The Wright Brothers, a Newspaper Columnist, a Witch and a Gypsy Queen

Wednesday, June 21st

Visitor’s Center & Museum

We experienced our first sight-seeing day in Dayton!  While Ohio is known as the ‘Birthplace of Aviation’ it seems to me that Dayton should have that title as this is where Orville and Wilbur Wright did the majority of the planning and designing of their first ‘airplanes’.

Michael on the steps of the Wright Brothers Bicycle Shop

Our first stop today was at the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Park.  We spent about an hour and a half roaming through the museum at the visitors center as well as the parachute museum, the print shop on the second floor and the bicycle shop next door.  These two buildings were the actual locations of the Wright Brothers printing business and bicycle shops at one time.  Pretty cool to walk on the actual floors that these two men once stood on.

Lunch at Kelly’s Kitchen

In between visiting the two buildings we enjoyed lunch at Kelly’s Kitchen out behind the bicycle shop underneath a cluster of trees.  It had been a while since we’d dined at Kelly’s Kitchen and it was relaxing and enjoyable…we’ll have to do it again soon!

After leaving the National Historic Site we had a couple of Roadside America stops to make…both of which were nearby.

Pretty darn cool!

The first was an eight foot tall apple made of flatware.  The apple was located at an area food bank (how appropriate!) and it was fun to see all what utensils were used…forks, spoons and knives mostly.  But if you looked hard enough you found vegetable peelers, apple corers, cheese graters, measuring spoons & cups and even a single hole punch…not quite sure how that fell into an apple made of kitchen utensils…but fun nonetheless!

Wilbur flying…Orville on the ground

Then it was down the road a bit to find a replica of the 1905 Wright Flyer.  Appropriately located next to the Engineers Club in downtown Dayton, it’s a pretty cool piece of art.  Across the street is Van Cleeve Park…a small park overlooking the Miami River.

It was hot while we were there and there was a passel of kids playing at the splash pad…all huddled in the middle and when the fountains would turn on they’d all scream with delight.  It was fun just watching them.

While we were at the National Historic Park we were told about Wilbear Wright and the Aviation Trail.  A program designed to get people to visit all of the various aviation sites in the area.  There are a total of 16 sites and if you visit at least 7 of them you get a cute little Wilbear.  You are given a brochure and you need to get it stamped by the various sites.  We already had plans to visit many of the sites before we knew about the program so we were ‘in it to win it’!

Office at Woodland Cemetery

One place we didn’t know about was Woodland Cemetery.  The ranger explained that this was where the Wright Brothers (and most of their family), Paul Laurence Dunbar (poet laureate) and a Gypsy Queen (among other notables) were buried.  Well…you know us and our cemeteries…plus if we stopped in the office we could get another stamp on quest for Wilbear!

We stopped at the office and the very helpful receptionist gave us a map and highlighted the interesting spots for us to stop.  And of course…she stamped our Wilbear brochure.

I can see this being a pretty awesome spot to write.

Our first stop was the ‘grave’ of Erma Bombeck which is not marked in the conventional way.  When Erma lived in Arizona there was a BIG boulder in her neighbors back yard that she’d go sit on and right.  When she died her husband had the boulder moved to the cemetery as her grave marker.  There is no plaque, no name written anywhere…just the rock.  Kinda neat.

Dayton, Ohio as seen from Woodland Cemetery

From there we wound our way through the cemetery and up to the top of a hill where we came upon a pretty rock gazebo-like structure that overlooks Dayton.  What a gorgeous view…wow!  Surrounded by trees and gravesites littering the hillside you would never expect this site.  A treat in its own.

From there we moseyed over to the grave of Paul Laurence Dunbar.  Dunbar was a poet, novelist and playwright.  Much of his writing was done in a ‘Negro Dialect’ associated with the south and highly acclaimed.  He was the first African-American writers to reach international fame.  Unfortunately, his life was cut short due to tuberculosis at the age of 33.

His grave is marked by a small boulder with a plaque embedded in it.  The cemetery has also added a tall flag to help visitors find the grave easier.  Alongside his grave is another small grave marker for Elizabeth Florence Dunbar who was born a year after Paul and died just 2 1/2 years after she was born…a sister, I’m assuming.

Wright family plot

Just a short distance from Dunbar’s grave you can see three tall flags that denote the gravesite of the Wright Brothers.  Wilbur and Orville along with their sister Katherine were laid to rest at the foot of their parents graves.  In between the parents is a small gravestone for twin sons that died shortly after birth. Wilbur & Orville’s two oldest brothers weren’t laid to rest here with the rest of the family, it seems…why?  Who knows.

Before departing we hunted (and found!) the gravesite of Matilda Stanley, Queen of the Gypsies in the United States.  Our source at the office had told us Matilda’s story and we couldn’t resist visiting.

Matilda died in February 1878 in Vicksburg, Mississippi and her husband had her body shipped back to Dayton for burial.  Her body was kept in a vault until her burial in September.  Why the long wait?  They had to wait until all the various Gypsy tribes from around the country & world could arrive to attend the last rites.  It’s estimated that 25,000 people converged on Dayton for the funeral with many being turned away at the cemetery as there was no room.

Agnes Moorehead and her family to the right

While Woodland Cemetery was an impromptu stop for the day…Dayton Memorial Park was a planned stop.  Remember Endora from the old ‘Bewitched’ TV show?  Agnes Moorehead was the actress who brought her to life and Dayton is where she’s buried.

