Springfield, IL

After being in Amish country (Elkhart, Shipshewana and Goshen since July 2, we pulled out of our site at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds just a few minutes after 9:00 am EST,  2 months after arriving in the area.   I was actually ready to head down the road for a change of scenery.  But, we’ll be back September 17th for one final rally in the area.

Ahhhh….nice quite country lane drive on a Sunday morning.

We chose to take ‘back roads’ rather than going through Gary, IN/Chicago, IL area which put about 20 more miles on our journey but it was well worth it.  I love the back roads.  So much more peaceful and better views.

Soy beans!

We were surrounded by cornfields and beans…however we weren’t quite sure what kind of beans we were seeing.  We kinda figured they were soy beans but weren’t sure.  At one point Michael stopped by the side of the road so I could get out and look.  No one but us were on the road…so why not!  Mystery solved…soy beans!

Pretty packed when we arrived

We arrived at the Illinois State Fairgrounds about 4:00 pm CST, just as a big motorcycle race finished up at the fairgrounds.  The park was pretty full but the guy at the office told us if we didn’t mind waiting about 30 minutes or so the place would clear out pretty quickly.  It didn’t clear out as fast as he said but it did clear out and he found us a site about 30 minutes in.

Illinois State Fairgrounds – site A24

I’d forgotten that the sites were pretty sloped but Mikey used the Level Up to manually level out the coach as best as he could and we retired inside to the air conditioning.  Michael went out in shifts to hook up the water and satellite dish as it was in the low 90s.

Monday we enjoyed the Labor Day holiday by not laboring.  We opted to go to see ‘Mama Mia, Here We Go Again’ at one of the theaters in Springfield.

The place cleared out quite a bit overnight!

After the movie we planned to tried one of the local favorites, D’arcy’s Pint.  The last time we were here we went to Charlie Parker’s for their famous horseshoes.  (Read about that visit HERE)

Unfortunately, D’arcy’s Pint was closed for Labor Day so we ended up at The Dublin Pub…just down the road.

While Charlie Parker’s serves more of a diner style menu (with horseshoes, of course) The Dublin Pub is a bit more eclectic serving burgers, steaks, taco salads, Irish fare, and of course the all important horseshoe (or ponyshoe for the smaller appetite).

Pot Roast Ponyshoe

While at Charlie Parker’s we both ordered the horseshoes…this time I went with another horseshoe (ponyshoe actually).  Last time I had the traditional way…with ham.  This time I opted to switch it up and went with a Pot Roast Ponyshoe.  It was very good – mild cheese sauce, tasty pot roast, onions, carrots and crispy fries.

Shepherd’s Pie

Last time Michael went with a hamburger horseshoe…this time he stuck with hamburger but switched it up a bit with an order of Shepherd’s Pie.  Michael is a ground beef lover and his choice didn’t disappoint.  He enjoyed it so much he was still talking about it on the way home!

The horse caved when they offered her hay!

Back at the fairgrounds we decided to take a quick trip around the fairgrounds and happened upon a man trying to load a horse into a trailer.  The horse wanted NOTHING to do with getting into that tin can and resisted the man’s attempts.  A man in a car in front of us got out of his car and sweet talked the horse into calming down a bit.  Then another man came out of nowhere with a bunch of hay and slowing walked the horse into the trailer.  Nice job!

Funny thing…when we first happened upon the scene, Michael’s first words were, ‘Get some hay’.  I married a wise man!  🙂

Tuesday it was back to the grind.  We enjoyed a nice quiet weekend and we ready to tackle the world!  Since we had nowhere to go I enjoyed a jammie day…nice to work from home and be able to do that!  We both were able to get caught up with our emails fairly easily and Michael’s phone didn’t ring off the hook…but it did ring!

Just about 5:00 pm our power went out and just a few minutes after it went out we had a knock at the door.  The park manager was here to tell us that our power was going to be shut off…for a couple of hours.  Mind you it was 95 degrees outside.  Luckily we have a generator and it kept us cozy for 3 hours before the power was restored.  Whew!

Tomorrow (Wednesday) we are back on the road headed to Ozark, Missouri for a few days.  Mostly we’ll chill but we do have tickets for show in Branson – let’s just hope we don’t forget!

 

 

 

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Grand Design National Rally

Grand Design has been, by far, our biggest customer since taking over Performance Trailer Braking last November and this was our busiest rally to date.

Monday we set up our booth in the vendor hall.  It worked out well since the same building was used for the FROG rally and we’d left all of our ‘stuff’ there so we didn’t have to do anything other than move it to our spot and set it up.  Although…it was HOT and HUMID…wow did we both do a lot of sweating before we were done.

After setting up the booth we inventoried all of the product we’d received (3 pallets) from Dexter while we were in Wisconsin with the kids.  We also inventoried the axles, leaf springs, u bolts, nuts etc we’d received for a couple of our customer at the rally.

Tuesday was the first official day of the rally and the first day we were to ‘man’ our booth…hours were 10:00 to 5:00 this day….the rest of the week it was 9:00 to 5:00.

A slow period…

To say we were busy would be an understatement.  Business was crazy…even out of hand at times.  I looked up at one point, in the morning, and people were standing six deep in front of our booth.  We had pre-sold thirteen kits before ever arriving at the rally and ended up having to turn people away as the installers were double booked nearly everyday.  Although we still had lots of interest and gained a lot of leads and were able to sell quite a bit of Morryde suspension upgrades.

After closing up shop at 5:00 pm we stopped by three trailers to get measurements, take pictures of axle tags and check for Correct Track.  We had ‘regular’ work to do when we got home and ended up eating dinner about 8:00 pm.

Nice turn out

Wednesday was still busy…but nothing like the day before.  Michael had his seminar in the afternoon and he had an awesome turn out…biggest crowd so far.  It was also very conveniently located in the same building as our booth.  The building is a large open building that they divided in half with a curtain and our booth was right on the other side of the curtain from where his seminar was…great for set up!

Philly Cheese Steak yumminess

That even we were blessed to share another meal with Eric and Dorothy before they were due to leave town.  We met at the South Side Soda Shop and every one of us ordered a Philly Cheesesteak of some sort.  As usual, we had a wonderful visit with two of our favorite people.

We’d all been there in the past.  The last time Michael and I were there was July of 2013 and while we enjoyed our meals we weren’t overly enthused.  However, this time (maybe it was the company?) we both enjoyed them much more.  You can read about that visit HERE.

What our feeble brains remembered to do rather than go see Three Dog Night!

Thursday night we had tickets to see Three Dog Night at the Blue Gate Theater in Shipshewana.  Believe it or not…we forgot to go!  I remembered a couple of days before…but didn’t remember again until Friday morning when I realized it was August 31st and our tickets were for August 30th.  What a bummer…and who knows if we’ll ever get the chance to see them again!

When we should have been preparing to head to the concert we were roaming the fairgrounds hunting down trailers that we needed to get measurements, axle tag pictures and check for Correct Track.  I guess we can look at it as we were still together…however, we were both so crabby that I think we’d rather not have been together at that point.  We ended up checking seven trailers that night.

Not bad for a free lunch!

