Thursday, September 29, 2011

Crowley’s Ridge State Park, Paragould, AR



We did another 177 miles of driving today through the very flat boot heel of Missouri into northeast Arkansas, landing at Crowley’s Ridge State Park. We are the only ones here besides the camp hosts. There was one pull through site which we took so we wouldn’t have to unhook the car. In order to pull in the proper way for the hookups we had to go to the end of the loop and turn around. Too bad the turn was too small to make it with the car attached so we had to unhook anyway. Oh well.

We paid $19.62 for the night but at least there is electric and water at the sites. We finally got to rinse off the mud we got all over the car and rig during our off road adventure in Illinois the other day. Tomorrow we plan to get to Mountain View for the Lazy Daze get together. It doesn’t officially start until Sunday but we just want to get there and stay put for a week.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ferne Clyffe State Park, Goreville, IL



Another 150 mile drive, and the GPS behaved today. We finally found a little sunshine and are parked at another Illinois state park, Ferne Clyffe, near Goreville, IL. It’s a pleasant campground with lots of trees but the sites are more open, which we like. $20 a night for electric.

There are many miles of hiking trails, so we took the loop around the lake, and the Bluffs Trail on the ridge.


Lots of cypress knees along the lakeshore.


A cave,


ferns and moss on the rocks,


and an abrupt end to the Bluffs trail, due to us going the wrong way.


It’s a very pretty park and a nice place to spend the night.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fox Ridge State Park, Charleston, IL



Drove 150 miles today to Fox Ridge State Park, just south of Charleston, IL. Found cheap ($3.28/gallon) gas before we got out of Indianapolis.

The drive was going fine until Daniel (our GPS guy) took us off I-70 with about 30 miles to go to the park. We ended up on county roads that got more and more narrow, and finally about 7 miles from the campground the road turned to gravel, then dirt. As we approached a dry, rocky stream bed, we decided it was time to unhook the car and attempt to turn around. Fortunately there was a spot to turn just before we unhooked so Jim didn’t have to back up for miles on the road. It is nice to have a GPS to rely on, but sometimes I think we need to go back to maps.

The sites here at Fox Ridge are very private and wooded, with electric but no water at the sites, for $20 a night. After we got settled we went for a hike on a couple of the trails. Lots of trees, and lots of stairs, and this was our view from the Eagle’s Nest lookout.


Nothing but more trees.


But it was a good workout. This is our third day of no sun, and we are about at our limit for gray skies. Hope we drive into some sunshine tomorrow.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Busy in Indianapolis



The main reason we are in Indianapolis was for Jim to see an ophthalmologist for a six month check up after his cataract surgery. Since he has Fuch’s corneal dystrophy, an eye disease he inherited from his mother, there is a chance that someday it may progress to the point of needing corneal transplants. One of the top corneal specialists in the country is Dr. Frances Price, right here in Indianapolis. Jim decided he wanted to see him to become established as a patient in the event that he needs the surgery one day.

After numerous tests, Dr. Price discussed some issues Jim was having, told him he would be a candidate for the newer, less invasive transplant procedure, and said he would like to see him again in a year. At least he didn’t think he was in need of surgery any time soon. He also asked Jim if he would mind being part of a study he was doing, so after signing some paperwork, they did more tests, and said they would send Jim a check for $20 for his participation. Good deal!

The doctor’s office was just a few miles from our friend Doug’s art studio/apartment, so we stopped by to see him. He lives in an interesting old building which was a former sex club. It works well for him since he has about 5000 square feet, plenty of room to work and store his art. His neighborhood is within walking distance of a bunch of restaurants and shops, so we took a walk and had dinner at Moe and Johnny’s. Good food, good beer, and good company. We have really enjoyed reconnecting with old friends the past couple of months.

