Thursday, November 18, 2010

November is Birthday Month in the Grich Household

As the title states, both Peg and I have birthdays in November.  My day came first on November 11th, Veteran's Day, with little fanfare. We got up a little early and went to iHop to cash in my birthday certificate for a free breakfast meal...A rootie tuttie fresh and fruity!! Say that fast 10 times! And since I turned 55 today, I am finally a senior citizen and entitled to 10% off the total bill, which amounted to Peg's breakfast.

I did have to work today, but it was nice to see my 55th birthday. After work, Peg made me my requested dinner of homemade lasagna. She made it the way my mother cooked lasagna and it tasted every bit as good. A bottle of wine topped off the meal and the evening. Peg got me a DVD, fresh roasted coffee beans and some great cookies. I also received many e-mails from friends across the country and a call from my sister Phyl and brother Bob wishing me Happy Birthday. It was nice to hear from everyone.

Brenda, Sue, Peg, Paul, Jim and John
Next up was Peg's Birthday on November 18th. Just to be fair, she had to work on her birthday too. Again we got up and went to iHop to cash in Peg's birthday certificate for, you guessed it...A rootie tuttie fresh and fruity!! It was less crowded today since all the kids that were here on Veteran's Day (because they had the day off) were back in school.

That evening after work, we got together with two couples, both RVing folks. We've known Paul and Sue for several years after we met, of all places, at an RV dump station in Georgia after an FMCA rally. New friends, John and Brenda, were our neighbors here at MCD for the week. We all went to the Genghis Grille in McKinney. It was a really good time and the food was equally as good. Peg had a good time especially when the servers came over and sang for her and she partook of a free desert.

After dinner, we all went over to John and Brenda's coach to relax and enjoy the rest of the evening. Glad we had some nice folks to share the day with. Oh and Peg got some black jeans and shoes from me (she shopped for them) and a nice bouquet of flowers from John and Brenda.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Texas State Fair....The Big Tex!

It was a beautiful day in this part of Texas and Peg and I had planned on going to the Texas State Fair in Dallas. We had heard so much about it we felt we would be missing something if we did not show our faces there. Peg's nephew James and friend Mark suggested we drive to Mark's house and we could pick them up and head to the train station. We would take the train directly to the entrance to the fairgrounds. Since they wanted $15+ to park a car and only $4.50 each for the train ride, we felt it was more convenient to ride the train. We heard some folks had to wait almost an hour to park once arriving at the grounds because of all the traffic.

The drive down to Dallas was fine and taking the train was a good move. We actually took two trains to get to the State Fairgrounds but you could ride all day for the $4.50 fair. The train was a bit crowded but we managed to squeeze in and found ourselves at the front gate with many other people. The line moved quickly though.

We headed for the car show first since it was the first thing on our route. Mark was looking for a new pick-up truck so we wandered through the massive indoor display. I had my eye on a forest green Viper (pictured) but the $80,000 price tag brought me back down to earth.

It was almost lunchtime so we headed for the food court and the fried everything. Yes, the Texas State Fair is known for its fried food...fried coke, fried moon pies, fried lemonade, fried coffee, fried smores, fried frito pie, fried beer, fried magaritas and almost anything else you might have a hankerin' for fried! We opted for some of the world famous corn dogs on a stick...tastee!

Next it was time for the dog show in one of the arenas. The dogs dove into a pool, caught frizbee's and raced over barriers. We ate our corn dogs and watched the show. Next we visited a John Deere display and Peg standing next to one of the units shows just how big those tractors can be!

We moseyed on over to the horse arena and watched a show performed by a horse whisperer. He trains horses that they take in when no one wants the horse or when a horse can not easily be trained. t was a good show but we were in the direct sun so we were ready for some shade when the show was over.

We headed for the 4-H barns and saw the horses, cows goats and Longhorn cattle, like this one. Pretty wild rack of horns this guy had. Would not want to be in an open field with him!

Another building had model railroad trains running through flowers in a hot house type atmosphere. Also in that building was a pumpkin carver. He was no ordinary carver as you can see by the picture I shot as he was telling his story and carving large pumpkins. Some pretty cool designs!

