said, ‘Oh!  You’re the ones with the disc brake business.’  LOL  Seems she follows a few blogs and that was the easiest way for him to figure out which blog writer I was.

I’m SO glad Sandra stopped me!  I just wished she’d have said something earlier so we’d have had a bit more time to get to know each other as they were leaving the next morning.

Anyway…’Hi Sandra!  Safe travels to you.  Holler if we’re in the same area again!’

We’ve had a pretty darn busy week.  Tuesday I created a bunch of invoices for our upcoming Grand Design National rally next month along with regular customer invoices.

Wednesday Michael had the first seminar of the week starting at 9:15.  It was actually a combined disc brake and tire seminar that he zipped through in about an hour and fifteen minutes…he’d been allotted an hour and a half, so he did good!

The sign helped rope them in since we were kinda hidden behind a tree!

After a seminar business usually picks up and this was no exception.  People seemed to flock to our site, where we had a small display set up under the awning.  Customers inquired about disc brakes, suspension systems, tires, bearings, tire gauges, caliper bolts.  It was crazily awesome. We worked until nearly 10:00 pm that night getting everything squared away.

We had three installs scheduled before we ever arrived for this rally and by the end of the week, John did a total of 12 installs in nine days, doubling up on three days.

Thankfully, we, as vendors, had the option to pay to participate in two catered meals.  Wednesday night was our first catered meal – burgers, hot dogs, baked beans and potato salad.  Nothing special but in the middle of a LONG day it was very welcomed.

Thursday was busy…but much more laid back than the previous two days.  I stayed home and manned our ‘booth’ under our awning and took care of emails and invoicing.  Michael, on the other hand, began running around like a mad man.  LOL

We had some customer, last minute, who wanted tires and Michael was able to work with a rep here in Elkhart (thanks to Andy at Heartland!) who was able to supply us with tires for our customers!  So Michael drove to Elkhart and picked up the nine tires.

Worked from outside both Wednesday and Thursday

While he was there, he looked into seeing if they could supply him with 4 tires AND rims for a Canadian customer here at the rally who had ordered tires, which was cancelled by Tredit two days before they were supposed to ship them here because they were no longer making them.  Ugh! Anyway…MY Mikey came through and Elkhart Tredit agreed to supply him with those tires too…he just had to go back the following day to pick them up…and then get them mounted and balanced.

That evening we had our second catered meal.  This one, MUCH better than the night before.  We had chicken, BBQ ribs, salad, cole slaw, corn, green beans, mashed potatoes, dinner roll and dessert.  Everything was very tasty.  Both meals were catered by Nelson’s, who always caters for our Heartland rallies too.  Nice job.

Friday was a fairly peaceful day for me.  It rained on and off throughout the day and pretty hard at times.  We’d broken down our ‘booth’ under the awning so the wind didn’t rip the awning off.  But I had the door open all day…there just wasn’t a whole lot of people milling about in the rain.  I created a few invoices (I think we had our highest sales week to date this week) and even finished watching a movie I stared a few weeks ago.

Fill ‘er up??

Michael, on the other hand, ran around like a chicken with its head cut off….in the rain!  It rained a good portion of the day and he was out in most of it.  First thing he did was change out 32 lug nuts for a customer who purchased them from us.  Not a hard task, thankfully.

Then he ran back and forth between the campground and a tire shop just a few miles down the road.  He’d remove the tires from the customers coach, taken the new tires and old tires over to the tire place and have the old tires taken off the rims and put the new tires on the rims.  Then it was back to the campground to install the new tires on the coach.  All while dodging the rain drops…ok…so he came home and changed twice since he was soaked.  I guess he didn’t dodge well enough.  LOL

In the midst of all of that running back and forth he had one customer who just needed one tire.  Michael got all of the running back and forth done for this job and then later in the afternoon got a call from the customer asking Michael if he was going to put the tire on.  Come to find out that Michael had taken the tire off, taken it to have the new tire put on the old rim, brought it back over to the customers site and then left it leaning against the picnic table.  LOL  He must have gotten interrupted in the middle of going back to put it on and completely forgot he hadn’t put it back on the coach!

And in the middle of all that running around he made a trip back to Elkhart to pick up the tires and rims for another customer.  To say he was tired by the end of the day is an understatement.  Not to mention he did all of that while his back was acting up.  Proud of my baby!

Not a Wisconsin fish fry…but it served it’s purpose!

We ended the day by going to dinner at the Blue Gate.  I’d seen that they had a fish fry and Michael was game…so we went.  The fish was actually pretty good.  It came with fries, hush puppies and cole slaw.  We both ordered a cup of potato soup too.  Both of us left most of our fries and hush puppies on the plate and concentrated on the fish.

Saturday was another rainy day.  Michael started the day off by grabbing the kit for the mornings install and taking it to the site so that it was there for John to install.  The park has been great in letting us use one of their garages to store our kits in.  So Michael tried each day, to pick up a kit from the garage and delivered it to the site for that days install.  Sometimes he took them over the night before…just depended on whether it was raining or not.

Saturday was the last official day of the rally so several coaches left but there were sill plenty of people who stayed.  It was rather quiet for us, rally wise.  But that gave us a good opportunity to get caught up on emails and phone calls that were needing to be caught up on.

Our next rally is the KZ rally which is held right here at the same park so no moving for us.  We’ll be able to be semi-normal for the next 12 days or so!