Agnes is buried in the Abbey Mausoleum at Dayton Memorial Park alongside her younger sister and her parents.  While I enjoy roaming around a cemetery…I’m not a fan of roaming the halls of a mausoleum.  I think they smell funny and just find them plain creepy.  Of course, we finally found Agnes on the last row we entered.  I found it amusing that a feather boa adorned her vault…quite Endora-like.

We ended our day at Skyline Chili.  We’d heard so much about this dish that we had to try it for ourselves…you know…the whole ‘when in Rome’ thing.

We both ordered the ‘typical 1st timers’ order…without even knowing it.  We each ordered a Coney (tiny hot dog with mustard, onions & shredded cheese on a bun).  I ordered a 3-Way (spaghetti, Skyline Chili, topped with a gallon of shredded cheese) and Michael ordered the 5-Way (same as mine but also with small red beans and diced onions).

Coney on the and ‘chili spaghetti’ on the right

We both tried our ‘Ways’ first and the first thing I tasted was cinnamon and then some other spices I didn’t care much for.  Michael, too, wasn’t fond of something…but couldn’t really put his finger on it.

We tried the Coneys and they weren’t too bad…better than the ‘Ways’ but still not something I would have to have again.  The chili just isn’t chili that we’re used to…I guess we prefer Texas-style chili over Cincinnati-style chili.  Oh well.

 

 

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Travel Day: Goshen, IN To Wright-Patterson AFB, OH

Sunday, June 18th

We were up at 7:00 am so that we could head down to the rally hall for breakfast and to see our Heartland family one last time before pulling out of the fairgrounds.  It poured as we drove to the rally hall and then pretty much stopped once we were inside…of course!

After saying our goodbyes and getting lots of hugs and handshakes we headed back home to finish our move day chores and hitch up.  We ended up pulling out of the fairgrounds and 9:29…ahead of our 10:00/11:00 am guesstimated time of departure.

We chose to head east on 34 and then go south on 13 so as not to go through Goshen or deal with the partial construction that was west on 34.

Such a peaceful, gorgeous sight

It turned out to be a very nice drive.  Not far from the fair grounds we came across an Amish home that was hosting church services and all of the horses and buggies were parked in the pasture along the road. Loved it!

About 45 minutes or so after we hit the road we got some rain…light at first and then a littler harder but nothing that wasn’t drivable through so and it only lasted about 20 minutes so we just continued on down the road enjoying the beautiful countryside.

We only had a little over 200 miles to drive today so we didn’t make any stops at Kelly’s Kitchen but we did make a couple of roadside stops to use the bathroom in the coach.

The first 2/3 of the drive was all on 2 lane roads and they were all in good shape so we really enjoyed the peaceful, quiet country drive.
I’d picked up an audio book from the For Sale table at the rally and we listened to it along the way.  It was a Stephen King book titled Drunken Fireworks and only ended up being an hour and a half long and quite different from the Stephen King books we’re familiar with but we enjoyed it nonetheless.

Ohio!

We entered Ohio about halfway through today’s drive and then hit the interstate less than an hour from our destination.   We followed a Bighorn from Florida onto the interstate and we’re pretty sure they were coming from the rally too but it wasn’t anyone we knew.

 We pulled into the Wright-Patterson FamCamp just before 2:00 pm and found our site easier than we thought we would.  We got parked, unhitched and leveled in no time and then we both went our separate ways to do our chores.

Wright-Patterson AFB FamCamp site 24. We are right next to our twin…except that it’s a Grand Canyon and ours is a Key Largo.

After completing my ‘set up’ chores and got dinner underway….nothing fancy just some grilled burgers, corn on the cob and steamed zucchini.  Our first real ‘home cooked’ meal in quite sometime and it was good!

Michael took a little longer to set up the satellite dish this time as he’d picked up a dish from the ‘For Sale’ table and combined part of it with our old one to create a ‘new’ one as the mounting bracket on ours broke on our way to Wisconsin from Arkansas.  Now we have a ‘Frankenstein Dish’.  Woohoo!  Go Mikey!
After dinner we did NOTHING.  We sat in our recliners and vegged in front of the TV and it felt GOOD! We are here for a month so we’re in no hurry to see the area sights.
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Last of the Rally Days

June 16 – 17

Our friendly Heartland Service Techs

Friday morning John, one of our Heartland techs, came by to finish up a few things that didn’t get taken finished while at the service center and to also make sure that our basement was dry.  It was…keep your fingers crossed that there are no more water leaks in the basement!

Michael and I took a walk to the vendor hall to renew our Sam’s Club membership ($20 gift card for renewing now) and Michael also picked up a few items from the Tiara RV booth (mostly water/sewer fittings).

A fairly large group at the leadership meeting

At noon we had a Leadership meeting.  We were given boxed lunches and then discussed what direction we wanted to see the club go in.  Biggest hurdle seems to be how to get people to join the club and attend rally’s.

After the Leadership meeting we made a quick trip back to the vendor hall as I decided I wanted a Heartland decal for the back truck window and had seen that Mark and Linda had some already made and ready to go.

Pretty cool, eh?

After picking that up we picked up our unsold items from the Owners For Sale table and ended up finding and over the door toilet paper holder that we thought might work better than the self standing one we’ve been using for 5 plus years….so we took it home, called the owner and then paid them on our way back up to the rally hall.

Back at the rally hall we attended a VA Benefits briefing.  One of the club members is a certified Veterans Assistance Officer and threw together an impromptu briefing for anyone that wanted to attend.  He was very knowledgeable and helpful and willing to offer advice to anyone that needed/wanted it.

There were a lot of regional get-togethers in the afternoon but since we had ours on Wednesday we went of to dinner at Ponderosa, which is fairly close by.  We both chose the buffet and with Michael’s military discount our bill was less that $25.

