Time For a Rally

Current Location: Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds, Goshen, Indiana

While in Wetumpka, Alabama the past couple weeks, we took care of various doctor appointments and Malcolm worked from the trailer. We enjoyed a quiet Memorial Day weekend. Our plan was to leave Alabama on Tuesday, June 6th and arrive in Goshen, Indiana for the Heartland Owners Club North American Rally on Thursday, June 8th.

Many of our friends arrived late in May or early in June. We kept seeing everyone posting pictures of all the fun they were already having in the area. We started to regret leaving later. On Saturday, June 3rd, Malcolm called the head of the owners’ club to see if we could come up earlier and he said it would not be a problem. So, we packed up the trailer Saturday night and headed out Sunday morning.

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Callie displaying her enthusiasm about leaving early

On Sunday, we dumped the tanks and headed up the road about 8:30 AM. The halfway point is the Cave City, Kentucky area, so we stopped there for the night at Cave Country RV Campground. We’ve stayed there a couple times before. We just left the trailer hitched to the truck overnight.

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Cave Country RV Campground

Leaving the truck hooked up was nice since it decided to rain overnight and into the morning. It wasn’t a hard rain, fortunately. We pulled up stakes and hit the road early on Monday, continuing up I-65 into Indiana, then I-69 from Indianapolis up to Fort Wayne, Indiana. We were making good time and decided to stop for lunch south of Fort Wayne at a rest area. When we pulled into the rest area, we recognized a couple other RVs as other club members, so we chatted with them as we all ate sandwiches.

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Lunch with friends

Neither of the other two couples had traveled to Goshen on this route, but we had, so they decided to caravan with us and we led the way. We all arrived at the fairgrounds around 4:00 PM, got checked in and set up.

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All set up

We visited with others that had already arrived before heading to bed for the evening. On Tuesday we drove up to Shipshewana and stopped by a few favorites in the area such as E&S Sales and Yoder’s Hardware and Department Store. We ate lunch at the 5 & 20 Country Kitchen.

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Buggy Parking at E&S Sales

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Outdoor Furniture at Eash Sales (next to E&S)

On Wednesday, Malcolm did some work in the morning and took his weekly Wednesday conference call in the trailer. We headed out to Menards to find some trash bags and also purchased an outdoor screen room. We set that up when we got back to the trailer.

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Screen Room set up outside

On Wednesday evening, we went out to eat dinner with Andy and Joanna Grimes at South Side Soda Shop in Goshen. The food was pretty good.

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On Thursday morning, Malcolm worked for a couple hours, then we wandered around downtown Goshen. We shopped around for a bit and Malcolm took his weekly Thursday conference call outside on a sidewalk bench and on the way to lunch. We ate lunch at Culver’s restaurant.

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Downtown Goshen

For dinner, we went with out with several friends to eat dinner at Goshen Brewing Company. The food and the beer were all very good.

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Goshen Brewing Company

Today, we went on a bus tour of Amish country. Malcolm didn’t take many pictures, but we stopped at Rise ‘n Roll Bakery, toured a camel milk farm (we did that two years ago), had lunch at an Amish home, stopped by Guggisberg Cheese, Yoder Popcorn Shop, E&S Sales and Teaberry Wood Products (the only stop we haven’t been to before).

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Teaberry Wood Products

The family that runs Teaberry are Mennonite-Amish, or as the husband put it – “Amish on Wheels” (they own a car). They had many fascinating products and it was neat to see how they put them together. Their baskets are made by cutting several concentric pieces out of a flat piece of wood, separating them and stacking them alternately. Then, small strips of wood are slid into the resulting gaps giving it a basketweave effect. (Check the website and you’ll see what we are trying to describe).

After getting back from the tour, we dropped off our purchases in the trailer and headed to dinner out with several friends. Once back from dinner, we walked around a bit before retiring a bit early in the trailer.

The official rally starts next Tuesday, so we’ve still got three more days (Saturday through Monday) of pre-rally days to visit the area and visit our friends.

