Monday, May 31, 2010

Shipshewana Flea Market

Rick and Debbie shop Shipshewana-These prices are outrageous!

Wednesday, May 19, I get up at 6:35. I guess I've had enough sleep for a few days. But it takes me a while to get moving. I have tea and toast; no coffee yet. I read, stretch and try some oatmeal. Then I get myself cleaned up and ready to head out the door at 9:00. All four of us pile in Big Bertha and head past Amish fields in the morning sun with four to six draft horses pulling plows. There is already a big crowd in Shipshewana since the Flea Market opened at 8:00. They have a huge outdoor flea market here every Tuesday and Wednesday. We park by Gate #8 and start wandering around.

I break the ice and buy a $2.00 gray leather belt. Bob buys black zip strips. We wander until around 11:30 and make a bee-line for lunch at Shipshewana Amish Auction House Restaurant. We get there just in time as a line forms in the lobby after we're seated.

Our upbeat Amish waitress takes our orders. I have Chicken Noodle Plate with mashed potatoes and mixed veges. Now I'm going for the comfort food after being sick. Bob has Ham Loaf. We see a cheesy pile of salad come out of the kitchen and another Amish waitress says it's a Haystack (taco salad without the shell.) A teenaged Amish girl in full Amish garb is eating at a table across from us with the rest of her family. She has a Blackberry and is texting. Riva tells us later that they have a couple years in their teens when they can try out 'outside life.' But at a certain age they have to make a decision as to whether to join the Amish community. We pass on pies and head out past the crowd in the lobby.

Right after lunch we head to the Red Barn that Debbie wanted to see. At the pine furniture place an Amish girl at the checkout tells Rick that even the gas stations in the area used to be closed on Sundays until just recently. Bob and Rick sit down in the common area of the mall for a quick game of checkers.

Debbie in disguise with glasse!

We all head back to the outdoor flea market but I sure wanted to tromp upstairs for the fudge and a soft pretzel. Maybe later. Bob and I find two small collapsible clothes hampers for $1.00 each. Ours are starting to rip after six years of use. I find wrap-around sun glasses for $8.00. Rick and Bob score big at the Tool Shed tent. Debbie finds a metal star in a wooden window frame with a bittersweet wreath for $7.00. He took $3.00 off due to a loose nail. On the way out Rick gets grabbers and they both go back for clip-on sunglasses they saw in the first row.

On the way home I hop out for a newspaper at BP. Back at Eby's Pines we sit outside on this glorious day-the best weather since we arrived. It is 71 degrees and sunny with no wind or humidity. I make a big bowl of popcorn. Debbie, Bob and I go for a walk. Rick says he'll catch a nap. We return and Rick us up so we all sit out until the neighbors' (the dentist and her guy in the Terry 5th wheel behind us) dinner aromas make us hungry.

Debbie gets the grill out for burgers. Bob cuts up tomatoes, onions and lettuce. I make Broccoli Avocado Salad. We have one last mini-feast in the cabana before the guys take it down. We hate to see them leave tomorrow. I clean up my kitchen. Debbie brings her greasy spatula over for me to wash in my sudsy water. We put on our smoky clothes and take out the trash before sitting out by the prepared fire until dusk when we light it. Bob 'borrows' some wood from Don's neighbors. We solve the world's problems and learn the formula for waxing and waning. We all head in around 11:30. It is a clear night and not too chilly.

One last flame!

One last sunset!

We're Back!

Tuesday,May 18, at 9:30 I hear Bob outside. He must be dumping our holding tanks. We have been here a week. He comes in and says Debbie and Rick were glad to know he's alive. I guess it's true they only saw me yesterday and I was not very forthcoming about what Bob's status was. They go off to breakfast.

I get up and we rally and have a piece of toast. Our first real food since Bob Evans Sunday evening. We both have hot tea. My headache finally subsides but my neck, back and shoulders feel bruised. I'm washing up dishes when Debbie calls. They're tooling around and wanted to see how we're doing. They have been so nice. I tell her we had toast and are feeling invincible. Have fun we say; we're staying in the rest of the afternoon.

I really rally after breakfast and Lysol out the bathroom. Then I had one of the best showers of my life. We have half of the chicken soup those guys brought us and some crackers. We read, rest, and watch a recorded Good Wife episode. It's 2:16 p.m. and 54 degrees with 81% humidity. It sprinkled rain all day.

At 2:45 we get a recorded message from Carnival Cruise Line saying our names were drawn in a contest "we entered." A cruise is departing Galveston on Carnival Ecstasy. I hang up. Debbie and Rick return at 3:00. We go out and sit in the cabana with them to get out of the chilly wind. They went to the RV Hall of Fame. Rick goes in for a nap and Debbie comes over to our RV to visit and stay warm. We snack on trail mix and pretzels and Rice Crispy Treats and have a nice chat on this cloudy day. I send her home at 7:00 with baked beans and Waldorf Jello as no one is eating anything over here.

Bob and I do have egg sandwiches for a total intake of 705 calories today. We go out and sit by Debbie's nice fire. Don comes down to chat and then Riva even comes by to give me a business card for her hair salon. She fusses when Don goes back inside their Hi-Lo that "He's supposed to be 'watching' me as I take a walk around the campground." She's still using her cane from her hip replacement surgery. We say farewell to her. Rick joins us around the fire until we all go in at 10:30.

What Goes Around; Comes Around

Monday, May 17, about an hour after we came in from the fire last night, Bob got sick as a dog. He was pretty much sick all night. I moved to the couch to try to get some sleep and I could hear someone outside being sick too. That turns out to be Rick. Then about 7:00 I came down with it. I got up around 9:30 for another bout in the bathroom and have no idea what happened next. Bob saw me in the closet door mirror laying on the bathroom floor. My head was wedged at an odd angle on the hall door to the bathroom. He says he kept calling my name but I never heard him. I was very dizzy and disoriented when I came to. I was able to get myself up and fall into bed.

I tried to rally later and get up. I looked out of the window but didn't see those guys next door. That was around 10:45 I think and then I fell asleep again. I think I heard a knock on the door but was too weak to figure it out. So after resting on the side of the bed for a few minutes, I put some shoes and a coat on. Rick is sitting out trying to eat a banana after being sick most of the night. I guess what woke me up was Brandon from the campground delivering our fire ring on the forklift-just a little late.

Debbie and Rick asked me for Pepto tablets so I crawl back inside the RV and dig them out of the medicine cabinet. Debbie follows me to the RV door so I don't have to go out again. I'm so tired and weak. I go back to bed and we both sleep until almost 3:00! It is sprinkling on the skylights. Rick and Debbie are gone in their van. I hope they went to the RV Hall of Fame without us if they are both feeling better. It's 3:00 p.m. and 59 degrees with 56% humidity. The high was 64 and the low was 52.

I manage to keep some ginger ale (leftover from the Rock Star Rootbeer vodka drinks) and soda crackers down along with a fourth of a cup of tea. Bob sticks with a glass of water. A half an hour later we both go back to bed.

At 5:00 p.m. Rick and Debbie knock. How sweet of them to bring us Chicken Soup from Das Dutchman Essenhaus Amish Country Kitchen on US 20 in Middlebury. We saw it, was that just yesterday? on our Sunday drive but it was closed. They went back to eat and brought us a care package. I have one quarter of the broth and it tastes heavenly along with two more crackers. Debbie felt so bad about getting us sick she had an Amish postcard, some notecards with "Rita" on them and a back of M&M's for Bob in our care package. She is so nice. It made me smile.

From 8:00 to 9:00 we watch House on the TV in the bedroom. We both passed out before Castle came on at 10:00. I didn't wake up until 5:00 a.m. with an extreme headache. I got up and had a cup of English Breakfast Tea and two more saltines. Then I went back to bed until 9:30. I don't think I've ever slept that much in my life.

Sunday Drive Throuigh Amish Country

Their pop-up is just one site down the hill from The Titanic. We are using one of the firepits across the road.

