September 2006 Archives

Awake: 5:20am Temp 59 sleep 6+09 partly sunny overnight @

How do they know? Our Saturday Koffee Klub meeting @ 8:30am was well
attended & Kathy’s healthier cookies were a huge success. Saturday
meetings are often times the least attended. The meeting broke up much
earlier than the last several days due to many of us attending the funeral
Mass for Arthur S., who was 92 & very well liked in the community. I
talked Kathy into joining Barry, his sister, Monica, & me in attending the
luncheon remembrance celebration immediately following the Mass at
Nicktown, then driving to the Goodridge Church of God, about 3 miles. The
dinning room was filled to capacity & the food delicious.

Besides knowing a lot of Arthur’s family from my school days, our ole
classmate Ernie (one of Arthur’s sons) & his wife drove in from Chicago to
be here. It’s been over 25 yrs since I’ve seen him. Also, my nephew Eric,
his wife Emily (Arthur was her grandfather) & their 3 boys were present.
That’s one thing about weddings & funerals; you usually see a lot of
people you know. We returned to our bus around 2:15. Then we call Melissa
& encourage her to join us in doing the “Corn Maze” @ the Barr Ridge Farm
just 5 min away from our motor home.

Matthew was our fearless leader; the corn stocks were high, the paths
narrow & curvy & 5 acres seemed never ending. They gave each of us a card
with pictures of displays that could be found in the maze. Each display
had a hole puncher so one could keep track of his progress in finding all
16 hidden displays. Matthew liked making left turns so we went in circles
a lot, but he was a real trooper & never asked to be carried. We did find
9 of 16 hidden displays & punched our cards accordingly. It was a lot of
fun. The Footes leave @ 5:50. Kathy & I attend 6:00pm Vigil Mass.
Afterward in our bus, we call glen & Connie (friends from Burlington,
WA.), they are motoring thru Boise en route to Denver (and then on to
Albuquerque for the hot air balloon fest) as we speak. We have a nice 15
min chat.

8:00pm dinner: Kathy’s homemade tomato soup with crackers.

Satellite movie: “Man without a Face” with Mel Gibson, Nick Stahl,
Margaret Whitton, etc. Literate, absorbing drama exploring the evolving
relationship between lonely 12 yr old Stahl, who’s intent on gaining
entrance to a military academy & reclusive, facially scarred ex-teacher
Gibson, who becomes his mentor. 1993. A good story.

Today’s high=69 Lights out: 11:50pm

Awake: 5:09am Temp 48 sleep 6+06 partly sunny overnight @

We drive to the community center, exercise for 50 min & then attend the
8:00 am Mass before joining the Koffee Klub for another amazing 1.7 hrs of
discussion that got us off to a great start.

After breakfast, I drive the Suzuki over to Al K's home, borrow a small
jar of gasoline & then continue over to our storage facility. There I
remove the battery from the Suzuki & install it into our 1963 Riviera.
With a little dose of raw fuel into the 4 barrel carburetor, the 43 yr old
engine starts right up, then quits. After 2 more doses, the engine sounds
good but, getting the Riv out of its tight parking spot was the biggest
challenge: I think 2 or 3 of my brake linings were locked onto their wheel
drums. With power, my rear wheel spins on the concrete & the car would not
move. It was a little scary actually; I didn’t want the car to suddenly
break loose & run through a wall but I definitely wanted to do this myself
& then take it someplace to clean those brakes up. The rocking forward &
aft seemed to help loosen the stuck wheels, one by one, until finally,
with more than normal power, I pulled away from that storage bldg. @ our
motorhome, I made a 2:00 pm appointment to have those brake shoes cleaned
& checked at Al’s Tire Service..

(2) hrs later, my wheels are easy wheeling. The mechanics concurred that
the brake linings were the culprits with a little rust. After getting the
engine warmed up to normal temp by driving around town, the Riv goes back
into storage, the battery is returned to the Suzuki & I notify the keeper
of the key that I am finished. I drive the Riv every yr but I may have to
drive it more frequently to avoid these scary moments.

Meanwhile Kathy has been busy: baking 2 different kinds of cookies for the
Koffee Klub meeting tomorrow plus calling Karen & Steve for their anniv &
Marge for her “b” day.

Late afternoon, Kathy launders our galley throw rug.

7:05 dinner: Leftover chicken veggie soup, chicken with creamed gravy,
green beans, Rotini noodles with small meat balls & apple crisp for

Late evening Satellite movie: “Dirty Pretty Things.” We didn’t know any of
the actors. But…it is a gripping story of a sober, hardworking Nigerian
immigrant who’s running from his past & juggling 2 jobs in London as a cab
driver & hotel clerk. His innate sense of justice & personal integrity is
affronted when he learns of grisly black-market transactions going on @
the hotel & he feels impelled to intervene. This movie is not for children
but it’s original & surprising with every turn. 2002

Today’s high=65 Lights out: 11:11pm

Awake: 4:47am Temp 42 sleep 6+01 sunny overnight @ Nicktown.

We drive to the community center & attend 8:00 am Mass & then join the
Koffee Klub gang for a 1.7 hr meeting. It was our longest meeting yet that
I know of & amazingly good.

Throughout the day, Kathy completes 3 loads of laundry to include our bed

@ 11:15 I ask Kathy if she would drive the Suzuki to Al’s Tire Service in
Barnesboro & sign in to have the tires rotated & to make a check on our
front brakes. I’ll be picking Al up then I’ll pick her up from the Tire
Service. She agrees because she knows I’ll buy lunch today. We also pick
up Anne in Barnesboro & arrive @ the Rotary meeting @ 11:58.

I introduce Kathy to most of the Rotary members present & then we all have
lunch….cafeteria style, which was great. The assistant district director,
a member of the Indiana Rotary Club, was our keynote speaker for this
meeting. She spoke well & reminded us that our small club has a wonderful

After the meeting, we drop Anne off @ her workplace, drive over to Al’s
tire & find out the Suzuki tires are rotated & the front brakes checked
good. Kathy then drives the Suzuki back to our bus; I deliver Al back to
his home around 1:45pm.

K & I decide to store our photo albums @ the storage facility in lieu of
our motorhome basement storage.

5:45pm dinner: Leftover stuffed peppers & bread.

Early evening: watch PBS’s coverage on electricity, steam, telephone,
computers, etc.

Late evening: Satellite movie: “The Night of the Hunter” with Robert
Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish, Evelyn Varden, Peter Graves, etc.
Mitchum chases homeless children for money stolen by their father…he is
marvelously menacing, matched by Gish as the wise matron who takes in the
kids. 1955. Might be a little scary for young children.

Today’s high=63 Lights out: 11:03pm

Awake: 5:09am Temp 49 sleep 5+55 light rain overnight @ Nicktown.

We drive to the community center, exercise for 1.3 hrs & then join the
Koffee Klub members for 50 min before attending the communion service by
Sister Lee. Father Pat was a no show?

@ 1:00pm, K & I volunteer to help Monica coordinate the blood donors for
the Red Cross crew today @ the church hall. Kathy works the canteen food
bar while I help guide the donors after they have given blood to walk over
to a table for food & drink. We are replaced @ 4:00pm.

6:35 dinner: Leftover meatloaf, whole wheat noodles, gravy, broccoli &
mixed salad.

I finish watching the P-38 fighter recovery from the Greenland Ice.
Fantastic story!

Kathy watches “Dancing with the Stars” TV show in between reading her novel.

Today’s high=63 Lights out: 10:46pm

Awake: 6:45am Temp 63 sleep 7+40 light rain, then sunny
overnight @ Nicktown.

Kathy leaves @ 7:50am driving the Suzuki to visit & help the Footes. While
Melissa & the young boys are off doing laundry, Kathy will be removing old
peeling paint from the bedroom window on the porch side 2nd floor, than
doing some light sanding on that window frame. After the Footes return
from doing laundry, Kathy joins them and Kevin for lunch. Kevin returns to
work and Kathy and Melissa take advantage of the nice day and walk with
the boys to the library. Tonight Matthew will have his first swim lesson.

Meanwhile, I attend the Koffee Klub meeting which lasted well over an hr &
was the best ever that I can remember. I wish that meeting could have been

After my breakfast, neighbor Chuck calls: he doesn’t want to impose but,
if I have time, he could use a little help on unloading firewood from his
truck. “I’ll be over in 10 mins” I tell him. Chuck has done us many favors
& given us a lot of fresh veggies from his garden ever since we’ve been
hanging out on this property, so I welcome the opportunity to return those
favors whenever possible. Moving that firewood did take close to an hr
plus we did stop occasionally & chat a little.

Back @ the bus, I get out some heavy plastic sheeting, cut, wrap & use
twine to winterize campsite # 2 electrical box, phone connection & water
spigot. Next, I do as much as I can to winterize site # 1, but since we
are still using this site, I’ll have to finish that job just before we
leave next week.

