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Monday, July 12, 2010

Two for One

Another Busy Weekend - July 12, 2010

This weekend was one Sarah and I have looked forward to for the last few weeks. Steve, Lynne, Zack, Allison and Nick were in town Thursday, Lynne’s folks had the kids and so they were in town to get them. When Steve heard the boys were going to be there he decided to stay another night. Robert, Sarah, Mason and Madyson made the long trip from WI, they arrived Friday night. Daniel, Marie, Emily and Isabel came over Saturday morning from Omaha. They both stayed at the Ramada on Merle Hay road, there is a water park located inside the facility. I was told by the front desk it is a multi-million dollar renovation and I must say they did a nice job of it. The boys both had the king size rooms with a couch and small refrigerator, plenty of room for all of them. Thursday night we were going to Incredible Pizza for dinner but after we got there it was decided the place was too noisy, so we went to Happy Joe’s. Big mistake on our part. Steve ordered two pizzas and soda and I ordered a pizza and sodas, we never did get the pizza, but I did get a refund and we went on our merry way.

We all went to Adventureland Park Saturday morning; Robert headed out to the park bout nine thirty and took his mom with him to help with directions. I waited at the hotel for Daniel, he arrived a bit after ten and he followed me out to the park. We all met up at the Ferris wheel and had a great time all day. My favorite ride at any park is the train, now the train at Adventureland is not that great but I like riding it anyway. The kids rode the airplanes, boats, big trucks and several other rides. Robert and Daniel wanted to ride the Tornado which is the only original roller coaster left in the park; they didn’t get to do it because they didn’t want to wait in line that long. One of the roller coasters was being repaired so it made the lines at other rides longer. In fact as near as I could tell all the rides I say had a waiting line that long, I wasn’t interested in them so it didn’t matter to me. I give the little ones a lot of credit; they were troopers and didn’t slow down a bit. Marie’s big want for the day was to have a corn dog. We found the corn dog stand and she got a foot long one and ate all of it, they were very good. Marie is seven months pregnant so she will miss the State Fair and the corn dogs there so we are very happy the doctor let her travel this weekend.

The kids wanted to “fish” at this one stand so I helped Isabel and we finally hooked a fish after several misses. The prizes being a stuffed frog, well because of the fishing expertise of her granddad she hooked the fish for the large frog. She carried that frog with her the rest of the day. The last ride we took before leaving was the chair lift or some such name as that; it goes from one end of the park to the other. Mason and I rode together and he was telling me about the shoes on the roof of a building, I know he has never ridden this ride before but he was right there was a shoe on a roof. He must have seen the same thing at another park.

We left the park about three and all four kids fell asleep on the ride back to the hotel. In fact Daniel spent an extra twenty minutes driving around town to give the girls some extra sleep time. We got Daniel checked into the hotel and then we went to eat. We went to El Rodeo a very good Mexican restaurant, I don’t know what Daniel ordered but there was enough on the plate for two. All in all it is a good place to eat if you like Mexican food.

After dinner it was time to go back to the hotel so the kids could get into the water park. Sarah even got in with the kids and really enjoyed it. I am not a water/swimmer person so I don’t get in the pool, I will get in the hot tub if it is not crowded. I was in a hot tub one time where there were way too many people in it; I didn’t stay in very long. The kids really had a blast. This water park does not have deep water except where the big slide ends; most of the water is only a foot deep. You still have to watch the little ones but they all had a great time.

Sunday dawned cloudy and a forecast of rain off and on all day. We got up and went to church and I called the office to see if the clubhouse was reserved, it wasn’t, we took it and it was the best decision I have made in a long time. Even if the weather had been forecasted to be nice all day the clubhouse is still the way to go. Robert and Sarah were the first ones to arrive and Sarah told me she could “camp” in one of these, she said this as she sat on the couch, I have converted her to camping. To clarify she said she could “camp not live” in one. Mason liked the truck; he got into the driver’s seat and was ready to drive. Tiffany, Matt and Alexa came down from Nevada.

We took everything over to the clubhouse; we had bought some burgers, buns and misc items. Tiffany brought brats and hotdogs, Cynthia brought a Cole slaw salad, it is one I really like I think it is Chinese something or other. We also had potato salad, Sterzings potato chips, watermelon and cookies and cupcakes so there was plenty to eat. My little grill is not that big and I ran out of propane for it so that slowed us down a bit. It cooked up six hot dogs, six brats and two burgers at the same time, so it did pretty good.

About two-thirty Daniel and family took off for Omaha, Tiffany, Matt and Allison headed home to Nevada and Robert and family went back to the hotel. It was great fun to watch how quickly the kids got acquainted and played together. Mason was greatly outnumbered being the only boy out of the six grandkids. We were able to get some pictures of all the little ones which was one of the things I wanted to do because I don’t know when we will get them all together like this again.

