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Rolling down the highway...

Monday, July 6, 2015

Dee's Sewing Skills - Baseball Games

(Scott AFB, Belleville, IL) Hi 88 Lo 79 -- Happy Independence Day everyone!

Our RV has a vinyl liner that covers the bottom of the rig, and there are several zippered cutouts that allow access to the slide motors and other parts of the undercarriage. The zipper broke on one of the cutouts and we've tried various types of tape to keep it from flapping, but they all came loose. We finally came up with the idea to sew it with an upholstery needle and heavy duty upholstery thread. On Saturday Dee climbed underneath and showed off her sewing skills. She did a wonderful job! (Click on the photos to enlarge them.)

A good example of why all young girls should learn how to sew. (They still learn that in Home Economics, right? Yeah, right.)

This holiday weekend I got to go to two St. Louis Cardinals games one on Friday with my sister-in-law Doris (Dee's sis) and her husband Herm, and one on Sunday with son Frank and the grand boys Kyle and Kendall.

Friday night the Cards took on the San Diego Padres. We had very good loge seats on the first base line.

Here's a panorama that shows most of the stadium.

I took this selfie of Doris and me. It's out of focus, but I wanted to show what a fun-loving gal she is.

The Cards lost to the Padres, losing their fourth consecutive game. It was only their first 4-game losing streak of the season.

On Sunday I went with son Frank, and grand boys Kyle and Kendall to watch the Cards take on the Padres again. They won the night before, so they ended that pesky losing streak. We had a great time sitting in the outfield bleachers. Frank said it reminded him of all the games we watched from the bleachers in the old Busch Stadium when he was a kid and I was stationed here at Scott AFB.

Frank, Kendall, and Kyle

Frank wanted to show me Ballpark Village, the big area of restaurants and nightclubs that opened a couple of years ago. I'd never seen it so I was looking forward to checking it out. It's right across the street from the stadium, as you can see here. The stadium is on the left and Ballpark Village is on the right.

Here it is looking back from the other end of the street, with the stadium's main entrance on the right.

Inside there is a huge central atrium area with tables for enjoying food and drink from the many eating and drinking establishments that ring the complex. And check out the size of that TV! (note from Dee: he wants that in our RV)

Not only do they show all the Cards games on that big TV (and all of the smaller ones that are everywhere), but Frank said they show all the other national sports leagues during their various seasons. Looks like a fun place to gather for sports fans.

The Cards won the game, which made for a happy trip home. It was a very special day for me to be with my boys, one I'll never forget.

Tonight we're going to have pizza night with the family as we regrettably have to say goodbye to them for another year. It's been a great three weeks. We're leaving tomorrow for Indianapolis.

See you in a few days.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Movies - Grandsons

(Scott AFB, Bellville, IL) Hi 84  Lo  70  --    We forgot to mention a couple of movies we saw in the last week or so. We like mentioning the movie we attend so we can keep up with what we've seen.

Ted 2 is a very funny but raunchy comedy. We both enjoyed it but it didn't quite live up to the hilarity of the trailers of it that we saw. We recommend it, but it's rated R, and it really earns the rating with a lot of coarse language and raunchy humor. So beware if you don't like that sort of thing.

We saw Terminator Genisys with the grandsons. They loved it, we enjoyed the special effects and action. But it was slightly confusing to follow, what with all the time travel and stuff. It also helps to know the backstory from the previous Terminator movies of the 80's. Arnold Schwarzenegger was a hoot to watch. The guy's still got it as far as bringing the action. Just leave your thinking cap at home, you won't need it. Would we have gone to see it without the grandkids? Probably not, we're getting kind of bored with all the CGI-filled action hero movies.

We love having the grandkids spend the night with us in the RV whenever we visit, and this year is no exception. We had a wonderful dinner at their place, then brought the boys home with us. We ate junk food and watched two DVD movies with them, and by then it was almost midnight, so we inflated our queen-size air mattress and the boys slept on our living room floor. It made for a crowded home, but it was so much fun!

Jim, Kyle and Kendall

This morning we were all up by 10am and goofed around awhile then took the boys home. Kyle is 16 years old and has his drivers license, so of course he has been wanting a car. He's been saving his money from his weekend job, and this morning his mom Angie went to pick up his new (to him) 1998 Ford Escort and had it waiting for him when we got there. It looks pretty sharp with its bright red color, and will be very economical for him to drive around town and back and forth to work. We're so happy we were here to see the joy on his face when he got it. Congrats Kyle!

