Tuesday, September 29, 2009

#25 Puttin' On The Rally Hat, Gloves, Scarf....

Here we are in Celina OH. We are participating in the Gypsy Journal RV Rally. This is a collection of like-minded people and the vendors who sell products unique to our RV lifestyle. The weather has been just a tad bit colder than we are used to in Florida. Today's high was
55 degrees and the low tonight is expected to be 38 degrees. I have been wearing a jacket most of the time and I think Mary is wearing everything else in the trailer. With a t-shirt, long sleeve shirt, sweatshirt, jacket, scarf, and hat she looks like a multi-colored Michelin Man. I have to give her credit for even going outside. The winds have gusted to 50+ mph so you know it felt a lot colder. Even the dog has adapted to the cold. Now her walks outside are purely business...out, squat, in, and that's it!

The rally itself has been a lot of fun so far. We have met some very nice and very interesting people. Full time RVers are a unique breed created by living in close quarters and ever changing neighborhoods. Mercer County Fairgrounds is our current home and has been very accommodating. There are as many different RVs as there are RVers. Motor homes of every description, 5th wheel trailers from 20' to 40', and a motor home that runs on vegetable oil! This has also been a learning experience. We are going to seminars on everything from RV fire safety to RV insurance and almost anything else RV related you can think of. There are also a hundred ways you can part with your money. Anything from must "haves" to "what do you do with that?". Self control is the policy of the day, but there is always tomorrow.

We will be here through the weekend and then we will move on. Where to? I'm not sure but our plan is still to be back in FL by November. Anything between Ohio and Florida is fair game. I will keep you informed as we make plans. Freezing our butt's off, in a field, at the fairgrounds, in Celina OH, this is home because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

#24 Making a House a Home

We are still in Elkhart and have been doing some shopping. After all, this is the "RV Capitol of the World"! Not only do they have RV factories, there are also RV accessory manufacturers, customizers, surplus parts warehouses, etc. An RV, like any home, starts out as a house, residence, or abode. You then make it your own and it becomes a home. Well, we have been doing just that since we bought our trailer. Little things like curtains, pictures, and other decorative touches. We have also done some plumbing and appliance upgrades. Now we are redoing some of the furniture. This is no small undertaking when you consider that all the furniture that comes with an RV is built in. This involves tearing out the old and custom building the new. If you didn't already know, the Amish are some of the finest craftsmen in the country if not the world. Their woodworking skills are more than skills, they are art. The install is planned for Friday and I will let you know how it went. We are excited about the improvement to come.

I also mentioned in the past that the food in Amish country is to die for. It might also kill me. We went to a family style, all-you-can-eat dinner today. Six hours later I still feel like I might burst. The food, while not fancy, is so good we couldn't say no when they asked if they could bring us more. When I found out that they didn't have a roll out service to get me to the car I had to stop, but not after some home made Dutch Apple pie. I had to try it, and it was worth it, but I could not finish it. So we stopped at the bakery and got a custard pie to go. I may never eat again after we leave here. I was just glad that I fit through the door to the trailer when we got home.

Well we have to get things packed so we can move the trailer. That's one of the nice things about living in an RV, when I need someone to work on my house I just bring it to them! After the furniture upgrade we will get ready to leave for Ohio. There is an RV rally put on by a couple who put out an RV newspaper called "The Gypsy Journal". We've met them before and look forward to seeing them again at the rally if they aren't too busy. We have volunteered to help so this should be interesting as well as fun. I will write more later. "til then.....

Continuing to make our house a home in Elkart because.....
Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Friday, September 18, 2009

#23 We Are NOT Alone!

It was an easy day's drive, even with staying off the interstate, and here we are in Elkhart,IN. We set up our rig and and met up with the organizer of the rally we are going to in Ohio. Nick is a fun guy to talk to and I hope we get to talk to him more before the rally. Heck, we even volunteered to help. As I have said in the past, this is the RV capitol of the world. I would guess that there are more RV manufacturers in this part of the country than anywhere else. RV's seem to be as common here as taxi's are in NYC. The looks we get on the road are more "what's different between our rigs" than "WOW, that is a big trailer". There is also that knowing nod between RVers that says "this is the life".

Being the RV capitol there are factory tours, dealers, parts warehouses, and accessory manufacturers galore! Sounds like there is some shopping to be done. Maybe some medium to large ticket items and upgrades. If we take the motorcycles maybe we won't buy things we can't carry. Yeah,right! We'll find a way. We are riding the bikes because the weather has been beautiful. Oh, did I mention this is Amish country. Interesting people, these Amish. A very different lifestyle, but as they say, "different strokes for different folks". Most of you know that Amish don't drive cars. Transportation is horse and buggy. That means that vehicle emissions are different than we are used to. Biodegradable, yes. Messy, yes. Pungent, OH YEAH! Add to that, we are on motorcycles and get to appreciate the aroma up close. Yuck! The crafts are beautiful and the cooking is all home made and out of this world. This is not the place to start a diet.

We did take the truck out this morning and found a couple of wholesale parts warehouses. Found several things we were looking for at a substantial savings. We had fun generally browsing through all the different parts from lights and cabinets to axle assemblies and waste water holding tanks. We also found a few things that will make some of our planned upgrades a little easier to do.

