September 2007 Archives

Awake: 4:55am Sleep 5+36 overnight in Bay # 12

A handful of mechanic specialist techs, cabinet makers & Randy the tile man arrive between 6:00am & 6:15am for their ½ day of catching up.

Randy barely finishes tiling before 11:30am, their quitting time. Mooney has been taking the living room TV off the wall so it can be raised about (7 or 8) inches. @ the same time, Tracy is removing the slide bearing covers to make a fix. Then the 11:30am horn & most of the techs disappear. Throughout the afternoon, more motorhomes are leaving the campground.
K& I are invited to tour of Nancy & Tom’s new 2008 motorhome. They tell us that they patterned a lot of their floor plan after our coach’s floor plan. After seeing their coach, indeed they did but also made some changes more fitting to their lifestyle: (2) bidets; a real bedroom, no Murphy bed; expandable table and 2 chairs rather than a booth; smaller front TV with a 60 inch pull down …screen; all-in-one washer/dryer in the bathroom, etc. The cabinets are a very pretty light brown in a matte rather than shiny finish.

Merle & Jane from Tulsa drive in to pick up their coach. Last time we saw them was October @ the Boothbay, Main rally. We chat for awhile & then they head to the main office & later, drive away in their motorhome.

About 3:30pm, with the help of Sam giving hand signals, I back our coach out of Bay # 12 & then drive around to the front of the Service building & park in the # 1 spot for the weekend. Backing out of Bay # 12 is very tricky. With a (45) foot coach, there is little room between buildings (the service bldg & the production bldg) so a visual guidance person is mandatory.

6:15 pm wine time with Tom & Nancy in their coach. Kathy brings the cheese & cracker dish. We have a good time gabbing with these people who are close to being full timers; they spend about (11) months in their coach every yr.

Dinner in our motorhome: Kathy’s homemade crab cakes with brown rice, corn off the cob from Flossy & a mixed salad.

Late evening movie: “Vice Versa” with Roger Livesey, Kay Walsh, Anthony Newley, Petula Clark, etc. Entertaining comedy about Victorian stockbroker Livesey & his schoolboy son Newley, who change places after wishing on a magic stone. 1948. We felt it was much too silly & ridiculous; don’t waste your time.

High temp=85 Lights out: 11:30pm

Awake: 6:05am Sleep 6+50 overnight @ Bay # 12

Randy continues to be “the man” laying the granite tile & he’s doing a great job. By noon time, many of the coaches are being backed out of their bays, by Newell drivers, washed, hooked up to their tow cars & driven down the road by their owners.

Nancy & Kathy rendezvous to talk about their respective Advantium ovens in regards to cooking & baking. We have a high speed unit that Kathy does not prefer; Nancy has a more flexible unit that she really likes & Kathy thinks she would also like.

John, a mechanical tech, is collecting license plates on all (50) states. I have (2) old Alaska plates so I give one to him; he is delighted.

Our Alaska mail is delivered today; some surprising stuff.

Last week, Bernie the clean up man for the service bays, was asking if I could get him a shirt like I was wearing. I told him I would see what I could do. Since I have (2) of the same shirt, I gave him one today & he was very pleased.

Randy nearly, but not quite, finished with the tile laying today even with the (2) hrs of overtime. Tomorrow some of the service techs & cabinet workers will be working ½ day, Randy included.

Dinner: large Chef’s salad; then later, popcorn during a movie.

DVR movie: “Tokyo Story.” With subtitles; we watch ¾ now, the rest later.

Lights out: 11:19pm

Awake: 6:00am Sleep 6+38 overnight in Bay # 12

Most of the day, Randy alone laid granite tile in our kitchen area. We visited from time to time but mostly socialized with other customers & talked with the techs when they were not buried in a project fix. A handful of the mechanical & electrical techs worked overtime as well as the cabinet makers, including Randy; so we try another nearby restaurant to help let Randy have more free access in the kitchen.

Dinner in the town of Commerce @ Lil Café; a (5) min drive; we share a catfish dinner.

Late movie: “The Freshman” with Fred Newmeyer, Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston, Brooks Benedict, etc. One of Lloyd’s best remembered films casts him as collegiate patsy who’ll do anything to be popular on campus, unaware that everyone is making fun of him.1925. The best silent film with subtitles we’ve ever watched; why even the music was delightful.

Lights out: 11:15pm

Awake: 4:56am Sleep 5+22 overnight in service Bay # 12.
This morning, the cabinet makers announce that they have a new rebuilt wall & the smiles in the immediate area were abundant.

By lunch time, the full size Sub-Zero refrigerator was back in place & all trimmed up.
Now Randy can continue laying the Hot Floor wiring & then the Granite tiles.

Most of the morning, I’ve been using the program Logitech that I downloaded yesterday to re-program our Harmony Remote from the computer. It was a time consuming project since each individual entertainment unit had to have its model number listed, then fed into the system.

Mid afternoon, Randy finishes the laying & stapling of the hot wire pads to the sub-floor & then begins the process of laying the granite tile again. Before Randy lays any tile, using the Silver Leaf electronic control panel, I turn the floor heat on low & check for the warming up of the wires using my Infrared Thermometer; it’s working like it should. We decide it’s best we eat out tonight to give Randy some free access space.

Dinner: Montana Mike’s Restaurant; we share a filet steak, baked potato, steamed veggies, a mixed salad & roll.

Nick calls from Seattle; someone is interested in looking @ & maybe buying his classic MG.

Late movie: “Young Tom Edison” with Mickey Rooney, Fay Bainter, George Bancroft, Virginia Weidler, etc. Inventor’s early life depicted with flair by effective Rooney, who could tone down when he had to. 1940. Regardless of Rooney’s flair, it’s a good story.

Lights out: 11:22pm

Awake: 5:55am Temp 74 sleep 6+25 sunny overnight @ Newell campground.

Early morning, a few more Newell coaches pull into the campground; it’s going to be a busy week.
Dave drives our coach into Bay # 12 @ 8:30am. They saved this bay for us & our conversion plans.

Would you believe, someone detected a flaw in the wall where the Sub-Zero refrigerator was placed, so to make it right which Newell tries to do, they have to take the whole thing apart, carry the sections into the cabinet shop & rebuild it. Wow!

So it’s déjà vu! K & I clean out the freezer section of the refrigerator & store those items back in the portable freezer outside on the floor; then Kathy transfers the refrigerator items back into the (2) Sub-Zero box units we have inside our coach.

Now the cabinet maker, Mooney (who is feeling a little sad to do this entire job again) gets into action & carefully begins to dismantle the refrigerator wall. Randy shows up to help Mooney when it’s time to physically move the full size Sub-Zero out of its resting spot; then they carry out the big wall with the flaw into the cabinet shop to begin rebuilding a new wall. While the wall rebuild is going on, Jimmy spends several hours removing the old plaster from the tiles, then sanding the floor smooth in preparation for laying the new tiles again later.

During this time of feeling like we are going backward, I download a sizeable program from Logitech which took over an hr & that should help us in the programming of our Harmony remote control. Having that Harmony programmed correctly, we can then operate the VCR, DRV, DVD, CD, TV, & Bose audio with one remote. That will be nice.

The cabinet workers are working overtime tonight + some of the engine & motorhome techs.

Dinner: Leftover stuffed pepper, broccoli & multi grain toast.

