Salmon Glacier

Salmon Glacier
Salmon Glacier, BC, Canada

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Piney Grove COE, Moved North to IL and time with RV friends

We left Gunter Hill COE in AL and moved up to Piney Grove COE near Booneville, MS for a couple of days on our way north to get back to Central IL with family and meet our RV friends Faye N Dave(The Wandering Camels). When we left Gunter Hill they had problems with the sewer lines so we decided not to dump there and took our stuff with us to Piney Grove. Not what we really wanted to do but no choice. After we got checked in at Piney Grove we went straight to the dump station and then got to our site. Coming to a campground on a Sunday afternoon is nice since there are few other campers and we had the loop to our selves. It was another nice lakefront site. I was able to get the satellite TV locked on even with the tall trees around our site.

We found the laundry room and did a load of towels to keep caught up. OF course we took a walk and bike ride around the park and took some photos of the lake.

The lake area is just a side tributary to the Tombigbee Waterway. We even found the beach and noticed a barge in the distance navigating the channel as it headed to it's destination.

We stayed one full day and left on Tuesday and had a long travel day to Rend Lake in Southern IL. We had reservations at South Marcum campground which is also a COE. We had full hook ups for $12 per night with our Senior Pass for the National Parks. We stopped in Benton, IL and took a much needed bathroom break and a late lunch. We stopped at the gate to the campground and the attendant told us about a few sites that were open. (We didn't make a reservation this time) So we drove through the loops and picked a great back in site that used to be for camp hosts. I think they don't have one there now due to budget cuts. So we took it. It was a level cement pad near the bathhouse and nice open sky for the satellite.


We took a bike ride after getting set up which was around dusk and we knew there were lots of deer in the area. We went around a couple of loops and immediately there were deer. One even did a nice pose for me. They seemed somewhat tame. We had no problem getting good photos of them. As we rode over to the dam the sun was getting close to setting which really provided a nice photo op. 

We got up the next morning and stopped at the Wal Mart in Benton, IL and picked up some groceries in anticipation of our meeting up with our RV friends Faye and Dave . We got in some more bike riding the next afternoon and prepared for our short trip on Thursday to Forrest "Bo" Wood COE near Sullivan, IL. Faye had contacted the Army Corp staff and were informed to get there early on Thursday since it was the opening weekend and there were a limited number of sites available due to construction of new full hook up sites in different parts of the park. So we got on the road for the 2 1/2 hour trip abut 9:15 and arrived at noon. Faye N Dave had been there at 10am and got a great site and we were there early enough to snag a site near them. The campground filled up vey quickly. Glad we got there when we did. Faye has family in the area so they did some visiting while they were there and they invited us to their site on Friday for a cookout with her family. Dave had hamburgers and also brought out some of their Gulf Shrimp and fish. Dave is the cook and made up a batter to fry the shrimp and fish in. His recipe makes the batter very light and extremely tasty. I got the job of grilling up the burgers, which I must say, turned out great too. Of course, the meat was very high quality so it made my job easy. Everyone had plenty to eat and some great conversation.
Our site #99

Faye and Glenda(the Queens)

Dave N Faye

Paul(Faye's Dad), Dennis(her cousin), Pat(Faye's Mom)and Nancy(Dennis's wife)
It was fun getting to know them and I know they think we're crazy living this lifestyle but we wouldn't have it any other way right now. Once we were totally full Faye brought out some strawberries with shortcake and whip cream. That finally did us in. :-)  Delicious
We had a campfire at Faye N Dave's the first night and then I got some wood and we invited them over for a nice campfire.

Dave gave us a great cooking lesson the night before we went our separate ways. He had us buy a large pork loin and he and Glenda made a marinade brine. We put the pork loin in the brine over night and then grilled it the next evening. Dave had me do 1/4 turns on low heat for over an hour and cooked the pork loin until it reached an internal temp of  150 degrees. We played some Spades while the meat cooked and of course, the guys prevailed. We made a glaze of Dijon mustard and maple syrup and applied for the last 30 minutes to caramelize. We then took it and let it rest for 20 minutes before slicing and serving with a rice and mushroom side dish that Faye N Dave made. I can't begin to describe the flavor, juiciness and tenderness of the meat and how well the side dish went with the meal. It was so wonderful to learn a new dish that we can prepare for family and friends in the future. We can't thank them enough. This just goes along with all the other great tips that they have given us as we have started our full time RV life. I kept kidding Faye that I wanted to be like her. :-)  I hope if didn't make Dave too jealous. ha-ha.
They had a long trip to IN on Monday so we made a short night of it with hugs(no handshakes). We are looking forward to seeing them again next winter as they will be workamping in an RV resort near ours in the Mesa/Phoenix, AZ area. Who knows we may see them on the road as we travel back. We plan to keep in touch through our blogs and email.
We left Bo Wood around 10:30 am Monday and traveled about 90 miles to our current campground  north of Bloomington/Normal, IL. We reserved a 2 week stay at Comlara County Park to visit family and friends and appts. Of course the weather is cold( highs 50's and lows 30's), windy and mix of clouds and sun. Really not used to this and not enjoying it so far. That's why I retired and left IL However it has been good to visit with my Dad and brother and we will be having dinner on Friday with our friends Richard and Brenda. Over the weekend we plan to drive to Osceola, IN to see our son in law's son, Mason, graduate from college in Grand Rapids, MI. It will be so good to see the grandkids and hang out with our son in laws family.
We also have plans the following weekend to visit our daughter, Heather, son in law, Paul, and youngest grandson AIDEN. Caught up again. It better warm up soon. 



