Friday, May 28, 2004


27 to 28 May, 2004. We spent all day driving, arriving just before dark at Johnny B's parents' house. The Des Plaines River had just crested and there was a lot of flood damage in the area but Johnny B's parents were spared of any damage. They have done a lot of work on the house recently- a new deck out back, new carpet, flower gardens, a newly sealcoated driveway, ect. I always like visiting with Chuck and Mary Jane. Johnny B's mom and dad are always very generous. Everyone has always liked Chuck and Mary Jane. Johnny B's dad also surprised us with Brown's Chicken, which Johnny B was hoping for. Maggie, Mary Jane's King Charles Cocker Spaniel still fetches the frisbee and fills the inside of it with her toys. This dog should be on America's Funniest Animals.

The next day, we got some work done, then spent the evening with Matt, Johnny B's brother, and his new wife, Mary. We stayed untill 1am, and had a blast. Matt gave us the heavy leather jacket that saved his life when he wiped out on a motorcycle many years ago, a hemp hoodie, which we use frequently, a rain jacket that we also use and a Brita pitcher that filters water which we now use every day. Rocky has started a photo study of the Brita filter (since what is deemed acceptable drinking water varies from campground to campground)- so far so good. EPA standards have lowered considerably during the current administration so there is more cause to be concerned with the water. They were all very useful and thoughtful gifts. Thanks Matt.

Matt and Mary had slipped into Vegas to get married by Elvis shortly after we left Nevada back in March.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004


26 May, 2004. There are many large flying insects here but they don't seem to interested in our blood. We're camping in the Redbud Loop and there's only one other camper in this section got the whole place to ourselves. We arrived just before dark and another round of thunderstorms. Rocky went to sleep shortly after we arrived and I decided to catch up on the blogs. The showers here are the push-button type but quite nice. Didn't do much here, just needed to rest before the drive to the Chicago area.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004


25 May, 2004. We took the ferry across from Tennessee to Cave-in-Rock, Illinois and proceeded toward Herrin. We met up with Rocky's cousin, Michelle, her best friend, Lynn (both of who I knew and liked from years past), Lynn's 2 boys and the other 2 people living in their house. We parked the bus in the back just before a severe thunderstorm, complete with hail, dangerously close lightning and very high winds.. Lynn brought us out a pot of coffee at about 6:30 am and we were able to get showers in the house. We then went and visited Rocky's brother, Jody and his wife, Becky. We all stopped at The Polar Whip (it's been there forever) for cheap soy burgers on our way to Rocky's mom's house. She lives on 80 acres with a 10-acre pasture for 4 horses. She showed us her vehicles and we showed her ours. Joe came home and the 6 of us hung out for awhile. Jody and Becky had to go because their kids were getting off school soon and we left a little while after that. We then visited Rocky's dad at the house where Rocky lived as a kid. He offered to buy us dinner but we were still full on burgers. We hung out for awhile and then he gave us some very cool Teamster shirts. We eventually had to head toward Rend Lake before it got dark and also to beat the next round of thunderstorms.

Monday, May 24, 2004


24 May, 2004. If the dam breaks, we are the first to go. The guy in the entrance both selected our site and put us right next to the showers, within watching distance of the entrance booth and away from all the other campers. I think he thought we might be trouble. But it was an arrangement we were happy with. There was even some leftover wood for me to burn. The pad we parked on was nice- large and smooth. But you had to cross through long grass to get to the bathroom- no walkway at all, just a parking lot on the opposite side that was a long walk around. We snapped a few pictures but our crappy little $20 digital camera reset itself and we lost them. We met up with Rocky's cousin, Monica, in Clarksville, Tennessee. We hung out with her in the parking lot at McDonald's for nearly an hour before moving on. It just so happened that she was taking the afternoon off from work. I'd never met her before. Rocky tried to talk her into meeting up with us in Chicago and going to Canada with us since her Canada vacation got canceled. The timing is actually feasible. She's getting married soon.

Sunday, May 23, 2004


23 May, 2004. I turned 38 today (Johnny B). When the six pack of beer came up within the groceries, the very nice woman at the register told me "Sorry suga, no beer on Sundays. This ain't South Carolina you know?" So the state of Georgia denied me beer on my birthday- oh well. Although I won't forget the Sunday liquor law, we probably won't be back in Georgia any time soon anyway. We came across whole towns throughout Georgia that seemed to be deserted- big towns. It was a first hand look at our wonderful economy. We picked a great site, right on the lake, with firewood that was left there. The crickets, locusts, birds and kids were pretty loud but the $4.99 electric fan from Big Lots also serves to provide some white noise for sleeping. The showers here are pretty good.

