Carillon Historic Park & Hawthorn Hill

Saturday 7/1

We spent the day absorbed in history.

I purchased combo tickets for $15 that gave us admittance to both Hawthorn Hill and Carillon Historic Park…saving us $5.00 over individual ticket prices.

The street side of the house

We had reservations for the 10:00 am tour at Hawthorn Hill and were at the Carillon Historic Park visitors center about 10 minutes early.  We were supposed to catch a shuttle to Hawthorn Hill but the tour had been oversold and we were asked to drive over separately.

Hawthorn Hill is the home that Wilbur and Orville Wright designed together with the intention of living there with their father, Milton and sister Katherine.  Unfortunately, Wilbur died of typhoid fever in 1912 before ground was even broke.  The home was completed in 1914, complete with Wilbur’s bedroom as planned.

The side of the house facing the circular drive

Orville and Wilbur originally purchased 17 acres to build their home but over the years Orville sold off parcels (effectively picking his own neighbors) and the house now sits on 4 acres.

Orville and Wilbur were very methodical, symmetrical men and their home reflected that with its architecture.  There was NO difference between the back of the house and the front of the house…they looked identical.

A shower WAY it’s time

Orville was definitely a man of the future as he designed many ‘futuristic’ features in the house – a central vac system (in 1914!!) , a wrap around pinpoint jet shower (he had back problems after crashing one of the original plane designs) and a water storage tank that only he really knew how to operate.

We had an excellent tour guide with lots of history to relate. He told us stories of family gatherings at the house.

The highlight of the tour for Michael?

The house still has the original turn of the century electrical panel and Michael was pretty intrigued by it. Of course, it is no longer working but I could see his wheels turning.

When Orville died in 1948 and before anyone had a chance to move anything in the home, a photographer came in and took pictures of the home so that in the future they could be used as a reference.

When Orville died the house was bought by NCR (National Cash Register Corporation) and used as a guesthouse for corporate bigwigs and occasionally used for corporate functions.

Orville’s study

NCR felt that Orville’s choice of decor was a bit dark and drab so they did quite a bit of remodeling (even adding a few bathrooms).  The only room in the house that was left untouched was his study.  Just viewing his study with his chair and ottoman in place is like stepping back in time.

In 2006, NCR donated the home to the Wright Family Foundation in honor or Orville’s 135th birthday. The Wright Family Foundation is slowly restoring the home back to what it looked like before Orville passed away.

Back at Carillon we hid out in the coolness of the truck and ate lunch…nothing fancy just some cheese, crackers, sausage, veggies & dip and grapes and strawberries.

Deeds Carillon

As we ate lunch we were serenaded a couple of times by the bells of the Carillon.  The Carillon was a dream of Edith Deeds, wife of Colonel Edward Deeds, one of Dayton’s most famous forefathers.

While traveling in Belgium Edith fell in love with the music of the carillon and once back home set her dream in motion.  The Deeds Carillon was completed in 1942, is 151 feet tall and has 57 bells.  Mrs. Deeds performed the very first concert on Easter Sunday of 1942.

Just part of the display in this room.

After lunch we wandered through the various displays at the visitor center.  The building is chock full of exhibits covering NCR (cash registers) and Dayton history.  I could have spent a lot longer perusing the cash register display as it was very interesting and kind of a hands on trivia game.

Col. Deeds & Scipio

One of the exhibits was a very cool animatronics show featuring Col. Edward Deeds, Charles F. Kettering, John H. Patterson and Orville and Wilbur Wright…oh and don’t forget Orville’s beloved St. Bernard, Scipio.  There were several ‘surprise’ elements of the show and was well worth watching.

My BIG kid

There’s even a huge room kinda dedicated to kids with a big carousel in the middle and then several smaller exhibits (soap box derby car, a toy car collection and more cash registers!) spread out around it.  There was also a train engine that was set up to walk into…with a rope to clang the bell.   Of course, my big kid was all about clanging that bell!

Outside there are roughly 25 buildings to wander through.  They’re either set up to reflect the period or are mini museums of their own.  The grounds are immaculately kept and walking between each is done on paved sidewalks.

