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!"

Monday, September 20, 2021

Westward Bound

 September 15-20, 2021

Our first stop, of 30 this winter, was 255 miles away at Pershing State Park where we had reserved site 11, electric only. Site 11 isn’t an easy one to get into but we managed. Our power pedestal had an issue so soon we had some maintenance folks working on it. Once they got that fixed we still had electrical issues, our rig became energized, shocking, to say the least. Dave has traced the problem down to the AC, some kind of relay is fried. As soon as we can find a place to ship the board to we should be all good. Thankfully we don’t need it as we are heading toward higher elevations and cooler temps. We’ll be looking for an Amazon locker somewhere, hopefully in Fort Collins.

Site 11

Contrary to what we had read there is no Verizon signal, only extended 1x, but it worked well enough for a couple of nights. We enjoyed sleeping with the windows for the first time in weeks. The roads are tight and I wouldn’t want to be here with a larger rig.

Pershing State Park was built to honor Gen. John J. Pershing, commanding general of the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I. Nearby is his boyhood which we didn’t visit.

Our full day there we walked the Locust Creek Boardwalk trail, while we didn’t see any wildlife it was a nice walk in the shade.

We also took a ride to see Locust Creek Covered Bridge State Historic Park, as former residents of VT where they have about 100 covered bridge-many of which we saw in our 20 years there. Locust Creek was part of Route 8, America's first transcontinental road. US Highway 36 eventually replaces Route 8. 


Another 318 miles brought us to our second stop, Mormon Island State Recreation Area, right off of I80 with a small lake between us and the interstate.  Site 65, electric-only, backed up to the small lake, decent spacing between the sites, if you can ignore the interstate noise it's a nice park, big enough to get a decent walk with a small trail system. There are some first come first serve sites, the sites in the open are big enough for most rigs, the ones in the shade not so much. The park's name is derived from the Mormons who used to winter here on their way westward.

Site 65

On Saturday we headed into Grand Island in search of beer and groceries. We enjoyed appetizers at Kinkaider Brewing and Dave enjoyed a flight of beer and a couple of samples, I enjoyed their root beer. 

There were some trails in the campground where we could get in a walk. Of course, there's always a geocache or two to find.

253 miles on Sunday brought us to our third stop, Sidney NE and Cabela's RV Park and Campground, where we have an FHU site for 2 nights. Our ride was just fine except for the drunk, or who knows what, truck driver. Dave noticed him in the drivers' side mirror weaving all over the road, we then entered a construction zone where it was one lane with oncoming vehicles in the other lane. We both kept watch out of side mirrors and I would see him just about take traffic signs and almost go off the road, Dave watched him take out traffic barrels and almost go into the oncoming traffics lane. We finally got out of the construction zone and he fell way back. Soon though he was barreling down behind us and going to pass us, Dave headed for the shoulder, though we could have gone up the exit ramp if we needed. We continued to watch him barrel down the road weaving all over around the other semi-trucks. Thankfully we only had 20 miles left of our ride and never came upon an accident. 
Site 22
Get here early, by 6 there are no empty sites

On our free day in Sidney we decided to take a ride, Scott's Bluff National Monument was our destination. Before we got there though we made a stop at Chimney Rock.

This area is steeped in westward expansion history, many of the trails including the Pony Express traveled through this area. The Chimney Rock formation served as a landmark for pioneers migrating west.

Scott's Bluff National Monument
It must be cold out, Dave has long pants on

It never ceases to amaze me the grit, fortitude, and determination the early pioneers must have had. To cross a continent in wagons pulled by oxen, the countless miles they walked every day, the dangers they faced on all fronts. 

Tomorrow we head to Ft Collins CO, we'll be at Horsetooth Reservoir for 2 weeks. Hiking, and breweries but best of all, family and friends to see. 

Until next time... 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Summer In Illinois

 April 8-July September 14, 2021

I apologize in advance for the length of and quantity of photos, lost my blogging mojo this summer. So grab a beverage and snack and I'll fill you in our summer here at Lake Shelbyville IL.

By the time summer rolled around Dave and I had turned 61, one more year to our lifetime America the Beautiful pass, our 36th wedding anniversary occurred and our 8th RVersary happened. 

At times it seems like we just got here but then a look at the calendar and we’re halfway almost through the summer. In late April I started taking a break from Facebook, I’ve been enjoying Instagram more. Between the break and a laptop that had become cumbersome and sooooo slow, there were weeks that I never turned on the computer.  Recently I finally broke down and purchased a new laptop, we shall see how it goes. I've spent a lot of time with Sandra Brown, Lee Childs, Douglas Preston, J.C. Eaton, David Rosenfelt and so many others, reading the summer away on the patio. 
4/8/21 site 94


When it's cool enough we enjoy a fire

Our container garden did well this summer. The yellow pansies came from our winter in TX, we brought them inside during the February deep freeze, we've enjoyed them this summer but these days they are looking tired. 

The local neighbors.

Soon after arriving, we received our Moderna vaccination so we have been able to get out with my vaccinated folks. There’s always a car ride to go on, a project around their house, extended family to see, and shopping to do. We enjoyed taking Mom on her first grocery store trip in over a year, she enjoyed wandering some of the aisles. We have celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary, and both their birthdays-which are on the same day, with them. 

Lunch with my folks and cousins

Mom's flowers


At least two days a week we actively volunteer for the USACE Lake Shelbyville Project. It is our 4th season at this project, our lead, Erica, decided I could speak, at orientation, about the visitor center position expectations and also how our job relates to all the other volunteer positions, lucky me. Our lead has dubbed us with a new title, JOATS, jack of all trades, seems to fit us. Our volunteer days are filled with gardening first thing in the morning. We then travel to all the campgrounds, beaches, and developed boat ramps where we check on the status of our loaner life jackets, we cull out those that have issues and replace them. Unfortunately this summer and last we’ve had drownings at our beaches. While in the campgrounds we check in with the volunteer cleaners and mowers, getting supply requests or delivering supplies and refueling gas tanks for the mowers. We put on 80+ miles on our trek around the lake. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to pick up litter in the empty sites in our campground, we usually end up with 2+ grocery bags of garbage with 6 bags being the most we’ve picked up in one outing. The most prevalent things we pick up are, cigarette butts, candy wrappers, bread ties, and we’ve even found a few condoms in our day-use area.

Our new information boards/loaner life jacket station.

This year we have made some big changes to the visitor center gardens, in some areas we tilled up the ground and spread wildflower seeds. 


Faye & Ranger Dalton

Faye & Erica-our lead



We also volunteer to help with some of the annual programs the USACE sponsors.

Kids fishing day

There is a bike ride, Loop the Lake, around the lake, various lengths, 30+ to 60+ miles, we manned one of the water stations.

Ranger Phil

It’s not everyone who gets two new trucks in 6 months. Soon after arriving, we said goodbye to our old work truck and hello to our new work ride. Now no more complaining from Dave about no power windows.

Of course, there's always the maintenance of the RV that needs to be done, this summer it was replacing the awning. Less than 2 hours and we had the old one off and the new one on. 

My first time on the roof

It should surprise no one that Dave has been keeping an eye on the crops.





10' corn bordering my folks yard
We've enjoyed many a card game and meal with our friends Vic, Phyllis, and Snoop, who are gate attendants here at Bo Woods. We'll see them this winter when we spend a month in Yuma.

We've enjoyed having Snoop over for a few sleepovers. 

We have made some awesome friends over the last 8 years, and some of them have visited us this summer. We have enjoyed each visit and thank all who took the time to stop by. 

Our friends Curt and Glenda came for a few days as they traveled to the Chicago area. Always a funt time with them no matter what we do. 

Thanks to being a Grand Design RV owner we've made some friends we enjoy catching up with. 

Mike and Kim stopped in on their way to WI.

 Joe and Brenda stopped by on their way to the Grand Design National Rally.

If you ever go out for Asian with us and Dave gets wasabi, this is what to expect.

Then there was the convergence of Maloufs, Lowrys, and McCormacks here at Lake Shelbyville. Curt and Glenda got a motel room nearby and Steve and Debbie were able to piece together a stay over the 4th of July. You can read Debbie's version of events at her blog Down The Road 

The first time friends visit we try and take them to Casey IL, small town big things. They continually add to the big things around town so every year we see something new. 

Then there's always the stop in Gays IL, where they have a 2 story outhouse. 

Of course, there is always food and beer when this group gets together. 

Debbie wanted to do a blog post about corny facts so she asked Dave to pull off the road, we all jumped out and hid in the cornfield. 

We enjoyed the 4th of July show that Lake Shelbyville puts on.

Our good friend, and Dave's fishing buddy, Pat stopped by for a few days. One day we decided to visit downtown Arcola, home of Johnny Gruelle, creator of Raggedy Ann and Andy. At one time Arcola was the center of broom corn production. 

cute flowerbed 

The Kaskaskia River is the river that Lake Shelbyville helps maintain the water level of, from where it meets the Mississippi River the first twelve miles or so has barge traffic. Up here in Sullivan IL above the lake, it's a much different river. This summer we decided to get the canoe out on it. 

We put in at the Old Nelson Boat Ramp, we used the electric motor to go upstream to Denhams's Pit then paddled back. We found out about this late in the summer so we'll plan to finish the rest next year when we're back. 

One last fire to use up our woodpile.

The reason we keep coming back, my folks. 

It's been a great summer, but now it's time to get the wheels rolling on the house. As we've prepped to take off hitch itch has set in!!!

We will be heading to CO, then down to the TX Gulf Coast before heading to Dallas to sell Christmas Trees. Then off to AZ where we'll spend 2 months moving around the Phoenix area, then to Lake Havasu for a week before going to Yuma for a month. Our reservations are in place and we can't wait to catch up with friends and family. 

Tomorrow jacks up, Pershing State Park (MO) is our first destination. 

Until next time...