Tomorrow we stop being tourists and go back to being just retired. The day to day things that need to be done.Things like laundry, washing the truck & trailer, and the ever popular "honey-do" and project lists. There are fall festivals we will try to squeeze in along with a couple of factory tours. So, for now we are calling Elkhart,IN home because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

#22 Not Goodbye, See You On The Road

It has been 10 days camping at the "Good Friends Family Campground" but we must move on. Staying in our friends backyard and being able to spend quality time with the best of friends is worth more than gold. The great thing is that they will be in FL this winter so we can see them again. As long as there are roads ,RV friends will always be there. The "Good Friends Family Campground" will always get 5 stars.

We spent some time looking at property to possibly set up a home base for us with the rig. It is a nice neighborhood and has some interesting options. Foxy rode around in the golf cart and I think she is starting to wonder what has happened to her big truck with the big back seat. She likes to stretch out and the cart cramps her style. The boat ride on the lake, meeting the neighbors, and making friends...no real estate agent could do more. It is tempting but we shall see.

Our last day we spent mostly by ourselves. We took the bikes on some of the back roads between Indianapolis and Terre Haute. Yeah, they grow alot of corn but the countryside, small towns, and rural America at it's finest are something to see. After 110 miles we returned home, tired and needing to get ready to leave. More of our RV friends from this area showed up to say "Hi" and "Bye" and make plans to get together in the winter. We Snowbirds just have to flock together! We didn't make it to the charity run from the Indy Speedway but maybe another time.

The bikes have been stowed, laundry done, things packed to travel, and our last dinner with our friends before we hit the road. Tomorrow we head for Elkhart In, the RV manufacturing capitol of the world. There will be more friends, RVs to see, some factory tours, and modifications we are thinking about for the rig. A week or so there and then on to Ohio for an RV rally. More on that another time.

Although we are moving our home, from our friends home, to another place we will call home, we will always BE home because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

#21 Our Home/ Not Our Home

Well here we are in Poland IN. It is a quiet little community that shows me why some people like to live away from the hustle and bustle of urban and suburban life. It's not cliche when you say everyone knows their neighbor. This is how I remember neighborhoods when I was a youngster. At night the sky is so clear I think you can see every star in the heavens.

Our home on wheels is now parked in our friends backyard. A hose and an extension cord and we are good to go. I know it is their home but we are still in our home, and the best part about it is these are such good friends that they make us fell like their home is ours. This stop is for visiting and enjoying their company and no more. That is as it should be. We did take a trip into Indianapolis to visit the Speedway and museum. It was pretty cool to see it in person after all the years of watching it on TV. Mary and I have the opportunity to go on a charity motorcycle ride that starts from the Speedway and is supposed to include a couple of laps around the race track itself. Helping charity and driving on the most famous racetrack in the world? How can we pass that up. I will let you all know how it went later on.

We will be spending about a week here and will miss our friends when we leave but, they are RV friends and we will see them again in the winter when they come to FL. Like I said in another Blog, RV friends are the best. It doesn't matter how long it is between meetings it's like it was yesterday. We will spend the rest of our time here talking, laughing, eating, and just being happy having such good friends.

Well as Jim Nabors sings at the Indy 500 every year we are "Back Home In Indiana" because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Saturday, September 5, 2009

#20 A Milestone?

20 Blog posts, and I didn't think that I would have enough to write about! I know when it starts feeling less and less like a vacation there will be less to write about. We shall see...

Back to Louisville. I forgot to tell you that we went to Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby. The grounds are impressive with the landscaping, historical monuments, and the buildings themselves. Walking through the paddock area you think the place is huge until the driving tour takes you around to the back stretch. Then you see all the real behind the scene areas. 40 plus barns with 20 stalls to a barn. You do the math. Then there are quarters for the stable hands, all the maintenance buildings, and other associated facilities. Modernization and expansion is inevitable but the local historical societies stopped any proposed changes to the famous "Double Spires". The new parts on either side of the spired area dwarf the old grandstand but it makes it no less impressive.

Today it was wineries!!! 80 miles, 3 wineries, 3 different wine tastings, several gallons of wine in the back seat, and a nice buzz. All in all a good day. Some of these wineries are not exactly on the beaten path. Narrow winding roads getting narrower and narrower, nothing and no one in sight, and I am starting to hear banjo music. Sorry about the stereotype from the boy from NYC. After the roads get to their narrowest they disappear! Now it's just gravel and dirt! Eventually there is a building with some good wines and the nicest people. It was a long day and with a fair amount of wine samples consumed we thought it best to go home. Mary fell asleep on the way(see buzz) and when we got back to the trailer she was ready for another nap. So was I!

Well, we are getting some things packed for our morning departure so I will call it a day. We will be calling Poland IN our home next because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Friday, September 4, 2009

#19 Speaking On-line W/ A Big Stick

Here we are in Louisville KY, our new home for 3 days. We are in a KOA (Kampgrounds Of America) that resembles an RV parking lot. The rigs are squeezed in like giant sardines! I'm glad this is only 3 days, but it is as they say"location, location, location". 5 minutes and it's "hello downtown Louisville".