 

 

 

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NASCAR Xfinity Race & The Ark Encounter

This past weekend Michael and I drove down to Kentucky to attend the NASCAR Xfinity race in Sparta.  PTB sponsored three races for Spencer Boyd and this was the last of the three.  Our sons, Dan and Zack, went to the first in Chicago and we raffled off the second on in Daytona.

The race was on Friday evening but as sponsors we had pit passes which allowed us a behind the scenes kind of experience.

We arrived at the track about 2:00 pm and were met by Josh, one of Spencer’s PR guys.  He got us checked in where we were given our parking passes.  We got parked and then Josh took us, by golf cart, to the area where all of the car haulers were and we spent the next several hours chatting with other sponsors, crew members and of course, Spencer.

Wasting time outside of the hauler before race time

Spencer showed us around the inside of the hauler.  Downstairs is a bunch of cabinets where they store medical supplies, tools, uniforms, food stuffs, etc.  Right above that is where the car is stored while in transport.  And then upstairs (like in a 5th wheel) there’s a small lounge area with TV, table and wrap around couch.

We also sat outside under the awning for a while…trying to stay in the shade as much as possible as it was HOT.  They provided us with lunch – meatball hoagies, which we partook of…they also provided us with lots of water, soda and Gatorade…which was really as it was so hot I’m surprised someone didn’t ‘fall out’.

Qualifying time…can’t hear a thing! LOL

Shortly before qualifying time we were all given headphones that allowed us to listen to the chatter between the spotter, crew chief and Spencer.  Unfortunately, the units Michael and I received didn’t work so neither of us heard anything during qualifying.

After qualifying (Spencer qualified 36th…not the best in the world) we went back to the hauler to chill before race time.  Michael went up into the lounge with Spencer and a bunch of other people while I stayed outside and visited with one of the wives of another sponsor.  Once it got too hot we moved inside and hung out downstairs in front of the fans, snacking on veggies and dip.

Ready to hit the track!

By the time it was time for the race I was hot and cranky so I didn’t go down to the car to get pictures with Michael.  I stayed in the pit box in the shade and tried to cool off…thankfully the stands were tall enough that we were in complete shade and the temperature dropped enough that it finally became comfortable.

The race was long (2+ hours) and boring, for me at times, but I did enjoy being able to see Spencer come into the pit, right in front of us and to see how quickly the crew did their thing.  Wow!  It was also pretty cool to listen to the chatter over the radio…mostly the spotter (‘eye in the sky’) who kept Spencer updated of all of the goings on around him that he wasn’t able to see.  At one point Spencer got frustrated with one of the other drivers for whatever reason and the ‘eye in the sky’ said, ‘I think you drive better when you get pissy’…LOL!  Day made.

Taking care of business!

Spencer has been racing in one form or another since he was a little boy but this is his first year as a fulltime driver for the Xfinity circuit.  He did a great job of driving and ended up finishing 24th which is his goal.

The race ended about 10:40 pm and after walking to our rental car (7,000 miles away) and then driving back to our hotel in Erlanger we made it back just after midnight.  Long day.

This is the second NASCAR race we’ve been to, the first being Talledaga in April, 2011…it was our first trip in our brand new coach.  And my opinion remains the same…not my cup of tea.

HUGE!

The following day we spent at the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky about a 30 mile drive south of Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Ark is a life-size replica of that in the bible.  It is 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high and absolutely beautiful.  The attraction opened in July 2016 and is a representation of the vessel described in Genesis.  Because many details of the Ark itself and its occupants are not detailed in the writings of the bible, the creators of the park took artistic liberties that they thought would most likely have been the way things looked or were done.

A depiction of how some of the larger animals may have been fed.

We really enjoyed the time we spent wandering the three floors of the Ark.  There are lots of different ‘caged animal’ exhibits that give you a feel for some of the animals that may have been onboard.  It was also interesting to walk through what may have been the living quarters of Noah and his family.

There are two videos of about 20 minutes each that provided walking relief as well as a spin on the whole Noah’s Ark experience.

What some of the smaller cages may have looked like

There are several eating establishments on premises but the largest is Emzara’s Buffet, which is a two-story restaurant with stuffed animals all over the place.  Very well done.  That’s where we stopped before going aboard the Ark and I think all of Kentucky decided to go at the same time as it was PACKED.  The line to the salads and sides was crazy long so Michael and I concentrated on soup, meat and dessert as the lines to those areas were minimal.

The dove bringing an olive branch back to Noah

While we enjoyed our time (about 6.5 hours) at the Ark I’m still not quite sure it is worth the hefty $48 per adult.  We received a military discount of about $10 per ticket which helped…but for the average person…that’s a lotta dough.

I would like to have seen more ‘hands on’ displays or more animatronics.  One exhibit was of Noah at his desk and you could ask him questions by pushing buttons…very cool.  Although I really did enjoy walking around the huge structure and imagining what it was like for Noah and his family and to see how the animals and supplies may have been stored.

So…I think that in the end I would recommend that you visit if it’s something that would be of interest to you and you can afford that price tag.

While in Kentucky we decided we needed to try a Kentucky Hot Brown, which is basically an open-faced sandwich with a little twist.  The sandwich normally consists of turkey, ham, bacon and a slice of tomato with a mornay (or cheese sauce) over it.  There are variations but this is kind of the norm.

