October 2011


In October we drove and drove and drove...We went from Bloomingdale, Michigan to Huntsville, Alabama by way of Otis, Massachusetts. Total distance was just over 1900 miles.

October went by in a flash – we wonder sometimes if the month really had 31 days because it sure didn’t feel like it!

We left Linda and the apple orchard, safely pulling out of her yard.  We’d had a lot of rain and were afraid the motor home would get stuck but the sun came out long enough to dry out the yard so that it wasn’t a problem.

It was a short trip to Newmar Corporation in Nappanee, Indiana, where we snagged a 50-amp, full hook-up site in the customer parking area.  Our appointment wasn’t until Tuesday but we’re glad we came in on Sunday- all remaining sites were filled up by the end of the day.  On Monday, we called Carlyle Lehman of Focal Wood Products letting him know we were in town.  He was building us a custom bedroom cabinet, in place of  where the bedroom television had been.  He was also making Lucille a laptop desk for the dash.  Carlyle suggested we take a drive out there so he could double-check our measurements.  Glad we made the trip – we did a little tweaking on what he was building for us.

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Lucille ordered a custom laptop desk to hold and store the laptop as well as provide a place to hold the printer.

Early the next morning, early being 6 am, Elmer, one of Newmar’s service reps, picked up our motor home to go into the shop for the start of the warranty repairs and other items we needed.  We were getting an awning for the bedroom window, replacing the black (and hard to keep clean) acrylic panels on the fridge with paneling to match the woodwork, and getting a filtered water dispenser installed.  We spent a couple of hours in the customer service lounge enjoying a cup of tea before we headed out for breakfast.  We were on our own the entire day, putzing around while waiting for the motor home to return to its site.  At 2:00 pm, it was back but was still needed for more work the next day – another early day!  In the meantime, Carlyle had called – our cabinet and desk were ready to be installed, so we drove out to his shop.  Three hours later, the cabinet was installed – you’d never know it wasn’t original.  He does great work – we highly recommend this Amish craftsman.  The laptop desk is just what Lucille needed to comfortably use the laptop in the cockpit area, and a great place to store it when traveling.

Another early morning (it’s nice they get started and finished so early but for us retired folks, getting up that early is a struggle.)  We ran errands that second day, including stopping at the local library and picking up some books from their book sale – 10 cents a pound – wotta deal!  We also located where Mary’s Bakery had relocated since their fire a couple of years ago.  They used to provide freshly-baked buttermilk cookies to Newmar’s customer service lounge daily.  They are now in downtown Nappanee at Nappanee Bakery and Treats – yum!

We had a reprieve for the third day of work – some of the needed parts weren’t in yet so we wouldn’t get ousted from  our home until 9 am – we got to sleep in, such as that is with about a dozen other RVs getting started up at 6 am.  Alas, our reprieve only lasted the one day.  One more day of work needed to be done before all our needed repairs were done.  The latest holdup was a replacement kitchen faucet.  Rather than to continue to wait on one that had been back-ordered, they pulled something similar from the production line and once they got our approval on the change, it was installed.

Per our request, the motor home was put on a lift to make sure all was okay with the frame, after the propane bracket issue surfaced recently.  The welding repair we had done in Faribault, Minnesota, was double-checked and proclaimed a good fix.  We requested a sit-down meeting with the customer service people to go over our list of concerns with the motor home.  We walked away from the meeting satisfied. 

While in the Nappanee area, we paid a visit to the Shipshewana Flea Market, only open Tuesdays and Wednesdays May through October.  We found a couple of items we didn’t know we needed.  Despite just being a week or so away from closing for the season, there were still plenty of vendors and customers.  On the way back, we stopped for lunch at Rise ‘n Roll, an Amish bakery – the sandwiches were wonderful and we bought several jars of jams and preserves.

On Friday evening, we got together with several of the other Newmar customers awaiting repairs and walked over to Amish Acres for the Threshers Dinner.  On Fridays, you pay $17.95 for the first meal and only $1 for the second.  What a huge amount of food was brought to our table of fourteen – all served family style.  It was an enjoyable evening.

That evening, sister-in-law Bonnie called to let us know that Larry’s brother Brian had had a heart attack.  They were the caretakers of our site up at Klondike in Massachusetts this past season and had planned on going up there that weekend to finalize getting it winterized and buttoned up for the season.  It dawned on us that we had about two weeks free between our Nappanee stop and when we had to be in Huntsville, so early the next morning, we hit the road heading for Connecticut.  We were concerned about Brian and knew he would be in no shape to finish working on the fifth wheel and as stubborn as he is, we know he would try, health problems or not.  This was a bonus visit to see our families, one we hadn’t planned, so it was a no-brainer to head that way first.

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The leaves were already turning when we arrived in Otis.

Three days of traveling and we were at Klondike, parking in Bob and Cindy’s second site.  They were gracious enough to let us park there the week we’d be there, even though they were leaving for Florida a few days later.  Once we got set up, we checked out the Legacy, making a list of what still needed to be done, then started to tackle it.  We were trying to get the tarp on before the rains came in two days later and we made it – the fifth wheel has now been Bounced, mothballed, and Deconned –hopefully all those measures will keep the critters out.  

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Ray showed Larry the wooden clockworks of the 19th century church.

We visited Brian in the hospital where his doctors were running tests and deciding what the best course of action was to get him back on his feet.  We picked Bonnie up that Saturday and the three of us attended a concert by Atwater/Donnelly in nearby Madison, CT – enjoyable as all their concerts are.  We also got in lots of visits with our families while we were there – our nieces and nephews are all growing like weeds!  And we laughed ourselves silly with friends Lou and Anne one night at their place.  We joined Lucille's brother Ray and his family at church on Sunday.  Ray was able to take Larry up into the attic area of the church to look at the old clock mechanism.  Our week went by quickly but we really are glad we had the flexibility to change our plans and head that way.

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While in town we took a Huntsville Land Trust sponsored hike on Monte Sano; longtime friend, Linda, joined us.

Time to hit the road for Huntsville – we made the trip in three days and got set up at the military campground on Redstone Arsenal.  We had a couple of routine medical exams to take care of while in town and an emergency dental repair – Larry broke a tooth the night we arrived.  Our former dentist was able to work Larry in his schedule immediately but a crown was needed, which would mean staying in Huntsville another week.  Again, we had some extra time built in so sticking around longer was not a problem and in fact, gave us time to visit with friends.  We also met with Dave and Mary who were traveling through Huntsville on their way to Brunswick, Georgia.  We will be joining them in November and December when we all will be helping the Brunswick affiliate of Habitat For Humanity.  

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Larry went with Dave and Mary to the Alabama Space and Rocket Center located in Huntsville, Alabama..  

Before we knew it, the month had ended.  We thoroughly enjoyed seeing all those friends we could and hope to catch up with others next year when we return. 

Next stop:  Camp Carr in Rincon, Georgia; Brunswick, Georgia through the end of the year; back to Camp Carr for annual exams in January; a dulcimer workshop in Mt. Dora, Florida before we head to Palmdale, Florida for the months of March and April.


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