After three years of RV traveling we love it just as much and are eager to continue seeing our great country, I am a retired technology facilitator and my husband Jerry is a retired elementary school principal.
Up and about early today as our “touring” trip was ending and we were headed to Fletcher, North Carolina for the Blue Ridge Classic Horse Show, an annual event that we always try to make. We spent several days and nights there at the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center located just outside of Fletcher. It’s a little pricey for what you get – full hook-up and close access to everything horsey but no internet, no cable, no pool, no amenities and it $45 a night.
Saturday morning we left for a short overnight visit with David and his family in Clemmons. Of course we stayed at Tanglewood. Every time we have stayed at Tanglewood I have asked for the pull-through but it’s always been taken. When I called to make a reservation for Saturday night I was told that she had two sites, #10 and #14. I couldn’t remember where they were so I just selected #10. Wouldn’t you know it was the pull-through, the one time we really didn’t need it? It was nice though! I’ll remember Site 10 for future reference.
We knew our house was in disarray due to the construction on the sun porch so we just decided to go on to Kinston but instead of going home we went to Neuseway Park, a nice quiet park on the edge of town and it’s only $15 a night. When we got there the office was closed and would reopen on Tuesday so we just pulled in and found a spot. When I did get there to pay they told me that they were often paid on the honor system as they have a deposit box for checks or cash. They do not take credit cards. Our site is right on the Neuse River, a nice spot to sit outside and relax. It’s a little strange to be camping in our home town but it has been convenient to be able to run over to the house when we needed to. I will be glad though to get settled somewhere!
We are still in limbo about the sale of the house as the lady who is supposed to be buying it may be changing her mind. Since her realtor is out of town we have no answers at this point but Jerry and I have had a real peace about it and we attribute that to the Lord. If the house sells we are 80% packed and ready to move. If she doesn’t we’ll gradually unpack and reclaim our home. At least we have cleaned out the attic and we’ve generously donated many things (including furniture) to either the Salvation Army or the SPCA. Whatever happens we know we belong to the Lord, that he has not been surprised at any of the events and we want His will to be done in our lives.
Saturday we kind of rested after we got to Coshocton. Sunday we were late getting started and just managed to see Roscoe Village and take a ride on the canal boat. Today, we made up for it. We visited the only inland lighthouse in Ohio, found a covered bridge, went to a cheese factory, toured an Amish farm and went to the Football Hall of Fame in Canton – all in one day and we didn’t even leave the campground until 10:00. Oh, did we take time to eat? Nope, not all day!
Our first stop was the only inland Lighthouse in Ohio, the Gospel Hill Lighthouse located in Warsaw, Ohio at Gospel Hill Church. The minister had a vision from the Lord in 1976 to build a lighthouse for others to see the light of Jesus but it was not until 2002 that it was erected. The story of the construction was quite interesting and involved many people from engineers, to silo builders, state inspectors, and electricians to name a few. It was amazing to see how the pieces fell into place as the planning and construction progressed. Obviously the Lord was in charge and He opened many doors for this lighthouse. It’s not a terribly tall lighthouse rising only 74 feet to the top of the cross, 65 feet to the top of the dome, a 7 foot cross on top and a 2 foot ball that the cross sits on. The cross is pointed directly to the road coming in. There are three levels and on the second level is a prayer section where members gather to honor prayer requests.
Outside is a building where Saturday night singing is held every other Saturday night. The backdrop for the stage is a steel image of the Last Supper. It is indescribably beautiful and touching. The gentleman who built it was near death and called the minister asking him if he would take it because he didn’t want it included in his estate. Amazingly the image was built in just 2-3 months. It is cut from a four foot by eight foot sheet of 3/16” steel and was all done freehand. If we had done nothing else today the day would have been great!
Our next stop was one of the covered bridges in Ohio. Well, I think I have found out the difference in a state maintained road and a township maintained road. Also, it has been a while since we’ve been on a graveled road adventure so we were due and today was the day. We wound and twisted up and down a sometimes narrow hilly lane hoping we wouldn’t meet anyone. We saw few houses, no cars and no people but we found the bridge, Hemlick Covered Bridge.
Originally built in 1863, the bridge was a fundamental part of commerce for the village of Helmick. During those early days it provided access to two grist mills that were used by farmers from as far as 25 miles away. As a result of decay the bridge was closed in 1981. Citizens raised over $250,000 to restore the bridge completing the project in 1996. Today it is one of Ohio’s oldest covered bridges and the only one in Coshocton County. After taking a couple of pictures we realized in order to continue our trip to Canton where the Football Hall of Fame was located we were actually going across that bridge! The only posted warning was to not use it when it was flooded. Well, duh!