Sunday, May 16, I'm up at 7:00. I can see Rick outside. They both soon head to the shower house. Rick says the shower heads are too low and the water has a 'push-on' button. When they come back they make hot tea for Debbie after I hunt up some tea bags for them. She has Arnold bread toast, Rick has Pop-Tarts and Bob and I have Rice Crispy Treats-the breakfasts of champions. It is not as cold out this morning.

We all walk up a few sites to say hi to Don. He has a nice fire going and we gather round. Don digs out his cute wooden napkin and salt and pepper holders for each of us. Reva gets ready inside and joins us with her fabric 'curtain.' Debbie and I pick out our favorites; I like the small birdhouse print and Debbie chooses the fireworks. Rick has the excellent idea to get Don to sign his handiwork so now we have a one-of-a-kind memento of our visit here. We all chat until 1:30! Bob and I are still in our 'lounge wear.' What a fun morning.

Don and Riva's cute Salt and Pepper holder with 'mosquito house' looks great on our kitchen counter.

Found a spot for the matching Napkin Holder too!

We head home to get dressed and have a leftover snack as we're starving. Those Rice Crispy Treats didn't stay with us. I clean up the kitchen, stretch and clean myself up. Then I join Rick, Debbie and Bob outside. We all go for a ride in their van. We go west on 120 to Elkhart, then north on Main to 19 and follow it around south to 20. We go east to Middlebury and on through to Shipshewana. Every Amish Restaurant and all of the other restaurants in the area are closed on Sunday.

RVTV motorcoach has seven steps up to the interior!

In desperation we go north across the 80 Toll Road into Michigan to the town of White Pigeon. Rick still has standards and draws the line at Pigeon Inn Cafe, the only thing open in town. So we go back to Bristol where we find the River Inn closed at 3:00 (it is now 4:30.) So we go to Goshen and eat at good ole Bob Evans.

Turkey Spinach Omelet for me. Chicken Salad and Fruit Plate for Bob. Rick has a salad and Debbie gets her chicken dumplin' bowl of comfort food that she was craving after being sick. We roll out with go boxes and are home by 6:00. As we drive home Little Rick, their son, sends a cell phone picture of his dinner back in Ohio; chicken, butter, garlic, almonds, cheese and Captain Morgan's! Back home we take a short break as Bob Googles the RV Hall of Fame and checks the weather for tomorrow.

It's 6:26 p.m. and 63 degrees. with 32% humidity. We had more sunshine than they predicted but it is cool with a high of only 64 and a low of 47 degrees. Bob and I take a walk at sunset and chat with Don. Our neighbor Jim next to Don left. He took a new site on the far side of the campground. We tell Don we saw their truck at Fazoli's on 19 in Elkhart. It wasn't hard to spot with his new golf cart he bought on the way up here still in the back. He said they went to Yup's, the local popular ice cream shack that we saw in Middlebury with a crowd out front. He says they have great $3.00 cheeseburgers too but he likes the Black Cherry hand-dipped ice cream.

We continue on our walk. I take a picture of the RVTV motorhome on the other side of the campground. That thing is huge and has seven steps to get up inside of it. Back at our firepit across the road, Bob and I start a fire and that rousts Debbie and Rick. They are amazed that we're acting like campers! Bob has a nice 'flame' according to Debbie. Tonight Rick hits the sack early saying he doesn't feel too well and we wonder if he's sick too. Debbie stays up around the fire with us tonight until about 11:00. It seems we can't get both of them well. Little did we know....

Indoor BBQ Burgers and Beans

Early morning snapshot of our new neighbors' campsite; not a creature is stirring!

Saturday, May 15, I'm up at 7:00 a.m. The low was 47 last night. I feel for those guys in the pop-up but they assure us later that their little heater is keeping them toasty. I snap a picture early this morning of our new streetside neighbors campsite. I see Rick sitting out early but we're not dressed yet and he disappears back inside. No sign of Debbie.

We have a little breakfast, clean up, take out the trash and I meet Don across the road. He and his wife Reva, who is not out yet, live in Abilene, Texas! He retired from the military air force base there. He is also a postal retiree like my Dad. They come to this campground and this site for the summer (second year here) from May through September when they go back to their home in Abilene for the winter. He lost his first wife to cancer and she lost her husband. They both went to the same high school near Terre Haute, IN, but waited all of this time to actually meet each other and get married. He showed me his woodworking projects; corn hole games and cute napkin and salt and pepper holders. Riva makes the fabric 'curtains' for those. More on that later.

Waldorf Jello Salad

I see no sign of Rick and Debbie at 11:30 and hope they are okay. I start chopping veges for my BBQ Burgers and at last I see them outside in lawnchairs. So I go out to say hi. She had a rough night and got up sick to her stomach at 4:00 a.m. I go back to get our lawn chairs to join them and meet Diana (her and Bruce are two sites over curbside from us.) They just got here from Osceola for the season. They used to be in a site on the other side of the campground but moved over here. She was laid off in December from the Juvenile Justice Facility. Bruce is retired. Diana and Don walk down to meet Bob, Rick and Debbie. Don just hung up a two-tube birdfeeder he made. It's nice to meet both of them. I like how friendly everyone is here.

We sat out with Rick and Debbie for a bit. I share my pot of hazelnut coffee with Rick. Then I go in to finish my burger patties. I call out the window for Debbie to come over and chat. She ganders at the digital picture frame while I unmold my Waldorf Jell-O Salad. We join the guys outside in the lawn chair. The guys decide it is a good time for lunch so I come back in to do my burgers inside on the stovetop. The guys set up Rick and Debbie's canopy so we all four move it over the picnic table between the trees. Lunch is served. I did my burgers in two skillets so they would all be ready at once. The ones not done in the Teflon skillet are crumbly. These are supposed to turn out like mini-meatloaf burgers.

My RV BBQ Beans are a hit; baked beans with granny smith apples, white raisins, brown sugar and Kansas City Masterpiece BBQ sauce. To the menu I add Peppercorn Ranch Cheeseball with veges, Waldorf Jell-O Salad that makes a nice presentation, sliced tomatoes and onions, and lettuce. What a feast! We clean it all up and poor Debbie crashes. Food is not her thing right now but she's a trooper. Rick joins her for an afternoon nap after the guys get a paper and firewood.

Lunch in the cabana

Bob and I read the paper. It feels good to sit down after cooking all morning. It's 4:35 p.m. and clouding over with 63 degrees and 38% humidity. The high was 65 degrees. We go out for a fire until 11:00; even Debbie joins us for a while. The stars are not as bright tonight. We have a sliver of a moon. And we can see the glow of 3 or 4 other fires in the campground.

RV Surplus Store, Elhart, IN-Thanks Tom and Nan for the Tip!

Rick and Debbie arrive with their little pop-up

Friday, May 14, I slept like the dead through the rain storm. Bob had to close the window on my side of the bed. The low is 51 this morning. It is sunny and clear when I get up at 7:30. I make Rice Krispy Treats and Waldorf Jell-O Salad from Joanna Flukes "Sugar Cookie Mystery" (Thanks Elaine for turning me onto her books.)

Bob surfs the Net for RV and wheel places so we can repair all of our stuff from yesterday's debacle. Thankfully we don't have to pack up and move today-that sure feels good. After noon we take 120 west all the way through Elkhart enjoying this beautiful drive past the St. Joseph's River. It is dammed up and reminds us of Lake Austin. We get to Hwy 19 on the west side of Elkhart but the Camping World Bob found on the Internet is not there. Some other RV place is on the sign but it is out of business too. There's a lot of that going on in this economically depressed area.

Bob and Rick find a level spot

So we do a bat turn to the place just north where they are selling Landmark RVs. A guy directs us (in a very long-winded way) to RV Surplus located where loop 19 turns east on the north side of town. In spite of his directions we find it! Nan-Marie and Tom told us about this place. They found their coffee table that we admired so much here. We spot one that we're interested in while we browse. We take measurements of it to see if it will work where we want to store it. We find no sewer extensions or wheel hub-caps, or chocks or jack motor.

