Friday, September 26, 2008

We rode 8 miles!!

Grand Rapids and Comstock Park have miles of bike trails. On Monday we took our bikes over to Roque River Park and rode the 4 miles to Rockford. This charming small town is located on the bank of the Roque River. We had lunch at Vitale's Pizza which is actually a combination of Italian and Mexican food. Gary had pizza and I had a combination Mexican platter. Yum. After lunch we visited several shops located near the river. We also walked down to the river park and enjoyed the view. Two white swans and a duck were enjoying the sunshine. After walking for a bit, we got back on the bikes and traveled the 4 miles back to the truck. It was a wonderful way to spend a few hours. Exercise, good food and good friends..what more do you need!!!
It was an excellent outing...but boy was my butt sore!!! I guess it just means we'll have to do this more often.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

We're in Michigan

We moved to Gary and Suzanne's house today. They spent the summer in Alaska and we are excited to visit with them and learn all about their trip. Suzanne cooked a wonderful beef dinner with all the trimmings for dinner. We met their son Jim and his friend Mary too.
More to to all..Deb

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Well the Rally's over.. :o(

This has been a great week here at the Gypsy Gathering..ok except for the short illness I had in the middle of the week..and the hurricane coming through on Sunday. I'm into remembering the good parts not the bad.

Nick and Terry (and their volunteers) have put on an excellent rally. There are about 130 rigs and over 200 people here. Some full-timers like us and others who just love the Gypsy Journal and rv'ing. We have been subscribers to their journal for over a year and love getting the new one in the mail. We read Nick's blog every day too.
Nick tells excellent stories and Terry always has great recipes to try. Here's the address to their website.

I went to a couple more classes yesterday. The first was a round table discussion just for women. We talked about everything from how we deal living 24/7 with our spouses/significant other to new gadgets for the kitchen. It was good to hear others have some of the same concerns and issues I have had. And reassuring too.

In the afternoon I went to a class given by Chris and Jim Guld the Geeks on Tour.

They demonstrated Goggle Earth a really cool software application available for download. This is an amazing application. If you've never checked it out..please do..It is just incredible the information Google has put into it. You can download the beta version for free or pay a yearly $20.00 fee which gives you GPS capability and faster performance. We have been using the free version for a while but I learned there is so much I didn't even know was there. So check it out and enjoy!!!

At 5:30pm the class of 2007 got together and had a pot-luck for dinner. Yummy food..shrimp..chicken and noodles..scalloped ham and potatoes as well as several kinds of dip and salads. We had a chocolate birthday cake to celebrate Gary and Marcia's birthday.

After dinner the closing ceremony was held. Many door prizes were awarded. We won a set of cutting boards and some Eniva VIBE a nutritional supplement. I haven't tried it yet so don't know how well it works. It is advertised to provide "The Essence of Vibrant Life".

All of the volunteers were recognized and Nick and Terry gave us a $25 gift certificate good toward the next rally or one of their books or CDs. That was a very nice surprise. We're looking forward to attending the next rally either in Arizona at Casa Grande in February or back here in Celina next September. We'll see how the plans go.

We came back to the rigs and sat around a big campfire and visited until late. Nick and Terry joined us for a while. The Margarator was in action again.

This morning we started saying good by to some of our classmates. Linda and Ron along with Marcia and Joe pulled out to continue their rv'ing adventures.

Afterwards we packed up and took the house over to the north side of the campground to be weighed. Joyce and Rick Lang operate .They travel around to rallys and other locations and weigh RVs. They also teach the importance of weight safety in towing. We learned we are just great. We are very weight conscious and were pretty sure we were OK but having had 2 tires blow out this summer had us concerned. It was very good to learn our weights are well within the limits of our tires and the chassis of the truck and rig.
Now if we can just get the tire company to agree and "PAY FOR THE TIRE REPLACEMENTS!!"...we're still waiting for their inspection of the last blown tire.

We're staying here until Sunday. Then we'll move up to Grand Rapids Michigan for a few days to visit Suzanne and Gary. After that..back south toward NC..home is calling.