We continued on and arrived in Millersburg. I had commented earlier that there were several interesting things to do in Millersburg so we decided to try some of them out. Our first stop was the Guggisberg Cheese Factory. We thought we were going on a tour but there were no tours because of the open vats. We sampled some of the delicious cheese and ended up buying two different kinds, an Amish butter and a buffalo wing cheese. Both are really tasty. Because they are vacuum sealed we could buy them today and leave them in the car while we wandered around the rest of the afternoon.
We then decided to go to Yoder’s Amish Home which was a tour that included two Amish homes, a tour of the barn, a buggy ride and a tour of the schoolhouse. We learned even more about the Amish from our guide. In Holmes County there are nine orders of Amish, the most conservative being the Swartzebtruber. They are very strict and very self sufficient. Of course they use no electricity and have no running water in the house. Often their yards have fruit trees and berry bushes which serve as some of their food. They wear very plain clothes, dark colors with no patterns. Their dolls have no faces because they see dolls with faces as graven images or idols.
Among the other orders are the New Order which is the least conservative and the Old World who are sort of middle of the road between the New Order and the Swartzetruber.
The Amish children can either go to a public school, a public school that has the Amish separated or a parochial school which only goes up to 8th grade and is taught by one of the Amish. They do not have to be certified. The teacher we talked with likened it to home schooling. All Amish children must learn to read German as that is the language their Bibles and music are in. Pennsylvania Dutch is spoken in the home.
Church is held in the homes and meets every other Saturday. They have a truck full of pews that is delivered to the hosting home each week. Since there are no instruments all music is acapella and sung in unison.
Jerry and I had noticed that a number of homes had solar panels so we asked about that. We knew they couldn’t be used for electricity since the Amish don’t have that. The panels are used to charge batteries that can than be used for washing machines, sewing machines, etc.
After a short tour of the barn which was full of various animals, e.g puppies, bunnies, horses,, foals, miniature ponies, sheep and goats we went over to the buggy ride. It wasn’t a long ride but it was nice. I sat in the front with the Amish gentleman who drove the horses. He was very polite and we chatted for a bit.
A short visit to the school house where we chatted with a teacher and then it was time to end our sightseeing for the day. Our original plan was to go to Canton but we began to see that that trip probably wouldn’t happen so I suggested that we leave from Coshocton Tuesday morning, spend the night in Canton and visit the Football Hall of Fame. When we realized that it was 4:00, Canton was only 45 minutes away and the Hall of Fame stayed opened until 8:00 we decided we could make it so off to Canton we went.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame is very impressive even to someone like me that knows little about football. We entered through panels of football cards and the worth of each was explained. Boy, I wish baseball cards were that valuable as we have boxes and boxes of them! We watched two videos, one with “joe Namath” narrating. Good but loud. The second video was the Road to the Super Bowl. He recapped the 2017 game between the Patriots and the Falcons. Even though I knew the outcome of the game, I was sitting on the edge of my seat during the entire game as the Falcons led most of the game.
A full day and the only thing we left out was eating so as soon as we got back to the coach we scrambled some sandwiches together. Not exactly a full meal and not exactly filling but it worked. Off tomorrow to Fletcher for the annual Blue Ridge Classic Horse Show.
As usual for us we got a late start trying to decide whether to chance the impending rain. We finally decided to go into Roscoe Village which is basically a historic village with a lot of little shops, the general store, a candy shop, a leather shop, etc. Our first stop was the Visitor’s Center which housed some memorabilia from days past plus we watched a video detailing how Roscoe Village became a canal town. Originally Ohio was virtually cut off from the major cities because of the rugged terrain until the canal system was instituted in the 1800’s. Along with other towns along the canals it began to flourish until the railway came along. Then the trip from Portsmouth to Cleveland which had taken about 8 days (and only day travel) on the canal could be accomplished in a much shorter time and more comfort as well thus the beginning of the demise of the canals.
We wandered around a bit and then decided to follow the advice of a fellow camper and have lunch at the Warehouse. Both Jerry and I had heard about the onion rings so along with his burger and my grill cheese we got a half order of rings. I can’t imagine what a whole order would be like because the half order was more than we could eat. The were delicious, served with a sauce that was reminiscent of a blooming onion from Chilli’s.
After lunch we wandered around a bit more looking for the usual magnet and we finally found one. Lots of t-shirts, hats, mugs, but no magnets until we finally found one in a dress shop. Go figure!
