Monday, September 28, 2015

Eldon Hazlet State Park, Carlyle, IL

We try to not make campground reservations. That way we can stay a little longer than planned -- like we are doing here at Eldon Hazlet State Park in Carlyle, IL -- or move if the mood (or the weather, or who knows what) strikes us.

But we do call ahead to check on availability. I called the Eldon Hazlet SP early last week to see if it was likely they’d have space for us on Friday. They said chances were good. Then I called again Friday morning; they said there was plenty of space at the moment but that the campground's 350 spots fill up on weekends.  

When we arrived about 2 p.m., we had lots of first-come, first serve spots to choose from, including several great ones right on the lake.  By 6 p.m., however, the campground was close to full.  Now it’s Monday and we almost have the place to ourselves. 

As for activities: Yesterday we took a short hike and kayaked among the water fowl. Today we are going to the vet as Cooper is sick again.  If he perks up, tomorrow we’ll take a side trip to St. Louis.
Our campsite at Eldon Hazlet State Park, about 50 miles due east of St. Louis. That's Carlyle Lake, the largest man-made reservoir in Illinois, behind us.  Over the weekend, there were fishing boats going back and forth behind our rig.  Today it's mostly pelicans.
The only bad thing here at the park are the "midges" that come out at night.Here a few lounge on the front of our RV.  They look like big mosquitos, but don't bite.  One evening we were outside and I felt like Tippi Hedron in a bug version of "The Birds."    
One of the park hiking trails goes to the Burnside family cemetery.  James Burnside -- who moved to America from Ireland -- settled here with his wife, Elizabeth, in 1817 when James was 24.  They had six children and farmed 160 acres purchased for $2 each. James died at age 59 in 1851, but there is no record of Elizabeth's death.  We couldn't read all the inscriptions, but a website said death dates on the 19 graves ranged from 1832 to 1868. It appears that the carved gravestones were later reset in cement in an attempt to help preserve them.
American White Pelicans on Lake Carlyle. They have have black fringed wings, but you can barely see the black unless they are flying.

Jim kayaking among the pelicans.
Also at the lake are double crested cormorants, a blacking fish bird with a hooked beak that was once on the endangered species list in Illinois.
And, my eclipse photo.  It was cloudy and rainy most of the day Sunday.  When the eclipse started, the moon was peaking through the clouds.  Then the sky cleared, the eclipse was in total view, and so were the stars. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

We're in Illinois

We are at Eldon Hazlet State Park in Carlyle, Illinois.  From the back window of our rig we have a wonderful view of Carlyle Lake, the big deal here at the park. The lake is huge; in fact, the campground brochure says at 26,000 acres it's the largest man-made lake in the state. We got here yesterday afternoon and plan to kayak, hike, and watch football. 

Backing up a bit: We left my Mom's (thanks, again Mom!) on Monday and made a quick overnight stop at Buck Creek State Park in Springfield, Ohio. Springfield is where 4-H clubs started. I also read that in 2011 Springfield was named "the unhappiest city in America" by a Gallup poll that used some sort of formula including exercise, asthma, and smoking. Whatever. The campground was nice.

From there we went to Leiber State Recreation Area near tiny Cloverdale, Indiana, a town of what seemed like a hundred Protestant churches. And only one liquor store, as Jim observed. I'd called the campground to see if they had any camping spots available. The man who answered the phone laughed a bit and said "We've got plenty."  And how. Leiber has over 200 camping spaces and we were one of four campers, including the camp host. By Friday morning a handful more had arrived for the weekend. Until then it was mostly us, some very fat wood chucks, and a woodpecker who sounded like he was pecking on a tom-tom drum. Plus the raccoon you'll see below.

At Leiber we kayaked, walked around the park, and made a side trip to Terre Haute. Terre Haute is the home of Indiana State University, the alma mater of Larry Bird, and is where John Wooden coached before he went to UCLA.  It's also home to the Hulman family who emigrated to Terre Haute from Germany in the early 1800s. The Human's sold baking products including what became known as "Clabber Girl" baking soda.They later bought the Indianapolis Speedway, which the family still owns today.
Jim looking at a Halloween mobile at Buck Creek State Park in Springfield Ohio.  Ohio must have a Halloween Decoration Fund, because Buck Creek and the state park near my Mom's house (Findley) were decorated to the hilt.
Our lonely campsite at Leiber State Recreation Area in Cloverdale, Indiana. The big draw to the park is the reservoir called Cagles Mill Lake, created when the Army Corps of Engineers built a dam in 1953. 
Cooper was outside with his dinner when the guy above and his friend slowly approached, hoping for a snack. Jim hollered at them. Instead running away, they went straight up -- where they stayed until Jim took Cooper for a long walk. 

