Chinese Food and a Big Fish…

We left Little Farm on the River RV Park in Rising Sun, IN a few minutes after 9 and headed north on US 127, arriving in Celina, OH about 12:15.

We drove into the Mercer County Fairgrounds and spent about 10 minutes driving around trying to find where to check-in. Finally saw a small sign in front of an RV parked over in one corner that said “Camp Host”.

Way to make it easy, guys..

We parked and got set up along the side of a barn with no problems, and settled in.

Mercer County Fairgrounds 1

This fairgrounds is a lot nicer than others we’ve stayed at, and makes for a pleasant stay. We were here last September for the Eastern Gypsy Journal Rally and really enjoyed it then too.

Mercer County Fairgrounds 2 

Mercer County Fairgrounds 3

About 1 pm we headed out to China Wok Buffet, one of our top five Chinese restaurants, and it was as good as we remembered. After lunch we drove over to WalMart, and along the way we encountered “Big Bob”, “The World’s Largest Man-Made Bass”, a promotion gimmick for Grand Lake here in Celina.

Big Fish

Constructed in the 1800’s as a reservoir for the Miami and Erie Canal which connected the Ohio River with Lake Erie, Grand Lake was once the largest man-made lake in the world. Strangely though it covers over 13,000 acres, it’s only 5 to 7 feet deep.

And in case you’re wondering, Owen Falls in Uganda is now the world’s largest man-made lake.

After getting back to the rig about 3 and having a short nap, I got the satellite set we could watch some TV.

Then about 6:45 we drove over to our other favorite restaurant here in Celina, La “Carreta Mexican Restaurant. They make a great Chicken Tortilla Soup, and Jan really likes their Grilled Chicken dishes. The chips and salsa are really good too.

Tomorrow we travel about 155 miles further north to Elkhart, IN, where we’ll be for a month.

More tomorrow…

Quote of the day:
After the last of 16 mounting screws has been removed from an access cover, it will be discovered that the wrong access cover has been removed. – De La Lastra’s Law


EnterTRAINment Junction…

We’re presently parked at the Little Farm on the River RV Park in Rising Sun, IN, about 25 miles from Cincinnati, OH.

This park is in the middle of a working farm that runs right down to the Ohio River and we’re surrounded by corn and soybean fields

Little Farm 1

Little Farm 2

Little Farm 3 

Little Farm 4

About 10:00 am we headed into Cincinnati. Strangely enough, although Ohio is just across the river, we have to go through Kentucky to get there. Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky all come together right here in this corner of the country.

Our first destination was Quaker Steak and Lube, a hot wing place we first ate at in Buffalo, NY last year on our way back from Newfoundland. When we were there the big promotion was their “Atomic Wings”. These rate about 150,000 on the Scoville Heat Scale (a jalapeno rates between 2500 and 8000) and you have to sign a release before they will serve them to you. Jan and I got a sample order (5 wings) and we both thought they were pretty hot, hotter than anything we’ve eaten before. Jan could only eat one.

This time they have a new deal. “Triple Atomic Wings” with a 500,000 rating. Unfortunately they don’t offer a sampler of the Triples, and I didn’t want a whole order of 10, so we didn’t get to try them.

But Jan and I both agreed that either we had both lost a lot of taste buds, or these “Atomic Wings” today weren’t as hot as the ones we had last year. But they were good. We also had some regular Hot Wings and some Buckeye BBQ, which rates at about  5000.

One thing I really like about Quaker Steak is that their chicken pieces are a good bit bigger than either Hooter’s or Buffalo Wild Wings.

After lunch we stopped off for gas and car wash before heading over to the main course for the day, EnterTRAINment Junction. Yes, it’s spelled correctly.

EnterTRAINment Junction is a trained-themed attraction that has a railroad museum, and what I was really there for, the world’s largest indoor model railroad.

With over 25,000 sq. ft., 90 trains with more than1200 cars, 2 miles of track, and over 6000 handmade trees, it’s really something.

Train 1 Train 2 Train 3 Train 4 Train 5 Train 6 Train 7

I had a large HO layout when I was a kid, and if we weren’t living in the RV I might think about building another one. But in the meantime I still like reading about them, and visiting large layouts when possible. Last year I visited the Model Railroad Museum near Lancaster, PA, but this one is much bigger.

As I said, my layout was HO, which at the time was the smallest scale at 1/87 real size. The trains we say today were G scale, or 1/22.5

Now there are two smaller scales than HO  N scale, at 1/160, and Z scale at 1/220. An locomotive in Z scale is less than 2 inches long.

