Archive for category Indiana

What’s the Hold Up-PART II

 

Rise N Roll

Thinking positive about getting out of here!

I know that the gripping tale of RV modifications in Part I had you sleepless for nights on end until I provided the rest of the story! So before you lose any more sleep, here is the final shop talk of our RV modifications!

Quadra Big Foot leveling jacks

Quadra didn’t have an appointment available for a couple of weeks, so we camped at MorRyde a bit longer, then move to the driveway of some VERY gracious friends.

T-s place

Driveway surfing with very gracious friends

We met our friend Tom a year ago at the Hersey RV Show. Jeff had is bike in our hotel room and just across the hall Tom had his bike in his room. They both noticed each others bikes. Jeff and Tom got to talking and found out that they were both Ironman Triathletes, and an instant bond was formed.

We’ve kept touch in with Tom (who also works in the RV industry) and have made a point to go to dinner whenever we were in Elkhart.

Since we have been in Elkhart for so long Jeff started riding with Tom and his cycling group each morning at 4:50AM. We got to spend a lot of time with Tom, his wife Tera and their 3 girls. It was so fun being a part of their family while driveway surfing. I’m not going to lie…I’m going to miss those girls. I just might have shed a little tear when we left.

We vacated our delightful accommodations in Elkhart and headed over to Quadra in White Pigeon, MI and camped in their parking lot while they installed our leveling system over two days. We thought that Big Foot was just an exaggerated name for their system, but after seeing the plate sized pads of the levels, BIG Foot is no joke.

Big Foot Leveling

It’s a giant saucer perfect for Boondocking in the desert

Bontrager Rv Surplus

White Pigeon is a two stop light town that is home to an amazing RV surplus store called Bontragers. They have axles, thousands of RV windows, RV electric and plumbing parts, lights, windshield wiper blades, appliances, furniture and even the tiniest screw, plug and spring. They even had stuff you didn’t know you needed until you saw it! It’s a very organized flea market feel with great prices.

We found a replacement porch light (the only one it’s kind) for the Domani for $35. We were having a hard time finding it online…and there it was!

My biggest find was the coveted MCD dual roller shades  that every RV’er dreams of owning. We had a quote from MasterTech for $1,800 for ten windows, so pricy that we opted not to get them. I was able to find 9 MCD’s shades out of my 10 windows for $270…TOTAL. The kick is good, SCORE!

Fox RV

Of course, while Quadra was installing our leveling system they informed us that we needed a new underbelly cover. Most RV’s have a covering on the underbelly to prevent water and

Fox RV

Fox RV Mission Statement…they keep their promises

road debre from damage. When Quadra opened up the covering water was dripping out…which meant that it has been compromised.

Quadra recommended driving to Middlebury, IN to have a new covering installed by Fox RV. Of course Fox RV couldn’t get us in until the following week. AND, since we are going to be there we will have them replace our 3 step fold up entry stairs with a 4 step.

Why a 4 step? When we raised the RV with new axles it caused our 3 steps to be raised too high. Plus, the last step was unstable from previous use. The 4 step entry was another bargain find at another RV salvage yard for $65 (reg $299).

Rise N Roll Bakery

Ok. So this was not an RV upgrade, but it was one of the most memorable stops of our trip. This is an Amish bakery with the most amazing pastries we have EVER tasted. After having their famous cinnamon donuts we were speechless. Literally speechless! Pure melt-in-your-mouth gooey dough with just the right amount of sweetness. No wonder the locals call it “Amish Crack”! Instant addiction and I want it bad!

If you ever come to this area you have to make every effort possible to stop a Rise N Roll. Really. YOU. HAVE. TO.

One thing has led to another on our RV project and we have this last appointment to make this week before heading back to St. Louis, then on to Arkansas. By then we will have missed the annual World Championship Squirrel Cook Off ), The Weiner Dog Races and Mule Jumping Competition.

We were supposed to be back in Arkansas for about 4-6 weeks before heading West, but now we are down to less than 2 weeks.

What do we have planned for 2 weeks? ONE MORE PROJECT…I SWEAR!

Solar panels!

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On The Road Again

St. Louis

St. Louis Arch

We’ve spent the last two weeks traveling out west and back again.

Our trip started with driving to St. Louis to drop Sammy-do off at my Mom’s for a little paw sitting. Sam loves going to his grandma’s because the food scoop overflows, the squirrels are plentiful in a fenced in back yard and the cute factor gains a little extra loving. We hate traveling without him, but it’s comforting to know he is being super spoiled while we are gone.

While we were in St. Louis Jeff and I decided to try something new. We took a running tour of downtown. After 3 hours and 6 miles I learned things about St. Louis that I never knew. We went with St. Louis Running Tour, THE ONLY running tour in St. Louis. Our tour guide Joe showed us iconic buildings like Union Station, The Arch and Cardinal Stadium. Joe also gave the behind the scenes facts and sometimes seedy drama that unfolds during the development of the new frontier.

