Montana Owners Club Rally

BEWARE:  LONG post ahead!

Tuesday we worked on getting ready for the Montana rally.  We spoke with veteran vendors, Gary and Linda, who’ve been to this rally before to get some ideas of what to expect since I hadn’t gotten much information from the rally organizers.

Our chat was very helpful in that we found out that we could borrow a pop up canopy from the fairgrounds (woohoo!) as we have to set up shop outside because ALL of the buildings are used for the Michiana Mennonite Relief Sale over the weekend.

We scouted out a spot to set up the popup with the help of a very friend gentleman from the Montana group and made plans to pick up the canopy up Wednesday morning as well as set it up and get our display ready.

Axle delivery

Just after finishing up our errands we got a phone call from the office to let us know that our axle delivery was here.  (We have two customers having axles upgrades as well as disc brakes installed here) We met the big Dexter truck near the fairground entrance and waited while one of the fairgrounds workers came over with a forklift and carted it off to a nice storage area that they’ll be letting us use during the rally.

Dinner is served

We combined our efforts to make cheeseburgers for dinner…as well as veggies skewers.  I prepped everything and Michael was the grill master.  Funny thing…it wasn’t until AFTER dinner that we found out that it was National Cheeseburger Day!  LOL

Wednesday was pretty busy.  First thing in the morning we got the pop up canopy from Jane in the office and then took it over to the rally area and set it up so we didn’t lose our spot.

Nice space to store and sort our kits.

From there we went over to the storage shed that the fairgrounds is allowing us to keep our product in.  We opened and checked every kit we received from Dexter to make sure that everything was as it should be…unfortunately, they’re notorious for not having all the necessary parts or wrong parts in the kits.  We were pretty lucky…only a few booboos…but ones that we could rectify easily enough.

Then it was back home for a potty break and to pick up display items for our ‘booth’.  Back at our ‘booth’ we set up a table (borrowed from the fairgrounds), put a cloth on it and Michael worked on putting his display together.

We were back home about 3:00 pm or so and made & ate dinner (filets, twice baked taters & salad) in between fielding phone calls and emails.  One of our contacts from Dexter was off last week so we finally received a bunch of axle tag requests back.  With that information back we had to reach back out to customers to give them the information they were waiting for.

Talking with customers is one of Michael’s favorite things

Thursday was the first official day of vendor hours and seminars.  We set up ‘booth’ strategically between the two rally tents so that we got really good exposure as people went from tent to tent and event to event.

Randy & Joyce stopped by and surprised us by telling us that they follow our blog! Hi Randy and Joyce!

Our installers, Josh and Heather arrived early in the morning, set up their camper just a short distance from ours and then headed to their first install…over in Shipshewana.

Our oldest son, Zack, arrived that afternoon and parked his camper kitty-corner behind ours so that we’d have easy access to the grand babies when they arrived on Friday.

Josh, Zack & Michael checking things out under the customers coach

Friday Josh and Heather had another install in Shipshewana and Zack went over to observe them as they worked.  He ended up giving a hand here and there too.  Michael and I went over mid-afternoon to check on things and also bring them something they needed.

We ended up staying until they completed the job and then Zack, Michael and I met Kelsea, Paityn and Cameron at Culver’s in Goshen for a late dinner as K,P&C had just arrived in town!

Amish Breakfast Haystack

Saturday morning there wasn’t much going on with the rally so I took the morning off and roamed around the Mennonite Relief Sale (going on at the fairgrounds too!) with Kelsea and the kids.

Choo Choo!

We had breakfast haystacks (I prefer regular haystacks), the kids rode a barrel train pulled by an ATV, did some activities which earned them ‘stamps’ in their ‘passports’.  When they got 6 stamps they received a coupon for a free ice cream.

Kelsea helped me get the booth set up about noon and then I ‘womaned’ it until 4:00 pmish.  It was pretty quiet but I did have several stop by with questions.  Kelsea and the kids stopped by a couple of times and kept me entertained.

Zack & Michael working together

While I worked the booth, Michael and Zack did an install for a Grand Design owner…big one…brakes, suspension, axles, etc.  I’m really proud that they two of them worked together without killing one another.  Progress!

Josh and Heather had an install going on too at the same time so I was able to direct anyone that was interested in doing an install or having one done to either site to see how an install is done and to ask questions of the installers.