Tomorrow we’re heading to Illinois on our way to Arkansas.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Riverbend Campground, Noblesville, IN



After a late start yesterday waiting on the rain to stop, we finally gave up, unhooked, dumped in the drizzle, and drove 180 miles to Riverbend Campground in Noblesville, IN. It’s sort of a strange campground on the bend of the White River, with a lot of seasonal rentals, but we got a nice water and electric site next to a soybean field for $22 a night, the best I could find near Indianapolis.

Our view.


The few riverfront sites available were sandwiched in between other RVs, which wasn’t very appealing, but the river is pretty.


Today between rain showers we walked a few miles on the White River Greenway Trail, part of a 9 mile paved trail starting at Potter’s Bridge, a covered bridge built in 1871 and restored in 1937 and 1999.


Some of the fall color looking through one of the windows in the bridge.


Later this afternoon we took a drive to Carmel, a suburb of Indianapolis just north of town. Our friend Doug, (ex-husband of Ellen, whom we visited in Bloomington last month), is an artist and had an exhibit at the Carmel International Arts Festival this weekend.


We had not seen Doug since he started his new career many years ago and were impressed with his work. He was pleased at the number of sales he made on the first day of the Festival.



Much of his artwork is painted on mortar over wood, so can be displayed outdoors.




We really liked these 3D works that were actually burned. They look much better than the photos.




On the way home tonight we stopped at Trader Joe’s. I always buy too much but it could be a long time before we see another one.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Kokosing Gap Trail, Mt. Vernon, OH



Yesterday was a better day, no rain, no tooth problems, so we took a 30 mile drive to Mt. Vernon and the the start of the Kokosing Gap Trail. This is a 13.5 mile paved Rails-to-Trails that ends in Danville.

The trail  follows the Kokosing River most of the way and there are several railroad trestles with great views of the river. It is mostly wooded with a few areas of corn fields and farms. Very rural and not many people on a weekday.

Kokosing Gap trail, Mt. Vernon, OH


If you make it all the way to Danville and continue on a couple blocks into town, there is a soft serve ice cream shop, which of course we had to try. It was an enjoyable 27 mile ride. Then we met Kim at Mellow Mushroom last night for pizza and a couple beers. I’m sure we more than wiped out all those calories we burned on the ride.

We had a nice surprise yesterday when we got an email from Mastercard telling us they are sending a check for $185 for our broken camera. It was out of the one year Panasonic warranty, but since we purchased it with our Mastercard, which extends the warranty another year, it was still covered. Jim spent a good bit of time on the phone trying to get the claim filed, but it was worth it in the end. Now we just have to make a decision on a camera.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Another Town, Another Dentist



It was a rainy day and we had nothing better to do, so Jim decided to break off a portion of a crown while brushing his teeth this morning. It wouldn’t have been so bad, but this is one he had replaced in Palm Desert, CA last November.

He found a dentist about 15 miles from the state park who was able to get him in at noon. He repaired the crown temporarily to the tune of almost $300, but said he needs to have it replaced soon. Jim called and got an appointment to see our old dentist in Pensacola when we are there in October to get a new one made, which will probably be close to another thousand bucks. I was really hoping we were going to get through 2011 without any more big dental bills, but that was wishful thinking.

While Jim was on the phone this morning we got a message from Kelly, our former next door neighbor in Pensacola who is a pilot for Southwest. He had a layover in Columbus until three today and saw that we were in the neighborhood. Too bad it didn’t work out to meet him for lunch since it is his birthday today.

Since the day was already ruined, after we left the dentist Jim decided he would get a shingles vaccination and we would both get flu shots at a nearby Walgreens. It was all free since we’ve met our out of pocket for the year, and Walgreen’s automatically files the insurance.Told you we shouldn’t have seen Contagion!

We ended up not eating lunch until 3:30, so we are saving pizza for tomorrow night. The weather is supposed to be better and we plan to go for a bike ride, barring any unforeseen dental emergencies.

