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What's New from June 1999

Posted June 9
We are having a ball since we left Mesa, Arizona, on May 25th. We drove red roads through Arizona and New Mexico, Oklahoma and Missouri. We also dodged tornadoes in Oklahoma and had a wonderful visit with my son Jim and his family. We even kidnapped grandsons, Kristopher and James for a few days, and took them to a state park. We also spent a couple of days playing tourist in Branson. I will be writing a newsletter in a few days and tell you all about it. And Ron promises that he will update his View From the Driver's Seat in a day or two also.

Right now we are visiting good friends, Jim and Linda Butner at their private summer campsite where they sell the best darn Bar B Que in the world. You must stop here if you are anywhere in the state of Missouri or especially if you are heading to or from Branson. They are located at the intersection of highway 65 and 54 north of Springfield and south of Sedalia. Just follow your nose. These full-timers used to tow their BBQ trailer and sell at state fairs and such in up state New York until they found this little spot of heaven here in the Ozarks. There are three great Corps of Engineers campgrounds just 6 miles west of here near the town of Hermitage and this would be a great place to stop and rest a while. If you visit here be sure to tell them that we sent you.

    Hickory Smoke Shack        Linda and Jim       Jim and his smoker

Posted June 18
We are off to Decatur, Indiana, and the factory for American coaches where we will get some things worked on.  There are just a  just a few things that we didn't want to take time for before. After that we will be heading to Michigan's upper peninsula then west into Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the Dakotas.
This is where we were parked in DeWitt, Michigan, (at Ron's daughter's house), just north of Lansing.

Posted June 22
We are in Decatur, Indiana, at the American Coach repair facility. This is one fantastic place and they do good work. We got our little minor things done in no time and now they are replacing our front windshield where the big stone hit us. Here are some pictures of what is going on.

  American Coach repair facility    Chip in driver's windshield   Old window going out

Posted June 24
So many people have written to us to say they don't trust RV manufacturers. They look for and find all the bad things that people write about, but I believe there is much more good than bad.  I am still impressed with Fleetwood especially the American Coach Division. We loved our Bounder and had great service on it too.

I'd just like to share a little more about the facility here in Decatur where folks come for service or factory delivery. They can park about 35 coaches in the "campground" which is a parking lot with electric hookups and a dump station. Each morning at 7 a.m. the coffee is ready in the lounge and the workers start the engines of the coaches that are scheduled for service and pull them into the garage. They work in teams and can work on 25 coaches at a time. Everything they do is top quality. They don't skimp on anything.

I had called this place in December just before our warranty ran out and gave them the small list of really minor things that needed fixing and told them we wouldn't be here until summer. No problem! In April I called and made the appointment and everything was ready for us on Monday morning.

On Wednesdays in the summer they have a customer appreciation cook out. Last night they grilled pork chops and served them with potatoes, creamed corn, rolls, dessert and drinks. They fed about 35. Normally there would have been more here, but 18 of the service technicians are in Washington State with the American Coach Association rally so they didn't schedule as many coaches here. They send a big crew to each rally and at all FMCA rallies so they can take care of the coaches that need work done. Is that good service or not? Maybe that is why I don't feel that we need to join that RV Consumer Group. Nothing is made perfectly, but as far as we are concerned Fleetwood has always gone the distance with us and it is not because of who we are. They don't treat us any different than anyone else. I am here with others being serviced who all feel the same way.

The "campground"              The chefs               More food 

Posted June 26 
We are parked at Ron's Mom's (Elsie) nursing home near Toledo, Ohio, for a couple of days. The manager said that we could stay here and chose the spot for us which happens to be very level and Elsie can see us from her window. We can pop in now and then to chat for a few minutes and that way we don't tire her out too much. In the last two weeks we have enjoyed 13 days of free camping and the old accountant likes that too. So do I.  At Susies, in Decatur and again here, we have enjoyed nice and quiet camping away from campfires. We have enough battery power and a generator if we need to charge them up. Also we do fine with water and holding tanks. We live quite normally even though we are dry camping.

We thought you'd like a look at Berne, Indiana, which is just a few miles south of Decatur on U.S. 27. One day while they were working on the coach, we played tourist. Berne was settled by Swiss Menonites so the town retains the Swiss look. We had a great lunch at the Palmer House in Berne and browsed for a long time in the wooden floored hardware store.

                        The Palmer House restaurant          Old cupboards in the hardware store

There are many Amish farms in the area and we had fun driving the back roads and watching them at work and play.  In case you are interested in that area we found a wonderful campground at Amishville. The sites were big and it was surrounded by big Amish farms.

Posted July 3 (Happy 4th of July)
I just sent out the newsletter so there is no new news, but I wanted to include some photos of the Thumb area of Michigan.
Downtown Kinde, Michigan, (in the very agricultural Thumb area)

At the Tip of the Thumb

The Garfield Inn-Port Austin   Cleaning fish at Grindstone City     One of the many grindstones

At East Tawas, Michigan

The lighthouse near the campground         Our view of the lake (beyond the trees)

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