Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Elkhart, Friends and a Famous Signature

We got a fairly early start from Joliet this morning, after greeting this family of geese.


Traffic wasn’t any more than expected on I-80 until we got into Gary, Indiana. It was predictably heavy, but without slowdowns or construction for a change.


We stopped for fuel and I was ready to take my turn driving. Don offered to continue driving until we had completely cleared the congested area. I gratefully accepted!

A few minutes later, I was really glad not to be driving. There was a very short on-ramp, with heavy truck traffic in all lanes just at the moment when Don needed to merge into traffic. Instead, he had to brake to avoid being side-swiped, and then finally managed to get onto the freeway. Whew! That could have been an ugly accident.

The next challenge was an unmanned toll booth where you take a ticket and pay at whatever exit you take. Don pulled up to the booth, but there was no ticket. He pressed Help and a man asked what he needed. Don said we needed a ticket. One came out of the slot at car height, which he couldn’t reach. Don was a little excited a this point, with traffic building up in back of us in our lane. I jumped out to go get the ticket; in the meantime, the man remotely retrieved the ticket and put one out the top slot, which Don pulled out. So when I got around the motorhome, I couldn’t find a ticket to pull out! By this time, Don was *really* excited and hollered at me to get back in the motorhome!

This is one of those stressful situations where, after it’s over, you say “Oh well, lesson learned and no babies died!”

The next stretch of road was wide, with a good surface and light traffic. Ahhh! We changed drivers at the next travel plaza, and I drove the last leg of the trip into Elkhart. Total miles today 131, a nice short day!


I’ve never stayed at the Elkhart Campground, so I was pleasantly surprised by the pretty house at the entrance and friendly waves from staff and guests as we drove in.


There are over 300 sites on 25 acres, and the grounds are well-maintained.


We saw several familiar rigs as we drove to our site, and we knew we’d be seeing several friends here. Our assigned site is one over from Larry and Marilyn Forbes, who were the first to come outside and give us welcoming hugs.


It has been a long time since we’ve seen these friends, and it was really good to get together again.


The Forbes hosted happy hour and we were thrilled to see lots more friends. We shared some of our Hickory SPAM, and Chris had to take a picture of it!


Here’s Larry hugging Terry Russell with Marilyn awaiting her turn.


Nick and Terry Russell are such a loving couple. They even held hands while chatting with the group.


When Nick drove by earlier, I had to rush over to ask for his “famous signature” on my copy of his newspaper “Gypsy Journal.” (If you don’t read Nick’s blog, check out what he wrote today at I Used To Be Famous.


This is the issue he “signed.”


What did he sign? “Studmuffin.” You have to know Nick to appreciate this. I love it and will cherish it forever! Or at least until the next trash dump.


Our group grew to include 16 people.



Lots of stories were exchanged and laughs were shared. And the weather was great for sitting outside.


Ivan and Marlenna also held hands. This is the first time I’ve met them; Marlenna told me that Ivan reads my blog and recognized our rig as soon as they drove in. Nice to meet you folks!


Chris and Charles are traveling in their new “Stubby” motorhome. They’re headed to Alaska after Escapade, and wanted to travel light and be able to park in small spaces in search of good fishing, so they left the 40-foot diesel pusher behind.


Besides the Forbes’ Phaeton and ours, there are 3 more in the row behind us (#2, 3 and 5 from left). Three of the 5 (including us) are registered in Pennington County, SD, a popular place for full-time RVers to claim as their domicile.


Ten members of the happy hour group went to a small Chinese Restaurant for dinner. We noticed the “C” missing from the lower part of the sign.



The food was good, and the company was even better. Our conversations went on for about 2 hours.

After dinner I got the “one-cent tour” of the inside of Chris and Charles’ little motorhome. It’s well-laid out, with all the comforts of home, including a special place for their fishing rods.


The pantry is very handy.


And the shower is pretty big considering there’s not a lot of real estate here. I won’t mention Nick’s comment on the potty…but ask him if you see him. There’s plenty of space for two Toy Poodles, Max and Pepper (who loves having his belly rubbed). So I got my puppy fix with this sweet little guy.


We look forward to lots more hugs and sharing with these and many more friends in the week ahead. It’s great to be here and be off the road for awhile.


  1. Chris and Charles new homes looks perfect for their Alaska adventure. Don finally got his Chinese food, does this mean you're having Mexican tonight? Say "hello" to everyone for us.

  2. What a great welcome to a nice looking campground. It looks like you're going to be having fun and eating well for the next little while.

  3. Can't wait to see so many friends at the 2015 Escapade. Miss going to them and helping out. Have fun.


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