A real Mexican supper in a real Mexican restaurant

Tonight we went with our family to a real Mexican restaurant here in Austin. Keep in mind that we do not have many genuine Mexican restaurants in central Indiana. Of course there are the Taco Bells that don’t even count. There are sit down Mexican eateries, but they all seem to have the same limited menus and most all items taste alike from restaurant to restaurant.

When you first walk into the La Tapatia restaurant you know that you are in for a real Mexican meal. The interior is simple but clean, and our party of five was directed to sit at whichever table we wanted. Our wait staff immediately took our drink orders and brought warm nacho chips and salsa to our table. Of note was the size of our drinks: the glasses were huge, and must have held at least 32 ounces.

Within a very reasonable amount of time our meals were delivered to our table. The size of the portions were frankly amazing. The amount of food was the most I have ever seen. Even the kids size order for our 5 year old granddaughter was huge! Everyone in our party praised the quality of the food. My plate was filled with 2 enchiladas, one taco, beans, rice and salad. There must have been at least a pound of seasoned ground beef in the items and sprinkled on the plate. The whole plate was covered with shredded cheese.

This was a great restaurant. The food was excellent, the service was also excellent, and I can’t say enough about the portion size. The prices were reasonable, averaging about $10 a person. We all were full when we left!


Home Sweet Home: An RV park in Texarkana, Texas

Home Sweet Home RV Park just west of Texarkana, Texas is a comfortable full hook up RV park. This is not a large facility (48 sites) but the sites are level on stone. The roads are stone and wide enough for easy driving of any size rig. The park has both back in and pull thru sites. Sher and I recommend this park if you are in the Texarkana area.

The normal rate is $30 a night, but we used our Passport America card and only paid $15. For a park with full hook ups and free WiFi, fifteen bucks is a great deal. The hook ups included cable TV. The WiFi worked well, although I had to re-connect a few times the morning we left. Note that all of the electric shore power posts have 50 amp plug configuration. You’ll need an adapter for your 30 amp plug. There is an on site laundry.

Wide gravel roads and level, stone base sites

This is a unique park in that the office is located in the Tire Store next door. Make sure to call ahead to let them know you are coming. The office is open from 8 to 5:30. We arrived right at 5:30 and were met by the park host. He showed us our spot and said we could go to the office in the morning to settle up. This is a very nice, no frills RV park. The management couldn’t be nicer and willing to help in any way. Here is the Home Sweet Home RV Park website with all pertinent information.

Passport America saves 50% on camping plus get 6 months free membership

If you have any plans for any kind of camping and plan on staying at commercial parks and campgrounds, you owe it to yourself to invest in a membership in Passport America. This discount club offers half price camping at over 1900 campgrounds across the US, Canada and Mexico. The yearly fee is only $44.00, and if you join through our member number, C-647737 thru January 2018 you will get 6 months free membership.

Some of the features that come with membership:
All new International Camping Directory with nearly 1,900 RV Parks and Campgrounds
Personalized embossed 50% discount camping card
FREE trip routing, campground updates & valuable info on-line 24/7
FREE Smart Phone App with complete park listings and “Find Park Near Me” feature
FREE RV America E-Magazine with updates on new parks
A friendly and professional staff who is always happy to serve you!

A welcome sign to see at your next campground!

This is a no-brainer, folks. You will pay for the membership after a couple of nights of 50% off camping fees! On our way from Indiana to Texas we have saved $30 in camping fees and stayed at nice RV parks with WiFi and full hook ups. Remember to join with our referral number C-647737 before the end of January 2018 to get 6 months free membership! Go to the Passport America website for information and to join! You’ll be glad you did.

We had a generator problem

Cummings Crosspoint technician checking our Onan generator

Cummings Crosspoint technician checking our Onan generator

Recently Sher and I set up at a large two day festival in Atlanta, Indiana. During our first night our generator coughed a couple of times and then stopped runnning. There was plenty of gasoline, and repeated tries resulted in the strong odor of gas. Sure sounded like the engine was flooded.