Next we entered the amusement ride area and James wanted Peg and I to go on the ferris wheel. This is one of the big attractions of the Texas State Fair. We had enough tickets left for one of us so I told Peg she could go. Not a hard decision on my part. By the way, tickets are used to purchase everything at the fair. That way, the merchants do not have actual money to deal with and I am sure that keeps any potential robberies to a minimum.

Here are a couple of shots Peg took from the ferris wheel. I think she and James got one non-stop revolution on the wheel after everyone was loaded and that was it. The entire process of standing in line waiting to get on the ferris wheel to when they got off took about 45 minutes! I guess it was worth it to say you did it. One photo is James and Peg on the ferris wheel and the other is a birds-eye view of the City of Dallas and some of the fairgrounds.

By the way, for those of you not familiar with the fairgrounds, we walked right around the famous Cotton Bowl stadium where the Texas Cowboys play football.

This is an addition to this post I almost forgot about. Actually, it was the highlight of our visit to the fair. We went to the bird show at the amphitheater and it was fantastic! I tried to included a video clip from the show for you to watch, but blogger would not accept it! Sorry about that...They did have some beautiful birds big and small.  The Condor had a 10 foot wingspan and if flew into the audience, not by design, and them walked to the stage! Wow, a few people were a bit frightened when it landed. They said that never happened before. I thought it was pretty cool! The show was well worth going to.

It was pretty late by the time we got back home. We went to dinner at Luby's in Dallas and then drove back to McKinney. We can now say we have been to the Texas State Fair!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Octoberfest/Fondu At Dave and Marie's

Dave and Marie came back into town (McKinney) for doctors appointments and we got together a few times for some fun and relaxation. I am combining two events here because I want to get these online and it is a little quicker!

First we traveled to downtown McKinney for the big Octoberfest celebration. The square was filled with music, dancing and of course, drinking! Rain was threatening, but it held off while we were there. Dave and I sampled some of the German beer and Peg and Marie partook of the wine. As you can see, there were German dancers and an umpa band ringing music into the air. Looked like everyone was having a good time. We also walked around, visited a few shops and took in the whole event.

While we were watching the dancing, I noticed a sign on the light pole stating that McKinney was voted the 5th best place to live in the country by Money Magazine. I guess we chose a good area...or did it choose us?

About a week later we were invited to Dave and Marie's motorhome, which was parked at the Lighthouse RV Park in Melissa, TX about 7 minutes from MCD. We were treated to a cheese fondu which Peg and I don't remember ever having! It was tasty and add some wine, sausage and good conversation and it was a really good night. So nice to see Dave and Marie again. Since we are a little off the beaten path, it helps to have friends visit occasionally. We'll see what other trouble we can get into in the next couple of weeks that they are here...

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cruising Through Idaho

We headed across Idaho on Rt. 90 and that route was a bit mountainous. I do not like cliffs and drop-offs so there were a few spots that were not to my liking! The vistas were something to see, but I was glad when we got down to flatter ground.

Stayed at a KOA for the evening and Peg took advantage of the pool they had by taking a little evening swim. Tomorrow we follow the Columbia River to Portland!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Clinton, Montana. . .Feels Like We Are Home!

It always feels like we are going home to see family when we pull into our friend Patsy's house. She and her late husband Gary became instant friends of ours several years ago when we met at Buddy Gregg Motorhomes in Knoxville when we all were getting repair work done. At that time we also met our friends Roy (and his dog Snert), Dave and Marie and Hank and Lillie. We have all kept in touch over the years. A great testimonial to the RV lifestyle!

On Rt 212 across Montana it rained and the road became muddy and that mud stuck to our motorhome in places I never knew it had! So when we got to Patsy's house, she was very nice in letting us use her pressure washer to clean off the coach. It took Peg and I a couple of hours to get it reasonably clean.

We had a late dinner and then I thought we should check to see if Patsy's motorhome would start since I had to take it to Missoula to get a few repairs in the morning.

Friday, July 30th...Drove the motorhome to the repair center first thing in the AM and then we decided to run errands and see some of Missoula as we waited for the repair center to make the repairs and call us. 