Using my $5.00 Makita cordless drill, I drill one hole into both sections
of the imitation Swiffer Duster handle that recently failed after my first
fix. This time I cut a 1 ½ inch long & 1/8 inch diameter piece of copper
wire, insert the copper wire into the broken handle, load it up with
epoxy, bring both sections together & let it cure for 24 hrs. The added
stint should strengthen the duster handle considerably. Kathy returns @
5:30pm with a good & efficient work report.

7:25pm dinner: Leftover chicken stir fry, brown rice & mixed salad.

I continue watching the video from John B. on: “The Lost Airmen” & the
reclaiming of a P-38 fighter plane from 50 yrs of being buried 258 feet in
the Greenland Ice.

Today’s high=71 Lights out: 11:14pm

Awake: 5:41am Temp 55 sleep 6+19 clear overnight @ Nicktown.

We drive one car to the community center, exercise for 40 min & then
attend 8:00am Mass before joining the Koffee Klub meeting. Therese, a
former Nicktown resident, most currently from Missouri and sister of Pat,
is our visiting guest with the Koffee Klub today.

After breakfast, K & I drive to Johnstown for grocery shopping @ Conzattis
Market to stock up on our Italian sausage; then to the Market Basket &
Wal-Mart for other things.

@ 4:45, my Sister Corinne arrives for a visit & dinner. She brings us
up-to-date on what she’s been doing @ the University of Pittsburgh,
Johnstown branch where she is employed. She also brings us up-to-date on
our Aunt Aggie in Ohio. Apparently our Aunt went to the hospital due to
bad reactions of 2 different medicines. She is back @ her home again.

K & I have our traditional glass of wine with an assortment of cheese
before dinner & Corinne has some non-alcoholic beer with an assortment of
cheese before dinner.

6:05 dinner: Pot roast & vegetables with whole wheat noodles, bread &
fruit salad.

After dinner & before I finish washing the dishes, I ask Corinne if she
would like to see a slide show on some of our northwest & Canadian
travels. She is agreeable to that so we watch & talk about the people &
places of our travels in July & August of this year, especially our little
Jerry. Corinne leaves after 8:00pm.

Late evening, we watch programs from a video that John B. gave me earlier
today: “Alaska Bush Pilots; Killer Ice & Landslides” by National

Today’s high=78 Lights out: 11:05pm

Awake: 5:09am Temp 54 sleep 5+58 clear overnight @ Nicktown.

Mid morning after the temp rose to 63, we cut each other’s hair in the
warmth of the sun. It takes 50 min for Kathy, 15 min for me. Then Kathy
does 3 loads of laundry. Next we both do some cleaning & organizing of our
home for us & for visitors later tonight.

Mid afternoon, K & I take a walk about town. I show Kathy the fiber optic
station box in town. As we are looking @ this mysterious thing, our near
neighbor Chuck comes around the corner on his quad runner. He shuts off
his engine & I introduce him to the future. Our walk takes about an
hr….not counting a few stops we made to gab with other people.

6:15 dinner: Stuffed peppers with fruit salad. I quickly wash the dishes &
Kathy helps with the drying.

Barry & Bonnie arrive @ 7:05pm. They tell us about their recent trip to
Alaska; then using their memory stick in their camera, we watch a slide
show on our 42 inch plasma TV screen. Barry took some good pictures & it
was great seeing places in Alaska I hadn’t seen since the late 60’s when
flying up there as a bush pilot.

Today’s high=75 Lights out: 11:22pm

Awake: 4:23am Temp 59 sleep 5+20 clear overnight @ Nicktown.

We drive to the community center, attend 8:00am Mass, then join the Koffee
Klub for 1.3 hrs. Kathy brought 16 of her zucchini muffins for the Klub
members; they liked them a lot.

After our breakfast, I begin putting together a shooting gallery for
Matthew using twine stretched between 2 trees; on the twine, I hung an
empty cereal box with the line running directly in the middle of the box &
doing the same for an empty milk carton; 2 Wal-Mart bags blown up with air
finished the project. Using water pressure & a powerful stream, one can
make the boxes spin & the bags shutter when shooting. I was ½ finished
when Melissa drove up with the young boys @ 10:50am. I asked that Matthew
stay in the coach until I finished & have my tools put away. 20 min later,
Matthew was left loose to shoot water @ those targets from a distance of
maybe 12 ft. He actually did pretty good to begin with but quickly lost
the enthusiasm once he spun the boxes & moved the bags. Maybe I needed
more targets or an older child!

Next Kathy arranges to have a small picnic lunch on our driveway with ham
salad, crackers, peanut butter on Graham crackers & some chocolate
zucchini muffins cut into chunks. Naturally Andrew is @ the age where he
is ready to explore; he would not stay on the beach towels & persistently
scooted over to the driveway to eat rocks. Finally I proposed to take
Andrew over to our neighbor’s yard & just let him crawl & I’d watch him
closely. The abundance of fallen leaves was his target so I stayed ahead
to clear the path of any of those leaves & limbs. He was funny though, I
would distract him by moving a big colorful leave just beyond his reach &
he would go full speed ahead but just couldn’t catch that slightly faster
leaf. Matthew was content with gathering & rolling apples that he found
below the apple trees. All of this gave the ladies a much needed rest &
they had a chance to talk with each other without being interrupted.

Then, we take a hike on the quad runner trail that goes through our
property. We weren’t far along when Matthew was wining & complaining of
being tired & wanted to be carried; then he wanted to go home; then he
wanted a treat to eat. We deducted that maybe the fall that he experienced
on the steps going out of our motorhome a bit earlier might have gotten
him in an uncomfortable mood. Anyway, he did keep us busy and softy
grandma (Ah-ah) did wind up carrying him on her shoulders. The Footes
leave around 4:30pm.

K & I walk to & from church to attend 6:00pm Vigil Mass.

7:50 dinner: Homemade tomato soup with crackers & leftover meatloaf.

Today’s high=68 Lights out: 11:11pm,

Awake: 5:00am Temp 59 sleep 6+49 cloudy overnight @ Nicktown

K & I drive to the community center & do 50 min of exercise, then attend
8:00 am Mass. Next we join the Koffee Klub for 1.2 hrs & then I take the
wine cooler over to Barry’s shop for him to dissect or trash it.

Early afternoon, John B. brings his brother by to meet us. Melvin is older
& has been full timing in a Bounder motorhome now for 5 yrs. We
immediately have a lot to talk about both being full time RV people; I
sensed that they wanted an outside tour of our motor home so I give them
the $5.00 look @ almost everything deal. John knows a lot about the big
diesel engines so I learned a few things from him in the process. Then we
do the inside tour. All together, we spend over an hr talking & touring. I
enjoy John & I’m glad I finally had the chance to meet his brother Melvin.

My buddy Ray calls from Ocean Park, WA. He & his wife were in Vancouver,
WA for 2 days attending to his mother-in-law during her eye surgery. Ray
sounds good & is enjoying his new welder. We had a great chat.

Kathy makes 2 dozen zucchini muffins; most of these will be taken to our
Koffee Klub meeting tomorrow morning.

Cindy calls from the Newell Company in Oklahoma; she is taking menu
selections for the restaurant in Maine for our dinner @ the rally.

7:35 dinner: Kathy’s great meatloaf, potatoes, gravy with mushrooms & bread.

Satellite movie: “Fried Green Tomatoes” with Kathy Bates, Jessica Tandy,
Mary Stuart Masterson, Mary Louise Parker, etc, A repressed Southern wife,
Bates meets elderly Tandy @ a nursing home & becomes captivated by her
tale-spinning about 2 feisty female friends & their escapades in the
1920’s & 30’s. 1991. We sure enjoyed this film.

Today’s high=66 Lights out: 11:03pm

Awake: 5:22am Temp 57 sleep 6+25 cloudy, then clearing
overnight @ Nicktown

Kathy calls Melissa @ 7:00am….making sure plan “A” is still on for today.
We drive separate cars to attend 8:00 am Mass. Afterwards, Kathy visits
the Foote house to join Melissa & the young boys on a somewhat new
adventure: thrift store shopping @ the Salvation Army in Latrobe (1 hr
drive). Before Kathy left the motorhome, she gathered up (2) small
Wal-Mart bags of clothing she no longer wanted & will donate them to the
thrift store. I took note of the small size of these bags & casually
mentioned that I will be watching as to how BIG of a bag she returns with.

Meanwhile, I attend the 8:35am Koffee Klub meeting. We had a distinguished
guest present on a 1 day visit from Michigan--- (Al’s younger brother,
Leroy). Our meeting lasted 1.2 hrs. Later @ the bus, I was eating one of
Kathy’s healthy muffins when Leroy payed a visit. We chat for a good 1.5
hrs….mostly about what Leroy has been doing during his working yrs.
Interesting fellow with many talents. His latest enthusiasm however, is in
Gyrocopter flying machines. Something I am not interested in but we
covered that field more than I ever have.