Later I call our answering service in Alaska to get our messages: (3) msg’s from Ed & Mary Ann. I return the call & what a nice surprise: it’s my ole buddy Ed from New York. He & I used to work in separate control rooms @ the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island; teaming up with the engineers & scientists in smashing atoms with the underground & lead shielded Alternating Gradient Synchrotron. After (4) yrs, I took a sabbatical but never returned; Ed ran the gamut & retired in the yr 2000. We agree to e-mail, talk by phone, then get together next summer in PA.
Lights out: 11:34pm

Awake: 6:52am Temp 69 sleep 6+40 sunny overnight @ Newell Campground.

Kathy visits Wal-Mart before 8:00am to beat the crowd.

We’ve been noticing the number of Newell motorhomes arriving in the campground; yesterday (3) & today before noon time, (2) more.

We share talk time with Gary & Rosemary in PA. They have been having some great weather the past (2) weeks.

Kathy does (2) more loads of laundry; that’s (6) loads in (2) days. It’s nice to be parked close to the dump station.

Dinner: Buffalo steak, mashed potatoes, gravy & a mixed salad.

We share talk time with Nick in Seattle.

Late evening, (4) more motorhomes arrive in the Newell campground; that makes a total of (9) coaches for the week for preventive maintenance and/or repair or trade in.

Later movie: “Tumbleweed” with Janet McTeer, Kimberly J. Brown, Jay O. Sanders, Lois Smith, etc. Exceptional performances elevate this somewhat familiar tale of a trailer-trash Southern belle with a penchant for hooking up with crummy men, dragging her young daughter along as she moves from town to town. 1999. The beginning was bad, the middle good & the ending great. I recommend watching the last (30) min.

High temp= high 90’s Lights out: 11:34pm

Awake: 6:36am Temp 70 sleep 5+49 sunny overnight @ Newell Campground.

Through our front window, I watch Darrel & Jackie try to hook up their Jeep tow car to their new Newell & they seem to be struggling; not to be nosy but while watching, I sense a problem. Sparing the details, I encourage Darrel to use a real hammer in lieu of his rubber one; it worked & they were able to get on their way within 20 min.

John, one of the techs, unlocks a service door so I can borrow a vacuum cleaner & clean up some of the mess & dust that has mysteriously invaded us.

Katrina calls during her driving to Wal-Mart in Denver; she reports that her eyes are good & she’s happy to have had the laser surgery.

Kathy does (4) loads of laundry.

We attend 5:00pm vigil Mass @ Sacred Heart Church. Father Gregg’s mass was (55) min this time.

Talk with my cousin Flossy in PA; his gardening is just about over for the season. The last of the peppers; (1/2) bushel was picked today he says.

Merely a coincidence: Dinner: Stuffed peppers with multi-grain bread.

Kathy calls her friend Jodi in Memphis, TN. She has decided to take care of her health this year, getting all the tests and check-ups she has neglected for years; so far, so good. She & PD are trying to sell their house and are looking to buy one in another nearby area.

Evening movie: “The Great Dictator” with Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Jack Oakie, Reginald Gardiner, etc. Chaplin’s 1st full talkie; unusual comedy combines slapstick, satire & social commentary as he plays a dual role of Jewish ghetto barber & dictator Adenoid Hynkel of Tomania. 1940. A brave movie to produce during WWII time & quite entertaining.
High temp=88 Lights out: 12:12am

Awake: 6:30am Temp 67 sleep 6+20 sunny overnight @ Newell Campground.

Lee’s Detroit Diesel engine woke me up from a sound sleep but it’s close to my usual wake up time anyway. I watch them pull out, hook up their tow car & roar up the road toward PA.
Later, super guy Harry pulls his coach out from the most desired campsite; the only one that’s close enough to the dump station to permit dumping waste water without moving the coach. Kathy zips our Suzuki onto that pad to claim residence while I retract our slides, wind up the shore cable & head right on over there.

It was nice visiting with Harry & Roslyn again; we had visited them for (2) days in Little Rock, AR in Dec 2003 & really enjoyed our time with them then and now.

Later we bid farewell to Harry & Roslyn who are returning to Little Rock & to Sydney & Linda who are heading to Sallisaw, OK today.

Mid morning, I ask Madison, Newell’s computer guru, to help carry the portable freezer that is still sitting @ our old campsite. We take it back into the service bay where Dave had set it for our use last Monday.

This past week, I’ve been asking Kathy to look @ a spot on my back that itches; each day she applies Cortisone & says it’s getting redder & bigger. We both agree that maybe I should have a doctor take a look @ it. All along I’ve been suspicious of an insect bite. I ask Kathy if she would look into finding a doctor to see what's going on.
She walks to the main office & asks the receptionist, Kathy, about a local doctor who we could see about this; not only does she give a phone number but also makes an appointment for me for 1:30 today, very kind & efficient of her.

Late morning, Kathy is in the back of the motorhome & I hear a loud noise; “did you drop something” I ask her. “No” she says. I looked outside, didn’t see anyone so I kept on reading.

About 1:00pm, we leave for downtown to find the doctor’s office. (20) min after we arrive, the patient application is filled out (it was very thorough) & within (10) min we were taken in to see Dr. Duane. I like having Kathy along because, being a nurse, she is very good @ asking questions that I would never think of & she holds my hand when I get wimpy.

I stated on my application that I might have an “Insect Bite”, so Dr. D. began asking about our outdoor activities & areas we had been walking or hiking in. When he raised my undershirt to look @ my back, he says: “that’s no insect bite; you have a case of shingles.” “But I am too young to have shingles” I told him. “Do you know the youngest person documented with shingles?” he ask me.” Then he raised “(6)” fingers. Next we talk about the treatment & what medicine might be best to take. I was very surprised about all of this. He told us the medicine would be available @ the local Wal-Mart within (2) hr. I liked Dr. D. very much. He had a sense of humor, was very sociable, smart, & thorough.

After that excitement, we visit a different liquor store, restock our short supply of wine, & then drive past the Northeast Oklahoma A & M College campus. We did a little stalling around before visiting Wal-Mart to pick up my shingles anti viral medicine.

Back @ our motorhome, I was on the computer & looking around @ our unorganized living room when something caught my eye: a long crack (about 12 in.) in the refrigerator wall that was just finished yesterday. Huh! I couldn’t believe it; that must have been the noise I heard earlier. I felt bad about exposing this to Kathy. We’re pretty sure that flaw will slow our progress by @ least a day.

Dinner: Kathy’s homemade crab cakes, broccoli, & rice.

Without doing the dishes, we zip down to NEO (Northeast Oklahoma) A & M College & join the Newell technician, Bobbie, & his wife, Sheryl, &their son, in watching a high school football game: Miami Wardogs vs. Cardinals from Collinsville, OK. We stayed for the 1st half of the game (Wardogs lead by 13 points) & the halftime show (Bobbie’s daughter is on the dance team) & then, returned to our cool coach. I was on a hot seat (concrete) sweating away but did enjoy the ambience & friendliness of a small home town experience.

Kathy washed the dinner dishes & I dried them before watching the movie: “Lust for Life” with Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, James Donald, Pamela Brown, Everett Sloane, etc. Brilliant adaptation of Irving Stone’s biography of painter Van Gogh, vividly portraying his anguished life. 1956. What a story; we had no idea of the struggle this man had in his short lifetime.
High temp=88 Lights out: 12:47am

Awake: 6:15am Sleep 6+12 overnight in Bay # 12

Morning & afternoon: it’s deja vu for the techs & for us; the techs continue their in & out of our coach routine & we do our best to stay out of their way.

By the end of the work day, Mooney & Randy finish up with the full size refrigerator installation & getting all the trim back together. Mooney spends some extra time making sure the refrigerator is level & the doors are evenly matched to the cabinet.

About 4:30pm Tommy asks if we would like to be outside for the weekend; “you bet” I tell him. Dave the driver, grabs a fold up chair, gets behind the wheel & drives our coach out onto a Newell Campground site.

One of the techs brought out the portable freezer & plugged it in @ our campsite after the coach was parked; then K & I waste no time in getting that frozen food into our new freezer drawers and the food from the small frig drawers into the new full size frig. It felt good to have extra empty space available for more food.

We are parked next to Lee & Isabel who invite us outside for some late afternoon wine. Kathy assembles a snack dish of cheese, crackers, & ham slices; then we gab until dark. L & J are leaving for PA early tomorrow morning so we say our “goodbyes” until we meet again.

Evening movie: “Saraband” with Liv Ullmann, Erland Josephson, Borje Ahlstedt, Julia Dufvenius. Ullmann & Josephson return as Marianne & Johan, the dysfunctional couple they created so unforgettably & reunite (30) yrs after their divorce & involved in family turmoil. 2003. Swedish with English subtitles. A sad story from beginning to end. Go ahead; punish yourself & watch it sometime. Maybe you’ll feel good not having any such problems as this family.

High temp=86 Lights out: 12:10am

Awake: 5:35am sleep 5+49 overnight in Bay # 12.

Both the pilot & co-pilot chairs are removed this morning so Randy & Jimmy can tile the front section with granite.

It’s another day like yesterday; the techs are rebuilding the space where the refrigerator will be placed & thus, they are in & out of our coach. So, we take the hint & mostly stay out unless it’s their break time.

Late afternoon, we have a gathering in the customer service lounge; Walter & Denise, Dick & Christina + Kathy & me. Dick brings some good champagne from France & some very good bourbon; Denise brings some snacks, pepper jelly & crackers and salsa & corn chips. We celebrate Dick’s 76th birthday. K & I give Dick a nice birthday card.

After the small party is over, K & I follow D & C to the Buffalo Run Restaurant & Casino, about (5) miles away & have a real meal. K & I share a salmon dinner which was surprisingly good. We drove separate cars because D & C are staying in a nearby motel since they cannot sleep in their coach’s bedroom as it is a work in progress. The techs made some good headway on our renovation today.

Lights out: 12:03am

Awake: 5:39am sleep 5+58 overnight in Bay # 11.

This morning I talk with Sam R. about a grab bar for seniors to make it easier for them to enter our coach. He took us into the huge Newell parts supply facility with the manager, Chuck, to help us in our search. Unfortunately, the grab bars available were not to our liking so for now, we’ll do our own searching. Since we are close to the main office, I mail Monica the pictures she had requested last week.

Mooney & Randy will be working inside our coach all day preparing for the full size Sub-Zero refrigerator. In the process, the large, picture window on the driver’s side is removed & the sofa removed as well. Next Dave moves our motorhome over to Bay # 12 so he has maneuvering space using the forklift in Bay # 11 for lifting out those (2) Sub-Zero box freezers & then, bringing in the full size Sub-Zero refrigerator with (2) freezer boxes attached; all done through the window. It was a critical forklift operation but Dave did a great job & I took pictures.

Late afternoon, K & I along with Syd & Linda, tour Don & Karma’s new 2008 motorhome parked outside of which they have just taken possession. It had a fantastic floor plan for sure. After our visit, we are invited to join Lee & Isabel, Walter & Denise + Ron & Becky outside; we gab for over an hr & enjoy a glass of wine with them. Then K & I visit Bussey’s BBQ for some BBQ beef ribs with fried okra, coleslaw, & bread.

Late movie: “The Killers” with Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner, Edmond O’Brien, Albert Dekker, etc. Compelling crime drama (based on Hemmingway story) of ex-fighter found murdered, subsequent investigation. 1946. One great mystery story; you won’t be disappointed.
Lights out: 11:46pm

Awake: 5:02am Temp 69 sleep 5+50 overnight in the Newell campground.

Kyle rings our doorbell @ 6:50am & we are ready with slides retracted, water tank full, waste tank nearly empty, engine pre-heated, etc. He takes us to Bay # 11, right close to the service bldg cabinet shop.

Today, Mooney, the cabinet maker, will remove the (2) Sub-Zero freezer boxes & make ready for the full size up-right Sub-Zero refrigerator with (2) Sub-Zero freezer boxes. Dave brings us a portable freezer so we can transfer our frozen goods to the outside portable freezer on the floor in the service building.

It was a slow day for us; we were somewhat restricted from visiting our coach since those techs were very busy doing what they are trained to do. During their breaks, K & I would have our breakfast & later, our lunch. Most of the time we hung out in the customers lounge & chatted with other Newell owners, read the newspaper, some magazines & worked crossword puzzles. I would frequent other coaches to see what system the techs were working on & later, try & find out how they solved the problem.

7:35 dinner downtown @ the restaurant: Bussey’s Bar-B-Que where K & I share some cat fish, baked beans & a salad.
Lights out: 11:41pm

Awake: 7:29am Temp 58 sleep 6+52 sunny overnight @ Newell campground.

A morning surprise: Kathy looks out her galley window while preparing breakfast & spots a familiar face, Dick C. is our next door neighbor. We both go outside & welcome him to the neighborhood. His wife, Christine, is still sleeping. They are here for a few days for motorhome service. We have casually kept in touch with D & C but didn’t have any idea that they were scheduled to be here during our time. Shortly after gabbing with Dick, Christine joins in the yak session. We plan on a dinner rendezvous for later today.

Meanwhile, with Kathy doing (2) loads of laundry & our bus spending (4) days in the service bldg + (2) days outside, our waste water needs emptying; so we organize our home in preparation for the shrinkage, retract the slides, etc & then drive the bus about 150 ft & push the right buttons to empty the tank.

We meet Dick & Christine @ 6:32pm @ Montana Mike’s. We all have some wine & gab for about (2) hrs during our meal. K & I share a beef filet with a baked potato & a salad. They have an ambitious travel plan for the next (6) weeks so we feel honored to be privy to the info & master plan.

Mid evening movie: “Journey for Margaret” with Robert Young, Laraine Day, Fay Bainter, Nigel Bruce, etc. Stirring WWII drama of children left homeless by British bombing. 1942. A touching story.

We call Nick in Seattle & talk for about (30) min. He enlightens us on Eriko’s latest activities: # (2) in charge of the ladies choral group, preparing to give private voice lessons, & looking into part time music teaching at a day care where she can bring Jerry.

Call Zack & leave a message that we called.

High temp=83 Lights out: 11:12pm

Awake: 7:02am Temp 57 sleep 6+57 overcast & later rain overnight @ the Newell Campground.

K & I drive to the local Wal-Mart & using the digital picture print maker & our camera’s memory stick, we select the (4) subjects that Monica would like to have prints made of. It’s just amazing how well that digital stuff works. We also buy some groceries @ Wal-Mart.

Mid afternoon, we take turns talking with Gary & Grace who are @ a rally in Maine with their motorhome.

My sister, Mary Jo, calls from Lodi, CA. She reports that all is well with them. We review some of the highlights of her & daughter Jenny’s visit to Nicktown & other areas during the early days of August. We really enjoyed having them nearby.

Kathy does (2) loads of laundry in between her reading & working crossword puzzles.

We attend 5:00pm vigil Mass @ the Sacred Heart Church just (2) miles down the road. Father Gregg’s Mass lasted (1) hr (15) min.

Dinner: leftover chili with Triscuits.