Fun watching the harness races

When we got back to the fairgrounds we went for a walk, heading toward the Northwest area, stopping at Jim Bs place for a couple of minutes and then continued on.  Before we got too far Kevin and Nelly came by in their golf cart and took us for a spin.  That spin too us all over the park and nearly 4 hours…LOL!

Learning how to fly a drone

We went over to the Northwest area to drop something off to Joanna and then moved on down the road.  We stopped and watched some harness racing that was taking place.  We stopped and talked to a gentleman that was flying a drone and Kevin even piloted it for a while.  We showed Kevin and Nelly where the dump was and of course we stopped and chatted with people…small groups, large groups, individuals.

We ended up at Wayne and Nita’s to finish the night but finally decided it was time to head on home as we had a full day coming up on Saturday.

Such an awesome benefit of attending our National Rally is getting the chance to see the coaches being built!

Saturday morning we were up and on the road about 8:15 am and headed to the Heartland factory where they were, once again, doing tours of the different plants.  I stayed outside and checked out the new coaches on display while Michael roamed around inside.  I’d seen it before and was ok not visiting again.

They have it set up really well so that you can view each stage as it happens: ceiling, cabinetry, flooring, roofing, hydraulics, etc.  It’s really quite interesting…especially for people like Michael who absorb all of that kind of stuff.

From there we went over to the Furrion Innovation Center, which right next door to the RV/MH Hall of Fame where we were having lunch with the Heartland execs.  Michael visited the Innovation Center and thought they had some interesting ideas but wasn’t overly impressed.

A sea of Heartland owners quizing three of the Heartland brand managers

We were fed burgers for lunch and then had an open forum where owners could address three of the brand managers.  Unfortunately, often this kinda turns into a ‘gripe session’ so it’s probably my least favorite aspect of the entire rally.

Rather than riding the bus to the days excursion we drove so we were back home about 2:00 pm or so which gave us time to do some packing and preparing for Sunday’s departure.  With those chores out of the way we’ll have more time for saying our ‘see ya laters’ before hitting the road.

We had our last catered meal for dinner: pork chops, three-cheese ravioli, mixed veggies, salad, fruit, dinner roll and strawberry shortcake to round it all off.  Dinner was very good again.

Timing’s Everything

Tonight’s entertainment was Timing’s Everything, a band focused mostly on country music. Unfortunately, they played much louder than needed and the music actually drowned out the singers. There was a young lady that had a pretty nice voice but was overshadowed much of the time by the male lead.  Oh well….you win some, you lose some.  We had good company and that’s what really mattered to us.

We ended up back at home about 8:00 pm giving us plenty of time to finish getting ready to hit the road in the morning and relax with a little TV before bed too!  Felt great!

 

 

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Rally Days

June 14 – 15

Wednesday Michael opted to forego any seminars so that we could get some errands out of the way as there really was no other time.

The service techs had dropped our new tires off on Tuesday so we took those along with the two old tires over to a tire shop to have the rims taken off the old and put on the new.

We also took one last ride over to Shipshewana to get some looooonnnng phone cables from the Flea Market, pick up a few items from E&S and to get some creamy dill popcorn seasoning from Yoder Popcorn.

While we were in town we decided to try the 5 & 20 Restaurant for lunch.  It’s located at the intersection of highways 5 and 20 (ha!) and we’ve passed it several times and today was the day we gave it a shot.  There are both Amish and English working in the restaurant and it has a nice atmosphere.

Michael ordered fried chicken and was happy with it while I went with a turkey Manhattan and was happy with it…I’ve had better but it was a big improvement on the last one I had.

The newest addition to our coach.

While we were out Mark came to our coach and applied the new replacement decals that he and Linda had made to replace the ones that were destroyed when the new wall on our door side slide was replaced.  We also had them make an additional decal for our bedroom window.

Enjoying fellowship & snacks with our regional family

Wednesday evening we went to the South Central Region Meet & Greet.  The South Central Region includes: Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and New Mexico.  Unfortunately, our regional directors, Jay & Stella, weren’t able to make the rally due to some health concerns and they were GREATLY missed.

We had a good time chatting with several of our friends and even got a chance to get to know others we don’t know quite as well.

It’s been quite hot here and it was actually pretty comfortable relaxing in a chair under the pavilion with a nice breeze blowing.  Unfortunately, some people thought a storm was brewing and everyone pretty much scattered and headed back to their RVs.  It did end up raining about an hour or so later…but just a nice gentle rain.

Help yourself!

Michael has been keeping a cooler filled with beer & iced tea on ice outside for the service techs to help themselves to during and after work (beer for after hours!).  The guys & gals seem to appreciate it and we’re glad as we appreciate what they do for all of us.

Thursday morning at 8:00 am a couple of the service guys stopped by with a plumbing part that Michael asked for and intended to install himself but while they were here so they went ahead and installed it.

While the tech was installing the ‘continuous flow’ pipe under the kitchen sink Karen stopped by and gave me 6 fresh Georgia peaches.  Karen had been gifted a case of peaches and they were ripening too fast so she’s gifting them to friends.

Just as the tech was finishing up under the sink another tech came by with a box with Michael’s name on it.  He had ordered some straps for a basement storage project and Heartland was good enough to send them here to the rally for easy pick up.

Shortly after all the Heartland techs left Michael came home (he’d been down at the vendor hall) and just a few minutes after him Dawn from All-Brite stopped by as there was some confusion with the payment for the washing & waxing of the coach & truck.  It seems that there were two Barnett’s, a Bennett & a Barrett that all had service done and the wrong dollar amounts were given by All-Brite at the time of payment.  We ended up paying roughly $60 less than we should have but the owner absorbed the loss.

