Back Home In Elkhart

 Posted by at 12:17 am  Nick's Blog
Jun 192012

We were up and at it early again yesterday, so the Spartan Chassis tech could get started on our motorhome a little after 7 AM. Now I have to tell you something, you can call me a whiner and a sniffler and a crybaby all you want, but this getting up so early in the morning just really sucks. Yeah I know, the early bird gets the worm. I don’t care! I don’t eat worms in the morning, or any other time for that matter. I would much prefer to sleep in until 9 or 10, and let that silly early bird have the damn worms. I’ll settle for a couple of strawberry Pop Tarts and a glass of milk, or a bowl of Sugar Pops, thank you just the same.

Apparently the biggest problem with our motorhome was that we were overweight. No problem, by the time we left Spartan our checkbook was a whole lot lighter! And that seemed to do the trick.

Actually, they did a lot of work, including replacing both upper and lower ball joints on both sides, replacing a wheel seal, an alignment, and a whole bunch of other stuff. That included an oil change and filter, lube job, and routine maintenance Also, our front tires were really cupping and wearing unevenly ever since that big wind gust hit us. The tires are only two years old and have about 20,000 miles on them, so they moved the front tires to the left rear and moved the tires that were on that side to the front.

I asked the service manager if the damage to the front end could’ve been from that big wind gust that thumped us around back in Kansas, since the folks at Redlands Truck & RV Performance Center had just worked on the rig a few weeks ago in California. He said it was entirely possible, the coach is ten years old with 65,000 miles on it, and he has seen things like that before.

The weatherman had predicted some strong storms for the area, and about 11 AM one came rolling through with a lot of wind, thunder, rain, and some lightning. But it was a fast-moving storm and before long it was past us.

We left Spartan about 2:30 PM and drove 60 miles south on Interstate 69, and the difference in the ride and handling were very noticeable. They did a good job, I’ll say that for them. We got onto the Indiana Toll Road and pointed the nose of the motorhome west for the 52 mile run to Elkhart.

Almost immediately the wind picked up, and the further we drove, the worse it was. Even with all of the work we just had done it took everything I could do to control the Winnebago. A couple of gusts really blew us around, and the truckers were having a lot of problems with it too. By the time we got to Elkhart it was downright nasty and I was more than happy to get off the highway.

We pulled into Elkhart Campground and got hugs and warm welcomes from owners Bob and Gita Patel, and Bob’s mother and father. We have been coming here so long that we’re part of their extended family.

Unfortunately, that extended family lost a member earlier this year when Johnny, the older gentleman who was a work camper here and a fixture at the campground, passed away from cancer. We’re sure going to miss him.

We got parked and hooked up, then had a bunch of mail to go through that was here waiting for us. I also had a box of the new printed edition of Big Lake Lynching, and the book looks good! And speaking of books, I was delighted to learn that I’m again on the Kindle Review website’s list of the Top 100 Authors for June. That sure is a nice feeling.

big lake 2

After we were done with the mail we went to El Maguey, Miss Terry’s favorite Mexican restaurant in this part of the world. She had been looking forward to this all the way across the country. Unfortunately, we were both disappointed in our meals. The queso dip was lukewarm at best, they forgot to put the cheese on Terry’s taco, and it looked like they had just thrown everything on the plate with no thought. This is the first bad meal we’ve ever had in all the time we have been eating there, so we will just call this one a bad day, and hope for a better experience the next time we go back. And since Terry has a birthday on Friday, I suspect we may be going back there again soon.

When we got back to the motorhome, Terry started a load of laundry while I started to work my way through a big backlog of e-mails. Shortly after we got home, subscribers George and Linda Loutsenhiser came by to say hello. They actually own a house just a couple of miles away from the campground, but have it on the market and are living in their Newmar, waiting for the house to sell. We had a nice visit with George and Linda, thanks for stopping by!

As I’ve said many times, being at Elkhart Campground is like being at home. Come to think of it, we have probably spent more time here over the years that we have anyplace else in the country, so in a way it is home! And it’s always good to be back home.

Thought For The Day – I don’t have time to hate people who hate me, because I’m too busy loving people who love me.

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Nick Russell

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  11 Responses to “Back Home In Elkhart”

  1. DW’s motto: “The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.”

    We are not full timeers … nor likely to be ones. However, I have often wondered how full timers manage when they have very dissimilar sleep patterns. Terry and you seem to have the same sleep patterns. DW and I are very dissimilar, I up at dawn and enjoy the mornings, She is up around 9am or after, when we travel it is a push to get going by 9 or 10 … I am always all antsy.

  2. OK Nick, where do I buy my printed copy of BIG LAKE LYNCHING?

  3. We had the same work, ball joints, tie rods and tire rotation done a Spartan last year when our rig was 8 years old. We try to take it in for the 40 point inspection any time our travels take us near Charlotte.

    Safe Travels

  4. We were sorry to hear the passing of Johnny. Eldy had some long talks with him when we were there last year. He was such a nice man! We’re looking forward to “coming home” in October. That’s Eldy’s hometown and close to mine, S. Bend. We’re always glad to come back.

  5. Snowbird – We know many fulltimers with different sleep patterns. A lot of them like it because it gives them some “me time” while the other is asleep. Some get up, watch the news and enjoy a cup of coffee or whatever and let their partner sleep in. Others exercise, go for a walk, whatever their “me time” is. We almost never hit the road before 10 a.m., after the working folk have finished with their morning commute.

    Terry M – Go to and you can order a copy there. Or we’ll have some at our rally in Celina.

  6. Nick,

    Since you are loyal customers at El Maguey you owe it to the management to ask them in a polite way why your meal was not as good as usual? Management needs to hear from customers. They can’t fix something if they don’t know there is a problem.

  7. I am with you Nick this getting up with the birds is awful, for some reason this seems to be an extra long trip this time, maybe we sat in Washington to long and then getting up at 7 is really rough on me. I like to sleep until 9 or so. We have one more day on the road and then down for a week or so at my sisters. Then on to GNR. We need to have the motor home looked at. We noticed a couple of minor things this trip that we need looked at, minor we hope.

  8. Nick

    That makes two restaurants on that corner that aren’t that great, “Saulk Trail on 17”, didn’t warrant a return trip from us. Now Dandino’s in Goshen and Heinnie’s in Elkhart are two of Dale’s favorite places for prime rib. I usually opt for a salad (Dandino’s) or burger (Heinnie’s).

  9. Glad to see you made it to Elkhart. My Bonnie and your Terry share a birthday on Friday wow. Also Bonnie is retiring on Friday. Next Thursday we plan to head west for a month as far as Yellowstone. Our first stop is in the Elkhart area for a couple nights. Perhaps we will see you.

  10. I think your experience this time at El Maguey was a fluke. We ate there this evening, and it was amazing! We’re at the Elkhart Campground through Saturday. See you around the grounds!

  11. Hi Nick & Terry. We are so sorry to hear of Johnny’s passing. We had many conversations with him over the last few years and he was an interesting man with many tales. Please tell Bob & Gita ‘hello’…….they might remember us by telling them we have the truck conversion that spent a lot of time there the past 2 summers. El Maguey not one of our favorites last year either but then mexican food in the midwest isn’t the same as in the southwest.

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