Love to you all..Deb

Rally Time

We're enjoying our time here at the Gypsy Gathering. Or mostly anyway..I picked up some kind of bug and didn't feel well starting on Tuesday night. Yesterday I spent the day in the house going between my chair and the bed. Finally by evening I was feeling better and went over to the pizza party and the evening entertainment.

The workshops we've been to have been great. Gary has learned about fire safety, tire safety and other "blue job" sessions. I attended Nick Russell's Highway History and Back Road Mystery lecture. I'd heard this one a couple of years ago when we went to the Life on Wheels Conference. Nick tells little known stories about people in the history of the USA. Very interesting..some funny..some sad.

On Tuesday I attended a RV Record Keeping using Excel. I was the class host for this one. My only job was to get water for the instructor. Not to hard. :o)
The class was pretty basic but I did learn a couple of things about Excel that I had forgotten. I also went to RV Insurance. This was an excellent session. I learned more about insurance that will come in handy as I review our insurance policy and decide if it needs to be revised at our next renewal time.

Yesterday evening we had our pizza party. I really have to give credit to Dominos Pizza here in Celina. They delivered over 100 pizzas to us here at the fairgrounds, and each one arrived on time and piping hot. The volunteers jumped right in and served it up quick. Even though I was still feeling a little "punky" I enjoyed a piece of the cheese.

After we had all eaten, husband and wife duo Larry and Michelle Beahm from One More Time took to the stage and performed an hour of foot stomping, hand clapping music that had everybody in the crowd laughing and having a good time. Their act included some corny old jokes, some audience participation, some great music? Bob (a 2007 classmate) and a couple of the vendors joined them on stage to do a Temptaions song. Very funny. Michelle and Larry did everything from show tunes to country, rock, and blues, and we loved every minute of it. Check out their website at to see where you can catch this fulltime RVer couple playing somewhere down the road.

Chris and Jim Guld known as Geeks on Tour are here teaching computer classes.
Last night Gary was mistaken for Jim. Do you see the resemblance?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Nasty weather in Ohio

Yesterday was a nasty day. Ike hit Ohio with a boom. We had very strong wind with gusts that the news said were likely 50-65 miles per hour. We were glad we weren't parked near any trees. Several motor homes were moved to get out from under tree limbs that were falling. Rain arrived shortly after lunch time in sprinkles..then more sprinkles..then it poured down. By supper time it had stopped raining but the wind continued. We went out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant with several 2007 classmates. Afterward we drove around the lake and saw 1 house that had lost it's roof. There was lots of tree debris in yards and in some streets.

This morning when we go up, we found that the house, truck and our bikes were covered with dirt. There is a dirt horse track nearby and the wind had whipped up the dirt and covered everything outside. It was a mess. Gary and several other guys washed off rigs all morning. I went over and worked the registration table selling tickets for pizza and t-shirts to folks checking in today. We were so glad we moved into the fairgrounds on Saturday before Ike came through. There were people moving in yesterday during the storm. Crazy!!! Trying to maneuver a 5th wheel or motor home in that wind is just not my idea of a smart thing to do.

Unlike other communities in Ohio we have power and little significant damage in the area. Just south of us in Dayton there are thousands without power. The winds there were reported at about 78 miles per hour and there is much more damage. Ike was some storm.

We learned this evening Escapee's home base in Livingston Texas was hit very hard. Much damage to homes with no power, no water and no gas for generators. Livingston is about 75 miles north of Houston. The mail forwarding service we use is located there. There is also a campground and a long term care facility. We are glad Ike has gone and hope and pray no one else is injured or killed as the areas start their recovery from the damage.
Please more hurricanes!!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Running from Ike