LOTS of cheese sauce.

Being a Wisconsin girl I thought I’d love the ‘cheese-like’ sauce but it was a bit too much for me. I would have preferred a milder sauce.  Michael didn’t seem to mind.  The addition of the tomato slices was different and after about half of my meal I opted out of the tomato and moved it to the side.

Now we can say we’ve tried one…I can’t say that I won’t try it again as who’s to say that the place (Colonial Cottage) we tried was a good representation?  They always say you should try everything twice to get a good ‘feel’….that is unless you’re talking about boiled peanuts or Skyline Chili…once is PLENTY!  :-/

 

 

 

 

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Friends & Family Rally

We traveled from Mt Horeb, Wisconsin to Elkhart, Indiana (about 280 miles) on Tuesday, July 3rd.  We’re parked at the Elkhart Campground in Elkhart for a week and are here for the Friends and Family rally.

Zack and Kelsea followed us down on the 4th and are parked next to us for the long weekend.  Zack  grilled some burgers and sausages and I made potato salad and fruit salad for our holiday dinner.

It was HOT but Zack set up a mister under their awning which helped somewhat.

When they arrived and were setting up they found out that they had, unknowingly, brought a nest of baby birds with them.  It seems the mama had built a next in their pin box and the babies we chirping away…they must be very young as their ‘peeps’ we very quiet.

Three of the four baby birds

A little while later, Kelsea heard more chirping coming from the back of the trailer.  Sure enough!  There was another nest of birds in a ‘tube’ under the trailer.  These were a bit older and a whole lot louder!  Ended up there were four in this nest and they eventually semi flew/dropped onto the ground.  They hung out under our trailer for quite a while and Cameron had a blast watching them.  They eventually flittered away to the next camper and then we lost track of them.  Hope they’re ok.

Thursday was Amish day!  I was so excited to take Zack & Kelsea to all my favorite Amish places.  We started out stopping at the Dutch Country Market.

Breakfast of champions!

Then it was on to Rise n Roll for some breakfast and tasty samples.  The kids each had a donut, Michael had biscuits and gravy and the rest of us had the sausage roll with gravy.  It’s kind of like a bread that has crumbled sausage, cheese and seasonings in it and it pretty good.  We grabbed a couple of donuts to take home and were then on our way.

We stopped at the Heritage Ridge Creamery where Zack and Kelsea picked out of couple of different cheeses.  Then it was on into Shipshewana where we parked the truck and then walked to several different shops in the downtown area.

We were told about the Davis Mercantile by one Amish woman and since we’d never been there before we walked over and checked it out.  It’s in an old hotel and has four floors of shops to browse through…clothing, puzzle, candy, fabric, toys and several restaurants too.

Round and Round they go…

On the top floor there is a carousel that you can ride for $2.00.  Paityn and Cameron took a spin while the rest of us sat on a bench and rested our weary feet.  Win/Win!

We, of course, introduced Zack and Kelsea to E&S Bulk Foods.  I think Kelsea wanted to hurt me (she actually made a comment similar to that) as Zack found more to purchase than we did!  We also made a quick stop at Yoder Meat & Cheese to pick up some steaks for Friday night’s dinner.

Small group but LOTS of questions

Michael did a presentation for the rally…it’s small rally so we only had 6 people but that’s ok…the more we educate about the safety benefits of having disc brakes on your trailer, the better.  Zack helped Michael get things set up beforehand and then he and Kelsea went to pick up some decals for their trailer and also made a stop at RV Factory Surplus….they were looking for an air conditioner and something else but they were too pricey.

Staying busy while Nana & Papaw work.

Paityn and Cameron stayed with Nana & Papaw and watched movies on their tablets and then when the presentation was over we walked back home.

Not long after we got back home, Zack and Kelsea got back home and we changed into our swimming suits and headed over to the pool for an hour or so.  Michael stayed home and relaxed.  We had lots of giggles at the pool….Kelsea taught the kids how to use a ‘noodle’ to spray water.  She tried to teach me too but I ended up spray myself more than anyone else!

Saturday we hung out at home most of the day but Zack did take Paityn and Cameron to a nearby indoor miniature golf place.  They weren’t gone long…but had fun and that’s what counts.

Great group of folks

The Friends and Family rally group invited us to attend their potluck that night and since we’d pretty much had to bow out of everything else they’d invited us to, we all went.  Kelsea made a brownie pie and I put together a tossed salad with Italian dressing.  It was a small group but there were plenty of dishes to choose from.

After dinner they did drawings for door prizes and insisted that we participate in that as well.  We each (adults) were given tickets and all ended up getting door prizes (various items:  black streak cleaner, toilet cleaners, 409, Kleenex, garbage bags, cloths, etc etc etc) …plus Zack and Kelsea won a set of safety triangles for emergency roadside stops.

Sleepyheads

Paityn and Cameron had a sleep over at Nana and Papaw’s that night.  They snuggled up in our recliners, watched ‘The Muppets Take Manhattan’ and slept until I ended waking them up about 8:40 am.

Sunday was the last day of the rally and most everyone left sometime that morning.  However, several of the rally-goers put together a breakfast (pancakes, sausage, & eggs) for anyone that wanted it.  We, of course, were invited and took them up on the offer.  This may be the smallest rally we’ve been to so far, but they were some of the nicest people we’ve met.  I’m pretty sure that if we have nothing else going on next year, we’ll come back…but on more of a personal level.  If people want brakes installed…that’s fine too.

