Home Away From Home, Virginia

Next Stop – Williamsburg, Virginia

Sunday morning dawned bright and early for us as we had much to do before our departure for Willliamsburg. Because it was after dark when we returned from the group gathering last night we were unable to accomplish any of our usual pre-departure tasks such as taking the tent down or putting up the outside things. Before tackling those tasks though we gathered with the group for breakfast and devotions. It delayed our departure time but what a perfect way to end a rally.

We finally got everything put away and/or packed up and pulled out of Creekwood Campground a little before 10:00. To say it was a long day is quite the understatement. We ran into road construction at least three times and two accidents along the way. Who knew that a fender bender could tie up traffic for such a long time. We figured we spent at least two hours stopped or barely moving. When we stopped for gas I got us something to eat and we were back on the road in 15 minutes. A quick stop at a rest stop when we hit the Virginia border gave us a few minutes to walk around a bit. Both of us needed to stretch the kinks out.

We finally arrived at American Heritage Campground at 6:38 putting the 330 rule to shame. (Off the road after 330 miles or by 3:30 pm). We got checked in quickly, unhooked the car and headed to site 94. It was a pull through so that was easy but setting up in the dark is never easy. We got “kind of” level, enough to survive the night and Jerry was able to hook up the electric, water, septic and cable in the dark. I know Jerry was tired as he had driven about 450 miles. Glad tomorrow is a free day!

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Home Away From Home, North Carolina

Fun at an FMCA Chapter Rally

In July Jerry and I were in Indianapolis at the FMCA National Rally where we met a lovely couple from North Carolina. Since they were parked right behind us we ran into them frequently which led to evening visits and an enjoyable way to wind down after our busy days. They shared their involvement with one of the North Carolina chapters, the Carolina Guroos. After we got home we got an e-mail from the chapter president asking us if we were interested in joining and or attending a rally. We immediately decided to join and to attend the October rally in Waynesville, NC.

We arrived on Wednesday at Creekwood Campground and after setting up began to immediately meet members of the Carolina Guroos. After a short afternoon of visiting seven of us went out to eat at Maggie’s Galley. I had rainbow trout which was delicious but of course Jerry had to try something a bit different. He had gator tail. He thought it would be a large piece of gator but instead it resembled the gator bites we’d had several years ago. Actually it looked like fried oysters to me but he said they were good.

Thursday was another afternoon of visiting with everyone trying to escape the warm sun and sit in the shade. Jerry finally got out our NC State tent and we spent the afternoon there. People came and went bringing chairs and sometimes beverages with them. It was a great afternoon.

Thursday evening we all gathered at the meeting room for barbecue and then games. Our game that night was Left, Right and Center. It was a fun game.

Friday morning we made our one trip out of the campground to go to the grocery store. Jerry had heard from one of the other members about a wood distributor close to the campground. That definitely peaked his interest so after the grocery store run we headed to Oak Unlimited. Jerry went in to talk with the owner to see what they had available for sale. They had ends for $2.00 a piece so Jerry decided to get five. When the fellow asked Jerry what kind of wood work he did Jerry brought him out to the car to see the walking sticks we had been lugging around. The fellow asked if Jerry sold them and if so for how much. When Jerry responded $20 the guy’s response was “take 10 pieces of wood and give me a walking stick and we’ll call it even”. Needless to say that put a big smile on Jerry’s face.

Another afternoon of visiting and then everyone went out to eat at Rendevous Restaurant. Because it was leaf peeping season it was difficult to find a restaurant that would take a reservation for 20 people so our choices were limited.

A nice view for the afternoon or for an evening campfire
After we returned to the campground we joined the couple across from us at their campfire. Several couples sat out by the creekside in the cold (cold enough for me to have a blanket) and listened to jokes and I’m quite sure a few “fish stories”. Every RVer has an interesting anecdote or experience to share. Around the campfire in the flickering light most are funny but some have a lesson behind them. For example, don’t go through a yellow caution light when towing your car behind your RV. The car will go through on the red light and yes, the camera will get a picture. Upon returning home you mayfind a ticket waiting in your mailbox! True story.