We backtrack west around the corner, across the street to another place-Factory RV Supply. Voila! They have Rhino extension kits. We get two 5-foot kits for $11.95 each. One was marked $18.95 as that package was never opened but they give them both to us for the lower price. They don't have any of the other items we're looking for but we're pleased to have our hose. Now we can have long showers tonight!


Next we go east on 19 where we find Bristol Cafe, established 1968, and a cheap, good lunch. Ham Salad on wheat and Ham 'n Bean Soup for me. Bob has a Philly Cheese. Then we take Main Street south of US 20 to Discount Tire. The guy can't tell from Bob's picture of the wheel hub which one he needs to order. So we give up and head home at 2:45.

We have a voice message from Debbie at 1:38 (I didn't hear the phone in my purse.) They are hitting the road today after all. I try her cell phone and then finally reach her on Rick's phone. She got a nap in after work so they are headed out toady and are around Sandusky as we speak. How fun-we'll be seeing our new friends from Ohio last year soon.

First of several pink sunsets at Eby's Pines

Bob goes out to install our new sewer hose extension. Just one of the 5-footers reaches! I get the bugs off the front of the RV from our last three moves and squeegee the windows. Bob fishes the pond, catching 2 bass and 2 blue gill. I cut up veges and make Peppercorn Ranch Cheeseballs. It's 5:45 p.m. and 65 degrees with 33% humidity.

Rick calls from the office just before 6:00. They have arrived! Of course the gal in the office sends them down the wrong way just like she did us. As he swings around behind us he says "Your crap (bikes) is in the way!" He jockeys his sister Lynne's pop-up sideways in the site next to us down the hill. We help them set up and get level. Debbie is feeling poorly. Says it came on her during the trip and she was blaming the swaying of the camper on the back end.

I make a Rock Star Rootbeer vodka concoction for all of us. That may have been too much for Debbie. The guys get firewood from the pavilion and we decamp across the road where the only firepit is located.

Debbie crashes a half an hour before the rest of us at 11:00. I hope she gets to feeling better in the morning. It sure is great to see those guys.

Seems Like Friday the 13th!

Fishing Pond at Eby's Pines Campground, Bristol, IN

Thursday, May 13, I got up and perused recipes until 2:30 in the morning and made a grocery list. I couldn't sleep so I thought I might as well do something useful for our pending week of fun with our friends Rick and Debbie who will join us shortly from near Cleveland, OH. I finally passed out at 4:30 and slept until 8:30. It rained and stormed most of that time but I missed it. It is very unsettling to be here for perhaps a month (at least that's what we paid for) but to be still hitched up, uncertain about this site and have nothing unpacked.

We lounge on this gloomy morning and finally have breakfast around 10:00. We're both tired from moving two days in a row. The electricity is zilch here. Sixty seconds would not warm up a half of a cup of lukewarm coffee in the microwave. Usually that amount of time would boil a half of cup of anything. And the water heater, on electric mode, only got the water luke warm. I get on-line and pay bills and download the bank statements.

We clean up and stretch in spite of the bikes still being in the way in the living room. Then we walk to the office. We meet the owner Chris who asks if we're their new residents. Bob says "I guess so." So she asks us to move to Site #220 and says we can stay there for a whole month. We are all for it as we're hoping for better electric service. Besides, thanks to Bob's quick thinking last night, we are still hitched up on that terrible side-hill slope. We certainly don't want to have to try to re-hitch with that kind of an angle. So we tell her we'll walk over and check out site #220. First we meet Isabelle, a black, people-oriented poodle who fusses if you don't greet her warmly enough.

We walk back in the chilly air and decide the site looks good (just goes to show you, looks can be deceiving.) And we walk down the road to see what the turn is like to get to the lane behind us. Then we go home to pack up. You have to do all the same packing if you move 50 feet or 500 miles. It is scary to do it without our checklist. But we lock it down, pull out and circle around to two roads behind where we were. I hop out with the radio to make sure we clear the three electric wires strung over the road; no problem.

We're excited, thinking our problems are over--NOT. We pull into the site and it is more level on the front end than the other one we just left. But our curbside tires are on a tree root so we can't get the wheels on the other side up on enough boards to level the RV. And we can't go forward in the site because the sewer connection is way in the back. It won't reach even where we sit right now but we've been meaning to get a 10-foot extension for our new Rhino hose. We already have the storage tube as Bob put that on in Bastrop, TX, in December. We'll have to find an RV supply place--more on that later. And we can't move backwards because the bikes will be hanging out on the road.

So we study the situation for awhile. Bob says the best solution is to dig out in the soft sand under3r the curbside tires on the RV. So now the search is on for our little garden shovel that we carry just for such a purpose. We haven't seen it since we moved into our new RV. We used to know just where it was in the old RV. It is not in the side storage compartment of course--that would be too easy to get to. So we have to dig "downunder"--I say we loosely as Bob is the one who plays contortionist. It is a back-breaker to get the LaFuma reclining lawn chairs out of there with the truck still hitched up. And it is difficult to look in the drawers with the golf clubs in front of them. But he finds it AND we find the converter for the laptop that we needed in Goreville so we could drive to a hotspot with the truck and use the laptop without a plug-in. We thought we had put it in the Goodwill after our move to the new RV.

We put all of the stuff back downunder so we don't run over it if we ever get unhitched. We pull the RV off the blocks we tried to put it on. We mark the spot and Bob digs trenches under two wheels curbside. Then we pull back up on the blocks streetside, make some slight adjustments and Voila! We're level and in the site. Our problems are over right? Wrong!

We put the front jacks down and unhitch. We try the electric first and boil a cup of water in the microwave in the appropriate amount of time so at least that's better at this site. As Bob tries to lower the back jacks they don't move. The electric motor is completely locked up. As we left site #187 a bit ago, we both thought we smelled a funny odor; like a transformer burning. Yeah, that would be our rear stabilizer jacks motor. So we dig back downunder to find the manual crank. Bob actually comes up with the correct crank (we have manual cranks for all three slides too and are not familiar with any of them yet). But it won't budge even with the manual crank.

So I clean off my shoes again (the rain last night made it a sandy mess.) I put the large living room slide out a half of a foot so I can get the instruction sheet for the rear jacks. It says we have to disconnect one wire of the motor to avoid backlash. Bob can't get the motor loose as the gears are frozen. Meltdown! Us, not the motor. Bob declares "He is done." I'm not sure if he's done moving, done unhitching for the day, or done RVing!

The best plan seems to be to deal with the motor problem later. We take our chances putting out the slides (you're supposed to have the stabilizers down for that.) We set up the outside stuff. Then we consider shooting ourselves but instead we change clothes and head to lunch. When in doubt-EAT! We're tied from 426 miles in two days in the rain and then packing and moving again this morning. We are not happy campers. Whey couldn't that motor have one more raising and lowering in it and we wouldn't have to deal with it for a month!

We stop in the office on the way to lunch and they give us a new campground pass for the windshield with our new site number. I have to sign that I have read all of the campground rules. Geez! Chris directs us to a Jayco RV place. Maybe we can find a sewer hose extension and solve one of our problems even if we can't find a jack motor there.

We turn east on 120 out of the campground to Cty. Rd. 13 and stop at the BP on the corner where we get $61.00 worth of diesel ($3.47 tax is added on at the check out.) The pump price has fine print that says tax-exempt price. I get a South Bend Tribune and a guy in line if front of me says to take 13 south to US 20 and find Jayco. We do-first RV showroom with three RV repair bays we ever saw with no parts department! And we're smack dab in the middle of where every RV in the country is manufactured. Go figure. The gal behind the counter sends us to Middlebury on 13 to a Cargo place across from the Chevy dealer.