We also enjoyed the American Railroad Museum, which had a lot of interesting displays and artifacts. One thing that I found funny was that when the Union Pacific and Central Pacific work crews approached their meeting from opposite directions, they passed each other by and kept on going for another 100 miles. They were getting paid by the mile and didn’t want to stop. Finally the Government stepped in and declared Promontory, Utah the meeting point.

Leaving the Junction we head back to the rig, but detoured through downtown Cincinnati to get some flavor of the city. It’s a very nice town with a lot of new big buildings going up.

I kept looking for the Flimm building, but never found it.

Getting back to the rig a little before 5 we decided it was nap time for an hour or so. Then about 6:30 we headed out for dinner at Skyline Chili, one of two chili-based restaurants in this area, the other being Goldstar Chili.

Everything is pretty much chili. Chili Dogs, chili burritos, salads with chili on them, and even chili spaghetti. And of course, all of it covered with grated cheese and onions.

And it was delicious. Hopefully we’ll get to try Goldstar some other time.

Tomorrow we head north about 135 miles to Celina, OH for the night before getting into Elkhart, IN on Sunday.

More tomorrow…

Quote of the day:
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye. – Miss Piggy



Rollin’ on the river (the Ohio, that is)…

Well, after 4 days without cellphones or Internet, we’re back online. And I’ve got over 500 emails to catch up on.

We’re presently parked in Rising Sun, IN, right on the Ohio River. Cincinnati, OH is about 20 miles away on the other side of the river.

We’ll be here for two days before heading on up to Celina, OH, and then on to Elkhart, IN for about a month.

I’ll have more to post tomorrow.

Quote of the Day:
“I don’t get even. I get more than even”




We’re presently staying with Jan’s sister, Debbie here in Vernon, IL. The nearest big(ger) town is Vandalia.

They don’t have very good cell / Aircard service at their house so posting will be intermittent for the next couple of days.

Sorry, Nick!

Quote of the day:
Criminal: A person with predatory instincts who has not sufficient capital to form a corporation. – Howard Scott



Hitting the road…

Today was our last day at The Rally, or half day really. I didn’t want to be trying to leave tomorrow morning along with 2000+ other rigs, so since there was nothing we wanted to see this afternoon, we decided to go ahead and leave. A few rigs have already started filtering out, and we won’t be far behind.

We did have a couple of early seminars this morning that we wanted to attend so we headed over to the hall about 8:30 am, and then afterwards, we did one last pass thru the vendor area, picking up a few last things.

Then it was off to lunch at Cottage Inn, the little local place we found the other day, except, apparently the Cottage Inn isn’t open on Sunday. So after a quick rethink, we headed over to Mark’s Feed Store, a really good BBQ place we ate at last Tuesday and wanted to try again.

On the way we came across another of the Louisville horse mascots

LouisvilleMascot 2

Here’s the one we saw the other day.


Mark’s Feed Store was just as good as last time, I decided to try a cup of burgoo, a local stew/soup in the Irish/Mulligan/Brunswick family. It had beef, pork, and chicken in it, along with corn, peas, and potatoes. Very tasty.

We also got an order of HoneyWings. These are chicken wings fried really crispy and then coated in a honey glaze. Really,really good, too.


On the way home from Mark’s we stopped off at a Verizon Wireless Store to get another case and belt clip for my Blackberry Storm 2, and the PO to mail a letter.

Back at the Expo it took us about 45 minutes to get ready to leave, and by 2pm we were on the road. But not too far.

We went only about  38 miles north on I-65 to the Yogi Bear Campground in Scottsburg, IN.  Tomorrow we’ve got a 270 mile day over to Vernon, IL to spend a few days with Jan’s sister, Debbie.

More tomorrow from IL…

Quote of the day:
"Marriages are made in heaven. But then again, so are thunder and lightning."



The Rally – Day 3…

Today started out with another round of seminars and vendors. Jan went to one about “Cooking with a Microwave Convection Oven” while I perused the vendor exhibits some more

At noon we met up for more corn dogs and fries. We like corn dogs, what can I say. I also had a ear of fresh roasted corn that the people from Progressive Insurance were giving out for a $1 donation to their charity.

At 1pm while Jan attended a talk by Bradd & Hall RV Interior Renovators, while I spend some more time at the PacBrake booth talking about the problems with my unit.

