Sunday, April 8, 2007

Easter at Eastern (Illinois University!)

This is one of those weekends that turned out nothing like anticipated but even better!

I really wanted the whole family together for Easter weekend and Trev was not going to be able to get away from Eastern Illinois University because they are in the middle of spring practice sessions. That meant for us to be together we all needed to all meet in Charleston, IL.

As it turns out, Friday afternoon, when we were only ½ hour away from Charleston, Trev called to tell us that the coaches had decided to cancel practices for the remainder of the holiday weekend so the boys could come home. Kyle was also about halfway to Charleston from DeKalb by this time.

Ken and I were slow going as, ONCE AGAIN, we were driving in 35mph wind gusts, making the 3 hour trip by car about a 4 hour trip in the coach. I guess, I never realized we had so much wind in this area in April since Ken has now had 3 of his first 4 RV drives with this kind of fun.

Although all Trev’s football friends we’d hoped to meet were now on their way out of Charleston, we decided to go ahead and make a weekend of it in ‘Chucktown’.

The father of one of the players owns 5 acres outside town with a house he rents to football players so we were told we were welcome to park there. Ken didn’t want to impose too much so we didn’t hook up electricity though that was offered as well.

We were only 5 minutes away from the center of campus so after dropping the jeep we road with Trev back in to town to do a little shopping for some EIU-wear.

Ken got a picture of me here in HIS new EIU hoodie. I couldn’t wear the one I bought for myself since it was identical to the one Trevor had on and no guy wants to be seen dress like his Mom! I don’t have to worry about any of the guys taking off with my new pink EIU hat for sure.

We hooked up with Kyle when he reached Charleston and headed to see Trev’s house that he shares with 3 other football players.

Similar to the one he painted at Bowling Green, Trev now has painted the house ‘beer pong’ table with the Panther mascot at center. If you’ve never played ‘beer pong’ well it’s a college party thing…you can probably figure out the rest.

Note the 'Frerx' license plate above the bed!

Compared to the ‘public areas’ of the house, Trev’s room was in fairly respectable order.

Kyle immediately found one of Trev’s toys in his bedroom, a gun that shoots some little rubber pellets that sting like crazy! --- of course, Mom said they had to put it away before they put somebody’s eye out!.

We decided to eat at that Panther Paw, a popular local bar and grill, and then headed back to the RV with the boys making a beer stop on the way. James, the last of the guys from the house where we were boondocking came down to share a few beers. The guys decided to head up to the house to play pool and I hit the sack.

Apparently a recruit out of U of Wisconsin came down to EIU this weekend. Even though he’d been told it was a really bad weekend for a visit, it was apparently the only opening he could find. He and the host player and a few other guys showed up at about midnight so our guys hung out with them for a bit before coming back to the coach to hit the sack.

Saturday started early with some excitement about 3:45a.m. when the carbon monoxide detector went off. Of course I panicked and started opening windows everywhere assuming we had messed up somehow with the furnace in this extreme cold (20 degrees) while Ken more methodically checked things out. What had happened was that we had been running the lights, TV, furnace blower, etc., all afternoon and evening on battery/inverter and the carbon monoxide detector was actually complaining about low voltage. Ken popped on the generator and all was well.

I got up at 6:15am. After two weeks with only Ken and I, the inconvenience of having the sleeper sofa out in middle of the room got frustrating quickly. While Kyle tried to sleep, I kept walking back and forth on his bed. I figured the generator had enough time to do its charging act so turned it back off and, rather than wake the crew with my jostling about, headed outside with the two dogs since, they too, were finding ways to making sleeping difficult for the guys now that it was daylight and time to play.

Ditka, Sox and I walked to the back of the property where there is a creek and the dogs were having a hey-day trying to root what I hope were field mice or moles out of their nests.

Then we walked the road in front of the house up to the Charleston country club and back. This is really a perfect place to setup when coming to visit Trevor. Very close to campus, but plenty of room to wander.

In fact there is a place behind where we parked where the players have a fire ring so I’m sure on autumn evenings after games this place draws a few victory celebrations!

Drew has indicated there’s no problem with us parking here but we’ll want to try to talk to his Dad before we come up again.

After coming back into the coach out of the cold, Ditka decided Ken still had the best idea and took my place cuddled up in bed next to him.

We decided to spend the night tonight at Lake Shelbyville since Trevor now has no reason he has to stay close to campus. We decided to feed the crew and head out.

