Monday, August 14, 2017

Trip Wrap-up, Red Skelton and an LST

Location: New Vision RV Park; Oaktown, Indiana
Location: Boomland RV Park; Charleston, Missouri
Location: Willow Beach Campground (COE); Little Rock, Arkansas

all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia Icon 929 cell phone
click pictures to enlarge

This is the complete route.
I've been to three campgrounds since the last post, so I guess it is another catch-up post. I'll be home tomorrow so this post will be used to not only get caught up but will also be a wrap-up of this trip. 

I left the FROG rally on Thursday which was two days early. I saw no reason in staying longer since they had completed the work on Liberty and I received the free tank pump-out on Wednesday morning. I was looking to go to Evansville, Indiana to see a Navy ship that has been on my "to-see" list for a while. Strangely, the closest RV park with a decent rate and good reviews was about 50 miles away from Evansville. But the name of the park was "New Vision RV Park" and with a name like that I just had to give it a try. The reviews were good and since it was a Passport America campground, the price was right too at $16.00 a night. 
Campsite at New Visions RV Park. It was a nice park.

The ship I wanted to see was the only operational World War II LST in the continental U.S. For those that have read this blog in the past, you know I visited another LST in Muskegon, Michigan a couple of years ago. Here is the link to that post >>>

I won't re-hash everything from that post because a lot of it would apply to the LST in Evansville. It is still amazing that 1,000 LST's were built in only three years. That was averaging one per day. That kind of manufacturing capacity is one of the reason we won the war. 
Looking aft towards the superstructure.

Berthing compartment with "racks" 4 high

Looking down the length of the tank deck. There would have been 20 Sherman Tanks lined up in here ready to hit the beach on D-Day

Only the U.S. was capable of producing so much in such a short time period.

On the LST in Muskegon, there is a picture of a letter that was written to "all veterans" by a little French girl. It was so insightful and thought provoking that it has stuck with me over the last two year. I'm posting the words here, but the picture is on the post that I linked in the previous paragraph.

Dear Veteran,
I'm writing to say "Thank You", and, through me, 
there are thousands of children speaking
to thousands of Veterans.

Like us, you were young and carefree, but, 
when you were only twenty years old, 
Liberty called - called you, to say;

"I'm dying. Come and save me !"

And you arose, 
full of courage and zeal, 
to answer that call.

You underwent training,
day after day, for "D" Day, 
and one day in June, 
you arrived by air and sea.

And you fought with the heart and soul of a free man,
so that we, too, might be free.

You saw your fellows fall on our 
beaches and in our fields
and, in spite of your grief and your 
injuries, you stayed on and fought
side-by-side with us.

And so, dear Veteran,

I want to tell you,
regarding those dear to you who sacrificed
their youth and are now resting in peace,
the sleep of the just, that

We Are The Children They Never Had.

And to you, dear Veteran,
who offered your bravery
and your most promising years
for this our land, I say to you,

We Are Your Sons, Sons and Daughters of Liberty,
who want to say to you today,
a heartfelt, "Merci !".


From the mouths of babes,,,,, Her overall letter really stuck with me since reading them two years ago, but a couple lines were extra special to me. One is "fought with the heart and soul of a free man" and the other is "we are the children they never had". 

I'm afraid the current generation and possibly the last, has forgotten what happened during World War II. I suspect the current history books used in school probably glosses over this time period. 

Enough of this, maybe I'll pick it up again in a future post.
On the way back to the campground from the LST, I saw a sign for the Red Skelton Museum of Comedy. 

Apparently, Vincennes, Indiana was his hometown.

He was one of my favorite comedians when I was a child. His TV show ran for 20 years. Once, when asked why he signed off his show with a "may God bless" instead of the usual "God bless you", he replied,,,, "Who am I to tell God what to do". Nice, very nice. It was a great accidental find.

I left New Visions after two nights and went to a campground I've stayed at before. It is Boomland and the campground is an excellent overnight stop. It is $12.00, cash money, for full hook-ups, including 50 amp power. I picked a campsite but had to move to another due to bad electricity. I usually hook up to the electricity early in my set-up procedure so my Surge Guard can check out the quality of the power while I'm doing some of the other things. My surge guard told me there was very low voltage on one of the 50 amp legs so I moved to another site which showed good power. This is about the 3rd or 4th time my Surge Guard has protected me from bad power. This does not include the power surges it protects against when the power clicks off and on.
I passed these in Indiana. They are old school buses being used to haul ripe watermelons out of the fields. Someone was thinking out of the box.

Campsite at Boomland. Not bad for $12.

After one night at Boomland, I moved to a nice little Corps of Engineer campground along the Arkansas river near Little Rock, Arkansas. It's a small campground and if only about 10% filled. I'm guessing the bad weather that has been blowing through here over the last few days may have scared some folks away. Liberty has handled the weather well. I'm parked under a pecan tree so I'll have to check her roof to see if some of the pecans that has been landing on her has done any damage. I won't go into how many times the word pecan is mis-pronounced.

Campsite at Willow Beach Campground. That is the pecan tree that is dropping pecans on Liberty when the wind picks up. It's been a rainy two day here so I've just hung around the campground except when I went to town to gas up and found a Chinese buffet that was excellent. One of the best I've had. 

Tomorrow is moving day and after about 280 miles, I'll be back in Mansfield. I'll probably be stationary for several months since Brandon will shortly be placed on the Pancreas/Kidney Transplant waiting list. Once the waiting starts, a patient must be at the hospital very quickly after receiving the call of an available organ. I'll post more about that transplant process in the future. 

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Lake Erie and The FROG Rally

Previous Location: Sterling State Park (el. 590 ft); Monroe, Michigan (4 days)
Previous Location: Middlebury KOA (el. 870 ft); Middlebury, Indiana (1 day)
Current Location: Elkhart County Fairgrounds (el. 800 ft); Goshen, Indiana

All pictures taken with Nokia Lumia Icon 929 Cell phone
Click pictures to enlarge
Route through stop #8

Looks like I'm playing catch-up again with the blog. It is hard to write about things when I'm not exploring a lot. I left the St. Clair River with a little tinge of sadness. It is a really nice looking river and without river levees blocking the view, it is easy to see a long ways up and downstream. I hope I see it again someday.
Last look at the St. Clair River

It was only a short tow to my next stop in Sterling State Park which is another Michigan park. However, I did have to backtrack through the outskirts of Detroit again but this time with no excitement. Whew!!!. I chose Sterling because it sits directly on the shore of Lake Erie. I was lucky in getting the last campsite on the first row next to the beach. The water was a little clearer than it was at Maumee State Park but still a dirtier than Lake Huron and the St. Clair. I had high hopes of catching a nice sunrise coming up over the Lake, but on the days that I did wake up early enough to see it come up, there were too many clouds. Oh well, maybe somewhere else down the road. The only thing I explored while at Sterling was the River Raisin National Battlefield from the War of 1812. They had a nice little museum but the battlefield was small and plain. Apparently most of the battle site had been purchased long ago by private individuals. Other than that short trip, I just lounged around the campground and enjoy the view of the lake.
Campsite at Sterling State Park. Camped as close as you can camp next to Lake Erie.

Man-made sand beach area. The sand had ground up shells that was a little rough on the feet.

Lake Erie at evening time.

This is the best sunrise I could get.

After leaving Sterling, I camped one night at a KOA in Middlebury, Indiana so I could empty my tanks in preparation for the FROG Rally. The KOA was a typical KOA in that it is overpriced for my needs, but it is like McDonald's, you know exactly what you're going to get with very few surprises.
This is northern Indiana and Ohio. It obviously isn't the place "where corn don't grow". (name that song,,,lol)

They also beans. I liked this picture because of the contrast between the red barn, blue skies and black highway.

I got gas at a Love's truck stop and took advantage of a nice oversized parking lot. I enjoyed a Hardee's Cheeseburger with curly fries. While eating I watched my two traveling companions and thought about many of the places we have been. It was a nice lunch stop. 
Saturday morning I moved to the Elkhart Fairgrounds where the Forest River Owners Group (FROG) Rally is held each year. This will be my third time to attend. One of the great things about this rally is they do free work on your RV. Last year, I received $4,000.00+ free work to Liberty. You can use the archive for August of last year to find the blog post. This year I only have about $1,000.00 worth of requested things. But I got a surprise this evening when two technicians from Airxcel (manufacturers of my AC units) showed up and asked if they could look at the fan on one of my AC units located on the roof. I asked why and they explained that the company had improved the blade design since my AC unit was built and they would be glad to upgrade it for me. I asked if anyone had refused that offer and they said "no, yet". So up the guy went and sure enough I had the old style blades. He replaced them and said it will run more efficiently and quieter. He also oiled up some things while he had the cowling off. While the guy was doing the work on the roof, I was talking with his partner on the ground. He mentioned they also made my hot water heater. I told him I hadn't had any problems with it and that I change the anode rod on a regular basis. He reached in his truck and grabbed a new anode rod and gave it to me. I tried giving them a tip but both refused it and simply gave me their business card. They said it was be appreciated if I dropped an email to their boss, which I will do. Remember, this work was all free of charge and wasn't even on my list of requests. I asked if they were being reimbursed by Forest River and their answer was "No, Airxcel was doing it free of charge just like Forest River does just for the word of mouth advertising and to highlight their good reputation.
Campsite at the FROG rally. I got lucky this year and have a great campsite with shade.

Since I'm in Amish country, I took this picture of the carriage barn at the local Walmart.

This is one of the buggies leaving Walmart. I thought the pictures worked well with the "Tractor Supply" store in front of the buggy.

This is after they turned right out of Walmart. I followed him for about a half mile before he turned off. 

Today, was the first official day of the Rally and I had a nice breakfast, attended a great seminar on slide-outs, looked at several new RV's and walked through the Vendor's display. I bought three new water filters for my in-RV filter. I replace it yearly and usually have to order them at $30.00+ each. I bought these today for $10.00 each so I'm good for the next 3 years. :)

If they finish working on Liberty early, I'll be heading back south early. 

I'll try not to take so long to post update again. I think I've said that before,,,,,uhmmmm.   

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.