There they go!

Zack, Kelsea, Paityn and Cameron were among those who left.  🙁  They finished packing up after we got back from breakfast and ended up pulling out of their site somewhere around 11:00 and made it home safe and sound well before dinner time.

We really enjoyed having them here with us.  We shared all of our meals together, enjoyed a couple of fires with s’mores and played a couple of games of Hand and Foot (Kelsea won one and I won the other!  Girl Power!).  We got lots of hugs and love from Pnut and Cam.

After doing a little work in the morning we were ready to visit the theater to watch the latest Jurassic Park movie, Jurassic World:  Fallen Kingdom.  It was your typical Jurassic Park movie…and we enjoyed it as much as any of the others.

We stopped for a few groceries and a quick dinner on the way home and were ready to chill for the rest of the night.

Tomorrow we leave Elkhart Campground and travel ALL (25.5 miles) the way to Shipshewana South Campground where we’ll be parked for a month…ahhhh…sounds good!

 

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Mount Horeb/Verona, WI

Sunday morning, Kelsea was sweet enough to help me key in some inventory counts into Quickbooks and with her help the task got done MUCH faster than if I’d done it alone.  Muah!  Thanks, Kels!

Zack attack??

That afternoon we all headed over to Dan and Amanda’s for some family time.  The cousins played inside, outside, upstairs, downstairs and even on top of Uncle Zack/Papa.  He made the mistake of lying on the coach napping….ha!  The kids didn’t approve…so they all piled on top of him!

Busy drawing…

Paityn (7) and Alex (6.5) joined us for a couple of rounds of Telestrations…a game where you have to draw a word from a card and also have to guess what other people have drawn.  Oh my!  They had some much fun they didn’t want to stop playing.  We had to alter the game a little bit as the didn’t know what some of the words meant.  We’ll be looking for a kids version, I think.

A couple of lumpy birds

Amanda made 2 ‘Beer Can’ chickens for dinner…one on the grill and one in the oven.  Both turned out nicely…not sure there was really any difference in taste.  We had some corn on the cob and salads (pasta, potato, jello) as sides and it made for a good meal for the eleven of us.

Zack and his crew left to go home about 8:00 pm but Michael and I spent the night so that we could get a little more time with Dan and his crew before we had to pull up stakes and head on down the road.

Alex read to me from Harry Potter and then Ben and I (and his mom & dad) look through one of the books Nana & Papaw had sent (Who’s Butt?).

When the kids went to bed we played a partial game of Sheepshead and a game of Hearts before we called it a night.

Monday started out nicely…not a ton of phone calls or emails.  But but lunch time things kinda fell apart.  We had an installer doing an install in the Wisconsin Dells who had problems so Michael took a drive up there (about an hour and a half one way) to take a couple of parts to him and to see if he could be of any assistance.

Then the phone calls started and the emails picked up…but we got it all taken care of as best we could.

Go Zack!

I stayed back and went to watch Zack play softball with Kelsea and the kids.  I don’t think it matter how ld the boys get (Zack will be 32 in September) I still enjoy watching them play whatever sport it is that they happen to be involved in.  Zack’s team had a good night and ended up winning 28-8.  However…the mosquitoes were TERRIBLE!  Kelsea ran to the store to pick up some spray and that helped somewhat…for a while anyway…and then we had to reapply.  Needless to say everyone has multiple bites on their bodies!

By the time we got back from the game, Michael was home (9:00 pm) and stowing things in the basement…getting ready to hit the road this morning.  We have about 280 miles to drive today and then we will be in the same area until September 1.  We’ll move locations a few times but never more than 25 miles or so.

Zack, Kelsea, Paityn and Cameron will be following us to Indiana tomorrow and will spend the long holiday weekend with us.  I’m excited to show them some of our favorite places in Amish country!

 

 

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Travel Day: Hudson, WI to Mount Horeb, WI

Friday night’s boondocking experience did not go as planned.  We went to bed about 8:30 pm and were quite comfy until the generator/air conditioner turned off about 1:15 am.  Michael got up and restarted the generator and the ac came back on but turned off about 10 or 15 minutes.  Michael got up again and restarted everything but, once again, it only ran a few minutes and then shut off.  At that point we just left it off and drifted back to sleep for a while before it got too warm.

We got up about 3:30 am and closed everything up and got in the truck and headed out.  First stop was about 10 minutes down the road at a Flying J to fuel up.  Michael also grabbed a pastry as he was starving.

THIS is why I always make reservations.  We always know we have a place to stay and don’t have to worry about everything being full and not having a place to pull in and plug in at night.  With the crazy heat everyone across the country experienced…boondocking was not the way to go.  (By the time I tried to make reservations at a campground…everything was booked.

You can be sure that me flying by the seat of my pants in the future…will not happen.  LOL  The plus??  I got to hug my grandbabies several hours earlier than originally planned!

Early early morning breakfast stop

We stopped about 4:45 am at a Denny’s in Wilson, Wisconsin for some ‘real’ breakfast.  We both got the $5.99 special (2 eggs, 2 sausage, 2 bacon, 2 pancakes and hashbrowns).  Not a bad deal and it was a much better breakfast than we’ve had for a while.  I think we’re both ready for a good home-cooked meal.  LOL

We hung out for about an hour before we hit the road.  With only 217 miles to drive, most of which was down I-94 we were ready to be done driving for a few days.