Our next stop was the horse drawn canal boat ride. The boat was the Monticello III and we floated down a restored section of the Ohio-Erie Canal. It was an interesting 45 minute ride but toward the end the mosquitoes got pretty bad. The men who dug the canal were Irish and German immigrants and were paid $.30 a day and they worked from sunup to sundown seven days a week. What a difficult life. Many died, many from malaria. The horses were steered by young boys 12-14 years old and they often had cuts on their feet from the jagged rocky ground and many of them died also.
When we left the canal ride we decided to ride over to the Village of Sugarcreek. It’s a Swiss Village but upon reading about it I felt that it was probably just a little town with nothing of significance to entice us to ride over. Jerry said either that or go back to the coach and read. We elected to go to Sugarcreek. We had been told that this area had a lot more Amish than where we were in Indiana but I had not seen any until our ride to Sugarcreek. We got behind several buggies in the hilly roads and had to follow them for a while until we could pass them. That proved to be a bit challenging at times due to their slow speed and our inability to see around them.
We made it to Sugarcreek and it was closed! Seriously, not a store was opened but we did notice what we later realized was labeled as the Largest Cuckoo Clock in the World. We were lucky enough to be there when it chimed at 4:30. What a show! A three-foot-tall couple on tracks danced the polka to Bavarian music played by a five-piece robot oompa band and that occurs every 30 minutes! It made the drive over well worth it. From what I’ve read Sugarcreek has a lot more to offer, just not on a Sunday.
We took a different route back to the campground – isn’t GPS great – you never know where it will take you but apparently the Amish were using the same route because we continued to see them driving along. Since we had such a nice lunch we chose not to have a big dinner so just enjoyed our quiet evening.
I woke up about 5:00 this morning and heard the soothing pitter patter of rain on the coach. I read yesterday that waking during the night had different meanings at different times of the night. Waking up between 4:00 and 6:00 indicates a time for prayer so pray I did until I fell back to sleep until 7:00. Since we had not hooked up the septic but had attached the car it was fairly easy to break down. It was still raining when we left, in fact rained the entire trip to Coshocton. All planned activities or the day were outside so …
I generally input the destination details into the GPS on the night before so last night I entered the information into the Garmin that I use – 180+ miles. What? Good Sam and MapQuest both said 123. I entered the information into the Clarion and it was 123 miles. What was the difference? I couldn’t get to the atlas to look at the routes so we decided to go with the Clarion. Both routes were going to take about the same amount of time. Well, the Clarion route was closer but the last 40 miles were two lane, sometimes looking narrow to me, small towns, hilly road and 35 mph speed limit. Think we should have followed the Garmin! By the way I mentioned the curvy roads to a couple of people and they both said “Oh, you took 81. Guess it’s well known for its meandering road. Sometimes I just closed my eyes but as usual Jerry did a terrific job. In addition to that the TPMS alerted us that the inside passenger tire was not responding. Talk about stress. There was absolutely no where to stop, no where, so we kept on. I turned the system off and rebooted it. When the system is turned on it cycles through several times, no a lot of times until all of the tires register and this time two of the tires didn’t register. Finally just the inside passenger tire was still not registering. We came to an intersection, stopped at the light, turned and voila – all tires were fine.
We arrived at the Coshocton KOA RV Park at 11:45. I never did find it on the GPS and I think it’s only been a KOA for a short while, maybe was formerly Colonial Campground. It is a small campground but nice. Check in was very quick and the staff was friendly. They have several activities going on today, a cookie decorating class and ice cream social among several others.
As we were setting up we began chatting with two of the campers. Apparently there are two Good Sam clubs meeting here this week-end. One fellow suggested that since it was raining we might want to go to Canton to the Football Hall of Fame. I could see Jerry’s eyes light up at that. We talked with another man, a Dutch Star owner and compared Newmar notes.
Came in for a small lunch and decided that we both were too tired to go to Canton which was an hour away. Two weeks of travel must have taken their toll on me because I laid down on the sofa to read and slept two hours and would have slept more if Jerry hadn’t kept insisting that I wake up. It was good sleeping!
Deciding dinner was a bit difficult. Do we chance grilling steaks or go out to eat. The Warehouse in Roscoe Village had been recommended but we needed to cook the steaks.
Finally around 6:30 we realized that it had stopped raining and the sun was trying to shine so we decided to chance grilling. In the microwave convection it only takes about 25 minutes to bake the potatoes so with some sliced cucumbers we were ready to eat a delicious dinner.
I think today was a catch up day after having been on the road for two weeks. Both Jerry and I took naps and then I crashed before 9:00.
