Sunday, August 26, 2012

Week 34

(Jan)  The thirty-fourth week of 2012 started off with a perfect family day. Chuck & I and our two sons Brent & Eric and families met at my mom’s room at St Anthony’s Nursing Home. After a meet and greet we all went down to the party room for games, socializing and pizza. It was SO nice having mom and two of our three sons and families together! (We missed you, Josh and Sarah!) Pictured are: Cheri & Eric, my mom Dolores, Anne, Brent, Maddie, Donna and Libby in front and Ryan, Jess, Jan, Chuck, Katie, Michael and Stephen in back.

Eric 023

The families joined us at Swan Lake in the afternoon for games at the play ground and more visiting. What a great day!

We moved our MH to Yellowsmoke Park near Denison on Tuesday. While setting up our site, I was carrying some things across the lawn so didn’t see a hole approx. 1 x 1 1/2 feet which I stepped in with my right foot and felt pain, 007then immediately stepped down with my left foot, felt a twist & worst pain! Chuck helped me up and into the Jeep and off to the ER we went. X-rays were taken and it was determined that I had a slightly sprained right foot and had a broken fibula near the left ankle. Darn! But it could have been much worst! Five days later I’m able to get around the MH on crutches with the boot on my left foot and the right foot’s swelling and pain decreased measurably. Chuck has been a wonderful nurse/helpmate/cook!! I’ve also been astonished at the calls, visits, e-mails, messages, puzzles, beads and BLTs!  Thank you to my family & friends for the love and support!

Our friends Jim & Jerri and Lynn & Mary are here with their RVs, also. The guys have been getting together for coffee each morning, there have been campfires in the evenings and shared meals.  Although, I’ve spent most of my time in the MH, Chuck did take me down in the Jeep for BLTs and the campfire one evening.  Yesterday was rainy so Jim & Jerri joined us here for the Whole Enchilada, Pizza and then wanted to learn to play Pegs & Jokers. Great fun! And great home made ice cream that Jim brought for desert!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bicycling the Sauk Rail & High Trestle Trail

(Jan)  001Last week Chuck and I thoroughly enjoyed two very nice bike trails. The Sauk Rail Trail runs between Swan Lake State Park near Carroll, Iowa and culminates in Lake View at Black Hawk Lake. We’ve ridden the entire trail in sections at different times. Last weeks runs were mostly on the Carroll to Maple River section and one on the beautiful 18 mile ride from Maple River to Breda and back. This part of the Trail goes through some nice farm fields, past the Hazelwood Brush area, across several streams and through the power generating field of tall wind turbines south of Breda.009

008On Friday our friends Ron & Edna joined us riding the High Trestle Trail over the Des Moines River Valley. We biked the section of the trail between Woodward and Slater, Iowa and back.  The rail line, formerly owned by Union Pacific RR, was abandoned for rail service in 2003. The current cement pillared bridge built in 1970, replaced a trestle bridge built in 1912. Revamped as a awesome trail for walking and biking, “the 13-story (40-meter) high and nearly half-mile (770-meter) long trestle bridge provides scenic views of the Des Moines River Valley and is located near mining shafts that were 026worked by Italian immigrant families and others who settled nearby. The bridge decking incorporates a decorative structure that represents the view through a mine shaft,and its design includes decorative lighting that remains on until midnight.” Our016 Friday daytime adventure was ridden under clear blue skies and mild temps. We took lots of time viewing the bridge and exploring the river valley as we crossed. The river is at a very low level because of this year’s drought in the Midwest. However, during many years Saylorville Reservoir’s waters swell the level under the bridge. We pedaled on through Madrid and into Slater where we stopped at the Nite Hawk Bar and Grill for drinks and a burger. With a little wind at our back, the mostly down hill ride back to Woodward was great!  Good friends, pleasant weather, good food and an amazing trail; what could be better?

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Sisters

(Jan) Chuck’s sister lives in Washington and my sister lives in Kansas so it’s a real rarity when we get to see them is the same week.  On Monday Jackie and Butch were here at Swan Lake when we arrived from Illinois and on Saturday Linda and Richard came for a visit!  We had wonderful visits with both; talking, walking and card playing. In between we headed over to Ames to have dinner with Brent and Donna and family. It’s been a good week.

021Butch, Jackie, Jan and Chuck

 

002Chuck, Jan, my mom Dolores, Linda and Richard

Friday, August 10, 2012

More Moore Time

(Jan) Our RV home was Elgin, Illinois for the end of July and beginning of August.  While Jan was playing downtown with girlfriends, Chuck was in Elgin biking, doing repair projects and watching a little TV.  We continued to ride our bikes when I got home on Tuesday night.  Chuck had found some of the great grass paths in Burnidge Preserve on Monday and the two of us continued to explore in the park and paths in nearby Gilberts. DSC_0017

Wednesday evening we joined Eric & Cheri & kids for dinner at their house and on Friday night they joined us for. Both were great nights of visiting, watching Olympics and card playing. On Saturday we were able to spend most of the day with them. Eric & Cheri and Chuck & I went for a walk around their neighborhood which features a lovely pond-marsh area. Lovely even though the levels down about 3 feet because of the drought. That evening we gathered around the poker table that Eric had designed and built to play cards. What a great time we all had playing many hands of Bacon or BLT……..Or what ever the family has re-named that game by now!!

