Fall in Colorado

Fall in Colorado
Fall in Colorado

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Last Outing of the Season

In my last post I mentioned we had been to our favorite campground, Bo Wood COE at Lake Shelbyville on the final weekend of the season the last 2 years. We couldn't pass up the opportunity to make it 3 in a row. Glenda was able to get off work about an hour early on Friday so we were able to get on the road sooner than normal. IT really helped too since the sun is setting sooner in the evening. I had loaded up some firewood in the afternoon because we knew it was going to get cool/cold at night. We headed out and had a smooth trip to the campground. When we got there we found out that we would have to vacate the campsite sooner than normal(12 noon instead of 4 pm) because it has the most campsites  and they wanted to get them cleaned up for the winter. The smaller side of the campground was going to stay open until the first weekend in December. We tried to get a spot on that side but someone had gotten there about 15 minutes sooner and took the last one. However we did decide to take a different spot on a more wooded loop.


Once we got to our site we noticed that the only other camper on the loop was a motorhome. So we parked way in the back of the loop for some privacy.

Hard to see us in the back(click on pic to enlarge)

I zoomed in
 
 
Of course we brought some chili for dinner and heated it up with some crackers and a little cheese on top. It was delicious. After dinner I hurried outside and got a fire started.
 

We sat by the warmth of the fire and listened to the radio on the outdoor speakers. It was very peaceful and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. The stars were out in full force. As the fire burned down we headed inside to watch some TV and I played some games on the my smartphone.

We had the small electric heater on so it kept the trailer comfortable. So comfortable in fact that we ended up sleeping until 9am on Saturday morning. We like to sleep a little later on the weekend but that was later than expected. I guess we were just too cozy under out micro fleece sheets. Once we got up we had out oatmeal and juice and got ready to take a trip into Arthur, IL for some supplies and check out the Amish Market. We got our supplies at the Dollar General and noticed that there was a larger than normal number of buggies in front of the store.

 
 
Then we headed to the Amish Market were they have bake goods, ice cream, fudge, produce, meats, and assorted candy and snacks. 



 
 
After perusing the goods we ended up getting some veggie chips and a small loaf of pumpkin bread.
 
By that time we were getting hungry again so we checked out a small BBQ restaurant in town called
 




I had the brisket special with Hobo potatoes and Cole slaw with cornbread and Glenda had the Salmon burger with a salad. I know I enjoyed my food more than Glenda did. The meat was firm but tender and had that great smoked flavor. The BBQ sauce was spicy but not overpowering. The only downside of the meal was it took about 1 hour to get our food. It was busy and the wait staff was doing the best they could but that is a little long to wait even for good food. I was definitely stuffed after that meal and ready to head back to the campground and take a walk to work off some of my meal. So that is what we did. The wind had picked up a little in the afternoon but most of the loops we walked were pretty well sheltered. Of the 136 campsites in the whole campground only about 24-26 sites were occupied. I guess with the government shutdown earlier and the cool weather people decided to either put the camper away early or just stay home. Either way we had most of the campground to ourselves. I got another fire started in preparation for the evening. As I was stoking the fire and enjoying the flames I got out my phone and took some photos with different settings.

 

Solarized setting

Negative setting
 
 
It was fun playing with the settings and giving the photos some different feel.  Along with that I talked Glenda into a Selfie photo of ourselves. You can see it was getting a little cold and we were bundled up.
 
 
 
 
You have to understand getting Glenda to let me take a photo of her is a rare feat. She doesn't like how she looks in pictures but I think she's beautiful. We won't have any problem being together 24/7.
 
After a while we went inside and had some leftover chili for dinner and hurried back out to enjoy the fire. Once it started to die down we went in for some TV. Again it felt good to get under the sheets and get cozy. We woke up earlier on Sunday morning since we had to be out by noon. I took the truck into Sullivan and filled the tank and got some coffee for me and diet coke for Glenda. When I got back we had our oatmeal and juice. Glenda got a shower and I started getting the outside ready so we could hitch up at the last minute. We took a short walk and talked to a couple that had just purchased a pop up and were out for the maiden voyage. Our first camper had a canvas bunk out and it would get pretty cold in the fall but to have all four walls canvas is more than I would want. They said they had two heaters going all night. I'm sure they did.
 