It felt so good to sleep until 7:00 this morning – two more hours! We were supposed to check out at Building 16 at 8:00 but shopping at the Newmar parts store delayed us a bit since it didn’t even open until 7:30. We picked up a replacement light, some floor tiles and some floor protectors. (BTW, on the way out of the store a guy told us the floor protectors -we had to buy 7 – weren’t worth a dollar, we’ll see). It was 8:50 before we were checked out, paid up and on the road to Port Clinton, Ohio. We stopped once for a break and then once at Flying J in Perrysburg, Ohio for gas. Gas is significantly cheaper in Ohio than in Indiana by nearly $.25 a gallon (at some places – we found it varied a great deal). That is a significant savings! People occasionally ask me how many miles we get to the gallon. I used to check and it was a bit depressing, certainly less than the salesman told us it would be. Go figure. I finally decided that we were going to travel so it really didn’t make any difference what the mileage was. We try to conserve, drive at a reasonable speed and look for less expensive gas though but we do like Flying J because they have the RV gas line, easy in and easy out.
We arrived at Cedarlane RV Park in Port Clinton, Ohio around 1:30, quickly set up, ate a bar for lunch and then headed out for Spiegel Grove, the Rutherford B. Hayes home, museum and library. Unfortunately the library was closed due to flooding. We never did get any details on the flooding but there were large fans sitting around to dry things out.
The house is quite large with 18 bedrooms and they were all beautifully appointed. President Hayes’ uncle built the house albeit a bit smaller and it was added onto later. President Hayes lived there on and off until his later years when his uncle gave it to him and it became his permanent home. There are numerous paintings and portraits throughout the house of not only Rutherford and his wife Lucy but also their descendants as members of the Hayes family lived in the house until 1965. It then became a private resident until sometime in the early 2000’s. It has been lovingly restored to its original look with some furniture that belonged to the Hayes and some that is authentic to the times. The house is four stories although we were only allowed to view two. Interestingly enough Hayes only served one term and that was by choice. He wanted to accomplish everything he could in one term and not worry about running for re-election.
It was quite interesting to read about the Hayes’ election as it paralleled with our most recent election. Hayes’ opponent won the popular vote but did not win the electoral vote. In fact Rutherford and Lucy went to sleep the night before believing that he had lost the election. The story goes that they had a very restful night!
Hayes’ wife, Lucy had a stroke at Spiegel Grove and died there three days later. Hayes continued to live there with his daughter Fanny and son Rutherford but he wrote that “the soul has left it”. Three and a half years later Hayes suffered a heart attack while in a railroad station in Cleveland. He had been in town conducting business for Ohio State University. His son Webb encouraged him to go to a local hospital but Hayes told him he would rather die at Spiegel Grove than live anywhere else so they returned to Spiegel Grove where he died three days later.
The museum was quite interesting with a lot of memorabilia from the family. Also in the museum is a replica or the rotunda. Upon entering there is a bust of Rutherford and to the left is a replica of an office. His desk was beautiful and the walls were covered with notes written by former presidents all the way up to Barack Obama. One of the prettiest pieces of furniture was a secretary desk purchased by the White House in 1869 for use in the cabinet room during the Grant administration. The massive secretary and chair were acquired by Rutherford’s son Webb in 1903 at an auction of excess furniture from the White House.
On the right side of the rotunda was a room with family memorabilia. Fanny had a quite large doll house that I could imagine my granddaughters enjoying a great deal
It was 5:00 when we left Spiegel Grove and we knew we couldn’t get into the Marblehead Lighthouse but we wanted to see it so off we went on a 45 minute drive – again! It is the oldest lighthouse in continuous operation on the United States side of the Great Lakes having guided sailors safely along the rocky shores of Marblehead Peninsula since 1822, and continues to be an active aid to navigation. We enjoyed gingerly climbing over the rocks and putting our fingers in Lake Erie. We walked around a bit enjoying the warm sun and the breeze. I told Jerry that despite all of our touring and running around I didn’t feel like I had hardly been in the sun. For just a few minutes I sat at a picnic table with my face toward the sun just enjoying a small bit of relaxation and stress relief.
When we left we were both pretty tired so other than a stop at a grocery store we headed back to the campground. We had planned to grill a steak but it was late, we were tired and we had some spaghetti sauce. It was a nice evening and would have been a nice night to sit outside and read but we were both spent so we never set foot outside! An early night for us as we want to be on the road fairly on the way to Coshocton.
Up and out at 6:00 again. Doug, the technician told us that it was a five hour job so we knew we wouldn’t be leaving Nappanee today. We headed over to the lounge along with the other displaced RVer’s, drank our coffee and chatted for a while. Finally about 7:30 it had begun to rain and Jerry suggested we go to a nearby restaurant, the Dutch Restaurant for breakfast. It was very good but I definitely got my week’s worth of salt.
