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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Seeing good friends and Trip to Illinois

Last week was nothing to write about until we got to the weekend, work was the same, our evenings were the same,except for Wednesday, we met long time friends Norma & Orren at "On The Border" Mexican restaurant. It is always a good time when we get together with them. A couple of nights we sat outside with the neighbors, I always knew and it has been verified many times in the four months we have been full timing that the other full timers are a great source of information about the little intricacies of full time RVing. My problem is I won’t remember all of it but when I get into a situation it may trigger a piece of information someone told me and I’ll be able to use it to solve the situation at hand. I probably need to write it down; I guess I will have to remember to do that.

Last Friday evening on my drive home from work, Sarah got off early and a fellow employee gave her a ride home, I received a phone call from Tom & Patsy Kelly, long time friends of ours from the Trailways days in Burlington. They were on the road with their son Brett and family, he was pulling his camper, and Brett’s truck developed some engine problem. They needed a place to camp for the night so they get the truck fixed Saturday morning, so they called us to see where we were camped and if they had any room. I stopped by the campground office and got them a spot, I figured there would be room, Sarah and I walk the campground as much as possible.

Well if truth be told, we walk it as much as she can get me out there; she has walked by herself at times. Anyway, Tom and family arrived about six thirty; it was great to see them. We have only seen them a few times in the past thirty or so years, we have kept in touch but that isn’t the same as sitting down and visiting. We went to Applebee’s for dinner and caught up on all the news. We didn’t solve any of the world’s problems but we had a good time reminiscing. Tom brought up names I had not heard or thought of in years, most of them I have no idea where they are today, names like Swank, Mellinger, Curley, Wood, the guys we used to drive with at Trailways, Dave Frantz may have an idea where a couple of the are now. Saturday morning Tom and Brett got the truck fixed and it was time for them to hit the road, their destination was Austin, MN. We said our good byes and watched them take off.
Then it was time for Sarah and I to get ourselves packed and ready to go to Rock Island, IL to Jumer’s Casino. We went there to meet up with a couple of guys I worked with at Ruan; we try to get together a couple of times each year. Tom & Cathy came over from New Lenox, IL and Chris & Amy live in Rock Island. George & Barb, from Muscatine, were out of town Saturday so they were not able to join us. Sarah and I called Carl & Merilee to see if they wanted to have lunch, they live in North Liberty, so it was on our way.

We met them at Texas Roadhouse and had a good meal and a great visit. After lunch we headed for Rock Island and arrived about three. I went to check in and saw Tom & Cathy, they had just arrived also. The desk clerk could not find my reservation luckily I had the confirmation number on my calendar in my IPhone. The hotel had spelled my last name wrong, Oenig, they forgot the H. The clerk would have never found it and I would have been charged for the room, although I am sure it would have been taken care of for me. We parked the car and went to our room; the room was a king and very nice. The rooms are good size and the baths are quite large. I didn’t like the bed much because it was too soft but I slept well so maybe I shouldn’t complain.

We met back down in the lobby and proceeded to go to the casino. I have gotten into the habit of getting the player’s card, or whatever they call it, at each casino we visit – I plan on collecting them but also sometimes they have some nice perks that go with the cards.

We sat in the video poker bar area to wait for Chris & Amy. Chris is working in Chattanooga, TN and gets home every other weekend, so we appreciate him & Amy joining us for the evening. We visited for a while when they arrived and them went to dinner at O’Melia’s, I believe that is how it is spelled. Amy wasn’t sure we would like the restaurant, it is locally owned and somewhat dated in the décor, but we all loved it. For me it brought back memories of the Arion restaurant in Burlington, it wasn’t quite as big as the Arion but the food was very good. We sat in the bar area which I liked a lot, we had great service and Amy said I would like the Old Fashions the bar tender made, she was right. I had a brandy old fashion; it rivaled the ones I use to get in WI, not a big but just as good. Then I tried one made with Southern Comfort, it was excellent. For dinner I had prime rib with true horseradish not the creamy.

I opted for the large cut and let me tell you it was large. The cut I had was about six inches long, two to three inches wide and every bit of two inches thick, the flavor was excellent. Needless to say I was full when we left.

It was now time to get down to the serious business of losing money and helping the state of Illinois with my donations in the casino. I played some one cent slots, the trouble here is you have to play twenty-five to fifty cents a spin to win anything substantial so you end up going through as much or more money than if you played the more expensive slots. Eventually I went to the video poker and video blackjack machines, I enjoy playing them but I wonder if I would be better off playing with humans. All in all we had a good time and ended the evening watching a young man at the roulette wheel lose over a thousand dollars. He would play almost every number with at least one chip and then put additional chips on certain numbers, not sure what his strategy was but I guessed he could afford to lose the money, he had a couple of young ladies tagging along with him.

It is interesting to watch the people who are in the casinos, almost all of them have the player’s cards but the amount of money you have to play to get any of the perks is unbelievable. I wonder if they tune out how much money they have lost, I can’t believe very many have made money playing the slots. This casino is totally smoke free and I did like that but I don’t believe I would go there anymore than we go to Prairie Meadows here in Des Moines.

Sunday morning we met in the café for breakfast. I ordered blueberry pancakes, I love blueberry pancakes, these were very good and the portion was huge. I got three pancakes within a half inch the diameter of the dinner plate they were on, I also got sausage links. The links were the good kind with the casing on them that makes you cut them with a knife. It was a very good breakfast.
Tom got hold of George and they were going to be home so we checked out and headed their way. Chris & Amy didn’t go because of the number of things they needed to get done during his time home. So with hugs and kisses we said our goodbyes and headed to Muscatine. I plugged the address into the GPS and it took us right to their place.

George & Barb have bought a home on a hill that overlooks the Mississippi river, I love it. They have done some extensive remodeling especially in the basement. Barb’s mother lives with them so they made the basement into her apartment with a separate entrance. It is absolutely fabulous; she has a kitchen, two bedrooms, two baths, washer & dryer etc. The main floor goes out to a screened in deck/porch, which goes out to an area with the grill and hot tub, there are stairs that go down to a very large deck for entertaining. The home is beautiful, very unpretentious from the street side but well decorated on the inside. We had a fabulous visit with them but all good things must come to an end and it was time to get on the road. So with hugs and kisses we headed for home.

Dreams Do Come True

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