Heartland Family & A Fine Swine

We had a nice lazy morning!  And it felt SO good.  It was just 52 when I got up about 7:30 and it felt wonderful to cover up with the ‘minkie’ blanket that Zack brought back for me from Korea last year.

Ahhh….MUCH better!

We had bacon eggs, biscuits and gravy for breakfast (yum!) and watched a bunch of shows from the DVR. We’ve kind of neglected the recorded shows on the DVR since we’ve been absorbed with watching Sons of Anarchy…just 3 episodes left to watch!

We left home about 2:00 pm to do a little exploring around Scott Air Force Base.  We drove around the back side of the air strip which took us almost exactly where we wanted to go (the map we were given is very hard to read!).

The BX/PX is what we were looking for so that Michael could get a MUCH needed haircut.  Wait time was minimal and we were in and out in 30 minutes or so.

Then we took a stroll around the PX and ended up with a candle that was on clearance, some chocolate and three 12 packs of Coke Zero (not the new stuff).

We had a 5:00 pm dinner date in New Baden so we headed that way (about 10 miles east).  Michael found diesel for $2.54 per gallon so he filled up both tanks.  The further south we get, who knows what the prices will be so we’ll fill up whenever we find a decent price.

My cousin, Jason,  recommended we try A Fine Swine while we’re in the area.  So we planned on going there today.  Yesterday, while we were traveling I got a message from one of our Heartland family, Kathy asking if we’d like to go out for dinner as they don’t live very far from the base.  Kathy and her husband, Kenny, agreed to meet us at the restaurant for dinner.

Kenny & Kathy

We’ve been friends on Facebook for quite a while but have never really had a chance to sit down, in person, and really get to know each other so this was the perfect opportunity!  We really had a nice time getting to know both Kathy and Kenny.  As usual, our dinner stretched out about 2 hours.

I’m looking forward to spending more time with Kenny & Kathy down the road as I’m sure we’ll cross paths at some rally, somewhere, at some time in the future.

Meats: Brisket, chicken, pulled pork & ribs

As for our meal:  Michael and I each order a sampler plate – pulled pork, chicken, brisket and ribs, and then ordered some sides to try – green beans, baked beans cole slaw and piggy puppies.  Everything was good…some we enjoyed more than others.

Sides: Piggy Puppies, green beans, baked beans & cole slaw

Neither of us cared for the chicken.  We found it undercooked and tough. Pork was good.  The ribs could have been a tad more tender but were good.  I enjoyed the brisket a lot…Michael thought it needed to cook a bit longer.  The cole slaw was really good.  Baked beans were ok.  Green beans were ok.  The piggy puppies (kinda of a hushpuppy filled with cheese, pulled pork and bbq sauce) were ok…but a bit too spicy for my liking.

We got home about 7:15 pm, giving us plenty of time to watch a couple of episodes of Sons of Anarchy….leaving us just ONE episode left in the entire 7 year series!  Whatever will we do with our time once it’s over?!?!

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Travel Day: Camp Atterbury, IN To Scott AFB, IL

It’s moving day!

Only about 250 some odd miles to travel to Scott Air Force Base today.  Scott is in Belleville, Illinois and is about 25 miles east of St. Louis.

The first 40 miles of today’s drive looked like this…

After 6+ years of full-timing, our moving day chores go pretty smoothly and the biggest majority of them are usually done the day before we move.  I even usually put our destination in the GPS the day before so there’s no need to the morning of departure.

Since we’re finally going back to central time we took that into consideration when we decided what time to pull out.  We always plan for at least an hour stop for lunch at Kelly’s Kitchen so with the 250 miles we had to travel, the lunch stop and the time change we decided we didn’t have to be in any hurry and opted to shoot for a 10:00 am departure.

…and then we hit the interstate. Yuck

After breakfast, I did clean up and stowed any remaining stuff and Michael went outside to take down the satellite dish, dump tanks and unhook power and water.  Once everything was stowed we proceeded to hitch up.  Michael makes sure the hitch is in the proper position and then backs the truck while I raise & lower the coach so that it lines up with the hitch, attach the brake line and umbilical cord.

Then once the hitch is locked in place, I check the air in the hitch and add any if needed.  Once done, Michael does a pull test and I move to the back of the coach so that we can do a light check.  I use hand signals to let Michael know which lights are on and working.  Then it’s just a matter of me hopping in the truck and hitting the road.

We ended up pulling out of the Whitaker Place Campground on Camp Atterbury (after a 1 month stay) just about 10:00 am on the dot.  We REALLY enjoyed our stay in this area and are already talking about coming back.  It probably won’t be next summer but hopefully the following year.

Hats off to Walmart!

We made a potty stop at the IL Welcome Center and theyre was 4 Walmart trucks there that had passed us earlier.

I stopped and talked with 3 of the drivers and was told they were all on their way to Houston to ‘help out.’. If that doesn’t do your heart good, nothing will.

Today’s Kelly’s Kitchen location

We also made a stop at Kelly’s Kitchen which turned out to be an old closed down gas station that had plenty of room for us.  We’d planned at stopping at a rest area but when we approached it we found that it was closed and under construction so we just took the next exit (my Next Exit book told me what was there) and found a place to park.

Sleepyhead

Michael cranked up the genny so that we could recline our recliners and I put together lunch.  We even stayed a little longer than normal as Michael took an impromptu nap!

Site 13 – Scott AFB FamCamp

We arrived at the at the Scott Air Force Base FamCamp about 3:30 pm and got backed into our site WAY faster than normal these days.  LOL  We’re in site 13 (is that good or bad!?!?) with no one on our off door side.  The site is actually kinda tight but we can make anywhere home…and this is just for 4 nights.

