Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pennsylvania, Harrisburg - Thursday, June 27, 2013 Harrisburg East Campground


We will be leaving here on Sunday morning, headed to Duncan’s Campground in Lothian, MD just outside of Washington, D.C.  Weather has prevented us from getting out on the bike for the last couple of days, each afternoon a storm has come through with very strong winds.  Luckily the winds didn’t damage anything here in the campground – but it sure did make a lot of noise!
Greg came down with a summer cold on Tuesday evening, seems to be getting a little better now.  Good thing we got our sightseeing done earlier in the week.  It was better that he stay home and rest for a couple of days.  While he’s been napping I’ve been doing some miscellaneous things around the house.  I cooked chicken and rice yesterday so we could have some really good chicken/rice/cheese enchiladas and margaritas for supper this evening.

Another couple that had been to the rally in Syracuse pulled into the campground this evening.  That got me to thinking about the comments we heard from people who were looking at the new RVs at the rally.  Those RVs are “dressed to impress” and it seems so many people don’t look beyond that to what the RV would look like once it was “lived in”.  We’ve made several changes to our RV that have made it more “ours”.  It still looks very nice, but it’s not “dressed to impress” it is a comfortable home for us.
So, I decided that when we’ve not been out sightseeing I might fill in with some pictures and descriptions of things we’ve done to the RV.  Today though, I’m sending this picture so my kids can be assured that The Cookie Jar is still intact.

 


This cookie jar has been in every kitchen I have had since 1967, that is 46 years and 13 kitchens.  When we move it gets wrapped up and stored very carefully.  No one would put this cookie jar in a display RV, but it is part of what makes our RV home.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pennsylvania, Hershey - Tuesday, June 25, 2013 Chocolate Town


Hershey, PA was our destination this morning.  We got to Chocolate Town pretty early, I thought, but it was already starting to get crowded and it just got worse as the day went on.  We opted for the “Chocolate Expert” package which included a tour that gave you the feel of moving through the Hershey factory as we rode in little rail cars, a Chocolate Tasting Experience and a trolley car tour of the town.
 

The tour was one of the best I’ve seen, it explained the process of making chocolate from the cacao pods to the wrapping of the candy bar.  And, we got a sample chocolate bar at the end of the tour.


The Chocolate Tasting Experience told us how chocolate was discovered and enjoyed through the ages.  Then we learned how to taste chocolate (no chewing allowed).  We tasted five different varieties and then we got a sample chocolate bar at the end of the class.

The Trolley tour through town was really interesting, unfortunately my camera batteries were low so I didn't get any pictures worth posting.  There were a couple of young tour guides that kept the kids entertained by playing different characters.  During the tour we got three more sample chocolates – as did the kids on the bus.  Families with small children are not prepared for this much chocolate!!  When that last candy bar came around we looked at each other and just stuck it in our pocket, we were done.

We learned that Milton Hershey failed in the candy business, I think six times before he was successful in Hershey, PA.  Right before the great depression Hershey had great success with sugar cane in Cuba.  He spent the money he made off of the sugar cane to build businesses in Hershey – as a result no one in Hershey lost their jobs during the depression.  Hershey and his wife couldn’t have children so they started a school for boys who were orphans to provide them a home, an education and a trade (usually dairy farming).  That school has now grown to provide a home for 1800 boys and girls in need.  The children no longer have to be orphans, but they didn’t really go into what the requirements were.  The children live full time at the school from K-12.  The funding comes from the Hershey Foundation.  This school intrigues me, I’ll have to find out more.

We did stop by the gift shop to pick up some chocolate to bring home, but trust me, we weren’t tempted to get into it tonight.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pennsylvania, Harrisburg - Monday, June 24, 2013 National Civil War Museum


The National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg is huge!!  There are areas of small grey and blue flags in the yard.
 

