11.03.13 Bye Bye Decatur Indiana! Onward to Kentucky!!


The a/c hose we’ve been waiting on forever for Dora came in this morning and we are having it installed right now!!!!!! It went in perfectly and we will be leaving for Kentucky shortly.

In the last couple of days we’ve enjoyed watching Hallmark Christmas love story movies, made some gumbo and vegetable beef soup and attended Hope Missionary Church with Ron Aschliman and his children (the family that invited us to their house for dinner last week). Mama Nichole went to Florida for a surprise visit with her sister. Daddy Ron got all three children to church and they looked adorable!  Their church was wonderful and huge but very friendly.  The Pastors sermon was about the danger of making pleasure an idol. Very thought provoking.  After telling the sweet little ones and Ron goodbye we came home to endure the Saints game.  Ugly, ugly loss.  Woke up this morning to the good news that the part had arrived!

Some of our followers haven’t been with us from the beginning and haven’t seen the RV we live in.  They also might not know who we are referring to when we say Dora,  Boots and the Explorers.

Dora is the name we’ve given to our RV and Boots is the name of our toad which is a Dodge Dakota.  A toad is what RVers call the vehicle they tow behind them to use for  driving around the city or on trips when the RV is parked for a while.  We got the name Dora and the Explorers  from the TV show which we watched often with our granddaughter Madisyn since she was a baby.  Since we are exploring the USA we decided to be The Explorers who go with Dora.  Since Boots always follows Dora we thought it only appropriate for our toad to be called Boots since he follows our RV everywhere!

The link below is to an album of pictures of Dora on Facebook.  These pictures were taken by the Berryland Campers where we purchased her and some were taken by me.  We’ve replaced both of the old style TVs with flat paneled TVs so imagine nice flat paneled TVs where the ugly old clunky TVs are in the pictures!


When we get to Kentucky and start looking around there we’ll share those adventures with ya’ll. Have a great week and

Ya’ll come back now ya’ hear!

10.30.13 God sat us in the right place!

When we chose where we sat for the parade on Monday night we didn’t know that God sat us in the right place, right next to the Aschliman family.  Roy and Nichole (the mom of the Aschliman family) talked a good bit during the parade and we enjoyed seeing their children have a great time at the parade.  Roy gave Nichole our card with our blog address on it since I would be writing about the parade and they might like to see it.  When we got back to Dora (our RV) after the parade I received a text message from Nichole with a dinner invitation from she and her husband Ron for Tuesday evening.  Wow, we were surprised and quite excited.  A nice home cooked meal in a REAL HOUSE!!! How cool is that???

Nichole is a beautiful mom whose loving influence has created a comfortable and welcoming home.  Ron is a hard working dad who brings a strong Christian leadership to his family. Even though they are Indianapolis Colts season ticket holders we tried not to hold that against them!  If we happen to be here this Sunday they have invited us to attend their church with them.  They know we hope not to be here, but if we are we will definitely do that.

Ron, Nichole, Rosalyn and Roy

They have a huge 1000 acre farm where they raise corn, soybeans and 5,000 pigs!  The equipment is ginormous John Deere equipment and they have lots of it.  We climbed up on their combine and boy was it a different world up there.  Really cool too!

The soybeans that they grow. Little Holly shared these with me. We ate some of them raw and they taste a little like unsalted sunflower seeds.
The monster combine with Trevor, Melanie, Nichole and Ropy
Roy and I with the children, Melanie, Holly and Trevor
Melanie and Holly
Trevor went up to join his younger sisters Melanie and Holly

We went in one of the pig houses and there were pigs as far as you could see.  When we went in the pigs started squealing and running all around.  It was actually kind of funny but I felt bad for scaring the pigs!

One of the pig houses with the pigs scrambling around and squealing! This place was huge. They have a total of 5,000 pigs!
Outside the pig house is the machine that sends food into the pigs so their feeding is automated.

Their home is a three generation home where Ron’s parents and grandparents lived.  Ron and Nichole have made a lot of changes including putting in a beautiful pond and small beach.  The pond has a cement pier that the kids can either climb into the pond or slide into it or fish from it. The water is almost pool like, clear and blue! We could easily see the fish swimming in the pond.

