Thursday, June 25, 2015

Home Again, Jiggity Jig.

Tuesday, June 23rd

Today we got up and going fairly quickly, except Tony was a little too quick and bumped his head on the front compartment door. He managed to cut the top of his head and was bleeding a little. After a little rest and after the bleeding subsided (it wasn't much), we loaded up and hit the road. We made good time again.

On parts of the journey through Missouri and Arkansas, we've seen crop-dusters at work. It's a little unnerving to see a plane that low and then swing out over the highway in front of you!

Note the plane just about to cross over the highway
Crossing the road and turning!

We again had no problems on this leg of the trip. We finally got a warning on the dash indicating the Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) needed filling soon, but it showed the milage to empty and we were fine.

We got home about 4pm, and opted not to try to get Mammoth in the driveway just yet. It was just too hot and humid, and with Tony's head and my ankle, we decided to rest a bit. The kitties seemed to be happy to have more room to roam, but ultimately ended up sleeping on a lap or nearby on the couch, just like in the trailer. Glad they travel so well!

We ate dinner, and were watching TV when there was a knock at the door. It was TORI! Tony's sister was in town, and came by to see us before she heads back to Tyler. We visited about an hour! It was good to see her.

All in all, we had a great trip. It was just over way too fast.

Mammoth will go back to Lake Leon in a few days, to be ready for us to be FULL TIME in a month. Yes, we have a contract on our house to be sold, so we are looking forward to what comes next.

Well, maybe not the decluttering, culling, selling, packing, and moving, but whatever God has in store for us in Eastland County. We did not want to rush to find a new house, so we decided to live full-time in the RV for a little while. The cost of living will be much cheaper! We may ultimately end up back in Cisco, but for now it's back to the lake. :)

4 States Later...

Monday, June 22nd

Today we were a little slower moving. We knew we'd gain an hour this trip, so I think we were just anticipating that. While we were getting ready to go, I stepped funny off the last step of our stairs and twisted my ankle. The bad thing was that I was carrying our backpacks, and could not catch myself. I tumbled to the ground. The tumble did not hurt, but my ankle was screaming. I yelled for Tony to come help me get up. I sat for a bit on the picnic table, and was OK after a while. Nothing damaged, but probably a little sprain. We hit the road by 9am Central Time!

We passed from Indiana, to Illinois, to Missouri, and finally into Arkansas. The trip was fairly uneventful, except that one of the cats started acting strangely right after we left our lunch/rest stop. Tango was acting like he needed to use the restroom, and I was fearful how that would work in their carrier, so we pulled off at the next possible place and I took them back to the trailer for a restroom break. No one had to go, then, OF COURSE! But I noticed there was a little bit of spit-up on their bedding. Maybe someone got a little motion-sick, and I didn't notice. (This new hitch is a little more jerky than our last one, until we can get it adjusted.) Tango probably just didn't like the scent, and was trying to "cover it".

After about a 10 minute stop, we were going, and the boys settled in for a long nap again.

We got to the Delta Ridge RV Park about 5:30pm. We had to pay for our stay at a restaurant right near the entrance to the park, since it was after 5 and we were using a credit card. This was The Ole Sawmill Cafe. Tony came back and said it looked to be a buffet, so we decided to eat there for dinner once we were set up. Good thing, too, because it was extremely hot and muggy -- thus, the rig interior was hot again, so going to eat would give it time to cool down.

We had a pretty good meal of mostly fried food -- but not the frog legs. :-0

After dinner, I worked some more and we relaxed. This park is fairly no-frills, but has nice grass and good spacing between the sites, full hookups, long pull-throughs, and you can't really hear any road noise even though you're not far off of I-40. There are no restrooms/showers, however, so you must be "self contained".

Our site at Delta Ridge RV Park

I just realized that I failed to take Eileen's pic on this trip! Whoops! Well, she has been to all the locations besides this park, so only one missed pic. :(

Tomorrow, it's back to Texas (and the oppressive heat!)

So long, farewell, safe travels!

Sunday, June 21st


Today was the last official day of the Rally. They had a continental breakfast for whomever could attend, and a small devotional service. It was requested we be out of the Fairgrounds by noon, unless we had made arrangements to stay longer. We did not, so we were working to "get gone."

Tony went and grabbed the breakfast "to go", and returned. We ate, and watched many of our neighbors getting ready to go. Since we had done many of the pre-trip tasks last night, we didn't have as much to do to get ready. But we anticipated the fact that many folks want to come by and say goodbye.

Ready to roll from the Fairgrounds

We had a number of them, but did not get to say bye to many of our friends. Luckily, many are our friends on facebook and frequently visit the forum, so we still keep in touch whether we said our goodbyes in person or not.

We managed to be ready to go about 9:35, and headed out. We accidentally followed about 3 other Heartlands as they turned right out of the Fairgrounds, when we should have turned left. We ended up making a large circle, but eventually got going the way we wanted to go. We went back the same way we came, through the countryside, south to Indianapolis, then southwest to Terre Haute, Indiana.

We made decent time, probably because traffic was a little lighter, being Sunday. We got to the Terre Haute KOA about 3:30, got set up, and I did some work. Tony immediately took some clothes to get laundered. While he was waiting on the clothes, we had a good little shower.

Our nice long pull-through site at the Terre Haute KOA

Once he brought the clothes back, he went back to get a Pizza he ordered. Recall, this is where we had pizza on our way TO Goshen. It was very good, again!

Tomorrow, we head to Arkansas. We decided to go a little father so our last leg won't be so long. We head to Delta Ridge RV Park in Forrest City, AR.

More rallying and fixes

Friday, June 19th

Today, Tony headed out early to take care of posters, and attend seminars.

I stayed home to do some work and projects around the rig. One was to replace the lenses on our motion detecting porch light. They had deteriorated due to lack of uv protection in the plastic upon manufacturing, but the creator of the fixture, Star Lites, stood behind the product and sent us new lenses for the asking. :)

I also ran up to a nearby RV salvage, looking for a frame for the door. We purchased half the frame earlier in the week, but realized we really needed both parts. 

I found a frame -- (both pieces and glass) for $5.00!

Tony came home for lunch, then we went to another good seminar on HVAC.  After that we returned home and attempted to replace the frame/window in the door. We got it done, but two screws did not want to attach. Will look into it further when we get home. 

I also attached a new cup holder to the wall by Tony's chair. We've had one on the wall by the couch, that I applied shortly after we got the rig. Finally, we don't have to share. ;)

Soon, it was time for dinner, so we headed over to the Rally hall. Tonight they had smoked chicken, it was really good. Afterwards they did door prize drawings, and we won a nice large spiral-bound Atlas.

After door prizes, the entertainment was a DJ playing 50s-70s music. We didn't stay long. We did our poster duty and headed home, but rode around on bikes and visited here and there. 

Jamie & Ginger, Northeast Regional Directors from Pennsylvania, are our next door neighbors. They have a bunk-model  2015 Elkridge. They got their Lippert Level-Up hydraulic auto-leveling system installed on Friday, so they were demo-ing it for us. It was pretty slick!

Another long and busy day!!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Design, History, Future and Past

Saturday June 20th

Today was "Elkhart Day", where we visit the factory and design center, as well as the RV/MH hall of fame, eat lunch, and get to do a Q&A with the brand managers. 

We had to be in the bus by 8:30, but somehow I got mixed up and thought it was for 8:15. We got there about 8:05, so we waited a while on the bus. At least we were not last, like two years ago!

We opted to go on the design center tour, since we had not done that previously. The tour was not as descriptive as we hoped, but we had donuts and fruit, and filled out a survey of choices based on various display items they had for us, (bedding, flooring, cabinetry, countertops, window treatments, etc.)

Then they gave us a few door prizes and everyone could select a square accent pillow or small tote bag. I won a nice fleece throw, and took a tote bag. (We don't need more pillows!)

We then headed over to the RVMH Hall of Fame. They drove by the new Heartland Service Center, so we could see it. (The other factory tours stopped and got to see inside.)

We walked around the RVMH for a while:

1958 Airstream 'der Kleiner Prinz”




To see more, CLICK HERE to see the museum inventory.

 We then went into the meeting hall for the meal and presentation. For lunch we had brats and burgers, then listened to Coley Brady, Heartland VP of Sales, talk about the growth of HL over the last 10 years, and a few things they have done recently (specifically, the new 15 bay service center.)

They also presented Jim Beletti, the club president, with a plaque for 10 years of service at Heartland. They used the logo on it that I designed for the 10 year anniversary of the rally! 

 Coley Brady presenting Jim Beletti with 10 years of service award.

10th Anniversary Logo, incorporating the Heartland Owners Club emblem.

After Coley's presentation, they took questions and comments from the audience. Most were not blaming, many were positive comments. Much different from 2 years ago when it seemed most people were unhappy and complaining during the Q&A. 

After it was over, we hussled back to the busses since I needed to get back to do some work.

Mid afternoon, I  visited a little with our neighbors, while Tony ran to get fuel and a replacement outside recepticle cover. (We actually could not find one in the RV parts places!). While visiting, I decided to get a decal made like many of our other Texas HOC members. It's a Texas state with the HOC logo. They even installed it on the slideout for us.

Dinner this evening was a wonderful smoked pork chop, and 5 side items. 
We sat with our friends Dan & Ann and had a good time visiting with some others we did not know. After dinner, the entertainment was a Beatles tribute band, called Cavern Beat. They dressed the part, spoke in a British accent, and had the moves down as well, not to mention a good sound and they sang pretty well, too. 

Part of the crowd watching Cavern Beat

We stayed for a bit, but then decided to get home so we could start tear-down for tomorrow's departure. I did the last poster duty, then we headed back to the rig. I stopped and took a few pics to use in the Heartland Highlights newsletter. 

Tony dumped tanks, loaded bikes, and rearranged the basement while I worked on inside stuff. We also said some goodbyes to folks that stopped by as we were outside. 

All-in-all, a very fun time! Most of the Rally went very smoothly. It was over too quick though!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Selling, Sharing, Visiting and Tasting

Thursday, June 18th

This morning, Tony helped out a friend of ours, Jay C, that had offered to buy our old hitch. We brought it to the Rally for them. I cleaned it up and painted it again for them at home, before we left for Indiana. Jay, Tom and Tony got together about 9am and determined that Jay's original bed rails would work just fine with the new hitch, so he did not need the rails that we had brought. That also made the install go much quicker. It was good to go by 10:30.

At 11:15, we had to be at the Rally Hall for a Club Leadership Luncheon. We had boxed sandwiches, fruit, chips and cookies, then engaged in some discussion regarding cost of Membership and the future of the "off year, away" National Rally. Sadly, it is ending after 2016, but Regional Rallies will be ramped up to take its place. Should probably be more fun if you can attend a few Regional Rallies when they are held.

After lunch, we headed back to the rig and I worked for a bit, while Tony rested. At 4:45, we met our friends Dan & Ann for dinner. We picked them up so they could ride in our new truck. We went to eat at a local Chinese buffet. It was pretty good! They had lots of selections. It began to rain cats and dogs while we were in the restaurant, but lightened up as we left. We had to get back for the evening entertainment, which was "on your own" activities. Chapters could have get-togethers at their rigs, and such.

Our friends, Malcolm and Valerie, decided to host a beer-tasting event at their rig. We had dropped off a styrofoam cooler earlier in the day at their place. It was still raining when we got home at 6:30, but by 6:45 it had stopped so we gathered our beer and walked over. (They were not far from our site.)

Just a few of the beverages brought to share.

About 15 folks showed up to supply and taste beer from around the US and Canada. It was a lot of fun! There were many that were not to our liking, but a few we liked. We probably tasted 25 or so beers (using tiny red solo shot cups). One we did like was a green chile lager from Portales, New Mexico. Also, a gentleman from Ohio brought a Great Lakes Dortmunder, which we learned about and enjoyed thanks to a visit with a former coworker, Dale Bryant, while at the Great Lakes Brewery in Cleveland, two years ago.

After a while, a bunch more folks joined the festivities, and it was getting a little bit loud, so we opted to head on home. After sampling the beverages on top of chinese food, I found that I was not feeling all that well... so to be safe I slept more upright, on the couch. (No issues, and no ill effects the next day!)

Other than that, it was a great day of fun. ;)

Learning, Repairing, and Enlightening

Wednesday, June 17th

Today, we got up to take care of posters again, and go to some early morning seminars on Axle, Brake and Bearing Maintenance, Fire Safety, and others. The fire safety included watching a volunteer from the audience use a fire extinguisher on a real fire (outside).

On our way, I stopped by the Heartland Tech Command Post to check on the status of our two repair items. Part of the Rally includes Heartland doing some complimentary maintenance during the time we are here. Our items were to replace the largest slide-out's slide seals, and fix our front door which was out of alignment.  They could not find my paperwork, but figured techs had it and were out in the field... They would call me if we were not home.

Well, as we headed to the 2:15 seminar, I checked back with them to say no one had come by or called me. They immediately took my info and said the next tech in would be sent my way, so I hung back to wait while Tony headed to another seminar on Electrical Systems.

About 15 minutes later, two techs showed up to handle the items. Originally, I wanted all of the living room slide seals replaced, but we settled on them doing the "D" seal that was deteriorated on top and one side. They said the others still looked good. Then they looked at the other slide-out seals, (kitchen and entertainment slides) and replaced two other top "D" seals that needed it.

They also worked on the door, and got it closing much better. No longer do we have to SLAM the door to get it to latch. YAY! Now we can fix the frame around the door window.

Then I asked if they could do another quick favor and replace the cable outlet (we previously purchased) on the exterior of the rig. He had the screw driver and caulk, so I thought he could do it pretty quick! He did the replacement in about 2 minutes! Thanks, Heartland!

After the repairs were done, Tony came home for a bit and then we headed out to the evening event. Dinner, followed by a presentation by Jamie Bianchini, a slideshow with narration about his 8 year journey bicycling around the world and sharing rides on his tandem bike with total strangers. It was pretty amazing! He wrote a book about his experiences, and Heartland has supplied him and his family with a North Trail that he uses to travel the US promoting his book. It was inspiring to see how total strangers took him in, and how he found unique ways to give back to the communities he rode through, along his journey.

Jamie Bianchini, Coley Brady (Heartland VP of Sales) and Mike Creech (Heartland North Trail General Manager)

After the presentation we made poster switches and headed home. A busy day!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Rally Begins, and Running Around

Tuesday, June 16

Today the North American Heartland Owners Club Rally officially began. 

I had to run up to the Marketplace pavilion to put up some posters around 8, so I did that, then came back home. Tony and I then went back to the Marketplace to drop off our "for sale" items. Three items sold quickly, so it gave us a little cash on our pocket. Yay! We looked at the vendor's wares in the Marketplace, then went by the outdoor vendors. There sure are lots of ways to part with your money, but we are enjoying getting to "look". 

At 11, we went to a seminar on water systems, which was very informative.

We returned home and ate lunch, then decided to run to Elkhart for our quest for parts and such. Tony wanted to get the truck's auxiliary fuel system checked at the original supplier, Dually Depot. We also wanted a Teflon pad permanently added to the hitch head.

We went first to Dually Depot, and had the work done there. Then headed to an RV surplus store or two and found 2 of 3 items we were looking for, and reasonably priced.

We stopped also at Walmart, and then again for some fast food before returning to the Fairgrounds. We ran over to the rally hall to make another poster change, then home.

We were not home for long, though, as there was a dessert and coffee meeting at 7pm, to go over agenda and questions about the rally.

After the event we again switched out posters. On the way home, there was a beautiful sunset. I only got a few pics and they didn't do it justice. 

More rain is to come. Meanwhile, in Texas, a tropical storm "Bill" has made landfall and is expected to drop lots more rain on Texas, where they really don't need it, causing more flooding. It may even eventually end up in this part of the country in a few days.

The fairgrounds are getting full of coaches, it's quite a sight to see. Tomorrow there are more interesting seminars as well as dinner and entertainment provided. Door prizes are a big hit, too. Rally On!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Golfing, Prepping, Working, Learning, Visiting

Monday, June 15

Today was the day a number of Heartlanders gathered to play a round of golf here at the Black Squirrel Golf Club, in Goshen.

Tony left with his clubs about 7:30 to join the group. They had staggered Tee-times, and although he had not played in a long time, he said he had fun. They had some rain at the end of their game, but overall it wasn't too bad. He got home about 1:45. 

While he was gone, I completed some work for two customers, got a crockpot of spaghetti going, and then went to the Rally Hall to assist with some of the setup. The HOC President had me make some agenda and thank-you posters, and we'll be switching them out accordingly, each day. We went over the locations, and once we have glue dots, I'll put them up. 

At 3pm, I decided to go to the Winegard Antenna/Satellite seminar, to see what they had to show off. There was also a possibility of winning a Rayzar auto-seeking OTA antenna, valued at $400. I did not win, but learned a lot about their products. 

After the seminar I went and put up the posters (with the recently found glue dots) in the Rally Hall, but will have to do the Marketplace posters in the AM.

After I returned, Tony and I had dinner, and then chilled in the rig for a while. It had been raining off and on all day. About 8 it stopped, so we went for a walk and visited a bit.

Just one row of Heartland Owners' coaches at the Elkhart County 4H Fairgrounds. There are approximately 230 attending.

It started sprinkling again, so we headed back. A fellow Heartlander with a golf cart stopped and gave us a ride. We must have looked like we would melt!

We watched some more TV. Looks like more rain is forecast for the week. We're used to it after what we've seen in Texas the month of May, but folks here are not too happy. Hey, I'm just glad it's not severe, and been mostly light rain!

Though not much on the agenda, we had a full day. Officially, the Rally starts tomorrow.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Eating again, with our Heartland friends

Sunday, June 14

Today we didn't have anything until 3pm, for the Meet-and-Greet at the pavilion. We ran to WalMart in Goshen to pick up a few items and something for the M&G.
We were asked to bring an appetizer and drinks. 

When the three o'clock approached--as with most of these rally things--when we arrive on time, we're late! The area designated for seating was pretty crowded already, so we sat on the side near the food tables. We had a nice breeze, and in the shade, so it was pleasant. They had two long rows of tables full of food, and I'd estimate 75-100 folks were there. 

One of the two food lines.

Just some of the attendees.

We sat with our friends JD and Glenda, from Mansfield, TX. We hadn't seen them in a long tome, and it's kinda funny that we meet up again here in Indiana, when we're only about an hour apart back home!

After visiting a while with a variety of folks, we headed back to the rig and napped again. After dinner, we roamed around and visited folks, looked at the show coaches again, then headed back inside for the evening. Tomorrow, Tony has a golf outing with about 23 other folks. 

Another fun day!

(pics borrowed from fellow Heartlanders' blogs, Kelly Barnett and Malcolm Talley)

Amish Meal with 150 others

Saturday, June 13

Today, our agenda included an Amish meal, that happened to be at the Yoder's home we visited yesterday. This time, we had to get there on our own, so there was a long caravan of trucks headed there. We departed about 12:30, for a 1pm arrival. Just ahead of us in the truck line-up were our friends from Alabama, Malcolm and Valerie... Once we saw the line, we decided to carpool instead, so they jumped in with us.

As the caravan got close to the Yoder's, we had to wait a little as we all got parked. 

Getting seated and ready for the meal.

Kelly Barnett described it best in her blog: "We had a wonderful lunch, Carolyn and her husband Henry own the home and have helpers that come to help them with these meals.  They’re all very welcoming and the food is plentiful and very good.  It’s all served family-style. Today we were served fresh bread (with butter, Amish peanut butter & homemade jams), broccoli & cauliflower salad, chicken, Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, gravy, noodles and mixed vegetables." 

Then there was dessert, of course!  coconut cream pie, cherry pie and peanut butter pie. 

Would you believe they served all 150 of us in an hour? Very efficient! 

After lunch, we decided to stop back at the Rise 'n' Roll bakery again, to pick up some breakfast items, then headed back and dropped the Talleys back at their vehicle. 

We again napped for a bit, then did some more riding around the park on our bikes, visiting and looking at the display coaches. They don't have exact one we want, but it's nice to sit in them and "try them out" without huge crowds like an RV show, or with hovering salespeople like at a dealership. 

Another fun day!

(Some pics borrowed from fellow Heartlanders' blogs, Kelly Barnett and Malcolm Talley)

Amish Countryside Tour

Friday, June 12th
Our first "pre-rally" event, the Amish Countryside Tour, was scheduled for today. We arose and headed out the door at 7:30, to board the bus by 7:45. 
(Thanks to my fellow Heartlander Kelly Barnett for having these great descriptions of the locations, which I borrowed from her blog.)
1st Stop – Rise ‘n Roll bakery, full of fresh baked items and jars of canned fruits and salsas, baking accessories, cookbooks, and similar. They also served fresh breakfast items. As we walked in we got a sample of their cinnamon carmel donut. Oh my, yum! We got a half dozen donuts to eat for breakfast, since we did not eat before the tour.
As we traveled through the country side we passed LOTS of Amish buggies. Our tour guide said it was related to 2 weddings in the area and quite near each other. But we were most likely in 2 different church districts as the entire church district is invited to a wedding so having 2 weddings on the same day would highly unlikely.

2nd Stop – Dutch Country Market.  This little family run business is owned by Norm and his wife Katie. They also make home-made noodles which they sell.  

3rd Stop – Guggisberg Cheese.  We started by going through the line to sample the various cheeses.  We picked up a couple we liked.

4th Stop –  Amish Buggy Shop.  Our Amish host explained that he is about a year and a half behind on his orders and it takes him about 3 weeks to build a buggy from start to finish.  The base price for an Amish buggy is $3200 – $4200 depending on size.  Average price is $6000.  Most expensive he has sold was $9000.  The options are what bring up the cost of the buggies.  Options include:  Brakes, windshield wipers, headlights, turn signals, heaters, hat holders etc.

5th stop – Henry & Caroline Yoder’s Home for lunch.  We were served Amish Hay Stacks. They’re similar to a taco salad and can be served with different toppings.  Today’s toppings were crushed saltines, lettuce, rice, taco meat, green peppers, onions, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, green olives, Doritos and cheese sauce. 
Sounds odd, but it was really good and filling! We were served "family style" so you could select the toppings in amounts you wanted.

After haystacks, we had our choice of three pies for dessert. We sampled a bit of each: blackberry, strawberry and Amish peanut butter pie. We were so stuffed! 
But the tour must go on!

6th Stop –  Camel farm….yep…an Amish camel farm!  The owner, Dallas, wanted a way to make money but still be able to stay home with his family so 4 years ago he ventured into the camel business. He has 16 camels only 1 of which is a male.  He currently only milks 1 of the females and she is only 1 of 30 or 40 in the entire US being milked.  The milk is supposed to have beneficial properties…especially for those with autism.  He sells his milk to a company in California for $8 a pint and it can sell for $40 a gallon!  He uses the milk to make soap, which is supposed to be great for the skin. I bought a couple bars.

Tony & one of the camels

7th Stop –  E&S Bulk Sales.  Quite the place to pick up food items in bulk. There were quite a few Amish families shopping here as well.
8th Stop –  Yoder Popcorn.  Popcorn is a traditional Amish snack and often shared with guests. As we walked in, they gave us a sample bag of popcorn. It was very good!
Once we returned home, we crashed for a while... Both of us napped a good bit. After we were up we had a quickie meal using the salsa flavored cheese we bought to make nachos, then we roamed around the fairgrounds and visited a bit, till it got dark. 
Wow, what a neat and action packed day!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Heartland Family Reunion

Thursday, June 11

We pulled out of Terre Haute KOA about 10 again, and headed for Goshen. We hit some construction north of Indianapolis, but luckily traffic was not too bad and folks were truly observing the posted construction speed limits, so there was no congestion. We stopped for lunch around Peru, Indiana, then made our way to Goshen. Since most of this drive was below 50mph, it took longer. We got to Goahen about 2:45. We did our rig weighing, then headed to our site and dropped the trailer, then went back to get truck weighed.

Our weights are all good! With the new truck we have much more margin between the max weights and what we currently tow. Lots of room for the next rig, too. ;)

Our site at the Elkhart County 4H Fairgrounds

Once set up a little better, we walked around and visitors with folks until nearly 8:30! Finally, we dragged ourselves away to eat some dinner, and then we visited a bit more before finally stopping for the night. It doesn't get dark until 10 here, so it's easy for time to slip away. But it's so good to visit with folks, many we haven't seen in 1-2 years! 

Second leg

Wednesday, June 10

Our next leg of the trip was from Marion, AR to Terre Haute, Indiana. This would take us up through part of Missouri and through illinois, into Indiana. We pulled out about 10.

Tony had been posting some of our trip plans on Facebook, and one of his former coworkers happened to see it. They now live in Mount Vernon, Illinois, which happened to be on our route. We agreed to stop at a truck stop, to visit for a few minutes. It was great to see the Roodes and get to catch up for a little bit. 

While Tony was meeting up with them, I stayed in the truck with the cats. While I was waiting for them to come back, a chime went off, and when I looked over, the fuel gauge was acting strangely. It seemed to work itself out once we got back on the road. Don't know exactly what happened, but we'll keep it in mind.

The rest of the trip went just fine, and we made it to Terre Haute about 6:30. We got set up pretty quickly again, since we were not going to unhitch.  We were pretty hungry, and this KOA has a cafe. So Tony went over and ordered a pizza to go.  Man, that is the best pizza after long day of towing! 

After we ate, we walked around the park. This is a pretty park with lots of trees shading most of it. We saw a couple sitting outside with their cat on a long leash. We stopped and visited with them a while. Turns out they are building a home in Crossville, at the same RV community where our Heartland Owners Club President lives in Crossville, Tennessee. Small world!

After we returned and watched a little TV, I had some work to do, so I worked for a while and Tony went to bed. 

Tomorrow, Goshen!

On the Road Again

Tuesday, June 9

It was a whirlwind two days to prep for our trip... Doing wash, getting fuel, mow & weedeat the lawn, unloading and reloading basement,clothes and pantry, defrosting fridge, touching up some caulking, etc. 

Ready to roll

Tuesday AM, we had to rush just a bit to get the rig pulled out of the driveway, as I recalled the neighbor telling me his yard guys were coming this morning, and they tend to block part of the curb. 

We pulled away just before 10am. We made good time and got to Marion, Arkansas at about 6pm. The truck pulled great, and no problems fueling as we went with the big tank. This truck has a little larger regular tank, so we can go a little further before needing to fuel. 

On the road again!

Rest stop

We stayed at the Memphis KOA. 

We had reservations, and we had picked a 30amp pull through to save money and also be able to stay hooked up to the trailer overnight. (Their 50amp sites are a little too short to stay hooked up.) that meant we could only use 1 AC. It was a little warm, but we managed ok. The cats also joined us, they needed to cool off, too! We got some cloudcover as we set up, which really helped.

Tango lays right under the AC vent that dumps cold air straight down.

Tony made some quick sandwiches and we ate in the bedroom, since that AC cools the space faster than the main one.

We surfed via our phones, and hit the hay pretty early since the first day of driving is always the hardest. 

It was a long day, but it's good to be traveling again with the Mammoth.

Moving "home"

Saturday, June 6th

Today we packed up to head home to Terrell from Cisco. We made a slight adjustment to the hitch so the trailer would ride more level, and we also pulled the trailer over to the school so Tony could check the brakes and practice turning and backing with the new truck. 

Once on the road, we stopped once to check the torque on the lug nuts, and then for lunch. We also stopped at a Blue Beacon, but they were too busy. We ended up stopping at another Blie Beacon, and Tony got truck & trailer washed. Much better!

I noticed while following him that a tail-light was not working properly. Well, we'll have to check that out at home. 

We got home and just parked on the street for a bit, and rested. I think we both crashed for a little nap. 

Later, we worked to get the trailer into the driveway. It took a few more tries, but we got it in! We then started some unloading of things like laundry and such.

We will need to remove a lot of stuff we used to "live" in the Mammoth, but don't need with us to "vacation" in the Mammoth.

A few things we'll have to deal with:

Our door window frame needs to be replaced, the glass is "not secure" inside of it. 

The cable outside connection cap and the cover over an outside plug are missing. They blew off or came off when we had Mammoth washed.

We'll see if we can get those things from an RV place up there in Indiana. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

New Tugger for Mammoth

Saturday, May 30

First, let me fill you in on Mammoth's recent adventures.

Due to unprecedented stormy conditions over Eastland County the month of May, on a few occasions we had to leave Mammoth for a safer location. 

May 9th, there was a severe-warned storm heading for the area, with hail and high winds. We opted to move further south to avoid any potential damage to our cars, leaving Mammoth in place and praying for the best.

The storm went tornado-warned just south of Cisco, where Tony teaches, and then took aim toward Lake Leon. From a safe distance in DeLeon, TX we watched our radar and observed storm chasers via the Internet, as the storm moved closer. There was a confirmed tornado in this storm, but luckily it went south of the RV Park where Mammoth was and did not cause too much extensive damage, though a few homes were destroyed and one loss of life.

Once the storm was over, we headed back and received some hail, nothing too bad, but the rain kept coming.

A few days later, more storms repeated a similar pattern, with heavy rain and tornadic activity. The lake was already up to full and a little more. With even more rain, the park began to flood. May 26, we awoke to find some RV sites under water, and some park roads covered and impassible. Even though we were on higher ground, the run-off was expected to raise lake levels even more. We opted to move Mammoth before we could not get out of the park due to high water.

Fording the water at the entrance to the park. That grove of trees behind the "Do not Enter" sign should be on land!

We took Mammoth to a "new" RV Park, in Cisco. This park was not open when We first started looking. It was old, overgrown and for sale. Someone recently bought it and has started some improvements to the sewer and electric.

We picked an open site and set up. The Cisco water tower, just off I-20, is visible from the park. 

A few days after this we were going to get the truck looked at before we headed  out for our next big RV trip to Goshen Indiana, for the 10-year Anniversary of the North American Heartland Owners Rally.

We ended up deciding that instead of investing in more (costly) maintenance on the 11-year-old truck, it was time to look at something newer and more reliable.

We began researching and determined a suitable option was available in LaMesa, Tx about 3 hours away. We also had backup options in Abilene, Rockwall and McKinney, in case. 

We headed out on May 30 to "just look", and ended up making a deal on the truck. It's a 2013 GMC 3500, dually, 4x4. Exactly what we need to pull Mammoth and whatever might come next.

We ended up driving the new truck and our suv home, back to Cisco, and the dealership said they would pick up our old truck. 

Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were spent switching over the fuel tank, towing wiring, and removing the hitch, then getting the old truck cleaned up. She looked better than new once we had her detailed! 
Saying goodbye!

The day they came to get her, Tony was at work. He had planned to be home when they came, but they arrived earlier than expected. Goodbye, our sweet first 5ver tow-rig, I hope you find a good home. 

The next few days were spent getting new bearings on the Mammoth installed on all 4 wheels, and adjusting the new hitch to the right height. The new truck had a B&W turnover gooseneck ball hitch, so we added the "B&W Companion 5th Wheel Hitch" to it to haul Mammoth. 

We head home to Terrell, then on to Goshen, IN!