Applesauce & beef stew cooking over the fire

There are characters in period costume in a few of the buildings.  When we visited there were two ladies cooking over an open fire in the William Morris House (c. 1815).  When we arrived one of them was churning butter and they had a dutch oven simmer with stew in it as well as some applesauce cooking away over the fire.  They’d already made a pie and it just needed to be put in a dutch oven and baked.

In the print shop there was a young man doing a printing demonstration.  Anything that is printed in the print shop is sold in the museum store and the prices that I saw were pretty reasonable.

There is a building dedicated to the Great Dayton Flood of 1913.   The flood is Ohio’s greatest natural disaster causing roughly one hundred million dollars worth of property damage.  More than 360 people died, 65,000 people were left homeless, 20,000 homes were destroyed and 1400 horses and 2,000 other domestic animals perished.

All aboard!

Another cool building to walk through was the Transportation Center which houses an old stage coach, a covered wagon, a trolley, a B&O Caboose and an old city bus among other things.  Three of the vehicles were set up to allow visitors to walk through them which was pretty cool.

For many, the highlight of the park is the Aviation Center Building which houses a replica one of the Wright Brothers bicycle shops.  As you walk through the building you learn more and more about these two remarkable men.

The 1905 Wright Flyer II (Michael is quizzing the ranger on the very far left)

Of course, the true highlight is in the center of the building…the Wright Brothers 1905 flyers III, the world’s first flyer.  Now a National Historic Landmark there is a park ranger on duty who will answer any questions broached.  Michael, of course, had many so he and the ranger had quite a lengthy conversation while I snapped pictures.

It was a good day…we spent about 6 hours between Hawthorn Hill, lunch and Carillon Historic Park. Michael dubbed the place a ‘must see’ and I do think I’d have to agree.

Chicken Pasta Soup

We decided to grab dinner at the Fairborn Family Diner as it was ‘along the route’ and had decent Yelp reviews (4 stars out of 300 and some odd reviews).

Open-faced turkey sandwich

Michael ordered a Turkey Manhattan and said it was good.  I went with a Hamburger Club sandwich and really enjoyed it…got a little Thousand Island dressing on the side to go with it as it was a bit dry without.

Hamburger Club sandwich & fries

We each had a cup of their home-made chicken pasta soup (chicken noodle soup) which was very tasty. Overall, we’d definitely go back and can see why the locals really dig the place.

Before going home we stopped at Sam’s club for a few items.  When we renewed our membership while we were at the rally we were given a coupon book with several freebies in it as well as several really good deals.

We ended up going home with a FREE rotisserie chicken, 36 fresh-baked dinner rolls and a dozen fresh-baked croissants.  Plus we got great deals on a package of ribeyes, a fresh pineapple (48 cents!) and 2 fresh-baked baguettes ($1.00).  We now have more bread in the house than I know what to do with…it’s in the freezer, refrigerator and microwave!

We ended up getting home about 8:30 pm, put away the groceries and then relaxed for a while before heading to bed.

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Take Me Out to the Ball Game…

June 27 – 29

Tuesday was errand, commissary & movie day.  This week we saw the movie ‘The Book of Henry’ and both really enjoyed it.  Sad in parts, laugh out loud funny in others…and all around good movie.

That evening we had dinner out on the patio and after dinner our neighbors joined us and we chatted for a couple of hours.  They’re from Michigan and their son and his family are stationed here so they’re here to watch their grandson while his parents are at work.

Wednesday we stayed home and hung out.  We did a few odds and ends but not much.  I grilled steaks for dinner, which we enjoyed out on the patio.  After dinner we played a game of cribbage…I won.  Currently we are 1 and 1 with our cribbage championship.  LOL

Thursday we drove south 67 or so miles to Cincinnati.

2Ps and the Taft Historic Site

We didn’t leave home until 10:00ish and had a pleasant drive, arriving a little after 11:00 am.  Our first stop was the William Howard Taft National Historic Site.  This is the home that the 27th president of the United States was born and grew up in.

Neither of us knew much about Taft before arriving at the Historic Site but found out several things and were quite impressed.  Even though he only served one term (4 years) he accomplished quite a lot.  Did you know that he is the ONLY person to have ever served as the President of the United States as well as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court??  That’s a pretty high honor in my book.

Throwing out the first pitch of the 1910 baseball season.

