Elkhart, Indiana

Elkhart, Indiana – the RV capital of the US.  There are over ten different RV manufacturers in the Elkhart area and lots of the companies in the area make various RV parts.  We wanted to tour the Keystone Cougar plant which is the type of fifth-wheel we currently own. We also wanted to see a couple of others to compare the quality of craftsmanship.   Because we unfortunately timed our week in Elkhart during “shut down week” when the manufacturers do inventory and repairs, we were only able to set up two other tours – Thor and Grand Design.

I forgot to take photos of the Thor and Grand Design plants, but all three of the companies seemed somewhat similar.  It was pretty cool to see the process even though no one was currently working on the assembly.

  

While in the area, we toured the RV Hall of Fame and Museum. It was fun to see so many different types of campers used over the years. We are very thankful for the modern conveniences that we have!

  

 

 

We spent Saturday morning at the Farmer’s Market in South Bend – so many beautiful vegetables, flowers, and MUSHROOMS! I’ve never seen so many different types in one place. Of course we had to buy several to try.  They were delicious!

    

We then spent the afternoon in downtown Elkhart. They have some really cool art currently displayed all around the county.  There was a “treasure hunt guide” at the botanical gardens, but we didn’t’ go get a copy.

     

Some friends of ours who we’ve known since before we got married in Albuquerque live about a hour away from Elkhart so we called them up to meet us for lunch. We ended up going to walk around The University of Notre Dame after we ate. What a beautiful campus!

        

Next we head north into Michigan for a few days to meet up with some new friends…

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South Dakota and Iowa

We were so thankful able to spend a few days in the eastern part of South Dakota and visit with our friend Karen who is headed out next week to spend a year in Papua New Guinea.  We also visited the Corn Palace and an active archaeological dig in Mitchell, SD.

                  

We then drove east through Iowa where we saw lots of corn fields and wind farms.  We spent the night at the Iowa 80 truckstop in their separate parking area for RVs and toured the Trucking Museum which was very interesting and worth a stop if you’re ever in the area.

       

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Family Reunion in Nebraska

On the way from Kansas City to North Platte, NE we were able to stop in Wichita, KS. We spent the night in the Cracker Barrel parking lot and had breakfast the next morning with some dear friends we hadn’t seen in a while.

   

The time in Nebraska was wonderful. We had three days with Marcia’s extended family – grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.  There were 48 of us all hanging out in the lawn at grandma’s house.  There was a campground at the end of her street where many of us were able to stay so we could walk back and forth. It was so nice.  After everyone else went home, we were able to stay a few extra days while Jeff worked, and I got to visit with Grandma. I will treasure that time forever.

    

    

           

Now we head north and east – slowly working our way towards New York.

 

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Kansas City visit

We were able to spend three weeks in Kansas City visiting friends (most of whom I forgot to get pictures with – sorry!), and Jeff was able to spend some time working in the office and setting things up for his next remote project.

Our spot at the Peculiar Park Place RV park was much nicer than we thought it would be. It looks like a big parking lot from the highway, but the back part of the park is shaded and very nice.

   

     

Great food at some of our favorite restaurants as well as trying some new ones was on our list while in town.  We had never been to the original Joe’s KC in the gas station in Kansas City, KS.  It was worth the hour-plus wait!  Delicious!  We also got to try out the donuts at Donutology. Very fun place.

         

    

Lots of fun times with friends – Little Mermaid at Starlight, S’more night, game nights, and so much more.

            

It was great to be able to catch up with so many different people during our quick visit, but we are ready to be on the road again.

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Oklahoma – Visiting family

After our trip back to Arkansas in a rental car, we spent a day in Tulsa before heading out separately. This time Jeff flew to New York to spend a week with his mom and was able to surprise her for Mother’s Day.  Marcia rode with her parents to Nebraska to visit her grandmother in North Platte.

    

Once we all arrived back in Tulsa, we spent a couple of weeks helping Marcia’s parents clean their garage and have a huge garage sale. It was a lot of work but very worth it!

  

While in Tulsa we had to eat at some of the favorite local places…  Oklahoma Joe’s, Braum’s, Goldie’s, and others we forgot to take photos of.

Next up – Kansas City!

