2013 Travels travel blog

Carpe at Elkhart Campground

US 20 west of Cleveland

Lovely home in Bellevue Ohio

Angola Indiana boasts Town Square

Angola Indiana theater

Buggy announces Amish Country

Buggy traffic jam in Shipshewana

Bicycles are a popular mode of travel

Elkhart Campground at last...

Elkhart Campground entry and office

Carpe awaiting service at Master Tech RV

We visited the RV Museum & Hall of Fame

Bob with Al Hesselbart; the Museum's Historian

The world's smallest Airstream
Designed and built for the German caravan market

Sandi poses with Centennial Charlie's ladyfriend

Centennial Charlie and his ladyfriend (bride?)

A Stewart "housecar"

This one is on an Olds Toronado chassis

A streamlined "housecar" circa '30s

A closeup of the streamlined headlite

Carpe Diem at Lambright Custom Chairs for couch restuffing

Lambright's employee parking lot
Amish Craftsmen bike to work

A buggy pulling a trailer near Shipshewana

We visited the NYC Railroad Museum

The museum's GG1 electric

The EMF diesel

EMF locomotive engine and generator
This is one of two

Sandi "driving" the EMF locomotive

NYC "Mohawk" 4-8-2 locomotive #3001

Headlite of steam locomotive #3001

Main drive wheels of #3001

Cab of steam locomotive #3001

Bob in restored NYC Observation Car

Mon, 19 Aug: Another day off the "Super Slab". Today's journey of 280 miles was almost exclusively on US 20, a wonderful federal highway that parallels Interstate 80, aka the Ohio and Indiana Turnpikes. We opted for the slower (and less expen$ive) route.

Our day began at the Maywood Community RV park in Chesterland Ohio. We went thru our check lists, connected Carpe Dinkum, and rolled wheels ten minutes before nine. We turned south on OH 306 to avoid a detour, and picked up OH 422 then I 480 to skirt south of Cleveland. Rush hour was over, so we made good time.

Southwest of Cleveland we transitioned to US 20 and headed west. As mentioned, US 20 is a well maintained two (and further west, four) lane road that traverses lush farmland and thru wonderful small towns. We've often mentioned that these small towns are the true heart of America and many have lovingly maintained buildings an homes (see pix).

As we approached Toledo we picked up I 75 to I 475, which took us south and then west of Toledo. At the northwest quadrant of Toledo we again picked up US 20 and continued west into Indiana.

The short (sixty) mile stretch thru Indiana took us thru Amish Country, which included the town of Shipshewana. We observed numerous folks riding bicycles along the road and several horse drawn buggies. We have always admired the tenacity these devout folks apply to their faith.

South of Elkhart we exited to IN 17 and then to CR 4. That was not a smart choice as the county road was very narrow with multiple low trees and branches. We scraped and banged our antennae several times but otherwise made it without any damage.

We arrived at the Elkhart Campgrounds a bit after four and got a nice end spot. We settled in and then headed to King Wah to satisfy our yen (pun intended) for Chinese food. They are very good and we now understand why Nick Russell raves so.

A lazy evening back at the coach. Today's mileage: 280.

Tue, 20 Aug: We arose when we arose. That's the retiree's way of getting up and we do approve. Following a relaxing breakfast Bob contacted the folks at Master Tech RV Service to schedule Carpe in for service. Following some discussions, it was deemed best if we drove Carpe to their facility for evaluation.

So, about 1100 Bob drove the coach nine miles (thru considerable construction) to Master Tech where we were given a 50 amp spot. The tech came out after lunch to evaluate our service needs. Some parts need to be ordered, but they think they'll be in by tomorrow so we'll spend the nite here and Carpe is scheduled to go in at 0730 tomorrow (so much for "we arise when we arise").

Thu, 22 Aug: A busy, busy two days since our last post. We keep trying to remind ourselves that we're retired and busy days aren't part of our lifestyle. Somehow we don't seem to be getting the message...

Anyway, yesterday (Wed) morning we awoke early and had Carpe ready to go into service. And then we sat, sat, and sat some more. They finally rolled the coach into service around nine, 1½ hours after they said to be ready. What a first impression.

While the coach was in the shop we took a drive out to Shipshewana to check out Lambright Comfort Chairs. We have one of their couches installed and just love it. In fact, we've loved it so much that we've worn a "butt print" in the cushions. They'll repair the cushions if we bring the coach in, which we're planning to do Friday.

Then to Goshen to check out the fairgrounds where we'll be attending a rally in a few weeks time. We found it and punched in the coordinates so we can come back. Then a break for lunch and back to the shop to wait, and wait, and wait.

