But we still had a great day.
Yesterday was our trip to the Indy Zoo and I have to admit that I was disappointed. The orangutan was extremely depressed, just laying against the glass and not moving or showing any emotion. The tiger did nothing but pace the same path, over and over and over again. Most of the animals showed a lack of interaction within their own groups and families.
But we still had a great day.
Yep, we're still outside Bloomington, but we'll be leaving here in a little more than a couple of weeks. We haven't done much, but we did participate in Lake Monroe Village's annual fundraiser for Riley's Children's Hospital. Last year was the third year they participated and raised over $18,000.
Fundraising included dinner, silent and live auctions. This year's total was over $30,000! We bid on a couple of things and did win a nice basket of local wines.
I volunteered to take pictures for Sandy, the owner, and had a blast doing it.
Tomorrow, the Indy Zoo.
We just finished our Saturday night golf cart parade. Lake Monroe Village does a golf cart parade every Saturday night between Memorial Day and Labor Day. At 9:13, we line up and head out. We go throughout the entire Village, blowing horns and throwing out candy to the kids who line the roadways. Some even throw our dog treats for our canine companions.
Now that it's totally dark, we took the telescope out to check out the crescent moon. It was incredible to see the craters of the moon. I felt like I was seeing Neil Armstrong place the flag again, taking that one step.
Naturally I had to pull out my camera and got a couple of great shots.
I also got a couple of sweet shots of the furkids today, while we celebrated National Dog Day.
And Forrest is dressed in lights below...
We had our big monthly splurge today - we rented a pontoon boat for half a day and set out on Lake Monroe, with the kids.
They took to boating like little pirates. Sage wanted to lay up on the seat and sunbathe with Mommy. Chacho alternated between checking out the seaworthiness of the boat to co-captaining to napping.
All in all, it was a fun day. I just wish they had bathrooms on board, lol.
Most of the pictures are of the kids, not the lake, sorry. But the last shot I got was one of the vultures they warned us of!
Travel days are rough. Before you even leave, you start stressing about not forgetting anything. You've got to remember 20 million things before you leave, something always goes wrong and you're stressed out watching the traffic in front of you. And your spouse just has to yell at you because of what went wrong.
Our last travel day ended up being five days long when we lost our coolant and EGR. It meant three nights in a hotel, leaving and coming back three times because it wasn't fixed right the first time. We finally got to our campground at 10 p.m. We had just enough light left to back into our spot. So, as we prepare to leave next week for East Tennessee, I can't help but worry that the same problem or a different one will happen. That's human nature. It's hard for people who don't live in their RV that this is our home and car.
Then, you get where you're going. You get set up. You get your chairs out, start your campfire and sip on adult beverages. And all of a sudden, the stress floats away.
I used to be the type to hold grudges for days on end. If we had cross words, I couldn't let it go. Now, I realize that travel days are stress days and what happens there stays there.
The last two weeks with Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, all the forest fires in the north and northwest make me glad that our home is on wheels. Because if we had been in Florida and we had notice of such a hurricane coming, we could have pulled up stakes and taken our home to safety with us.
Life is never a guarantee. We could be hit by a tornado tomorrow. A tree could fall on us. There are always dangers out on the open road. But they're the same dangers that face homeowners. and I'll take my home on wheels any day.
I put it out of my mind and enjoy my new homesite! Because this is why we do it. We love our nomadic lifestyle. Sometimes, the nuts and bolts get a little much. Sometimes, we go stir crazy because there's not a lot to do at our location. But we always try and remember that there will be new adventures ahead.
Well, Dave finally got his wish. He got his golf cart. He named it Forrest for its green color. Of course, we had to take the picture of Sage driving it, like every other vehicle we own. And we added our own touches - American and Army flag, a bag to hold the rain enclosures and some decals to make it look pretty :)
We love looking at the stars so when we found a telescope at Hobby Lobby on clearance, we jumped at it. There's even an Apple app that comes with it to identify stars and constellations. I foresee a lot of fun with it.
We've not had a chance to actually use it yet because the nights have been overcast. But we will, eventually.
In the meantime, sitting outside last night, I was fortunate enough to see the full moon play peekaboo behind the clouds and had a great time with my camera.
Yes, there are a lot of shots :) I couldn't stop clicking my button. Hope you enjoy!
Lest anyone think that our nomadic lifestyle is all flowers and candy, let me reassure you that there are bad times just like there always is in life.
We ended up with Louis, the rig of our dreams, because our previous motorhome blew an engine at just over 5000 miles. We dealt with that nightmare for over six weeks before getting settled into our new home. Which goes to show that something good comes out of the worst of times.
But it works the other way as well. Your air conditioner blows up at home? That's a major expense for a homeowner.