 

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Arkansas Adventure

We had planned to spend a few days in the Memphis area once we left Nashville. But the Tom Sawyer RV Park where we had reservations called us and let us know that because of the flooding, they were evacuating, closing, and cancelling our reservation.  We were able to stop and spend a few hours in Memphis, but didn’t see too much. We ate some good barbeque, accidentally took a wrong exit and drove right through downtown (wow!) and toured the Mud Island River Park.

   

              

We then headed towards Mountain Home, AR where we planned to visit our good friends. Because of the flooding and lots of closed roads, we had to take a different route than we had originally planned. We spent the night in a truck stop in Searcy. The next morning we ate breakfast and headed out hoping to make it to Mt. Home around noon.  About 15 min into our drive we hit a deer!  Well, he hit us.  Thankfully, he hit the driver mirror / windshield area and only damaged the driver’s side of the truck. No damage to the wheel wells, engine, or even the trailer (other than the deer poo squirted all over it.)  After we pulled over and assessed the damage, we decided to reroute and head directly to Tulsa where we would have more options for getting it fixed and be able to park the trailer at Marcia’s parents’ house while the truck was in the shop.

A couple days later once the truck was in the shop, we rented a car and made the trip back over to Mt. Home to visit our friends and do some sight-seeing.  So glad we were still able to see some fun stuff in Arkansas even though it was rainy a good part of the time.

   

    

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Nashville, TN

After leaving Gatlinburg, we spent a few days in the Nashville area.  We camped at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch about an hour west of Nashville.  It was very quiet and not busy at all.

   

We took a day-trip into town and toured the Opryland Resort, took the behind the scenes tour of the Grand Ole Opry, and attended the show where Aaron Tippin, Dailey and Vincent, and Rascal Flatts and more performed. It was a very fun day!

    

    

    

Some of the dressing rooms:

    

The Artist Entrance and the “Family Room” (green room):   

During the show:

     

Moving on…  Heading towards Arkansas and Oklahoma – routes to be determined by what roads aren’t closed for flooding.  Our reservation at the Tom Sawyer RV Park on the Mississippi River in Memphis just got cancelled because the park is flooded. So, adjusting our plans…

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Gatlinburg, TN

Kerrie and her family traveled to Gatlinburg with us for a weekend before we headed farther west. We stayed at Adventure Bound Campground where they were able to stay in an RV trailer. The boys loved it and thought the “bunkhouse” room was awesome!

We enjoyed a day at Dollywood and then another day riding the trolley into Gatlinburg and walking around.

    

  

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Almost a month in South Carolina

We left Charleston and made our way to the Columbia area where Marcia’s cousin lives. It was so fun to spend a day with them – lots of hiding and hunting Easter eggs.

    

We then drove to Gaffney, SC where one of Marcia’s best friends from college lives. The state park where we were going to stay didn’t have any openings until Sunday so we parked the trailer in the street in front of their house for one night. Her boys were fascinated with our RV and loved checking it out.

     

Over the course of the three and a half weeks we were there, we enjoyed lots of visiting. It was such an encouragement to both of us after living so far apart for so many years.

We stayed at the Croft State Park just east of Spartanburg, SC.  Even though the cell signal was pretty bad, it was a nice quiet park with a lake, horse shows on Saturday, and fire pits so lots of s’mores.

               

     

   

One weekend we made a quick trip up to Raleigh to meet up with several other friends from Kansas City and other college friends. We failed however to get photos of everyone. Sorry!

We also spent a day driving the Blue Ridge Parkway from Little Switzerland, NC to Asheville, NC.  What a gorgeous area!

        

Heading into Tennessee next…

 

 

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Charleston, SC

We’ve made it to our 9th state!  We just spent 9 days in Charleston, SC at the James Island County Park. It was a great place with lots to do.  There were lots of hiking trails, a disc golf course, climbing walls, a ropes course, kayaks, peddle boats, and more.  Our friend Jennifer flew in from Kansas City to spend the week with us, and we enjoyed having a campfire and s’mores a couple of nights.

       

Watching the Charleston Model Yacht Club race their boats at the campground lake. What a hoot!  These guys are serious about their sport. They come out twice a week to race their boats.

We took a guided walking tour of downtown Charleston and learned so much about the history. We also toured a nearby cotton plantation as well as spent a day at the beach.

          

The McLeod Plantation main house and slave cabins.

    

Awesome dinner on the beach.  Having friends come see us is great!  Let us know if you’d like to meet us somewhere along the way! 🙂

     

 

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