 

 

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Our Visit to Seattle

Last Thursday, May 18, the three of us (including David) loaded into our car and we drove up to Atlanta. We made a lunch stop at Cracker Barrel on the way, then on to the airport after parking the car. David had to get his own tickets much later than when we got ours, so he was on different flights. Fortunately, his flight departing Atlanta was only about 10 minutes different than ours.

Once we arrived in Seattle (at nearly the same time), we picked up our checked bag and headed down to get our rental car. We drove on to Violet’s school, where they were having an art walk. We got to see her art hanging in the school halls. After the art walk was over, we headed over to Cole and Elizabeth’s house to drop David off. We headed on out so that bedtimes could be administered on a near normal basis. We stayed at Val’s sister Annie’s apartment nearby. She moved out here a couple months ago to take a contract nursing position.

On Friday morning, we drove over to Elizabeth’s house for breakfast with she and the girls. Violet was getting ready for school. We stood outside at the bus stop with her to watch her off (the bus stops at their driveway). After she left, we loaded Elizabeth, David and Scarlet in the car and headed towards Tacoma. Scarlet’s preschool class had a field trip to the childrens’ museum there.

We stopped for a quick lunch at Chick-Fil-A, then headed over to park so we could catch the commuter trolley up to the museum (Scarlet requested riding on the “train”).

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Let’s Ride the Train

Scarlet had a fun time at the museum. We had all been there before, so we were familiar with everything there. After the field trip was over, we rode the train back to the car and headed back to the house.

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Elizabeth and Scarlet Outside the Museum

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Building Things with Uncle David

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Making Sure the Garden is Watered

We dropped Elizabeth at the house to get her car and met her over at Violet’s school (we needed her car as well since it had Violet’s car seat in it). We met her teacher and talked for a few minutes before heading back over to the house.

We were originally going to keep the girls so that Elizabeth and Cole could have an evening out by themselves, but the girls wanted them to join us for dinner, so all of us headed over to Famous Daves for dinner. After dinner, we split back up and we headed back to Annie’s apartment for the evening. She had to work all day, but was home when we got there.

On Saturday, we got up really early and headed over to Cole and Elizabeth’s. Cole, Malcolm, David and Violet headed out at 5:30am to go shrimping. Val, Elizabeth and Scarlet spent the day out shopping and having fun.

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Waiting in Line to Drop the Boat

The shrimp season where they were going is only active for four days in a two week period. This day was the last day for the year. Malcolm and David had purchased licenses in case the haul was big (you can bring back 80 shrimp per licensed person, and children can bring back 80 as well). Cole had pretty good luck the three previous trips, so we had our fingers crossed.

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Waiting for 9:00 am to drop the pots

The official time to be able to drop the shrimp pots was 9:00 AM, so once in place, you sit and wait until 9:00. Cole has four shrimp pots (big wire cages) that he can drop into the water. Each has 400 feet of rope, but we were fishing in about 250 feet of water.

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Violet helping to raise the pots

After the pots are in the water about an hour (each pot has a buoy marking its location), you run back around in the boat and pull them up to get the shrimp out of them. The first pot pulled yielded about 13 shrimp, but most of them had much less. Many of the shrimpers mentioned that their haul was much lower that day then the previous couple of weeks.

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Shrimp

The total haul for the day was 85 shrimp. We attributed 80 of them to Violet and 5 to Cole. Malcolm and David didn’t technically catch any. It was a fun and interesting trip, regardless.

On Sunday, we all met at church (including Annie, since she was off work), then off to Trackside Pizza for lunch. Malcolm and Elizabeth cooked stirfry for dinner (one of Malcolm’s specialties).

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The two chefs

On Monday morning, we headed to the house and had breakfast with the girls. We watched Violet get on the school bus. After that, Malcolm and Elizabeth went to the AT&T store to get her failing phone replaced. David, Annie, Val and Scarlet met up with them at the Puyallup library parking lot to shuffle around people. From there, David and Elizabeth went out to have a brother/sister lunch. The rest of us headed to McDonalds (per Scarlet’s request) for lunch and some play time.

