Thursday, August 26, 2010


Our last blog was published almost two and a half weeks ago!  That's how busy we've been.  We said goodbye to our friends Ray and Louise DeCarlo, in Shipshewana, Indiana, and began a southerly route which would eventually take us to Savannah, GA.  Along the way, we stayed at our first Escapees Park, Raccoon Valley, in (Heiskell) Knoxville, TN.  No, this park is not for escaped inmates, but it is owned by an organization we have supported since we started full timing in our coach.  Escapees, an almost 50 year old organization, is headquartered in Livingston, TX, and has over 34,000 active club members, and educates and informs RVer's all over the world. 

We stopped in Atlanta to visit our youngest daughter, Lauren, and son-in-law, Chris, and stayed at a Corps of Engineers Park, McKinney Campground, on lovely Lake Alatoona, for several days.

Lauren will graduate from Life University in Marietta, GA, on September 24, and was about to leave for a 7 week internship with Michigan Specific Chiropractic near Detroit, Michigan.   After our visit we continued on to Savannah, GA, and rendezvoused on Interstate 95 to pick up our two new VIP passengers for the next couple of weeks - Kenneth, 11 years old, and Kiley, 6 years old.  Our "ROAD TRIP" plans were to head for North Myrtle Beach for lots of "fun in the sun"....and some grandparent bonding. 

This is our second annual "ROAD TRIP" with the 2 oldest grand kids.  Last year we enjoyed  Fort Wilderness in Orlando, FL.  This year we headed toward Willow Tree RV Resort in Longs, SC.  On a scale of 1 - 10, the trip was a 10.   There just wasn't enough time to do everything!    During our stay, we enjoyed a minor league baseball game (Myrtle Beach Pelicans vs. Winston Salem Dash), putt-putt at Mt. Atlanticus, lunch at Planet Hollywood, Boardwalk, the Carolina Opry, shopping, fishing, Cherry Hill Beach, Girls' Day Out, and Boys' Day Out (separate days), and the water park and lake at Willow Tree.  We arrived back in Green Cove Springs just in time for their family to go to a birthday party.  We had "serious senior recuperation" (SSR) for the next couple of days. While grandparent bonding is very enjoyable, it can be exhausting!  Hey, almost forgot...while we were recuperating, I was invited to Kiley's 7 year birthday party.  Her mother invited 7 little Cinderella's to The Alhambra Dinner Theatre to see the final performance of "Cinderella".  What an enchanting evening for all those Cinderella's!  
Our annual appointment at Tiffin Motorhomes in Red Bay, AL, is scheduled about the same time every year.  Many of you ask if we own real estate in Red Bay, or if it's just exciting to come here, or what!  As other coach owners will tell you, there are always adjustments and tweeks.  While you are in Red Bay,  you talk to other owners and learn more about your coach than you imagined possible.  You see many old friends, meet new friends, and it's enjoyable to get to know the people who live and work in Red Bay.  A trip to Red Bay would not be complete until you "pig out at The Pig", aka, The Piggly Wiggly, which is "down home" Alabama "home cooking", and make at least one trip to AYCE catfish at Swamp John's.  

At our scheduled service date, we arrive at 7:00 a.m. and usually stay until almost 3:00 p.m. (end of the day), and then you return every day until your service issues are resolved.  We discovered a major issue that needed to be repaired which was completed under our manufacturer's warranty.  Our warranty item was so serious that Tiffin sent us to a hotel in Russellville, AL, to spend the night (as our coach was kept in the service bay overnight).  Guess we are spoiled, but we would prefer to sleep in our own bed as opposed to any hotel.   A funny side note about the service center is that when you wait in their nicely appointed large customer lounge, pet owners are allowed to bring their dogs, cats, parrots, etc.  While they are on leashes, in cages, pens, etc., it reminds us of a three ring circus.   

While in the Tiffin Campground, we also worked with a woodwork/cabinet specialist who completed a few items to make our coach even more comfortable.  Also, RV wouldn't be satisfied until we stopped at Custom RV in Vina, AL, to have 4 new AGM Lifeline Batteries and 46 low-wattage LED lights installed throughout the coach.   

We will leave Red Bay tomorrow morning and will spend the next few days in Florence, AL, another favorite destination of ours.  We'll enjoy being on the Tennessee River and perhaps share a wood-fired pizza at Trattoria di Ricatoni!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Upon arriving at our campground in Shipshewana, Indiana,  the campground hostess spent quite a bit of time suggesting places to see while we are visiting in the area as well as giving us several periodicals, brochures and magazines about the area.  One of the items contained 2 cd's, and turned out to be filled with information rearding a self-guided Heritage Trail driving tour.  This was a turn-by-turn, easy-to-follow tour  through a winding 90-mile loop of Amish Country.  You could see plenty without using the cd's, but this was somewhat  like dessert, and probably why the editors of LIFE named this part of the country "One of the 100 Places to See in Your Lifetime." 

This is the third year the Amish country has planted 17 intricate gardens that honor 17 super-sized outdoor quilt-inspired gardens as well as created 17 handpainted outdoor quilt-themed murals, all in the heart of Northern Indiana's Amish Country.  We saw several of the quilt designs during our visit, and could have spent an entire day traveling from each of the 7 welcoming communities to see each colorful display.  The exhibitions are free and can be viewed from Memorial Day through October 1.

Another side trip we enjoyed was to South Bend, Indiana, home of the University of Notre Dame.  We saw many of the recognized historical campus landmarks, including the "Golden Dome" and "Touchdown Jesus".  What an incredible campus!   When we return to this area, we would love to see the Grotto of our Lady of Lourdes, and the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.  Our short visit was most enjoyable.  We went as far as we were allowed in the car; however, this is a walking campus, so get ready for some beautiful long walks (or bike rides) when you visit the campus.  South Bend is also the home of the Studebaker Mansion - Tippecanoe Place (now a casual dining restaurant).  Also in the same area is the Studebaker Museum, which  gives us another reason to return.

After leaving ND, we drove to downtown South Bend and visited the College Football Hall of Fame.  Not only was it enjoyable, but also educational.  The tour could be done with or without a headset.  Because of time constraints we decided against using the headset, and even then I think we were there over 2 hours.  As you would expect, there was a lot of blue and orange as well as garnet and gold on display.  The exhibits were very professional and we saw many recognizable faces, i.e., Bobby Bowden, Fred Biletnikoff, Charlie Ward, Steve Spurrier, Tim Tebow, and Wilbur Marshall, etc.  The list just goes on and on, and RV was really enjoying himself.   The history of college football is covered in photographs, movies, large exhibits, statues, and we can't imagine any details that may have been overlooked.  On the outside of the beautiful building is a 35-yard synthetic turf football field, complete with field markings and a goal post, used for hosting large outdoor events as well as the annual Enshrinement Festival.   This was another sensational day, and we marked a few more items off our "bucket list".   

In case you wonder where we are, you can see us right here.  Also, after you access the map, you may wish to play around with the keys on the upper right of the map...satellite, hybrid, etc. This is a map we use whenever we relocate so friends and family will know approximately where we are staying....or we can see where many of our friends are who are on the Tiffin RV Network Forum. Tiffin is the manufacturer of our coach.