Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Little Shopping, Visiting and Another Great Day With Friends

Rantoul, IL.

71 deg. clear, no wind.

Forecast = Sunny. Highs in the lower 90s. Light east winds.

Jim and Roland didn't go to Farm and Fleet yesterday, instead they went to Rural King and looked around there for a while. Jim bought a couple of caps, but Roland didn't find anything he was needing. After Rural King, they headed over to the grocery store where Roland bought some items. After the grocery store they stopped at a couple auto parts stores to see if they had the fuse holder that Roland was looking for, but they didn't have what he needed either.

Later in the morning they went to the post office to mail a few cards and then stopped by a farm stand and bought some sweet corn.

The rest of the day was spent mostly just visiting. Louise was over here talking to Linda and Jim and Roland were sitting outside under my awning and talking.

For dinner, Louise put together a beef dish and some sweet corn and Linda took over a loaf of french bread. All of that along with some raspberry pie that Louise had, made for  a very tasty meal.

After some more visiting, Jim and Linda came back over here, watched a little TV and then went to bed.

Not a real exciting day, but a very good one with very good friends. : )

A Point to Ponder : Did  Noah have woodpeckers on the ark? If he did, where did he keep them?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

He's Here!!

Rantoul, IL

72 deg. hazy, NE wind @ 5 mph.

Forecast = Mostly sunny with a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs around 90. Light east winds

He's here!!!!!
Yep, Big Herb is here and as soon as Roland and Louise went to the office and got him checked in, he was parked in the site right next to me. ; )

Then as soon as they had him set up, Roland and Louise came over and checked me out. I think both of them liked me and I was very happy about that because being that they are Jim and Linda's friends, I was trying really hard to impress them. After checking the inside of me, Jim and Roland went outside and checked out all my storage bays, engine and exterior, while Linda and Louise stayed inside of me and talked.

After awhile Roland and Louise went back to Big Herb to finish getting everything inside of him set up. Then, about 4:30 they came back over here and had a very nice meal of a crab/pasta dish, (that Louise had prepared), fresh sweet corn on the cob, french bread and melon.

Louise was tired, so she went back to Big Herb soon after eating and Roland stayed and talked to Jim and Linda for awhile.

Today I think that Jim and Roland may go down to the Farm and Fleet store in Urbana. Roland really likes that store and has a few items he wants to look for. While they're doing that, I imagine that Linda and Louise will be catching up on what has happened since they last saw each other down in Florida this last winter.

Oh, and how am I and Big Herb getting along? Well, we haven't had a real lot of time to get to know one another but I think we're going to hit it off really well. : )  We're both diesel pusher Motor homes and we both love to travel so we're starting out with a lot in common. ; )

A Point to Ponder :  If water spins clockwise when it drains in the northern hemisphere, and water spins counterclockwise when it drains in the southern hemisphere...which way does it spin at the equator?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Company Coming (I Hope)

Rantoul, IL.

78 deg. mostly cloudy, SW wind @ 8 mph.

Forecast = Partly sunny with a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 80s. Light northwest winds.

Jim called Roland and Louise, (some of their RVing friends), yesterday morning, just to touch bases and find out how they were doing. To his surprise, he found out that they were in Indiana and headed this way!

From what I can gather, (and you probably know this already), Roland and Louise have been very good friends of Jim and Linda's for almost as long as they have been full-timing. They met at a CG down in Florida, hit it off and have been best of friends ever since. They have a Winnebago Journey named Big Herb and he was very good friends with Myrddin. Now they're bringing him here to Rantoul to meet me. : )

Wow!!! I'm finally going to meet some of Jim and Linda's friends and their RV!!! ; )

There's only one thing that could cause a glitch here. : (   A lady that they call Grandma Foster who lives in North Carolina, (where Roland and Louise have a house), is very sick and in the hospital. If she gets worse they will have to change their plans and head back there instead of coming here.

I hope she gets well and they can come to visit us.

After lunch, Jim and Linda went over to the County Market Grocery Store. They were going anyway, but once they found out that Roland and Louise may be coming, they bought some other items to have for meals while they are here.

After they returned and got the groceries put away, both of them took naps. 

Oh, I almost forgot!! Remember I was telling you that they were going to shut off the electricity to the CG to repair the damage from the plane crash? Well they did, but it was no big deal. It was only off for about 1/2 an hour.

Not much happened the rest of the day, it was just to hot and muggy to do much outside. And, by the forecast, there's no relief in the near future. : (

Did you know that the warmest temperature ever recorded on Antarctica was 3 degrees F ?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Davenport, IA To Rantoul, IL and Settled Back Into Site #5

Rantoul, IL.

73 deg. Hazy, no wind.

Forecast = Hot and humid. Mostly sunny with a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 90s. Southwest winds 10 to 15 mph. Heat index readings 102 to 107.

The trip from Davenport to Rantoul was uneventful. We left Davenport about 5 after 9:00 and once back on I-280, crossed the Mississippi River into Illinois, turned South on I-74 and followed it all the way to SE of the Bloomington / Normal area where we turned East on US 136.  136 then brought us here to Rantoul and back to the Prairie Pines Campground

It was about 12:35 when we pulled in so it took us about 3 1/2 hours to travel 188 miles.

I'm now settled back into Site #5, where I was before we left for Wisconsin. I had hoped site #7 would be available when we returned, (I like that site a little better), but it was not. This site is fine but I like how 7 is positioned, and there is more shade on that site during the late afternoon part of the day.

I don't know if you heard about it, but there was a plane crash here in Rantoul while we were gone. A small plane carrying 3 people hit some electrical wires and crashed in a field right next to the CG.

If you want, you can read about it here. Rantoul Plane Crash

Anyway, they still have to do some more repairs on the wires that the plane hit so Louise informed Jim yesterday afternoon, that this morning, at about 8:00, all the power to the CG will be turned off for awhile. She said that they have all the equipment in place and hopefully it won't take too long, especially since the temperatures are supposed to be in the mid 90's today.

Jim says that if it takes too long and it gets too hot inside of me, he'll just fire up my generator for while. It's really not a big deal if you have a self-contained RV. ; )

Don't know what's going to be happening today. Jim and Linda need to get a few groceries, but other than that, I don't think much else will be happening, especially with the very high temperature and humidity conditions that we'll be having.

Did you know that today is "National Milk Chocolate Day"?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Picture, A Shopping Trip, The Corner Grill

Davenport, IA

74 deg scattered clouds, no wind.

Forecast = Mostly sunny with a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. High around 90. South wind 10 to 15 mph. Heat index readings to 100.

As I was saying yesterday there are pretty nice sites here at the West Lake Park. As you can see, I've got quite a bit of shade and the site is of reasonable size. Jim did take more pictures of the park but my Internet connection is so slow here, it takes forever to download them.
Jim and Linda didn't do much yesterday. They did go out to get some milk and then stopped by an RV dealer just down the road from the park. Jim was looking for a few gadgets to put inside of me like a plastic bag holder/dispenser and a knife rack, but they didn't have either one so I guess he'll have to order them from a Camping World or something.

When Jim was checking in at the CG the other day, he was talking to the lady in the office and found out that there was a place to eat in a little town called Blue Grass, which is only about 4 or 5 miles West of here. So last night, he and Linda decided to try it out. It's called The Corner Grill, and is located (where else), right on the corner at the center of this very small town.

