A busy month was upon us. We had several more weeks reserved at the J&D Campground near our daughter Ann's home in Elysburg, PA. This is a family owned and operated campground and it is very well laid out and maintained. There are about 275 sites with between a half and two-thirds of them occupied by "seasonals." Obviously a lot of people agree with our view that it is a great campground because they are completely full every weekend and are already booked for next year. There is lots of open space, plenty of activity opportunities and the swimming pool has a lifeguard. The sites are wide and level - which is strange in this area of every road having a 6% to 8% grade!
first adventure for the month was "Penn's Cave." Mary and Ann took
the girls on a 75 mile drive to Centre Hall, PA. The cave is the
only all water cavern in the US and was opened as a commercial attraction
in the 1800's. The Seneca Indians legend tells of a French explorer thrown
into the cave to die because he insisted he wanted to marry the maiden
Nitanee. The Penn State mascot's name was taken from the name of
the Indian maiden. Today the cave is a usual tourist attraction,
complete with restaurant and gift shop and a wildlife park attached.
We enjoyed a guided tour/boat ride through the caverns and out the other
side into a small man-made lake. Inside the cave we viewed the many
natural formations and a light show. Since we were so
close to State College, PA we headed on over to check out the Penn State
campus. (No comparison, in our view, to The Ohio State University!)
But, we did make a stop at the Creamery for a yummy treat. The School
of Agriculture operates a dairy and has a wonderful ice cream parlor.
Boy, would that be hard to pass up while walking to and from classes!
area near Centre Hall, PA.
year we had gone to the town of Bloomsburg to see the Fourth of July
Fireworks. It was a great display and this year we packed up a picnic
dinner and went a little earlier so that we could have better seats and
be there in time to enjoy the concert in the bandshell put on by the Catawissa
Military Band. We heard some great patriotic music, saw some fantastic
fireworks and the weather was perfect.
and Matt didn't have any "really big projects" for us to tackle on our
visit this year so we just fit ourselves into the usual daily routines.
Coffey and Close finished out their softball seasons, Coffey had weekly
oboe lessons, and all of us being somewhat voracious readers, we made weekly
trips to the library. Mary did get out the sewing machine and whip
up some new PJs for the family. Ann is the manager of a small apartment
complex in Elysburg and was offered the extra responsibility of cleaning
the "common" areas. There is not much involved in that, so for the
summer the three girls are taking on the job. With a check list,
a little arguing about who get to do what, and three of them, it takes
them about half an hour to get the job done. Their salary is going
towards their trip to the ocean in August. Grandma and Grandpa provided
some transportation and lunches out to help the job along. When the
facility maintenance man went on vacation Tom and Matt pitched in to do
some yard work. Tom spent several hours on the lawn tractor - something
he hasn't done in a long time! Many evenings we enjoyed shooting
hoops out on the driveway and making S'mores and "pudgie pies" in the McCurdy's
back yard fire pit or at the campground after an evening dip in the pool.
Tom and Matt enjoyed a weekly challenge at the golf course. The final
score was in Tom's favor!
July 11 the whole family made a trip to Williamsport to attend the "Crosscutters"
(a minor league affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies) baseball game with
the area Girl Scout Council. The scouts accompanied the ball players
onto the field for the National Anthem. Coffey and Close were chosen
to be "inning kids." They were given special T-shirts and got to
run up and down in front of the stands carrying large signs with numerals
for each inning. Unfortunately, just at the beginning of the third
inning the skies opened and the rain poured down. We had great seats
under cover so we sat and watched as the grounds crew covered the field
with huge tarps. An hour later they finally called off the game and
we headed home. The family will be using the rain-checks later in
local grocery chain had run a promotion in June.....for every $40 spent
on certain products this week you will receive a free ticket to Hershey
Park. Mary and Ann managed to stock up on enough of the certain products
that we would have bought eventually anyway, to get seven free tickets.
So, we were off to Hershey. The tickets were good for a one day admission
plus a "preview evening" from 7:30 to 10pm the night before. Since
Hershey is only a 70 minute drive from the McCurdy's house we took advantage
of the preview on Sunday, July 12. We even went to Hershey early
enough in the day to do some outlet shopping and to take a free tour through
"Chocolate World," the ride-through simulated factory tour. The Sunday
night lines at the roller-coasters were short, so we got in a lot of rides
in a short time. We were back home and in bed by midnight and by
10:30 Monday morning we were back in line at the park. Having Grandma
and Grandpa along made it easy for the group to split up and re-group as
different rides were chosen, especially when most of the family headed
into the "Boardwalk" water park in mid-afternoon. It was especially
fun when the crowds dwindled in the late evening and we got to ride a few
rides over and over because there were no lines. It was a great adventure!
was sad to leave the family behind. We had the girls stay at the
RV for one last "overnight" and we tried to stretch out the day.
Grandpa had taught them how to play poker so there were some hours of card
games and a last trip to the pool, a B-B-Q dinner and some last S'mores.
We had a last lunch out with Ann and the girls at Wendy's in Bloomsburg
and then headed west on I-80 back to Ohio on July 16.
When we reached Ohio we spent one night on the Ohio Turnpike and then after a fuel stop at Flying J, moved on to the Bass Pro Shop in Perrysburg. There we made a rendezvous with our buddy Jacques Everhart and on Sunday, July 19th joined the parade of motor homes heading south on I-75 to the campus of Bowling Green State University. Actually, the RVs had started arriving in BG during the previous week for the FMCA (Family Motor Coach Association) International Convention, but our appointed arrival time was between 8am and noon on Sunday. By giving us an appointed arrival time they had staggered the arrival of the thousands of coaches. We were quickly parked in the football stadium parking lot and our week at the convention had begun. Coincidentally, we were parked directly across from friends from our former home in the Toledo suburbs that we hadn't seen in several years. David and Rosemary Baggett are now also fulltimers and we were both taking advantage of the convention being held just 15 miles from "home."
During our week at the
convention we attended many, many seminars and walked the miles of vendor
booths several times to make sure we weren't missing something we 'just
had to have.' Tom also connected with factory reps for several things
installed in our coach that he had concerns about, but unfortunately, at
this point, none of our problems have been resolved. Our washer/dryer
is acting strangely, our main awning is problematic, and the Diamond Shield
on the front of the coach is a "mess." But, we have information and
more knowledge about them all! In BG we also made connections with
friends from Palm Creek, Chris and Jim Guld, who as "Geeks On Tour" were
giving computer seminars. Also in attendance at the convention were
quite a few friends from our days as members of the Michigan-O-Bounders.
We enjoyed seeing Gayle and Gary Cooper, Jim and Judy Shank, and Bob and
Carolyn Buell. We heard that others were there, but we didn't run
into them. New friends were also on the agenda, as Mary started talking
to the person next to her one day...and discovered that they had actually
read each other's messages on-line through the "RV-Dreams" website and
had many "mutual friends" through various RV Blogs. Its truly a "small
world." We enjoyed several evenings of entertainment, but one evening
had to be canceled because of weather. We moved from the stadium
to the indoor arena for the last evening. The facilities for this
convention were great. We were able to take advantage of air-conditioned
lecture halls for the seminars, the Student Union for meals and snacks
and the FMCA had everything well organized for transportation around campus.
We had a great time!
When the FMCA Convention
was over we drove right up I-75 to Monroe, MIchigan and the Harbortown
RV Resort. We have stayed here often since we began our full-time
adventure as it is the most comfortable RV park in the Toledo area....well,
we thought it was comfortable till we discovered we'd picked up some mice
somewhere. (the big grassy field in BG???) So, for the week we were
at Harbortown it was "man against beast." At this writing, sadly,
the beast(s) are winning!!! From Harbortown we were able to
make our annual visits to the dentist and eye doctor and to see various
friends and family. We made several stops to see Tom's mother at
the senior community where she lives and took time to drive around some
of our old neighborhoods to see how things have been changing. Dragon
boat races on the Maumee River drew us to the downtown waterfront one afternoon.
It was nice to be able to run some of our errands in familiar territory.
We'd also been having trouble with the microwave/convection oven that we'd
had installed in April while in Arizona, so the General Electric serviceman
made two visits. However, we still have a problem and we'll be looking
for a parts shipment in the mail and another service call down the road.
of the Maumee River
On July 31 we turned west
once again, heading first to Jackson, Michigan for a few days with Mary's
mother. Then we'll be heading for lots more
adventure...eventually to the Pacific. So, stay tuned!