Indiana

Last Day in Indianapolis

Since I had to be at the FMCA store by 8:45 we had to move a little faster this morning. We have been taking showers one right after the other this week so the water would remain hot and we would hopefully use less water but this morning Jerry told me to go on and shower. He planned to pull the outside rug and try to get it dry enough to put up. Since we will be pulling out early tomorrow he wanted to get as much done as possible today.

There were three of us working the store plus the volunteer coordinator who stayed pretty close. They didn’t anticipate much business as it was the last day but we stayed pretty busy. At 11:00 they announced $5 off if you bought three sale items so even more people came in. The time went by quickly but I was really tired after standing and walking around that small space for four hours.

When I got back to the coach we decided to go out to lunch as we had nothing in the coach to eat. We tried to find a new restaurant and we did but despite the reviews saying to ignore the sketchy neighborhood we decided it was a little too rough for us so we headed right back to Moe and Johnny’s. I got one of their delicious house salads again along with wings and Jerry got a club sandwich. It was all good!

When we returned to the fairgrounds we folded up a very dirty rug and Jerry put it up. Then he wanted to put the bikes on the rack but before he could do that we had to go BACK to the vendors building to determine if he had the correct sprayer for the oil he needed to use on the bikes. As tired as I was I went with him. God bless the man on the golf cart who offered us a ride. I told him he was my new best friend! Jerry did have the right nozzle. He also took the tray to my chair over to the folks selling super duper glue and they glued it together for him. I don’t think it’ll hold though if we put anything heavy on it, like my Yeti tea glass.

When we got back we put the bikes on the rack and then ended up walking over to talk with Larry and Debra, our back door neighbors from High Point. We have really enjoyed visiting with them this week. They have asked us to join their FMCA chapter and to join them in West Virginia in October for the Eastern area meeting. Both Jerry and I were interested in attending but after I looked up the dates and realized that State is playing Louisville on that Thursday night I knew there was no chance we’d be going. They also asked us to join them on a caravan trip to Alaska. It’s a 62 day trip next summer. There’s no way either of us could be away from home that long although I will agree that it’s a grand way to see Alaska.

Suddenly it was after 7:00 and we needed to head over to the auditorium for the entertainment. Tonight it was Cirque de Poloosa. It was good but I was so tired I could hardly enjoy it. In addition, I got several texts from my sweet Eva so my attention was very divided.

A long walk back to the coach and bedtime for me!

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Home Away From Home, Indiana

More FMCA

Jerry started off his day by going to the Beanbag Toss and I went to the “Introduction to FMCA University” seminar. This fairground is so very large and I had to hike quite a distance to get there. I later found out that I could access those buildings by going through another tunnel but it’s still a walk. No doubt about it, I got my FitBit steps in this week!

The seminar was good as it talked about a new online learning tool on the FMCA site. They are putting selected articles from the FMCA magazines online. By using a search tool various topics can be easily located.

In the afternoon we got a call from our realtor informing us that the house inspection had been done and we would have to have significant work done on the house before it could be sold. That knocked the socks off of both of us. After talking with the realtor several times I went on to the Devotion service but Jerry stayed in the coach. Afterward we had a pretty bad storm just as I was getting back so we ended up the evening staying in the coach.

Friday we got a late start. There were three seminars that I wanted to attend and wouldn’t you know – they were all at the same time and I missed all of them. After strolling through the vendors again I went to hear Mac the Fire Guy talk about fire and life safety in the motor home. Unfortunately the sound was not good. He sat down for the entire presentation, did not use a mic and used no audio visual aids. I finally left after about an hour and headed over to the devotions where I met Jerry.

Hook’s Drug Store
During a lull in the afternoon we decided to walk over to Hook’s Drug Store where the Hook’s Museum is located on the fairgrounds. The first ”Deutsche Apotheke “ was opened in 1900 by John Hook and was the first in a chain of drug stores. The museum was originally planned as a “temporary” 3 month exhibit by both Hook’s and the Indiana State Fair when it opened in 1966 however as a result of huge attendance and interest after it opened, Hook’s and the Fair re-considered the future of the exhibit and agreed to keep it open. Today it is opened during the fair and during special occasions. In addition to the interesting exhibits it has an authentic soda bar complete with ice cream and ice cream sodas. Unfortunately we had just had lunch so had to pass on all of the goodies.

