Sunday, September 27, 2009


The weather is struggling to stay pleasant here in Celina. So far, there has been an abundance of cloud cover with a sprinkle or two around the area but it has also cleared off and been warm with some sun in the afternoons—duplicating the Indian summer weather we all love so much. We are keeping our fingers crossed that the good weather will hold for the Gypsy Gathering Rally, as rain is not in the forecast until Sunday, after the rally is finished. Yeah!

MOVIE REVIEW: “Love Happens” starring Jennifer Aniston and Aaron Eckhart, has the worst title possible but the movie itself is certainly a well-acted imaginary tale about grieving and learning to live, love and trust again. There are some very funny moments and my worries that Phil would be disenchanted with this “chick flick” (rated PG 13) were unfounded as he enjoyed it as well.

The past week has been fun filled days of sightseeing, going out to eat but best of all, spending time with friends with prospects of “more of the same” this coming week at the rally. Diane and Bill (I introduced you to them last week) came into the C to C Park in Wapakoneta a couple days behind us and we spent four wonderful days visiting, shopping, and seeing the sights in the area. Best of all, since both, Bill and Diane (fulltimers since 2003) are well-known “Geeks” in the Rving community after hearing about our trials and tribulations with our computers, made some much needed changes on mine and also tweaked Phil’s so it was better suited to his needs. By installing a full-machine back-up program on my computer, Bill took the weight of the world off my shoulders. From now on, every Sunday afternoon, this program will automatically move everything on my computer onto an external hard-drive … all I have to do it make sure the hard drive is plugged in. Since I am computer illiterate, I will be forever grateful to these two friends who have given me the freedom to labor on my genealogy and writing projects without fear of losing my precious work. THANK YOU again, Bill and Diane! See you when you arrive here at the rally!

After getting parked here at the fairgrounds, Phil decided it was time to address the horrific noise our aftermarket, chain driven slide-out has been making. It has been getting worse each time it went in or out and so this time, he took off the covers to the inner workings and got busy finding and fixing what appeared to be the cause of the noise. After an hour or two of twisting his body into a pretzel to do the work, the noise has been greatly reduced. Good job Phil!

Last night, long after the parking crew for the rally had retired for the day my phone rang. Our dear friends (we spent two weeks in their driveway last summer), Margie and Roger, who will become official fulltimers on Wednesday when the sale of their house in Gallatin, TN closes, were at the gate of the fairgrounds. Phil jumped in the Lone Ranger and drove over to lead them into the parking area. After getting parked and hugs all around we got the grand tour of their new home, “Phaez2”, a 40 ft. Tiffin Phaeton diesel pusher with four slides. Talk about a palace … with room to spare! They can look forward to many happy times as they explore our wonderful country in the second “phase” of their retirement. We are so happy to see them again!

Remember, you can click on the pictures to get a larger version (I hope).
Thanks for stopping by!
Until next time ...

This is the mechanical end of the brain that makes the slide-out in Penny move in and out. Phil renovated the plastic chain tension, took out 1/2 of a link in the drive chain and replaced a nut that had jiggled off.

Tucked in between two forty footers, here is our cozy, comfy and much-loved Penny the Pace parked at the Mercer County (Celina, OH) Fairgrounds for the Gypsy Gathering Rally.
That is our faithful "toad", The Lone Ranger parked in front.
We have 30 amp electric (so we can run the air conditioners if need be) but no water or sewer.

There is Margie and Roger's Phaez2, two rigs to the right. Yes, that is a motorcycle on the back of their CRV. Margie is telling me she will give me a ride some day ... I don't think so~

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Isn't this a gorgeous round barn obviously painted red since the photo in this link

Our wonderful Penny the Pace parked beside our friends Diane and Bill's gorgeous Dutch Star at Lakewood Village Resort, a Coast to Coast/AOR member rv park in Wapakoneta, Ohio.

Named in honor of astronaut, Neil Armstrong a Wapakoneta native, the museum chronicles Ohioan's contributions to the history of flight.
Armstrong, one of three astronauts on board was the first person to set foot on the moon in 1969 when Apollo 11 went to the moon and back.

The entrance to the museum. Very bunker-ish which was a bit disconcerting for me with my aversion to caves.

This silver orb is a facsimile of SPUTNIK at the dawn of the space age. Sputnik literally means co-traveler, traveling companion or satellite in Russian.
Sputnik 1, was the first human-made object to orbit the Earth. The launch took place on 10-04-1957 and the launch vehicle was designed initially to carry nuclear warheads.

Very informative ...

A model of the Lunar Landing Vehicle aka the LEM from NASA's early name for it (Lunar Excursion Module),

Examples of dehydrated foods and drink that went into space with the astronauts. Just add hot or cold water.

