Sunday, June 29, 2014

Here at Meerkat Manor!

We arrived at Elkhart Campground, aka Meerkat Manor, last Thursday after we finished up at the Shipshewana Flea Market. We spent the night at the apartments and Terry washed the rig while I went to see the doctor.

I decided it was time to establish with a rheumatologist since my arthritis is causing me more problems than I have had in the past. I do like this doctor and he explained all the options to me, none of which sounded like anything I wanted to try. I opted for a shot of cortisone, which I try to get once or twice a year. He said that infrequently I would not develop any side effects at all from the drug and it has the added benefit of helping keep the psoriasis in check as well. I was relieved to discover that he doesn't believe my arthritis is the psoriatic arthritis, which I could go on to develop, but presently it is just good ol' osteoarthritis. The other problem I am having is renewed problems with sciatica and apparently a pinched nerve in my neck causing problems with my one arm. It's so great getting older. . . we get to experience all these problems at the time of our life which we are just starting to relax and enjoy life. I may have to get some specialized treatment for my back and neck as well.

So why do we call Elkhart Campground Meerkat Manor? Well, truthfully, there are no meerkats here but there are 13 lined ground squirrels who are driving the dogs crazy. The stand up in their holes and look like miniature meerkats like you see on the National Geographic channel. They dig fairly large holes, too, and you don't want to step in them. The girls love to give chase to any rodent and there are plenty of them around here. They come in huffing and puffing from their adventures.

We were to have storms all weekend, but it looks as though they are passing us by. That's fine by me. The girls don't like the storms and I can do without them.

We are about finished with the renovation on the apartment we had vacated. We had quite a bit of painting to do and just general cleaning. We are having some carpet repair done Monday and then I will finish by mopping the kitchen and bath. It is looking pretty good at this point.

Till next time. . .


Tuesday, June 24, 2014


We left Tab and Deanna on Saturday and drove over to Warsaw, Indiana, where we set up camp at the fairgrounds. They have a few 50 amp sites so we snagged one of those. The girls were able to chase a few black squirrels. They didn't catch any as there were trees in close proximity, but those squirrels sure did give them a tongue lashing. LOL

We made our way over to Mad Anthony's later in the evening in time for the surprise birthday party for my sister, Nita. She turned 60 last month, so I'm sure having a party a month later was a pretty good surprise. We had an enjoyable dinner and touched base with family again. Afterwards, I drove out to their house to visit a bit more while Terry stayed back at camp with the girls. It was starting to storm and the girls were a bit anxious.

Sunday we drove up to Shipshewana and parked in the flea market campground. We got a nice back-in site, although we pulled into it so we face the flea market. Monday we spent shopping in the town shops and the various food markets. I found quite a few gluten free products, especially noodles, which is what I was looking for. There was rain off and on, but we were able to stay out of it by dodging in and out of the shops. Didn't buy much except for the food part. We did some visiting with others in the campground which is always interesting. We also drove out around Shipshewana Lake. I don't think we ever knew there was a lake there! We saw a crop dusting plane and got a good look at them restocking the pesticide. Then he pulled away and started back down the grass runway!

Today we plan to walk at least part of the flea market. The weather is not cooperating and it is supposed to rain off and on all day. We will still do part of it as there are places to get in out of the rain. Tomorrow we will wrap it up and it is supposed to be a good day.

We have been looking for a toad to pull behind MinnieMee and Terry thinks he has found it. In fact, he has found a whole new rig. It means going down a bit in horsepower, but a new coach and toad. . . what a deal!

Till next time. . .


Friday, June 20, 2014

Checking in with friends. . .

Wednesday we drove from Goshen over to St. Paris, Ohio, to see our friends, Tab and Deanna. They are the friends who went to Alaska with us. It was great to see them and catch up with what everyone had been doing in the past year.

They have a house in St. Paris and they have been doing some remodeling. They put in an entirely new kitchen which is really gorgeous. Tab did a lot of the work himself and he did a great job. Deanna has all new cabinets and new appliances. I'm sure they will enjoy it.

We parked over at Tab's shop and got all set up. After Tab got off work, we all went to Cracker Barrel for dinner. It was really good. We haven't eaten at one for awhile and they had a lot of new menu items. I had rainbow trout and Terry had a salad. Yum yum.

Last night we ate in and then went out for dessert. That's Tab and Deanna's favorite meal, I think. We went to the restaurant down the road. They all had apple dumplings a la mode and I had a root beer float. It was all very good.