The food was very good, but nothing spectacular. The gal that waited on Jim and Linda was new, so she was having trouble keeping up with her tables. There is a bar, so you can get drinks if you want, and being a grill, the menu is limited but you can get everything from sandwiches to burgers to pizza and even a few dinner selections. Over all Jim and Linda both said that it was a good place to eat and would go back again if in the area.

Today we'll be heading back to Rantoul. As of right now, the plan is to stay there until some time in September. Both Jim and Linda have lots to do so I don't think they'll be bored. There's  still some of their "stuff" in the storage area of the bath house to deal with, doctors to see and also they're hoping that some people called the "Illinois Bunch" will be able to come to the park while we're there. They are also hoping to see some other RVers and friends during our stay.

Did you know that already this year in Iowa, over 4000 head of cattle have died because of the severe heat?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Kellogg IA to Moscow IA, Quick Repairs At HWH, A Nice County Park

Davenport, IA.

75 deg. clear, no wind.

Forecast = Partly sunny with a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. High around 90. North wind around 5 mph shifting to the east in the afternoon. Heat index readings to 99.

Because we had to be in Moscow Iowa by 11:00, we left the CG in Kellogg at about 8:30. On the way out, Jim decided that I needed a drink of Diesel so we stopped at the gas station where you register for the CG. Come to find out, this was a good deal because the diesel was about 10 cents a gallon cheaper there than we saw any place else. ; )

After getting my drink, we got back on I-80 and continued East. There was some construction in the Iowa City area, but the traffic moved through the area without any back-ups. By 10:20 we were pulling into the HWH factory. (We had traveled 92 miles and got fuel in 1 hour and 50 minutes). Yes, we were 40 minutes early but when Jim went into the office to tell them that we had arrived, the lady told him to pull me right into bay #2.

In just a few minutes, there were 2 technicians working on me and even with a 1/2 hour for a lunch break, everything was repaired by 1:30.  Actually things wouldn't have gone that fast if it had actually been my right rear hydraulic jack leaking, but when it was checked, the technician found out that it was only a pressure switch that was leaking and could easily be replaced. The other problem I had was that my air bags would not dump prior to leveling, but that turned out to be just a blown fuse.  : )

Once I was backed out of the bay and CLT was hooked to the back of me, Linda and Jim started thinking about where we were going to spend the night. Jim grabbed the phone and called the West Lake Park just West of Davenport to make sure they could accommodate me. The friendly lady that he talked to assured him that they could accommodate a 45' MH and that there was 50 Amp electric, water and sewer at many sites.

So, off we went, continuing East on I-80 until we came to I-280 which runs South from 80. After following 280 for a few miles, (some of it under construction), we came to US 61 where we tuned West for a short distance and then took a local road North for another short distance, here to the park.

It was 2:05 when we pulled into the CG so it took us about another 45 minutes to travel the 31 miles over here.

This is a nice park with lots of shade, nice big level sites, paved roads, cement patios and picnic tables at every site. And the price is right. With Jim's "Old Fogey" discount it's less that $20 a night. ; )  If you do have a larger RV, you need to be aware of some low branches hanging down over some of the sites though.

Jim and Linda decided that we would stay here for 2 nights so we'll be here until tomorrow.

For dinner last night, Jim got out the grill and cooked a nice big juicy steak while Linda prepared some kohlrabi on my stove and made some garlic bread. That along with some melon made for a very nice meal. ; )

I don't think there's much planned for today. It'll be nice just kicking back and not having to do anything.

Did you know that Iowa is the only state name that starts with two vowels?

Monday, July 25, 2011

I Didn't Like It and Onawa, IA to Kellogg, IA.

Kellogg, IA

70 deg., clear, no wind.

Forecast = Sunny. Patchy fog through mid morning. High in the upper 80s. East wind around 5 mph shifting to the south in the afternoon.

We left Onawa about 9:55 and continued South on I-29. Jim had been told that because of the flooded Missouri River, I-29 was closed down by Council Bluff, but what he hadn't been told, (and neither had I), that I-29 would have been closed even farther North if it hadn't been for sand bags stacked along side of the road, holding millions and millions of gallons of water back!!!

Now, I'm not usually affected by water in the ditch, in a river or even flowing across the road if it's only a couple of inches deep, but folks, this water that was held back by the sandbags was clearly quite a bit higher than the roadway and was being fed by the whole flooded Missouri River!!! I just couldn't stop watching the sandbags as we passed through the area watching for leaks!!! And I couldn't help thinking, "If one of those sand bags doesn't hold, I'm going to go swimming and I can't swim"!!!!  : O

Luckily, the area with the sand bags wasn't too wide, the sand bags held and soon we were again higher than the water. : )

Once to Council Bluff all the traffic was diverted onto I-680 heading East. That was fine with me because that's the way we wanted to go anyway, and the road soon climbed to higher ground. Not too far East, and after 680 joined up with I-80, all the traffic come to a screeching halt!!! There was a construction area where all the traffic had to funnel down into one land and 2 cars both decided to use the same piece of road at the same time, resulting in a pretty bad accident.  The traffic was backed up for about 7 miles and it took us about 1/2 hour to get through the area. After that, everything went pretty well and by about 2:20 we were pulling into the Kellogg RV Park just off of the Interstate at exit 173.

It took us 4 hours and 25 minutes to travel 217 miles.

I don't really know what to say about this park. The full hook-up sites are quite level, out in the open, very long, but not very wide. There are some shady sites that are not full hook-up farther back in the park that look nice, but there's no sewer and I think they only have 30 amp electric. To get to the park, you have to enter through the Phillips 66 gas station and then go into the station to register. Everyone was friendly and the price is reasonable, so we stayed here for the night.

Also, they have a little Cafe inside of the gas station where they sell sandwiches. They have a few booths in there to sit on but they're right in the store area. So, when dinner time rolled around, Jim went up there and bought a couple sandwiches to go. Jim got the BBQ Roast Beef for himself, (which he said was very good) and a Tenderloin sandwich for Linda, (which she also said was very good). The sandwiches along with some chips and a cold beverage made a nice meal.

Today, I need to be at the HWH factory in Moscow, IA by 11:00 for my appointment to have my hydraulic leveling system worked on. It's about 95 miles over there from here, so we'll probably be leaving here about 9:00. I have no idea how long it will take to make the repairs, so I have no idea where I'll be tonight. Linda and Jim have been to a park over by Davenport quite a few years ago, so that's always a possibility.

I guess I'll just have to wait and see how it goes.

Did you know that the world's smallest city park is in Hiteman, Iowa, and consists of a single blade of grass growing through a crack in the sidewalk?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sioux Falls to Onawa, IA

Onawa, IA.

75 deg. clear, no wind.

Forecast = Partly cloudy. A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms in the morning. Highs in the mid 80s. Northeast winds around 10 mph.

Being that it was only about 100 miles to the CG that Jim had selected to stay at, we didn't leave the Tower CG in Sioux Falls until 10:40. From the CG we got onto I-29 and headed South, down into Iowa and here to the On-Ur-Wa RV Park in Onowa.

As we were coming through Sioux City, there was lots of construction on I-29 and lots of flooding from the Missouri River in the area. In fact at this CG they had some flooding earlier in the year and some of the largest RV sites at the rear of the CG are still too soft to use. I also understand that, due to flooding, I-29 is closed South of Council Bluffs, but we won't be going that far South.