Inside the domed theater, the start of a 30 minute video presentation which includes the sights and sounds of space as they unfold on the screen against the starry background inside the dome.

At the museum's newly upgraded Astro-theater ... Diane, Bill, Joy and Phil is taking the picture.

Everyone knows the words ...
"That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."

Moon rock.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Here we are in Wapakoneta, Ohio marking time until the eastern Gypsy Journal Rally in Celina. As an aside, we have been corrected by a local couple (they were having a garage sale and we had a great visit) and learned that Celina is pronounced Cel (long i) na rather than Cel (ee) na as we have been saying. They also informed us that it is Lima (like the bean) rather than Lima (like the city in Peru). Then they corrected our pronunciation of Wapakoneta saying Wapako (net) a—rather than Wapako (neet) a—as we had been stumbling around (with difficulty I might add).

For whatever reason, both Phil and I have had a hard time remembering the name of this town where we are staying in a very nice Coast to Coast and AOR RV park for $9.00 per night. Celina is just about 35 miles west of us and we drove over there yesterday to check out the fairgrounds where we will spend four days at the rally. It looks like a very unorganized and poorly set up location but hopefully, our fearless leader, Nick Russell will make some sense of it all when his parking crew finds a spot for all the rigs coming in. As we cruised the grounds, weaving our way through hundreds of Gold Wing motorcycles at their rally we found a wide-open field where if worst comes to worst, we can boondock. Most RVs are self contained and capable and we are set up to do that—but again—who knows why—we rarely do.

While in Zanesville, we had a full agenda. That is a wonderful area of Ohio with lots of things to do and see. We drove to Columbus to visit the state capital and were surprised by what we found. Unlike so many we have seen, it is understated and easily accessible with street parking all around. After parking, we circled the edifice, checked out the statuary then walked through the rotunda, took pictures and were back in the truck in 30 minutes.

Our friends and fellow Escapees, Bill and Diane pulled into Wolfie’s Campground and together we did some sightseeing for the next several days before we went our separate ways until the rally where we will see each other again for a few days. We ogled and photographed the famous “Y” Bridge over the junction of the Licking and Muskingum rivers from a viewpoint in a city park. Ripley’s Believe it or Not featured the Y Bridge as “The only bridge in the world where you can cross and still be on the same side of the River.” And, in the days when pilots relied on landmarks to navigate, Amelia Earhart called Zanesville “The most recognizable city in the country.” because of the Y Bridge.

Another day we headed for the Longaberger factory in Frazeysburg, OH, which was a rare treat! I am a reformed basket collector (no room in Penny so they had to go) and I felt like a kid in a candy store until I started checking prices. WOW! I know they are hand crafted in the USA but holy cow, the smallest baskets start in the $30-$40 range. The bigger ones are in the hundreds of dollars. I liked them a lot but not enough to spend that much for a memento! Admittedly, I was impressed with the factory over all and the smooth operation considering the lack of automation. Another thing we noticed was even with the millions of maple wood strips being cut, dyed and manipulated on the tables into signed works of art there was no dust. There must be a state of the art, air filtration/circulation system in the building—no masks or respirators in sight. We ended our self-guided tour from the mezzanine that runs the full length of the factory in the “seconds” store where I found the “affordable” prices were still way beyond what I wanted to spend. There was a pretty good sale going on in the Crawford “Barn”, a retail outlet in the Homestead complex down the road from the factory where I bought a nice backpack (I have been looking for one) for a reasonable (on sale) price.

We ended our tour by having “linner” in the Homestead Restaurant where they were no longer serving their advertised signature ice cream flavor, Maple Caramel Walnut (which just happens to be my favorite) so although the food was pretty good (but not great), I was disappointed. So, we went looking for ice cream when we got back to Zanesville. Our first stop did not have Maple Nut but we found it at “Tom’s Ice Cream Bowl” at the recommendation of our dear friends in WA, Les and Gloria. Thanks guys! It was good :)!

The weather had been lovely! The fall colors are more prominent every day so we will be slowly but steadily moving south after the rally.

Thanks for stopping by!
Until next time,

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Our beautiful Penny the Pace at rest in Wolfie's Campground in Zanesville, OH.

The state capital building in Columbus, Ohio.

Very pretty dome over the rotunda.

This unique floor is enough to make you dizzy!

The beautiful old Muskingum County Courthouse in Zanesville, OH.

The famous "Y" bridge in Zanesville, OH.

Zanesville, Ohio is promoting its title of "Pottery Capital of the World" by displaying these giant size vases all over town painted by local artisans.
They are very pretty!

We rode the shuttle provided between the Homestead and the factory.

A very slippery place :)

An assortment of baskets on display.

More beautiful products.

These bags are another product made by Longaberger.