The Birthday crew

It was another late day and we didn’t get dinner until about 9:00 pm.  It was Zack’s 32nd birthday so we asked Josh and Heather to join us.  We had a really, really nice time getting some more non-work time with them and letting Zack and Kelsea get a chance to meet them and get to know them more.

Sunday was very quiet at the booth, which gave me a little time to get caught up on regular work.  Kelsea and the babies left about noon and had a safe drive home that went much quicker than their drive down.

Installing new steps on ZnKs trailer

Zack installed a heavy-duty shackle/wet bolt kit for a rally customer before watching the Packer game and installing (with the assistance of his dad) some new (to them) steps on his and Kelsea’s coach.  Someone was selling two sets of steps at the rally for $25 each and since theirs were only 3 steps and the new ones were 4 steps and they needed two sets for their toy hauler, it was a no brainer!

Monday was even quieter at the booth.  I stayed home for a couple of hours in the morning to get some housework done and do some regular PTB work while Michael opened up shop.  Zack left about noon and had a safe drive back to Wisconsin too.

Nice turn out for Michael’s seminar

Michael had the last seminar of the rally at 2:30 that afternoon.  He actually had a nice turn out of a couple of dozen people.  Our booth was set up right outside the tent so I could hear everything that went on.  He had quite a few people who asked questions and showed interest in purchasing as well as having us come back again next year.  It was dreary and drippy so when his seminar was over we packed it in for the day.

Tuesday was the last official day of the rally and while Michael went over to tear our booth down I stayed home and continued housework (so neglected!) and did some more PTB work.

This was the last rally we’d be attending this year and we were ready for some down time.  We have a couple of other rallies that our installers will be attending though.

While the rallies in Indiana have come to an end…our stay has not.  We still have a couple of appointments that we’re waiting for.  One with our sales rep with Dexter.  Another regarding the new coach we have on order.  Plus we have a couple of things we need to get taken care of on our current coach.

The ‘plan’ is to pull out of here around October 8 or 9 and head south toward Michael’s mom’s house for some R&R (and sorting through the coach in preparation of moving into the new one in October/November).  We’ll see how well that ‘plan’ works out.  We’re paid up at the fairgrounds until October 17th since it was cheaper to pay for a month than three weeks…so we’ll just see how it goes.







Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Travel Day: Terre Haute, IN to Goshen, IN

Had the place to ourselves.

​With only 230ish miles to travel, we gave ourselves a little bit later start time of 9:00 am.  The park has a small restaurant that serves dinner and breakfast.  We decided to get breakfast before heading out and went over about 8:30.

We were the only customers in the place but we waited about 1/2 an hour for our food.  Granted the American fries were made from scratch but …wow…that’s a long wait.  Don’t think we’d go back as the food wasn’t very good.  Oh well.
We had everything ready to go when we got back from breakfast except Michael had to unplug the power.  We pulled out of the KOA at 9:30 am on the dot.

Bob Evans – That’s my daddy!

We stopped for a potty break…but other than that we had a quiet, uneventful trip.  I’d forgotten to take dinner out of the freezer so we stopped in Warsaw at Bob Evans for a late lunch.  Michael ordered the chicken pot pie and I had the pot roast.  Best meal I’ve had out in a very long time!

Thankfully it wasn’t a super long train!

We had just 27 miles left after lunch and they went quickly.  We pulled into Goshen just in time to get stopped by one of the MANY trains that pass through the area.  We’ve been very lucky this summer and haven’t been stopped by many at all.

We arrived back at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds about 3:20 pm.  We paid for our site for the next couple of weeks, found out where our shipment for rally was located, picked up a couple of packages from the office and then made our way over to Harley Hill.  Harley Hill is where most of the vendors stay and it’s where we were before we left a couple of weeks ago.
We easily backed into site 182, unhitched and leveled and then I went inside to do my chores while Michael hooked up power and sewer.  It was 90+ outside so he waited until a little later to take care of the water and satellite.

Getting the wiring taken care of…

As Michael was hooking up the satellite we realized we didn’t have any power to the TV…or the entire slide it’s in.  Michael investigated and found that the wire must have arced and melted some of the wiring.  Thankfully, Michael’s handy and was able to fix the wiring and got us up and running again in no time.