We said our goodbyes this morning and we traveled toward Indiana. It started raining at one point and was actually raining pretty hard. But by the time we got to Berne, the rain had mostly stopped. We are camped at Amishville and had to switch campsites because the first one he gave us would not allow us to level. It was a short narrow site that ran downhill and to the one side. I don't know what these people are thinking when they put a 40-er in that kind of space. So we went back to the office and fortunately, they had plenty of other sites we would fit in and that were quite level. We got set up and had lunch before heading out.

We have been through Berne numerous times when we lived in central Indiana but never spent any time here. There are a lot of Amish here and one big difference in these Amish and the northern Indiana Amish are in their buggies. Here they are not allowed to ride in enclosed buggies, so their transportation is all buckboard type wagons. I would be moving if the parson told me that. But they are a hardy group and we saw a lot of Amish out and in the various markets we went to. We were looking for gluten free noodles. I have only seen them in Amish stores and I hit the jackpot at Troyers. I got several packages. They were cheaper than I have found before and I stocked up so I have some in reserve.

We visited several Amish stores, dry goods and grocery, and enjoyed our time visiting with the people.

Till next time. . .


Sunday, June 15, 2014


We arrived Tuesday, the 10th, at the Goshen fairgrounds for Glamarama. This is an FMCA (Family Motor Coach Association) rally hosted by the Great Lakes area chapters. While we do not belong to a chapter, we are FMCA members, so we can attend any of their rallies. We try to attend any rally that comes to the fairgrounds because it's a great venue and we are close to the apartments in the event we have something urgent we need to take care of.

We got in around noon and got parked. Thankfully we were not parked in the infield of the track this time like we were at Escapade. We parked right in front of the horse arena which makes for easy access to everything. We are on grass, but the road in front of us is paved, so we have a good spot.

We spent the week attending seminars, learning new things hopefully that we can use in our fulltiming lifestyle. We weren't disappointed. There were more seminars in which we were interested than we were able to attend. We only attended a couple together, we usually went our separate ways. I attended two craft classes. One was on "arm knitting." Instead of needles, you knit with your arms. I know that sounds totally weird, and it was, but I made a cowl and it is pretty cool. It was a very simple craft and one we could start and finish in the time allotted. I have never knitted either, so even if you are "knit challenged" as I, you could do it. The instructor said she learned it off "you tube," so if you are curious, plug in "arm knitting" on you tube's site and you will find it. I also did a class on needle tatting. Okay. Suffice to say that one did not go so well. It is very tedious and I wasn't really into the finished product. I really had thought it would be tatting as in lace making using a shuttle, but the instructor assured us this was much easier. Hmmmmm. I didn't find it easy and I would rather work on learning my crocheting better. But it was an interesting class and the instructor was good. . . just not my cup of tea.

We looked at the coaches on display. I really don't know where they are getting their ideas for floor plans. . . or I should say lack of ideas. I didn't find anything I liked better than Phaeton Place and we really didn't pick Phaeton Place for the floor plan. There were some smaller RV's and they were interesting. Still nothing I would trade MinnieMee for. In MinnieMee we have to make up the bed every night which is a pain, but her big advantage is a bathroom big enough to change clothes in. Most of the bathrooms in the little ones were so small you couldn't turn around in them. If you wanted to face the other way you had to back out of the bath, turn and go back in. Hah! No thank you.

The entertainment at the rally was superb. The first night it was "New Odyssey." They are otherwise known as "3 guys, 30 instruments." If you put that in the search engine on the internet, you will find them. They really do play 30 instruments and they are exceptional talents. The drummer even donned a suit jacket at one point which had electronics embedded in it. By slapping his hands on various points on the jacket, he played the drums. Cool. He even had them in his shoes, so he was jumping around to make the beat.

Another night we had two musicians, one played guitar and the other harmonica. I have never heard such a good harmonica player. Anyone who can play the William Tell Overture (fast) on the harmonica commands respect.

Last evening we heard "The Redhead Express." These are four sisters who play guitar, banjo, bass, fiddle and mandolin. . . and sing. They were very good. They are from Alaska, but live now in Nashville, trying to break into the music scene. I know they perform in the  Rio Grande Valley in the winter. I have often wanted to go hear them and now I may do that. They have three brothers and their parents who also perform a couple songs with them. Such a talented family. It's just not fair. I can't play one thing well, and these people all play multiple instruments and play them well. Not fair.

