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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Amish Country, Ohio

We got to our campground in Berlin, Ohio and haven't stopped running 'til this morning! Roy & Barb were already here and set up by the time we got to the park, so we hurried and set up the rig and the satellite; got showers; and headed out for a great Amish family style dinner. Since then, all we've done is eat, shop, and eat some more! I can't wait to get home so I can get back to a routine and get rid of this vacation fat!!

We've had a great time, though. Roy & Barb have vacationed often in this area over the last 25 years so they took us to all of their favorite places. One of them is the Warther's Carvings Museum. When Roy asked if we'd like to go to a wood carver's museum, I thought, okay, we'll see ducks, decoys, etc. Boy, was I ever wrong!!

Mr. Warther was a genius at carving - and I don't use that term lightly at all! He had a second grade education, but was blessed by God with a talent at carving like you've never seen. If you are ever in Dover, OH, I highly recommend you seek out this museum and take the tour. It is well worth it. Warther had a love for steam engines and Abraham Lincoln. So he combined the two with his carvings. I've posted a few pictures here and more at our Webshots site, but the pictures do not do the carvings justice. Plus, some of the pictures are blurry (not sure why). Warther created his own carving knives because he didn't like the ones available to him. From there, he began manufacturing knives for locals and his company grew from there. His grandchildren are still running Warther's Knives right there in the same building as the museum. All the knives are created individually and manually assembled. It is amazing. If you are interested in more information about this amazing man and his carvings, go to As you can tell, I was very impressed with what this man was able to achieve. He apparently had a photographic memory as he carved with little or no measuring. He would see it in his mind and then as he said, "I saw it in the wood." The carvings just emerged from the wood. It is truly a wonderful tour.

Of course, we also did the gift shops and such; ate some more, and then sat around the campfire last night talking. This morning we went to one of the Amish cheese factories. Since it was Saturday, the factory was not functioning, but we were able to sample the different cheeses (yes, more eating!). They had so many different kinds of cheese - even chocolate, rainbow sherbet and peanut butter!

Roy & Barb left a little before noon. It was great seeing them again and we hope to catch up with them next winter. They are heading west now and we, of course, are heading east. But, we'll keep in touch through e-mail and they can let us know the places to see out west when we go next year.

Leaving here in the morning and will be stopping for the next in PA. Will be home Monday morning! YIPPEE! So looking forward to being home and seeing all of you. Until then, take care. We love you!

Amish Country, Ohio Posted by Picasa

Barb & Roy Dalton Posted by Picasa

First train Warther carved with the knives he made hanging above Posted by Picasa

A carved replica of the steel mill in which Warther worked; moving parts & all! Posted by Picasa

Train is carved from ivory; trestle from ebony with ivory mortar between the "bricks" Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Sightseeing in Elkhart IN

We woke up to a gorgeous day today! It was quite cold last night (high 20s!), but it warmed up to the mid-60s and sunny. Since we had nothing planned, we decided to take a ride to see what was in the area.

We found the RV/MH Hall of Fame - yes, there really is such a thing. They had so many vintage (read "old") travel trailers, pop-up campers, and motorhomes that were donated by various people. I've posted a picture below of a 1913 travel trailer with its tow car. 1913!! Other pictures are posted on our Webshots website. There was a couple of VERY old pop-up campers as well as some VERY small trailers. But, Randy & I realized that, no matter how sophisticated we think we are, things haven't changed a whole lot in RVs. Yes, we have great technology now, but an RV today still consists of the same things as 100 years ago - living space, kitchen, bath & sleeping space. It's amazing to see how those old trailers look very much like the ones today.

This area is also know for its Amish population and in the town of Middlebury, just east of Elkhart, there is an Amish restaurant, bakery and shopping village. We went there and walked through the shops (found another thimble for Reagan's collection!) and forced ourselves to eat at the restaurant. We did see a couple of horse & buggies. One of them was driven by a woman with her baby on her lap! The baby was even dressed in the classic Amish dress and was so cute. I just can't wait to get home to Reagan!!!!

We leave tomorrow morning for Ohio. Will be there until Sunday morning. We're looking forward to catching up with Roy & Barb, our Escapees friends. Then, it's stopping in PA for Sunday night and HOME on Monday.

Take care. I'm sure we'll have more to share once we get to Ohio. Keep in touch!

One of the first travel trailers w/tow car in 1913!! Posted by Picasa

Amish Country in Middlebury, IN Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 24, 2006

Elkhart, IN - Halfway home!

We have arrived in Elkhart, Indiana - the RV capital of the world (or so they claim). We got here around 3pm. It felt like a long day; guess we're just tired of driving and stopping; driving and stopping; and so on. Looking forward to staying put for a couple of days. The truck goes in the shop tomorrow and hopefully, back out again quickly. There is a large Amish population in this area and I think we're going to do a little sightseeing.

