Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Slight Wrinkle in Our Plans

Elkhart, IN          High:  91      Low:  71

Wel-l-l-l-l.....the plan was to leave last Monday. We were going to drop our rig off at Total Value RV for consignment. Total Value RV is seriously interested in helping a seller as well as helping themselves. Out of all the people we've talked to about putting our motorhome on a lot and let the dealer handle the sales, Total Value was the most fair and reasonable in their fees and percentage of the sale. They were the dealership where we bought our first motorhome, the Damon Challenger, and we've always had excellent service and salesmanship from them. Jenny, the service manager is terrific. Hank, the owner, is terrific. Ivan, his son,  was very straightforward with us when we went in to talk to him.  Dave Olson, is a terrific sales guy that works for them. They have always done great work for us in a timely manner and at very reasonable prices, and are very friendly and professional to deal with.

The wrinkle was, Sparky decided to call our insurance agent and double check that since we are no longer going to be driving our rig, maybe our insurance needs would change and our rates would drop from "full timers" to "part timers".  Wel-l-l-l...yes and no. Apparently, most specialized RV insurance companies do NOT insure your vehicle while it's sitting on a dealer's lot. No way, no how.. Everybody thinks you are covered when you are selling your rig on a lot because you have a full timer's insurance policy. YOU ARE NOT COVERED. ALMOST ALL RV AND TOW INSURANCE POLICIES EXCLUDE COVERAGE IF THE UNIT IS HELD FOR SALE ON CONSIGMENT. Sparky repeats--If you want to sell your rig by putting it on somebody's lot, your regular RV insurance does NOT cover this situation..You have to get SPECIAL insurance, an endorsement, or what some in the business call it "consignment" insurance--a special policy to cover the special circumstances the rig finds itself while sitting in a dealership lot. We have to cancel our regular RV insurance and buy a separate, whole entity different policy. It wasn't so easy to find and there weren't a lot of choices. Some companies won't do that "rider" extension or "special insurance" without you being insured with them in the first place. Progressive is one such company. Why your current insurance wouldn't feel more secure with the rig just sitting on a protected lot and offer a sub rider/attachment policy for such a situation is beyond us, but maybe it's because a prospective buyer might take the rig out for a spin and it's riskier to the insurance company even if it is sitting.

So, we get on the phone, do our internet research and we find a couple of places that will write a new policy and cover the consignment situation at the same time. We compared insurance quotes line by line, and TADA! We have our consignment insurance in place.  It's finally time to take our rig over to Total Value. Heading out of the Elkhart Campground this morning....Sniff, sniff.....
Eldy drove it next door to Total Value. It's time to say goodbye to the Tiffin...sniff, sniff.....(Sigh! I'm gonna miss it, too, says E.)  But he just dropped off the keys and was ready to go....BOO-HOO-HOO....

We did the final walk around with Total Value, and we said our goodbyes to our home of three years.....

Hopefully, it's a final goodbye, and we won't be returning to get it at the end of October. We hope it sells by then.....If it doesn't, then we will drive the Phaeton back down to Florida, and park it on consignment early November in Florida, waiting for the snowbirds to arrive and the RV market to pick up in FL. We'll see what happens......

We'll see you on the road in the car! A loaded car!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Some More Cool Places in Elkhart County

There are two more places that are fun to visit in Goshen, IN, which is in Elkhart County. If you are into records, as in old vinyl records, there is a record shop called the Ignition Music Garage in Goshen. Even if you AREN'T into vinyl, it's a cool, cool warehouse chic music lounge and vintage music store which also sells new music from new and old artists that has been released as vinyl recordings.

They have everything you need to be a collector of old vinyl albums and be able to play them. They sell vintage and refurbished turntables and sound equipment to play the LP's. They have regular CDs for sale as well, too. They throw recording parties for new artists and well known artists and provide an awesome venue for new bands and recording artists. The d.j. booth was cool!
They had a lounge area for relaxation and whatever.....Reading the latest music magazines, maybe?
It was just a very cool place with a very cool atmosphere! Bet this place really rocks when there's live music!

And here's another cool place in Goshen...The South Side Soda Shop. It's really old inside, but it's really great..a throwback to the old soda fountain shops we knew as kids. They've got homemade sandwiches, salads and desserts. They've got 50 varieties of pies...The shop was visited by the Food Network's Guy Fieri, the host of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives awhile back. Fresh seafood is delivered weekly, so they have a seafood fest that's famous on their menu and on the show, they featured S.S.S.'s chili, seafood fest, Swedish limpa bread--whatever that is! and Philly cheesesteak.

