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Southeast (Gulf Coast), Texas, United States

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Back roads of Shipshewana

This morning at 4:30am, we got a call from the nursing home where Patsy’s dad lives.  The result was that he was hospitalized, so we will cut our trip short, and head toward home.  We still plan to make some of our planned visit, but we plan to be home by the middle of next week.

Today, we drove the back roads around Shipshewana. Our first stop was a bakery, where we got breakfast!  The next stop was an Amish country store, where we took these pictures of Mom and us at the front of the store:

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As we drove around, we saw a lot of examples of Amish life.  I took a few pictures, and they follow………

A group of women in a “convertible buggy:

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A work buggy with trailer:

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A farmer and work team going to work:

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Horses, horses, horses:

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When I ‘shot’ this one, he fell over!!  (actually, he was scratching his back)

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Here’s an old tree stump in the yard of a person with a sense of humor:

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The following are ‘Buggy Sightings’:

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Another buggy with a trailer:

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The following buggy was available for rides at the Das Dutchman Essenhaus Convention Center and Restaurant where we ate dinner again tonight:

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Speaking of dinner, here are some pictures…….

The restaurant building:

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Mom at the table:

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My “Turkey Manhattan” dinner:

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and a ‘Quilt’ garden at the complex:

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They were also having an classic car show at the complex.  They called it a ‘cruise-in’:

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Here are a couple of shots for Mom’s favorite son, my little brother, Bubba, who has his own black ‘57 convertible:

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and my pick for ‘best of show’:

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Tomorrow, we will begin our trek back…… after we hit a few more bakeries, cheese factories, and stores.

Back to Shipshewana

As planned, the Spartan mechanic showed up for the Bus at 7:15am (EST), and we were completed and back on the road to Shipshewana by noon.  We had heard about an Amish settlement in Centerville, Michigan, and since it was on the way back, we decided to explore it.

We did not find any Amish, but did she some farms.  We also followed a “covered bridge” sign and found Langley Covered Bridge which was under construction for repairs.

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Further down the road, we found Klinger Lake, which was a lake side town.  Passing through it, we found some antique cars parked at a home.

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We got back to Shipshewana about 4:00pm and checked into the Shipshewana campground near the flea market.  Here is our site:

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We had a long day, and did a little drive around Shipshewana, only to find all the stores had closed at 5:00pm.  We turned in early, and planned to sleep late on Thursday morning.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Shipshewana and Spartan

We got up Tuesday morning, and headed to the flea market at Shipshewana.  We parked the Bus where we had planned, and took the car to the market. 

The market was large, but not the amount of Amish stuff that I expected. It was also very hot and humid.  After a couple of hours, we decided to get on the road to Charlotte, MI for our appointment at the Spartan factory to get some maintenance done on the Bus.

Here are a couple of pictures from Shipshewana, including some of the “stretched” buggies that we saw:

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The drive to Charlotte was pleasant.  Some in the back roads and the last hour and a half on I-69.  We found the Spartan factory service center, checked in with our list, and got  parked in their small ‘campground’ area.  There are two other Bus’ here, and the rest are Newmars.  Here are a few pictures:

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As you can see, they had a few firetruck chassis’ ready to ship to the outfitters.

We washed the bugs off the front of our Bus, and settled in for the evening.  They are coming for the Bus at 7:15am (6:15am central time!!!) in the morning, and it has been a long time since I have been up that early!!

Elkhart - Monday

Our first full day in Elkhart was not that much fun.  When we set up in the campground on Sunday, I had some issues with my rear leveling jacks.  I called Atwood's 800 number for customer service, but they weren’t much help.  They did set us up for an appointment on Monday to get a tech to look at the jacks. 

Early Monday morning, I got a call to go to a repair shop.  It turned out that the repair shop was right next door to the campground………. a short trip.

