Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Onward!....To Madison, WI & Albert Lea, MN Tomorrow!

To the familiar refrain of Duke & Duchess singing in their best voices (not-that-good-really!) "On the road again!" we hit the road tomorrow. This is our traditional departure song.

Our time in Rockford with our daughter and her family was precious...though probably not the most interesting for our readers.

Now we are OFF.....Westward ho the RV!

We'll be on Route I-90 for many miles from here. 1st stop is Madison for the new RV awning. Then off to Albert Lea, MN tomorrow night.

Our schedule is for arrival at the Badlands on Friday night. Then a tour of the Badlands in our beloved little "Sideroad Suzie" on Saturday.

Still to come from Rockford...

I am piecing together a montage of shots of the front yard of our kids home as it bloomed during our stay. I think it will be interesting.

More stories of things there, and Duke's background in Rockford.....I was a Radio-TV Newsman there in the late 60s!!!! Many stories of my favorite city (except Winter!)...

Happy reading folks....and please stay tuned.


UPDATE: Re-reading the above and earlier posts I noticed i did not resolve the tires issue. Turns out we had a bent wheel (minor) and some balance needed. Rotated the bent wheel to inside of rear duals and all is well.


Monday, April 27, 2009


Our Rockford Family's New Home

Following several years in a smaller home, originally son-in-law Jeff's pad, the family of our daughter Nancy expanded and they needed to move. The result was their new place...
Grandma likes the huge rear deck with its 20 foot wide by about 30 feet long deck with seats built in.
The yard is a riot of flowers...many not yet blooming. These blue bells however were blooming already.
Pink Tulips opened as if to greet us on our arrival in Rockford.
We're enjoying the time here but it will all end next Thursday as we begin in earnest the trip to the West Coast.

Meanwhile the mundane intrudes.....a new awning for the coach and tire balancing as well.



Rockford & Family

Rockford, home of our Daughter, Son-in-law and 4 grandkids...including one we had never seen who is now 6 months old.

Here is our campsite at Blackhawk Valley Campground.
Grandpa and newest grandson Ian Scott enjoying some family time.
The kids have a new home (more on that in a later post). This is the view of part of the backyard with 12 year old Grandson Garret Paul and dog Max.
Middle grandson Eddie learns to drive his new "big-boy-bicycle" in front of thr home. Birthday is next week, but Grandma and Grandpa had to gift early...
Our first full day at their home and we just had to have "Paul's almost famous ribs!"

The new home is a major improvement for our kids, and they are in love with the home. A few more shots will follow in my next post.



Saturday, April 25, 2009


Day 4.5 - Errrrrr

Trips by RV are always fraught with the unexpected. In a way, that is part of the entire travel deal. One had either better expect it, or simply not travel except by plane...yeah right!

I'll be posting the new day's pics soon, but had to post on the troubles one can experience when on-the-road.

Our coach has a few years on it, and thus the parts likewise are some a bit aged. We began the trip knowing this, and our five-year warranty protects us to some extent, however...high wind in our campground in Rockford (Blackhawk Valley Campground) has left us with a partially-shredded big awning. Time for replacement. No Camping World in Rockford. Found one in Madison, WI, just 2 hours away. Actually on our route when we depart next week from Rockford heading West. Awning ordered and will be replaced. Billfold lighter by $1,200...

Also having a bit of trouble with front end. Seems either tires out of balance or front end needs alignment. Had it aligned last Summer. Bummer. Will be having this checked when the new week begins.

Such is life on the road. On the positive side, a recalcitrant water heater which refused to re-ignite once it had heated the water has been fixed. Solution; a small bit of sandpaper on connectors to the unit. Some things do go well when traveling.

Rain came in this morning and we are now planning a fine evening meal of "Duke's Almost-Famous Ribs" and the side dishes. Fun & Food!



Friday, April 24, 2009


Day 4 - Terre Haute to Rockford, IL & Family!

Reminder: View pics larger by clicking on them!

Off from the friends of Terre Haute to our family in Rockford, IL. As we left Terre Haute we spotted this county building which has one of the tallest domes I have seen on such a small building. It was impossible to catch the entire building because of the other structures around it.
On I-39, from Bloomington, IL to Rockford is a flat stretch of road where prevailing winds are evident almost year round. Also evident are two quite large collections of wind-driven generators creating electricity. I am not sure which power company owns them...perhaps Edison out of Chicago.
Our Rockford family (part of them)....from left Duchess, Son-in-law Jeff, granddaughter Jacalyn, Daughter Nancy and Grandson Garrett Paul.
My mental picture of Jacalyn is a blonde four year old sitting on a booster chair at a computer....The reality is a 16 year old Cheerleader who drives and has a boyfriend!
Youngest grandson Ian Scott has an ear infection, and trouble going to sleep, but a Grandfather's touch is always magic.
As I told the family...It was not magic...I just waited until his Tylenol kicked in
and off to sleep city quickly.

Precious moments for a Grandpa!



Thursday, April 23, 2009


Day 3 - Brazil, IN & Friends & #762 & #1077

Marvelous Day! Spent with friends, the Halls. A visit to their home and then a drive, a good meal, and visits to two local Elks Lodges. This is a picture of the wall logo outside Greencastle, IN Elks Lodge #1077One thing Duchess and I do on our trips is collect Lodge pins. This is the unique pin for Greencastle Lodge.

