Saturday, May 31, 2008

May 30 Arriving Iowa

Friday May 30th – We left Starved Rock and headed for Iowa. MM heard about Coralville Lake which is a National Park. We went through the storm that was headed east as we were headed west. Got through it in no time. It was a little windy for a while there, but didn’t stop us. Once here we discovered that we needed a “Golden Pass” to save us 50% on camping so we unhooked and backtracked about 15 miles for the pass that can be used forever at all National Parks. After all that messing around we finally got set up – just as he finished hooking up the electric he noticed a deer right off our campsite. We’re going to base camp here for 5 nights. There’s a lot to see in the area. They also have a nice beach.
Went cruising around campus tonight in Iowa City and you never would have seen this if you were flying to Alaska. The World’s Largest Wooden Nickel. Yup, you would have missed it.

May 31st - today was the first day that I was able to get internet access that worked for me in a while. We just sat in front of a new library that had it's grand opening today. I was able to download lots of pictures to the blog and get all caught up... well kind of. Off to do some biking.

May 29 Matthiessenn State Park

Thursday – May 29th – Set out to explore the area more. Found a JC Whitney Outlet Store (guy thing) MM enjoyed strolling through there for awhile. Then we drove all around and this is definitely corn country. Lots of crops are planted. Stopped for lunch and then a car wash. Found a library, but the laptop couldn’t find the wireless. Don’t know the problem. If it happens again I’ll try plugging it in. It did have a full charge, but I’ve heard that can sometimes be the problem. We’ll see. There might not be any more updates on the blog .
Then we came upon Matthiessen State Park. What a find! We took the stairs (LOTS of STAIRS) down to the lower dells and the falls there were BEAUTIFUL! Used the timer on MM’s camera and got a shot of the two of us.

The exposed roots on the trees was very interesting. The soil had been eroded away leaving a mass of roots. Interesting.

The hiking around there had a lot of stairs and rocks or as this picture shows stepping stones across the running waters.

Oh yeah, did I mention stairs? There had to be 500 if there was 1. Lots of Stairs!!

MM was hiking in front of me and I noticed something move. This spider’s body was the size of a quarter. And he was hairy too. I was going to put my finger down next to him to get more perspective, but I was afraid he’d jump.

We talked with this young man on the trail. The first time we saw him he was just hiking, the second time he had some serious camera equipment with him. He said he worked for a travel magazine. The lens’ were at least 3 feet long. Then on his other shoulder he was carrying his tripod. He was really weighed down and the path he was about to embark on was very muddy. I’m sure he got some great shots.

We hiked the whole loop from the Bridge/Dam Lake Falls past the Giant’s Bathtub around Cedar Point (no amusement rides here) over to the Fort then around Strawberry Rock and Devil’s Paint Box. It got a little confusing here, but we went over the bridge to Cascade Falls and Wishing Well then back around to the upper dells. The most beautiful falls were the first ones that took us down to the bottom of the basin. This area wasn’t very well marked and I’m glad we came upon it.

May 28th Starved Rock

Wednesday May 28th - Today we travelled from Elkhart IN to Starved Rock State Park in Utica IL. We travelled on 80 most of the way on the south side of Chicago. Pretty nice travelling. Found the state park and set up camp. On the way over to the visitor center we passed a corn field that had been turned and there were several turkeys. There were lots there when we came back several hours later too.

We hiked for a few hours from Starved Rock to Lovers Leap and around a loop taking in views from Eagle Cliff Overlook; Beehive Overlook, Wildcat Canyon and back by way of the Pontiac Canyon. Legend has it that in the 1760’s, Pontiac, chief of the Ottawa tribe upriver from here, was slain by an Illiniwek while attending a tribal council in southern IL. According to the legend, during one of the battles that subsequently occurred to avenge his killing, a band of Illiniwek, under attack by a band of Potawatomni (allies of the Ottawa), sought refuge atop a 125 foot sandstone butte. The Ottawa and Potawatomi surrounded the bluff and held their ground until the hapless Illiniwek died of starvation – giving rise to the name “Starved Rock”.
Standing on Starved Rock looking at Lovers Leap

The view from the visitor area up at Starved Rock (think we did a lot of stair climbing?)