The FamCamp only has 22 sites total and most are pretty small.  Each site has water and 20/50 amp but there is a dump station.  For $20 a night…we can deal.
By 4:30 pm I had the oven pre-heating for dinner (Pasties) and Michael had the satellite dish just about squared away.  Afterward we had plenty of time for a couple of episodes of Sons of Anarchy.
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You Win Some, You Lose Some…

Michael finished up the work on the new gray tank install on Sunday.  He got the underbelly up and the last screw in place in the late afternoon.  No leaks after letting everything sit for a couple of days and even filling the tank up.  Now…let’s hope it stays that way!

On Monday, he was able to get the Anderson valve ‘oopsie’ taken care of quite easily but still needed a few clamps to finish the job 100%…we picked those up when we went into town another day.

While Michael worked on finishing up the Anderson valve I worked on some of my pre-move chores – laundry, cleaning, etc.

I also secured a new park just south of San Antonio for our rally in October.  I’m just waiting for the contract to be mailed to me and we’ll be golden.

We’re having t-shirts made for the rally and thanking our quick-thinking friend who designed them had the forethought to contact the guy who is making them and have him put them on hold until we knew more about how ‘Harvey’ affected Port Aransas.

Yesterday, I contacted Erika and described what we’d like to see incorporated into the new shirt and she did an awesome job!  We want the shirt design to be a surprise for our attendees so I’ll show you a pic after they see them!

We got some ‘Harvey’ rain during the day on Monday afternoon…not much though.  However, overnight into Tuesday we got quite a bit of rain.  It rained for quite a while and pretty hard most of the time.  I even heard thunder a few times.

HUGE portions

Tuesday morning we went over to the ‘All Ranks’ club for some breakfast.  For such a small post there was quite a bit of business to keep them busy.  We each order our breakfasts and enjoyed them.  Not sure what took us so long to finally try the place out.  They also server lunches and dinners…guess we’ll have to try it out the next time we’re here.

After breakfast we made the 12 mile drive up to the Franklin Walmart to pick up my grocery order which was scheduled between 10:00 am and 11:00 am.  I really enjoy this service.  I can put my order in online through out the week and then just ‘drive up’ and have my groceries loaded in the car.  It really saves time when we have other things planned.

In the afternoon we drove the 15 miles south to Columbus to the AMC theater (LOVE gift cards!) for our weekly movie.  I sure am gonna miss our weekly movie dates when we’re back on a gate!  This week we saw ‘Logan Lucky’…not a movie I wanted to see…at all.

There’s Jay! He’s on the TV as the ‘police spokesperson’!

However, when we were at my niece, Nikki’s, shindig last month and visited with my childhood friend, Jay, we found out that he had a small part in the movie as well as having done some stunts.  Of course, we had to go see it.  Jay has also had small parts or done stunts in The Secret Life of Bees, The Crazies, The Hunger Games:  Catching Fire, Furious 7 and Anchorman 2.

The movie turned out to be much better than I expected!  It was actually pretty good and I’m glad we went.  We ‘heard’ Jay before we actually saw him…his appearance was VERY brief but I got a picture of him on the big screen!

Wednesday was our last day of adventure in this area until we come back…because we’ve both decided we’ll be back!

Not giving up…checking the internet

Because neither of us are good at failure, our first stop was back in Hartsville to find the grave of Barton Mitchel.  You might remember that we looked a few weeks ago and were unsuccessful.  We looked at some pictures online and thought that we could find it using them…so back to the cemetery we went.

We searched the whole place again and still didn’t find it.  Michael did some internet searching and thought we were at the wrong cemetery…even though it looked as if there were only one cemetery in town.

Hooray! We found it!

We set off in search of another cemetery…and found it.  But it’s not surprising Google Maps didn’t know anything about it.  It’s off a road with no signs, no parking, no real entrance and hidden behind trees.  Once we were at the right location we had no problem finding the grave.  This cemetery was really old with headstones dating back to the early 1800s.

Lunch with the Swiss Maid Country Store in the background

With our conquest out of the way we headed over to Hope to the Swiss Maid Store to pick up some Amish goodies.  Homemade bread, donuts, a couple of small frozen pies for the freezer, canned goods, noodles, etc.

They make fresh sandwiches so we each ordered one and then after placing our goodies in the car sat at a picnic table in the town square to enjoy lunch.  It was a gorgeous day to enjoy a picnic lunch.

Atterbury and Bakalar

After lunch we headed to Columbus.  The Atterbury/Bakalar Museum in Columbus is named for Brigadier General William Atterbury and First Lieutenant John Bakalar who were both soldiers from Indiana.   The museum is dedicated to the memory of all military and civilian personnel who served in the wars and conflicts from 1942 to 1970.  The museum is located on what was once Atterbury Air Base and changed to Bakalar Air Base.

The museum is pretty small but nicely done.  I was able to breeze through as only a few displays held my interest.  Michael, however, finds anything and everything pertaining to the military interesting, so he took a little longer than I did to check things out.

This is what we were looking forward to….

We took a ride out to Anderson Falls, which isn’t real far from Hope and the pictures I saw online were gorgeous.  Thankfully, it was a nice drive through the countryside as Anderson Falls was a pretty big let down.  The creek/river that makes up the falls must be WAY low as the waterfall was pretty much just a trickle.

…this is what we got

It was easy to see how big and gorgeous the falls usually are/used to be…but today not so much.  Not sure if this is normal now days or if the water levels in the area are just much too low.  Oh well…you win some you lose some.

The shop truck restored to ‘better’ than new shape

Cummins makes it’s home in Columbus and we made a stop at the cooperate headquarters to view their ‘lobby museum’.  Small but classy, they include a 1985 Dodge Ram pick up truck that was a shop truck at Cummins for nearly 20 years.  It had had a Cummins in-line six diesel engine installed in it and was prototype start to the Cummins-Chrysler partnership.

Michael ‘enjoying’ the BIG motor

On display is also the 1950 Diesel Cummins entrant in the Indy 500.  The car made the 33rd starting position at 129 mph and was eliminated after the 52 lap due to a supercharger drive failure.

In the center of the room is a huge ‘exploded’ motor hanging from the ceiling…once again…not my thing but Michael found it interesting and felt the need to educate me on the placement of the valves and pistons.  <Yawn>

Fountain sodas…betcha can figure out which is which!?

