Wednesday, December 24, 2014

New 5th. Wheel – Getting used to the weather

Monday morning we were on the road by 8:30am heading north toward Tampa. I driving the Motorhome, Wilma driving the pickup behind me. A little nerve wracking as I haven’t driven the Motorhome on the Expressway in 3 years and Wilma was driving with no license, as we have not received anything from her lost purse.

Arriving at General RV, we had a few hour wait before our appointment time, so as the sales girl said “We will be getting with you shortly”. I forgot “this is Florida” and the locals think differently than we do in Michigan. “Shortly” could mean “Sometime today”.

They did take the truck to install the new hitch when we arrived, but for the next 5 hours we waited and waited. Finally around 3pm all the paperwork was completed and they pulled the motorhome next to the 5th. wheel for us to transfer our “stuff” into the 5th. wheel. That took us another 2 hours! We were beat when we were done and we still had a 2 hour drive to the RV Park….in the dark.

We arrived at the RV park and two neighbors came out to help guide me into our site as it was pitch dark when we arrived. I didn’t even unhook the RV from the truck, we just ate a hot dog for dinner and went to bed.

2014-12-23 16.15.52 Now the fun begins of figuring out what “stuff” we want to keep and what to donate to charity, as we have way too much “stuff”. That should take us another couple days at least.

Tuesday we went to Wal-Mart to do our grocery shopping. The sky was blue and sun shinning. The weather here sure doesn’t feel like what we left in Michigan!

 2014-12-23 13.01.41Had to take a photo of the readout in the truck. No, it wasn’t parked in the sun either! 79 F. at 1PM. Gotta love it!

Wilma and I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Heading to Florida-Lost Purse-New 5th. Wheel!

Haven't been able to post earlier as we both have been busier than beavers, and by nightfall totally exhausted.

We left Michigan at 7:30am Tuesday morning and headed for Florida. The new 2014 Ford truck ran great. We drove to just north of Knoxville, TN before we stopped for the night. As we were getting the luggage out of the truck, Wilma said: Oh my gosh! Last February on our way back from Florida, we stopped for the night just across the street at another hotel! Now what's the odds of that!

Wednesday's ride took us all the way into Florida. But we stopped around noon at a Denny's 50's Cafe and had lunch. Nothing out of the ordinary, at least it seemed to us at least. But when we arrived in Florida and had stopped at a Cracker Barrel for dinner, Wilma became panicky. Where's my purse!!?? I can't find my purse! OMG no...please no! But after an hour of searching every square inch of the truck it was apparent that she had left her purse at the Denny's Cafe back in Georgia. I having a Smart phone looked up the phone number of the Denny's. Wilma made a frantic phone call asking if they had found the purse. No was the answer. Another phone call to the security office of the Outlet Mall where Denny's Cafe was located. Again, no purse turned in. Maybe you left it at the Florida welcome center? Another phone call to the Welcome Center and another "No Purse turned in". So she has lost her purse. Charge Cards, Cash, Keys, Wallet, all gone. But the most important thing was her father's pictures from his wallet that she had carried with her since he was killed back in 1972. Those were un-replaceable. And that was what bothered her the worst.

Neither of us could tell you what we had at Cracker Barrel for dinner that night as our minds were concentrated on the lost purse. After checking into our Hotel for the night I started phoning the charge card companies reporting the lost cards. All of them said that there was no activity on the cards. But no matter, we didn't get much sleep that night.

Thursday drive started out very quiet. Every once in a while I would look over and see a tear running down her face. I just knew what she was thinking. Those photo's that belonged to her dad, that she had held onto for so long.

I started conversations with her about the RV Show in Tampa in January that we are planning on attending. Then she mentioned that we should stop at General RV on our way to Port Charlotte. Great idea I thought, it would at least take her mind off of the lost purse for a little while.
We made our stop at General RV and after 5 hours of dickering we found a 5th. wheel we liked and a price that was less than the General RV show price in Michigan a few months ago. Feeling as we have accomplished what we planned, Wilma suggested we just get it and forget about going to the show in Tampa in January. Which would save us a 250 mile round trip ride, plus another 250 mile round trip ride with the Motorhome and the Truck to pick up the new 5th. wheel. After thinking about that, we made the deal. An appointment was set up for 1PM Monday to pick up the new 5th. wheel and turn in the Motorhome.

