Tuesday, August 31, 2010

#111 Jello SUCKS!

We are still in the hotel. I can't believe it! This 4 day job has taken 16 days of our life & it is going to take probably 2 more. There is only so much to do around here so we are bored out of our minds. We did take 4 days & drove down near Indianapolis to see some friends. The only problem is we were supposed to be there already & with our rig. Tonight will be the last day in the hotel but we will be staying in our rig in the garage. They know we are pissed & we will make sure the job is done right before we leave.

Once all is done we will head back to Indy & stay through the Labor Day holiday. After that we will head back to Goshen for a Rally. We are looking forward to meeting up with more of "our people". RVers & a lot of full timers all gathering in one place to share ideas, swap stories,& trade lies. There will also be vendors selling everything RVers want & need. I am sure we will find something we can't live without, though after the repairs on our rig we will be watching the old purse strings a little closer.

We are so bored we are almost looking forward to harassing the RV techs just to have something to do. So for now we are looking forward to living in & not just near our home in Elkhart because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

#110 I Don't Like Jello!

We are in the hotel & have had to go back to the rig twice for things we've forgotten. It also gave us an opportunity to check out the work being done. The plans on being done by Thursday seem to be written in jello. The parts will take a little longer to get than expected. Since we are here possibly until Monday we decided to upgrade the carpet in the living room.

The time spent in the hotel is driving me nuts. We are getting plenty of rest & Mary is enjoying soaking in the tub. TV is a little limited so I am catching up on some reading. We might even drive down to see some friends outside Indianapolis over the weekend. They have a guest room for us & the 4 of us always have fun together. This will be a whole week of not living in our home on wheels.

Well for now our home is a hotel in Elkhart near the repair shop because....

Home is (near) where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Saturday, August 21, 2010

#109 We Forgot How!

The satellite is all fixed so now we have to get ready to vacate the rig so they can replace some floor. For the last 5 years whenever we traveled it involved water, electric, & sewer hook-ups. There was also campground reservation & planning travel routes. Now we are spending time in a hotel. It has been a while since we have had to pack clothes, toiletries, etc. Heck, we had to see if we even had luggage to pack our stuff. Full time RVing means taking it ALL with you...house, clothes, everything. This means never having to pack or decide what is needed at our next destination.

Well we have found a hotel with suites & that allows dogs. Both were important because at Foxy's age we didn't want to board her & wanted a kitchen of some sort to take advantage of the food we already had in our fridge. Once the rig is in the shop we don't want to keep coming back for things. I hope the less we bother them the sooner the job can get done. Today we will cook some things to bring with us, get a cooler ready, & pack up some non perishables. Tomorrow is dedicated to everything else. Some cabinets have to be emptied, laundry needs to be done, & clothes need to be packed.

We would have benefited from a refresher course in packing but will do our best. Also for 3 days we will have to amuse ourselves. We have to consider Foxy, we don't want to leave her in the room & she isn't up to a lot of activities. We will make do & I'm sure that it will all work out. Thursday we will be back in our home & on the road to continue our adventure. Here's hoping all goes as planned from our home in Elkhart because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

#108 To.Make A Short Story Long...

I'm bored! We are still at the second repair shop & still waiting. The rig was inspected & we were given an estimate (you don't want to know) & were told that we would have to be out of the rig for 3 nights. Now you might be asking "why are you still there?". Well they couldn't start the job until Thursday & with the weekend that would have meant 5 nights out of our rig so it was agreed that they will start on Monday & we will have the rig back by Thursday. Oh well, that gave us an opportunity to go back to the first repair shop & have the satellite repair work done. All this time we are camped at a site at the repair shop. Tomorrow morning we head back over there with the rig & will return to the second shop in the afternoon. We will be here over the weekend & bright & early Monday they should start the 3 day job. The only consolation is all this camping at the repair shops is costing us nothing. When you figure camping in this area starts at $30 a night we are saving some money. This will offset the cost of a motel for the 3 nights we can't stay in our own home.