Sunday afternoon we went to the movie, Sarah and I haven’t been to a movie in a long time, we saw Despicable Me, it was good but I thought it was more of an adult movie than a kid’s movie. I want to rent it and watch it again because I know there were a couple of times I wished I could rewind the film and watch a particular scene of segment over. Overall I enjoyed it and I am glad we went to see it. The kids were pretty good throughout the movie, in fact there were a lot of kids there, and I believe 95% of the theater was sold out.

After the movie we went over to the hotel to visit a bit longer with the Robert and Sarah and about 7:15 we left for home. I have a tendency to get the kids going and then it is difficult to get them to sleep, so we went home. It is also my time to wind down and get mentally prepared for work. I read the paper, watched the last of the NCIS shows of the night and went to bed.

It was a perfect weekend, we couldn’t have asked for better weather; in fact the Good Lord changed Sunday’s forecast to give us a great day. Sarah and I are very thankful we have kids who get along well with each other and those they come in contact with, I pray that will always be and that they continue to stay in each other’s lives.

When we got home the neighbors, John & Kathy, Dick & Judy were sitting out so we grabbed our chairs and joined them. A couple hours of good conversation and it was time to pack it in for the night.

I was in bed by 10:15, early for me, but I was tired. This weekend showed that Dreams Do Come True.

July 6th:
Last weekend was great, being the July 4th weekend we decided to take an extended weekend. Dave and Shari Frantz are camp hosts for Crossroads RV Park, http://www.xrdsrv.com/, in Mt Pleasant, IA so with our destination set we began our weekend.

My company offices closed at 1 pm on Friday and Sarah wasn’t able to get off until 3:30 so we decided I should drive the truck to work and fuel it on my way home and Sarah would drive her car to work as usual. Our original plan had me breaking down the camper and headed to Mt. Pleasant as soon as I was ready and Sarah would follow when she got off work. As it turned out she forgot her cell phone so I said I would wait for her to get home.

I got started on the camper after I got home and took my time, it was hot outside and I wasn’t in any big hurry anyway. Sarah had packed most of the small breakable things, she has sitting out, the night before. I turned the recliners, got everything off the floor etc and had the slides in and most of the outside work done when she got home. That left hooking up the camper to the truck and unplugging it from the electric. We have an air ride hitch and it needs to be aired up, it has a tendency to drain off the air when it sits awhile. We were hooked up and ready to go by 4:30 and we headed out.

This was our maiden voyage with the camper and truck, other than pulling the camper over from the dealer to our camp site, so I was anxious and apprehensive at the same time as to how everything would go. I have to say the truck performed flawlessly and the camper pulled very nicely. With the F350 I was told to take the truck out of overdrive when starting from a stop with the camper hooked on and then putting the truck into overdrive after we reached 50 mph. I did that the entire time we had the two units. With the f550 it has a Tow/Haul mode so on this trip I would begin in that mode and then take it out of tow/haul once we reached 50 mph. The truck ran great pulling the hills none of them were over a 2-3% grade so it wasn’t much of a test for it, but I was still happy with the way the trip went.

We pulled into Crossroads RV Park about 7 pm and set up the camper except for the interior we did that later in the evening. Dave and Shari were there to great us along with their granddog Moe. After we did our set up we went out to eat, I don’t remember the name of the place but the Philly sandwich and homemade fries were great.

Saturday Sarah was up early and wanted to go for a walk. Now Dave had told me that three times around the exterior of the park was a mile, he says he walks fifteen times around for five miles, I didn’t attempt that, but I did three. Anyway, we get out and go around one time and I said to Sarah we should see if Moe wants to go for a walk. So we knocked on the door and sure enough Moe was more than willing to join us, of course you have to clean up after them, so I walked Moe and Sarah batted cleanup. Moe is a female dog who lifts her leg to go, something I had never seen before but it was natural for her. Moe went around the park with us twice but when we got to her camper after the second time she made a beeline for her camper, she was through walking. It was fun and we become good buddies after that. She did have a habit of coming up and licking my left ankle, I don’t know what that was all about but I have a clean left ankle now.

Sarah and I left the campground around nine to go visit the cemeteries of her folk, my dad, sister, grandmother and my daughter. We also took the opportunity of going by the farm where Sarah grew up and the old bar place where we would go camping with the kids and others. We saw the first barge, in a long time, making its way downriver while we waited on the bridge at Ft Madison. The bridge crossing the Mississippi at Ft Madison is a swing bridge for cars and trains, a swing bridge has a section that swings open on a pivot to allow the barges to pass.