Remember that broken salt shaker from a few days ago?  Dang thing came back to hunt me.  There was a couple little shards that flew way far from where it shattered and I happened to catch one with my toe!  Sure did bleed for a minute or two…left little drops of blood on the floor even.  Geesh!  All better now though.
We’re back here for a Montana Owners Group rally which runs from 9/19 to 9/26.  This is a new rally for PTB so we’re pretty excited to be involved.  It’s always a huge plus to break into a new owners group.  Cross your fingers and wish us luck!
We’ll be here until the first of October for sure…but are kind of waiting to hear about a couple of meetings we may need to attend as well as an update on when our new home (yes…I said it!) might be ready.
Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Phillipsburg, MO to Terre Haute, IN

We were up about 6:30 and while I did some PTB work Michael made breakfast (bagelwiches) and stowed some things.  The only thing to do outside was unhook the power.

We pulled out of the Happy Trails RV Park (nice little campground) just before 8:30 with 344 miles ahead of us…pretty much all on interstates.  Bah humbug.

Do you see what I see?

We had an uneventful first half of our journey.  We passed through St. Louis about 11:15ish… traffic wasn’t bad but the road stunk.  All I could think was, ‘My poor house’.  We picked up I-55 as we passed through the city.

Bah humbug!

We found out when we stopped for lunch just how much that road stunk…my salt shaker had been shook right out of the cabinet and was in pieces on the counter top.  That made two days in a row that we had salt to clean up as the night before as I went to put my salt & pepper box away, I knocked it on the shelf and it fell out of my hand and spilled all over the same counter top!  I guess I should have thrown some salt over one of my shoulders or something??

Great place to enjoy some tasty tidbits from Kelly’s Kitchen!

Our stop at Kelly’s Kitchen was very nice.  A nicely covered picnic table, nice breeze (even though it was 90 degrees) and tasty food (Amish cheese, Klements sausage, Amish pork jerky, crackers and the best watermelon of the summer).

We hung out for about an hour before had to make ourselves get a move on.  It was a really nice lunch stop.  We watched a lot of people come and go…most seemed in a hurry to get on down the road.  I’m really glad that Michael and I enjoy taking our time and enjoying the ‘ride’ rather than hurrying from one place to the next.
Back on the road we had 141 miles left to our destination for the night.  We ended up stopping about 50 miles before our overnight stop to fuel up.  Not too bad at $2.91 per gallon for diesel.  $200+ dollars and clean windows later we we’re ready to finish our drive for the day.
We passed back into Eastern time less than 30 minutes from our destination and about the same time we were slowed down when I-70 went from 2 lanes down to one for a small amount of construction.  The construction was about the length of a football field however it put us about 20 minutes or more behind…and there wasn’t even any work being done!

Terre Haute KOA – site 4

We pulled into the Terre Haute KOA about 4:50 pm EST and had a quick check in again since we were already paid in full.  We were escorted to our site (4) and were just able to pull in with enough room to not have to unhitch.  Michael hooked up the water, sewer and electric and we were all set.

Nothing fancy for dinner.  Michael had leftover pizza and garlic knots and I had a big ol’ salad.  While we enjoyed our quick dinner we watched ‘Bad Moms‘.  Turned out to be a pretty cute movie.
We stayed here a few years back (2014 to be exact) for an overnight night then too.  That time we met with friends we hadn’t seen in a while and enjoyed some delicious Mexican food too.  No such luck this time.  You can read about that visit HERE.
Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Travel Day: OKC to Phillipsburg, MO

We pulled out of the Roadrunner RV Park about 7:50 am.  We had 332 miles to travel…not too bad.  I’m not quite sure why Michael wanted to leave so early but he did.. so we did.

We headed north on I-35 and then hit I-44 heading east.  Traffic was light and it was really kind of peaceful driving.

Hello….Jot ’em Down Store…this is Lum & Abner!

Something we do to wile away the time while on the road is either listen to an audiobook or listen to ‘Lum & Abner’ radio broadcasts on CD.  Lum & Abner’ was a popular radio show from 1931 h 1954.

We fell in love with them a few years ago when we stopped at the Lum & Abner museum in Pine Ridge, Arkansas.  I picked up a couple of CDs then and we enjoyed them so much that I’ve purchased several seasons on CD from Amazon since then.  Just light-hearted fun.
We recently finished Stephen King’s ‘Cell’ and we’re currently listening to Lum and Abner volume 5 which was recorded between January 21, 1943 to March 24, 1943…36 episodes that last about 15 minutes each.

Great resting spot

Just before hitting Tulsa we made a stop at a truck parking are along the side of the interstate to use the bathroom.  Nice area with trees lining it.  Would have made a nice place to enjoy lunch at Kelly’s Kitchen…but much too early I. The day for that.

