Friday, September 27, 2013

Keystone Montana Factory Tour

Today was tour the Factory Day.

Our time was 10am sharp.

First an early morning walk with the Doods...
Lucy decided to take Alan Funt Bear with her for the walk.

Soon it was off to the factory.

Below (a poor picture) of the frame with the bottom pan installed.

Here some wiring has started to be installed.
Plumbing and ducting will be next.

Then the floor is put in place.

Then some interior structures...
Here a bathroom is framed and some kitchen cabinets installed.

The sidewalls are framed in aluminum, and then computer cut foam and
fiberglass is laminated into one solid side piece.

The sides are installed.
The big holes are for large slide outs on either side.

The roof trusses are installed, the interior is finished and slides installed.
The attention to detail was pretty impressive.

The factory produces 15 to 20 units per day.
Here are completed units that just had their final Quality Control Inspection
and now are having the final punch lists worked on.

Finally - the completed rigs sit out side waiting to depart to their new owners
and adventures across the country.

Tonight starts the Mennonite Relief Sale here at the fairgrounds.
It will run until Saturday afternoon.
Our sleepy little park has filled with thousands of visitors.
The food booths have come alive.
Fresh made baked goods, cheeses, ice cream churned in front of you.

Tomorrow we will venture forth and get some pictures of the festivities.

Meanwhile here at the ranch - Kates BFF Mary from Chicago has come
to visit us for a few days.

So its me and my harem.

Life is good.

Diners in Montanaville

Today was a reasonably quiet day but we still got a bit of
action packed in.

I spent most of the day locked up working but did have a few excursions.

First our morning walk around Montanaville (the fairgrounds)
We are split into 3 camps...
In the distance is the larger one consisting of over 80 rigs.

Returning to find our rig is easy...
Just look for the Swiss Flag.

If someone asks us why the swiss flag?
"We like Chocolate"

At 3:30 we participated in "meet the tech"
Technicians from Keystone RV visited with all the owners who signed up
and we got to discuss any questions, issues tips etc related to
our rigs and its systems.

For dinner tonight there was a free barbecue at a local RV dealer
but rather than try to fight 200 hungry people for that last chicken wing
we went out for some local flavor.

The south side diner was featured on the Food Networks
Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives last November.
I saw it just before I came up here in December but did not have
the time to stop in for a meal.

Last night Jim & Kristi plus Kate and I made the pilgrimage.
The owner is in the photo below standing on the right.

One of the house specialties is the Philly Cheesesteak
The owner is originally from Philadelphia.
The bread is flown in daily from Philadelphia.

The spiral cut fries are peeled and cut on site.

While not quite as impressive as our dinner in Williamsburg
it was a delicious treat.

After dinner we walked around Goshen's restored downtown
area and chatted with some of the locals including a wine store owner
who makes all the wine that he sells and serves.

Today we have a tour of the Montana Factory at 10am
Then tonight a group is coming over to our trailer for happy hour.

The big Mennonite Relief sale begins tonight as well and runs over the weekend.
It is supposed to be quite a big deal around these parts and should be crowded.
Lots of good food too!

Stand by.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Williamsburg Va to Goshen, Indiana

We are now in Goshen, Indiana ready for the 1 Week
Montana Owners Club Rally.

We left Williamsburg on Tuesday morning after saying goodbye
to our good friends.

Our Site at the RV park was pretty nice.  It had a patio,
fireplace, and Table with Chairs.

Alight early morning haze floated in the air as we prepared for departure.

7 hours later we arrived at West Branch State Park in Ravenna, Ohio
our home for the night.

It is a quiet park like setting on a picturesque lake.
A nice place to spend the night - or longer.

Early this morning we departed again - this time a 4 1/2hr drive
to Goshen for the start of the Rally.

After our arrival we got set up and I had a bunch of work to get caught up on.
At 6pm it was time for the Rally opening "Meet & Greet".
Everyone brought some snacks and with over 120 rigs in
attendance there was quite a spread.

There are over 200 people attending.

One of my jobs is selling raffle tickets.
The good thing about that was that I got to the front of the food line so that
I could sell tickets while everyone ate.

The next week here will see vendor exhibits, factory tours, seminars,
and all things RV.

There is a Ladies Driving Class, Fire Fighting Instructions,
Shopping excursions, an Amish dinner,
pot luck dinner and breakfasts,
wine & cheese party,

And of course more food.

It will be nice to sit for a week and let the wheels stop spinning.

More to come from Goshen.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Jamestowne Settlement

In May of 1607 - over 20 years before the arrival of the Mayflower,
105 men and boys arrived on the Virginia Shore to establish a settlement
in the new world.

In their first month they built a stockade fort for protection and
some buildings inside the fort for shelter.

They faced numerous hardships including attack from the native people
and starvation - yet despite the odds more arrived and the colony grew
to over 500 by 1609.

In the winter of 1609-1610 in what became known as "The Starving Time"
all but about 60 of the settlers perished.

Yet over time the colony continued to grow.  The marriage of
Pocohantas - daughter of the local indian chief - to settler John Rolfe
helped to cement relations between the peoples. 

Over the years the settlement became the original colonial capital of Virginia,
then moved location and the original fort
and buildings passed into history.

Almost 400 years passed and the location of the original settlement was thought to have
been eroded away and was now beneath the James River.

In 1993 however - archeologists found artifacts that led to the discovery of the old
settlement and palisades.

Our visit to Jamestown began with a leisurely drive down the
Scenic Colonial Parkway.

First thru hardwood forests and then along
the coastal estuary.

After visiting the National Park Visitor Center and learning about the
area we were able to tour the excavations that continue on the site.

One of the Archeologists gave us a tour and explained the work underway.
Here he is standing in what was the basement of a store house
with baking ovens.

Inside the Palisades (seen in the background) is a scale model of the old fort.

Statue of John Smith - one of the leaders of the Original
Settlement and eventually governor of Virginia.

In the excavation, one of the ovens.
Notice the charred soil around the pail.

Kate holds a recently excavated and perfectly preserved native American
Spear tip.

Jamestown was the first permanent English Settlement in the US.
It was the common laws and way of life that planted the seed for what was
to become the USA.

Google the history of this interesting place.  There is much more to learn.

For dinner tonight we went over to our friends Condo for a farewell dinner.
Tomorrow we are packing up and heading to Ohio for the night enroute to
our Montana RV Rally in Goshen, Indiana which begins
on Wednesday.

As always - Hayden, Radeen, Eric, Pat....
We had a blast.

Till next time.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


The battle of Yorktown in October 1781 is the story
of the birth of America.

It began with the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
It ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1783.
But it was Yorktown that made it possible.

The Brittish Army under General Lord Cornwallis had chosen
Yorktown for it's strategic potential.   With the Chesapeake bay at hand they had
the means to resupply and reinforce their army via the Brittish Navy.

It was these same attributes however that George Washington was able to use
against them and turn the tide of the Revolutionary war.

The people of the United States owe a huge debt of gratitude to France.
It was the french blockade of the Chesapeake bay that prevented the British
the means to supply, reinforce, or retreat.

Yorktown is located towards the end of a long peninsular.
With the Colonist and the French Army advancing the British had their backs
to the bay with no means of escape.

Using their more powerful guns, the Colonists were able to pound the British
positions and Cornwallis - realizing that the situation was hopeless and to continue
to hold the position would just mean annihilation - wisely surrendered his army.

Looking at the earthworks from inside the British positions.

Example of a US 24 pound artillery piece.
The British has mostly 6 and 12 lb cannon.
1/4 to 1/2 the range and power of the Colonists Artillery.

Inside the British positions, you can see how close the water was behind them.

After touring the battlefield we took the short walk into historic Yorktown.

The victory Monument.

More Frenchmen lost their lives in this battle than Americans.

A Street in Yorktown.

A sailing vessel in the Chesapeake.

After lunch and a foamy mug at the Yorktown Pub
it was time to head back to the RV and get ready for dinner.

Tonights Culinary Experience was the Kings Arms Inn in
Colonial Williamsburg.  The Inn has been serving dinner since the 1700's.

We picked up these three lovely ladies as our escorts for the evening.

By dinnertime the streets of the city were almost deserted.

The inn was illuminated solely by candlelight and all the staff (as is everyone 
in Williamsburg) was dressed in period garb.

The napkins were 3' x 3' in size as they were during the period.
It would have been tied around your neck to help keep your clothes clean.

I had a wild game pot pie type dish.
Venison, Rabbit, and Duck.

Hayden and Eric had a cornish hen.

The ambiance was great!
While we dined we were regaled with period tales and humor

It was a great end to another great and interesting day.

Tomorrow we meet at 10am to see the Jamestown Settlement,
the first European Settlement in the US.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Colonial Williamsburg Virginia

We are back on the road.
Final Destination is unknown as our life is in a possible transition,
(more on that in a later post)
 but we do have some stops planned along the way to wherever.

Currently we are in Colonial Williamsburg.

Kate & I have never been here and it is a real treat.

We've planned this visit for some time now to meet up with good friends.  
We tried to pick a spot that was equidistant for all of us...
Pat & Eric had the longest ride but the destination is worth it for all.

Last night everyone came to visit us at the RV Park.
We drank a few bottles of wine, had a campfire, and all got caught up on our various
travels since our last time together.  
Eric & Pat shared their sailboat adventures in the Caribbean,  
Hayden & Radeen the Bahamas & Italy, 
Kate and I Arizona and the Desert.

Hayden got caught up with some quality Doodletime.

Today we all headed off to visit Colonial Williamsburg

Our first stop was the governors mansion.

Unfortunately I forgot my camera today so all the photos were taken with
my iPhone.

Williamsburg was the Colonial Capital of Virginia until the war
for independence began, at which point it was moved inland to Richmond.

It is an amazingly restored city.
All the workers are dressed in period costumes and act out in a manner of the times.
There are fife and drum corps, plays, trials, and all manner of occupations
on display that would have been in the old city during the 18th century.

They try to maintain the historic accuracy.
Much of the items used on site, bread, clothing, tools, etc are
made in the village using the traditional methods.

Here we visit the blacksmith shop.

Here the ladies pose with one of the available gentlemen.

The taxi.

As usual - Kate led me down the wrong path.

It was a great day - wonderful weather - and we saw much but there is
still much to see.

Tonight we went out to a fantastic French restaurant, Le Yaca, and had one of the
best dinners in a long time.

Tomorrow we head to Yorktown to learn about the surrender of the Brittish
that ended the Revolutionary war, and then will have dinner at one of the
Taverns in Colonial Williamsburg.

Let's hope I remember the camera this time....