Monday, June 12, 2017

Golf Outing, Poster Patrol, Rise n' Roll and Meet n Greet

Monday, June 12

Today, Tony joined the Heartlanders to go golfing. About 20 went to Black Squirrel Golf Club. While Tony was doing that, I worked to gather items going on the "Owner-to-Owner Sale Table", and getting all of the Agenda, Seminar, Marketplace, Region Event, and Sponsor Posters up where they go and prepped for the following days. Our job is to make sure they get changed out properly every day during the rally. (putting up and/or changing nearly forty 24x36 posters, over the course of 6 days.)

I also have a table in the Marketplace building for my Hairball Creative Business, and I'm selling easy custom designed (template) "Travel Cards".  So I was setting that display up, as well.

I was also able to visit with the Heartland Customer Service Manager about some of our concerns about the rig we had during our warranty period that have not been addressed. Nothing major--stuff that we didn't feel was worth hauling to a dealer or having a tech out -- when it could be normal. He said they would be sure to look at them while we were here. I was told they would by the Service Rep I'd emailed earlier, but it was nice to hear from the head guy, himself.

After doing all that work for the Rally in the morning, I came home and had lunch. Not too much later, Tony came home and ate, as well. He said they had a really good time golfing. He took a shower and took a nap, while I did some more Hairball work.

After he got up, we decided to head to Rise n'Roll.  We encountered this amazing bakery 2 years ago at the Pre Rally, and have been craving it ever since. Finally, we were able to get away and go!

They have a new treat, Ice cream-stuffed donuts! Wow, they were really good. We also picked up a dozen of their famous Cinnamon Caramel donuts and brought them back.

After we returned, we joined the in-progress Chili Dog Meet-and-Greet, which was "bring your own" chair and drinks, food supplied. We had a good visit with various folks. After dinner, we headed back to the rig and collapsed. The day got hot and toasty, and that seemed to drain both of us in our endeavors. It was another great, busy pre-rally day!

Where the Bison Roam and Poster Procurement

Sunday, June 11

Today on the schedule was a tour of Cook's Bison Ranch. We again joined our friends, Dan and Ann to take this excursion, and followed the caravan out to the Ranch. It took about an hour, through many country roads through lots of Amish farmland. It was quite unique to get there. Tony drove, and we had a nice visit out and back with our friends.

The Tour started with some education about the ranch and the bison. After that, we boarded trailers with seats - or in our case, pallets, towed by tractors, out into the field where the Buffalo are grazing. They mentioned they had close to 100 head (including 40 calves) there on the ranch.

We got to spend 20 minutes or more watching the Bison. Many came up to the trailers, and we had pellets of food we could offer to them. They said their heads weigh over 100lbs so to be very careful when feeding them, they can hurt you by accident just with a turn of their head. I fed one and ended up with Bison slobber all over my hand. They tend to extend their tongue to grab the food, which is quite messy!

After visiting the herd, we headed back inside, where they had prepared a meal for us. We had roasted bison BBQ (and pork as well if you wanted 2 types of meat), plus coleslaw, beans, cornbread, and a brownie. They really loaded the plates! It was a good meal.

After eating they had a trivia contest, and then we could mill around the gift shop as well. I got a shirt, and then we headed back to the Rally.

It was a great time and unique experience!

After our return, we stopped over to the display coaches, brought in by the factory and Tiara RV, our Gold Sponsor. We went through a few, but Tony had to get back to the rig to do some work. Not long after we got back, I got a call from the club president regarding the posters. He was having a hard time getting them printed, and asked if I could run over to Staples and handle it. So, I jumped in the truck and headed over there. It took a while to get them done, but I did a little shopping for some misc parts we needed at Lowes, which was nearby.

After I returned with dinner as well, we ate, then did some bike-riding around and visiting.

Another fun and packed pre-rally day!

An Amazing Amish Meal with our Heartland Family!

Saturday, June 10th

Today, we were scheduled to go to an Amish house for lunch.Before we headed over there, we ran to Aldi for some groceries. It was our first time in one, and we felt out of place, because very few items are recognizable brands. There were also a number of Amish families shopping there as well, and they seemed to know exactly what they were getting! The loaded their baskets pretty full, pretty quickly, while we hemmed and hawed over what to get.

