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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tana on the road, Gypsy Journal Rally, Day 3

FINALLY, the sun came out.  It has been pretty gloomy round here, no rain, but that wind just kept a comin'.  Can we spell cold ??  Yes, we can, BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!

Slide show presentations are so fabulous!  I know I just LOVE teaching that way.  Start with projectors and slide show presentations, add in some Internet connections, and we have powerful tools to teach with.  Powerpoint presentations abound here at the Gypsy Journal Rally!  Good stuff!

We have been learning more about air cards, routers, amplifiers for cell/air cards; YouTube; and Google Earth, which we have not used in a number of years, WOWIE, what improvements on that site!  Man attended some sessions on extended warranties and tires and such.  We are learning tricks and hints that we did not know.  Yes, we can always learn something new!  How great is that?

Nick the Gypsy has this scheduling thing down.  Sessions long enough, but not TOO long and lunch breaks sufficiently long so that you can eat, do some necessary room visits, check email, blog a little, visit the vendors and then get to the next session.

Dinner was a pizza party, good eats, nice chatting with others at our table, including the Geeks On Tour.  After dinner we were entertained by One More Time, Melissa and Larry Beahm, who full time, traveling and entertaining.  Another very pleasant ending to a long, seminar packed day.

Tomorrow is the last day, one more day packed with seminars.  Where is my schedule??


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tana on the road, Gypsy Journal Rally, Day 2

At this Rally they schedule a LOT of seminars at the same time.  This is great and bad.  Great choices, and you are just about guaranteed there is always a class you want to attend.  Bad, because sometimes you want to attend 2 in the same time frame, and you all know how well I make choices, if not, re-read my first blog and contemplate the name of this blog.

Man and I pretty much have chosen different seminars for each time frame, so, he runs one way, I another.  We have visited some of the vendors, $pent $ome $$$ and have enjoyed each of the presentations.  I am doing many of the classes presented by Geeks on Tour (see my Dancing Fern, thanks to them) and Nick's (the Gypsy) presentations as well.  This evening we also thoroughly enjoyed a slide show by Art Hesselbart of the RV Museum in Elkhart, Indiana.  He had the most fabulous photos of old RV's.  Art has a dry sense of humor and colorful stories. What a great way to end the day.

Last night Man and Moi won a door prize to a local restaurant.  Italian.  I had Italian last night, tonight, and tomorrow is the pizza party here a the Rally.  I might have to change my name to Maria??  Or Rosalina??  Our door prize gifts were to Bella's Italian Grill, Celina, Ohio, overlooking Grand Lake.  Our dinner was superb, including the peanut butter oreo cookie pie for desert.  Reasonably priced, delicious.  Thank you to Bella's and the Gypsy Journal Rally, MMMMMMM good!

Man, is already indicating he wants to do this Rally again.  I am looking at the travel brochures and such for Grand Lake and what the area has to offer and I KNOW I want to come back.  The lake was constructed as a feeder lake for the Miami-Erie Canal back in the 1837-45 time frame.  It was the largest man-made lake in the world.  It was hand dug!  Yes, you read that correctly, HAND DUG!  Being that this area is less than 150 miles from our stick built, I believe we need to seriously consider revisiting this area during the summer.

We are enjoying this Rally.  So different than last weeks, but, wonderful too.   Now, I have to check the list of seminars for day 3, hmmmmmmmmm, the choices are difficult.


Tana on the road, Gypsy Journal Rally

Windy much? Well, thankfully for us, for the most part the wind was pushing us from Goshen to Celina Ohio.

We are parked under an ole oak tree at the Mercer County Fairgrounds, and yea, I am a bit concerned with Mother Nature's windy fits. That said, we do have a nice campsite, along the road, 30 AMPS, and very close to the buildings.

Last evening, Nick Russell, the Gypsy himself, had an open forum Q & A session. One of the questions asked was how to get INTO a locked unit when the keys are MIA. Some of the answers were

1.) Be sure to do a slow walk around to see if you can find any open windows.

2.) Ask around for keys from other rig owners, someone just might have a match.

3.) Bust out a window.

4.) Hide an extra key in your tow vehicle or toad vehicle.

Being locked out always brings to mind our experiences with doors and/or locks. Two times the OEM door handles to the little necessary room have jammed. Luckily both times there were no occupants of said room. So, we could take our time jimmying open that door. Took well over 30 minutes each time and we no longer have OEM handles on that door.

The other experiences have to do with the entrance door lock, again, two failures. Each time we were IN the unit. And, could not get out! One experience was in New Orleans, the other was in Hope Arkansas.

So, HOW do you get OUT of a rig when the door lock mechanism fails?? Here is part of the story, from my old web pages. (No URL will be given, as these web pages will soon go to geocities heaven, I am looking for a new home for them.) There is a LOT more to this story, stuff about cabinets being open from I-10 and Moi climbing over tables. But here is how we got out.

"We try to go outside to finish setting up. Now mind you, 3 of the dogs are in the truck, as is my purse, computer, camera and other stuff. The truck is not locked! We cannot get OUT of the trailer. The door handle is broken. We are locked IN the trailer.

We put the slides back in, thinking that possibly, the door is jammed somehow. Nope, that did not help.

We open the emergency window behind the couch to note that to jump out we would land on the sewer hose and that it is a really long drop and that unless the 5er is burning, we really don’t want to JUMP! UGH.

Next, Man asks me, do you have the cell phone, we can call the office. Well, yes, I have the cell phone, but the phone number is IN the truck!

So, running out of options, we creatively (?) decide to set off the alarm on the truck. I do have my truck keys in my pocket. And, that is exactly what we do. We set the alarm off several times until the owner of the campground came over to investigate.

Man explained the situation, and the owner gently, but easily opened the door from the outside. Yes, HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF goes here."

Lots of possible lessons to learn from this experience. One might be, with your cell phone, call that campground in the 24 hours prior to arrival, and the phone number should be saved as a recently called number.

I'll save the Hope Arkansas story for another day, right now, seminars await!

Rally on!


Monday, September 28, 2009

Tana on the Road, Goshen, Day 7 of the Rally, Bitter Sweet End

Last day of the 2009 Fall Rally. Pancake breakfast, great crew of volunteers cooking, yum yum! Then later in the afternoon, ice cream social. More yum yum!

Between we had more wandering around time, visiting, telling of lies and lots of hugs. Many were stowing gear and packing up in between. Some rigs pulled out during the day. Campfire, the last.

This has been a great Rally, run smoothly, even Mother Nature cooperated (for the most part).

Bitter sweet end, we hate to see it end, but it has been a grand week.

Thanks to all.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Son # 2

Goodness, time flies. A few years ago, in San Angelo, Green County, Texas, a gift from our maker, our second born son arrived.

Happy Birthday, Son # 2


Tana on the Road, Goshen, 4 couples, 6 rallies

There are 4 couples in this Rally that have been to all 6 MOC Rallies held in Elkhart County since 2004. Here we are:

Ron and Terrie, Steve and Patti, Man and Moi, and Glenn and Lorraine.

Good Rallies, Good Friends, Thanks MOC!!


Tana on the Road, Goshen, Day 6 of the Rally

Day 6 = PLANT TOUR! One of great draws of this Rally, a tour of the plant where they manufacture our beloved Montanas.

Groups of up to 16 are given the royal tour, insider looks at new product (shhhhh, we don't tell til AFTER the Louisville show), and all questions answered. We LOVE our plants tours.

Some of the gals had drivers training class, they go in intimidated and come out driving and backing these huge units into campsites. The transformation is astonishing! Thank you Keystone for continuing to offer this class, and for your patient instructors.

Most of the afternoon was spent visiting, saw a few repairs being done, plastic storm door improvements and such. Have never seen as many repairs done by MOC members for MOC members as we have this year.

At 3:30 we gathered for a group photo, then a wine and cheese get together and a white elephant gift exchange. Man and Moi and several others skipped all but the group photo and had a little chat and lie session at our Tana. What an enjoyable afternoon.

Our campfires have been great, we have a couple of guys that are true artists at building campfires. Gathering each night is such fun, laughs, stories, and of course, more lies! (Now ya all know I am just kidding bout the lies. RIGHT??)

This has been a great Rally, not quite over, but winding down. This one will be talked about for years to come. The Wagon Masters and Assistant Wagon Masters and Keystone and the MOC have all done an outstanding job.



Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tana on the Road, Goshen, Day 5 of the Rally

Day 5, can it be? The Rally is flying by, so much fun, so little time.

Another day with seminars, our last, some new seminars were added to the line up, including one about traveling to Alaska and one on full timing. This year we had two tents available, and this set up has worked out very nicely. Here are Stacey and Bill presenting the seminar in the small tent on traveling to Alaska:

Our evening was free time to spend wandering around visiting MOC'ers or the Mennonite Relief Sale over in the main area of the Elkhart County Fairgrounds. A number of the gals wandered over and oooooed and ahhhhhed at the quilts that will be auctioned off on Saturday morn.

If you were wondering what a lap harp is or looks like (see reference to Terrie's taking Moi back to Shipshewana for said purchase, Day 3 and 4 blog post), here ya go:

The lap harp measures about 14 inches cross the bottom, 8 inches cross the top and 8 inches from bottom to top. Small, portable, fits in Tana, fun to play, easy to learn, not expensive, and for its small size, the sound is surprisingly pleasant.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Tana on the Road, Goshen, Day 3 and 4 of the Rally

Wow, have been so busy I have not had 10 minutes free to sit here and blog/chat. So, where were we??

OHHH, ya, Day 3: Man spent it taking in seminars. Moi spent it spending $$ and $hopping with the gals in Shipshewana. We had quite a few trucks, full of gals with credit card$ and ca$h. We $hopped and had lunch, and $hopped some more. My $hopping gal pals:

One of our favorite eateries in Shipshewana.

All this $hopping meant the MOC $hopping gals were too tired to fix dinner, ok, not really, HAHA, but makes for a good story??

Tiara RV in Elkhart has been hosting a nice dinner for us during the Rally for about 3 years now. They did another outstanding job. Thanks Tiara!! Campfire was nice the evening of Day 2, lots more laughter and lie telling!

Day 3 of the Rally: Filled with seminars, this year we even had one given by the Decor Department of Keystone. The ladies had a lot of ideas for them! Thanks Keystone for adding this seminar to the agenda. Day 3 was THE POT LUCK! The MOC cooks out did themselves. Amazing! After dinner we were entertained by the Montanettes and their band, the Montunes.

Day 3, Terrie and I slipped back to Shipshewanna for about an hour and we both came home with lap harps. 20 minutes of practice and we were a duet! We played for a bit last night after the REAL entertainment.

No photos by Moi for Day 3, I was not toting the Canon Powershot.

Special friends John and Marge arrive late Day 3, so great to see them. Special friends John and Donna scheduled to arrive Day 4.

Rally on!!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tana on the Road, Goshen, Day 2 of the Rally, the rest of the story

Our evening meal was at the Miller's for a real home cooked Amish meal. Can we say WOW??

First tho, we had a visit with one of the sons in his furniture refinishing business. Very interesting.

Here comes the MOC!

We had over 100 come for dinner, the Miller's did a spectacular job serving HOT, delicious food.

And then there was desert.

Wednesday, on tap, more seminars for the dudes, SHOPPING for the dudettes!


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tana on the Road, Goshen, Day 2 of the Rally, Gals Gone MOC

The gals had a craft show, of sorts this afternoon. They are ONE batch of talented gals, see:

Above, quick cuddle blanket, VERY warm!

Above, beading bracelets.

Above tiny faces with hair, magnets or dress pins.

Above, scrapbooking.

Above, modern tie die, this was VERY clever!

Above, hand made note cards, WOW, beautiful!

Above, quick cut bathing suit covers.

Lots of oooooos, and ahhhhhhhs, from Tent 2 today!

There were also several seminars today. Man attended most, I attended the vet-newbie round table.


Tana on the Road, Goshen, Day 1 of the Rally, the rest of the story

After Man and Skip helped Don with the window replacement, Man and Skip worked on electrical stuff, for Skip. Skip is installing a EMS (Electrical Management System) on his brand new Montana and asked Man for assistance.

The rigs continued arriving, the parking crew were working hard, rumor has it that Rich will never ride a bike again!

Past Wagon Masters Jim and Carol arrived with much squealing. Again, MOC to the rescue. Several of the guys were over, had the tire and brakes apart before Jim could say, "Mmmmmmm, trouble". Yep, Jim, you are gonna need some brake work done.

Bill and Helen, your new Big Sky is too beautiful for words!

Just before the Meet and Greet, this fellow was spotted flying around the Fair Grounds.

Phil from Workin' RVers and I caught each other taking photos of each other. Phil's photo of Moi at least was in focus! SIGH. Guess I'll have to try again Phil.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Tana on the Road, Goshen, The Rally begins

Today was the first official day of the Montana Owners Club Fall Rally 2009.

Some had their rigs weighed.

A MOC member who now owns another brand and is in the area, had a spot of trouble today, they broke out a rear window. They were able to get a replacement immediately from the manufacturer, but needed help lifting it in and out, windows weigh a LOT! So, Man and Skip went right over there and helped Don get the busted window out:

And, not long after, Don had the new window in.

Last week Don and wife spent several hours washing the rig of another MOC forum member. WHY?? Because this forum member has been having some pretty serious health issues. Don and wife wanted to do something for this other member, because. Well because Don and wife are special people.

Man and Skip were very happy to be able to return the favor and help Don install his new window.

The Montana Owners Club is a special online forum, many of us become life long friends. Those friendships do not stop when one of us no longer owns a Montana.

As MOC members know, we consider ourselves more than a club or online forum, we consider ourselves family.

This is only part of why we value our MOC membership, friends and family.

And, this is not the only example of MOC helping MOC today. See the next blog entry for another fine example and a bit more about the day. Right now, it is very late, and tomorrow this Fall Rally really kicks into high gear!


Tana on the road, Goshen, pre-Rally day

THE Rally officially begins Monday, however, by Saturday evening 25 of the units had arrived and by Sunday evening 43 units were on the Rally site.

Man worked on the computers, air card and router till he tweaked ALL back into fine working order. (I wanted to say submission, but, I am sure they would all revolt if they heard that - yes, they hear all those insults - you just think they are machines!)

Visiting, laughing, hugs and catching up with friends, some we have only met via the forum, how wonderful to meet face to face.

The fellas will always find mechanical stuff to chat about, and even better - - FIX or INSTALL. See:

Some of the tools:

Some of the gals took a walk, led by Terrie, who did part of her daily with one group, and another half with Moi. Thanks Terrie, that was a great walk. YEA!!!

I found a few flowers to take photos of, including this pink lovely behind a fence. Found some roses over by the horse barns I want to try to digitally capture too.

A campfire at the end of a great pre-Rally day.

Monday, has started a bit dampish, but, that will not keep the MOC down. Rally on!!


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tana on the road, Goshen

Decided to come early for the MOC Rally. Pleasant drive in, cept for the Saturday Sunday drivers. It was a gorgeous fall afternoon, lots of people out enjoying, and enjoying pulling in front of that 22,000 pound Tana/Big Butt combo! Sure would be nice if they would pull out and then accelerate!

Set up in our site/home for the next week.

Router is sick, so, we are having a spot of trouble accessing the net. Challenge of life. Not even challenge of life on the road, just life.

But, as you can see, Man got something to work! WAHHOOO

Now, Rally on. About 75 units due, about 25 of them already here and the Rally does not start till tomorrow! We need a 2 week Rally! I'd bet that some of us would still arrive early!


Saturday, September 19, 2009

This 'n That, from Tana on the road, almost

As I nurse my morning cup of jo, I am still shaking my noggin at the interesting week of email from DOT employees to Moi.

Situation: reported road closure on the day our MOC Rally begins. Road closure notifications state, take detour, about a 15 mile detour.

However, being somewhat familiar with the area and with my trusty (?) Streets and Trips on the computer, I determine/question, that we should be able to take several alternative routes, except they all demand a crossing of the road to be closed.

So, I write to the DOT, I received polite responses, the request was passed on to DOT employees who should know the answer. I did not count the number of emails, somewhere around 8 - 10.

I asked a specific question, can I cross 4 if I am traveling on 13. First several responses did not answer the question. I wrote back, asking again. TA DA!! This AM in my email, one last response, with the answer. Yep, can cross 4 if on 13.

All of this matters if you are arriving the 21st or after, the date of closure. We decided to arrive a day or so early.

So, the fence sitter sits on this one, it took 2 sessions of asking to get the answer to question asked, but they get bonus points for staying with the assignment till finished!

Now, the coffee is gone from the cup, the brain is still non-functioning, which explains why none of this makes any sense whatsoever, I think I will go finish packing Tana. Where is my tshirt that says, "I don't do mornings!"?

Rally on!


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Treasure Chest Thursday, the Googly Eye Doll

This replica of a Googly Eye Doll was hand made in Germany. Son # 1 and his bride found a doll maker in Regensburg and brought this sweet thing home to me. Her oak high chair was made by Amish (either in the Elkhart County Indiana or Holmes County Ohio area).