We're still getting rain in the area but not as much as we've gotten the past two weeks. Maybe it can dry out a bit. We noticed an addition to the famcamp here at Scott AFB, a new fire pit.

It would be great if they would get sewer hookups at each site, but that's not likely to happen any time soon. A couple of days ago we had to go through our hitch-up routine just to drag Tumbleweed a few hundred yards to the dump station to drain our tanks. :(

This evening Jim is going to the Cardinals baseball game at Busch Stadium with my sister Doris and hubby Herm. So I'll have an evening to myself. I'll be in the chat room and keep an eye on the game on TV.

See you in a few days.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Early Fireworks - Meeting Up With Friends

(Scott AFB, Belleville, IL) Hi  88 Lo 75 --  Saturday night there was a big fireworks show in the nearby small town of Shiloh. It's a week before the July 4th celebrations, but a local fireworks company is celebrating 50 years in business so they decided to give the locals an early fireworks show. It was a full 25 minutes long and very spectacular! It was held in a town park and there was a good turn out.

Kyle, Hunter, Kim, Angie, Kendall, Dee and Jim. Kim and Hunter are Angie's sister-in-law and niece.

We tried to get some pictures of the fireworks, but they didn't turn out very good :(

Sunday we went to church and lunch with the kids. We had storms south of us but the rain managed to miss us.

Today we had our annual lunch meeting with Steve, an old workmate of Jim's from when we lived here in the 80's and 90's. On the way there we saw this beautiful old church.

We had a great visit with Steve, spending over two hours talking about current events and what's going on in our lives. We forgot to get a picture of him, but here's one from when we saw him last year.

After lunch we stopped by to see my friend Ruth. She was babysitting her grandson William, and is he ever a cutie!

It was great to see Ruth again. We're going to try to get together again before we leave.

We have a week to go before moving on. See you in a few days.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Rain, Rain and More Rain

(Scott AFB, Belleville, IL) Hi 79 Lo 69 -- It seems like we've had nothing but rain since we've been here. We always seem to run into bad weather when we get  to Illinois. At least there hasn't been any tornadoes or hail yet.

Thursday night we met up with Delores (Dee) and Les, friends of ours from when we were stationed here back in the 80's. We met Dee at Papa Vito's in Belleville for dinner. Les was on the road returning from a trip and didn't meet us until later in the evening at Main Street Tavern for drinks. It was great seeing them again and catching up. We were happy to hear they're retiring and moving to The Villages in Florida, which is a couple of hours from our home in Avon Park. So we hope to see them again this winter. I forgot to get a picture of Les, but I got a picture of Dee at dinner.

Thursday night it rained all night, with some really heavy downpours. Today was better, with off and on sun most of the day. Jim got the laundry done. Later this afternoon we went to pick up Jim's new chair, a La-Z-Boy rocker/recliner. He loves it. He said he didn't realize just how bad the old was getting. We visited with the kids awhile and heard all about their three days in Wisconsin Dells, and their stop at Dyersville, IA to see the Field of Dreams. They had a great time.

We're really glad we went to my sister's in Missouri when we did. The flooding in her area has gotten a lot worse. She's very isolated with U.S. 61 closed down, and she can't drive to Troy, which is only six miles from her. It's a mess in that area, and we're hoping the rivers recede quickly.

See you in a few days.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Visit with Sister - More Flooding

(Scott AFB, Belleville, IL) Hi 86 Lo 76 -- Sunday we went to church with the kids and out to lunch with them, then we immediately left for Troy, MO to visit my sister. The trip was about 80 miles. Late that afternoon we had a line of thunderstorms come through.

One of the reasons for our visit was to go with sis and two other friends to some of the wineries in the Hermann, MO area. We left the guys at home on Monday and made it a girls' day out. There's been a LOT of rain in the area since we got here, and some of the highways were closed due to flooding. We had to take a 25-minute detour to get to the wineries.

This is a field. The water is from the overflowing Quivre River.

The river was almost over the bridge we crossed.

Hermann, MO is known for the many wineries in the area.  We went to several of them, starting at one of our favorites, the Stone Hill Winery where we had lunch. Their restaurant has great food. Three of us had the shrimp BLT and one had the Roast beef  sandwich.

From left to right, Doris, Dee, Judy and Cindy

We went to several wineries, Hermannhof Winery, Adam Puchta WineryOak Glen Vineyard and Winery was our favorite mainly for the views.

Oak Glen Vineyard and Winery

This was our last stop. Can you tell we enjoyed ourselves?

We got back to my sister's and picked up Jim and Herm (Doris's hubby) and went to dinner at J.R. Diamond's, a small mom and pop place just down the highway. They serve basic diner fare, comfort food that's good and plentiful.

This morning we had a smooth (and sunny) trip back to Illinois. We're hoping the rain is gone for awhile so things will dry out. While we were relaxing from the trip we heard the music from an ice cream truck that made its way through the famcamp area. Jim couldn't resist.

Frank, Angie, and the grand boys headed to Wisconsin Dells for the week for their summer vacation. It was scheduled long before we arrived so we couldn't avoid the conflict with our visit. We'll visit some friends and get some errands done in the area while they're gone. 

See you in a couple days.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Family - Flooding- Movie

(Scott AFB, Belleville, IL) Hi  86 Lo 79 -- In the last blog we mentioned we ordered a new La-Z-Boy recliner for Jim. I forgot to include a photo I took of him trying out his new chair. This is the model he got, but the one we ordered is dark blue leather.

Thursday afternoon our good friends Ken and Cindy came for a visit.  We met them several years ago online when we were just beginning to think about going full time, We met them in person the first time in 2010 at the RV-Dreams Rally in South Carolina. They live in Quincy, IL, but they drove down to see us from a state park about an hour north of us where they've been camping. We try to see them whenever we're in Illinois.

We showed them around the base, then sat in our rig for a few hours and chatted away. We ended up going out to dinner at a restaurant in Fairview Heights, Lotawatta Creek Grill. They have great food and a lot of it. We brought home enough leftover food for two more meals. They left from there and we returned to the base. It was so great to see them again. Thanks for coming guys!

Yesterday (Friday) I got a massage. I have a favorite gal here locally and I always schedule a massage with her when we're in town. It rained all night and it was still pouring rain when we left for O'Fallon. There were flash flood warnings all over the St. Louis area, and the roads on base were a mess. We were routed around to a gate we normally don't go through, and several times we had to go through standing water in the road. I felt the car lose traction a couple of times, but we finally made it off base.

The lakes on base are full of water. These are not that far from our RV park.

The creek at the end of the road leading to the RV park. It never got over the road, thank goodness.

After my massage we picked up the grand boys, Kyle and Kendall, and took them to lunch at Taco Bell. We forgot just how much two teens can eat!

Kyle and Kendall

After lunch we dropped Kendall off at his fitness center for his workout, and took Kyle to Barnes & Noble bookstore for an hour. We picked up Kendall and dropped both boys off back home and then went back to the base, hoping we'd be able to make it back to the RV park. The water had receded a lot and we made it fine.

Later that night we went to dinner with Frank, Angie, and the boys to Smokey Bones BBQ. We also got to meet Kyle's girlfriend Abby as she joined us for dinner. She's very sweet and very cute, and she and Kyle make a beautiful couple.

Abbey, Kyle, Kendall, Angie, Frank and Jim.

Today we picked up Kyle and Kendall and took them to see the movie Inside Out. It's the new Pixar animated movie, and it was wonderful! We all loved it, and put it right up there with Toy Story, Up, and all the other Pixar movies.

We went back to their place and visited awhile then went home. Tomorrow we're going to my sister's house in Troy, MO to spend a couple of days with her and her husband Herm.

We'll see you in a couple of days.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Family Time in Illinois

(Scott AFB, Belleville, IL) Hi  82 Lo 71 -- We had a smooth trip on Monday from Frankfort, Kentucky to Scott AFB, Illinois. We dodged rain the whole trip. After we got set up we went to our son's house for dinner. It was great being with the grand kids and getting caught up with their lives.

Our site at the Scott AFB Famcamp.