We paid for an extra night here at the fairgrounds so we wouldn't have to leave today. We wanted to drive down to Claypool and take Mom and Dad out for Father's Day dinner. Jim, Nita, and Kellie joined us, so we had a very nice dinner. Afterwards we visited with Mom and Dad a bit, then came back up to the fairgrounds. Tomorrow we will try to finish up work on the one vacant apartment and get it ready.

There is a children's horse camp that started today here at the fairgrounds. It actually didn't start till late afternoon, but horse trailers have been coming in all day. They are saddled up and working in the horse arena right behind us. We took the girls out for a walk and they seemed a little bewildered at all the activity going on, but they were good. They growled a little at horses going by, but a quick word from me and they stop. They listen so well.

Till next time. . .


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Pace-Stevens Reunion

We arrived at Piney Grove on Bay Springs Lake in Mississippi last Wednesday, June 4, and settled in for four days so we could attend the family reunion. Ma and Pa Pace were both married previously and had something like five children each, then were widowed. They found one another, married, and had five more children. Many of the children from the three marriages are no longer around, but there are some. Most of the people who come now are the next generation, i.e., Terry and his cousins. We always enjoy going to Mississippi and touching base with family. It would be great if more people would come, though. We had 31 people this year, up from 18 last year, but there are many more we would like to see.

Years ago, one of the relatives had a notebook with family genealogy in it, but I don't remember who it was and they haven't come for years. I've been trying to think of some way to encourage other family members to come. Perhaps some readers out there have some ideas about what works with their family reunions. If so, I would love to hear your comments.

We are changing the format of the reunion next year. Instead of having a carry-in, we are going to meet at Raymond's, a restaurant in Marietta, Mississippi. Everyone will order from the menu, so no one has to worry about fixing food and bringing a dish. We will let Raymond's do the cooking and all we need to do is visit with one another.

After we left the reunion, we headed out to the lake to the dogs and spent some time walking them and visiting with Gary and Jo. Later we all headed in to Paul and Shirley's, Terry's cousin and Gary's sister, and we had a fish fry. What fun! We had our leftovers from the reunion carry-in and fish Gary brought from one of his many fishing excursions and then an additional treat that Preston fixed. He made us steak kabobs with jalapeno, cream cheese and bacon. They were very good.

As it got later, it was obvious a storm was brewing. The dogs don't like storms, although they aren't terrified like some dogs. Still, we didn't want them to be alone in the motorhome in a storm. So we left Shirley's to rush back to the lake, about a 30 minute drive. The wind was really blowing and rain was horizontal, but we somehow plowed through it all. I was more concerned about a tree blowing down on us as we drove back. Once we got out on the highway, though, the wind seemed to die down and we just had a lot of rain and lightening. By the time we got to the camp, the worst was past. The girls were doing fine. We always leave the A/C and fans running as it masks a lot of noise. They were glad to see us, but they weren't overly anxious. They are such sweet girls. We waited till the rain stopped and took them out for their evening walk and then went to bed.

Gary and Jo did get a motorcycle ride in while they were there. I think that would be fun.

We also found these really large fungi the day after the bad storm. Have not found out what kind they are. Several suggestions have been made, but I don't believe we have identified them yet.

We left on Sunday morning to head to Indiana for the FMCA Glamarama Rally at the fairgrounds in Goshen. This is the second rally we have attended there in a month. They are always fun and it's great to be with other RV'ers. We drove all the way to Cave City the first night, then Indianapolis the second night, then on to the fairgrounds on Tuesday, the 10th.

Till next time. . .


Thursday, June 05, 2014

Family Time!

Once we left the river, we traveled on toward Bowling Green, Kentucky, stopping at Cave City for the night. This is a park, Singing Hills, that we have used in the past. I don't care much for the drive going in, but it is do-able and the people are really nice. We got situated and relaxed for the rest of the day.

We drove out the next morning and headed toward Nashville. We skirt around the northwest part of the city on the Brylee Parkway and jumped on the Natchez Trace. This drive is my all-time favorite. It is a slower paced drive. The first section starting in Nashville is only 40 mph, but with the curves and hills and the big rig, you aren't going to go much faster anyway. We saw more wild turkey than we could count, deer, vultures, and snakes. Some of the snakes were dead on the road but a couple of them were alive. I don't know my snakes, but one was yellow with markings. Hmmmmm. Oh, we saw box turtles too. I safely managed to dodge all wildlife. We stopped at Falls Hollow Camp just east of Hohenwald, Tennessee. Hohenwald is German for "high forest." This was a decent camp with indecent hookups. Funky doesn't begin to describe them. The owner told us however we were able to maneuver and get comfy was okay. Didn't have to worry about pulling in, backing in, straight, crooked, otherwise. The camp was a large grassy area with little definition to the sites. But they could make vast improvements with a bulldozer and re-routing some water lines. As it is, there aren't many functional sites for large motorhomes. But we managed to get in and setup and stayed for 2 nights. The owners here are wonderful people and they came and invited us to go out to dinner with them our last evening there. We would have in a minute if we hadn't already eaten. Our dinner was over and cleaned up, so we weren't interested in going. The owners have a restaurant on site and they prepare meals on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. We weren't there any of those nights, but some time we may have to go back. The restaurant was very clean and I bet the dinners are good.