Here’s Trev waiting for us to get the food on the table. As you can see, it’s a bit of a tight squeeze with these guys for four of us to sit at the table.

Ken made the guys a really nice breakfast of sausage, fried potatoes, eggs, toast and juice.

We selected the Lithia Springs campground and were put in a very comfortable full hookup site. 9 of the 11 full hookup sites were taken, which was surprising on such a cold and blustery weekend.

It turned out to be a really nice weekend for just the four of us. We watched some of the Master’s golf tournament, the guys took the dogs on a hike along the lake, we watched a Will Ferrel DVD, ‘Stranger than Fiction’ and then did dinner. We did a retry of the first meal we did on our maiden voyage…wild sockeye salmon, alfredo noodles and fresh asparagus, and a nice bottle of wine I’d received for my birthday. Ken did great with the grill this time and the salmon with his sauce of olive oil, Italian seasonings, and crushed red pepper was awesome.

For those who heard we were having problems getting the grill attached to the coach LP gas, here’s a picture of what Ken ended up doing. It was originally set up with the ‘T’ in front of the regulator to make it a high pressure line to the grill. As it turns out this is the way you should set up if you are going to be attaching to a grill that uses the little Coleman propane bottles. After consulting the grill manufacturer, Ken was told that the grill operates on 1lb of pressure or less so he put the ‘T’, the shutoff valve and the quick-couple after the regulator, all designed for use specifically with LP, of course. Of course, as Ken did, it’s very important when messing with this stuff that you talked to the experts before messing with LP gas connections.

After dinner and dishes…(by the way, I LOVE my really slick little fold up dish strainer) we played euchre. I can’t tell you how long it’s been since the four of us were able to sit down and play games like this. It was wonderful, especially since Kyle and I tromped Ken and Trev!

Since I’m the early to rise, I was the first to poop out. It is nice to have multiple slides to section of the bedroom and bath areas so the guys could stay up, watch more movies, snack and get set for bed with me sound too sleep already.

Easter morning, I hit the trail again with the dogs. Lithia Springs is a Corp of Engineers campsite and has really great facilities.

Although they have only 11 full hookup sites, they have lots of really great electric sites. Ken and I really liked #6 which was a pull-thru across from the showers and only a short walk to the beach. It would also have room for a couple of tents if some of the football players wanted to come over and join us for the weekend.

With the temperature barely breaking the freezing mark is was very quiet on the lake and, of course, the beach.

This time when the dogs got back in side from our walk, Sox decided to join Trevor. I was pleasantly surprised that Trevor’s full 6’2” was able to sleep on the made-out dinette. Kyle once again kept to the sleeper sofa.

Even though we had full hookups the showerhouse was nearby and very comfortable so the guys headed over there so they didn’t have to line up for showers in the RV. That also gave me a chance to take a really long, hot shower while they were away.

Ken did a really great Easter breakfast for everyone again.

Then we packed up Kyle so he could get back on the road to Dekalb.

We drove Trevor back in to Charleston, folded his laundry, and then about 1:30pm we went to Roc’s Black Front restaurant. Other guys on the team had suggested this for us for Easter. They has a buffet that could satisfy even Trev’s appetite. (Although this weekend has been a disaster for my diet!!).

We dropped Trev back at his house and headed back to Lithia Springs.

A historic marker caught my eye in Gay, Illinois, and we went by to check it out. The tourist attraction in Gay is this 2-story outhouse, built in 1872. It really was a working outhouse at one time for a 2-story building with the tenants on the second floor stepping out on a back staircase to use the upper floor.

Ken and I went back to the campsite to pack up. We are getting better at this. We didn’t get back to the campsite until 3:15 and were pulling out by 4:15. The systems analyst in me, however, is looking for ways for some process improvements here and I’m sure I can cut our time in half in no time if we get more consistent on splitting our duties. Right now Ken wants me following him around doing everything so I’m able to handle it on my own if needed. Good idea but I get real antsy following someone around watching them do stuff or having him follow behind me second checking everything I do.

We decided to do 2-lanes back as far as Jacksonville which was actually quite pleasant, especially since there was VERY LITTLE WIND!!! Hurray!!

Well it’s time to shutdown our ‘adventures’ for this weekend.

We’re already setting our course for the next adventure so come back soon!

Hugs, C

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