October 2014
An experience we hadn't had in quite a few years....fall in the Midwest.  We spent the first few days of October in Nappanee, Indiana having service completed at Newmar on the
Dutch Star.  The crystallized glass window in our living area has been replaced and a few other things taken care of.  While we were waiting, we checked out a few things in
town...visited the "quilt garden" sites where flowers were used to create a colorful quilt block in king-size.  There were 20 gardens around Elkhart County if you want to take the
complete tour on the "heritage trail."  At the end of the season the garden clubs in Elkhart and in Nappanee each fill a whole block of the city streets with mums to create a giant
"carpet."          We also visited the "Coppes Commons" which is an old factory building that has been converted into small shops with locally made items.  We even stopped into
CVS and got our flu shots.

When we got things taken care of in Nappanee we moved on to Charlotte, MI and the Spartan Chassis Service Center.  The plan was to have the 44-point checkup and a lube
job...but of course, in the inspection they found a few things they felt needed to be done for our safety on the road.  Luckily, we had allowed a little extra time ( but not a lot of extra
cash for the projects :-) )  The parking lot at Spartan, like the one at Newmar in Nappanee, was a busy place.  The waiting lounge was full of friendly people.  And the weather
started to change...we had some nasty rain and hail.  What were we doing in this part of the country in October???
With most of the service projects taken care of (of course, a part needed to be ordered and we'd need to returnlater to Charlotte) we headed for Kalamazoo, MI and parked at the
Markin Glen County Park.  What a beautiful park!  We had a wide, paved, pull-through site with a concrete patio and full hook-ups with 50amp.  The park has several miles of hiking
trails and connects to the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail.  There is a beach on one of two lakes and plenty of recreational facilities.  It was fairly busy on the weekends and quiet
during the week.  We were now poised for the big occasion - Reid's wedding.  We spent the couple weeks before the wedding learning our way around the area and enjoying the
change of color.  We made a couple trips to visit Mary's mom who was an hour away and ran some errands for the bride and groom.  We also had to make some wardrobe
improvements as retired RVers don't own much in the "formal" category.  Reid and Kathleen joined us for dinner once or twice - they have busy schedules!   One day we drove to
nearby Grand Rapids and toured the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum.  Because we remembered the Ford era and events we really enjoyed the displays.  Almost daily we took
advantage of park trails and walked around the lakes in the county park.
Finally, it was time for the big occasion.  We moved our "stuff" to a hotel near the wedding venue for a two night stay.  Our granddaughters along with Ann and Matt arrived via
airplane from Texas.  Kathleen hosted the rehearsal at her home.  It was a gorgeous fall day and a fun get-together with Reid's former boss who was to perform the ceremony
walking us through what would happen at the big event.  After the rehearsal we headed to the Arcadia Brewing Company along the Kalamazoo River in downtown Kalamazoo.  The
food was fantastic and it was a fun evening for us getting to meet some of Kathleen's family and friends.

Bright and early on October 25 we arrived at the Celery Flats Trailhead in suburban Kalamazoo.  Kathleen had organized a 5K Run/Walk on one of the many,many trails in the city
area.  It was still cold and dark when we left the hotel but by the time we were all lined up ready to "go" we had daylight and 60* temperatures.  Some of us completed the 5K a little
faster than others - or should I say slower?  But, we all had a good time!           
Occasions such as weddings often bring family and friends together who have not seen each other for a long time.  We were so happy to see a few relatives and friends from
around the country.  Our daughter, Ann, husband Matt and granddaughters Coffey, Close and Merrick made a short (in time)  trip from Texas for the occasion as well.  And we
enjoyed meeting so many of Kathleen's wonderful family and friends...a fun group!
When it was all over we had to once again face the "real world."  The county park campground was closing down for the winter, so we had to be on our way.  We had some beautiful
days during our stay there, but we also had a good share of damp and rainy ones and even a "hard frost' one morning that brought temperatures below freezing and had Tom
disconnect the water hose and heat the utility compartment.  Brrrr.      On Monday morning after the wedding we took the RV to an auto-audio store to have our dash radio/CD
player replaced.  Tom had removed the old, non-working one from its place, took a look at the huge tangle of wires behind it and brought in the "pro."  We will have tunes along the
highway again!    Next order of business was a several day return stop at the Spartan Chassis Service Center in Charlotte, MI.  When we were there several weeks previous, the
air-conditioning compressor had quit working as they took the rig for its final test drive after other service.  Parts had to be ordered, so we made the appointment to return.  The
service parking lot, with electric hookups, was just as busy as it had been on our previous visit...over a dozen rigs waiting their turn for various work.  Spartan also manufactures
fire trucks, so there was a constant stream of those passing by as well.
One of three quilt garden blocks in Nappanee, this one
is an old one-room schoolhouse.
This one was outside the old factory turned into shops -
called "Tools of the Trade" showing a ruler and other
tools.
The "Tulip Garden" was outside a Dutch  restaurant.
The 7000 pots of mums had just been placed when we
viewed the "carpet."  Another week had them blooming,
then sold to raise money for charity.
All over Nappanee we also found the painted apples in
celebration of the annual apple festival.  Guess where this one
was located!
This apple was near the
schoolhouse quilt garden.
We did a "double take" when we saw this RV parked near the
supermarket...it first appeared as though the buggy was
hooked up as an unusual tow car.
We took several drives and walks
in the countryside during our stay in Kalamazoo.  We definitely enjoyed the
color changes, even on cloudy days.
We spied this old patrol car on a corner in Paw Paw, MI
The Gerald Ford Presidential Library sits along the
Grand River in Grand Rapids, MI
The wedding rehearsal was in Kathleen's back yard
on a beautiful afternoon.
Arcadia Brewing Company was the place for a buffet
dinner and a choice of craft beers.
Whose idea was this?  It's only 8am, barely light and damp outside.  
Kathleen yelled "go" and we were off on a 5K.
How far to the half-way point bridge?
They weren't at the head of the pack, but they weren't far behind on the
return leg.  Some of us were still heading out.
Our granddaughter, Close, passed us up, too.
Ahhhh, the bridge...just a few steps to the half-way point!
After the 5K the crowd was off in many directions to get ready for the big event.  We gathered once again in the late afternoon at the Lawton Community Center in the little town of
Lawton, west of Kalamazoo.  What a perfect venue!  The cobblestone building was the site of Michigan's oldest winery and is operated by the local Lions Club.  The lowest level
contains a museum with space for hosting a cocktail hour. The middle level has a beautiful room which opens to the outdoors with a huge garage type door where the ceremony
was held.  The upper level has a gorgeous dining room complete with fireplace.  And the highest level contains the bar.  (That was a popular room early in the reception as Reid
and Kathleen had inadvertently scheduled the wedding for the same time as the Michigan/Michigan State football game...important to many of the guests)  The outdoor area is also
very scenic and we were able to be outside at times.     Various friends of the bride provided the flowers, the wedding cupcakes and the ceremony music.  There didn't appear to
be a "hitch" in the proceedings and we all had a very enjoyable evening.  We are proud and excited to have Kathleen join our family.  She is a wonderful lady...a special ed teacher
with a PhD who loves outdoor adventure and activities.  We think, between the two of them, Reid and Kathleen have enough outdoor gear for almost any type of activity to open an
adventure store.
Here comes the bride...and her parents!
The ceremony is under way.
The wedding party...The bride's attendants Amy, Ben and sister
Megan; Kathleen, Reid; best man Tom and college Reid's buddy Dan.
The bride and groom...Dr. Kathleen Kroll
and Mr. T. Reid Williams
The Williams' clan...Tom and Mary, Reid and Kathleen,
Coffey, Close, Merrick, Ann and Matt
Tom gave a wonderful toast to the bride and groom.
The wedding cake was many tasty cupcakes.
Mary's brother Bill and sister-in-law Beth joined us for the celebration.
Reid was happy to have Mary's Mom and cousin Kathryn
among the guests.
Coffey, Close and Merrick have been
waiting a long time to
"marry off" Uncle Reid.
Ann and Matt wouldn't have missed the occasion.
For more about Reid and Kathleen's wedding click to go to  
www.kathleenandreid.com  and our Picasa web album.
While parked in Charlotte we celebrated our 47th wedding anniversary...a rather quiet occasion in a factory parking lot!  But once repairs were complete on the RV, we took a side
trip to visit Mary's Mom in Jackson and had a short visit with Reid and Kathleen.  Then on Thursday morning, October 30,  we hitched up the car and headed south and west.  The
beautiful fall colors in this part of the country were all but gone and harvesting of farm crops was well under way.  We passed a lot of big machinery working in the fields.  We
finished out the month of October by crossing the Mississippi River and the state of Missouri on our way west.  
return to our "home page"
return to "What we've been doing..."
They were no doubt racing the weather...we saw lots of
harvesting going on as we crossed Inidiana and Illinois.
And on the Mississippi River canals there were
several barges putting along.
The end of the month found us in colder weather than we prefer...we had some chilly
travel nights and are looking forward to a sunnier and warmer November in the southwest
.