30 Oct – 2 Nov; Champaign…Boo!, Gorgeous Kentucky, and more Coach Issues

Hello happy followers of the RonandTerriRVLife Blog!!  We hope you are doing at least half as well as well as we are!

Well, I ended the last blog post by detailing why we stopped in Champaign, IL and were looking forward to exploring the area.  Hmmmm….I stated we had travelled the area many times and never stopped.  Now we know why.  There is nothing to do there!  Sorry Champaignites!  I’m sure there may be something, but we couldn’t find it, and we are ardent neat stuff finders.  Don’t get me wrong, every place we went the people were great, and I’m sure they love living in this area, but it just was not for us.  In fact, we would have left on Halloween had the wind not been so bad.  We  (well, time to hand in my man card) did a lot of shopping.  And this is not man shopping…you know, walk in and BUY WHAT YOU NEED AND LEAVE, but the walk around and look at stuff you will never buy type shopping.  YUCK!  Grill me, stab me, slab me and freeze me.  OK…got that off my chest.  The best part is Terri enjoyed it (and don’t tell anyone, but I did too (kind of)).  Found a neat store called Rural King Supply, which is like a cross between ACE, Menards, Lowes, Home Depot, Big R Supply, or any top shelf Farm and Home store.  Who knew?

We went to a well advertised “Winery” in the area…NOT!  It is actually a re-selling store for a vineyard in southern IL.  Uggh…that Brother-no-good-in-law from IL feeling all over again.  Sorry folks, that’s a line from a song by a great band called the Da Yoopers…y’all will have to look them up…I’m sure you know them, as they are famous for such original hits as “Second Week of Deer Camp,” “Rusty Chevrolet,” and “Grandma got run over by a beer truck.”  Check them out here:  http://dayoopers.com/

I will say however, the park was real nice…not much wind break, as all of IL has been cut down over the past few weeks, as corn harvest is in full swing.  Here is a shot:

D&W Lake RV Park...the best thing we found in Champaign, IL.  Taken from across the lake from our site the day before the wind and cold blew in.

D&W Lake RV Park…the best thing we found in Champaign, IL. Taken from across the lake from our site the day before the wind and cold blew in.

We celebrated Halloween as we usually do by going to a movie…we saw…never mind,  as it is 2.5 hours of our life that we will never get back.  We escaped IL on Saturday after a very cold start.  I dumped the tanks and all else at about 30 degrees, but at least the sun was shining.  The trip was very uneventful, other than some very strong lingering winds at times.  The Coach did extremely well.  In fact, the semi’s seemed to have more trouble with the wind than I did.  I guess wrapping 32,000 pounds in one vehicle and pulling a full-sized pick-up evens you out and cuts the wind!

Dumb Ron:  OK…here is the reality…I-65 South of Louisville SUCKS!!!  Don’t do it.  I believe that a major gaping hole in the highway is what broke a Swage Compression fitting on one of my hydraulic hoses that allows us to put the slides in and out.  I stopped for fuel just inside of Kentucky.  I keep my re-fueling gloves in the compartment that has the hydraulic systems for the slides.  I stuck one hand in, and the glove was full of fluid form the slide reservoir…nice!!  Got re-fueled, and used about a half of a tree of paper towels at the fuel station to clean things up a bit.  Dumb Ron part…LISTEN to what other people have to say about certain stretches of highway when you are moving…yes, that does include your wife!

Tech Tip:  Here is a pic of the Swage Compression fitting.

The culprit!  An HWH Proprietary (so I am told) Swage connector that lost me 4.5 quarts of fluid that operates the slide outs.  Thanks I-65 pot-hole highway from Hades!!

The culprit! An HWH Proprietary (so I am told) Swage connector that lost me 4.5 quarts of fluid that operates the slide outs. Thanks I-65 pot-hole highway from Hades!!

I have a guy (hopefully) coming tomorrow to check it out.  After some research however, it appears that HWH has a proprietary system, and I may have to find an HWH field tech to get the thing fixed so we can actually use the slides on the coach.  Here is a good tip…make sure whatever you buy for an RV, Trailer, etc, is useable when your slide are in!  This was a MUST HAVE for us.  Even with the slides in, Terri and I have access to everything…kitchen, sinks, shower, bathroom…you name it.  And…even though it is tight in the hallway, it allows you to have to “squeeze” next to your honey more often that you usually would:)

Enough with the issues Ron!!  Hey, I hear you…we are at (I really don’t want to say because it is soooo nice!) Camp Carlson Army Military Recreation Area, which is part of Fort Knox Army Post in Kentucky, $18 per night for 50 AMP and full hook ups!!.  Over the years of traveling, Terri and I have really grown a love for this state.  The rolling hills, awesome people, and outdoor activities abound.  We got set up in our site real quick (doesn’t take long if you don’t have to put slides out!) and hit the trail.  Here is what we found:

1 Nov evening walk around our Camp Carlson RV Park.  Steams, lakes and hiking trails.  This place is the bomb!!

Evening walk around our Camp Carlson RV Park. Streams, lakes and hiking trails. This place is the bomb!!

A shot of the lake at our present location in KY.  This is just below a gorgeous "all use" facility that puts most log lodges I've seen to shame.  They had a wedding there last night.  Did not get any shots of it, but great decorations...antler chandeliers, light fixtures, etc.  A full kitchen, great room for a wedding receptions...this place goes on and on.

A shot of the lake at our present location in KY. This is just below a gorgeous “all use” facility that puts most log lodges I’ve seen to shame. They had a wedding there last night. Did not get any shots of it, but great decorations…antler chandeliers, light fixtures, etc. A full kitchen, great room for a wedding receptions…this place goes on and on.