Yesterday..after Gary watched the news and checked out the Weather Channel on the Internet we decided we needed to move out of Ike's path. They were forecasting a LOT of rain and some wind for our area of Indiana. So..we packed up...or at least Gary did most of it. I had a couple more hours of work to do..and since we weren't sure of the Verizon signal in this part of Ohio I got on the computer and worked.
By the time he was ready to leave I was almost finished and knew I should be able to work a bit more once we hit the interstate near Indianapolis. We were on the road by about 11am....up to Indiana 36, across the state toward Indianapolis. We stopped in Rockville for lunch at the Benjamen's Family Restaurant. I had an excellent tenderloin pork sandwich. That is a popular item on menus in this part of the country.
We went around Indianapolis on I-465 and then continued up I-69 before getting off onto Indiana 35 to 67 and on into Ohio. Celina Ohio is just a few miles inside the state line. So far it appears to be far enough east to avoid most of the storm.
Today the sun is shining with some clouds appearing and we're having wind gushes that make opening the door interesting..a firm grip is needed. Hopefully that will be all we get.
Yesterday when we arrived we were greeted by our back door neighbor's Linda and Ron Fleeger. They are fellow Escapees that started full-timing like us in 2007. Several other class members and some folks for the class of 2005 were waiting on us for dinner. We gathered up our drinks, a bowl and fork and went over to Smokey and Pam's rig for a dinner of stuffed baked potatoes. They had the "Margarator" going and were sharing their green or red margaritas to anyone that wished to imbibe.

Gary and I shared a few sips of one of the red ones. I'm not drinking alcohol these days and "fruity" drinks aren't Gary's usual thing but we both enjoyed the taste. And certainly the sentiment of sharing and caring that Escapees live by.
After dinner we returned to the rig to set up and rest for the night.
This morning we went over and registered for the rally. I'm going back shortly to sign up for some volunteer duties.
I hope you are all safe and dry. Love to you all. Deb

Call us...we love to hear from you.


Friday, September 12, 2008


Today is Gary's birthday. His 57th.
I hope you'll all join me in wishing him many more happy birthdays.
I've been lucky to be his wife for over 34 years now and treasure every day we are together.


We're flooding!!!

I know Ike is still in the gulf (and I wish it'd stay there or better yet..just GO AWAY!!..... but I think it's distant cousin is here in western Indiana this morning..rain..rain..rain..and more rain...water water everywhere..and it is forecasted to get worse as Ike moves inland. The current track has it coming directly north to the "two states" ..Illiana as we've heard the area called.
So "rain and more rain coming soon in our area".

It could be least no far.... Please pray for Texas..looks like it's going to be rough down there.
We may roll onto Ohio tomorrow if we get a lull....we're supposed to be there on Sunday but we want to avoid any wind that might be coming this way with Ike. So a head start might be in order. We'll see how it goes.

Hope you are all dry and well... Love to you all. Deb

Odd yard ornament

Driving down rural route 1300E in western Indiana and what do our eyes see...but the largest COW sitting in a yard of someone's home. People sure do put some interesting things in their why would you need a LARGE cow statue??

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Spoiled Rotten Doberman..

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Lazy Day Drives

Over the past three days we've wondered around some lovely countryside here in western Indiana and eastern Illinois. We've seen corn field after corn field..bean field after bean field..a few cows..a few sheep..a few goats...and some covered bridges.
Parke County Indiana bills themselves as having the most covered bridges in the
country. There are 30 scattered about the county.

From Rockville there are 5 auto tour routes that you can follow to see them.
On Friday and Saturday we went on two (the red route and the black route). While on the tours we also stopped at three very small towns that were celebrating fall and their towns. Darlington, Bridgeton, and Mansfield.

Darlington's Old Fashioned Days included singing by local high school students. Some vendors with crafts and "junk". A great display of old restored tractors. My Dad would have loved seeing them. One was just like a tractor he used to own.
I bought a really pretty small Christmas table cloth at their Garage sale for a dollar. And two new pictures for 25 cents each. It was fun walking around this very small town (population 853) town for an hour or so.

That was Friday...then yesterday.. we stopped at Bridgeton. The Historic Bridgeton Mill is the oldest continually operating mill in Indiana. It has been open for over 180 years, and it was open for business when we arrived. There is also a covered bridge that was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 2006. It was rebuilt to resemble the original bridge.
We watched the owner mill wheat for bread flour. The mill has been a flour mill and a grain mill. Fire has forced changes over the years. But each time a fire occurred the mill was re-built and continued to operate. In 1970 a set of 48 inch French Buhr Stones were installed and it started operating as a grist mill again. The stones weigh over 2000 lbs and are estimated to be 200 years old. The stones grind the wheat into flour and corn into cornmeal. The small town of Bridgeton has 27 buildings in their National Historic District. We enjoyed walking around. They were celebrating with several crafts folk there showing off their skills. We watched a blacksmith create a rose out of metal. A lady was making a belt on a card loam. Another one working on a triangle loam making a scarf. We listened to some bluegrass music provided by a man with his guitar and a lady with a fiddle.
When going into one of the stores we were stopped by a lady that asked if we were from Carolina. I was wearing a blue Carolina t-shirt. We said yes..we were from Durham. And can you believe was she..and her friend with her was from Creedmoor. Wow!!! What a small world we live in. They were up visiting her sister and brother in law who live in Greencastle not to far away. We spent several minutes talking with them. Miss Elli also enjoyed some ear rubbing. Turns out she had had a Dodie for many years before it passed away.