Eric, Jess, Ryan, Cheri, Chuck & Jan

Sunday was our day to head back to Iowa but after folding the slides in, dumping tanks, getting the bikes on the bike rack and hooking up the Jeep, our motorhome’s transmission decided not to shift out of 1st gear. That started a long afternoon of unloading bikes, unhooking the Jeep, etc. and looking at different areas that might be a problem. After a call to Spartan it became apparent that we needed a transmission repair shop. Luckily, we found one 10 miles away and they came first thing Monday morning.002 A great evening developed, though, because of our delay.  We called Eric and Cheri. They took us in, fed us dinner and we had another fun evening of visiting, watching Olympics and playing Phase 10.

Monday morning after the transmission repairs, we headed toward HWH at Moscow, Iowa. We missed our morning appointment but they were able to get us in after lunch.  Our leveling system needed the key pad re-built and a new sensor installed. Fast & efficient work and reasonably priced. By 6:15 that evening we pulled into Swan Lake State Park near Carroll.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Down Town Chicago with the Girls

Take six life long friends, add a Mega Bus, a Metra Train and voila! Reunion in downtown Chicago. We Manning Girls got together for three days to celebrate summer birthdays with our home base being the Embassy Suites Downtown/Lakefront. Chicago is the third largest city in the United States.

Sunday’s activities included meeting at Unions Station, checking into Embassy, Touring and eating at Navy Pier, a wonderful Architect Cruise on the Chicago River and the fabulous Buckingham Fountain light and music show at Grant Park.

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011Becki, Betty, Nancy, Edna, Jan & Karen. The Sears Tower, the world’s tallest for many years, & Chicago River on the left, Buckingham Fountain on the right.


Monday we went to the Natural History Museum, toured North and South Chicago on a Grey line bus, ate at Bandera, visited with Becki’s niece and friends near our hotel and closed the evening in the hot tub! The city tours took us past Wrigley Field, Comiscky Park (now US Cellular) and Soldier Field, the Magnificent Mile, the Board of Trade, the skyscrapers & parks downtown, Chicago’s museums; Art, Science & Industry, Natural History, Aquarium & Planetarium, Lake Michigan, the University of Chicago and President Obama’s Chicago home plus many other highlights.

047Betty, Karen, Becki, Nancy, Edna & Jan with Tyrannosaurus Rex ‘Sue’ at the Field Museum. 037On the streets, looking up at the skyscrapers and interesting rocks imbedded in the walls. At right, we six on the Museum steps with part of Downdown Chicago in the background. 603485_425555834162427_98536361_n[1]

Tuesday found us on the Skydeck on the 103rd floor of the Willis (Sears) Tower, riding the elevated transit train or El and going to the Merchandise Mart. That afternoon we headed back to Union Station; the girls caught their Mega Bus back to Iowa and I boarded my Metra train to my RV parked near Elgin, IL.

625609_2310861308943_759024434_nOn the ‘El’ platform waiting for our train to take us to the Skydeck at the Sears Tower.

052The Ledge’s glass boxes extend out 4.3 feet from the Skydeck 1,353 above the Chicago River.

302338_2310861908958_1765234677_nNancy, Edna, Karen, Jan Becki and Betty on the Skydeck. From the Skydeck you can see about 40 miles, to 4 states, Lake Michigan and most of the metropolitan Chicago area.

Chicago is a fabulous place to visit and we girls had a wonderful time!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Newmar and Spartan

(Chuck)  We started looking for a more permanent replacement for our 5th wheel several years ago. The short list of manufacturers was Newmar and Tiffin. They are both family run companies with excellent reputations. I did not want to become distracted with the numerous builders and models that were on the sales lots. We did not have time to walk into each and every motorhome that we found. Our good friends Ron and Bernita live in a Newmar Mountain Aire Diesel Pusher. At Quartzsite in 2010 we found this beautiful 2006 MADP on a sales lot. We dreamed about how we could make it work for us and as I talked with Ron about Newmar it became obvious that there was not any other choice on this planet. (you have to know Ron to understand this.) We did find a way to make the deal and I owe Ron a big “thank you” for his input. This has been an exceptional home for us.

This summer we traveled to Nappanee, Indiana to visit the factory and take the tour of the production facilities. Highlights of the tour were solid construction, quality wood with excellent finish and awesome exterior paint to dress the finished product.  It is an impressive tour and we are even more confident in our Rig. Yeah, we RV’ers call them Rigs.

Newmar 002 Newmar 050 Newmar 008
Newmar 037
1 – Dash & miles of wiring
2 – Cabinetry
3 – Aluminum Framework of a MH
4 – 43’ Mountain Aire waiting for the slides to be installed
5- A glossy hand painted Mountain Aire reflecting the factory interior.
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007Our MADP is built on a Spartan Chassis which is built in Charlotte, Michigan. Charlotte is only 135 miles North and we traveled up to have their service department do the 44 point inspection, align the front end and install new front rubber.  It was a successful trip and since the coach has over 50,000 miles several other maintenance issues were preformed. I now feel like our rig will give us several more years of dependable service. These things do require extra attention and our goal is to prevent unexpected breakdowns on the road. The photo is of Motorhomes ready for their service appointments.
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