Life's Journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, totally worn out, shouting "Wow...What a Ride!"

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Back In IL

On April 1st we started our trip back to IL. With an eye to the weather we headed east, our first stop was 348 miles away at Elephant Butte Lake State Park in Truth or Consequences NM. Our first winter on the road we stayed at this same park, 8.5 years later it’s still a nice park. As with many places the water levels are way down.

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The next morning we were up and on our way, 324 miles later we were pulling into the Tucumcari KOA. We overnighted here in the fall of 2018, while here then we had visited a nice Mexican Restaurant, once again we enjoyed a meal at Del’s, nice to see they are still around.


site 5 w/e
The next morning we were up and on our way, with storms coming behind us we east to Foss Lake State Park in Foss OK. Our friends Curt and Glenda recommended this place and what a beautiful park this was. We stayed in the Cedar Point Campground, with some awesome lake views from our site. We stayed two nights here, the storms came through and we were thankful not to be driving that day.
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All too soon our two nights were up and we were once again making tracks, an early departure, and 384 miles later we were pulling into the Springfield/Route 66 KOA in Springfield MO. A decent place for an overnight.
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On 4/6 we hitched up for the last leg of our trip to IL. Our friends Vic and Phyllis were a few hours ahead of us, so they were tasked with getting the gates open for all of us. 353 miles later we were pulling into Forrest W Bo Woods in Sullivan IL, the gates were locked but our friends saw us arriving and soon had the gates open for us. This year we have a different site, we are in site 113 with lots of privacy. 

                                                                                                            


                                                                                                            

                                                                                                        

traditional first night back pizza
          
scrounged up some firewood

So what have we been up to since we got here?

Of course, there are flowers to be bought and planted.

flower garden started

                                                                                            

                                                                             
We are the back left site-lots of privacy

                                                                         


                                                                            






                                                                                            




There are birds galore.







                                                                                        


We enjoyed them until late April when the IL DNR put out a bulletin asking folks not to feed the birds in an attempt to combat the Avian Bird Flu. So the feeders are down until the end of May, though we do still have all the hummingbird feeders up, IL DNR said those feeders are okay. 


We have spent time with my folks, we’ve been making dinner for them once a week and leaving the leftovers at their place. We had to take my mom to Saint Louis to a glaucoma specialist, she will be having surgery in both eyes, separately, this summer. So there will be a few more trips to Saint Louis this summer.


Of course, we’ve been volunteering. Our title here is JOATS, Jack/Jill of all trades, are two main focuses are making sure the cleaners and mowers have the supplies they need, and our loaner life jacket program-making sure there are life jackets at all improved boat ramps and all beaches. Our other jobs are working on the butterfly garden and filling in where needed. It’s been hard to get the garden cleaned up as we’ve had so much rain this April, but little by little we're getting there. After getting our life jackets and supply inventories done, it was time to get everything out where needed. Two of the USACE Lake Shelbyville campgrounds opened on 4/21, so we’ve been making sure the volunteers have the supplies they need. The boat ramps are now stocked with life jackets and we’re getting ready to open another one of the campgrounds on 5/5. The last two campgrounds will open in mid-May. 

Plans have been made with our friends Vic and Phyllis to get out and explore a few places around here. We know friends have plans to come through the area, and we're looking forward to seeing all of them. 

One of the days in April I turned 62, I now qualify for a Senior America the Beautiful pass, which gives us 1/2 price camping at COE parks. That's cause for celebration!!


 Until next time...                                                               


Thursday, March 31, 2022

Winter in AZ-All About The Friends and Exploring A Few New Places

February 1-March 31, 2022
One last hike at Spur Cross Ranch Conservation area before we leave the Cave Creek area. This has always been a favorite hike of ours so we couldn’t leave the area without doing it, despite a knee problem. I missed doing this hike two years ago and that wasn’t going to happen again. We had a beautiful day to enjoy our hike. We took the Spur Cross Trail (SX) to the Dragonfly Trail (DF).





On the 2nd we made the long drive, all 26 miles, safely to Lake Pleasant Regional Park, we had never stayed there before. We chose the Roadrunner Campground because of the views from the area we were in. The first week of our two-week stay we were in site 11, which wasn’t a good site. While our views were fantastic the tightness of the site and the utility placement were such that the drive was real tight. There are notices that there will be improvements being made this year.



Site 21 had a little more forgiveness but it was still tight.

Lake Pleasant wildlife.

One afternoon we had our friends Ingrid and Al, Mona Lisa and Steve out on what turned out to be Mona Lisa’s birthday. It was so great to be together with these friends. They have all come off the road and we miss meeting up with them.

We did get out to Steve and Mona Lisa's again where we got to see Steve's new toy. 
And we were the lucky recipients of some of Mona Lisa's famous Lumpia. Thanks again Mona Lisa and Steve. 
One thing I miss living on the road is going out to lunch with my girlfriends. Thankfully when we're in the Phoenix area that's something I can do. Ingrid and I did a girl's lunch along with some retail therapy. Not much therapy but great conversation and catching up one on one. Thanks, Ingrid, just what I needed. 
The only hike I did while at Lake Pleasant was the Roadrunner Trail which wound around the shoreline near the campground. 