Michael is now a Heartland movie star! (Or will be once the video is posted!)

My ‘blogging boss’ at Heartland came by around noon to do a short video tour of us and the coach.  I’m a bit of a chicken so I was worried about how it would turn out.  Both John and Michael said it went well…I guess we’ll just have to wait and see when it is posted what it’s like.

Heartland Chow Line

We had our first catered meal tonight:  chicken, ham, applesauce, broccoli salad, green bean casserole, roasted potatoes and dinner rolls.  Then, of course, there were several different kinds of pie to choose from, coconut cream, rhubarb, chocolate, peach, etc.  EVERYTHING was very good and I heard a lot of other people saying the same.

Chicago Tribute Anthology

After dinner we were treated to the music of Chicago Tribute Anthology.  They did a good job with the Chicago songs they did.  They also played a couple of songs by Steely Dan and Santana.  They really did well with the Santana songs though.  We stayed for the entire gig and enjoyed singing along and even danced to one song….been a LONG time since we’ve danced…felt good.

 

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Coach Maintenance and Gatherings of Friends

June 11 – 13

All-Brite was back again at 8:30 am to double check any flaws and do any touch ups as needed.  I’m really quite impressed with their work as they check and double check to make sure that everything is done right.

We got a few more chores done (dusting, laundry, hooked up the internet permanent-like, got things ready to sell at the ‘For Sale’ table, etc etc etc) in the morning but that was about it.

Excellent lunch served by Dan & Karen!

We were invited to Dan & Karen’s for lunch.  Dan made pork loin sandwiches and they were SO good.  Moist, flavorful…no need for BBQ sauce at all.  I made a Broccoli Ranch Pasta Salad to share with everyone.

We visited for a couple of hours, huddled in the shade as the hot humid sun was too much.  Thankfully, there was a breeze, which helped a lot.

Lots of display coaches

After lunch we went and looked at a couple of the ‘show coaches’ but mainly the brand new Landmark Louisville.  It’s shorter than the average Landmark and is set up quite differently with a booth table at the rear where a couch normally goes.  Cute…but definitely not for us.

The park was kind of quite until mid-afternoon as a large group of folks went on the Bison Ranch Tour.  We took the tour at our first National Rally in 2013 so didn’t feel the need to take it again.  As a matter of fact we didn’t partake of any of the tours this year….been there, done that.

Dan & Michael fall back into their military ways when it comes to lining up the service tech carts!

Late afternoon we, once again, helped Dan moved golf carts.  This time we moved the service techs ‘trucks’ from the dairy barn to the area where the service team makes their headquarters.

The old side wall with our map and decals…dead on the ground

After helping with the carts we decided to take a walk around the northwest area and then on to home. We stopped and visited with several groups and even got a chance to hook up with Mark & Linda to get them to remake the decals for our coach.

The old ones had been removed when they repaired the coach.  Smart Linda had saved all of the files for those that had decals made at the last rally so all we had to do was confirm the decal and we also had her make them a bit smaller than the old ones.  We should have the decals in the next few days.

We went to the Chinese Buffet here in Goshen with Andy & Joanna and really enjoyed the company.  We had talked about playing some Mexican Train when we got back to the fairgrounds but ended up deciding to skip tonight and play tomorrow.

Michael and I took a short walk to the next road over as we knew that Wayne and Nita had arrived today, as well as Rana’s mom, Melba…all part of our Alabama family.  Unfortunately, we didn’t find Melba as we’re not sure what she’s in.  But we did come across Jerry & Lily (also part of our Alabama family)…Jerry was off visiting but Lily was home but not feeling well so we just said ‘hi’ and will catch up with them later.

We also found Wayne and Nita and visited with them for a while before we headed back home (they’re just kitty corner from us with one coach in between us) for the night.

There’s Josh doing his thing…

Monday was a busy day for as far as having working done on and around the coach.  Josh from Tyson Carpet Clean came and cleaned our carpets…we’ve had him do them at every rally and he does a good job.

We also had Kleen Tank come in and do a thorough cleaning of all of our tanks – black, grey and fresh.  Michael was ‘tickled’ when he was told that his black tank was one of the cleanest they’d ever seen.  LOL  However, Michael felt that the service they provided wasn’t much more than what he could do himself…guess we won’t be having that done again.

The Heartland service techs arrived on Monday to begin their rally service work.  At each National Rally Heartland comes in and will do two minor service jobs on our coaches free of charge.  The service crews work long days and are here until they get everything done…usually by Thursday or so they’re done.

To show our appreciation for their hard work we have a cooler outside that has sweet & unsweet tea for working hours and bottled beer for after hours and we let all the guys (and gals) know where it is and to help themselves…they do and they appreciate it.

A small portion of Meet & Greet attendees

Monday evening we had a Chili Dog Meet & Greet up at one of the Pavilion’s.  Heartland supplied the dogs, chili, chips and cookies so we had to bring was ourselves and our drinks.  We had a good time visiting with friends and hooking up with a few we hadn’t met before.

Tuesday was the first official day of the rally.  Michael was in seminars most of the day but postponed going to a few so that he could help me prep for the class I presented on Instant Pot cooking.

Me & the winner of the raffle at my Instant Pot class

My class went well with a turn out of roughly 80 people I’m told.  I had four volunteers who helped me create pulled pork, hard-boiled eggs and TWO pots of macaroni & cheese.  Lots of great comments on the samples and I know of at least one person who went back to their RV and ordered an Instant Pot!