Saturday afternoon a couple of the guys were carving pumpkins for the pumpkin contest later in the evening. The ladies all joined to watch our president show us how to tie dye a small pumpkin with nail polish. That was very simple with a lovely outcome. Definitely something to try with the grands! Update: I tried it the next week with the grands – colossal fail!

Instead of going out to dinner Saturday night we all gathered in the meeting room for pizza and salad. After that we played Five Seconds. Dividing up into teams of two, men against women we were asked a question that had 3 answers and 5 seconds to answer. There was so much laughter that at times it was difficult to even hear the answers!

Saturday evening concluded with another campfire. It was a little warmer so no blanket was necessary.

The rally concluded Sunday morning with biscuits from Bojangles and a devotion by Sandy who along with her husband Rick was the wagon master for the week-end. They did a great job, one usually done by two couples and set the bar high for the next week-end rally. The Christmas party will be lunch in Clemmons in December and then Florida in February. We are planning to attend the lunch in Clemmons but will have to see if Florida works in our plans.

Carolina Guroos Week-end
After a fun filled week-end with great people I can truthfully say joining Carolina Guroos was one of our better decisions. I have often described us as “travelers” rather than “campers” but this week-end we were campers! Traveling and touring as we do means we often leave the campground early in the morning and return late in the afternoon collapsing from fatigue. That doesn’t give much time to enjoy the camaraderie of the other travelers/campers in the campground so this was an even more special time. The only time we left the campground was to go to the grocery store and a short stop at Oak Unlimited. Otherwise we slept in, had lazy mornings and evening campfires, played fun games filled with laughter with new friends and did a lot of visiting. Can’t wait to get together again! Now on our way to Williamsburg for the Newmar Kountry Klub Region 5 Rally!

Home Away From Home, North Carolina

On to Waynesville

The RVing folks are a very congenial group of people united by a common interest of traveling with a home on wheels. There are however a few topics that always instigate some lively discussions. Whether to tow four down or to tow using a dolly almost always initiates interesting discussion. Since we’ve done both we, like many others, have a pretty definite opinion however I will add this caveat: whether you tow four down or dolly tow, have a Class A, B or C or a fifth wheel or tag along, the decision you make is the one that works for you. There is no one answer for everyone and that is something most RVers can agree on.

As I have shared before, we recognize that for us leaving on a trip is so much easier now that we tow four down. No more crawling on the ground no matter the weather conditions for Jerry. After I correctly align the car behind the RV Jerry hooks it up and it only takes a few minutes. My job is to put the jeep in active drive transfer so it can be towed. Because we haven’t traveled with the toad since July I’m a little rusty at the procedure but since I faithfully follow our written instructions each time step by step hopefully it’s right. Before we pull out with the RV we also have a check list that we go over every time. Most of the time we’ve completed every pre-travel task but once in a while something will be left undone. Last time I had forgotten to lock the refrigerator but luckily was reminded when we went over the check list. Believe me, no one wants the doors to the fridge to open when going around a sharp curve. Been there, done that and nearly everything came out on the floor including me as I was trying to get everything back in the fridge while riding down a busy street – what a mess! With the check list procedure for the tow car and the checklist for the RV we generally pull out secure that we have done all we can do to ensure a safe trip.

Today we traveled 40 west out of Clemmons heading to Waynesville and it was an uneventful ride (which we love). As always there was some road construction but it didn’t slow us down much. When I started looking for a gas station I of course went to the Garmin and there was not one Flying J listed on our route. We like the Flying J’s because they have a dedicated RV lane. We decided to settle for Love’s. They are often more expensive but have easy access. While riding along though I saw a sign for a Pilot so we went for that. It did not show up on Garmin but did on the iExit app. It was on a two lane road, very busy with big semi’s and just a lot of traffic but alas – no rv lane and a very slow pump! We spent 25 minutes refueling and then began the interesting task of navigating away from the pump and around the station. I drove while Jerry stood outside navigating. One guy even offered to stop traffic for us. It’s always nice to run in to people willing to help. We made it and back on the road to Waynesville. Then we had to conquer Black Mountain. Again, we made it!

