Sunday, August 12, 2018

Made in the Shade

Saturday, July 14th, 2018

After much back and forth with Heartland regarding the AC system and lack of cooling the ductwork produces, Heartland agreed to help us with a possible solution.

I did some research on the Heartland Owners Forum and elsewhere about how window -tinting could help reduce the heat transfer through the windows. I felt this might be a possible solution to the lack of efficient cooling. I had decided on a certain brand of tint, based on the success of others. So I contacted installers nearby to get quotes. I only got one quote response, but it was from the owner of Abilene Window Tinting, Chris Evenson, and Chris was great! He answered a variety of questions and concerns over the course of a week or so. He explained they have done RVs before, and that they had a facility to easily work on our rig. He also gave us 2 additional options that would increase the heat resistance.

After conversations with Heartland for almost a month, we both agreed the best option was to get the window tinting done.  After more research, Tony and I opted for the "upgrade" Chris recommended, to a better, ceramic-based film, that had better ratings.

Saturday morning we got up extra-early and took the cats to a location they could stay during the day. We then towed our rig to their shop on the south side of Abilene for a 9am appointment, and sure enough, he had a large bay for us to pull into.

Photo from their website.

The entire rig and truck fit inside, no problem! However, to open the slides fully, we had to pull the coach up a little father. We unhitched so we could use the truck to leave if we needed, and they could close the bay doors while they worked. The space was air-conditioned, so it was a great space for getting the job done, especially when the temps were already getting into the 100s regularly!

Chris and his wife Megan were there to take on the job, and they were very nice and detailed about everything. They helped us confirm the film choice and even let us add the tint to the front window, as well, with a lighter tint.

They hooked us up with electricity as well (120v plug) so our fridge and electric outlets could work during the process. We decided to hang out in the lounge area for a bit, just in case they had any questions or concerns.

When it was getting about lunchtime, we headed out to find some food and run a few errands. When we returned, they were about 2/3 finished, so we settled into the lounge again. (I had some work to do, but they also had a TV on, and free wifi!) Normally they aren't open on Saturdays, so we were the only customer and they could focus exclusively on us. They had estimated about 4pm for a completion time.

Here's the film we went with, XPEL PRIME XR BLACK 5, the bottom sample.

Here's some pics of the process, that they took:

We fit with room to spare!

43' RV fits! Seen from above.

Here's Chris getting started with the first window.

Tinted dining room windows.

Tinted living room windows.

More living room windows (brighter lights outside, so they don't look as dark.)
Getting ready to hitch up.

RV pulled-through the bay, ready to go.

Chris and Megan finished up around 3:30. They did a phenomenal job! We then put things back for travel, closed up the slides, paid, and hitched up. By 4:30 we were out the door! Luckily a little rain shower had cooled the temps outside. We then picked up the cats and headed home, set up and enjoyed the rain-cooled temps.

Over the next few weeks, we got to experience some pretty hot temps! We were worried the tint would be too dark, but it really isn't noticeable as darker except in the early morning and later evening, where it may seem a little darker than expected. During the sunny day, it's just like wearing sunglasses.

Here's a pic looking out the window. You can see Tony's maroon truck and an orange traffic cone, for color reference. (sorry the window is dirty on the outside!)

We have experienced some cooling change with the tint, especially in the 95-100 degree range. Before, the rig would start to get uncomfortably warm at these temps, now it really has to be over 102 before we notice.

We did add some exterior window shade screen to our living room window and dining room window... I bought this before the tinting... to aid in the 100+ temps, and that has helped as well. However, it will have to be removed each time we travel. This window screen is called Suntex 80/90. We went with "Stucco" color, which has a variegated texture with lighter tones the same color as our rig.

Overall, I think the window-tinting was worth the money. It's a passive solution that didn't add significant weight, doesn't cost anything to use, doesn't have to be stored when not in use, and doesn't require any modification to the rig to operate. It changed the view very little. I did notice it's a little darker inside when there's a cloudy day, but that is OK for us.

If I had more money to spend, I could see going up to their next tint product, XPEL PRIME XR PLUS, which supposedly reduces the heat transfer even more.

I highly recommend Abilene Window Tint, if you're interested in this option! Give them a call or email, and Chris will take good care of you!