Since the generator is still under warranty the Indianapolis (Greenwood) Camping World refered me to the Cummins Crosspoint Service Center in downtown Indy. The CW techs are not certified to do Onan warranty work.

The Cummins Crosspoint service center was very helpful. Once I explained that we are full time RV the staff really went out their way to help and arranged for us to take our RV in for a look see and diagnosis that day..

It turned out that there was a problem with one small part the helps hold a valve spring in place. New parts are ordered. We will just have to do without the genny until they come in.


Our second mattress from MattressInsider.com

We went back to MattressInsider.com when we wanted to replace the mattress that came with our Thor Four Winds 22E motorhome. This Class C motorhome was the replacement for the travel trailer that we had when we hit the road last summer. The mattress we bought from MattressInsider for the travel trailer did not fit in our new Thor. As is normally the case, the mattress that came with the RV was, ah, not the best. Even though it was called an RV Premium mattress it did not take too long for it to break down and become nothing more than a source of bad night’s sleep and backaches.


Our new mattress in place and ready!

So back to MattressInsider. Once again the folks there were great to work with. This time I needed a custom made mattress to fit the shape of our bed: the corner of it was “cut off” to make room for the bathroom door to open. Simple to draw a sketch with the dimensions and email it to the MattressInsider staff.

Once agan we ordered an 8″ thick coil spring mattress. (See our original review of our first mattress here.) The additional cost for the custom design was only $20 for the one we ordered. This was a nice surprise as I expected a higher cost for a custom made mattress.


This is the style mattress that we purchased


The sales staff once again did a great job with our order. I sent in the sketch with the dimensions of the mattress I needed, firmed up the order and our mattress arrived in about ten days. Great service! The mattress was rolled up into a box about the size of a thirty gallon barrel that weighed in at 68 lbs. (Shipping was free by the way.) We simply unpacked the mattress, let it unroll and let it do its expanding thing for about three hours. Then it was ready for use.

Let me tell you, these coil spring mattresses are great to sleep on! Back aches are gone and Sher and I both are getting a great night’s sleep. Need a new mattress for your RV? Browse the Mattress Insider website and/or call them at 1-888-488-1468 and talk with them. You will not be disappointed with what you hear.

Tom Raper RV is now a Camping World dealer

Our Four Winds with the new cargo trailer

Our Four Winds with the new cargo trailer

Sher and I bought our Thor Four Winds class C motorhome from Tom Raper RV in Richmond, Indiana in December of 2014. We got a great deal, were treated well and very satisfied with the transaction. Tom Raper has been in the RV business for decades and most in the Midwest recognize ads for Exit 149A on I-70 in Richmond.

I was surprised when I went to the Tom Raper website in the search for a cargo trailer and bam! there was the Camping World website! The deal was reported back in January by media. Sadly media also reported that founder Tom Raper passed away this April in Florida. Tom Raper RV is now a Camping World dealer.

We got another great deal on a cargo trailer, working with Mitch Crowe, our salesman from the Thor Four Winds deal. Once again Mitch took great care of us. Within a couple of hours we had purchased the trailer, had it correctly hitched to our motorhome and were on our way.

We went to Michigan to get some merchandise to sell at upcoming festivals and shows. The pesky April weather was chilly, and our furnace in the Thor would not work. Heading back south we detoured to the Tom Raper/CW dealership. Long story short, the service department with no hassel found the problem (a bad contact in the thermostat) and even took care of a couple of other minor issues. Hats off to technician Steve and Hank and Paul at the service desk.

I have talked to several Tom Raper employees from the sales, parts and service departments. All said they were pleased with the transition from Tom Raper to Camping World. This change sems to be a good thing for not only the staff but also the customers of this dealership. I was very pleased with the way they took care of our furnace issue and the help with the other minor issues.