And, the amount of memorabilia they have from both the Union and Confederate sides must have taken years to accumulate.  They didn’t allow flash pictures in the museum so I only took one picture – it’s one of the many scenes they have set up, many with narrations as if they are coming from the civil war soldiers.  Even though I had my camera set for no flash it appeared to me that there was a flash, I didn’t want to get thrown out.

 


After the museum we headed into downtown Harrisburg to see the capital building.  We have got to remember to take change with us instead of dropping it in the change jar every night.  For the last two days we’ve driven around towns that had a parking meter at every available parking spot and we didn’t have a quarter between us.  We got lucky today and found one that had 58 minutes left on it – so we pulled in, ate the sandwiches we packed this morning and planned what to do next.

There is an island in the middle of the Susquehanna River in Harrisburg – called City Island (somebody gets extra points for creative thinking).  We went across to the island for a look.  It is home to the Harrisburg Senators baseball team.  Looks like a nice diamond.
 

We headed north of town to the Fort Hunter Mansion & Park that overlooks the Susquehanna River and was reported to have been a fort before it became a private residence which was then donated to the county.  Unfortunately, we found out that it is closed on Monday – so we walked around outside and took some pictures before heading back home.  It looked like storms were headed our way.

 


This evening Greg decided he needed a haircut.  I haven’t done that for a couple of years, but his hair is shorter and he still has both ears, so I think it was a success.

Tomorrow we are headed to Hershey.

 
 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Pennsylvania, Harrisburg - Sunday, June 23, 2013 Harrisburg East Campground


Today was a moving day, so no pictures.  Unless of course you were one of the unfortunate ones to receive the picture of me napping.  Honestly, I expect him to have my back while I rest and what does he do – he snaps pictures J.   We left York this morning and stopped for groceries at Wal-Mart, it was painfully obvious that Sunday morning in York is not the time to go grocery shopping but we were able to get most of what we were looking for.

We’ve moved into Harrisburg East Campground.  The good thing is our lot is shaded by a lot of trees so all that hot, hot sun isn’t beating down on us.  The bad thing is (for Greg) our lot is shaded by a lot of trees and we can’t get satellite reception for the TV and the college baseball finals start this week!!

We had a real “summertime” meal for supper - fried green tomatoes from one of the tomatoes we picked up at the round barn market yesterday along with steak and corn on the cob.  We bought a grill mat when we were at the RV rally in Syracuse.  It’s just a thin mat you put on the grill and it keeps the grease from getting all over your grill.  Greg tried it this evening and it works really good, meat still has the grilled taste and the grill marks.  The mat washes up with the dishes and is ready to go for the next time and the grill is clean.

They have a book exchange here so I took over a couple I had already read and got a couple of new ones so I won’t miss the TV at all.

This week we are going to be exploring Harrisburg and Hershey (yum).  We’ve promised our granddaughter, Maddie, that we would bring chocolate when we visit them in Washington, DC over the 4th of July – hope we can keep that promise, chocolate isn’t safe in our home.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Pennsylvania, Gettysburg - Saturday June 22, 2013


What a great two days it has been for riding the bike!!  We went back to Gettysburg this morning and stopped at the Soldiers National Cemetery.  There are about 6,000 soldiers from all wars buried there.  3580 are Union soldiers from the Civil War – half of them are unknown.  A stone marks the burial site of each Unknown Soldier.


Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetery.  The site where he stood is now marked by the Soldiers National Monument.


From the cemetery we went into downtown Gettysburg to look around.  Today was Farmer’s Market Day so the square was packed.  Our guide on the tour of the battleground yesterday told us that Gettysburg normally has about 1.5 million tourists through it in a typical year.  Since next month is the 150th anniversary, they are expecting 4-5 million in that month!!  So, don’t plan on getting anywhere near Gettysburg for a while.
 

All of the buildings that were in Gettysburg at the time of the Civil War have a plaque on the front


We stopped by the train station where Lincoln came into Gettysburg – guess I didn’t pay enough attention in history class because I always thought he gave the Gettysburg Address at the train station.
 

