On To Elkhart

 Posted by at 4:09 am  Nick's Blog
Aug 092010
 

Proving just how hard it is to break a bad habit once it gets established, I was awake by 7 a.m. yesterday morning. That’s about four hours after the time I normally get to bed. This really has to stop!

The weather report had called for scattered thunderstorms in western Michigan, and soon after I woke up, strong winds began to rock the motorhome, followed by rain.

Now we had a decision to make. Do we go ahead with our plan to drive to Elkhart, Indiana, hoping we can find a window of good weather to travel in, or do we sit tight at Fisherman’s Landing Campground in Muskegon?

Normally, we would stay put and avoid traveling in bad weather. But the storm passed by in a few minutes, and the weather report called for more of the same for all of this week. Add to that the fact that our power had been kicking off every few minutes at the campground since the night before, even though we had turned off the TV and Dish network receiver, switched our water heater and refrigerator to propane, turned off our air conditioning, shut down our computers and wireless router, and set the battery charge rate on our inverter to just 5 amps. It doesn’t do you any good to have a 30 amp RV site if the campground is crowded, their power is crappy, and everybody else is running everything they have.

We didn’t feel like paying another $25 to dry camp, and with temperatures in the mid-80s, it wouldn’t have been very comfortable anyway. So a little after 9 a.m. we pulled out, stopped at a Bob Evans Restaurant to meet Berni and Rocky for breakfast and a last goodbye, and then headed south on U.S. Highway 31.

Fortunately, we got a break in the weather, and except for a few sprinkles, we had a nice trip. Well, except for the road construction.

Michigan has two seasons; winter and road construction, and we’re smack dab in the middle of the latter. We hit a couple of construction zones on our trip south. I’ve never understood drivers who come into a construction zone and ignore signs telling them to merge right or left, instead speeding forward until the every last minute, then trying to muscle their way in. All they do is create a bottleneck and make things harder for everybody, themselves included. Just get over as soon as you see the signs and keep on rolling. At least until you have to slam on the brakes to keep from running over the idiot trying to wedge in ahead ahead of you, who didn’t.

Road construction on US 31 Michigan 2

Road construction on US 31 Michigan

We pulled into Elkhart Campground a few minutes before 2 p.m., and the place is packed! A lot of folks are here early, just hanging out before our Eastern Gypsy Gathering rally.

Motorhomes at Elkhart Campground

By the time we got unhooked, Greg and Jan White had come out to greet us, Jan with a batch of freshly baked cookies in her hand. What a beautiful sight! A pretty lady with a handful of goodies beats the heck out of an angry woman with a revolver, a rolling pin, or a restraining order. Trust me on this!  Several other folks came by to say hello as we were getting set up, but I was busy and didn’t get everybody’s name.

Bob and Gita Patel, owners of Elkhart Campground, have really been busy this summer, adding a lot of new 50 amp full hookup sites, and upgrading older sites. If you’re a regular here and haven’t seen all of the improvements yet, I know you’ll be impressed.

Elkhart Campground new sites 2

Elkhart Campground new sites

Here is our Winnebago on the right, and Greg and Jan’s American Eagle on the left. Don’t you just love a spacious RV site?

Winnie and White RV

Once we were all settled in, and had time to check our e-mails and rest up a while, we went to dinner at Famous Dave’s BBQ in Mishawaka with Greg and Jan. We like Famous Dave’s because they serve huge portions, and everything on the menu is delicious. We always have fun with Greg and Jan, and the time went by fast as we talked about the upcoming birth of their second grandchild, about our mutual RV travels, and anything else that came to mind.

Back at the RV park, we visited for a while more, and then Greg and Jan called it a night. Soon after they left, Frank and Marlene Hinman stopped in to say hello and welcome us to Elkhart. We love visiting with our friends wherever we may be!

Another couple of wonderful friends of ours, Jerry and Suzy LeRoy, just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, and are spending the summer on their lot at the Escapees co-op in Benson, Arizona. This is monsoon season in Arizona, which was always my favorite time of year when I lived there.  Jerry has some awesome photos of the dramatic cloud formations that fill the sky during monsoon season in their blog. Check them out, I think you’ll be impressed.

Thought For The Day – I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory.

Click Here To Register For Our Eastern Gypsy Gathering Rally!

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  13 Responses to “On To Elkhart”

  1. Crowding ahead in a construction zone in some states (especially Kansas and Missouri) can get you a huge fine! One man was speeding, not wearing his seat belt and felled to merge when indicated. Double fine for speeding and failing to obey road construction signs along with no seat belt and a policeman waiting at the end equals a $950 total fine! Yeah! More states should do the same!

  2. Well,we always want the roads repaired but we don’t want to be in the construction zone. I know how you feel about the ones that want to squeese in.

    Joe

  3. I like it when the big trucks block them……

  4. We had called Elkhart CG and (I believe I spoke to Bob) when we wanted to make reservations for early arrival and to stay a week afterward, we were told “it isn’t necessary…just come in!” After reading your blog we’re hoping that those who have arrived early haven’t planned on doing the same. It is, after all, Labor Day weekend.
    What do you suggest we do?

  5. Nick, thank you so much to the link to our monsoon post, and your most complimentary words! Hell, I even went back through that link to look again, and I was awed once again!

  6. If you get a chance between rally preparations, tell Frank and Marlene “Hi” for us. We met them in May at the Escapees Chapter 48 Computer Rally in Winterset, Iowa. They are great people (as are most Escapees we have met).

    Barbara and Everett Bowers

  7. Karen,
    It’s a big campground, they should be able to find a place for you.

  8. I am sure all states have their favorite construction areas and the ones that will really bottle neck. Right now we are in Minnesota and almost every major road has some sort of work going on. Here they have the police waiting at the merge site and will ticket one if they cause a bottle neck. The nice thing is we did notice is the drivers are great about letting people merge into the right lane of traffic. I do not blame you for leaving instead of paying $25 to dry camp, right now we are dry camping in my sister back yard and we do not have ac. We try to figure a way to keep the rig cool since it is in the 80’s with dreadful humidity. Mike has managed to keep one compressor working but it is so iffy. I love my sister but we may cut our visit short.

  9. Studies show that if the traffic in both lanes continue in their lane until the merge point traffic actually flows better. We tend to merge early then get frustrated by those who pass us making us be further back and causing a bigger slowdown. If both lanes actually wait until the merge point no one can use the empty lane to “jump the line”. I don’t know how we teach the world this better technique of merging, though.

  10. Yes, studies show organized last minute merge creates the best flow. However reported efforts to organize this have failed as so many will not go until the merge point. Construction Zones and the accidents that follow are a big issue for the NHTSA. For more info on this puzzle and other counter intuitive driving issue, I recommend reading the recent book “Traffic”.

  11. And it looks to me like the guy in the BMW has his cell phone to his ear, too. Triple whammy fine in NC… .but never a cop when/where you need one.

    Still, the rule is that there is always more construction in election years. …. always.

  12. Yes I agree there is more construction in election years, & it’s Obama’s fault too!

  13. “Add to that the fact that our power had been kicking off every few minutes at the campground since the night before, even though we had turned off the TV and Dish network receiver, switched our water heater and refrigerator to propane, turned off our air conditioning, shut down our computers and wireless router, and set the battery charge rate on our inverter to just 5 amps. It doesn’t do you any good to have a 30 amp RV site if the campground is crowded, their power is crappy, and everybody else is running everything they have.”
    Check your rig Nick. I was there. No one else was experiencing difficulties. Besides, what are you doing hooking up to a thirty amp cicuit with that monster rig of yours. Hmm….lets see here, you were running your air conditioning, computers, water heater, refrigerator, TV and Dish reciever and who knows what else all on a thirty amp circuit? You probably fried the breaker. After heating it up like that it’s no wonder it kept kicking out. Keep that up and you’ll damage your appliances. Next time don’t be so cheap and pay the extra five bucks for the fifty amp service.

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