Monday, July 25, 2011

July 25, 2011 Newmar Tour & Bontragers

This morning was a hurry up morning, because we went to the 10 am tour at the Newmar motorhome plant.  All I can say is WOW.  Pictures were not allowed, but we got to see MH's built from the chassis up - and those folks really know their business.  If you ever get to the area, please do stop and take the tour - it is quite worth the trip, and it's free!  However, we really liked the King Aire, which was priced at 750,000...yep, 3/4 of a million dollars.

After the tour we headed to Bontragers, which is just about 15 miles north in Michigan...we've been shopping for dinette cushions and what we've been able to find are about $350 to $400 for the set.  I found a brand new set that actually looks great for $120.  Yahoo! 

We have not gone for our swim yet this evening, don't know if we will...we are pretty tired from all the shopping.  Tomorrow we have to be at the garage about 15 miles away for our front end alignment - which means we will be setting the alarm clock for 6 am :( 

I'll tell ya all about it when I update tomorrow night!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

July 22, 23, 24, 2011 Elkhart, Shipshewana

We got the call at 8 am on Friday to take the MH over to Total Value RV repair…of course, it was the hottest day so far, at 98 degrees and 89% humidity!  We took the MH over – their customer lounge is NOT air conditioned, so we got in the car with Cinder and started exploring.  We didn’t want to go too far, in case they called us to go look at something. 
First we went to 2 different RV salvage places that allowed us to take Cinder in with us (too too hot to let her in the car!), and I found a set of dinette cushions that we will go measure tomorrow morning – they are about $200.00 and ours are surely shot, but pricing them on line they are over $450 for the set.  That is all we could find that we couldn’t live without – yaaay! 

Then we drove into downtown Elkhart, and got some great pictures of the ‘ELK’.  In Cheyenne, there are boots, somewhere (CRS) there are painted cows, and here in Elkhart they have painted Elk.  The expressions on some of them are priceless!  I don’t know if they take them inside during winter, but they sure are cute!  We walked along the Riverwalk (Cinder and I did, David went to the bridge and took some pics) and admired the landscaping.  Very nice!  I shopped in quite a few stores (bought nothing) and we ended up back at the RV garage about 4:30. 

So – they fixed the door, we had to have the electronic step replaced (comes with a warranty), new hood over bathroom fan, driver and passenger windows were taken out, cleaned, reset and caulked, plus 8 hours labor for the sum of $1120.37.  Not as bad as we feared, but not as good as we hoped.  They really did do a great job, and the contact info is:  Total Value Rec Vehicles of IN, 2510 CR 4 East, Elkhart IN, 46514 phone:  574-262-4460.  They are right beside Elkhart Campground!
On Saturday we drove over to Shipshewana, where we spent hours in Yoder’s Hardware and Mercantile – I bought a jar opener (my hands are not as strong as they used to be)and an led flashlight and there were beautiful quilts hung up on the walls…we asked for a recommendation for lunch from the young lady that checked us out, and she steered us to the ‘Daily Bread’ – which is on the third floor of Davis Mercantile Center…holy cow, was she ever right!  Their special was Chicken & Noodles over Mashed potatoes, corn, applesauce, homemade roll & butter…thought I died and went to heaven!  Comfort food to the MAX!  David had ½ a taco salad, and it was huge, and we shared a piece of apple crumb pie with ice cream. On the 3rd floor they have a carosel (sp).   We were terribly full, so we shopped, walked, shopped, walked for over an hour.  As the temps were in the mid 90’s, we spent much time in air conditioned stores! 

Oh yes, can’t remember the name of the store, but it was a huge bulk foods store, and I got lots of dried fruit to send to Dawn in Afghanistan…I have a smidgen of space left yet in her box, and I’ll be adding to it and mailing it sometime by Friday – she should have it when she gets back from R&R!
Here is a picture of a flower garden in the colors and shape of a quilt - they are all over Amish Country here in IN - once again, the pictures do not do it justice, they are SO gorgeous!
Last stop was at Yoder’s meat & cheese store – where I got some Lebanon bologna, a ham slice and some apple schnitzel for Dawn’s box.  We came home and crashed for an hour or so, then we went to the pool and got our daily dip in – the water is just barely cool, because we had quite a rainstorm – the day before it was too warm.  With temps in the 90’s, you really want the pool water to be at least 85 so you get some refreshment out of it! 
Today was a take it easy day - we putzed around most of the morning, then went for a drive up through Nappanee, and Wakursa, stopped at a roadside market and got a watermelon and blueberries.  It is rainy and grey today, so we are home now, getting ready for a nap, and then we will have spaghetti & meatballs for dinner, along with fresh peaches and blueberries for our salad...and watermelon later :) 
Wonderful memories - David, thanks for helping me make all these great memories!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

July 18, 19, 20, 2011 Charlotte to Elkhart

Well, I have internet for a while – but I’ll tell ya, we have terrible electric here!  We have 30 amp svc and our AC kicks off constantly, and we have the refrigerator on GAS!  Too ridiculous!

Anyway – we did move on Sunday afternoon over to the Eaton County Fairgrounds, where we had GREAT 30 amp service, water and a dump station, once again for $15 per night.  We left Wendy & Wayne’s house about 5 pm, after we had eaten much more steak, chops, mac & cheese, and mango salsa that Wayne made – it was so good buy spicy!  We settled into our site, and out of about 70 sites, only 3 were occupied.  I highly recommend this campground – quiet, almost in town, but lots of squirrels, rabbits, and even a raccoon was seen wandering around! 

Monday was a busy day – we took Cinder in to Petsmart in Lansing to have a bath – it is so hot and humid that she was miserable even though she was not really ‘dirty’…while she was at the salon, we had breakfast at Cracker barrel, then shopped at Lowes, Gander Mtn, and Michaels – by then she was ready and we headed home. 

Wendy stopped over after work because Wayne works until 8:30 on Mon nights, and we made a plan to go to Dark Horse Brewery on Tuesday evening for dinner. 

On Tuesday we got up and headed to Muskegon, where the USS Silversides submarine is open for tours, as well as the US Maritime Submarine museum.  First of all, the museum is a bargain at $6 per person – two stories of memorabilia about subs, including locations of where they were lost, why (if known) and what they were doing there.  It was so interesting that we spent almost 3 hours in there!  We did NOT tour the silversides, since we’ve toured subs before, and it was $15 each, so we skipped that portion!

We left there and stopped by Muskegon beach – what a lovely beach!  Lots and lots of sand, life guards and not crowded at all – and the water was a balmy 68 degrees (brr) but there were a lot of brave souls in there!

When we got home, we had time for a nap, then Wendy and Wayne picked us up and we went to Dark Horse Brewery.  They make LOTS of different beers, and I tried a raspberry ale – it was very nice!  They have fantastic sandwiches, and they make their own ‘spelt’ and ‘pretzel’ rolls – oh man, talk about wonderful!  Very dense, salty & sweet, perfect for the bacon, lettuce, tomato, beef & turkey I had…sorry, did not take any pictures L

Wednesday was our last day in Charlotte, so I went off to get a pedicure & manicure, since the weather has been so hot my feet really took a beating in my ‘flops’…went back to the MH and we had a bite of lunch, napped and then waited for 5 o’clock and our last supper with Wendy N Wayne.  We met them at Eaton Pub & Grille, and once again had a fabulous meal!  Goodbyes are the hardest part of this lifestyle – but then again, if we didn’t live this wonderful lifestyle we most likely would not have been able to visit with them in the first place! 

We got up this morning and got ready to head down the road to Elkhart, IN, the RV Capitol of the US…and wouldn’t you know it, the darned steps would not retract…grrr.  After doing everything we knew how to do, we just headed down the road. 

For those of you that wonder about this type of life, we have a ‘list’ of stuff to get done while here:

a tree limb came out and swatted our cover over the bathroom fan yesterday L
the door does not work right (doesn’t want to open/close),

the step went out yesterday and won’t retract today,
the 30 amp breaker probably needs to be replaced,

the two cockpit windows need to be taken out, cleaned, caulked and replaced – in a rainstorm they leak like crazy
We need to get a front end alignment….

We are at Elkhart Campground and paid for a week $175 ouch! – the place next door said they would do all the work – they’ll call us tomorrow and let us know when to bring in the coach.  We will get an estimate before they do all the work, and since they don’t do the alignment, we’ll get it scheduled for a day they won’t have the coach.  Biggest problem now is what to do with Cinder while they are working on it – too hot to let her in the car, and since she likes to ‘taste’ the servicemen, that would not be good!  We’ll figure something out! 

Tomorrow we’ll…aw, I’ll tell you about it after we do it!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

July 16, 17, 2011 In the driveway!

This morning we got up to HOT - temps as well as humidity.  We are running our AC otherwise David wouldn't be able to breathe!  I took off at 8 to the local farmers market, (forgot the camera!) where I got fresh corn on the cob, homemade wheat bread, garden lettuce, cukes, onions, and mashed potato doughnuts...oh holy cow, they tasted just like my grammy used to make - you can taste the nutmeg in 'em.  It was worth the trip just for that taste - took me back in time! 

When I came home we just vegged for the rest of the day.  It is wonderful here under the trees in the driveway, and we finished off the day with steak, chops, rosemary potatoes, fresh bread, butter and corn on the cob...YUMMO!  Here are some pics of our spot at the Economy Hilton :)

This morning I promised sausage gravy & biscuits, so I was busily cooking sausage at 8 am and realized the milk was just about to turn :(  David took over the stirring duties while I went to the store for milk.  We baked the biscuits in Wendy's oven, and I sliced up a wonderful canteloupe - oh it was so is a couple more pics of breakfast! 

Wendy and Wayne moved here 7 years ago, and there was no landscaping, decks, flowers, etc...they've worked very hard to turn this into an oasis of colors and shade!  Here are some pics of their place - they built the pergola and deck, and did all the rock work themselves.  They have a wonderful garden and a red raspberry patch.  What a testament to elbow grease!

This afternoon we will be moving over to the fairgrounds where we will have 30 amp we can run the AC full time!  Also, Wendy will need to get her car out to go to work tomorrow...:) 

I doubt that we will have any wifi over there, so I may not blog again until end of the week. 

Wendy & Wayne - what a great time we've had...hope to see you in PA or TX sometime!  

Friday, July 15, 2011

July 10 through 15, 2011

So I'm playing catch up on the blog, and I just know I'm going to miss some important exciting stuff, but I'll try.  First the reason I'm behind - David 'forgot' we were on our MIFI and downloaded ALL the updates to our Gypsy (Rand McNalley RV Edition GPS), then he downloaded 1,500 emails from a secondary account - and used up ALL our available bytes - we get 3 gigs a month, and he pigged em all - is that fair?  Shoot!  Anyway, we are 'leaching' off Wendy (more later).

We left Manistique and drove to St Ignace - and our wonderful Gypsy took us straight to the Moose Club there.  They have 30 Amp Service and dump station :(  We paid $12.50 a night, and there was 1 fifth wheel there - and they have 10 sites, nestled in the pines (but NO shade where you park until late afternoon).  We had good intentions of going to Mackinaw Island, until we realized that it would cost us $44.00 for the round trip ferry ride - and seeing as how there are NO cars allowed on the island, and you catch the 'carriages' in mid-town, and with David not being able to do a lot of walking (especially up hills!), we decided we would forego that trip.  It is a good thing we did, because it poured down rain all morning on Monday the 11th! 

Two days before when I was reading through the blog that I had been following for years, I realized that Bob & Linda were essentially going to be in the same place as we were.  Having never met them face to face I fired off an email, and as happens in the full time rv world, Linda emailed me back, a date and place was set - Monday, 11:30 at the Mackinaw Grill!  Well, we were all soaked to the skin when we got there, and they had the AC cranked, so we were cold!  We settled down for a wonderful 2 1/2 hour lunch, talking about all the things that full timers talk about - coaches, routes, gps devices, dump stations, campgrounds, fairgrounds, food, restaurants :)  What a wonderful time we had getting to know these wonderful folks - and we know that we will meet again down the road someday!