We had a ball at a Speed King Auction

Speed King Auctions Evan Minck

Speed King Auctions Evan Minck

Auctions are one of the things that we like to attend where ever we travel. We found a great auction house on the north side of Lakeland, Florida. We spent a little time at one of their auctions a couple of weeks ago, but we went back today to stay for the entire auction.

The auction started around 1:00 pm (after being open early to view the goods) on the outside. Tables were set up in rows, and wow what a variety of goods were sold. First the hundreds of items on the outside were sold, then the action moved inside. There the ‘more expensive’ items were sold. Small items like jewelry and coins were shown on a large TV monitor.

Evan Minck is the owner and auctioneer of Speed King Auctions. Evan calls a great auction. He is fair,  honest, and straight forward in the way he manages the auctions he calls. No bid jumping here. If you are in the Lakeland area of Florida you should consider stoppping by Speed King Auctions. Check the auction house website for times and dates. You just might find something for your RV that you just can’t live without.

We did end up the successful bidder on some things at the auction and had a great time as well.

Our new short queen mattress from Mattress Insider

Ok, how many of you RVers out there still have the mattress that came with your RV? If you do, you sure had a better mattress when you bought your RV than we had in ours. The mattress in our master BR was a five inch thick thing that appeared to be stuffed with the same material in a carnival prize stuffed animal. We both were waking up with backaches after sleepless nights.


This is the mattress we bought from Mattress Insider

Sher began to check around for a different mattress. She found the MattressInsider.com site on the web. Long story short, this site is a gold mine for RV replacement and custom made mattresses.

We looked at the many styles of mattresses and felt that we really would prefer steel coil construction for the firm support. We found the 8″ Park Meadow Pocketed Coil RV Mattress II. We placed our order by phone and received the mattress seven days after it shipped with free shipping.

Wow. This mattress is more comfortable than the one we had in our house. Backaches have gone. We sleep at night. (Now there is a concept!) We just love this mattress and should have ordered it sooner.

Don’t even hesitate to do business with Mattress Insider. They were great to work with on the phone. Delivery was as promised. Set up was easy: simply remove the packaging and the mattress unrolls itself. (The package is about the size of a 30 gallon drum, weighs about 70 pounds.) Let it “expand” for 3 hours and you are good to go.

Guarantee? You bet. If before 100 nights you are not satisfied, simply donate the mattress to a charity, get a receipt for same, and send the receipt to the company for a full refund. No sending the mattress back to the company on your nickel!

Need a new mattress for your RV? Browse the Mattress Insider website and/or call them at 1-888-327-3047. You will not be disappointed working with these great folks.


When you don’t want to use a laundromat use a Panda

Sometimes the cleanliness of public laundry facilities can be, ah, questionable. For that reason we have added the Panda Washer and spin dryer to our Keystone Hideout. The machine measures 23″ wide x 14.5 ” deep x 25.5″ tall. This slick little unit does a good job with the laundry.


Now understand that the Panda model XPB36 is for small loads of clothes. The rating is for six or seven ponds per load. Realistically that ends up being a pair of jeans and maybe a couple of t-shirts. However, if you do a load or two every other day you can stay ahead of your laundry while on the road. It will handle a pretty good sized load of undies and socks.

Wash tub on left, spin tub on right

Wash tub on left, spin tub on right


No, it is not a washer dryer combo. It is a washer with a powerful spin tub. This spinner really takes the water out! Clothes feel almost dry at best and just damp at worst, depending upon the material of the item. You can hang the damp clothes outside or even inside in case where you are does not allow outside drying of clothes.

The simple controls

The simple controls


We put our Panda in the shower for use. With a good extension cord we can reach the wall plug outside the bathroom door. The handheld shower head makes it easy to fill with water, and it drains right into the tub drain.


That’s the good. Now the almost bad:it takes two spins for every full load of clothes. The spin basket is about half the size of the washing tub. Sometimes we will wring out some of the water before we spin them, especially on the heavier fabrics like denim.