One of the really nice things about this rally was that the vendors were provided lunch from an area restaurant every day…free of charge.  It was an Italian restaurant so everything was Italian themed: meatballs, pasta, caprese, pizza, salads, antipasti, etc.  Although one day we had sliders and wings.  Everything was very good.

Friday was a short day….1:00 pm and it wasn’t too busy at all though we still had plenty of business and even sold a couple of heavy-duty shackle/wet bolt kits.  We were packed up and home about 2:30…even after stopping at one trailer to get the information we need from underneath.

Saturday morning a good portion of he rally attendees pulled out and hit the road.  Michael ended up helping the installer trouble shoot a previous customer’s issues.  He’d had his brakes installed back in April and has having some issues.  They ended up determining that he had a bad pump, installed a new one and he was on the road.

While he worked on that (plus all of his regular pre-travel day chores AND packed up all of our vendor booth display junk) I worked on cleaning up the inside of the house (sweeping, dusting, cleaning sinks, mirrors and laundry).

All this chaotic mess for 2 pounds of bacon!

I also made a run to Shipshewana to get groceries at E&S and then a stop at Yoder Meat and Cheese before heading back home.  Wow…not a good day to go to Shipshe.  One cashier at Yoder’s told me that Tuesday, Wednesday (flea market days) and Saturday’s are the busiest days.  I’ve been to Shipshe on Tuesday and Wednesday but I don’t think they held a candle to Saturday.  People everywhere…hard to get down aisles and a long wait to check out.  No more Saturday shopping in Shipshewana for me!

We’ll be leaving Amish country on Sunday to head toward Norman, OK where our warehouse is located.  We’ll be there about a week before heading back to Goshen for the Montana rally.  We’ll make stops in Springfield, IL and Ozark, MO before getting to Norman.

We’re looking forward to a little down time.

 

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Whew! The Grandbabies Wore Us Out!

I am SO far behind…bare with me…

The movie was in 3D…aren’t we cool?

Tuesday 8/21 we snuck away and saw the movie Alpha….great movie!  Go see it!

On Wednesday we had plans to travel to Wisconsin to spend a long weekend with the boys and their families before another rally started on 8/27.

Nice office…we’ll come back here if ever needed again

Before leaving town we had to drive over to Shipshewana for a dental appointment for Michael.  This was the follow up to his brief visit a few weeks earlier.  This time they pulled his broken tooth and it went much smoother than the last time (3 hours!) he had to have a tooth pulled.  We were in and out of the office in less than 45 minutes and Michael had very little discomfort and no issues in the following days.  Thank you, Lord.

Chicago traffic – ugh

We left for Wisconsin (leaving the coach at the fairgrounds) right from the dentist’s office and made good time, experiencing only one slow down as we passed through/by Chicago.

 

Not real clear…but you get the idea. Look at the 7 year old go!

The trip took about 5.5 hours and got us there in time to do a little work before heading over to the gym so we could watch out oldest granddaughter private gymnastics lesson.  Her coach just happens to be her Auntie Amanda so that works out quite nicely.  I am so impressed with the great strides Paityn has made in her gymnastics just since we last saw her practice in May.

Go Cameron Go!

From Paityn’s lesson we rushed over to Mt. Horeb where we watched Paityn’s brother’s (Cameron) flag football practice.  These are kindergarten and first graders so they’re just learning the ins and outs of the sport.  Once again the coach is someone we know quite

well…our oldest son, Zack…Cameron’s Papa!

We were home (Dan and Amanda’s house) in time to share dinner with Dan and his family…Amanda made spaghetti (my mama’s recipe!).  It wasn’t long after dinner that everyone hit the hay…we were all pooped!

The smile is worth a million bucks!

Thursday was grandbaby #4’s (Ben) fifth birthday.  Several month ago I asked Ben what I should get him for his birthday and he said, “A statue of Mickey and Me for my bedroom’.  (Yikes!)  Then I asked, “What happens if I can’t find that?”  His answer?  “I’ll be VERY sad”.  Oh man…nothing like putting the pressure on.

We ended up finding a Mickey figurine that has a balloon bouquet with a clip to hold a picture.  With the help of his mom I got a picture of Ben and attached it to the figurine.  Ben was happy and that’s what counts!

My therapy partners

I needed a little ‘away from PTB’ time so Amanda and I worked a small 300 piece jigsaw puzzle with the help of grandbaby #2, Alex.  It may not seem like much but it was what I needed to unwind.  Thank you, Amanda and Alex!

Zoe got to join the ‘big’ girls in their floor routine.

That afternoon/evening we were on the go again when both of our princesses had gymnastics.  At 4:30, Paityn had her regular gymnastics class and then at 5:30, Zoe (our 2.5 year old) had her class.  Zoe was SO good as she sat in the audience chairs and watched her cousin’s practice.  A couple of times she thought Paityn was done and she got up and said, “Paityn’s done. My turn!”  I was really surprised at how well she followed her coaches instructions when it was finally her turn!

Ben’s Birthday Crowd

After gymnastics we all headed over Pizza Ranch (Ben’s choice) to celebrate Ben’s birthday together.  We were joined by Amanda’s parents (Ben’s Nana Jo Jo and Papa).  We were given a party room of our own to sit the thirteen of us.  We enjoyed our meals, sang ‘Happy Birthday’ and watched Ben blow out his candles.

That’s Zoe on the left

Friday morning started out with Amanda, Zoe and I heading over to a different gym so that Zoe could attend her first dance class of this season.  She’d gone to another class with the same teacher previously but wasn’t real into it.  This time she did GREAT!  Once again, she followed directions really well and did just what was asked of her!

Puzzle #2!

Work was kinda slow so Amanda and I had a chance to work another 300 piece puzzle…no help from Alex this time!  I sure do find those relaxing and calming!

Spoons!

Zack was off for a ‘man’ weekend of Fantasy Football drafting on Friday so the rest of us got together at Dan and Amanda’s for dinner (walking tacos) and a couple of games of Spoons.  It had been a long time since any of us had played and it was still has fun and hilarious as it was when I was a teenager.  There was lots of spoons flying and injuries from fingernails but we had a good time.

We also played a couple of rounds of Telestrations with Paityn (#1) and Alex (#2) before Kelsea and the kids went home and the rest of us went to bed.  Paityn and Alex are both learning to read to this is a good game for them to be able to play with us as it involves a little reading and drawing.  Fun stuff!

Alex getting the hand off and running for the TD!

Saturday morning we had another grandbaby event to attend.  Ben and Alex had football practice at a local park.  None of our family happened to be coaching this time though.  However, the coaches really did a nice job working with these kindergarten and first graders.

Go Ben Go!

Ben’s still not quite sure what to do so he needed a little extra encouragement.  Alex on the other hand followed direction well and did what he was asked/told to do.

Super Nana and Super Papaw!

Saturday was Ben’s birthday party with his friends, so there were about 16 or so kids (including all 5 of our grand babies) along with most of their parents in attendance.  There was a bouncy house, a pinata, snacks, presents, silly string and lots of fun.  Unfortunately, it was super humid to the point of being nearly unbearable at times.  Ben’s party was super hero themed so most guest either showed up with a super hero shirt on or brought a super hero gift.  Nana and Papaw ‘made’ shirts to join

Four of our five sweet babies….Ben was hiding…again. He will only allow pictures when he wants to!

the theme!