Lovers Leap looking at Starved Rock

Bald Eagle Facts

Beehive Overlook

The valley was formed by a series of floods as glacial meltwater broke through moraines, sending torrents of water surging across the land and deeply eroding the sandstone and other sedimentary rocks.

Wildcat Canyon

One of many carved trees in the park

Didn’t know Duffy had a tavern, but here it is.

May 28th Setting up & Breaking Camp

Wednesday – May 28th – As I was watching my Maintenance Man break camp today I decided to write down all of the processes for setting up camp and breaking camp. Since I am more of a visual person, maybe I’ll remember how to do it. Actually, by the time we finish this trip I probably will know. Usually we just go for weekends and by the time I learn something we go home then when we go out again I’ve forgotten how to do it. So maybe it’ll help me remember and maybe I can make a checklist out of it. Hope it’s interesting.
1. Put away awnings , chairs, grill, etc. Lower antenna.
2. Inside, clear area for slides to come in; pull slides in.
3. If hooked to sewer dump black then gray water. (wash hands – very important) If not hooked to sewer then you have to find a dump to do this process.
4. Unhook water and put hose away.
5. Unplug electric and put cord away.
6. Turn ignition key on and turn on jacks.

7. Retract back jacks first, when you feel the tires rest on the ground retract “all”
8. Pull jack pads out and brush off before storing.
9. Turn jacks ‘off’
10. Start engine and wait for air bags to fill.
11. Check site for anything left behind.
12. Hook up car and ‘brake buddy’.
13. Don’t forget your sign

1. Unhook car – be sure to remove “I go where I’m toad” sign
2. Find a relatively level site that’s long enough and clear enough for slides and awning.
3. I usually stand at the rear driver side and MM just tucks it into the site.
4. Put slides out (I push the buttons on MM’s command –knock)
5. Put jack pads under jacks
6. Dump air bags

7. Lower jacks – front first then back.
8. Plug in electric being sure braker is off – once plugged in turn on.
9. If water available – hook hose up. If water is not available be sure to fill tanks before parking.
10. If sewer available- hook sewer hose up
11. Pull out awning and set up chairs.
Set up usually takes no more than 10 minutes. Breaking camp takes a little longer because you slowly get out more things that have to be put away all at once.
DISCLAIMER - A lot of campers do things in a different order. I guess you find what works for you and stick with it. Occasionally we do things differently if that works better in that instance.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Leaving the G.L.A.S.S. Rally

Monday – Had a fun time driving around the Lake Michigan area today. Stopped for lunch and hit a few antique shops and garage sales. Too bad we didn’t have room to store stuff for three months because I did find a few things that I had to leave behind. A cute rocker for Peanut that was a little too big for her anyway. Maybe next time. Once back at camp we had ‘cocktail hour’ and then shared dinner with Sue and Al and talked well into evening. Took a cute picture of Scooter

And here’s another good one of MM on Al’s scooter.

And here’s one of us on the final day of the G.L.A.S.S. Rally.

We’re going to head out early in the morning.

Tuesday May 27th – Got an early start and headed out to do some maintenance things to ready for more travels. Elkhart has a lot of RV salvage yards and you can usually find anything you need. This just wasn’t our day for that though so around noon we gave in and just went to Shipshewana. In all of our travels we have never been there when they are open. What a place. I can see why people say to take an extra big vehicle to carry things back in. It was so hard not to buy stuff, but what’s the use in carrying it around. We’re going to have to make a special trip back someday to really do some serious shopping.
We’re settled in now at ‘camp Monaco’. It’s basically a parking spot for rv’s that are here for maintenance work. It’s late though and no use finding another campsite.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Travel Update

Friday – part II, first off I just want to say “I miss my friends.” I’m just sayin I’m sure one of you would have noticed and told me that I had my shirt on inside out before 2:30!!! I had been in a craft class (without my jacket), the Alaskan seminar (without my jacket), the library (yup, still no jacket) and when we got back I caught a glimpse of myself and then looked closer and “yup” my shirt was on inside out. Maybe it’s just that this is an old crowd, or maybe people really don’t care about others – whatever, I know that if I was at work someone would have said “Is your shirt on inside out?”. Maybe this is a better place cause really who cares? It couldn’t have been blaringly obvious or someone would have said something right? Just want to say “I miss my friends”.
MM worked on the power surger this afternoon. After talking with the company rep they suggested he do a couple of things with the circuit board and tighten up the fuses. I’m sure I’m saying this all wrong, but bottom line is the error code is not showing up any more so I say he fixed it.
At 3:00 we went to an ice cream social, never pass one of those up. Then we walked through a lot of the coaches that are here for sale, both new and previously owned. They brought everything out here from the 45 foot Prevost to the 19 foot Road Trek. Then just like looking at homes, you come home and think “I like our place”. It sure does make for an interesting afternoon though.
For dinner they provided a “snack”. It was a ½ pound hamburger, potato salad, chips, cookie and beverage. Al wanted to know what was for dinner lol. That was dinner! The entertainment after dinner was “The John Bressler Show”. He was hilarious!! His presentation includes a rotating “Phantom Grand Piano”. He has a soulful raspy vocal style much like Rod Stewart or Louis Armstrong. He also writes some of his own songs and his comedic style was like I’ve never seen before. He too had a lot of audience involvement. He accused one gentleman of trying to leave in the middle of the performance and came down and duct taped him to his chair then proceded to run the tape down the whole row and back past my seat and up into the grand stand. One of his lines which I hadn’t heard before was “How do you take 30 years off Jim’s age?” (Jim was the duct taped guy) Then he reached down and took off Jim’s hat and put it on him backwards. Maybe I’m just totally relaxed, but I thought that was hilarous. My lungs got a great workout from the laughter.
They have a 50/50 raffle every night after the entertainment. It’s not a true 50/50 in that they have like 15 winners with envelopes that you pick from. I think I heard that the envelopes contain anywhere from $20 to $100. Our number was the last one drawn so we picked last (I say picked because 3 of the numbers drawn were not present so their envelopes were still in the pack) MM drew an envelope with $25.00 so we came out way ahead. Or as he says “Just a few more gallons of fuel”
Saturday, May 24th - Went to a cooking seminar today with Sue. I go to this seminar at every rally but I still mainly cook frozen dinners lol. I think I know how to use the convection microwave oven now, but I’m on vacation. MM put the tire pressure monitors on the rv and him and Al strolled through the car show. It was a totally relaxing day. I could get to enjoy this laying around.

This evenings after dinner entertainment was the Rivoli Review. We’ve seen them several times before and they are always very entertaining. Kay writes lots of their parody songs and Ron has a great comic talent. I finally remembered to take my camera along.

