Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Spring has Arrived and We are Home, May 20, 2014, Tuesday

Finally the weather is beginning to feel like spring.  I believe last night was the first night that the heat did not come on during the night in these couple of weeks of being on the road.  Yesterday was a bright sunny day and this morning started out that way but then the clouds started to move in and rain is predicted for tomorrow.

We were going to be home today but before pulling out we drove to Manheim,Pa.to Root' Farmers in the Jeep.  Seeing the parking lots so full we expected the inside market to be crowded but in this warmer weather there were outside vendors that help to disperse the crowds.  We made a loop around the market purchasing fresh produce and then returned to the campground.  Tom dumped the black and gray tanks and soon we were on out way toward home about 12 noon.  Seventy-two miles and 2 hours later we were home.

Obviously, there was some activity with the house as we found a couple lights left on and the fliers in the box on the real estate sign had been depleted.  But, unfortunately, there must not have been anything noteworthy for our realtor to contact us.

Lebanon, Pa. May 18 & 19, 2014, Sunday and Monday

Sunday morning about 10am we were on the road again heading east.  We weren’t sure where we were going to go at first, just didn’t feel ready to go home.  So finally decided to go to the Thousand Trails Hershey Preserve at Lebanon for a couple days before going home.  It was a pretty day for traveling- sunshine, green grass and trees with leaves.  After 351 miles we arrived at the T.T. Hershey Preserve about 4:30pm.   We got into a site had dinner, took a walk and then relax the rest of the evening.  We had never been to this campground before but it seems to be a nice place.  There are some hills here and our site is on the biggest hill giving a nice view.

Today, Monday, we decided to drive into Ephrata to the Ephrata Cloister, a place we had passed numerous times but never toured.  The Cloister was a creation of Conrad Beissel in the mid 1700’s at which time there were about 80 celibate Brothers and Sisters.  There were also families(Householders) in the community(about 200) that chose Beissel as their spiritual leader that contributed with funds, products and assistance to the Cloister.  Life in the Cloister was regimented and disciplined.  Diet was one meal a day of mainly vegetables and bread, rest was limited to 6 hours, long hours of work and periods of meditation were required.  A printing press was operated for 50 years and is known for printing the largest book in colonial America when they translated and printed the 1500 page “Martyrs Mirror” for the Mennonites.  Beissel died in 1768 and along with a decline in this monastic lifestyle lead to the demise of this community.  The last celibate member died in 1813 leaving the Householders to maintain the property and the faith as the German Seventh-Day Baptist Church.  Some Householders lived at the Cloister until 1934.  In 1941 Pennsylvania acquired the property and undertook a program to restore and interpret this historic site. An interesting day.  We grabbed lunch and made a couple stops at some of the unique stores in this area before returning to the campground.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Hurrah, We’re Out of the Mud!!, May 17,2014, Saturday

Last evening Tom and I went to the Farewell Party.  Had a nice time talking with others above the loud music that was being played.  We had heard at the party that a couple RVs had left the infield Friday and it was felt that we should be able to get out in the morning.  Unfortunately, after returning to the motorhome it began raining again.  Now we weren’t sure if we would be able to get out without hanging-up.

We had an 8:45am appointment this morning to get the motorhome weighed but with empty black and gray tanks.  Some RVs were leaving the area without problems.  So we got up and immediately started preparing to leave without breakfast.  I drove the Jeep out and then Tom followed in the motorhome without any problems.  A big sigh of relief!  Tom drove to a site that had a sewer outlet, backed in and dumped the tanks.  And then to the parking lot where the weighing was being done.  There was no wait so immediately the weighing was done and then we hooked up the car to the motorhome and were on our way.

We finally found a place to eat breakfast about an hour after being on the road at Churubusco, Indiana.  Tennis’ Ramblin’ Inn was a small local diner next to a CVS and an IGA grocery store that had room for us to park the motorhome and also we were able to get some needed orange juice and bananas.  The breakfast food was very good.

