Tuesday, January 21, 2014


January 13, 2014

Back on the road again, for a short while, heading down to Jetty Park with friends from home.

Since Michigan ...... We got home the beginning of October and immediately following the unpacking of the MH, headed over to the boat to put Spindrift back together.  We had an eager buyer who pursued us through the summer wanting to come to see our 36’ Catalina.  When we put Spindrift on the market the previous spring, I figured it would take at least two years to sell her and still had some plans rumbling around about where her next adventure would be.  Dave, on the other hand, seemed to have moved on and was eager to part with Spindrift. 

Surprise, surprise…..the buyer bought!  Before we knew it, Spindrift was leaving her NSB home and heading for her new home in St Petersburg.  Her new owner was happy to have her and had big travel plans for her.  Interestingly enough, he was taking her through the Okeechobee Waterway which meant the bridge tender would tie barrels to her boom and bring her over so that she could get under the bridge.  I always thought we would take her down through the Keys but the Okeechobee is a much faster way to get to the west coast.

We received calls every day as Spindrift proceeded westward.   Nothing too dramatic, just briefing the new owners on how the systems worked.  My advice to anyone selling a boat, RV, car or house …. Start out with a burner phone and then when the deal is complete turn it off!  Just kidding!

So now we are boat-less but the slip is still empty beckoning me every time I park my car in front of it.  We had such fantastic times on that boat.  Dave has moved on to restoring an old MG and I’m vacuuming up dog hair!

So, this trip to Jetty Park is a nice change to an otherwise established routine.  Originally eight couples were going down for four days and five made it.  Three couples had RV problems (sounds like boating) and were not able to come down.  So far our adventures have included eating!  Eating and socializing and just plain relaxing.

Because the "snow birds" tend to occupy (totally) our campgrounds down here in the winter, we need to plan ahead in order to garner sites at a local park.  We all called in November for our January reservations at this very popular campground.  

This campground's unique location inside Port Canaveral and proximity to Cocoa Beach as well as Cocoa Village, Space Coast and Orlando attractions, makes it an ideal spot to spend the winter.   As a bonus, the cruise ships leaving Port Canaveral pass right by the campground on their way to the Bahamas.

We were able to get a deal .... Monday - Wednesday and Thursday free!  Can't beat that.  I went into the registration office upon arrival to check in.  While waiting in line I heard a "snow bird" discussing her opinions of how the CG should be managed with the CG manager.  Jetty Park allows visitors to stay for six months and reservations can be made a year in advance.  However, according to this "snow bird", even though they made reservations last year, they could not secure a site for the reservation and they had to move during their six month stay because "some camper" had reserved the site for four nights.  Why couldn't the campground move "that camper" to another site since it was already occupied!  The manager answered that the camper probably had reserved that specific site.  Fortunately I had my sunglasses on because I was giving the "snow bird" the stink eye!  It's hard for us locals to enjoy our own natural resources.  Anyway, she couldn't see the stink eye and when I checked in I gave the ranger our name and told him we were staying four nights, probably interrupting someone's six-month stay!  He laughed and said, "You are doing nothing wrong!".  Funny! 

After getting settled in a few of us dragged our chairs over to the jetty to wait for the cruise ships to depart. 



In 2005 Enchantment of the Seas was cut amidship adding 73’ long additions.  Royal Caribbean had plans on enlarging other ships in their Vision class but this project was extremely expensive so decided it wasn’t worth doing to their other ships.

The Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Sea left first with the Disney Magic soon after.   

A $50M expansion is underway at Port Canaveral.  The new cruise terminal located on the south side of the harbor will be opened in November 2014 allowing passengers and  crew to walk directly to the nearby restaurants and shops. This expansion is predicted to bring 1,300 new jobs to the area.  It’s going to be quite the place in a year or two.



We all met for lunch at Madd Jacks Grillin Shack on A1A in Cocoa Beach and it was fantastic.  TripAdvisor had multiple reviews on the restaurant and it lived up to all of the praises. We asked about the Tri-Tip and the waitress brought samples of the tri-tip and brisket for us to try.   I ordered a sliced tri-tip steak California style and it melted in my mouth.  Stella ordered fried pickles which were very interesting.  Gotta try them.   Others had ribs and BBQ sandwiches.  No one left hungry and some with to-go boxes.

Back to the campground to regroup until dinner.  

