Monday, September 27, 2010

Our Vacation -- Part 2 Jayco Tour

Being that we were near the RV Capital of the World we thought it would be fun to take a tour of an RV factory. There were quite a few to choose from but we chose a larger family-owned company -- Jayco in Middlebury IN. We had our very own field trip and it was a very well done tour that we all enjoyed. We were in a group with all retired couples looking to buy their next rig so it wasn't geared for children but it still kept their attention since we moved quite quickly to see everything.

We began by looking through the most recent models of motor homes and trailers dreaming of the one that would fit our family perfectly. (We'd love 4 bunks in the back and a bump out up front for more space). We then watched a video on the origins of the company which isn't necessarily fun for kids but John and I found it interesting. Our tour began with everyone getting their own transmitter radio and ear piece to hear the tour guide and picking up saftey glasses. The kids were thrilled to each get a pair in their size and favorite color. I am sure that was the highlight! We hopped on a trolley and started off in the building where everything is sewn. We saw the bedding and pillows being covered, sofa cushions being assembled, etc.  With all of the brown fabrics I saw it was obvious that it is the "in" color compared to all the blue in our motor home.

Our next stop was the plant where they assemble the large 5th Wheels. We started at the beginning of the line and worked our way to the end and it was fascinating!  All of the woodworking of cabinets and trim is done here and on the picture to the right you can see it would slide from there down a level to be installed.  It moves from station to station and takes 4 or 5 days to complete one trailer. It is quite interesting to see it without any sides. If you are ever in the area I highly recommend the Jayco tour!

[caption id="attachment_782452" align="aligncenter" width="240" caption="A slide out ready to be installed"]A slide out ready to be installed[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_782453" align="aligncenter" width="240" caption="All lined up"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_782454" align="aligncenter" width="360" caption="Furniture goes in last. You can see the chairs waiting on the left side."][/caption]

To end the day we ate at a large Amish restaurant called Essenhaus. While the atmosphere was nice, unfortunately the food wasn't worth the price. We had family style and they brought all we could eat. The chicken and mashed potatoes were good but canned green beans are not anyone's favorite here. The noodles were mushy as was the dressing. The kids really enjoyed the Amish peanut butter** and Apple butter on bread though. George was the only one who really enjoyed the meal and ate to his hearts content. Note to selves -- just because it is a very advertised restaurant doesn't mean the food is great. We picked the right day to go as there was a car show on the grounds and of course that was right up John's alley! There are also cute little shops to browse through.

** The secret to Amish peanut butter I found is that they add marshmallow creme to it. In fact I found they also add it so jams and jellies to make a dip. Not exactly good for you, but quite tasty. At the bulk foods store I saw gallons of marshmallow creme but alas, I did bypass that, tempting as it was. :)

[caption id="attachment_782461" align="aligncenter" width="360" caption="Seppy and his "pod-nuh" (partner) :)"][/caption]

Friday, September 24, 2010

Our Vacation Part 1 - Amish Country

We left for our vacation on Labor Day and have decided that we are going to go that week every year. I don't know about you but I am not as good with crowds as I used to be. Maybe people have gotten crabbier or something but I don't enjoy that so it is nice to avoid the summer crowds.

Initially we had planned on going to Tennessee and rent a cabin using John's frequent flyer miles to cover the cost but that idea fell through as it didn't seem very sure of a deal. We could have camped in our motorhome but when we go I want it to be as I envisioned being in the mountains and not all packed into a small space. I guess we'll have to save up for that one otherwise I need to lower my expectations.

Instead we decided to make a trip around visiting our friends in Michigan and I thought it would be fun to visit Amish Country in Indiana as I once did with my family. We stayed at a Jellystone campground for 4 nights as it had many swimming pools which was a requirement the boys had. Unfortunately, only one of the days was warm enough to swim. It did have an indoor pool, although we thought it smelled too bad to swim in.

I don't know about you but I like to keep busy on my vacation. Why travel somewhere if you aren't going to see what is there? We did spend the entire first day at the campground swimming and playing which was nice seeing as we were practically the only people there so it felt as if we had the place to ourselves.

The next day we met up with our friends in Shipshewana IN. We walked through the enormous flea market but didn't buy anything as most of it just isn't worth it. Our (or was it just me?) favorite part was Ben's Soft Pretzels made right in front of you. I could have eaten them all day they were so delectable. I wanted more but decided maybe I should work on finding the recipe and making them at home instead. I did ask a few questions of the Amish bakers.

We then headed into the town which was fun as we drove right alongside the horse and buggies which were aplenty. I kept the windows rolled down so I could hear the constant clip clop of the horses hooves imaging I was in a different time and place.  The kids favorite part of the town was the toy stores which had so many quality and imaginative toys. My favorite part of town was the bulk foods store -- oh what good deals. I hadn't imagined I'd be stocking up on any food while on vacation but prices were too good to beat!

More on our vacation to come...

Monday, September 20, 2010

I am still here...

**Updated with pictures 9/22 --Are you shocked Heidi? :)-

Wow, it has been almost a month since my last post! Yes, I am still here just busy. I should post without waiting to download, edit, upload pictures and then maybe you'd know what is going on in our lives. And so I will start from where I left off.

My last post was getting projects ready for the County Fair. That included me. I have been entering my photography for more years than I can remember, always trying for that elusive first place ribbon. I suppose I should be happy to place at all as I do each year out of many entries. This year I was very picky in my selections. I have learned a few things after talking with judges in the past and going with George to his 4H photography class have learned what they are picky about. My favorite photo of all that I thought might have a chance came in the mail and I was disappointed in the printing but had no time to have it reprinted. I debated entering it at all but I didn't have anything else ready. I also entered one of Tank outside in the snow but I thought his face was a bit blurry. My favorite was a grouping of 4 shots of Missy blue jumping in the lake and then falling down. That ended up getting a second place and when I walked into the building where the photos are kept I saw that I had gotten a 1st place on not one but both of the photos I thought wouldn't make the cut. I was thrilled! After all these years of trying  -- I met my goal. :)

[caption id="attachment_782427" align="aligncenter" width="324" caption="Me with one of my 1st place pictures"][/caption]

We were busy fair week. The boys and I helped setup displays in the 4H building twice that week which was fun as we get to see all the different projects. This is the first year we have been able to be at the fair more than one day as we would normally be racing on Labor day weekend so we enjoyed going most every day for a little while rather than spend an entire day and be worn out. John and George helped serve food at the 4H food stand for 3 hours one day and George loved it, although his Daddy was a bit tired out. It was a good learning experience though and I so enjoyed watching the two of them working together waiting on people.

[caption id="attachment_782426" align="aligncenter" width="324" caption="John and George serving "cold foods" to customers"][/caption]

So that is about all from that week. Labor Day we began our vacation and headed on a week long trip. I will talk about that in the next post. (Hope I didn't bore you with this one!)
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