Eastern Gypsy Rally – Day 2

Today started out great, but ended in a drag.

Jan and I headed over to the Meeting Hall a little before 9 am, where Jan had a class on Bicycling for RV’ers while I started checking out the vendor area. Then at 10:30 am Jan had a class on RV cleaning products.

At 11:30 Jan and I headed out for lunch at Subway on our way down to RV Surplus to pick up some flyers to give out at the rally.

Then at 1, while Jan attended a For Women Only group while I drove over to Phoenix Commercial Paint where Michele Henry had another one of my cargo bay doors ready.

Three down, Four to go!

At 2:30 Jan had a massage given by a lady here at the rally. After the massage she was so washed out that I took her back to the rig for a nap. Apparently feeling like this after a good massage is normal.

About 5 Jan and I headed out for a great dinner of fried chicken at Ryan’s, and then it was back to the rally for the evening’s festivities in the tent. And a big crowd was already there.

Crowded Tent

The evening started off with Dennis Hill warming up the crowd with his dance routines.Dennis Hill

Next, Nick introduced the McKinney Washboard Two who will be performing at tomorrow night’s show.

Washboard Two

After the evening’s door prize giveaway’s we come to the “drag” part. And that was, of course, the First Annual Hoosier Honey’s “Beauty” Pageant.

Note the quotes around “Beauty”.

Here’s the first two contestants. The Terrible Two

Note the lipstick on top of Nick’s head. He’s enjoying this a little too much.

Carlotta Camelback

Nick and

And here’s a crowd favorite, Haley Halitosis.

Haley Halitosis

And here’s the whole group. I think they’re comparing armpit hair!

The Lineup


And the winner of the First Annual Hoosier Honey contest is…

Haley Halitosis!

And the Winner Is

That’s about it for today.

More tomorrow…

Quote of the Day:
“It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.”  –Josiah Charles Stamp


Eastern Gypsy Rally – Day 1

Today was the first day of Nick and Terry Russell’s 2010 Eastern Gypsy Gathering, and things got off to a great start, with even more rigs coming in this morning.

And this was one of them. Apparently the owner has a lift system that he uses to raise and lower the car. I guess it beats towing it.


The rally started off at 3pm with Nick and Terry talking about what was upcoming during the next 4 days. Next, the many vendors lined up and introduced themselves. I’m really glad to see so many vendors here since I think this is my favorite part of the rally.

Then about 4:30 there was a 60 minute Q & A panel with a team of experts onstage to answer your RV questions.

Nick And Terry Rally

There was a great turnout and the tent turned out to be very comfortable with a nice breeze most of the time. 
Rally Crowd

One of the many vendors here is Michele Henry of Phoenix Commercial Paint , who is re-painting my cargo bay doors. And here’s an example of some of her work. She just finished a full-body paint job on this coach about two weeks ago. And she’s a beauty.

Phoenix Paint Job

At 5:30 we took a 90 minute break for dinner, and then it was back in the tent at 7 pm for the first night of the door prize giveaways. Tonight’s prizes were mostly restaurants, to allow winners to use their gifts before they leave town.

After that Nick & Terry, Stu & Donna McNichol, and Jan & I headed over to Mancino’s Pizza for a late dinner. Nick and Terry are normally too busy taking care of rally problems to be able to eat during the 5:30 – 7 break time.

More rally news tomorrow…

Quote of the Day:
"Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action."


Jan is home, YEAH !!!!!

I left Elkhart about 12:30 pm to pick Jan up at Chicago Midway from her 3 pm flight. By 3:30 we had her bag and were on our way home. A smooth trip both ways.

And it sure is great to have my sweetie back home.

Arriving at the RV park about 5:45 pm Jan was greeted by big hugs from Nick and Terry.

About 15 minutes later we headed out for dinner with Nick and Terry, Mike and Elaine Loscher, and Jan and I, at Mancino’s Pizza.


Mancino’s is not open on Sunday. Bummer!

So it was back over to Bob Evans right near the park. And we had a great time, great food, great conversation, and our always great waiter, Michael, who caterers to our every need, and still keeps a smile on his face.

Jan brought back a bunch of Landon photos so here goes.

Here’s new mom Brandi about 30 minutes after Landon was born.

Brandi and Landon

Here’s Piper holding Landon with the proud parents looking on.

Brandi Lowell Landon & Piper

And here, too. I think this is another day.
Piper And Landon 5 

And, of course, here’s Grandmother Jan with Landon. 