At the 50/50 tonight Sue and Al had a winning ticket. They were a little luckier than us. $50.00 Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.
Sunday, May 25th Just wanted to get this down before I forgot it. I’m beginning to think I lead a sheltered life because I hear a lot of stories and they are new to me. Can there really be anything new at my age? Anyway, at the gospel service put on my Kay and Ron Rivoli he was saying that they had a little discussion this morning and he thought she should get up and make the coffee. She thought he should do it. He said “But in the Bible it says that the woman should make the coffee.” She said “Oh really” , and he says “yes, the woman should obey the man and do his service, so she should get up and make the coffee.” She pondered that for a moment then says that the Bible specifically says that the man should make the coffee. This intrigued him and he wanted to know exactly where in the Bible it says that he should get up and make the coffee. She got up and grabbed the Bible and handed it to him to some opened pages. He is thumbing through the pages that she handed to him and says “where does it say that I should make the coffee?” She points to the top of the pages and says “Right there.” And he reads “Hebrews”. So now we all know who should make the morning coffee. Women of the world we can stay in bed til you smell the coffee. Anyone that knows me knows that I don’t like the taste or smell of coffee, so this knowledge is for the rest of you.
Monday, May 26th – Sunday was just a whirr. Lots of walking, biking, vending and even rode on Al & Sue’s scooters – very fun. Tried a new recipe for dinner that turned out pretty good. I’ll attach the recipe here.
Potato Salad (serves 8)
6 lbs red potatoes
½ lb bacon bits
1 cup thinly sliced celery
½ cup finely chopped red onions
1/3 cup sweet pickle relish
1 ¼ cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons celery seeds
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 hardboiled eggs, coarsely chopped
Cook potatoes in boiling salted water til tender. Drain well. Peel and cube potatoes. Transfer to a large bowl. Add celery, onion, sweet relish and bacon bits. Combine mayo, sugar, celery seed, vinegar, mustard and salt. Add mayo mixture to potatoes. Toss lightly to coat potato mixture. Carefully fold in the chopped eggs. Cover and chill thoroughly.

We finished off Sunday evening at the grandstands for entertainment. Ok, so that wasn’t so great. Three out of four’s not so bad. Today we’re heading over to Lake Michigan to see what we can see.

Friday, May 23, 2008

We're on our way

Wednesday, May 21st, headed for the G.L.A.S.S. Rally by 10:30. Only forgot one thing and my support team had me covered. Thanks Tammy. I kept thinking “I don’t have to go back to work for 3 months”. Then I drifted off to sleep as MM kept on trucking. Arrived at the Rally by 2:00 and hooked up with Al and drove into the fairgrounds together so we could park together. Sue was working all day and joined us by 6:30. It was fun catching up over dinner. Sue had lots of stories about her quilting group – fun bunch.

Thursday, May 22nd, got a slow start to the morning. MM went to a tire pressure seminar while I attended a class to make a beaded angel. Isn't she beautiful?

I sat around this afternoon in the beautiful sunshine. This picture is to make everyone envious. The sky was just beautiful.

In the afternoon we strolled through the vendors and bought the tire monitor system for all 10 tires, MM will be installing these before we head out. For dinner this evening we went for the Spaghetti Supper at the Berrien Springs Middle School. It’s walking distance from the fairgrounds. This is the biggest annual fundraiser the school has for scholarships. After dinner we hiked over to the grandstands (prepared with warm blankets to wrap ourselves in – it’s cold out there) for a performance by Ken Karter the ventriloquist with his out of control puppet “Madame Lasagna”. He has a lot of audience participation and this group really gets into it. We laughed so hard! We’re looking forward to another busy day tomorrow. Or maybe more relaxation, we’ll see.

Friday, May 23rd, Happy 86th Birthday Mom!!! It’s still early in the day, but this morning we went to a seminar on going to Alaska. It was very informative. Since MM has done most of the planning he was familiar with all the places, but he learned a few new things.

Monday, May 19, 2008

More Peanut pictures

Had to take lots of pictures this weekend to last me the summer. Is she cute or what?

Or do you like this face better? Her teeth even show up in this one lol

I'm going to miss her so much. Of course I'll miss my Mom and kids too, but Peanut will have the most changes in the time we're gone. They promised to send lots of pics and videos so I'll be content with that and never go away again lol. Good thing my Maintenance Man doesn't read this - that last statement would not make him happy.

What Mothering Style are you?

Your type is: esfj —The “Happy Together” Mother

“I like it when my children are happy on their own, but I love it when the whole family is happy together.”

The ESFJ mother has a highly developed sense of family and what it takes to be happy in life. Capable and personally invested, she strives to create a happy family where togetherness and harmony flourish. Whether it’s taking her children to the park or putting on a holiday feast, her efforts are directed toward having everyone be “happy together.”
To many, the ESFJ personifies motherhood. She promotes traditional values, tends to the practical and domestic, provides the family with order and structure, and is directly involved with her children’s day-to-day living. The ESFJ mother is a “doer,” and she’s never happier than when she’s “doing” for her family.
Believing the home is central to family life, the ESFJ mother excels at creating an atmosphere that is attractive and offers security.
Energetic and people-oriented, she is drawn to community and the social scene. She helps her children discover the joys of people and groups.