Fun to watch the traffic go by as you enjoy your lunch

Despite the fact that I had ‘packed’ a lunch for us we stopped at the Vinita ‘Over the Road‘ service plaza for lunch.  For some reason my legs were uncomfortable and I needed to get out of the truck.

The service plaza dates back to 1957 and according to the signs inside the plaza its the oldest ‘over the road restaurant in the country.  It was originally the ‘Glass House Restaurant’ and was renamed the ‘Will Rogers Archway’ in 2014 when it was renovated.

No…it’s not the garbage on the table…it’s the behind…behind me

There was a McDonald’s and a Subway at the rest area so we got lunch and relaxed for a good long while.  The only downfall to the stop was the young lady (I use that term very loosely) who was napping behind me.  I’m sure she made her Mama proud.

Home for the night. Site 30 at the Happy Trails RV Park.

The rest of the trip was uneventful and we pulled into the Happy Trails RV Park in Phillipsburg, MO about 2:35 pm.  We were already paid up so it was just a matter of being escorted to our site by the very friendly, Courtney.  She showed us to site 30, a nice, long pull through that allowed us to stay hitched up for our overnight stay.

By 2:50 pm, we we’re lounging in our recliners watching an episode of The Last Alaskans.  Sure is awesome to carry your home wherever you go.
Before we hit the road in the morning, I’d take a package of spaghetti sauce out of the freezer so all I had to do for dinner was cook some pasta and hit up the sauce and we were enjoying a nice home-cooked meal on a travel day.
We finished off the day with a movie from the DVR.  This one was a 2017 British movie, The Sense of an Ending.  The movie started out a bit slow but by the end it turned out to be a pretty good movie.
Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Warehouse Work & a New Worker!

Sunday was a pretty quiet day, PTB wise, so that gave us plenty of time to work on the ‘Great Purge’.  Michael worked in the basement while I continued inside (entertainment center, medicine cabinet and cabinet beneath the bathroom sink – DONE!).

Customer pick up at the warehouse!

In the afternoon we took a break and drove over to the warehouse as a customer had made arrangements to pick up a kit that afternoon.  This happened to be a repeat customer…one that purchased with the original owner first.  Now he’s purchased a new trailer and needed disc brakes on the new trailer.  We got him loaded up and unloaded a bunch of stuff that we’d brought with us and were on our way.

Monday we worked from the warehouse.  We touched base with Alyssa, of course, went over some ‘stuff’ and did our normal work.  Before leaving home we’d gotten a call from a customer who we’d been in contact with previously.  He wanted to pick up a kit that afternoon.  Yikes!  Thankfully, we had all of his information already and Alyssa just had to get everything ready.  He arrived at the shop about 10 minutes after paying the invoice, waited for Alyssa to finish getting his kit ready and as soon as she was done, he was gone.

We’re so blessed to have good friends across the US!

Monday night we got together with friend Gus & Debra and had dinner at Ted’s Escondido Cafe in OKC.  They introduced us to the Norman location back in March and we enjoyed it so much we decided to go again…but this time to one of the OKC locations that

was closer to home for both of us.

Delicious Monterrey Chicken

I ordered the Monterrey Chicken with vegetables (very good) while Michael ordered a create your own type of enchilada plate.  Gus went with an enchilada/tamale combination and Debra went with the Monterrey Chicken as well.

Enchiladas three ways

The food was as good as it was the first time around and, as usual, we really enjoyed visiting with our friends.  Dinner lasted a couple of hours and could have lasted even longer but we decided we’d better free the table up for other patrons.

All volunteer run

Tuesday we worked from home.  Michael had heard about a place (Dale K Graham Veterans Foundation) in Norman that helps Veterans with their VA claims and wanted to see if they could help him with his appeal (out there since January 2014!).  He made the journey over to check the place out…I said at home…in bed!