Jan And Landon 2

And here’s Grandmother Sonja with her new grandson. Sonja and Landon

And another one of Miss Piper.
  Piper and Landon 2 

Jan took a lot of photos that I’m still going through, so more later.

And now for something completely different.

When we got back from Chicago this afternoon, I noticed a new rig parked back behind Nick’s rig and ours.

And I couldn’t help notice the pair of really BIG girl panties hanging from the wipers.

BIG Girl Panties

After some debate, a bunch of us just had to find out what the story was behind the panties. And a big behind it would be, too.

But, amazingly, the gentleman in the rig had a perfectly rational explanation.

He said that like Prince Charming was looking for someone to fit the glass slipper, he was looking for someone to fill these panties.


That makes sense, but I’m not sure Nick and I TOGETHER could fill those.

But good luck with that.  And let us know how it goes.

Quote of the Day:
Evil can only succeed if good men don’t point at it and laugh.


Piper and Landon

Did the final checkout on Nick’s tail lights and everything’s working now. It’s about time. At least I’m sure that’s what Nick is saying.

Around 2 pm I headed to do the final final pass trying to squeeze out a few more door prizes out of local restaurants, with a little luck, but not much.

I’ve got one more pizza place to stop by tomorrow on my way to Chicago to pick up Jan at Midway International. Hopefully they’ll come thru.

Jan should be in at 2 pm tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully it will be more on time than when Jan left here last Thursday. The flight was 75 minutes late leaving Chicago, so I’m going to take plenty of reading materials just in case.

About 5 pm Nick and Terry, Mac McCoy, the Fire Guy, and his lady friend Cheryl, Mike and Elaine Loscher, and I went over to El Maguey, our favorite local Mexican restaurant, and as usual, spent more time talking than eating. Although you wouldn’t know it by looking at Nick and I.

I talked to Jan about 8:45 tonight. She was packing, getting ready to fly out tomorrow. These 10 days are the longest we’ve been apart since the early 80’s when I was working Shuttle Missions out at White Sands. I’m not good at doing the bachelor thing anymore.

Here’s the latest Landon photo, shown here being held by his aunt, our 16 year-old (soon to be 17, she will tell you) granddaughter Piper.

Two real sweeties.

Piper and Landon 

The park is really filling up with the Rally starting Monday. It’ seems like most people are already here.

Here’s the park today.

Elkhart Rally 3a

And here it is a few weeks ago.Elkhart 4

Today…Elkhart Rally 1a

And a few weeks ago.Elkhart 2

Big difference!

More tomorrow…

Quote of the Day:
An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject.


More Landon

Finally found the last problem with Nick’s tail light system. The person who originally installed this screwed-up system should be dragged behind someone’s RV

Around 12:30 I headed back out to collect more gift cards. I don’t know what’s different about Elkhart, but I’m certainly having more trouble here getting donations than I did last March in Yuma at the Western Gypsy Gathering.

Then a little before 5 pm  Nick & Terry, Stu & Donna, Mike & Elaine, and I drove over to North Garden Chinese Buffet for a good meal and a lot of great conversation. About 5:30 Jan called from Houston to let me know how things are going down there. She said it will be hard to leave Landon, but she’s anxious to get back home.

Speaking of Landon, Lowell sent this photo of the three of them taken right before they left the hospital the other day.


And then later, Brandi sent this one.  Looks like he thinks everyone is being too loud and won’t let him sleep. Landon Morrison

Tomorrow I’ll take one last pass at getting gift cards, and that will wrap it up. Then Sunday I’ll pick up Jan in Chicago coming back from Houston. I can hardly wait.

More tomorrow…

Quote of the Day:
A government which robs from Peter to pay Paul will always have the support of Paul. – George Bernard Shaw


…drove my Chevy to the levee..

Today I got an early start about 10am (well, that’s early for me) wanting to finish up on Nick’s tail light repair.

And I did, almost

Since I had completely removed the old harness, it took a while to get the new one routed and ZipTied into place, but finally the job was done.

But since Miss Terry was away in the van, I was unable to do a final check out. That’s where the “almost” comes in.

While I was out working, this photo came in from Brandi, of Landon sleeping, still wearing his bilirubin light vest.  I can hardly wait to see him in a couple of weeks.

Landon Sleeping 

Then a little after 2 pm I headed back out to beg for more gift certificates from local restaurants for rally door prizes. I picked up several, with a bunch more to be picked up tomorrow or Saturday.

We’ll see.