It seems like every time we come to the midwest we have bad weather. It's been rainy ever since we got here, and a lot more is on the way from Tropical Storm Bill. So we'll have rain off and on all week. Yesterday (Tuesday) we went between rain showers to get groceries at the Commissary on base, then son Frank brought the grand kids over for a couple hours to visit.

Today we met for lunch with Dom and Ellen, a couple who are visiting this area from New York. They're avid geocachers we met several years ago, and they're in town visiting Dom's sister Jean. We had a nice chatty lunch with them at a nearby Culver's.

Dom, his sister Jean, and his girlfriend Ellen

After lunch we took care of some errands around town. One was to shop for a new recliner for Jim. He's worn out his current La-Z-Boy recliner, so we stopped and looked at some new ones. They're having a big Father's Day sale, so he picked one out and it's on order. It should be in by the end of next week. We got home before the rains started and settled in for the night.

We'll post some pictures of the kids soon. See you in a couple days.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Buffalo Trace Distillery Tour - Frankfort, KY - Dirt Track Racing

(Frankfort, KY) Hi 88 Lo 70 -- Jim loves bourbon. A few years ago we toured all 6 bourbon distilleries that at that time made up the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. (They've added two distilleries since then.) One of his favorite bourbons is Buffalo Trace, so on Friday we revisited the Buffalo Trace distillery here in Frankfort. (Click on the pictures to enlarge.)

Jeff was our tour guide. He has a background in chemistry so he was able to go into great detail about the distilling process.

Buffalo Trace produces several brands of bourbon. Some of their smaller brands are labeled and boxed by hand, like this crew bottling Blanton's Bourbon.

There were many displays of bourbons covering the long history of Buffalo Trace.

One of the many warehouses where the bourbon is aged anywhere from 2 to over 20 years, depending on the brand.  

We were taken inside to see the hundreds of barrels, all at different stages of the ageing process.

Our tour group was quite large.

Everyone  to sample some bourbon at the end of the tour. For those who don't drink, or don't like bourbon (like me), they offered some root beer they make on site.

After our tour was over we took a drive through Frankfort. Jim found out online that Daniel Boone was buried at the Frankfort Cemetery, so we made a stop there to check it out. I like to walk around old cemeteries anyway. 

The cemetery is on a big hill overlooking the Kentucky State Capitol Building.

We went back to the RV park and found it was filling up fast with weekenders. There was a group of "teardrop" RV enthusiasts who got together for the weekend. I talked to Mona, who showed me her custom teardrop unit. There's a small AC, TV, a queen bed and many of the comforts of home. She said their group travels to different states on weekends (they all work). If it's rainy, they stay inside and watch TV. There were nine in the group and it looked like they were having a good time. 

The back of a teardrop RV opens up to reveal a small kitchen. Mona brings her Keurig coffee maker with her.

Bill, one of my chat room friends, came over Friday evening for a visit. We sat and talked for a while, then went to dinner at Gibby's, a small local restaurant in downtown Frankfort.

Dee and Bill

We were told by the park manager to try a local delicacy called Kentucky Hot Brown. It's turkey, white bread, tomato slices, and a creamy white cheese sauce, topped with cheddar cheese and bacon, then baked in the oven. Your basic heart attack on a plate. :-)  We all ordered it and it was very delicious, and very filling!

Bill drove us around downtown and took us by the Capitol building and the Governor's Mansion.

We said goodbye to Bill, then closed all the shades and stayed inside our air conditioned home on wheels while all the weekend "campers" enjoyed their outdoor life. We were pleasantly surprised at how quiet the park was, despite all the kids riding their scooters and bikes all over the place. (Double pane windows are the best!) Fortunately the pool and playground area is was at the other end of the park.

We found another dirt track in the area, so Saturday night we drove to Richmond Raceway, just south of Lexington, to watch some more racing. On the way we had dinner at Culver's. It's great to be back in Culver's territory. :-)  The racing action wasn't as good as last week in Tennessee, but we did see a lot of crashes, including two cars that flipped over. One of the features had to be shortened from 25 to 18 laps because there were so many crashes and the race was taking too much time. It ended up being a late night.

The sunset over the track was beautiful, which added to another great night of racing.

We had a great time the last couple of days. We move to Illinois tomorrow, where we'll enjoy some family time for a few weeks.