It is a run and it is a tour so there are lots of stops to talk with bursts of running to the next destination. Our longest stretch of running was no more that ¼ mile, so if you do this thinking you are going to get your 4-6 mile solid run in, you won’t.

We didn’t take the tour for the run, but to learn & see more about the city that I grew up around…while getting a little low-key exercise. Definitely a very fun morning with Joe!

Hardware Show

The super awesome CFX refrigerator/freezer by Dometic

That afternoon we flew off to Las Vegas for the National Hardware Show. Dometic had a huge display of their new portable refrigerator/freezers (CFX) that run off of 12V, 24V or 120 and their super insulated coolers. They are great for tailgating, RV’ing and boating. We have a CFX frig/freezer that is the best! You can set it to freeze or refrigerate anywhere from 50 degrees down to -8 degrees. That’s a lot of frozen solid ice cream…on 12volts of power no less! It makes up for the small refrigerators that RV’s typically have.

Las Vegas is an interesting town and one that neither of us is particularly comfortable in. I recharge in tranquility and nature. So when you go out for a run at 5AM and the street department is already at work with jack hammers and the all night partiers are just reaching their peak volume, my soul is just piled on with more noise that I went out to decompress from. Throw in a couple of propositions from some ladies of the night (Jeff) and we were ready to get rolling.

From Las Vegas we drove the Dometic RV back to Elkhart Indiana. We were going to hit the central, most direct route through Colorado, but with forecasted snow in the mountains we redirected to the southern route. Our first stop was in Flagstaff where we drove though sleet, snow and rain.

Saturday morning we woke to 1” of snow. The sun popped out and we decided to wash the Vegas grime off our running shoes with a trail run before hitting the road. We stayed at the Flagstaff KOA and they have access to trails right out the back gate. It was a stunning 5-mile run as the sun filtered through the snow-covered foliage. Now this is what I’m talking about! Running through the woods fully alive…nothing is better for the soul. I love this KOA for its convenience to town, trails right out back and very little road noise.

Our other stops

Albuquerque, New Mexico– Long push day to the KOA. Very nice park with level sites, good spacing but very close to the highway. I was able to get a 3.5-mile walk in just within the park by making 3 loops. It was a big RV park! We met a group of French Canadians who where traveling together. One of them had a Heartland Edge, similar to our Ironman Can we just sold. We are hoping to come back here in October for the Xscapers very first Convergence at the Balloon Fiesta.

Amarillo TX

Oasis RV Park just down the road from the Cadillac Ranch

Amarillo, Texas-Oasis RV Resort. This was a really nice RV park as well. Very level and spacious sites with weight room, hot tub and pool. We didn’t use any of the amenities and reviews are mixed on this RV Park as it relates to smell. There are a couple of VERY LARGE cow farms nearby. So the prevailing winds has a directed correlation to the type of experience you will have here.

Luckily the temps were cold and the wind was blowing from the North, so we had no issues of smell.

Tulsa, Oklahoma-Long push day to KOA at Will Rogers horse racing track. This is mostly grass covered RV parking. A lot of the sites were flooded with the recent rains, so we were upgraded to a raised gravel site that backed right up to the horse track. We arrived at 4pm so we were able to catch the last 3 horse races.

It was entertaining as the horses made their 90-second run (if that) around the track, then a water truck and 3 tractors made their way around grading the course with diligence and speed. Their job took about 15 minutes that was repeated after each 90 second run. We found it quite humorous and had more fun watching the tractors than we did the horses. I know…we are strange that way.

We went out for a run the next morning at 6AM to soothing country music over the loud speakers while the horse trainers were already out running the horses. We definitely felt like we were back in our part of the country where people wave as they drive by. If you are from the country you know the wave…one or two fingers just barely lifted off the steering wheel just to give you a friendly hello.

Tulsa OK

Horse Races at the Will Rogers Downs KOA Park

St. Louis, Missouri-Long push day to Mom’s house. We got to see our fur baby and stayed two nights so that Jeff could put in a solid workday that didn’t involve the swerving and jostling that comes with driving a can of marbles down the road at 70 mph. It was hard to leave Sam again especially when he was lying in front of doors, at our feet and around our shoes to ensure that he is not left behind. 😦

Elkhart, Indiana-Long push day to our final destination, MasterTech RV. They are doing the work on our personal RV project. The slide on the Dometic RV decided to stop working in Albuquerque so MasterTech is going to work on it for us. And they provide free parking with electric hookups.

It’s been a long trip with a few memorable moments. Now that we are here in Elkhart we get to check on the progress on our personal RV project over the weekend. The water damage on our roof was much more extensive than we originally thought…but everything is fixable.

More on our project in the next post. Until then…get out and play!

