2017 – Pla-Mor Campground, Bremen, Indiana

20170619_111116.jpg Pla-Mor Campground, Bremen, Indiana is just south of the South Bend/Elkhart metro areas of northern Indiana. This is agricultural country, filled with corn and soybean fields; farmed by Amish and “English” alike. The campground is a big one with lots of leased sites plus plenty of room for travelers, rallies, etc. Most all the sites are on grass and many are “rally field” types of sites with full hookups. Most of the sites are level. We managed to get a spot in the trees rather than the field and with the big trees came roots and with the roots an un-level, sloping spot. In our case, we didn’t mind that because we had a new leveling system to try out. It worked great. Had we arrived prior to the camper upgrade I would have likely asked for a different spot. Generally, with campers scattered around the place feels roomy. Over this mid-June weekend, though, the place filled up and we had people at close quarters all around us. That was no big deal to us, but we were glad to get a bit of breathing space back on Sunday afternoon when all the poor working people had to go home to reality. The campground has pretty decent WiFi that worked fine for us until the weekend when it was overloaded. Even the local cell tower was impacted and I had a usable but slower data stream. For some reason the slowdown continued on Monday. The shower rooms/bathrooms in our area were usable but very dated. I’m not sure about others. The property has a swimming pond that got lots of use by the kids. A new pool is being built and will be in use by next year or even sooner. The campground has a nice mini-golf and driving range available for an extra charge. Probably the biggest issue we had was that the water tasted metallic and stained our sink and commode.

20170617_102402.jpg One reason for the full campground over our weekend here was a Civil War reenactment group. They pitched tents and set up camps reflective of that era. Their biggest draw was a couple of cannons. Everyone enjoyed their demonstrations, especially the night fire on Saturday night.

This is not only Amish country, but is also RV country. The Numar factory and other RV industry related businesses are just a few minutes away in nearby Nappanee.

We liked Pla-Mor and would return for a future visit.

20170615_111630.jpg20170615_111646.jpg20170615_111858.jpg20170615_112013.jpg20170615_112106.jpg20170615_112326.jpg20170615_112458.jpg20170615_112848.jpg20170615_194906.jpg20170616_101217.jpg20170616_101323.jpg20170617_102207.jpg20170617_102402.jpg20170619_093418.jpg20170619_111038.jpg20170619_111116.jpg

2017 – Sightseeing Indiana Amish Country

Right off let me say that there’s a lot more to this area than we saw. Also, we enjoyed just driving around the area, looking at the many Amish farms and small school houses. These aren’t intended to be “attractions” but they are, indeed, “attractive” and add to the general ambiance of the area.

20170613_093204.jpg We had a fun, if hot, day at Shipshewana, IN. This town, surrounded by Amish farms, caters to tourists and features lots of Amish history, crafts, and food. We started our day at the very popular Flea Market and found hand crafted items along with most anything you can imagine for sale. There were many food booths but there was also an Amish restaurant along with a terrific meat and cheese market. We bought summer sausage, Swiss cheese and bread. The butcher sliced the meat and cheese for us at no extra charge and we had a delicious lunch with left overs to take home and use later. I also enjoyed going to the air conditioned Davis Mercantile building where I saw the restored working Carousel on the 3rd floor. There were many other shops including stores selling things like candy, clothing, furniture, fabric and toys. There was an elevator and plenty of seating for people like Scott who would rather sit than shop!

IMG_5511.JPG We enjoyed our visit to Amish Acres in Nappanee,IN. We started our visit with a tour of the original house when it was a typical Amish farm. It was a fascinating tour giving us insight into how the early Amish settlers continued living in their chosen ways even as progress such as electricity and gas engines became common in the area. Through the years they continued doing house and farm work by hand using animals. We took the wagon tour of the farm and saw many buildings including a carriage shed, ice house, and syrup barn. At the school house children learned High German for worship, how to read and write in their daily language of Pennsylvania Dutch, and English so they get along in the world outside of their own. We saw a very interesting video about the history of the Amish and learned about the Amish and Mennonite religious practices. We visited the meat and cheese store, candy store/soda shop and the bakery. There is also a well-known restaurant and theater that has ongoing plays. All in all a very nice afternoon.

20170617_102402.jpg I found it interesting to see so many horse and buggies traveling the roads or hitched up at various businesses (like Dairy Queen). Also, as we drove to church on Sunday morning we passed the Amish farm that was hosting their church services that Sunday. There were several parked horse and buggies as well as a lot of bicycles. Apparently, the various farms in the area take turns hosting worship services followed by a big meal.

20170613_093204.jpg20170613_093216.jpg20170613_093312.jpgIMG_5500.JPGIMG_5501.JPGIMG_5503.JPGIMG_5506.JPGIMG_5508.JPGIMG_5509.JPGIMG_5510.JPGIMG_5511.JPGIMG_5512.JPGIMG_5513.JPGIMG_5514.JPGFullSizeRender.jpg20170617_102402.jpg20170619_151620.jpg20170619_152050.jpg

2017 Project: Bigfoot Leveling System

20170614_150431.jpg We really like our Hitchhiker II LS 5th wheel. However, we’re missing a few extras that the newer rigs have. A couple of months ago we decided that for the foreseeable future we’d like to make a few upgrades and keep our current 5th wheel. The biggest upgrade for us was adding a power leveling system. We found that the Bigfoot Leveling System by Quadra was highly regarded by most everyone. This is a powerful hydraulic system. They make a fully automatic system – just push the button and it figures out what is level by itself. We opted to save nearly $900 and install a single pump, manual, four jack system. With this system you have a remote control and using the bubble levels already mounted on the camper you level the camper. The guys at the factory told me our 5th wheel was a bigger project than many and it took a day and a half to do the install. The good folks at Quadra were nothing but helpful and professional. They even let us sleep in the camper while it was parked overnight inside their facility. This is a new system for us, but we found ourselves on a rather un-level site our first night out with it. It took just a minute or so to bring the camper perfectly level. Jackie and I were both all smiles watching it work!

20170612_162841.jpg20170612_162850.jpg20170612_162904.jpg20170612_202003.jpg20170612_202127.jpg20170612_202358.jpg20170612_202431.jpg20170613_171303.jpg20170613_171359.jpg20170613_171436.jpg20170613_171451.jpg20170613_171523.jpg20170613_171940.jpg20170613_172012.jpg20170613_172044.jpg20170614_111833.jpg20170614_150353.jpg20170614_150431.jpg20170614_164135.jpg

2017 – Johnny Appleseed Campground, Fort Wayne, IN

20170608_172649.jpg Our stay in Johnny Appleseed Campground in Fort Wayne, Indiana has been a pleasant one. The campground is named in honor of John Chapman who was better known as Johnny Appleseed, the frontiersman, preacher, humanitarian, and nurseryman who introduced apple trees to this region of our nation. He lived his later years out in Fort Wayne and is buried near what is now a park and campground named in his honor. This campground gets high marks from most everyone and that now includes us. The park has lots of shady water/electric sites near the St. Joseph River. The strip of land between the campground and the River boasts a large dog park and playground and the street is busy with joggers, bicyclists, and others who come to enjoy the area. The campground has a very nice and clean shower house and laundry room which has a dump station beside it. For those who are staying longer there’s a “honey wagon service” for a reasonable $10. The sites are a mixed bag – some that will only accommodate smaller rigs. You may want to bring an extra water hose along because many of the sites share a water spigot which is equally unhandy to everyone. Having said that, we could have fit into most of the sites. The one we were given was one of three sites that backs in directly off the city street. Frankly, I think our site is probably the best one in the place! Before I close out my review, I have to tell you the name of that street. No, it isn’t “Johnny Appleseed” street. Rather, it is named for a beloved Fort Wayne mayor of the past who proudly embraced his name and used it to his advantage in political campaigns. His name was Harry Baals and, yes, it’s pronounced with one “a” and two “l’s.”

20170608_122821.jpg20170608_123228.jpg20170608_172649.jpg20170608_172705.jpg20170608_192231.jpg20170609_095647.jpg20170609_095712.jpg20170609_100044.jpg20170609_100100.jpg20170609_100117.jpg20170609_152757.jpg20170609_152845.jpg20170609_153002.jpg20170609_153158.jpg20170609_194456.jpg

2017 – Southwestern Ohio Sightseeing

20170530_113924.jpg I’ve enjoyed our third stay in southwestern Ohio. We drove a short 40 minutes to visit nearby Clifton which was settled in 1802. The Historic Clifton Mill is one of the few working water powered grist mills in the U.S. It contains a gift shop and restaurant. Not far from there we visited Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve. We hiked one of the trails down by the river to the falls. We really liked the area and hope to go back another time.

20170603_130605.jpg A fun local event was the Corwin, Ohio Tractor show. We got to town around 11:30 for the tractor parade and saw people putting their chairs under a tree so we joined them and found that it was a family of several generations that live in the area and came to see their friends and neighbors on their tractors. We saw a lot of old tractors that have been refurbished and look like they did when they were new. I saw one that I had never seen before and found out it was a cultivator tractor built in 1948 for use on truck farms. The engine was behind the driver so they could see the furrows in front of them. Following the parade there was a meal of pulled pork, coleslaw, green beans with new potatoes, desserts and drinks. The tractors were parked all around so we could get a closer look. A fun way to spend a sunny Saturday morning.

20170605_141437.jpg Being as close to the Museum of the Air Force in Dayton as we were Scott couldn’t resist making another visit. A new section has been added since our last visit so we made a bee line to it. We focused on just that hanger and one other rather than trying to see the entire place – an exhausting effort! We especially enjoyed seeing the Presidential planes as well as many experimental, one-of-a-kind planes. We did an earlier review of the Museum here.

20170530_113924.jpg20170530_115817.jpg20170530_121803.jpg20170530_122140.jpg20170530_122345.jpg20170530_122451.jpg20170530_122504.jpg20170530_123156.jpg20170530_123244.jpg20170530_123557.jpg20170530_123747.jpg20170530_123917.jpg20170530_131443.jpg20170603_122245.jpg20170603_130051.jpg20170603_130117.jpg20170603_130149.jpg20170603_130202.jpg20170603_130248.jpg20170603_130353.jpg20170603_130422.jpg20170603_130508.jpg20170603_130605.jpg20170603_130623.jpg20170605_130032.jpg20170605_130649.jpg20170605_130840.jpg20170605_131028.jpg20170605_131235.jpg20170605_132129.jpg20170605_133245.jpg20170605_133339.jpg20170605_133823.jpg20170605_133859.jpg20170605_134638.jpg20170605_134829.jpg20170605_140459.jpg20170605_141437.jpg20170605_141727.jpg20170605_141836.jpg20170605_145322.jpg20170605_145645.jpg