The next morning we left St Ignace bright and early (ok, 9:30ish).  We went across the Mackinaw Bridge - 5 miles of suspension bridge over lakes Huron and Michigan - definitely high pucker factor there! 
We went as far as Mt Pleasant to the Isabella County Fairgrounds, where they have 97 sites with 30 amp, water with good pressure and a dump station.  We were the ONLY ones there, and it was wonderful - we took the time to hook up an extra hose, give the MH and car a bath, scrubbed and cleaned everything, and were ready to RELAX... 

We drove to Big Rapids in the car, just to say we were on the 'west coast' of MI, and it was of course gorgeous.  It is a college town, so lots of kids, even in summer, and lots of activities.  We stopped in a little restaurant downtown and had lunch - it was wonderful!  On the way home we stopped at a Mennonite farm and I bought some fresh green beans, cukes and blueberries - then we stopped at a roadside stand and I got some fresh tomatoes  wow, love this time of year!  Of course for dinner we had cheesewheels (from Lander, WY - thanks Christy), fresh green beans, sliced tomatoes and cukes - yum!

We got up yesterday and took the 70 mile trip to Charlotte MI (which they pronounce Shar Lot here!) where we settled into Wendy and Wayne's driveway - a Economy Hilton (free = economy, Hilton = close to friends) and we spent the rest of the day catching up!  Wendy and David and I all in another life, worked together in WY, and Wendy moved about 7 years ago to here, we've been talking about visiting for years, and finally made it!  We sat around last night drinking lots of beer (they have a keg in the garage - so handy!) and were up far too late, but we had a great time! 

This morning we got up and headed to Lansing and Washington Square, where we saw the historic courthouse, and I had a brief tour of the Michigan Pie Company Restaurant - OMG were the line not really long, I would have been in trouble!  As it was we had a lovely lunch at Jalepeno's...then, being true tourists we went shopping ;)  I did buy a new pair of flops (Nikes) because the ones I bought at Cabela's at the end of June are showing serious wear - guess I wear 'em out walking!  Here are Wendy, Casey and I!

We visited Meijers (pronounced MEYERS) where we got some scrumptious vittles for tomorrow nights dinner - pork chops, steak and polish sausage...Wayne is gonna grill, and I'm making potatoes and a big salad (we're going to a farmers market in the morning) and hopefully corn on the cob! 

This evening we went to Reidy's for pizza with neighbors...sorry, names are gone, I'm sure I'll get it right by the end of our visit :)

This blog was brought to you by Wendy & Wayne's internet connection - Thanks so much for letting us 'leach'!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

July 8, 9, 2011 Manistique & Munising MI

So - yesterday we got to Manistique - parked at the Moose Club here.  It is about 5 miles from town and very very quiet - they did open last night for a fish fry, of course we attended and they did a good job - yummy perch, baked potato, cole slaw, all you can eat for 10.95 person.  Fish was fresh and crisp - great!

We went to Lake Michigan, which we actually saw in Marinette, got some pics and stuck my toes in the water :)  Lovely travel up Hwy 35 & 2 - lots of lovely coast views!  Can you call it a coast even if it is not?  Looks like the gulf of mexico to me - huge body of water, no waves :)  Biggest difference is that lake is black...not green or blue.  Kind of scary to someone who has always loved big bodies of water!

Today we got up and drove up to Lake Superior, where we once again saw lots of big water...we took a Shipwrecked Tour in glass bottom boat out to three different ship wrecks - we did take pictures, and I will post one, but through the water and the glass, and then the camera, it does not do it justice.  The skipper of the boat quoted 1027 wrecked ships in Lake Superior, the most famous is the Edmund Fitzgerald, which actually lies in Canadian waters!  If we had our passports we would definitely visit Canada, after all, we're in spitting distance :) 

For anyone with pets - they offer FREE kennels while you are on the tour - Cinder got a nice big clean kennel all to herself, with lots of ventilation in the basement of the tour building - also someone was there to chat with her and the other pets while we were gone...there were 3 other dogs and 1 cat!!!  They said they never had a bird, but there's always a first time!!! 

