Monday, June 20, 2011

Big Foot at White Pigeon, Michigan

Greetings from White Pigeon, Michigan, just three miles north of the Indiana state line.  It is a delightful little town that celebrates an interesting and unique past.
The town is named for Chief Wahbememe (White Pigeon) of the Pottawatomi nation.  He had been a signer of the Treaty of Greenville in 1795 which ceded large portions of Indian homelands to the white colonists who were moving in.
 Within a few years after the signing of that treaty, white families were buying land in Chief White Pigeon's own area.  By 1930, this land office was selling the fertile forests and prairies of the area for $1.25 per acre.  This, the oldest U.S. Land Office in Michigan, now serves as the county's museum.
Despite the influx of whites into his homelands, Chief White Pigeon befriended the newcomers.  Sometime around 1830, he was attending a gathering of chiefs in the area of Detroit.  There he learned of a plot to attack the settlement in the near future.  He left the gathering and ran, without stopping for food or rest, nearly 150 miles back to warn the town of the impending danger.  Having alerted the residents of the threat, he died shortly thereafter from exhaustion.  He is buried on the outskirts of the town that bears his name.

We found this history interesting, but the past was not the reason we had come to White Pigeon.  It is now a town of about 1600 residents and is presently the location of the corporate offices of Quadra Manufacturing Inc. 

Quadra manufactures BigFoot.  Not the Big Foot that prowls the forests of the northwest United States, however!  Quadra's BigFoot is a hydraulic leveling system for RVs.  Strong hydraulic "legs" mounted on the four corners of the RV can be activated remotely from a small control panel to automatically level the rig both front to back and side to side.  The legs and feet of the BigFoot system are strong enough to lift the wheels of the rig up off the ground if necessary!

It's been getting more and more difficult for us to level our fifth wheel with the "wood pile" of boards we carry in the truck for that purpose.  So we had a BigFoot system installed  on our rig.

It is our hope that this present-day investment will enhance the future of our RVing life!

Y'all have safe travels and lots of fun!
Bruce and MarySue

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Back "home" to Darke County, Ohio

Darke County, in west central Ohio on the Indiana line, was home to Lowell Thomas, the famous news reporter, Zachary Lansdowne, pilot of the ill-fated dirigible The USS Shenandoah, and Annie Oakley. "Little Miss Sure Shot" of Wild West Show fame.  For 25 years, before we became RV full-timers, it was our home, too.  It is one of the foremost agricultural counties of the state, so the major social event for the county -- ever since 1853 -- has been The Great Darke County Fair.

Fair week is not until August so during our visit this past week we rented one of the campsites available on the fairgrounds.

On our morning walks we enjoyed watching the horses as they were exercised on the race track in front of the grandstand.

Last year marked the 100th anniversary of the grandstand, center of  the Fair activities.

Several evenings a week as we walked, we watched young 4-H members practice their riding and showmanship skills.

It was fun to visit dear old friends and once again tour familiar places, but there was not a twinge of homesickness.  We were ready to move on in our travels, but our truck had other ideas. Yesterday, after  we enjoyed lunch with friends, it would not start! Was it jealous of our delicious lunch?  or staging a non-starting strike? did it need a vacation from traveling?  or was it just pure cussedness?  We'll never know but the tow truck took it to the nearby Ford dealer and we rented a car.  Twenty four hours later, after all tests were run and computers checked on the misbehaving machine, the mechanics were unable to replicate the problem and released the truck back to us. They had no idea why it didn't start and, being unable to fix anything, they didn't even charge us for their labor!  
Tomorrow off to Indiana.
Bruce and MarySue

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Caesar Creek State Park

Welcome from Caesar Creek State Park near Waynesville, Ohio.
We arrived yesterday afternoon and settled into this quiet site surrounded by large trees.
Business appointments and the early summer heat spell have kept us from spending much time enjoying the lake
or the swimming beach.
But we have learned a little about the history of this area.  This sizeable lake is formed by a dam on Caesar's Creek.  The stream was originally named for a black slave named Caesar who had been captured by the Shawnee Indians of this area of southwest Ohio in the 1770s.  He adapted to the Shawnee culture and customs and spent the remainder of his life living with them.  He was courageous in the Shawnee raids on neighboring white settlers under the renowned Shawnee War Chief Blue Jacket, a white man who also chose to adopt the Shawnee way of life.  In appreciation for Caesar's dedication to the tribe, he was given this creek, which they named for him, and all the lands it drained were considered to be his hunting grounds.
Tomorrow we'll head northwest for some visits with family.  We hope your summer is enjoyable as ours.  (And for those of you who stayed in south Texas for the summer, perhaps you will be comforted to know that it's nearly as hot here in Ohio as it is in the Rio Grande Valley!)
Bruce and MarySue

Monday, June 6, 2011

Gravel Pedestal

Behind this attractive driveway is our own "private RV site."  We've mentioned before that our son's little farm in southeast Ohio includes a meadow where we can park our rig when we come to visit him.
In the two and a half years he has lived there, he (and his dad!) have made a number of improvements in "our" space.  What started out looking like an overgrown jungle full of poison ivy, Virginia creeper, multiflora rose, burdock, dandelions and other nameless weeds, now looks like a lawn.  It's a delightful place to sit and enjoy watching the birds, and the butterflies.  The horses in the adjoining field give it the look of a real farm and several of the resident pet dogs come often to give us a hospitable welcome.
But this year he outdid himself with improvements to "our space!"
He and his dad laid another truckload of gravel on our site and then he built us a sturdy retaining wall of landscape blocks to hold the gravel in place!  As you can see, it improves both the looks of the site and the ease of leveling the rig on it.  He was so impressed with the improvement he had made that he thought he might rent it out during hunting season!  Our son refers to it as a retaining wall, but I choose to think of it as the pedestal that he has given us!