Well before we had to hitch up I took a few more photos of some of the sites in our loop.
 
The sites are nicely spaced

Many are long and wide just right for a big rig
 
 
Right behind our site was a short path down to the lake with a nice bench to sit and enjoy the scenery. I took some shots from different angles of our site and the lake.
 




It's easy to see why we enjoy coming to this campground and being a COE and me having my Senior Pass the full hook ups are $12/night.(I know I've mentioned that before but is worth saying again) Well it was getting late and we needed to get out of our site so Glenda cleaned up the inside and I got the trailer hitched up and we left our site right at noon. Nothing like getting your monies worth. We decided that since we couldn't stay on our site past noon and we weren't really ready to leave we would drive down by the boat launch ramp and park in the parking lot for a while and enjoy our last weekend out for the season. We parked and got out some chicken salad and crackers and had a quick mini lunch. Then we explored the park area by the boat launch.


Our last Selfie of the season
 
 
After about an hour of watching folks launch and pull boats out of the water we headed for home. We made it home in good time and started to take our clothes, food stuffs and most interior items out. We will be back this next weekend to get the rest of the things we don't want to keep in the trailer over the winter. I plan to winterize the water system on Friday and take the trailer to the truck wash before we put the RV cover on. Remove the battery, get it charged up and on the battery tender. I've had the trailer for sale on Craigslist but not much happening this time of year. Hope to sell in the spring before it's time to pick up the new 5th wheel. Trade in value is not much of anything but we may have no choice if it doesn't sell. Retirement is getting closer and the truck will be ordered soon then on through the winter and place the 5th wheel order around Feb next year. If everything goes as planned the house will sell  and we will move into the rig sometime in April-May next year. Bittersweet feeling being the last time we will camp in the trailer but looking forward to the future. I do have the Hitch Itch that Rick and Kathy of It's about Time commented on a couple of posts back. All I can say to that is we're working toward retirement and it won't be long. Thanks everyone. 







Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Visiting Aiden

Our son-in-law, Paul, Was going to be out of town for the weekend so our daughter, Heather, asked us to come and stay over the weekend and keep her and Aiden company. Well that was all we needed to pack our clothes and drive to their home. We arrived on Saturday around noon and Aiden was just getting up from a short morning nap. We decided to get some lunch so we bundled Aiden up and drove to Portillo's Italian Beef Restaurant in Glendale Heights on North Ave. They have the best Italian Beef and Hotdogs in America. At least by my standards. After lunch we needed to drive downtown Chicago so Heather could pick up her race packet for the Monster Dash 5k race on Sunday.
 
 
Traffic was pretty good going downtown but got a little slow on the way back out. Aiden was getting a little antsy on the way home but did a good job over all. Once we got home we got his play things  and had some fun watching him play.
 

He has grown so much and developed  his coordination and strength. Later he had a bottle and started to get sleepy and off to bed he went. We shared some pizza leftovers that Heather had from the night before. We stayed up for a while watching TV until Heather had to go to bed. She needed to get up early to drive downtown for the race the next day. Aiden is a good sleeper and sleeps through the night now.

Heather got up and took Izzy out for a walk and to potty. As she was getting back in I had gotten up and noticed that Aiden was stirring around so I went in to get him and he had a big smile on his face when he saw me. What a great way to wake up each day. He had a bottle and got changed. Heather had to leave so I put him in his bouncy chair and he played with attached toys. He likes to jump and bounce around. After a couple of hours he started to show signs of feeling sleepy so we changed his diaper and took him up to bed. He fussed a little but soon went to sleep. Aiden slept for about an hour and we got him up with a smile on his face.

Heather got home after noon, showered and changed. We decided to go to Panera and have lunch and then we went to Target near by to get Aiden a couple of new shirts and a pair of pants. While we were there we looked at a Space Saver High Chair. Heather and Paul don't have a lot of room in their kitchen/dining room so we got them the Space Saver chair and it fit perfectly on their dining room chair.

This is a photo from Fisher- Price
 
 
This will come in very handy since they were using a Bumbo chair on the counter to feed Aiden. Before we left Heather wanted to have Aiden try a baby rice cracker with banana flavor. Aiden wasn't too sure about the new flavor compared to his mother's milk and his formula. Here is his reaction.
 

It was getting to be mid afternoon and we needed to get home so we said our goodbyes and Heather took Aiden up for his afternoon nap. We had a great time and look forward to getting back soon. It will be great when we can spend more time with family. Still working toward retirement and it won't be long. Keep checking my countdown clock. I know I am. :-)  




Friday, October 18, 2013

Rest and Relaxation

I had a wonderful time watching the grandkids a couple of weeks ago but having not handled young ones for a long time I needed to renew myself. It really wasn't bad at all I just wanted to get another weekend of camping in before the cover goes on the trailer. I made a reservation at our local county park called Comlara. This park is situated next to Evergreen Lake in McLean County. I reserved site #98 which is an open site with a small tree on the west side of the site(the back side of the trailer). Glenda had to work until 4 pm and I got off at noon. So I hitched up the trailer and headed north of town on I 39 and took the Lake Evergreen-Lake Bloomington exit and turned west. About a mile down the county road you turn left and pick up the road that leads to the entrance to the park. I stopped at the office and paid my fee and then drove down the park road to our site. It's a back in site with electric and water only and is easy to maneuver our short trailer into the proper spot.

#98
 
 

I hooked up the electric and water(I had to use all 50 ft. of hose to get to the water) then I put out the awning, the rug and got the loungers out. It was time to hang out and enjoy the fall colors and temps.



Even in Illinois you can enjoy some fall colors and landscape along with the blue sky and occasional cloud. After work Glenda drove out to the campsite and we took a walk around the park and noticed that all the electric sites were reserved for the weekend. I enjoy walking by all the sites and having other campers wave and me waving back. The feeling of "I don't know you but we have something in common" makes me want to fulltime even more. It doesn't matter if you have a tent, a pop up, a trailer, 5th wheel or Class A motorhome everyone is on the same playing field. We're all out here loving life and feeling free.

After our walk it was getting dark(that is happening earlier and earlier now) so we got out the chili that Glenda had made the night before and heated it up in the microwave. We had some oyster crackers, veggies and a soft drink. Food really does taste better when camping. After dinner I got the fire starting material out and got a great fire going.


Temperatures were going to get down into the 40's so we bundled up a bit and got close to the fire and it felt sooooo good. We stayed by the fire until about 9 pm and then we went inside to watch some local station TV.


After some TV we headed to bed for a good nights sleep under our micro fleece sheets. Those are one the greatest materials ever made. All we had to do is run our little portable electric heater so it kicked on once in a while and we were toasty warm all night.

Saturday morning we slept in a bit and then had some oatmeal, Craisins, walnuts and juice to wash it down. We decided that since we are only 10 miles from home we would drive into town and take a shower, I would get a Starbuck's, run a couple of errands and then head right back out to the campsite. Once we got back to the campground we took a walk and the had some lunch. We had some chicken salad on crackers and veggies. After that it was time to sit out in the sun and enjoy the warmth, the people walking or riding by and dream.


 The view from our site
 
 
We sat in our loungers for some time and then it was time to take another walk. Again the sun started to sink below the horizon fairly early so I started a fire and Glenda got the turkeyburgers ready to be grilled for supper. I then got the grill out and we first put the potato packets on. When they were done on went the turkeyburgers. We set up the dinette for dinner and had a great meal.
 
Outside looking in
 
 
After cleaning up the dishes we setting by the fire and enjoyed the colors, the warmth and each others company. Glenda and I will have no trouble being together 24/7 after we retire. We truly enjoy being together. Once the fire burned down we again moved inside to watch some TV and get ready for bed.
 