Continuing on we had a mix up in the directions from the GPS around Fort Wayne that we eventually worked our way out.  When we finally got to Columbus, Ohio area we met up with I-70 east that we would be traveling on to Wheeling, West Virginia.  Before reaching Wheeling, we stopped in Zanesville, Ohio for the night at Wolfies Campground.  There have been dark clouds much of the day with occasional periods of sun.  And it continues to be chilly with temperatures in the mid 40’s. 

Tonight I made dinner and have been washing clothes.  And we watched the Preakness to see California Chrome win.  Sure hope he is successful at the Belmont to become a Triple Crown Winner.

Last Day at Escapade, May 16,2014, Friday

This is the last full day of the Escapade and everything is slowing down.  Just a few seminars in the morning but we opted to skip that.  We took off for Nappanee.  Tom had received a call from Newmar parts department that the propane cap he had ordered last week was in and we could pick it up if we were still in the area or it could be shipped.  So we were going to pick that up.  From there we drove to Shipshewana, a touristy Amish area. 

From 2014-05-17 Elkhart
From 2014-05-17 Elkhart
There are numerous shops for buying Amish foods as cheeses, meats and baked goods as well as craft shops selling furniture and household goods.  We stopped at several shops mostly looking, not much buying.  Returning back to Goshen we stopped at Das Dutchman Essenhaus for lunch.  This restaurant has a noon buffet lunch of Amish type food- fried chicken, roast beef, noodles, gravies, mashed potatoes and assortment of vegetables along with a soup and salad bar.  And for dessert we had a piece of strawberry/rhubarb pie a la mode.  Good food- pie especially good.   (Almost as good as our daughter-in-laws, Beth)

Returning to the fairgrounds we went to the closing ceremonies and still came out not winning any door prizes. 

From 2014/05/16
Tonight we will be going to the Farewell Party.

After yesterday ended with beautiful sunshine we awoke this morning to clouds again and cold (34 degrees).  The clouds have remained all day with periods of misty rain.  Now at 5:15pm it is raining.  We are not sure when we are going to be able to get out of here.  The ground has dried up some but now with more rain, who knows.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sunshine Finally, May 15, 2014, Thursday

Last night it really rained again and continued drizzling all morning.  It didn’t get too cold last night but tonight it will be in the 30’s.  A cold front moved in this afternoon and we could feel the coldness in the wind, even though ,the sun came out this evening.  Being parked in the infield of the racetrack, we are in the muddiest area.  Some motorhome attempting to make an early departure today found themselves hung-up in the quagmire.  The Escapade ends on Saturday and we were to leave at that time but due to the conditions of this area everyone parked here have been asked to stay until Sunday to allow an additional day of drying and, hopefully, prevent people getting hung-up.  The extra night is being given to us without cost.

This morning Tom and I started out in the vendor area as today was the last day for the vendors.  We had not been here except for the first day.  We then attended more seminars.  The seminars that we attend cover a variety of topics, sometimes we both attend the same seminar and other times we go in different directions according to our interests.  One seminar that I attended today was called “My Personal Amish/Mennonite Story” given by a local woman that had been raised as an Amish and later changed to being a Mennonite.  Area surrounding Goshen has many Amish and Mennonite folk living here.

This evening the entertainment was called “Ham-O-Rama” which was fellow Escapees displaying their talent.  There was a nice variety of talent- singing, telling jokes and playing instruments.  Nice evening.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Yucky Day at the Escapade, May 14, 2014 Wednesday

The temperature has remained in the 50’s all day along with rain most of the day.  The rain has not been heavy but from the previous days it has been enough to make a muddy mess.  We are parked on grass but surrounded by a dirt racetrack.  Naturally, the entranceway out of this area over the track is messy but now the grass is also getting tore up and muddy. 

From Elkhart
2014-05-17 Elkhart
From 2014-05-17 Elkhart

In spite of that we were in seminars again this morning at 8:30 am and stayed in that area all day.  Tom and I both attended 5 seminars today.  Lunch is available at 2 locations- a buffet meal at one and hot sandwiches at another.  We opted for brat sandwiches today.

There is no entertainment this evening except a jam session.  Because of the weather and the unheated buildings we decided we would be more comfortable in the motorhome than going to the jam session featuring amateur musicians.  We did drive downtown to the South Side Soda Shop and Diner for dinner.  We both had a seafood pasta dish that was good after adding some pepper flakes to it but the best was the pies for dessert- homemade and yummy.  This restaurant had been featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” several years ago.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Escapade Continues, May 13,2014 Tuesday

We hit the ground running this morning.  By 8:30am we were both sitting in seminars- Tom went to “Maximum Connectivity, Staying on Line” and I went to “Strategic Investing for Rvers”.  Hour long seminars continued with an half hour breaks between until 4pm.  After going to 4 seminars I decided that I had enough sitting for the day and returned to the motorhome.  Tom hung in there for 5 seminars returning to the motorhome a little after 4pm.

The day was a weather changing day.  There had been rain during the night but no storms.  The morning was cloudy and the around noon rain showers began and the high temperature of the day had gotten to the mid 70’s.  At 10pm it is not raining but the temperature is mid 50’s.   Cooler temperatures are predicted for the next 2 or 3 days.

This evening the entertainment was a group from Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri called The Homestead Pickers.  These 3 musicians played a variety of instruments, sang and told humorous stories all with a hillbilly theme.  Another evening of good entertainment.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Escapade Begins, May 12, 2014, Monday

Last night there were thunderstorms in the area and some threatening weather to the west of the Goshen area.  Here we had heavy rain for a couple hours but no heavy winds.  We awoke to cloudy skies which remained all day but no rain as of 9pm.  It was in the mid 80’s today.  Showers and thunderstorms are being predicted for tonight.

After breakfast in the motorhome, we walked to the vendor area which opened at 9am this morning.  Seminars will not start until tomorrow.  Appointments were made with Blue Ox to have our tow bar serviced and with RV Weigh to have the motorhome weighed.  Blue Ox serviceman came over to the motorhome later in the day to do the service on the tow bar.  RV Weigh will be done Saturday morning as we are leaving the Fairgrounds.

The Escapade officially opened at 3pm today with opening ceremonies.  At the conclusion of the ceremonies ice cream bars were distributed.  Then at 7pm we again gathered for announcements and door prizes followed by entertainment.  “Johnny Counterfit”, an impersonator of various singing artists, entertained for 90 minutes and was well received.  He had the audience laughing and singing throughout the show.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Goshen, Indiana and Mother's Day May 10 & 11, 2014, Saturday and Sunday

Yesterday morning we leisurely packed up the motorhome and by 10am we were on our way for the 21 mile trip to Goshen, Indiana for the Escapade at Elkhart County Fairgrounds.  We did not even bother hooking up the car to the motorhome, just drove each one.  We were promptly parked in the Infield area of the racetrack and have 30-amp electric and water, no sewer.  The rally does not officially begin until Monday.  It was a pleasant warm day with temps in the upper 70's.  Since we do not have sewer hook-up, I avoid getting dishes dirty as much as possible so in these situations we eat out a lot.  We had gotten a coupon from Martin's grocery store for Culver's (bogo sandwiches and ice cream) that we used on this day.

Today, we walked to the area for registration to pick up our packet of information and name tags .  Then for lunch we went to Hacienda restaurant.  After returning back to the motorhome I received a phone call from Todd and Beth wishing me a happy Mother's Day.  Always so nice to hear from family.  It is another nice day with temperature in the mid 80's.  Being parked in the first row in the Infield of the racetrack we are entertained with horse harness race training throughout the day.  We are also not too far from train tracks so we frequently hear train whistles- what's new for camping locations??

