Category: Seeing it

Fun, Family and Mishap at Juniper Springs

By , January 30, 2011 3:48 pm

Juniper Springs is located at Juniper Springs Wilderness and Recreation Area on the Southeastern part of the Ocala National Forest off of SR 40. It offers a full range of outdoor activities.

The springhead area offers swimming, a pleasant picnic area and a great nature trail that runs along the spring creek run. One of the highlights of this place has got to be the canoe run on Juniper Creek, Juniper Springs’ crystal clear spring run. It is 7 miles long and it takes an average of  4 hours to complete the course. Because the course runs through a National Wilderness area, you are guaranteed to see wildlife.

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We had visited the park once before last Spring and we had a blast! We did the canoe run and walked the nature trail.

Last week my sister and her husband were visiting his folks in Kissimmee, FL. The whole family drove up from Kissimmee to Juniper Springs last Friday to do the canoe run with us. We invited another friend of ours along as she has never been on the  canoe run before.

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NOTE: You cannot bring any food/drink in a disposable container on the canoe run (I believe it is an effort to minimize trash in the pristine wilderness area). So, put your food/drinks in a reusable container.

The canoe rental/loading process is a little lengthy. First, you check in at the gift shop. Then you walk over to the canoe rental area to load your canoe on to a cart. After that you wheel your canoe down a path to the take out point and drop it off. Now, walk back to the check in and collect your oars, life jackets and whistle and walk back to your canoe. Before you lift you canoe into the spring, there is a cooler check to make sure that you don’t have anything disposable. Finally, off you go!

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The canoe run has a lot of challenging turns with many low hanging trees that you have to duck under. Some branches are so low, you have to lay back  completely. Since we recently has a couple storms come our way, the water level is higher than normal thus creating “rapids” in a few sections . One fork of the path had a fallen tree completely blocking the entire length of the creek.  We had to get out and lift the canoes over. There are a couple places along the run where you can take a break and stretch your legs. We decided to take a lunch break at once such spot. Jonathan had pulled the canoe half way up the bank. He got out. As our friend got off the canoe, it rocked and SPLASH!!! I was under the water! I was so certain, we would not flip that I put on Canon PowerShot SD770 in my shirt pocket! So, no more still pictures after this moment. I reverted to using the waterproof video camera.

Sometime after this episode, we converged at a point. We hear my sister making funny noises and I turned around with the video camera in hand to catch her & her husband flipping their canoe over. The look on her face and the events proceeding that were priceless! I feel so bad for them but it was so funny! No one was hurt, thank goodness! (You’ll have to wait for Jonathan to edit the video.)

The wildlife scenery is incredible. We saw lots of turtles sunning themselves with their legs spread out, a couple of alligators sunning on the bank and otters swimming around. My sister and her husband saw a snake hanging from a branch. We saw one otter playing in the “rapids”, its heading was bobbing up and down with the waves. There was a variety of birds including blue and tricolor heron. It is a wonderful thing to see animals in their natural habitats.

It took us (3 canoes) about  5 hours to get through. Last time when it was just Jonathan and I , it took us under 4 hours.

We got picked up at Juniper Wayside, located about 4.3 miles north of SR 40, on SR 19. 

The events of the day was certainly memorable:

  • Park entrance: $5 per person
  • Canoe rental: $35
  • Dinner at Lena’s Seafood:  $44
  • Camera damage: $145
  • Whole experience: PRICELESS

Yes, my handy dandy Canon PowerShot SD770 IS is toast! Every time I tried to power it on, I get “Lens error, restart camera” and the camera lens will not retract. I am saddened by my loss but I am already researching a water proof one for my next purchase.

A Day at De Leon Springs State Park

By , January 25, 2011 9:39 am

Last month our friends from southern Maryland came to Florida to get away from the cold and visit some old friends. We were on their list too. Smile 

We spent an enjoyable afternoon at De Leon Springs State Park in De Leon Springs, FL in Volusia County.  The park covers over 600 acres and is built around a natural sulfur spring flowing at a rate of about 20 millions gallons a day. The spring water remain 72 degrees year round (the spring water is still cold even if the weather outside is lower than 72 degrees). The park offers a wide range of activities from boating to wildlife viewing.

