Travels with Bentley

Travels with Bentley
Bentley - our Heartland Bighorn

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Friday, August 10 to Tuesday, August 14, 2018 - Visiting Son Matt & Family in Grand Island, NY

Friday, August 10, 2018 - Traveling from Shipshewana, IN to Grand Island, NY; Family Time 

We pulled out of Shipshewana South Campground shortly after 10:00 a.m, beginning our drive north on State Highway 5, to W 200 N Street, then North on State Hwy 9 until we reached I-90.  We traveled I-90 through Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and into New York.  As we entered Buffalo, NY we took the I-190 exit to Grand Island where our son Matt, his wife Megan and three children live.  

Our first trip to New York we did not use the EZ Pass and we spent quite a bit on fees as we traveled the toll roads.  Our second trip we stopped in Illinois to visit Dean's sister and family before going on to New York.  While we were in Illinois we purchased an EZ Pass which is good in most states from Illinois to at least the northeastern states...and we visited many states that used it on that trip since we continued our travels through several states to the south as well.  It saved us both time and money.  We were glad to have it on this trip as well.  I do not remember how many toll booths we went through before we arrived. While we prefer the byways on State and US Highways much more, sometimes just getting to the destination is worth it - and this was definitely one of those times.

Despite the fact the day stayed pretty dreary looking with some heavy clouds, we experienced very little rain.  

The nice thing about the clouds and cooler temperatures; it will keep Bentley from getting too warm as we travel today.  We will be traveling approximately 430 miles - an extremely long day for us.  When the temperatures get into the upper 80's, 90's or higher it sometimes takes an hour or more to cool things down inside even with both air conditioners running.  We had planned to do this last leg in 2 days, but we could not find a campground to spend Friday night in the area around Erie, or at least any that were in my "cheap" price range, so we decided we'd bite the bullet and just get the drive done.  All in all, it went well, and we were glad it worked out this way.....but we will not make a habit of these long travel days.  We prefer to limit our daily travels to a range of 100-200 miles.

There is no doubt that Indiana is near the top of our list for having the worst roads we've traveled, but we soon passed out of Indiana into Ohio we found their section of I-90 to be quite nice in comparison to some of the other states the Interstate passes through.

We timed our trip to pass through Cleveland, OH when we expected the least amount of traffic and it worked well.  Three times during our drive today traffic, headed west on I-90, was backed up for long stretches.  Once traffic was backed up nearly 5 miles due to a semi trailer that was on fire. The cab appeared to be fine, only the trailer itself was burning as we drove by the incident.

I enjoy seeing old barns - and I loved the way this one was setting amongst the trees, crops and grasses.

It was nearing 6:30 when we pulled into the city property next to Matt's.  The city has a small building located on the site.  We were able to pull in to the city driveway, which provides easy access to pull through Matt's side yard and into his driveway, rather than have to back into the driveway from the street.  It is a very busy street so we appreciate the ability to use this access location.
They were watching for us outside their house as we pulled into the city property next door.

We only have 30 amp electric when hooked up at Matt's but the weather is supposed to be in the high 70's to low 80's the entire time we are here, so we will get by just fine with one air conditioner.  The weather channel indicates the evening temperatures will be down in the low-to mid 60's at night.  We are in their house for most of the day/early evening, and we retire to Bentley to sleep and have breakfast from about 8pm to 8am.  The temperatures are going to work well for us while we are here.  This is the type of weather we prefer to follow!

Soon after we were situated on Matt's driveway, we quickly set up what was necessary, so we could begin enjoying our time with Matt, Megan and the kids.  Josh and Sarah were excited to see us and we got to visit with Samuel for the first time.  What a cutie he is - well, they all are!  Sarah really didn't know us or warm up to us as much as we had hoped last year when we met them in Kentucky for almost two weeks, but she was excited to see us this trip and we loved it!  Being able to talk with them on the phone with the apps Skype or Duo, where the kids can see us is a wonderful thing for building relationships, especially with small children you don't get to see often.

Josh was proud of his car and Sarah was enjoying riding along with him!

Papa & Samuel

                                                     Josh and Sarah practicing their dance moves!

It was nearly 9 before we headed back to Bentley.  Dean and I were pretty tired, but we are so glad to be here and look forward to our visit with our family here in New York.