 
On Sunday we had our oatmeal and got ready to go back to town for a shower and I got another Starbucks. We didn't stay long in town and headed back to the site for some more rest and relaxation. I forgot that Monday was Columbus Day and Glenda had the day off(she works as a school secretary) so I called by supervisors work phone and left a message that I would be taking a day of vacation on Monday. We walked up to the park office and paid for another night. That felt really good. One more day. I bought a couple more bundles of firewood and we sat out  in our loungers and enjoyed the great fall weather we were having. Highs were around 70 and the night's were in the low 40's. This is what fall camping is all about. We had another great campfire and then some TV and on to bed.
 
 
 Cobwebs in the grass
 

Another view from our site
 


Glenda had a dental appointment Monday morning about 11 am so I stayed back and started the preliminary packing up duties. About noon I headed into town to pick up Glenda so we would only have the truck at the campsite and we could ride back together. It's funny we were only 10 miles from town but felt like we much farther away. We squeezed out as much time as we could before we got serious about packing up, hitching up and driving back to town. I think we were the last trailer to leave except to those that were staying another day or more. We headed to the storage facility and put the trailer in her spot. Once we got home I got on line and made a reservation at Bo Wood COE campground at Lake Shelbyville for the last weekend they will be open this season. We have been to Bo Wood every closing weekend the last 3 years. Thank goodness the government shutdown is over I didn't want to break our streak. Next weekend will be the last time we use it before we either sell it or trade it for the 5th wheel next spring. In one way it will be sad and in another way it is exciting to think of the life to come. Still working toward retirement and it won't be long.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I Survived

The weekend before last I traveled to Osceola, IN to watch the grandkids so my daughter and her husband could go on a much delayed wedding honeymoon. Their family is a his, hers and ours type family. Todd has a son from a previous marriage who is in college, my daughter has three children from her previous marriage and Todd and Sommer have a daughter together.

So I was asked a few months ago if I could take some vacation time from work and stay with the kids...the four younger ones. Of course, Mason(Todd's son) being in college was not there. Anyway, I went over on Saturday, Oct 5th so I could get my instructions. Mom and Dad left on Sunday morning and I got to spend some time with the youngest granddaughter since the other three from the previous marriage were with their father that weekend. The ages of the four grandkids I had responsibility for range from 16 to 7. So with the other kids gone until Sunday night, Ryleigh and I got to spend the day together. Ryleigh is very good at playing with her dolls and playhouse so for a while I didn't have much to  do. We did decide to go to the mall so Ryleigh could get a couple of books and we could get something to eat.

We ended up going to the University Mall in Mishawaka and found the Barnes and Noble. Ryleigh decided on two books from the Magic Tree house series. I think she said there were over 80 different books in the series. So there were plenty to choose from. After we got the book we headed to the pretzel kiosk and had a couple of big pretzels and some cheese dip. Yes...grandpa feeds his grandkids well.(Haha) We walked around the mall for a little while and then we headed home.

We hung around the house took their dog, Cammie, for a walk and waited for the other kids to come home. The kids came home around 8 pm and we talked and got ready for bed since the next day was a school day. The kids all go to school at different times and catch different buses so I got up at 6 am to get Jasmyne, the 16 year old, up then at 6:30 am I got Brooklyne, the 12 year old, up. They both took their showers and then it was time to get Ryleigh, 7 years old and Caden, 11 years old, since they took their showers the night before. Once all were up and around I got the cereal out and set out the backpacks. Then one by one they got ready to get on the bus. Once they were all out the door I was able to clean up the kitchen and get my shower and straighten up the house. This was our routine the next two days.

On Monday night Jasmyne's friend, Maddie, came over and I ordered pizza. The kids love me, of course. We had our pizza and then it was time to work on HOMEWORK. Boy I haven't done that in a long, long time. However addition and subtraction is something I can do. After that back to our routine of showers, reading before bed and goodnight kisses and hugs.