Monday, April 13, 2015

Pensacola RV Park, Gunter Hill COE.....catching up again

OK, it's been a while since I last posted but I have a good reason. We've been having too much fun lately. Is that possible? Not really. Anyway, we left Buccaneer SP in MS and headed to Pensacola, FL. We had planned on spending our time in FL at Blackwater River SP but it was spring break in FL for the public schools so we were not able to get reservations at ANY SP in the FL panhandle. We settled for the next best thing...any RV park about 20 minutes inland from the beaches. We got in at Pensacola RV Park near the Pensacola NAS and Museum. Upon arrival the staff told us that while we were there the Blue Angels would be practicing and we should go so we made a mental note of it.

The sites are typical RV park spacing but not too bad. We had a nice pull through and a nice gentleman showed us to our site and lined us up.

We found a Wal mart and got some groceries after we got set up. After we got back we made some plans for our stay in FL Originally we were only going to stay at the SP for 4 days but since we couldn't get in to a SP and we were going to be near the beach, we opted to stay for a week. which then would shorten our stays as we travel north to IL.

The first day in Pensacola we got up and after breakfast, we headed to a Farmers Market in the old historic section of Pensacola. The market was more of a number of booths with mostly folks selling pictures, jewelry, carvings, baked goods, salsa and a few produce items. There were a few folks playing instruments too. Not exactly a Farmers Market but we had fun and we spent money.

Small section of the market
After we ran out of money we took a walk down the street to the Pensacola Bay and a Marina. 

Lots of boats

Glenda made a friend

Someone has some money

A boat for my brother
We headed back to the RV park and relaxed while making our plans for the next few days. Those plans mostly included going to the beach and our favorite area...The Gulf Island National Seashore between Navarre and Pensacola Beach.
We loaded up the bikes the next morning and headed out with all the other spring breakers.  We got to the beach and parking in a lot on Navarre Beach.

After the bike riding we got out our beach chairs and sat along the gulf shore and enjoyed the sound of the waves and soaked up some sun. We decided to have a late lunch and drove back to Navarre Beach where we had been before on our last trip there about 3 years prior with our 22foot Jayco TT. That's what got us started thinking about full time RV'ing. We had a great lunch of shrimp and seafood and headed back to the park. The next day was cloudy so we took our tax file to an H&R Block near by and filed our taxes. We actually for the first time in 40 years we got a good refund. Making less actually pays. OK, back to the fun. We continued to make trips to the beach and ride our bikes and sit in the sun the next few days while the weather was good.
On Wednesday, last week we got up early and drove to the Pensacola NAS to tour the museum and see the Blue Angels. This was along with around 10,000 others folks with the same idea. Glad we got there early. We toured the museum until it was time to follow the crowd to the runway area for the show.

We paid $3 each to get a chair in an area for good viewing since the crowd had already taken up all the free bleacher seating. We were actually in a good place to see all the action as the planes flew over. Very difficult to get good shots but I did get some video. Not sure I can post it here. Cell reception is slow here at Piney Grove COE in New Site, MS.

We had a final nice lunch the day before we left at Flounders Restaurant in Pensacola Beach. We shared a Shrimp Platter and some Key Lime pie.

Our view for lunch

Outdoor seating

Shrimp Platter for two

Key Lime Pie(triple layer)
After lunch on our last full day we headed to the beach one more time. We knew it would be quite a while before we see this again.

We had so much fun in FL and will try to get back this way on our trip south again in the fall. We definitely will be planning some time for part of a winter in the next couple of years. We really love the beaches, the sand and the sun.