We also visited Brazil, IN Lodge #762, however despite meeting some of the friendliest folks so far on our trip, we were unable to collect a pin as they were locked in the Lodge office.
Dogwoods in bloom, as noted in previous stories, and this fine example of a bloom on our friend's tree.The blooms are for all types of trees, dogwood, crab apple, and many more.
A Redbud tree in bloom lovely against the still nude trees.
The Halls have an uninvited guest at the side of their home...a Robin nesting atop their electric meter.
We had a full day, and today, Thursday, we'll hit the highways of Indiana and Illinois as we head for Blackhawk Valley Campground in Rockford, IL and a visit with Daughter Nancy, Son-in-law Jeff and our four lovely grandchilren.

Have a great day!



Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Day 2 - Chattanooga to Terre Haute, IN

EDITOR'S NOTE: All the pics in these posts can be viewed in larger format by clicking on them!

Cool morning (for us) at 48 degrees. Off from Chattanooga to Terre Haute, IN to see old friends Dick & Norma Hall for a day or so. Just out side Chattanooga on I-24 one begins the climb up into the Blue Ridge continuation. One climb is 5% for 5 miles to reach Monteagle. "Roadhouse" did the job well for a gas engine.
Across Tennessee and then Kentucky we approached the Ohio River and this magnificent twin span. The river, and all its tributaries in this region are still high. Lots of local land is still underwater.
Now into Indiana, and our approach to the campground is along the winding two-lane roads of this area. Early Dogwood and a few other plants bloom in an otherwise colorless forest of denuded trees. Most, however, as seen in this pic are showing small blooms which will become the Indiana forest of thick-leaved trees.We ended the day with an all-too-short visit to The Halls in their small-town home, and then off to Mario's Mexican Restaurant for a great meal of Mexican origin.

Tomorrow we visit the Halls again, and discuss old times. They stood up with Duchess and i when we married 15 years ago this fall. We were all in the Coast Guard Auxiliary and Dick and I were National Staff Officers at the same time. He had a colorful career visiting a number of places and bases while I sat home and wrote the national newsletter for the Department of Marine Safety & Environmental Protection... Known as "Department M"...

The temp this morning at the Terre Haute KOA...37 degrees...a real chill for we Tampanians! HERE IS A LINK TO OUR VISIT TO THIS KOA IN JULY 2007. and THIS IS THE POST AND PICS OF OUR DAY ON THE WATER IN 2007 WITH THE HALLS. No water trip this year as the temps are cold, and the boat still in winter hibernation.



Tuesday, April 21, 2009


April 21st - Early Morning Post

Trouble sleeping....1st night on-the-oad, etc.

Random thoughts.

Thanks to Lisbeth for her comment to my last post, and more importantly go see her lovely pics and stories on her site as she and hubby and their young one "Spud" (April) travel about our country and post in both English and Danish. VISIT THEIR SITE HERE...You'll be glad you did!

Cats, C J & Jackie, are relaxing. Jackie, who is less than one year old, has only gone on one short trip with us previously. That was when she was weeks old, and now I am quite sure she does not remember it at all. C J, the mature 14 year old, is an old hand having 10,000 miles or so under his fur. A new trip, following a prolonged stay at home, usually stresses them for the 1st day. We think it is both the vibration of the engine and road and the constant motion of travel. They adapt to travel nicely, and even now (4am) they are prowling. Jackie is learning the bed is verboten! Both explored all the nooks and cracks of the coach. I am sure they will be the subject of pics in coming days as they find cute things to do.

It is raining softly, and we are sitting in a campground just S. of Chattanooga. The temp is plunging (for us) to high 40s, and our furnace is set just in case. The noise from nearby I-75 is constant with the 24 hour per day traffic of trucks and cars going North and South.

Well, time for this driver to hit the sack again, after 45 minutes of awake time. Tomorrow, as previously noted, we travel North to Terre Haute, IN. The morning will bring a turn onto I-24 and the climb into the mountains which will test a bit our "Roadhouse" (33 foot Damon Challenger) which is, of course, pulling "Side Road Suzie" now loaded with our golf clubs as we plan to play a round or two on this trip...testing Duchess' new-found skills.

Good night all!



Monday, April 20, 2009


April 20th - Tampa to Chattanooga (Almost!)

Day 1 of a planned two-month trip visiting Indiana, Illinois, and then off to the West for many stops....all to be enumerated as we travel.

Today began with a phone call to friend Lesley at 7:30am as we left Tampa, and began the treck North on I-75. Our purpose in calling??? To sing our traditional song for a day-of-departure....Willie Nelson's "On The Road Again!"

The difference is, 1st we cannot sing, and second, we follow the edict of our good friend Richard Hall who claims almost all people know the first 2 lines of any popular song...but no more. Well...for Ms. Lesley we made up the 3rd and 4th lines.

We cleared Florida in 3 hours 45 minutes!

Then Georgia......there there are two things never changing! 1. The fact that I-75 in Georgia has been under construction since I moved to Florida from 1978! 2nd, The least every 3rd one of which must be about a strip joint or "adult fun center"....
Along the roads of N. Georgia the Dogwood is in bloom.
We approach Chatanooga, and land for the night. We're in the process of buttoning up as the temps have seriously dropped since our arrival and the passage of a cold front during the day. Lots of blankets tonight for we "softies" of the South.
Tomorrow, off to Terre Haute, IN to meet with the couple who stood up with Duchess and I at our marriage 15 years ago this coming October.

More for a hot cup of tea, some warm PJs and a good book!



"On The Road Again!" - April 20th

Today we left Tampa, and I have pics to post plus some thoughts on the beginning of a two-month trip covering many states and areas of the USA.

I'll be posting as soon as I edit some pics and gather my thoughts.

Hello from Chattanooga, S. KOA!

Covered more than 540 miles today in "Roadhouse" which performed beautifully.