It was 12:40 when we pulled into the CG so it took us exactly 2 hours to travel the 117 miles down here.

The On-Ur-Wa RV Park seems quite nice. The couple running the CG are supper nice, lead you to your site and make sure you're positioned properly. The Park is small but the sites are fairly large and if it wouldn't be for the wet conditions at the back of the park there would be some sites that would accommodate large rigs without unhooking.

Today is supposed to be a little cooler than yesterday. We had high temps in the mid 90's again yesterday but the forecast for today is for temps in the mid 80's. The humidity has also been really high so that makes it feel even warmer.

Did you know that Quaker Oats, in Cedar Rapids, IA, is the largest cereal company in the world?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Linda's Day, Groceries and Getting Ready

Sioux Falls, SD

74 deg. clear, no wind.

Forecast = Partly cloudy. Isolated thunderstorms in the late afternoon. Highs around 91. South winds 10 to 15 mph becoming southwest in the afternoon. Chance of rain 20 percent.

Jim let Linda sleep late yesterday. After all, it was her birthday and what better way to start it? After she got up and ate something, she and Jim took off in CLT for the Hy Vee Grocery store that they had been to before. They didn't need a lot of groceries but they needed some essentials and they did buy a cake for Linda's birthday and a few other goodies for her to enjoy. ; )

Before Linda got up, Jim was outside checking my tires, fluid levels and in general getting me ready to travel.

When they got back from the store, and were finished putting away the groceries, Jim took a nap and Linda put in a load of laundry. After Jim woke up, he went outside and dumped my black and gray water tanks, added some water to my fresh water tank and put all the hoses away.

For dinner, Jim offered to take Linda to a restaurant but she decided that she wanted to just cook a light meal here and have a nice big piece of that chocolate cake that they bought. ; )  The evening was spent watching TV playing with the computers and reading.

Oh, and Linda wants to thank all the folks that sent her Happy Birthday wishes. She really appreciated all the comments and emails. : )

Today, we'll start heading towards Moscow, IA where I have that appointment at HWH on Monday. I don't think we're traveling very far today so we won't be leaving very early.

Did you know that Jewel Cave is the third-longest cave in the world. More than 120 miles of passages have been surveyed. Calcite crystals that glitter when illuminated give the cave its name.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fuel Leak Repaired, Bad News Good News, HWH and Plans

Sioux Falls, SD

71 deg. clear, no wind.

Forecast = Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Highs around 89. Southeast winds 5 to 10 mph becoming 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon.

It was 8:35 when we pulled out of the CG and headed North on I-29. When we got up to I-90, we turned East and followed it for about 2 miles to the 1st exit. Then we took that street South for just a short distance to Cummins Central Power on 54th Street North.

It was only about 9 miles over there, so it only took us about 15 minutes to get there.

Once there, Jim went into the office and in just a short while, he came back out, unhooked CLT (Cute Little Truck) from the back of me and drove me around to the other side of the building. Once parked next to the building, (They couldn't get me into a bay because they were all full), Denny came out and started checking my generator for the fuel leak.

It didn't take too long before he found a fuel line fitting at the filter leaking, took it apart, repositioned the line so that it was aligned properly, put everything back together, wiped out the tray under the generator and fired up the generator to check the fitting for leaks.

Then his attention moved to my alternator. The first thing he did was hook a meter to my starting batteries and have Jim start my engine to check for output.

Well, there's bad news and good news. The bad news is that the alternator is only charging at a very low rate. The good news is that since it's still charging some and my batteries get charged whenever I'm plugged in or the generator is running, it was decided not to do anything with the alternator at this time.

You see, there were a couple reasons why not to do anything right now. First, this shop works mostly on trucks and the trucks don't use the same alternator that MHs use. (ours are bigger), Second, the price of the alternator, which can only be determined once the alternator is removed and the model determined, will run anywhere between $500 and $1200!!!!

So, for that kind of money, Jim can run my generator once in a while to keep the batteries charged when I'm not plugged in, (if needed), and the work can be done when I'm going to be someplace where the proper alternator is more readily available, so we won't have to wait so long for the part.

After checking the alternator, Denny again checked the generator for leaks, found that all leaks were stopped and put everything back together again.

Then, after paying the bill, (and it wasn't excessive), Jim hooked CLT back up to me and we headed back here to the Tower CG and back into my site.

A note here about Cummins Centeral Power. Even though they were very busy, they got me in for repairs when Jim told them that we were only here for a short time. The price for repairs was fair for the work done, and everyone from the recepionest, (Debby), to the mechanic, (Denny), to the service manager, (Chad) were very friendly and very professional. They all answered any questions that Jim had and Denny also gave Jim some tips about the 12.5 KW generator that I have. All in all, it was a pleasant experiance and Jim says he would definatley take me back there again for repairs when in this area.

It was about 11:15 when Jim backed me into my site so we were back in less that 3 hours. Not bad considering I was thinking it would be more like an all day thing. : )

After I was settled back into my site and hooked up to the utilities, Jim and Linda took CLT and headed over to a Perkins Restaurant to have breakfast for lunch.

When they came back, Jim got on the phone and called HWH Corporation in Moscow IA. to see about stopping by there on our way back to Illinois to have some problems with my hydraulic jack leveling system checked out.

Yeah, I know, more problems, but Jim kind of expected some problems because I had sat for awhile at the dealer without being used and, I am a 2000 model.

Anyway, he called HWH and now has an appointment for me next Monday. Oh! What's wrong with my leveling system? Well, my right rear jack is starting to leak hydraulic oil, once in awhile that jack doesn't want to extend automatically, and when I'm leveled automatically, my rear end is higher than my front end.

So, we'll be leaving here on Saturday and will start working our way to Moscow, IA for my 11:00 appointment on Monday. Then, unless Jim and Linda decide to stop somewhere to just "kick back" for a few days, we'll head back to Rantoul.

Did you know that today is Linda's birthday?

Happy Birthday Linda. ; )

Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's Official!! I'm A South Dakotan!!!

Sioux Falls, SD.

69 deg. clear, no wind.

Forecast = Partly cloudy. Highs around 83. East winds 5 to 10 mph becoming southeast in the afternoon.

It's official!!! I'm finally licensed in South Dakota and have an official address!!! ; )

I was getting worried because on the 17th, my temporary license ran out and I've been sitting here in the CG with absolutely no official home!!  If  for some reason Jim and Linda wouldn't have been able to get me registered in SD, I wouldn't have been able to go out on the road and I'd have had to just sit here in this park forever!! : (

After Jim and Linda picked up my registration at Alternative Resources, they stopped at a store called, World Market. CLT said that they had all kinds of stuff in the store and lot of it was on sale. Anyway, Jim and Linda went in and when they came out, they had a chair to use at my new desk, (they had been using one of my folding kitchen chairs), a hamper to put in the bathroom to put dirty clothes in, along with a very nice looking 2 1/2 quart plastic pitcher to replace the glass one that had gotten broken the other day when it fell out of my cabinet when we went around a corner and hit a bump at the same time. : (

This morning Jim and Linda will be taking me over to the Cummins / Onan repair place to get the diesel fuel leak on my generator repaired. I've found out that he also wants them to check out my alternator because he doesn't think its charging the chassis batteries properly.