I saw a photo of a very old Googly Eye Doll in a magazine and was immediately infatuated. I don't have a large doll collection, but I do have a few that caught my imagination and a spot in my heart. For me, it is usually love at first sight.

Tonight a little snooping on the Internet gave this description, "GOOGLY EYES: Big, round, side-glancing eyes, very popular on dolls from 1910s through the 1920s."

There were a lot of dolls with Googly Eyes for sale too! But I have mine and she is a treasure to me.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday, almost wordless

Photo of John Anthony Lombardini and Patricia Bell Croskey marriage November 27, 1983. He was a Roman Catholic Priest and she was a Roman Catholic Nun, both retired, they married in a civil service in 1978 and married in the Holy Syrian Orthodox Church in 1983. He subsequently returned to the Priesthood serving the Holy Syrian Orthodox Church. Both now deceased.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

This 'n That, changing gears, and other odds and ends

Below, some buggy creature that landed on my screen. No, I have NO idea what it is. But, I could not resist the challenge, will it photograph or not? (Don't forget to click on the photo to see it enlarged.)

Since we returned from our last Tana excursion we have been busy with friends, family, working on Tana (always tweaking something), scanning, and NOT cleaning my office.

Today, Mary and I took one township and stomped our way around, locating cemeteries, taking a photo or two, preparing to type the records over the winter. We had a nice lunch and enjoyed our day.

Fall is here, some of the maples are turning colors, the soy crops are turning yellow in the fields quickly. We are starting to have leaves fall to the ground.

These berries spotted on a Mother Nature bush in our yard, which means, we have no idea what kind of bush it is, but Mother Nature probably does.

We have back to back Rallies to attend in September and early October. Prep time will begin in full later this week. I have a class to prepare for one Rally, so, that will take up a bit of time. Time to check the supplies in Tana, lets see - - t-shirts, check; shorts, check; long pants, check; sweaters, check; coats, check. Dog food, leashes, check.

Yep, gonna be changing gears this week. Rally On!!


Monday, September 14, 2009

Carnival of Genealogy, 80th Edition, Family Fun, at the Amusement Park

The challenge for this carnival is: Research an event your ancestor may have attended. Did your ancestor live within a few blocks of the parade route for the annual Fourth of July parade in the town where they lived? If your family lived in a rural area, perhaps they attended a county or state fair. If they lived in a big city, perhaps they attended a play or movie opening. Was there an amusement park or traveling carnival near the area your family was from, one they might have visited? Were there fireworks displays in the town your family was from? How much do you know about the types of entertainment your ancestors might have enjoyed? ... This "fun" edition of the Carnival of Genealogy will be hosted by Jasia on the Creative Gene blog.

Here is a real cute photo of of Son # 2, and as cute as this is, does not really fit the challenge. In fact, he is not an ancestor, but, is FAMILY. (I ended up taking a bit of creative license with this challenge to include FAMILY.)

Then, I remembered this great photo of Man and his Mother on a roller coaster. He told me it was taken at Edgewater. Edgewater was opened in 1927 and closed in 1981. It was at 7 Mile and Berg in Detroit.

When I was growing up out in Oakland County Michigan we went to Walled Lake Amusement Park, 13 Mile and Novi Road. It opened in 1919 and closed in 1968. When it closed many of the rides were moved to Edgewater. I did not know that, find it interesting. No photos of Moi in attendance at Walled Lake tho.

When Man and Moi first started dating, Bob-lo Island was still an amusement park. You would ride an excursion steamer, two were the Columbia and the Ste. Claire, from Detroit to the Island (Canadian friends also loved Bob-lo, only I don’t remember the specifics of how the arrived at the Island.) Bob-lo Island was closed in 1993 and the Island now is the site of a residential community.

Man and Moi took the Midnight Cruise one weekend, believe it was late August 1967. Not sure which steamer we were on, but, we never got to the Island, the boat had mechanical problems shortly after leaving the dock and we spent the next several long hours sitting on the Detroit River. Man, Moi, my brother, sister-in-law and nephew took the boat/steamer to Bob-lo Amusement Park in 1989. It was a glorious weather day and we all had a grand time. Photo of brother, sister-in-law and nephew.

When our children were growing up one of the amusement parks they just loved was Cedar Point. I know there are family photos of visits to Cedar Point, but they are not scanned, have to put that on the to do list. Do have this one of Son #3 tho.

Four amusement parks played a big part of our families' lives, three are gone. Bitters sweet memories of family fun.