Asheville was not as busy as we had thought so we motored on to Waynesville to Creekwood RV Park. We missed the entrance initially perhaps because I was looking for Creekside. Don’t know where my mind was! All in all it was a nice ride but no pretty scenery on the way. Due to the dry fall the beautiful fall colors haven’t made it to western NC this year.

Home Away From Home, North Carolina

Frustration, Praise and Thankfulness!

Almost four years of RVing and we still feel like Newbies! We seem to learn something new on every trip, sometimes something really big and sometimes just a process that makes things easier. Despite the absolute fun and convenience of traveling on wheels occasionally we have a bit of frustration. Things break or wear out just like they do in our sticks and brick home, thus my post today.

On our way to the FMCA Rally in Indianapolis in July we realized that our assistive braking system on the car was not working so while at the rally we talked with a representative from the company. We discovered that the system had been installed incorrectly. Campers Inn had never installed one before so they were learning and we could understand that. The plan was to contact them as soon as we got home to resolve the issue.

On to Nappanee, Indiana, home of Newmar to have some work done on our Newmar Canyon Star. In addition to some other smaller issues the rollers on the slide had damaged some of the tiles. We asked about getting them replaced but the cost was prohibitive (ah, say exorbitant to us) so we elected to buy a box of tiles and have it done at home. Perhaps that was our first mistake.

When we got home (in early August) we took the coach to Campers Inn in Selma/Smithfield, NC where we had the brake assistive system installed. They had agreed to put down the new tiles in the coach at half the cost plus ascertain the problem with the braking system. They immediately got to work on the tiles. They removed the damaged tiles, opened the box we had purchased from Newmar only to discover that we had the wrong tiles. What? We could see the tiles through the cellophane on the box and they looked like the correct tiles. They were the right color but the distributor had changed the grout line making it impossible to correctly align the them. Of course we called Newmar and learned that the distributer had discontinued those tiles – what? We’ve got bare places on our floor, down to the OSB and no available tiles. What to do? Then began the process of Newmar trying to find some tiles. We held off on taking the car to Campers Inn while we were waiting to receive the tiles so we could get it all done at the same time. Second mistake.

We had planned to take the RV on a short trip to Raleigh, NC in September for a horse show but of course that was not possible as it was still at Campers Inn waiting for some tiles. One canceled trip.

Finally after several weeks of waiting, phone calls to Newmar, frustration, etc. on September 7 I sent an e-mail to Newmar Customer Service and we finally found out that the guy handling our tile problem was out due to a family emergency (actually two emergencies) – understandable but then we had to start explaining all over again. Finally around the first of October I sent an e-mail to Customer Service stating my dissatisfaction with Newmar and the tile problem. Then began a series of e-mails with Derek who was trying to catch up and do what he could. Thank you Derek.

The next step was receiving an e-mail from Ivy in Customer Service apologizing for “this whole ordeal” and telling us that the tiles shipped out that day. After several disappointing days of waiting anxiously for the UPS truck arrived we called Customer Service once again. You won’t believe what we found out. The box of tiles (I use that description lightly) in its journey arrived in Greensboro, NC empty – torn and nothing inside. Excuse me, but did no one notice that tiles were falling out of the box? They contacted Newmar who contacted us. Only three boxes of the tile had been located and one of them was gone forever.

Back to the emails again. The parts man who had originally helped us e-mailed us and told us that they had found some more tiles and would be sending them to us. Since it was Friday and we were scheduled to leave for a FMCA chapter rally and then a Kountry Klub (Newmar) Region 5 rally on Tuesday I asked if they could be overnighted. He replied that they were being sent by the distributor but Newmar had OKed them to be sent if the distributor would do that. Shortly afterward we got another e-mail saying that they had found some tiles at Newmar and they were being sent out that day. Thank you.