We topped the day off with a stop at Zaharakos Ice Cream Shop.  Originally opened in 1900, Zaharakos is the real deal…marble soda fountain, stained glass, Tiffany lamps, mechanical music playing and delicious ice cream treats!  They also have a small museum displaying soda fountains and mechanical music machines.

Michael and his nourishment for the week!

We each ordered a fountain soda – Michael a Diet Lemon Coke and me a Green River (a green lime Sprite like drink).  We also ordered ice cream!  Michael went for the gold with a banana split, which turned out to be HUGE and I ordered a one scoop hot fudge sundae.  Mine sundae hit the spot…but Michael’s was so messy it hit everything…the counter, his clothes, his napkin AND his tummy!

Once we were back home we had work to do.  We’d received the contract for the new rally location which we signed and emailed back to the park.  We also had some phone calls to make to attendees to find out if they planned to move with the rally or not.  We needed to tally our t-shirt order as we have to finalize it by Friday.  Plus, we needed to update the Heartland Owners forum with all of the necessary information for the new rally location.  Whew!

Once everything was done, we settled in to watch some Sons of Anarchy!  We’re on the last season with just a few episodes left to watch.

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BBQ, Pure Prairie League & Hurricane Harvey

Thursday 8/24

Michael was back to work on the Anderson Valve but found that if he turned the water pump on and ran off the tank…no water!  Oh oh.  Nothing is ever easy is it?  He put in a call to Anderson valve to help do some trouble shooting but the gentleman he needed to talk to was at lunch so Michael left his name and number for a call back…but the call never came.

Here I sit…with a grey water tank in my lap…

In the meantime, Michael decided to move on to get the new grey tank in place.  Not really an easy task as the valves on the top of the tank need to match up (and be glued in place) to the pipe coming from the kitchen sink…and since you can’t really see what you’re doing it’s kind of a crap shoot.

I was under the coach for over an hour holding up the tank, moving it this way, moving it that way, taking the tank down, lifting it back up again, etc etc etc.  While I did that Michael cut pipe, ran upstairs, fiddled with this, pulled on that, undid this, glued that…etc, etc, etc.

I was very happy that I brought my phone AND my Kindle with me as there was plenty of down time for me to read while Michael did his thing.  I could have just come out from under the house and went back under when he was ready for me…but…yeah…that’s not as easy as it sounds…so I just read.  LOL

Friday 8/25

Me and Melba and our photo bomber!

We met our Heartland friend, Melba, for lunch in Columbus as she is staying at a park just south of Columbus for a few days on her way to Alabama.  I am in awe of this 77-year-old woman who travels by herself and navigates her truck and coach like a pro!

Melba is the mother of our friend, Rana.  We met Rana and her husband, John, five or six years ago when we lived at the Capital City RV Park before Michael retired from the Army.  John and Rana were staying at the park while visiting Melba nearby…we’ve stayed connected ever since.

We met at Papa’s Grill just west of Columbus.  We had a really nice lunch (nachos for me, grilled chicken sandwich for Michael and a grilled pork tenderloin sandwich for Melba) food was very good and conversation was awesome.

Michael in his glory…checking out Melba’s projects

Melba had a few maintenance questions for Michael and after discussing things Michael decided to follow Melba to her campground (10 minutes away) to check things out.  He was able to put a temporary fix on a few things but they will have to have a more permanent fix in the future.   Our visit lasted about 3.5 hours but could have lasted longer but Michael needed to get home to work on his own projects.

Michael got a call back from a gentleman at Anderson valve and found out where he went wrong with his installation. Thankfully, it was an easy fix…he just did more work than he needed.

Beautiful weather so we enjoyed a fire and few smores in the evening!  Hopefully, we can squeeze a few more in before we pull out on the first.

Saturday 8/26

Check out those bacon wrapped pork tenderloins!

My cousin, Jason, does a lot of BBQ competitions and he was entered in one today…in Delphi…about 115 miles north of us.  We decided to take the plunge and drive up so that we could root him on.  The competition was part of the Delphi Bacon Festival (4th annual).

We REALLY enjoyed watching Jason and his co-BBQer do their thing.  A lot of planning, prep and work go into one of these competitions.  By the time that we arrived around 1:30 pm the guys had everything in the smoker and we enjoying a little down time….but that didn’t last long as their first turn in was at 3:00 pm.

Such care and precision goes into plating!

It was so interesting to watch them determine which pieces were the best looking and to plate them just right as they’re judged on presentation, flavor and tenderness.  What was even better was that we got to sample everything that they made:  Smoked bbq chicken, ribs and a chicken buffalo dip stuffed pork loin. Oh my!  Everything was out of this world good and even my Texas BBQ lovin’ husband loved every bite!

Grand Champions!

The last turn in time was 4:00 pm and then we had to wait 2.5 hours for the awards to be handed out! This year there were only five teams competing as the competition was a late addition.

Jason and Ron did fantastic!  They took first in chicken, first in ribs and third in ‘anything’ (their pork loin) and overall they were the GRAND champions!  Michael and I both agreed we would LOVE to go to another competition…we had so much fun!

‘Amie’ performance

The big event for the Bacon Festival was the Pure Prairie League as the headliner.  We decided to stay for the 8:45 pm show as who can pass up a FREE concert.  Plus, we knew a few of their songs, especially ‘Amie’.

We really enjoyed the concert, which was ‘bring your own chairs and sit wherever you want’.  We found a spot next to the stage with a nice view.  We settled in about an hour or so before the concert started.

Me with the keyboardist and Donnie Lee Clark the leader singer. Picture was taken by Mike Reilly, original member.

As the guys started arriving and prepping the stage I walked over and met three of them and got my picture taken with them.  Nice guys.