It's a very old decor inside, nothing special, but it's like sitting in a diner from the '50's. The waitresses are great, and the owner greets his long time customers by name and asks about their health. Just a neat blast from the past...We really enjoyed our visit today, and highly recommend South Side Soda Shop.
Getting close to the time to turn in our Tiffin Phaeton, one more day, and we will be dropping it off at the RV dealership next door, and heading home to Florida......Until later.....

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Phaeton Gets a Bath and Shipshewanna Revisited

In preparation for leaving our rig on consignment in a couple of days, sniff, sniff, we called around to find a good company to wash our rig. One company would not do the roof. The person running the company said because of insurance costs, they don't do roofs. Well, that was the worst part of our rig, the roof desperately needed a bath! We found Norm's Power Washing out of Goshen, IN. He doesn't have a website but is on Facebook.

He brought his own water and did a fantastic job on our Phaeton. The roof had gotten quite chalky, and so he spent extra time on it. He took his time and really did a fantastic job! Thank you, Norm, for making our Phaeton look brand new!

Off for one last visit to Shipshewanna to the fabric store and the Blue Gate Bakery for some of the best zucchini bread to take with us when we leave....Sparky got three little loaves.
Sparky really loves the Amish countryside....the houses with the laundry hanging out to dry, the little phone booths separate from the house that are hooked up to lines so they can make phone calls. Today we actually saw an Amish gent with his bike parked outside the little phone booth while he was making his call. Sparky couldn't do the drive by shooting without drawing attention to herself, so we kept on driving.
buggy parked downtown Shipshewanna

Sparky wishes she could get better photos of the Amish. You are not supposed to take photos of them close up, or have their faces in a photo, but SOMEBODY gets to do that because we've seen photos of them. Sparky loves children and would love to get some photos of the little boys and girls with their little hats and bonnets. We saw this wagon going down the highway and Sparky quickly snapped a shot through the car window with her cell phone. It's as close as she's going to get during this visit. Lots of little straw hats in this buggy! Sparky just happened to notice they were passing the Amish Acres sign as we went by. Amish Acres is a homestead of many buildings, a restaurant with lots of examples of  Amish cooking, crafts, and quilting in Nappannee, IN. The first week of August, there is a HUGE craft festival that truly showcases artists from all over the country. Sparky is sorry she has to miss it. She hasn't been in years, but it is one of the most fantastic collective displays of beautifully handcrafted items and wares from all over the country. It's very famous.

Did Sparky mention that we got to see some of our wonderful RVing friends recently in addition to getting together with all our family and friends? We saw Nick and Ritchie Boersma, friends we made almost two years ago in Florida. Seems like we have known them all our lives, they fit so seamlessly into our fabric of life. We met them, had a wonderful time getting to know them, and they make us laugh and appreciate our life all the more because they are in it. We see them when we can, they are now in Michigan. So today they met us halfway in Kalamazoo, at Comensoli's, an Italian eatery. We had a great lunch at a nice restaurant with great company! If you are ever in the Kalamazoo area, the number and beauty of the old Victorian homes that are in that immediate area, around the Main Street is incredible. Be sure to take time to drive around the neighborhoods. The Victorian homes were amazing!

We hope to meet up with Nick and Ritchie this winter in Florida when they come south.....

Back home we came, and time to take a little rest....See you later!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Look at Linton's and the Pumpkinvine Bike Trail

There's a new sign along the Indiana Toll Road and the bypass...."attraction-Linton's Enchanted Gardens". Must be a pretty special place to get an Indiana tourist attraction plug, and it is.....Linton's Enchanted Gardens is 50,000 square feet of indoor shopping for all things home and garden, and 9 acres of outdoor specialty gardens.

The indoor garden/home shopping center has different themed areas like the "beach"...."modern or contemporary".

They have personal care items....gourmet foods and sweets....handmade's fashion accessories and really unique gifts for the home. Their floral shop was voted "the BEST" by locals.

It's all here, everything you could possibly want in the way of suggestions for personal gifts for the home, garden, yard and for an individual. Lots of cool clocks, paintings, signs, and many useful tools and items that would make great gifts.
Sparky liked the funky fountains they had...

Linton's calls themselves the "Disney of garden centers" and as you walk around outside, you can definitely see why....Lots of unique little buildings with specialized plantings surrounding the building to fit the style of the buildings on the outside nine acres...Sparky wasn't quite sure of the planting theme around this spooky looking house.
How about this UFO? With a sign that said "unusual flowering objects"...Linton's specializes in unique plants that you can't find anywhere else along with the usual, extensive selection of landscape plants and flowers.
Sparky LOVES flowers, and now that she has a home, she was especially interested in looking at the flowers she used to grow and at some that she wished she COULD have grown. Like the Pee Gee Hydrangea....These blossoms were HUGE!
Sparky's favorite lily, the Stargazer lily.....
There was a little fairy garden, and everything around the little stone house was miniature plants. Kinda cute! Sparky remembered that one of the gals she met at Sun 'n' Fun, one of the long term residents, who had a SERIOUS interest in fairy gardens and had at least four of them surrounding her rig.
Sparky always likes looking at how plants grow, and this leaf bud, getting ready to erupt into a BIG leaf, captured her iphone camera for a moment.
Pergolas, arbors, benches and statues...Linton's has it. Gardening advice, landscaping services, FREE landscaping design service, a big aviary, ponds, and a petting zoo. Gee, what DON'T they have? Sparky couldn't think of a darn thing after touring the place today. If you love flowers and enjoy deluxe nature garden centers and want to get some inspiration for your home, Sparky highly recommends Linton's Enchanted Gardens, on County Road 17, in Elkhart, IN.

There is really a LOT of stuff to do in the Elkhart, IN area...Sparky went for one last ride on the Pumpkinvine Trail by herself today....
There are many different trailheads or starting points for this beautiful trail...some of it is through heavily shaded woods, other parts are out in the open along farms, and Amish country, other parts are through gardens like the Krider World's Fair Garden and Nursery, and residential areas. Some parts are really level, others will give you a nice little workout with some gentle hills. There are beautiful wildflowers and perennials along the way, too. Like these rudbeckia, otherwise known as black eyed susans to most.

Lots of Echinacea, or purple coneflowers on this leg of the trail....People take echinacea in pill form for colds and other ailments. Sparky just likes to look at them...
Well, time to head back from the trail ride...

Gonna have to start thinking about packing up the car and emptying out what's left of our personal stuff in the rig....sniff, sniff...We'll see you later.....

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Auction Fever!

Elkhart, IN          High:  92          Low:  73

Sparky started typing "hot" instead of high for the first line of the temperatures, the heat must be getting to her!

Off to Shipshewanna early this morning for a quick breakfast at Wanna Cup, a little Amish restaurant. Service was very slow, food was ok, they screwed up Eldy's order but fixed it. We noticed they screwed up some other patrons' orders as well. There are some better restaurants for breakfast in the area, we felt this one is slipping and not as good as it used to be...

Off to the flea market and auction!  Flea market first, before it got too hot...the usual stuff...sox, over ball caps.....The antiques auction is every Wednesday, year round, and starts at 9:00 AM.

......everything imported from China, India, etc. Hardly any crafts any more, Sparky is sorry to see that part disappear. You used to be able to find the coolest, handmade crafts at great prices, but not any more.

The interesting part was the auction...Multiple auctions all going at the same time under the same roof. The cacophony of auctioneers' barking out the bids was deafening and took some getting used to. Sparky and Eldo saw a TON of interesting stuff today we'd like to have....Sparky likes old cameras, they were here....So we activated our bidder cards and decided to see what bargains we could find.
She bid on an old Polaroid Land Camera, complete with flash and a box of old film in a leather case for 10.00 and won! The excitement started building. Eldo was looking at "man cave" signs and stuff today. He saw some cool ones. This one went for 68.00, more than he wanted to spend, so someone else got it.
Eldo saw this NASCAR driver poster of South Bend, IN native David Stremme, and bid on it. He won it for 5.00.
Sparky saw a cool sign that would look neat in the den, Eldo's Man Cave, so she bid and got it for 10.00.

Now she's REALLY into the spirit of the auction. Let's see what else is out there! Some cool furniture but no way to get it home....(THAT'S a good thing! sighs E., with relief.) But this would have been such a great storage unit in the craft room, sighs Sparky......An old hardware store storage drawer unit.

We're NOT going to empty out the storage shed this time, just pare it down, so bigger purchases will have to wait.) A cool aluminum horse went for over 400.00, with a story behind it, but not something Sparky wanted in particular.
Beautiful lamps.....Tiffany? But not in the scheme of Florida decor, Sparky will pass.... (Whew! says E.)
Sparky eyed the beer advertising trays briefly, but they were gone by the time she made it around again....
Sparky loved this blue Carnival glass pitcher and glasses set. Have no idea how much it went for....

Eldo spied some horns and waited for the bidding to begin. By now, you know he buffed horns for a living for 42 years, so brass instruments always get his attention. There's a LOT of waiting around to get in the action for items you want. Patience is a much needed virtue. Sparky did all right waiting around, she kept getting lemonades and sitting on the nearest bench. One of these would look cool mounted on the den wall, but they were in bad shape and went for too much money so he passed....
Sparky always enjoys people watching.....She saw more smokers (you have to smoke outside the auction building) with major health issues sitting in scooters and wheelchairs, wondering why people continue to punish their bodies when it's so bad for you in the first place. But then Sparky continues to eat stuff that she knows is bad for her, so she better quit talking and move on.....
How about an old victrola record player?
Isn't it amazing that this old stuff keeps surfacing week after week, year after year? You'd think the supply would diminish. But as a dealer said, people won't let go of their possessions until they pass away, and then the families have to get rid of it. Just like the show, The Pickers, where they visit barns and houses all over the country, and continue to find TONS of old stuff to buy.

A couple more favorites that Sparky liked but didn't bid on....a child's bench with a Noah's Ark design....

"Junker" booths...Sparky just loves collections of junky old stuff....
And a beautiful old (?) saddle....

Well, after standing around for HOURS  on a hard cement floor, it's time to head home to the Elkhart Campground. Thanks for coming along on the ride today......See you in a few......

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Fair is FREE! Let's Go!

The Elkhart County Fair is the second largest county fair in the country. It's HUGE!   On Sunday, it's FREE! FREE parking, FREE admission. Everybody and their brother decides to go on the free day, so you better get there EARLY!  We were going to meet up with Eldy's son, Brian, wife Lori, and their kids--Cate and Trevor at the fairgrounds. The lines of cars snaking down the county roads leading to the fair were long and crawling slowly.

We were both coming from different directions, and when we saw the THOUSANDS of cars being parked in the fields, we thought, gee, we'll never find these guys unless we text our exact location and then MAYBE, we'll find each other. So, we parked our car and hopped on the trolley..and who should we see, but Brian, Lori, Cate and Trevor on the trolley! What luck!

Off we went to see and do what the kids wanted to do...First, the chicken barn...The kids have some chickens of their own, and are hoping for some eggs soon, so they are interested in all things chicken. Now Sparky knows NOTHING about chickens, roosters, guineas or anything chicken, but we saw some COOL chickens/roosters/guineas, etc.
How about this one? He (?) was beautiful!
Sparky likes roosters now, for some reason, as a home decor thing...(Luckily, she hasn't started collecting all things rooster, says E.) And how about this cool white turkey?

Sparky is REALLY interested in Nelson's Golden Glow chicken,  which is a fund raiser chicken operation which has sold all over Michiana for YEARS, but she got that later.....

Fairs are animals....This Percheron (?) or Clydesdale REALLY enjoyed getting hosed down from his handler. It was HOT at the fair today.
Cool tractors.....
Cool rides....Cate and Trevor picked this ride on your stomach flying ride.
This ride looked fun, but Sparky doesn't do amusement park rides...maybe a water ride but that would be it. So she just watched everybody else scream and look like they were scared to death...Well, some, anyway....

The grandkids had a ball.....They are up there somewhere on the ride!
The colors....

The foods...deep fat fried everything...Oreos, candy bars, and lots more....Like deep fat fried butter. Frozen honey butter dipped in funnel cake batter, fried and served with powdered sugar, five rounded tablespoons for five bucks...Sound good?

Sparky was a good girl, she had one corn dog and a small piece of Nelson's chicken....Trevor was contemplating something, we're not sure. Maybe what to eat next? Maybe spaghetti ice cream? Frozen strands of frozen yogurt with strawberry sauce and grated white chocolate to resemble spaghetti, parmesan cheese and tomato sauce. No? How about jalapeƱo corn dogs or Fruity Pebbles corn dogs? Right here at the Elkhart County Fair....
AHA! He's got it! He wants some more lemon shake up! Whew! Glad he didn't decide on that other stuff!
And the fair isn't complete without a great band. In this case, the Goshen High School Marching Band. They sounded great!
It was a lot of fun watching the grandkids have fun today on the rides...Love the fair and the foods...There is so much more to be seen, but we didn't have the energy to check out all the 4H exhibits indoors and many more buildings and animal exhibits as it was quite warm outside.

Always great to see family and see our grandkids having fun....We'll see you later!