On to Elkhart . . .

For some reason I woke up at 6:30 this morning, earlier than I planned, but couldn’t go back to sleep, so up early it was.

The only problem was, not normally up at this un-holy hour, I found it was still pitch-black outside. So I had to wait to do outside stuff.

But I was able to spend some time stowing away stuff inside. By the time I got coffee started, it was starting to get light, so I went outside and started bringing in the satellite stuff and tiding up around the rig. By this time Jan was up and about, and a little later, she heated us up Jimmy Dean Egg Sandwiches for breakfast.

After relaxing a while with our coffee we got prepared to leave and I discovered a problem. I had planned to raise the levelers and pull the coach up about ten feet so I would be able to pull the toad in behind and hook up before we pulled out. The problem was, the levelers wouldn’t come up . . . or at least the control panel said they weren’t all the way up.

I went outside to check and found them all the way up, so I went to the right rear bay to check the hydraulic fluid level in the Power Gear reservoir, and as I suspected (and hoped) the fluid level was low. The reason this makes a difference is that these systems use the level in the reservoir to signal to the control panel whether or not the levelers have retracted all the way.  If the fluid level is low, the system thinks the they haven’t retracted.

And of course, the quick (and cheap. I like cheap!) solution is to top on the reservoir with ATF transmission fluid, and all’s right with the world. I always keep a bottle of it in the coach because without it I’m stuck. If my coach thinks the levelers are down, even if they weren’t, it won’t let you put it in gear.

Now if it only did that when your power cord is still plugged in.

By the time we finally left the park, I had decided to get diesel at a station we had passed last week that had it for $3.77, so Jan was following me in the toad, and we would hook up after we filled up.

The problem was, I couldn’t find where I left the gas station. I mean, it was right there last week. Where could it have gone? Who could have moved it?

Finally, after circling around, and up and down several country roads, Jan called me on her cell and ‘suggested’ that I was lost and she was tired of driving around in circles. And that we should just head on out along our route and fill up along the way, which we did in Rockville, about 15 miles down the road.

I didn’t think she really needed to use that ‘tone’, though. You married guys know the ‘tone’ I’m talking about. You know the one where she thinks you’re lost, and she thinks you’re an idiot for getting lost, but she wants to be nice about it because she knows that otherwise you just might circle around central Indiana three or four more times before you give it up as a lost cause.

That’s the ‘tone’ I’m talking about.

Anyway, taking US41 north, we finally picked up I-65. And as seems to be a usual ‘feature’ of Indiana (and Illinois, too) Interstates, the road immediately went to crap. And the I-80 Toll Road was even worse.

Why is it that toll roads always seem to be even worse than non-toll roads. Where’s all the money going? Certainly not to maintenance.

We finally pulled into the Elkhart RV Campground a little after 4 pm and were directed to our site right next to Nick and Terry.

After hugs and a little small talk, we went back to our rig to get hooked up and set up. Then a little after 5 we all headed over to our favorite local Mexican place, El Maquey. And as usual we ended just sitting around and talking for a couple of hours before finally heading home.

Brandi sent this picture of Landon at his daycare entitled “Couldn’t quite make to nap time”.

Landon Asleep 2


Thought for the Day:

‘If it’s stupid, but it works, It AIN’T stupid!’


Last Day at Horseshoe Lakes . . .

Today is our last day here at the Horseshoe Lakes Thousand Trails Preserve north of Terre Haute, IN. Tomorrow we leave for Elkhart, IN about 230 miles away. So we decided to have one last fling of dinner and a movie, or rather, a movie and dinner.

We left the rig about 12 noon and headed about 25 miles south to Terre Haute to catch the 1 pm showing of “The Help”.

I don’t know to say about this movie . . . except that it was really, really, good, one of the best movies we’ve seen in a long time. It’s set in early 1960’s Jackson, MS at the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, and tells the story of the black maids that raised the children and cleaned and cooked for the while population. In a way it’s kind of an American version of ‘Upstairs, Downstairs” of PBS/BBC fame.