I looked up the weather in Archbold, home of Sauder Village (where we were supposed to spend last night) and the weather was good. Since the forecast for Nappanee was all day rain we decided to go to Archbold despite it being 100 miles away. We didn’t have anything else to do or anywhere else to go and we didn’t want to spend the day in the lounge.
We started out in moderate rain and it kept up for about an hour but gradually began to clear as we got closer to Ohio. I nearly missed the “Welcome to Ohio” sign but hopefully I can get another tomorrow as we head to Port Clinton.
We arrived at Sauder Village a little after 11:00 and went directly to the Welcome Center. We wandered around there for just a bit plus roamed around the gift shop. I saw a magnet I wanted but decided to wait until later to buy it.
We bought our tickets and headed on out to view “Ohio’s Largest Living History Destination”. The village consists of 40 buildings and they were numbered so we just followed the path. Each shop had a volunteer who could tell us a bit of history about the shop and the surrounding area. Sauder Village is actually located in the Black Swamp. It was the last part of Ohio to be developed and when the people moved to the area they had to dig trenches around their homes so the swamp waters could recede. This was a continuous process until they had enough land to live on and farm. Some of the shops included a tinsmith’s shop, a barber shop, a basket shop, a cabinet shop, a spinning shop and an herb shop. There were also two schools and a couple of churches. After we had visited about half of them we decided it was way past lunch. Jerry wanted to try the Barn where they had a buffet until 2:00. It was 1:50 so we hustled over there. After the disappointing buffet we had on Sunday I was reluctant to try the buffet so I had the salad bar which was very good. Again we were served rolls with apple butter. They were really good. Jerry said his meal was the best meal he’d gotten in a restaurant on the entire trip. I sampled some of his and it was very good. He even asked the very nice waitress for the recipe for one of the desserts. She didn’t give it to him but did tell him how he might be able to make a diabetic version of it.
We went back to the village and continued to wander around. We ended up at the Grist Mill where we sat on a bench and enjoyed the cool breeze and shade. Since we had just finished lunch we passed by the ice cream shop even though they had some sugar free ice cream. After visiting the toy shop we decided that it was about time to head back to Newmar.
During the afternoon we got a call from the service technician saying our RV was ready. Since we were over two hours away we couldn’t get back today but told him we’d be ready to check out at 8:00 tomorrow morning. Since we will only have the afternoon in Port Clinton we want to get an early start. Hoping for pretty weather.
We got back to the campground a little after 5:00, got everything set up again and then stood outside talking to our neighbor Don who owns a Bay Star. Interestingly enough he is from Concord, North Carolina. It’s amazing how we have parked twice next to neighbors from North Carolina and when we were on the tour at Notre Dame there were people from North Carolina on the tour and to top it off, they were NC State fans! Again, small world. We talked to Don until it just got too hot to stay outside. Since he and his wife had only been RVing since October we offered what little knowledge we had gained in three years.
We had decided that since we had such a nice lunch we wouldn’t have a big dinner so when we came in we just got on the sofa and started reading. A knock on the door and it was Don. We had suggested that they might like visiting Sauder Village but he had forgotten where it was. This time he was armed with his notepad and wrote down some of our suggestions.
Probably our first suggestion to any new RVer is to to join FMCA. The benefits are well worth the minimal cost. We also recommend getting the America the Beautiful pass to the national parks. Right now it is $10 but is going up to $80 August 29, still an amazing deal at that. Oh, you have to be over 62 years of age. With the pass you get access to all of the national parks plus access to all Corps of Engineer parks at half price which is usually about $11 and so far every place we have ever been has been beautiful. Of course by joining Passport you can get half off of your site but you need to do your homework and look at the reviews before you choose one. We have stayed in several and broken even with our $40 yearly fee and only once have we elected not to stay at one because of its appearance. With Good Sam’s you get a 10% discount each night which isn’t much but it adds up so you can quickly get your $25 yearly fee. We forgot to tell Don about KOA but it too offers a discount for each night. KOA generally has a lot that we are not interested in, i.e. playgrounds, etc but you can usually rest assured that you are staying in a nice clean and safe place.
It felt good going to bed knowing we didn’t have to be up at 5:00 in the morning although we did plan to leave as early as possible. Doug had called and scheduled check out for 8:00 so we hope to be on the road to Port Clinton, Ohio well before 9:00.
The clock alarm sounded at 5:00 and I jumped out of bed, tried to turn it off and then jumped into the shower. Obviously I didn’t turn it off as I heard it sounding again. Jerry had never heard it. Guess he was pretty tired.
