Monday, July 28, 2008

New Address for Trevor and a Golf Fund Raiser

On Tuesday I drove over to Charleston Illinois to help Trevor move into a house in town. Last year he was living with several football players on the out skirts of town. The house was owned by one of the senoir football players and after he graduated they wanted to sell that house. So Trevor will be moving into a house with two other defensive linemen. While at Charleston I parked the RV at Fox Ridge State Park. It is 6.3 miles from the intersection of Illinois highways 16 and 130 in Charleston.
Usually I make reservation while staying at Fox Ridge because we are staying on weekends and want to be sure we get a spot. Since I was arriving on Tuesday I felt safe not making reservations. I parked in site 13.

I choose site 13 because it looked level and it had 50 amp electric. After leveling the RV, I plugged in the electric and it was not working. So I switched to 30 amp and it worked fine. I was in a little bit of a hurry to get to town to meet Trevor for dinner and decided that 30 amp was enough for the night. After dinner we went to Trevor's house, and I was put to work fixing his furniture and advising the guys about various things. Wednesday morning the ranger fixed the electric by replacing the breaker. He told me that was the last breaker that they had for the year due to the budget cuts. The people that use our state parks are not happy with our governor. He has raised the rates and cut back on services.
The house is a typical bungalo with two bedrooms and a bath on one side with the front, dining and kitchen on the other. I appears to have been built in the 20's or 30's and is in good shape.
The room mates Andre, Jeff, and Trevor.

Wednesday morning we put Trevor's room together. Then Trev and I played a round of golf to practice for the golf outing. When we got back Danni and Pug had fixed a nice pasta dinner.

I returned the favor on Thursday with a brunch after the guys' morning workout.

Thursday afternoon we drove to Mahomet for the golf fund raiser. I parked in the stadium parking lot while I waited for Trevor to finish up a few things.

At Mohamet we parked at Tin Cup RV Park. I parked here last year as it is across the road from the golf course. Last year I parked with the overnighters. They have a row of spots for overnight parking with full hookups near the entrance. Those spots a crowded and everyone pretty much keeps to themselves. Since I was staying two nights I asked if I could park in the back. Those sites are only 30 amp with full hookup.

After setting up I met my neighbors and talked with them for over an hour. They told me they were concerned when they saw me pull in because they all let their kids and pets run, and they all liked to drink and party in the evenings. I told them that is why I did not want to stay in front with the overnighters. That I wanted to be with the real people, and we got along just fine.

The golf outing was on Friday, lasting most of the day. We had a good time hitting the ball, drinking a few beers, then eating chicken. As a group we shot eleven under. We are not good golfers, but when we needed to make a shot one of us did. Truly a team effort. Saturday morning I packed up and headed home.

Ken F.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Argyle Lake State Park July 18 and 19

This is the friendliest park we had been to since Memorial weekend at Shabbona State Park! The hosts were great, and the other campers were fun and good people.

I went early on Friday to be sure we got a good site with 50 amp and lots of shade. The forecast was calling for a hot weekend. I found site 73 to my liking. As part of my setup I usually put up our EIU Panther flag in the front of the RV. It works to obstruct the view of the interior of the coach from the casual glance and shows our football loyalty. Soon after I put the flag up I noticed the gentleman across from me look at the flag and it was not long before he put up his Illini flag.
As many of you know EIU plays the Illini on the second week of the season.
Jim, Karen and family were parked across from us and are staunch Illinois Football fans. Even so I was able to overlook that fault and it wasn't long before we were chatting and I was being introduced to the other campers in the area. In fact when Cindy arrived around 6pm the first thing she noticed was that I was talking with a group of three ladies.

As you can see the campground is spacious and well shaded. There is plenty open space between campers creating a large park like setting. If you want a secluded camp site there are a limited few on the outer edges of the campground.

Saturday morning the Friends of Argyle Lake were offering a guided canoe outting to see the sites around the 93 acre lake. I had talked to the guide on Friday to see if we could tag along in our own boat, which she said would be great since it would leave more canoes available. We got there early to inflate the boat and had time for some pictures while the guide went over the safety rules for the people riding in the canoes.

The best part of the tour was the herons and this tributary of the LeMoine River that drains into Argyle Lake.

The canoes rode to low in the water to go into this "river." So we had it to ourselves.

Very narrow with lots of cattails. And very quiet! Since Cindy was in the front of the boat, I let her be our guide and paddle us in and then back out again. She did a very nice job!

Got these pictures of this heron after we decided to go on our own while the rest of the group went on towards the dam.

In the middle of the afternoon Jason and Michelle arrived to tent camp. Michelle is in the recovery stages of cancer and has to be careful about what she exposes herself to. Previous to her illness they did a lot of skiing, camping, and other outdoor activities. This camping trip was a way for her to try to get back some of her old life without much risk since we had the RV if she needed a cool comfortable place to rest. Thankfully she did not need the comforts of the RV nor did she use them as that would have been "cheating."

We have been RVing for a year and a half now and have never done s'mores! At times we had brought the fixin's with us, but never got around to actually making them. So it was a nice surprise when Michelle decided that we were all going to have s'mores before we called it a day.