I'm hoping that all of this doesn't take too long because they don't have anywhere to plug me into electric at the shop. My main concern is the food in my refrigerator. The fridge will run off of the batteries / inverter for quite awhile but it would be better if I was plugged in or my generator was usable.

Did you know that Sioux Falls was the boyhood home of Minnesota-born actor Richard Widmark?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Alternative Resources, Drivers License and Dinner With Judy

Sioux Falls, SD.

78 deg partly cloudy, S. wind @ 3 mph.

forecast = Sunny in the morning...then becoming partly cloudy. Highs around 94. Southwest winds 15 to 20 mph becoming west in the afternoon.

Jim and Linda got their mail from Alternative Resources on Monday, found out what papers they needed to get their drivers licenses, drove up to the Cummins / Onan place and made an appointment for me on Thursday, found a Hy Vee grocery store, and then came back here and stayed inside where it was cool.

Oh, and they did get my registration, but it was messed up with some wrong numbers on it, so had to be taken back to Karen at Alternative Resources yesterday. That was OK though because the drivers license place in right next door and it didn't cause a big problem.

Getting their license at the DMV went quite smooth and in about an hour they were out of there and headed over to see their insurance agent, Gina Shaver, at Epic Insurance.  Gina has been their agent since they moved here to SD back in 2001 and the few times that they've had a claim, she has been right there to help. She also represents multiple insurance companies and always checks with all of them to see where they can get the best deal.

The visit this time was to go over their policies and do a little upgrading on a few items. CLT said that they were inside the office for almost an hour talking and going over their policies.

By about noon, they were back here enjoying my air conditioning.

About 3:00 or so, Judy called. She's a fellow Full-timer and blogger who has a bog called Travels with Emma and is here in Sioux Falls to get her drivers license renewed also. But, if you go to her blog you'll see that she had some problems and will have to come back at a later date.  : (

Anyway, She had read my blog and realized that she would be here the same time a we were, so she contacted Jim and Linda and made plans to go out to dinner when she got here. So. . . . when she called, plans were made to go to a Cracker Barrel which is just about a mile from here, and also about a mile from where she is staying.

When Jim and Linda came back here after the meal they were still talking about what a nice time they had visiting with her. She had stopped by the CG in Rantoul, IL last year while passing through the area, so this is the second time they've met. Once again, it seemed like they had seen each other just a few days ago, and the conversation flowed freely.

It's like that with Full Timers, you know. ; )

After they came back here, Jim and Linda watched TV and played around with the computers until bedtime.

Today, they'll go back over to Alternative Resources to pick up my registration and then go to their bank to take care of some business. Then tomorrow, they'll take me up to the repair place to see if they can get the fuel leak on my generator repaired.

Did you know that in 1865, the U.S. military established Fort Dakota in present-day downtown Sioux Falls, attracting waves of settlers? Railroads ignited the Dakota Boom of the 1880s, causing the city's population to swell to nearly 11,000.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Tower CG Photos, A Very Warm Day and Plans For Today

Sioux Falls, SD.

79 deg. clear, no wind.

Forecast = Sunny. Highs around 96. Southwest winds 5 to 15 mph. Heat index readings 110 to 115 in the afternoon.

It has been really warm here in Sioux Falls. Yesterday the thermometer that Jim has on my North side was showing 93 degrees for a while in the afternoon and today the forecasters are saying that it's going to be even warmer. : (

Jim went out early yesterday morning and hooked me up to the water and sewer, (it was just too hot to do when we got here Saturday afternoon), and took some pictures of the campground and my site.

This first one is of the sign that you see out by the road.

This is the view that you have when you pull into the park

A little farther down that same road is my site. As you can see, I've got a nice shady corner site. (great with this hot weather),

This is a view of my site form across the street. As you can see, there's a nice cement patio with a picnic table and plenty of room to park CLT in front of me.

In this view, you are looking from in front of me back towards the entrance of the park.

The park seems very well maintained and I have yet to see a junky looking RV, park model, or mobile home. 

Oh, and just as a side note, the 50 Amp electric seems to be very good here in this section of the park. Everyone, and I mean everyone was running their air conditioners yesterday and I never had low voltage.

Today, Jim and Linda need to go Alternative Resources to pick up their mail. My registration for South Dakota should be there too. I've been running on a temporary permit from Illinois up to now, but it expired yesterday. Then, either today or tomorrow, he and Linda will need to find a grocery store to pick up a few items, like bread and milk.

Other than that, I doubt if they'll be doing much. Just too hot!

Oh, Jim also needs to call the Cummins / Onan shop here in Sioux Falls to try to get and appointment for me to go in to find out why my generator is leaking diesel fuel.  The leak was found when I was at the Truck repair place in Illinois that fixed my starter problem. The mechanic there tightened some fittings that he thought were leaking, but it must be something else.

Did you know that the word Sioux is Ojibwe for "little snake" or "enemy?"


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rochester To Sioux Falls, SD.

Sioux Falls, SD.

79 deg, clear, no wind.

Forecast = Partly cloudy in the morning...then becoming sunny. Highs around 95. South winds 10 to 15 mph.

Wow! It sure did get warm yesterday. It got up to 91 and the humidity had to right up there too. And, the forecasters are saying that today is going to be even hotter!!!

We left the CG in Rochester at 10:05 and returned to I-90. After traveling just a short way, Jim pulled me into a gas station and filled me up with diesel. Then it was just a matter of following 90 all the way across Minnesota, into SD and to Sioux Falls.

Oh, by the way, if you're traveling in Minnesota and they haven't solved their budget problems yet, be advised that not only are the State Parks closed but all the rest areas are closed too! : (

Anyway, once we got to Sioux Falls on I-90 we turned South on I-29 for just a few miles until we came to 12th street where we turned off of the expressway and came here to the Tower Campground

It was 2:20 when we pulled into the park, so we had been on the road for 4 hours and 15 minutes (including my fuel stop), and traveled 229 miles.

Jim was a little concerned about coming to this CG because in years past, it didn't have a good rating at all. But, recent ratings have been much better, the park has new people running it, they've cleaned out the run down RVs and now it seems to be pretty nice.

The site I'm in is on a corner lot, I have lots of shade, full hook-ups with 50 Amp electric and cable TV. And all the RVs or park models that I can see from here appear to be in reasonably good condition with no junk setting around anywhere.

We'll be here for a week so that Jim and Linda can get their drivers licenses renewed and take care of some business. As soon as Jim gets out his camera and takes some pictures, I'll post some of them here.

Did you know that South Dakota is the home of the Dakota, Lakota and Nakota tribes, which make up the Sioux Nation?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Lake Delton, WI to Rochester, MN

Rochester, MN.

70 deg. partly cloudy, SE wind @ 8 mph.

Forecast = scattered showers and thunderstorms in the morning...then a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Cloudy in the morning...then becoming partly sunny. Highs in the upper 80s. South winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50 percent. Highest heat index readings 95 to 100 in the afternoon.

As soon as they got up yesterday morning, Jim and Linda started getting me ready to travel. By 9:30, I was ready and they could just sit and relax for a while. Then, about 9:45  Jeanette called and told Linda that they had just arrived at Howie's Restaurant and were expecting the rest of the family shortly, so Jim and Linda hopped into CLT (Cute Little Truck), and headed over there.