This turns out to be a fly-by-night flea market guy who has no Rhino hose connections but he did have some sewer stuff if we get desperate. We take US 20 to 33 south towards Goshen for lunch at Chili's. Our light breakfast has worn off after all of the excitement and we're getting cranky.

Thus fortified we stop in Wal-Mart on Chili's parking lot but find nada. On to Meijor's (I Googled for that this morning before all hell broke loose) since I have my middle of the night grocery list in hand. $138.00 later I have everything I need for all of my recipes I dug out.

There is construction on 33 so we take it south to Goshen and then take 15 north back to 120 east to the campground. Whew! It's 5:30 p.m. How did that happen? We unload the groceries. A bag of oranges and miscellaneous stuff falls out as we open the truck door but no harm done. I stow the groceries ending up with a capacity crowd in the refrigerator.

Bob chops the big tree root out from under the RV steps before we kill ourselves on it. Besides, he got to beat on it with a claw hammer. I was thinking about asking for a turn. Then he finds the right sized punch and was able to knock out the pin to get the jack motor free. Hallelujah! He cranks down our rear jacks manually. So of course we had to pull in all of the slides (making sure everything was clear again.) Then we start the levelling process from the beginning. Success! Over 24 hours after arriving here we can finally unpack. I can't live like this.

I'm putting out decor around 7:15 when Rick calls They are coming Saturday instead of Friday afternoon so Debbie can get some sleep after working her shift. Sounds like a good plan. Bob asks him to bring a BIG hammer so he can straighten out our Steadyfast footpad. Looking forward to seeing them both.

I carefully get some leftovers out of the crowded refrigerator without upsetting my delicate balance in there. We watch Flash Forward and The Mentalist. Oh yeah, we moved,so the antenna had to go down and the electricity was off so we head to rescan all of the channels-on both TVs. Geez!

It's 8:53 p.m. The sun came out around 1:00 and it got really warm; muggy in fact. Some days are better than others in the RV lifestyle. The neighbor behind us comes down the road in their Hummer and barely misses the bikes on the back of our ladder rack. We'll have to move them tomorrow.

Movin' On to Bristol, IN

Wednesday, May 12, when I get up at 7:00 a.m. the front has already passed through. It is cloudy with light rain. The group of five leave between 7:15 and 7:30 in the rain! That seems crazy to arrive late last night and take off again so early. They must have a destination--perhaps a class reunion.

I have coffee and work off-line on February 2009 journal pages(yes, the rest of 2009 is still not posted on-line.) I finally get a connection and check Facebook and email. Bob gets up and looks at the weather. We decide to leave late morning and let the front get east of us. It looks like there's a clear spot behind us to the west. This is the second time in our new RV that we had a serious rain delay in the RV Park. Bob still hasn't had a chance to fish the pond here.

On our first time to stay hitched to the truck overnight our morning jpacking up is easy except for mud, wet and rain. The rain has subsided by the time we leave. I get out to make sure we clear the low-hanging overhead limbs. We try to stop at Marathon station on I-70 but they have no diesel (truck grade diesel but not the ultra-low sulphur we need.) So we pull a bat-turn to BP. We're the only one in the station and Bob wonders if people are boycotting them due to the oil platform explosion and continuing spill off the Gulf Coast. We put 21.5 gallons in our 26 gallon tank and head east on I-70 to the 435 loop around Indianapolis.

Construction signs say to "choose an alternate route; expect long delays on 435 north." But Bob makes a command decision to take our intended route around the northwest side of the city as we saw these same signs last year on our way west through Indianapolis. It turns out to be a good decision as most of the construction is complete and we encounter no delays. We pick up 31 north, the same route we took with our old RV when we came around the east side of Indianapolis a few years back on our way to South Bend, IN.

We stop for lunch again at Bob Evans in Kokomo. Now I can't get that crazy song out of my head. We park in the Mall lot behind Bob Evans and enjoy a nice lunch break. Then we continue north on 31. We get into a bit of rain but not too bad. This time we take US 20 east towards Elkhart (last time we went west to South Bend.) And we stay on US 20 to Hwy 15 north five miles to Bristol, IN, where we take 120 east for three miles to Eby's Pines RV Park and Campground, 14583 State Road 120, Bristol, IN 46507, Elkhart County, (574) 848-4583, N41 43.359' and W55 44.503'.

Sue in the office, who is new here, gives us site #187 that is available until June 1st, the day after Memorial Day. But we really want to stay a month. So we pay the monthly rate of $435 and stay hooked up to the truck again so we can work it out with Chris, the owner, in the morning. Sue sent us down the wrong way but we mange the sharp turns between the pines and get pulled in. We have to jockey and the truck is on a mighty slant. It may be hard to hitch back up so I'm thankful Bob had the presence of mind after our 200 mile journey to suggest we just stay hooked up until we see what the fall-out is tomorrow.

We are set up by 6:35 EST. We walk to the office and get two rolls of quarters and The Elkhart Truth. Then we take a walk around the campground. The Little Elkhart River, that is stocked with trout, rolls through the campground. There are hiking trails that connect to Bonneville Mill Park down the road. There is a fishing pond and two swimming pools with 340 sites. It's hard to believe they will all be full for Memorial Weekend as no one is here now. It is chilly as we walk around. It's 8:01 p.m. and 51 degrees with 74% humidity and plenty of daylight left in this time zone.

Moving' On to Cloverdale, IN

Tuesday, May 11, it never did rain last night. I was up at 5:45. The wind is blowing 15 to 20 mph, gusting to 35. It calms down as the morning wears on. It is cloudy but clears by 1 or 2 o'clock. It starts out warm at 62 degrees and gets to a high of 78.

We pack up and leave with no problem by 10:38 heading north on I-57. There is a rest area in the first 35 miles and we stop to check the axles. All is okay. We continue north to I-70 east and stop at the Visitor Center inside the Indiana border. They have no brochures on Elkhart. We stopped here a year ago with The Beauty and The Beast on the way up to get our new RV in Ohio. The trailer brake was sticking on The Beauty and Bob checked it out here in the parking lot of the rest area. That sure seems like someone else's lifetime ago.

The wind is behind us all day and we have no problems. The sun is even out as we stop at exit #7 in Terre Haute where we get brave enough to pull into a Bob Evans at the first light north of I-70. We park in the back and our waiter must have been out back having a smoke break. He came inside to wait on our table and told us he really liked our RV and wished he had one.

I have the chicken, cranberry, blue cheese salad with vege soup and banana bread. Bob has the chicken pot pie and blueberry bread. We both have go boxes and I love the fact that our banana and blueberry bread will become breakfast tomorrow morning. We get a Chicago Tribune out front-a bird in the hand.....

We are only 30 minutes from Cloverdale and it really is the same RV Park we stayed in as we left Ohio last fall and headed west to St. Louis. It rained then too and we had to stay two days. The place was a mud hole last year. The gal in the office is friendlier when she finds out we returned for another stay. We pay $26.00 for a night at .Cloverdale RV Park, 2789E County Rd. 800 South, Cloverdale, IN 46120, Putnam County, (765) 795-3294, Site #45 this time. We don't unhitch as we plan to leave in the morning. I think this is the first time with The Titanic that we stay hitched up. It was also our first restaurant stop on the road with The Titanic. We must be getting braver with it.

We set up quickly. Bob notices the front Steadyfast footpad got bent at the last site in Goreville. Inside he scans TV channels and I get on-line! Civilization! The guy who led us to the site asks if we are part of a group of five RV's coming tonight. We say "No, it's just us." They pull in right after us in the sites curbside.

We are in the Eastern Time Zone so we arrive at 5:06 p.m. We check the campground we're heading to in Elkhart and the route while I'm on-line. I take a walk and ask the campground owners what channel is CBS; 8 and 10-one Indianapolis and one out of Terre Haute. We get neither! So much for civilization and so much for NCIS's and Good Wife.