Sunday Morning was pleasant. We sat and drank coffee while visiting with Jim and Karen and Michelle and Jason. Before they left Karen surprised us with green beans, potatoes, a sweet onion, and two tomatoes. Cindy added some polish sausage to the potatoes, green beans, and onion and we had a tasty dinner when we got home.

Ken F.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

One Brian

Last summer I took the two Brians camping. (See blog from July 22, 2007) This year we were out of town when Big Brian from Atlanta Ga. was in town. So this year it was Little Brian and I.

We went to my favorite campground, Siloam Springs State Park. I like it because it is close and not a lot of people go there. It does not have swimming and the fishing is not good either. But it is a good place to go to relax because you are surrounded by nature.

After setting up we decided to try our luck with the fish. Siloam has a 58 acre spring fed lake that is stocked with trout in the spring. I have caught a bass or two over the years, so I know there are fish in that lake.

Brian pumped the boat about half full, then we loaded it into the jeep to fill the rest of the way at the lake. We fished for about two hours with only a bite or two. I had forgotten the camera so there is no evidence of the stick fish, moss fish or weed fish that we caught. Since there was no camera I can tell a fish story of the one that got away. Just as we were giving up Brian decided to try a surface lore out of desperation. It is such a sight when you see the lore hit the water and a large mouth bass hits the lore. Their mouth is open and they snatch the lore as soon as it hits the water. Then the fight is on: trying to keep the fish out of the sticks and moss while reeling him in without snapping the line. Then the thrill of reaching in the chilled water to pull out an exhausted fish and seeing the shimmer of his scales. Well when that surface lore hit the water nothing happened on this day and that is the way fishing went all day.

After retreating from the lake Brian built a fire while I got the meal ready. It is tradition that we have foil dinners of hamburger, carrots, potato and onion cooked on an open fire. We topped that of this year with sweet corn. No Big Brian it was not burnt.

In the morning after a late breakfast we tried our luck at the lake again with the same results. However, a friend of Brian arrived just as we were leaving and on his first cast caught a nice small mouth bass. I am pretty sure the fish knew we were leaving!

Jim, Brian's dad, picked up Brian just after 1:00. While I stayed to do some maintenance and cleaning on the RV.

About 1:30 it started to pour! It rained really hard. There was just a light breeze and no lightening, but the rain came down in buckets. Later on the radio I heard that some places had between 2 and 3 inches. Finally about 3:00 the rain slowed enough to hear the rolling thunder as the storm moved on.

After the rain, I decided to take a trip to the grave of the "Worlds Heaviest Man."

Robert Earl Hughes was the worlds heaviest man during his lifetime. He died at the age of 32 from complications brought on by the measles. He is buried behind the Benville Church. The town of Benville is no longer there, all that is left is the Church and its' cemetery.

The road to Benville from Siloam Springs is a narrow gravel road that opens into a valley then onto a very narrow blacktop before coming to a "T" just before Benville. The round trip is about 12 miles.

You can see from this swollen creek that we had a hard rain!

When the road opens to this valley there is a cross on the hill. If your not looking for it you will miss it as it is so far up on the hill that it is almost not visible. The story goes that a man buried his wife's ashes at the base of this cross.

At the cemetery I was surprised to find flowers at grave site. But I should not have been because I had heard that curious visitors like me often bring flowers to his grave.

I had heard about Robert Earl Hughes years ago. Rumor had it that he was buried in a piano crate and set in the grave by a crane. Also that a pair of his pants were on display at the Buckhorn General Store. In actuality Mr. Hughes was buried in wooden box the size of a piano crate and he was lowered into his grave by a crane. I have my doubts about the rumor of his pants being on display in Buckhorn. They may have been on display years ago but I have my doubts that Buckhorn even has a general store any more. I did not drive to Buckhorn to find out because I had no idea which way to go to get to Buckhorn!

During that 12 mile round trip I bet I saw at least 12to 15 deer either on the road or by the road. They were around ever bend and over every hill. Amazing!

Now that I goofed of all day, I'll have to do my cleaning and other chores tomorrow. As the sign at Mikes' Place says "Life is short eat dessert first." I like Mikes' attitude!

Ken F.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

July 4th Croquet in the Backyard

It has become a tradition to have an informal family get together in our backyard each July 4th focused on two of the Frericks family favorite holiday and croquet.

It was another beautiful day with temperature in the high 70's and lots of sunshine.

Trevor has brought two EIU football players home with him for the weekend, Kevin Mahoney and Chris Vaccaro.

Those not playing croquet tended to stick to the patio where we were having some luck keeping away the buffalo gnats with out lighted torches filled with citronella.

We had a special treat since niece Jennifer and husband Dave Loiter had flown in from DC bringing with them darling new baby, Clara.

Here's Carlene, Ken's oldest sibling, getting to know Clara, the latest addition to Ken and I fast growing list of great-nieces and nephews.

Meanwhile Clara's daddy, Dave (far right) joined Ken and our godson, BJ Jacobson, out on the croquet course.

Here you see some of the most serious croquet competition of the day. It's amazing how intense these guys can get about hitting these little balls through wickets!

Hugs, C