Thursday, August 25, 2016

Life is GREAT!!

Our friends Shelly and Bob winter with us in Cedar Key.  Shelly’s birthday is in August and she really didn’t want to have a birthday party so instead, they threw a “Life is Great” party and invited 150 of their closest friends!

We spent 2 nights at Shelly and Bob’s “Go Away” Campground before moving to a nearby forest preserve.
Go Away Campground!

Our "home" for 2 nights   
Love their front porch

The main part of the house and barn are over 100 years old!

Shelly and Bob are very gracious hosts and we had a blast exploring with them and helping them prepare for the party.

Bob took us on several excursions showing us his farm equipment, farms, buildings, etc. as well as points of interest around the area.  He has A LOT of tractors!!

Bob enjoyed talking to Dan about his old tractors

I enjoyed seeing the horse barn

Old tack room
Playing in the cornfields - LOVE this picture

Dan on an old lawnmower

Antique hog oiler

Dan in the farm truck
Statue of Blackhawk - over 48 ft fall

and up close

Mama and her baby

Gin, Syl, Shelly and I went to Rockford one afternoon to run a few errands.   Of course we did not behave ourselves….
Goofy Gin

Silly Syl

Shelly, Gin and I monkeying around...Rockford is home of the Sock Monkey!
A lot of our friends from Cedar Key were coming to the party…
Rod, Ronnie, Bob and Mike

Glenda, Shelly, me, Jeannie, Syl and Gin
Shelly loves to have fun!  She wanted Syl and I to get people to “check-in” at the party by playing a game called Pie Face…it was like Russian roulette as you  never knew if you would get whipped cream in your face.

Gin (and Syl in the background)



There was even a 94 year old lady that did it.  And, of course, she got whipped cream in her face. She was such a good sport and said “you only live once”!
All dressed up!

Vel, Maggie, Tammy, and Rod

Bob, Beth and her sister
It was a wonderful party with tons of yummy food and drinks, good friends, music, dancing and tons of laughing.

 A few days after the party, Shelly and I along with 6 of her friends went on a road trip.  Shelly called us “Ladies on the Loose”.  We were head to Hamilton, Missouri…home of Missouri Star Quilt Company.
Crossing over the mighty Mississippi

Yep - we were being tourists!
We stopped at Amana Colonies in Iowa along the way…it was a neat little area and you could still see the German influence.

The flowers were amazing…

I had a number of “firsts” on the trip…first time in Iowa and Missouri, first time seeing a crop-duster and first time seeing an upside down rainbow!
                  Scientific name "circumzenithal arc" 

Corn is BIG business - corn processing plant
Whohoo - Quilting Mecca!!

Love the murals

Hamilton, MO is also the boyhood home of JC Penney!
As a bonus, we got a “behind the scenes” tour of Missouri Star Quilt Company.  It was pretty darn neat!
Look at all those bolts of fabric

precuts - ohlala!

Customers quilts waiting to be quilted

Long arm quilting machine

Ladies on the loose
This says it all!

Yep - life is indeed GREAT!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Spending time in Illinois

We left Tipsaw Lake and headed to yet another gem…Sam Parr State Fish and Wildlife Area in Newton, IL.  It is a small campground, has paved sites with decent spacing; 50A; no water hook-ups at individual sites but there were water spigots between sites.  All this for $18 a night! And, we were in the trees which was nice as our main air conditioner decided it was time to quit!

It was a wonderful place to ride bikes and chill…so that’s what we did.

Dan chewing on wheat from the field

Sam Parr Lake

Our site
We were only there 2 nights but we really enjoyed our find!!

We had made reservations at a Corp of Engineer campground for the 4th of July.  Lake Shelbyville in Illinois is HUGE and has about 1500 campsites that are either on the north side of the lake (us!) or the south side of the lake (everyone else!).  Not sure how we did it (luck?!) but we made reservations on the quiet side.  Suited us just fine!!

The ride to the campground was nothing but farmland!  Corn and soybeans!!  And boy was it flat!!

We had booked 12 days and filled it with a mixture of sight-seeing, bike riding,  smoking meat, playing cards, exploring the area, and chilling!

We started our stay off by celebrating Syl’s birthday!
Birthday bike ride

Lake Shelbyville
Itty bitty bunny that Syl spied

Where to now?

After the bike ride and picnic lunch, we stopped by to see the town’s Sunken Garden….
Pretty sunflowers

Syl getting a close-up

She pet a bumblebee!!
I love hydrangeas

Syl and Gin

There was a really neat old building in the town park…
Chautauqua Auditorium from 1903

We also explored the Corp of Engineer’s Visitor’s Center….
Riding across the dam

Pretty lake but too busy for us

Syl and her birthday pie...blueberry of course!

Dan shredding smoked pork butt - Best BBQ ever!
Gin, Syl, and I also tie-dyed one day.  Fun times

We also celebrated Gin's birthday (early!) one day but I guess I was too busy eating to get any pictures!!

Before we knew it, it was time for us to head out to our next destination!!