Saturday, May 22, 2004


22 May, 2004. Ther are many sites here and we got the last one avalable. There are large guns, armored vehicles and aircraft on display. Also, it's right on a lake. A 39 year old man drowned in the lake 2 hours before we arrived. There are lakeside sites which you can launch a boat from and many families here. There are also lots of young people. If we had more time, this place could be a lot of fun. Here we paid full price $20+.

Friday, May 21, 2004


21 May, 2004. There was a husband, wife and son running this campground. The husband squeezed between the bus and the entrance booth as the wife was checking us in. It was difficult to understand him while the wife struggled with the computer and her eyes. I thought we were foing to crush his toes as we slowly crept forward after finalizing the check-in. We met a couple of guys from a nearby town who we partied with. They rode their bicycles into town and only Kurt came back. He had been at the campground for a few weeks and was basically getting away from the two women, and their kids, in his life. The reason he rode his bike into town every day was to see a third woman. I tried to wake him up for work the next morning while his alarm was beeping away but he still hadn't gotten up by the time we left.

Thursday, May 20, 2004


19-20 May, 2004. Michael made jerked chicken on the barbeque. It was awesome. I spent more time at the beach and collected a bag of shells for my mom. I literally stumbled across one really good whelk shell that nearly cut my foot open. Rocky helped Michael with some computer stuff and we watched Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets on DVD. It was nice to see them again on our way back up Florida. We regret that Gail was too far off-course for us to re-visit as we bagun our beeline to the Chicago area.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004


16-19 May, 2004. John is also a very good friend of ours who was our business partner when we first started selling on ebay. Ed joined us early in the process and is still working with John. They sell on ebay, have a website and go to many (retail seller) shows in Las Vegas, Chicago and other cities. They visited us in Las Vegas while we were living there. It was nice to sit on John's couch all day, in the air conditioning, for "Stargate Monday" on the Sci-Fi Channel and eat real food. John and Ed are great friends and would sell the shirts off their back for us. John is also a great bartender- well known and well liked in the Fort Lauderdale area. We have many great friends in Florida. We may go out to dinner tonight. We're planning on heading north tomorrow, towards my sister's house in Wisconsin for her graduation party on the 29th, and visiting the rest of my family in the Chicago area as well as Rocky's family in Southern Illinois. We're looking forward to visting Michael, Natalie, Roxanne and Gail on our way north, as well as camping in some more State Parks we haven't visited yet.

(Next Day) We ate at home and had parmesan chicken, fresh butter-garlic spinach, stuffing and garlic bread. We were perectly happy to watch TV all day and stay at home instead of going out. Rocky and I used to live here. I stayed in the bus most of the afternoon working and we talked a little politics with John's computer guy. We even went to the DMV to get my driver's license renewed but the line was simply too long so we turned around and left.

RL.. So I got this Nokia phone at Johns. I called verizon, they were a no-go on the model. I called Cingular, they said I would have to come into one of there stores. I called AT&T, they turned me on for $25 with $.25 a min. So now we have two phones and two cell providers...p>

Saturday, May 15, 2004


11-15 May, 2004. Rocky has known Michael and Natalie since he grew up in Southern Illinois. Roxanne is their daughter, who is now 12 years old. They've become very good friends of mine over the years. Shortly after we first moved to Florida (arriving on Christmas Morning, 1997), Michael donated 3 trucks for the Florida Red Ribbon (bicycle) Ride to support HIV / AIDS research. Rocky, Michael and I also donated 3 days of our time to drive the trucks. Also, when Rocky and I moved to Northern California, Michael, Natalie and Roxanne moved to Southern Oregon, just a short drive away. Rocky and I saw a UFO one evening during the drive to visit them in Medford, Oregon. They are now managing the White Caps Motel / Apartment complex on Fort Pierce Beach. There's a bar / restaurant right next door called Archies. We had fresh fish there one day and awesome barbeque ribs (cooked by Pete, one of the tenants at White Caps) another day. I spent every evening at the beach. I love the beach! We had a great time with them and hope to stop back by on our way out of Florida.

Monday, May 10, 2004


8-10 May, 2004. We've known Gail since 1998, when we first moved from Denver, Colorado to Tampa, Florida. We arrived at noon and Gail handed me a beer right away. She has many great neighbors who we hung out with until about 1 a.m. that night. Our friends, Bob and Rich (who we also met in 1998) came over for a dinner party the next day and we had a great time talking about old times (relatively speaking). Gail's a great cook and we ate like kings for 2 days. Gail also lived with us in Fortuna and Crescent City, California. We're going to try our best to stop back by on our way back up Florida, after visiting with our friends in Fort Pierce and Fort Lauderdale. It's nice to have good friends to visit when you're traveling across the country.