After the party finished up, Dan left to join Zack at the Fantasy Football draft party while the girls, the babies and us went to Olive Garden for dinner.  We had a really nice time and Michael and I realized how truly blessed we are with the wives our boys have chosen.  The boys weren’t even with us but the girls still wanted to spend time with us.  Can’t really ask for much more than that.

Sunday we had to say goodbye to our loves and head back to Goshen, Indiana for the Grand Design National Rally.  We made it back home about 3:00 pm, got unpacked and everything put away and even had a few minutes to relax before we were out the door again.

Our lives are definitely richer with these two in it!

We met our wonderful friends, Eric & Dorothy for dinner at Texas Roadhouse in Elkhart.  They’re here to have some work done on their trailer and we were lucky enough to spend time with them.  We  enjoyed our meals but enjoyed our time with these two special people WAY more.

By the time we got home that evening we were exhausted.  But it was a good exhausted.  Seeing the grandbabies (and the parents) and attending their various events was worth every second.

 

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FROG Rally

Nestled into site 178 (on Harley Hill) for 3 weeks.

We arrived at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds about 10:30 am Sunday 8/12 after a rigorous 17 mile trip.  We got backed into our full hook up site on Harley Hill and got mostly set up and then had a quick lunch (cheese, sausage, crackers) before heading over to the vendor hall to get registered and to set up our booth.

We got most everything ready to go but forgot our PTB sign and a couple of other small clerical items.  Plus Michael needed a hub & rotor to use for our display.  No biggie as we just got everything finished up Monday morning before the vendor hall opened at 9:00 am.

We spent the rest of the afternoon finishing getting the coach snuggled in (set up the satellite dish), did some laundry and worked on getting our flyers ready for the week.

The FROG rally is a VERY large rally with anywhere from 625 – 800 rigs in attendance.  Forest River covers the gambit of RVs – 5th wheels, travel trailers, Class As, Class Cs, etc.  And brands include Cardinal, Cedar Creek, R-Pod, Georgetown, Wolf Pack, Rockwood, Riverstone, etc etc etc.   We only had three kits pre-sold before the rally and sold another the day we arrived.

Michael chatting with a ‘FROG’ attendee.

Monday was our first day manning our booth in the vendor hall.  Hours were 9-4 and the second the clock struck 9:00 we were busy!  Yikes!  We had lots of people stop by with questions and sold 3 kits in the first few hours.

While I ‘womaned’ the booth Michael did a bunch of running around at various points…finding a customer axle order that was delivered last week, checking out an order we received from our warehouse, running to the office to pick up mail and pay for our stay, running lug nuts over to the installer, picking up our lunch from the vendor lunch area.

On top of all that…it was Monday and we had our normal very busy day with our regular customers calling and emailing and needing assistance with this or that.  Then we were also fielding questions from our RV dealer in Texas regarding our possible new coach order.  Whew!  Talk about an exhausting day.

<3 Heartland family <3

However, the day ended on a great note as we met Heartland friends Jim & Nancy and Dan & Karen for dinner at Heinnie’s in Elkhart.  It was prime rib night so 5 of the 6 of us ordered that while Michael, who’s not big on prime rib, went with a filet.  Dinner was delicious but spending time with friends we don’t see often enough was even better.

Tuesday was a much more manageable day.  Although we still had some running around to do.  Dexter picked up some axles that were double shipped and Michael had to meet them and help them get loaded.  He also had his seminar at noon which was actually pretty sad in my opinion…he had about 7 attendees and considering that there are over 600 rigs here…wow…that’s kinda underwhelming.

The factory tours started on Tuesday so more seasoned vendors were saying that that was part of the reason for the downshift in customer traffic.  And that turned out to be pretty accurate.  While we still had plenty of visitors to the booth the times when tours were going on definitely had less traffic.

Waiting in the lunch line!

Forest River offered vendors a chance to purchase a ‘packet’ of lunch tickets for $50.  Five tickets good for lunch each day of the vendor days.  We purchased two packets and it turned out to be a great idea.  The food was provided by Nelson’s who caters our Heartland rallies and the food was very good.  We had a variety of meals – pulled pork sandwiches, bbq ribs, chicken, tacos & fajitas and smoked sausage.  Each meal was accompanied by tasty sides – green bean casserole, strawberry & pecan salad, baked beans, cole slaw, refried beans, rice, etc.  Plus we received dessert and a drink.

It worked out well, in that, in the evenings we just had a light dinner – frozen pizza, soup, sandwich, etc.

We had one of the vendors make badges for us!

Wednesday after vendor hours (9-4) Michael took most of the remaining items that needed to be installed over to John (mostly MorRyde) items while I finished up a little paper/computer work at home.  Then we spent the rest of the night relaxing…something we hadn’t really been able to do up until the point.  It was very nice.  🙂

It started raining late Wednesday night and Thursday was overcast, drippy and foggy all day long.  It had been hot and humid all week so that help bring the temps down a bit but it was still pretty humid.  Thankfully the building we were in had large garage doors on each end that were left open and lots of overhead fans going that helped move the air around a bit.

Michael and Randy discussing business

Friday morning we received a surprise visit from our Dexter sales rep, Randy.  He hung out with us a bit, went over some upcoming changes and even went with Michael to deliver some parts to the installer.  We’ll being getting together at some point so Michael can see how they bench test the Brakerite actuator so that Michael can better understand the process so that he can better help customers troubleshoot any issues they may be having.

The vendor hall closed at 1:00 pm on Friday and we were lucky enough to be able to pack our stuff up and just store it in a corner of the hall so that it’s there when it comes time to set up for the next rally…the Grand Design National rally which starts August 27th.  We were done tearing down and were on our way home by about 2:00 pm.

The rally officially ended on Saturday and we watched lots of attendees as well as vendors pull out of the fairgrounds headed to their next destinations.

Saturday was a quiet one for us.  Michael suggested I take a ‘jammie day’ and who am I to turn him down!?  I did minimal work and enjoyed watching a ‘Jesse Stone’ marathon on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries channel.  While I lounged inside, Michael did his favorite thing outside…he putzed…you know…he pulled things out of the basement, sorted through them and then put them back inside again…all while watching the basement TV.

 

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KZ Rally

Sunday was the first official day of the KZ rally but most people were still arriving.  They had a Meet & Greet in the evening to start things off.

Mid afternoon we were just about to head out the door to hunt down Walter, the rally organizer, and someone knocked on our door.  Guess who?  LOL!  It was Walter.  He introduced himself and we discussed the rally happenings.  We found out that this is just the second year for this way and that they were only expecting about 22 rigs (last year they had 10!)  Last year PTB was here but didn’t sell any kits, this year we had two kits sold before the rally began.  I’d say that those are some pretty big improvements over last year.

Nice manageable group size

Michael did his seminar on Monday afternoon at 2:00 pm.  I thought we might not have many in attendance when there was only one gentleman there at 2:00 pm but we ended up with a total of 10…which isn’t bad when you only have 22 rigs!  We didn’t really have a whole lot interested in disc brakes but several had suspension related questions.