Alum Creek State Park, Delaware, OH



We drove 220 miles yesterday to Alum Creek State Park, just north of Columbus, OH. The new tires seem fine although they sound different than the Michelins.

This is a huge campground, close to 300 sites, but there are very few people here. It took us an hour last night to walk all the loops in our section. Luckily they take Passport America Sunday-Wednesday, so we are paying $14 a night for 2 nights, and the full $28 for Thursday. Electric at all the sites but we had to fill our water tank at the dump station. There is a big lake here, but very few sites have any view. Too many trees!

Our friends Dave and Kim, whom we stayed with on Middle Bass Island, actually live just 9 miles from here, so we will be visiting with Kim, as Dave is working in Denver this week. She called last night to tell us there was a Mellow Mushroom Pizza, our favorite, near their house. Guess where we’ll be eating tonight!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Still in Erie



We’ve had a great almost three weeks here, but tomorrow we’re moving on. It’s been fun visiting with family and friends, and fortunately we’ve had more good weather days than bad.

We even went to see Conatagion the other day, the first time we’ve been to a movie theater in years. It’s a good story, but made us want to run out and get a flu shot when it was over.

We did more walking and biking at Presque Isle State Park. Just a few more pictures.

One of three lighthouses.


Marshy wetlands area.


And a turtle Jim rescued form the road.


Joann took us to Woodcock Creek Lake, about 30 miles south of Erie, for a nice five plus mile hike over the dam and around the lake. We forgot the camera that day. Guess we don’t need to buy another as we forget to bring the one we have half the time.

We visited Aunt Kay a few times. I did remember the camera yesterday.


My brother told me there was a photograph of our parents at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center at Presque Isle, which is the state park visitor center. Don’t remember Dad ever mentioning it, so we went to check it out. Had I not known their picture was there I probably wouldn’t have known it was them, especially since the kids are not theirs! It took me awhile to recognize my three cousins. We’re guessing this was taken before my brother and I were born.

Diana, Barbara, Mom, Cyrene, and Dad.

P1050641 - Copy 

And for a really eye opening before and after, here is a recent shot of my three cousins from the above photo.. Barbara and Cyrene on the left and Diana on the right.


I found out Dad’s headstone had been stored at the cemetery for the past three and a half years, since my brother didn’t pay the money to have it placed. So I took them a check for $85 and two days later it was in the ground. Better late than never, I guess.


Tomorrow we’ll be trying out our new tires across Ohio, working our way to Arkansas for the Lazy Daze Regional Adventure the first week in October.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Pleasant Surprise and More Presque Isle Pics



When Jim was researching tire prices last week, one of the places told him to call Michelin and see if they would do anything on the price even though the tires were out of warranty. He called and they opened a file and told him to have the tire place call them once they got the tires off and inspected the sidewall cracking. Apparently the tires looked really bad, or the sales manager did a good job with his description, but they ended up giving us a 50% discount on the new tires. Since Michelin owns Uniroyal, we opted for the less expensive Uniroyal tires, and ended up only paying $600 out the door for six new RV tires. The sales manager said he was surprised since normally they will give a 15-30% discount at most. That definitely made our day!

We’re having such a nice time in Erie we’ve decided to stay another week. The past two days have been sunny and warm, and we did another bike ride and several walks around Presque Isle peninsula.

This week at Sara’s Campground we’ve had an old Winnebago with a new paint job,


an old Superior,


and a truck covered with bottle caps, which appears to be a work in progress.


Yesterday on our bike ride we passed the Lady Kate, a Lake Erie tour boat.


We were pestered by seagulls that wanted our Power Bars.



And rode past the houseboats on Horseshoe Pond. The state leases 24 spots, and they rarely come up for sale as most houseboats stay in the same family for years.


Some are very small,


and others look more like a real house. As a kid, I always wished we had one.



By the end of the week the highs are only supposed to be in the 50’s. All the Monarch butterflies we’ve been seeing may decide it’s time to start heading south for the winter, as we will.