A closer look at one of the hundreds of basketmaking stations

This is only one quarter of the 880,000 square-foot basketmaking facility where 7000 craftsmen and craftswomen are employed.

They weave a lot more than baskets ...

Our friends, Bill and Diane visited the Longaberger Homestead with us and we had a nice "linner" together.

Joy and Phil at the Longaberger Homestead where there are more retail shops and the restaurants.

The seven story Longaberger Company Corporate Office building in Dresden, OH.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Wow! Happy Sunday … old Sol is shining, there is no wind and it is 65 degrees on the shady side of Penny the Pace this morning. Being two days shy of the middle of September, it doesn’t get much better than this and I am so very grateful for the really good weather we have had the past couple weeks. The “color” is just beginning in the foliage and if the chilly nights continue the fall shades will soon be obvious in all their glory. In my opinion, we truly deserve this respite after so many horrible storms we have endured all summer in our travels. I know, I know, “Do I want cheese with my whine?”

We stayed two nights (maximum stay at PA rates) at the Passport America Park named Hickory Hollow Campground near Somerset, PA. While there, following the recommendation of the well-meaning lady behind the desk, I had the WORST meal I have EVER received in a restaurant called the Cottage Café, just down the road from the park. Years ago, when I worked at the Washington Correction Center, a prison just north of my home town I learned about a meal that was served to inmates who were in solitary confinement for whatever reason. It was a gray colored loaf made from unknown ingredients that was rumored to taste like compressed food scraps (aka garbage). That is what this “Country Steak” looked and tasted like. It actually gagged me. Then … it gets worse. I was still hungry when we were ready to leave so we bought two pieces of homemade pie to go. At least it looked good but I kid you not; it was the worst pumpkin pie I have ever eaten. Phil’s blueberry pie wasn’t much better. How this place is staying in business is beyond me except for the fact that it is the only place to eat in a twenty-mile radius! Sadly, I must say: EAT HERE AT YOUR OWN RISK!

With only one day to go exploring we returned to the crash site of UAL flight # 93 about eight miles north of our campground. We had been there before in 2005 but since then it has been moved across the road and enlarged. Preparations were being made for the memorial service the next day on the anniversary of the highjacking. Also, this time during our visit a National Park Ranger gave a presentation about the flight from start to finish, which was very touching as well as informative. Photos were not allowed during her lecture due to copyright laws but we learned so much. Knowing the facts about what went on during that short hour and 20 (or so) minutes made the passengers on board that flight even more heroic in our minds. I know there are plans for a permanent memorial but nothing was observable in the area at this time.

Our travel day across PA, WVA and into Ohio this past Friday was uneventful even though our agenda was a bit tighter than usual. We did run into a 20-mile backup in West Virginia as we inched along through road construction and were delayed for over an hour. The truckers on the CB were having fits since they could see no real reason for the bottleneck. We are moving west toward Celina, OH where will be staying at the fairgrounds and attending the eastern Gypsy Journal Rally. This rally is organized by our friends, Terry and Nick Russell and will be our fourth Gypsy rally. We usually attend the western rally in AZ but this year we are not returning to the west for the winter so chose the Celina gathering. Phil and I are really looking forward to spending time with our friends, Margie and Roger (and their two fur babies) who will also attend. They are now truly fulltimers since their house just sold in Gallatin, TN and their only home is now a beautiful 40 ft Tiffin Phaeton. It is a lot of fun to spend time with them, as their excitement for the lifestyle is infectious.

We are currently in Zanesville, OH for a week and I will say, the local Crackerbarrel has renewed my faith in restaurant meals. We ate there our first night here and it was wonderful, as usual. Last night the Golden Corral got our money … again, it was great as expected! Hopefully, I will have something exciting to report next week. However … don’t hold me to that since I’ve been undeniably slothful lately! LOL!

Thanks for stopping by,
Until next time …

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The beautiful Pennsylvania landscape very near where flight #93 crashed.

The tent near the crash site where the memorial service scheduled for the next day would be held.

This pretty well says it all ...

The left side of the memorial wall ...

The right side of the memorial wall ...

One of dozens of plaques spread around the makeshift memorial up the hill from the crash site.

One of four very long tunnels on our drive to Ohio on US 70. Thankfully all are getting much needed work done to repair crumbling interior walls.

There is a bit of color in those Pennsylvania hills ...

Pretty scraggly looking but all colored up for fall!

Phil found this leaf and decided we needed a reminder of what time of year it is getting to be ... the chilly nights are telling the same story.

At last we're back into Ohio after over an hour to go 11 miles through W. VA. due to road construction.

Twilight shot of our Penny the Pace the night before we left Hickory Hollow Campground near Somerset, PA.

Well, here we are crossing into West Virginia.

Sunday, September 06, 2009


MOVIE REVIEW: If you are old enough to remember WWll, I’m sure you have often wondered about how different the outcome of that war might have been had the attempts to assassinate Adolph Hitler been successful. In the new movie “Inglourious Basterds” (sic) Quentin Tarantino, the film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer and actor uses that hypothesis as the theme for this raw, violent and graphic movie. Being a card-carrying Hitler Hater, I couldn’t help but cheer for the main character Lt. Aldo Raine, played by Brad Pitt even though I had to close my eyes during most of the many brutal and sadistic scenes. Even Phil, a Viet Nam veteran admitted the violence was beyond his comfort level and a bit overdone in his opinion. However, mark my words, the actor that played Nazi Colonel Hans Landa … Christopher Waltz will be nominated for an academy award. He is that good! If you can handle this type of movie, we give it a definite thumb up.

Normally, since we do not have a washer and dryer on board our Penny the Pace, we have to find a clean and hopefully modern coin laundry when it is time to do the dastardly deed. In this particular instance, we are parked right next to the parks laundry room and decided to do our washing in place. It took two days ;) instead of two hours. Single load, top loaders made the chore a bit more involved but Phil performed the bulk of transporting the loads, filling the machines with soap, etc., adding the fabric softener during the rise cycle, transferring the wet clothes into the dryers and folding splendidly. If you know me you know I have lots of obsessions but my most well known is my laundry fetish. You cannot believe how difficult it was for me to turn over my control of this chore but I survived, Phil did the job very well and the task is done until next time. Another example of how all things can (and probably will) change … sooner or later.

We’ve been food shopping a couple times and cooking quite a bit this past week. The closest Wal*Mart Supercenter is 12 miles away (and we have gone there) but we have actually been making a few purchases at the local Giant store. Mostly produce as in my opinion, that is where Wal*Mart drops the ball. I made stroganoff with leftover pieces of cooked meat I had been saving in the freezer; Phil grilled steaks and I decided I would try my hand at steak fries from scratch. Even though we were positive we knew how to make them perfectly, we were disappointed with the results and have decided to go back to baked potatoes with our steaks. We also made chiliburgers with our favorite chili, Nalleys Hot that we stock up on and carry aboard. Once we leave WA that brand is really hard to find and once we move east from Arizona, it is nonexistent. We have also had breakfast at home every day eating lots of fresh fruit (yummy!) with eggs thrown in for protein either boiled or scrambled once or twice. Pretty exciting stuff, right?
One long day trip we traveled northeast to Long Island, NY. My ELLISON ancestors settled in Hempstead on Long Island in the middle 1600s and I have wanted to go there for years once I found the connection. Phil with our GPS, Carmen Garmin as his right arm (not to mention my following along with a paper map) did a magnificent job dealing with the traffic, the toll roads and bridges, and driving through the unfamiliar narrow, one-way streets on the island that seem to be the norm unless you prefer the freeways. We chose the surface streets once we arrived and found an I-Hop (thanks to Carmen) for lunch (where we waited nearly an hour to be seated as the place was packed … now what was that we’ve been told about a recession and lack of discretionary spending?). However, once we were seated, the service and food was perfect. The drive took us across Staten Island and two beautiful bridges then into Brooklyn. We followed a scenic drive on the Belt Parkway that took us by exits to Kennedy Airport and Coney Island. We drove to the village of Hempstead and I got the lay of the land and then cruised through the inner city of Brooklyn on our way home. The parks and streets were filled with families enjoying the beautiful weather and I must say, I did not feel the least bit fearful and saw no signs of gangs or gang activity. Is that good news or what?

Then later in the week, another big adventure was crossed off my bucket list! Phil had visited there when he worked in Philadelphia for nearly three months back before he retired but I had never been there. We spent half a day at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and really enjoyed our visit. Taking a one-hour, whole building tour and having the tour leader all to ourselves made the visit (although speedy) very enjoyable. The PMOA is a world-class museum and in the main building's sweep of 200 captivating galleries and exhibitions, there are striking Renaissance master paintings, elaborately carved stone altarpieces, and entire period rooms and architectural settings from around the world. My camera did not do the interior shots justice so I have added a link so you can look for yourselves if you are interested. Of course, I had to see the panoramic staircase made famous by Sylvester Stallone in his “Rocky” movie. They are formidable but Phil walked down to take pictures and back up without breaking a sweat … I did not :) … We highly recommend this stop in your travels and the new parking garage, although a bit spendy ($10) makes arrival and departure easy as pie. They have a fine dining restaurant available for lunch (we checked the menu and passed) and chose the café down the hall for a delicious and fresh turkey salad for me from the salad bar and a meatball sandwich from the grill and chips for Phil at a very reasonable cost.

Thanks for stopping by …
Until next time,