On our way to Delphi we found out that the RV Park (Pioneer Resort in Port Aransas) that was scheduled to be the location of our very first south Texas Chapter Rally was devastated by Hurricane Harvey and is a total loss.  That information came from a couple of friends and a news site.  We’ve got a message out to the park to confirm but are in the process of finding another park, further inland, that has enough room to fit roughly 25 rigs and is available the same weekend.

 

 

 

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Sliders, Plumbing, Doubleheader and a Fire

August 20 – 23

Sunday 8/20 – Michael got up bright and early and immediately went to work on removing the cracked grey water tank.  Once it was down he realized that he’d forgotten that there were two holes in the top of the tank – one for the gray water to enter and the other for a vent pipe.  He’d forgotten about the hole for the vent pipe so when he order the fittings he only ordered one.  Oops!  What to do, what to do?

Look at all those fresh veggies – corn, green beans, carrots, broccoli, celery…Yum!

I made a pot of chicken, vegetable and orzo soup for lunch – delicious!  It’s never too hot for a big pot of home-made soup!

Later in the after noon Michael needed to make a run to Menard’s in Columbus for some parts for his latest projects.

While we were out we decided it was a good time for me to sample a White Castle burger.  Michael had had them in the past but I never had so he’s been telling me for a while that he take me to a White Castle so I could try it.

Pretty darn good little burger

For those that have not had them…they’re sliders.  If you order a combo meal it comes with four sliders, fries and a drink.  The burgers are very small and thin and come with onion and pickle…nothing else.  The burgers are cooked on a bed of fried onions (so they’re basically steamed).

I liked ’em.  I thought they were pretty darn good and would go back.  They’re not a gourmet burger but for $5.50 for a meal…you can’t really go wrong.

Monday 8/21 – First thing this morning Michael called the local RV dealer to see if they had the fittings that he was missing and to see if they could cut the holes in the tank and insert the two fittings.

Old tank on the ground…new tank on the table

After being told that they could do the job but it might be the end of the week before they could get to it, Michael took tanks over to Edmundson RV to have the fittings added.  It took a week to get the one he’d ordered online and since we leave here a week from this Friday we didn’t want to wait that long.

By mid afternoon we got a call back from Edmundson RV letting us know that the tank would be ready on Tuesday!

Some of Michael’s handiwork for the Anderson valve install

While at a stand still with installing the new gray tank, Michael worked on getting the lines run for the Anderson valve and he conned me into going under the coach with him….mind you I didn’t stay very long! He pointed out all kinds of stuff he’d worked on in the past, had been working on today and stuff he still needs to do to get both the gray tank installed and the Anderson valve project completed.

Old school eclipse pic by our son, Zack!

It was ‘Eclipse’ day.  We didn’t get into the craze like some but were interested in seeing how the whole thing was gonna play out.  I thought it might get a little darker…but it really didn’t.  I took a couple of ‘selfie’ pictures with my phone so I didn’t have to look directly at the sun.  It was pretty cloudy so I basically got some clouds with a sun shining behind them.

Our sons also took a couple of pictures and we all shared pics back and forth.  Oldest son, Zack, did the old paper thingie method and got a cool result.  We had a couple across the way in their lawn chairs with their glasses on, staring up at the sky.  That was about the extent of our ‘Eclipse’.

Tuesday 8/22

Movie and Grocery day!

I placed my order with Franklin Walmart and let them do the shopping and then I picked the order up about 10:00 am.  Then I went across the street to Meijer to pick up some meat and produce (not a fan of Walmart’s meat or produce).  Took it all home, put it away and we were ready to head to Columbus for a movie double-header!

Small but tasty buffet

We stopped at Peking Chinese Restaurant in Edinburgh for lunch.  They had a small buffet set up and we both decided to go with that….$7.00 included drink, dessert and tax.

For such a small town there was quite a bit of lunch traffic.  The food was pretty fresh…although a few of the lesser eaten dishes might have gotten a little cold.  Everything had good flavor so we wouldn’t have any issue going back.

The grey tank with the addition of the spin fittings

We also picked up the gray water tank that Michael had dropped off at Edmundson RV the day before to have some fittings installed.

We decided to do a movie double-header…Annabelle:  Creation and The Hitman’s Bodyguard.  Annabelle is a horror flick…not my first choice…ever.  But Michael wanted to see it so I watched a good portion of it from behind my shirt.  He enjoyed it…me…I could have done without.  LOL

The Hitman’s Bodyguard on the other hand…very good!  We both really, really enjoyed it.  The team up of Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson?  Awesome!  They had us laughing through the entire film!  I was even laughing after the movie on the way home at some of the lines…  Go…see it!

Wednesday 8/23

Michael was back to work getting the finishing touches done so that he could get the new gray water tank installed.  He even added a board under the kitchen floor where we had a soft spot where a pipe from the kitchen sink drained into the tank.  Can’t even tell anymore!

The soft spot in the kitchen floor was due to this cut out, as seen from underneath the coach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the same spot but with the addition of a small board to help reinforce

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I worked on making some reservations for tours we’ll take while we’re in Little Rock in a few weeks, blogging, a few household chores and did some work on our upcoming South Texas rally.

Dave’s Delicious Dawgs

For lunch Michael went and picked us up some ‘dawgs’ from Dave’s Dawgs here on post.  The post is small so it was less than a 5 minute drive.  We’d been told that they were very good so figured we’d better give ’em a try before we leave the area.  They’re made with Nathan’s hot dogs so you know they had to be good.

The weather has finally cooled down enough that we were able to enjoy another fire tonight!  It hasn’t cooled down much below the 70’s at night.  But we’re getting down into the 50’s for the next few nights and only getting highs of the low 80s.  Good stuff.  Plans are to have a fire the next couple of nights.  Yay!

 

 

 

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Hope, Indiana

Saturday 8/19

We didn’t leave the house until after 11:00 am.  The days venture only took us about 20 miles from home.  We headed east to the small town of Hope, Indiana and started out sight-seeing at the town square where there is a small museum.

