Honey, We’re Home!

 Posted by at 1:43 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 282014

We definitely need new batteries. When we were boondocking Saturday night I ran our Onan generator for three hours. We turned everything off before we went to bed about midnight and the batteries were at 12.4 volts. When we woke up at 7 a.m. they were down to 10.8 volts. These are Interstate batteries that we got from Camping World about three years ago, but they are crap and have never performed well.

We had Lifeline AGM batteries in our MCI bus conversion and loved them. Even though we don’t boondock often any more, I think we’re going to go that route again, since we plan to upgrade to a residential refrigerator.

Bad weather was predicted for much of the Midwest and we wanted to get to Elkhart before it hit, if it did. From our overnight stop at Vandalia, Illinois we drove another 31 miles east on Interstate 70 to Effingham, then took Interstate 57 north 120 miles to U.S. Highway 24, then followed it east into Indiana.

A few days ago I posted a picture of a giant cross near Groom, Texas, and we saw its twin standing next to the highway in Effingham.

Giant cross Effingham Indiana

We always like traveling on the two lane roads through small town America whenever we can. That’s where you’ll find Main Street alive and well, not dead thanks to the big box stores and malls that build on the edge of town and bleed it dry.

Small town Indiana main street

People in small towns take pride in their homes and it is reflected in their tidy lawns and the flags they fly out front.

Tidy small town yards

Small town houses have their own character, not like the generic cookie cutter houses you see in suburbia.

Fancy Indiana house

The farms outside of town are just as neat and clean.

Tidy Indiana farm

U.S. 24 is a good two lane road that took us through several nice small towns and past a lot of farmland.

US 24 Indiana

Indiana silos

Indiana barn

At Reynolds, we turned north on U.S. Highway 421 and followed it north 58 miles to the Indiana Toll Road. About 5 miles before we got to the Toll Road we hit a rough railroad crossing that rattled the motorhome and jarred our teeth, and about a mile past it the driver of a pickup pulled up beside us honking his horn and pointing. I pulled as far over as possible on the very narrow shoulder and he told me we had lost one of the big chrome hubcaps on the motorhome when we crossed the tracks, and it went sailing off into a field beside the road.

There was no room to turn around, but since we had replaced that very hubcap a couple of years ago, at a cost of over $140, we didn’t want to lose it either. So I pulled as far off the road as I could, which still left half the Winnebago on the pavement, and put on my emergency flashers. Terry started to walk back toward the railroad crossing when a farmer and his son drove across their yard in his pickup truck and asked if she was okay. She told them what had happened, and he insisted she climb in and they drove her back to the crossing, right out into the field, and retrieved the hubcap, then brought her back to the RV. Meanwhile a couple of La Porte County deputies were coming down the road and they made a U-turn and parked behind me with their roof lights on to see if I needed any assistance. Did I mention that small town people are really friendly?

The wind had been bad all day and was even worse when we got on the Toll Road, but we only had 52 miles to go and managed just fine. I sure was happy to get off in Elkhart, and a few minutes later we were pulling into Elkhart Campground. We have been coming here for so long that this place feels like home to us. Owner Bob Patel and our pal Al Hesselbart greeted us with hugs and made us feel welcome. It sure feels good to be here!

We left northern Arizona Friday morning and arrived here in northern Indiana four days and 1750 miles later. We have a lot to do in the next few days; picking up the the new issue of the Gypsy Journal at our printer in Michigan and getting it mailed out, and then we have to start preparing for the Escapade rally. I am doing four or five seminars there and we’ll have a vendor booth, so there are RV guides to print and Power Point presentations to go over. But first we plan to sleep in today, so if anybody calls or comes knocking on our door, we’ll be ignoring them. We deserve the rest!

Congratulations to Brad Kalberer, winner of this week’s drawing of an audiobook of Big Lake Blizzard. We had 187 entries this time around, and if you haven’t won yet, don’t give up. A new drawing starts this week.

Thought For The Day – Some people create their own storms, then get upset when it rains.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  16 Responses to “Honey, We’re Home!”

  1. Sometimes I think you two are either very naive or very foolish one or the other. First you write about opening your door at night to some woman you never saw before and letting her into your camper just because she says she knows someone you only know on the internet. And now you let your wife get in a truck with 2 men you never saw before and drive down the road in the middle of nowhere for a stinking hubcap???? How do you know they wouldn’t have drive off and youd never see her again? I would think with your background you would know the world is a dangerous place full of all kinds of weirdoes. Why would you take such chances?

  2. Gary, I bet you never lived in a small town where door keys were unknown and no one locked their doors and some never even removed the keys from their cars. Bet you were never a camper where trailers never got locked up in campgrounds. Or hitch hiked as your prime method of transportation to and from college. Small towns and campgrounds (not RV resorts and big cities) are a totally different society where friends and trust reign supreme. Its a great life

  3. We purchased our glass mat batteries in 2000 at the spring Escapade. San Bernardino? Forget. We purchased our new Alpenlite 5th wheel in 2002 and had the dealer swap the batteries and he also ripped out the factory battery wiring and installed 00 gauge? Wire. We also have solar panels on the roof , a solar regulator and an inverter. So then we full timed until 2007 and now we just travel from May until November. Any way we still have the same glass mats and the batteries have never been below 13. something. We put new batteries on our list every year to no avail. We are on our fifth set of starter batteries for the freightliner fl-60 that is also 13 years old. So, we would go with glass mat.
    Glad to see you got to Indiana ok. Lots of bad weather around.

  4. You might want to check your charging system instead of blaming the batteries, that might be where you find the bovine excretement.

  5. I want to know how that mattress is working out??? Still sleeping good??? I’ll check back when the weather warms up!!

  6. Nick,
    Glad you got that hubcap back, but I’ll have to side with Gary (above) on this one. I think Miss Terry is worth far more than a hubcap. Yes, Al, we used to leave our doors unlocked as well, but that was 40 years ago. I’d think twice about doing it today.
    It’s good to hear that you’re all settled in at Elkhart CG. We’ll be there for a few days before the Escapade and hope to get a chance to say hi!

  7. so glad to hear you missed the bad weather and got to Elkhart OK. Also glad you got the hubcap back. i have to agree that small town folk are so different from city folk. Here we seldom lock the rig or our shed, only time really is when we go off to town. I do have to agree with the folks about Terry getting into a strangers truck.We had to replace our batteries two years ago and stayed with the AGM Mike is not the best person to keep check on batteries that need water put in them. These are a bit expensive but sure worth the money.

  8. Yes, it is important to remain on the safe side these days, but I think Nick is an excellent judge of character and would have an immediate gut feeling if something weren’t right. I know he’d never put Terry in any kind of harms way. Maybe it’s because I’m from a small town…maybe it’s because we live full-time in an RV, but you develop a skill for knowing what’s safe and what’s not and just have to go with your guy instincts.

  9. Gary, as I wrote, the farmer and his son drove across their yard to pick her up. Most people intending to kidnap someone and do them harm would not do it from in front of their house. Sometimes you have to put paranoia aside and just live your life. Neither Terry nor I are naive or foolish. We’re just not willing to look for the bad in every situation either.

  10. I agree with you that life is too short to live in constant fear. You keep your eyes open and be aware of your surroundings, But I give most people the benefit of the doubt, even in the city ( and my sticks&bricks are in suburban Chicago). Midwest folks will always try to lend a hand.
    Hang on tight for the rough weather coming our way. It, too is pretty common this time of year in the midwest!

  11. So refreshing to hear about the nice folks you encountered…tis true that small towns can be great places to live. We lived 20 months near a small on in SE WA state…Dayton…like stepping back into the 1960s too…we cried when we had to move on. A place of peace and serenity that we shall forever remember.

  12. Gary,
    I am neither naive nor stupid. At nearly 62 years of age, I’ll trust my gut instincts and at this point in my life (and in open farmland, nearly at the farmer’s front door) I’ll trust my grown-up, life experienced gut instinct where people are concerned every time. The value of the hubcap is moot. It was the inconvenience and the repeat loss that offended me! (The fact that the County Deputies were pulling in behind the motorhome as I crawled into the truck with the farmer and his son also had an impact on my decision.) I was never out of sight of either one! By the way….. I didn’t give Nick time to react one way of the other! I’m very comfortable in my life and I’m happy with my decisions.
    Miss Terry

  13. Glad to see you both made it safely, we are getting ready to head out to Rapid City, SD, for AVC Mega Rally starting May 13th. Have fun at the rally may our paths cross in the near future.

  14. Hi my son lives in out in a farming area and the folks are kind of like it was when I grew up on a farm in the 50s. Helping out any one in trouble. Also glad you missed the bad weather. Welcome back to Midwest.

  15. Nick & Terry
    My Wife said that if that was her the guys would probably be better off taking off with me than her. 5′-2″ tall and Irish. Oldest in a family of 7. My guess she and Terry are a lot alike, LOL


  16. Point taken – no Interstate kinda’ sorta’ deep cycle batteries.

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