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Travel Day, Time with Friends, and a Cat Hair!!!


Thursday 6/26/2014

D & W Lake Camping and RV Park

Champaign, Il

(This quote is from our previous blog post.)

“On Thursday, 6/19, we’ll be packing up and heading out for a new destination.  It will be a fun week of more races, and spending time with some friends we haven’t seen in over a year!”

Our intentions were good… but sometimes things don’t work out as planned!

We did have a travel day on Thursday, 6/19.  It was one of our shorter travel days… no PDD here… of just over 12 miles/20 minutes to D&W Lake Camping and RV Park just north of Champaign, IL.

We have a nice, partially shaded pull-through site, #17, with full hookups and a view of the lake.  There’s WIFI, but it’s too weak for us to use it.  There’s no cable TV, but we’re able to get DirecTV with our dish and local stations with the antenna.
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By coincidence,  our friends Rick and Gail are here too!  They arrived the day before us.  We had been in touch with them, so we knew we were all going to be here at the same time.  We hadn’t seen Rick and Gail since October, 2012, so we were looking forward to spending some time with them.  The four of us had a great “happy hour” Thursday after we got all set up.

And then, our intended plans changed.

  Earlier in the week, Monday, Terri started having some problems with her left eye.  She thought it felt like a cat hair was caught in her eye and she couldn’t get it out.  She tried flushing her eye with eye drops and also water several times throughout the week, but it still felt uncomfortable.  The area around her eye swelled up a la Mr. Magoo,

and then on Thursday night she developed a rash on her forehead and scalp above her left eye.  So Friday we headed off to an ophthalmologist to have her eye checked out.  The doctor was able to find and extract the cat hair!  She said we would not have been able to see or remove it ourselves.  The hair did cause an abrasion to her eye, so an antibiotic ointment was prescribed.  The doctor was also concerned about the rash and referred Terri to a local, affiliated clinic where it was diagnosed to be shingles!!  Antibiotic pills were prescribed for the shingles, and off we went to Walmart for her prescriptions.  With the swelling around the eye, the shingles on her forehead & scalp, and generally just not feeling good, socializing was put on hold.  Her week here has been spent resting/sleeping and healing.

She is recovering nicely, and we were able to have only our second “happy hour” with Rick and Gail yesterday!

Terri’s feeling much better now, and we’re all looking forward to some “funner” times ahead.

Unfortunately my race attendance took a bit of a hit too.  I had to scrap my plans for Friday night, and Saturday night was rained out before the show was completed.  Finally, I was able to get to the races for a full show on Monday night.

Tomorrow, Friday, 6/27, Terri and I are headed back to Prairie Pines in Rantoul for three nights.  We’ll meet back up with Rick and Gail on Monday!

Modoc, SC to Rantoul, IL


Tuesday 6/17/2014

Prairie Pines Campground

Rantoul, Il

We successfully left the Volunteer Village at J. Strom Thurmond Lake on Monday, 6/2/2014.  Some of our fellow volunteers, including George and Laurie, Ruth, Jim, John, and Rufus, came out to see us off.

We’re all packed up and ready to go!

Our first day of travel took us through Atlanta.  Taking the advice of our volunteer friend Jim, we stayed on I-20 West all the way through Atlanta and then took exit 51B for I-285 North around the northwest side of town.  It worked out great with very little traffic (compared to the northeast side of town) and no slow-downs until we got to Marietta, which is actually northwest of Atlanta, and after all of its traffic issues.  Our stopping point for the first night was Harvest Moon RV Park, Adairsville, GA.  We had a nice, level pull-through site with full hookups including cable.  A very nice amenity at this park is FREE laundry.  We took advantage of that and did three loads!
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Tuesday, 6/3, we travelled up to Clarksville RV Park and Campground, Clarksville, TN.
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Once again, we had a nice pull-through site with full hookups, but no cable this time.  However, we could get all the major networks with our antenna.  It’s a nice park, but there’s a scrap metal yard across the street and it’s a bit noisy during the day.  You can see the scrap yard behind this nicely placed sign near the exit of the park.

Our third day of travel, Wednesday, 6/4,  found us landing at Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge near Carbondale, IL.  Some volunteer friends from Thurmond Lake are volunteering at Crab Orchard Campground for the fifth year in a row.  Dennis and Mary saved us a nice pull-through full hookup site right next to them.
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Just in front of our site was a beautiful view of Crab Orchard Lake.

The four of us went out to dinner at nearby Giant City Lodge located in Giant City State Park.
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The inside of the lodge is beautiful!
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The dining room, one of three, was huge.

They get quite busy on weekends and holidays, but this particular night there was no waiting.  We all chose the chicken dinner served family style.  All the food was delicious!  Unfortunately I was so focused on the food I forgot to take pictures.  After dinner we headed back to the campground and played cards.  It was really nice seeing Dennis and Mary again.  Hopefully we’ll see them again this spring.

Thursday, 6/5, was our fourth and final day of travel for a couple of weeks.  We’re staying at Prairie Pines Campground in Rantoul, IL, north of Champaign.  Our friends Jim and Linda stay here every summer.  Unfortunately Linda is dealing with some health issues and they’re still down in Florida, but they’re planning to head up this way in July.  We really hope we can stop back here and visit them.  We have a nice, full hookup, pull-through site under some nice shade trees.  We’re able to get our DirecTv signal and networks with our antenna, but the WIFI here is very weak forcing us to use our Verizon data plan.

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Friday, 6/6, was our 33rd wedding anniversary!
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We went to Red Lobster in Champaign for lunch.  Again, I forgot to take pictures!  I guess I’m out of practice.

On Monday, 6/9, we drove up to Kankakee River State Park to visit some more volunteer friends from Thurmond Lake.  Rich and Jacquie are camp hosting at Kankakee for the summer before they head back south.  We had a real nice visit, went out for lunch, and then played cards.  It was a great afternoon catching up with our friends.  Once again, we were having so much fun, I forgot to take pictures!  These pics were taken the day they left Lake Thurmond to head north.
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We’re staying here for a couple of weeks so that I can attend some of the local short track dirt racing events in the area.

On Thursday, 6/19, we’ll be packing up and heading out for a new destination.  It will be a fun week of more races, and spending time with some friends we haven’t seen in over a year!

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Travel Time!


Sunday 6/1/2014

Volunteer Village

J. Strom Thurmond Lake

Modoc, SC

It’s time to head north for our summer “vacation” in Illinois, Wisconsin, and maybe Minnesota and/or Michigan.  We’re looking forward to seeing family, friends, RV friends, and workamper friends.  There’s also sightseeing, bike riding, kayaking, hiking, and several car race events that I want to attend!  September will find us in the Richmond, VA, area for annual doctor visits, and then we’ll head south again for the winter.

We’ve really enjoyed the last eight months here at Thurmond Lake.  We enjoyed spending time with Paul and Marti while they were here…


and hope to see them again soon.  We hated to see them go, but understand that new grand babies are a good reason to leave.

George and Laurie arrived a few weeks ago…


and, again, we’ve enjoyed spending time with them too.  We really hate that we’re leaving and won’t be able to spend the summer with them, but we’re confident that our paths will cross again.
The group of volunteers that has been here with us at the Volunteer Village has been great.  We had great times working, eating, and playing games together.  We’ve made many great friends and look forward to seeing them in the future.

Volunteering here at Thurmond Lake has obviously been wonderful for us!  Our primary task, just like our previous time here, was to count the funds collected at boat ramps, day use areas, and “honor pay” campgrounds.  In addition to funds counting we became involved with the development and presentation of the Water Safety Program in area schools.  Both of us were a little nervous/apprehensive about getting up in front of a group of kids to make the presentation, but after that first day we truly understood how rewarding it is to spread the message of water safety!  We could never have done it without the support and guidance of our fellow presenters Paul & Marti, Bill & Carrol, and Jim & Linda, and also Rangers Dave, Jay, Ken, Chrissy, Heather, David, and Terry.  Paul & Marti and Bill & Carrol were scheduled to leave before our busiest month of May, so Jim & Linda and Terri & I worked together to get through several days with multiple presentations to hundreds of kids.  It made for some long days, but was VERY rewarding and we enjoyed every minute of it!  Terri and I could never have done it without the help of Jim & Linda!

Mike, Linda, Terri, and Jim

Also a quick “thanks” to George & Laurie for tagging along with us on the last day and helping out.

Everyone with the Corps has been great to work with.  We really appreciate the opportunity to serve and look forward to returning.  “Thank you” USACE for the great times we’ve had and allowing us to help out!

It’s bittersweet to leave our wonderful site here at the Volunteer Village - it’s just so beautiful here! – but it’s time to hit the road.
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Tomorrow (Monday) we leave to head north.