Visit to Knoxville and Transit to Santa Rosa Beach FL

When last we left our heroes (as they used to say during the ‘30s radio serials), we were parked at Pocahontas Campground in Chesterfield VA near their human kids. Between them working we ended up going over on Saturday for some laundry and then again later in the week for more laundry. In between time Connie did a bunch of work and Neil worked on various honey do’s around the house. We had dinner over at the kids and went out one night for ice cream with them. Neil brought BAT over one day as Bryan had a bunch of debris from taking a tree down that needed to get hauled off to the dump…he and Bryan made two trips over there with BAT’s bed fully loaded with heavy log pieces.

Thursday morning we got packed up for our 2 day drive down to Knoxville to see Neil’s sister MJ. We stopped overnight at Interstate Overnite RV Park right off of the freeway in Christianburg VA and had dinner at the local Ruby Tuesday’s. Friday we continued on arriving at the Escapee’s run Raccoon Valley RV Park in Heiskell TN. We had MJ and her daughter Lauren over for some grilled burgers Saturday afternoon while we watched the Alabama vs Texas A&M game. ‘Bama won as expected but nobody say 59-0 with 5 touchdowns in the 2nd quarter and a 45 to zip halftime lead. The offense was clicking on all cylinders and the D played much better than in the two previous weeks against Ole Miss and Arkansas. Sunday we went out to Mass then down to MJ’s house for a brew and sat out on the veranda for awhile then off to Ruby’s for dinner (MJ gets half off as an employee) followed by heading home and getting ready for more transit days.

Monday found us on the road again…by the time we got to FL we had traveled 4 o 6 days and made 960 miles mostly southwards. We stopped overnight at the Fam Camp at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery AL then continued down to Top Sail State Park in Santa Rosa Beach FL just east of Pensacola…we arrived Tuesday afternoon. On the way south the day before we joked amongst ourselves about entering the disaster zone as southern AL was frequently referred to due to Neil’s family having all sorts of trials and tribulations. Neil joked that it didn’t count until you got south of Montgomery…which we arbitrarily defined as being south of the point where I-65 joins up with I-85 over to Atlanta.

Sure enough…on arrival at the AFB our LR slide wouldn’t open and we were just ever so slightly south of the intersection point. Based on the symptoms we decided it was a recurrence of the broken bolt we had a year or so ago in June 13 up in Jasper AB in the Canadian Rockies. We just left that slide in for the night and figured we would look at it on our arrival at Top Sail.

Tuesday we continued on down arriving at Top Sail about 1300 and got parked and setup…for a whole 4 days before our scheduled next to last move to Cedar Key FL on Saturday. Luckily we got a site on a concrete pad which meant that Neil could use his mechanics creeper to roll around under the house troubleshooting the slide issue rather than having to crawl across gravel or grass. Connie stayed on the patio and fetched tools for him.

He took the underbelly covering off…a pretty easy job as it’s just held on with sheet metal screws and sure enough the bolt was broken. So…off to Ace Hardware where we purchased 4 (only needed one but as a recurring failure we decided to have spares) Grade 8 bolt 3/16 by 1.5 inches along with lock washer and nut. Another hour or so under the house to install, test and button the underbelly back up and voilà, our LR slide works fine and dandy again.

After a shower we headed off to a local spot for dinner…Stinky’s Fish Camp…where we had brews, oysters, and some fried Brie cheese…that last was an error by the server so they gave it to us for free. We don’t normally like Brie but it was free so we gave it a shot and deep fried it was amazingly good…so good that we would order it again. We also had these rice sausage things (boudin) that were OK but we probably wouldn’t order them again.

Here are shots of our site at Raccoon Valley and our site 107 here at Top Sail. Raccoon Valley is conveniently close to MJ’s house but is otherwise unremarkable except for the 16 bucks a night rate. Top Sail used to be a commercial park that the state bought and turned into a state campground…and is pretty nice for a state park. Not quite to the “resort” class but pretty decent. Nice concrete pads, cable (luckily since we have no satellite visibility) and close to the beach.

Raccoon Valley

Top Sail Site 107

Connie worked some more today while Neil made some arrangements for installation of our auxiliary fuel tank in BAT and solar panels on our roof…that’s still in flux so I’ll pass on more details when we have them.

