Friday, November 13, 2009

2009 11 12 Pre-Game in Charleston

Ken and I arrived mid-afternoon Wednesday at Fox Ridge State Park in Charleston.
While the park is open this late in the season, the shower house is not open after October and there is limited maintenance work being done in the campground. For that reason we are glad that Ken brought his new handy-dandy electric leaf blower since our favorite site, #39 was covered in about 4 inches of leaves.

Campsite before Ken’s leaf blower

Campsite after Ken’s leaf blower

Since it was Ken’s birthday dinner was his choice and he chose to drive in to Charleston to Pagliai’s Pizza, his new favorite pizza joint.

Since we have a 50-amp site, we decided to see how our dual ceramic heaters would do as temperatures dropped down to the mid-30’s overnight. We were able to sleep comfortably with no need for using the furnace. Of course we wouldn’t try this is the temperatures dropped in to the teens since the furnace is what keeps the water lines below the rig heated.

On Thursday, I made a Wal-mart run to pick up all the items we’d need for feeding the football players that would be coming out to eat that evening. I figure this is about $90 of expense per game that will go out of our budget once the season is over. Of course, we will really miss this time with the guys making it more than worth it.

I stopped by campus to use the EIU free wireless to post the last blog. I decided to sit in the lovely weather outside the student union. I was only sitting there about 5 minutes when, lo and behold, Trev came walking up. He was headed in to have breakfast at the food court. The scholarship athletes get a certain number of food dollars to spend besides their room/board stipend and he has some to get used up before end of the semester. I joined Trev and two of the ladies from the swim team, finishing the blog while they finished their breakfasts.
By that time I was concerned that I better get moving or the chili, sloppy joes and nachos wouldn’t have adequate time for prep and cooking before the evening feed.

After browning 13 pounds of hamburger and doing a combined effort of preparing the chili with a little of this and a little of that until Ken and I were both satisfied with the taste, Trev showed up with Chris Vaccaro bringing us Thai take-out for lunch. That was a nice break to the day.
After setting up outside, Ken and I decided to do serve the whole meal with electric skillets and crockpots rather than the grill so once everything was on low, we both enjoyed a couple of hours of quiet time reading by the fire before the guys arrived.

Kyle bought Ken and I the first 3 books in the Sword of Truth fantasy series by Terry Goodwind. We’ve both finished the first book, The Wizard’s First Rule, and sent that back to Kyle for him to read. Ken is now in the second book of the series, Stone of Tears Normally I’m not in to the science fantasy genre that Kyle and Ken like but this author seems to have enough romance and commentary on what I’ll call the ‘human condition’ to keep me coming back. While I’m waiting for the second book, I picked up a couple of recent bestsellers at the local library.
I’m a pushover for anything to do with Elizabethan England and love to read authors who put a lot of research in making novels as close to historical fact as possible while still bringing the historical characters to life. For ‘The Other Queen’ Philippa Gregory did extensive study and sites over 50 reference books in her bibliography. On such books I always like to bounce back and forth to the Author’s notes to determine just how much is factual and in the case of this book, all the key events are factual, its just the interchanges between the characters that she has added for effect of the novel. This is my favorite kind of reading and I had consumed that novel within a few days and very late nights of reading.

I’m now on to Steve Berry’s ‘Charlemagne’s Pursuit’ . While a similar genre, tying historical fact in to fiction, Berry only applies historical anchors such as events during Charlemagne’s time and during Hitler’s time in Germany to weave a more fantastical suspense thriller. It’s good fiction but a whole lot more fiction than fact with a pretty wild plot around uncovering an ancient ‘Atlantis-like’ civilization.

Reading is my favorite hobby but I’m definitely a dabbler across genres. In fact, with my Kindle, I’ve now found a new way, on a zero budget, to get a taste for new authors. With the dawn of this new medium, some author’s are offering one or more of their early works for free electronic download in order to entice an audience to their writing. Kindle gives you the opportunity to search out such free offerings that have received high reviews. I’ve had good luck with finding some great reading this way that takes you in to new and different author perspectives without having to spend a dime.

Between my Kindle, my public library, and swapping books with family and friends, it’s been a long time since I’ve had to spend money on my favorite hobby!

Ok, so enough of my digressing to my reading addiction….

Because the guys had practice until 6pm it was dark by the time they arrived. That certainly didn’t stop the food from disappearing very quickly.

After the meal we enjoyed time around the campfire with the guys.
We have made more visits to Fox Ridge than we care to count these past 3 years but have never in all of that time walked any of the numerous trails this state park has to offer. On Friday we decided to take of advantage of the nice autumn weather and do some hiking. The pictures below were taken during our 2 hour jaunt along some of those trails. You’ll notice from the bridges, overlooks and stairways that this state park is blessed with a volunteer park foundation that raises money for ongoing projects including keeping up the trails.

Ken on one of the many bridges crossing meandering streams between the ridges

A winding staircase easing the trek down the ridge

Overlooking the Embarras River

Woodpecker gives you a view clear through this tree, front and back doors??

The trees are bare by this time making the ridges more obvious

Ok, I didn’t always stay on the trail

One of the park shelter house built by the Civilian Conservation Corp back in the 1930’s

Wouldn’t the CCC make sense again now for all the unemployed???

As soon as we got back from the 2 hour hike both dogs were zonked on the floor for a nap.
So now I’ve taken a drive back in to the Charleston student union and enjoying a cup of coffee, while finishing this post.

The second to last regular season game is tomorrow and my sister
Kathleen and her husband Wally will be joining us. So, when I finish here I’m dropping by Walmart to pick up a few tailgating essentials and then will enjoy a crisp fall evening with my hubby by the campfire.

Stay tuned for an update on our WIN against Tennessee-Martin!

Hugs, C

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