Yellow Trail Museum & Hope Visitors Center

The Yellow Trail Museum covers the history of Hope, which was a Moravian community founded in 1830. The museum is housed in an old Hardware store so it was fun to see the old ladders, winches and other miscellaneous equipment from days long ago.

Most of the artifacts in the museum are either donated or on loan from area residents.  I was really impressed by how well everything was very labeled as to what it was and who donated.  We’ve been to several museums where things weren’t labeled well or at all and that just doesn’t get it for me.  I want to know what the objects are, how they were used, who used them and why.  LOL

We spent an hour or so roaming through the museum before taking a walk around the square.

My kinda place!

The place that caught my eye was the Swiss Maid Country Market.  I didn’t know what it was but was pleasantly surprised when we walked in to find a small Amish store selling home-baked goods, bulk goods, meats & cheese and custom-made sandwiches.

There were quite a few people there ordering sandwiches for lunch but we had lunch packed so we just opted for some yummy baked goods (a cinnamon roll, a brownie, a whoopie pie (all to be shared over the next week or so) and a small strawberry rhubarb pie).  Plus, I got a bag of home-made noodles since I used the last of our a few weeks ago.  Pretty sure I’ll be going back the last week that we’re here to pick up a few odds and ends.

The deceased’s motorcycle led the procession with a friend driving.

One of the buildings on the square is the Norman Funeral Home which was built in 1880 and is the oldest business in Hope.  The front of the building is almost all made of glass blocks…pretty unique.  There was a funeral going on while we were there – a biker killed in motorcycle accident.  His motorcycle friends attended on their bikes and they led the procession to the cemetery afterward.  It was pretty poignant to watch.

We found this all out because we were talking to a couple at the ice cream place across the street who were there to attend the visitation at the funeral home.  The whole thing was pretty appropriate for us since we’ve been so consumed with watching the Sons of Anarchy lately.

After our walk around the circle we headed to the Moravian Cemetery where we found a spot in shade to enjoy lunch.  Another light and easy lunch of cheeses, meats, nuts & veggies.

Moravian burial custom

The real reason we were at the cemetery was to visit  ‘God’s Acre’, the historic section.  There are 1070 graves in this section dating back to the 1830s.

An example from the ‘married woman’ section

The Moravian burial custom was done using a ‘choir system’ which meant that there was a section for boys, unmarried men, married men, girls, unmarried girls, married girls and paupers.

Flat stones were used as a symbol to the Moravian belief of equality in death.  Some stones have a footer area used for planting flowers.  These types of gravestones (kind of a mix between a tomb and a cradle) are unique to this cemetery in Hope.  Interesting…

Although the earliest graves date back to 1833 we had a hard time seeing dates on most of the headstones as most have been worn off of the years…so we never did find the oldest ones.

Nice, narrow road to the cemetery

Not having our fill of cemeteries yet…we ventured about 6 miles down the road to the small town of Hartsville to find the Hartsville Baptist Cemetery which is the final resting place of Barton Mitchell, who is credited with finding Lee’s Lost Orders, which revealed Lee’s strategic plans and location of Lee’s Army.  Because of Lee’s discovery the Union was able overcome Lee’s Army in what became the Battle of Antietam.

The cemetery was not easy to find…the GPS took us the wrong way but we were able to find it on our own. The road to the cemetery wasn’t much wider than our big hipped truck but we made it in and out without incident.

Hot, humid and buggy hunt for Barton Mitchell’s grave

The cemetery is quite small and old, with graves reaching back into the mid 1800s.  Usually the site I use (Find a Grave) has directions or coordinates to help in the search for the gravesite.  This time it didn’t…but since the cemetery was pretty small and we did have a picture of the gravestone we thought we’d be able to find it fairly easily.

The prize that was not meant to be…Thank you Findagrave.com for the picture!

We hunted high and low in 90 degree heat, uphill, over weeds, clearing mown grass from gravestones and never found him.  Part of the fun, I think, for us in finding these finally resting spots is the ‘hunt’…but eventually we do find them.  I’m pretty sure that this is the first time we weren’t able to find our target.  It was kind of a bummer.

After our disappointing search through the humid heat we decided we deserved an ice cream treat for our troubles.  That’s when we stopped at Cornett’s Corner Café as we passed through Hope on our way home and chatted with the couple about the funeral across the street.

Back at home we settled in for the remainder of the day.  Michael grilled a ribeye that we cut in two and I made a side dish of cheesy orzo and broccoli to go with it.  And…of course, we watched several more episodes of Sons of Anarchy.  There are seven season and we are almost done with the fifth season at this point.

 

 

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Indy’s Monument Circle and Scottish Rite Tours

Friday 8/18

We left home, headed north to Indianapolis, about 8:00 am to be sure to get to our destination by 10:00 am.  We wanted to give plenty of time for any traffic delays, finding parking, walking to our destination and finding where we needed to be.

It’s a good thing we allotted extra time because we wasted 20 minutes messing with the parking meter.  It was supposed to take a credit card but after fiddling with it forever we were only able to get 15 minutes on the meter.  I finally gave up, scrounged up a bunch of quarters and got the 4 hours we wanted on the darn meter!

The center of the circle…the Soldiers & Sailor’s Monument

We found where we needed to be for the start of the Monument Circle Walking Tour.  The free tour is put on by Indiana Landmarks every Friday and Saturday morning at 10:00 am from May to October.

We were the first to arrive, followed by our tour guide and by our 10:00 am start time our group number close to 15 people.

Janet, our tour guide, was very personable and really knew her stuff.  She carried a binder that held pictures from the past so that we could compare what things look like today versus what they looked like many years ago.

Indianapolis was actually the third capital of the Indiana.  Indianapolis was actually chosen to be the capital before there was even a city in place.  It was chosen for several reasons, one of which was its central location.

The architect that designed the city was the same one who designed Washington DC, and you can easily see that if you were to look at a map of each city.

Janet always made sure to stop us in the shade, which was much appreciated.

