Life is Grand…at a Grand Design Rally

Posted by on May 21, 2019

Saturday 5/11

We pulled out of Zack’s driveway at just about 8:00 am and pulled into the Hideaway RV park in Jackson, Michigan a few minutes after 6:00 pm.  We lost an hour with the time change, stopped at a Blue Beacon to get a spa treatment and to dump our tanks and grabbed some lunch to eat on the road.  It was a long day but actually went pretty quickly.

It rained lightly the second half of the trip and was still raining when we checked into the campground and got situated in our site.  We made quick work of setting up as we were meeting our friends Skip and Denise for dinner at Steaks Eatery.

We had a nice dinner, enjoyed visiting with Skip and Denise as well as Skip’s mom, Joan.  We’d been to Steaks a few years ago and enjoyed it then, as well.  But the highlight was catching up with Denise.  We met in our senior year of high school where we both had recently transferred.

Sunday 5/12
We visited at Denise & Skip’s house for a couple of hours.  We checked out their new camper…a North Trail…part of our Heartland family.
Being Mother’s Day, Michael took me out to dinner to my choice of place.  Bet you can’t guess what I chose.  Ok….so maybe I’m a little easy to read…yes, we had Chinese.  I chose Yen King as it had nice ratings on Yelp.  Plus it was a ‘sit down’ restaurant rather than a buffet…which is what we prefer.
The place was on the smallish side but crazy busy!  Waited about 10 minutes for a seat and about 45 minutes for our entrée.  Which wasn’t a big deal as we had soup and appetizers before our meal came.  Food was very good and our server was excellent.  There was an issue with my entrée (they ran out of bean sprouts) so I had to reorder…but my meal was tasty nonetheless.
Monday 5/13
Not much going on other than work and Denise and Skip stopped by for a few minutes after Denise got off of work.  They’d not seen our new coach and were interested to see what it was like.
Tuesday 5/14 

Site 156 Pine Ridge Campground

We had a 100 miles to travel so we didn’t pull out of the campground until 11:00 am ish.  We were headed to Birch Run, Michigan for a Grand Design rally.  Birch Run is a hop, skip and jump away from Frankenmuth, a big German-influenced town.

The rally was held at Pine Ridge RV Park in Birch Run and held the 100+ rigs nicely.  The campground is wooded and some of the roads can be a bit tight but the sites long and spacious….none of that parking right next to you neighbor or having to worry about getting both the coach and the truck parked in the site.  We’ll go back.

2ps with Randy & Debbie

Randy our Dexter rep and his wife were in Frankenmuth and took us out to dinner at Slo Bones BBQ.  We had a nice visit but got a chance to get to know Randy a little more and it was nice to meet his wife, Debbie.  Unfortunately, the BBQ wasn’t Texas BBQ…but then again…we were in Michigan.

Wednesday 5/17
Randy stopped by so that we could discuss issues with receiving product, make plans, go over future updates and to set up a couple of visit to the Indiana plants.

Christmas Wonderland

After Randy’s visit we headed into Frankenmuth to check out Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland.  Another place we were told we had to visit.  The store is HUGE….one and half football fields HUGE.  They carry just about any Christmas ‘thing’ you’d want or need…Santas, Advent Calendars, stockings, nativities and just about any ornament you can think of…birds, Collegiate, kids, family, wedding, holidays, states, occupations….it goes on and on.  While we didn’t buy anything it was fun just looking.

Thursday 5/16

Michael talking with customers in the Vendor hall

The first official day of the rally.  There was a small barn set aside for vendors (8 total) inside and then about 5 set up outside.  We ‘manned’ our booth Thursday through Saturday…roughly from 10-4.  We didn’t have any extra product to sell but got several leads and did sell a couple of suspension upgrades that we shipped to the customer’s home for DIYing.

Zack running the brake line on a Grand Design Solitude

Our oldest son, Zack, was our installer at this rally.  He did a disc brake conversion on Friday and a suspension upgrade on Saturday.  He stayed with us in our coach, making one of the couches into a bed.  However, the first two nights he didn’t sleep the best due to a bar that lays across the couch.  The third day we picked up an inflatable mattress and that seemed to help.

Part of our dinner spread

One of the must do’s is to have the all you can eat chicken dinner at Zehnder’s in downtown Frankenmuth.  We had 6:00 pm reservations and the 3 of us went to check it out.  Besides the chicken dinner (dressing, mashed potatoes, noodles and a vegetable) we also received several starters (cole claw, cottage cheese, cranberry orange relish, assorted breads, preserves, cheese spread and chicken liver pate.) We were also served noodle soup to start.  And if that weren’t enough we were also served our choice of sherbet or ice cream to finish of the meal.

Zehnder’s

While the dinner was enjoyable…just me and my two oldest ‘boys’…both Zack and I found the chicken to be a bit underseasoned.  Although after dinner we found extra seasoning on the table!  Go figure.  It seemed to be just right for Michael’s tastes though.  I really enjoyed everything else though…not the pate…wasn’t going there!  Zack didn’t think he’d go back…but I think Michael and I would…or we’d try the place across the street, The Bavarian Inn, which has a similar offering.

The RV Lock

Michael and I have agreed to vend for RVLock at the Heartland rally as well as some of the other rallies we attend.  They don’t have a presence at any rallies so this should be a good partnership.  We’ve had one of their RVLocks on our coach for years and love it.  It’s a keyless entry system and works very well.

Just a few on some of the baggage doors

They also have locks for the basement (baggage) doors, as well.  And thanks to Zack, we now have them on 8 of our basement doors and still have 3 doors to outfit.  They all work with a remote or manually and are all keyed alike so that with just one button push on the remote they all unlock.  Nice.

Saturday 5/18

Was interesting watching this kid work the fudge and not let it run off the table.

We closed up shop about 2:00 pm and all headed into Frankenmuth to do a little shopping.  Zack wanted to find gifts for Kelsea, Paityn and Cameron.  We wandered around the shops and enjoyed tasting samples and viewing the European architecture of the city.  We all found goodies to enjoy later.

Crazy Big Sandwiches!

With shopping out of the way we headed to dinner at Tony’s…another spot that is a ‘must do’.  Known for their dishes made with a pound of bacon and their huge sundaes…we had to give it a try.  Who doesn’t love bacon?

We all got something different but everything had bacon.
I went with a turkey (1/2 lb bacon), Zack had the BLT (1 lb bacon) and Michael had a bacon cheeseburger (lots of bacon!).  Michael, again, was happy with his meal but Zack and I found the bacon to be overcooked (and we like crispy bacon) and not it wasn’t very flavorful.  Although, I did enjoy my sandwich it would have been much better with better bacon.
Sunday – 5/19
Zack left on Sunday.  It was wonderful having him all to ourselves for a few days and we all behaved and had no outbursts!  A rarity, unfortunately.
Michael and I lounged around most of the day…watching the Grand Design rigs pull out of the park.  By the end of the day the park was pretty well cleared out with just a few left.  But Monday afternoon there were only a handful of rigs left from the rally.
It rained off and on through out the day and was chillier than it had been so it was a good day to put a pot of spaghetti on the stove to simmer all day.  Mmmmm….my Mama’s spaghetti.

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