Wildlife Prairie Park

Good morning. Happy Saturday. We have another busy day planned. We will be leaving here before 9am, so I’ve got to get my move on.

Day 132. We had a change of plans yesterday. I thought we were going to the Peoria Riverfront Museum but because it was going to be such a nice day, we decided to go to the Wildlife Prairie Park, which isn’t very far from our campground. The 480 acre park is a great place to see animals out in the open. They also take in birds, reptiles and animals that, for various reasons, can no longer live in the wild and need the protected environment of the nature center. You can read about each of the animals history and the reason for their adoption on the plaque attached to their enclosure.

The park does rely heavily on volunteers and donations to keep it open. You can help out by sponsoring an animal, bird or reptile. Our son Scott sponsors the Great Horned Owls. Both of the owls are no longer able to survive in the wild and need the care and protection the park is able to give them.

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We have been to the park a few times before. It is always a fun experience. If you go at the right time, you can take in one of the free programs they offer. Those are always fun. I have learned so much each time I go to one of them.

There is a train that you can ride around the park.  It is another way to see the park and is fun for the kids. There is so much to see and do in the park that you could spend the entire day there. They also have a nice gift shop. The proceeds from your gift shop purchases go back into maintaining the park.

It was a perfect day to walk around and get some exercise in a very interesting and fun environment with family. Loving our lifestyle. Have a great day.

Until next time,

Kathryn

Trials and Tribulations of Propane Filling

Good morning. Today is going to be a busy day. We have plans to go to the Peoria Riverfront Museum. I’m not sure what we will see, but it will be a day spent with family and that is always good.

Day 131. Yesterday I noticed that our tank read that we were out of propane. I’m not sure how that happened, as we haven’t been using it for anything but cooking and I certainly haven’t been doing enough of that. We have been heating the motorhome with electricity and we have the hot water tank set on electric, not propane. Anyway, we needed to find a place to get the tank filled up. With a busy weekend coming up we didn’t want to wait.

Clyde asked our son Scott where we could take our motorhome to get propane and he suggested Menards. Clyde called Menards and was told they did have the capacity to fill a motorhome and bring it on over.

After putting everything away and getting our Winnie ready for travel we took off for Menards. With the campground out in the country, every place you go is a bit of a drive. Menards is about a 1/2 hour drive.

As we pulled up, the large propane tank was very visible with plenty of room to get in and out of. That’s a big plus for us. And, as with most propane refill places, they have a call button on the outside to ask for someone to come out and fill your tank.

We waited quite a long while for a young girl to come out and take care of us. When she did we found out she had never filled a motorhome before and that she didn’t know what she was doing. Not good. The young girl called someone on the same intercom we used to ask for assistance who gave her verbal directions. She still could not figure it out and the person on the other end of the intercom determined that the propane tank wasn’t working. And that was that. She said sorry and went back in the store. They never sent anyone with any experience in filling motorhomes outside to check it out for themselves. Clyde went inside to talk to someone and was given the brush-off. No one cared.

Like some gas stations, Clyde had to pre-pay for the propane. That means they put a hold on our money even though we ended up not getting any propane.  The hold was not released when we left the store. When we realized this had happened Clyde called and was given the same brush-off. He was told we could drive back over to the store and they would take care of it then. Other than that they said there was nothing they could do. I told Clyde we would wait until morning and see if there was still a hold on our $125.. This morning I checked our account and found there is now a hold for $2.15. I guess she did get some propane out of the tank after all. And, I guess even though it is only $2.15 we will be stopping at Menards for that refund. It’s the principle of it.

This experience has given us a bad feeling about shopping in Menards. We had just recently gotten a Menards in our area in Michigan when we left and had not had much interaction with them before this. I would say the company really need to improve their customer service policy. Management also needs to do a better job in training their employees.

We did manage to get the propane we needed. I called one of the U-Haul locations listed on-line. A very nice gal answered the phone and said yes they do have a propane re-fill tank but it wasn’t working at the moment. She suggested we call another location that also had a large propane tank. I called the location she suggested and they said yes it was working.

We went to the U-Haul on University. It also was easy to get in and easy to drive out of. The fellow that came out and filled up our tank was very knowledgeable and friendly. When he was done filling us up, Clyde went inside to pay. He paid for only what we had gotten. It was a much smoother and friendlier visit than we had at Menards.

Still loving our lifestyle. Have a great day.

Until next time,

Kathryn

 

Famous Dave’s

Good Morning. Although we ended our stay in the sunny warm climate of Texas a little too soon, I do not regret it. We do not get to spend enough time with our loved ones who are spread out in different states. That was the reason we decided on the full-time lifestyle and bought a motorhome to do it in.

The only down side right now is that because the temperatures can still dip below freezing, the state park has not turned the water on. That means we must conserve our water and take our showers at either our daughter or our son’s home. Which is fine with them.