Going back in time....

July 1, 2018

I failed to put this on the blog eariler! Today we decided to entirely remove all four shocks, based on a recommendation from MorRyde. Since Tony had such issues with the suspension (see A trip to the Factory), we discussed with MorRyde again why we were having problems. They seem to think it's the shocks inhibiting the travel of the suspension, so we removed them. Two were shot, and two were OK, but the bushings were badly damaged. Hope this works!

Wednesday, July 4th, 2018

We decided to help our coach with a little bit more stability, adding a BAL 30" Telescopic Stabilizer Jack to the rear of the coach. This is very well made stabilizer, much more heavy duty than the Lippert stabilizer we had on our previous coach.

So since I had July 4th off, Tony and I worked to install them.

Here's the jack system, prior to install. They are manually raised and lowered.  They are "telescopic" to fit a variety of trailer widths. To install, you simply position, cut the coroplast to expose the frame, drill holes and screw through the frame, then add screws that secure the cross-bracing's overlap in place.

The jacks did not come with these rounded feet, we had to buy them separately and add them, also made by BAL.

Tony drilling holes into the frame.

As with nearly every RV project, we found that the job wasn't as easy as it seemed.  After drilling into the frame with the recommended bit size, the first screw didn't want to go in easily, and took a long time. The second one ended up at a slight angle, and got stuck -- which then caused it to break the head off the screw. When trying to remove the first screw, it too snapped off. So we had to make a trip to the hardware store, for something to drill out the broken screws, make the holes bigger, and add new bolts with locking nuts. When Tony returned, he managed to drill out the old screws, and get that side secured properly. But the other side, he had to drill into the frame again, and by then, we had used up all the battery power on the heavy duty drill, so we couldn't complete the install. Tony ended up finishing the job the next morning.

I think they help!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Texas Heart, German Soul

Friday, July 6th, 2018

A few weeks ago, we decided to take advantage of one of the last free weekends Tony had before band camp starts, and go see an area of Texas we've never been to. One fairly close to us, but never convenient before, when we lived east of Dallas. 

We booked reservations at The Vinyards of Fredricksburg RV Park, formerly known as Quiet Creek. We had the rig ready to go the night before, and Tony finished up the last minute things prior to me getting home. We decided to eat before we left, so he had dinner ready when I walked in. I left work at 5 and we were on the road by 5:45!

We stopped in Brownwood for a quick rest stop, and then continued on. Showers were predicted all along our travel route, but we managed to dodge them. They seemed to be moving east to west and quicker than we were moving North to South. We drove through a few areas that had lots of rain recently, and that made the temperatures much more bearable. 

Brief stop

Storms nearby

Storm ahead!

We drove through some brief showers, but nothing too bad. The terrain was hilly, and interesting to look at. Not a lot of civilization along the route from Brady to Mason to Fredericksburg along Hwy 87, but we did see deer along the highway! at least 4 different places I saw a deer. Luckily they were busy eating, not deciding to run!

We arrived at the RV park about 8:45, and found our site fairly easily. As we were setting up, it began to rain lightly, so we did the best we could and went inside.

Our site 71

After we had the inside set up, we collapsed and surfed our phones, because we knew we'd be heading to bed soon. We collaborated on plans for the next too days, and then hit the hay!

Saturday, July 7th, 2018

Today, we got up and had breakfast, and then after getting a little bit of a late start, decided to do some driving around town. We explored (in the truck) down Main Street, where the historic district is located. Then we decided to find Opa's Smoked Meats, as we really liked their sausage and it had been recommended to eat there in their deli.  

We found Opa's and went inside. We were surprised that it really was more like a deli counter, not a restaurant, but you could order sandwiches and such, so we did and took it to eat in the truck. It was good food! Just not what we were expecting.

After Opa's we decided to find some parking and walk up and down Main Street for a while. I took my umbrella, because a little storm was threatening... I am glad, we had to park a block away, and it started raining on us!

We ducked into a store and shopped a bit while the little shower dumped for about 10 minutes. The really good thing is that the cloudcover really helped keep the temperatures down until later in the afternoon, perfect for walking around outside!

Rain helped cool things off!

