Journeys from Decatur,IN to Morgantown,VW to Baltimore,MD to Seattle,WA to Leavenworth,WA and Back.

9/8 Sunday (Decatur IN to Morgantown WV)

Left at 8 am, meeting the Amish Sunday commuter traffic. East of Columbus, I-70 was along big rolling green hills. John drove from Indiana, through Ohio, through West Virginia, then Pennsylvania, then into WV to Morgantown (350 miles). We stopped at the Morgantown shopping center for gas and John’s hearing aid batteries. He’d forgotten them. We had a great visit with my sister, Lynn, and her hubby as well as my niece and great niece.

9/9 Monday (Morgantown WV to Baltimore MD)

IMG_1877Left at 12:30 pm to drive through WV to Baltimore MD. Mostly on I-68, a Scenic Byway and gorgeous. The Appalachian Mountains are rolling and so green with trees and grass. None of the massive granite rock in your face, like the Rockies out West. There was a massive cut rock at both sides of the freeway that we think was the Cumberland Gap. Striking – the only large exposed rock we’ve seen in this area. After settling in at the Hyatt Place Motel, we went to Bob Evans for dinner – farm fare. Very good for just $9.99 (entree, side and desert).

9/10 Tuesday (Baltimore MD to Leavenworth WA)

Up at 6:30 am (Eastern time), taking the 8 am shuttle and at the gate by 8:30 am for our 9:15 departure. There was some problem at the ticket counter, but Andre at the American Airlines desk got it solved. We were to later regret what he did, unknown to us at the time. Arriving at Chicago ½ hour early so we waited from 11 until 1:45 pm. THEN we sat on our plane for 1 hour. There was a problem with parts. Then the flight itself took 4 hours, arriving at the Seattle Airport at 5 pm. We left in the rental car at 6 pm, driving to Issaquah supper. John drove I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass, through the Cascade Mountain Range, foothills to the Rockies. We drove through the Appalachians on the East coast just yesterday, then through the Cascades on the West coast the next evening. How cool is that? We waited half an hour just after the summit for rock crushing. Then over Blewitt Pass. Arrived in the dark, at 9 pm (Midnight Eastern time), only to find the paving was being resurfaced so the access to the office was not the normal route. SO we sure were exhausted by the time we hit the sack.

9/11 Wednesday (Leavenworth and Dryden)

View from Leavenworth WorldMark condo

View from Leavenworth WorldMark condo

We really slept in, then went out for breakfast at Sandy’s Waffles (expensive, although delicious food at $24 for 2). We shopped for groceries, washed clothes at the condo (WorldMark at Leavenworth), then visited Dorothy (John’s mom whose 90th birthday we’re here to celebrate) and other relatives at Dryden WA. Don (John’s brother) fixed supper for us all – chow mein.

9/12 Thursday (Leavenworth and Dryden)

Spent the day visiting, then ordered the cake at Costco for the big party. Sharon, John’s sister, who organized all this from Texas, decided it would be best to come with us to make those decoration decisions. Don (John’s brother) fixed supper for us all – spaghetti.

9/13 Friday (Leavenworth and Dryden)

More visiting until 3 pm, when we siblings (& spouses) gathered to set up the Peshastin Legion Hall, for the party where friends and relatives were invited. It was there that Sharon realized that no one had gotten the cold cups or punch, so she designated us for that job, while were were at Costco getting the cake. Justin and his family arrived, settled into the condo with us, then we gathered in Dryden, where Dorothy and Don live, enjoying another great dinner Don created.

9/14 Saturday (Leavenworth and Dryden)

Dorothy and her children

Dorothy and her children

The big day!! It was a leisurely morning, where we enjoyed spending the early hours with Lily and Gabe (our grandchildren) while Justin and Jamie slept in. Then off to Costco at 10 am, stopping at Dorothy/Don’s to get the key to the Legion Hall first, so we could take the cake directly to the fridge there. At Costco, we figured it would be best to check out the punch situation before getting the cake. Good thing because they didn’t carry liters of 7-Up/Sprite, nor gallons of Hawaiian Punch, so we dashed to IMG_1860the nearby Safeway, finding 8 liters of their brand of pop and 4 gallons of the same flavor Punch. Not the amount we were instructed to bring, but we figured we could stop at the local Safeway in Leavenworth if we needed more. (We used half of the punch and pop we had bought.) Then back to Costco for the cake and cold cups. Wow, it was already closing in on noon, when all were due to meet at the Hall (party started at 1 pm). Instead of going directly to the Hall, John drove to Dryden,

Dorothy visiting on the back porch

Dorothy visiting on the back porch

Dorothy/Don’s place, to mooch something for our lunch first. So we meet the “gang” all dressed up and ready to head out for the Hall, but they can’t because we have the key!.. So John gave them the key and we ate some sandwiches (with the cake “melting” from my perspective, in the hot car). We’d driven from Costco with the A/C going full blast to keep the cakes (3 half sheets) cool, only to leave them in the car. Oh well, people first. Don’t want John and I to be grouchy at the party!

We arrived at the Hall soon and got those cakes (Happy 90th Birthday Dorothy) in the fridge. Since the tables, chairs and decorations had been set up the day before, we had plenty of time to set up the food table and visit. When the guests began arriving, Jenn (John’s sister-in-law) served the punch (John made it!!), I served up the cake and Karen (another sister-in-law) served the coffee. Joe (our other son) got here just in time for the party! Yeah!! Lots of visiting that afternoon. We all saw some people we hadn’t seen for years. A great gathering for Dorothy! Near the end, Lily wrote several birthday notes to her, then sprinkled on to Dorothy all the glitter she’d gathered off the table tops. So at the end of the party, we had a lot of glitter to clean up from the floor and Dorothy! Justin and Jamie were not so happy about Lily’s efforts.

Next was the big catered dinner at the Leavenworth Golf Course. All the relatives (30) gathered for a fabulous, scrumptious buffet dinner. Afterward Joe came to visit with us and Justin/family until bed time, when he went to James’ place to sleep. We found out Sunday that they’d stayed up until 3 am, playing “Red Neck Life” and waiting for the chicken and pork to finish cooking for the barbecue James would have for us on Sunday.

9/15 Sunday

John and I helped Justin and Jamie pack up, then we all went to Dryden, so they could say goodbye to Dorothy. We spent the rest of the day visiting until noon, when we gathered at James’ for his big barbecue lunch. When we got back to the condo that night, we got a load of wash done.

9/16 Monday

We got a final load of wash done, then packed up for our journey back to Miss Zanzibar. We checked out of the condo, then went to visit with Dorothy and mooch our lunch. After heartfelt goodbys and hugs we took off for Seattle. It was so wonderful getting to spend so much time with Dorothy and so many of our relatives, including our boys. It was well worth the travel efforts to get to Leavenworth. All Dorothy’s children, grandchildren and all but 3 of the great grandchildren were there. Now, on to the next journey back to our home in Indiana.

IMG_1873About 4 hours after leaving, we arrived at our Clarion Hotel, checked in, drove to Car Rentals, returning our rental car. We took the hotel shuttle back to the Clarion, then enjoyed our dinner at their restaurant. Don (Trish’s brother) picked us up at the Hotel, driving us to his newly purchased (built 1959) home. WOW. What views of Lake Washington. Plus it’s so close to downtown Seattle (he and wife Kristen take the light rail to work) and the airport. They took out all the carpeting to expose beautiful red cedar, then sanded and refinished it. Amazingly they also painted the whole upstairs. Note: they purchased this house just 2 weeks before their wedding, doing all this work since the closing. They’ve got stuff moved, but have yet to complete that process. We felt honored that he would take this time to let us see his house when he’s been so overwhelmed himself. We wish them the best and are thrilled that we got to see their beautiful home. Don drove us back and we tried to get to bed early, for our very big travel day tomorrow.

9/17 Tuesday

Since we needed to catch our 5:15 am plane, we left on the hotel shuttle at 3:30 am (Pacific time). We expected the airport to be quiet at that hour (the Baltimore airport was dead last Tuesday), but not so in Seattle! After a wait for the ticket counter (this time we couldn’t print John’s boarding pass), we finally got some help, only to find out that American Airlines had EXCHANGED John’s ticket TO Baltimore (on United) for his ticket FROM Baltimore (on American). The ticket lady (Rio) did her best, but it took over an hour of efforts before they could get it “back” from American. During that hour of efforts, I got very faint, asked for water and our dear Rio found me some water behind their wall, then a seat. Naturally, this put us just past the last chance to board our 5:15 am plane. Thank heavens our sharp ticket lady managed to snag the last 2 seats on a flight out of Seattle at 6:25 am, then 2 seats on a flight out of Chicago to Baltimore. Whew!! This put us into Baltimore at 4:45 pm instead of 3:16 pm, but that’s better than another day later.

Next challenge: take the Hyatt Place Baltimore shuttle to our car, then drive to Lynn’s, in Morgantown, WV. Of course, we left the Motel at 5:30 pm, rush hour. Let’s say the pinch points could have been worse. We stopped Costco in Fredericksburg for dinner and gas, then on to Lynn’s. We arrived, once again, in the dark, 9 pm (6 pm Western time). John got a bit lost finding her place, not wanting to believe our GPS…, but we made it. After a short visit, we got to bed.

9/18 Wednesday

Another big drive (350 miles) to Decatur, IN. Another beautiful drive through the Appalachians, with dinner at Steak and Shake in Zanesville. Upon our arrival at Decatur, we got settled in Miss Zanzibar, then went shopping at the nearby Kroger store. Roasted chicken for supper. Ah, our own bed looked SO good!

9/19 Thursday

We had planned to do our final review with Fleetwood, then drive the rig to our next campground, 240 miles away. This is the longest trip in the rig we’d make since we began our trip in 2012. We decided it would be prudent to just lay low (stand down) for a day, since John had just driven so much the last 2 days. Thus, we went to the 9 am Fleetwood plant tour!! It was fun (no cameras) and we learned a lot. I really think a lot of the their work and communication with us concerning our repair issues. Here at their factory, we found out they have people who’ve worked here for years-little turnover. They do cross training, a great way to motivate for promotions and be able to shuffle people when some are out. They are SO efficient: they have “supermarkets” of hand size parts, where the employee can pick out what they needed when they needed it. There are actual vending machines with more durable small tools. Here the employee uses their employee card to check out the tool (like a saw blade). This lets management know if any employee is checking out an unusual number of tools (say to sell on Ebay). Best of all, it means the employee doesn’t have to walk a distance (they’re placed within every different work station) or wait in line for their tool. Management also orders supplies as they’re needed, similar to WalMart, so they don’t have inventory piling high all over the factory. We even got to see the paint shop. Impressive. The smallest stripe of color is the base color, because it would be too difficult to paint such a small shape accurately. We also learned that if you are adding LED lights to your rig, be sure to add all those on the same light switch, or they will age sooner.

List of repairs/services to be done:

Water leak at D/S (not the slide)

Top of D/S slide wiper seal not attached well (attached with 3M tape)

Top of D/S slide catches (screw?) when coming in (put in flat head screw)

Water leak at P/S when slide is in (dry now)

Screw catches P/S slide so it won’t go in (put in flat head screw)

Leak under bedroom window (dry now)

Roof center span may need repair-splitting (decorative vinyl strip-not needed)

Awning straps – broken (new replacements)

Front D/S awning “wrinkling” (tightened and screwed down)

Service generator (oil and filters changed)

Service A/C units (water spray coils clean)

Propane gauge set right? Says empty when it’s half full. (new gauge installed)

Bedroom TV not working (connected to correct wiring)

Outside TV outlet-working? (yes)

We found out we could add a ladder to the rear, but must first reinforce the rear cap frame.

After lunch we asked to have our final review with Greg, but he was soon to be in a meeting, so I told him of 2 concerns: the seal not staying attached at the top of the D/S slide and the A/C having a clicking sound. He told us a technician would be out soon to check it out. When Dan arrived, he said he needed to check it out in the repair shop, so we had to scoot, getting slides in and stuff put away. In the end, they determined the A/C sounds were due to the squirrel cage rubbing against it’s housing. They struggled to move it, but just couldn’t. They found a 3M adhesive tape to reattach the seal and gave us suggestions for further adhesive help with that situation. Greg was with us all at that point (inside the rig as the techs struggled with the squirrel cage), so we got the paperwork signed, then paid for. That night we prepared for our trip to Rocky Fork Ranch in Ohio. I also got a sore throat. Bummer! I can’t even remember when I last had a cold.

9/20 Friday

Driving the RV 238 miles to Rocky Fork Ranch Resort took about 5 hours, mostly on US 30, a great 4 lane divided highway. We took Hwy 250 (2 lane) to I-77 (busy), then exited onto a paved hilly, twisty road to our destination. On our way, in the beginning, John couldn’t get the transmission to go from 5th to 6th gear. Oh dear. He kept trying and it went eventually. We figured it is because we were traveling 55 mph which is the shift point. Later, our tire monitor read that there was no air in a back RV tire, that it was leaking. It took a mile or more to find an exit to pull off and check it. John said it looked okay, so we continued on.

Beautiful campground: Full hookups, with free great WiFi from the rig. Even large, wooded, with HORSES! They have a Final youth rodeo scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. After settling in, I got our laundry gathered (several days worth before we left Decatur, since there was no water or sewer there, then several days after we left Leavenworth) and started washing. Then we treated ourselves to the pizza they had at their store, on sale even! It was very good. Then I just rested on the couch (moving the wash) while John played on his computer. TV reception only through local antenna, sometimes, due to all those trees!


About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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