As I walked Billy through the CG I noticed a very different looking RV.  As I got closer I saw that it was a Mercedes Benz but unlike any I’ve seen on the road or in the CGs.  The owner came out and I asked her if she had purchased the RV in the US.  She said that they had it shipped over from Germany and spent the last ten months traveling across the US.  They had three weeks to go and were going to ship it back to Germany returning home.  I had thought they used smaller RV’s over there and she confirmed that many of the roads were narrow and a larger US-styled RV wouldn’t work out.  They had camped throughout Europe, however, in their RV.  Fun!

OFF TO EAT ... AGAIN!  (Roger, Jim & Ward)

Several hours later we headed down to The Cove for dinner at The Grills Seafood Deck.  We all had another great meal of the day.  You can see where this is going!

Wednesday was bright and getting cooler.  We missed all the rain that New Smyrna and Orlando had experienced the day before, but we could feel the temperature dropping.  We went down to Cocoa Village with Betty Ann and Jim.  Betty wanted to stop by the Knit and Stitch shop for some help on a knitting project she started.  Betty Ann is a very talented weaver and now into spinning her own yarn so is knitting a cape incorporating some of the yarn she spun as well as bought.  I love spending time in knit shops, reminds me of New England, and this one in Cocoa Village has it all in a cozy place where you can hardly walk around because there is a huge table in the center for people to sit and work on projects.  Just like home!  I picked up some yarn to make a scarf that had a very pretty pattern.  We’ll see if I can get back into the knitting groove in FLA.

A stop in Cocoa wouldn't be complete without checking out the Olives & Grapes.  Although I have a least a dozen bottles of olive oils and balsamics, I use them all and could always use more!  Picked up some Walnut Oil which... I heard ... is very good for you!  Yeah for good oil!

Back to the CG, meeting up at White’s spot to decide our next big move of the day which no doubt includes eating.  

Bev & Cathy consulting the brochure on The Cove restaurants.

Cathy had checked out the hours for the Port Canaveral Visitor’s Center, a very interesting  looking building, and it fit right into our dinner plans!

Dave, Ward and Chuck await the final decisions!

The Exploration Tower is the centerpiece for the redevelopment of The Cove.  

This very interesting architectural building is seven stories above the lakefront Port site visible for miles around.  It was designed by GWWO Architects who designed the George Washington Visitor Center and Museum at Mount Vernon.   The museum opened in November 2013.

Starting at the top, seven stories up, you have a panoramic view of the Port over to the Banana River and across the island.  Each floor features information and displays showcasing the Space Coast history and present activities.  

 There is a virtual ship’s bridge which allows visitors to pilot through the Canaveral Channel.  Betty piloted right over to the submarine base to see if she’d get “kicked out” only to get “kicked off” because her 3 minutes were up. 

Chuck piloted his boat right through the cargo ship he was alongside of!  To think ... he flies planes!!!!!


Hanging above the first floor lobby were sculptures of dolphins and other sea life made from recycled plastics.  

Made from plastic bowls from The Dollar Store! 

 Plastic spoons, forks, clothes changers, etc. make up this dolphin!

Artist  Sayaka Ganza, born in Japan and raised in various countries, lives in the US and has a passion for discarded items and turns them into art.

One of the most interesting attractions in the Visitor’s Center were the sinks in the restrooms.  Everyone who used the restrooms remarked on how unusual and neat they were.  They are gravity sinks, tilting back towards the drain so it felt like you were running water on the counter top!  By the time we left, everyone made a stop to take a look and anyone with a camera had it out clicking away!  We’re easily amused!

Leaving the Visitor’s Center it was dark and the Center was lit up beautifully.  It is going to be a landmark in the midst of this redevelopment effort.

For dinner we headed over to Rusty’s for more grub!  While there, several cruise ships leaving the Port went right by the restaurant.  Dave and I split the Captain's Platter and couldn't finish it!  We may be reaching our food saturation point!   

Stella & Roger enjoying dinner.

The evening was decent enough that we sat under our awning at the CG and exchanged stories until about 10:00.  By then we were ready to turn in from our very strenuous day!

Thursday was colder and the temperatures were dropping.  Several members of our group returned to NSB and others did their own thing.  Dave was coming down, full bore, with a cold so we hung around our MH for half the day then suggested we drive over to Camping World to check out the RV's.   Spent the afternoon with a salesman who shared our passion of boating and RVing.  It was a good afternoon and we saw some interesting rigs ... all new ... but gave us ideas of what to look for in a used model.

