RVing at it's best!
January 19, 2002
Coachmen 121 got together in St Joseph, MO. We were unable to make it due to medical problems. January 30th was the start of the most devastating ice storm in Kansas City history. We weathered the storm in good shape, confident that we had the motorhome out front with the generator ready to run at a moments notice. Our four kids and their families lost power but we never did. All was well after five days of intense ice. Reminds me of the March 17-18, 1984 ice storm in which I lost power here for nearly 4 days and my dad lost power for 7 days. It was our turn to have power and to help out the others.
February 24, 2002
Roddy's Rowdys all met at Bill and Phyllis Fernau's home for a pot luck dinner. It was quite a get-together and all had a good time.
February 28-March 3, 2002
The annual RV show was held at Bartle Hall. It was routine and there was little that interested Carol and I at the show. It was a classic case of 'been there, done that'. I thought that the motorhome representation was poor and there really wasn't anything much new.
March 15-17, 2002
We went up to Basswood Country Resort, Platte City, MO for a weekend with Coachmen 121. We ended up going to Basswood on Saturday evening rather than Friday since I had to work quite a bit. We had a nice potluck dinner with corned beef and cabbage to celebrate the St. Patrick's Day festivities. A quiet evening visiting was enjoyed. Sunday morning we had a light breakfast and a club meeting. I gave a safety talk to the group regarding such things as smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, safety exits, and emergency notification. I had to come back to work so we left at noon after a light lunch.
March 30-31, 2002
Carol and I were married 25 years ago on the 30th. I had to work Saturday morning so we left around four (4) o'clock and took the camper down to Arrow Rock Historic Site which is about 16 miles east of Marshall, MO where my sister lives at the Marshall Habilitation Center for the last 39 years. Her 49th birthday was the 31st so it was a combination trip for us. We got down to the state park at about 6:30 and there were plenty of sites available. We didn't have to use the handicap tag that my wife has. All of the sites were good and we chose one (#13) that was next to a couple from Illinois. Turned out to be quite a nice visiting time with them and we were able to help them out with their new unit a bit also. We went up to the famous Arrow Rock Tavern which is owned by the State of Missouri but run by a contractor. The food was great and we highly recommend it. We thoroughly enjoyed our anniversary dinner. Sunday we went up to the visitor center at the historic site and got to see the presentation there. We then hooked up the jeep and drove the motorhome into Marshall and picked up my sister. We took her to Sedalia since the Wal-Mart in Marshall was closed for the Easter holiday. Picked up some clothes for her and then came back and had dinner before we dropped her off and drove home. The visit was great and all had a good time. Got home about 7PM.
April 19-21, 2002
Carol and I got what we call an early start on the weekend. We left here about 4 PM on Friday to go to Warsaw, Mo and stay with our friends at Country Lakes RV Park. This is a very nice RV park that is located right next to the Warsaw High School down Wildcat drive on the south end of Warsaw. We arrived at about 7 PM and found a nice spot. Only real problem of the weekend was immediately obvious... it was wet. The sites were literally brand new, having had the electrical, water, and sewer finished up on Wednesday night. And then of course the rock fill put in. Rock fill on fresh fill added up to a bit of a sticky wicket as they say. It was fun to get situated and then we had to use a base for the levelers so that they didn't sink in. This nasty situation reared it's head when we left on Sunday but in between times we had a ball. The park is obviously in the process of being expanded and the nice, well-equipped sites we had will be great in the future. They really hadn't even had 24 hours on them when the first of our group started to arrive. There are small lakes in the park and several distinct areas set aside for RVers. There was a covered area for our meeting and eating together. There was a really nice campfire ring for the group. Contact for them is (660)438-8400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Friday evening we drove into Warsaw and ate dinner at Diantha's, 1027 E. Main, Warsaw, MO 660-438-9708. They advertise Meals Like Grandma Made... At Grandpa's Prices. This, I can say, is true. It was great. We ended up eating there four (4) times over the weekend and the folks were great. Even had a little guitar music Friday night for entertainment. We took a group from the campground back up there Saturday and everyone was pleased.
On Saturday morning Carol and I went up to the Warsaw township and on to the Truman Lakes Dam Visitor Center. We toured the center and took their little test to see if we had really paid attention to what was presented. The history of the area is rich with the Osage Indians being a base for the current area. Harry S. Truman is of course the president for whom the area is named. There is plenty more to be found out about the area on the state sites and of course others.
We took a 1/4 hike through the woods and checked out the Ed Elmore Cabin and the around that is being built up around it. Quite impressive and has a web page to better tell you about it.
We stopped at The Persimmon Tree, an antique mall near the Visitor Center, 1/2 mile from the dam, and spent our fortunes. Got a few odds and ends of things we saw.
We went back to the campground and joined in the fun at the Roddy's Rowdies meeting. They were planning the next campout, along with talking about the Missouri rally coming up. Then Carol and Sally went shopping at a few places around the Warsaw area. By the time they got back it was time to go into town and have dinner. Had a quiet evening with a lot of rain coming down through the night, accompanied by lightening. More mud.
Breakfast Sunday morning followed getting out of the campground. It was muddy after 4 1/2 inches of rain in two days. We drove right out. Surprise, surprise. One of the other campers nearly got stuck but made it out at last. All of us were free by 10AM. We stopped and had breakfast, then stopped and picked up a vegetable grinder that my wife had seen at the Valley Flea Market on Old Hwy 65 North.
Had a nice leisurely drive home and got home around 2 PM. We stopped on the way home and filled up with $1.189/gal diesel and then went home and cleaned up the motorhome. Did some washing, dumped the tanks, replenished where necessary and sent some stuff inside to get laundered. Cleanup is always easier when you're in the mood and that way the rig is ready for the next trip. Have a couple of little things to fix on the motorhome while it's parked, and a little additional wiring to fix up.
June 1-2, 2002
Time has been hard to come by and we decided to get away for a brief trip to Lake Viking and then on to Jamesport where we again stayed at the Countryside RV Park. Last time we were there was three years ago. It's still a nice place and we enjoyed relaxing.
June 7-9, 2002
The Missouri Coachmen rally was in Higginsville, MO again. That's a good thing since they have ideal facilities for a small economical rally. This rally marked quite a change from the 'norm' and the state president, Bill Fernau and his wife Phyllis had gone to extra special care to insure a good rally. With the help of others quite a show was put on. There was a tropical bird show and genuine hula dancers. The theme?... Hawaiian of course. Tropical themes with tropical animals and tropical entertainment. It was GREAT! And what would set of things for food? A pig roast of course was the menu Saturday night. Again... these folks outdid themselves. Last year Roy got to unload the chairs by himself (with all laughing) and this year I refused to touch a chair. <grin> They got work out of me unloading the tables but not the chairs!
As usual I was stuck working and ended up driving back to KC at 7 AM to escort six funerals before I could return to the festivities at 5:30 PM.
Wife and granddaughter Amanda were on the campout all day and daughter Cheri came out with the kids and a good time was had doing some shopping. Amanda and Brittany Campbell (from Joplin club) had a ball again as they usually do. Amanda is 11 and she's shooting up like there was no limits. She'll be a tall one for sure!
This has been a summer of work, heat, and rain when we needed it most and wanted it least. Carol and I have had numerous commitments which prevailed and made RVing take a back seat. I've worked on the RV meantime and installed a DVD, additional satellite receiver mount and I am working on some lettering. We're going to get back into things and go to the Iowa State Coachman rally in September. Our friends have missed and courteously have called asking if everything was OK. We appreciate their concern... but work has prevailed.
September 6-8, 2002
Carol and I left (late as usual) on Friday to run up to the Iowa State Rally (in Hampton, Iowa this year). We took a trailer and motorcycle this time because I was stopping in Marshalltown, IA to pick up a Handy Lift (motorcycle lift). We got into Hampton, IA about 9PM after a wonderful trip north. Hampton is a small farming community just south of the Minnesota border about 56 miles. The fairgrounds there are well equipped to handle the 116 units that showed up for the rally. We saw a lot of friends, rode the motorcycle into town and shopped a little. (Very little... they had rolled up the streets for the weekend.) The presentation was a good one as is always the case with the folks from Iowa. Our complaints... little with the exception that things are keyed to the 'older' folks and the music was bland, along with the food. My estimate is that 50% of the folks walked out of the meeting hall when the band started playing. Could we try something different here??
When I arrived and put out the awning, the lock broke and had to be repaired. Lasso E had some representatives there and their mechanic fixed it quickly with a little ol' spring that seems to give way unannounced. Thank you Lasso E for your extra special efforts.
I'll be buying a set of repair parts for the awning to keep on hand just in case. On the way home we had an uneventful trip until we got to mile marker 33 on I-35 in Missouri. That was where the left inside dual decided to give up the ghost. Had a blowout and it was quickly learned that getting lug nuts off was going to be impossible with the tools supplied with the vehicle. I called Good Sam's and they sent out a truck. They also said it would be two hours (a standard answer it seems today) and I went ahead and drove slowly to the Kearney exit and a truck stop where they had air tools and could quickly change the tire over to the spare. For the record Goodyear service told me that they don't come out on weekends unless you are a fleet customer with an established account with them.
My personal distaste for the attitude is amplified when you note that the RV customer that is a valid, paying customer, is taking the hit for those dirt bags that don't pay their bills. The service folks I talked to tell me that they always tell someone two (2) hours even if they are just around the corner. It seems to be a default.
Tire changed... home the last 20 miles or so and to Goodyear Monday for a new tire. We're back in shape and whatever cut the tire goes on to do more damage. <grin> There was a small bit of luck here... when I got out to check the tire problem I found a $20 bill in the grass next to the side of the road. So it wasn't a completely bad day! My wife got the $20.
I should say here that three (3) of the units that were in Hampton, IA with us stopped to give assistance and I am thoroughly appreciative of their efforts. Even though we ended up deciding to drive on to the Kearney truck stop, they even made the effort to lead and follow (escort) me into the truck stop and make sure all was well. Thank you John Loges, Frank Parker, Cleve Lovvorn, and of course their families. This is what RVing is all about!
September 19-22, 2002
We went to Lewis & Clark State Park just south of Rushville, MO. Carol and I took the RV up on Thursday evening (got there at 10pm) and parked it, staying the night and then going back around 2pm Fri to get Madison (granddaughter) and bring her back, which of course getting business items tended to while home. There were 11 units, mostly from the Coachmen 121 club, but with three units that were just 'friends'. I had to come back early Saturday and work all day. Picked up Amanda (granddaughter) and she went back with me. The kids played and pretty much wore themselves out having a good time. Had a quiet evening around the campfire and went to bed by midnight. Had a really nice quiet day Sunday and enjoyed the company of friends. Listened to the Chief's lose a close game and drove back casually to arrive home around 6 pm. Spent some time cleaning up the unit, dumping, refilling, etc. and we're ready to go again.
September 27-29, 2002
We went to the Coachman 6th District Rally in Higginsville, MO. RVing with friends is always a pleasure. Quite frankly the rest of the rally was boring. The mundane entertainment Saturday night provided background for visiting and not much else. Saturday we went for a drive out on 24 Hiway and 65 Hiway stopping at Peter's Orchards and getting some pecans and apples. Cleve and Zela Lovvorn rode with us and as always Cleve and Zela are an inspiration. These folks are full-timers and are 'seeing the US'. Wish we could do the same. There were about 57 units at the rally from Missouri, Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin.
October 1-4, 2002
We actually left on September 30 and spent the night at our daughter's home in Edgerton, KS. That got us south of the rush hour traffic so we could leave early. We got up at 6 am and left for Hutchinson, KS and one of the most informative rallies that we've had the opportunity to go to.
We stayed at Cottonwood Grove Campground in Hesston, KS where our friends Cleve and Zela also stayed. The cost was $15/night rather than the very high cost of staying at the FMCA rally site for $125 dry camping and $90 extra for electricity for the four days. We spent $30. We drove the 30 miles into Hutchinson each day effortlessly and were pleased with the campground. It was a simple, straight forward place with all hookups but showing age.
If you haven't been to an FMCA rally you should try to make it to one. There were some 5,000 motorhomes with 1,200 of those for sale. There were a lot of Monaco units as they had the biggest display there. Monaco, Beaver, Safari, Holiday Rambler along with their Roadmaster Chassis. Many other brands were of course represented.
There were four (4) buildings with RV related displays, products and information. There was, as always, some products that were not so RV related but relatively few of these. Most displays were very helpful. There was a continuous run of seminars available. We did not attend any seminars this time. I feel that with a little better planning we could have worked in some of those seminars. This was a very short notice trip as we decided to go at the last minute.
This is a good place to obtain both products and information on products for future purchase. I intend to go through the product brochures and add the information to the web page as time permits. Along with the products of course there are hundreds of motorhomes for sale. These motorhomes represented all levels of quality. A little sidebar here... if you are at one of these rallies, not only new motorhomes are for sale but there are a tremendous lot of motorhomes that are traded in that are excellent. This is an opportunity that is unequalled in getting access to such motorhomes before they are processed and the price goes up.
We stayed late Thursday and didn't leave until 10 pm. We drove home in a driving rain storm and had to stop in Emporia at the Flying J for 30 minutes while the rain was driven sideways by high winds. We came on into Kansas City and got home at about 2:30 am with it still raining, although it had subsided a bit when we got home. What a trip!
October 19-20, 2002
Carol, Amanda and I went up to Sycamore Springs, KS which is 105 miles from our house. The route was a nice leisurely one up 45 Highway to Rushville and then to Atchison and on up through Hiawatha, KS and out in to the country. Sycamore Springs is just north of Sabetha, KS and east. You're really out in the middle of nowhere and it's great. There was a wonderful skating rink, miniature golf, camping with 50 AMP service, water and sewer if needed. There was a bathhouse, building for a group meeting, and plenty of shelter houses. We took a tour of the hotel which has been recently renovated and has 10 rooms with a common bathroom. Note: The 'emergency exit' just happened to be through a door that literally let you walk out onto a nearby hill. You actually went up to exit. The fireplace in the hotel was magnificent! They 'springs' used to be a site for folks to go for medicinal purposes. The buildings were circa 1880's in some cases and others had been modernized. There was a church reported to have been built in 1888 and it had a restored pipe organ that was over 100 years old. It sounded great. There was a train depot (circa 1880) from Morrill, KS that had been moved to the site. The roller rink was a good ol' fashioned rink with a snack bar and my wife noted the floor was wood. Granddaughter Amanda wanted in-line skates which were not available and not allowed. Are we picky or what? An overriding bit of information here is that the new owners of the site (Dale and Betty Aue) exhibited extreme concern about our stay and satisfaction. There were more than concerned that the 'new' Sycamore Springs provide a welcome atmosphere. We were extremely pleased and in fact hope that we can get back up in November with our daughter Staci and her family.
Roddy's Rowdy's Coachmen 121 were at the camp and there were eight (8) member units (Walls, Dingle, Cutshall, Owen, Fernau, Francis, Stone, Vonderschmidt) and five (5) guest units for the club get-together. Eldon and Madalyne were the 'hosts' and their daughter Kris Schawang, husband Dan along with their two boys Cody (6) and Cade (2) and another of Eldon/Madalyne's grandsons - Clayton (10) were there in their new 31 ft. Holiday Rambler Trailer. Stones brought a friend, Robert and Joyce Maxwell from Olathe, KS. Bill and Faye Morrison (full timers), Charles and Linda Haanz from Richmond, MO (full timers), and of course we were there. A good part of us hung around on Sunday and had lunch and a tour of the facilities. We left for home about 5 PM and drove a leisurely trip retracing the trip up on our way back getting home about 7 PM. I promised Amanda some Li'l Ceasar's Pizza and we all watched Harry Potter.
November 9-10, 2002
Carol and I liked Sycamore Springs RV Park and Roller Rink so much that we decided to take one of our daughters, Staci and her husband Joe along with Amanda (12), Madison (6), and Jacob (2) and return to do some skating. I had to work... Staci had a Girl Scout meeting so we didn't get to leave until 3PM on Saturday. Another campout we were supposed to attend was cancelled so we were free. Drove up to Sycamore Springs and the girls fixed a bite to eat while on the road. Got there in plenty of time to set up and get over to the roller rink. That's where the laughs began... with my rather large figure on a set of size 13 roller skates. I fell once. I hurt much. <grin> Carol was an old hand at skating, although she hadn't done so in 30 years. She was skating backwards before the evening was over. I was doing much better by the time we decided to quit. We went back to the RV and had a nice campfire, cooking some hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire. Joe and I stayed up until midnight enjoying the warmth of the fire while the kids went on to bed with the wives. The pain came about 3 AM with cramps in my legs from muscles that hadn't been used in a long time.
We got up in the morning and had a little visit around the campfire and the kids played in the playground area. Breakfast was French toast and bacon and eggs. We had to get back since Amanda had a football game to do some cheerleading at. The kids were pretty much beat and Jacob went to bed at about 5:30 PM. This was a lesson in 'how to wear out kids'.
Sycamore Springs is so close to Kansas City... and has something to offer the family... that we'll be going back again for more fun. Perhaps I had better get on those skates again before I return. <grin>
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