We ate dinner at Elizabeth’s house on Monday evening and just visited for a while. David packed up his stuff and headed to Annie’s apartment with us since we all had very early flights on Tuesday morning. We said our goodbyes then.

On Tuesday, David’s flight left about an hour before ours. We dropped him at the airport and Malcolm went to take back the rental car. After riding the shuttle bus back, he met up with Val and we headed to our flight. We met David back at the Atlanta airport, picked up our bag and ate a late lunch (it was around 4:00 eastern time) before driving back to Wetumpka and the trailer.

David spent the night with us Tuesday night, then headed back home to Panama City on Wednesday. After a bit of discussion, we decided to keep Callie with us instead of sending her back with David and his new kitten. We thought she might like the quieter life lazing around the RV instead of being chased around by a kitten and a dog.

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You mean I can stay?

Time for Some Visiting

Current Location: Fort Toulouse Campground, Wetumpka, Alabama

Last week was pretty uneventful. Malcolm worked at the office from Monday through Thursday. Several people were going to be out of the office on Friday, plus it was supposed to be a rainy day, so Malcolm stayed home and worked from the trailer.

On Saturday we hooked up the trailer and stopped by the dump station to empty tanks. Then we convoyed on back down to Wetumpka to set up for a few weeks. We had doctors appointments set up for this Tuesday morning. Plus, Malcolm’s crown decided to pop off again last week, so he had an early morning dentist appointment on Monday to have it reinstalled yet again.

One trailer modification was started last week while we were in Nashville. Malcolm started removing the RV stereo and speakers that were mounted in the entertainment cabinet. We’ve been wanting to do something with that space and Malcolm came up with the idea of building a pull-out desktop into the area. Our previous trailer had one built in.

Once we got to Wetumpka, Malcolm started cutting out some of the wood to make a wide opening about five inches high. Then, it was off to Lowe’s to pick up various pieces of wood and other hardware. Malcolm pretty much finished up the entire project on Monday afternoon.

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The “Work Bench”

Malcolm put together the entire drawer out on the picnic table. The drawer front was initially going to be an oak 1×6 that we bought, but we found a better alternative. The trailer originally came with a shelving unit behind the TV that was meant to hold DVDs, etc. We had pulled it out and mounted the TV directly to the wall to free up counter space in front of the TV.

We had stored the shelving in our storage unit all this time and brought it back in case we might want to use the wood in the project. As it turns out, two of the shelves in the unit were cut from one piece of wood so that joining them together end to end had the grain matching up perfectly. Lacking anything more fancy to use, Malcolm mounted a few L brackets on the back side to hold the two pieces together.

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The Drawer Fully Deployed

The front of the drawer flips down to allow it to be used as a keyboard drawer. Magnetic catches on either end hold the drawer front up in place otherwise.

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Drawer with Front Flipped Up

The drawer rides on soft close drawer glides, letting it easily open and close. We’ll still need to put some type of positive latch on it to keep it from sliding open while in transit.

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The Drawer Closed

We’re still debating whether or not to install drawer pulls. We like the clean look as it is now and it is not difficult to open and close.

Yesterday afternoon, our son David arrived along with Callie and his new kitten, Maui.

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Maui

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Callie

We’ve all noticed that Callie has started showing her age (she is 14 this year). She’s also not real happy about her new little roommate, but she tolerates him.

We are all flying out to the Seattle area to visit Elizabeth and family on Thursday. The kitties are staying in the trailer and our neighbors will be taking care of them (and the trailer) while we are away.

The Last Three Weeks

Current Location: Fort Toulouse Campground, Wetumpka, Alabama

Another catch-up post. That means we’ve been really busy.

When we last left you, we were in Florida at our RV lot. We decided to start working on the brown shed while we were there. Originally, we were just going to wire it up, but with the wiring done and a couple weeks remaining that we would be there, we went ahead and picked up lumber, insulation and drywall to start finishing things out a little more.