@ 11:40am, I said goodbye to Leroy, drove around the block & picked up Al
& Donna, then head for Barnesboro where I pick up Anne; it’s Rotary
meeting time @ the Cambria Hills Golf Club. This time we are on time &
lunch was great. Our cook is back on the job & her husband is home from
the hospital. We all sign a “get well soon” card. It was a good meeting.

On the return trip, drop Anne off; a stop @ the beer distributor in
Spangler for Al, then back to Nicktown.

A message on our phone recorder from my sister Corinne: my Aunt Aggie is
in the hospital again. That’s not good!

Call my brother Don…I notify him that I cannot repair their wine cooler.
No schematic, phone number, name….nothing. I have his permission to give
it to Barry or junk it.

Kathy is back from her Latrobe trip @ 5:30. Besides a few bags of
groceries, she brings in a BIG black trash bag with a big smile on her
face saying: “it was a great day!” “Aha, I knew it” say I. “Take (2) small
bags of clothing to discard, return with (1) huge bag of clothing.” She
seemed excited to show me what she bought. She had it sitting on the
dinette table; then opened it & dumped the contents right there in front
of me. Hisssss went that bag. It was full of air! She tricked the
trickster. She bought nothing. My kind of woman!

7:45 dinner: Goulash with tomatoes, brought from the Rotary meeting. No
movie tonight; we read instead.

Today’s high=68 Lights out: 10:11pm

Awake: 6:38am Temp 55 sleep 7+10 rain—cloudy---rain
overnight @ Nicktown.

K & I drive separate cars to the community center; exercise for 1.3 hrs &
then Kathy drives the Suzuki to Ebensburg for her routine doctor’s
appointment + some grocery shopping. After that, she drives to the Foote
house to help Melissa with her organization and spend time with Matthew
and Andrew.

After my exercise, I drive our Toyota back to our property (the battery
still needs a healthier charge), then walk back to church & attend the
9:30am Children’s Mass. Afterward, talk with John B. about meeting his
brother sometime this week. As John & I are talking, we see a Verizon
truck & linemen working nearby; I ask one of the guys: “what’s up?” He
tells me that Nicktown is getting the fiber optic cable system & we’ll
have broadband high speed internet within a month. That was good news!

Back on our property, I do a more thorough cleaning of the battery posts
of the Toyota; then let the battery charge for the remainder of the

Call Ray in Ocean Shores, WA & leave a message. This is my 2nd call to Ray.
My sister Corinne calls: next Monday will be fine for a visit with us.
Gary C. calls: we talk about septic systems vs. # of bedrooms in a house.

Kathy returns @ 5:00pm from visiting & helping the Footes

7:15 dinner: Swordfish, Gary’s string beans, brown rice with Craisins &
walnuts + bread.

We did watch a satellite movie but we should have shut it down sooner. It
was not up to our high standards.

Today’s high=59 Lights out: 10:57pm

Awake: 5:33am Temp 55 sleep 6+15 cloudy—windy—rain
overnight @ Nicktown.

K & I drive to the community center, attend 8:00am Mass, then join the
koffee klub members for a short 20 min meeting.

Kathy stays busy in the galley blanching tomatoes to make fresh homemade
soup. She also made a dozen healthy Kathy muffins.

It’s a good day to stay inside: it’s raining hard, blowing & it’s a
little chilly. I spend some time going through the: “This Old House”
magazines that Kevin subscribes to….looking for ideas. Also, I print
copies of our experience with Larry & Sally in June.

8:15 dinner: Homemade tomato soup with crackers. We had been craving
popcorn and decided to indulge while watching TV tonite. .

We each watch our separate TV shows: Kathy in the bedroom watching :
“Dancing With the Stars.” & I, watching the movie: “Grand Illusion” in the
living room.

The Grand Illusion movie focused on French prisoners during WWI & their
cultured German commandant. For example, if a French pilot was shot down &
survived, he would be invited to dinner with the German pilots & treated
like a friend.1937. French with English sub titles. I liked it!

Today’s high=58 Lights out: 11:28pm

Awake: 5:08 Temp 54 sleep 6+13 cloudy overnight @ Nicktown.

We drive to the community center & exercise for 45 min before attending
8:00am Mass. Afterward, we gab outside the church with Irvin, Jean,
Florentz & Anna. Then join the Koffee Klub for another hr of gabbing. The
self appointed Mayor had the floor for a greater part of this time; an
interesting fellow to listen to & gab with.

Early afternoon, Kathy drives the Suzuki to Barnesboro to grocery shop &
to visit the local thrift store + to xerox copies at the library of ideas
from magazines for our potential home plans. She returns @ 4:30.

Meanwhile, I drive our other car to Mary Jean’s home (5 min) & pay our
property taxes. The battery doesn’t have a good charge yet so I’ll clean
up the battery posts & then plug in the charger.

I call Cindy in Oklahoma & sign us up for the Newell rally in Maine in

7:00pm dinner: Leftover Italian beef au jus on a hard bun with sweet
peppers + Gary’s string beans & fruit salad.

We watch part II of “On the Path to 911.

Today’s high=62 lights out: 11:18pm

Awake: 6:20am Temp 53 sleep 6+25 clear overnight @ Nicktown.

We have leftover sourdough pancakes, fresh eggs over easy, fresh bacon &
fresh maple syrup for breakfast.

Katrina calls while driving in Denver to pick up a friend. We ask her to
tell us all about her trip to Italy & Kisten’s wedding…. & her time in
England visiting her friend, Star. Katrina talks fast, has a lot to tell
us & then arrives @ her initial destination. It’s difficult to talk with
her friend & us too, so we agree to her calling us later tonight. What we
did hear though was pretty exciting.

Late morning, John visits our motorhome: he wanted to show me Bernie D.’s
airport northwest of Nicktown. I had to tell him that we have other plans
in just an hr, but another time would be great.

K & I leave @ 1:25pm to visit & have dinner with Grace & Rosemary @ St.
Augustine. The Footes are invited also but will be arriving later. As we
enter their gravel lane, we couldn’t help noticing a big change to their
country home: a new concrete driveway with a matching sidewalk entrance to
the front porch. Even the lawn looks better. Impressive we say. Gary shows
me the new patio slab on the other side of the house & then we scrutinize
their garden. These guys have shared some of the fruits & veggies of their
labor with us over the last several weeks & we sure did appreciate that.

Another favor that these guys have done for us that we really have
appreciated: Gary has been storing one of our cars in his garage for the
last 1.5 yrs. But the time has come: we remove the car cover, charge the
battery & check + add air to the tires where necessary. I’ve already
insured this auto for the next few weeks; after that, I’ll store it in
another undisclosed location. Gary has done enough…..I’ll be indebted to
him for yrs as it is! What a guy!

Then Gary & I take a much needed break from all of that mechanical talk &
action by relaxing on his front porch & gazing out toward the expansive
view to the east, and it’s a peaceful feeling as well. During our
relaxation time, both of the girls are picking out veggies from the garden
for us & the Footes to take along home.

After that, the ladies join us on the porch for wine time. Around 3:45 the
Footes arrive, Melissa & Kevin exit first to get the boys out of their car
seats. Once released, Andrew & Matthew are all smiles & happily come to
the porch. Matthew has his back-pack equipped with a few toy autos but
Rosemary quickly ups the anti for play by bringing out a small train set.
Matthew spends time putting the track together and driving the train
before Andrew “bear crawls” over to unwittingly destroy his creation! They
play some more before Rosemary calls for dinner about 5:00 pm: Gary’s
special grilled hamburgers with all the trimmings, baked beans, Rosemary’s
special macaroni salad, coleslaw, etc.

And for dessert; coconut “Impossible” pie…all very yummy.
After dinner, we adults sort of took turns spending time with those active
young people in the living room. Sometime after 7:00pm we decided that
maybe it’s time to leave the scene. We thank G & R for their invitation,
their hospitality, our good friendship, for being Godparents for Andrew,
for storing of our automobile, the veggies & the list goes on & on.
Anyway, these guys have been very good to us. It’s tough to keep up with

We follow the Footes to Nicktown where they continue on to their home in
Indiana. It was a good rendezvous.

Late evening I watch part I of the ABC special: “On the Path to 911."

Today’s high=? Lights out: 10:55pm

Awake: 5:14am Temp 55 sleep 6+13 late-morning light rain, then
sun, then early-evening heavier rain overnight @ Nicktown.

K & I attend 8:00am Mass, then join the Koffee Klub for 1.2 hrs. After
breakfast, I begin to use Kevin’s electric weed whacker to cut down the
tall grass under the trees on the west side of our circular drive. Just as
I was getting another extension cord to extend my travel distance, it
began to rain….& Melissa + the boys arrive. Perfect timing for a break to
visit with most of the local Foote family I am thinking.

The wave of rain passes quickly & Matthew wanted to watch me do more weed
whacking so outside we go. Matthew keeps his distance & has a reputation
of being fascinated with mechanical things but, not for long; the spool of
nylon cutting cord is empty so for all practical purposes, I am finished.
About this time, Kathy & Melissa want to take the boys to the school
playground. I have more things to do so I stay @ the coach. When they
return, I set Matthew up for shooting those white moths out of the sky
with the almost laser like water spray. I am so proud that I can teach my
grandson some important & worthwhile skills while he is still young. I
can’t wait to get him involved in killing flies with the old fashion fly
swatter. The Footes leave @ 4:30.

K & I attend 6:00pm vigil Mass. It rained fairly hard during our time in

7:45 dinner: BLT’s with fruit salad.

Satellite movie: “Father Goose” with Cary Grant, Leslie Caron, Trevor
Howard, Jack Good, etc. Grant goes native as a shiftless bum on a South
Seas island during WWII, who’s persuaded to become a lookout for the
Australian navy…. & finds himself sheltering Caron & a gaggle of
schoolgirls fleeing the Japanese. 1964. It's a lightweight flick but

Today’s high=77 Lights out: 11:55pm

Awake: 4:45am Temp 56 sleep 5+36 clear overnight @ Nicktown.

K & I walk to the community center, exercise for 45 min, attend 8:00am
Mass & then join the Koffee Klub meeting for 1.2 hrs before walking back
to our bus for breakfast.

Late morning, Kathy drives to the Foote home to help Melissa put a
bookshelf/cubicle together in an upstairs bedroom which will be used in
organizing games, crafts and books. I have phone calls to make & other
things to do, so I stay @ the bus.

I call Pen Diesel in Bedford again & ask if they steam clean engines? And,
what do they charge for 8d AGM batteries? Plus a few other incidental

Today, I want to get our inverter working. On Wednesday, before calling
the Newell technicians, I tried calling the Statpower Corporation who
makes the inverter. The auto answer systems led me to some beautiful
classical music which I listened to for nearly 5 min & then hung up. I
thought maybe I pushed a wrong button. The 2nd time I called, again it led
me to that same classical music. So I gave up & called the Newell bunch.
Well today, I was more patient when calling & gave myself 10 min for
listening to that beautiful music & then, a real voice answered after 7
min. Francis is one of ten techs that listen to people like me report a
fault or other problems with their Statpower unit & give them over the
phone assistance. This company is located in Burnaby, British Columbia
with a US phone number.

Francis begins by asking a series of questions: What model do you have?
What equipment is it being used in? How long have you had it? What are the
symptoms of your problem, etc? Francis pretty well follows the same
method & troubleshooting procedures that I am monitoring in my Statpower
guide & the same as the Newell tech’s used…..with one exception: at the
very end of his procedure, he mentioned a small bi-pass switch on the
inverter itself. I had to ask him twice; “where is it?” “Look @ the
diagram on page 5” he says. “I don’t have that diagram in my manual” I
tell him. I took our cordless phone outside, crawled into the basement
storage area where our inverter is attached to the wall, used my
flashlight & sure enough, there was a very small indentation in the
inverter chassis; inside that indentation was a very small switch. He told
me to throw that switch from “on to bi-pass, then back to on & your
inverter should work.” “Hot Diggity!” the inverter is working. I couldn’t
thank him enough.

I felt so good about this accomplishment; I put on my working gloves, went
over to my near neighbor Chuck (age 78) & helped him unload a pick-up load
of firewood.

Shortly thereafter, Kathy returns from visiting the Footes. I demonstrated
the good news to her & we celebrated by having a glass of wine before
dinner. Of course, we usually have a glass of wine before dinner anyway,
but this time we had some good Swiss cheese along with the wine.

8:00pm dinner: Alaska salmon, Gary C’s green beans from his garden,
broccoli with baby Bella mushrooms & rice.

Satellite movie: “Harold & Maude” with Bud Cort, Ruth Gordon, Vivian
Pickles, Cyril Cusack, etc. A loving relationship between 20-yr-old Cort,
who is obsessed with death, & 79-yr old swinger Gordon. 1972. It is
definitely different….but interesting to experience.

Today’s high=78 Lights out: 11:01pm

Awake: 5:15am Temp 51 sleep 6+42 clear overnight @

Melissa calls @ 7:30am….she is thinking of visiting us today. K & I attend
8:00am Mass…then join the Koffee Klub afterward.

@ 11:30am, I pick up my neighbor, Al, drive to the Spangler bank where Al
had some business to attend to. Then drive to Barnesboro & stop @ the FCB
(another bank) with more business to take care of. I know this sounds
rather suspicious but Al was in the banking business for yrs and is now
retired….so I assure you, he’s clean.

We are on our way to attend the weekly Cambria Hills Rotary club meeting.
We are 15 min late & the members gathered there are already eating.
Unfortunately, the Rotary cook did not cook today; her husband was taken
to the hospital this morning with the flu so she quickly ordered a pizza &

Today I was formally inducted into the Rotary Club with all the proper
pomp & circumstance that one normally gets when becoming a member. Plus,
Al & I had our picture taken in front of the flag. I do like the people
who usually attend these weekly meetings, but @ this time, I’ll be missing
quite a few of them because of our travels.

The meeting plus lunch takes about an hr then back to Nicktown with a stop
@ the FCB in Barnesboro, a stop @ Pat’s home in Nicktown & a stop to drop
Al off @ his home. I am back to our bus @ 1:50pm.

Melissa & the boys had arrived 20 min ago & everyone was inside the coach
snacking when I walked in. With such a nice day, eventually we all went
outdoors where I introduced Matthew to the art of flying paper airplanes.
He liked seeing me throw the plane into the air & how far it flew, but he
had difficulty launching or throwing the airplane himself. I’ll be patient
& try it again sometime. What Matthew did enjoy though, was shooting white
moths out of the air with a powerful fine water spray from the pump house.
They don’t die though; they just get a good soaking. The Footes leave
around 4:30.

I won't be spending any time on the inverter glitch today; Tomorrow I'll
try & get back to it!

7:10 dinner: Stir-fry chicken with rice, cucumber & tomato salad with bread.

Satellite move: “Pieces of April” with Katie Holmes, Patricia Clarkson,
Oliver Platt, etc. Even though she lives in a small New York apartment on
the lower East Side, April (Holmes) summons the courage to invite her
extended and somewhat estranged family for Thanksgiving dinner. Of course
anything that can go wrong will, leaving April to improvise as she
attempts to bring a little holiday cheer to those she loves, including a
mother dying of cancer. 2003.
We liked this movie.

Today’s high=78 Lights out: 11:09pm

Awake: 5:00am Temp 56 sleep 5+38 early rain, then clearing
overnight @ Nicktown.

K & I drive to the community center & exercise for 45 min. Then join the
Koffee Klub for 1.1 hrs.

Early afternoon, I call the Hartford Insurance Co. & insure the Lexus for
approx 2 weeks.

Then I call Pen Diesel in Bedford, PA & make an appointment for 27th of

Since we dry camped (parked using battery power) in Manitoba, Canada 2
weeks ago, either our battery bank or our inverter has been acting
strange. The bank of batteries doesn’t power the inverter circuit. In
other words, if we are not plugged into shore power or running the
generator, we don’t have any 120 volts of electricity, only 12 volts DC.
So while we traveled back from Manitoba to Minot, neither the refrigerator
nor the microwave had electrical power. That’s not so bad really if the
refrigerator/freezer doors are not being opened too much. Now from Minot
to Sioux Falls, that’s a different story as that run was slightly over 9
hrs. Of course, when we did park @ a campground overnight, we used the
site shore power & everything in the coach was powered as normal + the
refrigerator did cool/freeze back to normal temps. Our longest run without
powering our refrigerator was over 12 hrs & neither of us felt comfortable
about that. This brief introduction leads into the: hope-to-fix-it-soon

This is how the problem developed: during our time on the Oskar farm in
Canada, I accidentally left the battery bank discharge too far…(hey, we
had a party going on) & that caused the Statpower to shut down & indicate
by LCD of a fault of 006. I didn’t try any troubleshooting in Canada but
during the afternoon in Minot the next day & before the rain, using my
manual, I ran through the procedures for a “reset” without any luck.

Now in Nicktown with a little spare time after the picnic, I call the
experts @ Newell in Oklahoma. 1st I talk with Charlie, then Ron about our
inverter glitch. Making reference to my Statpower manual, Ron theorizes a
different reset condition & runs through the troubleshooting techniques
with me using our cordless phone. I carried out the reset plan to his
minute specifications…..then I had to wait for 30 min before bringing the
battery bank back on line to finalize the reset. I felt uncomfortable
having Ron stay on the phone line that long with my problem; he felt sure
his latest technique would fix the problem, so I thanked him for his time
& patience & hung up. I actually waited a little more than 30 min, like
the next day to do the test without Kathy being in the motorhome…. & then
the test failed. Ugh! Maybe tomorrow, we’ll try again. Oh, by the way,
Kathy spent the afternoon visiting the Foote Family in Indiana.

