Friday, August 12, 2016

Surprising Southern Illinois

You'd think after being a resident of Illinois for 40-some years, I would have discovered southern Illinois far sooner.  But it always seemed to be "pass-thru" territory as I criss-crossed the region to get to somewhere else.

That was finally remedied this past April when southern Illinois became my home for 2 weeks.  My dear old T@B camping friends were holding a rally near Carbondale, so that became the destination to my 2,000-mile journey back to the Midwest.

Arriving to Carbondale about a week before the rally, I decided to check out Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge-- one of the very few NWRs that offers public RV camping with hookups inside its borders.

I arrived just ahead of the weekend warriors and snagged this gorgeous lakefront site for a week.  Just love "first come, first served" campgrounds!



Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Missouri's Magnificent Mingo NWR

My early April travels along Highway 60 from Enid, OK to southeastern Missouri were fairly uneventful.  The gentle, rolling prairies and oil/gas fields of northeast Oklahoma gave way to southern Missouri's Ozark mountains-- tree-covered hills of blooming dogwood and rosebuds.

I arrived to Lake Wappapello State Park north of Poplar Bluff, MO the day before a spring storm was to pass through.  Nestled in the forest with a distant view of the lake, my rolling home had found safe shelter, and at only $12/night for an electric site, quite a bargain to extend my stay a week and explore the area.  Number One on the list would be a visit to Mingo National Wildlife Refuge.


Sunday, July 3, 2016

OOOOk-lahoma!!!

Am I the only one who likes to crank up and sing along to old Rodgers & Hammerstein show tunes when crossing the Great Plains? (perhaps this explains why no brave man has settled into my RV's co-pilot seat!)

But who could resist belting out a few bars of "Oooook-la-homa" when seeing such bright yellow fields of canola (after so many months of just looking at desert brown)?


My April journey from the southwest to Chicago took me across the Sooner state on a couple of warm and sunny days-- carefully planned to avoid their notorious springtime thunderstorms and tornadoes.  On the agenda: a visit to a National Wildlife Refuge and a re-visit to a town closely tied to my family history.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Arizona to Amarillo

In early April, after leaving my fabulous boondock at Saddle Mountain, I wisely time my drive through downtown Phoenix for a low-traffic Sunday morning. Soon, I have Scottsdale in the rear view mirror as I climb up to the cooling pines of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.  I've never been to this area before, and look forward to some crisp pine scented air and evergreen vistas after months of brown desert scrub.


Thursday, June 2, 2016

My New Winnie View!

I've still got some posts to write about my travels from Arizona to Illinois this past spring, but wanted to jump ahead to real-time today and introduce you to my new Winnie View!


No, I haven't cashed in my retirement savings or gone into debt for a new model.  But, for only about 5% of the cost of a new 2017, I took my tired-looking 2007 View to the master craftsmen at Mike's Custom Painting (in Bremen, IN near Elkhart), and 4 weeks later, this shiny new-looking RV was ready to roll!

Before I show you all the cool before & after photos, let me step back and explain what lead up to this decision.

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