Take the quiz here Motherstyles

Friday, May 16, 2008

Haiku Friday Third Edition

In honor of the busy coming season - I bring to you my 3rd Haiku Friday.

Busy month is May
end of Winter, Spring begins
joy at every turn.

Mother's Day each year
comes to celebrate her love
Moms are always there.

Lots of birthdays too
come around this time of year
celebrate with us.

Coming every year
June high school graduations
I have lots this year.

Lazy daze come next
hot, fun July and August

Thursday, May 15, 2008


As I prepare to leave on my trip of a lifetime to Alaska next Wednesday I’ve decided to list 13 mundane things that must be done before I leave, in no particular order.

1. Assemble/collect books to take along to read.
2. Ditto knitting projects to keep me occupied while traveling
3. Compile address and phone numbers of friends to visit and mail to.
4. Laundry – always lots of laundry
5. Look for good pot luck recipes to take along
6. Forward mail
7. Clean the house from top to bottom (I hate coming home to a dirty house)
8. Empty fridge and cupboards of perishables
9. Pack motor home
10. Double check maps and routes (I have no idea how we’re going)
11. Make sure I have copies of prescriptions (eyes as well as pharmaceutical)
12. Get as much “Peanut” time as I can to hold me over :) (don’t think that will happen). I’m also going to miss my Mother and our daily Scrabble games.
13. Shop for groceries.

I know I'm missing tons of stuff. A lot more lists to make. There's lots to look forward to, but what do you dislike about getting ready to go on a trip?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


We had another great weekend. Saturday I spent the day with my Mom for Mothers Day. I had talked with my sister earlier and heard that there were a few people going to my Mom's on Sunday so I chose to have her to myself on Saturday. We went to Michael's and she picked out a couple of paint by number which she likes to do, then we went to the battery store to get a new battery for her watch, next was Bordines for a new plant for her deck, swung by the house so she could see the new porch then out to lunch. We rounded out the afternoon by playing a game of Scrabble - which she won. MM was home working on stuff for the RV. He's basically making a skirt that will protect our tow car. He's just about done with it. Then we went to Lowes and got some mulch. We went to Applebee's Saturday night too. I love their nachos.

Sunday I got up early to beat the rain and get the mulch down. I got the six bags that we bought spread and was just grabbing the bags for the trash when I felt the first sprinkle. God is good! We relaxed (or should I say I relaxed he was out in the barn). MM went back to Lowes with our Son to get more mulch and some other stuff that he needed. Our Son and Daughter-In-Law treated us to dinner for Mother's Day at Bravos. That was so good! And of course we stopped for dessert on the way home. It was a great weekend.

Before work on Monday I got up and spread the final six bags of mulch around the yard. I think I'll miss that this summer. I love working in the yard in the early morning hours. Hope they don't get mad at me at the campgrounds for weeding the flowerbeds around camp. I know other summers I've found myself doing that lol. Guess I just find it relaxing.

This is our final full week at work and we're counting down now. So many little details to take care of but I'm really not stressing. Guess if we forget something we'll just deal with it. Just one more week before we leave!!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Haiku Friday Second Edition

Sabatical near
I can't wait for Alaska
Camping all the way.

All the summer long
no work on the horizon
lazy summer days.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


So the theme this week is "gross". I can't think of 13 144's(gross) and I don't want to think of 13 gross (ewee). I'm breaking away to Mothers Day. Sorry. Thirteen stages of Motherhood.

1. We're going to have a baby!! This was positively the best for our family, okay, maybe after the shock, but it was the BEST!