Sun setting on this beautiful building.

Got back to the CG in time to group up and head out to dinner again.  It was really getting cold and no one wanted to linger under an awning bundled up in coats.  Tonight we ate at Fish Lips in The Cove.  I think we have probably hit all the restaurants down in the Port.  I had a great meal of sherried shrimp in cream sauce over risotto which is a perfect cold night comfort food dinner!  Others enjoyed their meals as we didn't hear any complaints.  This was our last night together so we lingered over dinner because it was just too cold to sit outside.

Friday morning everyone hooked up and headed back to NSB.  It was cold.  Temps during the night dropped into the 30's and our heat was blowing hard.  Dave was progressively getting worse so I had no regrets about heading home.

It was a great, great week with friends.  A wonderful way to kick off the New Year and get the rig out of storage!  

Happy Trails!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Oct 6 2013 – Richmond, KY to Brevard, NC

The trip down I75 to I40 was crowded with cars, trucks and RV’s.  Everyone seems to be on the move.  As we passed the Corbin exit I looked across at the grass that separated us from the north bound lane and there wasn’t as much as there seemed to be when we were careening over towards it with the blown front tire earlier this summer. 

 I keep thinking about the bus that blew a front tire on I-40 killing all those passengers and ….. have to say again and again and again…..that Safe Driving Class offered by Lazy Days free of charge probably saved our lives.   The one tidbit that came to Dave’s mind as we were heading across I-75 towards the southbound lane was, “accelerate through the blown tire”.  Once he started to accelerate, the MH righted itself and he was able to drag it back across I-75.  We came so close to having a horrible accident.  I have to wonder whether the driver of the bus that blew the tire had ever had a driving class.

Not sure were everyone is going but the rest stops were full of trucks and RV’s.  We stopped off I-75 to eat lunch and could barely find a spot to pull in. 

Around Knoxville TN we exited onto I-640 heading for I-40 to Asheville.  The Smoky Mountains kept peaking above the lower mountains beckoning us forward.  On I-40 at the Seiverville/Gatlinburg exit there was a line a cars stretching over a mile waiting to get off at that exit.  Cars, trucks, RV’s, all waiting to get off I-40.  I thought at first there was some big event going on.  Then I thought, at second, maybe the exit to the Smoky Mountains is closed.  

About 45 minutes later, down the highway, the exit to the Smoky Mountain National Park had a barricade across it and it was closed.  So, all those people in the Gatlinburg area will be staying on that side of the mountain and those in Cherokee on the other side of the mountain!

As soon as we entered NC, we pulled into another rest stop but it was full!  Drove through the parking lot and could not find a place to pull in!  Pulled right back out and kept going down the road!

We arrived at Cascade Lake six hours later after lots of construction and lane closures on the highway.  We’re looking out on the lake in our favorite spot.  I wonder at Billy’s excitement and whether he remembers growing up here.  He certainly has his sights set on that lake!

Our first day in the area took us to The Moose Café where we enjoyed our usual huge lunch and waddled on out to overcast skies.  Since we were in Asheville, we decided to go to the movies!  Gravity had just opened at the huge 3-D state of the art movie theater and we arrived just in time for the movie to start.  I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.  It was all about the sound, sensations, and 3-D objects floating at you!  I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, but Dave had his hands cupping his ears.  Oh well! 

This area has had so much rain, the colors just aren't there at this time.  I was amazed as Cascade Lake usually has a lot of colors popping out along the shoreline.  Peak color for upper elevations is 10/15 and we're at 10/8 so not sure if they'll have the brilliance they've had in the past.

We met our friends Geoff & Linda and Linda & Howard for dinner Tuesday night at Dugans.  Linda & Howard have been working at the Forest Discovery Center which is part of the Pisgah National Forest so you can guess they were having to leave.  Davidson River CG is closed as well as Powhatten CG.  Cascade Lake is benefiting by getting the hosts who were not ready to leave the area for their next gig! 

It’s sad to see as this area thrives on visitors who come to the mountains for wonderful October weather and colors.  Davidson River CG was always a favorite campground and a very difficult one to get reservations in.


We’re home now, getting the house cleaned up, getting the boat cleaned up and getting the MH cleaned up.  Way too many toys!  I, of course, caught Dave’s cold and haven’t been too productive this past week; just trying to get settled in between rest stops!

It was a great summer, once again.  Northern Michigan was a really beautiful area to spend our time.  But, as always, it’s great to be home!

Saturday, October 5, 2013


October 4-5, 2013           FORT BOONESBOROUGH STATE PARK

Fort Boonesborough SP is located in Richmond, KY about 20 miles from Lexington.  This park is located  where Daniel Boone set up a settlement alongside the Kentucky River in 1775.  It is the second oldest European-American settlement.

Kentucky State Parks really know how to do it up right!    This park is decorated for Halloween in a very big way!  All the trees are draped with orange and green lights.  The recreation hall and bath houses are lit up and synchronized to music such as House of the Rising Sun and other Halloween appropriate music! 

The park is full of families, grandparents and kids, kids, kids.  In fact, for a small charge of $3/car, locals can drive through the campground to view all the lights!  

In light of everything that is going on in Washington and the lack of access the public has to National parks and monuments, this park brings some joy into the season!

The weather is really warm …. 86 degrees warm!  We have closed up the MH and turned on the AC.  All my light clothes are stashed under the bed because Michigan was turning brisk!  I’m now digging them back out!

Keeneland racing season started Friday night and we set off today for the races.   Unfortunately the line of cars to get into Keeneland racetrack went on for miles so we went to Plan B …. find a restaurant to have lunch.  We ended up in MIDWAY, Kentucky


MIDWAY Historic District is on National Register of Historic Places.   This is a town the railroad built!    A local farmer sold his farm acreage to the Lexington & Ohio railroad.  The L&O built a line between Frankfort and Lexington in 1831 with the first train arriving at the “midway” point in 1833.  

The town was originally named Middleway but renamed Midway in 1837.

The railroad is still used today as it bisects the business district.   The Porterhouse steak originated in Midway at the still standing Porter House (which is for sale).

Midway is the home of a major thoroughbred race horse breeding operation, the Three Chimneys Farm.    

Three Chimneys Farm has been the home of U.S. Triple Crown champion Seattle Slew, U.S. Filly Triple Crown champion Chris Evert as well as Silver Charm, Chief’s Crown, Genuine Risk, Point Given, Slew o’Gold, Capote, Smarty Jones and Big Brown.  Their stallion roster includes Big Brown and Flower Alley who sired 2012 Kentucky Derby Winner and Preakness Stakes winner “I’ll Have Another”.

The Kentucky countryside is just beautiful as I have heaped praise on it before.  The land just rolls on and on with large, beautiful, well-heeled horse farms stretching for miles.  If the summers weren’t so brutal (for me), I’d consider hosting here!

Our time here is short.  We are leaving tomorrow for Cascade Lake Recreation Area in Brevard, NC.  I'm sure the parks will be full because all the campgrounds in the surrounding Pisgah National Forest are closed.  

Looking forward to getting home, once we get our North Carolina mountains fix!


Friday, October 4, 2013


September 29 - October 4, 2013 - COLDWATER, OHIO 

We have just spent the last five days at VJ’s Family Resort  in Coldwater, Ohio and are now heading for Kentucky on the down home stretch.

The Pond looks great although down about 18 inches.  Guess it’s been awhile since they’ve had any rain.  Dave came down with a cold so we pretty much did nothing for five days. 

I watched about 1800 hours of Food Channel and HGTV and caught up with my network shows that have been premiering all week.  Haven’t had TV since July.

Had great visits with VJ and Mert and made our run to Winer’s butcher shop for very fine Midwestern steaks.  Stocked the MH freezer with six very healthy looking porterhouse steaks and five pounds of Dave’s favorite sausage.   Amazing how much the MH freezer will hold.

Everything is winding down on the farms.  The corn is dry in the field and getting mowed down.  The air is ripe with manure  which I sometimes confuse with our holding tank except we are using VJ’s facilities and not the MH’s.   Saw stinkbugs in the MH and was afraid we brought them with us, but Coldwater has its own stinkbug communities.  I'm afraid there will be transplants to Florida.

The weather was overcast with misty rain and temps in the low 80’s.  Seems a warm October.  The last time we visited in October  it was in the 30’s!  Guess you never know!  

Had our quota of fried tenderloin sandwiches were are truly worthy of two hamburger rolls or one hue hoagie role rather than just one puny hamburger roll.   


Our last evening was great fun!  After dinner at Southsides we drove over to Ben’s, a general mercantile store owned by friends of VJ’s and Mert’s.  The owners are from Kankakee so Dave had a great time playing “who do you know” when we visited in July.

Our mission was to find three greeting cards for   VJ to send out and we read and laughed over just about every one on the rack.  It was a riot.   We’d read the cards and pass them around so all four of us were laughing in the card aisle. 

After about an hour’s worth of really good fun, VJ zeroed in on the three cards he thought appropriate for his purposes.  He also picked up three  small Christmas trees decorations, which we debated about at some length, for his office. Spent about five minutes debating whether we should purchase a box of Edna Price chocolates.  If they had smaller boxes we probably would have.  I still have Murduck's fudge in the MH.

By the time we left Ben’s it was dark and close to 8PM.  VJ laughs….just some small town fun……can’t remember the last time I had so much fun in a store! 

Hated to say good bye and hope they’ll come to Florida in the winter.  All the kids are now off to school so they have an “empty nest” and feeling the quiet.  I give them a few months and it will be the norm and when the kids come home, the ab-norm!

Driving down Rte 127 the skies still haven’t gotten too clear.  I won’t miss the smell of manure that permeates the air but there is a beauty to this area.  Small communities stretched among the farms.  Each community, however small, so strong in their commitment to their neighbors, towns and schools.   This is small town America at its best.  It  has truly earned the right to be in the heartland!

Oct 4 Fort Boonesborough SP, Richmond, Kentucky

After a seven hour, tooth rattling, head jarring ride from Ohio to Ft Boonesborough, nothing tasted better than a cold beer under the awning.  The air is still and hot.  Eighty plus degrees…..in October?

A group of four campers are sitting at the picnic table in the next campsite.  One by one they get up and mosey out into the road to look up at a tree.

Nothing piques interest more than having four people wander over to a tree, shield their eyes and look up.  To further draw you in, you hear the word “snake” and now you’ve got 6-8 people wandering out into the street to look up into a tree. 

One person says “it’s a snake and it’s coiled around the branches”. 

Another says, “I don’t know, but that kind of looks like a head”. 

I wander over to the group and look up into the high branches of the tree.  It doesn’t look like a snake to me, but I couldn’t tell you what it looks like.

No one seemed to have any binoculars so I brought my camera out with the telephoto lens.  Mystery solved.  It is not a snake coiled up on a branch with its head raised up.  It’s fungus imitating a snake!


Saturday, September 28, 2013


As we meander down from Northern Michigan to Indiana it occurs to me we are truly in America’s Heartland… Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. … referring to the region’s role in the nation’s manufacturing and farming sectors with a patchwork of commercial cities and small towns that, combined, represent the American culture.    

Twenty five percent of the US Presidents were born in this region.  Entrepreneurs in technology that runs the country were from this area:  airplanes, automobiles, electric lighting, petroleum and steel production to mention a few. 

We are in the “RV Capital of the World”……Elkhart, Indiana, a northern Indiana town located near the Michigan border.  There were many campgrounds located throughout the Amish countryside.  

We are in Elkhart Campground which is central to downtown Elkhart and the RV museum but not far from the Amish areas.  Now that I understand the area better, the campgrounds in Shipshewana are in the HEART of the Amish country as well as Eby’s Pines RV and KOA Campground in Bristol.  But nothing is really that far away and Elkhart Campground is a very nice one, great facilities and has high ratings.

Upon arrival we drove to the Visitor’s Center about a mile away to pick up the CD’s and map to the Heritage Trail as well as any other brochures that would tell us about the area.  We then drove downtown to the river walk area  to have a bite to eat at a Elkhart brewery called … Iacyda!  Don’t have a clue how to pronounce it but the beer was good and the pizzas were great!

The weather has warmed up to a point that we turned on the AC to get the MH cooled down.  However by 1 AM  the heat went on for the night temps!  All in all, the weather has been superb, low 70’s sunny and clear skies. 

A word about September travel…..it’s great.  The crowds are down so the areas we visited were not teaming with fellow tourists.  Campgrounds are available so we are able to make last minute decisions about where we are going and pull into a campground to get a site.  Weather is great.  It’s my favorite time to travel around.


As if fruit flies and biting flies weren’t enough, we are now in the Stink Bug territory!  These are beatle-like insects that don’t fly, they flop!  And they stink when you kill them.  And they get into your RV and live there!  The Alden’s were finding stink bugs in their RV months after they left stink bug territory!