Friday, May 07, 2004


7 May, 2004. We had to fight to get half price here too but they were much nicer. Deer and armadillo came right into the campsite- apparently, they get fed by the campers here. There were also very bold racoons. This place was like returning to the south (very heavy accents). The manatees come here in the winter and there is a crystal clear spring which we didn't visit. The showers were pretty good. No Verizon signal. This was another in-and-out campground, we're trying to make miles this week.

Thursday, May 06, 2004



6 May, 2004. We had to fight to get half price here too. These people act like they've never seen a Golden Access Pass. They were very disorganized and borderlined on rude. Apparently, this place has one of the best beaches in Florida but we were unimpressed. However, the bathroom here was one of the nicest and most modern. You could actually get dressed after a shower with very little acrobatics. Many showers we've encountered don't seem to accommodate actually getting dressed afterwards. There was a group of guys training for scuba diving who overran the bathroom at night and the next norning. They were going fresh wather diving the day we left and many of them were very nervous about it. We didn't spend much time here either.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004


5 May, 2004. We traveled through Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to get to Florida in one day.


The beach here is awesome. The campground is strewn with trash. The bathrooms have showers but they're in pretty poor shape. We also had to fight to get half price, even with our Golden Access Pass and Florida drivers license's. Fort Pickens is here.

This is a fortress, begun in 1834 and built upon all the way through WWII. It is pretty impressive, with cannons positioned all around it. Troops trained here for all those years, awaiting attacks that never came. In other words, its historical significance is that nothing happened here. We didn't spend much time here because we're on a mission to get to Ft. Pierce, FL to resupply our CD mailers, sleeves and ink.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004


3 to 4 May, 2004. We went back to Tracy and Clarice's house (the VW Van collectors) after leaving St. Bernard. We plugged in and slept in their driveway 2 more nights. We had 4 pounds of boiled and fried shrimp ($3.99 / lb.) for lunch. We built a bonfire in their backyard fire pit to celebrate Beltane (a May Day, full moon. fertility celebration). We also watched "Pirates of the Caribbean" on DVD. it was nice to sit in a living room and watch a movie. We've decided to head into Florida after we leave here (to visit our friend Gail in ZephyrHills, Michael, Natalie and Roxanne in Ft. Pierce and John in Ft. Lauderdale) and then head into Wisconsin by May 29 for my sister's graduation party. My whole family is apparently going to be there. I'll finally have a chance to distribute the "Burhop Family Photo CD" which I worked on for 3 months. I scanned in 1,050 family photos and slides from October through January.

Sunday, May 02, 2004


Kool Boat we saw between Slidell and St. Bernard


27 April to 2 May, 2004. There are 12 foot alligators here! There are alligators at all the state parks in Louisiana but I hadn't seen any until today. Rocky saw a few the other day as we were driving. It blows my mind how close they are to the campsites. Melvin, who runs the maintenance crew gave me the grand tour.

I saw an 8 foot alligator but he assured me that there were 12 foot alligators here too. I got video of it coming across the water towards us but no still-shots to post (still working on that). We also found some perfectly ripe blackberries. My fingernail finally fell off today- I smashed it in the restroom door at Bog Springs around March 21. Jazzfest is going on in downtown New Orleans and many of the campers are here for just that. We're thinking real hard about heading into New Orleans for the fest on Saturday to see Santana but money and weather are major factors. I had a few beers around the bonfire with James (who races a VW beetle- apparently one of the fastest street-legal beetles in the U.S.), Todd, Dave (all 3 from Huntsville, Alabama), Manny, Lisa and "Mirror" and "Shilo" (Mirror and Shilo are modern day hippies).


Mirror cuts coins into medallions and is extremely good at it, getting $45 for a silver dollar medallion.

Didn't make it to Jazz Fest. It poured rain on Saturday night. We had a bonfire until dawn at our site with James, Todd, Dave and Patrick (who is traveling on his Harley Davidson with his dog).

Patrick's dog has luxury accommodations in a sidecar-like trailer that hooks onto the Harley. Patrick also had a laptop with wireless internet. We copied some of Todd's CD's and made some copies of our CD's for Todd the next day. I thought the dragonflies were cool at St. Bernard. We also met Mary and her mother, Maria, wno were some fast-talking local women. mary offered to bring us a goose egg if we were still around the next day but we had checked out before she could bring it. The power was turned off just after we left St. Bernard to update the electric there and add more electric sites. The showers were adequate there but the pay phone had been removed by Bell South. Bell South is removing pay phone service from many of the Louisiana campgrounds, claiming that they're not profitable enough. We had lots of fun there.