That evening we had a ‘Dessert Welcome’ in the big rally hall.  Rally organizer, Jim B., went over a few items, a couple of our sponsors addressed the crowd and a couple of our Canadian Heartland Owners gave us a brief presentation about Canada’s 150th Birthday that is coming up July 1st.

On our walk home from the rally hall we stopped and chatted with several groups – one of which was a group of service techs who were done for the day but staying on location…good group of guys.

 

 

 

 

 

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Made it to the Pre-Rally!

June 7 – 10

Troubleshooting the power cord reel

Wednesday morning we were ready to pull out of the RV site at the Heartland Service Center and as we were preparing to hitch up Michael went to reel in the power cord but it wouldn’t budge.  We have a power cord reel and for some reason it wasn’t getting any juice.

Michael fiddled with it for a while to no avail and then went and got one of the techs, who fiddled with it for a while and had no luck either.  Eventually they decided to tow the coach back into a bay and install a new cord reel.

Delicious Chimi

We ran and got some lunch while the techs were on lunch.  We stopped at El Camino Real #3 which is just a mile and a half from the service center.  Michael went with his usual enchiladas and I ordered a chimichanga and we were both happy with our orders.  Michael thought the salsa was a bit bland but I liked it and we both agreed the chips were very good.  We’ll go back.

As they were work on installing the new cord reel they heard a hissing sound and found a screw embedded in one of the coach tires.  Thankfully it was in one of the ‘older’ tires, not one that we just replaced in February.  Since we were going to order two new tires to replace those ‘older’ tires anyway, Michael had them order another one and we just paid for that while Heartland paid for the one with the screw in it.

Snuggled in with our Heartland family

We finally ended up leaving the service center about 4:00 pm and make the trek south to the Elkhart County Fairgrounds, just 20 miles away.  We got checked in, were given our rally swag bag and escorted to our site – 238.

We got set up and got visits from Dan Halvorsen and Lisa Brown.  I made an easy peasy dinner of air fryer chicken wings (bbq for Mikey, teriyaki for me) and a salad.  We even unpacked a couple of boxes but by the time it was time for bed…we were ready.

Friday morning Michael stayed home to do some unpacking, wipe down the freezer, make several phone calls and do some miscellaneous odds and ends while I made the drive to Shipshewana to pick up some groceries from E&S.  I’d never driven myself there before and I really enjoyed my leisurely drive.  I took several back roads we’d not yet explored.

It’s such a peaceful drive through the countryside with lots of Amish homes along the way, buggies traveling here and there, Amish bicyclists making their way along the road, etc.  It must be baby horse season as there were TONS of them hanging out with their mamas and there were several pregnant horses too.

Back home I put groceries away and then ordered some Lock & Lock containers to store my new-found treasures to keep them fresh and organized.

While I was storing groceries Karen Halversen came by and we had a good visit.  Later on in the afternoon Louisiana Chapter leaders and friends Andy & Joanna Grimes stopped by and we visited for nearly two hours.

As with the last National Rally we helped Dan & Karen with golf carts.  They’re in charge of handing out the golf carts that rally goers ordered as well as carts for the service techs to use when they come next week to do minor service work.

Today we just drove the carts that were delivered this morning over to get them fueled up right here on the fairgrounds.

I grilled some Opa’s for dinner and we enjoyed dinner outside in the shade of the coach.  It was a warm day (upper 80s) but the shade and breeze helped.  Temps are supposed to be in the 90s all next week and the humidity here is usually quite high….ugh!

After dinner we walked up to the rally hall to see if there was a Mexican Train game going on…and there was gonna be one starting.  So we stayed and played for a couple of hours.  We ended up with two tables going and had a good time with lots of laughter.

Saturday morning we hung out at home.  I had some writing to do for the Heartland blog (got one and a half articles done!) and Michael worked on a couple of small projects…plus we had laundry going.

Wax on…wax off…

The folks from All-Brite came by to wax the coach (they washed it on Friday afternoon).  Michael decided to take advantage of their service since the coach had been sitting at the service center for 5 weeks and it’s a very dusty environment.  Plus it had been in the ‘rain bay’ and had all kinds of water splotches on it.

Delicious lunch…great friends

We drove to the Carriage House for an Amish dinner with about 75 or so of our Heartland family.  We have to split into two groups since the Amish homes can’t accommodate such a large group.  The last two years we’ve gone to the Yoder home but we decided to try something new this time and went with the Carriage House.

Another platter of food on the table…pass one down, turn it around…another platter of food on the table

We were all very impressed with the Carriage House and hope to go back again in 2019.  Seth, our host, said the Lord’s Prayer (in German) before our meal…so awesome.  We were served ‘family style’ as usual…starting at one end of a long table and passing each dish down.  We were served a tossed salad, baked chicken, mashed potatoes, meatloaf, chicken & dressing, green beans and noodles.  For dessert we had a choice of pie (coconut cream, banana cream, cherry, pecan and a couple of others) plus homemade ice cream and caramel sauce.

Everything was outstanding!  Most everyone ate too much and felt the need to be rolled out to their trucks afterward.  The hosts were all very friendly and welcoming.

Love driving through the Amish countryside…

After lunch we drove into Goshen and finished our grocery shopping and also picked up the supplies for the Instant Pot class all be presenting on Tuesday 6/13.

We drove back to Goshen through the back roads and really enjoyed it.  Once again taking roads we’d not been on before.  The picture to the right is of an Amish schoolhouse with a horse-drawn buggy going down the road…neither are an uncommon sight.
Back home we got the groceries put away and then I emptied out three more boxes…I’m down to only one more that needs to be unpacked!  The house is almost back to normal and it feels good!
We decided to stay home this evening rather than go out visiting or play some Mexican Train.  It felt good to stay home, watch some TV and enjoy some yummy popcorn.

 

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No Longer Homeless

June 5 – 7

Monday morning we hung out in the breakfast area so that we could utilize one of the tables to work on our laptops.  I had some campground reservations to make, bills to pay, a little bit of work for Heartland and some miscellaneous odds and ends to wrap up.

We finished up and then headed into town to grab some lunch at Long John Silvers…one of our favorites and a place we don’t happen across very often.

After lunch we stopped at Factory RV Surplus so that Michael could do some wandering.  I was very surprised that he was ready to leave and didn’t have anything in his hands!  That’s a rarity.

Before heading home we stopped at the service center to check on our coach and were happy to see that all three of the slides were now in place (still need a little adjusting), they were working on reinstalling the underbelly and spare tire rack (after installing a new fresh water tank) and there was a young lady that was doing all the caulking of the joints as well as cleaning up the inside of the coach.  We’d thought we’d have a LOT of cleaning to do as it was pretty dusty in there but now it doesn’t look like it’ll take nearly the amount of work we’d thought it would to get it cleaned up!

This Montana has a window in the front cap…interesting

Tuesday turned out to be a really nice day.  We decided we needed to get out of the hotel  so we started by going across the street to Tiara RV to look at some coaches.  We looked at all the Landmarks, of course, a couple of Redwoods, DRVs, a Montana and a few others.  We’re kinda partial to the front living rooms but since we’re not in the market….it was just a good way to waste some time.

Lots and lots of the same….but good for some exercise

From there we headed over to Shipshewana to wander the flea market.  Many of the booths have the same things so you have to be careful as they’re not all priced the same.  We walked down most of the rows, if not all…purchased some odds and ends and had a nice time just getting out.

We had lunch at the Auction Restaurant.  The food was ok…nothing special and our waitress seemed to have forgotten us a couple of times.  You win some, you lose some.

Nelly doing her thing…

On the way home we stopped at the Fairgrounds to pick up some mail we had delivered there and ended up staying about 4 hours!  We chatted with friends, were treated to Nelly muffins for the following mornings breakfast and played some Mexican Train.  A great way to end an already good day.

We were up fairly early, enjoyed our Nelly muffins and were out the door and over to the Heartland Service Center to check on the coach.  We were quite happy to find that it was completed!

Darrell going over everything that was done to the coach

Darrell went over all that was done to it, showing us this and that.  We’re very pleased with the work that was done and know that we would never have received the same quality of work if we’d have taken it to a dealer.

The service guys moved the coach into one of the sites in the back so that we could unload the Uhaul and start unpacking.  We got a really good start and only have a few boxes let to unpack, a few things to straighten up and then we’ll call it good.

That’s a lotta fish!

We wrapped it up about 4:30 pm and took the Uhaul over to return it and then grabbed some dinner at Heinnies Back Barn.  We’d been there before and enjoyed it.  Tonight we both got the haddock dinner and were astounded by the amount of fish we received.

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Weekend With Skip & Denise

Just a glimpse…

Friday we arrived in Elkhart just a few minutes after 4:00 pm and went right over to the service center and lucked out to find that a few people were still working and we were able to get a quick peek at our coach.

The kitchen and basement floors are completed and now they’re working on the door side slide.  They’re hoping to have it completed by mid-week and we’re keeping our fingers crossed.  We’ll have some MAJOR dusting/cleaning to do when we are able to move back in…but that’s a small price to pay to have a ‘like new’ coach again.

Good burgers, good friends

We met our friends, Skip and Denise, at the hotel and shortly after they arrived we went to dinner at the Flippin’ Cow.  Michael and I’d been there a few years ago and enjoyed it.  We all went with burgers of some sort and enjoyed them thoroughly…the messier the better!

Saturday morning we all met in the hotel’s breakfast area before setting out for the day.  Our first stop was at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds where the Heartland National Rally is held.  There are already quite a few people there helping to get things ready for the pre-rally and rally.

We had some freezer items that had been in Dan and Amanda’s freezer in anticipation of going into our freezer when we got back from Utah.  With the delay in our coach work we had to find a freezer to store our things in.  Thankfully, our friend Jim B had some room for us to put our things in so we stopped by there to put them in his freezer.  Thanks, Jim!

The four of us shared ONE of the Rise ‘n Rolls new ice cream filled donuts. Sinful

From there we drove through the Amish countryside and made stops at the Dutch Country Market, Guggisberg Cheese, Rise ‘n Roll, Eash Sales, E&S Bulk Store, Yoder’s Meat & Cheese and several miscellaneous shops.  Denise and Skip hadn’t been to the are much in the past and we wanted to share some of our favorite places with them.

Skip & Eash Sales – a match made in heaven

Skip is a ‘shopper’ so he really enjoyed the stop at Eash Sales where he found several yard items.  Denise and I are cheese lovers so that samples put us in heaven.  Michael has turned into a sweets lover so he found several items at the Dutch Country Market.

Madison was very patient

While at Eash & E&S (next door to each other) we stopped and chatted with an Amish man (Sonny Bontrager) who sits with a Clydesdale horse and allows visitors to pet and take pictures with the horse, Madison.  Sonny was super friendly and we really enjoyed chatting with him.

We had dinner at the Blue Gate buffet (new to all of us) and everyone definitely got their fill.  The chicken and the noodles were high on my list…very tasty.

Ready to enjoy the music of Air Supply

After dinner we made our way to the Blue Gate Event Center.  We had tickets to see that nights Air Supply concert.  We’d purchased combination tickets – dinner at the Blue Gate and the concert for $64 each…not a bad deal.

Our concert seats could have been better…we thought we were sitting in a balcony but there was no balcony.  Thankfully it wasn’t a big theater and they had large TV screens strategically placed to allow for easier viewing.

Graham on the left and Russell on the right

We really enjoyed the concert.  Graham and Russell put on an excellent concert and did a great job of including the audience.  Air Supply wasn’t one of my favorite groups as a kid but I certainly knew almost all of their songs.  They even sang a couple of new ones…one of which was a real crowd pleaser – ‘Shake it!’ Definitely not your typical Air Supply song…and we really had a lot of fun singing along.

Sunday morning we all got together for breakfast again and visited for a couple of hours before it was time for Denise and Skip to head home.  They live just a few hours north in south central Michigan and we’re so glad that they could find the time to come and visit us.

The rest of the afternoon was spent napping.  Michael napped almost 5 hours while I napped for about 2.5 hours.  I did a little computer work too…but apparently we need some extra rest.  We’re not normally nap-takers so if we slept that much…there’s a reason for it.

When we woke from our naps we headed out for dinner.  We decided to try Callahan’s.  It had been recommended by several people and was just down the road.  We both ordered Turkey Manhattan’s and found them to be ‘ok’.  Nothing spectacular and wouldn’t be something either of us would order again but we would give the restaurant a try again.  They were quite busy so maybe we just ordered the wrong thing!?

Back at the hotel we turned on the TV and watched a bit while surfing on our phones/laptops.  Ten o’clock rolled around and we turned off the TV and turned off the lights.

 

 

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Utah to Wisconsin

Tuesday was our last full day in Utah and Michael had an appointment at the VA to get some wrist splints as he’s been having issues with his arms going numb when he drives long distances.  The doctor is using the splints to rule out carpal tunnel…if they help…it’s carpal tunnel…if not…it’s back to the drawing board.

We get a kick out of this Jimmy John’s every time we go by…thought we’d share

While we were there he also had to go to the lab for some blood work and then to the pharmacy to pick up new prescriptions – both of which were ordered by the allergy doctor he saw last week.

Then it was back home to finish packing our suitcases.  I also had some blog work I needed to do for Heartland RVs and we had a few emails to work on for the South Texas Chapter of the Heartland Owners Club.

It was early to bed as we had a 3:30 am wake up call Wednesday morning and a 5:30 am flight to catch. Zack was up with us to take us to the airport.  We left at 3:45 am and arrived at the airport about 4:30 am. Got our bags checked and through security, stopped to use the restroom and get a couple of drinks and made our way to the gate and pretty much proceeded to walk right on to the plane.  Nice.

The one hour flight from Salt Lake City to Denver was quick and smooth.  We arrived about 7:00 am and by that time we were pretty hungry so we had breakfast at one of the airport restaurants.  It was surprisingly good for airport food….maybe we were just really hungry.  LOL

We had three hours to kill before our next flight so we took our time over breakfast and then just chilled at the gate while doing some people watching, internet surfing and reading.

The last leg of our trip was from Denver to Madison and was just over 2 hours long and went fairly quickly but was pretty bumpy coming down.  I got stranded at the front of the plane when I got up to use the rest room and the flight attendants chose that time to do a beverage service.  We were in row 8 and they parked the cart at row 5 so I waited for about 15 minutes until they were done and moved the cart so that I could get back to my seat.

Since Dan was working, Amanda and three very smiley grandbabies picked us up at the airport.  Amanda had been battling with her allergies so she asked Michael to drive home as she wasn’t feeling the greatest.

Once back at Dan and Amanda’s we visited and relaxed for the remainder of the day as we knew that the next day was going to be fairly busy.

Papaw got it a couple of times!

Oh!  But don’t let me forget…Mr. Alex decided we HAD to play Pie Face with him…I thought he’d forgotten about us playing…but noooo…he remembered.  We played until we’d all gotten our faces plastered with whipped cream and he was a happy boy!

Hard at work

Thursday we were up fairly early and out of the house about 8:45 am to head over to Uhaul.  Amanda was sweet enough to help us out.  We needed to empty out our two storage units and load up a 5×8 trailer to take to Elkhart, Indiana.  With Amanda’s help we had the work done in just under 2 hours!

Amanda got caught!

That afternoon we had an interview with Dane County Parks regarding a camphosting position with them next summer.  They have five campgrounds in the county that we’d be working at…mostly as ‘ambassadors’ to be available to campers.  Doing some fire pit cleaning, flower bed maintenance etc.  No bathrooms to clean.  The interview went very well so I think we’ll have a job next summer…which will work out really well if Zack and his family end up stationed in the Madison area.

Alex’s turn

Just before leaving for to go to the storage place we found out that the coach wouldn’t be ready for pick up on Friday, after all.  While fixing one issue the tech team had found what caused the issue and wanted to resolve it so that we wouldn’t have the same issue again.  We were more than happy to leave the coach with them to get the problem resolved rather than have something spring up later down the road.

Ugh! Nana’s turn!

We just did some juggling, reserved a hotel room in Elkhart as we had plans with friends of the weekend and continued on without missing a beat!

Alex wanted us all to go to Fuji (the volcano place) for dinner so that’s what we did…you know me…I never turn down Asian cuisine!  We had an excellent chef who kept us all entertained and laughing.