Another Axle Issue

Monday, May 10, I slept like a rock after our cycling. I have sore knees in the morning. It is cloudy with a threat of rain all day but it only ends up sprinkling. After breakfast I go into a cleaning frenzy. I even put on my Mozart like I used to do when I cleaned the brick-and-stick. Bob checks our tires for our move tomorrow and finds the axle hub on the same axle, opposite side, is loose. He finds the grease cap on that side loose (once again, most likely never driven on from the factory.) We have a moment when we start to worry but he gets it all put back together. That rough ride through Memphis road construction may have caused them both to finally work loose if they were never tightened at the factory. We'll see what happens. It is way scary though I have to tell you.

We bring in the bikes, clean up and go to lunch at Old Home Place in Goreville. The place is almost empty today. I have Blackened Tilapia and Bob tries something called Catfish Fiddlers that turns out to be three whole catfish. I guess they call them fiddlers because you have to fiddle with them to get it all off the bone.

We stop at King Tut's on 37 north for diesel and a paper. We go home to read it. I spend three hours answering correspondence in my 'in box'--yes, I still have one of those. I'm way behind but since we don't have the Internet it has floated to the top of my list all of a sudden. We watch House and Castle. Another rain event is predicted for tomorrow. We'll see if we get to move on down the road.

We're heading to just west of Indianapolis so I got out my paper journals from last year. We stayed at Cloverdale RV on 281 and I-70. My notes weren't too positive about it. We had bad electricity (the guy's next to us wouldn't work at all.) And we had no PC connection in spite of their ad bragging about wi-fi. And finally it was very muddy. Great. Makes no sense why we're planning to go back there except it's right off the highway at about the distance we want to travel in one day. It's 10:31 p.m. The high was only 58 degrees.

Cycle 30 Miles North on Tunnel Hill State Trail

Sunday, May 9, I'm up at 7:15 to a low of 45 degrees! The high only gets to 65. First thing this morning I file 50 postcards and finish going through the mail. Then I take some time to organize all of my Cape Girardeau pictures. And I sure have a bunch from our week there for the big wedding. While we have breakfast and do our morning stretching, bill next door walks down the road and pays for another day.

Around noon we go to Goreville to discover Delaney's on Broadway is closed for Mother's Day. Fortunately "Old Home Place" is open. There is a huge crowd waiting for big tables. We got a table for two quickly.

The side salads are fresh but small for $2.29. We get our drinks free as our order was delayed. I have Lemon Pepper Tilapia and Bob has the Pulled Pork with two sides each; BBQ Baked Beans (I love it when we are far enough north to get out of boring pinto bean country), carrots, green beans and cheese hash browns.

Reet comes through Tunnel Hill in the lead!

We go home to load up the bikes as we decide it is warm enough-but barely! We get to Tunnel Hill trailhead by 2:20. There is a crowd there and some, like us, are just setting out. All of them are going south. We go south, but just through the tunnel one more time for a photo op, then we turn around and go north through New Burnside, Stonefort and not quite to Carrier Mills. New Burnside was named for Civil War General Ambrose Burnside who encouraged the construction of the Cairo-Vincennes Railroad to transport coal from southern Illinois mines. The town was home to over 1200 people by 1878. Over the years, as its mine and the railroad declined, the population decreased.

Bob's Cyclepath rests at Mile 200 Marker

At mile 15 we turn around for a total of 30 miles in four hours. We see a snake, lizards, a cat, a kitten and a deer. There are not too many people on the northern portion of the Trail. One cyclist comes by at our first break on the trestle going south. We see a couple of walkers and joggers near New Burnside. The Trail is not as well used or as compacted this way so the cycling is much more strenuous. Our legs are killing us. We take a break every one to two miles on the way back. Of course it is uphill mostly on the way back towards Tunnel Hill.

From the top of the trestle we can see two fish in the water by a log

Two ladies in the middle of the Trail with two big German Shepherds not on a leash cause us a tense moment. We're done by 6:30 with our bikes in the carport. We have welcome showers and leftovers. It's 8:05 p.m. and 58 degrees with 36% humidity.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Antiques in Vienna and Anna, IL

Saturday, May 8, it is sunny and cool at 7:45 a.m. when I get up. It is 61 degrees inside the living room (I can tell by our thermostat in the hallway-still no indoor/outdoor thermometer.) After breakfast I take the laptop outside to see if I can get a signal. I'm go crazy with no Internet connection. Bill, our new neighbor curbside in a motorhome, comes out and says "good luck with that!" He's from Chicago and they travel several times a year. They are on their way to Bowling Green right now.

He says he had no connection last night with his new Sprint air card but he used a 'Y' cable or "Wi" cable (I wasn't sure how to spell it) that they gave him when his purchased his air card. He was nice enough to bring it our for us to try. Bob joined me by this time. We put our AT&T air card into one end and the two USB ports in the other end. We got 2 to 3 bars and actually connected but it was too slow to get my 10 email messages. It brought up my web pages, but slowly. It was nice of him to let us try it and it seemed to boost the power as we were getting nothing before.

He asked if we heard his dogs yesterday while they were gone. They have three (one is a new rescue dog) and they didn't know if she barked while they were gone or not. We never heard her. He says he can't get his Comcast phone in his own driveway or in his house in Chicago. He would love to full-time RV and seemed unspoken that his spouse would not.

Bob and I head south to Vienna. We eat lunch at Dolly's Restaurant-the only game in town. I have a blue gill sandwich that is excellent. Bob has the meatloaf special but it's nothing to write home about.

We found a small antique place on a hard to find town square off 46. There is nothing in it; we seem to be the only ones there all day. The gas station on the corner is temporarily closed for remodeling. We give up and take 46 west 20 miles to Anna and browse Memory Lane Collectibles. They have a lot of postcards and I find %40 worth and Bob finds two books. We get a paper at the gas station here-"The Southern Illinoisan.

Back home I toss out the last bit of the four-bean turkey soup that has been around too long. It is chilly and windy; the main reason we axed cycling for today. It's 5:10 p.m. and 71 degrees with 24% humidity. Yeah! Bob put the batteries in the thermometer and rehung the outside sensor. While he was at it he fixed the wheel chock on the RV. I return my Austin friend Holly's call. It's not to chat with her. She tells me about discovering Red Box movie rentals for $1.00.

Antiques in Marion, IL

Friday, May 7, up at 7:00 a.m. to a sunny, warm day. I miss my indoor/outdoor thermometer; the batteries are still recharging. Doris and Jim next door pack up like the rookies they are and leave by 10:30 as we enjoy a light breakfast. We close up the RV in case of rain, put the bikes in the garage and go north on I-57 to exit 45. Then take 148 to 37 north to Whitecotton Antique Mall. It is really off the beaten path down a long gravel drive to a metal building. I buy a ozen postcards and a pilgrim hat for Gertrude.

We continue north on 37 to Hwy 13 (DeYoung) in Marion and go east two blocks to Van Buren and south to Warehouse Antique Mall. I buy 44 postcards for 25 cents each and five more for $1.00 each. The guy said somebody sat down a few weeks ago and looked at all of them three times and bought 180 postcards. A lot of collectors look at the fronts and the backs so they do go through them several times.

We go back to 37 (Court Street) to a Dollar General that has no diet SoBe's. Then we take 13 west to I-57 around Illinois center Mall. We can't find the Ruby Tuesday's Bob scoped out. We even go inside the mall. We end up at O'Charley's. Salmon for me; teriyaki chicken for Bob.

