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What's New from August 2000
August 1, 2000
My oh my where has this year gone?  I just uploaded the above articles and here is a new Mystery picture. I was kind of nasty last month and no one guessed the bicycle pictures to be from Port Townsend, Washington, (on a street near the Elks Club). If you think you know go to our Guess section and see if your guess is correct or just find out where this is.

August 3, 2000
I am through with all of my tests etc., at National Jewish Respiratory Center. With the new medications I should be better than new in a few months (it takes a while for them to work). We were going to hang around here until the 9th, but we just heard of a wedding reception for Ron's son, Kurt and his wife Dee which is planned for the 13th.  We are going to head out tomorrow. We will stop in Belton, Missouri, (near Kansas City) to visit my son Jim and his family in their new home, then our next stop will be Toledo, Ohio, to spend a few days visiting Ron's mom who is in a nursing home there. We will do like we did last year and park the motorhome in the parking lot so we can visit her in little bits over a three day period. From there it is just a short drive to Lansing, Michigan, where most of Ron's family live. My parents and siblings live in Michigan too so we will try to see everyone.

I am afraid to say that we will be doing freeways all the way which we hate, but when time is valuable it is the only way. We promise ourselves that we will be driving red roads all the way back to Arizona the end of September.

August 8, 2000
We left Denver on Friday morning heading east on I-70 and we didn't stop until we were parked in front of my son's house in Belton, Missouri. We took turns driving (two hours at a time) and found the trip to be relaxing. It was boring though so we got a lot of  reading done on our off time. We were going to spend the night in a rest area east of Topeka, but since it was hot (and humid) and the sun was still up pretty high in the sky, we decided to make a run for our destination. We underestimated the distance and daylight time left so it did get dark before we got to Jim's. We almost never drive the motorhome that late in the day.

Jim & Sue's new house is lovely inside and out.
We enjoyed  a lovely long weekend visit full of game playing (Bocci Ball and Dominoes) and visiting. We left Missouri on Tuesday morning and by evening we were settled into a Wal-Mart in Wabash, Indiana, (on U.S. Route 24). We have traveled U.S. 24 numerous times and it has  always been fun to drive through small towns. We are sad to report that 24 is becoming a limited access highway which bypasses those towns. We will  have to find another rural route.

Today we arrived in Decatur, Indiana, for an unscheduled stop here at American Coach factory service. While we were at Jim and Sue's our inverter quit which was not good since we were dry camping. They will try to work us in (probably Thursday) and then it is only a few hours drive to the nursing home near Toledo, Ohio, where Ron's mom stays. It is raining, gray and yukky here. I think the midwest wishes they could send their excess rain to the western U.S. where it is needed so badly.

We have only had two correct guesses on the Mystery picture. Here is a hint. If you like the smell of hops, you will love this town.

August 16, 2000
It has been a busy week.  When we left Decatur with a new inverter, we drove to the Wolf Creek nursing home near Toledo, Ohio, and "camped" in the parking lot from Thursday (8/10) to Sunday morning (8/13). We enjoyed little visits with Ron's mom who gets tired easily. Sunday morning we attended church with her there at the facility then left for DeWitt, Michigan (just north of Lansing) and parked in a parking lot next to Ron's daughter's house. After a few quick greetings we dressed for Kurt and Dee's wedding party and headed to Lansing. It was fun to see family all at once. We enjoyed a relaxing day Monday and made plans to take nine year old granddaughters, Kailee and Taylor, for a three day trip to the Silver Lake sand dunes from Tuesday to Friday.

 Tuesday was not a good day. Early in the morning  I turned on the generator to charge the batteries and to make coffee. When I turned the generator off, I heard popping and smelled what smelled like a burnt motor. Apparently a power surge as the generator shut down took out the microwave, the inverter and popped one of the GFI plugs. I called American Coach and asked if we would be okay our trip. They thought everything would be okay with shore power; they did warn us not to turn on the generator again. We will go back to Decatur on Sunday night for another unexpected visit to the factory. But in the mean time, we took off for the sand dunes of Silver Lake (a little north of Muskegon and a few miles west of Michigan Route 31).

We arrived at the Jellystone Campground in Silver Lake and to complete our good fortune for the day, as we were parking the motorhome, a tree jumped out and crushed the rear passenger awning and dinged in one of the bay doors. Actually it was all my fault; I did a poor job of directing Ron into our campsite and got him too close to several trees. In my defense though, these heavily wooded parks with narrow roads are difficult. I cried a lot, but Ron assures me it will be replaced. After all we have to go back to the factory this week anyway. I still felt bad.