We did go see some places along the Trace we normally don't have a chance to visit. Since we were unhooked, we took the little truck and went back to Falls Hollow to look at the waterfall. Not a lot of water going over the falls, but it was interesting anyway. We also went to the Meriweather Lewis death and burial site further down along the Trace. There is a campground there and it's been years since we were there, so we wanted to see if we might be able to get the big rig in there some time. There are no hookups, so you are boondocking, but that is okay. There were many sites we could have used and it wasn't busy, so perhaps next time we will try it out. We also hiked a short way to see the remains of a small scale railroad used in the mining of phosphate. We also visited a couple wineries along the wine trail and made a few purchases. The country around the area is really hilly and we enjoyed our drive out through the countryside.

Yesterday we packed up and left the camp and headed for Bay Springs Lake, near Burton, Mississippi. We didn't have far to go and checkout isn't until 3 p.m., so we didn't want to get in too early. We stopped at the rest area on the north side of the Tennessee River, one of our favorite stopping points. We walked the dogs, watched the barges on the river, had lunch and eventually started rolling again.

Once off the Trace in northern Mississippi, we fueled up and ran on in to camp. We were still early, but our site was open, so we made it in and set up in quick time. Jo and Gary were due in on Thursday, but about 8:30 I was looking out and saw them sitting in their site. Not sure how they managed to sneak in without us knowing, but to be honest, we were both dozing in our chairs, so no wonder. We went out and visited briefly. Later, after giving them some time to set up, we went over and while we were there, their gas detector kept going off. They had their toy hauler with their two huge motorcycles in the back. There were fumes from the bikes and that was causing the detector to go off. Annoying, but lifesaving. So we all helped get the bikes offloaded and eventually the detector stopped beeping.

Today we are headed to Red Bay, Alabama, Phaeton Place's birthplace, to grab some goodies at the camp store. And we'll spend some time visiting family I'm sure. Saturday is the Pace-Stevens reunion at Marietta. We missed it last year because we went to Alaska, but that is only the first time in over ten years that we have missed. We always enjoy seeing everyone. Many of the older generation who started the reunion are gone now and it is up to us younger ones to keep the tradition going. So we are planning on having a great time visiting with everyone.

 Till next time. . .


Sunday, June 01, 2014

Last day on the river. . .

We spent Saturday sightseeing around the area. We had thought there was a lot to see, but it was more quaint and sparse, which was okay. We enjoyed watching the river traffic. . . lots of barges going up and down river. Just down from us was the Markland Dam and the locks. We saw a lot of boats hooking up and floating downstream. There was one group of NINE large cruisers and houseboats together. When they would drift down closer to the dam, they would then all power up and move as a group on up river. Once it got dark, they turned on their lights. Not sure where they ended up, but we didn't see them at all this morning.

The restaurant here at Smuggler's Cove does a big business. Their evenings are really hopping and they have both inside and outside seating. It may have been noisy closer to the building, but we weren't bothered by any noise where we were at. We had our A/C and fans running and that pretty much eliminates the noise.

We had a couple blue herons that would stand out on the brush in front of our site. At one point one caught a pretty good sized fish and enjoyed his dinner while we watched. They just swallow them, which is pretty amazing considering their very slendar necks.

We drove across the river to the town of Florence, which really isn't a town. They have a post office and that's it. There are some homes and some RV lots along the river. That is where Chris from Mooreland has his place.

We drove back west to the town of Vevay, Indiana, and found a car wash to clean the car. We stopped for a couple things at Dollar General, then drove around the town. We found this beautiful old house, the Schenck house, which is now a Bed and Breakfast. Very nice.

Today we broke camp and
drove on west to I-65 and are stopped for the night at Singing Hills Camp near Cave City, Kentucky. We've been here before and it's a nice stopover.

Till next time. . .