I was looking at buying the PRXB PacBrake upgrade and installing it myself. This would save me $200, and I figured by replacing the entire unit, that would fix my non-functioning PacBrake..

It looked like an easy replacement. Just loosen the two clamps shown below and the unit should come right out.


The problem was that we couldn’t figure out which unit I needed. The metal tag in the photo above should have had the model number on it, but it didn’t. Only the serial number.

Finally they offered me a good deal on letting them install the unit. This way they could take all the different possible units over to our rig, and, after removing the old one, install the correct one.

I ask how long it would take, and they said “about an hour”.  I said “Go for it”.

One thing I was interested in is shown in the graph below. Unlike my old unit (when it was working) and PacBrake competitors,  the PRXB doesn’t not need high RPM’s to work well.

PacBrake Graph

True to their word, 45 minutes after starting, the mechanic was done. I’m really looking forward to trying it tomorrow when we leave.

We’ll see.

About 4 pm we headed out for supper at one of our favorite BBQ places, Famous Dave’s BBQ. And as usual, we had enough left over to take home for later.

Leaving Famous Dave’s we stopped off at WalMart for a few things before heading home.

Then about 6pm we drove over to the concert hall to see Super Diamond, a very good Neal Diamond tribute group.

SuperDiamond 0

SuperDiamond 1 

SuperDiamond 2 

SuperDiamond 3 

SuperDiamond 4

After a great show, we got back home by about 8:30 and were in for the night.

Tomorrow, after attending the morning events we’ll head out a little early. I’d rather not wait until tomorrow morning when 2000 rigs will try to all leave at once.

More tomorrow…

Quote of the day:
Men live in a fantasy world. I know this because I am one, and I actually receive my mail there. – Scott Adams


We’re 3 out of 4, but the iced tea was good…

Today started out at 10 am with Jan attending the Dog Talent Show and I hit the vendors area again. I bought a couple of things, and I’m looking at a few more, including a new PacBrake.

At noon Jan and I met for a lunch of corn dogs and french fries at the Food Court. What we didn’t realize at the time is that this would be the best meal of the day.

Then at 1 pm Jan caught a seminar on RV’ing the Pacific Northwest by Mike and Terri Church. A little late since this is where we were earlier this year.

I checked out a talk on RV Refrigerators, which I hoped would help with a problem I’m having with mine.  No luck.  But it was interesting.

About 2:30 pm we headed north into Indiana to Sam’s Club to pick up a prescription and some other stuff. Then it was off to the low point of the day.

Since we’ve been in Louisville, we’ve eaten 2 places that were on the Rally Tours: Mark’s Feed Store, and Joe Huber’s Family Farm and Restaurant. We also discovered Cottage Inn, a nearby local favorite. All three were excellent.

The 3rd restaurant on the Rally Tours was Kingfish Seafood. In finding the directions online, I also read a few reviews. Some liked it, but others said it had gone downhill, and wasn’t as good as it used to be.  Another said the food was “Bland, bland, bland”.

And boy, was he right.

Jan had a Shrimp and Oyster Platter with a Baked Potato and Glazed Carrots, and I had the Seafood Feast, with Tilapia, Catfish, & Shrimp, with Corn on the Cob and Onion Rings. Believe me, bland, bland, bland certainly described the meal.

Nothing had any taste or seasoning. Red Lobster is much better, and I really don’t like Red Lobster.

But as Jan said, “The iced tea is good, though”.  A ringing endorsement, indeed!

The view of the Ohio River was pretty, but it didn’t make up for the meal

Kingfish View 1

Kingfish View 2

On our travels we collected photos of a number of city mascots in last few years, including pelicans, mermaids, bears, bison, and now horses. We’ve seen a number of these around town, all with different paint schemes.


Getting back to the rig, we rested up and tried to keep cool for about a hour and then headed out for the high point of the day.

Tanya Tucker !           And just as a teaser here she is singing “Delta Dawn”.

And she was fantastic.

Tanya 1 Tanya 2 Tanya 3 Tanya 4 Tanya 5 Tanya 6

During the first part of the concert, I was impressed by the voice of the backup singer in the band. Turns out she comes by that voice naturally. She’s Tanya’s 21 year old daughter, Presley.

And boy, can she sing, too.

Tanya & Presley


Presley 2

Tanya ended the show with the first big hit she had, Delta Dawn.  When she was 13!

Tanya 7

Tanya 8


Before the concert they were selling aerial photos. So here’s what we look like here.