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Ceiling lights installed, wiring them up

The inside of the shed is pretty much fully wired. Malcolm has one more circuit to run. Plus, we have to put a 50 amp breaker outside in our pedestal and run wire into the shed from there. Both of those will take some thought and, in the case of our pedestal, a part from an electrical supply house (missing a bracket for the breaker).

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Wiring in progress

The shed is a 10′ x 16′ shed. We’re dividing the shed into two rooms. The back room will be 6′ x 10′ and the front room 10′ x 10′. The back room will have laundry and a half bath in it. The front room will be more of a living space. We’ll eventually put a couch bed in there along with maybe a desk. We plan on mounting a TV on the wall and Malcolm has run cable to the shed.

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The divider wall framed up.

We bought a nice wardrobe at IKEA and used it to base the measurements of the divider wall. The wardrobe is sitting in the intended location in the picture, above. With the wiring complete in the front room, we decided we could go ahead and at least start working on the walls in that portion. Malcolm got the itchy job of installing insulation.

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Insulation going in.

With the insulation installed, it was time to hang some drywall. Malcolm worked on that over a several day period and finished the front room a couple days before we were scheduled to leave.

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Front drywall complete.

Malcolm didn’t have time to tape and mud the drywall. We’ll do that the next time we’re home (late June) along with plumbing. We did buy a roll-around air conditioner to keep the space moderately cool while we are gone. Malcolm temporarily drilled a hole in the floor to run a drain hose for the A/C to keep it from filling up with condensate.

Val ran some items over to the thrift store near us and ran across a really nice set of Samsung washer and dryer, complete with bases. The thrift shop indicated that they worked fine. We ended up buying the complete set for $800 total. They delivered them to us the next day.

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Waster and Dryer

For now, the washer and dryer are just sitting in the front room. Once we get the back room finished out, we’ll move them back there into place.

Here are some random pictures from when we were at home.

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Pet Bunny

This is our pet bunny. He likes to hop around in the driveway and set off our security camera while we are gone. He decided to sit outside one morning while we were eating breakfast, so Malcolm snapped this picture. A few days later, we noticed that there were two rabbits hopping around. We suspect we might return this summer to find even more.

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Not sure water is supposed to drain out from the frame

Malcolm walked by the trailer one day and noticed a few puddles beneath the back of the trailer. Looking up underneath, he found water running out from towards the back and dripping off the frame. He also found water dripping out of the taillights. It had not been raining.

A quick trip to the roof revealed the fact that some of the sealant between the roof and the back cap of the trailer had split open at a low spot and was allowing air conditioner condensate to run behind the rear cap. Malcolm fixed that and now our air conditioner drips off the end of the gutter like it is supposed to.

Malcolm had removed a taillight to inspect and found that the insulation in the rear cap has a plastic liner on it, facing towards the cap. It apparently wraps at the top, as the insulation behind the liner was dry. We’re hoping that all the water just ran between that plastic liner and the fiberglass cap. It seems to have. If nothing else, it hadn’t been dripping through the cap more than a day or two.

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IKEA magnetic spice rack

We installed these IKEA magnetic spice holders in our kitchen. Mostly, they contain spice mixes instead of just individual spices. They sort of lend an artsy feel to that corner of the kitchen.

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Granddaughters at Disneyland

While we were in Florida, our daughter, son-in-law and granddaughters got to go to Disneyland out in California. They spent the day there and had a great time.

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Balloon Ride

There is a balloon ride company just up the road from our home and they apparently land nearby. We saw three different balloons coming in for a landing one morning after dropping our truck off at the shop.

Speaking of the truck, it was in the shop for the third time with a vibration issue. The first time we took it in, it had the original tires on it and the front, driver’s side tire was cupped. They recommended new tires. We put all new tires on it, had them balanced and the front end aligned. The vibration in the front went away, but there was one in the rear.

