Hooking up with friends
  (August 11, 2007 to September 27, 2007)

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This travelog picks up from after our vacation in Europe. It covers the time spent in Indiana where we had our Dutch Star painted and the return to the Atlanta area and on to Florida. Much of it has to do with visiting friends and family along the way and a little touring as we headed to Florida to visit with my mother in Port St. Lucie. We hadn't seen here since having to help her get situated in an assisted living facility in late June.

August 11 to August 16: Douglasville, Georgia

Road conditions: N/A

Campground: Jill's driveway

After a great three week vacation in Europe we spent a week visiting with the kids and grandkids, and catching up on mail and chores before heading up to Indiana.

August 17: Kimball, Tennessee (140 miles)

Road conditions: I-75; I-24

Campground: Wal-Mart

An overnight stop.

August 18: Clarksville, Indiana (281 miles)

Road conditions: I-24; I-65

Campground: Tom Stinnett RV Dealership parking lot

An overnight stop to visit with Norm and Linda Payne.

August 19 to August 20: Nappanee, Indiana (241 miles)

Road conditions: I-65; US 30; US 6

Campground:  Newmar parking lot  

Fuel: Loves in Sheperdsville, Kentucky for $2.729

We arrived in Nappanee and set up for a couple of days as we waited for our appointment at Precision Painting to have our motorhome painted. A torrential rain storm came through that had the road in front of the Newmar factory flooded. Luckily, the water only reached up to the front of the motorhome and didn't swamp us.

The decision to have our Dutch Star painted rather than consider buying a new rig had mostly to do with the fact that the prices of new rigs have gone into the stratosphere and it would be significantly less to upgrade the motorhome than to buy a new one. One of the things my father always stressed to my brother and I as we grew up was to never get into a situation where we would be "house poor". That means "having" stuff and then not having enough money to "do" stuff. I think people tend to be "havers" or "doers". Of course, there are folks who have enough income to have and do what they want, when they want, but I don't think that's the majority of people. Diane and I have always been more into "doing" than "having". In the case of buying a new motorhome, we looked at our finances and decided that we surely could buy a new motorhome but then we would be somewhat "house poor" and wouldn't be able to do many of the things we want to do in future years, like more international traveling.

In addition to having the motorhome painted we had plans to upgrade the inside as well. This year we planned to have some woodwork done and we chose Carlyle Lehman, owner of Focal Wood Products. We had seen some of his work in other rigs and saw that he did quality work. We drove the motorhome over to his place of business so he could take some measurements and make the pieces while the motorhome was being painted.

August 21 to September 6: Bremen, Indiana (10 miles)

Road conditions:  US 6

Campground: Scottish Bed & Breakfast The Scottish Bed & Breakfast was located three miles from Precision Painting so it was very convenient. Plus they offered a discounted rate for people doing business with Precision Painting. Diane and I have spent many nights in hotels around the world, but we had never been in a B&B. The owner, Brenda, offered us a "cottage" that was converted from an old pole barn. It had a huge bedroom, a kitchen with everything except a stove (but did have a microwave and crock pot), nice bathroom, a dining area, and a small living room. Brenda put out a nice breakfast every morning. WiFi was available, but wasn't very reliable out in the cottage. They hadn't wired it for cable, so I brought our portable dish and receiver from the motorhome for the two weeks.

The net is that it worked fine for us for the more than two weeks we stayed there.
However, neither of us thought we would like just a room in a B&B for that length of time. We are more used to a bigger room with sofa, chair, table and/or desk, Internet access. I guess we've been spoiled by staying in large hotels during the six years I was a 100% traveler at the end of my career. A big positive for staying in a B&B was the camaraderie you get to have by meeting folks at breakfast. We got to meet and chat with folks from different parts of the country, including some who came in for a Notre Dame game one weekend, only to see Notre Dame lose. It was fun talking with them.

During our two weeks in Bremen we went to the Blueberry Festival, visited the RV Museum in Elkhart, hooked up with some RV friends, saw lots of movies at a nice theater in South Bend, I worked on our website, Diane worked on preparing for a craft class she would be teaching at the upcoming Escapees Escapade, and we made new friends with Nick and Dawn Morf who were having their motorhome painted by Precision Painting.

Brenda asked us if we'd be interested in eating dinner with an Amish family in their home. We jumped at the chance to do that. Dinner was at Ben and Mary Etta Mullet's home in Nappanee. We went with Nick and Dawn, and two sisters, Mary and Linda, from Michigan were also there. Ben gave us all a ride in his buggy before dinner. Mary Etta provided a wonderful meal with lots of food. Ben said we could ask him anything and he would do his best to answer and he would not be offended by any questions. I'm sure he's heard them all over the years with the many people who have gone to their home for dinner. It was a great opportunity to visit up close and personal with an Amish family.

As it got dark, Ben went to get some light for the large kitchen/dining area. The Amish do not use electricity. He had what was like a Coleman lantern that Diane and I used to use back in our tent camping days. It was on a long rod and Ben hooked it from the ceiling. It lit up the entire room. After dinner, Ben showed us a couple of horses out in the barn, one of which was a young foal. The evening was definitely one of the highlights of our life on the road.

Our RV friend Dirk Harrington was at Newmar getting warranty work done on his Dutch Star. He was up in Elkhart one day so we made plans to meet at Bradd and Hall to check out RV furniture and flooring that we want to change in our motorhome next year. Then we all drove into Elkhart to hook up with Stan and Betty Bober who were staying at the fairgrounds in Goshen helping get ready for the upcoming Escapade. It's always nice to hook up with friends along the way and we had a very nice lunch.