We then left Pensacola and drove to Gunter Hill COE park near Prattville, AL. We had reserved a great lakefront site and were not disappointed. Unfortunately we could only be there 2 days since we stayed longer in Pensacola. There is lots of space to ride bikes and walk around the park. The Army Corp of Engineers always does a great job of putting a park together.

Our site at Gunter Hill COE

Paved roads and cement pads with great spacing

Incredible views

View from under the awning

Cement pad on site

Pull through

We thought this looked like a shark

We got another great tip from our RV friends Faye N Dave while at Gunter Hill. They told us we should try to make it to Uncle Mick's Cajun Restaurant in Prattville, AL. Now if they tell us about a good place to go to camp, eat, visit or anything else we try to do it. Well we were again NOT disappointed. Thank you Faye N Dave. The owner was vey friendly and appreciated our business. He was interested in our lifestyle and we had a good conversation while there. We took home a piece of Pecan Pie too. We really are looking forward to seeing our friends Faye N Dave at Bo Wood COE near Sullivan, IL.

I'm writing this the night before we leave for our next stop which will be in IL. It's been 6 months since we wee in the state of IL so this will be a nice homecoming. The next stop in IL is a surprise from our original plan. I told Glenda about the reservation I made at Fern Clyffe SP near Goreville, IL but it only has electric and no water hook up and even for 2 nights Glenda said "no" so we are winging it tomorrow. I wonder where we'll end up. I 'll let you know soon. See you in IL.
Life is Good


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Buccaneer SP...Waveland, MS a new state for us

We left Palmetto Island SP on Monday morning and arrived without incident at Buccaneer SP in Waveland, MS. Mississippi is a new state for us and along the gulf it is beautiful. This area was hit hard in the Katrina Hurricane and it is evident with the beach repair that is still going on(10 years later) and homes that have not been rebuilt. However there are many that have and they are incredible. Some really rich people rebuilt some nice homes along the shoreline.

Of course they're built on stilts to protect from rising water in the event of another hurricane. These homes are built right across from the beaches and the gulf area. We spent two mornings at the beach down from the park. The State Park is actually right across from the beaches and we found out later that they had walk in sites next to the road across from the beaches. We may consider that next time if we are able to make it back this way in the future. Our first night we decided to go explore and drove down Beach Blvd to Bay St. Louis about 5 miles from the park. We ended up at The Blind Tiger for dinner and had Mahi Tacos with potatoes and corn on the cob. The potatoes and corn was a little too spicy but it all tasted good. We wanted to get the Royal Red shrimp but they were out. However we did go back a couple of day later a little earlier and picked up an order and brought them back to the rig.

Thanks to Steve and Debbie for the heads up on "The Reds". They are peel and eat and were delicious. We will be looking for those again in the future too.
We were able to ride our bikes on a bike path right next to the beach and today we rode about 11 miles. The sun was out and there was a nice breeze to cool us off. The weather has been great with highs in the upper 70's and lows around 60.

We took a drive and saw a guy on a kite board on one of the beaches near by. He had good wind today as you can see from the white caps.
This park is rebuilt and has several nice loops with some old and new areas. The sites are back in but at an angle to get in fairly easy. I'm still working on my skills.
On one of our excursions to the beach we came across a Veteran's Memorial that was very well done.

We found a nice little frozen yogurt shop in the downtown area next to the beach and ended up going there 3 out of 4 days we have been here. They let you guess how much your yogurt weighs and if you guess exactly, you get it for free. Well, Glenda was able to guess hers today and got it free. 1 out of 3 is pretty good. Not so for me. That's why I don't gamble. Not that lucky.
Froyo place called Purple Banana

Well worth stopping if you're in the area. There were also some shops along Beach Blvd and some restaurants. Nice area to stop at and get some down time. Except for neighbors that play music a little too loud and all you get is the bass. Can get annoying and I'm glad we're moving on tomorrow.
We made a little change in the plan of where we're staying after here. We are going to Pensacola, FL instead of Gulf Shores, AL and instead of 4 days we booked a week. Got a better rate too. We found a nice RV park a little ways off I-10 about 20 minutes from the beach where we had spent some spring break time about 3 years ago. We stayed a week in Navarre, FL and rode our bikes every day on the Gulf Island National Seashore between Navarre and Pensacola. We are looking forward to getting back there and enjoying that unspoiled area. We only have a short 150 miles to go tomorrow.
After a week in FL we plan to head north some into AL and a COE park near Tuscaloosa, AL. We shorten up our stops as we head north so we can meet up with our RV friends Faye and Dave who are just a few days behind us. Glenda is going to hit Dave up for a cooking lesson. Be ready Dave. :-)
See you all in FL.