For the most part, the trip from South Dakota was fairly uneventful. We did have a couple of GPS-related snafus (of course, the navigator was completely innocent!), but we got through them with little angst. Well, maybe not so little, but we got through them.

I know I've said this before, but this country is just gorgeous. I know people say traveling through the midwest is boring 'cause the land is flat, but those people are nuts! The farmland is beautiful and Iowa has hills! Yes, it does. Our fuel mileage can vouch for them.

We were told about the windmill farms in the midwest. They really exist! Now, I have to admit my ignorance - I thought the farms with windmills used the windmills to create energy for the farm to use. Not true. Randy told me the windmills are creating energy for the local utility companies to use for the area. AND, the windmills are ugly! They are not the beautiful, romantic-looking ones that you think of when you think of windmills. They only have three blades and actually look like something from an alien movie. You can see what I mean in the picture below. Kinda creepy, huh?

We crossed the Mississippi River (again!) when leaving Iowa and entering Illinois. So, I had to share another picture of it!

And how often do you see people take pictures of gas stations? Well, Randy & I are unique, but you all knew that already. Actually, the picture posted here of a Sinclair station was taken for my own nostalgia. My daddy and his best friend, John, used to own a Sinclair station in Tacoma Park, MD. I don't remember it, but he has stories and John was one of my favorite people. We all thought there were no more Sinclair stations, so when Randy & I started seeing them all over Iowa, I had to get a picture of it for Daddy.

We traveled through lots of quaint little towns as we were riding on US-20 most of the way. So much to see. Finally, we got to the outskirts of Chicago and there was no mistaking that! Chicago made St. Louis and Atlanta look like a ride in the country. Between the traffic and the construction, it tooks us an hour just to get through the city! After that, it was an easy ride to Elkhart.

We're going to be here until Thursday morning, at least. We definitely want to be able to stop in Ohio for at least a day so we can meet up with Roy & Barb, friends we met in Texas. Until then, keep checking the blog. I'm sure we'll have more pictures and stories to share . . .

A windmill farm in Iowa Posted by Picasa

Mississippi River at the Iowa/Illinois border Posted by Picasa

Sinclair Gas Station in Iowa - my dad used to own one of these! Posted by Picasa

Downtown Chicago at I-290 & I-94 Posted by Picasa

Friday, April 21, 2006

South Dakota, Our New "Home"

It's official, we are South Dakotans. And it only took us about 2 hours to do it! Amazing. I told Randy I felt like we were doing something illegal, it was so easy. We can renew our vehicle registrations through the mail, but have to come back to renew our driver's licenses in person. So, we know that we'll be back in five years, at least, if not sooner.

Our new "hometown" is so small (how small is it, you ask?), that I've posted a picture of its high school. Yep, that's it. It's longer than the picture shows, but it's just a long, one story building. Looks kinda like a very long mobile home. The population in Emery is less than 600. Yes, that's hundred, not thousand. And it is an incorporated town, it's got its own post office. Randy & I were talking yesterday that it's hard to figure out how the town continues to thrive. The main street is pretty deserted, but there are three churches here, so maybe that's the key.

We had to go to the big town of Mitchell to get our driver's licenses. Mitchell's claim to fame is the Corn Palace. And it is famous - you can google it on the web and find out all about it. Plus there are billboards all along I-90 as soon as you get into South Dakota. Well, it is kinda cool. There's a picture below. The outside of the building is completely made up of ears of corn! All the designs are created out of ears of corn. It is pretty a-maiz-ing (get it? hahahah).

We are doing nothing today! Just a down day to relax and get ready for the next few days of travel. We'll leave tomorrow morning and head to Elkhart, IN; plan to arrive there on Monday. Not sure how long we'll be there 'cause we're having the truck looked at by the company who did the conversion work on it. But, we'll definitely be leaving by Saturday so we can be home on May 1st. YAY!!

Take care. We'll see you soon.

Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD Posted by Picasa

Emery High School Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

We made it to South Dakota!

We have arrived in South Dakota! We've had great weather for traveling so we couldn't complain when it began to rain just as we were about an hour from the campground. It wasn't a bad rain, just a five minute shower here and there. It was actually pretty cool 'cause out here you can see the rain on the horizon as you drive into it. I've posted a picture below of it.

The country is just beautiful. I know many people talk about it being boring traveling in the midwest, but I couldn't disagree more. Yes, it is flat land, but it is gorgeous farmland. The clouds are so close you feel as though you can just reach up and grab them. There's a picture below of our view from the truck - we felt like we were going to drive right into the clouds!

The "campground" where we are staying is really just a private farm with four or five water & electric sites. The owner, Mr. Hyatt, seems very nice. When we arrived, he showed us where to park and told us to stay as long as we want and just "settle up" before we leave. Can you imagine THAT happening back home?