Our plan was to go visit Notre Dame today since South Bend was only 20 miles away but as always our plans have a way of changing. When the tech came he said he should be through by 9:30 so if was the case we could go on to Archbold which was our initial plan. When our coach arrived I could call the campground and see if could get the space we canceled yesterday!
Change of plans – again! They called and moved the time to 10:00 when we were on our way over to Building 16 to pay the bill and pick up the coach. When we got there and were talking to the technician we showed him some additional problems with the slides. There was a gap in the kitchen slide making the paint not align correctly. We also opened the living slide and he heard “the knock” so said he would check that.
Knowing that would take a while we headed out to South Bend and Notre Dame arriving around 11:30. Despite very low spirits (another story about problems with the house that we are supposed to selling on August 4) we trudged on. Finding a parking place at Notre Dame was almost impossible but we continue to persevere. We rode all over the campus and couldn’t find anything but we did get a good look at most of the campus. By this time we were running very low on gas so we headed to a gas station a mile away. We never did find it but found another where Jerry put in 14 gallons of gas. We have a 15 gallon tank! Whew!
We went back to the campus and I guess since it was lunch time some people had left so we were finally able to find a space in the Bookstore parking lot. We walked over to the building that scheduled the tours and signed up for the 1:00 tour. With a few minutes to spare we located a little restaurant on campus, the Au Bon Pan and had a sandwich.
I’m not sure how far we walked on the tour but we covered a lot of the campus, including the beautiful Basilica and the domed Administrative building, two of the most spectacular buildings on campus. The have 31 dorms, 15 for women who were only admitted in 1972 and 16 for men. Each dorm has a chapel. In addition Mass is said twice a day. There is also a grotto where students can go for prayer. It is a beautiful campus with all of the buildings being architecturally consistent in the gothic style. Only two buildings are built out of a different brick. Without a doubt Jerry and I both agreed that it is the most spectacular campus we’ve ever been on.
After the tour we headed back to Newmar spent from the heat and the stress of the house. We read for a while and had a great dinner – barbecued pork chops, peas, corn on the cob, stewed potatoes, cucumbers, beets and green beans. It feels good to be eating home cooking again. Eating out can get old after a while!
Jim and Jan Hollis have started a go to meeting occurring on Wednesday nights for fellow Christians. Jim will be delivering a short message and then all of the members will discuss it. Tonight was the first night and since I didn’t have a wireless network and I was not going to sit in the Starbucks in the grocery store I tried it on my iPad. Actually I think mine worked better than everyone else’s except Jim. It was a very good session and I look forward to Wednesday nights. Since we are traveling so much we are missing a lot of church so this helps fill the gap.
When I know I have to get up extremely early for something I rarely sleep well the night before and last night certainly was a prime example of that. Knowing we had to get up at 5:00 to be ready for the techs at 6:00 we were both awake at 4:00. Let me tell you folks, that makes a long day.
After the techs arrived and we told them our concerns they took our coach saying they would call around 8:00 with estimates of time and costs. Jerry and I then took off for Gary, Indiana where we thought the SMI headquarters were located. I looked at the car and told Jerry that it specifically said that it was located in Newburg, Indiana which was about 300 miles away. I don’t know where Jerry got Gary from but I feel sure that someone told him that because he had never heard of Gary, Indiana before. To make a long story short – or in the case an hour longer, we headed for Gary. When we realized that we had moved over to Central Time and we had an extra hour we decided to look for an IHOP for breakfast. We located one in Merrillsburg about 11 miles from Gary and had a nice breakfast. We had been talking about going out for breakfast one day but I surely didn’t plan on going that early in the morning. We finally were able to call SMI and sure enough someone had given us erroneous information and SMI was not in Gary but in Newburg. Well, it was a pretty morning ride!
While we were at breakfast the tech from Newmar called and gave the estimates for each concern we had. We agreed to have everything done except floor repair. That was going to cost about $1500 and it’s purely cosmetic. Heck, it probably wouldn’t cost much more to get an entire new floor! They were not sure if they would be finished with the repairs today or not but should be by Wednesday or Thursday. Oh well – we’ll just have to see.
Since we had the entire day before us we decided to go on to Shipshewana which was on my original plan. It’s a little over 100 miles from Gary but only 40 from Nappanee. Needless to say we were both a bit tired and it was only 10:00 but Newmar had said they would have the coach back in our parking place by 2:30 so a “short” drive of 40 miles and we’d be napping Tuesday afternoon. If they don’t complete the repairs that means another out of the coach by 6:00 morning.