Taft had several ‘firsts’ and even a ‘last’ while president.  He was the first president to open the baseball season by throwing out the first pitch in 1910.  He was the last president who’s family cow, Pauline Wayne, was kept at the White House.  She could be seen grazing on the lawn or on those of nearby public buildings.

We stopped in the Visitor’s Center first – getting our Passport book stamped, watching an interesting 14 minute video and then reading some of the displays.

A beautiful parlor room with several original pieces in it.

We were scheduled for a noon tour of the house.  A ranger took us on a brief tour of a few rooms of the house and then let us roam the rest of the home on our own.  It was quite nice as it was just the two of us so Michael got to ask all the questions he wanted…and believe me…he always has lots of questions!

2Ps in front of Arthur’s Cafe

By the time we were done at the Taft site we were getting pretty hungry so we made our way to Arthur’s Cafe.  Michael was looking for a burger so I did some searching on Yelp and came up with this place.  It was rated 4 stars with 309 reviews…not bad.

Michael ordered his burger while I went with fish and chips…both meals were very good and we enjoyed the atmosphere as well.  We took our time as we didn’t really have anywhere to be for several hours and it felt good to take our time and not rush.

The biggest reason we had ventured into Cincinnati was watch our Milwaukee Brewers play the Cincinnati Reds!  The Reds home field is The Great American Ball Park and is perched on the banks of the Ohio River which is also the border between Ohio and Kentucky.

John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge

The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge spans the Ohio River  in the area that we parked.  What a pretty sight.  It was about 4:30 pm when we parked and traffic was pretty heavy crossing back and forth between Cincinnati & Covington, Kentucky.

Parking is not easy for this particular ball park.  We’re used to a ball park having huge parking lots where you can tailgate before a game…not here.  The ball park is right downtown so you have to find street parking or parking in one of the various parking structures scattered around the area.

Brewers batting practice

We were lucky and found a place to park on the street about 2 1/2 blocks from the park.  Cost for this spot was $2.00 per hour until 9:00 pm when the fee was waived.  So…it cost us $8.00 to park…not bad.  PLUS…we got out with NO problems whatsoever…no traffic congestion, no delays…nothing.  Awesome.

2Ps ready to watch their boys play ball!

The Reds had won the first two games of the series and we were hoping that the Crew wouldn’t let them sweep the series.  No need to worry as our boys swung their bats like madmen!  They belted out 6 home runs and the final score ended up 11-3.  It’s always nice when your team wins while you’re in attendance!  Go Brewers!

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Air, Space & Air Stream

Monday 6/26

Monday was another sight-seeing day.  If you haven’t figured it out yet we try to do the majority of our sight-seeing during the week…less crowds.  And we try to spread things out with a few days at home in between.  Especially since we’re here for a month…no need to cram everything into one week.  We usually have two days a week that we hit the sights…and that works good for us.

I made some breakfast sandwiches before we hit the road and I also packed a light lunch of cheese, sausage, crackers and watermelon to enjoy while we were out.

Armstrong Air & Space Museum

About 8:15 am we headed out in the truck…north, 62 miles to Wapakoneta, Ohio the home of the Armstrong Air & Space Museum.  Wapakoneta is the birthplace of Neil Armstrong…so what better place to erect a museum bearing his name?

We arrived at opening time (9:30 am), paid the $8.00 per person admission and got busy.  Not a big museum but interesting enough that it took us a little more than two hours to tour.  The complex is designed to look like a moon base so it’s pretty cool to walk up to.

Here Michael is doing what he does best…Crashing and Burning!

There are quite a few ‘hands on’ displays…our favorite!  Plus several simulators…Michael’s like a 53-year-old kid when it comes to those!  He would never have made a good shuttle pilot as he crashed every time trying to dock!

About half way through the museum there’s a theater that does a really good job of chronically the landing of the Apollo 11 crew onto the moon.  Lots of real news footage that neither Michael or I have ever seen since we were just 5 and 3 at the time.

The view from Kelly’s Kitchen

There are a bunch of picnic tables outside the entrance to the museum and we utilized one to enjoy lunch at Kelly’s Kitchen.  Michael normally hunts down the one with the most shade but this time he was freezing as it was not quite 70 degrees outside and the wind was a bit brisk.  Poor guy ate his lunch so fast I had barely taken three bites before he was done and up and standing in the sun!