A Leiber State Recreation Area heron.  These awkward-looking, graceful-flying birds are everywhere. Leiber SRA is named for Richard Leiber, the father of Indiana state parks. In 1916 Leiber encouraged Indiana's governor to create a state parks committee.  Leiber chaired the group and began buying land with private funds (including money from the Clabber Girl folks).
Jim saw a "no wake" buoy at the edge of the Leiber SRA's Cagles Mill Lake (named for a local grist mill that burned down) and towed it back where it belonged.  He said it was heavier than it looked.
Cataract Falls, a series of cascades with the largest one being about 20 feet high, is at the north section of Leiber.  Jim saw a sign that called it "Indiana's Niagara."
A covered pedestrian bridge crosses the Eel River near Cataract Falls at Leiber SRA.  Built in 1876, it features a special truss that was more similar to future metal bridge frames than wooden ones at the time. Built in Toledo, Ohio, it was disassembled, transported, and rebuilt at its current location. The bridge carried buggy and vehicle traffic over the river until a nearby concrete bridge was built in 1988.
In Terre Haute we visited the Clabber Girl museum, which included a section of the Hulman family's original Terre Haute mansion, and a display of some of the products Hulman and Company produced.  Hulman  introduced Clabber Girl baking powder in 1899 and bought the Indianapolis Speedway in 1945. You see the Hulman name all over Terre Haute:  the local airport, a golf course, buildings at Indiana State and more carry that name.
Two Terre Haute buildings:  The Vigo County Courthouse and St. Benedict's Catholic Church.  Terre Haute is on the Wabash River on the border of Indiana and Illinois.  Terra Haute means "highland," which probably refers to city's position above the river.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Ground glider

We're at  Leiber State Recreation Area in Cloverdale, Indiana. It's a beautiful park with big deciduous trees and a huge lake.  But before I get going on our latest RV adventure, I have to write one more post about our summer stay at my Mom's in Wellington, Ohio.

Sunday I went to the "Harvest of the Arts" festival in Wellington's town square and had a great time with my high school friend, Sally, and her husband Mike. We ate, wandered around the booths (food, jewelry, clothing, and more), talked to people (Sally and Mike know everyone), and bought honey made from hometown bees.

While I was there, Jim texted me a photo of himself sitting in a glider, sometimes known as a sailplane. On the ground. ???

My Mom's home is near a small air field. Most of the traffic consists of small prop planes towing gliders. Once high in the air, the gliders and planes separate and gliders silently ... well, they glide. They are very pretty and we like to watch them.

Sunday afternoon one of the gliders, as the pilot said, "lost air."  He couldn't make it back to the air strip and landed in a hay field across the road from my Mom. The pilot was OK and so was his glider.  

When Jim went across the street to investigate why a glider was being pushed across a neighbors lawn, the pilot offered to take a photo of Jim sitting in the plane. After the photo shoot, a group of guys hooked the glider to a truck and started to tow it down the road. 

As I was driving back to Mom's, I came across the glider in the middle of an intersection.The guys couldn't make the turn towing the glider with the truck. So they disconnected the glider and were pushing it around the corner.  I got out of my car to take some photos; by the time I finished, the glider was in the middle of the road and aimed at my car.  

I offered to turn around and take a longer way home but the guys said no. They just tipped a wing into the air and I drove right under it.

Jim and the glider.  The neighbors across the road helped push it out of a hay field.  Then guys with a pick up truck showed up and towed it down the middle of the road about 3/4 of a mile to the air strip it where was supposed to land.  
The glider guys trying to navigate a land turn.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Room with a view in Wellington, Ohio

My Mom has a wonderful nearly 180 degree view from her home's east and south facing sun room. I was always running outside to her deck to take photos of the clouds, the sunrise, an advancing storm, a deer in the soy bean field.

The terrain is flat with few large trees nearby, and there are no nearby houses in three directions. So the view is panoramic.  

We left the view and Mom yesterday and are on a diagonal path from Ohio to Arizona.  Thanks for everything, Mom. We miss you and love you.  

An approaching storm as seen from my Mom's sun room. 
The sun rising over the woods, clouds, and a few jet contrails.
The view slightly south of the one immediately above, this time between rainstorms.
And the view a little to the north, on a recent foggy morning and with the help of a telephoto lens. The photo of our motor home at the top of our blog was also taken at my Mom's house several years ago.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

"Other good stuff" post

Our plans for when we arrived in Ohio the end of May were:

--Spend a few nights in Cleveland during the NBA playoffs. Check.

