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Our Motto: Home is, where our RV is.
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Travel Journal July 2012
Travel Journal July 2012

Begins in Fort Wayne, IN and ends in Elkhart IN
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Area of Operation:
Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky
Chuck at his High School
Fort Wayne Zoo
Red Panda
4th of July
We celebrated with Paella
Keith, Katja & Michael
Keith is
Michael to
the "Golden
In the "Golden
Corral" parking lot
Katja unexpectedly
runs into a friend
she has not seen in a
long time
Kincaid Lake
Our Supper
Kincaid Lake State Park
Katja went fishing
Our Fort Wayne layover, in Michael’s driveway, was not only the desired family
visit with Michael, Keith and Katja but also was an intensive housecleaning and
maintenance time for the RV.  We had also decided to leave our couch there
since we intended to actively search for a replacement in the form of a double
recliner.  Even with all the work, we still managed to squeeze in a few
diversions, such as a trip to the Fort Wayne Zoo.

The fourth of July was celebrated with a very untraditional dish, Paella, which
everyone enjoyed.

The temperatures were extreme, even for July, a perfect time to clean the
outside of the RV with a high pressure washer.  While stepping down on the last
step of the ladder Chuck slipped and twisted his back, resulting in another
emergency room visit.  The doctor appeared more interested in our travels than
Chuck’s back.  He was most interested in our 2006 trip to Alaska.  He had also
made the trip, but with a motorcycle!  After finally taking a look at Chuck’s
back he wrote a prescription for a muscle relaxant and pain medication.

We stayed in Fort Wayne until July 15th.  By then Chuck’s back was in better
shape.  On the evening before we left we invited everyone to the “Golden
Corral” for supper.  Keith drove with Michael supervising, since he completed
his driving school and now has to accumulate 60 hours of driving, preferably
without other passengers, so Katja rode with us.  On the way, Katja expressed
a desire to go to KY with us to see the rest of the Morton family.  So on the
next day at 2 PM the three of us left Fort Wayne, and drove to Dayton, OH
where we spent the night at the campground at Wright-Patterson Air Force
Base.  Shortly before we went to bed, Katja entertained us by playing the flute.

The following morning we went shopping at the commissary and then drove to
Kincaid Lake State Park near Falmouth, KY where we arrived at 5 PM.  It took
us quite a long time to get the RV leveled since the camping spot was on a
crooked incline.  Then we notified everyone that we had arrived.

The following afternoon (Tuesday, July 17th) we began our visits.  Chuck has
four sisters (two older and two younger) and three brothers (all younger).  
Only the youngest sister, Debi and youngest brother, Joe, were not seen.  Joe
lives in Florida.  Debi lives in Northern KY but is somewhat sporadic with her
familial contacts.  Our first visit was with Patty (a younger sister) and her
husband, Roy (see photos).

In the following days we either visited or were visited by others.  Tom
(brother) came on Wednesday with his wife, Susan and granddaughter,
Cameron.  Cameron is a few months older than Katja.  The last time they had
seen each other, they were quite small.  They hit it off right away and Katja
went back to Florence, KY with them to spend the night.  This caused her to
miss a family gathering of cousins (grandchildren of Patty and Roy) where we
had been invited, but she had the opportunity a few days later to meet them.

Patty had planned a cook-out for the evening but a severe thunderstorm caused
it to be slightly modified.  We were late arrivals because the storm caused the
awning to fly up and bend one of the side rods.  Chuck’s brother Jim was there
with his four year old grandson.  His wife, Sandy was not there but we had the
opportunity to visit them a few days later.  
We picked up Katja the following day from Tom’s after we visited Chuck’s older
sister Kathryn in the hospital where she had been for several weeks.  An
operation to re-situate her stomach that was collapsing one of her lungs, had
resulted in multiple complications that delayed her release.  While we were
visiting her, her heart rate became erratic and she was immediately taken to
the heart specialist, which cut our visit short.

When we weren’t visiting or being visited, we kept busy with campfires, grilling
and the like.  On one of the first evenings, as Katja was riding the bike through
the park, she met a school friend from Fort Wayne, who happened to be there
with her father.  She fished a little with them and caught one too small to
keep.  Nathan (Patty’s son) lent her a rod and reel but she didn’t have much luck
since the snapping turtles kept stealing her bait and hooks.  We invested in
better line and more hooks and bait, but she still left empty-handed, although
she had a lot of fun trying.

On Friday evening Chuck’s oldest sister, Mary, arrived from South Carolina for
the school reunion in Falmouth.  We also attended the reunion, while Katja
spent the afternoon with her cousins that she had missed meeting a few days
before.  That same day Kathryn was released from the hospital and on Sunday
while we were making the rounds to say good-bye, we stopped to visit her. She
was doing much better and says that all her complications went away after they
finally placed her on the same level of heart medication that she was on before
going to the hospital.

We went out to eat a few times while at Kincaid Lake Campground.  Falmouth is
a small town and the selection of restaurants is somewhat meager.  A new
Mexican restaurant opened up on Sunday and we decided to try it out, on its
first day of business.  It was quite an experience!  The menu was quite
impressive and after ordering, we had a very long wait.  The waiter kept coming
back and apologizing for the delay, and then the manager followed suit.  After
the third round of chips and salsa, we stopped eating since we wanted to have
room left for what we ordered!  As we waited, we noticed that the cook spoke
very little English and the waiters/waitresses spoke no Spanish and were not
even able to pronounce the names of the dishes on the menu.  The order was
taken by one person but fulfilled by someone else, so there was no check to
verify that an order was filled!   Eventually we were one of the lucky tables
that got what they ordered.   And the food was quite good.  As we left we let
others know that it was worth the wait.  The waiter overhead us and thanked us
for the positive input!

When we returned to the campground, Katja went to the gym for a workout
with some girls from Tennessee.  Afterwards, she went immediately to bed.

Monday, July 23rd was hot and humid.  We left Kincaid Park at 1 PM, driving via
Cincinnati, OH to Indianapolis, IN to the camping portion of the fairgrounds.  
The following day we took Katja to Anderson where her mother lives.  Keith
was already there where they will be spending the rest of the school vacation.  
Just as we arrived, the ABS light on the truck began blinking.  Chuck pulled
into the parking lot and immediately noticed smoke coming from under the
hood.He stopped the engine, got out and looked under the front of the truck
since ABS is the Anti-lock Brake System.  He could see nothing out of the
ordinary, not even the smoke anymore.  Just at that time Katja screamed that
there was a fire in the back of the truck.  Chuck ran to the back of the truck
and saw flames coming from the small space on the left rear between the tail
light and the rear tool box.  A bottle of water with a sprayer was right beside
the flame.  He grabbed the bottle, squeezed it and the water put out the fire.  
But in the process, the plastic sprayer, which had become molten, landed on his
hand and stuck to it, causing a severe burn.  Had it not been for Bepanthen, a
Bayer product from Germany, he would have required another hospital visit.  

Here is an explanation of what caused the above incident.  An accessory cable
is installed in the truck that runs from the battery through a switching solenoid
to the rear bed of the truck where the cable is attached to the RV, providing
power to continually charge the RV batteries.  The bolt attaching the cable to
the power source in the truck had vibrated loose.  The loose connection heated
up to the point that it began to produce smoke.  The heat of the cable caused it
to burn through the rubber grommet where the cable entered the bed of the
truck.  The bed of the truck has a vinyl protection that ignited, causing the
small fire.  The cable had apparently become so hot that it was detected by the
ABS, causing it to activate the warning system.  All of this is quite complicated
and a good example of how something as trivial as a loose bolt can cause a
catastrophe.  When Chuck replaced the bolt, he also installed a secondary
circuit breaker to turn off power to the cable if it should happen again.  

We had planned to have some maintenance work done on the RV while in
Indianapolis and we managed to get an appointment for the brakes and wheel
bearings on Friday, but couldn't find anyone available for A/C maintenance,
apparently due to the extreme weather conditions.  We finally made a phone
call to Elkhart, IN (RV capital of the world) and got an appointment for
July 31st.

The campground at the state fairgrounds began to fill up with vendors and
other workers because of the upcoming
Indiana State Fair  from August 3-19.  
We had reserved and paid for a spot until Friday morning.  On Thursday
someone knocked on the door, introduced himself as the campground manager
and asked if we could do him a great favor.  The spot where we were located
was where a merchant occupies and stays for an extended period of time
before and after the fair.  If we would do him the favor of moving for the last
night to another spot, he would reimburse us for the spot, meaning we would
get a free night at the campground.  Since we had already decided to pack up
that night, hook up and be completely ready to go early the following morning,
this was no inconvenience for us.  We agreed that after we went shopping we
would return and move.  The manager came back a little later and got our credit
card info so he could process the reimbursement.  Later that evening, as we
were moving, a lady pulled up in an RV and stopped to thank us for letting her
have the spot.  A few days later, we checked to see if we had received the
refund and much to our surprise, we had been reimbursed $120.00 for all four
nights at the fairgrounds!                                                       

While the RV was in the garage for the work on the brakes, we went to the
surrounding furniture stores to see if we could find a suitable double recliner.  
In the first store we found one that appeared to meet all of our needs.  We
made all the measurements and continued to check other stores.  Nothing else
could be found.  At 5 PM we picked up the RV with new brakes and headed for
Cicero, IN where we had reserved a spot for the weekend.  It was a beautiful
wooded spot directly on a river.

After we had checked and re-checked our measurements, we called the
furniture store and ordered the double recliner.  They had two in stock and one
was reserved for us, which we would pick up on Monday.  

On Sunday Renée took a bike ride through
Strawtown Koteewi Prairie Park  and
later we drove through Noblesville with its historical downtown and picturesque
town square.  By supper time we were back at the campground and the weather
was quite comfortable so we ate our supper of wurst and potato salad at the
picnic table near the river.  Even the flies and mosquitoes left us alone!

On Monday we left this little piece of paradise and drove back to the furniture
store, triple checked the measurements and bought the loveseat recliner.  Two
strong fellows carried it out to the RV and placed it in its proper place.  We
then headed for Elkhart where we arrived around 5:30 PM.  Because we missed
the entrance to the workshop and were also dangerously low on fuel, we decided
to fuel up first. We pulled into a service station, filled up and as we were pulling
out, a car pulled in and blocked the route directly in front of us.  Chuck turned
sharply to the left.  Actually, a little too sharp and the left side of the RV
struck a concrete filled steel pole that protects the gas pump.  The damage
was severe enough to invoke our deductible and will have to be repaired by a
body shop.

We spent the night at the A/C repair shop, with electric hookup and the next
morning the A/C was diagnosed and calibrated, not requiring a re-charge.  The
owner gave us the address of a recommended body shop where we went,
contacted the insurance company and had a damage survey and estimate.  It will
take 2-3 weeks to get the cargo doors which must be replaced.  In the
meantime we have checked in at the Elkhart campground for a week.  Hopefully
we will make it out of here sooner rather than later.

To be continued……….