Friday morning came and we had our breakfast at the hotel in Port Charlotte before heading for the RV Park. Arriving at the park we headed for the storage area to get the Motorhome. It was slow starting but after a few tries it did start. I drove it over to our site, Wilma followed in the truck. First thing I just had to do was wash all the Summer Florida dirt off of it. Just couldn't stand the thought of trading it in looking like it did.

Saturday morning came with the sunshine entering our bedroom windows. The work began shortly afterward getting all the "stuff" out of the basement of the Motorhome. No sense in trying to load all that "stuff" into a smaller 5th. wheel at the dealer. So we piled it up on our patio, with a tarp covering it all. By 4pm we were tuckered out. Ate some supper, phoned dad at 8pm and were in bed by 8:15.

Sunday morning we were greeted by another sunshine morning. Temperatures got up close to 80. Actually worked up a sweat! Haven't done that in over a year! We both continued working on removing "stuff" from the Motorhome and were done for the day by 2pm. Greg and Cherie, our neighbors, invited us over for a roast beef dinner. Was that ever nice and we were so appreciative. Around 9pm Wilma and I went to bed, thoughts of "this will be our last night sleeping in our motorhome that we have owned for 14 years". We fell asleep with thoughts of great times we have had with our motorhome.

BUT.....like a 5 year old on the night before Christmas, I woke up by 10:30pm excited and ready to make the 125 mile drive to get our 5th. wheel! Oh no! It's now after midnight and we both have a very hard day ahead of us tomorrow. So I'll try again to fall asleep.

Until next time, be safe and God Bless


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Fire and Ice

A little excitement today. While returning home from some shopping, we noticed thick black smoke rising into the sky. We knew right away that there was one heck of a large fire burning.

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Sure enough there was a restaurant on fire, flames bursting through the roof within minutes.

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Fire departments from 3 cities responded to the call. Traffic was blocked for miles.

I have a video on YouTube here at this link: http://youtu.be/o8D6Yq0fNWg

Later today the temperature continued to drop, and this evening we had another light dusting of snow.

Kybee-Snow

Can’t wait to leave for Florida and those 80° sunny days!

Until next time, be safe and God Bless.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Getting Ready for the Cold Weather

Yesterday as the temperature was in the 60’s, and the sun shining, I made a trip to Dads’ house to pick up some of the leaves in the yard and get the gutters cleaned out.

I didn’t even bother to knock on the door and let him know what I was up to. I figured as soon as he heard my leaf blower he would be outside ready to help.

Dad loves his Lawn Tractor

I almost had all the leaves out of the gutters on the garage and house, when I heard the tractor start up.

Easy way to pick up the leaves.

He is such a proud man, that he doesn’t feel confortable getting help from anyone, especially from me after the hip replacement and back surgery I went through earlier this year. I assured him I was fine and that I wanted to get those gutters cleaned out before the cold snap. A few hours later and the job was well done.

Arriving home Bob, our neighbor, came over to tell us what has been happening this past week at their house.  Randy just went through two brain surgeries! Bob has been running back and forth from the hospital, to work, and back again for the past week, totally exhausted, and stressed. He mentioned he has been living on McDonalds chicken nuggets all week. That evening Wilma prepared a home cooked pork chop dinner and took a plate over to him.

This morning started out sunny with calm winds, so I went to work getting my gutters cleaned out. After that job was done I headed over to my next door neighbor’s house to get the leaves picked up in his yard. I knew I had to complete these two jobs today as the weather man on the TV are predicting some cold weather to arrive late this afternoon or tonight.

Nov 11th. - 17th weatherAll that fresh outdoor air and physical activity called for me to reward myself with a nap today. Open-mouthed smile

This evening’s dinner was spent at Applebee's. Each Veterans Day they honor Veterans with a free meal. What a great honor it is to join my fellow Veterans for Applebee’s generosity. We left early, around 4pm, as we knew from past years it gets very crowded closer to the dinner hour. Even arriving early, the parking lot only had about 5 open spaces. There was a line starting to form that stretched outside. The place was packed and we had a delicious dinner, even spoke with the manager as she made her rounds thanking all the Veterans.