This would be the last hike I did for the rest of the winter. Dave checked out the symptoms I seemed to be having with my knee and we're thinking it is a torn meniscus. Of course, that means staying off of it. 
While at Lake Pleasant we got in more visiting with friends. Our friend Ranger Mark used to be at Cave Creek Regional Park but is now at the Desert Outdoor Center at Lake Pleasant. The area is not open to the general public, instead, it is open to groups such as schools and scouts, there’s even a dormitory and kitchen. The place can also be rented out for receptions. We enjoyed the tour Mark gave us and catching up with him. A few days later we enjoyed an evening with him and his wife Jill watching the Super Bowl.
Then there was catching up with someone I hadn’t seen in almost 40 years. Bob and I knew each other back in the late ’70s and early ’80s. As happens we lost contact over the years but with the advent of Facebook, we reconnected. The last few times we’ve been out here catching up hasn’t happened but this year it finally happened. So great to see you again Bob and nice to meet your wife Diane.
One afternoon we caught up with our friends Paul and Cindy. We first met them when they were working at Gulf Waters RV Resort in Texas, in late 2014. We’ve caught up with them at various places around the country.
When our friends Bill and Jodie were going through the area a meetup was hatched. For those who don't know, when Dave's out and about he's always looking for a sign of his people. 


We’re glad we spent time at Lake Pleasant Regional Park but doubt it will make our return to list, it’s just too windy for us.
Whitecaps on the lake


On the 16th we headed to River Island State Park in Parker AZ, an uneventful 156 miles found us pulling in for a return visit to this park. 
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There is a hike out of the park that takes you up and above the campground, the previous 2 pictures are from his hike up there. 



For the most part, we hung around the park, with my knee out of commission hiking wasn't for me then. We did take a ride north of Lake Havasu City to see what was around, we didn't find an area we'd like to return to for a longer stay. While at River Island our friends Paul and Cindy came out to check out the area for next winter. So we got to drive-thru many of the parks in Lake Havasu City and none appealed to any of us. We've enjoyed the area both times we've been here but, there are more areas of AZ to explore. Paul and Cindy have decided to go to TX instead next winter, they'll be in Port Aransas for a month while we're there. 
Full moon while we were there. 


On the 23rd of February, we moved 121 miles south to Yuma AZ. We wanted to check out the area, since our friends, Vic and Phyllis, are workamping at Las Quintas Oasis RV Resort we decided to spend a month here. We had site 455, a back-in site at the very back of the resort. Sites have plenty of room, there are lots of activities and amenities. 

Sunrise over the park
When we arrived our friends Guy and Kelly, who we had last seen in Texas in early November, were here for a week. Of course, that meant tourist stuff to do. We took the to Anza Borrego CA to see the sculptors.



















Then we had to check out the date farm. 


Guy and Kelly moved on up to Quartzsite to do a bit of boondocking so we all met up with fellow VT'ers Paul and Donna. Dave, Guy, and Paul all used to work together at IBM. Both couples picked our brains about full-time RV'ing when we were in VT in the summer of 2019. Now both couples have entered the full-time ranks. 
Paul and Donna's skoolie
3 VT plates in one place


a little geocaching
We soon settled into daily routines that come easily since we were settled for a month. We've been to the Yuma Community Farmers Market where we enjoyed lots of local goodies. We've discovered a few nice restaurants, there's a Fry's a couple of miles away and, Yuma Bagel had some great bagels. One day we took a ride around the Salton Sea but didn't come home with any pictures. 

We did check out the Yuma Territorial Prison.
Today's entrance

Restored prison entrance








gatehouse
Nearby is the Ocean to Ocean Bridge, the first highway crossing of the Lower Colorado River. 



The letters on the bridge light up at night
we never made it over after dark

Vic and Phyllis had never seen The Museum of History in Granite, in Felicity CA which is also The Center of The World. Dave and I have been here before but they are always adding more granite panels.




There are hundreds of these here
depicting many types of history




from the center of the world
There is a small non-denominational church overlooking the center of the world.





The first blogging couple we met were Gail and Rick, at the time Gail wrote the blog Gypsy Turtles. Over the years we've met up with them for a meal in different areas of the country, they have now settled in the Fortuna Hills area of Yuma. We managed to get a lunch in with them while we were here. 

We enjoyed our time in Yuma, if only the blowing sand wasn't so prevalent, since it is we've decided this isn't an area for future consideration. 

On March 25th we moved to Picacho Peak for our last week in AZ. An uneventful 189 miles and we were back where we started our time in AZ this winter. We had the same site as last time, C9. Electric-only and come with your water tank full. 


Dinner our first evening was of course with Curt and Glenda, thanks again!! Another afternoon we met their son Chris and daughter-in-law Kendra, we all enjoyed a fun time at 12 West Brewery. Forgot to take a picture but their live entertainment was awesome, a great female vocalist who had an awesome voice. Prior to meeting up with the kids we took a walk around a riparian area in Gilbert. 






Another afternoon lunch we met up with our friends Alex and Paul. 
A visit with our friends from Lake Shelbyville, Pat, and Frank. They are headed to Alaska this summer, they are going on a caravan so we gave them some tips from our trip there in 2016. 
Then there was the visit with Steve and Cathy, an afternoon of playing cards and catching up. 
Steve and Cathy surprised us with an awesome picture that fits our moniker The Wandering Camels. 
We did get out on one trail on our last morning here at Picacho Peak State Park. The Calloway Trail was a nice test of my knee, 1 mile out and back with 302' elevation. It went well but I'm glad it wasn't any longer. 





One last visit with Curt and Glenda on our final day and our time in AZ was coming to a close. 
In the morning we leave for IL, if all goes well we'll be there on 4/6.

It has been a fun winter, catching up with friends, visiting some new places, and revisiting some of our favorite places.  Thanks all for a fun winter!!
Goodbye AZ
Until next time...