During the washing of dinner dishes, we both monitor the history channel which is featuring the: “History of Sex,” covering Europe, Asia, India, etc. from BC to more modern time. Even we seniors were tuned into that exposing program.

Kathy makes popcorn to munch on during our next show.

Later, the late movie: “Goodbye Mr. Chips” with Robert Donat, Greer Garson, Paul von Hernreid, Terry Kilburn, etc. Donat won well-deserved Oscar for memorable portrayal of shy schoolmaster who devotes his life to “his boys,” only coming out of his shell when he meets Garson. Garson’s film debut made her a star overnight. 1939. Bump this one to the top of your list.
High temp=60 Lights out: 12:39am

Awake: 7:04am Temp 64 sleep 7+22 mostly cloudy overnight @ the Newell Campground.

It felt good to be outside during the night again. The Service Department guys are not working today but the production department is on overtime. I walk over to locate a guy by the nickname of Beaver; his department makes the Murphy beds & I am interested in the latest modification. Beaver shows me the almost finished version that will be installed in the latest show coach which has the ability to expand & contract the bed by (9) inches. On Monday, I’ll take Kathy along & look @ it again.

After that, it was a casual day for us; we both did some reading, some e-mail business & organizing of our things that have been displaced due to the flooring project.

I call Monica & talk with her about the pictures Kathy took during our 8th grade reunion. She wants me to send pictures of (4) people who attended to finish her scrapbook.

Dinner: Kathy’s homemade crab cakes, brown rice, & a mixed salad.

Late movie: “Never on a Sunday” with Melina Mercouri, Jules Dassin, Georges Foundas, etc. Charming idyll of intellectual boob coming to Greece, trying to make earthy prostitute Mercouri cultured. Grand entertainment; 1960. Sub-titles didn’t stop Kathy from watching this excellent production.

Lights out: 11:42pm

Awake: 5:05am Sleep 6+32 overnight in bay # 12.

@ 6:40am, Randy, the tech, rings our door bell. He takes the place of Jimmy & removes the remainder of our wood floor save for one piece on the inside wall, drivers side. He’ll remove both the driver’s seat & co-pilot’s seat plus that last piece of wood flooring on Monday. Randy then proceeds to cover the floor that has the hot floor wiring throughout, with cardboard taped down, making it easier for walking.

Dinner: Kathy’s great Chili with Triscuits.

Evening movie: “The Woman in the Window” with Joan Bennett, Edward G. Robinson, Dan Duryea, Raymond Massey, etc. High-grade melodrama about Robinson meeting subject of alluring painting (Bennett), becoming involved in murder & witnessing his own investigation; surprise ending tops exciting film. 1944. Edge of the seat suspense & no doubt about it: that ending!!!
Lights out: 11:42pm

Awake: 6:30am sleep 6+50 overnight in Bay # 19.

Our 1st PM is finished around noon time & as far as they can tell, all the systems they normally check are “A” OK.
Kathy spends the afternoon exploring the downtown stores again plus the library.

Late afternoon, our coach gets moved to Bay # 12. Soon after parking, Jimmy begins removing the wood flooring in the kitchen & living room; a big project but we agreed to have this done in April during our negotiations. Jimmy spent (2) hrs on the removal project & removed nearly 1/4 of the flooring.

Dinner: tuna & noodle casserole, broccoli, & a mixed salad.

Call Ray & Sharon in WA State & leave a “Happy Anniversary” message.

Late movie: “Cheers for Miss Bishop” with Martha Scott, William Gargan, Edmund Gwenn, Sterling Holloway, etc. Nostalgic story of a schoolteacher in a Midwestern town who devotes her life to teaching. 1941. It was great; don’t pass it up.

Lights out: 11:33pm

Awake: 5:34am sleep 6+53 overnight in service bay # 4.

A few more of our glitches are fixed & checked off this morning; @ noon time, our coach is moved over to bay # 19 where the annual preventive maintenance is preformed. Our coach hasn’t had its first annual PM yet so @ 17,000 miles, now is the time. (4) huge hydraulic jacks lift the coach about (2.5 ft) off the floor so the techs can more easily get to & change the transmission oil, engine oil, air system filters, check the brakes, water filters, Aqua Hot filters, etc.

Kathy makes her first trip into downtown Miami for this visit to see what she could see & check out one of the thrift stores.

Monica from New Jersey calls & leaves a message regarding our 8th grade class reunion pictures. I’ll return her call on Thursday.

Dinner: Pork chop, baked potato & a spinach salad.

We watch the O’Riley Factor before watching the movie: “Wuthering Heights” with Merle Oberon, Laurence Olivier, David Niven, Flora Robson, etc. Sensitive direction & sweeping performances propel this magnificent story of doomed love in pre-Victorian England. Haunting; a must-see film. 1939. However, this is not a happy-go-lucky story.

Lights out: 11:40pm

Awake: 5:34am Temp 71 sleep 6+33 sunny overnight @ Newell campground.

Dave, one of the many coach drivers, rings our doorbell @ 6:40am. He is ready to take our coach into bay # 4. For the next hr or better, there are repaired coaches in the service bays being transferred to the outside campsites & outside coaches needing repair being driven inside filling those now empty bay slots; most customers, like ourselves, have to schedule for an appointment @ least (2) months in advance, that is unless there is a priority problem.

The service bay holds (22) motorhomes not counting the (3) bays strictly used as paint booths. Having that many coaches being worked on throughout the day was fascinating for me. Without disturbing the tech or techs, I could watch from a distance & mostly figure out what system they were working on. If the problem was inside the coach, with all due respect, I would wait for a break or lunch time to scrutinize the project on my own & maybe ask questions later during some of the tech’s idle time.

Kathy kept busy talking with Linda from St. Charles, LA, another repair customer, & visiting Wal-Mart.
A lot of our glitches were taken care of today.

Dinner: Italian sausage with fresh green peppers & onions, corn off the cob & a spinach salad.

Katrina calls from Denver: she tells us about her plans for her Master’s thesis & the wedding she will be attending this afternoon.

Late movie: “Die Another Day” with Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Toby Stephens, Rosamund Pike, Rick Yune, etc. Entertaining James Bond outing in the modern mode: less sophistication, more computer-generated effects. Madonna sings & co-wrote the title song. 2002. It was ok but not quite up to our high standards as the real Bond thrillers are.
Lights out: 11:01pm

Awake: 5:30am Temp 73 sleep 6+36 mostly cloudy overnight @ Newell Campground; Miami, Oklahoma.

I had already e-mailed ‘Creslie, the coordinator’ our glitch list for this visit @ Newell, but en route, a few more glitches appeared that need to be addressed. Being parked here @ the service area, my creativity abounds & the updated glitch list is finalized & sent off.

I must admit, I am behind with my journal writing so I spend the remaining afternoon trying to play catch-up.

Dinner: Ham with pasta bow ties, veggies with Boursin cheese sauce.

Evening movie: “Love & Death” with Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Harold Gould, Alfred Lutter, Olga Georges Picot, etc. 1975. This movie won applause for its spoofs of Russian literature & foreign films & it was decorated with funny moments; but it didn’t do well in holding our undivided attention. Unless you’re a true Woody Allen fan, I wouldn’t waste your time.

High temp=83 Lights out: 11:01pm

Awake: 5:51am Temp 73 sleep 6+51 overcast sky overnight @ Highland, Illinois.

Before leaving Highland, we walk to the Wal-Mart Store, buy some needed groceries & leave @ 8:25am. We continue on I-70 to I-44 to Miami, Oklahoma. The roads proceeded to be pleasantly smooth all the way to our destination, but the weather didn’t co-operate nearly as well. Our motorhome had several good washings along the way. Arriving @ the Newell Service Campground @ 2:45pm, we found a mere (3) sites in the main campground area vacant & grab one before any more units come roaring in.