Rally Aerial Photo 3

We got back to the rig about 8:30 after a long day. It’s nice to be home.

More tomorrow…

Quote of the day:
At my lemonade stand I used to give the first glass away free and charge five dollars for the second glass. The refill contained the antidote. – Emo Phillips


The Rally – Day 1…

After we got parked here on Tuesday, I was curious how they were supplying us with power. It turns out that rather than powering us directly from the mains, they’re using portable generators set up around the park.

These diesel generators put out 240V at 240 Amps. There’s also another generator behind this one.

Aggreko Generator 1

They then split the 2 phases into 2 – 120 V lines at 240 Amps each.

Aggreko Generator 2

This means that each generator can power 16 coaches with 30 amps each.

Aggreko Generator 3

Really neat setup.

About 10 am we headed over to the Expo Hall to start making our way thru the vendor area. They have several hundred vendors here, with a lot that I haven’t seen before at other rallies.

I took along two bundles of Gypsy Journals with me and gave them to vendors that know Nick so they could give them out to customers.

One of the vendors was from the Province of Saskatchewan, and was giving out tourist info on the area. Saskatchewan is one of the provinces we haven’t visited yet, so we picked up some booklets.

Here’s Jan chatting up a handsome Mountie.

Jan & Mountie

About noon we took a break and grabbed a lunch of hot dogs and a pretzel from one of the vendors.

Then at 1 pm Jan attended a seminar on Velcro. I went back to the rig and took a nap. I think I probably had the best time.   Velcro?  Really?

At 3pm I met back up with Jan and we went to Mike and Terri Church’s talk on RVing in Alaska. Ninety minutes later we were homesick for the place and ready to hit the AlCan heading north again. It was nice to see so many of the places we’d been, and to see all the places we’d missed.

Maybe in a couple of years.

At 4:30 pm we drove over to the nearby Cottage Inn, a restaurant that we passed the other night and noticed how busy it was.  It’s a small place, very popular with the locals, and has been owned by the same family since 1929. And the food was excellent!

Home cooking at its best.

Getting back to the fairground, we ran into Lynn and Dave Cross that we had last seen at the Gypsy Journal rally in Yuma, AZ this past March. Lynn and Jan worked the registration table together.

We asked if they were going to be at the Elkhart rally, but they said they were going to be taking a TRACKS RV caravan tour of National Parks. Sounds like fun.

Tonight’s entertainment was Bob Newhart, but first we started off with some rousing songs from a local choir, Master’s Men.

Masters Men

And then it was time for Bob. And he was hilarious! He started off telling a story about how in the ‘60’s he decided to take his family along in an RV as he crossed the country to perform a concert. It sounded like a combination of “RV” the movie,and “The Long, Long Trailer” with Lucy and Desi, and ended with him scraping the air conditioner off  the roof as he arrived at the hotel where he was performing.

Bob Newhart 1

Bob Newhart 4

He finished up with one of his famous routines about a driving instructor with a really bad student. He mentioned in the setup that it was a woman driver, and got some boos from women in the audience.

So he said “OK. How about we made it a Chinese driver. Will that make you happy?” So he sat down and started the routine…in Chinese! 

After about 30 seconds of incomprehensible dialog, he looked at the audience and said ”OK. We can go on like this for another 8 minutes, or it can be a woman driver. You chose.”

The audience roared. And it was now a woman driver.

Bob Newhart 3

Bob put on a great show. It’s hard to believe he’s almost 81.

Leaving the concert hall, I got this shot of the former Six Flags – Kentucky Kingdom amusement park that is part of the fairgrounds. But it didn’t seem to be open.

A little Googling told me that back in February of this year, Six Flags and the Expo had been negotiating a new lease, and Six Flags had wanted some better terms because with the bad economy they were losing money on the park. Apparently this is the only park where they lease the property and don’t own it outright.

So when the Expo dug in their heels and refused to renegotiate the terms, Six Flags called their bluff and did not open the park this year. They just shut it down and left the Expo holding the bag.

And now the Expo is really hurting, because they not only don’t get the lease money, they also have lost the parking fees which they got.  Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Kentucky Kingdom

Tomorrow it’s more seminars, more vendors, and Tanya Tucker for entertainment. Sounds great!

It’s also supposed to be 98 degrees here tomorrow, so we’ll see how the 30 amps and one A/C works out.