Last Friday, we assumed we would have an easy day of travel, just over two hours. I think we jinxed ourselves. Somewhere outside of Cleveland, alarms starting blaring. We pulled over and realized that we had lost all coolant and who knows what else. So, we spent an hour at the side of the interstate, waiting on a tow truck. If you want to give your heart thrills, pull beside the interstate for a while and feel the pull of air as the big rigs go speeding by you.
Interstate Towing did a great job in getting there, getting us hooked up and on the road to a Freightliner Service Center. But, there is nothing more depressing than driving in your truck, seeing your home being towed. Interstate towed Louis to Hans' Freightliner Service Center. I took the German name as a good sign. The hopes were dashed again when we got inside and we were told they wouldn't even look at it until the following Wednesday. I guess I looked ready to throw a tantrum. Our tow truck driver drew the Service Manager to the side and asked to try and help us out since this was our home. Mike Hall, the manager assured us that they would look at it that afternoon, in case it was something simple. At that point, I could have cried in gratitude.
It looked like a simple fix. Young Brad replaced hoses and clamps and worked overtime to get us back on the road the same day. What a kind young man he is. Sure enough, by evening time, it looked like were set, after paying them $900. Did I mention that no repairs on a diesel engine are cheap?
We made it five miles down the road when it happened again. We pulled into a parking lot and called Hans'. They sent someone out to help us limp back to the Freightliner lot. They fixed it, we hit the road, and five miles later, we were back in the same parking lot.
When we got back to Hans'. it was obvious that there was something more serious going on. Yep, the EGR cooler was bad. At this point, it was dark and we spent an uncomfortable night in Louis, getting up early to find out the verdict. Because our rig is a 2008, Monaco no longer makes the parts we needed. Everything would have to be retrofitted. It looked like the parts may get there by Wednesday. We knew we didn't have the water to stay in the rig that long, so I started looking for a hotel that would take two dogs and not charge us a fortune. After a couple of hours, I achieved success, but it wasn't easy.
In the meantime, Dave was trying to ensure that our Gen Set switch worked. This allows the generator to kick on automatically when the battery goes below a certain point or the temperature reaches a designated temp. Since this was Saturday, Hans' closed at 4 and we were rushing like crazy, trying to see if the switch worked. Finally, at 3:57 p.m., the generator kicked on. In case anyone would think that this was not important, without power, we would lose everything in our fridge and freezer, and I had just stocked it.
Off we went to the hotel. Pizza delivery and adult beverages was our dinner. The poor dogs were just lost and trying to keep them quiet and not barking at every little noise consumed us.
I'll make the rest of this short. We hung around in the hotel, making twice daily trips to Hans' to check the fridge and progress. They got the parts Tuesday and hoped to have it finished by Wednesday, along with a $4,000 bill. It seemed that as soon as they go one thing fixed, something else would go bad and have to be replaced. Our emotions were all over the place, not knowing from one minute to the next if we would be leaving Wednesday.
We also decided to cancel our plans to head to Michigan. At this point, we felt that we were better off doing minimal driving until we knew everything would work and continue working. We lucked out and got a two month reservation at Lake Monroe Village just outside Bloomington, IN.
Wednesday, late morning, we paid our bill, and hit the road. We decided that we wouldn't hook up the truck. I would just drive it. Off we drove, happy to be back on the road. An hour outside Cleveland, we stopped at a rest area to let the dogs out. Ten minutes later - yep, coolant all over the parking lot. It looked like the leak was from the hoses that were first replaced Friday night. We called Hans' and they sent the original mechanic back out. Brad got there after an hour, and sure enough, there was a problem with a clamp he used when making the original repair. It took a while but he got it fixed and he followed us for a couple of exits. The hoses held.
By this time it was already 4 pm and we had a 5 hour drive ahead of us. Dave wanted to push through and get to Indiana. I wanted to stop. We drove to Indiana and made it into the campground with the last vestiges of light. The ladies at the camprgound were phenomenal in ensuring we had a place to rest.
The good news is that the repairs held up. But we know that we need to get some extensive preventive maintenance done before we hit the road again. So, we've decided to cancel our plans to go out west next year and postpone it for a year to allow us to stay close to home and save money for the work we want done.
Now, I need to find campgrounds in areas that will work for winter and summer.
And our new home for the next two months? We ended up moving this morning to the original campsite we were assigned after they got some electric work done. They're pretty booked with seasonals and there is a lovely, big tree at our campsite. The paved patio is very nice.
In the meantime, it's 95 degrees outside and as humid as it would be at home. We're right across from the pool and I plan to avail myself of its use tomorrow. But our main priority in this next week is to rest and recuperate from the ups and downs of the last week.
Our plans are on hold for a year and while depressing, it's ok. I don't want to break down in the deserts of Arizona, so I'll wait and sit. Impatiently.
We owe a big thank you to Mike, Dave, Rob, Ted and Brad at Hans' Freightliner, as well as our wonderful tow truck driver whose name I neglected to get.
Thank you also to Danielle at Baymont Inn who saw were at the end of our rope and worked overtime to get us settled.
And thank you to Lake Monroe Village who got a different answer at least a dozen times on when we would get there and still took care of us.
Lastly, we owe my mom a big thank you. We wouldn't have made it without her. She's always been our biggest champion and she proved it again during this last misadventure.
And now, I'm going to bed.
Yes, I went to the Falls today and played tourist. The Falls were absolutely beautiful, but I was a little disappointed at the commercialism. The last few pictures show the food and souvenir vendors, parked right outside the State Park to catch as much tourist dollars as they can. I even saw a guy playing Robert DeNiro for tips.
No, I didn't go to the Cave of the Winds. Wet stairs and my cane didn't seem to be a good mix. I also didn't ride the Maid of the Mist. The lines were too long and I had more fun standing on top and shooting pictures of her from above, lined with rainbows.
All in all, it was a great day to see a beautiful natural wonder, but I don't see myself going back. I really believe I'm turning into a traveller, and not a tourist. I had more fun at the Jell-o museum yesterday. But I came, I saw and I played tourist. I was happy to come home to my crew.
Enjoy the pictures!
Who knows when Jello was invented? I do! (1897)
Who knows where it was invented? I do! (LeRoy, NY)
And Leroy, NY is home of the Jell-o Museum and Gallery.
"THE HISTORY OF JELL-O
"There's Always Room for Jell-O." This is the campaign slogan of a simple gelatin dessert that today is known as "America's Most Famous Dessert." The success story is one, the result of advertising and merchandising methods, new and different, never before employed. Salesmen, well-trained, well groomed, well versed in the art of selling went out in "spanking rigs, drawn by beautiful horses" into the roads, byroads, fairs, country gatherings, church socials, and parties to advertise their product. First came team-drawn wagons, to be followed by smart auto-cars. Pictures, posters, and billboards over the American landscape, as well as page ads in magazines, carried the Jell-O Girl and the six delicious flavors into the American home.
In 1845, Peter Cooper dabbled with and patented a product which was "set" with gelatin. Suffice it to say, it never did "jell" with the American public. In 1897, Pearle Wait, a carpenter in LeRoy, was putting up a cough remedy and laxative tea in his home. He experimented with gelatine and came up with a fruit flavored dessert which his wife, May, named Jell-O. He tried to market his product but he lacked the capital and the experience. In 1899 he sold the trademark to a fellow townsman for the sum of $450.
The buyer already had some success in manufacturing and selling. He was one of the best known manufacturers of proprietary medicines. Orator Frank Woodward was born in North Bergen in 1856 and moved with his family to LeRoy in 1860. Life was not easy for the boy, but no job was too menial for him, because in his mind every opportunity was a step toward his goal. By 1876 he was making composition balls used by marksmen for target shooting. Then he engaged in the manufacture of a composition nest egg with "miraculous power to kill lice on hens when hatching." This became a widely known and used product in the United States and Canada.
On September 9, 1899 he purchased the name and the business of Jell-O from Mr. Wait. The bill of sale bears the name of Everett W. Bishop as witness. Manufacturing was carried on under the supervision of Andrew Samuel Nico of Lyons, NY. Sales were slow and disheartening for the new product, but income from Grain-O remained steady. One day in a gloomy mood "O.F." offered Sam Nico the whole blankety-blank business for $35. This story is vouchsafed by George McHardy. In 1900, the Jell-O name was first used by the Genesee Pure Food Company. The advertising campaign proved so successful that in 1902 Jell-O sales mounted to $250,000. Jell-O prospered and the consensus of the townspeople is carried in a colloquial expression heard in town - "Grain-O, Jell-O, and Nico."
From the beginning Jell-O's advertising was directed by William E. Humelbaugh followed by Frank LaBounty. These men began the distribution of recipes and samples in 1904. A three-inch ad costing $336 in the Ladies Home Journal launched the printed portion of the campaign, and the first of the Jell-O "best seller" recipes rolled off the presses. In some years as many as 15 million booklets were distributed. Noted artists such as Rose O'Neill, Maxfield Parrish, Coles Phillips, Norman Rockwell, Linn Ball, and Angus MacDonald made Jell-O a household word with their colored illustrations.
In 1904, Jell-O introduces the Jell-O Girl, four year old Elizabeth King whose father, Franklin King, was an artist connected with the Dauchy Company - Jell-O's advertising agency. In her right hand the little girl held a teakettle and in her left a package of Jell-O. Advertising kept abreast of the times and so in 1934 General Foods, a pioneer in selling by radio, signed Jack Benny and the whole world came to know "J-E-L-L-O.""
So now you know more than you ever wanted to know about Jell-O.
Succeeding in keeping you informed of the quirky and nom-essential,