That afternoon we were surprised to find that our Heartland friends, Bob & Connie had pulled into a site just down a bit from ours.  They were only here for an overnight but Michael and I both went over and visited briefly since they still hadn’t finished setting up.  It’s been several years since we’d seen them but the brief visit was nice.

Lake Shipshewana?

It stormed starting about 8:15 pm and it rained HARD and got pretty windy.  Poor Michael had to go out in the middle of it to unhook the awning from the ground as he had the sun shade bungeed to some stakes.  He came in absolutely soaked.

It rained again Tuesday afternoon…no thunder or wind this time but it rained really hard again…we were left with a small lake in front of our steps that had to be hurdled if you didn’t want wet feet.

I never get tired of this…

Tuesday was pretty quiet rally wise.  Most of the rally goers went on a tour at MorRyde so there wasn’t much left here.  We took advantage of that and Michael went with me to E&S to pick up some groceries and then stopped at Ben’s Pretzels for a snack on the way home.

Dean & Cheri

We went out for dinner with Dean & Cheri at the 5 and 20.  Dean and Cheri were here to get disc brakes installed but they also happen to be part of our Heartland family.  Cheri attended my Instant Pot Seminar at the Heartland National Rally last summer and we’ve been following each other on Facebook ever since.

We had a nice visit over dinner.  Dean and Cheri just started fulltiming in November and are enjoying themselves so far.  We know quite a few of the same people so we had fun catching up.

I’ve had better…

I finally got my Turkey Manhattan (and so did Dean & Cheri) as it’s the special on Tuesday nights at the 5 and 20.  It was ok…but it could have been warmer and I would like the turkey to have been thinly sliced rather than being chunks.  Oh well.

Apparently it looks better than it tasted. 🙁

Michael ordered the fish…some kind of white fish, he says, but he wasn’t real impressed.  He said it was edible…but that’s about it.  LOL  Can’t wait to have a fish fry in Wisconsin soon!  LOL

It rained again on Wednesday.  We had some axle tag pictures to get and were waiting for it to dry up some so Michael was rolling around in the mud but it rained again while we waited so he ended up having to crawl around in the mud after all.  Thankfully, it wasn’t too bad under the coaches…just getting under while dodging puddles was the tricky part.

Our Wednesday was actually more like a typical Monday…lots of phone calls and emails to work through and then we also had quite a few people stop by inquiring about disc brakes and suspension kits.  The rally folks had gone to MorRyde for a tour the day before and Gary had sent anyone interested in upgrading their suspensions to us.

Enchiladas

By the time we ended up finishing up getting the tags and talking with customers it was pretty late and I just didn’t feel like throwing our dinner on the grill so we ended up going out (we gotta stop that!).  We decided to try something different so we went to El Zoritto Mexican Restaurant on the other end of town.

Chicken & Beef Nachos

We were surprised to find 6 Amish buggies in the parking lot when we arrived and found that of the 5 tables that were occupied in the restaurant…5 of them were filled with Amish customers.

Michael got the same thing he always gets…enchiladas and I ordered nachos.  Everything was good…not spectacular but you have to take into consideration what part of the country we’re in.  I think we’d go back if we got a hankering for more Mexican food.

Michael broke a tooth a few weeks ago and finally ended up going to the dentist on Thursday.  The tooth was one that had had a crown on it and just broke off right at the gum line and since it had had a root canal who knows how long ago it didn’t give him any pain…thank goodness.

All they did at that appointment was to evaluate and make a new appointment for 8/22 to have the remaining part of the tooth extracted.

Repair in progress

A couple of days ago when I was washing dishes me feet got wet!  I looked down to find a rapidly expanding puddle coming from under the island and when I opened the cabinet under the sink found water dripping from above.

Michael got a chance to look at it on Thursday and found that the plumbers putty and seal had deteriorated enough to allow water to get by.  He applied new putty and a new seal and we’re back in business.

The boys were excited for their first real camping experience.

Dan, Amanda, Alex, Ben and Zoe came to visit (and camp) Thursday evening.  They got here about 8:30 pm and made quick work of putting up a tent within minutes.  It had rained quite hard before they arrived and our coach was on a little island within our site.  Luckily, where their site was they were wet, of course, but no standing water.  We visited until about 10:00 pm and then everyone headed for bed.

Friday morning we all ended up meeting our new friends/customers Mike and Tina at Rise ‘n Roll for breakfast.  We did some visiting, enjoyed our breakfast, tried some samples and then parted ways.  Mike & Tina off to bum around, Michael and Dan off to pick up some parts at MorRyde and Amanda, the kids and myself back to the campground.

This years quilt garden at the Dutch Country Market

However, we stopped at the Heritage Creamery and Dutch Country Market to sample some cheese and honey treats.  I picked up a couple of items at the creamery and Amanda picked up a couple at the Dutch Country Market.  Amanda also filled up her gas tank and then it was back home to wait for the boys to arrive.

While it was pretty humid…the fire actually felt pretty good.

We took the rest of the day kinda easy.  Did a little work, DnA and the kids went to look for a lake to go swimming (no such luck), played some Spades, grilled a couple of meals and ended the evening at one of the communal fire pits.  It took quite a while to get the fire to finally stay lit but when it did Dan made popcorn, chocolate chip cookies and apple pie pudgie pies over the fire.  Oh!  And don’t forget the s’mores!

The kids LOVED ‘investigating’ the rocks on the area behind their tent.

On Saturday I had a few errands to run and Dan, Amanda and the kids enjoyed me while Michael stayed home to hold down the fort.  I needed to get some donuts from Rise ‘ Roll (Sunday breakfast), pick up some Bees Wax from Dutch Country Market (they were closed), pick up some bacon from Yoder Meat & Cheese and then pick up a couple of items at E&S for dinner.

Since Dan and Amanda hadn’t been to Yoder’s or E&S they did a little shopping (and sampling) at both places.  I also picked up lunch from E&S for Michael (sandwich) and I (salad).  We were both very pleased with our choices so I’m sure that we’ll be going back in the future.

Enjoying some time with the babies while their mom & dad finished packing up.

We had a communal meal again for dinner (pork tenderloin, grilled potatoes and grilled zucchini) which turned out quite tasty.  After dinner I went home to do the few dishes we had, do a little pack and then relax while the everyone else went back over to the communal fire pit to enjoy some more treats (popcorn, apple pudgie pies and pudgie pie chocolate chip cookies).  I was in bed by the time the babies came in to give me bed time hugs and kisses.

Sunday morning was time to part ways.  The Verona Barnett’s headed home to Wisconsin while Michael and I headed 17 miles down the road to the Elkhart County Fairgrounds  where we’ll be set up for 3 weeks and two rally’s – the FROG (Forest River Owners Group) and the Grand Design National.

 

 

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Shipshe Flea Market, a Birthday Party and Stolen

Tuesday morning we decided to go out for breakfast at the 5 and 20 which is just a mile or so south of the campground.  We ended up with the same waitress we had for dinner a few nights before, Liz.  Liz is a young Amish woman, very friendly.  She even sat down with us for a short while and chatted about things.  Here husband is a logger and does a lot of traveling so she tries to keep herself busy between waitressing, babysitting and taking care of their farm.