It hasn't been all bad though. We have taken the time to see the areas around Elkhart. We have seen our share of Amish people & their farms. We did go out to eat at an Amish style restaurant. All you can eat family style is not for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach. Throughout the Amish communities there are "Quilt Gardens". These are gardens with flowering plants laid out to form quilt like patterns. The planning & efforts produce amazing results. We also stopped at the American Countryside Farmer's Market which I am sad to say is closing it's doors in September. Hopefully with reorganization they will be able to reopen in the future. The building itself is a study in Amish craftsmanship with all the barn style woodwork. And then there are the Amish just going about their everyday activities. Of course instead of cars & trucks they use horse & buggy, bicycles, or walk. It is a simpler life & they seem happy for the most part, I just don't think it is for me.

I know I have mention that this is the RV capitol of the world so of course this is where the RV Museum & Hall of Fame is. We took a day & checked out RVs from 1916 through today. We learned about the people that started the revolution & followed the evolution from basic tent campers to fully contained motor homes. As much as it has changed it has also remained the same. Just individuals figuring how to take a bedroom, bathroom, & kitchen on the road. The one thing that did take us aback was a 1968 pop-up trailer by Jayco. Here was a museum piece that was almost identical to our first RV which was a 1970 pop-up trailer by Jayco. It brought back memories & amazed us at how far we had come.

Well I am going to get everything ready to move from shop to shop while still in our home in different parts of Elkhart because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Saturday, August 14, 2010

#107 Shop to Shop to Shop....

We are still in Elkhart but have moved 3 miles down the road to another repair shop. Our satellite is working but not correctly. The manufacturer is going to send a replacement so we will have to reschedule to have it installed. Right now we are at the shop that is going to take care of some water damage. Our appointment is Monday morning so we are staying at the repair shop. Again the shop has water & electric sites for us to stay on until they start working & during the repair process. Once this job is done we will try to get back to the last repair shop to finish the work we had planned.

For now we are just sitting here & relaxing. No traveling, no sight seeing, no playing tourist. This week the most we will be doing is passing time & taking care of the dog during the day when the rig is in the shop. It sounds boring & I'm sure it will be but it has to be done. Like I've said before every house needs work from time to time.

So here's to a boring but productive week in our home at a different location in Elkhart IN because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Thursday, August 12, 2010

#106 RV Central

Elkhart IN, the RV capital of the world. RV factories, RVs dealers, RV part warehouses, & of course RV repair shops. Here we are at one of those repair shops to get some work done with 15 - 20 other RV owners. Since we all live in our RVs instead of a parking lot we are all in a large field with water & electric hook-ups. Our respective rigs go into the shop during the day & are returned to us at the end of the day so that we have our home back for the evening. The process goes on as long as it takes & we still have access to our own bed, our own shower, & our own comforts of home.

Right now we are at a repair shop to take care of our satellite system. Yes, the same satellite that has been a pain in the butt over the last month. The manufacturer has put us in touch with a specialist trained in their own factory so all should be taken care of now. Next week we will be at another shop that will take care of a leak & some water damage we have discovered. Again we will be able to live in our rig while it is being worked on. Every home needs work from time to time & this how RVers do it.

In between repair shops we hope to get to the RV Hall of Fame Museum. There are supposed to be examples of RVs from home made models of the 1920s to the "million dollar rock star" motor homes of today. We also will check out the Amish communities & especially the Amish restaurants.

Elkhart is now our home. Where in Elkhart depends on the repair shop we will be staying at. So until the next blog we are as always at home, this time in Elkhart because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

# 105 Rock On!

First, my apologies to any Cleveland Brown fans. When I hear Cleveland Browns I think about the team that skipped town to become the Baltimore Ravens & forget about the new team that more deserves the adoration of the fans.

Anyway, on to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Does it need 4 hours to be seen? HA! We were there almost 5 1/2 hours & skipped at least 2 movies that could have taken another 2 hours to see. The history of Rock & Roll, the memorabilia, & the personal contributions are amazing. Pages & notebooks of hand written lyrics give an insight to the individuals not as Rock Stars but as people. The progression of their personal possessions as they became more famous & the contributions they made to friends, family, community, & the industry allows us to see their personal growth. Some also showed their demons & ultimate downfalls.

All of this in one place makes it a trip to remember. If you are a real fan of Rock & Roll then this has got to be on your bucket list of things to see. If you just happen to be in the Cleveland area & have ever owned a radio in the last 50 years it is worth the visit. Unless you have lived under a rock for the last half century this museum will bring back memories & touch the "singing in the shower" Rock Star in all of us.

