June 2005

June 1
Quincy to Tuscaloosa June 1
Before we even left the campground this morning, we had a call from the real estate agent with an offer on the house, $2,000 less than our asking price and a cash deal, with a closing date of June 29. Yee Haa!!
Today‚??s route took us through Dothan and Montgomery on US 231. We stopped at an Office Depot to receive the faxed offer on the house, signed it, then faxed it back. Across the street was a Panera Bread, so we connected to the internet and checked our e-mail and bank accounts.

Two hours later, we headed west on US 82 to Tuscaloosa and Lake Lurleen State Park. The drive was beautiful; hilly, forest, and lush foliage including lots of Kudzu vines. Part of the drive took us through a small part of the Talladega National Forest. This was hard to figure out, since we saw the sign but the map showed the national park at least 100 miles to the east of our location.

Lake Lurleen State Park is beautiful. The road leading to the park was hilly and curvy - a perfect Miata drive. The Volksbox managed very well. We got out choice of sites ($17), not a soul in sight and the clean restrooms right across the street. Not far from the site and down a small hill ran a creek that leads into the lake. There is a little waterfall just downstream from our site. The water is real brown in color.

June 2
Followed US 82 through Mississippi today. Driving west, the terrain changed very hilly and dense forests in the east to flat as we got toward the central part of the state and into Winona and Greenwood. We traveled through Mississippi before, but had never been through the north-central part of the state before.

We passed through Indianola, BB King‚??s birthplace, then stopped at the Highway 61 Blues Museum in Leland, but it was closed. As we came within 100 miles of the Mississippi River, the terrain became flat, open fields with very tall corn growing lots of cotton and soybeans. There were many large, grain & cotton processing plants along the way.

Lake Chicot State Park is where we decided to stay for the night ($16). It is just across the Mississippi River near Lake Village. Another beautiful state park. We have Baltimore Orioles, Cardinals, Robins, and lots of songbirds in the cluster of Cottonwood and Wild Pecan trees near our campsite. The lake is surrounded by Bald Cypress trees.

LakeVillage-Springfield June 3
Packed up and headed out around 10:30 this morning. Travelled northwest through Pine Bluff and Little Rock and on to Springfield, MO. It was pretty slow going because it was very hilly and two lane highway for much of the way. The countryside was beautiful, but the roads weren't in the best of condition.

Once we got to Harrison, just south of Branson, MO, the hills spread out and became very long and steep. The Volksbox struggled a little at speeds of more than 60, but did fine in the 55-60 mph range. While I was driving, Mike reminded to keep an eye on the tachometer and it was quite a bit higher than it should have been. I learned something today!

Arrived at Randy & Julie's at about 7:00 pm. Had a wonderful dinner and caught up on the last year's news.
June 4 & 5
On Saturday, Julie, Lanae & I went to garage sales. I hadn't done that for quite a while and had fun looking, but was unable to buy any stuff, no room for extras. We went to a picnic at Julie's sister's home that evening and met a lot of her family. The food and company was just great. Two of Lanae's cousins spent the night, so we had a houseful.

Today, the girls went to the Japanese Stroll Garden and Master Gardener's Demonstration Garden while the guys did guy things. Ryan and Lindsey joined us for dinner.
Japanese Gardens
View of Table Rock Lake from our campsite June 6 & 7
Randy, Ali, and Lanae took us to Mill Creek Campground on Table Rock Lake near Kimberling City, MO ($17). It was pretty close to the Arkansas border. A Corps of Engineers park that was just beautiful. All of the sites were either right on the lakeshore or very close to it.

Shortly after our arrival and a short swim, the storms rolled in and stuck around for a few hours. We even had some dime sized hail. Once it cleared, we roasted hot dogs and marshmallows and then enjoyed the playground and campfire.

Tuesday was just beautiful and we spent our time playing most of the day, then checked out and headed back to Springfield. It sure is fun having young people around, that didn't happen much in Oak Run.
June 8
I took Ali and Lanae on their first geocache titled. It was located just off the Ozark Greenways Trail, a hiking/biking trail at Sequiota Park in Springfield. It didn't take us long to find it. I think they enjoyed it and we plan to do another while we are still here.
Lanae & Ali's 1st Geocache
Camped at Rene & Mike's June 11 & 12
Today, we headed to Mike & Rene's place on Truman Lake. The drive north on US 65 took us through beautiful country, lots of hills and rock formations along to roadsides. A thunderstorm hit about 15 minutes before we got to our destination and it was pretty severe with high winds and heavy rains. The Volksbox handled pretty well, although we slowed down to about 45 mph.

On our arrival, we got a tour of the new addition which is just beautiful. Mike and his friends and family did a beautiful job. There is a picture in the June album.

We had a wonderful 2-day visit with lots of good food, good company, and good beer. Wish it could have been longer.
June 15 & 16
Randy & Julie‚??s vacation started today, so we decided to camp with them for a couple of days at the Pomme de Terre State Park in Pittsburg, MO ($14). This was the first campout for them in the travel trailer that Randy has been working on fixing up for some time. We camped on a hill overlooking the lake. The campsites were nicely spaced and very wooded and natural. We saw wildlife including deer, skunk, chipmonks, squirrels, armadillos, herons and many other birds, and lots of wildflowers.

What a beautiful backyard!
View from our campsite at Pomme de Terre State Park
Springfield-Sunrise Beach June 17 - 19
Today, we drove to Rita & Denny‚??s house at Lake of the Ozarks. It was a beautiful one-hour drive through small towns and lots of hills and rivers. Upon our arrival, we went shopping at the outlet mall at Osage Beach, then had a wonderful dinner on the deck.

Bob & Penny arrived that evening and we all spent the weekend relaxing, sunbathing, boating, dining, and some partying too. It was great to hang out with my family once again.

June 20 - 22
Travelled from Lake of the Ozarks headng north on US 54 until we reached US 61 near Hannibal. Found another beautiful campground in Missouri, this time at the Wakonda State Park ($14) located near La Grange, just north of Hannibal. The landscape has changed and is more Mississippi bottomland, flatter and more fields of crops along the way. Once again, the campground is not crowded, there are a few sites with RVs and a few tents. There are 4 small lakes in the park. A marker on a tree near our campsite indicated the level of the flood of 1993. It was about 10' up on the tree. Today, we walked to Agate River, along a gravel path through the woods for about a mile and back. Lucy was a trooper but was pretty totally tuckered out when we got back to the campsite.

We met a couple from Appleton, WI who were pulling a 28' 1966 Airstream, headed for the big rally in Springfield, MO. The trailer was just beautiful - they had been restoring it for the last 4 years. Quite a project.

A Baltimore Oriole provided us with quite a bit of entertainment until it met its demise when Lucy spotted it before I did. It happened so fast that I had no control. I think it was either in distress or in training.

Arrived in Stoughton at 7:30 pm. It was a long drive today because we travelled along the Mississippi River on the Missouri side for a while, then on the Illinois side. The countryside was gorgeous and the small river towns were pleasant to drive through. The total trip from Lake of the Ozarks took about 3 hours longer than in the past but was very enjoyable until the last 2 hours.

It feels good to be back in familiar territory.
June 30
June 23
The route to Stoughton took us along the Mississippi on the Illinois side, across US 20 through northern Illinois (a beautiful drive) and then on to Stoughton.
June 30
Last day of June, where does the time go? We've been enjoying our visits with family and friends since arriving in this area. Last Sunday we got to visit with many cousins at the surprise 80th birthday party of my cousin Fran.

The weather has been unusually hot and humid for this area for the past few weeks. There was little rain until last weekend when a few good thunderstorms rolled through. Last night, a cold front came through and the humidity dropped. We have nice breezes and the day is gorgeous - no AC today.

The countryside brings back memories of why we lived here for so long. The wild daylilies along the roadsides are so pretty and the color variations in the many shrubs and flower gardens are beautiful. I have been doing a little bit of gardening wherever we stop, usually in the form of weeding, since nobody minds a little help with that. I've also done some pruning for those who just cringe at the thought of hurting their poor little plants.