We finished off the night with a game of Splendor.  I did much better than I’d done in the past but Amanda still pulled out the win.

 

 

 

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It’s All Fun & Games…Until a Drone Gets Stuck in Your Hair

May 23 – 29

Our oldest grandbaby is now a 1st grader!

Wednesday (the 24th) was a fairly busy day.  We started off with all of us going over to West Haven Elementary School for Paityn’s Kindergarten program.  The program was a culmination of songs the kids learned throughout their year in Kindergarten.  It was very cute and Paityn did a great job.  Thursday will be a ‘field day’ for her and then Friday is a very short day and then she’ll be done with school and we’ll have a 1st grader!

Delicious Bento Box

After the program Kelsea went back to work and Michael and I went with Zack to run errands.  We ended up grabbing some lunch at Sushi Ya…which was quite yummy and hit the spot.  Zack got his usual sushi while I got a beef bento box and Michael ordered teriyaki salmon.

Kelsea flew to Wisconsin on Thursday so that she could attend her nieces high school graduation so Michael and I accompanied her to the airport and then continued on to the VA Hospital as Michael had two appointments.

The first appointment was a Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) which pretty much put him through the ringer.  When he was finished there we went directly to his next appointment with the allergy doctor. We’d been told that he normally runs way behind (by his nurse)…but when we arrived we were taken right back and the doctor actually had to wait on Michael to finish filling out a very extensive questionnaire.

He’s been around the block a few times, me thinks

The doctor had to be pretty darn close to being eighty years old but was very thorough and also a bit on the odd side.  He confirmed Michael’s has asthma and put him on a couple of new medications and if we were going to be staying in the area he said he’d have been on him ‘like a blanket’ to start allergy shots.  As it stands, I think we’ll be holding off on the allergy shots until we’re going to be staying put in one area for quite some time as the allergy shot regimen doesn’t mix well with our mobile lifestyle.

Thursday also happened to be our 32nd wedding anniversary so we ended the day with dinner with Zack and the kids.  We had reservations at Maddox Ranch House in Brigham City.  Michael and I had been there last summer and enjoyed it.  We’d gone in the middle of the afternoon so it was pretty quiet.

Our anniversary dinner attendees

However, this time the combination of dinner hour, lots of graduation parties and Memorial Day weekend made the place really busy for a Thursday night.  Even with our 6:30 pm reservation we weren’t seated until almost 6:55 pm.  Michael and I ordered steaks (filet for Michael, ribeye for me) and we were both happy with them.  We both also had the cream of chicken soup, which was very good.  Zack ordered chicken fried steak and wasn’t very pleased…it was a very thick cut and the breaded wasn’t what he was used to.

HUGE servings o

The manager on duty went out of his way to make our dining experience special as we all got dessert on the house…which we took home to enjoy.  Zack wasn’t impressed with the place and says he wouldn’t go back.  Michael and I still enjoyed ourselves and would go back again.

Paityn LOVES art projects

Friday was Paityn’s last day of Kindergarten so we picked her and Cameron up from daycare about 12:30 and headed to the Treehouse Children’s Museum.   We spent FOUR hours at the museum.  Making craft projects, playing dress up, putting Papaw in jail, and spending lots of time relaxing in a Mongolian round tent.  They really enjoy themselves when we go there.

Cameron was NOT about to let Papaw out of jail.

On the way home we stopped at McDonald’s for some dinner.  When they were done with their meals they played in the Play Place for quite a while as there were 5 or 6 other kids there and they all played tag.

Back home we all got in our jammies and snuggled in to watch The Fox & the Hound II…it had been a long day and we were all pooped.  The kids hit the hay after the movie and Nana and Papaw weren’t too far behind.

SAFE!

Zack did some girls softball umping on Friday and Saturday, so on Saturday afternoon the rest of us headed over to the park to watch him do his thing.  We packed some snacks for the park and had fun watching Papa be an umpire.

The game ended up being shortened as one team scored 10 runs by the 3rd inning and the other team scored zilch.  We ended up being at the park for barely an hour.  Zack had a break at that point so we all went home so that he could relax for an hour or so before having to be back at the park for a couple more games.

At Bat: Ramon Flores

On Sunday, since we’re a family of baseball lovers… we took in a Salt Lake City Bees game.  The Bees are the AAA  minor league team for the Los Angeles Angels.  Zack had found us some half priced tickets and we ended up in row two just past 1st base…great seats!

Zack took the kids on a train ride (it runs beyond the outfield) and we watched the kids roll down the big hill too.  Paityn learned how to read the score board and had fun keeping track of the score. Unfortunately, the Bees lost to the Tacoma Rainiers 7-9.  It’s all good though…we had a good time and that’s what’s really important.

A family planting affair!

Monday, Memorial Day, Kelsea flew back into Salt Lake City and Zack picked her up.  When they got home they got to work getting their garden planted…and the whole family helped…even the dogs thought that they needed to supervise!

Sleepy Mikey

While they worked…Michael and I relaxed.  Michael took a nap and I sat on the deck reading my Kindle while enjoying the gorgeous weather.

Almost done!

For dinner Zack smoked some delicious ribs and grilled hasselback potatoes while Kelsea made ‘cooler’ corn on the cob.  Everything was excellent!

I lost 2 big chunks of hair….

We rounded out the day by sitting round the fire, roasting marshmallows and eating s’mores.  We were also treated to the antics of Zack and his itty bitty drone.  We laughed our heads off when he kept trying to land it on Michael’s head….however, it wasn’t a laughing matter when he got the thing stuck in my hair!  Punk.

 

 

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