Tomorrow we leave for Elkhart IN, the RV capital of the world. We are having some work done on the rig & will enjoy visiting the Amish communities in the area. This is not the time to start a diet. Elkhart will be our home for a couple of weeks. This RV lifestyle allows us to take our home to the repairmen when it needs work instead of waiting for them to show up. And like any home it does need some work from time to time. So this is our last night in our home in Huron OH because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Monday, August 9, 2010

#104 Crossing State Lines Like Crossing The Street

As I mentioned last time we planned on being busy over the weekend & we were. We got everything done & all before it started to rain. It's no fun in the rain! We were both tired & wanted to get to bed early so there was no last blog from Niagara Falls. We are now 250 plus miles down the road in a little place called Huron OH. Yes, Ohio. That means we skipped out of NYS, through Pennsylvania, & a good ways into Ohio. Sometimes state lines just buzz on past like telephone poles. I'm sure that will be less so once we start spending more time out in the western (& larger) states.

This little town of Huron is about an hour west of Cleveland... the home of MLB's Indians, ex-home of the NFL Browns, & more importantly the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Since we are here for a couple of days it is a must see for us. From what we have read & the people we have talked to the museum will take at least 4-6 hours to see. With that in mind & after a long day on the road we are calling it a day. Early to bed & hopefully early to rise will give us time to see it all.

So it is only 9 pm but for me it is goodnight from our home in OH because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Saturday, August 7, 2010

#103 Back In The USA

Well we made our third border crossing this week & I will say again that crossing into Canada is easier than crossing back into the US. The return to the US this time was much easier & less intimidating than the last two except for the guy in front of us. He was taken away by border guards & his car was driven off by another guard. We looked at each other & said nothing but horrible thoughts were running through both of our minds. Our encounter with the border guard was uneventful & we were on our way. We know that we had done nothing wrong but something about the way we were treated was definitely intimidating. What doesn't make sense is most of our Canadian friends tell us that they don't have half the trouble getting into the US that we've had. Go figure?

Friday we went to Lockport NY to take a tour on the Erie Canal. This included going through 2 sets of locks & under 2 lift bridges. I have always been amazed by the concept of lifting boats up & down rivers through a lock system so I was enthralled to actually travel through it in person. Farther on down the canal were a pair of lift bridges. As opposed to draw bridges which split in the middle to allow boat traffic to pass, a lift bridge lifts the bridge's road surface straight up as one piece. When they were built there was so little road traffic that the bridges were left in the up position & only lowered for the occasional vehicle. Now with most transportation done by road & very little on the canal the bridges are kept in the down position. The 2 bridges are about 200 yards apart & operated by one bridge tender so when a boat needs to pass one bridge is raised & lowered let the vessel pass & the tender must drive to the other bridge to repeat the process for the second bridge. The whole process is interesting as well as amusing to watch.

It had been a beautiful day as forecast so the motorcycle ride as well as the canal tour was thoroughly enjoyable but as anyone who follows us knows that when Frank is on the motorcycle it is going to rain. On the way home the skies did not disappoint us. Fortunately we had made a stop when the skies opened and were able to put on our rain gear before we got soaked. It did clear up on the way home but there is still the road spray, & wet is wet no matter where the water comes from.

We are leaving here on Monday so we will spend the weekend getting ready. The truck needs a bath & the trailer is almost as dirty. The bikes could use a cleaning after the rain & need to be loaded. And then there are all the rest of the things that are part of the RV lifestyle. Remember, this is not a vacation, this is our lifestyle & this is our home. I will blog again before we leave our home in Niagara Falls because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

PS Get well Sare

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

#102 One More Chance

Today we went into Niagara Falls Canada. From the Canadian side there is a much better view of the "Horse Shoe" or Canadian Falls as well as different views of the American Falls. So it was over the Rainbow Bridge into Canada. This border crossing is primarily a tourist crossing so we expected it to be a little different from the Lewiston crossing which has a lot of commercial traffic. We were welcomed into Canada with the usual why, where, how long, & questions about weapons. We had a wonderful time taking pictures & staring in awe at the wonder & power of the falls. Mary is posting pics on FB but as we've said before, pictures just don't do it justice. Once we had seen what we came to see & taken the pictures we wanted to take we headed on back to the US side.