Saturday, August 11, 2018 - Breakfast Outing; Enjoying Family Time; Erie County Fair in Hamburg, NY

Dean and I were up at our usual time.  I had already drank my morning protein shake and Dean was just starting to eat his cereal when Megan texted wanting to know if we had ate yet and if not would we want to go eat breakfast.  Well, of course we did, so Dean poured out his cereal and we were ready to go in about 45 minutes.  In Dean's book, you just can't pass up an opportunity to try breakfast out, (and I didn't mind at all)!

We arrived at The Pancake House and were seated in a nice big corner seat - perfect for 4 adults and 3 children!   After we ordered we had time to visit with the kids, before our waitress returned with our breakfast.  The food was quite good.  Once we were finished we headed back to their house where we enjoyed watching more antics of Josh and Sarah; and getting to know Sam.

Josh & Papa playing swords.

Sarah and her baby doll!

Mr. Samuel Michael Peine - isn't he a doll?

Papa and Josh playing a game!
This is our third visit to see Matt & Megan since they moved here in 2014, when Josh was about 3 months old.  Our first visit to New York was August 8-27, 2015; we returned August 12-20, 2016 and this year we arrived August 10-22, 2018; and this is now our 3rd year to attend the Erie County Fair - one of the largest county fairs in the United States.  It is held in Hamburg, NY.  Again, we had a great time.  

Matt had mentioned the Erie County Fair would be going on while we were here.  We didn't remember the dates but knew it would be our third time attending the fair, so I had to check our the blog to see what dates we have visited in the past.  I guess August works well for New York visits!  This year we will really enjoy the expected lower temperatures.  

Josh loves cows!


        Samuel was a happy boy at the fair.  He loves to
        be outside.  This blue striped outfit sure made his

        blue eyes stand out!

Sarah mimicking Papa - she's putting her hands in her pocket like Papa is.

Papa walked with Sarah as she rode her pony.

Josh rode by himself  and did a great job!

And then we all had ice cream

One Happy Little Boy!

One Messy (But Very Cute) Little Girl!

Interesting Stage Coach - enlarge to see what the price tag for this little buggy is.
We had a great time.  I think we wore the kids out, as they were asleep soon after we left the parking lot.


Sunday, August 12, 2018 - Happy Birthday to Granddaughter Kamron; Church; Our Afternoon and Evening.

I was up early this morning to be sure I had everything done so I had plenty of time to call our granddaughter Kamron to wish her a Happy 13th Birthday.  It's hard to believe our grandchildren are growing up so fast.  We had a nice visit and her little brother, Jaxson even took time to say "Hi, Nana" and he was gone!  He's not much for talking on the phone.

Once our conversation ended, Dean and I finished getting ready for church.  We will be attending with Matt and his family at their church here on the Island.   It was a very good sermon by Dan Burnett, an evangelist that was visiting their church, who preaches the word all over the world.  We enjoyed his message and the opportunity to hear him.

Afterwards we ate lunch at a small Pub in Niagara Falls, NY.  I ordered a meat lover's pizza and it was delicious.  Lots and lots of cheese (just the way I like it) and a double layer of pepperoni, along with bacon and italian sausage.  Dean had a burger and fries.

We headed back to Matt & Megan's where we just hung out and visited the rest of the day and evening.

Monday, August 13, 2018 - AM Paperwork & Laundry for Cheri; PM Spent with the Kiddos

I had our mail forwarded to Matt's before we left Shipshewana.  It arrived Friday, so I spent this morning going through it and taking care of several items that needed attention.  Paperwork is something that has to be done on the road no matter what but it is a reminder to me of what I love most about this life of travel.  Little to no stress!   Even though paperwork itself can sometimes prove to be a little stressful it is nothing compared to working a 40+ hour job and all of the paperwork/phone calls/meetings I used to do!   

In between the paperwork I managed to do a couple loads of laundry too, before heading inside to spend time with Dean, Matt & the kids.  Megan has to work this week since she used all of her vacation and sick leave when Sam was born.  We enjoyed spending time with the kiddos and getting reacquainted, until Megan returned home from work around 1 or so.

After lunch Dean and I took Josh and Sarah outside to play for awhile.
Josh & Sarah on their playset.

