We were up at 7 AM and had cinnamon toast for breakfast but did not have coffee. We checked various routes to the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds (EC4HFG) and searched online for information about any possible road construction problem areas but did not find anything that looked problematic. By 8 AM we had started preparing the bus and car for travel. Linda walked over to Curtis’s coach to say “so long for now” but all the shades were down so she sent him a text message that we were on our way. We pulled out of our site at 8:15 AM. I pulled up clear of other RVs and stopped to wipe off the passenger side mirror which was obscured with dew. I am always surprised that I don’t notice things like that before we start to move.
We took CR-4 west to SR-19 and went south, crossing over the Indiana Toll Road, to CR-6. There are times of the day that this intersection would be very busy but traffic was light this morning and I had no trouble getting into the correct turn lane and completing the turn. CR-6 is a 4-lane road and moved along nicely all the way to CR-17 except for a short lane closure for local maintenance. We turned south on CR-17, took it down to US-20, and headed east. As I expected, this stretch of US-20 was still very much under construction with only one lane open in each direction and no wide loads over 11 feet permitted. Traffic was more congested and slower but it moved along. When we got to SR-15 we turned south and ran along nicely until we got to a construction zone that had the road down to one lane with flaggers. We waited patiently and eventually got through the bottleneck. We were routed through a short detour and then finally entered Goshen. We followed the SR-15/US-33 Truck Route and found ourselves in another one lane construction zone with flaggers, and a train thrown in for good measure, but we eventually made it to our turn onto eastbound CR-34 (Monroe Street) and drove the final mile to Gate 5 of the EC4HFG.
We were directed to the staging area where we unhooked our car. We were then led to the area reserved for our Great Lakes Converted Coaches Chapter and backed into our site. The Laughing Raven Touring Co. bus was already parked in our area. We saw this bus at Elkhart Campground while walking but did not realize it was headed to the rally. The owner, Mark Lovegreen, is not a member of our chapter but wanted to park with other buses and we were glad to have him. I reserved 12 parking spaces, the parking crew gave us 13, and I had a least one coach that was not going to show up so we had the space. Also, Pat and Vicki Lintner got parked on hard surface nearby as the ground in our area was very soft when they arrived on Sunday. In addition to being our chapters National Director Pat is the Senior VP of GLAMA would normally be parked elsewhere except that he likes to park with the chapter.
While Linda set up the interior and made coffee I hooked up the electrical power. Our main 50 A circuit breaker did not want to set. I finally pushed the lever hard enough to move it but did not like the way it sounded and did not get power to the coach. I have indicator lights that told me there was power at the coach end of the shorepower cord but I verified that using my VOM. I removed the cover from the disconnect box in our coach and verified that there was voltage present on both the L1and L2 bus but no voltage present on the output lugs of the circuit breaker. Bummer.
Linda turned off the 30A supply circuit breaker and unplugged the cord. I checked with the VOM that there was not voltage present and then unclamped the L1 and L2 load wires, removed them from the circuit breaker, and then removed the breaker from the box. I tested it for continuity and with the lever in the “ON” position and one leg showed a short but the other leg showed an open. That meant I should have had voltage coming through to our Progressive Industries EMS on one leg but I never did. Regardless, we needed a new breaker as at least the one side had clearly failed.
The circuit breaker was a Square D QO style 2-pole 50A model. I knew that Lowe’s carried QO breakers so Linda searched for the nearest store using her phone. There was one on US-33 back towards Elkhart so Linda fixed a “to go” cup of coffee for me and I headed there. They had a good selection of QO breakers including the 50A one that needed. I looked briefly at refrigerators and noted that they had the Frigidaire model we are considering in white, black, and stainless steel. Maybe we will drive up later to look at them.
I took a different route through Goshen to avoid the one lane construction zone. Back at the coach I refilled my coffee and got to work. As bus repairs go this one was pretty straightforward. Getting the two load wires into the circuit breaker clamps was a bit tricky but I got them in. The QO breakers snap onto a mounting rail at the bottom and then the contact fingers snap over two blades at the top. All of that took a bit of pushing but I got it in. I put the cover plate back on, reconnected the shorepower cord, turned on the supply breaker, and turned on the coach breaker. We had power to the coach but it shut off. I reset the breakers (turned them full off and then back on) and everything appeared to be fine and the power did not trip out after that.
With our power problem averted Linda walked over and got us registered and signed up for one of the few remaining time slots to work in the rally office. She had volunteered to work registration but most of the time slots were already filled and the only thing left was Saturday morning. Shortly after she returned to our parking area three more buses showed up: Bill and Karen Gerrie, Mike and Kathy Dickson, and Joe and Mia Temples. Next in were John and Paulette Lingafelter followed by Don and Sandra Moyer. Late in the afternoon Scott and Tami Bruner arrived. That only left a couple of coaches arriving tomorrow.
I borrowed a sledge hammer from Joe Temples and pounded three pieces of rebar into the ground to serve as supports for the clubs three flag holders. A number of RVs around the rally site had the same design and I suspect that there was an article in the magazine, or something online, about how to build these. They are very simple and inexpensive, can be taken apart for transporting, and rotate with changes in wind direction. Our club as a USA flag, a Canadian flag, and a Chapter flag.
We all stood around in small, shifting groups talking about this and that. I laid down around 2 PM and napped for about 90 minutes. We are conveniently located to one of the bathroom/shower facilities so Linda took a shower there so as to not use up the good water in our tank. By 6 PM most of our group had left to go out to dinner. We ate around 6:30 PM, having a nice, light supper of cold chickpea salad on a bed of power greens.
A little before 7 PM we drove back to Lowe’s to look at refrigerators. It turned out that the ones I saw were the 18 cu. ft. models not the 16 cu. ft. one we need/want. The 18 cu. ft. model would fit in our alcove but take up the entire width leaving no space for a pull out pantry. We looked at solar powered spotlights for illuminating the flags at night but at $18 each decided not to buy any as we needed at least three and would ultimately need the approval of the club to buy them. We stopped at the Martin’s market on US-33 and picked up a deli tray brochure and a few grocery items.
Back at the rig there were lots of folks gathered in conversation. Linda and Vicki went for a walk while I chatted with Mark (from Alaska) and Scott. Scott and Tami recently had a new Whirlpool residential refrigerator installed in their bus so I went to see it. It’s a very nice French door fridge with lower freezer drawer but is too tall for our alcove. This is the style refrigerator Linda wanted but we could not find one sized to fit our space. Bill Gerrie helped me get the U.S. and Canadian flags off of the holders. Linda and Vicki returned just in time to help fold them properly. With darkness came much cooler temperatures and everyone retreated to the warmth and comfort of their coaches.
Someone reminded us that Paul’s Seating in Elkhart was a good place to shop for furniture so Linda Googled it and found the website. There were pictures of lots of chairs, including a barrel chair, but no information about dimensions, fabric options, or prices. We will likely go to Martin’s in the morning and place a food order and then drive in to Elkhart and find Paul’s. The critical path for our interior remodeling project goes directly through the selection of furniture and then through the refrigerator replacement so we are starting to feel some pressure about getting decisions made and orders placed.