September 7: Bremen, Indiana (3 miles)

Road conditions: NA

Campground:  Precision Painting parking lot

We got our motorhome back and spent the night in the parking lot. We went over it to note anything that needed to be touched up. A small crew would be in the next day, Saturday, so we were told to mark anything else we found that needed to be touched up and they would fix it Saturday morning before we left for the Escapade in Goshen.

I had forgotten to take the phone off silent mode and it was 9 p.m. when I noticed that we had a voice mail message. It was from Linda Payne telling us they arrived at the Newmar factory around 6:30 p.m. Diane and I were very happy about that as we weren't sure how Norm would be feeling after the surgery he had the prior week to remove a tumor in his cheek. Diane and I had already made plans to hook up with Norm's sister, Gloria and her husband, Don, to go into the Escapade together. Now we would be three rigs going in together and we were excited about spending the week with everyone. Diane, Linda, Don, and Gloria were on the schedule to run several classes to teach different crafts. Norm and I would be content with roaming around the Escapade and playing on our laptops.

September 8 to September 16: Goshen, Indiana (28 miles)

Road conditions: Local roads

Campground:  Goshen fairgrounds for the Escapees Escapade and a Chapter 51 rally

We hadn't been to an Escapees Escapade since 2002. We usually don't go to an RV rally unless it's in our path. This time the Fall Escapade was being held in Goshen. We knew we would be in the area at that time so we signed up. The timing worked out great for us. We scheduled the paint job on the motorhome such that we would get it back prior to the Escapade. But it was sure close as we got the rig back on Friday and went to the Escapade on Saturday. We had made plans to hook up with Don and Gloria Martin, who live in Kokomo, and go in together. After some touch up paint work on Saturday morning at Precision Painting, we drove over to the Newmar factory and hooked up with the Martins and the Paynes. Then it was off to Goshen for the Escapade. We went in a day early because Linda, Don, and Diane were teaching craft classes during the week. Diane taught how to make wire earrings, Linda taught pine needle baskets, and Don taught stick weaving.

We had a great time at the rally and saw lots of old friends and made some new ones. Jim Harpold drove down for the day and stopped by to say hi and that was a pleasant surprise. We also saw some good entertainers. Diane even won a door prize at one of the evening entertainment sessions.

One day we took a ride with the Martins and Paynes to see the new farmers market in Elkhart. What a great building. It's only a small piece of a plan someone has to develop a large parcel of land. The plans were on display and it looks like it would eventually be like a version of Disney's Epcot. However, it also looked like it would take many years to develop the entire project.

After the Escapade, we stayed over the weekend for the Escapees Chapter 51 rally at the fairgrounds. All we had to do was move the motorhome to a different area. The rally was headed by our friends Stan and Betty Bober, who are members of the chapter. The Paynes and Martins also stayed over the weekend and that just extended the good time and camaraderie.

With the Escapade and rally finished, we had to return to Bremen to have a little more touching up of our paint job and to get the woodworking items installed by Carlyle Lehman (Focal Wood Products).

September 17 to September 18: Bremen, Indiana (28 miles)

Road conditions: NA

Campground:  Precision Painting parking lot

We drove the motorhome over to Carlyle's place to have new lambrequins (they surround the windows), new overhead cabinet, and a new headboard installed. Carlyle did a great job matching the cherry wood we have in our motorhome. Side by side there is a cabinet that is over seven years old and the new one Carlyle made for us. You can't tell the difference. It's amazing what talented woodworkers can do.

We were able to hook up with Dawn and Nick for dinner one more time. Also in the area were Dick and Kay Ackerman who were at the Monaco factory in Wakarusa getting repairs made to their Holiday Rambler motorhome. They wanted to see the paint job so they drove down to take a look. It was nice seeing them again.

Now it was time to head south.

September 19 to September 20: Clarksville, Indiana (281 miles)

Road conditions: US 6; US 30; I-65

Campground: Tom Stinnett RV Dealership parking lot

Fuel: Flying J in Whiteland, Indiana for $3.049

Our first stop on the way to the Atlanta area was in Clarksville for another short visit with Norm and Linda. We went to visit the Louisville Slugger museum. We had never been there, but it was on our list of places to see. Norm and I both played baseball in high school, so it was quite interesting for me to see how the bats I used as a kid were made. After the tour I had to take a few swings in the batting cage. All I can say is that my eyes and timing are certainly not what they were when I was in high school. I could barely get the bat on the ball for the first 10 swings, so I definitely had to ante up another buck for 10 more swings. I was a bit better that time and hit the ball several times, although I'm not sure any of the hits would have made it out of the infield. The museum had a simulation of a ball pitched at major league speed over 90 mph. Wow. It's a split second for a batter to decide whether to swing. I'm sure I saw some fast balls in high school, but I don't think I saw any pitchers throwing that fast. It was fun.

Norm and Linda took us to a place known for good food called Joe Huber Family Farm and Restaurant. It was a bit of a drive, but it was an excellent meal.

September 21 to September 27: Fairfield Glade, Tennessee (209 miles)

Road conditions: I-65; I-40

Campground: Fairfield Glade parking lot

We own a time share in Florida and traded it for a week at one of our favorite places. We always enjoy visiting Fairfield Glade, and I have written up a few times in prior travelogs. We only got to play a couple of nine hole rounds of golf this trip, but still enjoyed the visit. The weather was gorgeous the entire week.  We got to visit with Greg Rasch who moved to Fairfield Glade a few years ago.

I'll end this travelog at this point as we went on to Atlanta to spend time with kids and grandkids before heading to Florida to visit with my mom.

Until next time, safe travels.....

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