While we were out we stopped at E&S to pick up a few groceries and then went over to Yoder’s Meat & Cheese for some bacon.

Yoder’s Red Barn Shops

We’d never been to the shops at Yoder’s so we decided to mosey through and check them out…saw some beautiful furniture but thankfully we can’t fit a table for 14 in our 5th wheel.  After browsing the shops we figured we might as well walk around the flea market which is right behind Yoder’s and only runs on Tuesday’s and Wednesdays.

We actually found a few Christmas gifts and a few other trinkets at the flea market.  It sprinkled a bit while we walked around but the temperature was fairly moderate so it was pretty pleasant.

We finally picked up the bacon on our way to the truck and ended up getting back home about 3:00 pmish.  That was one LONG breakfast!  🙂

Not an uncommon sight in Indiana Amish Country

When we got home I put some ribs in the Instant Pot and then finished them off on the grill.  While they were cooking I firmed up some reservations for our travels once we leave this are the first part of September.

While it only sprinkled a little bit during the day it rained pretty good that evening…I just love cuddling up at home with the sound of the rain on the roof.  Ahhhh

We made another trip into Elkhart on Wednesday to pick up a couple of suspension items for a couple of customers.  While in town we also picked up a few items at Walmart and saw the newest Mission Impossible movie.  Michael enjoyed it but it was just ‘okay’ for me.  Tom Cruise is getting old and so are all the dramatics that go with a Mission Impossible moves.

Mincho with his little sister Ivanka and his Uncle John John and Aunt Courtney

Thursday we spent a couple of hours over at John and Barbara’s (our installers) helping them celebrate their grandson, Mincho’s, 4th birthday.  Mincho’s father is from Bulgaria and Mincho is a family name.  This is one of the cutest and smartest little guys I’ve ever met.  He reads and spells…not a lot of just turned 4-year-old can do that.

Friday we had tickets to see ‘Stolen’ at the Blue Gate Theater.  It was a musical and done very well.  We really enjoyed it.  The cast was all very good but of course there were a couple of stand outs who did an excellent job of acting and/or singing.

This production was head and shoulders above the last one we saw (Don’t Kick the Turkeys).  We’ve been to a couple of plays at the Blue Gate before and they were always good.  We’d never been to a play at Heritage Hall and I’d have to think about going again.  It was reasonable enough so that would be one plus to get us to go back.

Saturday the bottom fell out and we were inundated with ‘last minute’ customers wanting to have installs done at the Grand Design National rally at the end of this month.  The rally is just 5 days long and we already had 6 installs scheduled and then had 9 new customers contact us about getting installs done.  We’re trying to get them all worked in as John and his son plan on doing two installs a day.

I guess the rally organizers sent out a newsletter with the information in it and that’s why we were bombarded…yikes!

The KZ rally starts tomorrow (8/5) and we have a few installs scheduled but not too many.  Michael has a seminar on Monday afternoon but we haven’t heard much from the rally organizers so don’t really know what to expect.  We’ll just see how it goes.

 

 

 

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A Week in Amish Country

We had a really nice week which allowed us time to visit with friends…new and old.

Sunday 7/22

We had a knock on our door and the gentleman on the other side of it introduced himself as ‘Ricky’, someone who followed our blog and also was a Heartland Owner.  His wife was out in the truck and Ricky went and got here and they both came inside and we visited for a couple of hours.

Very good…and easy too!

It turns out that they’re from the Houston area and are actually in our chapter (we have over 200 rigs in our chapter and just don’t know all the names!).  They love the Amish and at the spur of the moment decided to come to this area for a quick getaway.  We had a really nice visit and hoped we’d see them again before they left.

I tried a new recipe for Grilled Pineapple Chicken for dinner that night and it turned out really good…we’ll definitely have it again sometime.

Monday 7/23

Monday didn’t seem nearly as busy as our typical Monday but maybe that was because we’d been so busy the previous week that even Monday seemed tame in comparison.

We ended up not having breakfast until 11:00 am as we had quite a few people stop by to chat or ask questions.  One of our visitors was Ricky (from the night before) who stopped by to ask if we’d be interested in having dinner together.

After breakfast I went over to E&S to pick up some groceries…mostly fresh produce and a few fresh-baked pieces of pie and home-made cookies.  We’ve gotten to the point where we enjoy a sweet treat in the evening while we watch TV.

Our new friends…Ricky & Rose

Ricky and Rose came by about 5:00 pm and we drove south to Topeka where Tiffany’s Restaurant is located.  We’d been there three years before on the recommendation of our friends Dan & Karen and enjoyed it.  It’s just a small restaurant with good home-cooking and is popular with the local Amish community.

Michael’s skimpy chicken…

Michael and I ordered just the opposite of what we did three years ago…Michael went with fried chicken and I had the beef Manhattan.  I really enjoyed my meal…very good flavors.  Michael was served the smallest pieces of chicken in history I think.

…my yummy Manhattan

Our dinner spanned nearly 2 hours and we had a lot to discuss and learn about each other.  Rose is very quiet but Ricky takes up her slack.  He was filled with questions about full-timing and how to go about doing things.  I think Ricky would like to travel more but Rose enjoys being near her family so their trips are on the shorter side but they seem to enjoy their travels…and that’s all that really matters!

Tuesday 7/24

We got a treat in the middle of the day when we took a couple of hours off to meet friends Mel & June at Amy’s Pizza on the north side of Shipshewana.

Mel and June!

We met Mel and June two summers ago when we all workamped at Anderson Cove Campground in Huntsville, Utah.  June and I had a bit of a rough start but by the end of the summer we worked together really well.

I enjoyed the pizza while it was hot…not so much as leftovers

We were both surprised when we found out on Facebook that we were both in Shipshewana!  Once we figured it out we quickly made plans to get together.  I’d heard that Amy’s was good and when June said that pizza was one of Mel’s favorite things…it was a no brainer!

Once again, our meal last for a couple of hours and we had a good visit catching up on the last two years.  Mel and June spent the summer of 2017 in Alaska and have purchased a new camper since we last saw them so we had a lot to go over!

Wednesday 7/25

We made plans to go into Elkhart (about 20 miles west) on Monday to run a few errands and see a movie.  However, before leaving town we decided to stop for breakfast at the Wana Cup.  Michael got his normal (eggs, bacon, hashbrowns & pancakes) but I tried a breakfast ‘Amish Haystack’.  If you’ve been following my blog long you’ve heard of Amish Haystacks for dinner (taco meat with a bunch of fixings)…so of course I was curious about a Breakfast Haystack.

Yummy!

The Breakfast Haystack starts with biscuits that are smothered with eggs, diced ham, diced green pepper & onion (cooked) and hashbrowns that is all covered with gravy and topped with a touch of shredded cheese.  Very good…but a LOT of food…definitely should have gone with the half order.

Part of the product we picked up…Michael had already started loading it in the truck.

After breakfast we headed into Elkhart where our first stop was MorRyde so that we could pick up some product to have on hand for our next few rallies.  We were met by Gary, who had everything ready for us so we could just load it into the truck.

