After we returned from Germany we were ready to head towards North Carolina for our Camp Host assignment at the Falls Lake State Recreation Area near Raleigh. First, we traveled to our “go to” RV park in the Grand Rapids area, Woodchip RV Park in Byron Center. This is a nice park if you want to get work done on your rig or visit people in the area as it is close to RV dealers and Grand Rapids.
Ever since my Dad passed away in 2010 I have tried to stay in touch with my uncles who live in Southwest Michigan. We made arrangements to meet my uncles at their favorite restaurant in Allegan. It’s their version of Cheers, “where everybody knows your name.” The owner and the waitresses all stopped by to say “Hi” to the “Hot Chocolate Guys.” My sister drove down to join us and we got a pleasant surprise when our cousin, Sandy, showed up with her dad. We had a great time bringing each other up to date and talking about our travels.
Two of Pat’s hometown friends live in Grand Rapids and we joined them for a wonderful fish dinner of Michigan Walleye at their house. Kay and Lynn are always fun to be with and we are never at a loss for something to talk about. Lynn is a former Barbershop Quartet singer and paratrooper so we have a lot in common. We had so much fun I forgot to get any pictures! We hope things will work out so we will be able to see them again when they are in Florida.
Quadra Manufacturing makes the Bigfoot Leveling System and their factory is in Southwest Michigan. Since Our Bigfoot System had been giving us some problems we made an appointment to have them work on it as we traveled south. Quadra Manufacturing is a small business in White Pigeon, MI and we have loved the service we get from them. Their technical support on the phone is totally professional and the service we have received when we have taken our trailer in for service is an example for others to follow.
Quadra was going to need the trailer for a couple of hours so we drove to Elkhart, Indiana to visit the RV/MH Hall of Fame. You know, you really can’t be a fulltime RVer and not visit your own Hall of Fame. The Recreational Vehicle/Manufactured Home Hall of Fame is dedicated to preserving the history and honoring the pioneers and individuals who have made significant contributions to the RV industry. It hosts the Northern Indiana Event Center and has a reference library as well of a museum of the RV industry.
One of their exhibits displayed the process of building RVs. I found it to be very enlightening.
We were able to see RVs that went back to the days of Henry Ford and the Model T. It was interesting to how RVs have been developed over the years. The oldest travel trailer in the world is the 1913 Earl Traveler and is the oldest surviving RV is on display here. The 1969 Pace Arrow was Fleetwood’s fir motor home. The oldest Winnebago and the smallest Airstream are also on display. Features that we take for granted today were not even dreamed about in these early vehicles.
Our next stop was Lexington, KY. The sole reason for stopping here was to visit an old friend from my National Guard days. We stayed at the Kentucky Horse Park. This is a state park with the mission to celebrate the history of our relationship with horses through education, exhibition, engagement and competition. The campground is a part of the Kentucky Horse Park and the sites are very roomy with plenty of trees. If we ever pass through this area again I will make a point of staying here.
We invited Bill and his wife, Phyllis, to join us at our campsite for dinner. Bill was my Operations Sergeant when I was in the Ranger Company in the Michigan Army National Guard. He was so dedicated that he would drive from Kentucky to Michigan every month for drill. He is the hardest working, self-sacrificing, and humble man I know. It was fun to sit with an old comrade in arms and share memories. At the same time it was sad to see that Bill’s health is not what it used to be and I hoped that this wouldn’t be the last time we would see each other. Once again, we got so caught up in talking that we forgot all about getting a picture – ARGH!
The next morning, September 28th, we were back on the road, headed for Pigeon Forge, TN.