2. I was never healthier than the 10 months (yes 10 months) I was pregnant with each of my children.

3. After years of trying to gain weight I finally did. lol Okay I know that's hard to relate to, but I was Twiggy herself, these days I'm trying to lose just like the majority of the world.

4. What do I do with it? Is this a smart move to give this little bundle of joy (okay 9 pounds 13 ounces) to two twenty somethings? She didn't break, although we did bounce her a few times.

5. First smile, first tooth, first steps. Life couldn't get any better.

6. Preschool. First separations - not too hard we were both ready. Second child didn't like the separation period much at all.

7. School years. This is more difficult than you can imagine. They are now learning stuff from others - both good and bad. Sometimes I still wonder where they got some of their ideas.

8. Girl Scouting, Boy Scouting, Ice Skating...there were evenings when I sat down to dinner and tried to buckle myself into the chair.

9. Teenage years - this is the period of time that gets you ready for them to leave your home (some days you're ready to kick them out).

10. Trials. There are so many times that you wonder "are they old enough to go there with that group?" "should they be going out on dates with that person?" "when should we start calling the police or hospital?". Obviously I had my kids before the cell phone era.

11. Graduations. Kindergarten- Middle School- High School- College It just kept getting more expensive. Hold on to your hats if you haven't done this yet.

12. Weddings. I had such joy when my kids found the perfect person to spend the rest of their lives with. Almost like passing the torch. At the time I can remember thinking "I just want to bottle their joy". After almost 37 years of my own wedded bliss I hope they have found it too. I think they have.

13. And finally we come full circle to Babies. Well, only one so far, but Grandchildren are the BEST!!

Can you relate to any of these?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


I was so excited about the porch project that I was taking daily progress pictures, or pictures after every day that it was worked on. Unfortunately, I didn't get the original picture before landscaping was removed. I'm sure we have a picture somewhere, but not handy. This first picture has all the shrubs removed and the post holes were dug waiting for the first inspection. How do you like the side by side? Finished porch on the right.

Once the inspection was done then the framing went up quickly (don't ask the guys doing it they might have a different view).

Then the deck boards.

Wow, there goes the header for the new roof/ceiling.

More ceiling roof stuff.

The following picture was the big work day.

The work crew was working on the roof in the front and our family/friends crew were tearing off the shingles in the back.

Peanut was out back looking for someone to play with. What a beautiful day.

This next photo was on Monday after the crews worked putting the new shingles on on Sunday. Another beautiful we live in sun valley?

TA DA The finished porch. Isn't it beautiful?!

And here's a picture of what we look at while sitting on the porch.

And another view.

The whole process was relatively quick. We started March 29th and got final approval on May 5th. We have already enjoyed several evenings out there and absolutely LOVE IT!!

Friday, May 2, 2008

You're at the Right Place

I understand this blogspot has been given out to a few people who might be interested in following our travels this summer. If you recognize this handsome man then you know you're in the right spot.

For the past few weeks I've just been flapping my fingers on this keyboard and trying to learn all the ins and outs. But I was thinking if you're just peeking in you might think you're in the wrong spot. Anyway, the travel blog will begin when we being travelling in late May. You're certainly welcome to look at the whole is public after all, but it's probably not too interesting if you're looking for travel pictures and such. Please feel free to make comments. Just put your email address and password (I can't see your password)where indicated then it will come to our email address for moderation before being posted.

In the meantime, I'll just continue to meet new folks in the blogsphere and have a little fun.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


My Thursday Thirteen this week is following the alphabet theme. I chose "j" for me, Judi.

1. I am a joyful
2. follower of Jesus
3. born in the month of July
4. I like to joke a lot
5. and my hubby says I jabber on some times.
6. You can often find me in jeans
7. I go to a job daily
8. as I juggle my life
9. It could be said that I’m a Jill of all crafts as I love doing “things”
10. On weekends I often feel like a janitor as I clean house.
11. I like the fragrance of jasmine.
12. I’m not usually a joiner.
Boy, this “j” thing is hard.
13. And finally I love a juicy apple.

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Thursday Thirteen