The drive from Charlotte, MI to Elkhart, IN was 107 miles, about half on two-lane roads. The space we got in Elkhart Campground was long, but a bit narrow:
We also found out their system could not handle the load of a washer/dryer so Diane used the campground Laundromat. We later learned it was a water pressure issue, so we could have run our own washer/dryer since the campground was fairly empty.
We roamed around Elkhart, checking out the RV Surplus stores. We also drove down to Newmar in Nappanee to see how the service center camping looked and found some friends from the Spartan rally already setup, including Rita and Roland, Yvonne and Ed, and Beverly and Steve.
On the 2nd we moved down to the water/electric area of Newmar's "campground", all the full hookup sites were full. Here is what that looks like:
At 6AM on Monday the 3rd they were ready to take our motorhome away and that was how it went for the next few days. Evita stayed with us in the car and she doesn't sleep in the car, so she gets a bit wound up and won't sit still. It was warm and humid most days so we had to run the car A/C and took turns staying with Evita. We hit the Shipshewana, IN Flea Market, which is quite large. About 1/2 the vendors had already closed for the year, but we still found a few items to buy. Eventually a full hookup site opened up and here is a picture:
You can see barely Evita in the window, here is a close-up that also shows one of our cracked windshields:
Linda and Norm Payne of http://www.seeya-downtheroad.com/ parked behind us and we had a few visits. Great people to know, they have the same floorplan as we do on a 2005 Dutch Star. Here is a link to their experiences while at the Newmar Service Center: http://www.seeya-downtheroad.com/2005/Oct2005.html .
We also visited with Rita and Roland, who we had met at the Spartan Rally in Charlotte. Roland showed Bill a steering wheel table he had made from parts at Menards, a mid-west Home Depot like store. Bill bought the parts for about $13 and made one. It is much sturdier than the adjustable plastic one we had.
Mostly we had a positive experience with Newmar with two exceptions. Exception one is our paint issues, they just touched most of them up and talking to other owners paint is definitely not where Newmar shines. The other issue is they did figure out we had one bad coach battery, but it comes with only a six month warranty. The battery being bad explained our lousy ability to maintain voltage when dry camping. We had already decided that we would replace all of the coach batteries with AGMs when they got old, now we decided to do it soon. Norm had kept his AGMs from his old motorhome, they tested better than the Interstate U2200's the Dutch Stars came with.
We also got our windshield replaced while at Newmar, but by a glass company. The windshields were picked up at Newmar and hand trucked out to our coach and installed.
We hung out at Newmar while waiting for the windshields and learned a couple items to put on our list for our next visit from other owners, we need to come back before May 2007.
Then we moved seven miles to Pla-Mor campground in Bremen, IN. We had stayed here in April 2004 with our Dolphin motorhome, but this time they put us way in back. Here is what it looked like:
Soon our friends Cherie and Dexter Yard came and camped next to us and here is Dexter by his rig:
Also in the area were Elinore and David Barry, who were getting paint work done at Precision Paint in Bremen before their Newmar service center appointment. The Yard's had a desk dinette installed and showed it off, they could actually serve six for dinner on their table since they got an extra leaf.
The six of us, all members of the Escapees Boomer BOF, had a blast visiting for the next few days. We ate at Das Dutchman Essenhaus in Middlebury twice, once family style and once off the menu. The family style was the best and the pies are wonderful. The women went shopping one day and the guys roamed the RV surplus stores and hung out. David wanted some cash and looked up the closest Bank of America ATM, it was on Moose Trail in Elkhart. He had tried to find it once and Dexter and Bill took it as a challenge to find. We found Moose Trail, it went north past the Elkhart Moose lodge, then it got narrower and finally ended in a small parking lot looking at a fence. The fence had a locked vehicle gate and an opening for pedestrians. This was the back access to a service area on the toll road, which is where the ATM was. That night the guys decided to handle dinner so we ordered pizza and went looking for beer. Bremen is an Amish/Mennonite town, so no beer in the supermarket. Dexter noticed a woman shopper with a football team t-shirt on in the supermarket and asked her where to get beer, she told us where the package store was. The package store was about the only store in town without buggy parking.
Dexter also bought the parts for another steering wheel table at Menards and Dexter and Bill made it.
Here is a picture of the group after our visit to the Shipshewana Flea Market, courtesy of the Yards camera:
Bill, Diane, Cherie, Dexter, Elinore, David
When we and the Yards found out there were spots in the water/electric section of Newmar's service center, we moved for the weekend. Newmar doesn't mind if Newmar's camp there, as long as no one with a service appointment needs the spot:
We and the Yards left Nappanee and moved to the Indiana State Fairground in Indianapolis on Sunday:
Yes, we are taking two spaces and notice the front of the motorhome is on blocks due to the slope. Not the best campground, but it was fairly empty this time of year and they didn't care if we took multiple spaces. Dexter wanted to get a tour of the Allison transmission plant for Monday but was not successful so they only stayed one night and headed for Oklahoma. We stayed two nights to stock up on the last Trader Joes we would see until Spring and the last Costco we expected to see for weeks.
On Tuesday (Oct 18)we drove down to Lexington, KY and stayed at the Kentucky Horse Park. This is a state park that is about the only camping in the area, but it was recommended by many including Nick Russell of Gypsy Journal. Here is our spot:
We noticed an MCI bus conversion behind us:
Terry and Nick Russell's bus, but they were out. When they came back Bill went over to talk to them, we had met and chatted at Life on Wheels. Nick needed to talk to John Palmer of Palmer Energy Systems, so he called him and then handed the phone to Bill to see about getting AGM batteries when we were Florida. No problem, just call in advance to have four golf cart batteries held. When Nick found out we were heading to the Escapees park in Bushnell, FL he handed Bill a bundle of Gypsy Journals to deliver. Then they determined we would see each other in a couple days at the Raccoon Valley SKP park in Heiskell, TN, just north of Knoxville.
Lexington is for those who love horses more than people. Big ranches with manicured pastures, fences around the trees so the horses won't get hurt, lots of money spent on horses. The Kentucky Horse Park is very nice and has events all the time, mostly dealing with horses.
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