We stopped in numerous shops and wineries, oooh-ing and ahhh-ing over this and that. We didn't sample any wines, but we did sample some salsas and other dips and sauces at Rustlin' Robs Texas Gourmet Foods! We found quite a few we would like if we were not watching our carbs and sugars! We also enjoyed looking in the Amish Furniture & Market,  and Der Kuchen Laden, in a former hospital building, full of everything related to the kitchen; small, cozy rooms packed floor to ceiling with everything from cookie cutters to small appliances. We even saw some Polish pottery, that my Mom would love!

Polish pottery, my mom's favorite

About 2:45pm, we were getting tired, the crowds were getting too much, and the heat and humidity was rising, so we headed back to the rig for a bit. 

From the office, you can see the many sites here, and the vineyard they are starting!

After taking it easy for a little while, we opted to hit the road up to Llano, Tx to go to Cooper's BBQ. They are ranked one of the top in the State, and our favorite! So we headed up TX16 to get some. It was a beautiful Hill Country drive.

We were hoping they had some of their delicious Prime Rib, but they didn't. So we opted for the Ribeye, instead. WOW! It was great! We decided to pick up some of their meat rub, so maybe we can bring some of Cooper's home with us.

Tony's ribeye

We had a great meal, then headed back to Fredericksburg. We ended up going to WalMart for something, and doing a little more exploring, before heading home again, where we collapsed. A fun day, but still lots that we can see and do here!

Sunday, July 8th, 2018

Today we had grand plans to go and see some more things around town, but we were too slow getting started and check out was 11am here, so we ended up taking our time getting ready to go and pulled out about 11:15.

We headed down the road, and enjoyed the easy drive. We planned to stop somewhere in Brady for lunch, but could not find a good place to stop with the rig. 

Instead, we stopped in Brownwood for a quick meal at the Taco Laredo, and pulled in at our home RV Park about 2:30pm.

We really enjoyed Fredericksburg, and have already planned another trip over Labor Day!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Trip to the Factory

Friday,  June 1st, 2018

I should have blogged this at it happened, but we were quite busy during this time, so this may be a little more concise posting of the events.

Last year when we were at the North American Heartland Owners Rally in Goshen, Indiana, we had Jim Fenner, Director of Service at Heartland, look a concern we had. Our front overhang was showing signs of movement at the wall juncture, so we wanted to have Heartland look at it and tell us if it was anything to e concerned about. Jim had his team come by with test equipment, and decided that yes, we need to bring it to the factory for assessment.

Since we 've been through this before with our previous rig, we were not concerned. We knew that Heartland would take good care of us. We decided wed make an appointment for next summer, since it's next to impossible for Tony to take 10 days off when school is going on.

Last fall, we made the appointment for June 4th, 2018.

Since I have started working full-time for a company in Cisco, that meant I could not go with Tony to Indiana. So, that also meant that I needed some kind of accommodations while our "home" was gone to Indiana. Recently, Tony's sister and her boyfriend decided to buy a used BigHorn. They offered to let us borrow it while Tony was on the road.

They brought the BigHorn up over Memorial Day weekend, and we spent the following week moving items over from our rig to theirs to lessen the load and clear out items for Heartland to do their work.

pic here

So, on May 30,  we both moved into the Bighorn temporarily so we could finalize the prep of the Big Country and make for a quick departure (all hitched up and slides in the day before) on Friday, June 1.

Friday,  June 1, Tony headed out to Big Cabin, Oklahoma.

pic here

He had no issues and made it to Cabin Diesel Services and RV Park, mid-afternoon. It was the first time staying at this park, and Tony said it was a no-frills park,  good location for a quick overnight stay.

pic here

Saturday, June 2nd

Today, Tony headed to Terre Haute, Indiana. He again had a nice, uneventful drive. Along the way he stopped in Effingham and got the rig washed at the Blue Beacon, just so she'd look a little better.  He stayed at the Terre Haute KOA. Overnight, it rained, and knocked a bunch of tree pollen onto the roof and slideouts, so he had to get on top of the rig and brush them off before pulling in the slides.

pic here

Sunday, June 3rd

He pulled in to Elkhart and went over to the Heartland Service Center, where he set up the rig and began unloading some things. Then he went to the Hotel and got checked in. He went back and gathered the rest of the items, so the rig was ready to go into the shop BRIGHT AND EARLY AT 6AM MONDAY.

Turns out, Terry and Carol H, also from Texas, were also here at the Service Center, finishing up their repairs. So, Tony stopped by their rig Sunday night, and they invited Tony to meet for breakfast Monday after dropping off the rig.

Monday, June 4th

Today, Tony got up early and headed over to the Heartland Service Center. He met with Heartland, and began the walkthrough process. They discussed all the items on our "list" and some things we wanted to see if they would do as well. Sadly, they are really busy and would not get to do anything that wasn't already scheduled to be done. Our "list" was really items that had been brought to Heartland's attention before our warranty was up, but had not been properly addressed or fixed since then. None of these were earth-shattering, they were just annoyances mostly, or items we could wait to have fixed right at the factory. They included a cracked fitting on our water tank, paint overspray on the front cap, a raised section on the roof underlayment, the AC ducting not distributing cool air very well, the Level-Up legs making some popping sounds and seemingly not holding level over time. And, of course, the flexing that was the main reason to bring the rig to the factory.

pics here.

After he was done checking in, he and Terry and Carol headed over to eat at the Golden Egg Pancake house. It was great food and great to visit with some long-time Heartland friends.

Tony said Heartland would get back to him after they took things apart and could have Lippert, the frame manufacturer, come and look at it. He didn't hear anything, so that evening he went by and checked on the rig. It was after hours, but he could see her in the bay with the front cap loosened and the front bulkhead removed.

pics here.

Tuesday, June 5th

Tuesday, the day was rainy and Tony hung around waiting to hear from Heartland. After a while, he went over to the Service Center and found that Lippert had done some corrective measures of adding some additional gussets to the frame where the pin box is located, and two additional large gussets near the landing gear.

After visiting with Heartland, he decided to go to Shipshewana and go eat at the Blue Gate restaurant, an Amish run restaurant. He had a great meal of fried chicken, and then enjoyed shopping a bit. He also visited Rise N' Roll in Middlebury, the famous donut shop that sells "Amish Crack", their Cinnamon Carmel Donuts. He managed to not buy anything!

pics here

 He also visited Heritage Ridge Creamery and bought some Salsa Jack cheese. We loved this cheese last year when we went on the Amish Countryside tour, pre-National Rally.

Wednesday, June 6th

Today, Tony decided to tour the National New York Central Railroad Museum in Elkhart.  He really enjoyed seeing memorabilia from trains in this part of the country, a different perspective from others we've seen in the west.

pic here

After the train museum, he again went over to the Service Center to check on things. Terry went over the things that had been done, and what was left to be done. He also talked to some of the techs that were working on various items. One said that the AC was performing as it should, but he explained that it wasn't the AC, but the ductwork and plenum where the AC attaches to the ducts that we were concerned about, so they agreed to scope the ducts.

Regarding the LevelUp, Heartland followed the Lippert protocol to replace a quart of hydraulic fluid with fork oil, and then said it was working correctly.

The front end was being reassembled.

The rear cap was looked at, and determined no issues with it.

After visiting with Heartland, Tony decided to take a tour of another Manufacturer, Grand Design. They are a young, independent manufacturer making a name for themselves in the RV industry. He went on the factory tour, and was not surprised that much of the construction was basically the same. However, their plant was newer, and much cleaner than Heartland, and it appeared they took a little more time during the construction process.

For dinner, Tony ate at Das Dutchman Essenhaus, another Amish run restaurant. He liked the Blue Gate a bit better.

Thursday, June, 7th

Today Tony went over to Heartland to check on the progress of the rig. They were working to relocate the new fresh tank so that hopefully we won't have the connection to the fresh water line to the pump crack again. They also mentioned they had scoped the ducts and fould nothing irregular. They added a "diverter" in one of the vents to help more air into the kitchen area.

They also fixed a window treatment that appeared to be crooked, stating that the cabinetry above it was overloaded and causing the problem. They resecured it.

They also repaired a small bubble in the wallpaper, where a Command Hook had pulled the paper away from the wall.

It appeared everything was moving forward, and he was assured that the rig would be ready to go in the morning.

Tony then headed to Bontragers , a large RV Surplus store in White Pigeon, Michigan, just over the state border from Elkhart. He looked around, but didn't find anything he couldn't live without.

After that, he went to locate some cheap fuel, and found it at the BP across from the Walmart on the west side of town.

He ate at Cracker Barrel, next to the hotel for dinner, and began getting ready to head back tomorrow.

Friday, June 8th

Friday morning, Tony anxiously awaited a call to tell him the rig was ready to go. He got the call from Heartland just before 10am, and headed over with the truck loaded with stuff. He had most of it in the cab, since rain was predicted that morning. 

When he arrived, he had to wait on Terry Hayes to do a walkthrough of all the things "official list" of repairs. However, there was caulking that wasn't completely finished. Tony had to wait for them to finish up, then they pulled it out of the bay and into one of their on-site RV sites. He proceeded to load the rig as quickly as possible, as storms were quickly approaching. 

While getting the rig hitched and ready to go, he discovered that in the front compartment, (where the work had been done), the lights were not working, and the rear camera did not work, either. He found a fuse sitting on top of the battery boxes. So, back to the Service Center he went, and asked them to evaluate it. They couldn't figure it out, so they asked Tony to pull it into the service bay. After a few techs were looking at it, they finally asked Tony to go wait in the lounge. He waited a few hours, with no word, and finally checked in and found they had fixed the issue, and went to lunch, failing to tell Tony it was ready! He finally pulled out about 1:30pm.

Tony stopped again at Terre Haute KOA for the night, and noticed the caulking was separating again where the wall meets the molding on the overhang. We're hoping its because it was not cured properly before departure.

Saturday, June 9th

This day, Tony headed back to Cabin, RV Park.  The rear view camera was cutting in and out due to a plug issue, and he drove in a heavy shower around St Louis, but had a fairly uneventful drive.

Sunday, June 10th

Today, I was excited that Tony was going to be home! However, I got a call about  10:30am, when Tony called to say he had an issue. Tony noticed that in a construction zone where the lanes narrow, the trailer seemed to be tracking oddly and he could see more of the side than normal. Since he was on the Will Rodgers Turnpike, he had to wait for a travel plaza to pull off and investigate. 

He discovered that the passenger side rear spring hanger bolt was missing, along with the 8 sided CorrectTrack cams. Luckily, we had an old bolt from a previous upgrade, and he was able to resecure the spring to the hangar, without too much issue, since he knew exactly what to do and how to do it. It took about an hour to complete the fix, and then eat lunch.

He headed down the road again, stopping periodically to check everything. He stopped in Ardmore, OK to get fuel about 3:30, and everything still looked OK, but we decided rather than travel all the way back home in the late afternoon/evening, we thought it would be best to go ahead and stop in Thackerville for the night. 

Tony arrived in Thackerville to stay at the WinStar Casino RV Park. unfortunately, he could only get a back in site. As he finished backing in, he heard a "clunk". He went to find out what was happening and discovered the driver's side rear spring hangar bolt had failed, and half the bolt, plus one CorrectTrack Cam, was laying on the ground! The other half and Cam were gone! So, fortunately, the backing may have actually brought the issue to light! 

However, he no longer had a spare part to use. He called me to explain the situation, and I worked to locate replacement parts. Being Sunday, we decided our only option was to order a full CorrectTrack kit, which would have the bolts and Cams necessary to complete the repairs properly to both sides of the rig. Thanks to Amazon, we could order and it would arrive on Tuesday at the RV Park, so that's what we did.

Tony stayed and did some relaxing, played a little and waited on parts until Tuesday afternoon.

Monday, June 13th

While Tony was waiting for parts, he spent some more time investigating the repair work done at Heartland. When he unhitched the truck, he discovered the caulking gap was now closed up, and wrinkling the graphics! This may mean there is still some flex going on there! He also discovered the  lap sealant on the roof was poorly applied, along with the caulk cleanup in various areas of the repair. We are both assuming someone at Heartland dropped the ball here, ut we'll look more closely and address it when Tony gets home.

Tuesday, June 12th

Finally, the parts arrived and he got to work. It arrived about 5:30pm. He was ready to go by 7:15pm, and decided to head back to home. We were both ready for this trip to be over! 

About 8:20pm, he stopped in at Bucee's in north Ft. Worth near the Texas Motor Speedway, and checked everything, then continued on, arriving about 10:30pm when he arrived back home. We got the rig set up and my stuff moved over. Whew! What an adventure.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

A "Whistle Stop" Rally in Abilene

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Today, we got ready to head to Whistle Stop RV Resort in Abilene, Texas, to prep for the upcoming Heartland Owners Club West Texas Chapter Rally. It was Tony's spring break, so he was off all week. Since I began working again full-time in January, I could only take off one day of vacation, so I would be driving back and forth to Cisco every day, except Friday.

We loaded up and pulled out just after lunch, and arrived at the rv park about 45 minutes later. We got checked in and set up, then went to explore the facilities. We worked on some rally details and prepped some items for the rally bags. I can't wait to see everyone start to arrive this week!

A nice welcome sign for us!

Our site at Whistle Stop RV Resort

After settling in, we decided to go out to eat at one of our favorite fast food places that we missed from the Metroplex, Cane's Chicken Fingers. We had dinner and went back to the rig to relax for a while.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Today, I headed to Cisco for work, and Tony did some prep-work for the Rally. He went and got our goodie bags from the Chamber of Commerce, and talked to the RV Park about facilities, getting additional tables, and asking about using various things in the Clubhouse. The park has been very supportive of the rally, and we are hoping it will go as planned! This is their first rally.

A few folks started arriving today, and we had a get-together at the Finnegan's new Landmark for brats and hot dogs. The weather cooled off as the sun went down and it was breezy, so most folks didn't stick around too long into the evening.

After the get-together, we worked some more on Rally prep, making sure the agenda was clear and all of the printed materials (details for the different events, sponsors, silent auction info, etc.) were ready to go into the rally bags tomorrow. We were up kinda late, but needed to get it all done.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Tony worked with our Regional Director to get the bags stuffed and handed out the bags to those already there. Many folks did some exploring around Abilene. 

Tony also went to the store and got some food for us, and started purchasing some of the items needed for the rally, such as coffee and creamer. He checked out the HEB, and really liked it. 

I came home from work, and did some visiting around the park, until it got too dark.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Today, Tony did some more visiting and greeting, as a good number of the attendees were coming in today. Some of the guys went golfing, as well, and had a good time. Tonight was also suggested to get a group together to go to Perini Ranch for dinner. So I met them there, heading there after work.

We had a good meal and good visiting, but we were outside, and the ambiance was not quite the "fancy steakhouse" feel. Some really liked it, some said it was just OK. But hey, they can all say they've been to one of the top Steakhouses in Texas.

Everyone experiencing Perini Ranch Steakhouse.

After dinner, we did some more visiting for a while, trying to make sure we greeted everyone that arrived and made them feel welcome.

Some pics of the entrance and facilities at Whistle Stop RV Resort.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Today, most everyone else was arriving, so Tony made another run to get more groceries for our Friday Meet-n-Greet and Saturday Potluck in the morning. He ended up getting everything at HEB, except for a few items needed from WalMart. Overall, we did really well on the budget.

Thursday evening, I came home with dinner from Cane's again, because it was convenient. ;) We will have to be up early for our trip to Dyess AFB tomorrow!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Today is the first OFFICIAL day of the Rally, and usually, they start in the evening. However, we decided to host a unique event Friday morning, a tour of the Dyess Air Force Base. They don't do tours on the weekends, so we opted to do this on Friday.  We met at 8:00 and headed to the base, to be there by around 8:30, as instructed. 

Gathering before the tour, we were to board the bus provided to go on base.

Our guide welcomes us and gives instructions.

Sadly, no pictures were allowed on Base, which was the entire tour. However, I borrowed an image from the Dyess website of the C-130 cargo plane we got to climb into and tour. It was pretty interesting. While we were touring, they were prepping a number of other C-130s to head out somewhere. We boarded the bus and moved away from the prep area, and we were able to watch a few of them take off, including a B-1 Bomber. It was really amazing!

Entrance to the base (Abilene Visitor's Bureau photo)

(An artist's rendering of the airstrip.) The C-130's are lined up in the distance.
We drove by the B-1's in the bus.

a photo (from the Dyess website) of a similar C-130 like we toured.

We then got a quick break at the PX for the restrooms and headed to the Linear Air Park. We got to tour some of the exhibits and hear lots of history about them. (again, no pics of us, these are borrowed off the internet.)

After the airpark, the bus took us back off the base and over to the Dyess Museum. We got to hear the history of William Edwin Dyess. If you want more info about the history of the Dyess Air Force Base, click here.

Hearing the history of William Dyess.

The tour was very long, and we were all pretty tired by the end, but it was an excellent tour. We left as soon as the lecture ended, because we needed to get back and prep for the rest of the events. We ran to Whataburger, and then back to the park. 

Tony and I then worked to prep the meat for the Saturday potluck. We were having Tacos, so we browned 13lbs of ground beef and seasoned/cooked it with Taco seasoning. We filled two crock pots full of the meat and took them over to store in the fridge at the Clubhouse. We then prepped the space for the evening events. 

Friday Night, we had our Ice Cream Meet-and-Greet, our White Elephant gift exchange, and enjoyed ice cream with toppings provided by the club.

Dishing up dessert, Bluebell!

After ice cream, we're opening White Elephants!

After that, some folks decided to play dominoes, and we cleaned up the tables so they'd be ready for tomorrow. We didn't stay to play, we were pretty tired!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Today we got up before dawn to meet the "donut guy" at the Clubhouse. Donuts were generously provided by the RV Park! However, the park's cleaning crew unexpectedly locked us out of the Clubhouse! Tony had to get the park manager to let us all in, but that was ok, it was a learning experience for us all. We had donuts and coffee Saturday morning and had quite a few folks come out and enjoy. 

At 9:30, we had a pallet painting party for those who signed up for it beforehand. Tami did a great job instructing us on how to paint our pallets, using stencils on the wood and "dabbing" our paint in the open areas of the stencil. I had created some designs for smaller signs, that I thought would look good in an RV, as well as came up with sayings for RVers. 

We had 8 ladies attend, and we had a great time! For more info about Big Country Pallet Painting by Tami, click here.

Our finished signs

Everyone enjoyed their pallet painting!

While the ladies were doing this, many of the men were working on RV Projects. 

You can always find a helping hand at a Rally, or at least half-a-dozen sets of eyes.

After lunch, we had an event scheduled to go to the Frontier, Texas! Museum. We caravanned over to the museum, and had a large group go through. Many of them said it was one of the best they've been to.

After the tour, we rushed back to begin prep for the evening meal. We had to heat up that 13lbs of meat, prep the taco fixins, set up the door prizes, and set up the raffle items. Thanks to generous sponsors, we had a number of great items to give away or auction off!  They included RV Lock, LLC, Origen, Torklift International, SmartPlug, T&S Enterprises, Zarcor Solutions, Southwest Emblem, Hairball Creative, Big Country Pallet Parties by Tami, and WhistleStop RV Resort.


Enjoying the meal.

Tables of door prizes - everyone got at least one, and we kept giving away until the table was empty! This included some painted pallets, hats, calendars, docking donuts, tumblers, drink holders, and more.

New logo Heartland Owners Club hats, donated in part by Southwest Emblem.

Whistle Stop RV Resort also gave us two goodie baskets to give away,
that included a coupon for 2 free nights!

Silent Auction Items. Money raised here goes to help fund more Rallies!

After the doorprizes were handed out, we awarded the silent auction items. 

After that, the evening wound down. Some folks stayed again to play dominoes, but we cleaned up the leftovers and such, and prepped for the next day's breakfast. It seemed to be a fun night for all. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Today we set up leftover donuts, and some breakfast breads and fruit for our Rally folks. Most were not leaving today, and we had a light turnout. I did some work for some of the rally attendees, then Tony and I worked to gather our stuff to take home (rally goods.) We took off the table cloths and restored the Clubhouse kitchen to how we found it.

After lunch (another meal from Cane's) we finished packing up and headed back home. Most everyone was staying, leaving Monday. So we said our goodbyes and headed on. We thought the rally went very well, and the park was terrific to us. The owners even came by and visted, and we enjoyed meeting and visiting with the Manager, who also owns a Bighorn.

I don't know yet when our next rally will be, but we sure think Whistle Stop is a great park for a Rally!