Jerry contacted Campers Inn and an appointment was made to take the car in on Monday at 8:00 for the brake repair and to pick up the RV. Guess we’ll be traveling with no tiles on the majority of the living area of the RV because it is doubtful that the tiles will arrive by Monday morning. I have always taken the sheets off of the bed, washed them immediately upon arriving home and then put them back in the coach. Did I do that the last time? Of course not because we were dealing with the house issue plus we had taken a lot out of the coach to use at home because everything in the house was packed up for the move that didn’t happen. On to the story, we decided on Friday to go to Smithfield, get the sheets and determine what we had left in the RV in July. Off to Smithfield we went (an hour away) and guess what we found. Someone had left the battery disconnect on with perhaps a light on so the battery was dead meaning that we had no steps, no light and no way to put the slides out to get the sheets. Discouragement reared its ugly head.

We finally pulled the sheets off, literally climbing in and out of the RV and headed home. Brake assist not fixed, no tiles and a dead battery but you know what? These are just little blips along the way of life. There are so many people that have real problems and ours are just inconveniences. Yes, I have been discouraged at times. 2017 has not been kind to us in many ways but God has not been surprised by any of this. He is still in charge! Praise God!

Update – Monday, October 16: Jerry got up early and was at Campers Inn before they even opened. They quickly got to work on the car and Jerry, the RV (finally) and the car were home by lunch. Guess what was in the garage waiting for him when he arrived? You guessed it – a big box of tiles! Obviously Newmar didn’t want a repeat of lost tiles so they had packaged them in a huge box. Jerry immediately called Campers Inn and they said to be there by 8:00 on Tuesday morning and they would put the tiles down.

We spent the rest of Monday getting ready to leave and by 7:00 on Tuesday morning Jerry was on the way. I followed in the car about an hour later. The tiles were replaced quickly but they suggested that we wait for at least two hours before picking the coach up giving the tiles time to set. No problem as we were not in a hurry. We walked around Carolina Pottery, the local outlet mall, got some buffet lunch at Pizza Inn and pulled out of Campers Inn a bit after 1:00. The floor looked great! They had asked us not to use the slides for 24 hours but other than that all was good – finally!

After a couple of stops along the way we pulled into Tanglewood Park around 6:00. We have stayed at Tanglewood a number of times in the past and although there are some unlevel sites we usually have no problem getting level. When I had called to make the reservation I was given a choice of what site to choose and thinking #10 was on one of the first rows I chose that. #10 is in the corner and most unlevel. We finally had to put the jacks down manually but we got it good enough for the night. Setup was quick and easy since we were not pulling out the front slides. We were able to open both slides in the bedroom and that gave us plenty of room for the night. We were having dinner with David and Jane so not pulling out the front kitchen slide did not cause any inconvenience.

It felt so good to be back in the coach with everything in its place. Looking forward to a good fall of camping! It got pretty cold that night but we were snug and warm inside our little home on wheels. Ah….

Kudos to Newmar and Campers Inn for their persistence in helping get our tiles replaced. Circumstances beyond their control contributed to a long delay but eventually all was resolved. Needless to say we’re on a first name basis with both companies!

Home, Home Away From Home, North Carolina

In Limbo at Neuseway Park, Kinston, NC


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 is $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 #14. 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 14 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.

Update: The house did not sell as the lady backed out the day before closing! We are still in our home and still gradually unpacking.

Ohio

A Day for Everything in Ohio!

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.

I stood behind to give some perspective and depth to the sculpture.
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!


Glad we were in the car and not the motor home!
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.

Any wonder why we were concerned about driving over this bridge?
Home Away From Home, Ohio

Roscoe Village, Ohio

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.

Ohio

Coshocton, Ohio

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.

Home Away From Home, Ohio

Spiegel Grove, Home of Rutherford B. Hayes

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.

The Presidential Lecturn
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.

Secretary belonging to Grant
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.

Navigating the Rocks
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.

Home Away From Home

Sauder Village, Ohio

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.

Relaxing by the Grist Mill
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.