Monday, November 2, 2009

2009 10 31 Murray State Game

We took a chance on a commercial RV park, Holly Green, that previously had no RVparkreviews but did have a 3-W ranking for facilities in Woodall’s. While that ranking we read as ‘ok’, but not great, for the $15 a night and blocks from the Murray State campus it was worth a shot.

Holly Green RV Park

While this park definitely did not not have ‘it’ factor, especially considering the number of older RV’s sitting about that no longer looked road-worthy, it definitely served the purpose of a low-cost site near our primary desitination of the Murray State Football stadium.
Also considering that we dealt with a consistent deluge of rain from our arrival Thursday afternoon until Saturday morning, I’m glad we didn’t pay more money to stay in a nice campground and then not be able to enjoy it.

Although we didn’t officially have internet, we were also able to access an unsecured wireless with a low signal which was enough for us to do emails, instant message and some general web surfing while confined indoors. I have learned though that unless I’m getting 4-5 bars on the wireless connection I can forget about trying to upload pictures to these posts.

I have to give Ken a ‘loving husband’ attaboy for these rain-soaked days since he volunteered to don his heavy duty rain gear and do the dog walking duties for 2 days straight while I remained inside nice and dry
We braved the elements long enough to run to a local Butcher shop/deli on Friday in order to avoid going stir-crazy. The Butcher Block near Murray State campus serves awesome BBQ plates and also has a nice selection in their meat and cheese counter. Since they had chuck roast on sale, we decided that with the weather a big pot of vegetable soup was in order and spent part of the afternoon putting that together. Having soup already cooked and ready to eat back at the RV is always a pleasant ‘welcome home’ after a day exploring or at an away game—it is economical too, since it eliminates the urge to stop at a restaurant on the way home when you feel too tired to start cooking.

Ken and I strolled to the game Saturday at about noon. Ken is not someone who walks when there is a perfectly good vehicle that could transport him so I’ll got my fair share of complaints from him along the trek but he had to admit it was a great way to get to see the campus a bit better.

Murray State has been dubbed the ‘Ivy League’ of the Midwest and with a walk around the large campus you can see why. While almost every building is either new or newly renovated, the campus planners have done a wonderful job of retaining a stately ‘old school’ feel amidst manicured landscaping and well balanced architecture. If you can’t tell, this is probably my favorite campus that we visit simply in terms of visual appeal.

It’s actually unfortunate they seem to get very limited participation from the student body in their tailgating activities.

Country band sponsored by National Guard

As was surf riding machine and high level rope challenge

If we had a tailgate row like this at Eastern it would be swarming with students. Of course, I guess it could also have to do with the fact that EIU has had a winning football program for many years now while Murray State has been struggling.

Racer, the mascot

One of our favorite parts of a Murray State game is watching their mascot, Racer, an absolutely gorgeous thoroughbred. Of course, visiting teams really don’t want to see too much of racer since he races the track every time Murray gets a touchdown.
For an away game we had a good showing of fans, many decked out to celebrate a Halloween day game.

Chris Vaccaro’s little sister with her ‘tail’ hanging out

Kimmy and Jess dressed up for the game

Even the Murray State band members dressed for the holiday

One of band members being a ‘big baby’ about it

In the line of whatever can go wrong with Trevor Frericks physically during the season will go wrong, he apparently developed some sort of allergic reaction on Friday and pre-game was presenting with a sever case of hives, swollen lips and lots of itching. While Trev has never shown a reaction to any foods before the guess was that based on his symptoms he probably was either showing a reaction to the mass quantities of cholcate covered peanuts or orange juice he had consumed in the prior 48 hours. Doc hooked him up with an injection of 80 mg of prednisone and by gametime all seemed to be well. In fact, Trev had one of his better games this season with 7 tackles including a sack and 3 tackles for loss. For more info on the game stats, click here.

Trevor taking a right to the jaw from #66

Trev with #66 where he preferred him

The EIU defense did a really great job at this game. In fact they scored a touchdown on an interception while the EIU offense wasn’t able to put together a touchdown the entire game. However, the defense held the Murray scoring down enough that we were still able to win with the final score, 16-10. It was enough to move Eastern up to #13 nationally in the polls.

This was only the second game this season where we did not have a contingent of fan’s with us for post-game pictures but we did get quite a bit of time post-game to talk with the boys. The guys had a five hour ride home and Trev and Chris were especially happy that having the highest completed semester hours of the team scored them the bus seats all along in the back where they could stretch out and sleep. They were all still planning on celebrating Halloween even if they didn’t get home until 10pm or after.

