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Rolling down the highway...

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Visits - RV Maintenance - Flea Market

(Elkhart, IN) Hi 70 Lo 48 -- Nature's heat has been turned off the last couple days. It's been cold for August (48 degrees this morning!) and it's too soon to go south. It should warm back up before end of the week.

Tuesday we met for lunch with a Dick and Barbara, friends of ours from Avon Park where we spend our winters. They're staying with their family in this area. We spent the whole afternoon discussing some changes at our park (Adelaide Shores RV Resort), like re-paving the roads and some renovations and improvements at the clubhouse. It was great talking to them. They were full timers for 15 years. It was a fun afternoon.

Wednesday we took Tumbleweed about 18 miles to Fox RV to have some maintenance done. Larry Fox, the owner, has done work for us before and he's just wonderful to work with.

The primary purpose for our visit was to get our small (doorside) slide adjusted. There's been a small gap along one of the sides indicating it was coming in crooked. We also had him repair our gray tank vent. At times we get a strong smell from the kitchen or shower and knew from experience the vent wasn't doing its job. He found out one of the inner seals on the vent was broken, which allowed odors to vent inside the roof and come into the coach. He also took care of our broken ceiling fan. He didn't have a bracket to match our broken one, but he did have a similar design on hand, so we bought six of those. We're very happy with his service, and also happy that he said our RV is in good shape overall. He should know. When Carriage, Inc. (maker of our RV) was in business they would send customers to Fox RV when they had too much work to handle. So he's very knowledgeable about Carriage products. There were several Carriage Cameos getting service while we were there.

This one was getting the decals removed in order to have new ones painted on (a $2,700 job.. wow!).

While Fox RV was taking care of Tumbleweed we went to the famous Shipshewana Flea Market to see what kind of doo-dads or thing-a-ma-jigs we didn't know we needed. The flea market is open only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and is usually very crowded. But there was a light mist of rain falling, which kept the crowd down. We bought some kitchen utensils and a few veggies. On one end of the flea market grounds is a big auction barn, and they had several estate auctions going on while we were there.

Each group of items (grouped by family estate) was in its own section of the barn, and there were several auctioneers who would go from section to section to auction off the items. We were fascinated by the variety of items that were there to be auctioned off.

I used to have a doll house just like this, but mine was in better condition.

Love these old phones.

These are boxes of toys, all labeled by what kind of toy, like lego blocks, Ninja Turtles etc. Very well organized.

On the way home we just had to stop for lunch at Rise 'n Roll, a well known Amish bakery/deli in Middlebury. No matter what time of day you go they are always busy. They make the absolute best donuts we've ever eaten, and we always stop by (sometimes several times) when we're in the Elkhart area.

We got back to the campground around 3:00. We'll be here for another week. There's a Grand Design owners' rally going on this week, so there are many Solitude and Reflections fifth wheels in the park.

Here's my latest crocheted critters. I've actually sold a few to friends who see them on facebook or blog. I'm thinking of putting hooks on them for Christmas ornaments.

I'm starting to work on some other items, like this pizza. Maybe it would make a good refrigerator magnet?

See you in a few days.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Detroit Tigers Baseball Game

(Elkhart, IN) Hi 72 Lo 62 -- On Saturday we met for lunch with Andy, one of Dee's chat room friends. Andy's a young guy who has a small fifth wheel that he takes on weekend trips. He says he's currently "part time, sometimes, anytime" and hopes to eventually be "full time". It was great to meet him and share the joys of full timing with him. I had to keep an eye on Dee though. She says he's pretty easy on the eyes. :)

Yesterday (Sunday) I drove to Detroit to watch the Detroit Tigers take on the Texas Rangers at Comerica Park. It was a long 200-mile trip. I've attended many major league games during our travels, but I never had to travel more than about 100 miles, until now. The original plan was for Dee to come along. I was going to drop her off at Adrian, MI (a little over halfway) to spend the day with our friend Anna. However, Dee developed a pretty bad head cold, which she caught from me, and didn't feel up to making the trip. So I headed out myself.

It was an easy trip, mostly on I-94. I saw all kinds of warnings on the Detroit Tigers website about road construction around Comerica Park, which is on the edge of downtown Detroit. It turned out to be no problem at all. I took the first ballpark exit I saw, and parked in the first parking lot I came to, which was about 5 blocks from the stadium. That turned out to be smart because it only cost me $10 to park, and all the other parking lots around were $20-25.

I've heard all the scare stories about Detroit, and I always considered them exaggerated, or mostly having to do with certain suburban neighborhoods. The area I parked in wasn't the most attractive part of town, and I arrived very early so there weren't many people around yet, but I didn't feel particularly unsafe. But there were signs that Detroit, like many of our big cities, definitely has some social problems.

As I got closer to the stadium though, the surroundings got a lot more cheerful, with street musicians to entertain the crowd.

Comerica Park (Comerica is a bank by the way) is typical of the modern stadiums that are built to look old (retro) but have all the modern amenities fans expect.

I like the tiger statues.

They're all over the place.

Walking into a ballpark and getting the first view of that beautiful green field is always exciting to me.

A book I had years ago about ballparks was titled "Green Cathedrals". I think that title is very appropriate.

Comerica Park is the first ballpark I've seen that has a carousel. If you look closely you'll notice the "horses" are actually tigers. (Click on the image to enlarge it.)

The weather was beautiful, and it was a good game. The Rangers won 4-2, disappointing the home crowd. I did experience a little excitement though. A high foul ball came up and dropped fairly close to me. So close that this little guy a few seats away made a pretty impressive mid-air catch of the ball. He and his friend were so excited they jumped up and down and hugged each other while the crowd cheered them. It was beautiful to see such joy!

Here's a couple of views of the ballpark during the game.

I've now attended games in 23 of the 30 major league cities, 21 of them in the current stadiums. (I went to a game at the old Yankee stadium in 2004, and many SF Giants games in old Candlestick Park in the 80's). I don't know if I'll get to all 30 or not, but it sure has been fun making the attempt. It's interesting that I haven't been to a Miami Marlins or Tampa Bay Rays game yet, even though Florida is our home state. Makes sense when you consider we're never in Florida during the summer.

See you in a few days.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Back Home in Indiana

(Elkhart, IN) Hi 82 Lo 68 --  Green Acres Lake Park Resort  in Diamond, OH was a very good place to stay, with lots of family activities. They even had music entertainment on weekends with bands and DJ's at the pavilion. The managers were very friendly and helpful, even arranging a loan of a large cooler when we had our refrigerator issue. But on Monday it was time to leave and head further west to Elkhart, IN. We drove thru a couple of rain showers, but otherwise it was a very smooth six-hour trip. I'm from nearby Warsaw, IN so it's like coming back home to me. We're staying at the Elkhart Campground, where we've stayed a couple other times during our travels. We always love coming to the Elkhart area, with the great Amish eating places. Also, there's no better place to have your RV worked on than Elkhart. I think I read that about 80 percent of all RV's are built in Elkhart County, IN. In fact we have an appointment next week at Fox RV to have our small slide adjusted. It's currently not going completely out and there's a small gap at the top of one of the sides. They've done great work for us in the past.

Click on the pictures to enlarge.
Our site

We're right in front of the laundry.

 One of the six blades on our ceiling fan broke and we're trying to find a replacement. Actually the metal arm connecting the blade to the fan motor is what broke. We're not having much luck so far, but we'll keep trying.

A quick reminder, if you want to be sure you don't miss a post, please type your email address in the "Follow by Email" link on the right side of this blog. You'll then get every post by email immediately after it's published.

We'll see you in a few days.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Refrigerator - Movie Day

(Diamond, OH) Hi 89  Lo 70 -- Friday we hitched up early for a short trip to All Pro RV Service in Alliance, about 25 miles away to get a new cooling unit installed in our refrigerator. We were lucky they got the cooling unit in within a few days while we're here. (Click on the pictures to enlarge them.)

The old cooling unit.

The techs pulled the fridge out and laid it face down on the floor of the RV to install the new cooling unit.

After allowing the fridge to run overnight to get cooled down we re-packed the food we were able to save, and it's now working great. We even put some ice cream in the freezer and it's frozen solid, which is a first for us. I'm not going to pack it as much as I've done in the past. We'll go shopping more often. Our extended warranty took care of all but $50 of the cost. (The total would have been about $2,200 if we didn't have the extended warranty.) We've been very pleased with our Cornerstone United extended warranty, which we got through WholesaleWarranties.net. If you're looking for an extended warranty we heartily recommend them. So far they've paid for a slide motor, water heater, toilet, air conditioner, and now a refrigerator cooling unit. We paid $1,796 for a 5-year contract, so it's paid for itself probably double.

Another problem we had them fix was the RV brakes. We had new brakes put on in North Carolina, but they've been slowly losing their effectiveness. Each time Jim checked the brake fluid it was down but only by a little. They found a small section of the brake line was cracked on the end and leaking. It was a quick fix.

One more small fix was to replace a balky igniter on our stove top. It was a little thing that we probably could have done ourselves, but it was easy to have them take care of it. Overall we're quite pleased with All-Pro RV Service. If you're ever near Alliance, OH we highly recommend them. 

Saturday we went to Youngstown to see the movie The man from U.N.C.L.E. It's based on the 60's TV show. Jim watched the TV show when he was a teen, but I never watched it. It was very good, a little like a James Bond movie. They really nailed the overall look of the 60's in the movie, and it had some beautiful location scenery. We recommend it with two thumbs up. 

While we were in town we stopped at Walmart to get a few food items since the refrigerator is back working again. Funny story: We had lunch at the Subway inside the store and found out something funny. Before we paid for our order the clerk asked us if it's "for here or to go". We said we'll eat here, but she wrapped our order in a bag like a go order. I asked her why she did that and she said that she has to ask if it's for eating in or to go because they charge a higher tax if you eat in. Our order was 40 cents more than if we'd said it was "to go". I told her OK we'll take it to go, and she made the change. I then asked if we could eat at one of her tables and she said no problem, everyone says the order is to go and then eats it there, and they don't have a problem with that. She even said some nervous customers will order "to go", walk around the store for a couple of minutes and then sneakily return to eat at a table. She said they don't care where you eat the meal, but they're required to ask. Must be an Ohio thing...

We move to Elkhart, Indiana tomorrow. It will be a longer trip then we usually do, but we'll be settled for 17 days in the land of great Amish food.

See you in a few days.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Ceveland Indians Baseball Game

(Diamond, OH) Hi 79 Lo 56 -- Yesterday I drove to downtown Cleveland to Progressive Field to see the Cleveland Indians take on the New York Yankees. Another major league ballpark to mark off my list. Of the 30 major league ballparks, I've visited 22 overall, and 15 during our six years of full timing. Two of them may or may not count, because I went to a Giants game at their old ballpark (Candlestick Park) many years ago, and I went to a NY Yankees game at the old Yankee Stadium in 2004. It's interesting that I haven't been to the two ballparks in Florida yet (Tampa and Miami) because we're never in Florida during the summer. :)

I parked in a parking garage a few blocks from the stadium ($15, ouch!) and approached Progressive Field at the right field gates.

Like I normally do at a ballpark I haven't been to yet, I walked around to soak in the atmosphere. Here's the main entrance behind home plate.

I got a pretty good deal on a seat in the 4th row of the upper deck behind home plate, which is my favorite view of the action. It's a $46 dollar seat that I got for $32 on StubHub. (StubHub is awesome by the way. The price you see is the price you pay, no hidden or extra fees. And you can print out the ticket just minutes after you pay.)

Downtown ballparks may be harder to get to with all the parking hassles, but they usually offer some nice views around the area. This wasn't nearly as scenic as PNC Park in Pittsburgh, but it's still nice.

I love being at a ball game when the sun is going down, casting a golden glow on everything.

The place was only about half full, so like I usually do I moved around to some other parts of the stadium.

This is an interesting view from the seats in the upper part of the lower bowl. Looks like you're looking through a mail slot. :)

People pay big bucks for lower level seats along the baselines. But I'd rather be up higher. The seats are cheaper and the view is better (to me anyway).

Then there's the bleachers. You're a loooong way from home plate, but it's a good place to watch the outfielders do their thing.

The Indians won the game 2-1. It was nice to see Alex Rodriguez, the unrepentant drug user of the Yankees, get lots of well deserved boos when he came up to bat.

After the game it was an easy hop on the interstate for the trip home. Another enjoyable evening at the ole ball game!

Tomorrow we're taking the rig about 25 miles to All-Pro RV Service in Alliance. They called this morning to say the refrigerator cooling unit is in and they'll be ready for us. Also, their mobile guy Tim was here in the park this morning taking care of another customer, and he stopped by our rig to say hi and he'll see us tomorrow. That's the kind of customer service that gives me a good feeling about tomorrow. I hope it turns out as well as we hope. We'll tell you about it Sunday.