From this Vet to all other Veterans; Thank You for your service to our Great Country. Job Well Done!

Until next time, be safe and God Bless

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Medicare!

I’ve been blessed to have worked a full career where my employer had paid for our families health care. Then after retirement, I pay $130.00 per month to keep the plan, but it’s only available until you turn 65. Then it drops off. That’s when our Medicare kicks in, and to my surprise and eye opening, with substantial monthly premium increases!

We had an informational meeting with a company that specializes in explaining all the Medicare plans available along with pricing. WOW what an eye opener I had!

I was expecting an increase in monthly premiums, but not quite as much as I was shown. But it is what it is and next May I’ll be joining that group of “ol-folks” who are all in that same boat.

I have to commend David Burkart of Senior Benefits Group. He spent 3½ hours with me going over the separate plans Medicare offers. Plus with the help of his tablet, showed me all the participating private insurance companies that offer supplemental insurance, along with their monthly premiums.

David sure did save me hours and hours of research time on the computer, and I’m very thankful we had this meeting. When it gets closer to my 65th. birthday, all it will take is a short phone call to him and he does all the paperwork for me. No charge! I asked him who pays his company and himself to furnish this type of service. His response was the insurance companies. So I said that if I went to the same insurance company that we picked, I could get the same policy for less monthly costs because they don’t have to pay your company. He assured me that I would find the exact same price.

So this morning I did just that. I got on the web, went to the insurance companies web site, clicked in my choices and presto…..the exact same monthly premium! So I feel confident David was telling me everything truthfully. For those who might be questioning, the insurance company from AARP furnished me with the most coverage for the least monthly premium. This will be looked at yearly, by making a phone call to David for updates.

I would highly recommend anyone getting ready to sign up for Medicare to get in touch with one of these types of companies, to go over all the options. There is way more to it than the average person knows!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Beautiful Fall Weather = A Trip to Frankenmuth

I had promised Wilma this past winter, a trip to Frankenmuth. The sky has been a perfect shade of blue, the sun has been shining bright, little to no winds…just perfect fall weather! Perfect for a fall trip, so it was time to go!Our Neighbors Tree

We made reservations for two nights at the Marv Herzog Hotel. A small hotel by today’s standard, located on the main street of Frankenmuth, MI. but it had the best atmosphere you could want.

Where we stayed.

Music from Marv Herzog played softly in the background. Every one of the Staff members were just the best with their service to the patrons. The Hotel was erected in honor of Marv Herzog.  More information about the Hotel, click: Story behind the Hotel. 

Marv Herzog Hotel Lobby

Photo above taken from the second floor looking down at the Lobby.

The room we had on the second floor was clean and cozy.

To the Balcony

The Hotel is located on the Cass River, with a beautiful patio and scenery.

The patio of the Hotel overlooking the Cass River

Our first night we had a dinner at the Frankenmuth Brewery.

Wonderful is how to explain our dinner and atmosphere!

Had dinner here. Great Food!

Inside the "Brewery"

Just had to try out one of their beers! My choice was the American Blond Classic Ale. Very smooth and not too lite. I’m really not a fan of the dark Lager beers.

Selection of beer

As we arrived in Frankenmuth on a Wednesday, it was I believe the best time to arrive. Very little tourist, no crowds to deal with.

Not many tourist during the week

Frankenmuth is known for it’s “Fried Chicken Dinners”. The first restaurant Zehnders is where I have the most memories. My parents used to choose this restaurant over all others when we made our trips here.

The Original Chicken Dinner Restaurant

Their competition is located just across the street! Bavarian Inn is much larger, and offers the same type of dinners.

One of two famous restaurant's for fried chicken dinners

The Bavarian Inn needed room to grow, so a bridge was established over the Cass River for access to their other attractions. Hotel, Waterslides and shops to purchase just about anything related to the German atmosphere.

Bridge used to get to other Bavarian Attractions.

We had a great assortment of German style foods for lunch and dinner. Did plenty of walking, getting in the exercise we need, and just had a wonderful time together.

Until next time, be safe and God Bless.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Grandparents Headstones

Dad and I made a trip to Forest Lawn Cemetery to tend to the headstone of his Grandmother, Christine.

Second Stone in from the road, Christoph Hagedorn Grave Plot

Through the years the sod seems to just grow over the stones that are placed flat on the ground.

The C.H.Hagedorn Plot at Forest Lawn

Dad and I worked on cutting the sod back away from the stones. Then we had to lift Christine’s stone to fill in under it bringing it up to ground level. Job Well Done!

Dad's Grandfather, Christoph & Grandmother Caroline

Afterward, Dad mentioned that he doesn’t know if he will ever be back. I assured him that I would keep check on the plot, at least for another 20 years or so. Dad, being 87 years old has only 1 sister still living, and she is 99 years old. They are the last of that generation.

From Forest Lawn, we made a visit to Mt. Olivet Cemetery where my mother’s parents are laid to rest.

Grandpa Otto Ebenhoeh 1899-1979

 Grandma Marie Ebenhoeh 1901-1974

It looks like the sod is starting to grow over the markers here also. I will give it about 3 years and check on them again, probably will have to do some sod cutting then for sure.

The photo’s were taken with my Samsung S5 phone so as to get a good GPS reading on the locations. Plus I used my Garmin GPS in the truck to mark the spots. I did this for future reference, and for my offspring if they wish to go to the grave sites. Don’t know if my family will go there, as both cemetery’s are in the heart of Detroit, and NOT in a desirable area.

Garmin GPS readings: Forest Lawn, N 42 degrees 24’32.5”  W 083 degrees  01’49.7”                                           Mt. Olivet  N 42 degrees 25’ 18.8”  W 083 degrees 01’ 18.2”

On the way home, Dad was talking about when he and mom dated. The different places they used to go. I decided I would take a detour and take him down some of the streets he was talking about. He was taken back at the condition of the area. “Such a shame” he kept saying. I turned down Schoenheer just South of 7 Mile Rd. Mom was raised in the middle house in the photo below.

Center White House: Grandpa/Grandma Ebenhoeh's home.

Dad just couldn’t believe how run down the area has become. I have many fond memories of the good times the family had in that house. The Thanksgiving Dinners watching Grandpa carve the turkey. The hide n go seek games us grandkids would play in that “huge” house. As a young boy, the summers when I would spend 2 weeks working in Grandma’s rose beds. Sitting on the front porch with her eating a bowl of ice cream. So many fond memories. Like Dad said, “Such A Shame” the area has turned from what it was, to this today.

After our stop to take the photo above, we headed north to go back home. Stopping in a local restaurant we had lunch together. What great, quality time I had this day with my dad.

Until next time, be safe and God Bless.                                         

Friday, September 5, 2014

Kentucky Family n Friends Visit

We just returned back home from our annual 2 week trip to Kentucky to visit family and friends. There were two large events scheduled this time. The first one was Wilma’s 45th. High School Reunion that she organized, and a week later was her annual Family Reunion.

Class of 1969 School Mates

Wilma has been organizing the reunion “long distance” for the past 6 months. Pam, a school mate living in Kentucky, helped her by handling the $$$$.

Setting up the "Dishes to Pass" table

As the class was fairly small, everyone was asked to bring a “dish to pass” to help keep the cost down. This idea turned out real well.

Classmates ready for a fun evening

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As the party progressed and the DJ played all the right songs, many even got up to dance! Smile

Cutt'n up the floor

As I stayed with Wilma’s brother Eddie, and didn’t attend the class reunion, I could tell from listening to her the next day how successful it was. Everyone had a great time together and even elected to have the reunion every 2 years instead of every 5 years.

The next morning we just had to stop at a country restaurant and get some of that good ‘ol country cook’n!

Stopped here for a country breakfast Great "Country" feeling in this restaurant

From there we went to visit Wilma’s Aunt Rita. We were all happy to see her, as it’s always a great time to be around her.

A wonderful visit with Aunt Rita

Wilma, Aunt Rita, Eddie, and Cousin Becky

Another day we went to Owensboro, KY. to eat some Mexican food. Eddie and Beth told us about “The Silver Bullet” restaurant located on the banks of the river.

The view was great looking out over the river

Our View looking out at the river and fountains.

Ate too much!

And everyone just felt like we ate too much!

The next day we made a special trip to see two cousins. Cousin Greg and Cousin Rosa.

Cousin Greg's "canning shop"

Greg is known for his generosity of giving away farm fresh canned goods. This year he, with the help of family and friends, processed over 23,000 ears of corn! That’s not counting all the other veggies he gets from his garden.

We left Greg’s home and made a special visit to see Cousin Rosa. She was diagnosed with Cancer a few months ago. She is the sweetest, kindest person you could ever meet.

Wilma with Rosa

She is such a cheery, positive person! An inspiration to all of us.

A few days later was the Annual Family Reunion. Last year Cousin Greg suggested that we have a Raffle to raise $$ to pay for the Community Center. It went over better than we thought, so this year we did another Raffle.

Gifts being Raffled off.

But before the Raffle, we enjoyed more of that great “Southern Cooking”!

More that enough food for all.

Can’t forget Wilma’s Aunt Dean!

Aunt Dean

It was decided by family that all the proceeds made from the Raffle would be donated to Rosa to help cover expenses. She and her husband Terry was ever so grateful to everyone.

Rosa and Terry

Get well Rosa, and we will see you next year! And as you know, we all Love You and are praying for you!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Grandkids Camping

We just got back from a beautiful fun filled camping trip with our 5 Grandkids. We stayed at Lake Shore Resort, not only for it’s location being close to home, but because it has everything the kids like. The 4 Granddaughters rode with us, Grandson Dakota was arriving a day later with his mom, Tina.

2014-08-04 Breakfast before Camping

We stopped at a local restaurant for lunch on our way to the Resort. They liked that they could choose either a lunch or a breakfast. After everyone had their fill, we were off for our 1 hour trip to the resort.

We used to stay in our Winnebago on these camping trips. Because of the sleeping arrangements, we could take at the most three of the kids at a time. Since we have left our Winnebago in Florida, we rent a Cabin at the resort. It will sleep 8 so we have plenty of room for all. Plus everyone gets to go on the same trip instead of splitting it up.

IMG_0946 Kitchen area.

IMG_0945 Deck on two sides of Cabin.

So much to do in just 3 days! There’s fishing, swimming, kayaking, campfires, arcade, putt-putt golf, just to name a few.

2014-08-05 Brooke on the fishing dock.

2014-08-05 Kayaking & Paddleboating

Can’t forget the “Lazy River” that even the adults enjoy.

IMG_0812 Tina & Brooke

The Resort is so big that sometimes it’s easier to just “Load ‘em Up” to get from one side to the other. The new truck really came in handy on this trip.

IMG_0901 Ready to go!

It’s always been a tradition that we do certain things each trip. One of those is playing Putt-Putt Golf.  However, this trip I really wasn’t up to playing and Wilma sat it out also while we watched the kids having fun.

IMG_0862 Let the fun begin.

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And always after a game of Putt-Putt there is the annual bowl of ice cream to enjoy.

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Another tradition we always do is have a lunch on the beach.

IMG_0949 Lunch at the Beach.

IMG_0950 Catching Minnows

Can’t forget the annual “Watermelon seed spitt’en contest”

IMG_0988 Haley won the farthest seed spitten contest.

And in the evenings we always have a campfire to make S’mores and Campfire Ham N Cheese.

Behind our Cabin

P8040014 Evening campfire.

IMG_0930 Campfire Ham N Cheese

P8040016 Haleys' S'more.

What a Great Time we all had! Many memories were made to never be forgotten. Wilma and I feel so Blessed that we are able to enjoy this time with our Grandkids.

2014-08-06 Famous Tree in the Middle

Until next time, Be Safe and God Bless.