Rather than go straight to Zack and Kelsea’s I had Michael drop me off at Dan and Amanda’s in Verona so that I could hitch a ride to Ben and Cameron’s T-ball game at 10:00 am.  Michael took the coach over to Zack’s and got it parked and set up and then relaxed while watching the NASCAR Xfinity race as we had a car in it!

Spencer and my boys

PTB sponsored Spencer Boyd for three races (June 30, July 6 & July 13).  Zack and Dan went to the race at Chicagoland Speedway yesterday and were in the pit before, during and after the race.  They met with Spencer, learned lots of stuff, got to wear headphones so they could hear what was going on, rubbed elbows with the crew and Dan even was able to hand a tire to the crew during a ‘pit stop’.  They had a blast and we at home had a good time seeing all the pictures the boys sent.  (Michael and I are going to the July 13th race at the Kentucky Speedway)

Cameron and Ben…our T-ballers

So while the boys were busy…the girls spent time with the babies.  It was hotter than blazes during T-ball but I’m glad I was able to go and see Ben and Cameron practice.  Cam turned 5 in April and Ben will be 5 in August but you’d never know they were that close in age as there is a BIG difference in size!

I think this ‘mushroom’ was there favorite as they always gravitated back to it.

After T-ball we all went over to Dan and Amanda’s house and had a quick lunch before the eight of us went to a local Splash park.  The kids had a BLAST!  I splashed a bit too but had WAY more fun watching the five of them flit about….here…there…everywhere!

My princesses

But…before hitting the splash pad….we stopped at the park and the littles ran (and swung) off some energy!  Wow….they really have a lot of energy even when it’s hot hot hot!

Then it was back home to wind down a bit….stopping at the grocery store first to pick up something for dinner.  We decided on some cheddarwurst and deli salads.  Amanda and her three kiddos joined us for dinner too.

It was a long day, but even longer for Michael who drove over to Dan’s about 9:15 pm to pick Zack up when the two of them got home from Chicago.  By the time Michael got back home…I was out cold.

We are here for just 3 nights before we head to Elkhart, Indiana where we’ll be basically until September 1st.

 

 

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Bismarck, ND to Hudson, WI

Another LONG travel day (450 miles) ahead of us we were up much too early (5:30 for me, 6:00 for Michael) Michael had a quick bite to eat – cereal and I took my yogurt in the truck.  We were out the door hitching up about 7:15 am and pulled out of the park (after dropping our garbage off) at 7:31 am.

Eerie book, to be sure!

We finished our most recent Lum & Abner cds a couple of days ago (we have a new set waiting for us at Zack & Kelseas!) and decided today to start listening to one of the books on cd we had in the truck.  We chose, Cell, by Stephen King.

Kelly’s Kitchen!

We stopped a little after noon for lunch at Kelly’s Kitchen.  It was 87 degrees out but we had a nice table in the shade and there was a nice breeze so we were comfortable.  We hung out for about an hour – mostly scanning the internet but also answered a couple of emails and Michael took a couple of phone calls.

Passing through the Twin Cities

We only had 160 miles left when we got back on the road and just as the first part of the trip went quickly so did the second half.  Even passing through Minneapolis/St Paul  at 3:30/4:00 pm on a Friday afternoon.  The road got a bit more congested and we had a little bit of a slow down at one point…but otherwise traffic flowed smoothly.  The other side of the road, on the other hand…not so much!  Thankfully, we have been blessed this trip with always being on the right side of the road!

Crazy HOT heat!

What a SCORCHER it was today!  We reached 104 at one point, in the truck, and I saw that the heat index was at 109…yowza!  What a day to boondock!  That would be why we decided to make sure both of our 40 gallon propane tanks were topped off yesterday.  We’ll be running the generator ALL night, I’m sure!

Before pulling into the Walmart parking lot for the night we stopped across the street at Panera Bread for dinner.  Before going inside, Michael turned the generator on in the coach and then let the ac run while we ate so that it was cooled off a bit when we finally did retire.

We were at Panera for about an hour before we decided to mosey on ‘home’.  Michael called ahead to be sure it was ok to plant ourselves in the parking lot overnight and was told it was ok….but that they wanted us to park at the far end…near Wendy’s which was fine with us.

Home for the night. Hudson, WI Walmart

Rather than backing in, Michael pulled straight in as the parking lot was sloped toward the store and it was easier for us to level out a bit going in that direction.  There were two other campers here when we arrived – one with no tow vehicle.  We’ll see if we have any others arrive as it is still early.

It’s been a LONG week and we are both exhausted…we’ll see how late we make it tonight…I’m not banking on much past 8:00 pm.

Besides…the earlier to bed…the earlier to get up…the earlier I get my grandbaby HUGS!

 

 

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Miles City, MT to Bismarck, ND

Tuesday we turned out the light about 9:45 pm and I was up about 7:00 am…Michael followed about half an hour later or so.

We answered some emails, Michael got a couple of phone calls and we had a quick breakfast (hard boiled eggs and a pastry from yesterday’s visit to Wheat Montana).

Compared to the last two days today’s 271 miles looked awesome!  We ended up pulling out of the Miles City, Montana Walmart just a few minutes after 9:00 am on Wednesday morning.

Oh crud!