Quote of the day:
Knowledge is power, if you know it about the right person


The Rally – Early Bird Day 2…

Today we decided to try another well-known restaurant here in the Louisville area, although in this case it’s actually in Indiana, which of course is just right across the Ohio River from Louisville. So we left about 11:15 am heading about 25 miles north and out in the country to the Joe Huber Family Farm and Restaurant.

Huber 1

The Huber family has owned this 200 acre farm since 1843, but the restaurant got its start in 1967 when the family begin advertising “Pick Your Own” fruits and vegetables. It turns out that the customers were hungry after picking in the fields, so the family began serving box lunches.

Then in 1983 they built the restaurant that began it all. Today it’s a tourist destination, with a petting zoo, gardens, rides, gift shops, and meeting halls for wedding receptions, reunions, and company picnics.

And the restaurant is great!  Here’s my Country Platter Dinner.

Huber Meal

It had Fried Chicken, Country Ham, Corn, Cole Slaw, Chicken N Dumplings, Mashed Potatoes, and Green Beans. And It was “All You Can Eat”

Believe me, this was all I could eat.  In fact I had to take some home.

And the grounds were very nice, too.

Huber 2

Huber 3

Huber 4

After a great meal, we got back to rig about 2 pm, and it seemed like a good time for a nap.

Then, about 3:30 pm we went over to look at the new RV’s on display. These next two photos are of 2010 American Eagle, the same one as our 1999 Eagle. This one lists for $580,000.00. Guess we’ll have to wait for that Mega-Millions winning ticket.

AmEagle 1

AmEagle 2


One of the other rigs we looked at was this Prevost from Parliament Coach in Florida.

Prevost 1

Prevost 2

Prevost 3

We really need a place to store our crystal glassware!

Prevost 4


And what’s even better, you can buy it today for half price, only $975,000. What a deal!

Prevost 5

Then about 6 pm we walked over to Freedom Hall to see the Monarchs, a 60’s rock and roll group. Two of the band are original members from when the band formed in 1960. They had a number of hits, including “Look Homeward, Angel”, which made it to #13 on the Billboard Chart. They toured with Dick Clark, The Beach Boys, The Righteous Brothers, Dion, and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, among others. I remember seeing them in Birmingham, AL in 1965 on the Dick Clark’s Cavalcade of Stars. And they still sound good.

Monarchs 1

Monarchs 2

After the concert we walked back across the parking lot to our truck, passing a display of old RV’s.

Old RVs 1

This one looks like the one from Lucy and Desi’s “The Long, Long, Trailer”.

Old Rvs 2

We got back to the rig about 9 pm and started planning our day tomorrow.

More then…

Quote of the day:
If you’re going to be dumb, you better be tough!


The Rally – Early Bird Day 1…

I wanted to try and beat the rush this morning getting into The Rally so we left the Louisville South KOA about 7:45 am and drove about 20 miles north to the Kentucky Exposition Center and got in a fairly short line to enter the grounds.

Since we were “Will Call”, we were directed to a nearby area to unhook our toad and picked up our packet that told us where we would be parking. We placed the parking tag in the window and headed to our parking spot.

As we drove down the street we were directed to our assigned spot based on the color of our card.  All in all, pretty smooth.

We got in and got parked in about 20 minutes. We only have 30 amp electric here so we’ll have to be careful with our water and sewer tanks.

About 9:30 we drove right down the street to a nearby Cracker Barrel for breakfast, which turned out to be somewhat of a mistake.

Not breakfast, it was great. But what we didn’t think about was getting back into the Expo Center. Because now there was a long line of RV’s trying to get in. And there was only one entrance during RV parking, so ended up taking us over 30 minutes just to get back in.

But before going back to the rig, we parked nearby to where we thought registration was. But it turned the lady had given us incorrect information and we ended up walking almost 3/4 of a mile thru a maze of corridors and escalators to get to the registration area. But we smarten up coming back, and took the shuttle back around the loop.

Getting back about 1 pm we settled in for a quite afternoon, but it was interrupted 3 or 4 times by the power going off. It wasn’t just us, but was the whole area. But apparently a nap took care of the problem, because when we woke we had had no more problems.

Out in the parking lot, we saw rigs everywhere we looked. Here we are below.




About 4:30 pm we headed out for Marks Feed Store, a nearby BBQ restaurant that turned out to be very good.

Getting back to the rig, we looked over the lists of vendors and seminars here at the rally, trying to figure what we want to see when everything starts on Thursday.

More tomorrow…

Quote of the day:
The town where I grew up has a zip code of E-I-E-I-O. – Martin Mull