Day 130. As we are retired and have lots of free time to do what we want, when we want and the others have full-time jobs, we only get to see them a few hours a day. Yesterday Scott had a few hours in the afternoon, between appointments, to spend with us. We decided to meet him at his home to play some cards. Today it was Hearts; a good old-fashioned card game that can be played with a regular deck of 52 cards and an odd number of players.

When we left Scott’s home it was getting to be dinner time for us old people. We have started to enjoy eating dinner around 4pm instead of the 6pm we did all of our working years. Call me lazy, but I didn’t feel like cooking. We decided, being we were out already, we might as well stop for a bite to eat. I do not enjoy fast-food. I have gotten so that I do eat, nor does my system tolerate fried, greasy food. We also like to try places we have not been before or that we do not have in the area of Michigan where we lived.

Today we decided on Famous Dave’s. Famous Dave’s is noted for their barbecue. They are a chain restaurant with locations in different states. We went to the one in Peoria, Illinois. It is not too far from the campground we are staying in. Clyde ordered ribs and I ordered grilled salmon. I do have to say the food was very good. I thoroughly enjoyed my salmon, it was cooked perfectly. Clyde enjoyed his ribs. He said they were meaty and tasty. It was a little more expensive than what we would have liked, but well worth it. And, even though our dinners were much better than what we would have gotten if I had made something when we got back to our motorhome, we have got to stop eating out so often. It is killing the budget.

Loving our lifestyle. Have a great day.

Until next time,

Kathryn

 

Hobby Lobby

Good morning. The pretty white snow is just about gone. All we have left are areas where the sun wasn’t able to warm the ground enough to melt it. Between the snow and all the rain we’ve gotten in the last couple of days, the ground is exceptionally soft and muddy.  The good news is the temperature may reach close to 60 here today.

Day 129. Yesterday I was able to finish a beading project I had been working on. Today I will start another bracelet using the same pattern only in a different color. Both bracelets are gifts for my girls in the colors and pattern they requested. I enjoy making things for my family because I know they appreciate and use everything I make them. They also are aware of the time and love I put in to each item.

Hobbies are not cheap and when you are on a limited budget you have to be frugal with your purchases. That is why I so love a good sale. In Michigan where we lived, there is a JoAnn’s and a Michael’s close by to stock up on craft supplies. We did not have a Hobby Lobby store. Since being on the road, I have found I really like Hobby Lobby for my beading supplies. They carry a very large, nice selection of beads and beading supplies.

Monday when we were in Hobby Lobby I found out they were having a 1/2 off sale on beads. The sale is through this Saturday. So yesterday I went with my shopping list to take advantage of the sale. The Hobby Lobby in Peoria, Illinois carries a much larger selection than any other Hobby Lobby I have been in yet. It’s so nice to find a good selection and a great sale all at the same time. They don’t carry everything I need and I will probably need to find a bead store to finish my shopping. But, I love a good sale. And, if what you want is not on sale you can download a coupon for 40% off.

Loving our lifestyle. Have a great day.

Until next time,

Kathryn

 

Avanti’s

Good morning. Well, the rain did cometh and come and come some more. It is still raining. With the rain and warmer temperatures the snow is disappearing. All night we kept hearing the heaving chunks of snow fall from the roof of the motorhome. I guess we don’t have to worry about the weight of the snow on the roof or slide-outs anymore. Now instead of the pretty white snow, we have areas of snow, puddles of water and mud everywhere.

Day 128. We spent most of the day snuggled inside. I was beading and Clyde was putzing. Our son Scott came and got us later in the day to do some shopping. He needed my opinion on a craft project he was doing, which meant a trip to JoAnn’s and Hobby Lobby. My kind of shopping. We also made a stop at Kroger’s for some groceries.

Before we headed back home we stopped for a bite to eat. Scott took us to Avanti’s. It is an Italian style restaurant with 6 locations in the Peoria, Illinois area. We went to the North Peoria location on Knoxville.

Avanti’s is well-known for their pizza and gondola sandwich. If you’ve ever tried their bread you would know why. The bread is to die for. It is made from scratch daily and is absolutely delicious.

We have had carry out from them many times before, but I can’t recall eating inside one of the restaurants. The restaurant was busy, but not crowded. We were seated right away, but we had to wait an exceptionally long time for a server. Normally a server would ask for your drink order while you browse the menu. Our server forgot to ask about drinks and went right to taking our order. Maybe she did that because she knew we had been sitting for so long without service. 

I ordered chicken parmigiana and the guys ordered the all you can eat pasta special. The food was very good, but for me, the best part was the bread they bring you while you are waiting for your dinner. Would I eat there again. Yes, but I think I would be just as content to order carry out and stick to pizza and gondola’s.

Loving our lifestyle. Have a great day.

Until next time,

Kathryn

Castaways and Farkle

Good morning. It is a pretty morning here with the sun coming up and the ground covered with snow. The temperature is rising. Our high for the day is 50. That will pretty much melt all this snow. We are also forecasted to have non-stop rain for the next two days. We can’t win.

