Thursday, July 15, 2004
9 to 15 July, 2004. We drove over 300 miles to get here. We were originally planning to spend the night somewhere between Whitetail Ridge and Gail's house. It was already dark when we arrived and we were glad that Gail was home when we got here. The kitty that was only a few weeks old when we arrived the first time (on 8 May, 2004), was a little older but still as frisky as ever. Gail jad just gotten two hamsters that love to roll around the house in their little plastic balls. Rocky redesigned their little plastic home and they seemed to love it. Sasha, our friend Bob's dog, was staying the night and was very happy to see us again. Our timing was perfect because Gail was having her annual "Christmas in July" party the day after we arrived. It was lots of fun, with a "white elephant" gift exchange and another pool party next door. We spent a night at Bob's house, about 25 miles away, after skinny dipping in the pool all day. We're planning on grilling steaks and spending the night of July 14 at Bob's again. This will be our last stop before traveling back to Michael, Natalie and Roxanne's home in Fort Pierce, where we will be staying in one of the apartments that Michael is managing there. We don't know how long we'll be staying there. The apartments are weekly rentals and we simply need to stop and take a break from the road, and the bugs. We've also got a pallet of stuff at Michael's sister's warehouse in Fort Lauderdale, that we can get out of storage, including our convection-microwave oven that cooks a frozen turkey to perfection with one button. Rocky found a wireless network on ebay that we can use to share Michael's high speed internet access. We'll also have cable, maybe even satellite TV there. We are really starting to miss TV. The time has come for us to get serious about finding a sailboat.
Thursday, July 08, 2004
8 July, 2004. This is another Army Corps of Engineers campground. We got a full Verizon internet signal here- IT'S ABOUT TIME! Our campsite was right on the lake and you could see the tower across the water. At first, we went to another Army Corps of Engineers campground, Horace King Park, a few miles down the road but it was privately run and the woman there was downright rude and they didn't accept the Golden Access Pass for half price. We have never been to a privately run campground (except The Pit) that we liked. We ran the air conditioner here and stayed comfortable most of the night. We didn't unpack the back and both slept up in the pop-top (penthouse) again since we were basically making a straight run for Florida. We didn't do much here and didn't get out until about noon the following morning.
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
7 July, 2004. We were planning on going farther today, but I just got tired of driving. We need new seats for the bus! We did pick up the flooring for the van and put it in when we arrived. I love the new look, and it will be much more sanitary. This place is nice though. We pulled in and set up when I saw a sign for the restaurant. It was buffet for $7.95, so why not. The food was pretty good, and the service was great. The park is set in the rolling hills of the Nashville basin along the Duck River in mid-Tennessee. There is a golf course, a hotel, restaurant, an Olympic swimming pool, a skeet range and lots of trails. Without knowing what we were going to pay, we were happy to discover that Tennessee accepts the National Parks Golden Access, and Age Passes. The regular fee for camping with electric is $17.00 and we got half price, hooray!
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
6 July, 2004. This is another Army Corps of Engineers campground. Unlike any of the others that we have stayed in, this one has people violating just about every rule in the book. There are kids on mopeds, without the mufflers. People driving 45 mph through the place, and noone around to take payment! With all this in mind, the place is nice. The lake is filled with boaters, jet skiers, and people fishing. Our camping neighbors were very pleasant, their thick Kentuky accents were just a hoot! The foot still is swollen, but getting better. Thunderstorms raged throughout the night and we got a little wet, but all in all it was OK. I could no longer stand the nasty carpet in the bus, so I tore it out. We saw some cool flooring at Freds that I want to pick up and soon! No internet signal.
Monday, July 05, 2004
5 July, 2004. Yes, we returned to Giant City. What can we say, it was on the way. We stopped at my brother's and picked up the new Sierra Wireless Aircard 555 that I bought on ebay for $80 and had shipped there, then to Carbondale to return the one I purchased for $430.00. Still looking for the adapter for the Wilson antenna though. We got there and plugged in the AC right away. My foot still is swollen, but after a few pain killers, I was feeling no pain!
Sunday, July 04, 2004
2 to 4 July, 2004. This is quite possibly the funnest place on earth. It is a clothing-optional gay campground with a very clean lake that used to be a strip mine pit (hence the name). The water gets 100 feet deep at the bend. Hal and Billy, the owners, are good friends of ours and some of the greatest guys in the world. I used to come here when I was at SIU from 1991-1995. It was incredible how many familiar faces were here- people that I knew when I lived in the area 9 to 14 years ago. We camped here the entire 4th of July weekend for $5 each. Hal and Billy are not in it for the money, they're in it for the fun and they do a fantastic job! There's a very nice pavillion near the water and they have a very nice house here. When the guys next to us were discussing where to hang the disco ball, I thought they were joking. They weren't. They even had a karaoke machine with them. I was so happy to have a place to swim and fun people to party with. We sang songs to guitars and bongos, cooked and grilled decadent amounts of food and consumed obscene quantities of our favorite beverages. It got pretty wild at times. The women usually won the volleyball games. These are some of the most helpful, generous, considerate and all-around cool people you're ever likely to meet. We even had a delegate of The Democratic National Committee here and she's sharp as a tack. Thanks to "Peanut" and "John Boy" for a very cool fireworks display on Sunday night. There is no place I'd rather be on the 4th of July, 2004 than right here with these people. True high quality human beings who know how to party hard. We had an absolute blast! Not only did we have fun, but we were able to connect! All this and internet access too! I did get bit by a horse fly on my heel, wich swelled my foot up like a balloon.
Thursday, July 01, 2004
30 June to 1 July, 2004. We parked in the back driveway again (see 25 May, 2004) with electricity from the house. Lynn had surgery a few dyas earlier and was home now. She couldn't move around too much but the 4 of us went to St. Louis in Cousin Kathys van, had some fast food and then went to see Fahrenheit 9/11. I am Very Excited about this movie. Every person in America should see it. It was pretty funny that the movie ended with one of Rocky and I's favorite Bush boggles- the one where G.W. doesn't know the saying "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me." It was great that Michelle had some time to spend with us since she gets up before dawn every day for work, takes care of her mother and is now taking care of Lynn in a house that sees dozens of people come and go every day. Lynn's 2 sons are 18 and 21 so that should explain all the house traffic. We had a great visit.