As usual, the breakfast was good and the company was great. ; ) After everyone was done eating, it was time to say good-bye with h and h, (hugs and handshakes), and for everyone to be on their way. It was about 11:15 by the time Jim and Linda came back to the CG, and by 11:35 CLT was hooked to the back of me and we were pulling out of my site.

From what I can determine, everyone had a great time at the reunion and plans are already being made to get together again next summer. In fact, Glenn and Jeanette have already looked into a place to have the reunion. (They aren't going back to the Lodge because it's too hard to get rooms and the price is getting too high.)

After leaving the Country Roads RV Park, we got back on I-90 / 94 and followed it North up to Toma, WI, where we turned West on I-90 and followed it into Minnesota and here to the Autumn Woods RV Park here in Rochester. 

Just before we entered Minnesota, it started to rain and we had heavy rain off and on all the way to Rochester. At times the rain was so heavy that I had to slow way down in order to see where I was going. In fact here in Rochester they received about 2.75 inches of rain yesterday, setting a new one day record for the date.

It was right at 2:30 when we pulled up in front of the office so it took us about 2 hours and 55 minutes to travel the 157 miles over here.

The Autumn Woods RV Park seems to be a very nice park. Jim said that the lady in the office was super friendly and the sites are fairly level with trees and bushes between them. The pull-thru that I'm in is plenty long for me and CLT and there was no need to un-hook CLT to get into the site. The sites are fairly narrow however but it's really not a problem with the vegetation between them. Some of the trees do need to be trimmed back a little though. Jim and Linda didn't put out my living room slide because it would have been into the small tree on my left side. There was no problem running out my bedroom slide though.

We'd stay here again if traveling though this area.

Today the plan is to go on to Sioux Falls. I have reservations at the Tower CG and will be staying there for about a week.

Oh, in regards to a comment I received yesterday concerning staying at a CG to get a drivers license in South Dakota.  Yes, you do have to stay at a CG or Motel / Hotel for one night to get a receipt with your names on it. Both names have to be on it and they have to be exactly like they are on your license. I don't quite know what the reasoning is behind this but the Tower CG is well aware of the requirements and was careful to put down both Jim and Linda's names when he called for the reservation.

That's one reason Jim chose the Tower CG because he knew, (through their mail forwarding service, Alternative Resources) that they were aware of this requirement. The CG is also located near to where Jim and Linda need to go to take care of some business in Sioux Falls while we're there.

Did you know that Rochester is home of the world famous Mayo Clinic? The clinic is a major teaching and working facility. It is known world wide for its doctor's expertise and the newest methods of treatments.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Reunion Day 7 and Getting Ready To Travel

Lake Delton, WI.

64 deg. overcast, E. wind @ 4 mph.

Forecast = Partly sunny with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the lower 80s. Southeast winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 20 percent.

Everyone knew that yesterday was the last day of the reunion so, especially the kids, wanted to hit all the attractions before they left. Of course the parents had different ideas, such as visiting and making the most of the last day by being with other family members. ; )  It all worked out in the end and everyone got to do some of what they wanted to do.

This morning almost all of them will meet at Howie's Restaurant for breakfast around 10:00. Howie's is one of the places that has been in the Dells area forever and it's become kind of a tradition to meet there one last time before heading back to their homes. Then after eating, there will be hugs, handshakes and a few last minute pictures and everyone will be on their way.

Yesterday morning, before they went over to the Lodge, Jim did quite a bit of stuff to get me ready to travel. He put some water in my fresh water tank, rolled up the water hose and then dumped my black and gray water tanks. He also checked my tires and fluid levels.

He did all of this yesterday because the weather forecast for this morning wasn't too promising and being that he and Linda will be going to Howie's at 10:00 for breakfast and I have to be out of here by noon, he thought it was a good idea to get as much done ahead of time as possible.

So, as soon as they come back from breakfast, Jim and Linda will do the last minute things to get me ready to travel and then hopefully, we'll be out of here before noon. Being that we're getting a late start, we won't be going too far today. In fact, because it's the weekend and all of the Minnesota State Parks have closed down because of a state budget problem, Jim made a reservation for me at a park near Rochester about a week ago. And, at the same time, he made a reservation for me at a Campground in Sioux Falls so that I'd have a place to stay while he and Linda get their new drivers licenses and take care of some business.

Jim and Linda both agree that this has been a good week with family, but it always seems like it goes by so fast. The plans for the next reunion are already in the works and it looks like it will be back here at the Dells, but possibly at a different location.

Did you know that since the late 1970s the Dells area (Wisconsin Dells and Lake Delton) has become a water park mecca? Noah's Ark Waterpark opened in Lake Delton in 1979, and has become the largest and the eighth most visited water park in the U.S.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Reunion Day 6, More Family And Lodge Photos

Lake Delton, WI

54 Deg. clear, no wind.

Forecast = Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 70s. Southeast winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40 percent.

Today, I've posted some pictures of Linda's sister Nancy and her family. The photo below is of Nancy and her son Fred.  . .. . . . . Um. I mean David. ; )  (Family joke), ; ) David had health problems many years ago and has needed 24 hour around the clock care ever since. He always has either a nurse or Nancy with him, or at least near him at all times.

This is Nancy's other son Aaron, his wife Debbie, sons Peyton, Aidan, Gavin and daughter Karley.

All of Nancy's family live South of Chicago in the Naperville / Plainfield area, fairly close to one another.

I figured that since I'm doing pictures today, I show you some more  views of the Lodge where the reunion is located.

This first one is of the entrance. If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you can see that it's called Glacier Canyon Lodge. Like I've said before, the place is huge and there are many different lodges in this same complex.

The Lodge is so big that the Wisconsin Original Ducks pull up right in front to pick up passengers  to take the ride/tour of the Dells area.

This is a photo of part of the lobby as you walk into the main door.

They even have a grocery / souvenir store inside

A picture of one of the many swimming pools in the complex.

And, of course you can't forget the Arcade where all the kids go to spend their money.

All that along with go-cart tracks, water slides and other attractions makes it possible to take a vacation right at the Lodge without ever leaving. 

Yesterday, Jim and Linda went over to the Lodge in the morning and then in the afternoon drove South towards Baraboo and to the Baraboo Candy Company where Linda bought some sugar free candy. As I understand it, she and Jim stop by there every year. She says that the candy is really good and so she stocks up every time she's in the area. ; )

From there, they went a few more miles South and ended up at Mark's Produce Stand which is along US 12, just North of Baraboo. This is another of their regular stops and they can always count on getting some very fresh produce such as Kohlrabi, sweet corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, and many other items at reasonable prices.

After they finished shopping, they brought all the stuff they had bought back here and put it all away before heading back over to the Lodge.

It was after 10:00 by the time they came back here to the park. Both of them must have been pretty tired because after watching TV for just a short time they went to bed.

Today will be the last day of the Reunion. It sure doesn't seem like it's been almost a whole week already but it has been. I don't know what's going to happen today but I did hear Jim and Linda say that the whole family will probably go to a restaurant this evening for dinner.

Did you know that Wisconsin Dells was founded as Kilbourn City in 1857 by Byron Kilbourn?  The name of the city was changed to Wisconsin Dells in 1931.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Reunion Days 4 and 5 and Finally Some Photos

Lake Delton, WI.

55 Deg. clear, no wind.

Forecast = Sunny. Highs in the mid 70s. East winds 5 to 10 mph.

Didn't post yesterday, so now I have to catch up a little.