Just before 11:45, we joined our friends, Dan and Ann, to go to The Carriage House.  The drive was pleasant, and we enjoyed the conversation, catching up with them and their lives in Colorado. We had planned to visit them last year at Christmas, but weather thwarted our plans.

The dinner is served "family style" with bread, salad, potatoes, tuna casserole, chicken, meatloaf, green beans, and noodles, all sent down each long table. You take your portion and pass it down. Many of the items were sent multiple times, so it was easy to get a second helping. We also chose a dessert from a variety of pies, and also homemade ice cream and caramel sauce.

We were quite stuffed by meal's end!

We returned to the Rally, and ended up taking a nap for a bit during the afternoon. After a light dinner, we went out and visited some. I also worked on Rally Posters for the president of the Owners Club.

Beginning of the Pre-Rally Excursions

Thursday, June 8th

Today, Tony again had his RV maintenance class, and I worked during the day. In the evening, we rode our bikes around the park and visited with a few folks, then Tony worked on the sewer hose set up, and I cleaned the front cap of the rig so it wouldn't look so buggy.

Friday, June 9th

Today, we had to get up and get moving fast- we had to be at the bus at 7:45am, for our Pre-Rally tour of SouthBend, IN. This included a walking tour of Notre Dame University, lunch at Tippecanoe Place Restaurant, and a tour of the Oliver House plus the National Studebaker Museum. It was a packed day, but we got to see lots of unique stuff.

We got some rain as we first got there, which put us a little behind from the get-go. The walking tour of Notre Dame was led by a freshman. She was great, she had been well-versed in the history and details of what we saw on the tour. We must have walked a few miles, though! The campus is huge, (1250 acres,) and even has its very own U.S. post office.

We saw the main building and its Golden Dome, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, the Hesberg Library, The Notre Dame Stadium, Grotto of our Lady of Lourdes, and the Arch connecting Eck and Biolchini Halls, where the Notre Dame Band marches through to the stadium. We also got to spend time in the campus bookstore, which is huge as well.

Old College

Notre Dame Stadium

After lunch, we went to eat lunch at the Tippecanoe Place Restaurant. In 1884, Clem Studebaker, President of Studebaker Corporation ( Largest Wagon Manufacturer in the World) “begins to feel he ought to have a larger house and one more nearly corresponding in its character with the position he had obtained in the affairs of the world.” The site of his mansion would be at the corner of West Washington and Taylor St, just west of Downtown South Bend on 3 plus acres of land. The house would be built on a bluff, which ran diagonally through 2.65 Acres of grounds, and the carriage house and conservatories would be dedicated to the additional acre in the back.

Throughout 1885, Clem trekked to Chicago on multiple occasions to interview architects, study plans, research materials, and visit some of the grand estates in the City. After much deliberation, Clem chose Henry Ives Cobb, one of the best known architects in Chicago, to work with him on “mapping out” all the details of the home. Cobb’s work was influenced by “Richardson Romanesque” design which was distinguishable with its fortress like stone walls, complex roof line, low arches, rising towers, and gabled dormers. The home was nearing completion towards the later part of 1888, and the next few months were dedicated to final landscape work and interior furnishing installation. In February of 1889, the Studebaker family finally took possession of their new home.

Tippecanoe Place has approximately forty rooms, with twenty uniquely different fireplaces, and close to 24,000 Sq. Ft. of living space on four floors. The interior of the home emphasizes high quality wood work throughout with expert carving skills. The total cost of construction was estimated at $250,000, with an additional $100,000 dedicated to furnishings and art collection. To put this actual cost into perspective, the typical monthly rental for a good house in South Bend was $12 in 1880. In October of 1889, just eight months after final construction, disaster struck as the house was severely damaged by fire. The entire top of the house was burned off, leaving only the stone facing walls unharmed. Since the structure was thought to be basically fireproof, vary little insurance was carried by the Studebakers. Within a year, the house was completely rebuilt at an additional cost of close to $100,000. After its completion, the South Bend Times and Tribune wrote “The house, in its proportions and appointments probably surpasses anything in Indiana.