Then it was a fairly quick stop at Walmart to pick up a few items before heading over to the movie theater to watch the movie ‘Tag’.  The movie is based on a true story of friends who have been playing ‘Tag’ since they were in school…over 30 years.  They live all over the country and have all kinds of different professions so the game takes on some pretty funny twists as they dress up on custom to sneak up on their prey.  The game is only played one month out of the year but many of them use the rest of the year to plot and plan.  Good movie!

Thursday 7/26

We met a gentleman at the Redwood rally who we really seemed to click with.  He and his wife are from Texas, he’s a retired police officer and they have been fulltiming for several years.  While discussing disc brakes we decided we really should get together.

Michael and I and Mike & Tina

Thursday we picked Mike & Tina up and we drove the half mile or so to the 5 and 20 Restaurant.  I, once again, ordered the beef Manhattan and enjoyed it….not sure which I preferred…but I’m leaning toward the one at Tiffany’s.  The rest of the group went with the buffet which held, pork chops, ribs, fried chicken, macaroni & cheese, stuffing, potatoes, creamed peas, etc.  They all seemed to enjoy it so I’d say it was a success.

As usual, our dinner turned into a 2+ hour event that we thoroughly enjoyed.  Since we’re similar in age we had a lot of commonalities besides RVing so we had a lot to talk about.  Our kids are close in age which means our grandbabies are too.  Plus, their daughter lives near where we did a lot of gate guarding and they stay at an RV park where we had our last rally!  Small world.

Friday 7/27

Ahhhh….my happy place

Michael and I did a little organizing of product in the shed where the campground is nice enough to let us store our things while we’re here.  We had another shipment arriving that day so we wanted to be ready when it got here.

That’s a big truck to carry two little axles!

Later that afternoon we were surprised when we got a phone call from a Dexter delivery driver who was bringing us an order of axles.  A couple of reasons we were surprised.  1.  The promise date on the order wasn’t until 7/31…4 days EARLY!  2.  We never expected Dexter to make the delivery…it’s always been by FedEx in the past.  Turns out that since the factory that made these axles is just 40 miles away they just have their driver deliver.

Saturday 7/28

I’ve reserved tickets for us to attend a couple of different events while we’re in this area and Saturday was our first event.  We saw a play at the Essenhaus’ Heritage Hall called Don’t Kick the Turkeys.  It was a comedy and have good moments of laughter in it.

Three of the actors during one of the scenes.

Not to sound rude and uppity but I thought it was pretty amateurish.  I didn’t expect Shakespearean actors but I did expect a bit more.  We’ve been to a LOT of plays…professional and non-professional.  NYC plays, high school plays, college plays, community plays, etc so I don’t think I’m being too critical.  However, it seemed like the majority of the audience enjoyed the play and the acting and that’s what really counts.

However, I will say that there were a few points in the play where some of the actors sang….and wow…what beautiful voices they had.

Running Performance Trailer Braking is a lot of work…(somehow Michael didn’t realize it would be before we started) but we really are having fun…meeting so many great people.  We have been so blessed being able to spend time with old friends and making new friends.  We have three rallies in the month of August and I can only imagine the fun we’ll have!

 

 

 

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Redwood National Rally

Is this the one??

We started our week off with a visit to the Heartland corporate office in Elkhart to meet with Andy W so he could walk through a coach with a floor plan we’re interested in.  There aren’t many out there yet but he had a couple on the factory lot for us to take a look at.

While Michael and Andy discussed possible changes/updates to certain things I did some measuring of cabinets and storage spaces so I could plan ahead if this happens to be the coach we move forward on.

Hi John!

We were a few minutes early for our meeting with Andy so I messaged John who used be my ‘boss’ when I was blogging for Heartland to see if he was available for a quick ‘hello’.  He was and came out to the lobby where we visited for a few minutes before he headed back to work and we joined Andy for our meeting.

Back at the campground, Michael and I walked around to a few coaches so that Michael could take some axle tag pictures.  We ended up parting ways for the last one…Michael went on his own and I headed home.  On my way, I heard my name called and looked around to see who was calling me.  I figured it was one of the Redwood owners I’d met since being here…but it was coming from a woman in a Montana…hmmm.  I had NO earthly idea who she was.

Sandra and her husband (I forgot to ask his name!)

Come to find out, Sandra W., has been following my blog for a couple of years and knew we were going to be at this park and happened to see me walking by.  Sandra started following the blog back in 2016 when we were workamping at Anderson Cove Campground and continues to follow.  Her husband even realized who we were when he said, ‘Oh!  You’re the ones with the disc brake business.’  LOL  Seems she follows a few blogs and that was the easiest way for him to figure out which blog writer I was.

I’m SO glad Sandra stopped me!  I just wished she’d have said something earlier so we’d have had a bit more time to get to know each other as they were leaving the next morning.

Anyway…’Hi Sandra!  Safe travels to you.  Holler if we’re in the same area again!’

We’ve had a pretty darn busy week.  Tuesday I created a bunch of invoices for our upcoming Grand Design National rally next month along with regular customer invoices.

Wednesday Michael had the first seminar of the week starting at 9:15.  It was actually a combined disc brake and tire seminar that he zipped through in about an hour and fifteen minutes…he’d been allotted an hour and a half, so he did good!

The sign helped rope them in since we were kinda hidden behind a tree!

After a seminar business usually picks up and this was no exception.  People seemed to flock to our site, where we had a small display set up under the awning.  Customers inquired about disc brakes, suspension systems, tires, bearings, tire gauges, caliper bolts.  It was crazily awesome. We worked until nearly 10:00 pm that night getting everything squared away.

We had three installs scheduled before we ever arrived for this rally and by the end of the week, John did a total of 12 installs in nine days, doubling up on three days.

Thankfully, we, as vendors, had the option to pay to participate in two catered meals.  Wednesday night was our first catered meal – burgers, hot dogs, baked beans and potato salad.  Nothing special but in the middle of a LONG day it was very welcomed.

Thursday was busy…but much more laid back than the previous two days.  I stayed home and manned our ‘booth’ under our awning and took care of emails and invoicing.  Michael, on the other hand, began running around like a mad man.  LOL

We had some customer, last minute, who wanted tires and Michael was able to work with a rep here in Elkhart (thanks to Andy at Heartland!) who was able to supply us with tires for our customers!  So Michael drove to Elkhart and picked up the nine tires.

Worked from outside both Wednesday and Thursday

While he was there, he looked into seeing if they could supply him with 4 tires AND rims for a Canadian customer here at the rally who had ordered tires, which was cancelled by Tredit two days before they were supposed to ship them here because they were no longer making them.  Ugh! Anyway…MY Mikey came through and Elkhart Tredit agreed to supply him with those tires too…he just had to go back the following day to pick them up…and then get them mounted and balanced.

That evening we had our second catered meal.  This one, MUCH better than the night before.  We had chicken, BBQ ribs, salad, cole slaw, corn, green beans, mashed potatoes, dinner roll and dessert.  Everything was very tasty.  Both meals were catered by Nelson’s, who always caters for our Heartland rallies too.  Nice job.

Friday was a fairly peaceful day for me.  It rained on and off throughout the day and pretty hard at times.  We’d broken down our ‘booth’ under the awning so the wind didn’t rip the awning off.  But I had the door open all day…there just wasn’t a whole lot of people milling about in the rain.  I created a few invoices (I think we had our highest sales week to date this week) and even finished watching a movie I stared a few weeks ago.

Fill ‘er up??

Michael, on the other hand, ran around like a chicken with its head cut off….in the rain!  It rained a good portion of the day and he was out in most of it.  First thing he did was change out 32 lug nuts for a customer who purchased them from us.  Not a hard task, thankfully.

Then he ran back and forth between the campground and a tire shop just a few miles down the road.  He’d remove the tires from the customers coach, taken the new tires and old tires over to the tire place and have the old tires taken off the rims and put the new tires on the rims.  Then it was back to the campground to install the new tires on the coach.  All while dodging the rain drops…ok…so he came home and changed twice since he was soaked.  I guess he didn’t dodge well enough.  LOL

In the midst of all of that running back and forth he had one customer who just needed one tire.  Michael got all of the running back and forth done for this job and then later in the afternoon got a call from the customer asking Michael if he was going to put the tire on.  Come to find out that Michael had taken the tire off, taken it to have the new tire put on the old rim, brought it back over to the customers site and then left it leaning against the picnic table.  LOL  He must have gotten interrupted in the middle of going back to put it on and completely forgot he hadn’t put it back on the coach!

And in the middle of all that running around he made a trip back to Elkhart to pick up the tires and rims for another customer.  To say he was tired by the end of the day is an understatement.  Not to mention he did all of that while his back was acting up.  Proud of my baby!

Not a Wisconsin fish fry…but it served it’s purpose!

We ended the day by going to dinner at the Blue Gate.  I’d seen that they had a fish fry and Michael was game…so we went.  The fish was actually pretty good.  It came with fries, hush puppies and cole slaw.  We both ordered a cup of potato soup too.  Both of us left most of our fries and hush puppies on the plate and concentrated on the fish.

Saturday was another rainy day.  Michael started the day off by grabbing the kit for the mornings install and taking it to the site so that it was there for John to install.  The park has been great in letting us use one of their garages to store our kits in.  So Michael tried each day, to pick up a kit from the garage and delivered it to the site for that days install.  Sometimes he took them over the night before…just depended on whether it was raining or not.

Saturday was the last official day of the rally so several coaches left but there were sill plenty of people who stayed.  It was rather quiet for us, rally wise.  But that gave us a good opportunity to get caught up on emails and phone calls that were needing to be caught up on.

Our next rally is the KZ rally which is held right here at the same park so no moving for us.  We’ll be able to be semi-normal for the next 12 days or so!

 

 

 

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NASCAR Xfinity Race & The Ark Encounter

This past weekend Michael and I drove down to Kentucky to attend the NASCAR Xfinity race in Sparta.  PTB sponsored three races for Spencer Boyd and this was the last of the three.  Our sons, Dan and Zack, went to the first in Chicago and we raffled off the second on in Daytona.

The race was on Friday evening but as sponsors we had pit passes which allowed us a behind the scenes kind of experience.

We arrived at the track about 2:00 pm and were met by Josh, one of Spencer’s PR guys.  He got us checked in where we were given our parking passes.  We got parked and then Josh took us, by golf cart, to the area where all of the car haulers were and we spent the next several hours chatting with other sponsors, crew members and of course, Spencer.

Wasting time outside of the hauler before race time

Spencer showed us around the inside of the hauler.  Downstairs is a bunch of cabinets where they store medical supplies, tools, uniforms, food stuffs, etc.  Right above that is where the car is stored while in transport.  And then upstairs (like in a 5th wheel) there’s a small lounge area with TV, table and wrap around couch.

We also sat outside under the awning for a while…trying to stay in the shade as much as possible as it was HOT.  They provided us with lunch – meatball hoagies, which we partook of…they also provided us with lots of water, soda and Gatorade…which was really as it was so hot I’m surprised someone didn’t ‘fall out’.

Qualifying time…can’t hear a thing! LOL

Shortly before qualifying time we were all given headphones that allowed us to listen to the chatter between the spotter, crew chief and Spencer.  Unfortunately, the units Michael and I received didn’t work so neither of us heard anything during qualifying.

After qualifying (Spencer qualified 36th…not the best in the world) we went back to the hauler to chill before race time.  Michael went up into the lounge with Spencer and a bunch of other people while I stayed outside and visited with one of the wives of another sponsor.  Once it got too hot we moved inside and hung out downstairs in front of the fans, snacking on veggies and dip.

Ready to hit the track!

By the time it was time for the race I was hot and cranky so I didn’t go down to the car to get pictures with Michael.  I stayed in the pit box in the shade and tried to cool off…thankfully the stands were tall enough that we were in complete shade and the temperature dropped enough that it finally became comfortable.

The race was long (2+ hours) and boring, for me at times, but I did enjoy being able to see Spencer come into the pit, right in front of us and to see how quickly the crew did their thing.  Wow!  It was also pretty cool to listen to the chatter over the radio…mostly the spotter (‘eye in the sky’) who kept Spencer updated of all of the goings on around him that he wasn’t able to see.  At one point Spencer got frustrated with one of the other drivers for whatever reason and the ‘eye in the sky’ said, ‘I think you drive better when you get pissy’…LOL!  Day made.

Taking care of business!

Spencer has been racing in one form or another since he was a little boy but this is his first year as a fulltime driver for the Xfinity circuit.  He did a great job of driving and ended up finishing 24th which is his goal.

The race ended about 10:40 pm and after walking to our rental car (7,000 miles away) and then driving back to our hotel in Erlanger we made it back just after midnight.  Long day.

This is the second NASCAR race we’ve been to, the first being Talledaga in April, 2011…it was our first trip in our brand new coach.  And my opinion remains the same…not my cup of tea.

HUGE!

The following day we spent at the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky about a 30 mile drive south of Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Ark is a life-size replica of that in the bible.  It is 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high and absolutely beautiful.  The attraction opened in July 2016 and is a representation of the vessel described in Genesis.  Because many details of the Ark itself and its occupants are not detailed in the writings of the bible, the creators of the park took artistic liberties that they thought would most likely have been the way things looked or were done.

A depiction of how some of the larger animals may have been fed.

We really enjoyed the time we spent wandering the three floors of the Ark.  There are lots of different ‘caged animal’ exhibits that give you a feel for some of the animals that may have been onboard.  It was also interesting to walk through what may have been the living quarters of Noah and his family.

There are two videos of about 20 minutes each that provided walking relief as well as a spin on the whole Noah’s Ark experience.

What some of the smaller cages may have looked like

There are several eating establishments on premises but the largest is Emzara’s Buffet, which is a two-story restaurant with stuffed animals all over the place.  Very well done.  That’s where we stopped before going aboard the Ark and I think all of Kentucky decided to go at the same time as it was PACKED.  The line to the salads and sides was crazy long so Michael and I concentrated on soup, meat and dessert as the lines to those areas were minimal.

