Devil's Churn

Devil's Churn
Devil's Churn

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Back in Illinois....Rend Lake, Bo Wood and Kamp Komfort

When we left Big Stone Gap, Va. we spent one night in KY before moving into Illinois. We had a reservation at South Marcum campground at Rend Lake. This is an Army Corp. of Engineer park that we've been to before. We enjoy the area because there is so much wildlife in the area. We regularly see deer, raccoon, skunk and vultures. But if you go over by the dam you'll also see egrets and heron at the bottom of the dam waiting for the fish flowing over the dam to swim by and snatch them up.

This year the Midwest has had several rain storms and the water in the lake is overflowing the dam at a rapid pace. Due to the rain some of the campground loops sere closed and a couple of paths were blocked by water. Each day we were able to get out and walk to get our 10-12,000 steps in. Trying to maintain a good exercise program as we travel.

We had a wonderful site with great views of the lake out our back window however the site was a little tight for our rig with trees lining the sides of the pad. Almost impossible to open our awning all the way.

The bedroom slide was about 12 inches from the slide

No way we can open the awning

Great lake view

Well the weather again turned bad and the wind really picked up on our last couple of days. We were rocking and rolling and feared the trees might come crashing down on us. Fortunately we made it through. On one of our walks we did see a downed tree that had been uprooted by the rain soaked ground and wind. The tree had fallen across the road in the loop but luckily no campers were very close. The staff had gotten out quickly and cut up the tree to make the loop accessible.

We usually get some bike riding in when we stay here but with the weather and our walking/hiking/running challenge we decided to keep it simple and not get the bikes down from the rack. We had a good time at Rend Lake but we were ready to move on to Bo Wood by Lake Shelbyville in Central Illinois. In addition we looked forward to getting together with our good friends Faye and Dave from The Wandering Camels. Faye and Dave are workamping at Opossum Creek.

We arrived at Bo Wood and got set up and drove over to the Lake Shelbyville Visitor's Center where they have been working. We had made plans to go to one of our favorite pizza places....Monical's Pizza. This is a small chain in the Midwest and their pizza is delicious. We got our fill of pizza and some of us even had enough for leftovers. So good to see them again after our travels across the Gulf States from TX.

Site 79

Big yard

We made plans for them to come to our site a couple days later after another one of their work shifts. One big reason was our trailer brakes had a broken brake line (that sounds weird) and needed repair and we needed to bleed all the brakes for the brakes to work properly. Stupid me, I never fully checked the trailer brakes when we got the rig and we have been driving for the last 3 years with out them. I thought all I had to do was set the brake controller in the truck and I was good to go. Not So. This had put a lot of wear on our truck brakes and it's just totally unsafe. Anyway, Dave the Mechanical Master has all the tools to make the repair. They arrived and we got to work. First we bled all the other brakes. I made sure Dave showed me where this was done and after his instruction I performed the task with his assistance. Once that was down Dave took a look at the brake line and noticed that the end of the line needed to be flared so it would fit properly at the brake caliper and not leak....which it had been doing since I was not able to flare the end myself. Dave had the tool and after a few tries we got the right  flare and seal with NO LEAK. What an incredible relief. PS - I tried the brake controller on the day we left and WOW what a wonderful difference. WE HAVE BRAKES.

After working on the brakes we took a good walk around the park and worked up an appetite for some dinner. We grilled some hamburgers, potatoes, corn and Faye made a delicious Pistachio Salad.

The good life

You're the man....No you're the man

Then it was our turn to visit their campground and have dinner there. We took a nice long walk around the park and Faye and I looked for a Geocache but came up DNF(Did Not Find). Dave the MASTER CHEF fixed us some of their shrimp from when they were in TX and some fish that Dave had caught there too. We had all the fix'ns and I made sure to bring some good beer.

Can you smell the shrimp?

This is how you do it Curt

A meal fit for a QUEEN...right Faye?

The campground where they are staying is a beautiful park with a boat launch and tent sites with incredible views of the lake. While they've been there they have been keeping track of the lake levels as they've had a lot of rain too. There is a campground near the dam that had to be closed and campers moved due to the rising water. The boat launch at their park is only open for the high water launch because the regular launch area is totally underwater.

As if our first meal with them wasn't enough before we left the area they had us over again to their campground for some walking, sightseeing and dinner. This time it was Dave's famous ribs. Much better that FAMOUS DAVES BBQ the restaurant.

Falling off the bone

I'd be smiling too and I was

Glenda wishes I could cook like that

In addition to s rubbing , smoking and cooking his famous ribs....he also made some of his famous MAC and CHEESE. He told me the secret ingredient but I can't tell you or I would have to ...well you know. (Don't tell Dave I told you but the secret ingredient is LOVE)  Not sure what we brought other than a good appetite. Faye made a delicious grape salad and we totally pigged out.

We always have so much great food, great fun and renewal of our GREAT friendship.

Well the fun with RV friends ended and we moved up to the Bloomington/Normal area and our current RV park...Kamp Komfort.

Site 73 near the interstate

Looking out the door and seeing semis blasting down the road

One side is Interstate 74 and the other is a train track. Not the serenity we had at Rend Lake and Bo Wood. It's your typical park but it's home while we visit family and friends here. So far we had dinner with some friends we've known since we came to this area in 1977. We also spent last weekend Mother's Day weekend at our daughter's in Chicago. I'll post more on that soon.

Well that gets me pretty close to caught up. Now we get to see the dentist, an oil change and new front brakes for the truck and visit our daughter in Indiana for the weekend. So far it's been a great visit. More on that soon too.

Thanks for following along.


  1. This Queen was happy with the dinner. We were hoping you'd check the truck brakes, you'll be all set to roll when you leave. Sounds like you're having a good time. Had a great time with you two, hope we can get one more get together before you leave the area.

    1. Thanks queen. We will definitely get together before we leave for the NE. Having a great time with family so far.

  2. Wait - You were able to pull the trailer with no trailer brakes for three years? Speaks highly of your truck brakes for sure. Or did I read that wrong.

    Wondering now, and may look up, how to test trailer brakes. I assume you just move the setting on the controller and see if the trailer brakes lock up. Any ideas on testing?

  3. Hi Mark, yes, I'm embarrassed to say that we had no trailer brakes for 3 years. As a newbie I didn't really understand how to check them when we started. I thought you just set the controller in the truck and go. We have a factory installed brake controller. There is a plus and minus to set the strength and two tabs that you squeeze together to test it. Testing is done by getting the truck and trailer up to 20 mph and then squeeze the tabs together. The trailer brakes should stop both the truck and trailer within 20-30 feet. I hope that helps you with your testing. Thanks for the comment.