Today, the restaurant indulges clientele in grand cuisine and noble wine - all within an atmosphere of unparalleled ambiance at the heart of the South Bend business and catering scene. We had a very good meal and fellowship with other Heartlanders during this time!

After lunch, we headed over to the Joseph D. Oliver House and National Studebaker Museum, both located on the same block. The house tour was guided with very knowledgeable docents, but the car museum was self-guided. Both the house and museum were amazing in their own ways. The furnishings on all three floors of the Oliver House are original, giving us a glimpse of how the mansion appeared during the 72 years the Oliver family had occupancy. We only saw the first floor due to time, but it was quite amazing.

The Studebaker Museum also had 3 floors, but we only saw 2 of them, again due to time. I was really amazed at what pristine shape all of the display wagons and autos were in.

Both these places we could have spent more time, but we were on a schedule to return to the Rally by 4:30pm.

We were extremely tired after today, but very glad we went.

Apparently, we got just enough rain to make the truck look bad again! ARGH!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Same stuff, different day!

Wednesday, June 7th

Today, Tony headed out to his class, and I went to work again. Tony came home at lunch.

Luckily, one of my big projects wrapped up today, so the afternoon, I worked on cleaning up the truck a little from her mud-bath. While I worked on the truck, Lisa Brown came by and wanted to take some pics. She also got to meet our cats. She is one of the Heartland Bloggers, and they have two cats of their own -- two girls. Lisa showed Mambo a picture of Kandi, but he was not all that impressed. I thought she was a hottie! She is much "bigger" than him, maybe that was a turnoff (she's a Maine Coon). LOL!

Our friends Andy and Joanna arrived today from Lake Charles, Louisiana. They did that drive in two days! Crazy! But, they both still work, so we totally understand. You do that so you have more time to play on your limited time off.

For dinner, we headed to the Chinese Buffet. We were both hungry and wanted instant food. It is a good buffet, one of the better ones we've been to.

After dinner, we decided to stay in, rather than go visit. We've been going non-stop since we left Texas. We watched a little TV, and I fell asleep watching.Tony hit the hay early. I decided to catch up on the blog.  I will try to be better!

Learnin' and Workin'

Tuesday, June 6th

Today, Tony got up and headed to his RV Tech class, and I worked to get the rig ready for carpet cleaning at 9am. Josh from Tyson's Carpet Cleaning arrived on time, and said ours didn't look too bad. He went right to work. I had the cats in their carrier, so I could take them out and put them in the truck (with all windows down) so they would not be freaked out by the process, or in the way.

Josh working on the carpet.

Tony learning about RV maintenance from Terry Cooper.

He worked about an hour and 15 minutes to complete the pretreat, clean, vac and apply stain resistant product.

Afterwards, I let the cats out but they stayed on furniture, mostly -- I took my computer outside and worked at the picnic table. Tony came home for lunch, and then back to class. I worked all day.

At dinnertime, he was home again, and we had a quick dinner. I went back to work, while he visited some. I also went on a quick ride around the park, and visited some folks as well.

It's great to see folks we haven't seen in 2 years! and then some we haven't seen in a few months. It truly is like a family reunion.

Terre Haute to Goshen, IN

Monday, June 5th

Today we got going a little later, because we had to dump tanks. We were in the process of hitching up when we saw Mike and Peg headed towards the exit. They pulled out about 15 minutes before us.

We hit the road about 9am. We made good time to Indianapolis, and then North to Peru. Hwy 31 had all been under construction every time we had gone though -- and now it was done! It was very nice.

We stopped in Peru to eat lunch, then figured out our route to Goshen. There was construction in Goshen they recommended we avoid, so we worked to get our route planned out. I thought I had it figured out, but as thing unfolded, no I did not!

We turned onto a road that would take us east before the GPS's recommended route. The GPS immediately began barking about the ROAD WAS CLOSED ON OUR ROUTE! We looked it over on the phone, and no, there was slow traffic due to construction, but it was not closed. We continued on.

We took the route I thought would take us right by the fairground, only to realize the fairground was on 34, we were 33! Argh. Tony was not happy, and neither was I. But luckily the construction was not as bad as they said, and we were able to get to the Fairgrounds easily through Goshen.