Yesterday on the way south…Neil got a call from our friend Bill Napier. Bill and Linda are the folks we were going to go on the trip to the Canadian Maritimes next summer and Alaska the following summer with. Long story short…the plans got changed an they’ve swapped their two trips with Alaska first and the Maritimes in 2016. After perusing our schedule we’re going with them on a caravan arranged by

So…after the RV-Dreams Reunion Rally next May in Marion NC we’ll be heading north and west with arrival in Dawson Creek in late June for a departure on the caravan of June 29 on a 60 day trip through Canada and Alaska ending in Prince George BC the end of August. From there we’ll head over towards Calgary to watch the Tour of Alberta bike race then head homewards toward Fort Myers.

Our plans as of right this minute are to leave Saturday and transit over to Cedar Key for a week then depart on Saturday Nov 1 for Seminole Campground Fort Myers. The folks that are going to do our solar panel install are up in northern FL near the GA border…so depending on how things work out we may delay our arrival in Fort Myers for a few days and skip another mid winter transit up to northern FL for the install. We’ll have to see how that works out.

Once we get our Alaska plans firmed up I’ll post some details so ya’ll can wish you were there with us:-)


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Nothing Going On Still


Just a quick note to let you know that nothing is going on. After our week up in Bull Run we left Thursday morning and motored on down to Chesterfield to Pocahontas State Park where we’re parked for a week. We’re about 10 miles from their human kids. We did nuttin’ over the weekend but went over to the kids house Monday for sheets and towels laundry. Tuesday we went over for more laundry and took BAT with us as Bryan needs to haul some stuff to the dump…so he and his dad will be doing some guy stuff today I guess. We’ll hang out here until Jen comes home and then figure out whether to eat out or eat in.

Tomorrow we’ll get packed up and ready for our 2 day drive down to Knoxville TN on Thursday and Friday. We’ll visit with Mary Jane over the weekend then continue our journey south. So by next Wednesday we’ll be down to the Pensacola area and hopefully will be in the warm weather for the duration.

At first

And on Friday we’ll…finally…be back in the South again as noted in the map below. The blue line is the Ya’ll Line ya know. 

Y all Line

Speaking of the South…I’m guessing this nun was from Southern France.

Vatican Women s rifle team


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It’s Been a Slow and Cool Week

Yup…the post title says it all. After our last Fun Stuff© day Wednesday dawned cool and raining. As we planned…Connie worked and Neil went off to the KOA laundry room and 2 1/2 hours later returned with clean clothes. Then it was lunch and more work. We did go back to the Rosewood Bar and Grill for dinner for some more of their excellent lobster bisque.

Wednesday morning we got up and started working on getting ready to go…Connie told Neil that she thought she was getting a bladder infection so they decided to wait until later in the day and if she was convinced then we would find a Doc in a Box location and get her taken care of that evening. The rest of the getting ready to go routine went great…until Neil tried to start BAT to hitch and it just would not crank. We got it jumped from the Mazda but figured that would mean that for the next two travel days we would have to jump it every time we started it…which turned out to be completely true.

We did our 290 miles to Hagerstown MD and got pulled into the Antietam Battlefield KOA…quite expensive for us at 61 bucks a night but it’s on a prime location right on the river. By the time we got power and water on Connie was convinced and after a quick google found a Tricare participating Doc in a Box nearby. We drove over and found out two things…first that this was one of the coldest waiting rooms we had ever been in and second that in less than hour she was done. No copay, urinalysis complete and she had a prescription for antibiotic and some symptom reducing medication. Another quick stop at CVS where we got them filled for 7 bucks total and we were off. Neil decided not to cook as it was after 1900 by this time so we stopped at a conveniently located nearby Texas Roadhouse and had a brew and a steak. After that we headed home where Connie felt miserable until bedtime.

Thursday morning we got up, jumped BAT, and headed out for the last 90 miles to Centreville VA arriving at the Bull Run Regional Park campground about 1100. We plugged in and unhitched the house then quickly took BAT over to Battlefield Ford to get diagnosed and fixed…then headed our for our 1400 appointment at our old dentist to get our teeth cleaned. Connie got a clean slate and Neil had 2 cavities that needed filing, one on each lower jaw. After that we stopped by the Elks Lodge that Neil originally joined for a beer and dinner then it was home for bed after a stop at REI for some stuff we needed and the Wegmans grocery for some food stuff we needed.

Friday was another work day for Connie while Neil headed off to get his two cavities filled. Once that was done he got a milkshake for lunch since his jaw was numb…and discovered that when your face is numb your straw sucker doesn’t work either; so he ended up eating his shake with a spoon once he got home. Luckily the Novacaine wore off by dinner and we had a nice Italian sausage and marinara sauce with spaghetti for dinner.

Saturday was the Alabama/Ole Miss game…and the less said about that the better. ‘Bama’s pass defense was poor to lousy and they ended up losing 23-17 after entering the 4th quarter with a 7 point lead. I’m thinking that the defense will be doing a lot of pass defense work this week and the offense will also be working on things like short yardage plays, not dropping passes, and not fumbling the ball away on your own 30.

Sunday was Mass and since it was cold overnight (36, brrrr) we pretty much are just staying home. Monday and Tuesday Connie has to go into the office to see her boss and students but I think we’ll be able to squeeze in a nice dinner out one evening this week. Otherwise Neil will hit up the library for Internet and get some groceries. Don’t know about Wednesday yet but Thursday we’re off to Midlothian to see the human kids.

BAT is all better though…we got a call about noontime Friday that it was fixed. Something broke in one of the batteries which was causing the issue; the other battery and alternator checked out just fine. It was replaced under warranty so that was good as well.

Connie’s infection is well in hand…the symptom meds have pretty much taken care of that part and the antibiotics will have her completely back to normal by Wednesday or so.

I don’t have any pics this week so here’s a couple of funny ones…the first is one of those notes that UPS leaves on your doorstep when they can’t leave your package and the second is one of when bad parkers get their come uppance.

Fair Enough No Package Delivery

24 Bad Parkers Who Got A Swift Visit From Karma Wildmmo 11


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More Fun Stuff©

Well, another interesting couple of days. After our visit to the waterfalls the other day we decided to have Connie work on Saturday since she had a phone meeting with her boss and then to do the bike ride on Sunday. So, after Mass on Sunday including the shortest sermon we’ve ever heard…so short in fact that I can repeat the entire thing here…

“Sometimes, actions do speak louder than words.”

Yup, that was it. Anyhoos; after Mass we changed into our bike shorts and headed off for a 19 mile as it turned out ride on the tow path of the now defunct Ohio and Erie Canal. It was constructed in the 1820s and 1830s and  carried cargo on barges pulled by mule teams until 1861 when competition from the faster and cheaper railroads killed it. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1966 and is largely similar to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal in the Washington DC area…it runs right alongside the river (the Cuyahoga River in this case instead of the Potomac) and has a regulated depth as well as locks to eliminate any rapids or waterfalls that would impede traffic if the river was used instead. About half of our ride was along the one section of the canal that still has water in it and is used as a water supply for local industries. The remaining part was through some nice wooded areas.

Connie almost quit after 16 miles as her butt was getting sore. Neil told her that if she did he would change her name from Connie to DNF (did not finish)…then pulled a quote from Jens Voigt and told her to “Shutup Butt!!” instead of his original “Shutup legs.”. So she hardened up and made it to the end with a couple of extra butt-break stops. Along the way Neil grabbed a couple of shots from a bridge where we were crossing over the Cuyahoga River.

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Following our ride we decided not to retrace the 19 mile ride back but instead used the Ride Aboard program of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad that runs nearby the canal path. The scenic railroad runs high dollar sightseeing trips for tourists but since it passes several stations along the canal tow path they have a program where you can use the railroad to return to your starting point instead of having to either have an out and back ride or pre-position a second vehicle to drive back to the starting point. Three bucks a person for the Ride Aboard program so we were glad we took advantage of it. After getting off the station we figured out how to find where the car was parked again and came home for showers and a dinner of leftover barbecued pork ribs that Neil had done on the grill on Saturday.

Today Neil paid a couple of bills while Connie did 2 work items that had to be done today…then we headed off for some more Fun Stuff©…a hike at the Ledges area of Cuyahoga National Park. The ledges are a series of sharply eroded stone walls alongside the valley that runs through the park. We visited the overlook for some nice photos and then did the 2 mile loop trail…we thought that this would not be a destination hike but just a hike in the woods. Turned out that it had a lot of interesting geologic formations that we also got some pictures of.

First up…we spotted this Red Shouldered Hawk right as we left the parking area…then after a 200 yard or so walk had a nice picnic lunch at the overlook itself.

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Not as cool as some overlook viewpoints we’ve seen but for the eastern part of the country with more foliage and lower mountains still it was a decent view. We then headed off on the hike. Essentially we hiked out to the left and down the back side of the ridge at the overlook then turned and walked underneath the ledge area for about a mile…then turned around the far end of the ledges, back up onto the ridge top and returned to our starting area. Only 2 miles but even with only 100 feet of elevation change we did that 100 feet up and back down multiple times. It was also quite rocky with lots of trip hazards so we called it a medium difficulty hike instead of the easy rating the length and elevation would normally earn it.

The first two shots are as we hiked underneath the overlook above…it’s right around the corner of the wall in the first shot.

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Following that Neil took a short side hike into a box canyon like area where erosion had worn away parts of the ledge rock. 

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This last one shows some steps that were built using natural stone gathered from the area (we saw the flat area that remained of where they likely cut it) by the Park Service. The steps follow a naturally descending cleft in the rock face and the idea was to provide an easily walkable way down without making it look like a lot of construction had gone on. 

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We stopped by the Ice Cave which unfortunately is permanently closed to hikers as it contains a large, healthy bat population and the Park Service is trying to keep White Nose Syndrome from getting a foothold here in the park. White Nose Syndrome was identified in 2007 and is a fungus that grows around the muzzle of hibernating bats. It kills them by forcing them to awake early from hibernation (because they can’t breathe) and they starve to death before spring due to the multiple wake ups…and it has decimated a large number of bat populations in the eastern and northeastern US as well as eastern Canada. It typically kills 90% of a population within 5 years in an area once it gets started and has no treatment or means of preventing infection. We wouldn’t have gone far into the cave anyway since we aren’t the spelunking type…way too dark in there for us without lights…but couldn’t get close enough for even a decent picture of the entrance. Oh well.

With that we came home for showers. Tomorrow it’s supposed to rain so it will be a work/laundry day for us. Wednesday we’re off for a 1 night stop near Hagerstown MD then on to Centreville VA right near where we used to live in Fairfax for a week…we have a couple of dental maintenance and Connie’s work related things to do. After that we’ll head south to visit Bryan, Jen, and the bun-in-the-oven Neil 3.0 that they’ve been so studiously working on since the spring.


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Transit to Streetsboro OH and Cuyahoga National Park Waterfalls

Wow…it’s been a pretty hectic couple of days. Come to think of it…it’s been a pretty hectic couple of weeks since our arrival at Amana for the NHOG Rally 2 weeks ago today. We’ve been going long and hard every day or traveling every day and are really glad to be here in Streetsboro OH southeast of Cleveland for 6 days to rest up. We have some Fun Stuff© planned along with some rest days and next Wednesday we head out for 2 travel days to Fairfax. After a week there for dental, seeing Connie’s boss and students, we’ll start seriously heading south as it’s continuing to get a little chillier.

So…after our arrival at Elkhart the other day (Monday) we met Gary who’s the service manager there in the evening and then went on a fruitless search for dinner (ended up eating leftovers instead as everything was closed on Monday) then had our inspection/greasing/alignment as I discussed in the previous post.

Wednesday Neil headed out early and by 1000 was back home with BAT having completed his oil change and we also got the rear dualley outer wheel moved 1 lug nut around the circle…the two valve stems were in the same wheel cutout and it makes it almost impossible to put air into the inner tire. That’s solved now.

We packed up…hey, it was pretty easy as all we had was electric…got hitched and hit the road. 200 miles or so later we arrived at Timberlands Campground in Van Wert OH and got a really nice pull through FHU site with a view out over the cornfields to the south. Really quite and peaceful…we would have liked to stay there longer and checked out stuff in the morning but ’twas not to be. The campground was just about 4 miles off of US-30 which was our toll free route eastwards toward Cleveland. We had dinner and watched TV until bedtime. Thursday morning we got ready (didn’t have to hitch as our site was long and level enough to stay hitched which cuts 20 minutes or so off of the departure time frame)…and hit the road about 1000 for another 200 mile drive here to Streetsboro OH. Once off of the freeway we had to inch ourselves under a 13’6” bridge…no worries, we cleared it by all of 2 inches…and then arrived at the Streetsboro KOA campground where we’re safely parked in site 701. Another nice back in FHU site with trees out the back window and it’s pretty quiet overall. We had a small bit of trouble making one turn…it was tight but doable and we’ll take another road out of the site area to miss that turn on the way out.

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Another great pick by Connie.

After our arrival Neil did the outside setup while Connie vacuumed and did her normal inside stuff. After that it was showers then we were off to the Rosewood Grill for dinner about 3 miles away. We had the best Lobster Bisque we’ve had in years and then Connie had a Caesar Salad and Neil continued the lobster meme with Lobster Mac and Cheese. Both were extremely rich and we have leftovers for dinner tonight. Along with dinner we had some Rosewood Red Ale…a specialty brew for the grill that’s made by a local brewery. Connie was a little leery about passing up Fat Tire on tap but in the end was glad that she opted for the Red. With really stuffed tummies we headed home and after a nap sandwiched around some TV we headed off to bed about 2300.

Today was scheduled to be a fun day…we had picked out 3 waterfalls in the nearby Cuyahoga National Park to visit. After breakfast we packed up a lunch of cranberry filled summer sausage and cheese and headed off. First up was the visitor center where we checked out the history of the place…most of the park is along an old canal towpath.

After that we headed on to Blue Hen Falls which was at about 6 o’clock on our sort of circular drive through the park. After a short but steep downhill hike we got some nice pictures of the falls. Not too much water coming over this time of year so we passed on the higher Buttermilk Falls about a mile hike upstream since it usually has even less water than Blue Hen. Neil crawled down into the creek bed and got both close up shots where you can see the falls nicely as well as a wider shot that includes the trees above the falls which are just starting to turn. We thought this one had a lot of character in it even though the flow was not all that great. After our trips out west in the past finding really tall waterfalls in the east is mostly an exercise in futility so we concentrate on smaller ones and try to take decent photos of them.

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From there we headed off to Brandywine Falls which is the signature (and tallest) fall in the park…it had a lot more water going over it from Brandywine Creek and although it was only about as far as Blue Hen it was much steeper so the park service has put in stairs down into the gorge to see it.

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Neil also got a shot of the neat boardwalk that the park service built along the underside of the gorge rim to get to where you can see the falls themselves. You can just see Brandywine Road above the falls in both of the this above, the creek flows under the road just before it drops over the edge.

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We had lunch sitting in the viewing area for Brandywine Falls then hiked back up the 72 steps (bad, but not as bad as the 120something that we had to endure up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan) we headed off to the third set of falls in the park, Bridal Veil Falls. Unfortunately, there was just about no water coming over them…so here’s a shot of where the falls would have been if there was only water. This is all bare rock in this picture; the falls are about 30 feet wide and there’s the barest trickle of water maybe a foot wide at the far left hand side of the lip of the falls. If the creek was higher you would have seen a wide, lacy cascade down those currently bare rocks. Sorry ‘bout that.

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With that our day was done. We headed home and after another quick trip out (Connie forgot her military ID the first time) to CVS for flu shots (free with our Tricare insurance), a stop at Lowes for some hardware stuff we needed, and a stop at Eagle Giant grocery for a couple of things we were out of we came home. Dinner will be leftover Caesar Salad and Lobsta Mac ’n Cheese from last night and Neil’s thinking some Blueberry Cheesecake Yogurt Dairy stuff we got for later.

Over the weekend we have a 20 mile bike ride planned on the canal tow path…and then we’ll take the scenic railway back to the house. That’s for Sunday, tomorrow she has a telephone meeting with her boss and Neil is going to build us some new jack pads for the rig. I’ll make sure he takes some pictures of the process so you’ll have a full appreciation of just how interesting and cool some of the stuff we do is:-) Next week…who knows. We’re leaving on Wednesday with about 350 miles to go to Fairfax…we’ll be at Bull Run Campground again as it’s the only RV park in the western ‘burbs. Monday and Tuesday are up in the air at this point; we’ll probably do laundry on Tuesday but maybe some more Fun Stuff© on Monday.


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Transit to Rockford IL, Saint Saëns Concert, and Transit to Elkhart, IN

Haven’t been able to post in a couple of days because (a) we wuz busy and (b) we had no internet.

Friday evening we had the end of the rally potluck…all the food was great and then we chatted with friends until way too late.

Saturday morning we got up early and finished packing and hitching at the Amana Colonies RV Park…after hugs and stuff with Lynn and Ed, Bill and Linda, and many new friends we were on the road by 0900 for the 200 mile trip to Rockford. On arrival there we got backed into site 115 at the Blackhawk Valley RV Park which is a pretty nice park by the river in Rockford. After a minimal setup for our 2 night stay we changed clothes and headed off for the 75 mile drive to Madison WI for the Madison Symphony performance of the Saint Saëns symphony. It was a pretty decent performance, very nice organ although it was lacking just a bit in the lower registers…we didn’t really understand why as it looked plenty powerful from the pipes in the loft that we could see. The orchestra played very nicely and a good time was had by all. After that it was the 75 mile drive home and we got sidetracked by the car wreck on the way.

Just a out midnight about 3/4 mile from our park we were heading down Blackhawk Road at the limit of 45 with another car in front of us a couple hundred yards. Suddenly a pickup came blowing through a stop sign on a side road almost hitting the car in front of us. The car swerved to the left to miss him and the truck to the left to get behind the car. This resulted in the truck getting airborne over a drainage ditch, into the far side of the ditch and up into somebody’s yard. We turned around and yelled at the truck to see if he was OK…got no answer so given that it was late and we had no idea what the guy was on we called 911 to report it. The dispatcher couldn’t believe we just didn’t go over and check on him…we were somewhat concerned that he might be drunk or have a gun or something but finally Neil went over to check. The couple from the house was outside and the 3 of them decided he was drunk or drugged up. Neil reported this to the dispatcher who sent help.

Neil saw the deputy coming so flagged him down (he would have missed the location of the accident otherwise)…then the deputy got all pissed off because we flagged him down. One thing led to another and pretty soon we had 5 or 6 cop cars, a fire engine, and an ambulance on scene but the driver had vanished by that time. The cops got his description from Neil and the other couple and the K9 unit showed up. We were told to sit down in the car and wait. By 0030 we were tired and a supervisor showed up so Neil gave him our contact info for a statement if they wanted one and we went home to bed. Still haven’t heard from the cops though…maybe they don’t care since it was a single car accident.

Here’s a shot of the organ at Overture Hall in Madison where the concert was held.

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Sunday we just lazed around.

Monday we got up early (again, seems to be a recurring theme the past couple of weeks) and drove another 200 miles to Elkhart IN where we parked at the MorRYDE factory. MorRYDE makes the independent suspension on our rig and after two years we figured that since we were passing through anyway an inspection and such was warranted. We parked in their 50 amp only parking area (we had taken on water before leaving Rockford) overnight and right on time at 0700 this morning Neil backed into the service bay. Wednesday Connie has a webinar to attend and Neil needs to get the oil changed in BAT so we’ll hang here at MorRYDE tonight and tomorrow as well. Our final bill was $556 for alignment of 4 of the 6 wheels and inspection/lube on all 6…everything was fine other than the rear two axles needing alignment. Good thing we caught it before any uneven tire wear.

Don’t know what we’ll do tomorrow…Connie has it under dynamic observation. Neil is going to get BAT oiled and she has a webinar for training at 1200…after that we’ll either head halfway to Cuyahoga or stay here again tomorrow night.


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NHOG Rally

Well, we’ve been pretty busy since our arrival but it was almost either Connie work, rally stuff, or working on maintenance items with other New Horizons owners and friends so here goes.

First off…just what the heck is an Amana Colonies anyway…and why is it the Amana Colonies instead of the singular Amana Colony? I’m sure that everybody has heard of the Amana Radarange which was the first commercially available microwave oven and later the Amana Appliance company branched out into stoves, washers, dryers and other stuff…and I’m relatively sure that most of you have at least heard of the Amana Colonies but have little idea of what they are.

The Amana Colonies are/were a long lived communal society that started back in 1714 in Germany with a couple of gentlemen that founded a religion known as the Community of True Inspiration and later became known as Inspirationists. After a long period of persecution and economic depression in Germany the group left Germany in 1843-1844 and originally purchased 5000 acres near Buffalo NY and established a community called the Ebenezer Society. Things didn’t work out so well for them size wise as the community grew so after some researched the group purchased property in Iowa and the community relocated in 1855 establishing the colony of Amana. The colony was a communal living group with no money used except for outside economic activity…internally the colony produced wool, calico and agricultural products. Over the next couple of dozen years the original colony of Amana was outgrown so six additional villages were established…each specializing in one type of economic activity but all contributing to the whole. By 1861 the 7 villages of Amana, South Amana, East Amana, West Amana, Middle Amana, High Amana, and Homestead were all established and all 7 became known as the Amana Colonies run in toto by the Amana Colonies Board of Trustees for the benefit of all residents. This lifestyle persisted until the 1920s when the young folk started to move out due to wanting to have money and the things it bought. In 1932 the Colonies set aside the communal way of life, renamed themselves to the Amana Society and transitioned to a large group of both privately owned and Society owned businesses that continues to the present day. The Amana Church was maintained and is still an active Christian sect in this area.

After our arrival Friday we got setup and then went out with a large group of pre-rally arrivals (about 14 of us total) to P.H.A.T. Daddy’s…a local restaurant that happened to be catering the rally as well. After a great evening of brews, dinner, and talk we got home about 2200 and went almost immediately to bed.

Saturday we did some important work (afternoon naps) and then a campfire outside of our rig for all the pre-rally arrivals. There were a total of about 20 or so of us here by the evening and a great time was had by all. In fact; it was so good that after Mass and another nap on Sunday we repeated the experience. Both nights we finally called it a night about 2200-2300.

Monday Connie worked and Neil did laundry then worked with our friend Bill Napier. He had an issue with his batwing TV antenna not turning and after a couple of hours of troubleshooting we narrowed the problem down pretty well and he talked to the folks at the Wineguard factory who shipped him a part that arrived Wednesday afternoon. In the evening the rally kicked of with a BBQ and introductions followed by social hour.

Tuesday and Wednesday were taken up with seminars on various topics during the day and nice catered meals in the evening…sandwiched around Happy Hour and some showing of pictures from various great places the rally participants had been. Tuesday’s dinner was roast beef and cooked to order pasta was on tap for Wednesday. All was outstanding.

Thursday was another work day for Connie in the morning while Neil and Bill installed a new antenna that had arrived the day before. That took until around 1300. After that Neil and Connie went on the audio driving tour around the 7 Amana Colonies. Following that it was another 14 or so people gaggle out for dinner; this time at the Ox Yoke Inn. This is a mostly German food restaurant and most of us had Schnitzel of some variety. After that it was back to the park for more Great Places then bed.

Friday (today) was more seminars with a pot luck dinner scheduled for this evening along with the end of the rally. After that we’re off early Saturday morning over to Rockford, IL about 200 miles away. After a brief setup we’ll change clothes and head another 75 miles back to Madison WI for a Saint Saëns concert and return afterwards to the house. Sunday’s a rest day then Monday we’re off to Elkhart IN to get our MorRYDE suspension and Dexter brakes inspected, lubed, and whatever else is needed.

Neil took a couple of shots at the campfire…these are from Saturday night.


Also thought I would toss in another funny.

Doing it Wrong

And this next one will need a bit of an explanation. It’s about the Oxford comma (or lack thereof). When you’re writing something and you have a list you can use either the correct (according to the Oxford folks)

something, something else, and something other

or the incorrect

something, something else and something other

The big difference is whether the comma is put in after the next to last item and before the word and. The correct (Oxford) way has the comma and the incorrect (and much more commonly taught in American schools) was is to leave it out. Here’s what can happen if you leave it out.

Oxford Comma Damage

Now you can say what you want about Mr. Mandella…and I’m sure he’s a lot of things…but one thing I’m pretty sure he’s not is a dildo collector which the above newspaper story seems to imply.

See…you can learn something from reading this blog:-) Next time (or whenever if not) I’ll have to tell you the story about the Meanest Animal in the Jungle…the Wild African Duwalley.


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