We took the truck to the dealer near our home in Florida twice. The first time, they balanced the driveshaft and said it rode much better. It didn’t. The second time, they recommended we have the tires trued and gave us a couple recommended shops. We took it to one of the shops and they trued the tires for us. It rides smooth as a car now.

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Buc-ee’s signs on I-10 near Tallahassee, Florida

Last Friday, we left home and headed up to Panama City to visit our son and to go to the Gulf Coast Salute air show at Tyndall Air Force Base. If you are familiar with the Buc-ee’s chain of gigantic convenience stores in Texas and their billboards, you’ll get a chuckle out of the billboards we saw along I-10 in Florida.

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Tyndall AFB for the air show

We went to the air show all day Saturday, arriving around 10:00 and staying until it was done around 5:00 PM. David had to work part of the day, but got to join us around 2:00. A couple of his friends were visiting for the weekend and we gave them a ride from David’s house to and from the base.

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Air show activities

Malcolm took a lot of pictures with the big camera, but hasn’t gone through all of them yet. When he does, he will post them on our picture site (link here). Just head to the travel section to see them.

On Sunday, we went out to dinner with an Air Force family who live down the street from David. Otherwise, we relaxed and prepared to roll out on Monday.

On Monday, we drove on up to Fort Toulouse in Wetumpka, Alabama. We’ll be here for a week. Malcolm’s working in the trailer and Val is working on various sewing projects while we’re sitting still here.

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Fort Toulouse

Since we have the car with us, we decided today to go ahead and put new tires on it. They’ve been due for a bit as the car still had the original equipment tires on it. Though they had plenty of remaining tread, they are more than five years old and had some small cracks and weather checking on the sidewalls. Better safe than sorry. Also, the car turned over 40,000 miles today (and recently celebrated its fifth birthday).

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Getting new shoes

Next week, we head to Nashville for two weeks before coming back here.

Louisiana Rally

Current Location: The RV Resort at Red Shoes Park, Kinder, Louisiana

After we left the Texas rally waaaaay back in the middle of March, we headed back east to Wetumpka, Alabama. The first night, Sunday, we stayed in Junction, Texas which wasn’t a very long drive (250-ish miles). We ended up hauling the remainder of the trip (a little over 1,000 miles) in two days, stopping the Monday night in Westlake, Louisiana and rolling into Wetumpka on the Tuesday around 4:00 in the afternoon (we left Westlake at the crack of dawn).

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Our site in Junction, Texas on the way back to Alabama

We spent about a week back in Wetumpka. Malcolm ran into Montgomery on Thursday morning to get his tooth fixed. We relaxed in the area for several days, attended church on Sunday morning and Malcolm got a few days’ worth of work in. We rolled back out on Tuesday, the 28th, to start heading back to Louisiana for the Heartland Owners Club Louisiana rally, staying overnight in Biloxi.

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Our shady spot in Biloxi

We pulled into the RV park here in Louisiana on Wednesday just after lunch. The growing cloud cover encouraged us to get everything set up. Several other rally goers were here already and we visited with them until it started raining later in the afternoon. That rain let up, but started back up in earnest overnight. We had some thunder and lightning and a lot of rain, but nothing serious. Thursday, Friday and today have all been pleasant and warm.

On Friday morning, we all pitched in for a big breakfast. Malcolm went over to help cook bacon while Val stayed back at the rig to bake banana bread muffins and scones. We went out with friends for dinner on Friday evening before coming back to the park for an ice cream and cake meet and greet.

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Gathering for Breakfast

This morning we were treated to fresh, hot beignets for breakfast. Malcolm enjoyed a couple but was having some stomach issues. He spent most of the day today inside the rig staying close to the facilities. After a nap this afternoon, he seems to be feeling a bit better. We didn’t get out and do any sight-seeing so he could relax.

We’ll all be eating dinner around 6:00 this afternoon and will visit this evening. Tomorrow, we’ll say our goodbyes and head out. We’re going just down the road to Scott, Louisiana for an overnight visit and dinner out with our friends Nick and Sheila. From there, we’ll take two or three days to drive on back to our home in Florida.