Wednesday, August 29, 2012

7 years ago

The past twenty four hours have been very emotional for me.  Hurricane Isaac has stirred up a lot of memories!

Seven years ago Hurricane Katrina was coming to New Orleans and we left town.  We evacuated heading to Lake Charles in our small 5th wheel.....who knew we'd still be rving???

Several days later we were allowed to go back home.  I can't begin to tell you how returning to our home felt first sight as we got closer to New Orleans was of naked trees....I expected downed power lines and trees.  I knew there would be damage to buildings and homes...but naked trees in September just blew my mind.  Our home had what we call normal hurricane damage...part of the roof was gone which allowed rain to come in.  Carpeting and walls were soaked.  We didn't have any flooding in our neighborhood.

My heart goes out to all in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, the road ahead will be hard but I know that the resilience of these fine southern people will prevail.  You can rebuild!

We stayed in the area for another year while Jim worked and we repaired the house.  We lived in Baton Rouge on the levee outside of Jim's office.  Driving down to Terrytown when we could, man did that get old!  Jim retired a year later and we lived on base in Algiers so we could get the house cleaned out and sold.

So we've been Full Timing for seven years....

 I love it and still look forward to traveling

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Rantoul, Illinois

For dinner Thursday night I made Pablo Pasta (bow tie pasta and black beans are the main ingredients) from the Everyday Happy Herbivore was quite tasty but we both agreed the sauce was bland.  I've got some ideas about how to 'spice' it up and I think some chipotle peppers are called for!  We'll have it again.

Our drive from Cicero was an easy one, we spent some time on the interstate.  Not sure why but two rest areas were closed and we finally stopped at a gas station and bought a Subway sandwich for lunch.  When we crossed into Illinois we entered the Central Time Zone...

About 30 minutes after lunch we arrived at Prairie Pines Campground in Rantoul,   And Summer is back in full swing here.  The temperature was close to 90 as we set up!  We have full hookups with 50 amp and we're staying two weeks.  Weekly rate is $125.  This used to be a mobile home park for the nearby defunct Air Force Base.  The sites are grass but it's a well kept campground.  Also the sites are oddly set up.  There are angled sites and when you pull in you can park away from the road and neighbors or close up.  I think all the sites are pull throughs and we had to weave through some pine trees to get to ours.  We were both pleased and surprised that the site is level...doesn't happen very often on a grassy field.

Last night's dinner was Morning Star Farms 'chicken' cutlets with mashed potatoes and gravy and steamed broccoli.  Jim did the dishes, thanks honey!

This morning I was up at 0430, don't ask me why...I tried to go back to sleep but after tossing and turning two or three times I gave up.  But it's been interesting!  I've heard trains off in the distance and a flock of geese flew over just after the sky lightened up.  The sun is coming up at my back and I've had fun watching a squirrel dash around under the tree outside my window.  Across the street is a corn field and behind to the right is another crop that I haven't identified yet, it's green and low so maybe it's green beans.  Will have to get back to you on that.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Work is done!

We left Lagrange last Monday and I know we'll both miss the area.  We did have some rain but overall the weather was beautiful.  The temperatures weren't in the triple digits which makes wandering around outside a lot more comfortable for these two older people!

The Amish are a hardworking people and there's much to admire about their way of life.  According to a film we watched their numbers are growing and I wonder where their future lies.  Because of the lack of available farm land some have to make a living dealing with our world.  More and more they are leaving their comfort zone

there are all sizes and shapes of buggies, from pony traps to this stately coach
teens are the same everywhere, they love their music

We stopped in at the farmer's market on Saturday and I found some lovely zucchini and onions grown without GMO's.    He said all his crops were organic so I'm guessing this was from his kitchen garden
this tree was on our site and I don't know what the fruit is....maybe cherries

We came back to White River in Cicero because it's so nice here!  Except for a trip to get groceries  we've just been hanging around.  Jim has worked some on the rig.  Got the roof washed and of course that means the windows had to be washed and the sides wiped down if not cleaned.

We've sat out and walked, even grilled some zucchini!  For the most part the days have warmed up into the lower 80's so we've had the windows open.  At night because of campfires we close up the house and turn on the AC.  We've even slept under two quilts because it dips down into the 50's overnight.

We wanted to stay longer here but this county campground is very popular on the weekends and we're leaving today for Rantoul, Illinois.  This will be a new stop for us, not sure what we'll find, but I know we'll enjoy the trip!
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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sunny Weekend

Saturday we had planned on staying home but I received notice that our Escapee mail was at the Howe Post Office, so we had to pick it up before they closed.  So we headed out and picked up our mail.  I love getting mail and since we've been here we got mail two days in a row!   

