Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Life in a Sticks & Bricks!

(Jan) For the last week we have been house guests of Eric & Cheri and grandkids Ryan & Jessica.  They have generously opened up their home to us while our Motor Home is at Newmar having sidewall replacement and ‘are keeping us off of the street’! We arrived in time to celebrate Thanksgiving with them and were treated to a delicious feast.

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Above Jan, Jess, Ryan and girlfriend Carly putting together a puzzle before the feast, Jan, Cheri and Jess setting the table with my mom’s wedding china and Chuck & Eric working on computers. Later in the day we watched ‘Christmas Vacation’ together.

It’s been a wonderful week here. Lots of visiting, good food and laughter. Sunday we went to church together and then to Burnt Toast for Brunch. The Chicago Bears won their game so it was just about a perfect Sunday! During the week, as the family when off to work & school, Grampa & I explored the numerous retail offerings in the area and cooked the family’s evening meal. Thanks to Eric and Cheri & kids for their outstanding hospitality!

Tomorrow we’re off to Indiana to check on the rig and then on to Iowa to visit more family.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Nappanee Area & Craftsmen

Heritage Trail Sign(Jan) Last Saturday dawned bright and beautiful as we headed out in the Jeep to enjoy the Heritage Trail Driving Tour. With our CD narrating, that we had picked up at the Nappanee Chamber, we learned lots about the fascinating history of this north-central Indiana territory.  Our drive took us through the towns of Wakarusa, Elkhart, Bristol, Middlesbury, Shipshewana, 008Honeyville, Goshen and back to Nappanee. We had fun stop at the Wakarusa Drug Store, home of the Jumbo Jelly Bean and of course purchased a bag of these yummy treats. The drive along the St. Joseph River between Elkhart and Bristol was especially pretty as were the Amish farmsteads we passed. The highlight of our trip was going to the Menno-Hof Museum in Shipshewana. Raised is 6 days by the Amish community, the Museum structure was then finished inside and displays the history of the Anabaptists. Their history is traced from it’s roots in Switzerland in 1525 to present day beliefs and activities of the Mennonite and Amish Communities. (A third group of Anabaptists, the communal  Hutterites, reside mostly in the western U.S.) The film presentations and displays were excellent and helped us understand and appreciate these warm, generous people.

(Chuck)We are in Nappanee, Indiana staying at the Newmar factory camp sites. They allow owners to stay free of charge. There are about 30 Full Hook up sites near the service department and at least 20 50 amp sites about a block away. It is called Camp Newmar and we are thankful for their hospitality.

We have taken advantage of this time to check a few fixit projects off of our list. Our coach has many wonderful advantages but we feel we do not have adequate pantry storage. To solve that problem we turned to a local Amish craftsman who has experience serving the RV industry. At age 22 Gene Miller may be one of the younger cabinet makers in the area. He found an opportunity to purchase Irv Kaufman’s cabinet business in 2008 and has earned his way as an excellent woodworker. He calls his business Country Craftsman Woodworking LLC  We went to Gene and showed him our under sink area. It is a very deep cabinet; however it is difficult to access the rear portion. Gene built a sliding drawer which now allows us to store and access canned goods. Jan likes it and that means it is a good thing. We parked our rig on Gene’s doorstep for two nights and also had him rebuild our back TV with a newer flat screen. When we first made contact with Gene he was installing a ceiling trim in a Newmar coach. I had noticed this on his website and we had a chance to look at it in the coach. I really liked it and had him build one for us. It dresses up an otherwise plain interior ceiling.

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scan0002It was at this point that things really got out of hand. In this customer’s coach there were also two Euro Chairs. That was too much for Jan. She has wanted to replace our leather couch with those chairs for a long time. I found it necessary to say ‘Yes Dear’ and the couch went on Craig’s List and the Stressless Euro Chairs may arrive this week. For a final touch of insanity remodeling, we contacted a local Amish furniture craftsman to recover our two dining chairs. The fabric has been showing more wear lately and they will be upgraded soon at Kuhns Upholstery.

Today we stopped at Brian Hochstetler’s place near town and had him weld a broken slide stop. Brian had worked at Newmar’s welding assembly shop several years ago and he knew which transmission wires to unhook before welding. He is very conscientious and did an excellent job. If you need welding in Nappanee, Indiana I would recommend Hochstetler Welding. Brian also manufactures a line of children’s wagons, trikes and swing sets.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Friends, Furniture, Fibula

011(Jan) Friends Bill and Gisela were heading south to Shipshewana so we joined them there for five fun days and did what good friends do; visited, shared dinners and had some friendly competitions over the Pegs and Jokers board. Since Chuck & I have been looking for some Euro chairs, we made several trips to the Elkhart/Mishawaka area together. We also had a special week-end seeing the RV Museum on Saturday and going to Mass at the Notre Dame Basilica and dinner at Amish Acres on Sunday.  The four of us then headed to Nappanee for five more days. More shopping, Mass at the Basilica again, a Notre Dame FB Game for Bill that finished in a 3 OT win and lunches at Olive Garden and Culvers for all of us. We had a wonderful time together.

006The dining room at Amish Acres where we enjoyed the Threshers Dinner 010RVs displayed  in the RV Museum in Elkhart, Indiana 002at Notre Dame

When we bought our MH nearly three years ago, two things on my wish list that didn’t come with this MH were an oven and chairs in the living room. Chuck installed a gas oven last fall and after looking at lots of different chairs this month, we were lucky to find the Euro chairs we wanted on sale in Mishawaka. We sold our sofa sleeper on Craig’s List and it will be going to a new home in this area tomorrow.

For me it is week 11 of my fractured fibula. I am now walking with a cane and wearing a sturdy laced-up, velcroed brace. There is still some ache/discomfort but my dearly beloved keeps reminding me that I am ‘healing’, not ‘healed’.

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