6:00 am and the place was packed

On Tuesdays and Thursday you can go in on a walk in basis…doors open around 5:00 am and they start calling names about 5:30 am and they stop taking people at 8:00 am.  They help as many people as they can during that time frame.  Michael arrived just after 5:00 am and was 78 in line.  They weren’t able to do a whole lot but did give him some advice, papers to fill out and bring back and they’d go from there.  He was done about 9:00 am.  So now we’ll see how it goes from there…

Alyssa teaching Gus how to use one of the shipping programs

Wednesday we were back at the shop to work and to ‘train’ our newest PTB employee, Gus!  Our friend Gus was looking to get out of the house a bit and we were in need of someone to help out at the warehouse on a part-time basis.  Gus will fill in for Alyssa if she’s sick or takes time off and also to help with a new venture we have coming up in a few short weeks that will keep Alyssa a bit busier and she may need extra help.  (more on that later)

Gus, Preston & Michael troubleshooting a actuator

Thursday…back at the shop.  Michael and Gus went out to help Preston and Alyssa who were with a customer who had his brakes installed on Tuesday but didn’t have any brakes when he hitched up to leave that morning.  Preston had tried everything he knew and asked Michael to bring our truck out to see if when it was hooked up to the customers trailer if the brakes worked…they did.

They determined that the customers IV cable (whip as Preston calls it) had a short and the customer was going to get with Chevrolet to resolve the issue.

Friday was our last day in town and we had several errands to run.  We dropped some things off at the thrift store in Norman (Ahhhh!).  It was time for an oil change so we got that out of the way.  We stopped at the warehouse to pick up items to carry back to Indiana with us for the Montana rally (backseat is full!)  Stopped at got a few groceries for the upcoming week.  And found time to get our toes pampered.


We got the oil change done at the Cruise In, which was recommended by Preston, one of our installers.  Nice place, friendly staff, quick work, decent price.  We didn’t even have to get out of the truck!  You get a free car wash with an oil change but they can’t fit a dually so we gave our freebie to Alyssa (our fantastic warehouse worker!) We’ll go back for sure.

Michael getting his toes pampered

We got our toes done at a place in Moore called Royalty Nail Salon and we’d highly recommend the place.  We were treated like ‘royalty’.  Very friendly service, great pedicures, nice massages.  I noticed afterward that their reviews aren’t the best but our experience was definitely a good one…one of the best pedi’s we’ve had in ages.

Rib dinner

We got lunch at Van’s Pig Stand, which is in the same strip mall as the nail place.  Michael wanted some BBQ before we left the ‘south’.  It was just ‘ok’.

Brisket & Rib Plate

I ordered ribs, green beans and cole slaw, Michael had brisket, ribs, baked beans and cole slaw.  The cole slaw was not to our liking.  Michael’s baked beans were alright.  The green beans were very good.  I thought the ribs were lacking in flavor.  Michael agreed that the ribs needed some more flavor but he like his brisket.  Our son, Dan, says we’re BBQ snobs…I guess we are!  LOL

We’ll be hitting the road in the morning(Saturday 9/15)…heading northeast…back to Goshen, Indiana for our last ‘work’ rally of the year…the Montana rally, which starts the 19th.  We’ll take three days to travel the 900 miles.

We got our normal ‘move prep’ done mostly today – Michael:  taking down the satellite dish, unhooked the water and sewer, packed away totes in the basement.  Me:  laundry, prepping tomorrow’s lunch & breakfast, taking tomorrow’s dinner out of the freezer, stowing items for travel, pulling the shades down, etc.

With everything done fairly early in the day we had the evening to relax in our recliners and watch some TV.  We chose a movie from the DVR, Alamo from 2004.  Good movie with a star-studded cast.









Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Travel Day: Ozark, MO to Oklahoma City, OK

We pulled out of the Lambert’s Cafe RV Park just a few minutes before 9:00 am.  We were hoping to avoid having to hitch up in the rain (or take down the satellite dish, etc) and we did it!  Woohoo!

Rain, rain, go away?

However, less than fifteen minutes on the road and the rain started.  Not fans of driving in the rain but it does make it a lot easier for me to work on my laptop…no sun…no glare!  It rained for about 1/2 an hour or so and then stayed overcast (low 79s) for the rest of the day.  We had a few more sprinkles over the course of the drive but nothing to speak of really.

We made decent time.  Stopping to use the restroom at a rest area and about noon we stopped at a Walmart just outside of Tulsa to pick up a few non-food items.  We decided to use a gift card and had Subway for lunch too.  One more stop after lunch to use the restroom got us the rest of the way.

No friendly attendant here

We got slapped with an $11.25 cent toll but the pain was a bit less as we had a very cheerful woman who took our payment.  We had a very rude woman at a toll booth in Illinois a while back who put a bad taste

in our mouths…but this lady made up for that.  🙂

Unfortunately, we busy yappin’ and missed our turn and ended having to got a bit down the road to circle back and ended up having to pay $1.00 each at two tolls to get back to where we needed to be!