We played Uno (the girls really beat us) and miniature golf after we got over the shock of our newest accident. Wednesday morning we packed a lunch and took off for the dunes. What fun!!!  The Silver Lake Dunes cover an area three and one half miles long and one and one half miles wide (some 2,000 acres) of Michigan's most unique and beautiful dunes. Located between Lake Michigan and Silver Lake, the huge windswept open-sand  mountains are actually moving one grain at a time at a rate of 10-20 feet per year. The sand engulfs trees and an occasional cottage and is gradually filling in Silver Lake on its eastward trek.

1) Ron, Taylor and Kailee          2 & 3) Silver Lake is in the background

The dune ride took us to Lake Michigan

We walked up and down hills; the girls ran and rolled down some. It is such beautiful sand and it really is fun to play in. We were going to walk the one and one half mile hike to Lake Michigan but since it was quite windy which had the effect of sand blasting us we gave up. Instead of hiking to the big lake, we took a dune buggy ride which was loads of fun.

And of course we ended the day with a campfire and smores (graham crackers with a melted marshmallow and a chunk of Hershey's chocolate). We have been hot everywhere until we arrived in Michigan. It was just 70 for a high today and it is cold at night.

August 21, 2000
We are back in Decatur, Indiana, (at American Coach factory service) where they are trying to find the cause of our problem.  We will keep you informed.

August 23, 2000
We are fixed again and we feel good about the work that was done by Brandy and his crew. They found a loose wire from the installation two weeks ago, plus some bad circuit boards. But the loose wire was the main thing that caused so much to blow. Because this was their error (not Brandy's crew) we were not charged for the new inverter, microwave, and GFI plugs.

So we are again at Ron's Mom's nursing home near Toledo, Ohio, and tomorrow early we will leave for Clarkston, Michigan, to visit my parents who are in a nursing home there. On Friday we will go back to DeWitt (just north of Lansing) and park somewhere in town until Monday when we will move to Ron's daughter's driveway (well a parking lot next to here house). The reason we will have to find somewhere other that Susie's place is this coming weekend is the annual Ox Roast and all the festivities. The normal parking spaces will be taken up with food booths, carnival rides and so on. We will try to be good reporters and let you know what goes on at the Ox Roast in DeWitt.

August 27, 2000
The DeWitt Ox Roast (they don't really roast an ox) is over for another year and all had fun. There were the typical carnival games and rides, lots of vendors selling crafty things, demonstrations, bingo, food and a huge soccer tournament. It is also a homecoming of sorts and we noticed many old friends greeting on another. Besides the soccer tournament, we think the Saturday morning parade (which was one hour long) was a definite highlight. By the way, we didn't park in town. We camped at the nearby Sleepy Hollow State Park and loved being back in one of our favorite Michigan state parks.

We will move back into DeWitt on Monday afternoon and remain until Thursday when we will go to a very nice campground near Crystal, Michigan. Ron's family all gather on weekends at Marty and Bryan's cottage on Crystal Lake. Crystal is not near any major roads so is difficult to describe in writing. Look northwest of Lansing by following I-96 and find the town of Portland then look straight north. At Route M-57 notice the town of Carson City (really a very small town) and that is where Ron and I will be camping and just north of that is Crystal.

Between now and the Labor Day weekend, we will be working on Coffee Break, Letters, new articles (Driver's Seat and Thoughts from Barb) and some great Guest articles. So check back after the holiday.

1) Ron with some of his family at Susie's house ( on the parade route) waiting for the parade to begin.  2) Queen
There were all sorts of vehicles from old cars

 to strange vehicles,

What would a parade be without fire trucks but have you ever seen a stretch hummer?
tractors, big trucks, floats,

and marching groups of all kinds.

1 & 2) The high school band, cheerleaders   3) What would a parade be without pipers?

The hospital group marched with urinals
At the soccer tournament

Marty and Bryan helping to shield Ron's head from the sun

1) Taylor and Kailee     2) Ryan    3) Erika (girl on right)

Be sure to check out the newest Thoughts from Barb. This one titled Unwanted Visitors and the Trouble they Caused is kind of ugly but important. Ron's newest gem is Familiarity Does Not Breed Contempt.

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