Preparing for a Week of Rally Camping, May 9,2014, Friday

Early this morning we began having periods of rain that would continue throughout the morning.  Then in the afternoon the winds became blustery as the rains ended.  Since this is our last day before going to the Elkhart County Fairgrounds in Goshen, Indiana we needed to prepare for a week of camping with limited hook-ups.  The main job was getting the laundry done.  Between laundry loads we drove to the Fairgrounds to check out our route of travel for tomorrow and then stopped at a grocery store for a few items.

The couple in the motorhome next to us are new RVers and are traveling without a tow vehicle.  Tom talked with this couple (Charlie and Elaine) yesterday and learned that they are in need of some things for their motorhome so he offered to take Charlie to a nearby RV surplus store this afternoon.  Not everything on Charlie’s list was available but he was able to get some things and learned the location of this store.

Nappanee, Indiana, May 8, 2014, Thursday

A cool morning that quickly gave way to a warm day.  With temperatures in the mid 80’s this is to be the warmest day while we are in the area, so the weather people say.  The cap on our propane tank had cracked and needed replacing so we stopped at several places in Elkhart without any luck.  Nappanee is about 20 miles from here and an area that we are quite familiar from our Newmar days.  The Newmar factory has a parts store that we stopped but at the time the store was closed for lunch.  So we then went to a Mexican restaurant in Nappanee that we had been before for our lunch.  Afterwards we returned to the Newmar parts store and since the cap was out of stock an order was placed for it to be shipped to us. 

Nappanee is Amish country.  Rentown Country Store  is located outside of Nappanee on a country road.  We have been to this store many times when in this area.  Bulk foods, cheeses, baked goods and cooking supplies are the main items sold here.  There is a limited amount of fresh produce and today there was fresh rhubarb available which I bought.  As we had come into Nappanee from Elkhart we saw a place called Grandma’s Pantry, new from our last visit out here, so we stopped there on our way back.  This store was similar to the Rentown store and we , of course, managed to find a couple things to purchase.

Returning to the motorhome, I made a pan of rhubarb sauce with the rhubarb I had purchased today.  It has been years since I have made this sauce, something that was taught to me years ago by my mom.

Elkhart, Indiana, May 7, 2014, Wednesday

Shortly after 9am we left Harrison Lake State Park, got on the Ohio Turnpike and then 20 couple miles we were on the Indiana Turnpike as we entered that state.  A total of 98 miles and less than 2 hours we were at the Elkhart Campground in Elkhart, Indiana.  We will be here until Saturday morning.  It was a cool morning but did get into the 70’s by afternoon.

We did make a run to a grocery store.  I had planned to fix oatmeal for breakfast but had to change those plans when I found our milk was not smelling the freshest.  So we needed to get some milk for Thursday’s breakfast.  I then fixed lunch of baked chicken breast, baked sweet potatoes and some asparagus (Larry brought us some asparagus from his garden this past weekend).   We spent a leisurely afternoon at the motorhome.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Tom Visits His Hometown, May 6, 2014

This morning we awoke to a cool sunny morning.  Temperatures were in the upper 30’s but quickly warmed to about 70 in the afternoon.  We took a walk around the campground after breakfast.  Then we took off in the Jeep to drive about 50 miles to the town of Deshler, the town Tom grew up in.  A stop was made at the cemetery that his parents, brother Jim and grandmother are buried.  Tom struck up a conversation with a couple men working in the cemetery and found them to be friends from his growing up days.  Driving about town, Tom reminisced about his youth.  The town is doing a slow decline as many businesses have closed.  Looking for a place to grab lunch we had to go to another town, Napoleon, to find a restaurant.  After eating at a Big Boy’s we drove around a little more as we headed back to the campground.  Another walk about the campground was made in the early evening.  Later this evening we plan to stop in to visit with Julie and her family and then bid a farewell as we will be leaving in the morning.

