Tuesday, August 31, 2010


We left Decatur and moved to beautiful Harter Park in Union City, Indiana. The park is extensive and one of the most beautiful I've ever seen. It has hookups for the motor home, electric and water, besides. Over grassy hills and dales I biked and viewed the various sections and found several places to have group barbeques; an equestrian arena with barn; fishing pond with a small island; numerous playgrounds for all ages; a canine area for dogs to play within a fenced enclosure. A skateboard area; tennis courts, volley ball, baseball, olympic sized swimming pool. A small creek with several bridges runs through it. Let me tell you I was impressed. So, what do I choose as a single picture since we are limited by Verizon on our uploads?
An Amish woman rounding the corner in her buggy.
 I don't know why we become so fascinated by what we consider unusual. I heard someone mention, in fact it was our tour guide at Fleetwood, Tom was a Mennonite,  there are many in the area who farm in Decatur and here in Union City as well, we learned.

I got curious about the difference between a Mennonite and an Amish person. I learned the Amish are a subset of the Mennonites. I suppose it isn't anything unusual around here, but it made for interesting reading on Wikipedia. And thus, the woman in the photo above is probably a Mennonite, not Amish at all. She wears blue and when we visited the Amish Community in Pennsylvania, black was the only color dresses they wore. Click on the links below for more information.



We'll be holding up at a Thousand Trails over the busy holiday weekend and I'll catch up with the museum, the park and such when we are set.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Blogging from the road has its draw backs. We use a Verizon card for our computers and we've gone over our allotment by about two days. Like all companies, they set things up to their benefit, not ours. If we don't use the it, we can't carry the time over from one month to the next. But if we go over, it costs an arm and a leg.  Plus they give you the same amount of time for a 30 day month as a 31 day month. So, by treading lightly, we hope to make it through the next two days without going overboard. Thus, one picture of our visit to the Decatur Historical Society Museum, housed in the Dugan home built in 1902.
Above is the Cozy Room  a volunteer was enjoying  when we arrived. I will finish this another day.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


We saw signs around town for a Kekiongan Festival. What the heck is that, we wondered?  Local Indians named the nearby river Kekiongan. The Indians also taught early settlers how to live in this land. Many of them wouldn't have made it without their help.  The festival is an authentic encampment requiring participants to re-enact life as it was before 1800.
A fun agenda along with the local scouts, rotary and so on selling stuff to make money for their own specific causes. The authentic appearance of the encampment is kept by keeping it in a woodsy setting on the grass away from all the modern trappings of the sellers, and entertainment, and food of the rest of the participants.
Thus you see all white canvas tents for shelter. Cooking on open fires. Pots of cast iron and wooden spoons and stir sticks.

 This man is a hunter and he sells animal hides he has tanned. It was a bit disconcerting to see so many dead animals about the place, (at many of the tents) but, the reality is that people had to hunt to eat in the 1700's.
Water buckets were copper or canvas covered leather. A feed bucket or "dry" bucket , was simply made of canvas.
People lived simpler lives. Everyday goods were difficult to make, such as clothing, bedding, and shoes. Horsehair with cotton fibers for some crude clothing. Others of refined cotton. During the day I met a Circuit Rider Preacher and his wife; a musket shooter, knife and utensil makers, weavers, soap makers and people producing leather goods, traps, and so on.  All spikes holding the tents in the ground were made by a blacksmith. (He was not on site.)
These two gents deal in charms and talismans, hatchets with hardwood handles,and what appears to be scalps hanging from their tent pole. I didn't get to talk to them.
I watched the bowmen shoot with their handmade bows and arrows and leather quivers.
Women shoot and hunt too when necessary.
The most interesting to me was  women's work, clothing, sewing, household frugality and clever use of materials.
Joyce Johnson demonstrates how women would use little packets of wood shavings to soak up sweat and help prevent stain and odor on their dresses.
She is married, thus her "pretty" pocket from her underskirt is kept under her top skirt. If she was single, she would let it hang out.
Silk was used to decorate hats and clothing. Modest you might be required to be, but you could still show off a bit by scrunching your silk into designs . Using a lot of silk subtlely told you were wealthier than someone else.
A black locust thorn is threaded for a needle. It is capable of sewing on leather.
Tea traveled everywhere in dry pressed cakes. It had to be stamped, according to the stamp act, that taxes were paid on it. A person just shaved off pieces into their pot to make tea.
 Buttons were made from copper,shells,antler,bone,tufted linen and thread. Yes, thread. She showed me how to make a thread button. And if thread was scarce, you could use bits of worn fabric and pull threads from it. Ohhh, as fascinating as I found it, I'm glad I didn't live in those days. I do appreciate my washing machine and deodorant. We won't even talk about female problems. Arrrggh.  I learned a great deal from Joyce. She has a website at http://wkjohnson@mchsi.com.
For more pictures click my link below:

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Our motor home is a Fleetwood Terra, and I'm pleased with its performance, its ability to pull hills, gas mileage and other aspects of this vehicle/home. We spend a lot of time in it and we must give up some comforts in exchange for the life on the road. Its an envious life-style, we've learned, as you meet and greet people in all types of situations. Ours seems a romantic life of constant entertainment. And, it is. Yet our reality is filled with the everyday chores and particulars of living well in a tight space. It doesn't work for everybody.
Jim was bent on visiting the Fleetwood Factory and taking their factory tour. I'm glad I went, even though it sometimes felt like a sales presentation in that, you are satisfied with our product, here is what you have to look forward to when you upgrade. The behemoths above, 42 and 44 feet in length, with slide-outs have very fancy interiors.
The other two couples on the tour mentioned their likes and dislikes about their motor homes which are similar to these in style. Obviously, a perfect one will never be made.

