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!"

Friday, July 31, 2020

Why Are You Here???

May 28-July 31, 2020

When the heat gets in the 90’s we get that question a lot when campers find out we’re full-time RV’ers. A quick explanation of that my older parents live locally and it makes sense. While IL is not where we’d pick if we didn’t want to help my folks out, but we do, so we’re here for the summers, for the time being, keeping an eye on how the corn and soybeans do. This summer we haven’t been taking drives with my folks like in years past, instead, we’re doing shopping for them and helping them out around their house.

We finally purchased a shade screen for our awning, it’s made a world of difference and we’re able to sit outside most days.

Birds are enjoying our new birdbath!!

Woodpeckers enjoying part of the smorgasbord

We’ve had visits from a couple of our Grand Design friends:

Mike & Kim stopped by for a couple of days in early June. Originally they were supposed to be on their way to Alaska but that’s been put off for a year. While we had to work most of their visit we did enjoy getting to know them better.

Joe and Brenda stopped in for a visit, they had just closed on the sale of their home in MO. Welcome to the full-time lifestyle. They came with questions, we gave them what information we could. They are now hosting in the MO state park system.

Our friends Frank & Pat, who trained us for our volunteer position here at Lake Shelbyville, were in the park for a 2-week visit. We were invited on the last ride in their boat before they turned it over to its new owner.

Then our friends Steve and Cathy came for a week visit, we last saw them at a brewery in the Denver area last fall. It was great to spend time with them, lots of laughter and games of Dave’s game-a fun card game, and no not named after Dave though he’d like to believe it is. We took them to the regular tourist traps.

Doesn’t everyone want their picture taken if front Gay’s IL historic two-story outhouse?

Casey IL-Small Town Big Things- is always a fun stop!! We found a few new things.

We’ve enjoyed getting together with Curt and Glenda whenever we can, usually food, beer and cards are involved. Earlier this season they brought over some morel mushrooms that none of us had ever tried. WOW!! They were so good, hope we can someday get a chance to have them again. Thanks so much guys!!

Dave celebrated his 60th birthday in June, we had a wonderful evening with Curt and Glenda, celebrating the occasion. Thanks for the thoughtful bag full of “gifts”. 

We were able to pick both strawberries and blueberries this year, our extra freezer is now half full of fish\shrimp and half full of berries.

During the highest temps this summer our bedroom AC motor bit the dust. Dave couldn’t find an exact match but he found one he thought might work. It was a day late in arriving, as soon as we were notified it was delivered we were on the road to my folk's house where all our packages go. Within 30 minutes of being back home, Dave had the new motor in and the bedroom was cooling down. Thankfully our wind tunnel fan had kept the temps tolerable during the nights without the AC.

We’ve had the pleasure of becoming friends with some locals who walk the campground every day. Jeff and Patty live ½ mile away in a house they’ve been in 40 years. Our friendship started because Dave can never pass by a dog without saying hi. Odie is a therapy dog who has been out of work this summer since visits aren’t allowed this year. We’ve enjoyed a few meals together and clocked many miles walking together this summer. We look forward to more fun times with them over the upcoming years.

We’ve kept busy volunteering 2 days a week. We usually show up at the visitor center gardens at 8am and put in an hour taking care of the garden and making sure the hummingbird and bird feeders are filled. It’s nice to see all the flowers this summer, last summer we started the big job of trying to rescue a garden that hadn’t been tended to in years. A few more years and it should be spectacular.