We went by our old house in West Burlington and took pictures of the tree we had planted in the mid eighties. This tree was nothing more than a twig with roots on it when we planted it and now it is 25-30 feet tall and bushy, it is a very nice looking tree.

We were back at the campground by three and got ready to have our cookout with my brother Larry, his wife Kathy, their kids Brad, Andy and Jill and their kids, I’d name them all but I am afraid I would miss one and get into trouble. Also Larry brought our Aunts Millie and Marcella to the gathering; I think they enjoyed themselves it was great seeing them. Dave and Shari also joined us; we had us adults and seven kids. Dave performed his magical touch on the grill and prepared burgers, hotdogs and brats, they were great. Dave has also mastered the art of Dutch Oven cooking, makes a great brisket with cobbler for desert. It was a great time, we enjoyed seeing the kids it had been a while since we last saw them.

Sunday was a day of not doing much we stayed around the campground, it rained some, I did some reading and computer stuff. Sarah and Shari went to the store and bought some nice steaks and again Dave worked his magic on the grill in cooking the steaks. What more could a person ask for than a good wine, great steak and terrific conversation, it doesn’t get any better than that.

Monday was cloudy and rained a bit first thing in the morning so we didn’t do any walking. Sarah did some laundry so it would be done when we got back to Des Moines. For lunch we went to a little restaurant, Butch’s River Rock CafĂ© in Oakland Mills, IA,
located south of Mt Pleasant on the Skunk river. The place held maybe forty people but the food was very reasonable and delicious. Their menus are also for the younguns’ to color the name of the restaurant on the front of the menu. I got to color; I haven’t done anything like this for years. I do remember coloring with the kids once in a while, but I didn’t do it very often. So I took up the challenge and colored the entire name for them, I even signed with my initials. Not that anyone will know who did the fabulous coloring but it was fun and I enjoyed it. Everyone said that while I was coloring I didn’t talk; Sarah went to Wal-Mart and bought coloring books and crayons that night.

After lunch we drove over to Mark and Beth Steingreber’s house. We had finished a bottle of Honig wine, it is grown in Napa Valley and I had a bottle of it. Shari said we should drill a hole in it and put a string of Christmas lights in it for a decoration in the camper. So that is the reason for our trip to Mark and Beth’s because Mark has a drill press and a bit to drill holes in glass. We accomplished that task with Mark drilling and Dave keeping water on the project so it wouldn’t heat up, me I did my utmost best as an observer. Of course everyone then thought I should get a drill press and begin making these bottles with lights in them. I don’t think so; I will stick with my other hobby of reading. Sarah was happy with it and I did manage to get the lights in the bottle and it does look nice.
We headed back to the campground as soon as we were finished with drilling the hole in the bottle we left because we were cooking out again. Mark and Beth were coming out as well as Larry and Kathy. Master chef Dave did a superb job of grilling burgers and brats again. I failed to mention earlier the baked beans Dave cooked up on the grill. Like I said he is a Master Chef.

We sat around and visited and had a great time, in fact the time went by to fast, before long it was time to say good night. It was a fun day and I was tired. It was good to see Mark and Beth again, Mark and a couple of his friends were the ones who checked out the truck I wanted to buy when they were in Mission TX. On their recommendation I bought the truck and have not regretted it for a minute. Again thank you Mark and guys.

Tuesday came all too quickly but life must go on so I got up. After breakfast we began to break camp. Sarah wrapped the items she didn’t want to ride unprotected and I worked on the outside duties. Dave was working in the office until eleven but we were going out for lunch when he got off. We had the unit hooked up and ready to roll when he got off and so we all hopped into the car and went up town to eat. Another good, reasonably priced meal, that is what I like about small towns, the local eateries are much better than chain stores.

When we returned to the campground it was time to fire up the truck and head back to Des Moines. We had a great time visiting with friends and relatives. A big thanks to Dave, Shari and Moe for the good times we had with them.

Our trip back to Des Moines was uneventful. However, after parking the camper I was walking around the outside of it to make sure I wouldn’t hit anything as the slides were opening and then I saw it. The two main slides were out about two inches, wait a minute; they weren’t like that when we left Mt Pleasant. I sent Excel an email about it and Jack, the service manager, said they had seen this before on new units. He said there could be air in the line and would take care of itself the more the slides are moved. So we will take that approach and go forward. It took about an hour to get everything back in order, we did not go to fast, I couldn’t see any point in that besides it was hot and I needed to cool down. We spent the rest of the evening chillin out in the camper.

We didn’t get to see the kids or grandkids but it was a great weekend anyway.

Dreams Do Come True.

Someday I am going to learn how to add pictures.

1 comment:

Levonne said...

My husband and I love to camp too. We're campground hosts right now in Morro Bay, California. A long way from IA.