September, 2011
September started off with a bang!  It was Labor Day weekend, and we drove the rig from the Toledo area to Jackson, Michigan and parked in front of Mary's mother's condo for
five nights.  We worked through our lists of things to do for Mom and things to do getting the RV and tow car ready for the longer trip west.  We had plenty of time for visiting,
relaxing, playing card games and a trip to the movies in between chores.  We had several days of cool, rainy weather but one evening was clear enough for the fireworks at the
Cascades County Park.  We could watch the fireworks from Mom's driveway...pretty handy!
Tuesday, September 6 was our departure day and we headed to Elkhart, Indiana...the RV Capital of the World, they claim!  Our intent was to get estimates for having several
things done to the RV.  We stopped at Elite RV Service and Restoration, were pleased with their estimates and also with the fact that they had time to do the work.  We had no
real travel schedule, so we had them get started.  Because the weather was a little rainy and they were working on paint and caulking on the roof, we "camped" inside the
service facility for three nights.  They didn't quite finish before the weekend, so we parked outside Saturday and Sunday.   While they were working on the RV we had plenty of
time to catch up on our reading and shopping and do a little sight-seeing.  Somehow in our several stays in the area over the last ten years we had not gone to the RV and
Mobile Home Museum and Hall of Fame.  They have a very large collection of "campers" and "motor homes" going back one hundred years.  Most of the early ones were
"home-made" and very inventive.  Things sure have changed over the years!  It was fun to see all those improvements!  Work on the RV (outside safety grab bar and slide
toppers replaced; roof recaulked; roof cap sanded, repainted and clear-coated, body paint touch-ups) was completed by noon on Monday, September 12 and we hit the road
once again.
Our route took us south to Indianapolis and then west on I-70.  But, our travel was not without its complications.  There was more than plenty construction in the Indianapolis
area and we didn't get as far as we had hoped that first day. The next morning we were "greeted" with a dead battery in the tow car (in spite of the fact that we had religiously
followed the instructions in the owner's manual).  AAA was "johnny-on-the-spot" and had the car running in no time.  We drove around for about 45 minutes before hooking it up
to begin towing again.  Our second night was spent west of St. Louis and in the morning there were some issues with "idiot lights" on the dash of the car, but the battery was
working fine.  Things were looking up!
A colorful display signalled the end of summer at
the Cascades Park in Jackson, MI for Labor Day
Our "home away from home" for a week...Elite RV
Services in Elkhart, IN
It was dark and cozy at night inside the building.
The RV/MH Hall of Fame had displays of 100 years of
RVs...pretty interesting!
Wildlife existed in the city...a visitor at Elite
Not native to Elkhart, but there are a lot of elks in town...
...painted by various businesses and organizations.
Night three was spent at the Downstream Casino just west of Joplin, MO.  We have stayed here several times before to take advantage of their free parking with full hookups.  
While parked here we decided to tackle a project on our washer/dryer as suggested by the Splendide distributor we had visited in Elkhart....cleaning out the vent hose to
improve the drying efficiency.  We got the vent pretty well cleaned, but in the process managed to do something that made the inside drum no longer work.  Ooops!   The next
day we contacted the distributor again and were given the name of several repair technicians.  Of course, the closest one could not see us till sometime in October.  So, we got
on the road and left messages with several others along our path.  During our travel day we heard back from a place in the Oklahoma City area who felt they could fix us up and
offered us a place to park for the night.  We arrived at Nunn Electric in Moore, OK around 4:00 to discover that they operated their business from their home.  The family
(husband, wife and 14 yr old son) came out to welcome us, hooked us up to a 30amp plug and the son (who is well on his way to being a Splendide repairman) and father went to
work on our washer/dryer.  Within a short time, we were back in the laundry business, with the "belt" back on track and a rubber gasket patched until a replacement can be
ordered.  The Nunns then invited us to join them for dinner at Golden Corral so we wouldn't have to unhook our car to go someplace in the cold rainy weather.  What great new
friends we have in Oklahoma!
Night four was a cold and dreary one and the following morning we were on our way quickly...heading south into Texas.  At our lunch stop we followed our new routine of
starting the car engine for a bit...unfortunately the battery was dead again.  AAA said it would be two or three hours before someone could help us, so Tom got to thinking and
ended up getting out our jumper cables and finding that they reached, connecting the coach and the car.  We were back in business again.  By 5:00 we had arrived in Abilene.  
We had hoped to park the rig at the VFW post where they have 23 RV sites, but take no reservations.  Sadly, they were full and expected to stay that way for a while as they also
have no limit on stays.  However, they did claim this to be an unusual situation.  So, we parked at Walmart for two nights while we spent time investigating all the RV parks in the
area trying to decide which one would work best for a stay of a couple weeks while visiting our daughter and her family's new hometown.  None of the Abilene RV parks are what
we would call "destination" parks, but we chose the Abilene RV Park at Exit 292B on I-20.  The manager is very friendly and helpful and the price is right.  We were about a 20
minute drive to visit the grandchildren.
Ann and her family had only been in Abilene for a little over a week, living in a very sparsely furnished rental home, but the granddaughters were already involved in school
activities, softball teams and dance lessons, and Girl Scouts.  Their Dad is still working in Pennsylvania, so Grandpa and Grandma helped out with transportation and a few
meals, and Mary tagged along to Open House at the Intermediate School.  In our free time we worked on learning our way around Abilene, finding what the community has to
offer and relearning how to drive on the crazy Texas road system which we had spent time on for several years visiting Mary's mom in the Rio Grande Valley.  Although
confusing, we will say it is pretty easy to get around Abilene once you learn which freeway access roads are "two-way" and which are "one-way" and in which direction!   It
seems that since we started full-timing we have been away from family for our youngest granddaughter, Merrick's, birthday most years.  This year, with their move to a place on
our route west, we were together for birthday number 11.  The celebration was spread over several days thanks to activity schedules and the fact that Dad came to town for the
weekend following the big day.  We attended the Wylie High School homecoming football game and got a feel for the Texas "Friday Night Lights" we hear about.  Our oldest
granddaughter, Coffey, is a new member of the marching band in the very spirited community.  We were quite impressed with the beautiful stadium and athletic complex.
We sailed right through downtown St. Louis at rush
hour and got a fleeting glance of the arch (which
we had visited a couple times before)
By the end of September we were all becoming more comfortable in the Abilene area.  Our daughter and her family were "into" their new routines and looking forward to getting
more settled with a new home and new jobs.  We had been dealing with some electrical issues in the RV park and eventually decided that we needed a new "board" on the
Dutch Star electrical management system.  So along with refrigerator and washing machine repairs, we sent for a new part and replaced the electrical board.  Guess there are
always repairs to be made "around the house."   However, unlike our daughter's family who moved to a new house, we'll soon be moving the 'old house' on to another location
as we return to Arizona.  Stay tuned!
A very nice rental home for our granddaughters
and their parents.
Merrick, the birthday girl, showed off class projects at the
Wylie Intermediate School open house.
Lake Fort Phantom Hill is the Abilene water
reservoir and is at its lowest level in years, making
water restrictions mandatory.
The entrance to the Abilene Wylie High School
stadium...three stories with an elevator and a huge
glassed in press box and live video screens under the
stands.
The scoreboard can play live video and instant replays
The Wylie Bulldogs enter the field from the athletic
facilities through the large inflatable helmet.
Our granddaughter is a
member of the "Pure Gold"
marching band.
Ann, Matt and Merrick making a turn on the go-karts at the
PrimeTime Entertainment Center where we went to celebrate
Merrick's birthday.
The family all set for a game of Laser Tag in the dark at
PrimeTime.
The pool at the Abilene RV Park provides a little
relief on the 90*+ days.
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