Harrison Lake and Family, May 5, 2014

Today, Monday, we left Fox Den Campground and the little bird continuing on west on the Pa. and the Ohio turnpikes.  We stopped at a rest area in Ohio for lunch at Panera Bread in the food court at the area.  After 306 miles we arrived at Harrison Lake State Park at 3:15pm.  Tom’s sister and her family are about a mile from this park which makes it convenient for visiting.  This park has nice RV sites with electric only hook-up (50 amps) .  It is located around a beautiful lake and accepts Passport America discount- $12.00 a night Sunday through Thursday.  This evening we had  dinner with Tom’s family[ sister, Julie and her family made a nice spaghetti dinner] and catch up on the family news.  We will be here until Wednesday morning.

From 2014-05-06

Heading toward Ohio, May 4, 2014

About 10:40am we left Ramblin’Pines Campground and our Traveling American friends and traveled west on Rte. 70 to the Pennsylvania Turnpike.   We had planned to go to New Stanton, Pa. to the Fox Den Campground.  So around 2:30pm we arrived there.  Before going to our campsite we got the propane tank filled.  As Tom was setting up a bird was running about raising a ruckus and then Tom saw a nest on the ground with 4 eggs next to our motorhome.  Looking through a bird book I was not able to identify this bird but I sure would like to know what she is.  Note:  After talking to Larry we feel certain that this bird is a KILLDEER.
From 2014-05-06
From 2014-05-06
From 2014-05-06

Finally, We are Back on the Road, May 2-4, 2014

It has been a long time since traveling in the motorhome.  Our last trip of this travel was in November 2013.  That is a long time of being idle for us.  Well, we really were not idle.  We just had other irons in the fire.  After the holidays we became busy getting our house ready to be on the market as we had decided that we were going to make a move to Florida from Maryland.  So after doing some painting, cleaning out stuff and ridding things at yard sales and giving away to charities we felt we needed to get away and hope someone comes along wanting to buy our house.

Friday, May 2, 2014 we had a short drive, 28 miles, to Ramblin’  Pines Campground in Woodbine, Maryland for the May campout with our Traveling Americans Camping Club.  After a week of rainy weather the sun was shining and the temperatures were becoming more comfortable.  There were to be 10 units but 3 had to cancel due to a family death, illness and motorhome problems.  So we were down to 7 units, 14 people, which is a nice group.  Friday evening 12 of us, one couple opted to stay at the campground, went out to dinner at Smokin’ Hot Restaurant in Glenwood.  A nice barbeque restaurant that was very accommodating to this size group and the food was good.  Unfortunately, we discovered a leak under the kitchen sink and Tom along with Larry’s help spent hours before and after dinner locating and then making a temporary fix.  A drain pipe became cracked and after the temporary fix will need to be replaced later.

Larry and Joanne and Tom and I were the hosts for this weekend.  Saturday morning we prepared breakfast of bacon and eggs, fruit, juice, toasts and English muffins and apple coffee cake.  After breakfast everyone does whatever.  Tom and I went to a Home Depot to get replacement for the kitchen sprayer that also we found on Friday needing to be replaced.  Then after finding out that sprayer would not work Tom went to The Plumbery in Mt. Airy and got a sprayer that did the job.  Saturday evening we had an Italian Dinner- Joanne made spaghetti and meatballs and I made lasagna, others brought salad, garlic bread and desserts.  We were able to eat in a pavilion at the campground which was lucky for us as the sunny start of the evening meal suddenly turned to a downpour of rain and wind and as we finished the sun again appeared.  Later in the evening a campfire was made and a few brave souls sat around the fire sharing stories, other sought out the warm comfort of their RV’s.

Sunday morning, we gathered for pot luck breakfast.  We always seem to have a nice assortment of breakfast dishes.  After breakfast we bid our farewells and went our separate ways.