Just like the day before there was a back-up coming in to the US. It was the attitude & absurd questions by the border guard that seemed to make the border crossing a pain in the butt. Some queries were expected & acceptable like "are you bringing any purchases back from Canada?, any plants or produce?, how much was spent?". But why did he need to know where we parked our RV in NY, are we going home to FL right away, why don't you have your license plate memorized,& why did you buy a souvenir key chain? As retired postal workers we feel that these government employees are an embarrassment to the rest of us.

Once back in the US we went to the Niagara Falls State Park on Goat Island. I've mentioned that we have been to Niagara Falls before, sometime around 1992. At the time we had done all the tourist things but when we got to the Cave of The Winds, on Goat Island, Mary wasn't able to go. Nothing serious, just something to do with being a parent. So it was just my daughter Rachel & me for that adventure. I had always felt bad about Mary missing the attraction & was determined that if we ever got back to Niagara I would take her. So down to the Cave of the Winds we go.A 175' elevator ride down through solid rock & we come out about 25' above the river clad in raincoats & flip flops. After a few hundred feet of steps & wooden walkways we found ourselves at the base of the Bridal Veil Falls. Inching the last few steps on the "Hurricane Deck" we found ourselves being pelted with sheets of water deflecting off the rocks at the base. This is one of the ways to experience the power of the falls. All that I can say is if you haven't gotten wet then you haven't seen Niagara Falls.

Tomorrow we head back into Canada for the third & last time on this trip. We will see how our reentry into the US goes. I guess it will be either "third time is the charm" or "three strikes & you're out". I am going to sign off now so we can get up early. So goodnight from our home in Niagara falls because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

#101 On To My Second 100

We took a day just to ride to downtown Niagara Falls & get a "lay of the land". We wound up walking around the State Park & taking a couple of hundred photos of the falls. You can check out Mary on FB. We will try to get to the Canadian side later this week.

Today we drove into Canada to visit with a friend. It was about an hour's drive including a 3 minute stop at the border. They checked our IDs, asked if we had any firearms, our reason for visiting, & how long we would be staying. We had a nice visit & took the return trip back to the
"good old US of A". This trip took at least an hour & a half. Now I know that 9/11 happened to the United States but all that I can say is a little paranoia sure goes along way. On the return to the US in addition to all the questions from the Canadian Border they checked under the truck, checked the license plates, wanted to know if we were going home right away(to FL), & checked inside every mini-van that passed through. The back-up at the US border was every bit of 30 minutes or more. It is one thing to feel a little uncomfortable going into a foreign country but to feel worse about coming back home doesn't seem right.

Tomorrow we have to go back & hopefully this next trip will be uneventful. Later this week we are planning to do a tour of the Erie Canal locks & also some of the touristy things around the falls. So until our next adventure goodnight from our home near the falls because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Maniaci

Sunday, August 1, 2010

#100 I Guess I've Got A Lot To Say

100 blogs, wow! I guess I really do have a lot to say. I don't expect to keep up this pace of blogging all the time. There will be times when we are not doing much. I've said it before & I'll say it again. We aren't on vacation, this is our lifestyle. Yes we get to stay in some awesome places & see some amazing things but we still have the hum drum chores of everyday life. Also, who could keep up the pace of a vacation 365 days a year? We are planning some workcamping which may be boring & not blog suitable or we may just stop & stay someplace to relax & do nothing. Again not fodder for a scintillating blog.

Right now we are in Niagara Falls NY. We left Vermont with plans to see some friends on our way out to N Dakota. Our plans are, as always, written in jello so we weren't able to stop & see friends in the upper central part of NY. We do have friends that are in Canada just over the border from Niagara Falls that we needed to see due to personal reasons, & may need to do so several times this week. First things first, needs before wants, we do what we have to do. While we are in Niagara Falls we will try to see some of the things the area has to offer. We heard they have a water fall somewhere around here. Seriously, we have been here before, in 1993, in a pop-up tent camper with 2 kids. It will be interesting do see how things have changed.

The weather is forecast to be nice so the bikes will be our mode of transportation. This is nice because we like to ride & it makes parking much easier than with our big truck.It is already later than I had planned to go to bed so I don't expect an early start tomorrow. So this is my 100th goodnight, but this time our home is Niagara Falls because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary