July 2009
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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!

Our 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!

We boarded a boat and headed into the dark cave...and had to duck a little in places as we passed through narrow passages of rock.
It was a long trek down...and later up...to and from the opening of the Penn's Cave which is in the middle of a rural 
area near Centre Hall, PA.
Merrick, Close and Coffey found head football coach, Joe Paterno, standing in the visitor center at Penn State.

Last 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.

We found a pleasant place in the shade for our Independence Day picnic....
and a good view of the "Bicentennial Entertainment Pavilion" at the Bloomsburg Town Park.
Matt and Ann, Merrick, Close and Coffey helped us celebrate the holiday.
Happy Birthday, U. S. A.

Ann 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!

Tom tried out a different vehicle....and decided he doesn't miss doing yard work.
Grandpa got the fire going, and the girls melted the marshmallows for our S'mores.
There were ponds and a creek at the campground for our fishing enjoyment.
Close was the winning fisherman of the day!

Saturday, 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 the season.

Boomer the lumberjack is the mascot for the Crosscutters Ball Team.
The Girl Scouts escorted the Crosscutter players out to center field for the National Anthem.
Coffey announced the beginning of Inning Number 3 just before the thunder and lightning began.
This isn't the best weather for a ball game.  The game was "called" after the second inning.

A 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!

You know you're in Hershey, Pennsylvania when all the streetlights look like giant candy kisses.
Want to go again?  When crowds were sparse in the evening, they just kept going and going and going!
The giant swinging boat was fun for Tom, Matt and the girls.
It's called "Fahrenheit - 97* and falling"
We love Hershey bars!

It 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.

Does a "full house" beat" four-of-a-kind?"  Once they learned the basics, they used soda can pull-tabs to bet with.  They're quick learners!
Our site at J&D Campground in Elysburg, PA was very pleasant - especially on weekdays.

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!

Just a few of the 2725 coaches attending the FMCA Convention in Bowling Green, OH July 20-24.
The vendors filled the two wings of the BGSU Field House.....lots to choose from.
Our friends Chris and Jim Guld of "Geeks On Tour" gave seven different computer related seminars.
Newly retired Dick Lehto, our ex-neighbor, brought his bike to find us on campus and visit his former Goodyear Tire colleagues in the vendor area.
Mary discovered that she and her new friend Carol Herr had many "mutual friends" through RV-Dreams.com.
We enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with friends Jo Gettys and Jacques Everhart at the rally.  We had traveled to Alaska and to the Canadian Maritimes with Jacques several years ago.

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.

The rowers in the Dragon Boats tried to row in rhythm with the drum beater at the front of the boat...whew, that's a lot of work.
Downtown Toledo from the east side 
of the Maumee River
Our friends from Las Vegas, Bonnie and Don Wolfe were also staying at Harbortown RV Resort...another chance to visit with friends.

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!