We finally saw a toilet being dollied to a waiting truck and loaded. When we inquired we were told it was "defective" and needed to be exchanged. Well, it turns out that they lied to us. We later learned that they'd ordered the wrong toilet, despite the fact that we gave them the Winnebago parts breakdown with the correct toilet clearly shown and highlighted in florescent yellow.

Things sorta deteriorated from there and Sandi got a bit fussy with them and let them know that she was impressed with their service, but not exactly the impression they wanted. We finally got everything wrapped up and there is a good, bad, and ugly...

Good: The cabinet work they did on the interior is superb. They matched the stain perfectly and the woodwork flawless

Bad: They are very confused and their communications, both within the organization and with their customers, is extremely poor.

Ugly: They are very, very expensive, no make that overpriced. They charged us almost twice as much for the toilet as Camping World charges (and Camping World does make a profit you know).

Bottom line... We'd be hard pressed to either return to Master Tech RV Service or to recommend them to anyone who may inquire.

We finally got back to the Elkhart Campgrounds a bit before five and fell into serious Happy Hour mode as soon as we got set up. A very long and trying day.

Today was much better. We had some thunderstorms pass thru during the early morning, complete with fusillades of thunder that guaranteed everyone was awake. One clap sounded more like cannon fire than lightening. The rain wasn't too hard, just steady enough to paint a steady staccato on our roof.

We awoke late and got going at our leisure. We bade goodby to Ed and Ellen Syers who were parked next to us. We met them Monday evening and really enjoyed getting to know them. They're from New Jersey and we have mutual acquaintances. They've spent most of their summer in their Winnebago Voyage and are heading home, slowly... While they aren't yet full timers they seem to be good candidates. We hope to meet them again down Life's Highway.

After they left we drove to the RV Museum and Hall of Fame. We'd visited during our earlier trip and wanted to revisit. We're now life members so we got in "free". It was as interesting as always and we especially enjoyed chatting with Al Hesselbart, the museum's historian and a fascinating guy.

It was lunch when we left the museum so off to Wings, Etc. to take advantage of their 49¢ wing special. Sandi tried their TNT wings, which really got her taste buds going. Then to nearby Wal*Mart for some victualling and back home. We just beat the rain and got our goodies in the coach before some additional storm cells marched thru.

Sat, 24 Aug: Another busy couple of days. We've oft stated that we do not know how we ever found time to be earn a living. Retirement is a full time effort.

Yesterday (Friday) morning we awoke with the alarm at six and got Carpe ready to roll. Today we have an appointment with the folks at Lambright Comfort Chairs south of Shipshewana to have our couch restuffed. Sandi's parked her Kiester in it so much (remember, retirment) that she's imprinted her butt print into the cushions.

We left the campground a bit before eight and arrived at Lambright about 0830. We were the only vehicle in the lot (the Craftsmen commute by bike). Nate came right out to take care of our couch (no extended wait ala Master Tech...) He made short work of it and the price was extremely reasonable. We were back at Elkhart Campground around ten having traveled 58 miles.

Our journey took us through Amish Country and we again marveled at the tidy farms with the wash on the line and bountiful crops in the fields. We encountered many buggies, several pulling a trailer (see pix). We'd not seen that before.

The balance of the day was spent tending to chores, including laundry, and enjoying a picture perfect day with mild temps and sunny skies. All in all a very good day.

Today (Saturday) was a lazy "get up when we got up" morning. Following a relaxing breakfast superimposed with doing a load of laundry (we're multitasking retirees) we decided to visit the New York Central Railroad Museum. Located in downtown Elkhart this is a wonderful museum that houses quite a bit of NYC rolling stock. Their collection includes a Mohawk 4-8-2 steamer, a GG1 electric, and an early EMF diesel. Best of all, they allow the public to enter the rolling stock so we got a chance to "drive" the locos.

We're now back at the coach and will probably stay put for the duration. In addition to catching up with our computer "chores" we'll just enjoy the mostly empty Elkhart Campground. This can be a busy place so we are fortunate that there are no large groups this weekend. When we arrived on Monday there were a dozen or so Québécois on caravan parked all around us. We were not sorry to see their tail lites Thursday morning.

We are scheduled to depart Monday but we're still uncertain of where we'll head next. We do know that we'll be at Carmen & Domingo's place over Labor Day, but where we'll go between here and there (now and then?) is still cast in Jell-O. We're thinking about driving up the west (sunset) coast of Michigan toward Sleeping Bear Dunes but nothing is firm at this writing.

Stay tuned...

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