Friday, April 30, 2010

8th Grade Trip -- Day 2

Yesterday got off to a bright and early start with some of the boys and one dad going for a 3.5 mile run before breakfast.  The rest of us enjoyed a hearty breakfast buffet, and the runners joined us, too.  At 9:30 we rounded all the kids up and met up with Kenny, our guide for the morning adventures. 

We started out by touring "Cascade Cave" -- this cave group is much larger and more open than the prior day's "X-Cave".  The views were really amazing, including the underground river and waterfall.

Following the cave tour, we headed right into the Box Canyon Hike. 

We climbed up to the top of the canyon, and then down to the bottom through all the rocks.  The "climbers" in the group (and there were many!) we loving it!  The views from the bottom of the canyon looking up were just amazing!

We ended up back at the Lodge just in time for our lunch buffet, and then headed to the Visitor Center to meet up with the Ranger who was going to take us canoeing.  They only had 8 canoes, so we were going to have to take half the group at a time, but the Moms made the sacrifice of staying on shore, and all the kids were able to go out together with the Dads and the Ranger.  Don't they look like they are suffering???

The kids got all the canoes ready, and they were off!  Before we knew it, we could hear them on their way back, and it was a race to finish first!  Most of them ended up in the water!!

After another amazing buffet, and some more basketball, we loaded up and headed for the campfire circle in the campground.  Our Ranger met us there, and entertained with some stories. 

We stayed out, roasting marshmallows and hot dogs, until about 10pm.  Everyone was pretty tired after that long day, and quickly fell asleep.  Another great day here in Kentucky!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

8th Grade Trip -- Day 1

Whew -- we arrived! 

and with only one casualty (so far)!

We arrived safely at Carter Caves State Resort Park, and got right into action with a cave tour.

After a delicious buffet dinner of salad, fried chicken and catfish, spaghetti, and vegetables, followed by cherry cobbler with soft serve ice cream . . . the boys enjoyed a wicked game of basketball!

At 8:30pm, we met our Naturalist, Coy, and went for a night hike on the golf course.  We tested our "night senses" and had a nice leisurely walk to finish up the day.

The kids are having a blast (chaperones, too!) . . . hopefully we're all still moving in the morning!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

finishing up at Camp Newmar

Yes, we've been home for a while now, but I never finished up posting about our trip to Camp Newmar. We were waiting on a valve for the furnace, and it didn't arrive until Thursday. In the meantime, the weather had turned cold and rainy, but luckily the heat pump was able to keep up during the night! They got our furnace back in on Thursday morning, and we met with the appliance man (Norbert) -- he answered all our questions (and then some!!) about the frig, ice-maker, A/C and furnace! It was great! I learned that the ice-maker will take over a day to start making ice after it's been off for the winter, and that if your frig doesn't stay cold enough when you're in a cold climate, you can solve that problem by leaving the door cracked open for an hour or so each day (forcing the frig to keep cooling). I also learned that you can keep the thermostat set on "heat pump" and if the temperature drops down below 30 degrees (Brrrrrr....), it will automatically switch over to "furnace", and back again when it warms up outside. We tried that out that very same night -- and it worked!!

Armed with all this new knowledge, and all set on our current warranty issues, we headed out of town -- but not far! Our next stop was to meet with Carlyle at Focal Woods. He's a local Amish guy who specializes in RV furniture, and can match all of the Newmar stains. We towed the RV over to his shop, and spent an hour or so discussing how to build a loft bed for Nicolas in the garage area. Between the three of us, we came up with a good plan. We'll be heading back there in June for the installation. In the meantime, we may try to find a different door that we can have him install between the living room and garage, and maybe even a tv for the garage.

From there, we headed to Shipshewana for the rest of the day. We ended up staying at the Shipshewana North Campground, because the South Campground wasn't open for the season yet. I wasn't sure they'd have a site big enough, but they have one row of pull-thrus where we could fit. Not the most level sites, though, but OK for one night. After setting up the basics, we went back into town to do a little shopping.

Tom got sidetracked when he saw a triple axle toy hauler sitting out in front of the Open Range RV factory, so we had to stop and see if we could take a look. They were just getting ready to take another couple on a tour of the factory, so we tagged along, and then toured the toy hauler, too. Open Range makes a really nice-looking RV. I love their cabinets, and the "western" style of decorating. They don't match up structurally to a unit like Newmar or Carriage, but they are nice-looking. Tom asked me if I wished we had one of those instead, but I don't think we would have chosen it even if it had been available at the time -- their toy hauler only comes with the U-shaped dinette and the enclosed bath, two features that were on my "NO" list. They also have a unique exterior door -- it has a full length window that cranks open and has a built-in screen and mini-blind. Kindof neat, but then I realized that they don't have a screen door, so you always have to close the door . . . and I don't like that . . . doesn't seem welcoming to me!

From there we FINALLY (according to the boys!) made it over to the bulk food store and the meat store . . . their two favorite destinations! We didn't have a lot of time for shopping, but we did OK. We even had a little bit of time left to go into the Yoder Store -- Tom and the boys headed into the hardware area, and I made a beeline for the fabric! Not that I needed any, but I had to look . . . and I walked out with a small purchase . . . can't describe it here, because it just might be for my sisters!!

By then we had worked up an appetite, so we enjoyed a delicious dinner at the Blue Gate Restaurant. Of course they tried to get us to order pie for dessert, but we explained that we had been eating pie all week! Back at the RV, we settled in to watch Survivor, and then a DVD -- I think it was National Treasure . . . or maybe The Blindside . . .

It was COLD Thursday night, and we were glad to have a functioning furnace. Sure enough, around 3 am, I heard the heat pump go off and the furnace come on! The morning brought a shock to our eyes -- a dusting of SNOW everywhere! It didn't last long, though, as the sun was out on Friday and it warmed up nicely. We went for breakfast at Wana Cup (yummy, by the way!), and then did a little more shopping at the Davis Mercantile. We were supposed to be checked out of the campground by noon, so at 11:30 we got a quick pretzel and headed back to the RV. Packing up and hitching up was quick and easy, and we were on the road by 12:30.

It wasn't your typical "Spring Break" vacation, and we didn't come back with a tan, but we had fun anyway!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Going back on the market

Well, we signed a contract with a new Realtor this week . . . she's supposed to be the best (#1 in the county), and sells lots of higher priced homes, so we're hoping this works.  She needs all the help she can get, though, so we also buried Saint Joseph today, too!

In preparation for going back on the market, we were busy just before Easter . . . I  painted and "de-countrified" the kitchen, and we installed new flooring.  This is something that EVERY realtor mentioned when they came here, so we broke down and did it . . . I hope it pays off!

These are the "before" pictures of our living room and breakfast nook:

And now we have the "after" pictures of the same rooms:

OK, so the wood floor makes a huge difference in the look of the rooms, but I still wouldn't have wanted it when my kids were little.  I do like it now, though!  These are just my pictures, not the "staged" ones done by the professional -- the photographer will be here on Monday, and then I guess we go "live" on

Wish us luck, and keep us in your prayers that we find a buyer this summer!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Camp Newmar

It's Easter week and the boys are on vacation from school, so we headed to Indiana in the RV.  We would have rather joined the RV-Dreamers in Myrtle Beach, but we thought the more prudent destination for us was Camp Newmar, where we could get a few last warranty items taken care of.

We arrived early on Sunday afternoon, finding the campsites almost full . . . we got one of the last sites, though, and got ourselves settled in.  Since it was Easter, we thought we'd go for a nice dinner at Amish Acres.  Arriving just after 5pm, though, we found out that they were closing, and we could not eat there.  The girl at the front desk felt bad about turning us away, so she sent 2 pies home with us!  We took a drive through town and didn't see much open at all.  There was a Steakhouse/Tavern that was open and we stopped to take a look at the menu.  The owner came out on the sidewalk and assured us that the food was great and we should come on in!  We decided to try it, and he was right -- the food was very good, and we were really impressed by the salad bar!  The "tavern" area was pretty smoky, but the "family room" in the back was non-smoking, and convenient to the salad bar.  Back at the RV, we took Casey for a walk, and met several of the other campers.  We had an appointment for Monday morning, and one of our fellow campers informed us that the technicians arrive at the RV doors bright and early at 6 am!  We decided that we'd better turn in early, so we could be up and ready in the morning.

Sure enough, it was still dark out on Monday morning when our technician knocked on the door.  We reviewed our list of items, which included the landing gear motors, a broken roof ladder, and the furnace which wouldn't ignite.  Our trailer got towed away, and we waited in the customer lounge for the sun to come up.  We headed out on foot, and found a couple of geocaches that were right on Newmar's property.  Next stop was the Ayr Cabinet Shop down the road to pick up a few hinges for our kitchen cabinets at home.  From there we found a little country store where we picked up some bulk food items and a really cool pasta cooker for the microwave . . . I can't wait to try it out!  We visited Bremen and Mishawaka, and finally ended up at the MH/RV Museum in Elkhart. 

We really enjoyed our visit to the museum, and saw lots of really cool old trailers!

Arriving back at Camp Newmar, we found that our landing gear and ladder were fixed, but they were waiting for a new gas valve for the furnace.  It was due in around 10 am on Tuesday, so at least we'd be able to sleep in a little longer!  We had a quick dinner, and then took a walk around the grounds of Amish Acres.  We saw lots of cute little buildings, and a few animals -- they were a little upset by Casey's presence, though, so we didn't stick around too long!

On Tuesday, we tried a couple more geocaches in Nappanee, but un-successfully!  I'm sure we were at the correct locations, but just could not find the containers!  We went back to Newmar in the afternoon for the tour -- they just started production on 2011 models last week.  Our gas valve never arrived, so we're still here tonight, and hoping that it arrives tomorrow morning.  Our plan is is spend a couple of days in Shipshewana when we leave here, and then head home for the weekend.  Hopefully we'll be able to move on tomorrow.

At least the weather has been good -- all the rain and severe weather has been going north of us so far -- and it's better than being at work!!  No wi-fi here at Camp Newmar, so I won't be able to post this right away -- maybe not until we get home!