Well, my teasing of your cold weather has caught up with us. The wind is blowing 100 mph; not really, but it feels like it and it's pretty cold. It's only supposed to be in the low 50s tomorrow, but sunny. We had to use the electric heater last night and we've already turned on the furnace for tonight! South Dakota is definitely not the place to winter!

Going to the mail forwarding service tomorrow to change our address and find out where we need to go to register the vehicles and for voter registration. We should be official South Dakotans by tomorrow afternoon. If it goes that easily, we plan to go to Mitchell (just 20 minutes up the road) to see the Corn Palace. It's been advertised down the highway. Apparently, it is made entirely of ears of corn! We'll get pictures, I'm sure.

We'll share more in the next couple of days. Take care.

Our view of the road Posted by Picasa

A farm in Iowa Posted by Picasa

South Dakota at last!! Posted by Picasa

Rain on the horizon in South Dakota Posted by Picasa

South Dakota farm (see any difference from an Iowa farm???) Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 17, 2006

More than halfway to South Dakota!

As I write we are sitting in a nice campground in Montgomery City, Missouri. This was a short driving day, so we splurged and checked off yet another Cracker Barrel. We rolled into the campground a little before 2:30 this afternoon.

We got through St. Louis, MO without a hitch. Boy, that is one busy city! It was cool to see the Arch; got a picture of it from the truck and it's posted below. We also cross many rivers, three of which are shown below. Sorry that the Ohio River picture is pretty boring, but nothing was happening on it at the time we crossed!

Just one more night on the road, in Rock Port, MO. Then, on Wednesday, we roll into Emery, South Dakota. Yippee! We'll take care of business and then hit the road again. Can't believe we'll be home in just two weeks!

The Tennessee River in Chattanooga, TN Posted by Picasa

The Ohio River at the Kentucky/Illinois border Posted by Picasa

The Arch in St. Louis, MO Posted by Picasa

Mississippi River in St. Louis, MO Posted by Picasa

Saturday, April 15, 2006

A Great Day of Sightseeing!

Today was such a great day! The weather was absolutely beautiful. Dan, Debbie, Randy & I went to a a couple of tourist attractions today as well as a lovely Christian college in the area. I've posted several pictures here, but there are MANY more at our Webshots website at

Covenant College is a 51 year old Presbyterian college that sits atop Lookout Mountain in Georgia. It's only about 15 minutes from our campground and Dan & Debbie had visied there when they were in college here in Chattanooga. They remembered it being a beautiful campus and we could see some of its buildings from our campsite! So, we decided to go see it. The building in the picture I've posted was originally the Lookout Mountain Hotel (ca. 1920s we think) and the college was founded in 1955. It is a very cool building and the rest of the campus is lush. Pretty neat.

Our next stop was Rock City which is further along Lookout Mountain, but in Georgia. This place is privately owned and was planned out by a couple named Garnet & Frieda Carter. The Carter family still owns and runs the facility. They started with gardens and just kept adding trails and paths as they found different rock formations and such. It's like 80 some years old! The flowers are just gorgeous and the different rock formations are so cool. They found rocks shaped like a mushroom, a tortoise, the profile of an Indian chief; there's a waterfall and at the top you can see seven states - at least that's what they say, I couldn't figure it out 'cause those boundary lines you see on the map didn't show up! We got to laughing several times 'cause some of the paths go through VERY tight passageways and Deb & I weren't sure if we were going to fit! This was a great place to see; we're really glad we did. If you're ever in the Chattanooga area, we highly recommend making Rock City a stop on your trip.

Next we went to Ruby Falls on Lookout Mountain in Tennessee. (Lookout Mountain runs from Tennessee into Georgia into Alabama.) Ruby Falls is the actual underground waterfall found in the caverns here. It is named for the wife of the Leo Lambert, the gentleman who found the caverns and created the attraction. This waterfall is the only fully underground waterfall in the United States. Having visited Luray Caverns in Virginia, it is pretty hard to compete with them. But, these caverns had some neat formations. The waterfall was very cool; it was the final stop in the caverns, of course. The pictures I took of the waterfall did not come out at all, so I took a video and uploaded it to Dropshots. If you'd like, you can view it at

We had a marvelous day. It was wonderful being with Dan & Debbie again. The only bad part is only having last evening and today together. But, some time is better than nothing!

Tomorrow morning we'll break camp and begin our trek to South Dakota. More than likely, we will not have internet access again until we get to SD on Wednesday. If you need us, call; otherwise, we'll touch base then. Take care of each other!

Covenant College, Tennessee Posted by Picasa

Terry, Randy, Debbie & Dan at Covenant College Posted by Picasa

Terry squeeeeeeeeezing through one of the paths at Rock City Posted by Picasa