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What's New from September 2000
September 4, 2000
We have been busy playing with family over the holiday so I need to apologize for not having our regular pages ready to update yet. Please be patient and check back in a day or two.

Here is a new Mystery picture.  Here is a hint; go to the August old news page to see where (what state and what section of the state) we have been visiting and that will probably help with these pictures.  If you want to play the game go to our Guess page and see how much you know.

September 6, 2000
Thanks for your patience while we were enjoying the last holiday of the summer. Fall is certainly in the air here in Michigan as we wind down our visit here. On Labor Day at the cottage with Ron's children, everyone pitched in to bring in the dock, the pontoon boat and all the toys from the lake. Everyone who owned cottages on the lake were doing the same. We felt sad for all those who have to go back to work and face winter; we get to travel back into warm weather as we head south and west.

The nights are downright chilly (41) and the crisp morning air goes well with the trees which are beginning to look as though someone splattered bright orange, yellow and red paint on them. Fall is a beautiful time in Michigan. We would love to linger longer, but Tucson is calling. And we need to go back to the factory one more time. Our entry step broke. Ron blames himself; he thinks that he did not do a good job of keeping it oiled. But on a more positive note, Ron has become a very handy guy. No kidding!! He replaced the motor in our fantastic vent when it died. The company sent the motor (it is guaranteed forever) and Ron did a good job of installing it. He also did something to make the ice maker work again when it quit producing ice and he was very adept at removing the broken awning after the tree incident. I guess that old dogs can learn new tricks and when the step has been replaced, I'll bet it gets oiled regularly.

A few years ago, Rich and Bobbie Broockmann came upon a very talented couple in a campground. Dianne and Michael Killen (full-time wannabees) entertained a group with their country music around a campfire well into the night. Rich and Bobbie discovered that the Killens had cut a tape and CD so purchased both. Later they shared this story with us and raved and raved about the music. We got in touch with the Killens and got a copy of both the tape and CD and play them all the time. We just got a new CD from the Killens; it is hot off the press and I wish you all could hear it. Feels Like Home is a great album. Email them or more information.

September 7, 2000
Be sure to check out the newest page in Thoughts from Barb. This one is titled It Ain't Necessarily So and we think it will be helpful to most RVers. Ron's newest gem in From the Driver's Side is: Expensive Power. I have also added three new articles in the Guest Article from our good friends Carol & Dick Stewart. For sheer reading enjoyment we hope you will read Oh Canada---The Wonderful Prairies Part 1,  Part 2 and Part 3.

September 14, 2000
We continued with family visits after Labor Day in two areas of Michigan then dropped down to the Toledo area again for another visit with Ron's Mom. On Monday September 11, we arrived at our favorite place here in Decatur, Indiana, to get the step and a few other things fixed. Because we didn't have a regular appointment we had to stand in line. On Wednesday they got us in and by evening we were free to leave. We decided that it was too late in the day to start traveling so we stayed for their weekly customer appreciation dinner (fried chicken, scalloped potatoes, corn, green beans, rolls, assorted pies and soft drinks) and enjoyed the fellowship. We still think that American Coach division of Fleetwood is pretty special.

This morning we will begin our trip south and west. We have decided to take U.S Route 30 from near Decatur, Indiana, all the way through Illinois, Iowa, and well into Nebraska unless going around Chicago is too much like city driving. We can always change direction but at the moment that is our plan. Near central Nebraska we will take U.S. Route 83 south until we find US Route 54 at the Kansas- Oklahoma border. US 54 angles nicely to the south west and we will travel that to Alamogordo. From a little south of there we will jump on I-10 for the last bit of the trip. There's not much choice at that point since we are heading to Tucson. We will have two weeks which isn't as much time as we like, but it should leave a little time for fun. Stay tuned.

By the way, I just received my newest copy of RV Companion and it is delightful. If you don't already subscribe, be sure to do so in the near future. I also added a terrific new web site to our Links page. www.rv-coach.com

September 16, 2000
We didn't get far on Thursday. All was fine until just before we hit Illinois when it became slow going; there were lots of stop lights and much traffic. We decided to call it a day by stopping at the Empress Casino Campground (Oasis) in Joliet. I had come down with a bad cold just before we went to Decatur so didn't feel like pushing too hard.