Day 127. We weren’t sure if we were going to be able to get out of the state park. The road had not been driven on since the day before or plowed at all. Optimistically Clyde cleared off the car in hopes that later in the day our chances of getting out would look better than they did then.

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We really wanted to spend time with family. It was the week-end when everyone was off of work and available to do something. We also wanted to do our laundry and take showers. We didn’t want to use up our water supply in the motorhome, so our plan was to take them at our daughter Tina’s house. We would also be able to do our laundry while we visited.

Around lunch time we decided to give it a try. If Clyde could back out of our campsite and drive around the loop without getting stuck, we would attempt the drive out of the park. We knew the road leading out of the park would not have been plowed either. If they plowed the main road leading out of the park, then they would also plow our loop of campsites. Mission completed. He made it around the loop and said there was only one area that was a bit tricky.

So we loaded up our laundry and our pug, Patty Pepper and headed out. I think we both held our breath the entire way. There were a couple of spots I thought for sure we were going to get stuck or end up in the ditch. Thankfully, because Clyde is a seasoned winter driver, we made it to the main road that had been plowed and was as clear as could be.

We had a very enjoyable afternoon visiting with Tina, Scott and Mel. We were able to take our showers and get our laundry done too.

The group decided they wanted to go out for a bite to eat. They decided on Castaways in Chillicothe, which wasn’t very far from where we were. It has a very laid-back and relaxed atmosphere with fish nets and other ocean décor on the walls and ceiling. The menu consisted mainly of pizza, hamburgers, sandwiches and salads. All reasonably priced.

Scott and I ordered the pork tenderloin sandwich and beer-battered fries. The sandwiches were huge! They were big enough for two people. They were excellent. The batter was perfect and the meat had no gristle. The beer-battered fries were also delicious.  Mel and Tina both ordered hamburgers, which they said were also very good and were definitely homemade. Clyde order a Ruben sandwich. He said it was ok, but probably wouldn’t get it again. He ordered the homemade haystack onions that were like shoestrings, which he enjoyed. We all agreed we would come back again.

As we needed to be back to the campground before dark to assure us of getting in safely, it was time to say goodbye to the girls. We will be here for a couple of weeks, so we are sure to have more good times together. Scott decided he would come back to the campground with us. He wasn’t ready to end our visit just yet.

When we got back to the motorhome we decided to play a few games of Farkle. We are a game playing family. We enjoy both card games and board games. Farkle is played with dice. It is a quick fun game that is very easy to learn and can be played with 2 or more players. So if you are looking for a game that doesn’t take up much room in your camper and is fun to play inside or outside on the picnic table, then try Farkle. The game is packaged a number of different ways, but look for it in the cute cup that you can use to toss the dice and store them in.

Loving our lifestyle. Have a great day.

Kathryn

 

 

Snow, Snow and More Snow

Good morning. It is a beautiful morning. The sun is up, the ground is coated with a heavy layer of snow that hasn’t been tampered with and the trees and woodland brush are also covered with snow. It is so pretty to look at from inside our motorhome. We still haven’t seen any wildlife. That would add the icing on the cake.

Day 126. Yesterday we stayed inside our nice warm motorhome watching the snow come down. It snowed the entire day into the night. At times it was heavy wet snow, other times it looked like sleet. I believe we got about 9″ total. We were advised the roads were really bad and that it would be best if we stayed put and didn’t attempt to make our way out of the park. So, that is what we did.

For me staying inside isn’t a punishment. I have many craft projects I can work on. I am never bored. And, that is what I did. But, for someone who doesn’t have a hobby (except for Facebook) watching TV was his entertainment for the day.

We do not pay for TV. We use the old-fashioned antenna on top of the motorhome. It works out just fine for us. When we arrive at a new location we scan for channels available in the area. Sometimes we get a lot of channels, sometimes only 5 or 6. We make due with what we get. We have found we are getting quite a few very old TV shows from the 50’s and 60’s to watch. We cannot prerecord programs like before, but that is ok. We haven’t been watching as much TV as before either. We have found other things to do.

When we started out living in our motorhome full-time, we were worried about how we would manage to stay warm when the weather is like this. We worried about our tanks freezing, running the furnace constantly, the snow on the roof and the slideouts, running out of propane and all that good stuff. We have found out that if the temperature doesn’t stay below freezing for a prolonged period of time and we are able to keep the inside of the motorhome warm, we do not need to worry about our tanks freezing. We also open the cupboards under the sinks (much like we did when we owned a home) as a precaution. 

As for heating the motorhome, we have both propane and electric heat. The electric heat is not meant for long periods of extreme cold. It works best to keep the chill off in the mornings. But, so far that is what we have been able to use here in an effort to preserve our propane supply.

Today our only concern is finding our way out of the campground and not getting stuck. With only one other camper in the campground and no park rangers or workers, I don’t think they will plow the roads. Right now we don’t know exactly where those roads are. The ground is beautifully covered with white stuff.

Loving our lifestyle. Have a great day.

Until next time,

Kathryn