Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Rally Over, Fun Continues

Jim 001 Our first Gypsy Journal Rally has become a fond memory!  We both learned some new things, met some new friends and enjoyed our experience.  Our group of friends is still here at the Elkhart Campground, and we’re still having a great time this week as we wait for the Escapees big 50th Escapade, which begins on Sunday.

Sunday morning we got up bright (well, maybe it wasn’t so bright that early), packed up the Castle and I drove it over to a big, empty parking lot just a few blocks away for my driving lesson.  Yes, I signed up with Dick Reed’s RV Driving School to take a 4-hour, personalized class to learn more about driving this coach.  My instructor was Denny Orr, who is a very brave and patient man!  We started out with some backing up practice.  Below, Denny is setting out cones.  He instructed me to stay about a foot away from them as I backed in a straight line:

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And before long, I was backing around corners and between cones to replicate a back-in space at an RV park:

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I drove around the vacant parking lot for quite awhile, practicing turns and backing until I was pretty comfortable.  Ok, time to get out on the road!  Denny had me drive around the streets of Elkhart, down a country road, and into a Wal-mart parking lot that was most definitely not vacant!  Yes, I even turned right down a row between parked cars!  I did highway driving, drove through construction zones and more city streets.

What an adventure!  Finally it was time to bring the Castle home, and Denny had me going through some very tight turns in the RV Park on the way back to our space.  He had Jim guide me as I backed into our space, even though we are in a pull through, he wanted me to have the real-world experience of a back-in site.  Once safely parked, I got my certificate:

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Yay!  I passed!

On Labor Day, we rested from all our labors of the past year.  Good thing we have that one day each year to rest up!

Yesterday, a bunch of us went to breakfast.  Afterwards, we rode with Dortha and Mark over to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.  Dortha and I walked the dunes and beach:

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While Jim and Mark stood guard over our shoes:

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After our walk, we drove through a Michigan City park to get a good view of the lighthouse there:

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To make it just about a perfect day, we stopped by the Blue Chip Casino, and played a few slot machines, just long enough to lose some and win it back.

When we got back to the Elkhart Campground, we found that Dee & Jim and Judy & Darrell have arrived.  They will be going to the Escapade too.  After a quick dinner at a local eatery, The Chubby Trout, several us got together for the regular evening game of Hand & Foot.

Tonight, a group of us are going to dinner at an Amish home.  This is a pretty special event, from all that I understand.  More details in the next entry!


Jim and Dee said...

The RV class is awesome to make you feel comfortable driving. Congrats.

Janna and Mike said...

We are impressed Ellie--good for you learning to drive that big old bus!!! Your photos of the beach were beautiful--let us know about the dinner with the Amish.

Donna aka Froggi said...

Congrats on the driving school!!!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Ellie!Does this mean you will be driving some while Jim navigates? I can't even back the boat into the water, your a champ!!! The pictures are beautiful!

All Because Two People Fell In Love said...

Congratulations Ellie! Can't wait to see you drive your Castle into the desert. Love & Hugs, Gina & Rollie

luvglass said...

Congratulations Ellie! That has to give you a lot more confidence.