We then load up our truck, we’ve been given exclusive use of one of the trucks for the summer, with life jackets and laminated copies of signage for the different bulletin boards around the complex. We then head out to the spillway, beaches, and boat ramps making sure the life jackets are in good shape and replacing the missing ones. One of the USACE slogans is “life jackets worn, nobody mourns”, all boat ramps and beaches have a loaner life jacket station. We also pick up supply orders from the volunteer cleaners and mowers. On Thursday our routine is basically the same, except we deliver supplies and fuel to the cleaners and mowers. We usually drive about 100 miles each day. In August we’ll be helping out at our big beach and boat ramp location, manning the attendant booth reminding guests, about no alcohol in the beach area, no food and drinks at the beach, and the boaters will be reminded about the boat raft policy. Our beaches have been busy and too many times by the end of the day they have lots of garbage on them, there is also a limit of how many boats can tie up together, which is another thing that’s been violated quite frequently this summer. Since we opened the campground has been full on the weekends and we’re seeing a lot more campers in during the week. 

A few pics from our drives around the lake. 

Until next time...

Friday, May 29, 2020

TX to IL/Biding Our Time

April 20-May 28, 2020

Our travels north to IL went off without a hitch. We did the unusual and drove straight thru Houston instead of taking any bypass. Unusual times call for unusual things, doubt we’ll ever do that again. Our first night found us staying just west of Shreveport at the Shreveport\Bossier City KOA, 480 miles of mostly US highways, and no time changes. We arrived early enough for Dave to get a dinner of crawdads, the reason for our overnight here.                                                                                          

The next day we put in 478 miles, though this time it was all interstate. Our destination was Hinton RV Park in Sikeston MO. We had spent most of the day driving across Arkansas, glad we had no issues as there were signs at the border and along the interstate saying that they were closed to Rec Lodging.  

The next day we had a reasonable ride of 215 miles before we knew it we were arriving at Lithia Springs COE at the Lake Shelbyville project. The campground was opened to those gate attendants and volunteers that are full time and awaiting the project's opening. We picked site 85 which we provide us shade if we were there into the warm days of summer.


The first night there we had a Mexican dinner from Mia Vera Cruz #2, we had many a great meal here last summer. Our take out dinner didn’t disappoint us.

The next evenings meal was from Monical's, our favorite local pizza chain, another great meal.

For 2 weeks we spent time walking the park, picking up all the “Bud” cans along the park roads, and just enjoying some slow spring days. We’ve been stopping into my folks to drop off groceries and getting a few projects taken care of.                                                                                                    Scenes around Lithia Springs Campground.


I now qualify for elderly status, yep I can now get up early and get in line to shop for essentials we need. The only thing is we don’t need anything essential, we’re in good shape, the Walmart in Shelbyville IL has most everything, though things like rubbing alcohol and hand wipes are still among the missing.  
Dave and I officially reached 7 years full-timing on May 1st, absolutely no regrets but we miss our friends we left behind, so glad we saw them a year ago. Over the 7 years, we’ve made so many great friends, shared great adventures with many of them, we can’t wait to see what the next 7 years bring.  

We had a socially distant Mother's Day with my folks, a to go dinner from one of our favorite steak houses, my mom just wanted their strawberry pie.

Two weeks after our arrival our friends Curt and Glenda arrived, they will be volunteering at the visitor center. Since Glenda was really wanting some Monical’s pizza we, of course, had to get a couple of large pies, we won’t comment on what couple at all their pizza pie but I’ve never seen them eat all of a large pizza at one sitting.

Their arrival day we learned we could move to our home campground, about 18 miles away. So the next day we moved on over to Forrest Bo Woods COE where we will be for the summer.

We’ve shared a few meals with Curt and Glenda as well as a few campfires, where of course Dave and Curt sampled a few beers, we were able to make run to a local brewery, Triptych which we visited last summer.
Empty campground.

In the last few weeks, we’ve been able to do a bit of volunteering, getting supplies out to the campgrounds in anticipation of their opening, fuel runs for the campground mowers, and took care of a few gardens. We’ve made ourselves available to help in whatever capacity they need us. This last week things seem to have ramped up, signs of opening soon abound and our lake is starting to flood in a few places, the regular boat ramps have been switched to the high water boat ramps. The area we were in last year is underwater.

PS the campgrounds here opened at 8am this morning.

Until next time...