They are easy to kill because they don’t really move.  Too fat to fly.  They like to sit on the screens and the windows.  Reminds me of a science fiction movie with the stick bugs covering the screens.  I pulled out my RAID flying insect spray and sprayed the screen white.  They still came back!   I put the shade down so I didn’t have to see them but they made an eerie shadows on the shade.  We will undoubtedly be bringing them to Ohio with us!


We drove the Heritage Trail leading through the heart of Indiana Amish Country. The CD driving tour provided directions and highlights routing us through Bristol, Middlebury, Shipshewana, Goshen, Nappanee, Wakarusa, back to Elkhart.    Along the way were Quilt Gardens as well as Quilt Murals on the buildings.  The Quilt Gardens are a patchwork of flowers that bloom until October 1st when they are pulled and replaced by mums for the Fall Flower Carpets. 

Our first stop was the Bonneyville Grist Mill established in the mid-1830s and continues to produce flour by harnessing the power of water.  This is Indiana’s oldest continuously operating grist mill and is located in the Bonneyville Mill County Park. 

The history of this mill is of particular interest to me.  In the mid-1830’s Edward Bonney located the grist mill on the Little Elkhart River due to the proximity to the Toledo/Chicago trail and St Joseph Rivers.  

However the railroads by-passed the site and the proposed canal system never was built.  He sold the mill and went into the tavern business, accused of counterfeiting with his plates being discovered buried along the Elkhart River, and he fled the area.

On the plus side, Bonney had installed a horizontal water wheel to produce larger quantities of power than the traditional vertical water wheel which enabled the mill to function as a progressive mill.   Now comes the interesting part:

In 1918 Robert Blood traded land in Michigan for Bonneyville Mill and farm.  The Bloods (my father’s family) settled in Rutland VT in the late 1700’s moved to Elmira NY during the westward movement then on to Illinois and Indiana.  My grandfather was from Indiana so when I saw the name Blood, it got my attention. 

Robert’s son Michael born in 1905 (2 years after my father) took over the operation of the mill in 1928 when Robert became disabled.  During the depression the Bonneyville Power and Electric Company in 1932 was formed supplying hydroelectric power to about 45 customers.    Michael sold the mill in 1962 to become a full-time farmer.

We proceeded along the Heritage Trail to Middlebury stopping in at the Das Dutchman Essenhaus where a double wedding ring quilt mural was displayed on the side of the building.  It was too early for lunch, so we continued on down the trail. 

About here we took a right instead of a left (or maybe visa versa) so bypassed Shipshewana and went directly down to Goshen.  Along the way we passed many Amish farms as well as horse and buggies on the road and Amish riding bicycles.  

Since we were traveling at a rate of speed that precluded pictures, I didn’t get any!  However, I began to identify the Amish farms by the wash hanging on the line.  

One particular house had all the dresses hanging on the line on hangers, hats hanging together under a tree and the shirts and socks on another line.  Wished I could have gotten some good laundry pictures because the laundry was very interesting.

In Goshen we spent some time at the Old Bag Factory.    From 1896-1910 this was the Cosmo Buttermilk Soap Company .  The production building manufactured laundry soap, fine bathing soap and toilet paper.    In 1920 it was purchased by the Chicago-Detroit Bag Company manufacturing waterproof burlap sacks to the fine, sheer paper used in Hershey’s Kiss wrappers.

The term “bagology” was coined meaning “to elevate the production of bags to the level of science.”  The Bag Factory closed in 1982.   In 1984 it was purchased and restored . The Swartzendrubers made it the headquarters for their handcrafted custom furniture and other artists and merchants made their home in this building and surrounding area. 

Dave spent a great deal of time in the used musical instruments shop while I poked around all the little stores in the complex.  

After about 45 minutes I returned to the music store to give Dave the “stink eye”.  Then I saw an autoharp  and came within inches of buying it!  Still thinking about it!

New use for the old console TV .... turn it into a dog bed!

Back on the Trail our next stop was Nappanee.


TIME Magazine called Nappanee one of America’s best small towns.  US 6 the nation’s longest highway starting in Providence RI and ending in Long Beach, CA (or visa versa) goes through the center of town.  It is the center of furniture crafters. 

In 1876, Coppes Brothers sawmill opened up and by the 20th century, Coppes became a common household word.   I have always wanted a Hoosier in my kitchen and these cabinets were built in Nappanee.  Between 1920 and 1925, forty different companies were manufacturing Hoosiers cabinets.

Coppes built the Dutch Kitchenette, a small kitchen in itself with a flour sifter, sugar bin, meat scale, food grinder & sliding tabletop to provide additional workspace. 

In 1921  Herbert Hoover, then Commerce Secretary, commissioned a study to determine how many steps a lady would save preparing a meal at the Dutch Kitchen.  Once the results were published, the kitchenette became extremely popular. 

The towns are busy pulling up their “quilt gardens” and replacing them with Fall Flower Carpets.  Mum’s the word!


Our lunch stop was at Amish Acres located across from the Chevrolet dealership.  I mention this because on one side of the highway is 21st Century technology  and..on the opposite side was the National Historic Site preserving the Amish way of life, circa 1800’s.

We had a great lunch …. No not an all you can eat one …. But good none-the-less.  I wanted to make room for Shoo-fly Pie so had soup and salad.  The squash soup was delicious and filling .. could hardly eat my pie.   Dave had homemade noodles and beef over mashing potatoes (?)!  He didn’t think it was unusual to have a starch over a starch.  The noodles were fantastic.  After lunch I purchased two bags of the homemade noodles.  Yummy! 

While eating, a peacock decided to perch in our window and preen.  Probably needed to get away from the guys for a while for some quiet time!

There are horse & buggy tours of the farm.  The driver looked the Amish part and I hoped he really was Amish and not a make-believe who would soon get into his Corvette and take off.  As we left the restaurant, I saw the driver cycling out of the parking lot.  Gave me faith!

Shows are performed in the Round Barn Theatre and is a national home of Plain and Fancy a 1955 Broadway musical about the Amish way of life.   The company is created from annual auditions held in NYC and cast members are housed in three houses on Amish Acres’ campus.  The Joseph Stein Young Actors Studio holds a series of classes and camps for children 8-12 and full productions put on by HS students.


Our second day in Elkhart was spent at the RV Museum.    For over a hundred years we’ve indulged our love of the open road in RV’s of all sorts.  It’s amazing how these vehicles started out.  

The smallest Airstream ever built, the “Little Prince” designed to appeal to Germans!

1916 T “Telescoping Apartment” 

1934 AA Housecar



1957 TEARDROP .. This style is still popular.  I'm seeing more and more of these today in campgrounds.  The rear area is much the same and some have a canopy attached to the back so you can cook in the rain.  The interior is a king-size bed!  The beauty is you can tow it with a small car!



 The blocky blue 1931 Chevrolet Housecar built by Paramount to bribe Mae West into making moves

1935 Bowlus Road Chief that looks like an Airstream with a tail!

1969 PACE ARROW  .. laid out similarly to MH's today.

Are we Tin Can Tourists????  I thought we were Digital Nomads!

After about two hours of walking among the RV’s, we headed down to Shipshewana,  a town we missed yesterday.  It is most famous for its Miscellaneous and Antique Auction held every Wednesday.  On Tuesday and Wednesdays are the flea markets and the horse auction is held on Fridays.  

Although Shipshewana is a very small town, it is full of antique and country-style décor shops and restaurants with a strong Amish flavor.  We had lunch at the Blue Gate Restaurant and was pleased to see many Amish folks also eating there.

Between the Blue Gate Theater, the Davis Mercantile, Yoder’s Department Store and specialty shops, it draws many, many visitors.  It is the only place in Indiana listed in 1,000 Places To See Before You Die.


Driving right alongside of all the cars heading through the area were the horse and buggies of the Amish.  It’s amazing how they can live with one foot in the 21st Century and the other in the 19th Century! 

Saturday must be shopping day because they were all out in full force.  I tried to take pictures an unobtrusively as I could so I missed some great shots!


Now that I know the area a little better, if you’re coming here for Amish immersion then the Shipshewana RV Parks (North & South) would be a good choice.  You can cycle to the attractions, shops and restaurants (along with the Amish) right from the CG.

So ends our stay in Elkhart, Indiana.  Thank you Stella for your email update of your trip earlier this summer or I would never have known about the Heritage Trail! 

Life is good in the slow lane!


January 13, 2014 Back on the road again, for a short while, heading down to Jetty Park with friends from home. Since Michigan ........