....on the slide
While we had originally planned to fix something for dinner at the house, we ended up traveling to Niagara Falls to eat at Top of the Falls Restaurant in Niagara Falls State Park.  The food wasn't too bad and we had a wonderful view of the falls from our table.  I chose a spinach salad and Dean had the Fried haddock and fries.  My salad was very good but pretty small for the price they charged.  Sarah had some amazing macaroni & cheese.  I wish I had ordered it - even though the salad was much better for me.

Our view from our booth at Top of the Falls Restaurant in Niagara Falls State Park

Mommy & Sarah

Daddy, Josh & Sam
After leaving the restaurant, we walked a little closer to the falls before heading back to Matt & Megan's.  Even though this is our fourth trip to Niagara Falls, we are always in awe at the enormous amount of water going over the falls.  It is really an amazing sight!
Our view of the falls outside

Tuesday, August 14, 2018
This morning I just had a couple of things to finish before I headed inside.  When I had those completed Dean and I had to run a couple of errands to the post office and the grocery store.  When we returned we had three packages waiting for us - our fireplace furnace for Bentley, my house shoes and some things Dean wanted in order to do some work on Bentley before we leave.  After lunch, Matt, Dean and I took the kids to the Buffalo Museum of Science.  Matt and Megan purchased an annual pass, and after we were inside a short while I can see why.  What a wonderful place to keep the two oldest children entertained for several hours.  Matt and Dean visited and took care of Samuel and I played with the kids at the numerous stations or enjoyed just watching them.  I took several pictures to share.

Stuffy the Buffalo


Sarah - with a little imagination for the A's!

Papa and Sam

Brother & Sister coloring together

This was a neat activity for the kids.  They enjoyed putting the plastic pipes in the holes and then adding other pieces to them.

Josh....the centipede

Josh the bear and Sarah in her vest

Sarah Bear! --- which is what Megan calls her -
a perfect costume for her!

Josh as a butterfly

Beautiful mural of buffalo

There was a total of 5 floors to visit.  We made it through 3 of them today.

Megan left work for the day and met us at the museum about 30 minutes before the museum closed at 4.  Sarah and Samuel were both asleep before we made it out of the parking lot.  

Megan and I put dinner together shortly after we returned.  While it was in the oven we watched most of the movie, "The Case for Christ", and finished watching it after dinner.  It was a really good movie.

Dean and I headed to Bentley early tonight, a little after 7:00.  Dean is coming down with a cold and isn't feeling very good.  I'm tired too and wanted some time to update the blog so I can post it in the morning.

As you can tell we are enjoying our time with Matt and his family.  We've got another week of fun times with them.  Our new mattress is scheduled to arrive this Friday.  Dean plans to do some work on Bentley next week before we leave here Wednesday morning, August 22.  I'm sure we'll have several more adventures to share with you.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Thursday, August 8, 2018 - Disc Brake Installation; Paperwork--Ugh!; Dinner & Visit with Friends Friday, August 9, 2018 - Happy Birthday Matt!; Rise & Roll for Breakfast; Ben's Pretzels for Lunch; Pedicure; No-Bake Cookies; Afternoon Treat - Howie's Ice Cream -

Thursday, August 8, 2018 - Disc Brake Installation; Paperwork--Ugh!; Buying Sprees--Fun!; Dinner & Visit with Friends 

We were up and about early this morning to get all of our work done before the crew shows up around 9 to begin the installation of our disc brakes, as well as an upgrade to heavier shackles and wet bolts.  Since we are on the road full-time we felt this was a safety issue for us.  While we were in Texas we had several close calls with folks pulling in front of us and slowing down to enter an exit ramp that really made Dean have to step on the brakes.  The disc brakes are meant to stop you faster and as close as it was a couple of times I'll be thankful for the extra assistance.

Dean went outside, pulled up his lawn chair to watch and learn, visiting with the installers throughout the morning and afternoon.  It took approximately 4-5 hours for them to complete the work.