Today's travel: 345 miles 6+00 time 56 gal used 6.2 mpg 56.9 avg speed.

We were both somewhat excited to be here again so before opening any of our slides, we walk around the Newell campground & parking area to peruse those pre-owned coaches, scrutinizing their floor plans & seeing the latest galley & kitchen gadgets. Then we just had to see the coaches inside the service building, looking closely @ those machines as well.

We attend 5:00 pm vigil Mass @ Sacred Heart church about (2) miles down the road.

Dinner: Italian sausage simmered with onion & green pepper, broccoli, & a whole wheat bun.

High travel temp=78 Lights out: 10:54pm

Awake: 5:15am Temp 69 sleep 6+00 sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

We leave Nicktown @ 7:37am taking US-219 to I-80. Smooth, curvy & at times, foggy & slow going, but on I-80, I-76, I-71, I-70, traffic moved nicely with smooth roads until several waves of heavy rain slowed us when going through Dayton, Ohio. We arrive @ our destination (Wal-Mart parking lot) for the night @ Highland, Illinois @ 8:31pm. With permission from the Wal-Mart Night Supervisor, we settle in for the night.

Today’s travel: 725 miles 13+39 time 126 gal fuel 5.7 mpg 53.1 avg speed

Travel high temp=85 Lights out: 11:00pm

Awake: 6:11am Temp 64 sleep 5+31 sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

K & I drive to 8:00am Mass &, afterward, talk with Flossy & his wife, Anna. We say our goodbyes to them for now & to Irvin P. Next, the Koffee Klub where Kathy brings a zucchini cake to butter up the members so they won’t forget us during our absence. John, Roger & I expose our thrills of being @ the Rocky Hollow Airfield with Bernie on Tuesday & I wore my shirt as evidence. Then, we say our goodbyes for now to the Koffee Klub members & Roger. We may visit the Koffee Klub in December when we are back in Indiana, PA for our family Christmas reunion.

After breakfast, I call Jason in Indiana, PA & he gives me the same deal that Kathy & I had last year, which was nice.

Kathy leaves for her appointment with Dr. Brian @ 12:45. She returns in less than an hr.

I winterize the # 2 well pump; remove the filters & Kathy cleans the filter cartridges.

Then we retract all the slides & move the motorhome forward so we can connect our Suzuki tow car tonight instead of tomorrow morning.

Neighbor Chuck lets me use his truck & ladder to cut some low hanging tree limbs on Saint Paul Street, our exit path. That took longer than I thought, well over an hr.

Then it’s wine time; I take my wine with me to visit our neighbor, Al, & watch the Kubota shovel dig up roots from his yard. He is tired of mowing around those tree trunks & dulling his blades on the exposed roots.

Dinner: Stuffed peppers, leftover coleslaw & leftover cucumbers in cream sauce, fresh mixed fruit & fresh salad.

We call & talk with Rosemary; her husband, Gary, won’t be back from his truck driving job until tomorrow afternoon.

We call & leave a message for Gary & Grace.

Late evening, we finish watching the movie: “Queen Bee” with Joan Crawford, Barry Sullivan, Betsy Palmer, John Ireland, Fay Wray, etc. Crawford in the title role has a field-day maneuvering the lives of all in her Southern mansion, with husband Sullivan providing the final ironic twist. 1955. Yes & that final twist will make you cheer for Barry.
High temp=80 Lights out: 11:15pm

Awake: 6:53am Temp 61 sleep 6+27 sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

K & I attend the 8:30am Koffee Klub meeting. Roger & I conceal our exciting adventure of last night because we want John to be with us when telling the story. As we are leaving the meeting, I had to let Roger know that our touring time together is up; we need to get our home projects attended to & make plans for travel on Thursday. It was fun visiting some of those ole classmates of yesteryear & finding out what they are doing in their retirement today. Also, it was jolly good to see that most of them were still mighty active.

Back @ our motorhome, I get out the (50) ft air hose, start the CAT engine for air pressure & add pressure where necessary on (16) wheels before the sun warms the tires; of course that included our Suzuki & Lexus. Front tires on our motorhome 130 psi Drive tires 110 psi Tag axle tires 105 psi.

Next I take the Lexus to Spangler, run it through the auto touchless wash unit, top off the fuel tank & drive it to our storage facility for the winter.

Back @ the motorhome, I call & have the insurance reduced to comprehensive only.

Around 2:00pm, Melissa with her (3) boys arrive; K & I have a project lined up for Matthew & Andrew & they are excited: paint the (2) wooden covers pertaining to the septic system. “You had to be there” to fully appreciate the professional artists @ work; lots of paint was used! Matthew worked diligently for a little while, like he’d painted before. Little Andrew often sat down sometimes on an unpainted area and sometimes where he had just “splattered,” hitting the full paintbrush against the wooden cover. Then they discovered that walking in the grass and dirt and back on the newly painted boards gave a more interesting palate, sort of a 3 dimensional design. And then, how could they resist adding a special touch of green paint to their brown shoes? Melissa had remembered to have them wear paint clothes, but not shoes.

During the boys painting program, to stay out of target range & still be tuned in to their works of art, I travel the safe zone & pick up leftover tree stumps that we missed picking up the other week. Melissa also kept her distance, nursing Nathan, during these scary moments.

Then it’s clean-up time for the boys; much of their clothing had dry paint too difficult to rinse off but soaked it was. They quickly undressed and nakedly played in the cold running hose water; fortunately the sun was warm. Their hands, arms & legs: green. Their shoes were two-toned, brown & green; not a bad combination. They ate their cookies outside &, after cleaning up as well as they could, Kathy gave them each an outfit to wear so that they’d have more than their birthday suits to wear home.

It’s time to say our goodbyes for now to Melissa, Matthew, Andrew, & Nathaniel. It’ll be a few months before we see them again but we will keep in touch.

Dinner: BLT & leftover coleslaw with nuts.

K & I drive to Ebensburg & visit my brother, Don & his wife, Josie. Don wanted me to look @ their fancy fan in their sunroom. Apparently it was involved with the lighting strike they had earlier this summer that took out (2) of their phones, the fan, & a few other electronic devices. Don had the ladder setting in place so I climbed up & looked for visible damage…..none found. The circuit breaker was powering other items on the same circuit so no problem there. With the short time we have remaining in the area, I hesitate to get too involved with this fan (fastened from a 16 to 18 ft ceiling) leaving it in pieces & then, we leave town. Don agrees: that would not be good. So he’ll either wait for our return in the springtime or find another brave soul. We talk over a glass of good wine & have a little dessert & then say our goodbyes for now. We stop at the local Wal-Mart & do some light grocery shopping before returning to the bus.

K & I watch the Republican convention on TV in lieu of a movie.

High temp=78 Lights out: 12:40am

Awake: 6:35am Temp 59 sleep 6+04 sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

We drive the Suzuki to 8:00 am Mass & join the Koffee Klub afterward. Our meeting was very active this morning & well attended. Al gave me an extension cord on a reel to repair in my spare time. By accident he had cut it while trimming their hedges. In talking with John B. @ the Koffee Klub meeting this morning, both Roger & I agreed to exercise our curiosity & visit the Rocky Hollow Airfield later today. John has been talking about this place for over a week now; it’s time we check it out.

