Yes, yes, this post is way past due! Here we are back in RI and I’m still writing about what we did during the last leg of our trip back in April! If I remember correctly, I had the same problem last year, no explanation or excuses as to why. But guess it’s better late than never!
Anyway, it was hard to believe that our winter journey was almost at an end. But not before we had some more fun at the Entegra Homecoming at the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds in nearby Goshen April 19th – April 22nd!
To be honest, when I saw that the Homecoming was going to be held at the Fairgrounds I was disappointed, figuring that there was no way that this year’s event could top the 2016 Homecoming/Springfest where dinner was held at the RV Museum in Elkhart and at the Palais Royale in South Bend. Boy was I wrong!
Arriving at the Fairgrounds, we were pleasantly surprised. Other fairgrounds we have been to for other rallies have been nothing more than parking lots – no sewer, no water and no electricity (except for the huge generators provided). At this fairgrounds, however, there were regular campsites with full hookups.
Attending a rally event, whether with Entegra, Tiffin, Newmar, Good Sam, FMCA or some other group is a great way to reconnect with old friends while having an opportunity to make new ones. With over 300 coaches (and their owners) in attendance, this one was no exception. Andy and George and their infamous Chihuahua, Elizabeth Taylor were there as well as Betsy and Nancy and so many other Entegra owners we’ve met over the past few years.
Another benefit to attending an Entegra owner’s rally, irregardless of the location, is that service technicians are brought in to address the top three priority issues submitted by the owner prior to the event. Warranty issues were automatically covered for both labor and parts; if a coach was out of warranty, labor was free, the owner only had to pay for any required parts.
On display near the campground were the 2018 Entegra models. Along with the more sedate Insignia, Aspire and Anthem was a top of the line, very flashy 2018 Cornerstone, a limited anniversary edition. Although it was beautiful, with it’s fiery red exterior, cashmere interior and glossy gray cabinets inside, it was a bit over the top for my taste. But someone liked it – it was sold by the end of the Homecoming! Not to worry, we didn’t buy it! Always fun looking at the new models to see what changes have been made.
On the agenda for the four days were plant tours, offerings of over 25 tutorial classes and plenty of opportunities to meet vendors. A Welcome Reception, buffet breakfasts each morning and box lunches were provided each day. On two nights evening entertainment was provided followed by live music and dancing. An 80’s Throwback Party was the theme for the first evening where prime rib, salmon and chicken marsala, assorted veggies, salads and miniature desserts were the buffet table offerings.
The next night at the country western themed Denim & Diamonds Party, a hog roasting on a spit greeted us (well, guess he didn’t really greet us) as we approached the building. At the buffet table, there was roasted pork, barbecue chicken, corn on the cob, corn bread, cole slaw, salad, apple or cherry pie with ice cream.
Both events were awesome! Needless to say it was a very busy and somewhat exhausting four days!
After the Homecoming, we headed to Charlotte, MI where we had an appointment for a 44 point inspection at Spartan. They found a several minor issues that needed to be resolved. The big ones were a ball joint recall, repairing leaky front and tag oil filled hubs and 4 air leaks. We also had our Engine Message center reprogrammed to allow resetting the Average MPG (something we had on our previous coach and was annoying the heck out of Rob). All was of course covered under warranty. We also replaced the stock 40mm fron Bilstein shocks with a heavier Koni model. These resulted in a very noticeable ride improvement, much smoother.
But we weren’t done with service yet – it was back to Middlebury on Tuesday for a 3 day service appointment at Entegra to have a few minor issues fixed. As usual, the night before our service appointment we headed over to Elkhart to the pet friendly Candlewood Suites where we would stay with the kitties while our coach was being serviced.
Although having service on your coach can be somewhat of a drag, quite a few of the Entegra owners (including Betsy and Nancy) who were at the Homecoming we’re in for service so it was fun hanging out with them. Plus we love visiting Middlebury and driving around the countryside especially in Spring when everything is in bloom. Since we’ve been to the area a number of times and as far back as early 2013, we’ve already explored most of the area attractions. These have most recently been documented in our “Passing the Time at Entegra” Part I and Part II posts.
We did the usual visit to Yoder’s Popcorn, Guggisberg Cheese and factory tours at Entegra and Newmar. And when the weather was good we took walks along the lovely Pumpkinvine Trail to help pass the time.
Of course we visited a few of our favorite restaurants (Aunt Karen’s Cafe, 41 Degrees North, the Mayberry Cafe, the Blue Gate Restaurant and Callahan’s Restaurant) and tried a few new ones as well. Our Indiana Eatin’ post has been updated with the new restaurants that we tried.
By the way, the Elkhart Egg weirdness that we posted about previously is still alive and well in this part of the country! – order 1 egg and get 2, order 2 and get 3 or 4!
It would have been nice to be on our way after three days but that didn’t happen. Our stay was extended by almost a week as things were not initially fixed to our satisfaction. Once everything was done, we checked out of the hotel and moved back to the coach. We could have left on Thursday but there was heavy rain in the forecast so we decided to stay through the weekend, camping in the Entegra overnight lot. That worked out great because Rob’s brother Jeff was picking up his twin daughters from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland that weekend. On their way back to the Chicago area, Jeff decided to swing by Entegra and meet us for a quick visit. So good to see them!
About an hour after they left for the 2 1/2 hour drive back home, their 2007 Honda Odyssey van was rear ended on I-90 near Elkhart in slow moving traffic in a construction zone. Initially we thought it was just a minor fender bender but not so! A guy in a pick up truck behind them apparently wasn’t paying attention, slamming into the back of their van at what must have been a pretty high rate of speed based on the damage done. Even though Sienna who was sitting behind the driver’s seat had to be pulled out through the window, thankfully none of them had serious injuries. A minor concussion for Jeff and a few scratches for the girls. Luckily they were able to hitch a ride back to Chicago with friends who were also picking up their daughter from college in South Bend.
The next morning we met Jeff and Michelle at the tow service yard to help them clean everything out of the van and load it into their other van. We were totally shocked when we saw their van. How very lucky they were! Most of the stuff the girls had packed up from their college dorm rooms was ruined.
Finally on Monday morning, April 15th, we left Entegra heading east. Along the way, we would stop at Ottawa Metro Park in Lima, Ohio (lovely park), West Branch State Park in Ravenna, Ohio and Maple Lane RV Park in Cuba, NY. Our final stop would be at Arrowhead Marina and RV Park in Glenville, NY (near Schenectady)so we could spend a few days visiting with Rob’s Dad and his other brother Dave.
BTW, as previously reported when crossing New York state, we still definitely favor “The Southern Tier Expressway” (I-88/I-86) over The NY Thruway (I-90). First there are no tolls so that saves a big chunk of cash (up to $100), second the traffic is lighter with fewer trucks, and third the scenery is spectacular! The road conditions this time were 85% smooth with 1 or two, short, but markedly rough areas, probably no worse than I-90. For more details see the very end of this post.
On April 21st, we pulled into Sun Valley in East Greenwich, RI. Home at last! Now it was time to switch to boat mode. We needed to have Quantum Leap ready for launch by the 31st!