Well worth a trip to the movie. I dare to see it and not get teary-eyed. Well recommended.

After the movie we stopped off at the Honey Creek Mall next door to visit the Radio Shack for some new cables.

Then it was on to a nearby Buffalo Wild Wings, only to find that it had closed yesterday for remodeling, and would not reopen until this coming Saturday. Bummer!

So after looking around the parking lot, we ended up at Outback, one of our favorite steak places. And although I like their steaks, I was happy to see their wood-grilled pork chops back, so that was what I had.  Good!

After dinner, and before heading home, we stopped off at Wal-Mart for a few things. Then it was home to start getting ready to travel tomorrow.


Thought for the Day:

"Everything that deceives, also enchants" – Plato


Coffee and Chores . . .

This morning started with our coffee, bagels, and Jan pretty much back to normal.

After working on client Internet stuff during the morning, after lunch I got back on my chore list.

Many of today’s things were rig-based, things I wanted to take care of before we travel on Wednesday.

First up was topping off oil and coolant levels, and then adding water to the coach batteries. (My engine batteries are sealed and maintenance free.)  As I started to do this, I decided to call Interstate Batteries to find out exactly how high I was supposed to fill my four U2400 6 volt coach batteries.

My batteries have a flange extending about 1-1/2 inches down from the top, and I had been told to fill the battery up to the bottom of the flange, but I’d heard different from other places, so I decided to go straight to the source.

And I got some information I didn’t expect. I was told by Interstate to fill the batteries to about 1/4” from the top of the fill opening. So I had to add a good bit of distilled water to each cell. In fact I didn’t have enough water to fill all 12 cells, so I’ll have to get some more tomorrow and finish up.

Nick Russell called about 2:45 to check in and let us know that they were heading up to Michigan for a couple of days to visit a sick relative, but thought they’d be back before we get there Wednesday afternoon.

Next I got my socket set out and tightened up the passenger-side outside mirror. It had started to loosen up and was moving slightly from wind pressure as we drive.

About 4 pm our daughter Brandi called to check in and say hi. She said Landon’s got more teeth coming in and walking everywhere. We can’t wait to see him again in November.

Then I finished up recaulking the shower base. I started cleaning out all the old caulk over the last few days, It looks like the previous owner had recaulked it with one that was not mildrew-resistant. So it was turning black underneath the clear caulking. So, after digging out all the old stuff, spraying it with bleach and letting it dry, I recaulked it with a white, mildrew-proof, silicone caulk. It turned out pretty good.

Shower Caulk

My last task for the day was to install a power line radio filter on my new radio to filter out any residual noise in the system.

Not sure what Mister was doing here. He knocked the trash can over and crawled into it, but It was completely empty so I don’t know what he was looking for. After a few minutes he gave up and took a nap.

Mister in Trash

Tomorrow Jan and I are going into Terre Haute to pick up some groceries, see the new movie “The Help”, and eat dinner, probably at Buffalo Wild Wings. We need a hot wing fix.


Thought for the Day:

The role of a journalist is to take a topic that he does not understand and write about it so that it can be misunderstood by anyone.


A Quiet Sunday . . .

Not much new today. Jan’s feeling a little better, not nearly as nauseous. So hopefully by tomorrow, she’ll be back to normal.

After our morning coffee and bagels, Jan settled in on the sofa with her Kindle while I mostly goofed off on the computer, while trying to get up the will to start ripping up the last of the carpet.

We had planned to Skype with Landon, Brandi, and Lowell this afternoon, but after waiting, Brandi called and said they were having problems with their AT&T U-verse Internet service so we had to put that on hold.

Nick called about 1pm so I could try and talk him out of buying an Apple Mac computer. We’re really looking forward to seeing Nick and Terry when we head to Elkhart this coming Wednesday.

Finally later in the afternoon, I bit the bullet and crawled back under the steering wheel and started ripping out the last few stubborn pieces of carpet, while trying to ignore the screaming from my knees. They don’t like this.