We continued following the black route (we had done the red on Friday) and on to Mansfield. They were having their Cornbread Festival. This small town is also built on the banks of lazy Big Raccoon Creek and is famous for it's covered bridge. They have a chair lift ride which as far as we could tell goes no-where..just up ...down a few hundreds yards..turns around and comes back..I guess it's so you can admire the view. Which is pretty good..with the bridge and the creek. In October the Covered Bridge Festival is held for 10 days and Mansfield is right in the middle of it all. They have a lot and I mean a lot..of spaces set up for vendors and parking. Too bad we won't be here then...:( I think it would be a sight to behold.

Today..we drove over to western Illnois to Arcola. They were having their Corn Broom Festival. Once upon a time, corn broom straw was a main crop in the area. This straw was used to make brooms of all sizes. Today the industry has pretty much gone away but the history is still celebrated. We watched a young man make a broom using the corn broom and a couple of different machines. Very much a hand crafted item. I learned there has never been a machine invented to harvest corn broom and that is one of the reasons the industry has been lost. Very expensive manual labor to harvest the corn broom and to then make the brooms. This festival was the largest we've been to. Many, many vendors. We listened to music and even watched a 7-8 year old kid petaled tractor pull. Girls and boys gave it their all to win ribbons and trophies.
We had lunch at the Dutch Kitchen right in the middle of the festival. This popular restaurant had pretty good fried chicken and baked steak. (We'd call it country style steak). Afterward we came home and enjoyed an afternoon nap. All this sightseeing is tiring!!! many games can you watch in one afternoon?? Ask Gary...I'm sure he'll be glad to discuss it with you. (my nap lasted longer than his did).

Hope you all are doing well..write(email) or call..we love to talk to you all.

Love, Deb

Monday, September 1, 2008

Little Italy Festival in Clinton Indiana

Clinton is a very small town. Population 5,126 as of the 2000 census. It is in the center of the state on the western border with Illinois in Vermillion county. The town is located on the bank of the Wabash River.
This weekend they were celebrating their Little Italy Festival. The festival is run by the L.I.F.T. (Little Italy Festival Town) board, and the City of Clinton. Each year a Little Italy Festival Queen of Grapes is crowned, as well as Re (King) & Regina (Queen). We missed out seeing the crowning but spent a couple of hours enjoying the sights and sounds. They had music, games and contests. We watched two rounds of the meatball eating contest. And food..they had food...every "fair" food I've ever seen as well as a couple of new ones. Have you ever had a lemon shake-up?? That drink is lemon-aide all mixed up and ready (except for the water) for a shake up right before you get it. Water is poured in..and the drink is shook up going from 1 cup to another until the sugar dissolves. We didn't try one but they looked very refreshing. I checked out their website and the pictures from last years festivals are a hoot!!I'm sorry we missed this years parade.

We changed sites this afternoon. When we arrived yesterday the site we choose didn't have a sewer connection. Since we'll be here for 2 weeks we wanted one of those. So, once the park started to clear out today, we choose another site with sewer and moved into it. The site is right on one of the lakes. There are 11 lakes on the property. Once the sun started down this evening it was wonderful to sit out under the awning admiring the lake view as the sun set.

New Baby in the House!!!

Crystal and Justin Rose are the proud parents of a new baby girl..Lilah Mae Rose born at 12:50 AM on 8/28/08. She weighed 8lbs 10 ounces and is BEAUTIFUL!!!!
New grandma and grandpa Steve and Robin Hollander are so excited she has arrived.