I got my hair cut (which I desperately needed) and we stopped into a few stores for "necessary" items. We met Patsy's daughter, Rachel, for lunch at a nice outdoor deli. The weather was great and being outside was a treat.

We finally received a call about the motorhome at the house around 6pm (the shop was open until 9pm) so we jumped in the car and headed back to Missoula to pick it up. Everything seemed to work fine on the drive home. Got it parked in the storage barn and closed it up and plugged the motorhome in to keep the batteries charged.

We ate around 9:30pm (Peg, Patsy, Rachel and I) and had a nice time reminiscing about our previous visit and about our friend Gary. It felt really sad to me that he was not with us. We do miss him, his humor and his presence! Tomorrow, we are off to the state of Washington. This visit was too short!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Journey to Custer's Last Stand-Little Big Horn National Park

Since we were taking a different route across Montana, we decided to stop and see the Little Big Horn National Park where Custer's last stand became history. We were not sure we could park the motorhome in the park, but after we entered, we saw a space on the side of the road just big enough for us so we pulled over, parked and began exploring.
We walked up the hill to the monument depicting that final battle. On the monument is listed all the soldiers that fought in the battle. The Indians certainly had the upper hand in this battle. And speaking of Indians, there is a really cool memorial across the road for all the Indian braves that fought and died in this battle. I especially liked the wrought iron images on the top of the monument.

Inside the memorial, which was embedded slightly below ground level, were plaques that told some of the story of the battle and listed the Indians that fought. It was a monument in the round so you were surrounded by native information (sort of like Custer was!).

The cemetery there was quite massive as you can see by the photo. This was only half of the cemetery. You can also see our motorhome in the background beyond the cemetery. I thought the park was laid out well and was easy to walk. There was a driving trail that we did not take since we did not want to unhook the car.

We did sit in on the talk by one of the native rangers. She was born and raised in this area and her relatives fought here as well. She told us where the battles were fought, the background behind the attack and showed some of the weapons that were used in that era. All and all, it was very informative but it was quite hot so we were glad when the hour talk was over.

This was an interesting diversion on our way to Clinton, Montana and our friend Patsy's house...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Renville, MN to Rapid City, SD

Left for Renville, Minnesota to see Peg's brother Clyde. Arrived there about noon and had lunch with Clyde, Niece Nancy, her husband Harry and their son Austin. Saw Clyde's house and neighborhood. Still had to make it to South Dakota so we left there early afternoon.

Made it to Mitchell, SD and stopped for the night...

Sunday, July 25th we finally arrived in Rapid City, SD. We had reservations at Hart Ranch about two sites down from Rod and Jean. Also in the park were Jake and Sherry and they came over for a visit after we called and told them we were there.

Monday...Jean and Peg went to Walmart to restock the RV shelves and Rod and I went to Cabellas. We were looking at ammo and Rod wanted to get a carry pouch. That evening Rod and Jean and Peg and I played two games of Pegs and Jokers. Can't remembered who won though!!!!

Tuesday...We went to Rapid City, our new city and state of residency to get our driver's licenses, voting rights set up and concealed carry gun permits. Took us an entire morning, but we got the drivers license, signed up for voting and applied for our permits.

We also went back to Cabellas to look around (it's becoming one of my favorite stores). When we returned, we visited with Rod and Jean for a while in the evening. They were getting up early to drive the rental truck they had to Iowa to pick up the rest of the stuff from their storage unit and then drive it down to Casa Grande to their house. A long trip was in store for them...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mahtomedi, Minnesota

Left Winnebago and headed west to Mahtomedi, Minnesota. Why did we stop there? Peg's brother, Ivan and family live there and he said we could stay in their church parking lot while we visited. We arrived just after noon and called Ivan. He came down to pick us up and, along with Peg's other brother Rick and Ivan's son Lomax, we headed to a DQ for lunch.

After lunch we went to a local animal shelter where Ivan's daughter Anna (our Godchild) was finishing up her last day at day camp. She was part of a play all the kids put on for the parents at the center. She did a good job!

We hung out at the house until dinner and then they took us back to the motorhome and we spent the night in the church parking lot.

Tomorrow we are off to Renville, MN to see another of Peg's brothers...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Week at Winnebago

The Winnebago Rally was a VERY busy place for us in the MCD Innovations booth. Most of the new Winnebago coaches had our shades in them, so when people looked at the new coaches and saw the shades, they liked what they saw and wanted them for their coach! This created a lot of traffic in our booth. We met a lot of Winnebago owners and the days went by quickly. Glad there were four of us in the booth. The line-up at the front door on the first day says it all (see photo).

One night we had "dinner" at the rally grounds since they had what they called a "Row Party". The different states that were represented put together foods that each state was known for. You walk around the grounds sampling the soups, deserts and other foods from each area. It was plenty of food and all the folks were proud of their states offerings.

This years theme was A Salute to Hollywood so many of the RV's were decorated in Hollywood fashion. There were many people in costumes as well. Everyone seemed to be having a fun time!

Peg and I did an interview with Marketing Specialist, Kelly Harms for our American RVer show. She is always a very upbeat and informative person to speak with. We had done an interview with her about a year ago when we visited the Winnebago factory, so we already knew each other.

We packed up the MCD booth on Thursday and we were heading to Minnesota on Friday, the first leg of our journey across country to Salem, Oregon for the Monaco Pre-rally!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

We Arrive at Forest City, Iowa!

It was Saturday afternoon and we finally arrived at Pammel Park in Forest City. We are about two miles down the road from the Winnebago rally grounds. Since we own a Monaco motorhome, we were not allowed on the Winnebago rally grounds, not even to unload our vendor booth display. This did work out well since the park was very nice with a creek running in front of us and we had 50 amp power. There was water and a sewer dump available very close if we needed it. We had quite a bit of space between sites in this park, unlike the way they parked the RV's at the Winnebago rally area.

We explored a bit and crossed over the creek on a swing bridge. This led to a golf course across the creek and some other picnic sites.

We loaded the booth display into the car on Sunday and after two trips, began setting up the booth on the Winnebago grounds. Carla and Dave arrived on Sunday with their motorhome and the four of us were here and ready to work this rally.

Monday night we had dinner at a little place Dave knew about on Clear Lake that specialized in Walleye and seafood. The food was great and we had a nice view of the lake.

Friday, July 16, 2010

On the Road to Forest City, Iowa

Headed out from the MCD factory today on our way to our first of three rallies. We were headed to Forest City, Iowa for the Winnebago Annual Grand National Rally. As with all our travels, we try to stop and visit friends and relatives along the way. This time was no exception. We got to Independence, Missouri on the second day of travel and spent the night in the Elks Lodge just outside of the city. That lodge had recently completed building an RV park for members with 50 amp power and water available.

We were invited for dinner at Peg's sister's so we unhooked the car and drove to Jan and Dave's house. Niece Melissa and husband Tom were also joining us for dinner. It was a quick visit because we were on a schedule. The dinner was great and so was the conversation.

Tomorrow, Saturday we should make it to Forest City...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

RV Basement "Stuff" to Storage

Today we got all our belongings out of the basement of the motorhome and put them in a small (5' x 10') storage unit so everything will be safe while we travel to rallies for the next month or so. We thought this was a better solution than keeping everything in Dave and Carla's motorhome basement as they will be traveling as well.

It was a tight fit with the motorcycle and two bicycles in the storage unit, but we needed the room in the car and RV so it is now a done deal! Only took two trips to get everything there and stored away! Glad that is done...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Independence Day (July 4th weekend) 2010

After the Fleetwood Rally, we were able to take a few of days off and drive down to Paducah, Kentucky to see Peg's brother Ray and sister-in-law Jean. We stayed at the Kentucky Dam RV Resort, a small campground located off highway 641, about 12 minutes from Peg's brothers house in Benton. We were happy to have 50 amp power and full hook-ups as the weather was quite warm!

Ray rented a pontoon boat from The Moors, a marina on the Kentucky Lake. We had a boat-full of people including Peg and I, Ray and Jean, their daughter Sandy and her three boys. I was nominated to captain the boat, so we headed up the lake seeing the sights. This was on Thursday the 1st, so the boat traffic was pretty light. I could imagine what this lake would be like on any holiday weekend!