After lunch we head back to Madison Antique Mall and an emporium a few blocks down. Both are duds. We get a paper at Main and I-57 and score a St. Louis Post-Dispatch! As we head home I have all the bars on the cell phone until three miles from our exit on the Interstate. It seems as soon as we get in site of the three cell/micro towers surrounding our campground we lose all signal. It is hot in the RV and very humid. It's 4:45 p.m. and I have no idea what the temperature is since our batteries are still charging. I just know it's hot!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Cycle 31 Miles Tunnel Hill State Trail

43 miles from Karmak in southern Illinois, north through Tunnel Hill to Harrisburg

Thursday, May 6, I woke up at 4:00 a.m. and got up since I couldn't go back to sleep. I finished reading Adam Dagleish mystery by P.D. James. After breakfast we pack up the bikes and go east through Goreville to the town of Tunnel Hill where we find the nearest trailhead. The first rail-trail in the U.S. was teh Illinois Prairie Path in the Chicago area. By 1998 rail-trails across the U.S. reached a total of 10,000 miles. Tunnel Hill State Trail is part of this nationwide movement.

Bob dismounts and heads into the museum in Vienna.

We only cycle .2 miles south on Tunnel Hill State Trail before we go through the famous tunnel. Tunnel Hill was originally 800 feet long. A portion of it collapsed in 1929 and now it is 300 feet shorter, or 543 feet long. The tunnel is very disorienting and creeped me out. I felt like I needed a flashlight. It is 20 degrees cooler in the tunnel and I was already chilly when we started. I was glad Bob was cycling in front of me. I just kept thinking of crawly things that might be on the floor of the tunnel that I couldn't see in the pitch black.

The total trail is 45 miles and we start in about the middle at the highest point-Tunnel Hill at 680 feet above sea level. The lowest points are at each end; 340 feet at Harrisburg and 370 feet at Karmak. The grades are only 2% but very long. We go downhill on the way out and it is easy going except for the crushed stone surface of the old railroad bed. It is nicely packed but still provides a workout for our thighs.

Small tunnel under a highway

There are 23 picturesque trestles ranging from 34 feet to 90 feet tall. The longest is Breeden Trestle as well as the highest at 90 feet. The trees from the canyon below are still above the trestle. The rail service between Mt. Carmel and Cairo served southern Illinois for over 100 years and was discontinued in 1989. The 43 miles of right of way from Norfolk Southern Railroad was donated to the people of Illinois in 1991 and the first segments of Tunnel Hill State Trail opened in 1998. It was completed in the fall of 2001. It is not very busy except for 25 to 30 kids heading north from the Vienna Park and trailhead.

Breeden Trestle-90 feet high

We browsed the museum in Vienna (Vi, with a long 'i' "enna"). We turned around at Belkamp Rd. on a detour as we thought it was three miles on a high-speed road with no shoulder. We learned later that we were only 1/2 block short of resuming on the rail-to-trails path. Oh well, we barely made 31 miles on this crushed stone, uphill and against the wind on the way back. I go through the big tunnel first on the way back so Bob can take a picture of me at the end of it. And I am even more disoriented with no one in front of me to follow. I'm weaving all over the place and feel like I'm going to fall off.

We hop off on the way back for a picture of the 543-foot Tunnel Hill

Along the trail we saw quite a flock of cranes in some dead trees. They all took off as we cycled by. We saw a wild turkey, snakes, a bluebird and lots of cardinals. Our trip took from 10:55 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Afterwards we stopped in Goreville but found no paper at the pharmacy. We eat at Delaney's On Broadway Restaurant. We enjoyed salads and vegetable beef soup with cornbread. We got a Marion, IL, newspaper in the vending machine in front of the post office. Then we headed home to stretch and shower. Our legs are really sore. That crushed stone is a killer. I have a voice message from my friend Holly in Austin. I'm glad to know voice mail is getting through on our spotty phone connection. It's 6:50 p.m. and 75 degrees after a high of 82.

Movin' On to Goreville, IL

Wednesday, May 5, I'm up at 7:15 on moving day. We pack up and leave on this sunny, warm day by 10:35 a.m. We take I-55 south to exit 95 (Hwy 74) and go east across the Mighty Mississippi River to Hwy 3 and continue to 146 east through Jonesboro. As we drive along the River valley we see an eagle on the ground in a field between Hwy 3 and the Mississippi River. I don't think I've ever seen one on the ground. We maneuver the round-about at Jonesboro with no problem. At Anna on 146 we almost miss the right hand turn but Bob makes a last minute lane change. That jog to the right was not on our DeLorme mapping software. It is only five miles to I-57 north and Hilltop Campground, Inc., I-57 exit 40, Goreville, IL 62939, (618) 995-2189. Our trip was grand total of 50 miles. The office is closed when we arrive so we put $120 for a week in the slot and choose site #7. Next time we may want to wait to pay until we check the Internet connection. More on that later. We are set up by 12:30.

We head east to Goreville (what a name for your town!) The post office is closed from 12:30 to 1:30 (they only have one employee so they close for lunch.) It's 12:50 so we go on to Delaney's on Broadway, a cute cafe on the main drag. They have Polaroids of Trans America bikers under the glass table tops. I'm fascinated by the age and diversity of the cyclers. Each snapshot has a date and how far they cycled on the Tans America Trail. There are four or five older gents drinking coffee at a big table across the room. They seem like a local fixture.

I have the grilled pork tenderloin sandwich that is kind of skimpy and white bean soup with cornbread that is very good. Bob has Tuesday's special; two salmon patties with a mound of green beans and corn with corn bread.

After lunch I walk to the post office and mail my pictures to Mom and Dad. Then we go to Wolf creek Antique store next door to Delaney's. This turns out to be a great little three story shop. I find a pint carton of St. Charles Dairy Vanilla Ice Cream (my hometown dairy.) My maternal grandparents, Mamie and Pop, always had these small cartons in their freezer. Pop would slice them up with a big knife and we'd each eat a big hunk. Bob finds a book and a pineapple pillow for the truck. And I get 25-cent Goreville postcards. We go home via I-57 and drive three miles south to the RV Park without finding a gas station. The one at our exit is out of business so we return home with no paper.

We put the bikes outside under the carport. Then we move the picnic table so Bob can get on it to trim a branch by the bedroom slide. I clean the bugs off the lower front of the RV; and a little tar too. Bob can't get an Internet signal even though we are 20 feet off the Interstate. Not only that, we don't have a phone signal even though we can see three cell towers from here. Yikes! And we paid for a week.

It's 4:40 p.m. and hot. It is 92 inside the RV and 78 degrees outside, or somewhere around that. Bob is charging the batteries that go in the temperature pick-up device underneath the RV. I have a phone signal but no bars. We go outside on the picnic table and are able to dial out. Bob leaves a voice message for Rick and Debbie, our Ohio friends that we are supposed to meet the third week of May.

Our curbside neighbors, Doris and Jim, show up with their 13 year old black poodle, Chloe. We chat for a half an hour. They have a home in Edwardsville, IL. Their son, his wife and two grandkids live in Maryville nearby. They are looking at property down here as the taxes are out of site in Edwardsville now. They have a 55-foot 5th wheel trailer they haul a boat in. They are interested in RVing (he seems more so than her.)

Rick calls back as we're chatting with Doris and Jim. Bob takes the call since we don't know if the phone coverage will last. He suggests Elkhart, IN, to Rick. It seems they were thinking of coming as far west as St. Louis to meet us. But we're heading north to get to the Monat family reunion and we want to stop to see the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart as the RV industry celebrates 100 years in 2010. Our phone is scratchy so Bob tells Rick we'll pick a spot and let them know where to meet us. They'll join us 5/14 through 5/20 in Rick's sister Lynne's small pop-up. How fun it will be to see them! Bob will have a hard time finding a campground if we can't get an Internet connection. How did people used to do this?

Errands and Broussard's Cajun Cuisine, Cape Girardeau, MO

Travis, Michael and Mari Bess at Broussard's

Tuesday, May 4, I'm up at 6:45. It feels like 10:00 a.m. after passing out at 11:00 last night-I was so tired. It is sunny and a perfect day with a high of 79 and a low of 55. I read this morning and we have a light breakfast. I stretch and browse my brother Eric's pictures on Picasso of the morning of the wedding when the Rood clan was here at the RV Park. I steal a few pictures for my blog-thanks for sharing Eric. I print and mail some pictures of the rehearsal and wedding to my parents.