That wasn’t the end of our tolls…we hit another toll booth for another $11.25…so a total of $24.50 spent on tolls.  Might have to look at a different route on the way back to Indiana next week.

We pulled into the Cleveland County Fairgrounds just before 4:00 pm to find that the county fair was in town!  Bah humbug.  I had looked online at their website earlier in the day to see if anything was going on to prevent us from staying there and didn’t find anything.  I even ‘searched’ for the county fair dates and didn’t come up with anything.

Home for 7 nights…site 102

We made a quick call to the Roadrunner RV Park in OKC to see if they had a site for two nights…they did.  On the way there  we decided we’d just stay there all week rather than trying to move on Monday and finding that there wasn’t a site available yet.  Roadrunner is about 12 miles away from the warehouse versus the 4 miles to the fairgrounds…I guess we’ll be commuting fools!

We got settled into our site easily enough, got our ‘move in’ chores done and then both started working on ‘The Great Purge’.  We plan to go through every nook and cranny and either keep, trash or donate.  We’ve accumulated so much ‘stuff’ and just need to go through everything.  I went through the cabinets above the couch and above our recliners and the cabinet that holds our glassware and trashed two small Walmart bags of stuff and have a nice pile of ‘donate’ items started.   Michael started pulling totes out of the basement in preparation of a deep clean.

We had Lambert’s for dinner…might have been leftovers…but it was just as good as the first time!  After dinner we watched ‘Wakefield’.  A movie about a man who hides in his attic and watches his family for weeks.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Ozark, Missouri

With 330 miles ahead of us we hit the road about 8:45 am.  No real hurry but we did have a business conference call at 4:00 pm CST that we were hoping to be settled at the next stop for, rather than driving while meeting.

The route was all interstate (I-55 to I-44)…bah humbug…my least favorite way to travel.  So boring!  Give me back roads with farms, cattle, small towns.  We passed by St. Louis about 10:30 am and had no issues as we took I-255/I-270 which kept us plenty far enough away from the city limits.

Lunch time!

We stopped at Kelly’s Kitchen just after hitting I-44.  No eating out on the patio…MUCH too hot for that.  We cranked up the genny and had the air conditioning going while I heated up some leftover homemade soup and opened up a couple of store-bought salads.  We relaxed for about an hour before getting back on the road.

We arrived at Lambert’s Cafe RV Park in Ozark, Missouri a few minutes before 4:00 pm and by the time we got parked (crazy people parked in any which direction made it really tough) it was time for our conference call so we sat in the truck, in the air conditioning and had our meeting and then finished getting settled into our spot after we wrapped up the call.

Leftovers! And I ate enough to have a very full tummy!

We just hooked up water and electric (and I got the inside ready) and then we cranked the air conditioning and walked over to Lambert’s for dinner.  We didn’t have to wait at all for a table and our meals (chicken fried steak, what else?!?!) came within minutes of ordering.  We paced ourselves (we have enough leftovers for 2 more meals!) but still left with overly full tummies!

Pre-show entertainment

Thursday we had tickets to see the 3:30 pm performance of Samson at the Sight and Sound Theater in Branson…about a 30 mile drive south.  We’d seen Jonah here back in October 2015 and really enjoyed it so we were really looking forward to another performance.

The stage stretched around the sides like this on both sides…way cool

The performance turned out to be just as awesome as Jonah!  We had great seats too…5th row, center stage, on the aisle.  Once again, the play was all around us…the stage wrapped around the sides of the auditorium and actors (and animals!) came from backstage, behind us, down the aisles and beside us.  So much fun!  If you ever get a chance to see a play at one of the Sight and Sound Theaters….do it…they’re a bit pricey but if you can swing it…you won’t be disappointed.

Friday we stayed home and worked and waited for the rain that was supposed to come.  It sprinkled a couple of time during the day and then a little harder in the evening but nothing crazy.  We did have a ‘flash flood’ warning from 8:30 pm until 2:00 am but I don’t think much came of it…thank goodness.  The RV park is high enough that there wasn’t much to worry about.

Saturday we head further west to Norman, Oklahoma.  That’s where our warehouse is located.  We’ll spend a week there…touching base with Alyssa, meeting with our new employee (it’s a surprise!) restocking Michael’s supplies, etc etc etc.  We’ll also have some time to get together with friends!



Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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!




Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.


Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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!


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.


Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 4 Comments