About 90 miles into our trip we had another RVer pull along side us and the woman in the passenger seat was waving her arms to indicate something was wrong.  We pulled over right away and Michael went to inspect (I went in the house to pee!) at first he only saw that the back landing jack on the driver’s side of the coach was partial down so he brought that up all the way but decided to double check.

Good thing he did as he found that the spring hanger on that side of the coach was broken.  I checked my ‘Next Exit’ book and found that there was a Cenex station 18 miles away that advertised ‘service’ in it’s description.  We very carefully made our way there and Michael went and got someone to look at it.  He called a welder right away and we were told it would be about 30 minutes before he could get to us.

The welder arrived after an hour and quickly made his assessment and was off to get parts…saying he’d be back in about an hour.

Of course, Michael assisted the welder by lying under the coach with him…

We walked across the street to the Tastee Hut and got some lunch.  They have a HUGE menu and we each ordered the Codfish Nuggets and they turned out to be REALLY good.  We hung out in the air conditioning for about an hour and a half before we walked back to wait in the truck.

The welder came back about 2:15 pm and worked on getting the old hanger off so that he could weld on the new hanger.

North Dakota has some pretty cool scenery

Our little snafu put us behind by about 4.5  hours but we are thankful that the Lord watched out for us and brought it to our attention early.  And that the little town of Wibaux, Montana (population 649) had an experienced welder nearby that was available to help us out.

Now…just to get the northeast corner filled in!

We entered North Dakota about 15 minutes after we were back on the road!  Woohoo!  You know what that means??  Another sticker got added to our map!  Now we just have to get to the northeast and get the rest of the continental states filled in!

We also crossed into central time zone shortly after 5:00pm MST/6:00 pm CST.  We’ll only be back in CST for less than a week…but when that’s what you’re used to… You know what I mean. Oh well.

Bismarck KOA – site 77

We pulled into the Bismarck KOA about 7:00 pm and were greeted by a very friendly young man, Adam, at the front desk.  (turns out he is the son of the owners)  He got us checked in and we traded a couple of stories back and forth and then his dad led us to our site.

The father, Kyle, guided Michael into our back in site like an expert.  It wasn’t the easiest site to get into but with Kyle leading Michael we got back in perfectly.  We got set up fairly quickly…nothing much to do other than hook up sewer, water and electric.

Once settled, I warmed up some dinner (Swedish meatballs for Michael, buttered noodles for me) and we got comfy in our recliners for the rest of the night.  It had been a long 3 days and we were tired!  LOL

After a good nights sleep (I was up about 8:00 and Michael about 9:30) we cleaned up some work and then headed to the 12:30 showing of Solo:  A Star Wars Story.  We both really enjoyed the movie.  I would say it’s probably my favorite of ALL the Star Wars movies.  You get a lot of answers and find out a lot of the ‘who’s, what’s and whys’….great job!

Fun to watch these guys cook the food

After the movie we grabbed some lupper at HuHot…a Mongolian Grill place.  You load up a bowl with your choices (meats, noodles, various veggies and then select sauces to make your own creation.  Once your bowl is full you hand it off to one of the ‘chefs’ who grill it on a big round grill and then plate it and hand it back to you.  It’s a fun experience…plus tasty to boot.

Back home we did some laundry, work and stowed the few things we had out in preparation for tomorrow’s drive.  Michael also had the propane tanks filled up and ran and filled up the truck with diesel too.

We plan to drive about 450 miles tomorrow…we’ll be overnighting at the Walmart in Hudson, Wisconsin, which is just over the Minnesota border.  Then it will be on to grandbaby hugs!

 

 

 

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Travel Day: Missoula, MT to Miles City, MT

BIG breakfast

We were up about 7:15 and didn’t mess around much….pretty much got dressed, gathered our stuff and headed out the door.

When you overnight in a Cracker Barrel parking lot it’s just appropriate to thank them by having breakfast in their fine establishment, don’t ya think??  We think so too…so that’s just what we did.  It’s a nice way to start off a travel day…with full tummies and happy hearts.

There she is!

We pulled out of the parking lot about 8:30 and head on down the road…although it wasn’t but about an hour and it was time for our first potty stop of the day!  I took the opportunity to take picture of our home too!

We’d seen several of our RVing friends stop at Wheat Montana in Three Forks, Montana recently and since we were passing right by and it was lunch time…we stopped too!

Good stuff!

Wheat Montana is a store/restaurant specializing in (you guessed it!) wheat-based products grown locally.  They offer breads, cereals, pastries and sandwiches.  We each ordered a sandwich for lunch and picked up some bread and pastries to enjoy for breakfast as we travel.

We sat outside on the patio and enjoyed our very good sandwiches.  Michael ordered a turkey club variant and I ordered a ‘Rachel’ (warm – turkey, swiss cheese, sauerkraut & thousand island dressing).  Both were very good.  There were served with chips and a pickle (I stole Michael’s!)  Definitely a stop if you’re ever passing by Three Forks, Montana!

Still snow on some of the mountain tops!

We were back on the road about 12:45 and though we had 177 miles under our belt already…we still had 315 left to go!  Ugh!  315 miles is normally on our high end of travel days.

The afternoon drug on and we did everything we could to pass the time.  We listened to music, called customers, answered calls from customers, fielded emails (me), enjoyed the scenery and listened to our traveling companions, Lum & Abner’s radio show via cd.