Bob goes fishing and is back home by 11:30. He caught another big catfish and some bass. Earlier the motorhome next to us packed up and left. We said they look like newbies. As he pulls out his small toad has the rear wheels down and they are locked, leaving big ruts in the site. As Bob goes out to tell him he notices and jumps out. He has his emergency break on or something. He makes an adjustment and is off again.

We take Kingshighway to 74 to Silver Springs and drop off two big bags at Goodwill that Bob scoped out. Then we go to Ruby Tuesday's for a salad bar. I used my preferred customer on-line coupon and got 25% off. We wind our way back to Kingsshighway and go to Schnuck's-a great store here in Missouri that we have missed from our St. Louis days. Bob finds Killian's Red for $1.00/bottle. I find new pineapple Smirnoff's. We won't talk about the Red Velvet Cupcakes that jumped in the cart. Or the huge soft pretzel the size of a hot dog bun at the bakery for 99 cents.

We stop at Rhode's for diesel and a St. Louis Post-Dispatch (it's so nice having a real newspaper.) We go home to stow the groceries and then I take time to open our mail. Bob puts the new registration stickers on the truck and RV. I cut up veges and at last we relax with the paper. Bob goes off to fish again. It's 4:02 p.m. and 71 degrees with 43% humidity. Our indoor/outdoor thermometer is flashing. It needs the batteries changed. They are mowing grass here at the RV Park and it is very loud.

At 5:45 Mari Bess, Travis, Michael and Callie arrive in two vehicles. They get a tour of the Titanic. We chat for a bit and walk to the pond where Michael skips rocks. Callie goes to her pool night and the rest of us go to Broussard's Cajun Cuisine on Main in Cape. Bob has his first parallel parking job with our new truck as he squeezes in behind Mari Bess.

She orders clams, crawfish and gator appetizer and shares it with all of us. How nice! I have Crawfish Etouffee stuffed potato. Bob has blackened swordfish. They have a great Poppy Seed dressing. We leave with 'go boxes.' I snap a picture out front and we say our goodbyes. What a great weekend with many memories.

Bob and I head home to watch NCIS LA and "V". We are leaving tomorrow and we've done no pre-move packing. There is flooding in Nashville on the news. It's 10:05 p.m. and 71 degrees with 43% humidity.

Lunch at Saffron Bistro with Callie, Travis and Angie

Bob takes a picture of our hubcap so we can match it.

Monday, May 3, dawns sunny and warm with a high of 79. Early this morning I download the gift opening photos from yesterday, clear my Memory Sticks and backup the hard drive. After breakfast we re-clean the kitchen floor after the great beer explosion late last night. This morning we bring the kitchen slide-out in and find a few pieces of glass and a wet area.

At 11:45 we head one quarter mile down Kingshighway to Saffron Bistro. We ate at this place a few years back with Travis a couple of time when it was still at the old location. We love the unique Asian cuisine served here. We arrive first and get a table for four. Travis and Callie come and say Angie is joining us so we move to a round table next to us.

Callie has Saffron Bread, an appetizer, and lets us try some. It is a great French loaf-like bread with chicken salad stuffed between layers served with cucumber sauce. It is heaven. She has that and a salad and has to leave to get back to work at ten minutes to one before our entrees come. I'm glad she could join us for a bit. It was fun to chat about the weekend and the wedding. She takes her entree with her and tells me tomorrow that she got a break in the afternoon to eat it.

I have Green Curry Seafood (scallops, shrimp and calamari.) Bob has Red Curry Shrimp. It was all great. It was so nice of them all to meet us on their first day back to work after the big bash. Bob and I say farewell and get a St. Louis Post-Dispatch at Rhode's next door and head home.

I pack up four loads of laundry. While I'm at the laundry room bob puts the axle caps and wheel hubs back on the RV. While he's at it he gets the rust off the lug nuts. It's a gorgeous day; the best since we got to Cape. I try to sit outside the laundry room on a park bench and read but a wasp must live under the bench and won't leave me alone. So I go inside and sit on a folding chair in the hot laundry. I'm done by 3:30.

I spend until 6:30 organizing wedding pictures, sending some photos via email and posting some on Facebook. Then we watch House and Castle. In between Dometic calls for a survey regarding our A/C, thermostat and furnace in the RV. It was news to me that the A/C is Dometic. I thought only the microwave and refrigerator were Dometic.

Patti, Bob's cousin, calls. She saw my Facebook pictures of the wedding. It is nice to chat. They were just in Sedalia at a Missouri Blacksmith convention. We hit the sack after Jay Leno's Headlines.

Brunch, Presents and Back to The Waters Edge

Travis, Callie and Michael poured the 'sand of their lives' together yesteday at the wedding ceremony

Great Grandma and Great Grandpa fuss over Ethan with Mom Megan in the background

Sunday, May 2, I was up at 7:15 in spite of yesterday's big doings. After a stretch, a light breakfast and a shower I take time to download some pictures to clear my camera. Then I backed up the hard drive just in case.

Great Aunt Carla gets her turn with Ethan before driving back to St. Louis

At 11:15 we head to Joyce and Mari Bess's for brunch which is already spread out on the table and looking scrumptious. Bob and I enjoyed getting to see their new deck. We were very impressed by the art deco railing!

Great Uncle Jeff gets a turn as Ethan's grandmother Lilla looks on wistfully!

Mom and Dad are already out there as well as Jeff, Nathaniel, maria, Casey, Megan and Ethan. I actually get a chance to hold Ethan one more time. Carla, Mark, Michelle, Kyle, Kary, Mike, Linda, Mac, Travis, Callie and Michael are also looking chipper this morning. Of course there is much jockeying over who gets to hold Ethan. Groups start leaving soon to head back home. Hate to see everyone leave.

Great Aunt Rita is not to be left out as Ethan soon heads back to Texas.

I visit with Lonnie, Joyce's brother, and his wife. They have a 36-foot motor home and would like to travel. She will retire in January but he's more keen on a full-time thing than she is I think.

Lilla gets her chance when Ethan gets fussy with Great Aunt Rita. Grandma to the rescue!

Next on the agenda, Travis and Callie open presents. They sure get lots of nice things. I take pictures but have to use Mike's camera as my little memory card is full. I didn't clear my big card this morning because I want to transfer it all to Mike's laptop. We give that a try but Mike's port won't read my universal 2.0 USB card reader (not really very universal I'm thinking!) Bob suggests that Mike's laptop has a Memory Stick slot and it does! We download both of my Memory Sticks onto his laptop. It is fun to see the pictures roll by on his screen. Great memories.

Megan and Uncle Bob say "See ya in Texas"

We all chat on the deck for a bit. Then Bob and I go out to The Waters Edge to help with the final clean-up. Travis gives me a six-pack of Fat Tires out of his cooler (well, there were two Busch lites) and it turns out to be a bad decision to take them. More on that later.

Grandma Rood gives Great Grandma Rood one last moment with Ethan before he goes back to Texas.

Out at The Waters Edge we toss the remaining trash and load equipment in the truck. Linda and I swing under the pavilion afterwards while Bob, Travis and Lonnie fish the lakes. Callie goes across the lake to talk to the owner, Fred. He says he enjoyed the music last night and watching the event from across the water.

Goodbyes to my Mom and Dad as they get in the car for the drive back to St. Louis

We all say reluctant goodbyes as Mike and Linda leave in the morning. Bob and I get home around 7:30. As I put the six-pack of beer on the kitchen counter the bottom falls out. Three Fat Tires and two Busch lites hit the floor. The Fat Tires have heavier duty bottles and are okay. But one of the lites breaks and the other one explodes as it hits on top of another bottle. We spend an hour mopping, vacuuming glass and cleaning up. It smells like stale beer in the RV. Shards go everywhere and some beer seeped under the kitchen slide. Yuck.

