Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Mark Twain

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Heading Towards Iowa

Thursday April 14- We watched everyone pull out and we followed. Its been a while since we've pulled this rig so we took our time and made sure no stupid mistakes were made. Our first stop on this adventure north was Bushnell Florida. We had stayed here at Blueberry Hill RV park before and we liked everything about it. It was easy in and out, clean, lots of amenities and close to our interstate. We could use passport America here as well, so it was a good deal too. We stayed a couple days and the weather was rainy. We did run into a couple we had met earlier at Jonathan Dickinson, so that was cool.

Saturday April 16-We had good weather so we hit the road for our next destination......Tallahassee Florida. We called the RV park Jeff had researched at our first rest stop to find out that they had no spots. We don't usually make reservations on our way home unless we know for sure that we will be there. This way plans are more flexible. We got on line and found another spot I called and we had a place to go. We are going to Madison Florida at The Yogi Bear RV Park, and again they took Passport America so its half price.....nice. They had spots for big rigs which was really easy to get in. We had full hook ups and lots of extras. They had a really nice water park with a big slide and a small lazy river. They also had kayaking in a lake, putt putt golf, playgrounds, jumping things and even sluicing  for minerals for the kids. If you have kids they would definitely be happy with this pick. Stayed a couple nights and the weather was cool but sunny. We played some putt putt and enjoyed the surroundings. We even spotted Yogi in person. Our site # was 231...and we were on Happy Street.

Monday April 18- Back on the road and it was a really cool morning. Montgomery Alabama here we come. Our route was fairly easy until we got on highway 231. It went through towns and shopping areas which means lots of lights. We managed to hit everyone of We landed at Woods RV park, its easy in and out but not one of my favorite spots. Only staying one night. We usually stay at least 2 nights but broke that rule this time.

Tuesday April 19-Another traveling day, next stop Nashville Tennessee. Another Yogi Bear RV Park. This one we have visited before. Again it excepts Passport America. It has full hook ups with free wi -fi. Nashville is a little tricky to get around but if you watch close you'll do fine. Our site was #230 a pull through. Easy to set up cause we just did what was necessary. We decided to go out for supper at Chuys Mexican Restaurant. We ate there last year and loved the food and the service.....still great.

After having supper we went next door to the Opry Mills Mall and tried to walk off some of what we just ate. It felt good to get out and walk after being in the truck for a know stretching your legs.

Wednesday April 20- We had a full day planned today. First we went to Camping World to get propane and look for a bulb. Well we got our propane filled didn't have the bulb but found a really nice end table we had to have. They sent us next door to get the bulb. It was the bulb that was above the stove. Well Jeff showed them the bulb which they had and said that will be $20.00. We thought that was kind of steep but paid the price and thought the next time we will do more research before paying that price. Next up we caught a shuttle to downtown Nashville. You call them and they deliver you to the Ryland Opry house. They only charge $10.00 per person round trip. We haven't really spent any time in downtown Nashville and was looking forward to it. We decided to walk around and explore. We walked down Broadway stopping in and listening to different bands. First we stopped in the Tin Roof. We listened to the band and shared some mac and cheese.

After a listen here we moved on down Broadway. We stopped in some shops, and found Elvis, and enjoyed the sunshine and the views.

Our next stop was at Rippy's. The band in here had 2 girls and a fellow. Jeff heard them playing a Heart song so we went in to listen. While there a man started drawing my picture. He was very nice and Jeff purchased it. That is one thing that is really neat, all the different music coming out of the different bars/restaurants. If you like what you hear you can go in for a listen, if not keep on walking.

Left here and went across the street to Tootsie's...everyone said this was a fun place to be. We timed it so they were just changing bands so we actually got a place to sit. The stage was super small and how they fit 4 on that stage I'll never know. They had one on the bar too.

I really enjoyed there playing. It was fun and they managed to bring in the crowd. The gal that played the fiddle looked like our daughter in law. We stayed for awhile and then decided to head to get dinner before going back. We went to Joe's Crab Shack and it was just Ok... I wouldn't go back to that one. We will definitely be back to Nashville. It was really fun and we didn't see nearly enough.

Thursday April 21-We got up today and wasn't sure if we were going to leave or stay. Jeff went and asked if we could stay another night using Passport America and they said no. That made our minds up quick. The weather was iffy...Jeff checked the radar and we had good weather for awhile. It was clear when we left but knew we would run into some rain and we did. It was an easy trip and the rain wasn't bad. It stopped by the time we landed at Rend Lake. Jeff had made reservations for the weekend so we just paid for tonight when we got there. We had a wonderful site #79, it was fairly easy to back into and we had a view of the lake. Our neighbor came over and showed us that there was a bald eagle nest not to far from our site. I spent a lot of time watching the eagles.

I got to use my new camera to get lots of pictures. If you went down first thing in the morning you could watch daddy eagle deliver breakfast....a nice fish. It was so interesting to watch them and see how the mommy and daddy watched out for there babies.