Lunch was on the water. We found a spot near a small island to drop anchor, and pulled out the sandwiches, chips and drinks. After lunch, the hot sun prompted us to take a dip in the water....well most of us. Since I was the captain, I had to stay with my ship (any excuse is a good one). I did find some neat small shells and decided to explore the island we were anchored next to. I walked to the other side and took this photo of the lake.


We had rented the boat for four hours and time was growing short, so we pulled up anchor and headed back to the marina, traveling near the shoreline. All the boys wanted their turn at driving the boat so I tried to teach them some "rules of the road" and they all took a turn, even little Lawton. Michael and Taylor did a good job of piloting the boat, but I took the helm to bring it back into the marina.

That night we went to an outdoor concert in the tiny town of Benton in the square. A local man and his band was playing and it appeared that they were a popular draw in the area. There were well over a hundred people listening and singing along. The band did a good job. When we got back to the RV, that night and for a couple of nights afterwards, the fireworks began to fly and we could enjoy much of the display out the front window of the motorhome!

The last day we were at the campground, Ray and grandson Michael came over with fishin' polls and we all tested our luck in the small pond on the campground property. We stayed for a few hours casting and reeling, casting and reeling and I got two bites. I think it was from a hungry turtle since it let go of the bait before I got it to shore each time. No one else had any luck pulling in a fish so we called it a day.

We hung out five days in Benton and enjoyed spending the Fourth of July with family before traveling back to Texas.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Off To The Fleetwood Rally in Du Quoin, Illinois

It was time to travel to another rally. This one was in Du Quoin, Illinois and was being held at the Du Quoin Fairgrounds. The facilities are very nice and they hold many rallies here. It is also a horse track and they had trotters running on the track in front of our coach each morning.

We arrived at the fairgrounds and set up the MCD booth a day before we were actually scheduled to get into the convention center. This actually was a good thing and it gave us more time to get things ready.

We enjoyed meeting new folks at the evening dinners and we ended up sitting with a few of the same folks throughout the week. We also shot a couple segments for the July American RVer webisode. It was a good show and we enjoyed meeting all of the attendees and the Fleetwood personnel.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dinner with James & Mark

Nephew James lives in Fort Worth and he invited Peg and I over for dinner. Peg's brother Clyde was in town and we have not seem him in a few years. we drove to Fort Worth. 

It was a nice day for a drive and that was a good thing since our wonderful GPS decided to take us on an extended tour of the city. Why it conjures up the most difficult way to get somewhere is beyond me. Maybe if I quit saying "I hate it", it would have more mercy on us!

We did finally get there and we had a good time swapping stories and seeing James' next door neighbor, Rose, again. She was at the Easter dinner we went to at Mark's house. As you can see, I am smiling a bit and in front of me a little vino...Hey, could there be a connection there?

After a good meal and a quick clean-up effort, we bid farewell to Clyde, James and Mark (Rose had left already) and headed back home. It's nice to have relatives a short distance away to stop in and see every so often!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Arboretum in Dallas

Nephew James and partner Mark wanted Peg and I to experience a concert at the Arboretum which looks over Dallas from the east. The layout reminded me a little of Saratoga Springs and the SPAC (Saratoga Performing Arts Center) concert venue. It is a semi-circular hill overlooking the stage where the musicians perform. You could tell that there were many "locals" here with their picnics, small tables and flowing wine. The view of the lake was really spectacular as well!

We brought food and drink as well and it made the event more enjoyable. We were there to see an Elvis impersonator, one who is supposed to be the best in the business. He hails from, where else, Las Vegas! I think he did a good job and did sound a lot like the King. My vantage point was not that good as you can see here. I had to look through two trees to see the performance, but I didn't mind since the trees were blocking the harsh sun from hitting us directly.

We were at this event for another reason...It was Mark's birthday and we were celebrating. Looks like a few hundred other people were also joining in the celebration! We had a good time and when we walked back to the car, we could not find it at first. We then realized we had walked past it and doubled back a couple of rows and there it was waiting for us....