We arrived safe and sound at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds just before noon. We got backed into site 182 (same site we were in last summer) and then visited with some of the neighbors for a short while before heading back to our place to continue setting up.
It happened to be our 34th wedding anniversary so went out to dinner at Heinnie’s Back Barn in Elkhart. They do a real nice steak, plus their salad and soup is always really good…and BIG portions. We both ordered the filet and shrimp with soup and salad. Very good.
Just as we were finishing our meal, a group of our Heartland friends (Jim & Nancy, Jared & Rhonda, Kevin and Dave & Julie) so we visited with them for a short while before heading home.
We were able to register as vendors and set up our booth in the vendor hall. We had expected it to be a much larger rally and were surprised to find out that there were only about 100 rigs registered. Sadly, it was also pretty unorganized…no prior information, no communication at all beforehand.
Our vendor booth hours were 10-3 on Monday and it was a long day/week. Tuesday and Wednesday were 9-3 and that extra hour was painful. All of the vendors were disappointed in the lack of customers…very few sales and/or browsing even.
Thursday hours were 9-1 but several of the vendors packed up and left on Wednesday. We didn’t open up. Michael just went in and packed up while I stayed home and worked. Thankfully, our business doesn’t souly rely on rallies as many of the other vendors do.
We had an appointment to have Independent Suspension (IS) put on our trailer on Tuesday 5/28. So Monday afternoon Michael hitched the trailer up and took it over to Morryde (about 10 miles away)…backing into one of their ‘sites’ where we’d spend the night.
After he was back from dropping off the coach we hung out in the vendor hall until dinner was served at 5:15 pm. We sat with several of the other vendors and enjoyed the meal of pulled pork sandwiches, cole slaw, baked beans and muffins. The Passport America group cooks all of their own meals…and it wasn’t bad.
We left shortly after dinner to head ‘home’ to Morryde and made a stop at Walmart to pick up a couple of items and ended up herded to their back room due to a tornado warning. Sadly, the Walmart crew really had no clue what they were doing and need to do some ‘drills’ and educate their associates and the who, what, where, how of tornado safety. We ended up back there for about 30 minutes before we got the all clear and could leave.
We were up at 5:30 to move the trailer inside one of the bays. We met Sergio, our tech, and discussed what we wanted done. Besides having the IS put on, Michael also had a couple of ‘tray’s put in the basement for easier access to the contents.
Our neighbors on the door side just happened to be Trey and Susan, friends we’ve known since 2013 when they were doing the RV weighing. We chatted with them and Gary (Morryde rep) for a bit before heading out for the day.
We stopped at Granma’s for breakfast. Their uniqueness is that if you order 2 eggs, you get 4 eggs…order 1, you get 2…etc. Plus the food is good and reasonably priced.
The rally folks had an Amish Tour from 9-3 so it was DEADer than dead. Thankfully, I had regular work to do and Michael received quite a few phone calls. Otherwise we visited with the other vendors…many of whom we already knew and have become friends.
Dinner this evening was brisket, potatoes, broccoli and chocolate bundt cake. We, once again, dined with our friends – Gary & Linda, Geoff & Johana and Jim. It’s a good crowd and we really enjoy getting to know them all better.
Back home about 7:00 pm we visited with Susan for a while before settling in for the night.
Up at 5:00. We hung out in the Morryde lounge until 8:30 or so before heading over to the fairgrounds for another dull day at the Passport America rally.
Michael had his seminar and had ONE person show up…however, that one person is very interested and told Michael that he ‘would be contacting us soon’.
We left the fairgrounds about 3:30 to head back over to Morryde to pick up the coach as it was ready. After chatting with a couple of Heartland owners who had arrived to have work done on their trailers we paid our bill and hitched up the trailer to head back to the fairgrounds.
Unfortunately, when we did our pull test, Michael found that our trailer brakes (still electric…disc next month) weren’t working. Gary was just leaving for the day and after consulting with him we opted to stay put for another night so that Sergio could take a look in the morning. (Bah humbug…that means another morning of 5:00 am wake up.)
The Passport rally was feeding pizza to everyone but rather than drive back over there we went to a pizza place just around the corner from Morryde.
Colombo’s had a lot of good reviews. We ordered a simple 14 inch pizza with ground beef, ham and extra cheese. We should have omitted the extra cheese as it was too much (can’t believe I’m saying that!) where it overpowered everything else. However, the pizza was still good.
We were back ‘home’ at Morryde shortly after 6:00 pm and actually in bed by 6:30 pm. We tried watching a ‘Ma & Pa Kettle’ movie but didn’t make it…Michael was out before 7:00 and I turned the light out just before 7:30 pm. We slept until 5:00 am when the shift ‘buzzer’ went off…it felt good to get so much sleep!
Up at 5:00 am again and Sergio got right to work. Only thing that needed to be done was to adjust the brakes a little more. They’re self-adjusting brakes and as we drove the 8 or 10 miles back to the fairgrounds they worked themselves out even more so that by the time we arrived they were working as they should.
We made it back to the fairground just before 7:00 am. We snuck in stealthily that our neighbors were surprised to see that we were back when they got up at 7:30! We were relaxing in our recliners with breakfast by 8:30.
While I stayed home to work, Michael went over to the rally hall to pack things up and take them over to where our product is stored for the time being.
Mid-afternoon, our friends Dan and Karen stopped by to visit. We showed them around the new digs and had a LOT to catch up on during our couple hour visit.
Our youngest son, Dan arrived about 6:15 pm. He’d driven from Wisconsin for a meeting Friday morning. We went to dinner at the Lux Cafe sometime after 7:00pm and enjoyed spending time with our baby.
Michael and Dan headed to Middlebury for their 10:00 am meeting. I stayed home to work and do a little home maintenance. While they were out they also stopped at Tredit to pick up a tire order.
When they got back home we all headed back out…but in separate vehicles as Dan was going to leave to head straight back to Wisconsin. We had lunch at Memories of China and found that it wasn’t too bad at all. I’m sure that Michael and I will be back over the summer.
Michael and I planned to inventory the product that we’ve received here at the fairgrounds (about 8 pallets total) so that we had a jump on things and didn’t have to worry about it once the pre-rally starts. As we were heading out the door to go do the inventory, we were invited to have a burger with our neighbors on the off-door side, Geoff and Johanna. They had also invited Gary & Linda and Hannah over.
We enjoyed the burger as well as the conversation, but before long we had to get our hiney’s in gear and get to work. We spent about an hour and a half organizing and inventorying. We didn’t get it all done (56+ 63 pound boxes was more than we could do in one day!) but got a very good start and will finish up early this next week.