If you look really close in this one you can see the baby eagle, they hardly ever poked there head up far enough for a picture. I got really lucky.

I loved that we were able to witness these majestic birds watching over there babies. I spent a lot of time observing them for sure. The campground was really nice and the eagles just a bonus. We also met a new couple Phil and Dawn. They are full time RVers and we were just going for a walk and struck up a conversation. By the time we left it felt like we were long lost friends. Our big outing was a trip to Benton Illinois to eat at the Pizza Hut. It was the best Pizza Hut we've ever visited. We ate there last year too and its still super good, with excellent service.

Sunday April 24- Woke up early and made one more visit to the eagle nest before heading out. 
Our next stop is Ed Babler State Park in Chesterfield Missouri. The drive was a short one and easy too. We have made this trip a number of times. When we arrived the Campground Full sign was up. We hoped that somebody from the weekend camping had left. There were spots available and we got a really good one. We backed in to site #21 and set up. They have concrete pads but no water or sewer on site. We got to visit with the hosts that helped us last year when Jeff had his stroke. It was good to see them and thank them again in person. As the day went on all the campers left. I think we had about 3 campers left in our loop. After setting up we went to Bandana's for supper and it was a really good choice. The best sandwich in a long time. We made a few more stops before heading back.

Monday April 25- Had a big day planned today we are going to the zoo. We didn't get to go last year. It's one of our favorite zoo's to visit. The St. Louis Zoo is free to attend and just keeps getting better and better. You couldn't have ordered a better day. It was very warm and sunny. The zoo had pretty many people enjoying the day as well. We started off visiting the sea lions. A couple years ago they redid it and its awesome now. The sea lions swim right over your head.

After the sea lions we visited the gorilla's, that's one of Jeff's favorites. They were outside and one was laying down right under us. He watched us as closely as we watched him. He's not very shy I caught him in a nose pick.

We made our way around the zoo checking out all of the critters. We made it over to the new polar bear exhibit, which was great and the polar bear was in the water showing off.

We continued the day searching for animals to visit. It was a wonderful day and one of the best trips to this zoo in awhile, the weather was perfect too. Here are some pictures of the beasts we saw.

 Tuesday April 26- We decided to pack up and pull out a day early. We have bad storms heading this way and they are going to hang around a while. We checked the radar and had a good opening so we hit the road. We went through some rain but avoided all the storms they were calling for. Next stop our home town of Keokuk, Iowa. We set up in just a few sprinkles but the temperature is dropping. We stayed at Hickory Haven Campground and got site #9. We took a ride around to what had changed. Then we stopped for supper at Angelini's for pizza. We love there pizza and was excited to enjoy it again. We ran into  lots of people we knew so that made it that much better. When we got back to the campground we noticed a familiar rig. It belonged to Al and Nancy Moander. The have been Rving for about 2 years and before they went full time they contacted us with some questions. We had a couple visitors stop by....Greg a firefighter that Jeff worked with. Then Jeff's brother Fritz stopped by he lives right across the street from the campground.

Wednesday April 27- Brrrr its raining and cold. We got up early and made our way to my old place of employment Taxes Plus to get our taxes done by my favorite tax preparer and friend Teri. We did get our taxes done but spent most of the time talking. That's funner then taxes anyway. Next stop my sister Dru and her husband Jay. Had to catch up with whats going on with them. One more stop before heading back. We stopped to see Chuck and Ellie Webb, our former preacher and his wife. They have been married 65 years and are some of the best people we know. They walk the walk that everyone talks about. For supper we decided to go to The Southside Boat club for Papa Chico tacos. The place was really busy and the tacos were so yummy. Again we ran into so many people we knew. I guess I never realized how many people we know. Traveling around most of the people you see our strangers but go home and you know a lot of the people that walk by. Even my baby brother was there.


On the way home we stopped by Jeff's brother to visit with him and wife Shawn, a bonus was there grand daughter was there.

 Thursday April 28- Got some work some today...laundry. Did some more visiting, this time Jeff's brother Rick and wife Sarah. Nice to catch up with them. We got home and made supper for a friend...Coy. We were best friends all through grade school. She came out and ate and talked. So good to see her.

Friday April 29-Our last day in town. We had doctor appointments in Burlington today. What was so good about this was we could hook up with Ron and Barb our neighbors at Jonathan Dickinson. They left earlier than us and we needed to catch up. We had lunch at The Drake, it was good but the company was better. After going to see there home and more talking we had to get home. Our niece was bringing her baby boy over so we could meet him. Hudson was quite a chunk and it took awhile for him to warm up to us.

Our last Hurrah was a trip over to Matt and Teri's house for dinner. Teri's parents were there too. Mike and Sue, Jeff worked with Mike at the fire station. They made us a very scrumptious dinner. The best part for Jeff was the mushrooms they made. What a great time we had and what a great way to say good bye to Keokuk. So until next long. So excited to get to Cedar Rapids and my kiddos.