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July started where we left off in June....parked in the lot next to Spartan Chassis in Charlotte, Michigan, waiting for service.  Our coach was serviced and inspected right on
schedule and the items we had requested were taken care of right away.  During the inspection it was discovered that we had a "cracked steering bracket."  Spartan would
need to order the replacement part, it would take about 10 days to arrive, and we were asked to NOT drive the coach in the meantime.  Ooops....we were approaching full
holding tanks when we went in for service and there are no sewer or water hookups at Spartan.  We had to pay to have our tanks pumped out and creep up to the Spartan
offices after hours to use an outside faucet to refill our freshwater tank.  As we settled in for an unexpected stay, we discovered the other "residents" in the Spartan lot were
also waiting for the same part.  Hmmm....! ?

While awaiting our part, we were able to drive the car to Jackson, MI for several visits with Mary's mom and into East Lansing, MI to visit with our son, Reid.  Reid stopped by
on July 4th and we traded heading for a fireworks display for an evening at the movies in an old fashioned small town theater.   We did some yard chores at Reid's and one
evening shared one of his tasty dinners with ingredients from his vegetable gardens.   There was also an "RV Owners Training School" going on at Spartan and during the
week, we enjoyed getting to know the participants as we gathered in the parking lot in the evenings.  By the end of our service time there, about 14 coaches had gathered so
one of the ladies organized a big pizza dinner.  Rvers are always a friendly bunch!  We had assumed we would be in Toledo by then and had made a doctor appointment, so
one day we made the round trip to Ohio to take care of that.   

It was a challenge to go 9 days without water and sewer hookups, but we did it!  Our part arrived and was installed and we discovered that Spartan has issued a recall for
coaches manufactured between 2006 and 2011 that have the same part.  
From Charlotte, we moved only about 30 miles to the Ingham County Fairgrounds in Mason, MI.  This brought us to the closest RV hookups to East Lansing, and Reid's home.  
Mason is a charming little town with several good restaurant and grocery choices.  We were able to take care of various errands in Lansing and to share some time with
Reid.  Reid and his friend Kathleen joined us for brunch one Sunday and shared tales of their latest biking and water adventures. Passing the campus of Michigan State each
time we headed to Reid's we decided to check out the "Michigan Ag Expo" while it was taking place.  There were displays of anything and everything a farmer would need
over quite a few acres.  We're not sure why we decided to take that tour on the hottest day of the year so the highlight of the visit was the free ice cream from the MSU
dairy!!  Being parked in Mason also brought us close enough to Brighton, MI where we drove to have a fun visit with Palm Creek friends Nancy and Ron Restum.  They have a
beautiful home on a small lake...a definite contrast to our Palm Creek landscape...and hosted us for a tasty meal and a refreshing boat ride.  We'll be looking forward to seeing
them on the tennis courts again next winter.       Also while we were at the fairgrounds we walked over to watch a 4-H horse show and competition.  It was an extremely hot
weekend and the families there were working hard to keep their horses and kids cool and to participate...a lot of cost and effort there!
Our next "parking" spot was in Jackson, Michigan where we made ourselves at home in front of Mary's Mom's condo.  Our electric hookup was only enough to keep our
batteries charged, so with no A/C on some of the hottest days (and nights) of the year, Mary chose to sleep inside the condo.  We had a good visit and some great games of
dominoes with Mom, and were able to take care of some errands and small chores.   After several days there we drove on to Maumee, OH for an overnight stay in the lot at
the Bridgeway Cummins Service Center.  First thing the next morning the tech took a look at our exhaust manifold and confirmed what the folks at Spartan had told us  -  that
we had a leaky gasket or two.  While Tom supervised the repairs, Mary took the opportunity to do some major "browsing" at two of her favorite local retailers..The
Andersons ( a locally owned Super Walmart type place) and The Quilt Foundary.  To our surprise and glee, the engine repairs were completed in 4 hours and at half the cost
So, after three weeks without full hookups we moved on to the "old hometown" and checked in at the Big Sandy Campground outside of Toledo.  Its a small and quiet
operation where we parked in the same site we have occupied for the last three years - and with the same neighbors who spend the summer here.  The owner and the
neighbors all asked "Where have you been?"  The new washer/dryer that we'd had installed at the end of June finally was put into operation, and we like the fact that it
operates much more quietly and smoothly.  We checked in with family and friends and began the schedule of trying to get together with everyone.  At the top of the list was
visiting Tom's mom at her senior community.  She's been quite lively at our several visits so far.  Our former neighbors, Dick and Liz hosted us for a wonderful evening
dinner on their patio where we could gaze at our old back yard forest...so green with all the rain they've had here.  Good friends Kathy and Dennie hosted us as well, and
came to the RV for a fun night of dinner and dominoes, too.   
While driving past the community park where we used to take our kids and grandkids we noticed a sign inviting us to the Grand Opening of the new Pickleball courts at the
park.  We arrived at the park at the appointed hour and found that the old, dilapidated tennis and basketball courts had been totally rebuilt and there were 2 shiny, new
Pickleball courts next to them.  The mayor of the small suburb of Toledo had become a player and encouraged the village to build the courts.  And, there to "get the balls
flying" was a guy from Palm Creek, Al Hager.  We don't know him personally, but were aware that the avid pickleball guy lives in the area and he brought the local players
out to "christen" the courts.  
We're not often in town for family celebrations, so we were happy to be invited to a birthday celebration for our great niece, Paige, the daughter of Tom's godson, John.  It
was a fun afternoon and we got to see some family members we hadn't seen in some time.  Another "new experience" was an evening at "Fifth-Third Field" in downtown
Toledo.  We'd been past it several times since it opened a couple years ago but this time we went inside with Dick and Liz Lehto to attend a Mud-Hens baseball game.  
Sadly, the Mud-Hens lost to the Durham Bulls.  But, we had a great time!   Earlier that day, Tom and Dick had ventured to the golf course...it had been a while since Tom had
played and he says it wasn't his best day on the course!  Meanwhile, Mary had worked on her "lunch and shopping" skills with her friend Kathy Dew.         We finished out
the month with a great dinner and visit with Tom's sister, Judy and her husband Ron at their home.      
We made the best of our time in the parking lot at
Spartan...and made some new friends in the process.
Tom used the power washer on all the outside surfaces
around Reid's house.
Reid has become quite the "farmer" and has many different
vegetables and herbs growing in his yard.
The Ingham County Courthouse has been beautifully
preserved and sits in a beautiful town square in Mason, MI.
Reid and his friend Kathleen joined us for brunch one
Sunday at the RV in Mason.
Nancy and Ron Restum took us on a tour of their lake via
their pontoon boat...a pleasant ride on a hot afternoon.
This MSU Spartan was made
from recycled cans and other
Tom picked out this tractor as a possible substitute for the
It was close to 100* the afternoon we watched the horse
competition at the Ingham County Fairgrounds.
We discovered the shiny new pickleball courts at
Strawberry Acres Park in
our old neighborhood of Holland, OH
Mayor Mike Yunker had invited members of the Toledo
Pickleball Club, including Al Hager from Palm Creek, to
get the ball rolling at the grand opening of the courts.
We've enjoyed many domino games with Kathy and
Dennie wile we've been in town.
The ball game itself is only part of the fun at the ball
park...we liked this guy's hat.
And in Toledo, of course there is the antics
of "Muddy the Mud-Hen."
Happy 8th Birthday to our great-neice, Paige.
We're looking forward to more friends and family time over the next couple of weeks.