The dove bringing an olive branch back to Noah

While we enjoyed our time (about 6.5 hours) at the Ark I’m still not quite sure it is worth the hefty $48 per adult.  We received a military discount of about $10 per ticket which helped…but for the average person…that’s a lotta dough.

I would like to have seen more ‘hands on’ displays or more animatronics.  One exhibit was of Noah at his desk and you could ask him questions by pushing buttons…very cool.  Although I really did enjoy walking around the huge structure and imagining what it was like for Noah and his family and to see how the animals and supplies may have been stored.

So…I think that in the end I would recommend that you visit if it’s something that would be of interest to you and you can afford that price tag.

While in Kentucky we decided we needed to try a Kentucky Hot Brown, which is basically an open-faced sandwich with a little twist.  The sandwich normally consists of turkey, ham, bacon and a slice of tomato with a mornay (or cheese sauce) over it.  There are variations but this is kind of the norm.

LOTS of cheese sauce.

Being a Wisconsin girl I thought I’d love the ‘cheese-like’ sauce but it was a bit too much for me. I would have preferred a milder sauce.  Michael didn’t seem to mind.  The addition of the tomato slices was different and after about half of my meal I opted out of the tomato and moved it to the side.

Now we can say we’ve tried one…I can’t say that I won’t try it again as who’s to say that the place (Colonial Cottage) we tried was a good representation?  They always say you should try everything twice to get a good ‘feel’….that is unless you’re talking about boiled peanuts or Skyline Chili…once is PLENTY!  :-/

 

 

 

 

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Friends & Family Rally

We traveled from Mt Horeb, Wisconsin to Elkhart, Indiana (about 280 miles) on Tuesday, July 3rd.  We’re parked at the Elkhart Campground in Elkhart for a week and are here for the Friends and Family rally.

Zack and Kelsea followed us down on the 4th and are parked next to us for the long weekend.  Zack  grilled some burgers and sausages and I made potato salad and fruit salad for our holiday dinner.

It was HOT but Zack set up a mister under their awning which helped somewhat.

When they arrived and were setting up they found out that they had, unknowingly, brought a nest of baby birds with them.  It seems the mama had built a next in their pin box and the babies we chirping away…they must be very young as their ‘peeps’ we very quiet.

Three of the four baby birds

A little while later, Kelsea heard more chirping coming from the back of the trailer.  Sure enough!  There was another nest of birds in a ‘tube’ under the trailer.  These were a bit older and a whole lot louder!  Ended up there were four in this nest and they eventually semi flew/dropped onto the ground.  They hung out under our trailer for quite a while and Cameron had a blast watching them.  They eventually flittered away to the next camper and then we lost track of them.  Hope they’re ok.

Thursday was Amish day!  I was so excited to take Zack & Kelsea to all my favorite Amish places.  We started out stopping at the Dutch Country Market.

Breakfast of champions!

Then it was on to Rise n Roll for some breakfast and tasty samples.  The kids each had a donut, Michael had biscuits and gravy and the rest of us had the sausage roll with gravy.  It’s kind of like a bread that has crumbled sausage, cheese and seasonings in it and it pretty good.  We grabbed a couple of donuts to take home and were then on our way.

We stopped at the Heritage Ridge Creamery where Zack and Kelsea picked out of couple of different cheeses.  Then it was on into Shipshewana where we parked the truck and then walked to several different shops in the downtown area.

We were told about the Davis Mercantile by one Amish woman and since we’d never been there before we walked over and checked it out.  It’s in an old hotel and has four floors of shops to browse through…clothing, puzzle, candy, fabric, toys and several restaurants too.

Round and Round they go…

On the top floor there is a carousel that you can ride for $2.00.  Paityn and Cameron took a spin while the rest of us sat on a bench and rested our weary feet.  Win/Win!

We, of course, introduced Zack and Kelsea to E&S Bulk Foods.  I think Kelsea wanted to hurt me (she actually made a comment similar to that) as Zack found more to purchase than we did!  We also made a quick stop at Yoder Meat & Cheese to pick up some steaks for Friday night’s dinner.

Small group but LOTS of questions

Michael did a presentation for the rally…it’s small rally so we only had 6 people but that’s ok…the more we educate about the safety benefits of having disc brakes on your trailer, the better.  Zack helped Michael get things set up beforehand and then he and Kelsea went to pick up some decals for their trailer and also made a stop at RV Factory Surplus….they were looking for an air conditioner and something else but they were too pricey.

Staying busy while Nana & Papaw work.

Paityn and Cameron stayed with Nana & Papaw and watched movies on their tablets and then when the presentation was over we walked back home.

Not long after we got back home, Zack and Kelsea got back home and we changed into our swimming suits and headed over to the pool for an hour or so.  Michael stayed home and relaxed.  We had lots of giggles at the pool….Kelsea taught the kids how to use a ‘noodle’ to spray water.  She tried to teach me too but I ended up spray myself more than anyone else!

Saturday we hung out at home most of the day but Zack did take Paityn and Cameron to a nearby indoor miniature golf place.  They weren’t gone long…but had fun and that’s what counts.

Great group of folks

The Friends and Family rally group invited us to attend their potluck that night and since we’d pretty much had to bow out of everything else they’d invited us to, we all went.  Kelsea made a brownie pie and I put together a tossed salad with Italian dressing.  It was a small group but there were plenty of dishes to choose from.

After dinner they did drawings for door prizes and insisted that we participate in that as well.  We each (adults) were given tickets and all ended up getting door prizes (various items:  black streak cleaner, toilet cleaners, 409, Kleenex, garbage bags, cloths, etc etc etc) …plus Zack and Kelsea won a set of safety triangles for emergency roadside stops.

Sleepyheads

Paityn and Cameron had a sleep over at Nana and Papaw’s that night.  They snuggled up in our recliners, watched ‘The Muppets Take Manhattan’ and slept until I ended waking them up about 8:40 am.

Sunday was the last day of the rally and most everyone left sometime that morning.  However, several of the rally-goers put together a breakfast (pancakes, sausage, & eggs) for anyone that wanted it.  We, of course, were invited and took them up on the offer.  This may be the smallest rally we’ve been to so far, but they were some of the nicest people we’ve met.  I’m pretty sure that if we have nothing else going on next year, we’ll come back…but on more of a personal level.  If people want brakes installed…that’s fine too.

There they go!

Zack, Kelsea, Paityn and Cameron were among those who left.  🙁  They finished packing up after we got back from breakfast and ended up pulling out of their site somewhere around 11:00 and made it home safe and sound well before dinner time.

We really enjoyed having them here with us.  We shared all of our meals together, enjoyed a couple of fires with s’mores and played a couple of games of Hand and Foot (Kelsea won one and I won the other!  Girl Power!).  We got lots of hugs and love from Pnut and Cam.

After doing a little work in the morning we were ready to visit the theater to watch the latest Jurassic Park movie, Jurassic World:  Fallen Kingdom.  It was your typical Jurassic Park movie…and we enjoyed it as much as any of the others.

We stopped for a few groceries and a quick dinner on the way home and were ready to chill for the rest of the night.

Tomorrow we leave Elkhart Campground and travel ALL (25.5 miles) the way to Shipshewana South Campground where we’ll be parked for a month…ahhhh…sounds good!

 

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