Late in the afternoon a park ranger came by with a flyer and telling us that the water would be off starting about 7 am tomorrow while the nearby town of St. Bernice replaced a part on their water system. Apparently the park gets their water from the town. The also said we should boil our water for the next 48 hours afterwards.

My answer to this was to go outside, top off our 100 gallon fresh water tank, and take us off the park water. No problem.

That’s about it for now, just a nice, quiet, easy day.


Thought for the Day:

"Politicians are worse than thieves. At least when thieves take your money, they don’t expect you to thank them for it." – Walter Williams


Work, Work, Work, Part 2 . . .

Well, Jan’s not much better today. Still under the weather with a queasy stomach. We had hoped to get together with Jan’s sister Debbie today or tomorrow, but it now looks like that’s not going to happen.

More chores. First up was to finish gluing the foam rubber back on the 2nd armrest from Jan’s chair. Unlike the arm yesterday, the wooden frame on this one was in good shape so I didn’t have to repair it, just glue the foam back in place and put the cover back on.

Next, I wanted to install the new Pioneer DEH-23UB radio/CD player that I bought a couple of weeks ago.


It didn’t turn out to be very difficult since it used the same power connector and mounting as the old one. The nice thing about this new one is that it not only allows you to plug in an external audio source, but you can also plug in a USB flash drive with MP3 songs on it and  the radio will play them.


Our daughter Brandi called about 1:15 to let us know that the toys we sent Landon had arrive and he was crazy about them. She said he’s pretty much walking everywhere now and getting better at it all the time.

After that I got back on pulling up carpet. It’s really hard getting it loose from the corners, the stuff just doesn’t want to come up.

Later in the afternoon, and fed up with the carpet I took a nap for an hour or so.

I really like naps.

Jan talked to her sister Debbie about 8pm to let her know she still didn’t feel well enough to do any thing tomorrow.


Thought for the Day:

“We are all familiar with a Herd of cows, a Flock of chickens, a School of fish and a Gaggle of geese.

“However, less widely known is a Pride of lions, a Murder of crows (as well as their cousins the rooks and ravens), an Exaltation of doves and, presumably because they look so wise, a Parliament of owls.

“Now consider a group of Baboons. They are the loudest, most dangerous, most obnoxious, most viciously aggressive and least intelligent of all primates. And what is the proper collective noun for a group of baboons? Believe it or not ……. a Congress!

I guess that pretty much explains the things that come out of Washington!”


Work, Work, Work . . .

Jan woke up really under the weather this morning feeling queasy and nauseous. Don’t know if she’s got some sort of bug or what.

I guess we’ll see.

In the meantime I got back on my chore list.

My first project was to finish my exterior satellite TV hookup. Before we got the Direct TV DVR we fed our satellite dish’s signal in through the park CATV input back in the electrical bay. But when we got the DVR it required two input lines, so for a while I was running the 2nd line in through the driver’s window.

So after checking with American Coach to be sure I wasn’t drilling through anything vital, I drilled two holes in floor between my driver’s chair and the window. The holes come out through the top of the storage bay right below me and the satellite antenna cables now connect into the bay.

The cables here connect with the satellite receiver overhead. And when we travel I will just unscrew the cables and store them away.

I haven’t screwed the plate down yet since the new laminate flooring will eventually go there.

Satellite Floor Plate2

Next I started working on getting the last of the carpet out from under the steering wheel. Man this stuff is thick and tough to cut. Makes me wish they’d put cheaper carpet in our coach.

When my knees couldn’t take it any more, I moved to my next project: redoing the caulking around the base of the shower where it connects with the walls. But first I wanted to be sure I had the joints completely free of any mildew. So I spent some time spraying it with a diluted bleach solution and then brushing and rinsing it. I’ll probably be able to caulk it tomorrow.

Then it was own to the arms on Jan’s chair. The foam rubber padding has come unglued and twisted around inside the cover. So I removed the arm from the chair, removed the cover, and spent some time regluing the foam to the wood frame. When it’s all dry, I’ll put it back together and do the other one.