They pre-sell to dealers before building their motorhomes. From the parking lot, they seem to be doing very well. (No pictures allowed in the factory.)
Our friends, Pat and Richard have a very nice, well built trailer parked nearby. Richard commented that he would buy a motor home when he wins the Magazine Clearinghouse Sweepstakes. We all laughed.
Fleetwood does not make the biggest motor home, but one of the best to be sure. It was nice to see how they are put together, the quality that goes into them; the efficiency of the company, and the way they treat their employees. For me, it validated our choice of this particular motor home and its attributes.
After the tour, Richard and Pat took us to a real fifties diner; one with autographs of local high school coaches and real student class sweaters and memorabilia hanging from the walls and ceilings. It was such fun to be inside this place with every piece of memorabilia bringing back memories.
We met Elvis and Marilyn at the door of Arnolds Diner which is located in Decatur.
 Jim used to wear his hair like James Dean, and identified with his wild, independent image just a bit, as we all did at that age.
Arnold's still uses car hops at night, on roller skates, dressed in their poodle skirts; saddle shoes on the inside at lunch. The walls and ceilings are just stacked with  memorabilia.
This old dial pay phone...
A pair of speakers from a drive in movie.

Coke bottle fan blades.
A Schwinn bicycle hangs from the ceiling and an old Mobile gas pump greets you at the door.
Richard and Pat had no way of knowing that we had watched a nostalgic video the night before about Doo wop music. Arnold's Diner was the perfect choice. The food was standard fifties fare "improved" meaning very good tasting and hearty servings. We ended the meal with tin lizzie sundaes, (spanish peanuts over hot fudge on vanilla ice cream.)  My soda shop from high school days called it a tin roof sundae. It was great fun, with wonderful memories. Then, we had to say goodbye.
It will be several years before we meet again.

Friday, August 27, 2010


My friend, Pat Whitfield, is a bird lover. She is dedicated to her "friends" and has a whole room full of them. They are free to fly around the house during part of the day, (those that like to). Cockatoo George, is on her shoulder and a dove sits on her hand.
These lovebirds nestle in shredded paper, protecting their egg. You can barely detect the egg because it is small and white against the white paper. Pat is no longer breeding birds to sell. She just enjoys her friends.

She only has two large cages, now. They are friendly and cheerful and provide much joy to her life. It takes a lot of dedication to nourish and feed and care for these birds.
Along with the birds, Pat collects bird houses. There are so many I couldn't begin to count them. The one above is so appealing to her birds, they continually peck at the wood and widen the hole. Others they leave alone.
When she walks down the street, George sits on her shoulder and doesn't make any attempt to escape. He obviously loves her. It seems as though everyone likes birds, but the birds have an affinity for Pat. When we visited Moaning Cave last September, the parrot in the cage fell in love with Pat and spoke to her, words the owners didn't know the bird could speak. It allowed her to pet it and didn't want her to leave. This huge parrot could have snapped her finger in two.
 A wild dove in  my yard allowed her to approach it so closely, she could almost touch it. They sense the bird lover and act differently around her than around others. 
 Bird houses and feeders around her yard become nesting boxes, like this feeder above.
And this one. Both are quite low to the ground. They seem to trust that nothing will happen to them. Did I mention there is a cat in this house as well?

 This bird house was my favorite, but so far, the birds don't choose it. They know what's best and Pat is on their approval list.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


The Elkhart RV Museum/Hall Of Fame, has a great history of recreation we can all relate to. With the automobile in their lives, people wanted to wander farther afield. Early efforts were just modified cars. This old Tin Lizzie had a unique telescoping design, a bureau pulled out on one side....
 A "kitchen" on the other side, and you still had to find somewhere to sleep, maybe a tent, or under the vehicle if the weather was nice. But most early models were simply shelters in which to sleep and store your food stuffs.
Many of those early recreational vehicles were custom built affairs like the Tennessee Traveler above.
It was built like a house, with the wood stove, heavy plank floors and walls. It featured a built in ice chest, but check out the drivers seat.
This originally had a bench seat with no back. Imagine what a comfortable ride that must have been? The owners installed the above seats during a remodel.
Here was another drivers seat, resembling a club chair. It came as a $35.00 accessory. Entrepreneurs saw a need and the first professionally  manufactured units started as basic shelters for a trip, then more elaborate shelters with  heat, cooking, and light. Then water and  refrigeration was added. Then, toilets and showers until today, we have all the comforts of home in miniature.
One old time unit had a built-into-the-ceiling propane "lantern" that resembled a light fixture.
And, of course, all the comforts of home with radio, curtains, a fly swatter and a fan. Another had windows that rolled up and down like car windows.
Another interesting unit was built to fit into a standard garage.
Of course, you couldn't stand up in it.
 This little trailer put the cooking outside and the sleeping and storage inside. This is a sleek metal type of "teardrop" one of the most popular camping trailers ever made. I owned a tear drop for many years and wish I had never sold it. These little trailers were economical and fit the average family's pocket book, plus you could haul them with a smaller, less powerful car.
This unit was a touring car not a true RV.  Mae West didn't sleep in it. She was induced to come to the Hollywood studios by being driven back and forth from her home to the set with it. Probably the only unit known to have a back porch where she would sit outside and take fresh air while being driven to the set.

When we stepped out of the Hall, we saw this unique two story custom RV with a truck cab sitting in the parking lot.
After leaving the hall, we had dinner at the Liberty Cafe in Fort Wayne with friends Pat and Richard Whitfield. For more photos, click the link below: