Saturday, June 30, 2007

Eternal Friends

From left to right: Joe and Carol Alessi, Kim and me on an electric trolley that is 100 years old this year. We actually rode on it!

We met Joe and Carol last weekend at Door County, Wisconsin. They were at the same RV park parked right next to us. They had questions about God and we really had some great conversations about what it means to be a Christian. On Monday Kim and I came to the Minneapolis, MN area where they live and we got to spend some time together. Tonight they said they have made decisions for Christ. This is so exciting. We are so happy for them. When a person accepts Christ they receive salvation for their sins, but they also receive eternal life - at that moment. Joe and Carol will never die! What an awesome promise! We look forward to seeing them again here on earth, but especially being with them someday in Heaven. Please keep praying for Kim and me and for divine appointments. We leave tomorrow for Olathe Kansas to see Kim's Uncle Steve and Aunt Dee for a few days. I will be helping him wire his new 30 X 40 shed. This should be fun. Steve and Dee are always a lot of fun.

Strangest Thing

For years I have been asking people “What is the strangest thing that has happened to you”? I have decided to compile a few of these as we travel. I will just keep adding to the list as we go placing the most recent at the top of the list. Happy reading.

Jack: RV Dealer 6.29.07
A group of boy scouts and their leaders rented two gas motorhomes. As they neared their destination they stopped at a service station and told the boys to fill the gas and water tanks. You guessed it – one of the groups of kids got the tanks reversed. The MH didn’t even get away from the pump without stalling. The kids pushed the MH into a nearby field and drained the gas tank of water and the water tank of gas (on the ground). Real environmental move, huh? They pushed the MH back to the pump and filled the gas tank with gas. The MH wouldn’t start and it was a front engine so the attendant took off the engine cover inside and poured gas into the carburetor. There was an explosion and the force blew the attendant completely out of the MH. The attendant wasn’t hurt but the MH burned to the ground. The MH dealer called his insurance company and they said they would not cover it because it was an act of stupidity. The RV dealers insurance company called the homeowner's insurance company of the man who had signed for the motorhome and they paid for the MH. It was $60,000.00.

Friday, June 29, 2007


We are actually at Prior Lake, MN. We are staying at a Casino RV park. It is by far the nicest place we’ve stayed. The streets are paved and the parking spaces are concrete. They have an RV wash and fuel right here in the campground. They even have Teepees here to stay in (see pic). It is inexpensive due to the casino and we don’t gamble so we come out OK. We are finding that some of the campgrounds say they are RV friendly, but have low branches that I have to watch out for or they scratch the coach. We are at a Native American Indian casino called Mystic Lake. I think each native from the tribe gets about $10,000.00 per month from the casino. They don’t have to do anything for it. We talked to a local businessman here who said many of their finances are a wreck. They don’t have any concept of spending.
We met a really nice couple while in Door County and they live here in the Minneapolis area. They were coming home and we were headed this way so we have seen them a few times while here. It is nice to have local people to teach us about the area. Their names are Joe and Carol.
We arrived here Tuesday and plan to leave Sunday and go to Kim’s Uncle Steve Saggars in Olathe, KS for the fourth of July and then on to Springfield, IL to meet for a week with a chapter of Full Time RV’ers from the Holiday Rambler group and then on to DuQuoin, IL to the International Rally of Holiday Rambler for a week. They are estimating 2000 campers – RV’ers that week. That should be interesting. From there we will probably come back up this way and resume our westward travels. We are really enjoying the trip. The weather has been good and we have met so many nice people.
Since we’ve been here we have been to the Mall of America twice (and probably seen only ten percent of it). We have stopped by this RV place to get some supplies and had a great talk with the owner. He tried to get me to trade coaches for a $450,000.00 coach – I don’t think so. There is a horse racing track here we might get to. We’ve never seen horse racing. We had to take our coach to a service center because the generator exhaust was smoking. Turns out it holds 3 quarts of oil and the guy who changed the oil before I left home put 6 quarts in it. They service center here drained three quarts and it is fine now.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Door County, WI

Door County

Pictures from top down - outdoor theatre, Kim at the wheel of "Hope", a typical bay area in Door County and Kim at a scenic outlook.
I talked to my mom on the phone and told her we were in Door County. She said their friends, Jack and Annette always wanted them to come here but they never made the trip. It really is a beautiful area. Some say it is like New England. The harbor areas sure remind us of the New England area. Yesterday we went to the Door County Maritime Museum. It was very interesting. Kim and I like museums. There are just lots of interesting facts. There was a motor there that weighed 800 pounds, put out 25 to 35 horsepower and once oil was pumped through the engine to lubricate it, the oil flowed to a bilge pump where it was pumped out into the lake. The oil only made one pass through the engine and then was expelled. It probably wouldn’t meet the 2008 emission codes. Another engine was discarded and used for a boat anchor. Years later when they pulled it from the water to restore it they found that it was still coated with so much oil and grease that it was easy to restore. They also had a fishing boat called “Hope”. It was made during the depression for $3,500.00 and was built to give men work, hence it gave some hope during a rather hopeless time. The 40’ boat was recessed into the floor of the museum so we could step right on the deck. It was interesting to be able to get right into the boat.
We ate at a restaurant overlooking Lake Michigan and then went back to the MH and talked with Hannah on the phone and then took a nap. A person once said that the best thing about “fulltiming” is that you can take a nap anytime you want. I concur with that. Hannah was on her way to Chicago and should still be traveling on her way to Uganda. We are praying for her and that this experience will be another step in being more like Jesus.
After our nap we went to the American Folklore Theatre (see picture). It is in the Peninsula State Park, literally in the middle of a forest. It is outside and really a neat experience. The play was called “A Cabin With a View”. It was a very good evening. We sat by a lady named Emily and had very nice visits before and after the play.
What do we miss now that we’re on the road? I miss the kids, my disciple guys Joe Goeglein and Doug Moore and Harrison, my little brother in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. I sent Harrison a postcard and will continue to do so throughout the trip. We talk to our parents and the kids on the phone and that helps. Kim misses family and friends.
What do we like? We really like our MH (motor home). People from home have asked if we feel crowded (it’s 400 square feet) – no we don’t. It has everything we need and is very conducive to our needs. The Mazda Miata is working very well. It is small, fun to drive and gets over 30 MPG just driving around. We really like the convertible. We didn’t bring a motorcycle along. We considered it but decided against it. Kim is doing laundry now. The MH has a machine that washes and then dries the clothes – all in one machine! Yes, it’s slow but then we don’t have much laundry. I like the fact that we don’t have to go to the laundromat. Kim likes less stress and no responsibilities. I think I’ve mentioned this earlier, but the absence of stress is really amazing. I can feel my muscles relaxing and everything is just – different. We will be here at least for tonight and maybe one more night – we haven’t decided. Hope all goes well at your wedding Stephanie and Mike. Best Wishes!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Munising, MI to Ellison Bay, WI

We are in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin. We left Munising Tuesday AM and drove leisurely to Escanaba, MI last night. We stayed at a Wal-Mart there. The manager said as long as we parked far from the building we could stay as long as we wanted. We really did virtually nothing at Munising. We drove around and just spent a lot of time resting, talking and playing cards. I guess we are consciously unwinding. That is easier said than done for someone like me. I know this will be great, but it is taking some adjustment. I’m used to having something going on and this is just not what I’m used to. One thing we did experience was the Pasties (pass, like pass a car and tees, like golf tees). They are like a pot pie without the gravy, but homemade. They are very tasty. We have been talking to the kids a lot on the phone. Hannah leaves for Africa tomorrow. She is going to Uganda to work with Aids orphans. We are really proud of her.
The campground we are at is called Wagon Trail Campground. It is really nice. We plan on staying 3 or 4 nights. There are lots of trees and so it is somewhat isolated, even from other campers. There are lots of trails to hike and Lake Michigan is just a ten minute trail walk. There are also scenic boat rides. Just north of the peninsula is a small island and the Indians called it death’s door – at least that’s how the French interpreted it. From that we got the name “Door County” which is where we’re at.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Kalkaska to Munising

Parked at Matt & Kim's - Downtown Mackinaw Island and us at the Grand Hotel.
While in Kalkaska we had a great time with Kim's brother Matt, his wife Kim and their children, Katie, Jacob and Caleb. On Mackinac (pronounced Mackinaw) Island at the Grand Hotel we had the buffet dinner. It was not just a meal, but rather a dining experience. Macanac Island was a good trip. Kim and I had never been there so it was a treat for us. There are no autos there so everyone gets around by horse drawn carriage or bicycle. It makes for an interesting envoronment. We left Matt & Kim's Wednesday AM and headed North. We crossed the Macanac Bridge into the UP (Upper Penensula) and traveled north to Whitefish Point. There we toured the Shipwreck Museum which was a very good experience. There was so much to learn and the guides were very helpful and knowledgable. From there we traveled to Newberry and stayed overnight at a KOA. Thursday we went north to see the Lumberjack Museum and the Oswald Bear Farm. The bear farm has 27 bears and you get a chance to see them up close. The most interesting thing was to watch a big bear saunter down a hill path to the pond and bathe. He sat down and put his back legs out of the water in front of himself and massaged them. The breathing and sounds were quite an experience. From there we traveled back south and west to Munising where we will spend 4 to 6 days. This is an intentional slow down that we planned so we don't hurry through the trip. We want to have time to stop and read and I'd like to write some. We will probably get the hammock out of the trailer and set it up. We are at a public campground on the shore of Lake Superior. Our coach is probably 200 feet from the water. There is an island a short distance out. It is really beautiful!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Kalkaska, MI

The send off at church was great. It is just so neat to have such a great church family. We will miss each of the staff and the many friends we’ve made there. It was humbling that so many came up to us and told us of how we had made a difference in their lives – many of the things which we didn’t know about. Tom and Tammy Moser and Mark and Cindy Taylor came from their churches just to be with us. That was special. Kim’s mom came but her dad is ill with some sort of sinus problem and couldn’t be there. We left church at about noon and after an hour and a half in the rain we stopped to eat and took a one hour nap in the MH. It is very convenient to have your bed with you when you want to nap. Someone said that the best thing about full time RV’ing is that you can take a nap anytime you want.We are in Kalkaska, MI and staying in the side yard of Kim’s brother Matt and his wife Kim’s home. They are such great friends and always make us feel so welcome. We are adjusting to the new lifestyle and being here will lessen the adjustment some. We will probably be here until the 13th.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Leaving Goshen Tomorrow

We will be leaving Goshen tomorrow (June 3) for our one year trip of the USA. Our first stop will be in Kalkaska, MI to see Kim’s brother Matt and his family. We will stay there a week or so – or until they kick us out. Other than that, our only plans are to head north into the U.P., be in southern Illinois (I know – that’s south, but we’ll circle around) at the end of July for a rally and be in Mesa, AZ by Christmas. You might notice I changed the pic of the motorhome on the blog. The new pic has our new trailer painted to match the coach. Kim and I are excited about the trip and yet we will miss our family and close friends.