Early afternoon, I splice Al’s extension cord & @ the same time, without my neighbor Chuck knowing it, help him by moving the firewood pieces closer to the end of his truck bed for easy unloading. He is 80 + yrs now & it’s tough for him to climb steps.

Early dinner: BLT with a mixed salad.

John B. arrives @ 6:25pm; he is ready to visit the Rocky Hollow Airfield & so am I. We pick up Roger along the way & John guides us through the back roads of Nicktown on a tour that I have little memory of through my early yrs of living near Nicktown.

A huge rock with a painted picture of an airplane with words advertising the “Rocky Hollow Airfield” is our clue to turn onto a gravel road; less than a mile later, a large hanger, an equally large covered pavilion, some very heavy earth moving equipment & a very wide expanse of mowed & landscaped field with asphalt runways come into view. We have arrived @ this place that Roger & I have never known existed. John encourages us to walk across the field to get a closer look @ the (2) 4000 ft long runways with windsocks.

The owner of all of this vastness can barely be seen down by the heavy earth moving equipment; John assures us that Bernie will be coming to the hangar soon since he knows we have arrived.

Inside the hangar are (6 or 7) powered Paragliders on a tricycle frame; some of them are tandem. When parked, the nylon wing is wrapped up & stored in a canvas bag & fastened on the back of the tricycle frame.

Bernie drives up, introduces himself & begins to explain to us how a paraglider is flown. He continues to educate us as he pulls one of his tandem paragliders out from the hangar; opens the canvas bag & spreads out the nylon cords that are attached to the nylon wing. With the brake set on the tricycle frame, Bernie starts the (20) horsepower engine & the spinning prop magically brings the deflated wing assembly to life filling all the compartments with air. Bernie looks directly @ me & says: “Let’s go flying.”

I hadn’t planned on doing this & yes, it looks like fun; but is it safe? As Bernie hands me a helmet with earphones & microphone, he assures me that there has been only (1) incident in the (7) yrs of his operation & that fellow was not adhering to airport policy.

Amazing enough, our takeoff roll from the grassy strip was smooth & short. In flight, Bernie was explaining the instrument panel & how the paraglider is controlled; quite simple I deducted; but like any machine being operated, there are restrictions & limitations. Our climb, cruise, & decent speeds remained about the same: 20 mph. Bernie pointed out his many avenues of landing fields in the event any of his students or himself should have to make an unscheduled landing. Also on the horizon, the small towns of Colver, Carrolltown, Homer City, Indiana, Barnesboro, Spangler, Nicktown etc could be easily seen from our initial altitude of 2500 ft about ground level. We cruise within a (5) mile area for about 45 min & then darkness began to set in. Bernie made a few high speed passes (about 35-40) mph, max speed, over Roger & John below before touching down smoothly close to the hangar. It was a new experience for me; 95% of the time, I felt I was in good hands & was quite comfortable flying in this type of machine.

Back in the hangar, for my braveness & being a most casual passenger, Bernie awarded me with (2) tee shirts with the inscription on the back: “I survived a flight with Bernie.” I was his “100th” passenger so far in 2007 & that was penned on the front of both of my tee shirts. We were all honored to have a beer with Bernie on the occasion of this occasion.

I drop Roger off @ his sister’s house & John & I arrive @ the bus after 11:30pm. Kathy was calmly waiting to hear "the rest of my story."

High temp=78 Lights out: 12:26am

Awake: 4:47am temp 59 sleep 5+29 sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

Early morning I talk with Kevin about firewood; we have the opportunity to get some newly cut logs from my cousin, Andrea’s, recently cut or soon to be cut trees. Kevin doesn’t seem as excited as I am about this opportunity. His only nonchalant response was to not get too many logs because he has little space to store them.

Meanwhile, K & I drive to 8:00am Mass &, afterward, join the Koffee Klub. When back @ the bus, I call Andrea & talk with her about when her (3) brothers will be cutting the (3) trees down. She reports they are coming between 10:00 & 10:30 this morning.

K & I drive directly to the Foote house, talk with Kevin & Melissa about using their van to transport the logs, & request a tarp to protect the upholstery during the process.

At Andrea’s house, her brothers, Louie, Cyril, & Tony already have (2) trees cut down, limbs trimmed off & logs stacked up. After a short social visit, K & I get right down to work, loading the van with oak firewood. Kathy was a big help & it still took over an hr to get the logs from both trees into the van.

A (5) mile drive brings us back to the Foote house to unload the logs. Kevin gives us a helping hand so the process moves along faster. Before we know it, we are back to the scene of another fallen tree. This maple tree is larger than the other (2) oak trees together & presents a loading challenge. We use a sheet for a pad in the middle of the van to provide extra space &, with big Louie’s help, we are able to load the heavier lower trunk logs & all of the remaining logs worthy of collecting. Now K & I are both slowing down; this last load has been tough & we’re not finished yet.

Little did we realize super help was patiently waiting for us: Matthew, little Andrew,& tough guy Kevin. It only took us twice as long to unload the logs as it took to load them. Kathy spent some time playing Legos with her buddy Matthew afterward while I used Kevin’s shop vacuum to clean the van and bring it back to “travel in style” condition. We don’t know if those logs will be dry enough to burn later this yr; if not, we do have another source for the winter rendezvous.

Back @ the bus, we shower & have dinner: leftover pork, brown rice pilaf, coleslaw, & cucumbers & tomatoes in sour cream.
Lights out: 12:31am

Awake: 7:54am Temp 54 sleep 8+00 sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

Today is the busiest & most populated day each year in Nicktown; it’s Homecoming Festival day. Corinne arrives @ our motorhome @ 10:10 am. About (10) min later, Melissa calls: they are running late & will look for us in the dinner lineup.
Kathy, Corinne, & I walk over to the picnic grounds; the parking area for autos is already full & the dinner line is wrapped around the (4) corners of the booth building & starting to climb the hill. That’s a good sign really. (30) min later, the Foote family + Kevin’s newly married sister, Billie Anne, & her husband, Jason, join us in line. About (15) min after that, my brother, Don, joins us in line; he is concerned about his wife, Josie; turns out she had trouble finding a parking spot & had to walk quite a distance to join us just before our being admitted into the dinning room. That was a close call.

The chicken dinner with soup, mashed potatoes, gravy, coleslaw, garden fresh tomatoes & cucumbers, homemade rolls & a variety of home baked pies for dessert was most delicious. Matthew & Andrew were quite content to stay in their seats, though they did not eat very much of the food.

The remainder of the afternoon & evening was consumed with meeting & talking with people (friends, cousins, out-of-towners, neighbors, etc) whom I haven’t seen for a long time or since last year’s picnic or maybe since yesterday. And the beer tent was packed & noisy; also the good Father was casually monitoring the area from time to time.

Kathy tells me she spent some time with the Footes & with the boys in the kids’ tent; Matthew & Andrew mostly enjoyed “digging for dinosaurs.” She also played bingo at Andrea’s behest, the first time Kathy’s played bingo in about 18 years and she won $3.00. Kathy, too, spent time walking and talking with people; ah, she’s learning the ways of small town excitement!

This picnic is a big fund raiser for the Nicktown Catholic Church & Catholic elementary school. From all evidence, with the large crowd of visitors & over 1840 dinners served, plus the packed beer tent & other games, raffles, etc, etc, + such a beautiful day, we felt we had a very good homecoming picnic. (9:00 pm) fireworks topped off the event with bangs of streaming colors. It was a great day. K & I return to our bus @ 9:35pm.