--Visit Pittsburgh. Check.

--Visit our Ohio and Nebraska families. Check.

--Walk a lot. Check.

--Visit lots of people:  Cousins, friends from high school, and of course my Mom who graciously let us impose all summer (thanks, Mom). Lots of checks, but never as many as we want. And of course, half the time I forgot to take photos.

--Take a trip to Buffalo. Fully planned (including RV park reservations and brew pub suggestions from our Buffalo nephew) but not checked.

--Visit Washington, DC; Manhattan; and a few other places east. Never got past the wish list stage.

Cancelled travel plans were due to our dog, Cooper, getting too sick to travel or leave behind. But we had a good vet (my brother) nearby and are staying at Mom's where Cooper didn't have to go up and down steps.  So all is well dog-wise.  And as the 21 blog posts I've made since we arrived in Ohio indicate, we still did a lot -- plus a whole lot more. The photos below are of some of the the not-already-posted-about things we've done. 
My brother Bob and SIL Suzie took us out to dinner and then to the 
Blossom Music Center see the "Divas of Broadway," with the Cleveland Orchestra.  We heard songs from Wicked, Le Miserable, Showboat, Westside Story and more. Wonderful. In the bottom photo is Jim to the left, then Bob, me, and Suzie.  The top photo shows part of the crowd of 13,000 people that bring their lawn chairs and blankets and sit on the lawn.  Another 5,700 can sit in the covered pavilion.  Blossom is inside the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. 
Jim and Bev with the fruits of their labor at Mansfield's Blueberry Patch. We drove to Mansfield, Ohio, to check out Clear Creek Reservoir and a nearby campground.  Clear Creek is would be a great fishing hole, but we were looking more for a kayaking spot -- something with lots of little inlets.  And that's not Clear Creek.  As for the campground, all we saw were RVs with wooden decks attached, so it's obviously for people whose rigs seldom, if ever, move.  But the the Blueberry Patch -- plus a side trip to  Mansfield's Phoenix Brewery -- made up for it.
A happy Afghan strutting his stuff at the Lorain County Kennel Club Show in rural and pretty Henrietta, Ohio. We'd never been to a dog show before and it was fun.
Mini family reunion: Bev's family from left to right back row:  brother Bob; Bob's DIL Jill and son Ben; Bob's wife Suzie holding Elroy the brown poodle puppy; Bev's brother Don; Don's wife Trudy; and Jim.  From row L to R:  Bev; Mom; Don and and Trudy's son Toby.  Missing are Bev's kids and their fams (Ashley, Shad, Mia and Marshall); and Bob and Suzie's daughter, Brooke.  Bob and Suzie live in nearby Brecksville.  Don and Trudy live in Lincoln, NE.  Ben and Jill live in Buffalo.  Toby recently started working in San Francisco.

We went to two parties hosted by my high school friend, Sally, second from right, and her ever congenial husband Mike.  The second party had a large contingent of former Wellington Troop 682 Girl Scouts who still remember the Girl Scout salute.  Pat's Mom was our assistant troop leader. Anne's dad once drove a bus full of us to Washington, DC.  As the story goes, Anne's dad asked those of us in the rear to watch out the window while he backed up -- and as soon as he hit a pole, we told him exactly that. 
We discovered the Vermilion Valley Winery in Henrietta, pictured above, and the Jilbert Winery in Valley City. I've read that northeast Ohio has  more wineries per square mile than any other area of the US, and they do seem to be popping up all over.  
My cousin Rocky, second from left, and his wife Diane, hosted Jim, me and my Mom at their pretty home in Vermilion, Ohio.  Their house backs up to a creek close to where the creek ends at lake Erie.  Lovely.
We made several trips to the college town of Oberlin, Ohio, which is just north of Wellington.  Oberlin was a stop on the Underground Railroad in the 1850's and its college was the first in the nation to admit women and African Americans.  The trip above was made right after Oberlin held its "Chalk Walk" where master artists and enthusiastic amateurs let their creativity flow on public sidewalks. In the photo on the right are SIL Trudy, nephew Toby, brother Don and Jim.
Enjoyed wildlife -- like this white tail deer in a soybean field -- as seen from Mom's sunroom.
Got my photo in the local newspaper.  One morning Mom was looking at a newspaper supplement for a festival  my hometown hosts.  And my pic was in the supplement. It was taken last year, and I was surprised to see it. That's me to the left -- I'm not the blonde, waving, festival princess.