The Governor’s mansion was originally built at the center of the circle with a residential area planned around it.  Unfortunately, the governor’s mansion was never lived in as the governor’s wife refused to live as the ‘center’ of attention.  Used passed and the mansion fell apart and was eventually torn down and a park created in its place.

Over the years the park evolved and eventually the Soldiers and Sailors Monument was erected and then dedicated in 1902.  The residential area surrounding the monument eventually evolved into more of a metropolitan area with an Opera House, newspaper offices, a theater etc.

As we strolled along the sidewalk around the base of the monument Janice spouted facts, dates, little stories and shared the pictures in her binder.

Christ Church Cathedral

Several buildings are original and have remained or been given face lifts.  Janet took us into three of the buildings for a brief glimpse.  Christ Church Cathedral was one of the buildings we entered.  Made of Indiana limestone and opened in 1857 the church is one of several that originally sat around the circle. Christ Church is the only one still standing today.

The lobby of the Columbia Club

Right next door to the Christ Church is the Columbia Club which dates back to the time that Benjamin Harrison was running for president.  A gorgeous establishment with a lot of history in its lobby area alone.  A painting of Benjamin Harrison looms over a marble table that was used in the White House while he was president.

A piano played by Hoagie Carmichael sits in one corner while one of the Eagle’s that hung above President Lincoln’s casket in the Indiana State Capitol building sits in another.

City Market, downtown Indy

We really enjoyed the tour and would highly recommend it.  Our tour guide really made it worth while. Hopefully all of the tour guides giving this tour are as friendly and knowledgeable.  Janet even pointed us toward City Market, a couple of blocks away.

City Market dates back to 1821.  Currently it’s mostly a place to grab some refreshments…anything from popcorn to BBQ, bakery, Greek food, ice cream, coffee, beer, wine…etc.  We roamed the whole place and decided to grab a soft pretzel to snack on.

After relaxing for a bit we headed back to where the truck was parked several blocks away.  I’d packed a lunch of cheese, sausage, nuts, veggies.  We enjoyed that in the comfort of the truck with the air conditioning running for a short while and then rolled down the windows to enjoy the day.

Scottish Rite Cathedral

After lunch we walked the few blocks to the Scottish Rite Cathedral.  They offer free tours Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 am til 2:00 pm.  The funny thing is…is we really didn’t know what we were going to tour other than a beautiful building!  LOL

Shortly after meeting our tour guide, Steve, we learned that the Scottish Rite is a fraternity of freemasons…related to the Masons.  Huh…who knew!?

For the second time, in the same day, we were blessed with an excellent tour guide!  Steve has been a member of the Scottish Rite since 1979 so we was very familiar with the Cathedral and all of its ins and outs.

The ballroom

The architect of the building was a German by the name of Schreiber and he was involved in nearly every aspect of the building process.  He also paid quite a bit of attention to detail.  Since there are 33 ‘degrees’  of the Scottish Rite he made sure to incorporate that number many times throughout the cathedral.  Steve pointed out the ’33’ over and over as we toured.  Ceilings 16.5 feet tall (16.5×2=33), Rooms that are 66 feet wide or 99 foot square.  Floor tiles that are 33 inches by 33 inches…etc etc etc.  Very cool and interesting as well.

The auditorium

This gorgeous piece of architecture was built faster than any building of equal measure would be done today.  Work began in May 1927 and first event was held in July 1929!  Just over two years later!  Crazy fast!  Plus, it cost a whopping 2.5 million dollars to complete.

We visited several of the grand rooms within the Cathedral – the Ballroom with its ‘floating’ floor, Auditorium with 1200 seats, Lounge, Library and each were beautifully done with patterned ceilings, ornate carved woodwork, and stained-glass windows.

Steve with his ‘class’ photo

Our tour guide, Steve, is a 32nd degree.  We also had one other person on the tour with us, a gentleman who will be 90 next month.  He gets around better than a lot of 50-year-olds and exercises 3 to 5 days a week.  He is also a member of the Scottish Rite and had never toured the building…although he’d been there many times.

Elbert Bradshaw, our tour mate, class of 1951!

The last stop on the tour was the ‘Photo Room’.  Here there are pictures of every ‘graduating class’.  We found both Steve and Elbert’s pictures from when they joined – Steve in 1979  and Elbert in 1951!  So fun!

Our 1 hour tour took nearly 2 hours and we were fine with that!  It was awesome.  Steve even gave Michael his personal card, in case he ever needed anything.

Several of the rooms are available to rent for events such as weddings, graduations, plays, etc.  Wow, what be like to attend and event in the grandeur of the gorgeous place!

We headed home, hitting a little bit of Friday rush hour traffic but nothing terrible.  We stopped at El Jeffe in Edinburgh for an early dinner.  We were there shortly after we first arrived in the area and enjoyed it so much we wanted to go back.  I got the same thing (steak nachos) while Michael opted for a burrito this time.  Once again everything was very good and we enjoyed it thoroughly.

Back home not long after 5:00 pm we had lots of time to enjoy several episodes of Sons of Anarchy before calling it a day.

 

 

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Real Life Home Improvement

‘Home Improvement’ projects continue…after hunting down a package that was sent here to Camp Atterbury, Michael has all of the necessary pieces to get the new grey tank installed.  Woohoo!

The camp host ended up with the package and somehow doesn’t know the names of the campers (whatever – insert eye roll) she sat on the package all week while Michael went back and forth between the mail room, Logistics and the Edinburgh Post Office trying to locate the package.  On Wednesday  he happened to see her and mentioned the package…that’s when she told him she’d had it all week.  (insert throat grab here).

Still in GOOD shape!

Our calendar reminder reminded us that it was time to check the anode rod in the water heater and Michael got that out of the way right away.  He emptied the water heater and pulled out the rod to find that it is still in great shape!  We do need to remember to buy a replacement so that we have one on hand when the time comes.

FoodSaver doing it’s thing!

A while back we ordered a FoodSaver as Michael has been talking about one for quite some time and we’ve read quite a bit about how Andy from My Old RV enjoys his….so we bit the bullet.

We purchased the 2244 model, which is one of the smaller units but since we only have so much space in this here tiny home we opted to go with the smaller unit.  Plus, since it’s just the two of us rather than a larger family we think this size will do just fine.

So far, it’s great.  The machine vacuum seals the food in a nice little package and provides quite a bit more storage space in our itty bitty freezer.  The food stays fresh longer and no more worry of freezer burn!

Poor Mikey’s appearance AFTER he finally came out from under the coach when he took the underbelly down.

Michael got the underbelly pulled down and out of the way in preparation of starting work on removing a replacing the cracked gray water tank and installing the new Anderson valve.  Hopefully, with those two projects done we will see NO more water in the basement!  Prayers are welcome.

We’ve also been working on putting the details together for our first Heartland Owners Club rally as Chapter Leaders….exciting stuff!

I’ve done some research on things to do in the area, good restaurants, etc.  While Michael’s been working with our friend Ericka to put together a t-shirt design.  Things seem to be falling into place nicely…only 51 days until RALLY TIME!

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No More Tippy Toilet!

So…we’ve had a ‘tippy toilet’ for  a couple of months.  Pretty much since we had our tanks cleaned while we were at the rally in Elkhart.  After the guy finished we noticed that the toilet was ‘popped’ up off the floor a bit.  Michael was able to ‘pop’ it back into place but it’s been kinda tippy ever since.

Michael decided it was time to do some plumbing anyway so he waited until we got here to, Camp Atterbury, to tackle the project.  He wanted to run all new ABS pipe (which was NOT easy to find in this area!).

Cracked flange

When he removed the toilet he found that the toilet flange was busted and that was most likely the cause of the ‘tippy’ issue.  He removed all the old pipe, got the new pipe cut to length and got it replaced fairly easily.  He also moved the toilet about an inch further away from the wall to give a little more space between the wall and toilet.

You might remember that a few days ago he was cutting a board to put under the toilet on the basement ceiling to help give the toilet more support.  He even painted it black so that it blends into the basement ceiling.

He also gave the toilet a thorough cleaning inside and out…so much so that it now sparkles!  The end result?  No more ‘tippy toilet’!!

Michael and I follow several blogs…most of which are either RVing blogs or Gate Guarding blogs…some of which are both!

Here you can see the board Michael added to help sturdy the toilet.

One particular blog that we both read is My Old RV.  The writer, Andy, has been gate guarding since the beginning of time…well, ok…maybe not quite that long.  But a long time anyway…therefore he is an excellent resource for all things ‘gate guard’.  Plus he offers a lot of ‘life lessons’ in his writing.

Michael has been following his blog longer than I have but now that we both read his writings we will often discuss his latest post.  What we didn’t know was that Andy, in turn, reads our blog!  How did we find that out?  Read below:

“Instead of me getting all riled up,  let me shift gears and clue you in on a blog I thoroughly enjoy – and have been enjoying since early Winter last year.  Michael and Kelly are fulltimers and gate guard a part of the year.  To me, they epitomize the full time RV lifestyle.  They work hard and smart and value the old school work ethic, they travel to historic places that interest them and they utilize their mobile lifestyle to visit friends and family often.  Seriously, how much better can it get?  Kelly writes well and their blog is one I visit on a regular basis.  I would highly  recommend you do the same-same especially if you are contemplating a fulltime RV lifestyle or if you are interested in becoming an oil field gate guard.”

We were both shocked and honored to wind up as subject matter in Andy’s latest blog post.  To be mentioned in such a way was quite humbling…and by the ‘King of Gate Guarding’ no less!  Thank you for such kind words, Andy.  We’re glad to hear that you are reading and enjoying!

Speaking of Gate Guarding…the summer is winding down and it’s getting closer to us having to head back to south Texas to work in the oil patch.  We’ve been in contact with our Company Man throughout the summer and still hope/plan to join back up with our crew when we get back to the patch toward the end of October.  You just never know what will happen.

Sadly, our supervisor decided it was time to move on and has taken a job elsewhere.  We’ll miss him!  He was always good to us and truly appreciated us…which is rare, it seems, these days.  We wish him well and will continue to check in on him now and again to make sure that he is enjoying his new life outside the oil patch.

 

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Awesome Day in Indianapolis

We haven’t been doing a whole lot the last few days…just kinda hanging out.

Prepping for the toilet replumbing job. This piece will go under the floor (from the basement) and the toilet will be bolted through the floor and into it to provide more stability for the toilet

Michael has a couple of bigger projects coming up (Installing the Anderson valve, replumbing the toilet & installing the new grey water tank) and has been either picking up parts at local businesses or ordering online.  One of the projects required some ABS pipe (which has almost proved to be nonexistent in this area…he was finally able to order some from Grainger and had it delivered to the store in Indianapolis. What a pain.

We tried having another fire one evening but the wood just didn’t seem to want to cooperate.  Michael started with his normal kindling which caught on quickly and once he added some wood it burned nicely…for a couple of minutes and then died down.  Michael fiddled with the wooded and fanned the fire and it took off nicely again…only to burn down shortly after.  He repeated this process several times and we finally decided to give up…it was still fairly warm out and didn’t warrant overworking.  So in the house we went!

Tuesday we did our normal ‘movie of the week’…this we we went with ‘Kidnap‘ with Halle Berry.  It was only rated 6.0 on IMDB but there wasn’t another good option.  I told someone else that it was in no way a blockbuster but it certainly kept us engaged the entire time.  There were a few things we would have changed but in the ended we both enjoyed it.

There is a large outlet mall here in Edinburgh (just about 6.5 miles from home) and Michael needed some new shoes so we decided to see what we could find at the mall.  We wandered through Skechers, Nike, Clarks, Famous Footwear, Adidas and several other non-shoe stores in search.

Michael ended up finding two pairs of shoes (one casual and one athletic pair) as they were buy one get one 1/2 price.  After paying we were on the way to the door and stumbled upon some tennis shoes without backs on them that would work great for gate guarding as we find it easiest to have slip on shoes at the ready by the door.  We both ended up with a pair and now we’re all set!