While I was at Cracker Barrel I took this photo of what Nick says is a 1955 Chevy Bel Air. (I thought it was a 58. What do I know?)  It’s a really nice-looking car. A little Googling told me that new, this car cost a little under $2,000, and today, depending on condition, now goes for $40,000 – $60,000. WOW! 1955 BelAir

When I got back, Nick said he and Terry had hooked up the van and checked out the lights, and still found a problem. The description of the problem didn’t make sense, but we decided to check it out again after supper.

About 5 pm Nick, Terry, and I drove over to Ryan’s for some of their great fried chicken. Just as we were leaving, Jan called from Houston, and said that Landon went back to the pediatrician today and found that his bilirubin count is now down to 9, so Landon won’t have to wear the light vest anymore.

After we got back, we checked out the lights again, and it became obvious the problem was with the extension cord that runs between the rig and the van. When I replaced the corroded plug, two of the four wires were already loose, so I had to make a “best-guess” on how it was wired up. But apparently my “best-guess” wasn’t quite good enough, but it should be pretty simple to figure out what’s wrong tomorrow.

Till then…

Quote of the Day:
“But many of Mr. DeLay’s actions remain legal only because lawmakers have chosen not to criminalize them.” – New York Times       Huh?


I see tents, so where’s the circus?

Today started out with me back hard at work fixing Nick’s tail light system. He’s such a slave driver. He just never lets up.

First thing we went back over to pick up a new tail light converter from the trailer supply place. The new one looked like a direct replacement for the old one, so it should work OK.

After stopping off to put some air in my truck tires, I started pulling all of the old wiring harness out and replacing it with the new stuff.

After looking over the new converter I saw it would be quicker to also replace the bumper plug and connector too, so it was back to the trailer supply store for a 2nd time.

Coming back to the park, I drove past the 50’ x 70’ tent that Nick had installed to give us more room for the evening get-togethers at the rally. This really should be nice.

Rally Tent

After getting everything hooked up & checked out, we decided to wait til tomorrow to tie it all up.

So about 5:30, Nick, Terry, and I headed over to a nearby Bob Evans restaurant for a dinner of…breakfast.

About 6:15, while we were still there, Michele Henry from Phoenix Commercial Paint called and said she had another cargo bay door ready and would bring it back later.

About 7:30, while I was waiting for Michele, Jan called from Houston and brought me up to date on all the goings-on down there. I sure will be glad when she gets back on Sunday.

About 8:15 Michele showed up and we got the new door installed. And it looks great. 2 doors down, 5 to go.

After Michele left, I spent some time at Nick and Terry’s helping Terry with a computer problem, And while I was there, Al Hasselbart showed up and he, and Nick and I spent some time talking over old cars we had owned.

Then, a little before 10pm, my long day was starting to take its toll so I headed back to my rig.

More tomorrow…

Quote of the Day:
"When the government fears the people, there is liberty.  When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.." Thomas Jefferson


Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it’s off to work I go…

First off, here’s the latest photo of Landon in his light vest hanging on to his bottle for dear life. He’s wearing the light vest to correct a high bilirubin count. He’ll probably have to wear it for another couple of days.

Christmas Tree Baby 

I spent the day once again saving Nick’s rear end by fixing all the things he keeps breaking. Sometimes even Miss Terry can’t keep up with Nick’s wide swath of destruction.  So I have to be called in to pull his chestnuts out of the fire once again.

I started out working on the tail light system that connects his rig with his van. He’s been having problems with the system blowing fuses and the lights not working correctly.

Like many troubleshooting problems this one turned out to be a series of things.

The first thing we did was replace a flakey fuse holder in the power line to the tail light converter. Then it was time to try and figure out why the system kept blowing fuses. It originally had a 5 amp fuse, but Nick had upped it to 15 amp trying to get it to work.

With a little investigation I found that 2 of the 4 wires inside the connector that plugs the system into the van had come loose and were shorting out. The plug itself was dirty and corroded inside, so we decided to just replace it with a new connector.

After a trip to the trailer supply store for the new one, I first wanted to check out the lights before I wired it up. And I immediately found that there was no power coming in thru the power line that I’d just put the new fuse holder in.

A little checking showed me that there was no power coming into the line at all, and it wasn’t obvious where the wire was coming from. It may have been that another fuse somewhere upstream had blown. We decided it would be quicker to just pull power from another line so that’s what we did.