While on the boat we met a very nice couple who had their grandson with them who was so much fun!  Reminded us of how much we miss our grandkids and how many trips we made with them - hope to do more of that in the future if we can!

David napped the entire 48 miles home (he was wore out from jumping around on the boat) and we had supper at Big Boy.  When I was growing up, Mom and I and my aunt Joyce and her daughter Susie would go to Monroeville shopping, and we always stopped at a Big Boy and had lunch and strawberry pie.  Of the 4 of us, I'm the only one left, but hey you guys, this pie's for you :) 

We did have a wonderful day, and I took many pictures, here's just a couple I culled out for you to see.

Hey - my cousin Donna Huston has a birthday today - Happy Birthday Cuz!

Friday, July 8, 2011

July 5, 6, 7 Marinette WI Moose Campground

We arrived in Marinette WI to the biggest Moose Campground we've ever seen!  There are 102 spots, with about 90 taken by seasonal moose members.  What a wonderful park!  Their lodge is open Thurs, Fri, Sat, & Sun, so we were only able to participate in Hamburger night on Thurs nite, it was fantastic as all hamburger nights are - we both got cheeseburgers, 1 order of FF and 1 order of onion rings, and our bill was $8.00...can't beat that with a stick! 

There are twin cities Marinette and Menominee, separated by the Menominee river.  Marinette is in WI and Menominee is in MI!  While we were driving around on Wed, a very nice guy on a scooter pulled ahead of us and said we had a brake light out - so off we went to NAPA - and of course we have the kind of lights that you just can't replace, you have to go to a dealer - so we found a chevy dealer, and they took a look - yep, need entire new circuit board - part ordered, go back Thurs for appt...$100 later we're out the door.  Wow...for a brake light!  That included the time they took the day before to diagnose the problem :( 

Here are some pictures of the Marina at Menominee (yes, right on Lake Michigan) and some fantastic food we had at a place called Railhead - David tried their oatmeal stout beer and he was in heaven :)  and lastly some pics of the campground we stayed at including a golf cart that David loved!

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 1 thru 4, 2011 Madison WI

We arrived here at the University of Wisconsin Medical Center July1, early in the day. 

We came here to talk to the counselors and tour the facility, because David was told by him pulmonologist at Audie Murphy that he would be a good candidate for a lung transplant.  We now know that he will have to undergo at least 3 days of testing to see if he really is a candidate, and what the alternative is to having a transplant. 

The statistics are that 1 in 20 die within 3 months of having a transplant, and the most anyone has managed afterwards is 10 years - so we will be asking some hard questions - like if he doesn't have it, how long can he have some quality of life - and how long until the end??? 

We've decided that he will start the process next year, Jan or Feb of 2012, and see how it goes.  If he is NOT a good candidate, that will make the decision for us.  If he is, we will explore alternatives and answers.  We will NOT give up, and we will live every moment that we can as best we can, enjoying every precious moment that God gives us together!

Now, enough about that - here's to living life to the fullest!!!  You know that for us, much of that is good food - both what I cook and what we eat out :)  As luck would have it, they have a marvelous Brazillian Grill here - and that was where we had Sunday Brunch - yum are some pics of course :)  Oh never mind, the internet connection is too slow!!!

We watched wonderful fireworks from the parking lot where we are parked - wonderful seats :)  The hospital has let us stay 5 nights with electric for no charge - that helps the pocketbook! 

Today, being the 4th, we went to Biaggi's and had Italian...I had butternut squash ravioli and david had seafood cannelloni boy, it was fabulous!  Of course for dinner tonight we had cereal :) 

Found the biggest Whole Foods store I've ever been to - we now have our favorite granola to top yogurt with...yay! 

We also found a Camping World and bought a new GPS - it is the new Rand McNally RV Edition - it is our Christmas gift to each other - because there are many roads where we are going with low bridges and narrow roads - we put in our length, width, weight, with and without the car, and David has been playing with it.  We were done with our Garmin - it kept putting us in downtown areas so with a MH pulling a car there is not much fun there.  I'll let you know how we like it :)