We arrived about 2pm, and got our rig weighed. They had just sprayed the gravel road with water to ease the dust, but this just created MUD that ended up on our truck and trailer as we traveled through the grounds. Boo! It looks worse than before I cleaned it in Texas!

All set up!

We were luckily able to pull-in to our site rather than back-in, since we are here a week earlier than usual. Why are we early? Well, Tony decided to take a 3-day RV Tech class, put on by Terry Cooper, the Texas RV Professor. It will be June 6-8.

After our quick setup, I did some work and then we headed out to The Blue Gate Restaurant and Bakery, in Shipshewana. Jim B, the president of the Heartland Owners Club, was hosting a "thank-you dinner" for those that help him put on the rally in various capacities. (I do all the rally graphics and rally printed product coordination.)

Dinner, courtesy of Jim B!

We had a great meal, then headed back to the rig to set up more and do a little visiting. I also worked for a good while.

Whew! What a trip to get here. But luckily, no drama or issues.

Springfield, MO to Terre Haute, IN

Sunday, June 4th

Today we headed out about 8:30, a little sooner than the day before. We had an uneventful, yet long trip to Terre Haute KOA. The exit for the campground had been under construction last time we were here 2 years ago, but this time it was nearly complete. The bad part was that it was no longer easy to get to the entrance, and we had to go another .3 mile down the road to exit and come back to the campground. They are also using "round-abouts" at the junctions, and these tend to be more hazardous for a long rig like ours. You have to be careful of the trailing end not crossing into oncoming traffic or hitting curbs.

We made it to Terre Haute about 4:15 pm Eastern.  We had a change of plans to go ahead and get our rig weighing done before the rally instead of after, so we decided to dump our tanks there at the KOA. I had to change sites to a full hookup, but that was not a problem -- except we were too long to stay hooked up in the site! OH well, we needed to get fuel as well, so we unhooked and decided to go into Terre Haute for fuel, DEF, and dinner.

Our site -- not much room for the truck.

As we were leaving the park, we saw a familiar sight... Mike and Peg were staying there, too! Originally they told us they were going to stop in Casey, but decided 40 more miles wouldn't hurt. So we meet again! (Peg was not feeling well, so we didn't visit long.)

We headed out for dinner, and after some miscommunication with the fuel card we were trying to use, (no stations near us that took it had diesel),  we headed for Cheddar's.  We happened to have a gift card we got a few years ago.  We arrived, and the wait was going to be about 20-30 minutes. It was very crowded, due to three graduations going on that evening.  We decided to sit in the bar area, and got seated and served immediately. We had Monte Cristo sandwiches, which reminded us of our childhood when we'd get them at Bennigan's. We're not near a Cheddar's anymore, so we rarely get this treat.

A Monte Cristo Sandwich!

We then got fuel elsewhere and Tony ran into WalMart for DEF and a few other things.

Once we got back to the rig, I worked, while Tony put the DEF in the truck. We head to Goshen tomorrow.

OKC to Springfield, MO

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017

Today we got up and got going quickly, and were on the road about 8:45, an hour earlier than the day before. The roads to Springfield, MO were a little rough in Oklahoma, but got better as we got closer.

We stopped at the big McDonald's restaurant that spans over the Will Rogers Turnpike. Tony got us food and took pics, while I stayed in the rig with kitties and took care of some work things.

See the Mammoth in the top left corner behind the white RV... (not so mammoth, in comparison to the Semi's!)

View over the highway

Line to order!

We made it to the Springfield KOA about 2pm, and got set up. Shortly after we were relaxing in the rig trying to cool off from the set-up, the power went out. We headed out to the EMS, and it was reading E2, which is Open Ground. That's not good. Also it was reading one leg at 108 v, and one at 114v. They should not be that different. So we called the office and they sent someone out. He used a meter to determine that they needed to replace the plug. Sure enough, also some loose wires involved. Thank you Progressive Industries EMS, for saving us from power issues! After about 15 minutes, we were up and running again with 120v power on both legs.

The office in Springfield KOA

Our site

Eileen at Springfield KOA

I did some more work, and Tony enjoyed relaxing a bit. We again stayed hooked up, so we'd be ready to go early.