Now I was finally really to test the light system. But no I wasn’t.  I had Nick turn on the tail lights and one turn signal on the rig. Only to find we still had another problem. The tail lights worked OK, but the turn signals didn’t. One of them stayed on all the time, and the other didn’t work at all, even though they were working fine on the coach.

This meant the tail light converter had to be bad. A tail light converter is used when you have a coach that has separate brake lights and tail lights and a toad that has combined brake and tail lights.

So now we needed a new tail light converter. We decided we’d pick one up at WalMart while we were at supper.

So we moved on to the next job – installing the Winegard Wingman antenna booster on Nick’s external TV antenna like I did on mine a couple of weeks ago. While I was up on the roof of Nick’s coach, he abandoned me to run off and play nice with the tent guy about where to put the big tent he’s using for the rally.

Finishing this up a little before 5, Michele Henry of Phoenix Commercial Paint called and wanted to come by and bring one of the repainted doors to see how the colors match. And she did a beautiful job. It looked great.

Now for the other 6 doors.

About 6 pm we drove over to Culver’s, a restaurant chain found mostly here in the Mid West, that has great burgers, fried chicken, and ice cream too.

After Culver’s we went next door to WalMart. While Terry got some groceries, Nick and I perused the Auto section looking for a tail light converter. Unfortunately, the only one they had was not right for Nick’s system, so we’ll have to try again tomorrow at the trailer supply place.

On a final note, the weather has been really great the last few days, and tomorrow the high is supposed to be 77, with a low of 54.  NIce !!

More tomorrow…

Quote of the Day:
Don’t pick a fight with an old guy. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you.


Monday Morning Coming Down…

Today was spent in a lot of small chores around the rig, and a number of phone calls with clients, suppliers, and American Coach.

I also did two loads of laundry, and ran CLR thru our Mr. Coffee to clean out the gunk. The water here in Elkhart is really hard, and even with using an external water filter, it still clogs up shower heads, faucets, and, of course, coffee pots. So while I was running CLR thru the coffee pot, I also soaked the shower head and the sink nozzle. Now everything is running fine.

A little later, Orv Hazelton dropped by and wanted me to come help him with something. Turns out he was trying to set up a Cradlepoint WiFi Router so he won’t need to two Sprint AirCard Accounts for his two different laptops. Unfortunately he probably won’t be able to use the router he already has because it uses a discontinued aircard slot, so he’s going to have to purchase a newer one before he can proceed.

About 2 pm I headed out to solicit more gift certificates for the rally with pretty good results this time. While I was out and about Michele Henry from Phoenix Commercial Paint called to ask a question about the which doors go where on the coach. Got back home about 4:30 and fed the cats and cleaned the litter box. OH Fun!

A little before 5 Nick called, and he, Terry, and I drove over to the nearby Texas Roadhouse for some great steaks. While we were there we also thanked Candace, the manager, who donated some gift certificates to the rally.

We got back about 6:30pm, and then about 6:45 two guys (sorry, I didn’t get their names) showed up to admire my classy camouflage for Beauty’s missing cargo bay doors. One of the guys also wanted to know where Phoenix Commercial Paint is located.

Here’s my ‘classy camouflage’. Beauty Cargo Bays

Jan called me about 5 minutes later to catch me up on all the doings in Houston with Landon.

He had his first pediatrician visit this afternoon and everything checked out fine. So that’s great.

More tomorrow…

Quote of the Day:
“I’ll support the “Ground Zero Mosque” as soon as Christians are allowed to built a church next to the Kaaba in Mecca”.


Work, Work, Work

Today was mostly a work around the rig day.

There’s always a lot of little things that need to done around here. So I added antifreeze to both the truck and the rig, added oil to the rig engine, topped off the coach batteries, and several other things.

I had planned to add some freon to the dash A/C, but after some confusion about the the connectors, I decided to wait until tomorrow when I could check with American Coach.

I’ll try again tomorrow.

I thought this was interesting. I took this photo yesterday down in Goshen out in front of Menard’s. Note the handy garbage can and shovel on the far right.

Menards Amish

 Nick and Terry were busy this afternoon so about 4:30 I decided to try a new Mexican restaurant that had donated some gift certificates to the upcoming Eastern Gypsy Journal Rally. It wasn’t quite as good as our favorite El Maguey, but it was good. And it does have the advantage of being closer.

Tomorrow I’m heading back out to solicit more door prizes for the rally.

More then…

Quote of the Day:
"A communist is someone who has read Karl Marx. An anti-communist is someone who has understood Karl Marx. – Ronald Reagan