Northward!

After our visit to Austin, Texas, we turned our wagon train northward towards Michigan for the summer.  We are returning to Leelanau for at least one more go-around, as we really enjoyed working at Wild Cherry. We met so many great people while we were there, and we want to spend more time with them!  We would also like to do some more exploring in the area. Our trip was a little bit faster than we planned, as my aunt hasn’t been doing well.  She fell and injured her neck, so we pushed a little harder to get back than we normally would have.  She is stable and in good hands, but we just really wanted to see for ourselves that she was ok.

On our way through Arkansas, we spent the night just south of Little Rock. We parked the rig, not even setting up, so we could get downtown to see the William Clinton Presidential Library before it closed for the day.  I’m going to borrow a thought from our friends Bob and Pat at Michigan Traveler and state that Diana and I like to visit Presidential museums, libraries and homes.  Doesn’t matter the party to us; if they were President of the United States, they’ve earned a place in history and our visit to their museum.  So please hold the political comments.  :). I’ll report on the nuts and bolts of the places.  Everybody has a different viewpoint on how they interpret the presentation of history, so I’m not even going to try to tell how I felt in this or any presidential museum…because you may feel differently.

The building itself was interesting in the fact that the upper floors were supported by this one set of columns on one end.  There’s the fire exit intertwined in it, unless you want to do a high dive into the Arkansas River.  🙂

Just inside the main door is one of the limousines used during his presidency.  Made in Michigan, as are most all of them.  This one is a Cadillac, but most have been Fords. 🙂

The Oval Office is an exact replica of how it was during Clinton’s term in office.

We have seen a few of these re-creations now, and this was the best…simply because they let you actually sit at the desk.  Of course they take photos of you and try to sell them to you for way too much money, but to sit at that desk and look around that room…well, that’s pretty neat.  Actually, that’s very neat!   I had to let that moment soak in for a minute.  🙂

They also had a replica of theWhite House Cabinet Room, which we found to be impressive.

The second and third floors were an open atrium with exhibits on both sides.  Those columns contain a portion of the hard copies of the library’s archives.

Bill and Hillary in their younger days.  I got a kick out of this photo, purely from the standpoint that we have college photos that could rival that.  🙂

Down the center of the atruim were these eight panels that discussed the timeline of each year of his presidency.  While we were viewing the displays on the back side of these panels, a small entourage walked through.  A woman was giving a tour to a well-dressed gentleman, and a few others were tagging along.  Then I noticed a man in a suit next to me, nonchalantly looking at a display.  He was wearing an earpiece…as were several others around the room!  Secret Service types everywhere. None of them were looking directly at us, but you bet we were being watched!  Not sure who the gentleman being given the tour was, but he had to have some major level of importance to be given that sort of protection.  Don’t make a false move, kids….

We enjoyed the Clinton Library, just as we do all presidential museums.  It was a very well thought-out design, and it was full of memorabilia and a plethora of information.

After we left Little Rock, we headed towards Indiana to see my aunt.  Earlier in the trip, I noticed I wasn’t able to get my expandable wheel chocks between the wheels on the passenger side of the trailer.  I thought maybe it was because I was on an unlevel surface…except it kept happening campsite after campsite.  Hmmmm….. Prior to our stopover at Effingham, Illinois, we noticed the right side of the trailer drooping. I thought one of our MORryde suspension springs was going bad, so I called ahead to MORryde headquarters in Elkhart, Indiana to schedule service.  Upon reaching Effingham,  I crawled further under the rig and noticed this:

Oops.  One of our sets of shackles had broken and the leaf spring was resting on the underside of the frame.  I called a local RV mobile tech who came out and installed new shackles on that one spring.  From there, we headed straight to Elkhart.

MORryde has six slots with 20/30/50 amp electric for people waiting for service to park in.  Even if you are scheduled to have service, it can take a few days to get in.  They are busy, and business is good.  So we camped there for two nights, listening to freight trains and the construction project next door.  Having read more than once about the scheduling and the trains on Howard and Linda’s RV-Dreams Journal, we rolled with it.  When we knew the first day that we weren’t getting in, we headed back an hour southwest with the Escape to see my 91-year old Aunt Marge. While the brace she was in seemed very uncomfortable for her, she seemed to be in fairly good spirits.  She definitely was getting good care.  If you recall our post from September 2014 called Paradise in a Corn Field, my aunt is a Roman Catholic nun.  She took her vows in 1946, after leaving home for the convent in the early 1940’s.  This will be her 70th year as a nun, and the Sisters are having a Jubilee in mid May.  We will be heading back down for that, as will the rest of the family.  Her baby brother, my Uncle Ed…who will be a very young 90 years old this year…also lives on the property.  The Sisters have a retirement community for the general public, and he hangs his hat there.  He’s my Godfather, and being with him is like being with my late mom again (before she had dementia)…funnier than all get out and sharp as a tack.  Those two were peas in a pod, and he chokes up at the mention of her.  No visit to see Aunt Marge is complete without seeing Uncle Ed.  He is doing fantastic.  🙂

Back at MORryde, we were able to get in the next day.  Sergio, our mechanic, came running out to tell us that they had a cancellation and that he was ready for us. Just like that, Clara was behind closed doors and Henry was all alone in the lot.

Ketchup and Mustard kept a lid on the situation.  🙂  About 5 hours later, we were good to go.  Sergio installed a heavier version of their MORryde vulcanized rubber shear springs than we previously had, much heavier duty shackles than before, new greaseable bolts (the original ones couldn’t be greased), checked the brakes and repacked the wheel bearings. I also had them readjust our pin box, as our trailer had been riding nose high.  Sergio had Keith bring the nose down two inches.  We still have plenty of clearance between the truck rails and the underside of the fifth wheel, and the lower front end will help us level easier in situations where we don’t unhook the truck and trailer for the night.  With us having the Escape to drive at our destinations, we don’t need to unhook…as long as the campsites are long enough.

 It is here I want to say something about the standard equipment suspension on most trailers.  Even though Colorado put on MORryde equalizers, they failed to put on greaseable bolts or heavy duty shackles.  Our friends Tracy and Lee at Camper Chronicles just had the same issue with their shackles on their Open Range fifth wheel.  They did as we did and opted for the heavier duty shackles and greaseable bolts.  They are headed to Alaska this summer and thank goodness that didn’t happen to them in the middle of the Yukon.  The heavy duty parts don’t cost much more, and I believe that they should be standard equipment on all trailers that still use leaf springs.

From MORryde, we drove 20 miles east to Shipshewana for a few nights.  We needed a break!  Nothing like planting yourself in the middle of Amish country to slow down your heart rate.  :). We enjoyed our time there, then headed back up to Grand Rapids.  I must say, the trailer felt like it was riding on a cloud. We needed to be in Grand Rapids to take care of a few things, in regards to Diana’s mom.  Once we are done here, we will be heading up to Leelanau!  If any of you are going to be up that way this summer, please let us know.  We would love to see you!
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26 thoughts on “Northward!”

  1. Read the post over at Camper Chronicles as well and learned something from both of your posts. The foundation part of RV construction has been the hardest part to research. I’m finding myself jumping back and fourth between 16,000 and 19,000 pound trailer ranges and would like to know your opinion. I’ll have to go back and read in your blog why you went with the trailer/truck combo you have.

    Karen’s up in Howell Michigan visiting her family. Next time we both head that way we are going to stop in Indiana to look at a couple trailers that are not sold locally.

    Looking forward to following your summer up at Wild Cherry. Karen and I have talked a few times about that area. We sat around on the front porch the other day going over some of the details you posted last year.

    Safe travels.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Mark! Glad my posts are helpful to you guys!

      On the frame and suspension, and why we chose our trailer: We bought used…and will in the future. I am very handy, and working on a rig doesn’t phase me. When it comes down to it, the only things I’ll shy away from are the suspension and frame. I’ll even repack wheel bearings and do brakes. Sitting in a repair facility waiting on warranty work would drive me crazy, especially since I could do it myself. Besides, used is a lot cheaper! Our Colorado is quite solid, and it has tons of windows. The layout is perfect for us too.

      The weight range you are talking about is more than what we are at, so I can’t be much help. For those weights, I would recommend a dually one ton, at least. G rated tires on the trailer. Disc brakes and IS on the trailer? Not sure…although it couldn’t hurt. One thing to remember…the more bells and whistles, the more things there are to break. Notice that my photos of MORryde are full of DRVs waiting for service. Great rigs, but they are a conglomeration of the same RV parts as our much cheaper Colorado. But that’s my opinion. 🙂

      Lee and Tracy might shed more light on this. Go to their website and ask them. Tell ’em I set you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a coincidence that you had the same issue as Lee and Trace. Nice that you were able to get it in for service relatively quickly. Enjoy your summer at Wild Cherry, we will have to get up there some day.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sure glad you discovered what your problem was with the trailer. That photo looks scary. Heavy duty anything gets my vote:)

    Glad you arrived safely back to the northeast to see family. Good to hear your aunt is doing well.

    We are heading east again as we do each year to see family. This time we will arrive in September and spend the summer traveling to get there. I am always ready for a return trip to Indigo Bluffs in Empire so we might get to meet up in August:)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Glad your issues were readily fixable and you had the time for a quick visit to check on family. Amazing to have been a nun for 70 years – I doubt there are many who can say that anymore, she must have amazing stories. Your Uncle Ed sounds like a special guy too! Looks like we’ll miss you as our plans are to be in Michigan in September 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, and the timing was pretty good for both of us. 🙂

      Glad I was able to send you and Greg tips on things to do in northern Michigan! Late summer and early autumn are a great time to be there.

      Like

  5. Bill commented on FB – but I will add my $.02 here!
    I totally understand how you feel about your Uncle Ed – I have a similar feeling with my Aunt Aura – only she is my Great Aunt – being my Grandmothers sister. When I am with her it makes me feel close to my Nana – who passed away in 2002. Visits with these members of our families are so important!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s interesting the things people PUT in museums. Of course that’s more a matter of who was left behind than the President they are supposedly celebrating. I agree with you about Presidents having “earned their place in history.” Then again, I still think that once the guy gets elected the concept of our form of government is that for the next four years we’re kind of supposed to support them. Even when we disagree, but that seems to have fallen out of style in recent years.

    I was thinking about RV dealerships and companies that cater to RV’ers — it seems that there aren’t as many of them that offer accommodations for their customers as we might like. Just an off-hand sort of thought. Dealers in the Midwest — including Camping World seem not to know the concept of customer camping.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, they definitely can skew the facts, if they choose to. I do have opinions on which museums do that and which ones don’t, but again…this blog is not about that. People might not know its there and may want to visit….and we explored that vista! 🙂

      On the camping spots at repair places: they shouldn’t need them, if they are on top of their scheduling. I granted MORryde a ‘bye’ on that, as we scheduled on the fly. We were a squeeze in. Plus, once you are in their building, they don’t let you leave until it’s right. That can back things up. I’m pretty sure that General RV has lots of boondocking space. No power, but for a few nights, no one should need it…unless it is cold outside. Oh, and Camping World; there are very few that even have space to pull a rig in to go to the store! That one that was near you on I-75 in Ocala is a prime example!

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    1. I asked in the office at the park. We had a great company that came out to Wild Cherry last summer, so I knew that the office in Effingham probably had a recommendation. He actually showed up on a Harley pulling a small trailer. He had almost everything he needed, short of my weight to help reposition the axle. He even had a Square to run my credit card on his iPad. 🙂

      Like

      1. Ok. That’s what I did after Lippert’s service department blew me off. I was hoping you had found a “magic mobile tech finder” website :-). Your blog looks good, I will start following it. I am always interested in where folks are and what they are doing. We are headed back to the same job in Wyoming we’ve had the last two years. Love the life!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ahhh…Lippert. That could bring more comments than a presidential museum! 🙂 They take a lot of heat on the forums, for sure. I have not dealt with them directly, so I can’t comment. Sorry they weren’t helpful in your case!

        A reference for mobile techs would be great! Until that happens, probably getting in touch with a sizable campground’s office would be the next best bet. I think if I was stranded in a parking lot somewhere, I’d look up the highest rated campground in the area and call for a recommendation.

        Thanks for the kudos on the blog! Have a great summer in Wyoming, Karen!

        Like

  7. Glad you caught it sooner rather than later. I’m going to make Steve look closely at ours tomorrow. Nice you’ll be back at your park in MI. I know you had such a nice time there last year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good idea, Debbie. You two have put a lot of miles on the Montana. I saw where someone said to look at the spacing between the head of the bolt and the radius of the end of the shackle. It should be the same all around. If it isn’t, the hole under the head of the bolt is probably elongated and worn.

      We are looking forward to getting back up to Wild Cherry again this year! Have fun in Colorado!

      Like

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