Since we were out and about we decided to go to the Gun and Knife Show in Shipshewana.  It seems every where we go we miss this show by a week or so!  There was a fee of $5 each to get in.  We spent a couple hours wandering around and checking out the old and new merchandise.  Some folks had some antique items that I could have bought but have no need for!  And I saw a neat knife, but again, I didn't need it.  Well worth the price of admission.

By this time we were hungry so we headed to Pizza Hut....because we had money on a gift card.  Turns out there was more than I thought and our lunch only cost us around $5.50...of course they didn't serve beer or it would have cost more....

After lunch we headed home where Jim took a nap and I caught up on some reading.  With my left eye still blurry I can only read for a little while then I have to do something else.  I also rested for about 30 minutes.

Right after we made our coffee Joyce and Roger Steinmiller dropped by.  They were staying at Twin Mills RV Park in Howe.  They were in this area picking up their new Mobile Suites.  It was nice visiting with them and we tried to make plans for a get together on Sunday but all the Amish restaurants and businesses are closed on Sunday.  
Not sure what we did for dinner Saturday, I don't cook when we eat out.  :-)

On Sunday we realized we could eat at a place that Kay told us about so Jim called Roger and a plan was born!  We drove over to see their new home and I must say with all the upgrades it's quite nice.  The commercial size refrigerator would be a nice addition as would the dishwasher!  But I still like our little home on wheels and would rather downsize than get bigger.  We sat and visited with them and Lily, their toy poodle.  Lily has grown from puppy to a pretty little lady.

Roger drove us to Adams Lake Pub, and we sat on the patio and enjoyed the company and the view.  It was nice getting together with them and we learned more about each other.  It's always fun to meet up with friends and we haven't seen them since March.  It was a good way to spend Sunday afternoon

No dinner!  Just some yummy tender baby popcorn.  We watched some of the closing ceremonies from the London Summer Olympics

Monday we knew some work would be done on our rig so we had breakfast and then just got everything ready so we could just pull in the slides and leave...well, we waited and waited, then it was lunch time so we had some lunch and waited some more.  Since it was getting later and later I decided I wanted my four pm coffee early because I just knew the rig would be in the shop at that time...Turns out if you make your coffee they will come!  

No problem, we put our shoes on and fifteen minutes later the rig was ready to move.

This little thistle was growing next to the building

We hit the road and killed time by mailing some postcards and driving down back roads.  We also bought some diesel fuel for $3.88, we've seen it as high as $4.07 in this area.  We also drove by Maple Ridge and Crabapple Cove ( where there are sites to be had for only $20 a night.  It will be nice to have full hookups again!

Paul was just finishing up with the bushings and we just backed up and hooked up and left in the rain....yes more rain for the area and I think it's wonderful but I sure don't like parking and setting up in the rain.  Did a load of laundry

Dinner was Mesquite beans and fried potatoes with onions and peppers.  Quite tasty even if it was fried!  We also had some more popcorn...

Today I'm doing laundry, four loads today and I made a pot of taco soup which should keep us fed a couple days.

Not sure when the rest of our repairs will be done, have to wait on parts

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Putting miles on the truck

Thursday  when we got up it was raining...we don't like to travel or pack up in the rain!  Jim checked the forecast and radar for the area we would be traveling through and decided since we have an appointment in Lagrange we'd go asap!  The rain let up and Jim was able to get the outside done without getting soaked.  He wiped the trikes down as best he could and we brought them inside for hopefully our last time! The bike rack is not stable and it's a pain in the butt to bring them in so they can ride in comfort on the bed.

We were on the road around 0930  We took a couple back roads but we also ended up on the interstate for a stretch.  We always check out tractor trailers as they go by and this was was intriguing.   

The whole thing was white with no markings except this on the back.  Any Pirate fans out there?

Even with a stop for a quick bite of lunch, a salad of lettuce, black beans and mango salsa we made good time and arrived around 1230, just in time for the rain to start in Lagrange!  Jim headed into the office while I kept Boo company in the truck.  A young man came out and checked under the slide and parts were ordered.  Soon Jim came out and unhitched the rig and Paul hooked it up with his tractor and slid in into a slot next to the building.  We have water and electric.

Jim made a quick call to the folks who made our blinds and discovered if we bring them in before they close we can have them back after lunch the next day...So off we go to Goshen because they've moved.  Not that far in the scheme of things but we'd already driven a lot so this was added to our mileage for the day.  Of course this was done in the rain because it hadn't let up.  We were able to see the farm country around here and a few horse and buggy's.  This is Amish/Mennonite country and the way of life here is another era.

We stopped to eat at 5 & 20, a good restaurant on the corner of highways 5 and 20.  Jim chose the buffet while I had a baked sweet potato with brown sugar and butter.  My dinner was just like having a sweet potato pie!  We still had another stop to make.  Because we can't do laundry we needed puppy pads for where do you find something like this is such a rural area?  Walmart of course!  Well that took us to Sturgis, Michigan, just across the Indiana border....more miles on the truck!  And our weary bodies.

Finally we made it home and just collapsed for the evening.  The rain continued off and on and during the evening we even lost power for a bit from a lightning strike.

Yesterday we didn't have to hurry our morning.  Parts hadn't arrived and there were others ahead of us.  So I stripped the bed, made oatmeal for breakfast (chilly and rainy), did dishes and then packed up the rig so we could bring the slides in.  Our trikes are being stored in the building.  Jim disconnected the water and electric so all would be ready for them to move the rig to work on it.

Of course Boo had to go with us and Jim got the carrier out so we could leave him in the truck safely.  I had made plans to meet up with Joyce and Roger who are at Twin Hills getting their new rig packed up. But haven't heard back from them, I'm sure they are busy!  Our first stop of the day was the post office in Howe to pick up a package from Sonsearae.  Then we headed out to find Greenfield Mill and Twin Hills campground.  We didn't find the mill and the campground had gates so we just sailed on by.  Of course we still had overcast skies and intermittent rain.

Jim had picked up a flyer in the office for Lambright Comfort Chairs, so that was our next stop.  Five miles south of Shipshewana in Topeka...more miles driven...

They make lovely furniture and tables suitable for RV's.  For those who don't know, this whole area is RV country!  A lot of different rigs are built here.  We saw the lots full of new rigs and saw quite a few on the roads too.

my new computer table

We liked the chairs, even found one that fits my smaller frame.  But no chair buying today!  I did get a new table for my laptop.  It has a metal foot to slide under a chair leg for stability and a magazine rack.  The top lifts for storage and the height is adjustable and the whole top swivels!  So far I like it a lot.  I can bring it right up to me for typing and as you can see in the picture there is room for the mouse.  My other table was to high.  Of course with the lower table it means Boo doesn't have a lot of lap room...

After this stop we headed back towards Shipshewana for some lunch stopping at Subway.  I know what you're thinking...why Subway when we have all these wonderful restaurants serving such good food?  Well the gift card was lunch was free :-)  I'm sure we'll be sampling some of the fine meals that can be had around here.

So now it's after lunch, that means we can drive back to Goshen and pick up the blinds!  Off we go down familiar roads and wonderful scenery.  Blinds safely tucked in the back seat we head back towards Lagrange.  Our first stop was Guggisberg Cheese Factory,  Those who have been to this are know this is a must!  You can sample all the cheeses they make and some snacks too.  Hmmm, should have come here for lunch!  Jim bought a wheel of four cheeses and I got some popcorn and postcards.  Our next stop was a bakery whose name escapes me...Rise and Shine or something like that.  There we wandered and tasted cookies and dips....Cowboy cookies and Snickerdoodles were our favorites.  The cookies are huge, at least four inches across and the samples were big too.

Now we're on a sugar high and we head back to Paul's and see our rig is right where we left it.  :-(  So we check in the office and find we're next and Kay gives us directions to a winery....Off we go again in the spitting rain only to find more back roads and lovely farms.  Never did find the winery but we did find the Mill!  The mill has been around for awhile and I love their slogan, Put a new Rinkle in your baking....

The place was open but no one was inside.  We checked the store out and looked at a couple of things then left.  As we were getting into the truck someone came by in a car and asked if we'd been helped.  I just waved him off because we didn't want to buy anything.  They do give tours and that might have been interesting.

So by now we are both tired of driving and sitting in the truck.  We head back to Lagrange and lo and behold they're working on the rig!  Jim dashes inside to check progress and as I'm sitting there Paul is delivering our rig to the side of the building.  Hurrah! we can set up, feed Boo and have some coffee!!!....

But it wasn't's not the rod but some bushings which hopefully they'll have on Monday and we'll get the slide fixed then.  So we're staying here the weekend, Monday after the repair we'll move to a local campground and wait for the next phase.  We're getting a new hitch for the bike rack

I can honestly say we were all glad to be home, out of the rain!  Even Jim said he was tired of driving and that rarely happens!  Boo ate dinner and then began to nap.  Jim set up my new table so I could check it out.  We had our coffee then Jim put up the blinds.

Did I mention how it's cold here.  Apparently the front that brought all this rain is also bringing colder temperatures.  Last night it was 55 degrees when we went to bed and it was still raining...I slept very well, thank you very much!

