Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween from MCV

Just a quick post to say that I'm in Richmond at the MCV hospital with Kristy. She is a very sick girl and they are taking incredibly good care of her, so that is good. I will be here most days and try to give KK a break as much as possible, or until I get fired from my "nursing job"! :) (Photo of Scott's Pumpkin Carving!)
Later I'll post some photos from the train was just beautiful and a really great trip! It was snowing from Toledo eastward, and the mountains in PA and MD were really something to see!

The WiFI here in the hospital is pretty slow, so I won't post much until Bob arrives with the aircard and my laptop.

Hurray!!! They finished EVERYTHING in Elkhart and after a brief stop at Carlisle Lehman's to have the final two valances installed, Bob will be on his way back to Virginia today!! Thank God, we're Free at last!!!

Big hugs to everyone and many thanks for your kind regards for Kristy, and for the many prayers offered up on her behalf....we are most grateful!

(There are some updates on her blog at if you want to see how she is doing. )

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Going to Richmond....

Well, tonight I'm going to board the old #30 Capitol Limited train here in South Bend and go to Richmond. Probably should have gone on Sunday, but I'm going tonight!! The train is a joy to ride and it's so much easier than getting to Chicago, then flying to Dallas and back to Richmond. And I can get off in Ashland, just a couple of miles from KK's house.

It's Brrrrr...cold here and there are a few flakes flying around, but it's supposed to be in the 60's tomorrow. Hope it's warmer in Richmond!

I'm not going to take the laptop, but maybe Bob can be persuaded to do a post or two and let us know how things are going here. They did get all the awnings installed and they look really great!! Yeah for progress! Hopefully he'll get to be on the road by Friday (or sooner!).

Hugs to everyone!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A sneak preview of the Before and After...

OK, are just a few photos of the redecorating done to the coach here in Elkhart.....
since it is not yet finished, you'll see a couple photos of the living area. Still to be completed are the new front window drape and the accent pillows in contrasting fabrics and the bedroom comforter, pillows and fabrics . When it is all put together, there'll be a complete "before and after" photo shoot!

Left: BEFORE The dining area and double J sofa, with upholstered valances and chair in the "Aqua Mist" original Monaco fabrics and the Aqua Mist carpeting!!

Left: AFTER: The dining area and double J sofa, with the Maple valances on the windows, black and taupe on the dining chairs, new maple flooring with taupe carpet on the slide out, and new accent fabric on the pillow, small gold pineapples on black fabric!

Left: AFTER Another view of the dining and sofa area with new valances and flooring

Left: BEFORE Another view of the Aqua Mist Valances, sofa and old favorite Pineapple pillows!
(Hint: I like pineapples!)

Left: AFTER Closeup view of the dining area with the maple valances, black placemats and accents

Left: BEFORE Closeup of the dining area valances

Left: BEFORE Another closeup of those lovely Aqua Mist Valances!

Left: AFTER Closeup view of the maple Valances
Left: AFTER Closeup of the living area sofa and maple valance with the black pineapple fabric

Left: A closeup of the accent fabrics: left side is Citadel Jet (used in the bedroom) and right is Welcome Black, the pineapple fabric used in the living and dining areas
So, there it is folks, or at least a part of it! (Especially for you, Terry! :) ) It has been a labor of love and for the most part, lots of fun, since we love doing this type of "renovating". The best part is that the green "Aqua Mist" carpeting is GONE....did I say that I am a happy girl??!
So, what do you think?????
Hugs to all!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Making progress...and an Amish auction

Hooray, Monaco finished the painting late Thursday and we got the coach back! So, we did a thorough cleaning due to the flooring installation and prepared for Carlisle, the Amish woodworker, to install the new day/night shades and maple valances. The floors are just what we hoped they would be; I am a happy girl!! :)

Getting up early on Friday because the Monaco guys wanted to wash the coach before we left, the Alternator light gave a failure sign, so they checked it, and sure enough, we need one of those lil 'ole things! So, that means another day or two here.....gee, we are thinking about trying to find ACORN around here so maybe we can vote in Indiana!!! :)

At any rate, we felt very lucky to have that happen right here in the service center, as opposed to on the road somewhere!!

So we got a message to Carlisle (many of the Amish have cell phones that they leave in a little booth by their driveway; they go out, check it and return phone calls frequently during the day, taking care of business in this way) and he agreed to come to us and install the valances! Bob drove down to Nappanee (quicker than a horse and buggy), and returned with Carlisle and the maple valances!! They got them all installed in about two hours...whoohooo!! I was so grateful to him for coming up to we are not so far behind in the "to do list" !! And Wow, I like those valances!!! I am a happy girl!!

We have truly enjoyed getting to know Carlisle and learning a little more about the Amish ways here in Indiana. They are more progressive than the Pennsylvania Dutch and seem to be pretty prosperous. Carlisle has a fabulous workshop, with state of the art tools. It is powered by a 40 KW generator! His home is immaculate and he also has a lovely showroom, also powered by generators. He has two power in the yard and another in his two car garage, parked next to his black covered buggy!! We haven't yet asked him if he launches the boats with the horse!

Today was "donut" day....this called for a daytrip over to Middlebury to the best little bakery we've ever encountered! The "Rise and Roll"....Bob is addicted to the Chocolate covered custard filled donuts. Very light and buttery with the most delicious custard filling...Yum Yum!! We watched the young girls making their goodies, using belt driven mixers, under propane lights. Once again, this was a first rate shop, powered by a generator and using propane for cooking. The Amish are quite ingenious in providing the means to keep their lives and livelihoods prosperous.

Armed with donuts, rolls and fresh bread, we drove through the Middlebury countryside and came upon an Amish auction........there must have been over one hundred buggies parked in the field, along with quite a few cars. We decided to check out the auction...what fun!!! The Amish people were friendly enough, and we browsed through the barns and sale items. They had a bake sale and were cooking chowders and tenderloins!! Of course, we had to buy some of their cherry and apple pies and cookies. The cherry pie is made with dark, bing cherries, and my oh my, it is good!!!

It was most interesting to see their working farm up close. The stalls were full of draft horses, cows and horses to pull their buggies. But no tractors!! They had a working windmill and large propane tanks. Most of them were speaking a form of German, as they usually do to each other. Healthy grape vines grew around the base of their windmill, still laden with large clusters of blue-black grapes. Lots of children, all dressed in homemade, solid colored or denim clothing, were laughing and playing in the yard. What a treat it was to step back in time and walk around this farm.....oh, and they do their auctions just like we do; an English auctioneer rides in the back of his truck with a microphone and performs the sale!

(The camera was left behind in the coach today, so no photos. We wouldn't have taken photos at the farm or auction, even if we had it with us. But we missed lots of glorious fall landscape photo ops today (: ! )

An Amish "manure spreader"!

After talking with my sister, KK, we have decided that I will wait until later this week to come home. It looks like we may be finished here on Wednesday, so that would be great! It is starting to get COLD here and there is a possibility of SN*W on Monday.....brrrrrr...time to head South!

Kristy seems to be doing very well after her BMT....this is great news!!! Many thanks to everyone for your prayers and well really means a lot.

Big hugs and safe travels to everyone!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hurry up and wait.....

On the road less traveled....a serene, working barn

We have just about run out of things to do here in the Elkhart area. It seems to be "hurry up and wait" at this point!

We are most anxious to be back in the motorhome, and to get back to Richmond. The last week has been spent in the Comfort Suites here; it's a brand new hotel and is very nice, but we like our own bed!! :)

Right now, it is looking like it could be late next week before they finish up with the coach, so I am thinking about flying out of Chicago back to Richmond. Kristy is having the Bone Marrow Transplant on Thursday, so I really want to get back there.

She has a blog site, if you want to see how things are going, please visit
She will post if she feels up to it; if not we will do updates. She is using email and text messaging alot right now as the chemo has left her mouth and throat quite blistered and it hurts to talk. She enjoys hearing from people so please leave her well wishes if you like. Big thanks to all of you who have already visited and left her your well guys are just the best!!

My nieces Anita, Kay Ellen, Kristy, Karisa and my daughter, Tiffany

The folks here at the Monaco Service facility and at Duncan have been very good, but we sure are ready to head back to Virginia!

A sneak peak at those floors!

Big hugs to everyone!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Autumn Palette

Returning to Elkhart, they continued to work on the flooring installation until Friday afternoon.'s finally completed and looks really good! No more carpet to vacuum!! Once the other items are completed, we'll post some "before and after photos".
We immediately drove the MH up to the Monaco Service Center; they need to complete the painting and it needs to be indoors in the service bay over the weekend, so we sadly left it there and returned to our motel in Elkhart. We were quite anxious to do a detailed cleaning (it got pretty dusty while they were working) and get everything put back together, but it was supposed to rain on Friday evening so it needed to be inside. At least the biggest part of the work is complete, so it's all good :)

On a Wakarusa Street corner..
Monday the guys at Monaco will start the painting and hopefully they'll finish by Wednesday so we can return to Duncan for the awning installation to be completed. Kristy entered MCV hospital on Friday to begin the radiation and chemo to prepare her for the Bone Marrow Transplant next week. We were so hoping to be finished here and back there with her, but it seems everything takes much longer than anticipated (we've been here five weeks). Please keep her in your thoughts while she fights this battle. She's ready to get through it and has a great attitude, but it is a tough trip for her. I'm anxious to get back there, too! Hopefully, we're on the road by next Friday!
Hugs, everyone!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

More covered bridges....

Bridgeton Bridge...The "most photographed" bridge

Tuesday brought more covered bridges in Parke County. There are five different "routes" to view the bridges and visit the Festivals; we toured three of them. At the little town of Bridgeton there was an amazing festival; lots of vendors with interesting items (not the usual Chinese imported junk) and examples of local art, sewing, quilting and weaving. And more delicious food! One of our favorites were the Cheese Heads from Wisconsin with their Fried Cheddar Cheese Curds...yumyumyum...those little fried curds were GOOD!! It was a delightful and huge festival.

The bridge in Bridgeton is considered to be the "most photographed" of all covered bridges; it is a long bridge over a fast flowing creek, creating a lovely waterfall beneath it much of the year, and a pretty sight when the water freezes over the falls. (I don't even want to THINK about being there when the water is frozen!)
It is a double arch bridge, referring to the two semi-circular wooden arches inside on each side of the bridge, providing the support system. This type of circular arch is known as the Burr Arch and was the prevalent means of construction for most of the bridges in this area (and in many across the US), from around 1800 to the early 1900's. There's a photo below which shows the Burr Arch rather well.

Crooks Bridge
Close up view of the Burr Arch type of construction

The Owl's Nest Inn provided and interesting and fun home base to enjoy the festivals and bridges.

The Owl's Nest Inn B&B in Rockville, IN

The fall weather was still enjoyable and the farm scenery was never ending. What an abundance of charming old farmhouses, all in "neat as a pin" condition. It's so refreshing to see these working farms flourishing in the heartland of America.
Another lovely old farmhouse

While there are not as many Amish in Parke County, they were still in evidence there. The entire family seemed to be helping to harvest the corn crop in this photo...
Amish team harvesting corn, Hmmm... bet wonder if they receive Farm Subsidies from Uncle Sam!

Hugs to everyone!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Bridges of Parke County

Our first Parke County covered bridge sighting, Melcher Bridge built in 1896

Monday was the day to deliver the coach to Bradd and Hall for the Maple flooring installation....:) :) Can't wait for that to be finished!! They need it for the next three days, so about 3 1/2 hours Southeast, on the Illinois border is Parke County, Covered Bridge Capital of the World, and from October 10 thru 19th is the Covered Bridge Festival. It was the perfect time to spend a few days "vacationing" in this quintessential mid-west area.

The weather being sunny with bright blue skies and 73 degrees was perfect for moseying around, taking autumn photos of these lovely old structures. Arriving at the festival center in the Town of Rockville around 3:30 pm, we got (literally) the last room in town, at the Owl Nest Inn....Toolie, the endearing proprietor, offered us a room in her daughter's house next door (she rents out two bedrooms adjacent to the B&B during the Festival). Thrilled with this offering, we gladly accepted! Toolie and her daughter, Starr, saved the day!

Then it was time to sample the many goodies offered at the Festival grounds in Rockville. Everything smelled so good....grilling sausages, spiced apples, smoking chickens and pork tenderloins, and corn fritters for starters. Uh Oh...cholesterol city again! After sampling a few delicious things, it was off to see Covered Bridges!

The Mecca Bridge over Big Racoon Creek, Built in 1873

The Phillips Bridge over Big Pond Creek, built in 1909

Phillips Bridge from afar

The Sim Smith Bridge over Leatherwood Creek, built in 1883

What Festival would be complete without.........
A big bowl of Peach Cobbler with cream!! UmmUmm good! :)

Makes it easier to forget the country's troubles with the simple life here :).
Hugs to everyone!

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Grand Old Train

Here at "Camp" Duncan" we are located across from the "Elkhart Yard", allegedly the busiest train switching yard in the Mid-west. The squeal of the train track is a constant background noise here, as the trains slow to either refuel or reposition and await their turn for switching. It sounds much like the scraping of fingernails down a chalkboard as the trains slow to a mere crawl while they enter the yard. At first we found this sound very annoying, but we learned to use background noise (humming fans) to drown it, and as we've been here a bit longer, we've just become accustomed to it. Doing a Google Earth search shows the train yard to be huge, appearing to have as many as fifty tracks and a large diesel fueling station.
The other morning as we were heading out, we noticed an unusually attractive, older train stopped on the outer rail. As we watched, white SUV's began pulling in and men in suits alighted to board the train. Stopping to take some photos, we conversed with a gentleman, who confirmed our suspicion that this was the Norfolk Southern Executive Train out of Norfolk, VA.

A grand old train graces the Elkhart Yard

My sister, Brenda, and brother-in-law, G. L., retired from Norfolk Southern executive offices in Norfolk a few years back. What do you bet G. L. could chime in here and give us the real skinny on this beautiful old train???

We have enjoyed the trains in this area and we'll actually miss all the "train sounds" here at Camp Duncan!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What's next??.....

What's next here in Elkhart is more work needs to be done. One of the things we had scheduled here was the replacement of the rear slide out seal, as it had developed a small tear on the right side, resulting in a little leak at that corner. Duncan replaced the seal as requested, but in the course of the work, they discovered an area where the other side of the seal had leaked and caused some water damage to the side, in an area where we could not see or detect it. So we will be in Elkhart a few days longer than we had hoped to have this corrected. We will move to the Monaco Service Center building tomorrow to let them begin this correction.

On the topic of service and repair, it is worth mentioning that we have had a great experience here with Duncan RV Repair. The staff is just great and the techs are good at what they do and keep you informed. There's a nice campground and lounge area, and you're treated very well. Angela is the receptionist/concierge/girl friday who can accomplish almost anything for you and is a pleasant and bright spot in everyday. We have really enjoyed being here and having them work on our coach. Can't say that about too many places these days! And so far, the folks up at the Monaco Service facility have been amazing. More on that later. But, it's all good!

What's next in the news and the future of the good 'ole USA???

Here's my favorite article for today from The Wall Street Journal:

Barney Frank...he gets the Bull Butter Award of the day. Who is he kidding???? Barney Rubble would serve us better. But kudos to Artur Davis, Alabama Democrat. At least he gets it, and admits it....refreshing for a change amongst the teflon coated legislators!

And here's another interesting tidbit on the OpEdNews site.

Read it all. They put the real "spin" on the mortgage mess and give you "faces" to go with it. Think the Sandlers will help with our portfolio losses.....NOT!! (Sure hope none of you owned Wachovia stock) How do you spell "C R O O K"?

(Sisters: what would Mom say about this??? Hope you cashed your checks, quick!)

This exposes NBC at it's (liberal) "roots".
By the way, NBC put the SNL video back on the site today. Watch it. It's a hoot!

Thanks to all of you who made great comments on the blog the other day. This is such a crucial time for our country and there is so much bull butter out there that one can hardly wade through it...and that's on both sides of the aisle!!

Truffles for President!!

Hugs to all!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Is any one tired of "Political Correctness"?

Carlyle's huge and lovely Amish Astor

October 6th was a laid back day here in Elkhart, but it seems there was a lot happening in New York, once Jim Cramer yelled "Sell, sell!" on the Today show, Wall Street took off on it's downhill tumble. Did anyone really expect anything different? The bailout will not bring the answer until individuals and businesses return to sound financial practices, and that is going to be a long, bumpy road. Too bad he didn't yell "Sell" about a month ago!! Hindsight is always 20/20!!

I only wish you'd hear them (pundits, candidates and talk show hosts) begin to talk about some of the origins of relaxing the Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae standards. No one will mention the lobbying by the Democratic Black Caucus, strongly supported by Barrack Hussein O'Bama, as well as other Democrats and Republicans (it was the Politically Correct thing to do), for the loosening of credit standards in order for minorities and the poor to obtain mortgages for homes. Don't get me wrong, I want to see everyone have the chance to own a home.....what possible difference could color or race make??? If you have saved your down payment and proven yourself credit worthy, then you deserve the credit opportunity. If, on the other hand, you have not yet managed these items, why in the world would anyone want to risk investing in your home? And since when did the ability to obtain a mortgage for a home become a "right"? I was under the assumption that it was something we all "earned" in some fashion or another. I subscribe to the "responsibilities" regime and reject the "entitlement" theory. The only thing we're really entitled to is the right to show responsibility for ourselves and our loved ones. Nope, you won't hear this in the News media, because it is not Politcally Correct to talk about the "mess" in these terms. Seems like Political Correctness has dampened the future for our kids, and any children they may have, for a long time to come.

And on the other end of the spectrum, the corruption and greed of the CEO's and Exec's of the mortgage brokers is unacceptable. They KNEW they were extending loans with poor prognosis of repayment...but what did they care??? Their fees and costs were collected up front, (almost to the point of extortion) and the loans were then sold to investors with the guarantee of Freddie and Fannie to bail them out....Oops, big mistake when you make bad loans by the billions!! Of course, they "took the money and ran" away from the lousy loans they'd been not only allowed, but encouraged, to make at the behest of our legislators. Politically Correct legislators, no less!

I, for one, am tired of Political Correctness, and think we need a little more Personal Responsibility in this great old country of ours.

My apologies if I offended anyone who reads the blog today. No offense intended to anyone, and Big Hugs to everyone!!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Lake Michigan and signs of Autumn

Elkhart, Indiana almost adjoins the state line of Michigan, about an hour Southeast of Lake Michigan. Around the Southeastern shore of the lake there are many tall sand dunes and quaint towns, that we've been wanting to see, so off the little Saturn went, to Lake Michigan and the town of Saint Joseph, with lots of shore side villages in between.

The day was just a little coolish with a grey sky when we departed Elkhart, but as we neared the Lake, it became quite brisk and the wind really picked up. We learned the true meaning of "lake effect", as you could see the cloud formations in the sky and feel the temperatures drop as we traveled north and closer to the lake.

"Lake hair" up on the dunes at Lake Michigan

At the shoreside town of Bridgman, we found our way to the dunes and our first sight of Lake Michigan. It seemed as if we were really at Myrtle Beach, as the lake looks much like an ocean, with a wide beach, waves rolling in and no shore in sight!! We hopped out for a walk and Whoa...what a surprise..the wind was howling and it was freezing!! Tossing on the light jacket that was hiding in the Saturn, we hustled up to the top of the dunes for a look-see.

A dune along the shoreline

It is indeed, a beautiful lake with a lovely shoreline. We took some photos, but didn't tarry too long, because it was freezing!! It would be hard to imagined winter up here. We noticed that all the fire hydrants had tall rods attached to them....the better for the snowplows to see them!! And there were just a few too many snowmobiles in the yards for my comfort! Nope, I think heading south is the antidote..."lake effect" stuff is just not enticing to us!

We had lunch in the lovely town of St Joseph and drove through Silver Beach, adjacent to the town. The "downtown" area seemed pretty lively, with many restaurants and trendy store fronts. There were painted "sailboats" on the street corners, in the fashion of "signature" icons that are frequently seen in towns and cities.

Decorated sailboat on a St. Joseph street corner

Making our way back, it got sunny and warmer as we traveled south. Upon arrival in Elkhart, it was quite sunny and pleasant. Elkhart seems to get a little of the "lake effect" snow and rain, but it's nothing like being close to the shore!

The leaves were beginning to show their colors and it made a nice palette as we traveled.

What a pleasant diversion from the mess on Wall Street and Washington. Thanks to all of you who commented and emailed from the last blog. We still haven't found anyone who was in favor of the huge payout Congress just gave away. What an interesting dilemma. Grannie would have just loved all this....she was an avid fan of Fox News, (and other news channels), and followed the politics and antics "inside the Beltway" closely. Always up to date on current events and ready to have a conversation with you about them, I wonder what would she have to say about it!
Big hugs to everyone!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Wave...and the Seven Hundred Billion Dollar question...

Marcia, Joe, Fay and Jay and the "Molly Wave" !

Speaking of great RV'ers, the other day the above photo was sent by Bobbie and Jim, along with the following email:


Attached is the photo we took as Jim and I drove away from visiting with the Carters and Jones' in Tulsa. The "Molly Wave" is alive and well in Oklahoma.

Miss you and Bob so much!!!

After shoulder surgery last winter, I had to lift my left arm with the right arm and hold it up. Many in our group began to do this and christened it "The Molly Wave". It really did help, seeing everybody else doing this little exercise. I was grateful for the comrades!! Thank you so much, Bobbie, for sending really made my day!!!

Here's another little email that brought a good chuckle:

The Crowds.....
On television today a Democratic operative pointed out that when Obama holds a rally 25-30,000 people show up, whereas when

McCain holds one he only draws 10-15,000.

The Republican spokesman replied........."That's because McCain's supporters are at work."

Well, the news is dominated everywhere, as well as most conversation, with The Seven Hundred Billion Dollar question, and it isn't pretty. Newt Gingrich's proposition seems best, give 'em some rules, take the gamble, make it a "work out", not a bailout. It seems everyone we have come in contact with is opposed to the bailout, despite the possible damage to Wall Street and the economy. Is the bailout just a band-aid that only delays the coming fall of the market, due to the artificial inflation of our economy? Back-to-basics is what needs to happen, for Wall Street and everyone else. No handout is my vote; I'll take my licks with everyone else. One of our fellow campers here at Camp Duncan suggested that we need the American version of the French Revolution. After reading about the hundreds of million dollar payouts to the CEO's, Execs, and board members of the failing corporations, there may be some wisdom in that!!
Hmmmm...... What do you think??