Travis and Callie open gifts

Thank the Lord and Betsy for the bag of pork. We make sandwiches and crash in our Euro chairs. We watch Foyle's War on PBS. It's 9:50 p.m. and 68 degrees with 65% humidity. The high was 74 and the low was 62.

Callie opens picture of Travis from my brother Eric

Travis opens picture of Callie from my brother Eric

Michael watches Travis fish after the big clean up at the end of the day at The Waters Edge

Monday, May 24, 2010

Travis and Callie's Wedding

Saturday, May 1, I wake up at 7:45, have my coffee and start the day with a stretch. Then I make Ritz Peanut Butter Cookies in case the Rood gang decides to come by before the wedding today. We have a light breakfast and my youngest brother Eric calls at 10:00 to say they are all in the parking lot at the hotel and are ready to come over to tour The Titanic. I ask him to give us a half an hour or so. Bob and I get in gear and clean up the breakfast dishes and get out of our jammmies.

Roods aboard The Titanic

Eric calls about 20 minutes later. They are lost somewhere west on Kingshighway. Then he calls again; they went too far east. At last they find us. My nephew Nathaniel is driving and has his wife Maria and my two youngest brothers Jeff and Eric. Soon my sister Carla pull up with Mom and Dad. Oh, how I have wanted my parents to see our home-on-wheels but we never tow it close enough to St. Charles, in the congested St. Louis metro area, for them to get a glimpse of it.

Kyle, Dane and Jeff relax in the living room

Reet and Mom enjoy a moment

My sister Carla and my nephew Dustin make themselves at home

Brothers Eric and Mark get set for the big photo shoot

It's like herding cats!

My second oldest brother Greg, his wife Lana and there son and his wife, Jason and Mary arrive too. Mark, the brother just younger than me, and his wife Michelle and their children, Kyle and Kara just got into Cape this morning and caught everyone as they were leaving the hotel to come over here to the RV Park or they would have missed the whole gang. Dane, my brother just younger than Mark, arrives with his wife Lori and their children Dustin and Callie. And finally, Travis, the man of the day, called Jeff or Eric on the phone and heard we were all over here so he stopped by too! It's great to see all of them. I think I counted 22 of us in all. That shatters our old record of having eight visitors over at once in Texas this year! I give tours of The Titanic until I'm hoarse.

My niece Kara greets the guests at The Waters Edge

Callie's Mom pins on Travis's buttoneer

My brother Mike and his wife Linda-proud parents of the groom

The groomsmen-Travis chose his sister Megan as his 'best woman'

Most of the mob ends up outside drinking Bob's Killian's Red. I actually get to serve Mom and Dad a cup of coffee in the living room! Aunt Carla and Dustin try out our queen-sized bed. We gather for a group photo in front of The Titanic. Bob and my brothers joke that we can send Christmas cards to Mike, Linda, Megan, Casey and Ethan who are absent. The family of the groom is busy getting ready for the wedding in a few hours. Hmmm...wonder why the groom is here? I'm just glad the lake surrounding The Titanic has dried up since last night. I'm so happy they all got to see our home-on-wheels. Now they can picture us zooming down the road.

My nephew Nathaniel seranades the guests

The crowd is seated

Travis and his Mom Linda

My brother Mike escorts our Mother in

The bridesmaids and flower girls await the bride

The bride arrives!

Greg asks us to go to Bob Evans for breakfast with his clan and Mark and Dane's families show up too. On the way there Jeff calls and says Eric left his phone on our end table. I tell him we'll bring it to the wedding. Bob says he just got a phone upgrade to a Blackberry! Lana has her favorite grilled cheese. Bob and I split the turkey/spinach omelet that we like. Greg has Bob's favorite chicken pot pie. We barely make it out of Bob Evans by 1:30 and the wedding is at 3:00! We need to leave for the wedding around 2:15. So we zoom home to clean up and get dressed. We remember Eric's phone on the way out.

Travis and Callie's wedding party at The Waters Edge

Callie and her flower girls

My nephew Travis and my niece Megan: Groom and his best man!

The M. T. Rood Family: Mike, Linda, Michael, Travis, Callie, Megan, Ethan and Casey

Travis gets a corner of Callie's towel to kneel on

Michael, Travis, Callie and Aunt Betsy

Aunt Betsy doesn't take long to get in her comfy shoes!

We arrive at The Waters Edge to find my niece Kara manning the Guest Book. The sun is trying to peek through in spite of the dire forecast. There is quite a bit of milling around until my nephew Nathaniel starts playing the piano and the guests take their seats in the screened-in pavilion. With the crowd seated the wedding party is ushered in. Nathaniel sings "This Is Your Song" and gets the crowd all teary-eyed. The ceremony is very moving. Travis and Callie wrote their own vows and I was very impressed. I especially like the fish decor behind the minister! That is so "Travis!"

A toast to the bride and groom!

Ethan sports his new Jimmy Buffett bib from Margaritaville New Orleans

My nephew Jason grabs a smoke and is left holding the bag!


Callie, Travis and my sister Carla as she prepares to cut the cake

As we all file out I follow the professional photographer and take pictures galore of the wedding party with the lake in the background. Travis insists he is not getting a wet butt by sitting on the ground. They gave Callie a big white towel to sit on so I suggest they give Travis a corner of the towel. Voila! Problem solved. At last the party moves to the reception hall across the grounds. Travis's sister, my niece Megan, is the 'best woman" and gives a toast citing many of Travis's nicknames over the years. Some of the crowd yells out more. The food is great and my sister Carla serves the cake with Aunt Michelle's help. I enjoy the Red Velvet section.

Rood siblings family photo in age order left to right: Mike, Greg, Rita, Mark, Dane, Carla, Jeff and Eric

Rood family grandchildren and new great grandchild: Nathaniel, Kara, Kyle, Jason, Megan, Ethan, Travis, Callie and Dustin (Not present Mandy, Katie and great grandaughters Laura and Natalie)

Four generations!

The Outlaws: Lana, Michelle, Mary, Casey, Maria, Bob, Callie, Linda and Lori

We drag the Rood clan outside for our family photos. The photographer does a great job of corralling all of us. We even remember to have the Outlaw picture with Callie as the newest Outlaw. Several of my siblings remark that the Outlaws are starting to outnumber us!

My younger brother Dane sings and plays guitar for the first dance

Callie sings for her new hubby Travis as he dances with his sister Megan

Aunt Rita and Aunt Betsy like that old time rock 'n roll!

My brother Dane and his daughter Callie-not to be confused with the bride Callie!

My nephew Nathaniel dances with the bride

The band sets up and has way too much volume at first, chasing everyone out of the little pavilion where the ceremony took place. But they tone it down and continue on playing wedding staples. At their first break my nephew Nathaniel and then my niece Kara play guitars and sing. At the second break the band members start joining Nathaniel and Kara on stage to add instruments to their performances. At this point the band wakes up and kinda of says "Oh, this group likes real music!" After that the night gets wild. Carla, Mari Bess and I are happy that they play "Old Time Rock 'n Roll" just like at Megan's wedding.

Hoist that bouquet for the toss!

Time for the garter...


The lucky recipients of the bouquet and garter. nephew Kyle is way too young. He has to finish college at Mizzou first!

My niece Kara steals the show!

My youngest brother Eric joins the band

My nephews Nathaniel and Kyle pound out a duet

Nathaniel, Maria, Carla and Mike cut a rug

Callie and her son Michael

Not to be outdone...Aunt Betsy and Travis

Time out to admire baby Ethan

We've all gone over the edge now!

Callie, Michael and Travis

It is a fun time. The weather was perfect. It starts raining while the band is playing but they roll down the canvas awnings to protect their instruments and play on. Bob and I head for home at 11:45. It's not raining nearly as hard as last night. Bob parks in the site next to us so we don't have to wade in the water. It's 12:36 p.m. and 70 degrees and muggy.