Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thanksgiving, Giant City State Park, and Football Playoff Game

Kyle got home Wednesday afternoon, and after doing some laundry he helped me load the RV for our trip to southern Illinois. Since Trevor is busy with football and won't be home for Thanksgiving, we decided to leave early on Thanksgiving day so we would have time to explore the area before the football game.

The football team will practice this week to prepare for their game against the Southern Illinois Salukis. They will celebrate Thanksgiving as a group with a meal on Thursday, then on Friday they will have breakfast before leaving for Carbondale. This marks the third straight season that Eastern Illinois has made the playoffs and sixth time in the last eight seasons. EIU completed the season with a series of wins to compile a record of 8 and 3. SIU completed their regular season with a record of 10 and 1, losing only to the number one rated team in the D1 championship division.

We hit the road around 9AM driving past snow dusted fields on our way towards St Louis. Our plan was to get through St. Louis before stopping at a Cracker Barrel for their Thanksgiving turkey feast.

This plan worked to perfection. Even though there was more traffic on the road than we expected we made good time and enjoyed a great meal. After driving another two hours we arrived at Giant City State Park with enough time to get set up before dark.

It was a long day for me so after fixing dinner of salmon croquettes and shells and cheese, I went to bed early while Kyle and Cindy watched a movie.

The dogs and Cindy were early to rise and open the shades to let in some sunshine to evaporate the morning dew.

Cindy had time to enjoy coffee and some reading in her book on the Tao Te Ching while Sox settled back in on her lap and Ditka kept guard.

Soon, the dogs were anxious to be outside.

They enjoyed a short walk with Mom and then stayed outside for awhile where they rooted through the scattered sprinklings of snow frosting the leaf covered campsite.

Sox was in a frisky mood and in no time had succeed in getting herself stuck inside the firepit.

Giant City State Park is located in the middle of the Shawnee National Forrest in the southern most part of Illinois.

They have several short trails to the unique rock formations that give the park its name.

Also within the park is a 'mystery' stone wall that is determined to be from approximately 400-600AD.

After walking some trails and visiting the park's visitors center we went back to the RV for lunch and a little rest.

Around 3PM we began the Illinois Wine Trail. The wineries in the area are linked together forming a trail that wine tasters can follow to visit eight different wineries.

We like wine and I know what your thinking, "Eight wineries tasting several wines at the first one, then driving to the next tasting more wine, etc." well ... yes that is the idea!!

We did enjoy ourselves and bought three bottles of wine, two good ones and one that was just different. Maybe we had too much wine when we bought that last one! We only made three of the wineries on the trail and found one that was not listed as part of the trail before they started to close.

While we did not see any pink elephants, we did see buffalo roaming in a field near one of the wineries.

Saturday: Game Day!

I like to get to the games early so that we have plenty of time to park, see the sights, get tickets and soak in the atmosphere. At todays game we joined the other EIU fans at the EIU Alumni Tailgate. We had pulled pork sandwiches with chicken and several sides. Excellent food!! Beer was included but we passed on it perferring Jim Larsons Captain and coke. I don't know what his mix ratio is but he makes the best pregame captian and coke I have ever tasted. Some day I will have two.

To the game. We had nice seats surrounded by good people, most of them EIU parents. During the game Kyle and Cindy stayed put while I moved around talking to many of the other parents. It was a shame that with such a good start to the day that the boys didn't do better on the field. SIU had the better team and won 30 to 11. We played OK but could have done better. We fumbled on our first possesion and never quite got it going. We seemed relunctant to run up the middle which is what we did very well all year and we continued to throw the ball three yards when we needed seven. It was really hard for the seniors after the game but they need to remember that only the top 16 teams out of 145 make the play offs.

After meeting with Trevor and some of the other players after the game we headed back to the RV to take Sox and Ditka on a short walk before we went to dinner at the Giant City Lodge.

The Lodge is known for its good food and people from all around the area drive there for dinner. Besides the good food it has a unique atmosphere as it was built of logs during the depression by CCP. We made sure to try more local wines and the locally grown buffalo!

Since Kyle had to be back to Quincy to catch his ride by early afternoon, we were at the dump station at 6am as soon as official quiet time was over in the park. Cindy fixed sandwiches and snacks along the routes so our stops were only for gas and a short 'bio break' for me. We were back to Quincy shortly after noon, and Kyle as headed back to Dekalb shortly after that.

So with that we end our football season, and our first full RVing season. I take Baby to down to Howard's RV for some of the minor list items and for winterizing so that we'll be tucking her in after that for a long winter's sleep.

Thanks for sharing with us our inaugural Frerx Adventures season!!


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