7:20 dinner: Leftover colony mountain chili with fruit salad.

Nothing of interest to watch tonight so we both do some light reading.

Today’s High=68 Lights out: 10:33pm

Awake: 5:40am Temp 58 sleep 5+42 light rain….then clouds
Overnight @ Nicktown.

K & I attend 8:00am Mass, then join the Koffee Klub meeting for 1.2 hrs.

Late morning, I top off our pure water holding tank…..that takes some time
because I have to push 2 buttons, wait about 15 min or longer depending on
how empty the tank is, then push the 2 buttons again. The fill
automatically stops when the tank is full.

Mid afternoon, it’s my turn on the computer.

7:20 dinner: Leftover meatloaf, Italian sausage, whole wheat noodles &
mixed salad.

Call Gary & Grace: We ask how their daughter is doing? Gary replies: “They
transported her to the hospital & now she is back home, resting & doing
much better.”

We call Mark & Joan for their 42nd “Happy Anniversary.”

We started to watch the move: “Wild Strawberries” but we both had
difficulty staying awake. It’s a classic & it’s slow. I think we’ll try it
again some other night.

Today’s high=68 Lights out: 11:22pm

Awake: 6:45am Temp 53 sleep 8+02 fog…then sun overnight @

I slept longer than usual after that heavy dose of social time yesterday.
It was fun though, seeing & talking with so many people I still know
around here & those who travel many miles to be here for this occasion.

Kathy asks that I make a quick trip to the Bi-Lo grocery store in Spangler
(10 min) for some maple syrup, bacon & light olive oil. “You bet”! I tell
her. She is making her famous sourdough pancake breakfast this morning &
has invited Grace & Gary over for a 9:00am feast.

We start with fresh cantaloupe, then eggs over easy, bacon & sourdough
pancakes with real maple syrup. I think they enjoyed this breakfast….I
always do.

After breakfast, I advertise to the gang that there will be a (2) hr tour
of the Nicktown area starting around 10:30. Kathy is startled! “(2) hrs?”
she questions. “That’s correct” I tell her. Gary & Grace appear excited &
insist that we use their Honda auto which has a GPS in the dash in the
event that we get lost!!

1st attraction: our new community center, merely an 8 min walk from our
property; then the Catholic School, The Catholic Church, Krumenacker’s
Hardware store, St. Nicholas Hotel & then a drive east on St. Henry Street
seeing some more Nicktown homes that are hidden behind the picnic grounds.
Next, we are heading south, past the Enchanted Gardens flower shop & the
photo shop. Entering the suburbs now, we pass the vast operations of the
Lieb farm, further down the Nicktown road, or as some people call it,
“Kirschtown.” I tell G & G “who lives in this house & who lives in that
house;" i.e. cousin Jimmy, cousin Bernie, etc. We turn left onto Kline
Road which I haven’t been on for maybe 20 yrs. I see 3 new homes and have
no idea who occupies them.

We turn around & drive down Kirsch Road, past Nealens, taking a right turn
just past our big old barn & onto our ole homestead driveway. Here we
stop; Gary & I get out & talk with my cousins, Russell & John, who just
happen to be hanging out in Russell’s driveway. We sold Russell our
homestead with 2 acres in the mid 90’s after my mom passed away. He has
brought it back to life with a wife & 3 children + a completely renovated
& different floor plan inside. Outside, Russell has completely removed all
the wood siding & is using stone for the outside finish. Both guys are
extremely talented woodworkers & run a nearby cabinet shop.

Next we drive past the ole cabinet shop where I point out the natural
spring & wading pond below Russell’s home that he has cleaned out &
manicured. Then a left turn to the lane that leads to my 1st cousin’s
family home where we meet with Cyril, Tony, Dick & Bill. Cyril, Tony &
Dick are in the area for the cousins’ reunion & Homecoming Festival this
weekend, but they also do some preventive maintenance work on their
homestead when visiting. After a nice chat with those guys, we drive out
of their lane, continue down the ole brick road, past cousin Richard’s
homestead, past the grotto that cousin Jerry built, past his homestead
where Jerry & Marian lived, past the construction company warehouse, etc.

Now we are leaving the Nicktown area & getting closer to the town of
Spangler. The town of Barnesboro & Spangler merged several yrs ago & now
call themselves “Northern Cambria” but most people still refer to them as
B.& S. As we travel toward Spangler, I point out Max & Diane’s summer
home, then I round out this tour by turning around @ the Bi-Lo grocery
store & heading back to our buses in Nicktown, arriving @ 12:20pm. The
Honda automobile gave us a smooth & quiet ride, no one fell asleep & we
completed the tour under 2 hrs. Maybe Kathy was right!

@ 1:00pm, Scott & Al arrive separately. I’ve invited them to look over our
property while Gary & Grace are here for the purpose of future home
building. We are considering having Al as our builder & Scott as our
architect. Gary & Grace are our specialized heavy construction specialists
& personal advisors. We spend about 1.5 hrs talking about building the
basement, hot floors, geothermal heating & cooling, the slope on our
property for natural drainage, the floor plans, etc. There remains a lot
of planning yet to do but we do have the initial idea in mind.

After Al & Scott leave, Gary & Grace decide to leave also. When we were
visiting with Russell & John, Gary received a phone call regarding what
could be a family emergency with one of their daughters. Quite a few phone
calls later, they were still concerned enough that they felt it would be
best to be back home & personally be there for their daughter.

Grace backs up their Newell while watching Gary who is walking in the
front of the coach & giving hand signals along the way. They made it look
easy. Once the coach is turned around, their Honda is hooked up; we thank
them for their visit, say our “goodbyes” for now & off they go.

Next, Kathy & I drive to Ebensburg to attend a cookout at my brother Don &
sister-in-law Josie’s house; their son, Craig, in from Texas, Josie’s
mother, two brothers, a niece + the Footes from Indiana are also there. We
start with snacks: hard pretzels & chips. Then the hamburgers with all the
trimmings, kielbasa, potato salad, baked beans. For dessert: rubbarb &
strawberry pie + apple pie. Melissa brought her homemade healthy whole
wheat cookies. Matthew kept himself busy playing with some big metal toys:
a car carrier, front end loader & a dump truck. Andrew was putting on the
yards, crawling all over the long outside deck. Craig is leaving tonight,
driving to a few other cities to take care of business before flying back
to Texas. Josie’s Mom, Vi, is doing good & looking good @ age 85. We were
grateful for the invitation & enjoyed seeing & talking with some of
Josie’s family. Back to our bus around 7:45pm.

Melissa gave us a rental DVD to watch: “The Terminal” with Tom Hanks,
Catherine Zeta-Jones, Stanley Tucci, Chi McBride, etc. Viktor (Hanks)
arrives @ JFK from the fictitious Slavic country of Krakozhia just as a
coup erupts in his homeland. American officials no longer recognize the
country as a sovereign state & yank Viktor’s visa & passport. For the next
9 months Viktor camps out in the International Transit lounge of the
airport with his freedom ensnarled in bureaucratic red tape. 2004. We
liked it! When watching the DVD, we recommend using the sub-titles as
Hanks usage of Slavic is incredibly funny, but when listening, doesn’t
come across so clearly spoken.

Today’s high=74 Lights out: 11:58pm

Awake: 4:30am Temp 52 sleep 6+20 cloudy with early light
drizzle overnight @ Nicktown.

It’s Homecoming Festival Day. Kathy & I attend 6:00 am Mass. Then back to
the bus. It takes over 500 volunteers to make this Homecoming Festival a
success. The annual picnic in Nicktown has been going on since the early
20’s? We asked some of the old geezers in town & most of them said "even
before the 20's."

We planned a rendezvous on our property @ the latest, 10:30am; the Footes
arrived @ 9:00am; Gary & Rosemary @ 10:15. When Gary & Grace walk over,
they are introduced to G & R + the Footes. We all start walking to the
picnic grounds @ 10:45. In line for the tickets, I purchase 10, which
cover all of us, including my brother, Don & Sister, Corinne who will meet
us in line; there is no charge for Matthew & Andrew. The waiting line is
already around to the 2nd corner of the pavilion.

As we saunter down the final stretch, there is my bro Don. He’s early but
where is my sister Corinne? We 9 plus Matthew & Andrew get seated & the
homemade noodles, real mashed potatoes, fried chicken, beans, coleslaw,
etc are passed quickly. I thought Gary J. was kidding when he told me
earlier that he doesn’t eat chicken…..he wasn’t!

