Hello from Russell, KS

Hello from Russell, KS Tuesday evening July 28, 2009 (fourth travelogue of this trip) Our main purpose for this trip was to be vendors at the FMCA International Convention in Bowling Green, OH. The facilities were great, albeit spread out over a large area. The vendor building (map) was a great building. The official coach count at 2,725. That is up a bit from the past few rallies but far short of the “good old days” of over 7,000 coaches. The attendees seemed quite upbeat and were buying at a reasonable pace. Our expectations for the rally were not good. We are SilverLeaf dealers, but the company had a booth and did the seminar. In addition, our major fire suppression competitor was there. The main reason we attended was “defensive”, so that folks did not think we were out of business. We were pleasantly surprised in that we sold out of an admittedly limited inventory of most items. The profit did not pay for the trip, but it sure helped. When we finally made the decision to make this trip, we said that we were going to be tourists as well as vendors. In this post and at least one additional post, we will detail some of the fun things that we have done. One of the thing we wondered about was what it would be like to travel without our bus. Most bus conversion folks call themselves “Bus Nuts”. Indeed, there are various organizations with that phrase as a part of their title. What would it be like to travel like “normal folks”? Well, we can tell you that we really miss the old girl!!! Bus folks often say that traveling in a bus is the most economical way to travel. Tonight we went over some preliminary numbers and it looks like this trip cost about twice as much as it would in the bus. Certainly the fuel is much less, but motels and meals really add up! Speaking of motels, we have had some experiences! We decided to try “lower cost” motels when possible. We have stayed in several Super 8 motels with mixed results. The difference in cost between the Super 8s and Holiday Inn Express (our favorite) is $30-40 per night. Some of the Super 8 motels were just plain bad. The so called “Super Start” breakfasts were a joke. In many cases we had to stop and get something with a bit of protein and that offset our “savings”. A couple seem to be less than sparking clean. Another hotel we stopped at in Greenville, OH had a nice enough room, but the Internet connection was terrible. The night clerk told us it was something with our computers. However, we found the room where the router was and had them let us work in that room – no further problems. Tonight we are at the Russell’s Inn, a hotel that has seen better days. The room is OK, but we have seen several bugs that we hope are not cockroaches. Speaking of Greenville, OH, that is where my dad was born. We decided to spend quite a bit of time doing genealogy research and we hit the jackpot. More in the next blog. On Sunday 7/26, we toured the US Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton, OH (http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/). This should be on everyone’s must do list. I had on my pedometer and it said I walked 4.7 miles. I am not sure how calibrated the unit is, but I suspect it is close. There are four huge hanger type buildings with at least 100 planes, many of which are one of a kind experimental planes. A separate hanger has 9 presidential planes including 4 that you can tour. One is the retired Air Force One (a Boeing 707) that carried Kennedy’s body home and where Lyndon Johnson was sworn in. The facility also has a great IMAX theater and we took in two great movies. That evening we were completely worn out and only drove a short distance to Richmond IN. While we will be home tomorrow, I will try to finish catching up with another post (hopefully in the next few days).

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