Tomorrow I’m going to install a new dash radio/CD player. I’ve never really liked the one that was in the rig when we bought it, which apparently was a replacement anyway.

Jan was still feeling pretty crappy when she went to bed. Hopefully she’ll be better tomorrow.


Thought for the Day:

It takes 43 muscles to frown and 17 to smile,
but only 3 for proper trigger squeeze.


64.8 pounds . . .

or 2 pounds and 2 inches. Take your pick.

The first one is how many pounds of stuff Jan has proudly thrown away in the last week, mostly old magazines and brochures.

The second one is how many pounds and inches Landon has grown since his 9 month checkup.

Brandi called this afternoon and said Landon had his 1 year checkup today, He’s doing great and growing like crazy. He’s grown so tall he’s been wearing 18 month sizes for a good while now.

NBA here we come.

After early morning coffee, we headed out about noon to drive about 15 miles away to Paris, IL. I wanted some more ‘F’ connecters for my satellite system upgrade, and Jan wanted to hit the Wal-Mart again.

But our first stop was at Los Tres Caminos, a local Mexican restaurant that was listed in the top ten restaurants in Paris. Of course there may be only ten restaurants in Paris, since number 10 on the top ten list was Wendy’s.

But in this case. the listing was right. This place was GOOD.

Jan had a combo plate that included a chile relleno. She said it was almost as good as Esther’s Taco House. Almost, but not quite. (Gina and Miss Terry will know how good this means it was.)

After lunch we drove right down the street to the Wal-Mart SuperCenter. Although we were just at Wal-Mart this past Monday and spent about $140, somehow Jan found she needed another $144 worth of stuff today. I think she’s trying to fill up that 65 pound hole she made this week.

Coming back into the downtown, and after dropping off three bags of clothes at the local Goodwill, I stopped to take some photos of the beautiful Edgar County Courthouse. Built in 1891, it looks as good now as it did when it did then.

Paris Courthouse 1

Paris Courthouse 2

Here’s another shot from the Internet.


We noticed a number of other buildings, like churches and schools, built in the same style and probably, time period. A very nice little town of about 10,000 people.

And on a trivial note, besides their beautiful courthouse, Paris’ other claim to fame is that Carl Switzer, who played ‘Alfalfa’ in the ‘Our Gang’ comedies, was from here.

Our last stop before heading home was the local True Value Hardware for some other things I needed.

Getting home, I started back in on my chore list.

Later Jan fixed a great dinner of Potato Skins and Jalapeno Poppers, with some more of her Cherry Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies for dessert.


Thought for the Day:

Always remember you’re unique, just like everyone else.


Bad Weather and Good Cookies . . .

Well, the 95 degree temps showed up today, but not the predicted thunderstorms that might have cooled things off. Apparently the front that brought the thunderstorms yesterday was a warm (hot) front and jumped the temperature from 83 yesterday to 95 today.

But it looks like there’s a cold front right behind it, since it’s 84 tomorrow and a very nice 51 degrees tomorrow night.

This morning I got back on the computer desk. I finally had to drill some new pilot holes for the 3” lag bolts that fastened it to the floor. But It’s firmly mounted now.

Now on to more stuff.

For dinner Jan whipped up a big batch of her fantastic King Ranch Chicken. I was very happy about the ‘big’ part ‘cause I had 3 servings.

And even better, we’ve still got enough for another meal. YUM!

For dessert, Jan had baked up a batch of cherry pecan chocolate chip cookies.  HMMM! GOOD!

Well, here it is 11 pm, and the missing thunderstorms finally showed up. It’s coming down pretty hard, but only glitching the satellite a little bit.

Looking at the radar, the satellite may not last too long. It’s gonna be a bumpy night.


Thought for the Day:

The only difference between ordeal and adventure is attitude.


Thunderstorms and Campgrounds . . .

Got up this morning, starting with coffee that segued into a long afternoon of bad weather, thunderstorms, and no satellite reception.