Not sure what, if anything we'll do this's not raining and the sun did TRY to come out.  It's 61 degrees outside with a high of 74 predicted....but it isn't raining!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wandering the area

Monday we hung around the house and did chores.  Jim worked outside washing part of the rig and I continued with keeping the laundry done.  We're not sure about sewer hook-ups at our next stop so I want to be prepared.

I made some 'beef' stew for out dinner.  Using 'beef' tips from Gardein and the normal veggies it turned out well but I won't use the tips again, didn't like the texture.  Jim didn't say one way or the other.  Of course the stew part was good!

Yesterday we decided to checkout the Strawtown Koteewi Park.  It's just down the road and we could have ridden our trikes.  With the cooler temperatures from the cold front that passed though Monday we thought it would be a good idea for an outdoor activity.

White River bordering the campground
There is a very informed gentleman in the visitor center that gave us a lot of information that was very interesting but all we wanted to do was get outside before it heated up!  We were amazed that the park was free because from what I've read there are a lot of activities for everyone to enjoy.  I suppose the most used is the trail system.  You can ride bikes, walk and horseback ride.  They are wide, hard packed dirt and while dusty in spots it was easy walking.  I'm sure spring and autumn are the best times for flowers or colors

I did manage to find some interesting things to take pictures of.  In the open spaces they're letting prairie flowers take over and I can only imagine what it looks like when everything is in bloom.
Can you see the moon?
not sure what these blue berries are

Out front of the visitor center is a garden that is mostly dying because of the drought around here.  

After we left the park we decided to head south and visit another garden.  The drive was lovely taking us through farm lands and rolling countryside.  The closer we got to Indianapolis the more traffic and buildings 

We found Coxhall Gardens after driving through 4 round abouts on the same road!  We've seen a lot of these on several roads around this area

There are two bell towers in this park and as we arrived we were treated to the noon ringing and it was lovely!  Unfortunately the grounds here also need water and they're not watering the grass.  But the whole park must be wonderful for those who live in the area as there are running paths and a bandstand.  I'm sure it would be lovely for weddings and receptions when all is green and pretty.

After all this outdoor activity we headed towards home and stopped for lunch in Noblesville.  We had some ice cold beer along with a very tasty lunch at O'Charley's

Once home Jim headed upstairs for a nap and I snoozed (when Boo wasn't bugging me) on the recliner.

Today we are making ready to leave tomorrow and head to Howe, Indiana for some work on our rig.  They're expecting us so I hope the work can be done quickly.  The day is warming up and soon I'll have to close the windows.  It's been nice having the house open the last few days....makes me long for cooler days ahead
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Friday, August 3, 2012

White River Campground, Cicero, Indiana

We left Ft Knox around 1000 yesterday and our trip was uneventful except for the horrible roads!  Can anyone tell me if there are any smooth roads left in America?  We did find some newly paved roads that were wonderful but for the most part they were rough and had potholes.

The trip was short too!  Less than 200 miles, so we set up in the heat of the day.  That didn't take long. This is a pretty campground but the lack of water has the river low. Check it out here: 
We have full hook ups but only 30 amp.  And I had tons of laundry to do because last week we didn't have a sewer ....when the sun started to sink I started the washer.

We did spend some time outdoors enjoying our cold beer and yes, I did bring Boo out to sit with us

I can't eat my lettuce fast enough!  this planter is  getting a bit unwieldy and I'll probably dump it when we leave here next week

It was fun last night shutting off the air conditioner to run the microwave then back on then off to run the dryer and water tank.  But all went well and I didn't pop a circuit or blow a fuse.  Our dinner was leftover enchilada bake and steamed green beans.  Not the fanciest way to celebrate our 38th wedding anniversary but it's what we wanted.

I was up at 0615 this morning and I don't know why!  Perhaps I knew this would be a good time to do laundry.  But I had to wait for Jim to get up and I did three loads and by 1130 the last load was in the dryer. Then it was off to Matteo's Ristorante for a celebratory lunch.  We may have ordered to much wine but we sure enjoyed it!  Our lunch was wonderful and we were given a dessert with a sparkler to celebrate

Once home we both a wee bit of a nap....and as of this writing I'm not the least bit hungry!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Happy August!

Can you believe July is over?  I swear the older I get the faster time goes by.

Yesterday we schlepped for fuel (3.44, diesel) and a few supplies from the exchange and commissary.  I'm not sure when the military is paid but going to these stores on the 1st is usually a bad idea.  Still, we had to stand in line for our few groceries.

For dinner last night we had beans and rice.  We both love this simple dish and I for one ate to much!  But it was tasty...

Today I got up at was quite humid so I didn't open the windows.  I sure was nice to be able to enjoy the early mornings for a couple of days.  When it started getting light out I noticed we had some fog!

I'll bet the slides were slippery!

Today we'll be packing some stuff because tomorrow we hit the road again.