Brookield Zoo

Brookield Zoo
Brookfield Zoo

Thursday, June 15, 2017

More family visits in Illinois and Indiana

After our visits with family the previous weekends, we came back to Bloomington/Normal to get our teeth cleaned and work on the truck. As you know my incompetence with the trailer brakes lead us to finding out we had a broken brake line. Now that that was repaired and we had the oil changed in the truck. We decided, with the recommendation at the Ford dealer, to get the front truck brake pads and rotors replaced. Of course the added wear on the truck brakes from the non functioning trailer brakes lead us to this point. Only an additional $700 maintenance expense. HaHa  We feel much better about our future travels now that the trailer and truck have proper stopping power.

We also had our appointments with the dentist for cleanings. Fortunately neither of us had any cavity issues so no additional visits needed there.

We've spent more time visiting with my Dad and we had another opportunity to get together with our friends Faye and Dave for lunch. We met in Clinton, IL and ate at the El Camino Real restaurant. The food was good and the conversation was great. Never a dull moment with our friends. With all the help they have given us I wanted to share a small token of our appreciation for their friendship and willingness to help us I a time of need. A couple years ago I made some front landing gear pads from 2x12 boards to help in both stability and height when we level the rig. I knew Dave used just some plain wood blocks but I thought maybe these would be more appropriate for his rig too. My brother helped with his table saw by cutting the boards to length and screwing them together. I then sprayed them heavily with a water sealer. I had them in the back of the truck so when we came out from lunch I could give them to him.



They really appreciated the gesture and sent me a photo of the pads under the landing jacks a few days later. I don't have many skills like our friends but it was something I knew I could do for them.


We continued our visits with my Dad and prepared to move to the Paul Wolff campground in Elgin, IL to spend a week with our daughter, Heather, Paul and Aiden. We left Kamp Komfort and had an uneventful trip there. We knew we had to go on a week day since the campground does not take reservations. It's first come, first serve. We found a nice shaded site with a great southerly exposure for the satellite. Lots of room and QUIET. We've been here before and enjoy staying here while we visit.

Paul and Heather had dinner for us that first night and then we alternated eating out some and eating in. Always delicious meals. One evening we went to their favorite restaurant, Coopers Hawk. A new location for one of their restaurants. Lots of space inside for wine tasting and then there is the dining area and the bar area. Very well decorated for all levels of diners.



We kept busy with some painting of closets at their house and planted some new flowers on the back patio. The least we could do for their hospitality even though we're all family.

How am I doing?

Glenda and Aiden supervised my paint job




Paul and I are both craft beer lovers and one of our favorites is Zombie Dust from 3Floyds Brewing in Munster, IN. They happen to have a brewpub there so Paul took some time off work and we drove the 90 minute drive there and enjoyed some delicious food, beer and picked up some beers to go.

No....We didn't drink them on the road. Beers to go means we got 6 packs or bombers to go of our favorites that they had that day for later consumption. We had a fun time and made a fantastic score.


We decided to give Paul and Heather a little break so we had Aiden stay with us at the campground over night. We had a campfire and made s'mores. I think Aiden had a pretty good time.



With the small space we live in we had Aiden sleep in bed with us. A bit of a restless night since he is quite a mobile sleeper. Flip Flop all night long. Still it was fun to share this time with him.

The next morning we got up and played a little ladder game. He's actually pretty good at it.


We took a walk around the campground while Glenda took her shower. We brought his trike to ride and as we got around the back of the campground we saw a truck with a big tree ready to be planted.

Very fun watching as the truck inserted the tree in the ground and drove away after.




Aiden loved riding in our BIG truck.  We had the car seat positioned in the middle of the back seat so he had a great view of the traffic around us. He loved pointing out all the huge semis as they passed by. He really got to know the Fed Ex trucks as they went by and would call them out.

Before we left we wanted to take Aiden to the Brookfield Zoo. He loves the animals and we were looking for one more opportunity to spend some time with him. I can also say we were very impressed with the zoo and he facilities. Heather happened to have some free tickets for being members of the zoo along with free parking. We took his wagon like a lot of other parents did and it made getting around the zoo so much faster. We saw parrots, monkeys. a rhino, penguins, polar bear, grizzly bear, snakes, lizards and fish. So much to see in just one day. We did our best to cover as much territory as possible.














Aiden needed a stuffed snake



Well after our week in Elgin visiting Aiden and family we hitched up and headed to Osceola, IN.

Our daughter, Sommer, Todd, Caden and Ryleigh are there. Unfortunately we were not able to see our granddaughter, Brooklyne since she now lives with her dad in Ga. We hope to see her in a couple weeks in Branson on the family vacation. Also we missed seeing Jasmyne who moved to MI to go to school. Our family is growing up and living their lives as it's intended.

We got a site in Elkhart at the Elkhart Campground. OK park and very busy. We requested to be on the back row with open views for satellite and since our last time there, they have put down gravel on many pads instead of just having a grass site.

The family is growing up so fast and with that out growing toys. They had a basement full of toys and other home décor that was no longer being used. The neighborhood was having a garage sale so Glenda, being the organizer of the family, rolled up her sleeves and got to work. She got thing ready to put out in the sale and also things that needed to be thrown out too. It took her 2 days but it got done and we all helped to get things out into the garage and set up in time for the sale.


The sale went very well and they made enough money for some additional fun things to do on their Branson, Mo vacation soon. It . was a two day sale so after the first day Glenda stayed at our daughters home to be ready for the second day and Caden came with me to our rig overnight. We got ourselves a shake and hung out watching movies until we both started to fall asleep. The next morning we stopped at Cracker Barrel and had a French Toast breakfast. Doing my best to spend time with Caden as he grows into a young man.

Once we had the garage sale taken care of and the extras taken to Goodwill we were able to enjoy an evening with a campfire in the city(they have a fire pit) and relax.


Ryleigh had a friend come visit from TX and they went to the beach. That gave us an opportunity to go to the movies with our grandson, Caden. We all wanted to see The Mummy with Tom Cruise. We all enjoyed the movie and had our popcorn and soda.


Time really flew and we couldn't believe a week had gone by. Before we left we had a wonderful meal as a family at a local restaurant called Bonefish Grill. Everyone enjoyed their meal choice and we got some coconut cream pie to go.

Before we left we had to do the shameless selfie.



It was a fun two weeks visiting family. Each family is so unique and we share so many wonderful moments.

We're back in Bloomington/Normal but staying at the county park north of town instead of the park next to the interstate. Much quieter but we do have some issues again with gnats in the evenings. They tend to hang around the door and along the sides of the rig from early evening until the sun goes down. A small price to pay for more reasonable campground fees and quiet.

Coming up, Father's Day, more visiting with friends and Branson. Follow along if you will.




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