Elkhart, IN

The new rolling crib will be good as new…we hope!

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Nashville Inspiration And The Big 4

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Jeff and I are on a two-week road trip for business at the moment. We are making stops in Nashville, Louisville, Indianapolis, Elkhart, back to Indy, St. Louis and home to Arkansas.

Since we sold our Edge and are having work done on the Domani we are resorting to hotel stays for this trip. After traveling in an RV for the better part of 8 months and now traveling via hotels, I have to say I prefer our RV much better (of course I would).

Franklin, TN

While in Nashville, we had the privilege of having dinner with one of our favorite authors, Dan Miller , and his lovely family. He has authored books that have been very influential in our lives. 48 Days to the Work You Love, No More Dreaded Mondays, Wisdom Meets Passion, are just a few.

Jeff and I attended one of his Coaching With Excellence weekend workshop 3 years ago which was instrumental in getting us to where we are today…working in the RV industry and traveling this beautiful country both at the same time. OUR DREAM!

Dan challenged us to not think of options in terms of “either/or” but “this AND that”. “AND” is a powerful word when thinking of options in life. I’ve always thought in terms of…you have to do either this OR that. But Dan challenged us to think in terms of…why not do this AND that. Why can’t you pursue your dreams of traveling in an RV AND work at the same time? It was an interesting question and one we found the answer to by working in the RV industry.

We are so thankful to Dan and thankful to have the opportunity to share our appreciation in person!

One last thing about Franklin, TN…

We discovered a new-to-us restaurant called First Watch. They serve breakfast, brunch and lunch. First Watch has a limited menu with rotating items and everything is super fresh and super yummy. Our favorite was the Kale Tonic (Kale, cucumber, lime, apple) and Day Glow (Carrots, orange, lemon, ginger). Oh so good!

Nashville, TN

OMG…Kale Tonic at First Watch cafe

Louisville, KY

Our next stop was in Louisville, KY. We’ve been to Louisville several times, but never long enough to explore. So we headed to the riverfront area of Louisville early on a Sunday morning to go for a run.

Part of Louisville’s riverfront is a pedestrian and bike bridge called, The Big Four Bridge. It connects Kentucky with Indiana in less than a mile over the Ohio River.

The Big Four Bridge was originally constructed by the Louisville and Jefferson Bridge Company who started construction in 1888. The construction of the bridge was not without it’s challenges. After several accidents and deaths during construction, the bridge was completed in 1895. Unfortunately by then the Louisville and Jefferson Bridge Company was broke. It was sold that same year to the Indianapolis based Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway, also known as the Big Four Railroad.

The Big Four Bridge fell into disused by 1968 and portions of the bridge were being dismantled by 1969.

In 1990 a proposal was made to convert the dilapidated bridge to a bike and pedestrian bridge as part of the Louisville Waterfront Park project. After millions of dollars the Big Four Bridge was re-opened in 2013 to people and bikes. We really enjoyed our run here!

Elkhart, IN

We headed further north to Elkhart Indiana making a brief stop over in Indianapolis to say hi to my college girlfriend Sherry. Sherry hiked the Rim2Rim with us last year.

In Elkhart we got our first look at our new-to-us RV, the Domani. I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed. After our discussions with the seller and having our inspection, our expectations were a bit higher than the RV we walked into. Our “hardly camped in” RV had a lot of furniture ware and lingering cigarette smoke that let us know that it had been lived in more than had been disclosed.

It is going to be a bit more of a project than we had anticipated. But we love the floor plan, size and quality…the rest can be dealt with pretty easily. Thank goodness we bought this thing right!

Next week MasterTech RV will start on the biggest project, which is to take off the roof, repair the damage, run electrical and conduit and put on a new roof membrane. Our second priority will be to replace all the flooring in order to help with the smell.

We have a $20,000 budget for our entire project so we will see how much our roof and flooring costs us before we make plans for the rest.

Indianapolis, IN

One of Jeff’s bucket list items is to run a marathon in each state. So while we were passing through Indiana Jeff noticed that Carmel, Indiana was having a marathon. This was his 7th marathon state.

Carmel Marathon

Jeff finishing the Carmel IN Marathon…his 7th state!

While Jeff was at the marathon I went with my friend Sherry to a retirement party that one of her running friends was throwing for herself.

This was the wackiest and most fun retirement party I have ever been to.

It started at 6am for a 11 mile run or 7am for a 5 mile run (you choose) followed by slippers and coffee mixed in with a 10 minute core workout, 10 minute weight workout, 20 minute message, then hot tub soak, sauna and brunch. All before 10AM.

It was so fun that it was decided by the group that she needed to throw a quarterly retirement party for herself going forward!

We have one more leg on our journey home. We are looking forward to getting home and staying in one spot for more than 2 nights in a row.

Keep in touch!

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