While Dean was out doors I was inside getting the previous two days blogs posted, before pulling out all of my "Paperwork"!  I finally input all of my expenses in the computer through August 7.  I needed to change some doctor's appointments, order several items from Amazon, and make our last big purchase for awhile -- a new mattress.  We ordered it from SleepEZ.  They will ship it to us at our son's house in New York.  The mattress in the RV has seen almost 5 years of use.  The indentations are so big, we feel like we have to crawl out of bed in the mornings.  We are looking forward to having a firmer foundation with just a little give where we lay.  It is guaranteed for 10 years, and because I happened to order it yesterday I discovered it was the last day to get a 10% discount!  Woo-hoo, who doesn't love saving money?

Another purchase I made was to order a new pair of house shoes.  I bought my last pair 4 years ago from Lands End and I love them.  My feet are always cold - even in the summer months I'm often wearing my winter house shoes.  In fact, I wear them most every day of the year.  They really were literally falling apart.  

Do you think it was time for new ones?

The soles had come loose and were cracking.  Dean duck taped them for me several months ago but the tape is coming off, so I finally decided I would bite the bullet and buy a new pair.  However, when I went to the site I couldn't believe the price - almost $80 without taxes and shipping.  My order history was online.  What I found was the cost was only $48.06 with tax/shipping in 2014.  I decided I would wait to buy them, when all of a sudden this little box popped up offering me 40% off any one item - WOW!  Thank you Lord!  I didn't want to pass that type of a sale up, so I bought them and ended up paying only $55.49 - just $7.48 more than the ones I purchased 4 years ago.  

A task I put off too long, was searching for a campground to stay this Friday evening.  We planned to spend one night near Erie, PA and then drive on to Matt & Megan's on Saturday morning.  Many of the campgrounds are on or near the water, and they were booked up for the weekend, except for a few places, but I could not bring myself to pay the prices they wanted. $60+ for one night is just too much when we would only be there for the evening and leaving early the next morning.  We'll stay in a parking lot somewhere first.  However, since it was only 2 more hours to Matt's, we are going to drive the entire distance.  That will be 8 hours - the longest drive we have ever made in one day - and not something I want to do on a regular basis.  Give me our normal maximum of 3-4 hour drives any day!  I honestly would love to move 100 miles at a time so we can check out things around us before moving on to the next stop.  I hope we can do more of those slow travel days once we begin our northern trek from Matt's.

With all of those things out of the way, and the disc brake installation finished, Dean and I had a date with our friends Bob & Patty Nance for dinner this evening.  They are staying at a campground in Topeka, IN (south of us a few miles).  They are driving to our campground and we'll drive to The Blue Gate Restaurant.  We decided on the buffet so we could try several of the dishes they are known for.  I focused mostly on the mashed potatoes, chicken and noodles with dressing, but I got small (as in a good teaspoon size) of spaghetti, green beans, carrots, mac & cheese, and 1 small meatball.  You can't go wrong with Chicken & noodles, dressing & potatoes.  The baby sized carrots were amazing - they felt hard when I put them on my plate, but they just melted in my mouth.  I must learn to make them like this!!!  Everything else was very good too.  The best part - they had bread pudding on the buffet.  It might have been made with cinnamon rolls and if I had not been so full I could have ate another helping.  I still found just enough room to eat a tiny piece of coconut cream pie.  We definitely got our money's worth, and everyone seemed to enjoy their meal.

Patty and I walked through one of the shops while the guys set outside, but we both realized there is nothing we want or need - we just don't have room for "stuff" anymore, so we left pretty quickly.  When we returned to the campground, Bob and Patty stayed to visit for awhile.  We really had a great time!  Guess who failed to get a picture?

Friday, August 9, 2018 - Happy Birthday Matt!; Rise & Roll for Breakfast; Ben's Pretzels for Lunch; Pedicure; No-Bake Cookies; Afternoon Treat - Howie's Ice Cream - Dinner-Taco Salads at Bentley.

Today is Matt's birthday - but we'll have to wait until tomorrow night to celebrate it with him!  Happy birthday Matt.  Looking forward to seeing you and your family......and meeting that sweet Samuel!

So today we didn't do good with our eating habits - it went from bad to badder to baddest!  Are those words?  We have talked about going to Rise & Roll ever since we arrived, and today was the day.  We bought 2 apple fritters and a box of 4 pecan rolls.  

The story about the missing pecan roll is later in this post!

We came back home where I just slightly warmed up the fritters - oh, my they were delicious!  We set the pecan rolls aside.  I told Dean yesterday that I'd like to take some time today to look at a few of the shops and since this is our last day here, we headed downtown Shipshewana to Davis Mercantile.  It features a 1906 Dentzel Carousel with hand-carved farm animals on the 3rd level.  At the center of it's grand staircase, is the 50 foot trunk of a Douglas fir nearly 4 centuries old.  There are three floors and a basement and it sports 22 wonderful shops.  I did find a birthday present for a special 2 year old.  We'll save the surprise for her party a week from tomorrow.  

After visiting all 4 levels we were both tired of shopping, so we took a nice drive through the countryside.  I don't know if I could ever tire of doing that here.  Everything is so beautiful, the lawns manicured, the flower gardens bursting in color, beautiful trees, barns, farm animals, lots of green, green grass.  It's picturesque!  

These trees went for several more blocks.  They were so perfectly trimmed and well kept.  They were gorgeous.

Just a few pictures of houses we passed.  It's hard to take pictures in a moving vehicle!!

This almost has the appearance of a boat and we wondered if it was a "playhouse" for the kids?? 

This was a beautiful home!
Behind this house was the most beautiful garden area.  It was too far away to get a good picture but the entire back yard was full of flowers, trees and bushes.  It made me think of my friends Peggy & Linda, and former co-workers and friends Carol & Renee.  They all have such a touch with flowers and gardens!

We noticed on the truck's GPS that Shipshewana has a small lake so we drove by it.  

Today was fishing day! 

After driving several miles of countryside, Dean decided he was hungry and wanted to know if I wanted to eat at Ben's Pretzels for lunch.  Last time we were here I coerced him into trying them - even though he wasn't real thrilled about it, but guess what?  He loved them and he's talked about it several times this week, so of course I said yes to his question about Ben's.  However, instead of purchasing one of the LARGE pretzels they make, they had a number of "sandwiches" for lack of a better word, made from the pretzel dough.  We chose bacon, chicken, ranch and a container of marinara sauce to go with it.  They were pretty good sized so we shared one.  They were delicious!  Haleigh (my granddaughter) - would have loved these.  I couldn't help but think of her every time I took a bite.  The marinara was perfect with it too.

Dean decided we needed to rest after all of the food we've had today so we returned to Bentley.  I should have known he had an ulterior motive - Gunsmoke was on!  Surprisingly, though, when I reminded him I wanted to get a pedicure today, he was willing to turn the TV off and go, but not before he ate one of those pecan rolls!  I guess Ben's didn't quite fill him up.

We found a nail salon in Middlebury, not too far away, and while I was getting my pedicure, he was putting fuel in the truck in preparation for our move tomorrow.  We took another short drive when I was done before returning to Bentley.  I quickly made up a batch of no-bake cookies for someone's birthday tomorrow.  Once I had things cleaned up, we rested, dozing off and on for the next hour or so.

After our nap, we were watching some TV and in a weak moment I happened to mention that we haven't had any ice cream in over a week - his ears perked up, and he said, do you want to go get some?  He had found some information on a place that sells ice cream south and east of town several days ago, so that is where we headed.  Howie's is a little shack on the side of the road but their ice cream is GOOD! and it is CHEAP!  We both had two huge scoops and the total for both was $6.00.  One of those would cost that much at several of the ice cream shops we visit occasionally.  

We are now back at Bentley - probably for the evening.  I have leftovers from our taco salad of a couple of nights ago and we will have that - at least what we can manage to eat after all of the food/sweets we've had today!  

Our chicken taco salad!

We've had a great time here in Shipshewana, shared good times with friends, and managed to get several needs taken care of while here.  We look forward to being back the end of September to pick up our new chairs before working our way back to visits in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma.

John, the guy who installed our disc brakes wants Dean to contact him before we leave tomorrow so he can take a short ride with us.  We want to be on the road by 10 - so we'll be ready at 9:30 to get the ride in before we head east.  We are hoping to hit Cleveland around 2 or so, hoping the traffic won't be too bad as we pass through at that time of day.  

I'll check back with you all in a day or two with a new update.  Thanks again for following along with us on our wonderful adventure!  We love the travel, the things we see and have the opportunity to experience but most importantly we are spending very precious time with each other!  That is priceless!