We spent the morning with the tech troubleshooting the problem with the same folks that I talked to on Sunday!  Shortly after lunch, they decided that I needed a new controller board, but the tech was convinced that I needed new jacks!

Later, when I found out that delivery of the controller would take 6—8 days to receive, I got on the phone with the Atwood company.  I argued with the representative that the wait was unacceptable, especially since the tech was not convinced that would fix my problem.  The representative told me that she had my name on the top of her list and assured me that a new controller would be delivered no later than Tuesday morning.

We parked the motorhome in their 8 unit campground with W/E, and had lunch.  We decided to take a nap, and were woke up about an hour later by a phone call.  Atwood had decided to send two of their techs out to work on my problem.  They checked out my controller and found that it was OK!!  They decided that my jacks were bad, and they had brought two new ones in their van.  Within an hour, we were fixed!!  These techs seemed very competent, and my jacks work great.  This problem worked out well.  On a side note, the lead tech told me that with the downturn in the economy, Atwood had decided to outsource their customer service, and the people were not very well trained!!

All of this was wrapped up by 4pm, so we got into the car and drove the area.  We had decided to go to Shipshewana to check out parking around the flea market for the Bus, since we had planned on going there on Tuesday morning.  The market is open Tuesday and Wednesday every week.  We forgot the camera………. so no pictures!

We did eat dinner at the Das Dutchman Essenhaus Restaurant.  It was a great meal, and a pleasant end to a frustrating day.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Elkhart, Indiana

We left Fort Wayne this morning, and drove to Elkhart.  We drove the back roads and looked at the sights……….. this is also Amish country!!  Being Sunday, we saw very little activity before noon, but a lot of folks were out in their buggies after lunch.  However, we did not get any pictures. 

After we parked the Bus at the Elkhart Campground, we went for a ride in the Honda.  We went to Shipshewana to check out the flea market area but again, since it was Sunday, almost no businesses were open.   We also drove to Nappanee to see the Newmar motorhome factory.  We had wanted to do a tour, but they had a sign on the door that the plant was closed to their annual 2 week vacation.  There were also very few finished motorhomes or new chassis sitting around!!

On the way to Nappanee, we drove through Goshen, IN.  Patsy got a picture of the city hall, and on one corner they had a “police guard house” to protect the bank across the street from robbers in 1939.  Here are the pictures…..

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The Elkhart area has a “Quilt” event going on.  Several cities have real quilts, wooden quilts on sides of buildings, and quilt gardens along a designated route.  Here are some pictures:

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When we got to Elkhart, we checked into the Elkhart campground mainly because Nick Russell of “The Gypsy Journal” fame had said nice things about it in his blog.  When we got parked, I opened the door, and there was Nick & Terry’s bus……

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I called Nick to tell him we were here, and we later visited.  I went to his coach while Patsy made dinner, and then Nick and Terry came over to our Bus.  I took a picture of them with Mom!!

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Tomorrow, we will tour more of Elkhart.

Visiting Old Friends

With the IRV2 rally winding up, we packed up Saturday morning, and headed west toward Elkhart, IN.

Before leaving Mt. Eaton, Mom had an appointment to get her hair done…… first time since we left Victoria.  She looked good and I know she felt better.  Here she is right after………..

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On the way to Elkhart, we planned our route through Lima, OH to visit a family that used to live next door to us in Victoria, Barb and Steve Quade.  They moved to Lima about 12 years ago.  We spent about 3 hours with them, and Barb sent us off to Elkhart with a dinner.  Here are the pictures……..

Daughter Emily in her bedroom:

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Here is a picture of Emily and the parents that she is training………

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Steve showed me something that I had never seen before…… a hummingbird nest.  Here it is next to a quarter to show the size……..

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The nest is very soft, and the inside is lined with a ‘cotton’ type material.  The following are pictures Steve gave me that he took when the nest was attached to a plant hanger on his neighbors patio.




We left and drove to Fort Wayne, IN and spent the night on a Wal-Mart parking lot.