We stopped for lunch at the Dobbin House.  Dobbin House is the oldest house in Gettysburg, built in 1776.  They have fine and casual dining.  We went for the casual Tavern which is in the cellar of the house – we dined by candlelight.  There was just enough light to be able to appreciate the stone walls and wooden beams and to think about all of the conversations that have taken place there over the years.

After lunch we headed out to a round barn market
 

and the Adams County Winery which is supplying the wine for the 150th anniversary celebration in Gettysburg.

These are our purchases today.
 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Pennsylvania, Gettysburg - Friday, June 21, 2013 National Military Park


We rode the bike into Gettysburg to the Gettysburg National Military Park.  This park is owned by the National Park Service and is either preserved or being restored to be in the same condition as it was when Union and Confederate soldiers met there.  We opted for the combination 2-hour bus tour, movie, cyclorama and museum package – it was a good choice.

I can’t begin to tell you the emotion you feel if you let yourself get absorbed in the story the guide is telling.  I’m a very distant relative of Robert E. Lee so I’m particularly interested in the telling of his story.  We stood on the Seminary Ridge where the Confederate troops stood before they went into battle on the third day and we stood on Little Round Top where the Union troops stood.  The battlefield was no more than 2 miles wide.
This picture is of McPherson's Barn near where the first day of battle began.

 

This is the view from the Confederate side on the last day of battle.

This year is the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.  It took place over three days in 1863 – July 1st, 2nd and 3rd,.  The Confederate troops won the first two days but were defeated on the 3rd day and retreated on July 4th.  The small town of Gettysburg (population 2400) was left to deal with over 51,000 dead or wounded soldiers.
After the bus tour we went back to the visitor’s center for a look at the Gettysburg cyclorama – this is awesome.  It is a 377 x 35 foot painting completed in 1884 by French painter Paul Philippoteaux, depicting the battle of Pickett’s Charge – the last battle of Gettysburg.  They have it displayed in a circle, visitors stand in the middle and when lights and sound effects are applied you feel like you are in the middle of the battle.  They don’t allow pictures to be taken during this showing, believe me when I say it can bring tears to your eyes to realize how sad this battle was.

We are headed back to Gettysburg tomorrow to check out some different sights.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Pennsylvania, Harrisburg - Thursday, June 20, 2013


We went up to Harrisburg late yesterday afternoon and spent the night at the Cummins dealership lot.  We needed to be there by 6:30 this morning so we could get some work done on our Oasis hot water system.  They have a place where we could park and have 50 amp service.  Then this morning while the coach was in the shop we relaxed in their comfy lounge especially for RV customers.  Seems a fuel injector was plugged along with problems with some hoses.  So, $469 and several hours later we were good to go.
When you stop to think that most RVs were built to be used for recreational purposes several weekends and then maybe a couple of weeks on vacation, it’s a wonder that more things don’t go wrong when we are using it on a fulltime basis.  That’s probably more use in a year than it was meant to withstand in 10 years.  And, every time we go down the road it’s like putting our house through an earthquake.  I’m really glad Greg has a mechanical background – I’m amazed at all of the things he knows how to maintain or fix.
This picture is of a series of three or four identical bridges that go across the Susquehanna River on the way to Harrisburg.



Tomorrow we are heading out on the bike to explore Gettysburg.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Pennsylvania, York - Wednesday, June 19, 2013 Harley Davidson Tour


We got up early this morning and headed into York for the “steel-toe tour” at the Harley Davidson Vehicle Operations facility.  This is the plant where the bike we ride, an Ultra-Classic, was made.  We toured the York plant once before, but they are in a different building now.  The steel toe tour lasts about 2 hours and takes you behind the scenes to see how a bike is built from start to finish.  Unfortunately, no pictures are allowed while on the tour.