What a great night!  It got cold too!  26 degrees, and the coach did great.  That hydronic heating system is the bomb, but is still secretly stealing my anti-freeze.  I’m gonna catch it one of these days.  Terri was up early, and did laundry.  Even though we have a combo washer-dryer in the coach, we take advantage of affordable CLEAN laundry facilities when we find them, and this is one of them.  When she got back, I was up and checking the systems on the Coach to make sure everything weathered well, and it did.  We then hit out for a hike around the lake:

Terri took the lead this morning and we hiked the back side of the lake.  When we got to the other side, she wanted to go up...which we did, and found this great old trail.  It went up up up...when we both quickly realized we need many, many more up hill hikes, as it about took us out, but was well worth it.

Terri took the lead this morning and we hiked the back side of the lake. When we got to the other side, she wanted to go up…which we did, and found this great old trail. It went up up up…when we both quickly realized we need many, many more up hill hikes, as it about took us out, but was well worth it.

There is so much history here.  Apparently there are caves that go from here for a long long way…according to the locals they were used in the 40’s for military training…local lore, or not??  They are presently closed off and fenced off as there are endangered bats living in them.  Go figure!

The famous bat caves...we will never know.

The famous bat caves…we will never know.

When we got back from our hike, we stopped in the office and talked with two nice young ladies that were in charge today…we learned a lot about the park from them, and are making plans for a family reunion here some time next year.  Hey…don’t tell anyone about this gem we found!  While we were there, a gentleman came in to report that he shut the water off for one of the the other campers here that apparently did not either insulate his water line or disconnect from the water system last night before it froze, as he reported that water was leaking from the underside of his fifth wheel…OUCH!!  I will try and seek him out tomorrow to see if he needs help, as he is apparently Active Duty and living here until he finds housing.  What a bad break!  No matter how bad you think you have it with your personal issues, there is always something that happens to make you realize that there are other folks in this world that need a hand and likely are experiencing troubles in their own right that make you count your blessings.  I hope all is OK with him and his family!

I spent most of the afternoon today working on the October expenses and budget.  Honestly, I will try to get a finance page up soon, but there is so much going on.  Let’s put it this way…we came in under budget…if we only had the RV.  Still having the house put us way over budget for the month.  For you Type A’s, here is a teaser:  our monthly RV ONLY budget is a bit south of $5K.  We came in at about $4,300 for October.  We had several overruns that will even out later, as some things happen only once a year and I budget monthly for them  The other odd thing is this budget was only 3.5 months, as opposed to a full year, as I will run my fiscal year on a calendar basis.  Where did we blow the budget?  Well, I need to do some work on Fuel and Gas for the Toad.  I knew we would be over budget in Sep, as we came up to WI at lightening speed; however, we overspent on Diesel/Gas by $235.  Most of that is gas for the truck, running all over the place in WI.  The other outlier was RV Maintenance and repair.  I did the annual maintenance early in the month, and that threw Oct out of whack, but will adjust as it is a once per year thing…also, I have other expenses budgeted for issues like we are dealing with now.  We were also over on food and entertainment.  That will happen with a wedding and having the family all together.  We saved in several other areas, so we feel OK with the glide slope we are on.

Enough of that stuff!  In the afternoon we decided to take a drive around this area and see the rolling hills, and find what we could find.  We ended up in West Point, KY, and were lucky enough to find the Union Fort Duffield Historical Park!  What a history lesson!  They had a civil war reenactment here today, but we arrived too late, but not before Terri was able to corner one of the re-enactors in the parking lot and learn more.  General Sherman ordered the construction of a fort (the largest earthen fort of the civil war era) just outside of West Point to protect his supply base in West Point and the City of Louisville via the Ohio River and the then Louisville-Nashville Turnpike.  Work began on the fort about 1 November 1861 and took about 1 and 1/2 months to complete…by hand!  The impregnable fortress was never challenged…kind of.  According to local lore, the place was a haven for disease, and many soldiers died in the years it was in service.  Also, even though the fort never saw combat, apparently it “kind of” did.  According to local historical experts, a sentry was on guard one night, and saw what he thought was a rifle pointed at him.  He summoned the officer of the guard, who agreed with him, and they both fired at the suspected Confederate “sniper.”  This awakened the whole Fort, and Cannon fire and Rifle fire rued the night until some officers determined that no one was firing back!  After the cease-fire, a search was made, and many, many wild hogs were found slaughtered!  Good eats!!  Oh…what the sentry and the officer of the guard saw was a pic axe that was left behind while helping dig part of the fort berm earlier in the day.  The big fight at Fort Duffield is apparently referred to as the PicAxe War.  What a great experience, and awesome views!  I really wish I could have captured the essence of this place, but once again, trust me…you will want to visit and see for yourself, as no photo’s will do justice.

The view over the Ohio River from Fort Duffield, West Point, KY.  Wish I had more pics that really show the place, but they did not turn out.  You will just have to tour it for yourself.

The view over the Ohio River from Fort Duffield, West Point, KY. Wish I had more pics that really show the place, but they did not turn out. You will just have to tour it for yourself.

Well, that is it for today.  Terri has all kinds of Civil War and other historical stuff planned for the next couple of days among RV repairs.  Oh, by the way…here is a shot of what is apparently the real Fort Knox on Fort Knox:)

The actual Fort Knox at Fort Knox...I don't think anyone actually knows what is really stored here any longer, but the security is TIGHT! Ask Geraldo...he never gets stuff like this wrong.

The actual Fort Knox at Fort Knox…I don’t think anyone actually knows what is really stored here any longer, but the security is TIGHT! Ask Geraldo…he never gets stuff like this wrong.

 

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