We reserved a chair for Corinne & made sure that Ron & Ed (in charge of
seating) knew that she would be arriving soon. I was about half finished
with my meal when I decided to go outside & scan the long line for her. I
gave a head’s up to my 1st cousins: Cyril, Tony & Diana to keep a
lookout…..also to 1st cousins: Bernie, Ethel & Rita should they see her.
Then I went back to our table & continued eating.

Only 5 of us from our group were still eating when Corinne finally showed
up looking very frustrated & ticked off: she attended Father Tom’s Mass
which lasted an hr & she accidentally locked her key in her car. Corinne
finally did get served & the 5 of us waited until she was finished eating.

Gary & Rosemary, who finished first, were surprised & delighted when
Matthew agreed to go with them to see what was happening out on the picnic
grounds; the rest of the Footes left the dining room soon after. I guided
Gary J. around introducing him to many of the local people who might find
common interests with his. Both Gary’s are natural conversationalists when
it comes to meeting new people so it was a pleasure to introduce Gary J.
to many of the local people I’ve known for yrs.

During our socializing time, Gary J. & I left the crowd, walked up to the
church where Corinne had parked her car & looked closely @ the doors
trying to figure out how we could get inside without doing damage. It
didn’t take long for us to realize….we can’t!

Kathy toured Grace J. around the picnic grounds & occasionally, we would
bump into each other. It appeared that they too were having a grand ole
time. Gary & Rosemary and the Foote family left sometime during the early

Mid afternoon, Corinne visited us in the beer tent & announced: she has
her keys. 1st cousin Norm had asked her if she had Triple “A”? She had
forgotten & we didn’t think of asking… it was a relief for all of us.

Later in the afternoon, I was able to talk with both Scott & his uncle Al
in regards to meeting with them on our property on Monday. They agreed for
a 1:00 pm meet time.

The Homecoming Festival was a huge success…..1757 meals were served. Not a
record but close to it. The net profit for our annual picnic won’t be
released for @ least a few more weeks. We 4 walk back to our motorhome,
have a glass of wine & gab until 9:30pm.

Fireworks could be heard & sometimes seen as we are sitting in the living
room chatting. It was a GREAT DAY.

High temp=72 Lights out: 10:43pm

Awake: 6:40am Temp 52 sleep 7+27 hurricane Ernesto arrived:
rain all night, morning, afternoon. Overnight @ Nicktown.

We both have a cold cereal breakfast & then I report to Jim for volunteer
work @ the church hall & pavilion in prep for tomorrow’s Annual Homecoming
Festival here in Nicktown. Kathy reports to the church hall kitchen @

My co-worker Mike is much younger than I…. & that’s good. Our 1st
assignment from Jim was to clean (6) 5 gallon buckets with hot water &
soap. 2nd job: move the folding rectangular tables & 2 round tables that
are not needed & hide them behind the shelving in the main hall. 3rd task:
help move stored tables & benches out of Donna K’s booth. 4th project:
clear the pavilion of benches, tables, chairs, etc so it can be swept &
cleaned. 5th venture: move the chair carts to a temporary storage area &
cover them with a tarp. 6th undertaking: string nylon cord from the church
hall to the pavilion in a zigzag manner so as to be able to drape a large
tarp cover for a sun shield.

But wait, there’s more! And do keep in mind, Ernesto arrived in the area
last night & hasn’t shown any signs of leaving soon. 7th enterprise: the
big one; heavy tables & benches to be removed from the white building &
set up for bingo & in the beer tent. Mike & I couldn’t do this alone; we
asked for more help which arrived slowly but they did arrive. After that,
basically our leader, Jim, couldn’t find any other chores to do @ the
moment. Barry gave me a ride back to our bus where Kathy had arrived
earlier & had some lunch prepared. Mike & I worked steadily for about 5.0
hrs, mostly in the rain but, tomorrow we can goof off @ the picnic with no
more chores.

Gary & Grace arrive in their Newell motorhome @ 5:20pm onto our circular
drive. Kathy & I plug his shore power cord into our Site # 2 receptacle.
In no time at all, we are in his motorhome having a glass of wine to
celebrate their visit. We have a lot to talk about…then its over to our
coach for a 7:20pm dinner: Colony mountain chili. It was excellent & I
personally gave it a 10 score. G & G loved it as well. We continue our
gabbing until 8:30 & then G & G admit they are tired & retire to their
coach. Kathy & I have no problem with that…..we are tired also. It was a
busy day.

High temp=63 Lights out: 10:10pm

Awake: 5:45am Temp 56 sleep 6+00 cloudy, then rain
overnight @ Nicktown.

We attend 8:00 am Mass, then join the Koffee Klub afterward.

After breakfast, I prepare site # 2 in our circular drive for Gary &
Grace’s arrival tomorrow.

Late afternoon, Kathy & I go down to Spangler to the old “Holy Cross
School” which we Kirsch’s are renting for the night for our 5th annual 1st
cousins’ reunion. This will be our 1st time using this facility. Start
time is 5:30pm but we arrive early to help my sister, Corinne, with
setting up; she already had most of the set up organized & finished. 15
min later, the cousins began to arrive….several Kirsches, the Hoovers, the
Borns, Dumms, Neelans, etc. In all, there were close to 40 people
attending, incl. some of the younger set…our Melissa and her family, 2 of
the grown Hoover children, and 2 Dumm daughters. The covered food dishes
were outstanding & I came close to overeating. The desserts also made
their mark.

Our live entertainment began shortly after we were finished eating. 1st,
my sister Corinne recited our zodiac sign for each of our birthdays with
an elaboration of traits for that sign. That was followed by some oohs,
aahs, & denials & lots of laughter. Next up was our professional lyrics
cousin, Ralph. @ age 85, he continues to amaze us with his memory of good
stories, jokes & those awesome lyrics. Ralph then invited our cousin
Florentz to recite a few of his 80 some poems he has written + a few good
stories. It was another wonderful gathering of our 1st cousins.

The Foote family kept themselves occupied, keeping a close eye on Andrew,
who just recently found a high speed gear in his crawling transmission.
Matthew was busy exploring a new building; new things to look at.

It was around 9:30 when people began saying their goodbyes for now. We
voted to use this same building for next yrs 1st cousins’ gathering.
Corinne, Kathy & I left @ 10:00pm after tidying up after our group; some
of the cousins also helped with the cleanup.

High temp=65 Lights out: 11:13pm

Awake: 6:25am Temp 59 sleep 7+25 mostly cloudy
overnight @ Nicktown.

We attend 8:00 am Mass, then join the Koffee Klub afterwards. John took
center stage as a speaker @ the Klub & we learned more about bees than we
knew possible.

Kathy does 2 loads of laundry including the bed sheets. During this time,
I use the Foote Flair beater bar vacuum cleaner & thoroughly clean the
inside of our motorhome.

Then we visit the Foote family, including Kevin (while on his lunch
break). Melissa offers us some chicken salad for lunch so we join her &
the boys @ the table. Kevin takes the time to give us a tour of the
“finished SpacPak air conditioning system. Things that were not yet
completed when we left town June 3rd: the BIG return duct, the
condensation tube run, more supply ducts, the BIG compressor outside & the
outside refrigerant lines + condensation line & electrical wiring. We
haven’t heard the unit running yet so maybe next time we visit we’ll find
out how quiet it is. They are very happy with the results I might add.

Matthew & I mow the 2 back yard sections using the manual push mower. Then
we do a little playing on the back patio. I load the Foote’s electric weed
whacker in our Suzuki for using on our property.

We leave the Foote home @ 3:05pm; then do some grocery shopping @ Martin’s
& Wal-Mart in Indiana before returning to Nicktown.

Using Kevin’s weed whacker, I spend 1.5 hrs cleaning up the tall grass
around campsite #’s 1 & 2 plus getting that tall grass from under the
trees inside our circular drive.

Kathy calls my sister Corinne in Lilly. According to Corinne, she is
organized & ready for the 5th annual cousins’ reunion tomorrow night.

8:00 dinner: BLT’s with Florentz’s fresh tomatoes.

I call Grace Johnson in Landenberg & give her more exact directions for
getting onto our property in their motorhome.

Late satellite move: “Sorry, Wrong Number” with Barbara Stanwyck, Burt
Lancaster, Ann Richards, Wendell Corey etc. Stanwyck as an invalid,
overhears 2 men plotting the murder of a woman & gradually realizes that
she is the target. 1948. Good movie!

High temp=68 Lights out: 11:45pm

Awake: 6:19am Temp 63 sleep 7+08 cloudy overnight @ Nicktown.

We join the Koffee Klub @ 8:30am for an hr of good discussions. Afterward,
Kathy volunteers to help make candy @ the church hall. While she is busy
volunteering, I visit the Krumenacker Hardware store in town….buy a few
things, then return to the bus.

The remainder of this afternoon for me was some long-awaited “goof-off
time.” I read a few lines….tickled the keys on the computer & messed
around with some little things on the bus. When Kathy returned from her
candy making, I shaped right up: brought the wine from the refrigerator,
poured our glasses & had our wine before dinner.

7:40 dinner: Italian sausage, whole wheat noodles, spaghetti sauce.

Satellite movie: “For Love of Ivy” with Sidney Poitier, Abbey Lincoln,
Beau Bridges, Carroll O’Connor, etc. Lincoln is a maid for a wealthy
family. When she decides to leave their employ, the family’s children
connive to get Poitier to take her our & make her happy so she will stay.
1968. Tho, we like Poitier, it was mediocre in my book.

High temp=68 Lights out: 11:00pm

Awake: 5:40am Temp 68 sleep 6+20 cloudy overnight @
Nicktown, PA.

We attend 8:00 am Mass, then join the Koffee Klub members afterwards. Back
@ the bus, Melissa calls us around 11:00am; She & the young boys will be
coming over this morning. Kathy & I take a few minutes to clean up & get
ready for their arrival. They are in our driveway @ 11:45. Matthew, with
big eyes and big smiles, is so happy to see us & so is Andrew with his big
eyes & smiles. Matthew actually gave us several nice hugs without us
asking, that is a highlight for grandparents!

We spend about 45 min in our motorhome talking & getting reacquainted +
watching Andrew crawl about & do his half standing position. Then we all
walk up to the school’s playground (except Andrew who is in his sling
being carried by Melissa), & spend over 2 hrs having fun with Matthew. 1st
on the small sliding board, then he gradually advanced to the large slide,
then to the swings; Matthew was thrilled even more to ride on my back
while I held onto the tram ride. As Matthew continues to grow, I may have
to exercise a bit more in order to keep up with this activity + Andrew is
watching. Speaking of Andrew, he busied himself by crawling around in the
woodchips & tried to eat a few when he thought no one was watching….but
his mother was. We took our umbrellas along so that kept the rain away.
The Footes leave @ 4:00pm.

7:10 dinner: BLT’s with fresh tomatoes from my cousin Florentz’s garden &
a fruit salad.

1st movie: “The In-laws” with Michael Douglas, Albert Brooks, Robin
Tunney, Ryan Reynolds, Candice Bergen, etc. Douglas is a restless CIA
agent & neglectful father of groom-to-be Reynolds….who takes Brooks, a
timid nebbish father of the bride, on the adventure of his life in the
days leading up to their kids’ wedding. 2003. It’s fast paced with a bit
of exaggeration thrown in, but still fairly entertaining.

2nd movie: “For Whom the Bell Tolls” with Gary Cooper, Ingrid Bergman,
Akim Tamiroff. A Hemingway story of U.S mercenary Cooper fighting for
Spain with motley crew of peasants, including Bergman; tense action,
beautiful color, great love scenes. 1943. Slow @ times. I recommend
watching this flick when one is wide awake.

High temp=75 Lights out: 11:11pm

Awake: 6:39am Temp 68 sleep 6+36 fog overnight @
Nicktown, PA.

It’s good to be back home again. We attend 8:00am Mass @ Saint Nicholas
Church here in Nicktown & then the Koffee Klub members give us a nice
“welcome back” greeting when we join them @ the big conference table in
the community center. After our meeting, we collect our twice forwarded
mail from Alaska. The rest of the morning & some of the afternoon, are
spent going thru our mail.

Later Kathy does a load of laundry using our tank water…..& during this
time, I make the connections necessary to use our well water.

My cousins, Florentz & Anna, make a short visit & bring us some of their
homegrown vegetables. We always look forward to this treat; we invite them
in for a glass of wine & some good talk. Florentz recites & we read 6 or 7
of his latest poems; he has written over 80 poems over a yrs time; they
are mostly logical, in the spirit of good living, & offer a message.

Then he updates me on the geothermal heating & cooling system in his home.
Everything is working except the hot water generator & the auto thermostat
he tells me.

As Florentz & Anna are leaving, Scott arrives; Kathy & I show him the lay
of our land. We agree to a get together on Monday, Labor Day.

7:25 dinner: Filet steak, baked potato, fresh homegrown corn on the cob &
mixed salad.

We talk with Katrina in Denver & wish her a “Bon Voyage.” She leaves
tomorrow for Italy to attend Kistinn’s wedding.

High temp=78 Lights out: 11:20pm

Awake: 4:11am Temp 70 sleep 5+24 ground fog & later, low clouds
elevation 1456 ft overnight @ the Wal-Mart in Plymouth, Indiana.

I enjoyed a good night’s rest regardless of any noise a few semi-trucks &
another motorhome might have made in parking parallel to us. We buy some
groceries @ Wal-Mart, then get directions to the local Catholic Church in
Plymouth. I disconnect the Suzuki & drive to Saint Michaels just in time
to see people exiting the church. We forgot about the Eastern Time Zone
change. Back to the bus, hitch the Suzuki & leave Plymouth @ 9:45am local

Passing through Massillon, Ohio, I call my Aunt Aggie & talk for 15 min.
Then around Akron, Ohio, I call my cousin Michelle & we chat for about the
same time.

Somewhere along the way, Kathy talks with Katrina about her up & coming
trip to Italy to attend the wedding of her friend, Kistinn.

Non-stop to Hubbard, Ohio where we top off our fuel tank, then continue on
to Nicktown, PA through heavy rain. As we approached New Castle, Kathy
phoned our niece, Carlene, & they talked for some 15 min. We arrive on our
property @ 7:23pm.

Today’s travel: 9+14 time 483 miles 62 gal used 7.82 mpg
54.7 avg speed.

In the rain with an umbrella, Kathy helps to re-position the coach on our
site # 1. While she readies dinner, I plug into our shore power & connect
the land line phone.

I make a few local calls: Gary & Rosemary; Footes to leave a msg; Then we
receive a call from Gary & Grace: We talk about their planned visit to
Nicktown with their motorhome in less than a week.

9:00pm dinner: Leftover chicken salad.

Elevation 1987 ft High temp=80 Lights out: 11:57pm

Awake: 4:45am Temp 67 sleep 6+38 overnight @ Sioux Falls,
South Dakota.

We leave the Tower Campground @ 8:07 am…it was an easy departure compared
to our arrival route yesterday. The exit route was wide with few turns,
plus there is no construction activity today. I can’t brag about smooth
roads this travel day; both I-29 & I-80 have long sections of smooth hwy,
then long sections of rough hwy.

En route, Linda calls from Anchorage; our forwarded mail sent to Minot was
returned? I ask her to send it to Nicktown.

When we diverted from I-80 to hwy 30 @ New Lenox, Illinois, that was a
real goof; We suffered small town out-of-sync signal lights for miles &
miles. Going through those small towns was a pure nuisance; we had no
prior warning of when their signal lights would change & the yellow
caution light was too quick…..I have since talked with my professional
truck driving buddy, Gary, & he has set me straight with a simple
alternate plan for that area.

Again today, our destination was…..whatever is comfortable for both of us.
After the Route 30 signal light issue, I ask Kathy to casually look up
some campground options. After some 40 mins, she had no options to share.
We were catching the storm that passed through Minot on Thursday &
darkness was upon us. Then darkness, rain & road construction narrowed our
lane to 1. That’s when we began to renew our Wal-Mart Super-center
discussion. In Plymouth, Indiana we found just that; a 24 hr Wal-Mart with
lots of open parking to the side. We pulled in & shut the engine down @
9:14pm. With (1) comfort stop en route, I was ready.

Today’s travel: 12+21 time 683 miles 81 gal used 8.43 mpg
56.2 avg speed.

We walked into Wal-Mart, asked the night manager, Fredrick, about staying
overnight, told him we were parked far off to the side & reminded him we
will be shopping in this store in morning….he okayed all of that.

9:30pm dinner: Chicken salad.

Elevation 1436 ft High temp=79 Lights out: 10:47pm

Awake: 4:30am Temp 55 sleep 6+15 sunny overnight @
Minot, North Dakota.

The storm has passed & we have a perfectly blue sky to travel with. We
leave the Minot KOA campground @ 7:35am. We haven’t decided on a
destination for today yet; we’ll see how the day & traffic flows. Hwy 2 en
route to I-29 was terrific. We make 1 stop for fuel @ Flying “J” in Fargo,
N.D. 178 gallons to top off our tank & another ouch!

About 150 miles north of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, we begin talking about
a campground for the night. Kathy peruses the books, reads me the stats &
we make a decision. She programs the GPS, makes a cell phone call & we
have a place to park, cook & maybe watch a movie for the night. The
campground girl (Donna) gave Kathy directions to the campground because
the normal exit is closed due to construction. I was glad she did; as it
was, our turn into the campground was so tight, Kathy had to exit the
coach, remove sandbags from a sign, move the sign so as not to scrape the
side of our motorhome & watch as I proceeded into the campground. Traffic
tied up behind us was very patient however. We arrive @ the Tower
Campground in Sioux Falls @ 5:10pm.