After Devotions we quickly went back to the coach and ate a bowl of chili and then headed over to the auditorium to hear Pamela G and Jackie B. We had heard them in Perry and quite frankly I don’t think they have changed their act since then. They are very gifted musicians though and watching and listening to Jackie B. play the keyboard is a treat.

After we got back to the coach we walked over to our neighbors, Larry and Debra and sat outside and visited with them until I realized it was 10:30. I later told Jerry that it was a shame when your evening had to end at 10:30 so you could get to bed!

Home Away From Home, Indiana

First Day of FMCA

Mud, mud, mud! As Jerry was parking the motor home on Monday one the volunteers told me that I didn’t have to park the car too close to the coach as no one would be parking next to us and then he mumbled some reason that I couldn’t understand. Now, I know. It’s mud. We are parked in a mud hole. When we walk on our rug it just squishes and we know there is a sheet of water (and mud) beneath. Next to the rug is a huge mud puddle. It makes getting out of the door and to the street or to the car a bit difficult. Oh well!

My first seminar was entitled “Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda” presented by Camco/Right Now Services. He had a lot of good tips on how to care for the coaches. Sometimes they were good tips and sometimes they were good tips accompanied by products that he sold in his booth. Since I had heard the same session in Perry most of it was not new to me.

Jerry and I met back at the coach for lunch and then headed over to the Vendors Building which opened at 1:00. Initially we just wandered down each aisle to see what was there. I was a bit disappointed with the number of vendors there as there were noticeably fewer than at Perry for the rally in 2016. The good news is that we didn’t buy as much this time!

Beginning tonight there was a 5:00 devotion service each day culminating on Saturday with a “church” service since it would not be possible to have church on Sunday. We drove over since we were going out to eat afterward. The service began with the Singing Auctioneer, Dane whom we had heard in Perry, Ga last year. He sings all of the old hymns that everyone knows so many of us sang along with him. Afterward our friend Jim whom we met at the Gathering a couple of years ago and who is now the FMCA chaplain preached on the Prodigal Son. He brought up such an interesting point talking about the servants whom the father trusted to take care of the details of the dinner. I had never thought of the servants before.

After the service about 20 of us went back to Moe and Johnny’s for dinner. Jerry and I ended up sitting at a table with a newly wed couple from Oregon. In fact they had just been married four days. Jerry and I both asked them who planned the honeymoon! They are attending as vendors. Both are Christians and she is a contemporary music singer. We enjoyed visiting with them and exchanging ideas.

Home Away From Home, Indiana

Rainy Day In Indianapolis

During the night I heard the rain pounding the top of the RV and knew we were settling in for a rainy, stormy day and I was right. The entire morning was either a light rain or a heavy rain along with one good storm with heavy thunder and lightning. I had planned to ride my bike and then take my shower but the rain had surely prevented that. By 11:00 there were only a few people, very few walking around but most of them seem to be repairmen of some kind. While at FMCA rallys there are a number of repairmen who will work on your rig right where it’s parked. Very convenient. Yesterday we saw an awning repairman that appeared to line up about five coaches to work however due to the rain I doubt they are out and about today.

Can you see the rain pouring through the rims of the tires?
We just sat around the coach for the morning as there was no going outside but since I had signed up to volunteer I had a training meeting at 2:00. I talked Jerry into driving me over to the building since I had no idea where it was located and didn’t want to wander around in the rain looking for it. The fairground is enormous and it will probably take me until Saturday to find my way around. Fortunately I had my Hunter boots with me so with my boots, a rain jacket and a rain coat I walked out the door and when I stepped off of the bottom step the water came up over my ankles, probably about four inches. Thank goodness for my boots.

Jerry took me over to the meeting which was brief and then picked me up when it was over. I will be working Saturday from 9:00 – 1:00 in the FMCA store. We won’t be handling any money, just helping people locate items.

When I got back to the coach I just laid on the sofa and read and then there was a knock on the door. A neighbor a couple of coaches down asked if we were going to the dinner for the Volunteers so we jumped up and went. By that time I was looking like I needed to spend some time getting presentable but there was no time so off we went with Steve and Nancy from Illinois. The dinner was a good buffet and the Frustrated Maestros entertained with real golden oldies while we ate. Afterward we went all went over to play card bingo. Neither Jerry nor I had ever even heard of it before much less ever played but it was quite simple. We didn’t win anything but it was fun.

By the time we got back to the coach it was after 9:00 and time to settle in for the night.

Home Away From Home, Indiana

Arriving in Indianapolis

Although we got up early it was just after 8:00 when we left headed for Indianapolis. We didn’t rush especially as we showered as we knew this would be the last long shower we would have for a week! Navy showers here we come! Fortunately, the sky is clear and it looks like a great day for traveling. I adjusted my GPS to the fastest route rather than shorter so for once both GPS’s are on the same route. The shortest route had us going through Ohio and the fastest (which by the way is 38 miles longer) has us going through Kentucky. We had an uneventful ride except for the crazies on the highway. Trying to dodge a girl in a white truck that was texting was a bit harrowing and we couldn’t seem to get away from her. We’d pass her and then she’d catch up and pass us. Only one of many nuts on the highway.

We arrived at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, the FMCA Headquarters for the week around 3:00 after missing our exit. As we entered there were volunteers waiting for us to lead us to our parking place but first we had to unhook the toad. Again, thanks for four down instead of a tow dolly! For some reason the space next to us is not going to be filled so we have a lot of room among the already 1400+ coaches here!

Set up was quick since all Jerry had to do after we leveled was plug in the electric. Amazingly, although we’re on grass, leveling was good. Hope it stays that way. Because there is a lot of rain in the forecast we may sink some!

After we got settled I called Jim and Jan and they are only about four coaches away from us. In fact I can see their coach when sitting in my seat. Jim walked over and after a few minutes catching up we decided to have dinner together tonight.

Jerry had set up the outside with the rug and the chairs and we had put the awning out. It wasn’t too hot so we sat outside for a while. The wind picked up so we pulled in the awning though. Our neighbor, Larry, behind us is from High Point and he came over and visited with us and then his wife, Deborah came over. They are selling their house and downsizing when they move to Myrtle Beach. Going from 5000 square feet to 3000! Try 1600!

We met up with Jim and Jan and two other couples, Clint and his wife and another couple whose names I just can’t remember. Clint is head of Coaches for Christ. The other couple are Peach State Travelers and have just put everything in storage and are hitting the road full-time.

As we were all going on Trip Advisor trying to find a good restaurant we realized that the first one selected was only opened for breakfast and brunch so we started again. We ended up at Moe and Johnny’s which was fairly close by if you went the direct route which of course we didn’t. It didn’t take nearly as long to get back to the fairgrounds after dinner! Jerry got his regular pizza, a meat lover’s delight and wow, was it very full of meat! I got spicy mac and cheese with chicken and yes, it was spicy but it was good. Glad I got a salad to go along with it.

After we returned to the fairgrounds we sat outside for a while and then although pretty tired we decided to take a walk. By this time it was 9:00 but still light. Memories of Michigan. We walked around for a few minutes admiring the other coaches. Everywhere you look there are coaches but I haven’t seen two alike yet. To our left are the coaches with no power, just generators. That is too rough for me. Going without water and septic for a week is going to be a big enough stretch. Along the walk we ran into Jan and Jim and again and chatted with them along with their neighbors. That is a large part of what I like about RVing, meeting and visiting with old and new friends.

Home Away From Home, West Virginia

Headed to the FMCA International Rally

After A LOT of discussion and keeping in mind that we had already paid our registration plus I was on the volunteer list we decided to keep our commitment to attend the 96th FMCA International Rally in Indianapolis. We got home from the river Wednesday afternoon too late to get the motor home so we picked it up Thursday morning. In the midst of packing it we were also packing up things to be moved, taking three trailer loads to the trash dump and giving away a bedroom suite. We packed the RV in stages so I have no idea what we do or do not have. After I remembered that we would be electric only for six days I realized that I had to plan a bit differently because we wouldn’t be able to use our washer and dryer.

We had carried our bikes on the back of the RV on our previous trip but found that it was scratching the finish so Jerry wanted to put the bike rack on the car instead. This entailed changing the hitch on the RV. I don’t know why but that’s his department. While he was doing that I got on the riding lawn mower and cut our grass. I guess that is an indication of how stressed and pushed Jerry was feeling. He never lets me cut grass! Realizing that he had left all of his shorts at the river we knew a trip down there was necessary plus he wanted to cut the grass there as well. Since we were going anyway we decided to take a trailer load of things that we were planning to keep there until we get settled in the townhouse. We loaded the trailer and took off for the river. As we were going through Washington we both heard a strange noise coming from the trailer and thought it was probably just something rattling around. Nope, when we got to the river Jerry realized that one of the tires was nearly off. Whew – apparently a bad bearing. Thank you Lord for looking after us yet again.

Trailer unloaded, grass cut and off to Greenville for a short visit with Mom before our trip. After that since it was getting so late we decided to grab a bite to eat in Greenville. My mouth was watering thinking about the tasty salad at Basils, one of our favorite restaurants. Well apparently it’s on everyone’s favorite list because the parking lot was full. Because of the time crunch we decided to try out a new barbecue restaurant that everyone had been raving about. Well, it was fast. That’s all I’ll say. We ordered our meals, sat at our table and never saw a waitress. Water glass was empty, food was so-so at best. We’ve been and now will know not to go back!

We finally got home exhausted but determined to finish loading the RV. That meant everything out of the fridge that needed to go. When I open the refrigerator door and saw the chicken breasts we had bought to make chicken salad I knew our day was still not over. Between the two of us we got it done though so if nothing else we’ll have chicken salad. It won’t be a sandwich though because I forgot the bread!

Our plan was to leave by 8:00 Sunday morning and we missed it by 10 minutes but – about 5 miles down the road I realized that I had forgotten to get the clothes I had washed Saturday night out of the dryer. If it hadn’t been my favorite pair of jeans I would have just said go on but they are my favorite so we turned around, went back home and got the jeans. It was a good thing too because I realized that we had left the kitchen light on. Back on the road at 8:26 headed to about halfway between Kinston and Indianapolis. We had not decided if we would boondock at a Walmart or try to find a full service campground. I was voting for the latter as we will be electric only for the week ahead.

We stopped at a rest stop at the Welcome to Virginia station just before 12:30, four hours on the road, used the facilities and then had lunch in the motor home. Left there at 12:50 and shortly after we hit “traffic congestion”. There were cars as far as I could see. I began searching for fuel stops and campgrounds. There was a Flying J at Wytheville, Va so we stopped there. It was by far the busiest gas station we’ve ever stopped at and we had to wait in line to get to the RV pump. I guess July 4th and sunny days brought everyone out. While we were waiting we discussed staying at a campground tonight and decided on Huntington/KOA in Milton,WVa. I called and made a reservation. It’s a 122 miles so we should be there by 4:00 or earlier.

Garmin has a funny way of giving you the distance as the bird flies. Milton was not 122 miles away, it was closer to 160+ miles but uneventful. We arrived at the campground around 5:00 and I have never had a quicker check-in. I think it may have taken 3-4 minutes and then someone led us to our campsite. That is a perk that we seldom get but it surely is nice. We were on the back side of the campground close enough to the highway to hear the trucks passing by but hey, what do you expect when you call mid-afternoon?

We were quickly set up and then Jerry crashed. I suggested a walk which I really needed but he didn’t want to so we both hit the sofa and read for a while. About 7:00 we had dinner, spaghetti! Since we had originally planned to boondock at Walmart I had chosen something simply for dinner. Had I know we’d be nestled in at a KOA I might have preferred grilling but spaghetti was just as filling.

Home, North Carolina, Tennessee

Goodbye Chattanooga

All good things must come to an end so on Saturday morning we were up and out of the campground headed for Clemmons. It was an uneventful trip back with good weather and light traffic. Emma has been really good about staying belted in during the trip to and from Chattanooga. Being in a Class A motor home gives one the advantage of getting up and moving around but that is pretty much a no-no for us. I get up occasionally to get Jerry a snack or something to drink but for the most part we are belted in.

We were staying at Tanglewood Campground in Clemmons again. I guess we really should apply to be workampers there since we are there so often! I thought Emma would want her parents to meet us at the campground but no, she wanted us to go to her home and surprise them so after we got set up we headed out again. No one can ever accuse us of letting grass grow under our feet!

Needless to say everyone was happy to be reunited and we enjoyed a pleasant afternoon outside with all of the family. After a quick dinner out Jerry and I headed back to Tanglewood for the night and then Sunday morning we headed home to Kinston. It was a grand trip, such the right length of time but as always the best part is coming home.

Home Away From Home, Tennessee

Friday in Chattanooga

For us we got a fairly quick start this morning as we were headed to the Creative Discovery Museum and had no idea how long we would want to spend there. Got the address put in the car GPS and headed out. Interestingly, when we paid for our admission Jerry and I were given pink wristbands to wear and were told that we could come in and out of the museum anytime during the day. The children didn’t have to wear any kind of identifying band. The museum, a children’s museum located right downtown in Chattanooga contains art, music, science and an area called River Play, a two story tall exhibit with a “riverboat” for the little ones and then a larger area for older kids. Emma was running up and down the twisting tunnels so quickly that it was difficult to keep my eyes on her. Within this area is a water table where kids can learn about locks and dam systems. They have a bevy of toy ducks that you could put in the “steam” and watch them as they navigated the path. Another amazing exhibit was the lightning dome. When your hand is placed on the dome electricity is generated and you can see the various strain of current. Another section is devoted to music with different instruments and their sounds. Still another area is the health center where you can be weighed (yeah I did and decided to have another ice cream cone later), get your pulse taken, have your eyes checked. It was totally fascinating. Another interesting area was the dinosaur exhibit where they had a large “skeleton” of a dinosaur. Emma wasn’t as interested in this as Eli would have been. Upstairs was an entire area devoted to Eric Carle, author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Upon entering there was an area of tall glass fronds which you could tumble into. Adjoining this was an outdoor science demonstration showing how simple machines worked. There was also a large checker board with black and white checkers that could be moved around. It was amazing and Emma was so excited that she couldn’t decide what to do first so just ran from one station to another.

Naturally we finally ended up in the gift shop where Emma’s money was burning a hole in her pocket. She finally decided on some modeling clay and a stuffed animal. Jerry was able to find a gift for both Eli and Olivia as well.

Our next mission was lunch and after wandering around for a while we decided on Five Guys. Emma got a junior burger and Jerry and I both wished we had. Ours were huge! After about two bites mine fell apart so I started eating it using a knife and fork. That worked much better. We only ordered one order of fries but Jerry said when they put the burgers in the bag along with a cup of fries they just dumped a large scoop full of fries in the bag. We left a lot of fries.

Our next stop was the store advertising moon pies and RC Cola, apparently something Chattanooga is famous for. Emma got dipping dots and we sat outside while she ate.

We then headed to the Chattanooga Choo-Choo but by the time we got there we decided to forego that activity and headed on back to the campground. Jerry decided that he wanted to take a nap so Emma and I decided to go to the pool for a swim. I can’t believe we haven’t been all week because it’s a nice pool although the depth markers seemed a little off. It was nearly over my head at 4 feet and I’m 5”6”. It was a great day for a swim and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Lots of fun and laughter with our sweet girl.

After the swim we discussed what to do that evening. Our choices were go swimming again, do nothing, or go to the Chattanooga Cleveland Horse Show. We finally decided to go swimming although that never came to pass. After dinner Emma and I sat outside and then all three of us went to the nearby Baskin and Robbins for ice cream. All in all it was a wonderful day and week. I told Emma today the only bad thing about having her spend nearly a week with us is that it makes us miss her that much more when we’re apart. She has been the sweetest girl this week and at times such a trooper in the heat and humidity but rarely complaining and always compliant.

Tennessee

Ruby Falls ZIP Stream Aerial Adventure

Looking a little apprehensive
When we were at Ruby Falls on Tuesday Emma saw the sign for the Ruby Falls ZIP Stream Aerial Adventure and kept talking about it so finally on Thursday morning we headed out there. She was a little dubious of going when we first got there and I asked her if she was sure she wanted to try it. There is no refund if you change your mind so we wanted to be sure she would do it. She assured us that she would so we paid the $25 for her. We had to wait for a while and during that time a gentleman came off of the adult zip line and according to how his wife was treating him he wasn’t feeling well at all. I think that sort of frightened Emma but she was determined to do it. Her guide was Anna Rene and we couldn’t have gotten a more perfect person to do it. She was so patient and gentle with Emma encouraging her but never forcing her to do anything.

Dressed for adventure
Actually it is an obstacle course with a zip line in it. Emma got to go through it four times and each time chose a different obstacle. There is also a rock climbing wall and Emma climbed all the way to the top. I was amazed at her dexterity but then she is a dancer. Quite frankly, it was the best $25 we spent in Chattanooga!
That pink speck is Emma

We had told Emma about the Unclaimed Baggage store in Scottsboro, Alabama and she really wanted to go there. I’m not sure if she really wanted to go to the store or if she wanted to add another visited state to her list but never the less she wanted to go. We stopped at Wendy’s for lunch and then headed to Scottsboro. It’s not too far, about an hour, from Chattanooga. The store is huge with most anything anyone would want but it seemed different this time. Their prices did not seem to be as good as when we visited a couple of years ago but Emma still found some bracelets that she wanted so another chance to spend “her” money.

The ride back to the campground was long as there was pouring rain and heavy traffic but we made it. Another eventful day!

Tennessee

Chattanooga Ducks

Wednesday started out with a walk over the Walnut Street Walking Bridge. Jerry and I so enjoyed it the last time we were in Chattanooga but it was in the spring, not in hot June. It was a long walk although Emma saw a guy jogging and decided she could beat him so she took off running. She would have beat him except she had to stop at the end of the bridge and he kept running. It exhausted her though and she just plodded down the streets. We finally realized after seeing every store closed that nothing opened until 11:00 and we were too early. We walked over to Coolidge Park and there was lot of people there with children running in and out of the sprinkling water fountain. We couldn’t talk Emma into it though. Unfortunately the carousel didn’t begin operation until 11:00 either so that was a bust! We lumbered back over the bridge and saw a little ice cream shop that sold WATER! Oh, sweet relief.

Emma driving the duck boat
Our next stop was the Chattanooga Ducks, which is a tour aboard an authentic renovated WWII amphibious landing craft. We had to wait for quite a while so we went into the Cupcake Shop which I had remembered being on the corner. We walked around the street and there is was and the showcase was full of delicious looking cupcakes of all kinds. Of course each of us had to try a different one. What a way to start a day! Afterward we went back to the loading area and when we got on we were lucky enough to get the very front seat! After a very interesting tour through the city we hit the waters of the Tennessee River. It’s an amazing feeling to be riding in a vehicle on land and then suddenly be floating on the water. On our return trip up the river the tour guide let the children “drive” the boat and since we were at the front Emma was the first. Since she is comfortable on our jet ski she was pretty comfortable steering that large boat and did a grand job!

By the time we were really hungry so we began the quest to find a good restaurant. We found a nearby restaurant that had good food and cool drinks. What more could we ask for?

Sharks – On my!
Our next stop for the day for the Tennessee Aquarium. It is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon for both adults and children. We got to put our hands in the water to fill a sturgeon and then later some stingrays. Of course we could have petted a snake too but elected not to! They have both a saltwater and a freshwater building in addition to an entire room dedicated to butterflies. Emma tried her best to get one to light on her but no such luck. We had to be checked when we exited that room to be sure that there were no butterflies on us. There were lots of interesting animals to see in addition to the many species of fish. Of course we ended up in the gift shop but Emma’s only purchase was some candy.

As we headed out we had planned to stop at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo. It took us a while to find it and by that time we were all just too tired for another tour so we headed on back to the campground.

Another full day!