Calling it a day….

We arrived at the Walmart in Miles City, Montana about 6:00 pm and were very happy for it.  While Michael leveled us up a bit and took some pressure off the hitch I got tomorrow’s address set in the GPS so we’re ready to go.  There were 3 other rigs here when we arrived and a couple more arrived after us.

We had an hour or so of work to do so we turned on the generator and got the inside of the coach cooled off.  Neither of us were hungry so we passed on dinner.

Tomorrow we get to add a sticker to our map!  We’ll hit North Dakota and will spend two nights in Bismarck so we can get a little recoup time before we head on to Wisconsin for a quick visit with the grandbabies (and their mamas and papas)

By 8:00 pm we were all done and ready to call it a day.  491 miles is WAY more than we care to do again any time soon!

 

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Travel Sm: La Grande, OR to Missoula, MT

I’m going to try to post every day as we travel back east so I don’t have one big post at the end.  The posts shouldn’t be long…just a snippet (unless something exciting happens!) to let you know how we’re doing.

We had 326 miles to travel today and being Monday the morning was a bit hectic as we tried to get ready to hit the road and also field phone calls and emails from customers.  Despite the busyness of the morning we were able to pull out of the Grande Hot Springs RV Resort about 9:30 am.

Rather than heading back the exact way we came we decided to go north into Washington first so we could see a little different scenery and it only added on less than 20 miles to our trip.

Lovin’ the view…

We had a beautiful day to travel – sunny and fairly mild temps…not even 80 degrees.  When we stopped for lunch at Kelly’s Kitchen we had a beautiful table in the shade with a pretty view of the rolling hills across the interstate.

Since we were in no real hurry to get anywhere since we were staying at a Walmart for the night we took our time, enjoyed our yummy salads, perused the internet and just enjoyed being outside in such gorgeous weather.

A little congested but not bad

We ended up passing through Spokane about 3:30…rush hour…nice timing on our part.  We only had one point where we came to a stop.  Other than that traffic got pretty heavy but we continued to move and a pretty good speed.

About 25 miles from our overnight stop we decided to keep going and drive all the way to Missoula…an additional 120 miles or so.

However, we needed some fuel to keep us going so we stopped in the little town of Wallace, Idaho…parked on the street outside the Red Light Garage and went in for some dinner.

That’s a lotta stuff to examine while eatin’!

We both ordered burgers and enjoyed them while checking out all of the eclectic ‘junk’ around the restaurant.  License plates, marionettes, lamps, signs, stuffed animals…you name it.  A cool, fun place to enjoy a meal before heading back out on the road.

Home for the night!

We planned to spend the night at the Walmart in Missoula but as we were nearing Missoula we saw and sign for a Cracker Barrel…and it just so happened to be at the same exit as the Walmart…so we changed plans for a third time and pulled into the Cracker Barrel parking lot about 9:30 pm MST (we changed to MST about an hour and a half before arriving).

We got settled in for the night, I did a little bit of work, finished this post and hit the hay.

 

 

 

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La Grande, Oregon

Very pretty terrain in Oregon

Monday 6/18 was a travel day for us….just over 200 miles to La Grande, Oregon…our farthest point west on this trip.

Just waiting for us!

We had an uneventful trip and pulled into the Grand Hot Springs RV Resort at just about noon…just in time to see the Old Dominion truck delivering our product for the installs that were already set up for this rally.

Grand Hot Springs RV Resort – Site 71

After checking in we made our way to site 71, our home for the next week, and got set up easily enough.  Michael even put out the satellite dish and I put out a few knickknacks so that it really felt like home.

Josh and Heather (our installers) arrived in town about an hour after we did and we made plans for them to come by the following day so that the four of us could go through the product to make sure it was all there and that everything was as it should be.

Going through freight

Josh and Heather came by about noon on Tuesday and between the four of us we went through everything in about an hour.  We found several small parts missing or incorrect, made a call to Alyssa to have her ship some brackets to us and made a note to contact Dexter to have replacements sent to the warehouse.

We visited with some of the rally-goers (nice group of folks) throughout the day and also met some of the customers who had installs scheduled during the rally.

After we finished up going through our order from Dexter we took Josh and Heather out for dinner at Mamacita’s International Grill…an early dinner since it was only about 2:00 pm or so.  We had a really nice dinner and even better conversation.  I think everyone was happy with their meal choices (Heather – chicken pasta dish, Josh – Waygu burger, Michael – normal burger, Me – bleu steak).

As we were dining we noticed a small farmers market being set up right outside the restaurant so after dinner we all made a quick walk through and each ended up picking up some fresh fruits (berries & cherries) and veggies (cucumbers) before heading our separate ways for the night.

Nice turn out for the disc brake seminar

Michael did a disc brake presentation on Wednesday morning and had an awesome turn out…at least 30 people, I’d say.  I assisted by changing slides as he went through the presentation.  There was a quite a lot of interest and I believe we’ll probably get several additional sales stemming from this rally.

Discussing tactics…

Josh and Heather had installs on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday and had very happy campers by the end of each day.  You can’t imagine the smiles on people faces the first time they are able to use their new brakes after they’ve been installed….it’s such a HUGE difference.

Wednesday we had a light sprinkle of rain in the middle of the afternoon…not enough to bother Josh and Heather as they worked, thankfully.  About 6:00 pm (well after J&H were done for the day) it rained again…but this time the rain also brought pea-sized hail.