This year is the 110th anniversary of Harley Davidson.  Mr. Harley and Mr. Davidson and his two brothers started out in 1903 in a small shed, they made 3 bikes that year.  The plant’s goal today was 388.  Soft tails, Touring and Trikes are all built at this plant, all on one assembly line.  What I found amazing was that the bikes are built in the order that orders are received so you might see a Soft tail, then two Touring, a Trike and then back to a Soft tail coming down the assembly line.  This is a picture of the 110th Anniversary Edition Trike.


I did try out one of the 1200 Sportster’s, I’m still too short to touch the ground.  I’m only able to sit on this one because it is bolted to the ground.
 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Pennsylvania, York - Monday, June 17, 2013


This is a travel day.  We left Syracuse about 9:30 and didn’t arrive in York, PA until about 2:30.  We are staying at the Ben Franklin Campground.  It isn’t going to make my list of top 10 campgrounds, but it serves our purpose right now.  It’s a small country campground with full hookups with a decent price and it’s close to the Harley Davidson factory that we want to tour.

I didn’t realize York was known as the Factory Tour Capitol with 14 factory tours available-part of the Made in American Tours Event.  Another of those tours is Martin’s Potato Chips which advertises “enjoy our kettle cooked chips hot off the line”, I think that one is worth considering.

Coming down here on I-81 I thought we were in the mountains, but according to the atlas there was no mountain range around.  Look at this picture – to this Midwest girl those look like mountains.

 


This coach has a GPS unit built into the dash, but we bought another one that is supposed to be especially made for RV routing.  At one point today both of the GPS units started giving Greg conflicting directions so we got a little off route for just a bit.  Imagine two of those voices talking to you at the same time, would have been pretty funny if we had known where we were going.  Not long after that they went blank and we had to resort to the old-fashioned way – Diana reading the atlas.  Seems the one we want to use is reset and working now, but we’ll still keep the atlas handy.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

New York, Syracuse - Sunday, June 16, 2013 last day of the Rally


HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!  To all the Dads out there, but especially to my Dad, Bob; my husband, Greg and all of our wonderful sons and sons-in-law and this year we need to add our grandson.  Our grandchildren and great-grandson have wonderful fathers and we are very thankful for that.

Greg participated in the special “Salute to Veterans” they had here at the Rally today.  It was really a very moving presentation to see all of the veterans in each of the branches of the armed service in formation behind the flag representing their branch.

 


This evening’s entertainment was “The Vogues”, a group from the sixties – right up our alley.  I think everyone in the audience could relate to those songs.  Even after all these years those guys still have great voices.  I didn’t get any pictures, the event had to be moved inside because of rain and there was no big screen.

I did manage to fix a special supper for Father’s Day.  Chicken Picatta (not sure I spelled that right – its chicken with a lemon pan sauce), green beans and homemade cranberry sauce.  Later on they had another fireworks display.  This one was much bigger than the one last night.  I’m a big fan of fireworks so that was a perfect way to end my evening.

 


We are packing up to be ready to travel to York, Pennsylvania tomorrow.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

New York, Syracuse - Saturday, June 15, 2013 day three of the Rally


We are still at the Good Sam Rally.  We took time today to go through the exhibitors booths and found a few things we just couldn’t do without.  We got some different LED bulbs for areas where we felt like we needed more light. We got a map to show which states we have traveled in – a must for every RV fulltimer. 

 

On the way out the rear camera didn’t work, we stopped by the manufacturer’s booth and got a few tips on how to troubleshoot the problem.  Greg was able to get it going again when we got back home. 

We got energetic today and walked back and forth to the fairgrounds from our parking area, not bad going over – it’s all downhill, coming back was a bit more of a challenge.  It did give me a chance to get some pictures of all the RVs in our lot.

 


The Reba concert this evening was great, even though we were quite a ways from the stage.  The only decent picture I could get was off of the big screen.  She’s one of my favorite artists so I really enjoyed the show. 

 


We are waiting now for the fireworks show to happen.  

Friday, June 14, 2013

Syracuse, NY - June 14, 2013 Rally day two


The weather was great today, we split up and went to a couple of different seminars this morning.  I got a lot out of the one I attended, Greg not so much – could be he knew more about RVs than I did to begin with.  We attended a cooking show put on by one of the Food Network chefs, Bob Blumer who is the Surreal Gourmet. 

We participated in the “Largest Wedding-Vow Renewal World-Record Attempt” this afternoon.  The Guinness record now is 1087 couples.  There were a lot of people there, some wearing their original wedding dresses, but I don’t think we exceeded the world record – will let you know later.  They did lots of recording and documenting of the participants.  I was pleased there was a very nice ceremony for the renewal of vows, I was afraid that there would be too much emphasis on breaking the record. We did get someone to document we were there.

 


We decided the caterer was better the first time, we had a couple of Sweet and Salty bars this time.

Wayne Newton was the entertainment for this evening.  His voice is going, but as a musician he is still very good.

The post won’t be very long this evening, we discovered we had a small leak in one of the slide outs in the bedroom this morning.  Just like in a house, It’s hard to determine where the leak originated.  Greg is back there working on it now, I better go and at least offer to help.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

New York, Syracuse - Thursday June 13, 2013 Good Sam Rally day one


Happy #4 Anniversary to us!!  Wow, have we packed a lot of life changes into the past four years.  Thankfully our kids have supported all of our crazy decisions (or at least they didn’t tell us if they thought we were nuts).  We love and appreciate all of you guys.

We left Batavia at 6:00 this morning so we could make our check in time of 8:00 at the New York Fairgrounds in Syracuse.  We got here and so did the rain (lots of it).  I really pity the people from Canada we met at the Wal-Mart parking lot last night.  They had an afternoon check in time, they pulled into water and mud ankle deep and the rain was still coming down.  Luckily we carry thick boards to put under the leveling jacks for just this type of situation.

We caught the shuttle to the registration building and got signed in.  This would be a good site for a rally in nice weather because everything would be outside in the sunshine.  However, it’s really bad today-tomorrow is supposed to be better.

 

Since we would have to walk in the torrential rain to get to seminars and exhibits we decided to catch the shuttle back, change into dry clothes and be lazy in the coach this afternoon.  This picture kind of sums up our day- dripping wet clothes and ponchos hanging in the shower.
 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

New York, Batavia - Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Today is a transition day, we are leaving Niagara Falls and heading a little closer to Syracuse where we have to check in early in the morning.  We had a late breakfast and got out a jar of the homemade strawberry/rhubarb jam that Desira made, it was wonderful.  We are out of the heavier traffic areas of Niagara, Grand Island and Buffalo and are headed east on I-90.  We stopped at Flying J and topped off fuel and water and dumped tanks.  If you are traveling in an RV, you definitely need a Pilot/Flying J Advantage card.  It gives $.03 off on fuel and the dump station is only $5 instead of $10.

This picture is for those of you who wondered how we would get groceries.

 


 

We’ve stopped at the Wal-Mart in Batavia, NY and are taking advantage of their overnight parking (yes, we are eventually going to get to some campgrounds).  Greg thinks the retention pond we are parked next to has a bullfrog in it – maybe we won’t sleep with the windows open this evening.

I spent some time making adjustments to our blog site.  I looked at my Blogging for Dummies book again last night, it made more sense than the last time I read it.  I gave up the first time and decided to just try doing the blog on my own.  Obviously, I haven’t quite got it mastered.  Maybe with practice it will start looking as good as some of the others I have seen.