Neil Armstrong’s boyhood home

After lunch we took a quick trip over to Benton Street to check out the Armstrong family home.  Neil Armstrong and his parents lived there starting in 1944.  I believe his parents still lived there when their son made his mark on the moon.

Max’s Dairy Bar

We passed by an ice cream place on the way to the house so on the way back we stopped and got a couple of cones…one scoop for me…two for Michael….except that apparently the first scoop doesn’t count…so we got two scoops for me…and three for Michael!  Yikes….that was a LOT of ice cream!

The one picture we were allowed to take in the factory

Air Stream does factory tours at 2:00 pm Monday through Friday and we had plans to take today’s tour so we drove 15 miles southwest to the town of Jackson Center where we found the Air Stream factory after taking a bit of a detour due to road construction.

We arrived with about ten minutes to spare , found a parking space and went inside the service center to wait for the start of the tour.   (Tour is free)

We started from the service center.  Our tour guide, now retired, started working for Air Stream in 1961 (before Michael or I were born!) and I assume he worked there until retirement. He was very knowledgeable and informative.

My only complaint would be that he spoke much too softly.  We had a group of about 35 and if you happened to be at the back of that group or even in the middle it was nearly impossible to hear him.  AND if we were in the factory with all of the noise going on it WAS impossible.

Behind the service center there are rows of Air Stream units lined up waiting to be serviced…they’re about five weeks behind in their service area.

Wally Byam’s gold-plated Air Stream in for restoration

There were current units as well as much older units needing service.  One unit stood out though…rather than being silver it was gold.  Built in 1957, this was Wally Byam’s (Air Stream founder) personal unit.  In 1959 Wally and his wife took it to Africa on the famous ‘Capetown to Cairo tour’.

Our tour took us just about an hour and a half, snaking us through the factory, giving us a chance to watch the build process from beginning to end.  We were able to peek in windows and doors as workers did performed their various tasks inside and out.  Toward the end of the line we were even able to walk inside of one of the nearly completed units.  Very cool.

Our guide guesstimated that the smallest Air Streams (16 foot) sell for about $50,000 while the largest (33 foot) are in the $150,000 range. Wowza!

Back at the service center, we had the option to continue on across the street for a short tour of the plant that makes the Mercedes conversion van.  Of course, Michael wasn’t gonna turn that down.  Once again we walked in and around the assembly line while the employees (most of which were gone for the day) worked in the different areas.

Once again we were allowed to peak inside a couple of units and were even allowed to walk in one that was just about complete.  Very cool…but they’re small!

Good vittles right here

After our tours we headed south toward home but stopped for dinner in Tipp City.  I’d had dinner plans for  another restaurant in the area but found out that it had been damaged by a tornado back in May and wasn’t due to reopen until the next day…so thankfully our Heartland friend, Mark had recommended Hickory River Smokehouse.  We’ll try the other restaurant another time.

We both ordered our usual BBQ joint meals….ribs for me…brisket & ribs for Michael.  Sides:  mac & cheese and cole slaw for Michael…mac & cheese and green beans for me.  Each meal came with a ‘hunk’ of corn bread too.  We were both very happy with our meals and would definitely go back.  Not often that we found good BBQ up north…but they have it!

One of four mysterious Doomsday planes

After a long day we were ready to be home.  As we drove by the airfield on base we noticed a big plane on the runway.  It was easy to spot as there aren’t normally many aircraft hanging around other than the normal 4 or 5 Air Force      C-17s parked on the tarmac.

What we also noticed was that ‘United States of America’ was emblazoned on the side of the airplane.  At first we thought it might be Air Force One…but a quick Google search threw that theory out the window.

We continued on our way home and once home did some more research and Michael figured out that it was actually one of four ‘Doomsday’ planes that follow the president around in case of a nuclear attack.  Pretty interesting stuff.









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Annie Oakley & KitchenAid

June 22 & 23

Adding the new map back to the slide wall

We stayed home Thursday and didn’t do a whole lot.  Michael did work in the basement some…just organizing this to his liking mostly.  We kinda just threw stuff in its general home when we unpacked the U-Haul so we’ll have more of that kinda stuff to do.

Since Heartland replaced the side wall on our door-side slide we had to replace the decals that were on it and I finally got a chance to put our map up.