The sandy beach and pond in their back yard
Some of the farm seen from the pier over the pond
Roy watching Melanie and Holly fishing in the pond
The pond with some of their farm fields in the background

The children Trevor (5th grade), Melanie (3rd grade) and Holly (Kindergarten) are adorable and we thoroughly enjoyed visiting with and playing with them.  Holly asked me during dinner how old I am and I asked her how old she thinks I am.  She said 31 so guess who my new best little friend is!!!!  We brought the kids a little craft making present and when Melanie opened it she said “You guys need to come visit more often!”  They are all three adorable, active, well behaved children who have so much room to play and explore.  They climbed on everything we saw no matter how high.  Trevor rode his four wheeler all around having a great time.  My heart stopped a bit when he rode real fast on the hill around the pond.  Made me remember the days when our oldest son and Chip rode their go-karts and caused my mama to have little heart attacks when she saw them!

Trevor after a fast ride on his four wheeler. Their home is in the background.
Two of the little monkey kids climbed up on top of their dad’s office in the barn!
Here’s Holly munching down on some soy beans!
Melanie’s riding the toy John Deere tractor!
Melanie showing us her tree swinging skills!

Melanie and Holly brought us down into their basement where they treated us to a couple of puppet shows.  We really enjoyed that and kind of felt like grandparents again being entertained by our grandchildren.  Neither Roy nor I have been in a basement before so this was a real treat! It’s a perfect place for the kids to run around and be creative.

Downstairs in the basement Melanie put on a puppet show for us with assistance from her sister Holly! We love it!
More of the puppet show in the basement!

The dinner Nichole and Ron cooked for us was delicious – grilled home grown pork chops, green beans, potato casserole and biscuits with pumpkin pie for dessert!  Northerners do know how to cook food with flavor – delicious flavor!

Looking out the door of the barn at some of the farm buildngs
This goes on the combine when they are harvesting soybeans
This is where the corn and peas live after they are harvested. The vehicle next to it rides along next to the combine during harvest. The combine dumps the picked product into this machine so the combine doesn’t have to stop while harvesting to unload.
Piggy houses!

Nichole shared with me some information about Amish that I did not know which explains some of the things I’ve seen. I’ve also read several books about Amish living and between the two I have a new respect and appreciation for the depth of dedication the Amish have to their faith. I plan to share some of what I’ve learned with ya’ll in a future posting.

God always knows what he’s doing and we can see His hand at work in bringing us together with this wonderful Christian couple and their family.   I thank God for His love for us and always knowing what we need. I thank Ron and Nichole and their wonderful children for allowing us into their home to share their dinner and Christian fellowship with us. I truly hope we will be able to stay in touch with them as we continue our travels. 

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

10.29.13 Church, Party and Parade!!!

We’ve seen The Bridge Community Church while driving around Decatur, Indiana and decided to attend their Worship Service on Sunday morning.  It was definitely a blessing for both Roy and I.  Dave Fox is the pastor at their North Campus and his sermon was on Jesus, Son of God.  Roy and I left wishing we were going to be staying around longer so we could come back to this church.  It has been very eye opening to attend various churches as we travel.  God can be worshiped in many different ways.  As long as the heart of worship is to honor God that’s what matters. 

2013-10-27_18-25-17_696We listened to the Saints on-line on WWL radio.  Loved hearing Jim Henderson and Bobby Hebert and Hokie Gajan calling the game, especially since THEY WON!!!

We came back to the church Sunday evening for their Fall Harvest Party.  The church is huge so they were able to hold the entire party inside the building.  It is a wonderful outreach to the community and the parking lot was packed when we got there.  Long tables of delicious foods were served, lots of games and photo op locations.  We loved seeing the little children in their precious costumes and we enjoyed the food we ate!

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Monday night the town of Decatur held its Callithumpian Parade which we’ve learned just means Noisy Parade.  It’s really a Halloween parade with lots of organizations having tents and booths set up selling food for fundraisers.  When we arrived the first things we noticed was that all along the parade route through downtown Decatur there were folding chairs along every inch of the parade route on the sidewalks.  They were not set up chairs but chairs in their bags just marking their space.  We walked around and checked everything out, then went back to the truck and got our chairs and marked our spot!  We bought a huge order of nachos with meat and cheese from one of the tents and enjoyed them while waiting for the parade.

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A really nice mom, dad and three children set their chairs down next to us. During the parade we got to visit with them and enjoy watching their children and the other children around us get so excited every time someone threw some candy to them. No beads and doubloons, but a lot of candy and even some llamas, yes llamas and they were in costume!! The parade was over an hour long and had several marching bands, some truck floats and lots of noisy emergency response vehicles making the name Callithumpian quite appropriate! 2013-10-28_19-52-49_286 2013-10-28_19-16-11_897  2013-10-28_19-19-31_105 2013-10-28_19-22-44_55 2013-10-28_19-24-14_540 2013-10-28_19-27-37_92 2013-10-28_19-27-42_218 2013-10-28_19-29-07_108 2013-10-28_19-30-13_564  2013-10-28_19-37-44_116 2013-10-28_19-43-27_579 2013-10-28_19-44-13_442 2013-10-28_19-51-21_493 2013-10-28_19-51-45_186 2013-10-28_19-51-50_482