Today’s travel: 9+03 time 523 miles 58 gal used 9.0 mpg
58 avg speed.

Tower campground is well established with large shade trees…thus, no
satellite TV or XM radio signals. We do have excellent cell phone coverage

7:35 dinner: Bratwurst vegetable rice soup, salad, & bread.

Elevation: 1436 ft High temp=77 Lights out: 10:07pm

Awake: 5:37am Temp 60 sleep 6+27 cloudy overnight @ the
Oskar Stoll farm

I start the 20 KW generator @ 6:00am which is called: “the quiet diesel”
but it still can be heard & wakes Kathy up. I was dreading the 8 mile
dusty dirt road to drive out on this morning, but what was good for us was
not for the farmers: it thundered & rained during the night. I think we
will make little dust.

We leave the Oskar Stoll farm parking spot @ 7:02am. As we are passing
Oskar’s house, we see Monica & Rene running outside to wave us goodbye. We
always have a lot of fun with these people; we will miss them.

The 8 mile dusty road was not dusty at all. As we drove south on hwy 83
toward the USA border, we could easily see a lot of darker clouds…..then
the rain began. Rain was with us until after we crossed into the USA.
Clearing customs was uncomplicated, requiring only a stop in the office
where our passports were checked and we filled out a “declaration of
goods” form. The custom agents were not interested in our previously
checked beef.

We arrive @ the Minot KOA campground @ 12:30pm. Today’s travel: 5+03 time
264 miles 32.5 gal used 8.1 mpg 53.6 avg speed.

It was our intention to pick up our Suzuki, get our forwarded mail & keep
on traveling. We found out that our mail hadn’t arrived yet, our Suzuki &
our wine undercover were in fine shape, but: that storm we experienced a
little of was on our tail & it was moving fast. We quickly transferred our
wine, hooked up the Suzuki, made the necessary checks & then…..stayed in
the campground for the night. Thunderstorms moved into our area, a lot of
rain, strong winds & wading pools of water could be seen throughout the
campground. It was best to just wait! We asked Sandy to simply forward our
mail on to Nicktown.

5:30 dinner: Tomato rice soup, spinach & lettuce salad.

It took a while for our TracStar to locate a satellite through the clouds
& precipitation, but finally it did. Tonight’s movie: “Maisie Was a Lady”
with Ann Sothern, Lew Ayres, Maureen O’Sullivan, etc. Maisie gets a job as
a maid to a family of bluebloods & straightens out their sorry personal
lives. 1944. We liked it! We could use a gal like her in today’s world.

High temp=68 Lights out: 10:15pm

Awake: 5:35am Temp 59 sleep 6+12 cloudy overnight @ the
Oskar Stoll farm

We are invited for a 9:30 breakfast with the Swiss group which was very
healthy. Afterward, I ask Oskar if I might use a large pail so I can clean
our windshield & the front cap of our motorhome. The job doesn’t take very
long so I clean our mirrors also.

@ 10:00 am we 7 visit another couple of Oskar’s farming friends: Joseph &
his wife Raynata (sp) from Austria. Joseph is very busy having last yr’s
canola crop taken from his storage bins & loaded into large semi-trucks
for processing. So Raynata makes us comfortable by showing us her bumper
crop of crab apples & choke cherry trees in the back yard. The crab
apples were unbelievably delicious.

Next, we are invited onto the front porch where we are first served aged
and new choke cherry schnapps; we are then offered coffee or tea, dried
meat, raw bacon, bread & hamburger meat. Raynata entertained us for over
an hr with her stories of running the family’s hotel business in Austria.
Even though I don’t understand German, often someone from our group would
translate & keep us informed. Raynata is a gracious lady; she couldn’t do
enough for us during that visit. They have a son, a daughter-in-law & new
grandson in Roblin who own & operate a café…. & that is our next
destination for lunch.

The Station Café is an old passenger train station in town that their son
bought, then converted into a restaurant & living quarter above…..leaving
some of the railroad switching & communication systems hooked up inside to
keep the charm lingering. He also is using geothermal heating & cooling in
this building which I thought is wonderful.

I really enjoyed my lunch: German Goulash. Oskar treated us all. After
lunch, the girls go on a shopping spree, the guys ride over to the Ford
dealer where Oskar picks up his Taurus & he & I return to his farm with
the rest of the gang not too far behind us.

With some free time before dinner & using 2 pails of water, I wash the
dust off of our slide tops & then retract them for travel tomorrow.

7:30 dinner: 1st the white wine, then the red wine with dinner. We had the
remainder of the sirloin steak, spinach salad, bread & Kathy’s chicken
salad. This was our going home dinner. We have really enjoyed hanging out
with these people. We have renewed our friendship with Myrta & Rene with
whom we have exchanged rendezvousing many times; we have gotten to know
Monica & Bernhard much better & we like them more than ever now. And
Oskar, he is special to me because we are nearly the same age & he likes
airplanes? Well ok, maybe he is a few yrs older but he is still a special
fellow in my book. We sit in the kitchen & talk about many things, good &
not so good, until after 10:15pm….then we say our goodbyes with hopes of
seeing each other again soon.

Now they have to winterize Oskar’s house, do housecleaning, take showers,
pack, etc. We have little to do tonight rather than tomorrow as we plan on
a somewhat early departure.

As we are walking the 75 ft to our motorhome, we casually notice a few
dark clouds in the western sky. Local word is: it might rain tonight. Some
farmers are running their combines all evening until maybe 2:00am to avoid
having a wet crop.

High temp=83 Lights out: 11:10pm

Awake: 6:15am Temp 53 sleep 6+54 sunny overnight @ Oskar
Stoll farm

I run the generator for 2.0 hrs to recharge the battery bank. Nearby
neighbors, George & Liz visit early morning. George wanted a tour of our
motorhome & didn’t want to miss us. Kathy had given Liz a tour yesterday.

8:30am breakfast: Swiss cheese, soft-boiled egg, bread with jam & Kathy’s
healthy muffins. Lots of talk during & after our breakfast & then Bernard
started mowing the grass around Oskar’s house. After maybe 20 min, I
approach Bernard & tell him: “It’s my turn!” Just then his wife, Monica,
without saying anything, comes over, takes the mower away & continues the
process of cutting. I begin to protest but Bernard looks me straight in
the eye & says: “Monte, it’s OK. At our home in Switzerland, she does all
the outside landscaping & she loves it.”

Next, Rene & Barnard are having trouble with the gas weed whacker. I
suggest that they pour a little gasoline into the cylinder to help prime
the fuel pump. Well, then it would run for maybe 5 seconds & stop. Try as
we might, we could not get that little engine to stay running. Secretly I
wanted to take the little carburetor apart & check for gummed up old fuel
but I didn’t want to start something I couldn’t finish?

Shortly after those thoughts, Myrta announced that she & her father,
Oskar, were making a trip into town with the Ford Taurus to have the
annual service work done @ the local Ford dealer. The rest of us are
invited to ride in the rental GMC Yukon, then pick them up after dropping
the Taurus off. We didn’t follow them very close going down that 8 mile
dirt road.

After picking up Myrta & Oskar, Bernard drives the Yukon into town
(Roblin) where Oskar & Myrta engage in some bank business. Kathy & I seek
a store to buy a postcard & find out that the only place to do so is @ the
local post office & they were not cheap. After that, we rendezvous @ the
local hardware store with the rest of the gang.

Next, our smooth & astute driver Bernard heads north into Indian
country….through the small town of San Clara…..then an even smaller town,
Boggy Creek, where this Indian lady makes moccasins. Monica & Myrta had
placed an order for several different sizes & its pickup time. These
moccasins were of the high quality type so there should be some very happy
nieces & nephews over in Switzerland.

Then it’s back to Roblin where we continue heading south & visit with one
of Oskar’s farming friends: Albert & his wife Rosie. We are all invited
into the kitchen where either coffee or a beer is offered. Soon Rosie was
offering a raspberry roll with real whipped cream. It was delicious!
Albert & Rosie usually spend 6 months in Canada & 6 months in Austria.
After some good talk @ the table, Albert offers us a tour around the
outside: we see his huge machinery storage building with a huge tractor
sitting inside; some huge storage bins & other big farm machinery that I
can’t explain very well. Oskar tells me that Albert has been a very
successful farmer & we appreciated their friendly hospitality. Then it’s
back to the Oskar farm & white wine before dinner; red wine with dinner.

Our 7:30 dinner: Top sirloin (our contribution), potatoes, cauliflower in
béchamel sauce with parmesan cheese on top + bread. A fantastic meal!
Kathy & I volunteer to wash & dry the dishes. By the way, both Monica &
Myrta are excellent cooks. We chat until after 10:00pm.

High temp=82 Lights out: 11:23pm


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