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The park used be the site of an old plantation with a mill to grind corn and sugar. The plantation was destroyed during the Civil War but the waterwheel and building remains. The building now houses a pancake restaurant called The Old Spanish Sugar Mill. Each table in the restaurant has a griddle on the table where you make your own (all you can eat) pancakes. The table also has honey, molasses, honey and pure maple syrup for the pancakes. We came into the park around 1PM and we told the restaurant has a waiting time until 4PM. We decided to put our name down and take a boat tour in the mean time.

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We saw lots of wildlife! Some that I could remember included: American alligators, turtles, otters, great blue herons, American white ibis, egrets, limpkins, tricolor heron, hawks and vultures. We saw manatees playing in front of the springs. Manatees are cool! Scenery was beautiful too.

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After the boat tour, we went to check on our waiting status. As it turned out, they were ready for us! The three men and myself ordered pancakes. I can speak for myself, I ate too many pancakes but it was good!

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After this meal, I felt I wasn’t going to be able to eat until the next day. I was stuffed. We were invited to Eustis/Mount Dora for an authentic home cooked Peruvian lomo saltado dinner. It was delicious! Our hostess prepared this delicious meal for eight people (I was so caught up in the moment and conversation that I forgot to take pictures!). Needless to say, we had a wonderful day! Good friends and good food make for a good time any day!

We Are In The South

By , November 24, 2010 7:18 am

As we drove through South Carolina, I got my first glimpse of palm trees. I love palm trees. They remind me of warm sunny weather. That’s the first sign we were in the South.

We stayed over night at The Oaks at Point South Campground in Yemassee, SC. It is a lovely wooded campground set amongst trees. The trees are covered in Spanish moss. That’s the second sign. The third sign are bugs and warm weather.

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We took a nice morning walk to the lake by the campground. We saw beautiful fall colors, Spanish moss, saw palmettos and wild life. No bugs bothered us! Yeah!

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It was great to see fall colors in the South (palm trees, Spanish moss,warm weather, and bugs).

Good Times in Asheville

By , November 23, 2010 10:51 am

We had a good time in Asheville. We had a relaxing time. We saw water falls. We played football. We had a camp fire. We had good food with good friends.

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We went on a short hike to Douglas Falls in Pisgah National Forest. The hike was short and pretty.

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Douglas Falls has a 60 foot drop.

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We enjoyed a campfire and football in the backyard. We enjoyed some down time too. On our last night, we had  slow cooked pork tenderloins in front of the campfire.

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Guys, thanks for the good times! 🙂

Good bye Asheville, hello Jacksonville. We need to get a couple things in the The Star taken care of. David and Brenda recommended Dick Gore’s RV World. We have an appointment with them on Friday.

A Month Full of Activities

By , October 21, 2010 9:29 am

We saw Cirque Du Soleil show “OVO” at the National Harbor last night with my sister and her husband. It was entertaining and delightful. We have seen a number of shows in the DC Metro area, Baltimore, Orlando and Las Vegas. Our favorite show is KA in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Hotel!

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We arrived in Northern Virginia at the beginning of the month. We parked in the driveway of my sister’s house. The driveway isn’t level so it required some ingenuity (and trips to Home Depot & RV store) to get the RV  leveled satisfactorily. It was such a hassle getting it leveled that we bought a portable macerator instead of moving the RV to dump its contents. With a macerator you can pump the holding tank contents into the commode in the house!

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We helped rip out the old kitchen floor and put in new resilient vinyl tiles that look like ceramic using real grout. We finished the floor just in time for a family gathering the next day!

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We have enjoyed eating some great food! One thing I love about this area is the great variety of delicious foods available both at home and at restaurants.

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As always, it is great to see and be with our family and friends again whether taking in a show, eating out or doing fall clean up. It is great to be with the ones you love!

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The weather is getting cool – high in the 60s/70s and low in the 40s/50s. The Star (I want to call the RV the “Death Star”!) will be heading south at the end of the month. We’ll be back with our other family and friends in Florida this winter.

Beans and Blueberries!

By , October 11, 2010 10:32 am

After leaving Lubec, we headed for Freeport, ME.  The girls had decided that was a good place to stop for the night, as it just happened to be the home of L. L. Bean.  Confused smile  But, we got distracted on the way there and had to stop at Wild Blueberry Land!

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IMG_4909It’s a strange place with all sorts of blueberry stuff.  I got a cookie (which was yummy).  Dasy got a scone, but I don’t know how that was since she ate it all before I could try it.  However, the coffee was definitely bad.  Sad smile  After sampling the wares and convincing David that he wasn’t actually the Wild Blueberry King, we continued on. Winking smile

At Freeport, we had a rather difficult time getting the RVs parked.  There is RV parking, but it’s basically a few pull-through lanes and is definitely not designed by anyone who’s actually ever driven anything more than 20 feet long. After an hour or so, we managed to get both rigs squeezed in and then did some wandering.  Most of the wandering involved a quick look in the L. L. Bean stores and then a final night out for dinner with Dave and Brenda.  We miss them. Sad smile

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The next morning, we grabbed a quick breakfast, packed up, reattached all our stuff and headed our separate ways.  D&B are probably at home preparing for a trip next month, while we’re currently back at our starting point in Northern Virginia.  We’ve had lots of visits with family and friends and a few issues with our parking spot, which we’ll tell you all about next time! Smile

Sorry it took so long to post, but we keep ending up getting way busier than expected every time we stop for any length of time. Confused smile

About as Far as We Can Go–Lubec, ME

By , October 2, 2010 8:02 am

While we were in Bar Harbor, David suggested we head up to Lubec so we could see the most Eastern point of the country.  It was only a couple of hours, so we figured “why not”.  Now, we’re really glad we went…  It ranks way up there in my list of favorite stops!

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One of our first stops was the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse. It’s called West Quoddy because there’s one that even further East (called East Quoddy).  But that one is in Canada, so West Quoddy is still the Easternmost point in the US.
Note: That’s the basis for the title of the post… it’s as far as we can go and still be in the US.  Don’t worry, we’re still going to go some more. 😉

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Fortunately for us, our campground was located directly across the street from Monica’s Chocolates… a place that kind of puts Lubec on the map and is one of the main reasons to go.  If you like chocolate, Monica’s is worth going out of the way for.  But be warned, you get what you pay for… nothing she sells is cheap, but it may well be the best chocolate we’ve ever had.  Just to give you an idea of what to expect…  when Monica makes hot chocolate, she doesn’t pour powder or syrup in a cup of hot water.  She melts chocolate in a pot! Smile (It wouldn’t surprise me if Dasy wants to do another post just for this). Winking smile

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From Lubec, you can hop across the border into Canada and visit Campobello Island.  Here we found the East Quoddy Head Lighthouse, Roosevelt’s “cottage” and lots of sea critters!  Seals, porpoises, and whales! There were quite a few finback whales, but we also spotted a humpback.  In the pictures below, the whales showing only the backs are finbacks.  The tail picture is a small humpback. We also managed to see several bald eagles while exploring the island!

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Even though the weather turned a bit “icky” for a day or two, we really liked the area and were pleasantly surprised by how much we were able to see.  If you are anywhere near the area, you should definitely make the effort to come up here!

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Unfortunately, this would almost be our last stop with Dave and Brenda. Sad smile  They had to get back home and Dasy started to get an itch to get back to Virginia.  We packed up and headed South, planning to stop one more night with them, which we’ll post about later!

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Aboard the Starfish Enterprise with Diver Ed

By , September 29, 2010 6:05 pm

One afternoon at Bar Harbor we took a boat cruise with Diver Ed Dive-In Theater Cruise aboard the Starfish Enterprise.  The mission of the Starfish Enterprise is to “boldly dive where no one has dived before”. We took the 3-hour Park Ranger Tour.

We checked in at the College of the Atlantic’s Dorr Museum, Diver Ed’s alma mater. The college is a small liberal arts college with less than 400 students with a heavy focus on human ecology. Across the museum was a skull of a finback whale. (We saw them in Campobello Island!) Finback Skull COA

Once we arrived at a spot in Frenchman Bay, Diver Ed suited up and went down. We saw what he saw via the flat screen TV aboard the Starfish Enterprise. What he found he’d put in his grab bag for show and tell. After the show and tell, the critters get released back into the sea. Yeah! 🙂

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 DriverEdScreenThe Park Ranger and Diver Ed and his  entire crew made our trip a real pleasure. It was fun and informative. 

In addition to lobsters, crabs, sun stars, sea urchins, whelks and other critters from the ocean floor that Diver Ed brought up, we also got to see harbor seal, bald eagle, porpoise and great big tunas chasing a school of heron. It was great!

 

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Sunrises and Sandbars – Bar Harbor, Maine

By , September 24, 2010 5:53 pm

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On Monday, we woke up around 4:30 am, made lots of coffee and headed up to Cadillac Mountain again.  This time it was to watch the sunrise.  Cadillac Mountain is the first point of the continental US where sunlight hits in the morning (sometimes).

It was cold and windy.  Dasy mostly stayed in the Jeep and took pictures of me taking pictures.  I don’t really blame her, it was pretty miserable. Confused smile Sunrise wasn’t spectacular, but we were glad we went and it was still nice.  The clouds didn’t cooperate, so we mostly just saw colors and clouds… the sun didn’t actually show up until around noon that day.

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Later that day, we headed to Bar Island.  The island is connected to Bar Harbor only at low tide.  When the tide goes out, a long gravel-covered sand bar appears, allowing people to walk over to the island.  Hopefully they have watches and are paying attention because there’s only a couple of hours before the bar gets covered again and you can’t get back!

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On the way over to the island, we noticed lots of seagulls dropping things from the sky.  They have figured out that they can pry off a mussel, fly up about 20 or 30 feet, drop it on the rocks, then swoop down for dinner.  It’s pretty amusing to watch and is quite interesting.  There’s lots of behaviors and patterns that develop eventually…  “Newbies” will drop stuff on sand and it’s dumb luck if they happen to hit a rock, more accomplished birds will fly over to rocky areas instead.  If a bird goes up too high (presumably hoping to get more of an impact to break a shell), other birds have time to swoop in and steal dinner before he can get back down.  Ravens also hang out hoping to steal some unlucky bounces. Winking smile

Oh, we also saw a seagull hunt down and wrangle a pretty decent sized crab.  We were both a bit shocked that the crab didn’t fare better. Confused smile

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We went to dinner with David and Brenda, then came back to see the tide progress…  Eventually the sand bar and the beach are completely underwater, but even after only a couple hours, you can see the dramatic difference the tide makes.  It’s a pretty interesting place!

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Where the Mountains Meet the Sea

By , September 24, 2010 9:50 am

Acadia National Park is where the mountains meet the sea. The beach at Sandy Beach is a brisk 55 degrees in the summer time. Cadillac Mountain is the tallest mountain on the continental east coast at 1,532 feet. It’s a great place to catch both sunset and sunrise.

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We hiked from Sandy Beach to Thunder Hole with David and Brenda.

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It is amazing that Acadia National Park came about because of the generosity of a few private citizens. Thank you Mister Rockefeller. Thank you Mister Dorr.

Going for a Ride…

By , September 24, 2010 6:37 am

Acadia National Park Carriage Roads

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We took a day to go bicycle riding on the carriage roads in Acadia National Park.  After some minor difficulty, we managed to find parking at Eagle Lake.  Once we’d unloaded and gotten moving, it was a pleasant ride through the woods and around lakes for most of the afternoon.  We mostly just road the trails while chatting with Dave and Brenda.

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We stopped at Bubble Lake for a bit of leg-stretch and a scenery appreciation moment.IMG_4443IMG_4451

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We also stopped on the East side of Eagle lake, where Dasy found some of her favorite fuzzy moss!IMG_4460IMG_4464IMG_4467

We did one final quick stop at the North end of Eagle Lake so we could look back and appreciate our hard work. Winking smile

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Dasy and Brenda supervised while David and I wrangled the bikes back into the vehicles.IMG_4482

On the way home, Dasy and I stopped at a Lobster Pound and had some less-than-spectacular lobster rolls.  Confused smile  Fortunately, our trip wasn’t over.  More next time! Smile

Tide Pools – Maine

By , September 19, 2010 1:38 pm

A little something different today…  We just got back from Acadia National Park.  I figured I’d put my video camera in a tide pool and see what there was to see.  Take a look!

You can watch directly on YouTube (in case you want the HD version) here.

Cadillac and Cats in Maine

By , September 18, 2010 12:15 pm

Yesterday, we went into Bar Harbor for breakfast!  We heard that 2 Cats Cafe was highly rated, so we started there.  Dasy ordered some blueberry pancakes and I had a lobster omelet.  The pancakes were good, but the syrup was made of 100% awesome!  My omelet was a bit too buttery, which overpowered the lobster, but it was good start to the day.

IMG_4344Dave and Brenda had blueberry pancakes down the street at Jordan’s (which they said were awesome).  We met up with them afterwards and strolled around town for a bit.  We bought a couple of trinkets and some ice cream, but otherwise just enjoyed the sights.

In the evening, IMG_3498Dasy and I headed up to Cadillac Mountain to watch the sunset.  We’ll be going back for a sunrise in a day or two.  Cadillac Mountain is the first place in the morning that the sun hits in the United States.  The sunset we saw was excellent, but I didn’t bring a tripod, so I didn’t get many good pictures.  I’ll probably be heading back for that again before we leave.

Today we took the bicycles out to Acadia National Park and rode around on some of the carriage roads, but I’ll save that for the next post!

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The Berkshires and Zip Lining

By , September 14, 2010 8:46 am

We left Rochester, NY area and are making our way to Maine. David and Brenda from OutsideOurBubble.com has been such good hosts and traveling buddies. They took us to see our second Great Lakes, Lake Ontario at the Port of Rochester. And I got to taste three different flavors of milkshakes (from Jonathan, David and Brenda) even though I didn’t order any milkshake. :) 

 

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Our first stop was in Verona, NY at the Turning Point Campground. That night we went out to a churrascaria restaurant. After dinner, Brenda and I wanted to take some pictures of the guys but they kept making faces. We all had a laughing fit; our stomachs hurt from too much food and too much laughing. We ended the night by enjoying a movie at David and Brenda’s RV Home Theater called Runaway Vacation or RV starring Robin Williams which we had never seen before, go figure! It was a hoot!

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Our second stop was in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. We traveled on the Mohawk Trail. There was one hair pin turn, some twisty roads and good scenery. It was too early for fall foliage. We look forward to seeing fall foliage at Bar Harbor.

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We camped at Country Aire Campground in Charlemont for two nights so that we can go zip lining. Zoar Outdoor Canopy Tours did a great job! We all had a blast! Later on that afternoon, we went into the town of Shelburne Falls for a nice stroll on the Flower Bridge. We also dined at Goulds Sugar-House Restuarant the morning before we checked out. The pancakes were good!

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Bar Harbor here we come!

Geneva and Geneva-On-The-Lake

By , September 7, 2010 1:17 pm

We miscalculated when we would arrive at our friend’s home (Brenda & David from Outside Our  Bubble) in upstate NY. We had told them IMG_3293we’d be there on Wednesday but on Monday afternoon we realized at our rate of driving we would be there on Tuesday! (We are going to be caravanning with them to Bar Harbor later this week. This will be our first caravanning trip, we are excited about it!) Because we didn’t want to disrupt any plans they may possibly have, we decided to stay at Geneva State Park in Geneva, Ohio for two nights. Our final destination that night was supposed to be in Conneaut, Ohio.

What a nice park! I had used the words “what a great little park” to one of our neighbor in the campground and he said “little?!?”, that is when I realized it wasn’t so little. The park is located on 698 acres on the shores of  Lake Erie,  the southernmost, shallowest, and smallest by volume of the Great Lakes. The average depth of Lake Erie is 62’. Even though it’s the smallest lake, you still can’t see the opposite side!

campsiteThe park has 89 electric sites and only 4 full hookups. It is surrounded by  mature trees and the sites are widely spaced out (some sites are more shaded than others). We are a 38’ RV and our neighbor has a 40’ RV and he managed to park his tow vehicle on the same pad. The state park offers a lot of activities including fishing, hiking/biking, boating and hunting.

The state park is located just minutes away from a great little village called Geneva-On-The-Lake. The village calls itself  “Ohio’s first summer resort”. The village seems seasonal and comes alive at night during the high season. The village offers restaurants/bars, wine tasting, arcade style video games and fishing.

Another attraction in the region is the Lake Erie wineries and icewine. The region has “15 award-winning wineries”. One of the wineries right in Geneva-on-the-Lake is the Old Firehouse Winery. We ordered a sample tray of their sweet wines. The sample tray includes 10 – one ounce samples of sweet or dry wine and it includes a souvenir glass. We ordered a sample of the sweet wines. We both liked “Frosty Peach”. Frosty Peach is described as “full-bodied, semi-sweet 100% fruity wine with the aroma and taste of fresh peaches”.

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Not bad for a miscalculation!

RV Capital, Amish Country and Corn Belt

By , September 7, 2010 12:59 pm

Northern Indiana covers all of the above distinction. Elkhart County (Elkhart, Middlebury, Goshen and Nappanee) alone produces more than 50% of the nation’s RV. As the RV capital, it rightly has the RV/MH Museum Hall of Fame, all kinds of RV manufacturers/service centers/accessories/campgrounds and rallies.

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The area also has a good sized Amish community, where delicious baked goods and horse drawn vehicles are the norm. We enjoyed the family style Thresher’s Dinner  at Amish Acres Restaurant Barn. Our Dasy’s stomach ached with too much food. 😉 We admit we succumbed to their baked goodies. We bought too many cookies and pies to keep track of, I personally feel like a little piggy! They were good, some more excellent than others.

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Everywhere you go, you see corn and more corn and soy bean. Indiana is part of the corn belt. Corn belt refers to Midwestern States that predominantly grows corn and more recently soy bean. Most of the corn grown are grown for feed.

While in this area we also met some wonderful friends in Plymouth. A couple invited us to dinner one night and showed us his expansive collection of model train communities of towns and villages. The collection covered his entire basement, of course it didn’t start like that. One day his wife went away, when she came back, he had built another section ! 🙂 It is his passion and his stress reliever. We had a great time with them.

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We spent a week at Pla-Mor Campground. At the beginning of the week, there were plenty of sites available but towards the Labor Day weekend the huge campground was almost filled! Right next to us was an old Class A styled Airstream. We have friends from Kenosha that have an Airstream trailer, so we had to take some pictures for them. It could have easily found its place in the RV Museum. 

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Birthplace of the Beastie…

By , September 7, 2010 10:31 am

As Dasy mentioned in our previous post, after leaving Colorado we were aimed for Bremen, IN.  Actually, we were going to Nappannee, but the closest campground we found was down the road in Bremen.  Nappannee is famous for two things (that we know of)…

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RV manufacturers and the Amish.  It just so happens that our RV is made by Newmar, which is in Nappannee and the owners are of Amish descent.  Our first full day there, we went to the Newmar plant to see how they built our RV (the one pictured above is a new 2011 model…  very nice!).

IMG_4028We were greeted by Mahlon Miller, the owner of Newmar Corp.  He gave us a quick introduction and some history of the company and then opened the floor to questions.  Some of the guests asked some pretty pointed questions about how Newmar weathered the depression and what effect it had on them as far as staffing and such.  Mahlon was pretty straight forward and didn’t dance around the bush, which I thought was pretty admirable.  They never closed, but went from making 16 units a day with 1000 employees to 3 units a day with 400 employees (that’s what they’re doing currently).  The RV industry as a whole was hit pretty hard and several well-known brands have folded.  Mahlon said that it’s finally looking like it’s picking up again.  Throughout our stay, I heard bits and pieces around the community of what the Miller family had done to keep Newmar going.  They’re the kind of folks most people would want to work for. Smile

As for the coaches, they start with a bare rolling chassis from Freightliner or Spartan, depending on what the unit will eventually become.  The fifth-wheel chassis are built in-house.  We were able to see almost every step of the process throughout our tour.

Here is the outside fiberglass shell going into place.  It’s once giant sheet that is epoxied and screwed to the superstructure.

IMG_3178 First, they do some basic prep of the frame, creating the sub-floor and basement areas, along with most of the components that go in there.
IMG_3179 Next is basic framing.  Newmars are all made with an aluminum super-structure, then several layers of wood and laminates for the basic shell.
IMG_3181 Electrical is done next, with some of the interior structural components going in while there’s still a lot of room to work.
IMG_3186 Here they are putting on the fiberglass side of the rig.  It is epoxied in place, then pressed in with an external wooden rig until it’s adhered correctly.
IMG_3193 The outside shell is then cut to allow for windows, slideouts, vents, etc.  Some more of the interior finishing is also done.  From what I could tell, they’re doing some kind of interior work the entire time that the exterior stuff is being done.
IMG_3195 Next, front and rear end-caps get applied.  They’re mostly fiberglass, with minimal framing.  Most of their structure is inherited from the RV chassis when it gets mounted.  Glass and roof panels are always handled with a vacuum system.  The roof is mounted after the end-caps are installed.
IMG_3209 Slide-outs are added and lined up.  Slide-outs are made exactly the same way the rest of the coach is, just in smaller areas.
IMG_3202 Most of the exterior structural work is done at this point.  More interior is done, cabinetry is finished up, along with tying in the wiring and plumbing of the slides.
IMG_4065 Prep for paint is started, which LOTS of stuff getting masked off.  They even go so far as to mask off everything INSIDE the basement compartments!
IMG_4064 A final vacuum sanding is done on the entire body, then the whole thing is sent over to the paint building, where it is painted.  We didn’t get to see the paint area… they said it was pretty boring and takes about a week for a unit to come back.

What comes back is basically this:IMG_3212

A nice, shiny Newmar coach!  The one pictured above is an Essex, the second most expensive model.  I want three…  in different colors! Winking smile

Below are some other interesting shots.  They show just how much wiring is involved in an RV, a little bit of the furniture being installed and a cool picture of how they move them…

When the chassis arrives in the building, they put “air pads” under each wheel.  Whenever they have to move an RV from one station to the next, they hook the pads up to an air compressor and push it over on a cushion of air.  Pretty much like upside-down air-hockey tables. Smile They said they can do it with two people, but they generally use three just for an extra set of eyes (and brakes).

There’s also a couple pictures of the furniture (which is built in-house) ready to get installed and the floor grate that is the trash system.  There’s a grate covering a conveyor belt that runs the entire length of the plant.  All trash goes into the grate, then is collected at the end of the belts.  It apparently works very well, we didn’t see any trash or scraps anywhere during out tour, unless it had just been cut off a unit they were working on.

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We also picked up a handful of parts while we were at Newmar… some light covers that had faded, a couple of switches that were missing or broken, some exterior parking lights, and various other knick-knacks needed for our RV (they were actually pretty cheap for most common parts).

If you have an RV or are thinking about getting one, it’s worth touring the RV plant to see how it’s made.  We hope yours is made as well as ours!

Stops On The Way

By , September 5, 2010 5:26 pm

We stopped at three different locations from Golden, CO to Bremen, IN. We drove over 1,000 miles. Yeah, we go far! Even though Jonathan did all the driving it was rough on me!?! But I’m learning and coping as a passenger. I haven’t driven the Star yet. I’m afraid. Jonathan said he’s afraid of me driving too. So that didn’t engender a lot of confidence in me either! I think after I take an RV driving class I would feel more confident.

I wonder how many “co-pilots” drive their rig…Kudos to those ladies! (Now back on track…)

Our first stop was in North Platte, NE at the Buffalo Bill State Recreation Area (SRA).  We drove about one mile on a gravel road to get to the campground. Campground offers electric only (some sites have 30 AMP and some have 50 AMP). It was hot and there was no shade but we were glad to have the AC running. It wasn’t bad as a stop over.

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Our second stop was in Waterloo, NE at the Two Rivers State Recreation Area (SRA). It is a huge park with a lot to do (fishing, swimming, biking, etc…). We took our mountain bikes out and rode around the park. Some sites have water and electric (all electric are 30 AMP only), some are electric only and some are dry camping and tenting. It was a pleasant park with lots of shade trees (I learned something about cottonwood tree!!! ) and “lakes”.

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Our last stop was a boondocking site at the Mississippi Valley Welcome Center in LeClaire, IA. It was a nice place that overlooked the great Mississippi River. It had free WiFi until 8PM. For dinner, we order out from the Bier Stube. We demolished the great German food before we could take any pictures! It was yummy! Jonathan said the beer was good too.

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So Good, It’s Golden!

By , September 2, 2010 8:55 am

IMG_3124Our previous week was spent in Golden, Colorado.  We had spent a couple days there during a motorcycle rally two years ago.  We had an excellent time, but we spent most of it either in the Marriott or on the motorcycle up in the mountains.  I don’t think we even made it into town then, so we wanted to give it another chance and spend some time there.  It started out kind of rocky, due to our original lodgings.  We stayed for exactly one night at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.  No pictures, because it wasn’t worth taking pictures of.  Dirt field, construction 20 yards away during the day, neighbors with little “rat dogs” barking every time I went outside, etc.  We pulled out the next day when we called Clear Creek.  Score!  BTW… if you’re looking to get into Clear Creek campground, you have to call them at 7am to get a spot.  No other reservations are available, but they know what opens up during the day from people leaving.

Dasy already posted about Clear Creek, so I won’t dwell on it too much.  It definitely made the trip a whole lot nicer.  Dasy says it’s probably her favorite spot so far. 😉

IMG_3101We spent one afternoon going up to Buffalo Bill Cody’s grave.  It was interesting, but we thought the views and the road up there were the best part.  I went back a few days later to take a couple photographs of the town at night.  Then I went back up again on the Yamaha just because it’s a road that begs for a motorcycle ride. 😉

IMG_3086We also went up to Boulder for the day.  Boulder didn’t really do much for us.  It was okay, but I guess we just didn’t “get” it.  We took an “interesting” bunch of roads on the way back to Golden, where we did manage to see some… elk?  We’re not sure, but we think they’re elk of some kind.  Regardless, it was probably the highlight of the trip to Boulder. Winking smile

We actually spent a fair amount of time at the campground and playing in the creek.  We bought a grill in Loveland and got to try it out a couple of times at the campground.  While it’s certainly not charcoal, it was a worthwhile investment and will see a lot more use!

One of the other things we should mention is the abundance of statues.  Colorado really seems to have a thing for bronze statues.  We noticed them in Loveland, but then ran into bunches more here in Golden.  I don’t know why, but they have a ton of them and most are pretty interesting.

In short, we really liked Golden and were a little sad to see it in the rearview mirror.  But, there’s more places waiting for us!

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Clear Creek RV Park Rocks!

By , August 26, 2010 7:25 pm

While in Golden we stayed in Clear Creek RV Park.  The creek, Clear Creek, flows along the campground for about 15 miles. The creek is cool, rocky and clear. There is also a great paved path along the creek. People walk their dog, run, bike and  walk the path (we did the latter two). With the windows open we hear the bubbling water in the creek.

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Jonathan couldn’t resist not getting an inner tube to go down the creek, so he bought two for us! 

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While here, Jonathan got to use our new grill too! He’s getting the hang of it. 🙂 This is his second time using it.

Clear Creek is just a cool park. We have enjoyed our time here.

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