But before it all hit, I drove over to the Post Office in Blanford to pick up my General Delivery mail, and then stopped back by the park office to get the new gate code.

Getting back to the rig, I got back on getting my computer desk unbolted from the floor so I can get the old carpet out from underneath it.

It actually took a couple of hours to get it completely loose and pulled to the side. I couldn’t pull it all the way from the wall because it has power cables coming into it from the floor and from the wall, but I did get all the carpet and pad out of the way.

Since it’s now setting a little lower without the carpet, I’ll have to shim it a bit so that all the screw holes line up when I fasten it back down.

But that’s for tomorrow.

On another note, I did come across this website at USCampgrounds.info. It lists over 10,000 public campgrounds in all 50 states plus the Canadian Provinces.

Here’s the description from the site.

This site provides what we believe to be the most complete and geographically accurate US & Canada public campground locator in existence. Includes all National Park, National Forest, State Park and Provincial campgrounds, all BLM, TVA and Army engineers campgrounds, all regional, county, city and utility-owned campgrounds. We include only public car-camping campgrounds with 5 or more campsites and tables and toilets (not backpack-in,  boat-in, horse camps, dispersed or group camps).   We do not include privately owned campgrounds.

Sounds like another great resource.

After dinner, Jan and I watch some more stuff from the DVR, catching up on some shows we’d missed.

All in all, another very nice day.


Thought for the Day:

In 1939, ten years after the crash on Wall Street, the Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau, Jr., told the House Way and Means Committee:

"We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong … somebody else can have my job. I want to see people get enough to eat. WE HAVE NEVER MADE GOOD ON OUR PROMISES … I say after eight years of this administration WE HAVE JUST AS MUCH UNEMPLOYMENT as when we started … AND AN ENORMOUS DEBT TO BOOT!"


Jan Says She’s Giddy . . .

Today will be the first time we’ve left the park since we got here last Wednesday.

Jan says she’s giddy.

But we both agreed we’ve really enjoyed the peace and quiet here.

After getting up and having coffee about 8:30, we headed out about 10. Our first stop was the Blanford Post Office to check on my mail, but none has shown up yet. I’ll check back tomorrow.

Then we headed south about 20 miles to Terre Haute and Fantastic Sam’s so Jan could get her hair done. But, as it turned out, even thought it was listed on the Fantastic Sam’s website, the place was out of business. So we decided to just head on down further south to the Wal-Mart SuperCenter and get her hair done there.

And while she was there, I stopped off at a nearby Lowe’s and Tractor Supply Store for some parts.

Finishing her haircut, and since this Wal-Mart didn’t have a nail salon, we drove up the road a piece to a Le Nails that we’d passed on the way in. I spent the time across the street at a Starbuck’s nursing a Cinnamon Dolce Latte and reading my Kindle.

As soon as she was finished at the nail place, we had just enough time to get to a nearby movie theater to see “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”. We both really enjoyed this wrap-up of the whole Harry Potter series. Almost made us want to start back over watching from the first movie again.

Getting out of the movie a little after 4 pm, we decided to check out a nearby Beef O’Brady’s for dinner. Several people, including our friend’s Nick and Terry Russell, have said they liked the chain, but compared to a similar restaurant that we like, Red Robin, Beef’s came up short. It wasn’t bad, but nowhere near as good as Red Robin. Maybe it was just this location so we may give another location another chance at another time.

Leaving Beef’s we headed over to Sam’s Club for vitamins and other stuff and then back to Wal-Mart for groceries. We saved our shopping until now since the cold stuff would have been in the truck too long.

Finally we head home, arriving about 7:30, and both kind of pooped. a 9 hour day of doing stuff. Jan said as glad as she was to get out of the rig, she was looking forward to getting back and doing nothing for a few more days.

Me too.


Thought for the Day:

“The timid civilized world has found nothing with which to oppose the onslaught of a sudden revival of barefaced barbarity, other than concessions and smiles." — Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn