Lake Evergreen

Lake Evergreen
Kayaking on Lake Evergreen

Monday, August 29, 2016

Finishing the Midwest visit...Comlara County Park, Bo Wood with friends and Kamp Komfort

As I said at the end of the last post we got a nice site at Comlara County Park for the first week back in Bloomington/Normal, IL. Again the gnats were as bad as the last 2 years we've been back and the humidity has been draining. We've did get in a couple of bike rides around the park and tried to walk each morning before it got too hot. Of course we survived. After spending so much time in the west with low humidity we've really become wimps with this weather.

We did get the kayak out one morning for a while and had a nice paddle. There was some breeze to help with the heat and a few clouds helped too.




Smooth water in a cove

Beautiful reflections

It's been a while since we used the kayak and we were a little stiff the next day but the views on the lake were wonderful and we needed the exercise. Well worth the effort.

We spent as much time as we could visiting my dad and brother, Kent, and took dad out for dinner at a local Thai restaurant. Glenda spent one day with her friend, Diana. They, of course, did some shopping.

After a week there we had plans to meet our friends Todd and Corinne at Bo Wood campground at Lake Shelbyville near Sullivan, IL. We reserved a Buddy site so we could be close but still have privacy. Todd and his daughter, Lindsay, were there with us the first 3 days and then Corinne came for the weekend. Lindsay had some time off from her job at the local hospital and Corinne had to work during the week. They swapped out staying with us.

Our site

What a Buddy site looks like

Lots of space and easy to back into. We love this park with the lake and plenty of space to ride bikes and walk. This is our preferred type of campground.

I've been getting more into geocaching this past year and was talking to Todd about it. I told him there were a few caches in the park so we checked the coordinates on Geocaching.com and headed toward them. It was fun getting a new person started in this activity. Something that can be done by anyone anywhere. All you need is an account at Geocaching.com and a GPS or smartphone and you're set.

We found 5 caches in the park and 3 caches outside the park about a mile or so away. One of the caches was dedicated to a daughter that is serving our country in the military. The person that hid the cache also put a trackable travel bug for someone to retrieve and move around the country. Well I was able to retrieve it and I plan to move it to as many states as I can to honor this person's daughter.

The cache was full of Americana related swag. Everything was Red, White and Blue.

In Honor of a Soldier

Red, white and blue

We had an incredible time looking for caches and enjoying our finds. Todd got very excited about geocaching so he signed up for an account and started logging finds. He already has 8 finds from over the weekend.

We also we took a drive to an Amish market near Arthur, IL. Lots of buggies around on the road. IT was fun watching the families as the horses trotted along the road.


Amish farm

Amish market

Lots of produce and goodies

In the evening we took bike rides or a walk around the park. We had Todd and Corinne over one evening for dinner and then they had us over the next. Just what we needed after such hectic visits with grandkids and family. Unfortunately the humidity and heat has continued but we had the best of our time with friends. They plan to go full time in a few years and we would travel with them anytime, anywhere. Just a couple of crazy kids like us.

Corinne and Todd

The gang


Sunday it was time for them to head home and us to head back to Bloomington/Normal for our last visit with family and friends there before heading south and west after Labor Day.

We got our site at Kamp Komfort near Carlock, IL and the owner, Cliff, accommodated us with a nice pull through where the traffic noise from the Interstate is less. We'll be here until Sept. 6 and then make our way down to Rend Lake near Marion, IL.

Looking forward to our visit with long time friends, Dad and Kent.

Details of our final time here will be soon.

Thanks for following along.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Back in Elgin, visiting Aiden

So we left Indiana and headed to the Paul Wolff campground in the Burnidge Forest Preserve. We're so happy Glenda found this place last year. It's a great campground as I have previously stated in other posts and we scored another shaded site, #29. We typically will get sites that are more open but being back in the Midwest and the humidity, a shaded site helps a lot. The only problem with shaded sites are the things that drop from the trees when the wind blows or it rains. This was no exception. Before we left I had to get on the roof and sweep off the fallen twigs, berries and nuts. Small price to pay for shade. :-)


View out the back window

Anyway, we were back in Elgin to see our daughter, SIL and Aiden one more time before we move south and west for the winter. Again we had a wonderful time and Aiden did not disappoint with his personality.

Aiden and Zeus are great friends





Even posting these photos puts a huge smile on my face. He's so animated and fun to play with.

We had several great meals at Heather and Paul's house and enjoyed just hanging out. Of course, Aiden had me play bouncy ball in the basement with him each day we were there. Then we got to playing throw the little plastic super heroes in the bucket. Me Maw got to do that several times. Heather, Paul and I also got our turn.


Every time one of them got a super hero in the bucket it was high five time. What a fun way to entertain ourselves. Aiden is also developing a an imagination and plays with his trucks and cars be himself.

So much fun to act like a kid again when playing with him.

One evening Heather invited a girl friend and her boyfriend over for dinner. Casey works at daycare center and has know or taught Aiden since he was about 4 months old. When every you ask him who his favorite is, he says CC. Before he could talk very well he called her CC. She's a wonderful person and you can see why she is working with children. It was so nice to meet her and her boyfriend Bryan.

Bryan, Aiden and Casey

Heather and Paul and pretty organized when it comes to planning each day. Of course when you have a little one you have to. This is Heather's daily sheet with meals and activities while we were there.

Enlarge the photo and see what the final activity is

The Last Supper? Hmmmm....I hope not. Ha-ha    We had a good laugh after she wrote that.

The Last Supper was wonderful. Filet's, Sweet Potatoes and Salad.  And an Imperial Stout. My favorite foods.


Backing up just a little, while at Heather's my 66th birthday rolled around so I decided to have Mexican food since it had been some time since we had any.
Heather and Paul knew of a great place called Mago Grill and Cantina and we had never been there. The food and serve was excellent. I had the Carne Asada California Burrito. It was fantastic. More than enough to eat. We also had guacamole that was made table side. Wonderful chips and salsa too. You could make a meal just of that.  After dinner we took a walk around the outdoor mall area and Glenda found a Victoria Secret to get some new lotion. Aiden ran up and down the sidewalks with Paul chasing him. They had a fun time.

We got a lot of laundry done at their house while in the area and Glenda and I would take walks in the park in the mornings before it got too hot. Having spent so much time in the west last winter and this spring/summer before heading to the Midwest I had forgotten how high the humidity can get. I know I'm rehashing this issue but I will be happy to be heading back to the SW where the humidity is much lower. It's amazing how your body acclimates to different climates. I don't want to get reacclimated to this weather in the Midwest. Sorry.

Well it was a wonderful visit both in Indiana and Chicago area this summer. We enjoy seeing family but they have their lives and we have ours.

We left Elgin and our daughter, SIL. Paul and Aiden and moved to B/N to see my Dad and brother, Kent and finish our Midwest visit.

We're staying at Comlara County campground north of B/N near Hudson, IL. We'll be spending some time with friends at Lake Shelbyville next week and then finish the Midwest visit at Kamp Komfort through Labor Day. Looking forward to seeing our friends Todd and Corinne.

More to come in the next post. Stay tuned.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Indiana family time, Housewarming Party and leaving Indiana

We left our daughter, Heather, SIL, Paul and Aiden a couple weeks ago and have been spending time in Indiana with daughter, Sommer, SIL, Todd and grandkids. Since we had work on our rig when we got to IN we didn't make any RV park reservations. We weren't sure how long the work would take since they would be looking at the A/C. Well they did the work and cranked up the A/C to see if they could recreate the shutting off and on problem. Of course the A/C worked perfectly and they couldn't determine the problem. That's ok though. It still does work. We found out we couldn't get into the Elkhart Campground so we found a little older park over the IN/MI border near Niles, MI. Spaulding Lake Campground. The park has been around since the early 50's and judging by the narrow roads and seasonal campers and lack of upgrades it looks that way. However it was well maintained over all.


We planned on being in the area for 2 weeks visiting. The park works well with our visit and the price was right. We spent most days at our daughters home and only came back at night. We had our youngest granddaughter, Ryleigh spend the night with us a few times due to Mom and Dad working.

The first week all the grandkids were at home. Caden and Brooklyne live with their father in Goshen but were at Sommer's for the week. Glenda took over cooking duties and we all enjoyed some great meals. Glenda also kept busy doing some organizing in their basement with old toys and clothes of Ryleigh's.

We had a fun time going bowling and having dinners at home. So happy we could spend some quality time since we don't get here as often as we used to.

Ryleigh

Brooklyne

Caden

We tried to spend as much time as possible with Caden and Brooklyne since they would only be with us that first week. Of course we mainly hung out at home. Being teenagers they tended to stay up late and sleep late in the  morning. One night Caden came back to the rig with me and Glenda stayed at our daughters. Caden doesn't get much adult man time being with so many women in the family. We watched some TV, snacked and just hung out. We enjoyed some Chick Fil A for dinner that evening and we found a cool little cafĂ© near Niles, MI for breakfast. He devoured some chocolate chip pancakes.


I had introduced Caden to geocaching a couple days before around their home but I needed to get a cache in MI. We pulled up some spots on the GPS and headed out after breakfast. Fortunately we didn't have to drive far and the caches were park and grab(easy to find). So we added IN and MI to my list of states where I've found caches. He did a great job keeping us on point and even found one all by himself.

After the first week Caden and Brooklyne went back to their dad's house so we spend more time with Ryleigh and Jasmyne.

Before the kid's left we had a graduation party for Jasmyne. There was lots of food and a cake.



Some of Jasmyne's friends and friends of Sommer's from work came to the party. We also had family from SIL, Todd's family there and Heather, Paul and Aiden came for the day. We played bags and the next door neighbor was having a birthday party for their daughter with a pony. So they invited the little kids to come over for a ride. Aiden definitely enjoyed his ride.


Everyone got their fill of food and fun. Always enjoy getting family together for any reason especially a celebration of accomplishment like Jasmyne's.

Since Ryleigh was the only one not working during the week, we had the opportunity to take her to Warren Dunes SP. They have a great beach and some big dunes.  The water was pretty cold but Ryleigh and I braved it and did some swimming together.







When we pulled out some snacks we had several feathered visitors. We had a wonderful day.

Over the past weekend we drove back over to the Chicago area to attend Heather and Paul's Housewarming Party. They bought a house this spring and wanted to do some upgrades to the house before celebrating the move.

We had a wonderful surprise when we found out our son, Chris would be flying in from AZ for the party too.  We finally had all the kids together. Paul and Heather put on a delicious spread of food and drinks. They have a friend that owns a bounce house and he brought it for the little kids. Everyone had a fantastic time.

Chick Fil A nuggets, Portillos beef and sausage amd Mostacolli


Since Chris would be there a long time friend, Justin and his wife Tara and new baby, Knox came up from Bloomington. Normal to attend and catch up with Chris. They have a beautiful family.

Know, Chris, Tara and Justin



Chris so far is a steadfast bachelor but we hope he will find the right woman someday. He had a fun time with Knox but not sure he's ready for one of his own.

The party got rocking, the bags were flying and everyone had some libation and plenty of food.

At the end of the evening we got together for some family photos. Something we haven't done in a long time. I love it when the family is together. Sad part was we couldn't get Sommer's ex to let Brooklyne and Caden attend since it was his weekend. It is what it is.

Heather, Chris, Sommer


The gang

Todd, Sommer

Aiden, Paul, Heather

Chris showing off his guns

We stayed the night before heading back to IN on Sunday. Chris had to catch a plance back to AZ Sunday evening so we got to spend some additional time with him the next morning. 

We had one last dinner tonight at Sommer and Todd's. Teryaki Chicken on the grill, Corn on the Cob, Twice mashed potatoes and cresent rolls. Todd and I did the cooking and grilling this time.

We've a fantastic time visiting family so far. Tomorrow we head back to Elgin, IL and one more week with Aiden, Paul and Heather. Getting in as much family time as we can before heading back to the Southwest.

Still loving the lifestyle.