Later that evening about 8:45  or so it rained again…but this time it down-poured…buckets and buckets.  It thundered, lightening-ed and poured…for a LONG time….so long that a good portion of the campground was covered in water.  We had a nice ‘lake’ between us and our neighbor and the fountain at the entrance of the park overflowed flooding the driveway to the park office.  Thankfully, by late afternoon most, if not all, of the water had been absorbed into the ground.

Michael and I have been plagued by a nagging cough/congestion cruddy crud since not longer after leaving Pueblo, Colorado.  With a LONG trip looming over us as we head back east we decided to go to the walk-in clinic on Thursday to get some meds to hopefully get us back on track.  I was just afraid if we didn’t, we’d be in the middle of our trip back in the big middle of nowhere and Michael would end up with bronchitis like he did back in March.

We both ended up with three prescriptions, more precautionary since we will be traveling.  I’m glad we went as it’s a huge piece of mind knowing we have meds (antibiotics for both, steroid for Michael, Flonase for me and cough pills for both).  Now…lets just hope they help!

Check out all those loose toppings!

By the time we got done at the clinic it was 7:00 pm and we were hungry.  We stopped at Local Harvest Eatery & Pub for some pizza.  We ordered a medium pizza – half specialty pizza (pepperoni, sausage, salami, bacon) and half create your own (ham, pineapple, green pepper, red onion and ground beef).

Michael liked it…me not so much.  Michael wanted a thicker crust but this bottom crust was wafer thin…but the crust around the edge was thick…but not really cooked enough.  Topping amounts were good.  Sauce was a bit skimpy.

The biggest drawback for me was that the cheese was placed on topped of the sauce, which was on the bottom layer and then all of the toppings were on top of the cheese which left all of the toppings with nothing to hold them in place…so everything fell of the pizza.

I went into town on Friday and picked up our prescriptions and did some grocery shopping to tide us over until we get across the country.  While I was gone Michael worked on rearranging the basement to make room for some stuff we’ve been carrying in the backseat (work stuff).  He also answered questions from rally-goers who stopped by as well as customers who called on the phone.

For dinner, I tried new recipe for my Instant Pot and it turned out really well…it’ll be made again, especially since I thought Michael was going to lick his plate at one point.  It’s a pretty easy and straight forward recipe for Swiss Steak.  I served it with mashed potatoes and green beans and it made a filling comfort meal.

Electric drums…some almost new

Saturday while Heather and Josh did their magic on the last trailer at the rally, Michael and I took the old electric drum brakes to the recycling center in La Grande.  We were hoping we wouldn’t have to pay to dispose of them and since they were all metal (and they get $$ for recycling them) we didn’t have to pay anything.  The trip took us all of 30 minutes at the most.

My he-man lifting/dumping those heavy things!

We had several customers stop by on Saturday to order brakes and we were happy to accommodate.  This turned out to be a very nice rally and I’m sure we’ll try to get back out here again next year…if not us…at least one of our installers.

Rally attendees started pulling out bright and early Sunday morning and by noon a good portion were gone…however there were still quite a few hold outs.

Union Market and the creek beside it.

We took a quick drive over the small town of Union in the afternoon.  We’d been told we should see the Historic Union Hotel.  We stopped at the Union Market first and each grabbed an ice cream bar and enjoyed it as we walked down the street – first stopped at a little creek that runs right next to the market and then at the City Park which is on the other side of the creek.  We enjoyed our ice cream as we sat in an old gazebo in the park that provided shade for us.

Right next to the park on the opposite side of the creek and market sits the hotel.  We perused the outside of the building (built in 1921) while we snacked on our ice cream.  The outside has definitely seen better days and now houses a small RV park (6 sites maybe) in the back.

The Historic Union Hotel built in 1921

The front is a bit more welcoming but could still use some help.  A sign on the front porch says, ‘Visitors Welcome’ so we moseyed on inside to check out the lobby, parlor and restaurant.  The architecture inside is gorgeous but the furnishings need help.  Mostly a bunch of junk furniture thrown about.

The parlor is a gorgeous room with windows covering two sides of the room.  Its used for customers to watch TV, relax and socialize.  However, someone on the staff has turned a portion of it into their office and there is paperwork strewn from here to there and everywhere….making it pretty uninviting.

Cute little restaurant with a very small menu

The small restaurant is very pretty and in much better shape than the parlor.  There’s a small bar in one corner with tables on the opposite side of the room…once again, there are windows on two sides of the room.

The front desk was beautifully carved wood flanked by two gorgeous staircases…again made of beautifully carved wood.

It would have been interesting to be able to tour a few of their ‘themed’ rooms to see what kind of shape they were in.  I guess I’ll just have to settle for looking at the pictures on their website.

Michael spent all morning cleaning up the truck and getting it nice and spiffy for our long haul back east.

We’ll be traveling a total of 2194 miles to our final destination of Elkhart, Indiana.  We’ll have just two stops that are 2-nighters (Bismarck, ND and Mt. Horeb, WI) the rest are just 1-nighters.  We’ll make a total of 6 stops on the way and try our best not to go stir crazy as we don’t normally drive that many days in a row but we need to be in Elkhart by July 3 for the Crossroads rally.  We’ll be listening to our Lum and Abner cds which will help the time go by quickly. 😉

 

 

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