Chris, Kevin and Trev – the housemates

As you can see from this picture, Coach Kevin obviously doesn’t want to have to take a shower before getting on the bus by touching his fellow housemates. Trev doesn’t give me that choice since he feels it’s a tradition to give mama a big sweaty hug BEFORE he showers. This means I always have to plan for a shower soon after the game!

On Sunday, the weather was lovely and we headed north, out of Kentucky, and into Illinois, stopping for the night at Beaver Dam State Park so we could visit with Kyle, Jenni and grandpuppy Staley for awhile. When we arrived at the park, we were surprised to see that hosts, Don and Marilyn, were still in their site since they’d told us they were leaving by the end of October for their winter roosts around Arizona. Apparently they had tried but could not get their motorhome jacks to retract after 7 months of having been in the same position at this park. Ken jumped in to become part of the campground ‘testosterone team’ commissioned to figure out how to get the jacks to move. They finally figured it out and with the strategic placement of an electric drill and after knocking off months of corrosion were able to get the jacks operating again.

We drove in to town and took the kids out to eat Mexican. Kyle will be starting his basketball coaching with the freshman team at Piasa high school and is still coaching soccer. He and Jenni have also been recruited to perform in the Follies being put on by the Carlinville Hospital Guild. (They are raising money for their new hospital). Jenni is performing the song ‘I wanna be loved by you” and Kyle is a prop! I really wish we could see it but it is the same weekend as the next football game. We are hoping someone will get it recorded and put it on Youtube for all of us to enjoy!!

We took the dogs for an extra long walk when we returned to the motorhome. The moon was full and bright and the temperature just perfect for a harvest moon stroll.

Likewise, Monday morning was a gorgeous day or at least that’s what we thought as it started. We walked the dogs up to the front of the park, nosey to be sure that Don and Marilyn got out this time. As it turns out they were very lucky that they got out when they did or they would have had a lot of little hitchhikers along with them.

Attack of the Asian ladybugs

As we were fixing breakfast I noticed there was an unusually high number of Asian ladybugs on the front windshield. I took the picture above. That was the last time I had a thought for the camera because we were suddenly inundated with the bugs. Thousands and thousands of them were into and onto everything. Ken was outside and they were crawling up his pants and under his shirt and the little suckers were biting. (Ok, since then I've read that they 'pinch', not bite). It was beginning to feel like the fly scene straight out of Amityville Horror. The Yard Guard we had didn’t seem to phase them. The bugs seemed to be attacted to anything warm and light colored and the white portions of the motorhome exterior were nice and warm in the sun and getting totally covered. Running out of ideas, we finally turned on both coach air conditioners and the chassis air to try to freeze them out. Ken couldn’t even get back in the coach door since it was totally covered with the little buggers. Finally, he directed me from outside to move the RV to a shady spot. I noticed as we moved that the other campers appeared to all be fighting the same swarm.

This turned out to be one ugly fight. The aftermath of the battle is that we’ll be spending the next several days cleaning the RV inside and out to remove the enemy remains. Nothing came in to the house without being thoroughly shaken out. I’m sure glad we were on our way home. I don’t know how long they are going to have to deal with that swarm at the campground but I sure didn’t want to stay around to find out.

Apparently this is currently a problem in our part of the Midwest since I found this article from St. Louis describing the swarms. ( I thought the comments were actually better than the brief article!!) I'm thinking these foreign bugs, brought here originally by the USDA to attack other bugs that destroy crops, are a good example of what happens when we mess with mother nature. We now have a problem of Asian Ladybug overpopulation since they have no natural predators in our environment. One of them is 'cute' on a flower. 10's of thousands swarming you, no fun.

As I sign off here, we are just turning up 30th St. less than one mile from home. We’ve logged 1700 miles on the trip with 9.9 mpg overall average, not bad considering that covers all the idle time and mountain driving. While helping Don with his Tiffin Phaeton, Ken found out that they are only getting about 7 mpg on that motorhome on good days. Hmmm...30% better gas mileage nowadays... maybe I'm not so excited about upgrading to a Tiffin. We may not be 'upper crust' in 'Baby', no ceramic floors or push button shades, but we're definitely comfortable and apparently more economical as well.

Since next week is a ‘bye’ week we’ll be enjoying a bit of down time before the final two games of the regular season.

Hugs, C

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