Tuesday evening the 3 older kids were with their father again until 8 pm. Ryleigh and I did homework and read together then watched some TV. Once the kids were all back home were did our routine. Wednesday morning was a bit sad since after the kids headed to school I would be going home. Todd and Sommer had made arrangements for his Mom to come and watch the kids the rest of the week until they got home on Saturday. We said our goodbyes and after straightening up the house I headed home. The great thing about my time with the grandkids was that Ryleigh and I did some extra bonding due to the older kids spending some time way with their father.

As a side note I did go to the RV dealer on Monday to look at the Heartland 3585rl that I mentioned in my last post. I really liked the new amenities and features. So we are planning on ordering shortly after the new year begins. The plan is to take delivery in March - April so we can sell the house and move in to the rig and live in it over the summer. That way we should be able to save a little more and work out any issues that might arise before we hit the road next fall. So I survived and actually it was a great experience. I know it is something that I will always remember and I hope the grandkids will have good memories of our time together. This weekend it's the youngest grandson's turn.

We will going up to Streamwood, IL on Saturday and spend the night with our older daughter, Heather and Aiden, while her husband, Paul, is away on business. I know we will have a good time and looking forward to seeing the changes and new skills that Aiden has developed since we were there last. The last time we visited Aiden was only 4 months old and he is now 7 months old. We have to cherish every moment because time flies so fast. Still working to retirement and it won't be long. Check out my Countdown Clock. Thanks

Friday, October 4, 2013

Truck Research

Well it's just under 1 year until I retire and we go fulltime. So I have been doing some research on Tow Vehicles(Truck to pull the 5th wheel with) to determine the right features and price for us. Of course everyone has their favorite brand - Ford, Chevy, GMC. I prefer Ford myself so I started there. Fortunately, I work at an insurance company that participates in a national discount program. I am able to go online and build a truck with the features I want and participate in an X plan discount. Similar to a discount that an employee that works for an auto company would  get if buying a vehicle . You understand why this is important if you have done any research or have purchased a tow vehicle yourself. In order to pull a heavy 5th wheel you need a truck with some power. Because of the weight of the 5th wheel we are considering I need a 3/4 to 1 ton truck. So I am looking at the Ford F-350 Super Cab 6.7L Diesel Dual Rear Wheel(DRW) 4x4 at a local dealer that participates in the X plan program. These are just a couple of photos from the internet. These are Crew Cabs. The Super Cab(Extended Cab) is a little shorter without the second door but still with the second row seats. I'll post pictures of the actual one once we get to that stage.
 
I prefer white
 
Glenda likes the Champagne
 
We plan to order in a couple of months and there is about a 6-8 weeks build time. This will give us time to work out the finances for making a cash purchase and selling the current 2006 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4 .We'll have the truck for a short while before we purchase the 5th wheel. It may take some time getting used to driving a big rig(ha ha). Especially if I'm going to hook a 38-39 ft. rig to the back. I think it's best to have the truck BEFORE the 5th wheel. Wouldn't do much good to reverse the order. And as a side note we have changed our plans on the purchase of the 5th wheel.
 
We originally were set on getting the Prime Time Manufacturing Sanibel 3500 but have since decided on the Heartland Bighorn 3585rl. We really like the new features for 2014 and the layout. Similar to the Sanibel but just different enough. That's a discussion for another post someday. I'm going to go to Indiana(Mishawaka/ Elkhart area) tomorrow for 5 days to watch the grandkids while our younger daughter and SIL go on a very past due honeymoon vacation in Florida. I hope the weather holds up for them with the Tropical Storm in the Gulf right now. I have an opportunity to see a 3585rl in Elkhart while I am in the area so that should help solidify the decision. Anyway it should be fun with the kids since the ages range from 16 to 7 years old. I have a feeling we may be eating out a few times. Grandpa isn't exactly a gourmet chef. Well I'll let you know how it goes next week. Until then we are working toward retirement and it won't be long. Thanks for stopping by.