Nichole is the mom of the family we sat by and before we left Roy gave her one of our cards so they could check out our blog.  She was nice enough to send us information about some places to eat or visit around the area since we are having an extended stay here.  We were very happy and surprised to get a text message from her later in the evening inviting us to dinner at their home tonight.  They live on a farm and are going to show us around the farm before dinner.  We are both so excited to get to see this part of living in this area up close.  We look forward to going tonight and will certainly be sharing our experience in tomorrow’s blog!

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It is amazing how God is opening up this town to us as we await the RV part to come in and be installed.  We were feeling very lost and anxious last week from being closed in with the terrible weather and no place to go.  He has turned it all around into a time we’re really enjoying and being blessed by!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!


10.25.13 Update on RV work and Thanks George!!!

Just a quick posting to update on our situation here in Decatur, Indiana.  On Friday Fleetwood found a company in Michigan who can make the part we need in 3-4 days and then they will ship it to Fleetwood who will install it here.  Since today is Saturday that means we’ll probably be here until late next week.

Roy stretched Dora’s carpet today and I took lots of laundry to the laundromat.  The young Amish man wasn’t there this time but two Amish ladies with black caps came in to get laundry out of the dryer while I was there.   I walked through Dollar General while waiting for my laundry and saw an Amish man and his son.  When they left they got into a car and drove away.  I’m starting to think the Amish here must be very liberal in their behavior compared to what I thought Amish were like. We plan to go to Berne, Indiana on Monday to check out more of Amish life.

I want to say a huge thank you to my sister’s husband George.  He helped us out recently by changing out the kitchen faucet at our rental house on Wardline Road.  He really came through for us since we aren’t there for Roy to  handle it.  I’m so thankful for family like him and Chip who have stepped up to help us since we are still so far away! Thanks George!

Ya’ll come back now ya’ hear!

10.24.13 Decatur, Indiana – our extended stay

559984_648823128471254_1388615469_nAfter all the hope and anticipation of getting to leave Decatur today, we’re still here and may be for a while.  The hose we picked up in Fort Wayne yesterday had a wrong size flange on it so it won’t fit.  They contacted the hose company and by the end of today we knew that they can’t get the fitting we need.  It’s closing time now and tomorrow is a new day and they will investigate further.  Tomorrow is also Friday so if a miracle doesn’t happen between now and 3 pm tomorrow we’ll be staying the weekend and who knows how long into next week.  We cancelled our week’s reservations at the RV Resort in Kentucky and told them we’d call back when we were on our way!

We had a squeak in the RV that the technicians noticed when they drove her so some of our time spent in the maintenance building today was them rocking Dora side to side to help them find the squeak.  Turns out a bolt in the firewall was loose and once they tightened it the squeak stopped.  Very thankful to them for taking care of this to make our ride quieter. 

At least we purchased a Monopoly game and movies yesterday and have lots of food to cook in my new induction pot!  We’ll have to get out and visit some more of the surrounding small towns while we’re still here.  Good thing Roy and I have a good marriage and can handle the close quarters situations like this bring!

Ya’ll come back now ya’ hear!

10.23.13 Hallelujah our time in Decatur may be over!!! Southern cooking Chauvin style!!

1157708_10152120770741258_1338774068_nHallelujah! We most probably will get to leave our spot in the Fleetwood parking lot tomorrow after 10 days here.

This has been the least liked part of our RV life so far sitting in a gravel parking lot in the freezing cold with no place to go. I’m very thankful it is coming to an end.  After days of waiting, the part being made in Fort Wayne, Indiana was finally ready.  Roy and I drove there ourselves to get the part.  Since we didn’t get back till almost closing time at Fleetwood we gave them the part and are quite hopeful we’ll get “the call” at 6 am that they are coming to get Dora to put that part in.  The weather the last few days has been cold, windy and rainy making it miserable to go outside for anything.  It may snow tonight but not too much which will be nice if it doesn’t prevent us from leaving.

We went shopping in Fort Wane after church on Sunday and bought 2 new pots for our induction cook top since all our old pots don’t work on it.  We have a 10” skillet, 6 quart pot and 2 quart pot and that should be all we need for everything I’ll cook.  The 6 quart pot is getting its first use tonight for some homemade chili.  We went to Wal-mart earlier today and bought the fixings for chili, vegetable beef soup and gumbo. This new pot will get broken in really well these next few days.  Since our freezer won’t hold several meals of any of those things I’m learning to reduce the amount I cook so we eat one meal and freeze one meal.


Just finished fixin’ the chili and eating a bowl of it.  It is perfect for a really cold spell like we’re having here.  Our son Chip will probably be drooling when he sees the picture I just sent him of our Chili!   It’s what I always cooked to welcome Winter to Louisiana.  We’re definitely in the midst of winter here so it’s time.   Notice the Styrofoam bowl, plate and plastic spoon!  All part of RV life at it’s best!


I really love induction cooking and would highly recommend it for RV life or sticks and bricks house life.  Induction pots are hard to find but we finally found ours at Target.  They are expensive but they cook so well it’s very worth it.  Remember when we were starting out and Roy was so worried he’d never eat good again? Well he doesn’t worry about that any longer!

We have reservations for 7 days in Park City, Kentucky when we leave here.  There are a lot of things to see around there and we can’t wait to get there! We may be in Louisiana in less than 3 weeks and are looking forward to winter in the south!


The World Series first game is tonight.  My Atlanta Braves are not in it but we love baseball and will be watching tonight cheering on the NL representative St. Louis Cardinals.

Ya’ll come back now ya’ hear!

10.15.13 Fantabulous tour at Fleetwood!

We went to the two and one-half hour Fleetwood Motorhome Factory Tour here in Decatur, Indiana this morning. The tour is conducted Monday – Friday at 9 am and it is freeeeee!!! There are five Fleetwood factories in Decatur. The factory we toured, shown below, is on 95 acres, 1.2 million square feet with a paint shop that’s almost 1,000 feet long. On average, this factory produces 18 units per day. They do not build any RVs that are not pre-sold.


This tour was far superior to the Winnebago tour we took last week.  The tour guide, Tom, had been with Fleetwood for over 20 years and knew just everything.  We all wore safety glasses and headphones so we could hear Tom no matter what the sound level was in the factory. He took us down on the factory floor for the whole tour.  We got to touch and see up close every aspect of the build. We learned that it generally takes 4 weeks for a class A RV like ours to go from start to finish.  They are not making any more the Excursion at the length ours is.  They’ve reduced it to around 33 feet.

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Fleetwood also makes American Coach RVs which is a higher level and cost between $400,000 to $650,000 for the 2014 models.   A little bit out of our price range but it was fascinating to see those up close.  The tour was an all walking tour and when we got back to Dora I was so tired I took a long, long nap.  Again we were not allowed to take pictures so I found some on the internet that others sneeked of this tour so you see some of what we saw.

Not only did we take this fantastic, informative tour today but the act of sale on our Brenda Drive rental house was held today!!!!!!!!!   Very happy to have this completed and we thank everyone who helped make this happen.  We are blessed with friends and family who pitched in to help get the house cleaned up and ready to put on the market.  Big, big thanks to our phenomenal real estate agent Jamie Johnson for making this happen so fast and go so smoothly.

We’re hoping for  6 am wake up call telling us to bring Dora in for servicing. Ya’ll come back now ya’ hear!

10.14.13 Fleetwood Factory and Service in Decatur, Indiana

521539_403488166393197_604151436_nWe left Grand View Bend Resort this morning and guess who drove Dora from our parking space to the end of the road where the resort ends – me!!!!!!!!!!!! It was my first time in the drivers seat and while I didn’t have to do anything fancy it was my first step towards learning how to drive this big girl!

We traveled south to Decatur, Indiana where the Fleetwood Factory and service facility is located.   We’re signed in and parked in spot #34 waiting for our number to be called.  We need to have the service department check out a few things including having our a/c checked. Not the living area a/c but the part that cools us while we’re driving in the front.  We’re hoping our extended warranty covers this!  We’re going to the 9 am tour of the plant in the morning and then on to Berne Indiana to see a Swiss cheese plant, a woodworking plant and more Amish folks.  Don’t know how long we’ll be here yet so we may be able to see even more.

We’ve been on the road for two weeks and traveled over 800 miles since leaving Lake Kabetogama.  We have over 900 miles still to travel until we reach Hammond, Louisiana  which is our home where we started from. We’ve both been a little homesick, especially missing our granddaughter Madisyn who just moved back to Louisiana with her mama.   We’re enjoying seeing this part of our country but are really looking forward to seeing familiar things again soon!

The act of sale for our Brenda Drive rental house is scheduled for tomorrow.  It will be nice to have that behind us and have those loans cancelled.   We’ll get to meet the folks who are renting our house on Wardline Road when we get back to Louisiana.  There is still a lot of country to see before we get there and I hope ya’ll stay along for the ride.

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!