Jim took this photo of Laura, Anna, Linda and Ashley at the lodge so I wanted to get it on here so you could see the proud Grandma with her Daughter and 2 Granddaughters. ; ) 

Monday, Laura and the girls helped Linda with the dinner for everyone. They made a chicken casserole, corn and a peach desert. It must have been pretty good because most of it disappeared.

Tuesday, Glenn and Jeanette stopped by to see me. Glenn is Linda's brother and Jeanette his wife. They live in River Falls, Wisconsin, which is not too far from the Minneapolis / St Paul area of Minnesota. By their comments, I think they liked me. They stayed for about 1/2 hour and sat and visited with Jim and Linda.

Since Jim finally transferred the pictures that he had taken to the computer, I'll post a few more here today.

The picture below is of Glenn and Jeanette's son, Ed, his wife Michelle and their son Thomas. They also live up in River Falls.

This next picture is of Jeff, Addison, Beckett and Mary, (who is Glenn and Jeanette's daughter). As you can see, Mary is about to bring an addition into the family. ; )  

They also live in River Falls, so Glenn and Jeanette have all of their immediate family close by.

Yesterday was kind of sad for Linda. Laura and the girls had to head back down to Illinois so that they can catch their flight back to Florida today. They were only here for a few days and of course Linda was wishing that they could have stayed longer.

We should be seeing all of them  this fall though, so it won't be too long till she sees them again.

I've got some more pictures to post but I'll save them for tomorrow.

Did you know that the Wisconsin Dells area has an estimated five million annual visitors?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Reunion Day 3 and Meeting Family

Lake Delton, WI.

68 deg. rain, NW wind @ 5 mph.

Forecast = Occasional showers and thunderstorms early in the morning...then a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms in the late morning and afternoon. Highs in the upper 80s. West winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 100 percent. Highest heat index readings 95 to 100.

We had quite a strong t-storm go thought here in the middle of the night. Didn't seem to be too much wind with it, but sure had a lot of thunder, lightning and rain.

I was really surprised when a strange car pulled up in front of me yesterday afternoon and Jim, Linda and three other women got out of the car. Yep, it was Laura, Ashley and Anna and Jim and Linda had brought them out here to the CG to meet me. ; )  I had never met them before and I was really glad that they wanted to come out here to see me. They were here for a couple hours and I think they really liked me. I'm looking forward to seeing them again later this year.

Jim and Linda said that Laura and the girls had arrived at the Lodge around noon and had a good trip up from Illinois. They had come to Illinois from Florida by plane and landed in Chicago so that they could see Laura's father and then borrow his car to come up here.

Today will be a busy day at the reunion. Everyone is there now and Laura, Ashley and Anna are going to help Linda make a dinner for everyone tonight.

Jim has taken a few pictures but hasn't transferred them to the computer yet. Don't worry though, I'll get them on here real soon so you and I can see the rest of the family.

Hmmm! I wonder if anyone else will be coming out here to the CG to meet me?

Did you know that Devil's Lake, (which is about 15 miles South of here), was established in 1911? The facility has become one of Wisconsin's oldest and most famous state parks. It leads the state parks in attendance.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Reunion Day 2

Lake Delton, WI

70 Deg. clear, no wind.

Forecast = Partly sunny with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 80s. Southwest winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50 percent. Highest heat index readings around 95 in the afternoon.

As expected, Jim and Linda went over to the lodge where the reunion is taking place a little after 10:00. They were gone for almost 12 hours before they came back here around 9:30 in the evening. While they were gone, I just sat here and watched RVs and people come and go.

Not very exciting, but better than sitting on a dealer's lot somewhere. ; )

While they were gone, I found some pictures that Jim had taken of the lodge so I though I'd post a few  here today.

This first one is of one of the rooms as you enter the door and look off to your left. As you can see, there is a full kitchen, a large table and a "bar" where people can sit and eat.

Looking straight ahead as you come in the door there are 2 chairs and a couch that makes into a large bed.

When you go out onto the patio through the glass doors in the previous picture, this is view you see. Like I said the other day, this is a huge place and this photo shows only a very small portion of it. Oh, and can you see the fence on the left side of this picture? Well, that's one of the 5 or 6 pools that are within this complex. And, there's also a big water slide and a go-cart track.

More people did show up for the reunion yesterday and now Jim and Linda are waiting for Laura, Ashley and Anna to come today. They flew to Illinois from Florida yesterday and will drive up here to the Dells today.

Jim says that he's trying to get pictures of all the people attending the reunion, and if and when he does, I'll try to get them posted here.

Did you know that Wisconsin has 7,446 streams and rivers? End-to-end they'd stretch 26,767 miles. That is more than enough to circle the globe at the equator.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Mail, A Little Glitch, A Great Banker, and Day 1

Lake Delton, WI.

65 deg. clear, no wind.

Forecast = Increasing clouds. A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Highs in the upper 80s. South winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 20 percent.

About 10:30 yesterday morning, Jim and Linda took off in CLT and headed to the Post Office to pick up their mail. They also needed a large money order or cashier's check to pay for my taxes, title transfer and registration in South Dakota, but couldn't get one because of the large amount and the fact that there was not a bank in this area that they had an account at.

To try to simplify this, I'll just say that when they called their bank back in Sioux Falls, Veronica, the lady that they always do their banking with, said that she would take care of it from there and personally deliver the check to Karen at Alternative Resources (Jim and Linda's mail forwarding service), who is helping Jim and Linda with the whole tax and registration process. She said it was only a few blocks away from her office so she'd drop it off on her way to lunch.

Now, I have to ask you, when was the last time your banker personally delivered a check for you? Is this lady great or what??? You won't get that kind of service from a big bank.

After getting all of that taken care of, Jim and Linda headed over to Market Square Cheese and bought, (what else?) some cheese and sausage to take to the reunion for snacks and sandwiches. Oh, and they both got an ice cream cone because the ice cream they sell there is some of the best around. ; )

They didn't go over to the lodge where the reunion was until about 3:30 or so because the rest of the family couldn't check in until then. When they got there, there were 5 members of the family already there and by about 7:00 there were 7 more. Today 6 more should arrive and tomorrow at least 3 more.

Some of them will be there until next Friday but some will have leave early to go to jobs or whatever.

Jim and Linda came back out here to the RV Park about 9:30, watched a little TV and then went to bed soon after the 10 O'clock news. Sometime this morning they'll head back over to the lodge and spend the day visiting and catching up. 

Did you know that on July 9, 1877, the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club began its first lawn tennis tournament at Wimbledon, then an outer-suburb of London? Twenty-one amateurs showed up to compete in the Gentlemen's Singles tournament, the only event at the first Wimbledon. The winner was to take home a 25-guinea trophy.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Utica, IL to Lake Delton, WI and CLT Has A Problem

Lake Delton, WI.

63 deg. scattered clouds, no wind.

Forecast = Mostly sunny. Patchy fog early in the morning. A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Highs in the mid 80s. West winds around 5 mph. Chance of rain 20 percent.

We left the CG in Utica about 10:45 and after getting back to I-39, followed it around Rockford, into Wisconsin and up to Portage, WI. From there, we took I-90 up here to Lake Delton, which is right next to the Wisconsin Dells.

It was 3:15 when we pulled into the Country Roads Motorhome and RV Park so it took us about 4 1/2 hours to travel the 179 miles up here.

OK, now I suppose you're wondering why it took us so long to travel those 179 miles?

Well, CLT had a little problem.

As we were coming through Madison, WI. Jim looked in my mirrors and noticed pieces of rubber flying out from behind us. Then, a truck driver along side of us started flashing his lights. Right away Jim and I both knew something was wrong, so he pulled me over onto the shoulder of the road and got out to check.

Yep! CLT's right rear tire had blown and was completely shredded. : (  Jim  went right to work, changed the tire, ( he had to put on that dinky little spare) and in just a short while we were back on the road. In just a few miles, we came upon an exit were there was a T/A Truck Stop so Jim pulled me into there, parked me in one of the truck spots away from the pumps and buildings and unhooked CLT from the back of me. After cleaning up a little, he took CLT and went in search of a tire store.

As we were coming off of the expressway, Jim and Linda noticed a Goodyear sign so he headed there first. Well, they sold mostly commercial tires and didn't have CLT's size but the salesman called another tire store in the area, found out that they had the proper size tire, and soon CLT was on his way to GCR Tires, which is actually a Firestone store.

CLT said that the men went right to work on him a soon as Jim pulled him into the shop and in about 20 minutes he was on his way back to the T/A Truck Stop where Linda and I were waiting.

So, that's why it took us so long to get up here to the Dells area. Don't know what caused CLT's tire to blow but we had some very rough roads around the Janesville area and I suppose that could have caused it. I guess we'll never really know.

The Country Roads Motorhome and RV Park seems like a very nice park. Jim and Linda have been here before, and think it's one of the best parks, for the money, in the Wisconsin Dells area. The people in the office are very friendly and after Jim checked me in, the lady took her golf cart and led me to my site.

I always like it when they do that. : )

I'll be staying here for the next 7 nights. The way it sounds, Jim and Linda will be taking CLT and going to see the rest of the family every day, (starting this afternoon). They're staying at a Lodge near here and from what I understand have all the facilities to prepare meals, gather together, and sleep the 30 or so family members who will be staying there.

It must be a big place. 

As I learn more I'll be sure to fill you in. I'm sure Jim will be taking some pictures and I'll try to include some of them here too.

Did you know that Wisconsin Dells has been a tourism town for over 150 years?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Rantoul To Utica and Proud Of Myself

Utica, IL.

65 Deg. partly cloudy, NE wind @ 6 mph.

Forecast = Partly cloudy. Highs in the lower 80s. Light and variable winds in the morning becoming east around 10 mph in the afternoon.

After what seemed like forever, we finally left Rantoul at about 20 minutes to 11:00. I had been waiting and waiting to get on the road but we didn't want to get to our destination before the 1:00 check-in time, so I had to be patient.

From Rantoul, we headed West on US 136 until we came to I-74. 74 took us up to Bloomington where we pick up I-55. 55 took us up and around to the North side of Normal where we tuned North on I-39. Once on 39 we followed it all the way up to I-80, (near LaSalle). After turning East on I-80, we took the first exit and after crossing over to the North side of the expressway, we followed a frontage road here to the Hickory Hollow Campground . 

Since we took our time and drove slow, it was 10 minutes after 1:00 when we pulled up in front of the office, so we traveled 118 miles in about 2 hours and 30 minutes.

How's that for a nice leisurely drive? ; )

But, you want to know what was the best part of all???? Well, after Jim pulled me into my site and had me positioned just where we wanted me, he shut off my engine and restarted it again. Twice!!!!  And, you know what? it started up perfectly both times!!!! Hot engine and all!!!!  ; ))

Phew!!! I was so relieved that I can't even describe how it felt. I was pretty sure that my starter problem was repaired, but you just never know until you get out on the road and test it under real conditions!

Oh, and one other thing. (and I'm going to pat myself on my roof here). Jim also said that he was very pleased with how I performed on our way here. He said that I never felt like I was straining or having problems merging onto the freeways. He also said that I was much easier to drive than any other Motorhome that he had driven and is looking forward to driving me many, many miles.

Wow!! What a nice complement!! ; )

After getting me settled onto my site, Jim took the camera and took a few pictures of the CG. He and Linda had been here many times in the past, so he didn't take a lot of them.

This first one is of the Office / Store,  viewed from near my site. (D-3)

This next one is of me in my site. Because Jim told them that he and Linda don't watch TV on satellite, they gave me a nice shady site.

This is a nice CG and if you come here during the week and you belong to Passport America, you can get a nice level full hook-up site with free wi-fi and 50 amp electric for only $17. (Cash only).

This morning, we'll be leaving here to head up to the Wisconsin Dells. Jim says we'll probably leave sometime between 10:00 and 10:30. If my calculations are correct, it should be about 180 miles up there.

Did you know that more than ten people a year are killed by vending machines?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Getting Ready and Looking Forward To Traveling

Rantoul, IL.

69 deg. clear, W. wind @ 5 mph.

Forecast = Mostly sunny. Scattered showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Highs in the upper 80s. Light north winds. Chance of precipitation 30 percent.

Not a whole lot to write about this morning. Jim and Linda have been busy getting me ready to travel. It normally won't be that big of a deal to get me ready, but this time since they have been putting all of their belongings in them, every cabinet, drawer and bay has to be gone through to make sure everything is secure so that things won't come tumbling out of them while were traveling down the road.

They also took CLT and went to the grocery store yesterday, and bought a bunch of stuff to take to the reunion so that they wouldn't have to go to the store as soon as we get to the Dells. And, Linda says that she thinks the prices are higher up there than they are here too.

I don't think we'll be leaving here very early today, we've got a short way to go and a long time to get there. Jim called the park where we'll be staying to make sure they had a spot for me tonight and the lady he talked to made it very clear that check-in time was 1:00 PM. So . . . . being that it's only about 130 miles up there, we probably won't leave here until 11:00 or so.

I'm sure looking forward to getting back out on the road again. Except for going back and forth between here and R & S, (about 20 or 25 miles each way), I haven't been actually out on the road on a trip for a very long time. And, I don't ever remember being up in Wisconsin, so it should be a real interesting trip.

Did you know that on this day in 1933, Major League Baseball’s first All-Star Game took place at Chicago’s Comiskey Park? The brainchild of a determined sports editor, the event was designed to bolster the sport and improve its reputation during the darkest years of the Great Depression.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Last Day At Prairie Pines and Plans?

Rantoul, IL.

63 deg. clear, light NW breeze.

Forecast = Sunny. Highs in the mid 80s. Light northeast winds.

If  everything goes according to plan, today will be our last day here at the Prairie Pines Campground here in Rantoul. Tomorrow we will start heading up to Linda's family reunion that is held up at the Wisconsin Dells, in Wisconsin. It's only about 300 miles up there, but I've found out that Jim and Linda only like to travel 150 to 200 miles per day, so we'll be splitting the trip into 2 days.

This type of travel will be all new to me. My previous owner thought nothing of traveling 200 to 300 miles a day, covering lots of ground in just a few days.

During the last few days, Jim and Linda have been getting boxes and totes out of the storage area in the bathhouse and bringing them over to my site. Then, one box/tote at a time, they've been taking the items inside of them and putting them away in me. Jim says that there's not too much left over at the bathhouse, but they won't have time to move it all into me before we leave here. Louise says that it's OK to leave them here until we get back because there's lots of room in there that's not being used.