High temp=73 Lights out: 11:18pm

Awake: 6:55am Temp 50 sleep 6+57 sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

K & I drive separate cars to attend 8:00am Mass & then, join the Koffee Klub members @ Janet & Mark’s outback Gazebo for coffee and goodies; it was Janet’s birthday. Over (20) people from our club + some visitors from another planet shared the goodies. This was the 1st Gazebo gathering for our Koffee Klub that I know of & I personally thanked Janet for her generosity & hospitality. She, along with Donna & Kathy have been fairly faithful in providing some healthy goodies for our club members @ the morning meetings & we love it.

After that good start for the day, I drive the Lexus to the church hall, don my PVC gloves, find my leader & start with the needed work program @ 9:30am. 1st project: string out (3) awning covers between (2) buildings that serve as shade for people who are in line for our special chicken noodle dinner. They open the doors @ 10:00am & serve until everyone who wants to eat has eaten; usually after 3:00pm. Not only are the tarps fastened to both buildings but also a rope line above is run in a zigzag fashion to hold the tarps from flopping in a breeze.

Next, a group of us, including some young guys, help move out of storage: many large signs, many folding chairs, many long benches, many tables with folding legs, many bingo benches with an extra shelf for working all those bingo cards, & many other miscellaneous things etc. We moved them out, set them up & wore ourselves out, all in less than (2) hrs. My PVC gloves worked great & I was released around 1:00pm. After checking on Kathy who has been in the kitchen since 10:00 am with her hands in butter and grease, helping in the preparation of the chicken wings for the beer tent, & the chicken for the shut-ins, I leave her & return to our bus to take a nice hot shower. Kathy returns a little later & does the same.

We just finish dressing when Gary & Rosemary ring our doorbell @ 2:45pm. We put the final touches to our readiness & then G & R caravan with us to the Foote house; after we take in some food to store in Melissa’s refrigerator, Gary & Rosemary ride with us to Saint Thomas More University Church & attend the 4:00pm Mass + the Baptism of little Nathaniel Foote. Kevin’s sister, Billie Anne, and her husband, Jason, were also in attendance. It was amazing to me: as soon as Father Willie finished the Baptism ceremony, little Nathaniel, not even a month old, seemed to come alive; his eyes opened wide, he began looking around @ the congregation, he was curious about his where-abouts, etc. Father Willie, carrying Nathaniel partly wrapped in a towel, strolled up & down the aisles showing off our newest Catholic & member of the Foote family. Nathaniel seemed to be enjoying his new status looking those people right in the eye with his big eyes.

Nathaniel’s Godparents, Mary Beth & Philip who have (3) kids of their own, seem like real nice people.

Back @ the Foote home, we all patiently wait for the food that Kathy prepared. Melissa & Kathy have tried in the past to have food for the post Baptism celebration around a theme; ie. for Matthew it was the elements of Baptism; for Andrew, since St. Andrew was a fisherman, it was fish. Nathaniel, however, posed a real problem since there is not much written about him. Melissa & Kathy did find that St. Nathaniel is considered the patron saint of plasterers, tanners, & butchers and thus, a “theme;” a bit of imagination is required. Since Melissa was too busy caring for 3 boys, Kathy prepared the following: a cookie house frosted in white (plasterer); church & house cookies (assisted in making them by Matthew); potato skins (tanner); hot barbecued beef on buns (butcher); salad; potato chips; broken glass Jell-O dessert. Mary Beth, with the thought of Nathaniel being the patron of plasterers, brought a plate of white pecan cookies.

It was a nice celebration as we happily welcomed Nathaniel & enjoyed each others company. Unfortunately, Fr. Willie was detained and did not arrive until we were on our way down the front steps.

Late evening movie: “Tunnel of Love” with Doris Day, Richard Widmark, Gig Young, Gia Scala. Bright comedy of married couple Widmark & Day enduring endless red tape to adopt a child. 1958. It was ok but I am not really a Doris Day fan.

High temp=73 Lights out: 11:54pm

Awake: 6:53am Temp 66 sleep 7+20 mostly sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

K & I drive to 8:00am Mass & then join the Koffee Klub for over an hr. After the meeting, I let Roger know that I can’t tour him around today & ask if any of the members could possibly drive him. Bill M. comes to the rescue & that is good. With the volunteer work that K & I are committed to doing for the Homecoming Picnic tomorrow plus Nathaniel’s Baptism we are busy beavers.

Back @ the bus, a message from Katrina tells us that she had laser eye surgery yesterday. Later today, she calls & describes the operation. Her eyes are sore & sensitive she tells us but she can see better already.

Zack calls on his way to work in Seattle. He brings us up-to-date on his activities & his work experience.

Early afternoon, I drive over to the Krumenacker Hardware Store & buy a pair of gloves that are string knitted & coated with PVC front & back; I am getting ready for my job @ the church hall tomorrow morning. I also purchase a pint of primer & green paint for Kathy to paint the wooden covers on a section of our septic system down in the lower field of our property.

Meanwhile Kathy is busy doing some more baking & cooking for Nathaniel’s Baptism gathering later tomorrow evening. Those (24) ears of corn that Flossy gave us on Wednesday need to be shucked so I do that so Kathy can parboil & quickly cool them, remove the kernels, & freeze them for later.

We leave Nicktown @ 5:15 pm to join in our annual 1st Cousins Reunion in Spangler. We look forward to seeing a lot of these people each yr & we are blessed to have so many nice & pleasant 1st cousins in the area; between 35 & 40 are present tonight. My sister, Corinne, does an excellent job of being the facilitator of this group & Ralph + Flossy continue to be the best entertainers in our crowd. The many covered dishes are more than adequate to satisfy our group; it was another successful & enjoyable rendezvous for all of us. Melissa & Kevin were kept quite busy overseeing their boys.

On our return to our bus, we stop & join a small gathering of classmates @ Barry & Bonnie’s house. Not many people showed up for this last minute get-together but the few who did, including K & me, a total of (7), enjoyed spending time together.

High temp=77 Lights out: 11:58pm

Awake: 5:40am Temp 66 sleep 6+27 sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

K & I drive separate cars, attend 8:00 am Mass & then join the Koffee Klub. Kathy leaves early to visit the Foote family & do some much needed cooking & baking in prep for the party following the Baptism of Nathaniel on Saturday. They also plan to take the boys to the Indiana County Fair in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, Roger & I stay later with the KK & then, tour the nearby towns of Spangler & Barnesboro to renew Roger’s memory of yesteryears. We even peruse Paul’s Shoe Store in Barnesboro that has been a mainstay in town since the early 40’s.

Next, with Roger as my guest, we attend the Thursday Rotary meeting & have lunch. After that yummy & comfortable experience, we fulfill Kathy’s grocery list by shopping in Ebensburg @ the Wal-Mart. After properly placing the groceries in our refrigerator in the bus, Roger & I visit Dick K. who lives only a few blocks from our motorhome. Dick quit school right after 8th grade but has done very well for himself & his family. We spend over an hr talking & updating each other on the porch & then I return Roger to his sister’s home.

Dinner: BLT’s & corn on the cob from Flossy.

Kathy’s day was delightfully busy with the boys, baking & cooking and going to the fair. The fair is set up @ 4 blocks from the Foote house but it’s definitely a slow & exploratory walk with the boys. They enjoyed the kids section with all its activities, esp. the tractor riding. It was a hot day so Kathy treated the boys to ice cream cones which melted faster than they could be consumed; the boys, esp. Andrew, wore as much as he ate!