Shortly after we had parked in this very nice campground an excited lady knocked on our door. Donna, a shuttle bus driver here, had purchased our book for her husband to read while he was recuperating from back surgery and she was thrilled to find us here. I had promised to ride her shuttle and take her picture to put it on the web, but when I went to ride her shuttle on Saturday I discovered that she didn't work weekends. I hadn't felt good enough to venture out on Friday. She and her husband plan to hit the road someday and we hope we will be able to meet them both.

I had originally planned that we could drive into Chicago one day while here,  but now Ron is coming down with a cold too. We had visited Chicago a lot when we lived in Michigan, but it had been a while. Put this casino/campground on your list of nice places to stay if you want to visit this area. We plan to continue our westward trek tomorrow (Sunday).

September 17, 2000
We left Joliet Sunday morning and enjoyed the drive into Iowa. U.S. 30 is a good route. We stopped for the night at Palasades-Kepler State Park near Mt. Vernon. It was a large and very pretty park and each site was laid out perfectly, lined with lumber, and filled with gravel, but many of the sites were not level. Some were way off side to side while others were off from front to back. We were impressed with the 50 amp electricity that was at each site and the rate was nice at only $9.00. We should have stayed longer because there were nice hiking trails to explore and places to bike, but with one rear jack up on four boards and the other fully extended and yet touching, we just didn't feel comfortable.

September 19, 2000
After enjoying another pleasant drive along U.S. 30, we are in a Coast to Coast park in Blair, Nebraska, which is just inside the Nebraska borer. Sadly the route through Iowa seems to bypass most of the little towns. I was feeling cheated until we entered the small town of Westside. Right away on the right I noticed a diner; it was past lunch time so we pulled over. It was one of the highlights of our trip.

We were too late for the special of the day (scalloped potatoes, ham, and peas), but easily decided on the bacon cheeseburgers which were delicious. Our server Janet couldn't have been friendlier and because the lunch rush was over we got to talking with all three of the gals. They found it interesting that we live on the road and they were impressed that we had authored a book which was "so famous." They each asked for a copy of our book and were excited that their picture would be on our web site.  A gentleman who was also in the diner joined in and suggested that we try the pie. He said, "No one makes a pie like Norma."  Banana cream pie was the pie of the day but they also had a cherry dessert. We ordered both and shared both. They were to die for. So if you every find yourself near Westside, Iowa, near lunch time, be sure you stop in and enjoy a great lunch at The Diner. Tell them we sent you.

L-R Julie, Janet and Norma

September 20, 2000
We are leaving Blair tomorrow and heading for Hastings, Nebraska. We have enjoyed our four days here mainly because we used them to try to get rid of our colds. The Coast to Coast campground here is out in the country a bit and very quiet since it is late in the season. The pool closed just before we arrived, but the hot tub and saunas were open. Both Ron and I were really down for two days but feel better now. We did drive into Blair one day; it is a cute town with brick streets. We also found a super restaurant. The Viking (west of town on U.S. 30) has a full and varied menu including streaks, seafood and specials. Liver and onions happened to be the special the night we dined there and that sounded good to us. We started with homemade vegetable beef soup which was out of this world. The whole meal was delightful and we were not able to resist warm apple pie and custard with raspberry sauce for desert.

September 25, 2000
Hastings was a very nice town, but winter arrived when we did. It was very cold and rainy. Since we were still trying to shake those darn colds, we did not venture out to the celebrated museum and the pioneer villages in Grand Island and Minden. We will come back though. I really liked the town and kept telling Ron that I could live there. I liked the downtown area, the houses and everything except the weather.

The U.S Routes we have traveled since we left Indiana have been super wonderful. Great pavement and little to no traffic. It has been an absolute pleasure to drive US 30, 34, 83 and now we are in Tucumcari, New Mexico, on route 54 which will take us to US 70 at Alamogordo. The campgrounds have been terrific too. I will do a full report for the Places section of our web site later.

We will leave Tucumcari on Wednesday and head for the Valley of Fires national recreation area and stay two nights. Since we are both feeling better we may even get some hiking in. Stay tuned.

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