Wednesday, August 16, 2017

July-August - Amish Country, IN, OH, and our trip home!

AMISH COUNTRY!


We pick up our blog in Middlebury, Indiana. We stayed at the Elkhart/Middlebury KOA on a really great site ($75 night for our RVing friends). Very nice large site with furniture for sitting both on the slab next to us and in the "back yard" where we spent lots of time under the trees reading. Enjoyed some downtime while we were here, but here's a few things we did.

This is in downtown - is this not the prettiest trash can you've ever seen? They're all over town! So pretty. 




We went out to eat at an amazing Amish restaurant - oh my goodness, do these people know how to cook! Whew, no losing weight on this stop!
 



Check out this intersection we saw downtown!
 

All over town, they have these statues depicting post professions in every area of life. So cool.


We're in the heart of Amish country here - I never tire of seeing these beautiful peaceful farms. 






Someone told us about this amazing pizza buffet in town called East of Chicago, so we hadn't had pizza in a long time, and much to our surprise, it was filled with the Amish. I think this was all one family there were about 18 of them, and it was interesting to see the younger ones eat! Whoa....let's just say the restaurant didn't make any money off them. Ha But seriously, I envisioned their normal life and routine, and it must be really special for those ladies on a Friday night, not to have to cook! 


And lead me not into temptation! Yikes....

 













































On our way to OH!
 



We're staying at the Wapakoneta KOA ($58 night). Wapakoneta is the home of Neil Armstrong! Really beautiful weather. Perfect for sitting outside reading and loving just being together. We'll celebrate our anniversary here and see what there is to do. This was just an almost unplanned stop as we have to get to our friend's place in Oakwood, OH where we'll leave the RV to fly home for a few days.


The owners of the RV Park, John and Debbie are the nicest people! We just may plan to come back here. We asked their advice on a special place to eat tonight to celebrate our anniversary, and almost simultaneously they recommended Old City Prime in downtown Lima. So here we are....













At the end of our meal,  our server, Shane appeared with these two cupcakes. What you can't see is that each of them had a sparkler in it, so it made quite the spectacle. And if that wasn't enough, the host of the restaurant entered the room singing (awesome acoustics in that high ceiling room, by the way) what was almost like an operatic aria. Very good voice, very LONG and personalized, all about love over time, and 47 years and memories, etc. etc. I don't remember it all, just felt more than a little embarrassed at the length of the song, and the attention we obviously received from everyone in the restaurant! I wanted to get a picture while the sparklers were going, but didn't want to be rude, and at that time, I had NO idea he'd be singing so long. If I'd known, I'd have taken a video! 





Very nice evening and both of us left full of the delicious food, but even more full of gratitude, reflecting on the past 47 years. I am astounded at that length of time. Are we OLD? Yikes, we don't FEEL like we've been married 47 years! But when I look at our three wonderful children and the three wonderful people they married, and the eight grandchildren that bring us such joy, then we're aware of the passing of time. God has been SO good to us! 47 happy years, and many more to come!

August 2nd, we went back into Lima to see the Allen County Museum and tour the McDonell House, both of which our server last night recommended we see. 

Outside the museum, they had the most delightful Children's Garden! We spent a good bit of time here just wandering around, wishing we had our grandchildren here with us!
 

















Love this...
 

The McDonell House is located on West Market St, just adjacent to the museum. This Victorian home was built in 1893 and is on what used to be known as the "Golden Block," so named for the opulent homes in the area. Our guide told us the Oil Boom of northwest Ohio began in 1885 here in Lima! There was unprecedented growth, and at that time, this block of Market St. was on the edge of town. It is now one of the few remaining examples of Victorian architectural elegance. Built by Lima businessman Frank Banta, the house is an example of Victorian Shingle-Style architecture. It has 3 floors and 17 rooms. The third floor was originally a billiard room, but was later converted into a ballroom.













Something about the mannequins sort of creeped me out, but then no one asked me. haha 































August 3rd, we got up early to be in Decatur, IN by 9:00 to tour the American Coach (REV) factory who makes Fleetwood, Holiday Rambler, Monaco and American Coaches (and a few others.) They formed a conglomerate in 2008 when the market crashed. Those were tough times for RV dealers, and they barely survived the downturn in the economy, but now things are bigger than ever. It was a fascinating 3 hour tour, BUT no photos were allowed inside! BUMMER! We had an awesome guide who had worked there for 40 years! He was definitely knowledgeable and could answer all our questions. There were maybe 10 of us on the tour, and they conduct these every single day!



After we finished inside, we went outside to see the construction of the frames. Really fascinating, as the engines and frames are made with an expandable "base" depending on whether the coach ranges from 36' to 45'. Very cool! I sneaked these photos as we were outside by now. By the way, I couldn't wait to get back INside, as it was cold!






On Friday, we decided to go to the Armstrong Air and Space Museum. We had intended to wait until tomorrow, but were already out so decided to go ahead and go today. Lo and behold, when we got ready to pay, the receptionist smiled and said, "There's no charge today, it's Neil Armstrong's birthday, so everyone sees the museum for free." Cool. Glad we went today! 












I don't know about the average number of astronauts per state, but it sure seems like Ohio has more than its share! Wow.
 

The museum opened in 1972, just three years after the first lunar landing. The museum itself is designed to resemble a futuristic moon base. The museum features many one-of-a-kind artifacts, including the Gemini VIII spacecraft, spacesuits worn by the astronauts, and a lunar sample (the NASA term for a moon rock). The museum is also home to two full size aircraft, including the very airplane in which Neil Armstrong learned to fly!





This would make a great field trip for homeschoolers!  Earl's playing around here with this display of how gravity works, swirling a disc around the table, and as it slows, it always is drawn back to the earth.







There are many interactive exhibits, and three simulators. Here's Earl practicing landing the lunar module.
 

Just as glad I don't live on the moon, if this is what I'd have to wear all the time! 


There's a 56' dome in the center of the museum, where the Astro Theater is, a unique venue that allows us to see what the sky looks like from the moon.  










In 2011, the museum received accreditation from the American Association of Museums, the highest national recognition for a museum.

Sunday, we watched our service online...so thankful for technology when we travel. Not quite the same as being there, but next best thing.  Gorgeous day, we relaxed and read outside almost all afternoon.

Monday, Aug 7, we took the short drive over to Oakwood, OH, where our friend and FL neighbor, Carol Belau lives in the summers. Beautiful melon farm. Here we are all set up on the farm, where we can fly home for a few days, knowing the RV is secure. So generous of her to share her space with us!

 

If you follow my blog, you'll remember last year we came by here for her annual melon festival. You never know how good canteloupe and watermelon tastes until you get it straight out of the field. Tonight when we got in and got settled, Carol brought us over a big canteloupe right out of the field, and I told her maybe we should wait until we get back as there's no way we can eat it all tonight. She laughed and said eat what we want and throw the rest out! So we did! Yum...can't wait to get back here and and experience another "melon festival" on the 19th.

Tuesday, we got up bright and early to take our 2 hour drive to the airport in Detroit, MI. where we're flying from there to Chicago (weird, I know!) and then on to Orlando, where Lisa will pick us up. Can't wait to see our family!








So happy to see Mark, Lisa, Justin and Hannah. We picked up Mark and we all went out to dinner. Happy happy.

Wednesday, we went over to Ryan and Vicki's to see them and Connor and Zoe. So much fun.
Here's Connor showing us some of his MMA moves (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.)  Ryan was laughing so hard, it made it easier for Connor to get the best of him. Ha
 



And then of course Zoe wants to get it on it all!
 









Thursday, Lisa had us over again.... gotta cram in these good times! Justin has really become enamored with all types of cars, and he seemed particularly fascinated with Earl's little sports car. He and Hannah of course, are too small to take a "real" ride as they have to be in the back seat of cars. But we strapped them both in my seat, and Earl took them for a spin around the neighborhood. They were so cute.



Friday night, Sheila and Orlan came just for the night. We were trying to figure out how to see them in the short time we were here, so they waited to celebrate their grandson's birthday tomorrow, so that we could see them tonight. Love our lifetime friendship!


After dinner, we went by the gym where Mark and Lisa were playing volleyball, so they got to see them, too.....Hannah was skating all over the place. SO reminded me of Lisa on her rollerblades! Wow...time flies.



Here we are on the golf cart with Justin and Hannah. 

 

Eating at Justin's favorite restaurant, Japan Express. He loves the soup so much, he finished it with his straw! 






Sunday, we were excited to go to our homechurch, LifePointe in Eustis. So great to see our life group friends....several of us went to eat at Fish Camp after church.



Sunday night, Ryan and Vicki invited us back over to their house, so we enjoyed a yummy chicken ceasar salad Vicki made and we stayed and watched BB together. 

More fun with the grands....

Earl's birthday is Wednesday but we found out after we got home that Ryan has oral surgery scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, so he likely won't be able to enjoy a steak dinner right after that, so we celebrated on MONDAY night with all the family (except for Jason and his family, of course - can't wait to see them in TN on our trip back home).  We all went to Colorado Prime Steakhouse in Sanford - yummy dinner and we were all laughing and having fun, and I totally forgot to have our server take a photo of all of us. I had snapped two quick ones myself, but I hate that I forgot to get a photo to remember our evening. Boo...




Tuesday night we had planned to have dinner with other friends but they had a conflict so we unexpectedly had the night free! I even cooked a yummy dinner at home!  Later we noticed how unusual the coloring in the clouds were! So pretty!








Wednesday.......   On August 16th, 1950 - a little baby boy was born in Assiut, Egypt, to missionary parents and that little boy was destined to grow up and marry a little girl from NC. We would meet in Bible College in FL and end up living in FL all the years of raising our wonderful family and now we are blessed with 8 grandchildren! God has blessed us. It hasn't always been problem free, but we committed all those years ago to love and cherish each other, so we feel we are living the fruits of lives loving each other, with God at the very center of everything we've done. It's a wonderful life! Happy Birthday to the best man I know! Earl Berry, I love you and love doing life with you! Here's to many more years!

Tonight the kids got babysitters, and just the 6 adults went out to dinner. Ryan had his oral surgery late this afternoon, so he wasn't able to enjoy the meal too much, but we all enjoyed being together. We ate at Copa Cubano in downtown Mount Dora and then went to High Five for dessert. Love our family!



 Tomorrow morning, Lisa will pick us up and take us to the airport, and we'll head back to Detroit where our car is, enjoy the weekend in OH and then continue our traveling adventures. Until next time, thanks for loving us and being interested in our travels. We are so blessed with family and friends!