Set the tortilla in the bottom (or pancake batter, egg for an omelet, waffle, etc)

A while back I purchased a Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker and it came with a Burrito Maker. I loved the sandwich maker so much that I was excited to try the burrito maker but I never got around to it until just recently.  (The burrito maker is ridiculously cheap on Amazon ($13.49!) currently that if you’re mildly interested..(Zack!) I’d suggest you purchase one as that almost seems like a closeout price!)

Put a scrambled egg and whatever goodies (peppers and crumbled sausage this time) in the top.

I watched a video on YouTube and was surprised to find out that you can make a lot more with it than just breakfast burritos…crepes, pancake sandwiches, small pizza’s, etc.

However, I started out small and just made us each a breakfast burrito…green & red pepper, crumbled sausage, egg and cheese.  They turned out quite good although I have a little bit of a learning curve to get past before I’ll make my final decision as to whether I love it as much as it’s cousin the Breakfast Sandwich Maker.

Thursday we ventured into Indianapolis for some touristy stuff, the first of which was the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.  Neither of us are big racing fans so we didn’t really know what to expect or if we’d even enjoy the visit.

Standing on hallowed ground, for some

We ended up taking the ‘Kiss the Bricks Tour’ which took us on a trip around the oval in a tram at speeds nearing 15 mph!  We made a stop at the finish line so that people could ‘kiss the bricks’ or just use the time for a photo opportunity, which we did.

The first and recent winners of the Indy 500…can you tell which is which??

The museum was interesting to wander around, looking at all cars on display.  Incredible to see the changes over the years…especially from the first car to win the 500 in 1911 to the car that won in 2016.   Some of the drivers names were familiar to us (Unser, Foyt…etc) but many were not…like I said…we’re not race fans.

Mikey the Racer

There is an Indy car on display that is set up so that fans can get in and see what it feels to sit in one of these cars.  Michael, of course, took his turn…he’s my guinea pig for all those kinds of things!  He got in just fine and I got my pictures…but getting out…LOL…that was another thing!  After a big of a struggle he finally made it but not without my doing a bit of giggling!

Yanina, Autumn and Isabelle.

It worked out that we were able to meet one of Michael’s former co-workers from his time at HHC 926th Engineer Brigade in Montgomery, Alabama.  Yanina was an AGR soldier at that time too, but she was an E5 and is now a Warrant Officer…impressive!  She is now a stay at home mom and Army Reservist.  She is recently remarried with nine month old twin daughters to keep her busy.  She also has an 11-year-old daughter and a 9-year-old son from a former marriage that also keep her running.

We met for lunch at Big Woods Speedway location which was just a mile or so from the museum so it worked out great!  Yanina brought the twins with and we had a wonderful time catching up with her and her new life and admiring the twins (Isabelle and Autumn).

Food was absolutely delicious!  Michael ordered a pulled pork sandwich & fries which he really enjoyed.  I went with the knife and fork bleu cheese salad with chicken.  It was SO good!

Eventually after about 2 hours we had to let Yanina take the babies home for a nap and we headed to our next destination.  Our destination was just  few miles from the restaurant and a Roadside America find.

Lonehenge

‘Lonehenge’ was inspired by the Cadillac Ranch in Texas but rather than several Cadillacs standing on end there is just ONE bright yellow Pontiac Bonneville planted nose up in the middle of this quiet little neighborhood.

The lot on which the car sits originally had a condemned home on it but in 2015 the lot was turned into a small park with a picnic table and, of course, a big yellow car standing on end!

We made a stop at Grainger (just a few miles down the road too!) to pick up the ABS pipe that Michael had ordered for the toilet project.  With that being the last piece of hardware needed, in hand, Michael can now start one of his projects!  Hooray!

The center of Obelisk Square

We had some time to waste before our evening plans so we ended up downtown at the War Memorial District.  We walked several blocks checking out a couple of fountains in the area but the highlight was the War Memorial itself.  A beautiful building on the outside that house a museum (among other things) on the inside.

The Indiana War Memorial

We spent about an hour roaming the museum but could have spent more time as it is really nicely put together. While the museum honors those from Indiana who served, even if you’re not from Indiana you’ll find it interesting and worth a stop.

That evening we had tickets at Beef & Boards a dinner theater on the north side of Indianapolis.   The play was ‘Ring of Fire’ the story of Johnny Cash.  We’d seen and enjoyed the movie so we were looking forward to the play.

The buffet was removed and the stage rolled into place

Dinner was a buffet served from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm.  The buffet was very well done…probably the best we’ve ever had at a dinner theater.  A very nice salad bar accompanied broccoli casserole, honeyed carrots, baby potatoes, cooked cabbage, fiery red fish, bbq chicken and carved roast beef.  Everything was very good and we really enjoyed it.

Jim and Joanie…great dinner companions!

Our table mates were Jim and Joanie, who live just north of Indianapolis and come to the theater often with their church group.  They couldn’t make it to the performance the group went to and had to reschedule and luckily we were seated together.  Such a nice couple.  We really enjoyed our conversations over dinner with them.  Joanie and I even exchanged FB info!

Arlene and Janice – So nice to get to know both of them!

Before the show started we even got a chance to chat with Janice and Arlene who were sitting at the table behind us. Janice overhead us saying that we were fulltime RVers and since she is considering the lifestyle, as well, she was interested to hear our thoughts.  We exchanged FB info too!

The show started at 8:00 pm and featured some really talented singers and musicians.  The three women in the show really had some beautiful voices…the guys not so much.  Most of the ‘players’ played at least 3 different instruments.  We both really enjoyed the show and it turned out to be a great night out.

The show finished about 10:15 pm and we had a little more than an hour drive due south on I-65.  Traffic was really light so we made good time and arrived home about 11:20 pm.  We were tired but not exhausted as it had been a really awesome day filled with old friends and new friends!  Can’t ask for much more.

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