Speaking of getting back, I really don't know just when we'll be getting back here to Rantoul. We'll be up at the Reunion for a week and then from there we'll head to Sioux Falls, SD so that Jim and Linda can renew their drivers license. They also have some other business that they want to take care of in Sioux Falls, so I don't know how long we'll be staying there.

After that, there really isn't a plan. Linda has a cousin up in Minnesota that we may go and see, Jim and Linda went up into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan last year after the reunion, and really liked it up there, (so we could go back there). Or, we may just come back here to Rantoul after going to Sioux Falls.

As Jim likes to say, "All our plans are written in pencil and we have a big eraser", so who knows where we'll be going.

Sounds good to me!!  I like to just wander around!!  ; )

A Point to Ponder : If your plan is having no plan, do you have a plan?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th Of July!!

Rantoul, IL.

70 deg. scattered clouds, no wind.

Forecast = Decreasing clouds. A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 80s. Northeast winds 5 to 10 mph.

Happy 4th of July!!!! 

Many of you who are full-timing or have traveled extensively will be able to relate to this poem, written by John Mitchum. It's read by John Wayne and pretty much sums up my feelings about this great country that we live in. It's called Why I Love America and I can visualize many of the places that are mentioned in the poem.

How many of these places have you been to?

Did you know that the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence did not sign at the same time, nor did they sign on July 4, 1776? The official event occurred on August 2, 1776, when 50 men signed it. Their names were kept from the public for six months to protect the signers since they would have been punished with death if independence had not been achieved.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Few Pictures and Fireworks

Rantoul, IL.

70 deg.partly cloudy, no wind.

Forecast = Mostly sunny with a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 80s. Light northeast winds.

Nothing much new around here. Jim did finally take a few pictures of the new furniture so I'm posting a couple here today. The desk is actually a little darker in color that the pictures show, but the lighting situation inside of me wasn't real good.

This first one is a view looking towards the front of me.

And, this is from the front, looking back.

Linda is really enjoying the chair and the desk. She says that the chair is really comfortable and it's the first time she has had a place to keep her files and desk supplies since they went full-timing.

Yesterday was kind of a kick-back day for Jim. It was really hot outside, (my thermometer showed 96 deg. at one point), his back and legs were hurting from working on the desk and file cabinet the day before, so he just did a few things inside of me. He did go and pick up the mail at the post office in the morning, stop at the grocery store for a few items and then went over and talked to Paul and Louise for awhile.

Today he's going to try to get some of the totes and boxes out of the storage area and bring them over here so he and Linda can get the items in them put away.

Oh, they had the fireworks display here in Rantoul last night. From what I could see and hear, they were really pretty and really loud!! : ) I think everyone enjoyed them.

(I still think they should have waited until tonight or tomorrow night though).

Did you know that the US imports an estimated $128 million in fireworks from China each year?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Still Organizing and Campground Filling Up

Rantoul, IL.

74 deg. scattered clouds, S. wind @ 7 mph.

Forecast = Hot and humid. Mostly sunny. A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Highs in the mid 90s. Southwest winds 5 to 10 mph. Heat index readings 97 to 102.

It didn't get as hot here yesterday as was fore-casted. There were some clouds and I guess that kept the temperature down a little. Today though, it's starting out mostly sunny, and I think the temps will get quite high.

Jim and Linda spent most of the day yesterday organizing things inside of me. Linda's got all the desk stuff in the desk, Jim put catches on all of the desk drawers so they wouldn't come open while we were traveling, and both of them went through more boxes of stuff and either found places for it, or threw it away.

Lots of RVs came into the campground yesterday. It's not full yet, but Jim says that there'll be more coming this morning, and by the end of the day it will be.

Linda is really enjoying the new recliner. For a couple weeks now, she has either had to sit up in front in the passenger's seat, on a kitchen chair, or on the couch where she's not very comfortable. Jim says that maybe the recliner is too comfortable for her because now every time she sits in it she falls asleep.  ; ) 

Don't know just what's happening today. I heard Linda say that she thought the 4th of July fireworks were going to be tonight already. I would think they would wait at least until tomorrow night or Monday night to have them, but no one asked for my opinion. I'm sure that Jim and Linda will find plenty to do, and if they can, they still want to get some of the boxes out of the storage room in the bathhouse. (Paul and Louise were way too busy yesterday to help). And, I know that there are still some cabinets and drawers that need to be organized inside of me.

Did you know that the record for the largest firework display consisted of 66,326 fireworks and was achieved by Macedo'S Pirotecnia Lda. in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal, on 31 December 2006?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Back To Rantoul

Rantoul, IL.

70 deg. cloudy, thunder in the distance, light SW wind.

Forecast = Hot and humid. Mostly sunny. Highs in the lower 90s. Southwest winds 5 to 10 mph. Afternoon heat index readings 96 to 101.

First of all I want to thank all of you that left comments yesterday. I too am really happy that my starter problem seems to be finally repaired. I know that the last days haven't been too interesting, (with me either in a repair shop or waiting to get into one), and I really appreciate all of my followers and readers hanging in there with me during these trying times.

We left the Tin Cup CG about 8:30 yesterday morning and headed over to R & S, (about 3/4 mile). There, after asking Steve where he wanted me, Jim pulled me into one of the empty bays. As soon as I was up to the door, I saw the new furniture setting there. When my entrance door was right next to it, Jim stopped me and after clearing some boxes away inside of me, Justin and another man proceed to bring it inside.

The little legs had to come off of the recliner, and they took the legs off of the desk to make it easier, but the move was successful and now I have furniture in the space where the original couch was removed.

In about an hour, all the furniture was loaded, and by about 9:35 we were on our way.

It was just 10 minutes after 10 when we pulled into the Prairie Pines CG here in Rantoul and it was sure good to see that site #5 was empty and waiting for me. After making sure that site #5 was where Louise wanted me, Jim drove me around and pulled me into the site.

I can sure understand why Jim and Linda like this park so much. After spending those nights in R & S's shop and the others at the Tin Cup, (with only about 8 feet of grass between you and the next RV), these very large sites with lots of grass and trees, are really nice. ;  ) 

Oh, and Paul even worked on my site, while I was gone, to try to get it more level than it was, because he knew that I had some problems getting level when we were here last time.

Are Paul and Louise great camp host, or what?

About noon, Jim and Linda took CLT and headed down to Champaign to a Menards store. There, they bought some brackets to secure the desk and file cabinet to my wall, a small fire safe to keep their important papers in, some coat hooks and a small towel bar to install in me to hang stuff up on.

The rest of the afternoon was spent securing the desk, and file cabinet to my wall, securing the desktop computer to the desk and then running all the wires to the monitor, keyboard, printer and surge suppressor.

Oh, and Jim did get the little towel bar installed for Linda too. ; )

Today, if they can, they want to try to get some of the boxes out of the storage room over at the bathhouse, (Paul and Louise will be very busy with this being the holiday weekend), bring them over here and start getting some of that stuff put away inside of me. Of course the main thing Jim and Linda want to get done is to get me ready to leave here next week to head up to the reunion.

Well, I'd better quit jabbering for now, this is getting pretty long. I'm sure that Jim will be taking some pictures of the new furniture soon, and I'll post them just a soon as he does.

Again, thanks for following along and sticking with me during these difficult times. You don't know how much it means.

Did you know that July 4th was not a federal legal holiday until 1941?