Evening movie: “The Great Lie” with Mary Astor, Bette Davis, George Brent, Lucile Watson, Hattie McDaniel, etc. Brent marries Davis when alliance with Astor is annulled. He is lost in plane crash, leaving Davis & pregnant Astor to battle each other & the elements. 1941. Not too shabby of a story. Astor does her own concert pianist playing & won an Oscar by doing so.
Lights out: 11:33pm

Awake: 5:52am Temp 66 sleep 6+30 sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

We drive separate cars to the community center & attend our Koffee Klub meeting for 1.3 hrs. Then Kathy drives the Suzuki to the church hall to help make candy with (17) other ladies. Meanwhile I take Roger with me to visit Flossy who gives us (24) ears of corn; (6) peppers; (1) large zucchini & a speckled squash.

Back @ the community center, I tell Roger I need (3) hrs to do some paperwork & other things & then to meet me @ the bus & we’ll do some more local visiting. During this time, I type & e-mail a list of items that need to be checked & fixed when we visit the Newell factory in September. Kathy returns from candy making @ 1:05pm.

Roger returns @ 1:30pm. I call my cousin, Ethel, to see if my cousin, Bernie, is available for a visit; she says he is mowing grass now but will surely take a break when we show up.
Bernie is found waiting on his classic lawn swing. We spend a good (1.5) hrs blabbing & trying to solve the problems of the world & then, Dick H. arrives & joins us as a swinger. Dick & his wife Diana just drove in from Chicago to be here for the Homecoming Picnic in Nicktown. With Dick’s influence, our swinging continues as his military tank & aircraft mechanic stories mesmerize us for another (1.5) hrs. It was a good visit. Roger & I leave @ 5:20 pm & I return Roger to his sister’s place. Then K & I walk to 6:00pm evening Mass.

Dinner: leftover meatloaf, mashed potatoes with gravy & a fresh salad.

Late movie: “Dodsworth” with Walter Huston, Ruth Chatterton, Paul Lukas, Mary Astor, David Niven, etc. A story of a middle aged-American industrialist, who retires, goes to Europe where he & his wife find differing sets of values & new relationships. 1936. Unusually mature Hollywood film….not to be missed.

High temp=81 Lights out: 11:13pm

Awake: 5:18am Temp 61 sleep 5+16 sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

K & I drive to attend 8:00am communion service led by Sister Lee. Afterward, we join the Koffee Klub. Barry & Al were @ their finest, especially Barry. He had our undivided attention with laughs a plenty.

After the meeting, Roger joins us for breakfast in our bus & then encourages me to search for more classmates to visit during his brief stay in the Nicktown area. I make a few calls & we decide to visit Leroy, about (3) miles out of town.

To our knowledge, Roger has not seen Leroy since high school. Now Leroy is like a one man machine with a lot of machinery in his own business. Just driving up the road to his homestead, we see vehicles & tractors, forklifts, bulldozers, diesel engines, large generators & a good size sawmill. Leroy makes many useful things from the trees on his property; his large diesel engine powers a (3) phase generator powering many other (3) phase electric motors powering the woodworking equipment in his large shop. He gave us a live demonstration of just about everything including getting a large log with the forklift & sawing it into (3) inch planks, then further cutting it into (3) inch blocks (20 ft in length). This was fascinating. Leroy does it all; the maintenance, the upkeep & rebuilding of his machinery; this guy is amazing. Before we leave, we meet & talk with his wife who handles herself well. From here, I take Roger back to his sister’s home, change clothes & get ready for another adventure; this time with Kathy.

We visit Rosemary & Gary in Saint Augustine; about (19) miles from Nicktown. Their house & landscaping look great; Gary just finished (4) hrs of mowing. Inside their home, with wine, different cheeses with crackers & peanuts, we spend a good hr bringing each other up-to-date on “what’s new.”

Dinner: Spaghetti with Italian sausage, salad, using some fresh vegetables from their garden, black olives, & garlic toast. Rosemary’s meals are always very good. After dinner, we take a tour of their young fruit trees & pine trees & then scrutinize the garden. After picking out some veggies, Gary & I sit on their front porch & talk while the gals go back inside the house & talk about some general subjects; not us guys.

Later, inside their house, Gary serves us his fresh homemade apple pie (made by him from scratch, crust & all) ala mode for dessert; it’s quite good. Something in that pie must have had an effect on our minds as the table conversation drifted into a (3) against (1) home building & sight seeing “pick on Monte” discussion. All things considered, it was another nice visit with Gary & Rosemary.

Lights out: 11:22pm

Awake: 8:10am Temp 60 sleep 5+55 sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

K & I attend the Koffee Klub meeting for over an hr. She made zucchini cranberry cake yesterday & brought some to the meeting this morning. The conference table was full to capacity & her cake went over very well. The meeting adjourned @ 10:05.

Next K & I exercise for a good 60 min. Cousin Roger was with us but he exercised very little. In Texas, he does water aerobics (3) times a week & also walks twice a week. After our workout, we invite Roger to join us for breakfast/lunch in our motorhome.

Later I make a phone call to our retired high school English teacher, Vernon K., living in town. He & his wife welcome a visit from Roger & me. We chat for a good 1.5 hrs under their gazebo in their back yard. Vernon was a terrific teacher & certainly has not lost his good sense of humor.

Next, I introduce the Krumenacker Hardware store in town to Roger. I couldn’t believe he had never been into that store after living a mile outside of Nicktown for (20) yrs. Once inside, we talk with Herm & Byron behind the counter. Roger was impressed with the well stocked store.

Next we drive to Barnesboro, top off the Lexus fuel tank, buy some more wine & then, visit another one of our retired high school teachers, Bill N. Bill was a darn good math teacher & well appreciated. We yak for over (40) min on many subjects but not about math.

Back @ the bus, Roger offers to take Kathy & me out for dinner; we choose Roland’s in Spangler. K & I should have split a meal; the homemade meatloaf dinner with gravy, mashed potatoes, string beans & a salad was more than each of us could handle. Roger did OK but we used a take out container for later. From here, I drop Kathy off @ our motorhome & then drive Roger back to his sister’s home about a mile down the road.

@ 7:00pm my 1st cousin, Max, & his wife arrive for a visit. They split their time between PA & Florida each yr, playing a lot of golf in each location. We see them frequently around our town & the area & figured it’s time we have a real sit down sojourn. Over the next (2) + hrs, we covered a lot of territory: i.e. during my teen yrs, I worked with Max in his brother’s construction company; he was the pro & I the gofer. We had a lot of fun just reminiscing.

Lights out: 12:02am

Awake: 6:25am Temp 64 sleep 6+04 thru the night & early this morning….rain overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

Kathy makes sourdough pancakes with all the trimmings + bacon & sausage for breakfast.

Mid afternoon, my cousin & elementary & high school classmate, Roger K., drives up. He lives in Texas with his wife but loves to visit his hometown of Nicktown over the Labor Day weekend with the Homing Coming Festival & picnic next Sunday. Roger & I sit outside & chat for a few hrs, then move inside to have our wine & cheese before eating a dinner of: pork roast, baked potato & salad.

After I finish the dishes, I call another nearby classmate & his wife & invite them to join us for the evening. They do & we end up having a good ole time with a little wine, a few snacks, a little reminiscing & a slide show from Barry’s memory stick of their Alaska tour last year, the Redding WWII weekend of a couple months ago, & the Indiana Air Show of last week; something for everyone, I think.

We sort of lost track of time until someone mentioned that it’s after midnight; like 1:50am. After that, we scrambled & seriously considered calling it a night. I drove Roger back to his sister’s place where he is staying & Kathy had the bed ready on my return. It was truly a fun evening.

High temp=74 Lights out: 2:15am


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