Greg did a little cleaning and polishing on the outside of the coach so we would make a nice first impression tomorrow.  Seems like no matter where we stop someone always comes up and asks about the lift we have on the back for the motorcycle.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

New York, Niagara Falls - Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Well, we’ve only been traveling two days and already I don’t know where I am.  Yesterday I said we were in Buffalo – we went through Buffalo but we stayed the night in Niagara Falls at the Seneca Casino.  Our plan is to see Niagara Falls today.  Tour prices we saw yesterday ranged from $76 to $94 per person.  We were a little hesitant to pay that much so we inquired at the casino hotel front desk and they told us the Niagara Falls State Park was within easy walking distance so we took off – they even gave us free tickets to the trolley so we could take it if we got tired of walking.  We think those tickets were supposed to be for paying guests.  Since we are sitting in the parking lot free of charge, we went into the casino and promptly lost $31.  We don’t feel guilty about the free tickets any more.

 
Old Falls Street is a beautiful renovated brick street with lots of flowers and benches.  Looks like it is used for festivals and special events.  It goes from the casino right into the park.

 
Do you know that Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest state park in the nation?
 
 

The Niagara River was raging today, I could have set all day and just looked and listened to it.




 

We took the pedestrian bridge over to Goat Island to get a better look at the American Falls.  That is the pedestrian bridge in the background.
 
 
 

We didn’t have to ride the Maid of the Mist to get very wet at Horseshoe Falls, the mist was heavy and just as we walked up the wind changed, getting us pretty wet.
This is my favorite picture of the American Falls with the Horseshoe Falls in the background.

 

We saw everything we wanted to see and split a $3 piece of delicious fudge-much cheaper than tour prices.  However, that is a bit more walking than our usual mile around the campground.  Got a feeling we are going to be a little sore in the morning.

I think we’ll have some pan-seared tilapia filets and pasta with broccoli for supper this evening and call it a night.  We’ll be leaving here tomorrow morning getting a little closer to Syracuse.  We have a check in time for the Syracuse Good Sam Rally early on Thursday morning.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Buffalo, NY - June 10, 2013


I consider this my first day of retirement since this is the first day I would have had to go to work otherwise.  I woke up at 4:30 this morning raring to go – Greg told me to go back to sleep we weren’t going anywhere at 4:30 in the morning.

We headed out in the rain and it rained the entire day, so I managed to get caught up on my blog entries.  This is the view from my office window now. 
 
 
 
Going through Pennsylvania and New York on I-90 we noticed nothing but grape vines


 
growing in all the fields.  We saw one kind of puny looking corn field, but that was it.  I tried to snap some pictures from the RV but raindrops obscured the view.  If the day had been better, stopping at a winery or two might have been nice.  We’ll make a note for future reference that the New York wine country looks pretty interesting.

We stopped to make lunch at a rest stop—barbeque pulled pork sandwich and macaroni salad got us fueled up for the rest of the trip.  Speaking of fuel, our fuel mileage is doing pretty good considering we are fully loaded and have a full tank of water on board.  We are getting 7.8 to 8.0 miles per gallon.

This is getting ready to go over the Grand Island, NY bridge

We’ve stopped for the evening at Seneca Casino in Buffalo, NY taking advantage of their overnight parking.  We had a bit of a scare coming in, the GPS routed so that we had a 12’ overpass to go under, we thought we were just a bit over that, but we made it.  We are finding another way out.


We did splurge on the casino buffet this evening, it was pretty good, but I always end up thinking I could have made something better at home.  I do, however, highly recommend the chocolate/peanut butter tort.  We went to the casino with $40 and came back with $41.75, I call that a successful evening of betting.  We can even afford to go back tomorrow.  Greg was ahead by about $40 at one point but you know how it is, you can’t take it with you.

Greg is working on getting our TV system set up.  Since we aren’t in the campground with our dish on a tripod some adjustments have to be made.  Good thing he knows what he’s doing, I’m no help on that kind of stuff.  The TV just came on so he must have been successful.  We’ll be going to Niagara Falls tomorrow.  The weather is supposed to be better.

Indiana, St. Paul - Leaving Sunday, June 9, 2013


Today is the official start of our new adventures.  We’ve spent the last two years preparing for this fulltime RV lifestyle.  We’ve finally both retired.  We sold our home and acreage in 2011 and had an auction to sell what belongings we couldn’t take with us.  We’ve gone over all the details of how we will get our mail, how we will pay our bills, how we will get our prescriptions refilled.  I do have to admit that today’s technology makes that easier than it would have been several years ago.  We’ve said goodbye for a while to our family and friends, making sure they all have information on how to access us.  And lastly, we lived through two Indiana winters in the RV waiting for this day to arrive and we still like each other.

Everything has been secured or packed for travel.  Loading of the bike is the last thing on the list. 


Today is a beautiful day for traveling.  We are headed to Syracuse, NY for the Good Sam RV rally which starts on Thursday.  We evidently did a good job of getting everything ready for travel because it is all staying put and the bike is riding along nicely.

When we get to Syracuse we will have electric hook ups.  But until then we are functioning as a self-contained unit.  We’ll be stopping at places that have overnight parking available.  Tonight it looks like the Love’s Truck Stop in Lodi, OH.  Actually it isn’t too bad tucked in between a couple of big rigs for the evening.  Since both of our career backgrounds are in the trucking or trucking related industry we kind of feel right at home. 

Indiana, Columbus - Leaving June 7, 2013


 
 
 
For the last 14 years I’ve spent more time in Columbus, IN than anywhere else.  In June of 1999 I started working here at Marvin Johnson & Associates.  Columbus is a beautiful town and since the office was right downtown, I got to enjoy a lot of it.  We saw the old Commons come down and saw the bright shiny new one being built.  It was a little shinier than we expected, we had to install new windows and shades to fight the glare of the sunshine off of the glass across the street.

 
 
The downtown area has lots of things for families to do, the Commons has a huge playground
and the Kids Commons is right next door to the office where I worked.  You also need to check out Zaharakos ice cream parlor with their huge pipe organ.  I highly recommend Smith’s Row for a breaded tenderloin.  My friend Jo treated me to one for lunch on my last day at work.

 
Fourth Street was redone just this past year into a beautiful area for outdoor community functions like Neighborfest and the Block Party.
My retirement party was held on May 17 which worked better into everyone’s schedule than June 7 did.  We had a fish fry put together by Mark Thayer.  I couldn’t have asked for a better sendoff—the food was great and my thoughtful co-workers gave me a very special travel package.  We have already made really good use of the book that tells us what is available at the next exit.


Indiana, St. Paul-Hidden Paradise Campground


 
This quiet, well-kept country campground has been our home for the past 18 months.  We’ve really enjoyed our stay here.  The camp owners Ernie and Lynn Pahl and their family work very hard to make Hidden Paradise a nice destination for family campers. 

 
Our site was 31A.  We had our choice of sites when we pulled in on Thanksgiving Day 2011 because even though the campground is open year round, no one else was there.  So, naturally we picked the best one.  For most of that first winter we had the campground to ourselves.  In fact, I had it to myself for almost a month while Greg spent time in Pennsylvania on business.

That first winter was pretty mild.  I can’t say the same for the winter of 2012.  The campground winterizes several sites so the water and sewage is always available.  But, you still have to do some winterization from the hookups to your RV.  Greg has gotten very good at that process—he hopes to never have to use that knowledge again.

We’ve met some really great people during our stay here, but we have to make special mention of Barbara and Ann who have occupied the site next to ours.  What great ladies they are! We thoroughly enjoy talking and laughing with these two sisters from Tennessee.  We hope to meet up with them in North Carolina in July.

 
The Flat Rock River runs right next to the campground making for some great riverside campsites.  Rafting on the river looks like fun but since I don’t swim I would be hesitant to try it.

Dream Lake, a former stone quarry, is the place for swimming.  Life jackets are provided for all swimmers and all kinds of inflatable docks and slides are set up during the summer.  Since the quarry is deep, a lot of people come out to use a special area marked off for scuba diving.

If you are into hiking, there aren’t any challenging trails, but a walk around the campground will get you a good mile.