Lasagna assembly

I also tried a new Instant Pot recipe…lasagna!  I was a bit apprehensive as I’ve tried all kinds of different lasagna recipes over the years and was never really happy with any of them.  However…this one was very easy and turned out great…so much so that I’ll make it again…and probably again…  If you’re interested in the recipe, click HERE.

Friday we were out the door about 8:30 am as we were headed to Greenville, Ohio about 50 miles north.  Unfortunately, it started raining before we left home and pretty much rained all day.  Thankfully, much of our destinations were indoors so the rain didn’t dampen the day at all.

Annie Oakley – dubbed ‘Little Sure Shot’ by Sitting Bull

When we arrived in Greenville we stopped at Annie Oakley Memorial Plaza…just a small square on the center of town where the town has erected a statue of the tiny sharp shooter.  While Annie wasn’t born in Greenville she was born about 11 miles north in Brock…the town claims her as their own.

The Garst Museum opened at 10:00 am and we wanted to be there as close to that as possible so that we could see as much of it as possible before we need to be at the Kitchen Aid factory by 12:15 pm.

Michael could have spent a lot more time in the military area…

We arrived a few minutes before 10:00 am and waited for the rain to slow a bit before paying our $10.00 admission.  We were given a brief overview of the museum by the woman at the front desk and then began our self-guided tour.

The museum covers several different subjects:  Annie Oakley, the military, the Greenville Treaty, Lowell Thomas and Commander Zachary Landsdowne and the crash of the Airship Shenandoah.  They also have quite a few village rooms set up to reflect what they would have looked like in the early 1900s.

This just touches the surface of the artifacts and memorabilia to be found at the Garst Museum.  We could have spent quite a bit more time there but had an agenda to follow so had to speed things up a bit.

Just a small section of drive up wall…

Before moving on to the KitchenAid factory we stopped at the Maid-Rite Drive Through just down the street from the Museum.  I’d found this little hole in the wall on Roadside America but not so much because of the sandwiches but more because of the gum covered drive up wall.  I have to tell you it really isn’t an appetizing sight!

An Iowa Maid-Rite with cheese & pickles

We’d tried Maid-Rite sandwiches once before in Iowa…where I believe the originate.  It was several years ago and neither of us thought much of them but thought we’d give them another try.

This time around we both enjoyed them very much.  Just a ‘loose-meat’ sandwich on a bun with the option of adding cheese, mustard, onions and/or pickles…kinda like a sloppy joe without the sauce.

Michael got everything on his except for pickles and I went with just cheese and pickles.  We both agreed we’d get them again.  This place was more of a ‘mom & pop’ type place while the first time we had them was at more of a franchise…maybe that’s what made the difference?

Ready for our tour!

The KitchenAid tour was due to start at 12:30 pm but because so many people arrived (no reservations necessary) they had to break us up into two groups.

There was quite a bit of disorganization and confusion in trying to get another tour guide and helper wrangled but they finally made it happen.

Finally, after donning our headsets & safety goggles our tour started about 30 minutes late.  The gentleman who was our tour guide was very knowledgeable but spoke very fast, trying to get everything in in the allotted time, that it made the tour a bit of a downer for me.

There are currently 80 different colors for KitchenAid mixers!

It was still interesting to see all the parts and being able to see what they looked like before and after they went through paint.  I also decided that assembly line work was definitely not for me.  Workers were stacked one after the other and had 28 seconds to do whatever job it was they needed to do.

Interestingly enough neither Michael or I knew that KitchenAid has been around since 1919 and first started out as a door-to-door business.  Those first KitchenAid mixers weighed 65 pounds and cost $189.50!!

Annie is second from the left…the others are family members

After the tour, we headed north to the Brock Cemetery to pay our respects to Annie Oakley.  Definitely not a hard grave to find as it’s a small cemetery and Annie’s grave is very well marked.

By the time we got to the cemetery it was raining pretty hard so we donned some hats and made our way to the grave, took a few pictures and scurried back to the dry inside of the truck!


As we headed back to Dayton we made a stop for a United Dairy Farmers (UDF) malt.  Our friend, Donna, grew up in Ohio and told us we had to try one…so we did…chocolate for me, strawberry for Michael.  A nice treat to end our day.



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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.


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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