Our first stop was the Menno-Hof Building which told the story of the Amish, the Mennonites and Hutterites. They all were all originally a part of the Anabaptist movement which started as a protest against the baptizing of all children. The Anabaptists believed that baptism should follow a confession of faith to Jesus Christ. Eventually the Hutterites split from the movement as they elected to live communally sharing in everything. The Amish later split from the Mennonites because they believed in a more simple life. They felt that possessions contributed to pride. Cars divided families so they continued to use horses and buggies. The Amish also continued to wear clothing that was drab in color. The women wore dresses of a length below their knee and caps on their heads an they continue to make all of the clothes. Boy, it’s a good thing we aren’t Amish! With my sewing skills our clothes would be falling off especially the ones held together with straight pins. One of the main premises of the faith is service to others. If a neighbor needs assistance they are always eager to help. Another difference in the Mennonite and Amish is their place of worship. Although the Mennonites worship in a church the Amish continue to worship in their homes. They have a large wagon that moves the pews from home to home every other week which is when they have their services.
Our next stop was Yoder’s Cheese and Meats where we found nuts made in Henderson NC! Before buying anything we walked out to the flea market. There was probably nothing that anyone could want that couldn’t be found there but we settled for corn, cukes and green beans. On our way back through Yoder’s we picked up some beets and jalapeño yogurt cheese. We were planning to have steak for dinner and Yoder’s had some pretty steaks – $12.99 a pound. We passed!
We headed back to Nappanee, stopped by a grocery store and then came on to the campground. When we walked in the coach we saw a note from the tech saying that he would be back at 6:00 in the morning so we knew we had to change our plans. I called the campground we were scheduled to be at for tomorrow night and canceled our reservation. The website says if we canceled after 3:00 we will be charged $50 and it was after 4:00. I explained that we were at Nappanee and having our coach worked on and it was lasting longer than we had expected. She just said OK. We’ll see if our credit card gets charged. (It wasn’t)
We had an early dinner since we had skipped lunch and boy was it good – steak that was so thick and juicy, corn on the cob and potatoes we had bought from Hebert’s in Louisiana. Afterward we spent the rest of the evening talking with a couple who own a Canyon Star and had just gone full time. Our Canyon Star is the 3953 and theirs is a 3914. When we were looking I really wanted a 3914 but we couldn’t find one so we ended up with the 3953. Thank goodness. Had I seen a 3914 I wouldn’t have liked it. While it appears to have more room in the den/kitchen area the bedroom is quite small and there is only one bath. I am extremely glad we went with the 3953.
As soon as we came in we got ready for bed as we knew that 5:00 would be coming soon. Unlike the night before when we worried about waking up early thus not sleeping very well we both slept well. Well, I did until the person next to us arrived at 12:30 am and while backing into his site his coach was sounding the beeping alarm. At first I didn’t realize what it was so I jumped up and walked around to try to determine which of our alarms was going off only to determine that it was the coach next door. Jerry never budged!
A day of waiting. Although we did not have a service appointment with Newmar we decided to go anyway to see if we could be worked in. The scheduling office opened at 7:30 and Jerry was right there to put our name on the list. They said they would call in the afternoon to let us know what was available.
We also knew we had a problem with our SMI Stay and Play brake system and the home office is in Gary, Indiana about 80 miles from Nappanee so Jerry called this morning to see if we could get in there for service. We know that part of the problem is incorrect installation and we were hoping that they could rectify that. They said they would call!
We had planned to go on the 10:00 tour of the Newmar Factory but when we got there it was already full. I’m pretty sure that many of the FMCA attendees left Indianapolis for Nappanee. We decided to be back by 12:30 for the 1:00 tour.
After that with nothing to do we headed out to Elkhart to visit the RV Museum but before we got out of Nappanee we realized that we probably wouldn’t have as much time as we’d like at the museum so we ditched that idea. Really what we had done all morning was ride up and down the Main Street of Nappanee trying to decide what to do with our allotted time!
Next stop, Kountry Klub of Newmar. We had talked about joining when we first got our Canyon Star but just never did. We could join now for the pro-rated rate of $45 and get a year and a half. Pretty good deal so we did it. Hopefully we can go to some of the rallies. The International Rally is held the same week-end as the Louisville vs NC State game so that is definitely out. Ughhhhh – football games rule my fall!
With extra time to spare and waiting for phone calls we went over to the Newmar lounge so Jerry could get some Internet. In the midst of all of this I’ve gotten a text from Helen Jo saying she had gotten a call from Misty at Cypress Glen saying that Mom is really sick. Both Helen Jo and I were trying to work out some way for her to get to the doctor. Helen Jo is in Alabama and I am in Indiana, a situation that rarely occurs. In fact to the best of memory we have never both been out of state at the same time and seldom are we both out of town simultaneously. Fortunately we were able to get that worked out.
We had a quick lunch and then decided to drive on over to the Newmar tour to be assured of getting in. Our guide, Ashley actually came in earlier than 1:00 and took our group because they knew a lot of people would be showing up for the 1:00 tour.
Touring Newmar is nothing like touring the Toyota plant in Lexington. There is no automation but a lot of guys working steadily and hard. Newmar puts out eight new units a day but only builds what has either been ordered for a customer or ordered by a dealership for inventory. It was interesting to see the detail that went into each coach, also the quality of materials used was phenomenal. At the end of the tour we got to go in a few units, an Essex, a Dutch Star and a Bay Star. These were all 2018 units as the last 2017 rolled out at the end of June.
Next stop, Elkhart for the museum. On the way Jerry got a call from Newmar saying they would pick our coach up at 6:00 tomorrow morning for work. He also got a call from SMI saying we could bring our car in to have the brake system checked. That taken care of we headed on the ‘RV/MH Museum. Since we had visited a similar museum when we were in Texas we were not as impressed as we could have been. The start of the tour had some new units, two Class C’s. I had never been in one before and was pleasantly surprised at how much room they had. It would be good for a single person I think. I also saw a GMC Class B and it was really nice. Along with all the up to date technology it even had a built in wine cooler. Afterward I looked to see how much it cost but never could find a price so I later looked it up on the web and found – nothing! Interesting. Of course there were many old units as well and a lot of pop ups. I really do love RVing and camping but trust me, had I lived in those early days I don’t think it would have been for me. I told Jerry that I guessed I was born at the right time, not too early for the hardships and not too late for the progressive liberals. Two interesting coaches were the one for Charles Lindbergh and one for Mae West.
We headed on back to the coach and after a bowl of popcorn and a little nap we had the first real meal we’ve cooked since we’ve been gone and it was good, nothing special just home cooking. A little walk around the campground and brief chats with folks from Oklahoma and we turned in for the night. Knowing we had to get up at 5:00 tomorrow sent us to bed a little early.
Well we did it. We spent a week, well nearly a week, 6 days in the coach with only electric hook-up. When we arrived we had a full water tank and empty gray and black tanks and we made it. Since our sensors don’t work correctly we really never knew how full our tanks were or how much water we had. When Jerry filled up the water tank before we left the gauge indicated that it was 1/3 full and it was 1/3 full all week!
Plans were to pull out of our parking space by 9:00 and as directed get on pavement to hook up the car. We actually got it all done and pulled out of the fairgrounds at 8:50, an absolute record for us. For a change it was a sun shiny day and an easy drive but Highway 31 to Nappanee has a lot of construction going on and not a minute too soon. It was possibly one of the worst highways we’ve traveled on.
Fortunately we got to Newmar in Nappanee about 11:15 and got the last FHU parking place. We had already decided that if we couldn’t get a full hookup we’d find a campground. Not only did our tanks need emptying we also needed to wash clothes. In view of that I used our AllStays app to locate a campground that was in the area but fortunately we didn’t have to use it. Newmar has a number of places to park RV’s but only a small number with full hookups. Nearly every place we looked though was full as I think many of the folks at the FMCA rally had the same idea we had and headed to Nappanee first thing Sunday morning.
We parked next to another Canyon Star and Jerry visited with him for a while. While he was doing that I began cleaning, getting rid of all of the mud we had tracked in during the rainy week. Sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, dusting – all of it but you know, it doesn’t take very long when you only have 300 square feet. When Jerry came in we decided to find a fast food place for lunch since we didn’t have anything we could prepare plus we needed to go grocery shopping and get gas for the car.
We ended up at Amish Acres, a tourist attraction not far from Newmar. They had an ice cream shop, a cheese shop, a fudge shop, a farm tour and a restaurant (definitely not fast food). We headed toward the restaurant and it was like any other buffet, nothing really special but nearly $40. We probably should have gone to the grocery store first!
After we got back to the coach we both took naps. I can’t believe I was so tired but we have been on the go all day and night for a week. Afterward we walked around the “campground” and ended up bringing our chairs and visiting with some folks. One of the guys, Bob from Chapel Hill, Texas also has a Canyon Star. He showed me how he prevented his floors from getting damage from the rollers when the slides come in. He cut foam shelf paper from the Dollar Store into 12” inch squares and lets the slides come over them. We will definitely try that! We also visited with a couple from Tennessee and the guy actually knew someone that I had known years ago. Small world!
As I was sitting here typing this I just saw an Amish buggy ride by and two girls on bicycles behind it. They were going pretty fast! A very different scene than what I usually see out of our window!