On the way as we approached Bowling Green KY we started to notice a lot of Corvettes on the road. We started to count(it was easy since they were caravaning)and came up with about 150! At the rest stop Mary meet one of the 'Vette owners and found out that it was the 15th anniversary of the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green and that the group we saw was 178 strong from FL & GA. We passed the museum and the grounds were covered in 'Vetts! Then we saw another group coming from the north w/ a police escort and counted another 120+!! We understand that they were expecting several thousand over the weekend. It would be something to see but we wanted to get on our way.

Those of you who know Mary know that she just thinks pigs are the cutest things around, after your's truly of course. Well we came across a livestock truck loaded with them and she started squealing like a little piggy herself. I think she was trying to communicate. I didn't have the heart to remind her they they all had names like "Bacon", "Pork Chop", & "B-B-Q". She knows, but tries not to think about that. To her there is no connection between her favorite pork product and Wilbur the Pig.

Growing up playing Little League baseball you learn Louisville Slugger is something you have just got to have, so here we are where they are made. The factory tour and museum were awesome. How they went from making 1 bat in 30 min. to 1 bat in 3o sec. is cool. More unbelievable is how they were able to duplicate bats by hand and eye in the old days. For those of you Rays fans we saw BJ Upton's bat from his post-season tear of 7 home runs. We also saw them making bats for Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria. How cool is that, especially if you're a fan. I had heard that in the past the vault with all the individual players original bats(the ones used to make duplicates when a player needed them) was off limits for the public. Now that all the dimensions for these bats are computerized you can go in the vault and handle the originals made for each player. It was neat to be able to hold the bats that were handled and specified by each player. I personally held bats for Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Pee Wee Reese, and Hank Aaron. What can I say,COOL!

Tomorrow we will check out some wineries and farm stands and then Sunday it's on to friends who live near Indianapolis.

"Til next time...we are home in Louisville because.....
Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Thursday, September 3, 2009

#18 Just a Short Note

This is a rare morning Blog. Most times I write at the end of the day but today is different. We were supposed to leave this morning but it has been raining all night and it is still going strong. Loading the bikes and hooking up are not fun in the rain so we are thinking about waiting a day. After all we are on no particular schedule.

Back to Nashville...Once we decided not to see the nite-life of the country music scene, the Country Music Hall of Fame was next on our list. Now, I like country music but only over the last 15 years or so. The HOF has a lot of artists and memorabilia from the 50's,60's, & 70's. Not a lot that I know about but Mary was raised on that stuff by her grandparents. So on we went. The place is pretty cool but again, if your not up on the old stuff it gets kinda ho hum. We took a break to go feed the parking meter and have some lunch. On our return we were told that they were recording an episode of "Crook & Chase", a talk show that has country music stars as their guests. Our tickets to the HOF gave us admittance to the taping. The guests were Wynonna Judd
and Chris Young. Wynonna, eh. Chris Young, cool! The show was pretty cool. We have been to a TV taping once before but this was different. A couple of years ago we saw David Letterman and his show is taped just as you see it on TV plus a warm up act and the band playing during commercial breaks. This show did all the interviews first and then the acts played at the end. They then piece it together to look like it was taped live. The whole experience was neat and was definitely the highlight of the day! We went back into the museum and saw the rest of the artifacts and called it a day. We actually had been there over 5 hours, so it must have pretty interesting after all.

Uh oh, I've got to go. It seems that the sun is starting to come out and we are going to be leaving after all. Finish breakfast, clean up, hook up, and loading the bikes can take an hour or two so I had better get going.

Getting ready to leave our home in TN for our home in KY because....
Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

#17 Still At Home

Yes we are still at home, no we aren't still in NC. We made the trip to Nashville TN in 6 hours. Not bad when you consider that we are towing our house behind us! We also make frequent stops to stretch our legs and let Foxy out to do what she does. Besides that, we are in no rush to get anywhere anymore. Again, another perk of not having a job that you have to get back to. I know I go on about being retired and some of you may be getting tired of hearing it, but, what I want you all to know is how great it is and that I hope that someday all of you can experience it yourselves. So, forgive my excitement about being retired and keep your dreams alive for your future what ever it may be.

We are at a campground just outside Nashville, at a substantial savings in camp fees. After we set up the rig we took the bikes into Nashville just to look around and to get our bearings. Walking down Broadway we passed the bars and "honky-tonks" with all the wanna-be country music stars. You know, the ones who think they sound just like George Straight or Reba McEntire but sound like a cat in a blender. Occasionally you find one that does sound like the stars or better yet have a good sound of their own, but they are few and far between. If it was easy we all would be recording stars! It was fun because we enjoy country music but as we walked down the street we realized that the bar/club scene was not for us anymore. A good concert with people our age(not that I'm saying we're old) and like tastes is more our style.

Well it has been along day, what with all the traveling and setting up, not to mention I missed my nap.... I did tell you that I now take naps?..... I will sign off for now in the same house in our new home in Nashville TN because........

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary