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April 2006

Saturday, April 1:

We woke up very early this morning; I guess we were excited about leaving today. We plan on leaving as soon as quiet hours are over at 7:00 a.m. Since we were up and had to wait around we both got on our computers. I got mine up and running before Mac even got his started. I said “Oh no, looks like we’ll be here for a while longer, a barge ran into 7 Mile Bridge and it’s out” Mac ran over to see about it on my computer and Gotcha! April Fool!

So after that bit of hilarity we settled down to pass the time while waiting for our departure. Finally it’s 7 and we get all the last minute things done, ensuring the lights work on the towed vehicle, etc. We drove to the fresh water station and filled with fresh water then drove over to the dump station and dumped the tanks. Finally it’s time to hit the road at 7:39!

We had no problems at all driving up and out of the keys today. Traffic was running smoothly. It was beautiful to see all the water and to see all the boats out enjoying the water too. We stopped along the road a few times to stretch our legs. We both love to travel but we don’t enjoy driving for very long, we stop frequently to stretch our legs. We hit the mainland and continued on. We stopped and filled up with gas and continued on to the Everglades.

We stopped and checked out one of the RV parks along Highway 41 and decided to not stay there for the night. It had hook-ups which we don’t need or want, and we’d have to unhook the toad to stay; so we continued on to Monument Lake. We got there and picked a spot and parked and we then had some lunch.

There are many rushes growing beside the water and sitting on top of them are these beautiful dragonflies. There are so many that at first glance you’d think the rushes have a bloom on top; but it’s a dragonfly. These dragonflies are very unusual, the wings are colored like tortoiseshell to me. Here’s a link to some photos at a government website of the Everglades. Click on the picture of the dragonfly to see it larger.  Photos  Here’s a link to different photo: Photos

They had lowered the water level in the lake and the alligators have returned. There were 4 or 5 of them around the lake. Sometimes one would cruise over and just sit in the water looking at me. The way they act makes me wonder if someone has been feeding them. There were also many birds around that we enjoyed seeing. We saw black necked stilts, which we’d not seen before. We also saw several anhinga, killdeer, mockingbirds, and cardinals. At the first link above you will find several pictures of birds also.

There aren’t many campers at all tonight, only 4 or 5 total including tents, so we had the lake pretty much to ourselves. We set up the outdoor chairs to enjoy the evening hoping to look at the stars, but it was too cloudy to see many stars. We did get to see some lightening bugs or fireflies; they were cool to watch. We keep saying that we are going to stay longer in the Everglades but every time we come through we’re in a hurry to get somewhere. Next year we hope to spend more time inside the park and explore it further.

Sunday, April 2:

We got up and enjoyed the morning watching all the various wildlife around the lake. But finally it’s time to hit the road and continue on. We drove on down 41 heading towards Naples. We came upon a large group of birds that took flight when we disturbed them. There were egrets, ibis, and our favorite the spoonbill. It was so great to see them.

We drove into Naples and I got to stop at the Goodwill Thrift store on Hwy 41. I spent a little time in the store and Mac stayed in the RV working. They were having a 50% off sale on clothing with blue tags. I found 3 items for a total of $8.71 including tax. I got a blue jean dress for me, a pretty blouse for me and a Hermes blouse that someone in my family can wear. I could not pass it up. I bought a great blouse with a fabulous designer label for less than $2.00! It’s a great thrill to find incredible bargains like that!

We then drove on up the road and I went to another Goodwill store, which I didn’t like at all. Afterwards, I found out that it’s the Goodwill Boutique which explained the higher prices. I figure if they are going to charge higher prices the least they could do is write the price on a tag instead of the article. Even though they wrote the price inside the clothes I still think it may bleed through to the outside depending on the fabric. The items weren’t any better than any other thrift store but the prices sure indicated they thought they were.

We could have gone on to another thrift store but I was already tired of them so we headed on to Fort Meyers and went to the Camping World store. We picked up a lot of things there that we’ve been wanting. Now let’s see how long it takes Mac to install all the stuff. I’m STILL WAITING for him to put up a shade for me on the passenger side of the RV that we bought several months ago. He put the one up for the driver side quickly. We picked up another fan that he’ll install for the passenger. Since we’ve had this electrical problem in the front of the RV, we haven’t been able to use the heater, A/C, or even the fan in the dashboard. So we’ve really come to appreciate the fan that Mac installed. We picked up 2 rolls of insulation, the kind that you’d put across the front window. They had rolls that you can cut into any size and shape you want to fit all the windows, etc. My mom had asked that when we get to Livingston that we could cover their windows for them. It gets real hot there and this will help cut down on the heat.

Speaking of heat, I don’t know if I’d ever mentioned that in our RV we have a skylight in front of the bathroom door. It’s in the small hallway on the way back to the bedroom. I love the light it provides but in the summertime it lets in a lot of heat. We’d discussed what to do with the area and finally decided to close it off. Mac put a lot of foam-type sheets of insulation up inside to block the sun out and then we covered a piece of cardboard cut to size with fabric. It really has cut down on the heat incredibly. I do miss the extra light though, but I can go outside for all the sunlight I want.

We’d parked in the shade at Camping World and after shopping we decided to have some lunch. So it was nice and comfortable sitting under the tree eating lunch. We then headed on to Sarasota to Campbell RV Repair. We arrived there and unhooked the car. We parked both vehicles and temporarily set up the RV for the night, they might need us to move the RV to another spot in the morning.

We worked some, goofed off on the internet, had dinner, etc., then it was time to go to bed. We hope the cement company across the drive from us doesn’t start too early in the morning. But of course they will. They started working about 3:30, so we kept waking up off and on the rest of the night every time they’d make some loud noises loading and unloading.

Monday, April 3:

After working for several hours this morning I decided to go to my favorite Salvation Army Thrift Store on 17th Street. On the way there I stopped in at a Goodwill thrift store on Beneva to check it out. The Goodwill store had many items that I thought were reasonably priced and several that were higher than the other local thrift stores. I did find several items though that I purchased, including a 2 pack of sunshades for car windows. If my daughter doesn’t want them for her car then I’ll install them on our car in the backseat area. She currently has one of those cute suction cup ones up on the window to protect the baby from the sun, but she might think this kind is better protection for him. I finally left and went to the Salvation Army and spent a long time there. I had a cart full of clothes and spent less than $60.00, it was so much fun searching for bargains. I really like this thrift store, there are many bargains to be found.

I stopped for lunch at a Wendy’s and then drove over to the Pines of Sarasota but they’re closed on Monday. I didn’t realize that, bummer. I was looking forward to shopping there, maybe I’ll go tomorrow. So I decided that I should go home now and get some more work done.

Back at the RV, after installing all the new parts and starting the RV up, more smoke came from the dashboard. They’re working hard on the RV, scratching their collective heads trying to figure out what’s causing the problem. Now we’re waiting for wiring schematics to be faxed in. It looks like we’ll be here another night.

After Campbell closed for the day we met another couple who are spending the night here waiting for their RV to have repairs. So we visited with them for a couple of hours and then we came inside to have dinner and they went out to eat. We just wanted something light, cool and quick so we had salad. The rest of the evening was spent on the internet.

Tuesday, April 4:

I’m in a really blah mood today; I don’t feel like going anywhere, not even a thrift store. I know, I know, I’m really feeling bad if I don’t want to go to a thrift store. I spent all morning working on the business side then after lunch I fell asleep. Maybe I just needed a little extra sleep because I started feeling more like me later in the evening.

They think they may have figured out the problem finally and it will hopefully be fixed tomorrow. Now everyone thinks it’s the A/C clutch or something like that. I’ll leave it to Mac to explain what’s going on there.

In the evening we drove over to the Publix grocery store and picked up some needed items. Wow, prices in the civilian stores are much higher than the commissary! But the commissary in Key West doesn’t carry a large selection; it’s a small store, so we really needed some items that we didn’t get to pick up there. The rest of the evening was spent goofing off on the internet, doing some more work, etc.

Yeah, the excitement is non stop for us, huh?   Sorry I haven't written much lately.  I suppose I could make the excuse that I'm working 60 hours a week at the new job, but you folks don't want do hear that do you?  Nah, I didn't think so.

As Chris said, I'll report back on the final result of our repair saga -- hopefully tomorrow!  Prayers welcome.

Friday, April 7th

Just a quick update folks. Chris will likely come along and write some more and fill in all the blank days.  I wanted to let you know that our RV is fixed.  It's a temporary fix now, but the permanent fix won't be too hard.  I'll write more detail in the technical section in a few days.

So, we made it to Orlando in time for some of the meetings I was attending.  We're at Tropical Palms, an Encore park.  We usually don't stay at Encore because they're pricy (almost as much as KOA's) but this one is very convenient and $30/night this close to Disney isn't bad.

When checking in yesterday we saw a really huge RV.  Check this out, he even had a wide load sign!

OK, so it's not really an RV , it's a "cottage" modular home they're putting on lots here and selling.  Didn't bother to ask the price.

So tomorrow we move to Ft. Desoto park and pick up Tina and the grandkids.  Nikki is coming over at some point too, and we'll have some family reunion time.  I'll post a photo or two.  Bye for now.

Sunday, April 9th

Quick update #2.  We're at Ft. Desoto.  Nice camp site, photo below.  Got lucky and found the satellite through a hole in the palm trees. 





Wednesday April 5 - Sunday, April 16

OK, here's another of Chris' patented massive multi-week blog updates.  Not much for me to do in these but to play announcer.  Heeeeeere's Chris :-)


Wednesday, April 5 – Thursday, April 6:

Well, they didn’t get the problem fixed on Wednesday as hoped.  They think they have it narrowed down to a certain area and plan on finishing it Thursday morning.  Wednesday evening Mac decided to study the schematics of the system and see if he agrees with the diagnosis.  He thinks the problem is different than what they have decided on.  Thursday morning Mac worked with them to fix the problem.  Mac will write more on what the problem turned out to be and how it was fixed. 

We didn’t get out of there until almost 1:00 though.  We drove quickly up to Orlando and checked into the Tropical Palms RV Park where we’d made reservations.  It’s a nice park and close to Disney; here’s a link to their site.  The rates are very reasonable for being this close to Disney. 

After getting all set up Mac cleaned up and drove over to the convention that he’s attending. I spent the evening enjoying the quiet away from the cement trucks. On Friday April 7 I dropped Mac off at the convention and I spent the day doing laundry, cleaning up in the RV and other exciting chores. We can hardly wait to see the girls, they’ll be arriving tomorrow!

Saturday, April 8:

We left Tropical Palms RV Park this morning heading out to stay at Fort DeSoto. Mac’s decided that since we need to get propane we shouldn’t hook the car to the RV and we’ll drive separate. So he heads out in the RV and I head out in the car and we meet up at the Flying J truck stop north of Tampa on I4 exit 10. It’s a really busy place; he waited in line for about 3 vehicles to get propane and afterwards he pulled around to the gas pumps and filled up with gas.  

We had decided to board the cat while we’re down at Fort DeSoto; so I got the cat loaded into his carrier and made sure we had food, his pills and his cushion loaded into the car. I get to take the cat with me in the car; he really doesn’t like riding in his carrier, he meows all the way over to the vet’s office. I usually don’t do these things, Mac usually does. I get too emotional when doing it; so of course, I shed a few tears when they took the cat back to the boarding section. I will really miss him but this is safer for him. There will be too many people in and out of the RV, the door left open, etc. and we don’t want to take the chance that he’ll get out accidentally or even get hurt with so many people around.

Just a quick note from me here.  This is one advantage of a Motorhome vs. a towed trailer.  We can split up and do various chores with two drivable vehicles. 

Oh, and yes, I'll add some photos tomorrow, it's getting too late this evening. (Scroll down for photo link)

We finally arrive at Fort DeSoto about noon and it is really nice here, we’d picked out a site right on the water. Here’s a link to Fort DeSoto, the county park we’re staying at. 

We’re really looking forward to this. This is a really nice place, I’m very impressed already and we haven’t even gone over to the beach yet. The sites are not close together, you have plenty of room between you and your neighbors, and there are several restrooms & bathhouses around, there’s a set of 3 or 4 garbage cans about every 3 or 4 sites it seems. It is really nice and cost less than $30.00 a night!

Mac got us set up in the site and then we realized that there is water and electric on each site but not sewer. We should go dump but he thinks we don’t need to, I think we do since I’d used a lot of water while we were in Orlando; we’ll see I guess. We decide to go ahead and have some lunch right away and then drive over and check out the swim beach area. We drove over to the north beach and it is a really nice beach area. Since its Saturday there are quite a few people here but there not on top of each other at all.

Finally the time has come to go to the airport and pick up the girls. I drove over and picked them up and they look so good to these sore eyes, I haven’t seen them in too long. They have grown so much! Time flies fast and children grow too fast. They are girls so of course they are quite beautiful to me. We drove back over to the RV and before it got too late in the evening we all drove over to one of the beach areas to admire the water. We walked along the beach and looked for shells, played tag with the waves and of course the waves won, we all got soaked. We enjoyed seeing two cruise ships going out. We also got to see 2 dolphins playing in the water. We watched the sun set and then went back to the RV and enjoyed being together this evening.

Sunday, April 9:

We had bought 2 extra snorkel sets while we were in Key West for the girls to snorkel. So we all want to go snorkeling today. The water right here at the RV looks like a great place to snorkel but there is a sign that says no swimming, deep holes. Mac had talked with our neighbor and found out that it’s not that it’s deep but that there are pockets of muck that you might sink into up to your knees and have a hard time getting out of. Since this water is so calm we decide to go snorkeling here anyway. We took the girls out into the water and of course being girls they don’t like the squishy feel off the mud but they seemed to enjoy the snorkeling.

Daughter Nicole, Aaron and baby Austin came to visit a little after lunch. We had originally planned on trying to find a hotel room close by for them to stay in while visiting us but there aren’t any hotels close enough to this park, there only seems to be condos around. We all decided that a tent would be a great thing to have, so away to Wal-Mart to pick up a tent and some more beach shoes, since no one likes walking in the muck or walking on the shells. Everyone is having a great time this afternoon and evening. We’ve snorkeled and then all the kids decided to swim out to the nearest island and they walked around on it. On the swim back the dive flag came unhooked from the rope, no one noticed and it floated away. No one had any energy left to go chasing after it, now we need to buy a new one.

Monday, April 10:

We had planned on going to Busch Gardens today. With all the swimming, snorkeling, beach strolling, etc. to be done Tina and I decided to go shopping today and to skip visiting Busch Gardens. The “younger” crowd went to Busch Gardens, Mac stayed home to get some work done, and Tina and I took the baby and went shopping. Everyone had a good time today; even Mac who said he enjoyed working today.

(Added 5/3/06)  Oh yeah I forgot to mention that I was right about dumping. Our gray tank was full and started rising into the shower last night. So today Mac had the delightful chore of driving over to dump and then getting the RV set back up on the site. (Guess he should listen to me next time!)

Tuesday, April 11:

Mac had a few calls to make this morning and then he went to get another dive flag so we can go snorkeling. I enjoyed the time this morning walking around in the water looking for shells. The girls decided they didn’t want to go snorkeling so only Mac, Tina and I went. Tina has especially enjoyed snorkeling. She seems to enjoy it more than the young girls. She has gotten a big thrill out of seeing the fish, crabs, etc. Tina had found a large sea horse, about 5 inches tall, and we all gathered around to see it. I’d never seen one before either; it was really cool to see one.

After lunch we loaded up and headed over to the swim beach area. It is really a very nice beach; it was rated one of the top ten beaches in 2005. The water is crystal clear; the beach area is quite large with nice white sand. The only thing we didn’t like was the long walk down from the parking area to the beach site that we chose close to the water. We had a lot to carry, the baby and his pack & play; towels, etc. The baby’s pack & play is like a playpen. All the sides are screened in so we covered the top with towels to keep the sun out and the open sides let in the cool breeze. We finally got all set up and took turns going into the water.

On the way to the water from our beach site the girls found 2 baby sized sea horses swimming in a tide pool. Lots and lots of people crowded around to see the sea horses; it was kind of funny to see so many people crowded around to see something so tiny and small. The water was just a tad cool but we were having too much fun to complain about the water temperature. We found a lot of shells and we also found a lot of sand dollars. The girls each have a big bag to take home and share with their friends.

We stayed at the beach for a couple of hours and then headed back to the RV. We all enjoyed it so much today and everyone expressed the desire to stay another night here at the camp. With all the sea shells and sea life that we’ve seen lately we decided to go out to eat tonight at a seafood restaurant. On the way out to dinner we stopped at the office and found out we could stay another night but it would be on another campsite, yea! We went to eat at a restaurant right on the water named The Sandbar Restaurant. Mac and I both ordered a grouper sandwich and it was very good, thick with meat and flavorful. Tina had crab, Nikki had a burger and Lindsey and Amanda had chicken, baby Austin had a bottle. I liked the seafood very much; the other food seemed to be good too.

Wednesday, April 12:

The morning was spent tearing down one campsite and getting moved over to a new campsite. The new one isn’t on the water, the bathhouse is farther away but at least we’re still here and get to go to the beach again today. So after we got all set up and had some lunch we loaded up and headed over to the swim beach area. For some reason today the water seems even colder than yesterday. We’re only a short distance away from where we swam yesterday; the wind is a little stronger today though, so maybe that’s why. We goofed off on the beach for a couple of hours and headed back to the RV.

When we got back to the RV we noticed that the lid on the cooler was slightly open. We assumed that one of us hadn’t closed it properly when we left. Our neighbor came over and told us that while we were gone a raccoon had waddled up to the cooler, opened it up and was half in the cooler drinking and bathing in the nice icy fresh water inside the cooler, he came to the cooler twice while we were gone. Needless to say we emptied out the cooler and cleaned it. That is one smart raccoon.

Mac and Nikki drove to the grocery store and picked up BBQ for supper tonight. We had a choice of BBQ Pork or Chicken, potato salad, chips and coleslaw, mmmm good eating. While they were gone to the grocery store Lindsey and I played with my metal detector and found several beer caps, 1 quarter, 3 pennies, and a nickel. We had a lot of fun though planning on how we’d spend the treasure that we hoped to find.

Photos from this week are HERE




Thursday, April 13:

Well all good things must come to an end and this is one of those times. We’ve really enjoyed the time spent here at Fort DeSoto Park. This place is definitely one we want to visit again and again. We got everything packed up and headed out this morning.

We’re going over to visit Mac’s mom before we leave Florida and head out for our newest adventures. Before we do that though we went to our storage and stored away all camping and snorkeling equipment (except two masks/snorkels). We also stored away all the items that we’ve learned that we won’t use except here in Florida while waiting out winter, such as the clothesline that Mac had made us. We picked up lunch at Rally’s and drove over to her place and ate lunch.

We’d parked the RV in a shopping area that’s close to her place. We visited with her for several hours and while there one of us would drive off and run some errands. One much anticipated errand was picking up the cat from boarding, he was so happy to see us. Mac ran over to the Wine Warehouse and picked up a goodly supply of wine for himself. Daughter Tina had to pick up a new cell phone. She’d kept her cell phone in her pocket while looking for shells and then forgot about it and leaned over to pick up a sand dollar under the water. Oops, the phone took a bath in salt water, not too good for a cell phone. After drying it out it still didn’t work so she had to get a new one.

We’d planned on heading down the road today after visiting for a few hours but that didn’t happen. We visited longer than originally planned and this day has been so draining with all the work and saying goodbye. It was very hard to say goodbye to daughter Nikki and baby Austin. He’ll be so much bigger when we get back here again. I’ve cried a lot today saying goodbye. So we are really tired this evening and decided to just stay here in the parking lot and spend the night and then get an early start in the morning. I was so drained tonight that I went to sleep very early.

Friday, April 14 – Saturday April 15:

We’re up and on the road early Friday morning. We drove all day and spent the night at Wal-Mart in Jasper TN. Saturday we drove all day and reached St. Louis MO around 5:00 and drove over to where Tina had left her car when they went to the airport. Tina and I took her car and Mac drove the RV. We headed down the road to Rushville IL to Tina’s house. Since tomorrow is Easter we decided to pick up groceries in Springfield IL while passing through there. We went grocery shopping and bought lots of groceries then we drove on to Rushville.

Finally we’ve arrived at Tina’s house. We unload the groceries and made some dinner. We’d picked up one of the Tyson fully-cooked heat and eat chickens, and made some Stove Top stuffing and vegetables to go with it. It was quick and tasty, especially eating together with family.

Tina has moved to a different house than when we were here last year. This house has plenty of room behind it for us to park the RV. Some of the land behind her house belongs to a church and she’d asked her landlord before we got here if it was all right if we could park back there. So we have a great place to park the RV close to her house and the trees aren’t in the way so we can get a signal for working. This will be nice to stay here and visit for some time.

After eating dinner and cleaning the kitchen we got a tour of the new house. This is really a much nicer place than the last house they had. I liked the last house but this is much better. Tina does have more nesting talent than I do. She has really made this place attractive and comfortable for her and her girls. I’m really proud of her. She’s worked very hard to provide a home for her family and I think she’s doing a wonderful job.

Back when we were making plans for the girls to come down during spring break we had thought it would be great fun to fly the girls down and then drive them back to IL in the RV stopping along the way to see interesting sights. We’d planned on stopping in Chattanooga TN and spending the day seeing Rock City, Ruby Falls, etc. When it was decided to spend an extra day at the beach that canceled out those plans; we also want to get to Rushville quickly so that we can spend time with the family before school and work begins again. We won’t do that again though. We’ll fly them in and out to visit FL and not drive them back in the RV. Mac and I weren’t thinking about the time constraints when we planned this trip. We’ve now come to realize that the best visit for them will be longer time spent in FL and less travel time. Riding in the RV isn’t the best way to visit with family, so there’s another tip for all of you out there.

Sunday, April 16:

Happy Easter to Everyone! This is the first time in several years that the girls have been able to sleep in and then get to hunt Easter eggs. Mac had a great time hiding the eggs around the house for them. Tina and I started preparing the food for our family Easter meal. We’re having ham, potato salad, broccoli salad, corn on the cob, pickled beets, deviled eggs, rolls, etc for dinner today. So we started cooking while Mac hopped around like some bunny hiding the eggs.

Finally, the girls got up and started hunting the eggs and they had a great time. Why is it that there always seems to be at least one egg that isn’t found sometimes for hours or days? Thankfully, these were plastic eggs filled with candy or money; so any of the lost eggs won’t smell later.

We had our Easter dinner and it was great time spent with the family, eating and talking. After eating we moved into the living room and visited some more. We’re all tired from the long trip and the weather is cloudy with the feeling of rain so it’s perfect time to take a nap after dinner. I went and took a nap for a couple of hours and Tina did too. Mac couldn’t sleep so he worked some and the girls caught up talking with their friends. After my nap I washed up the dishes from lunch and Tina started washing clothes.

We had dinner this evening and have just enjoyed being together. Mac’s been playing with the remote on the TV; I can’t say that he’s watching TV because he seems to be changing channels too much. Tina’s reading a book and I’m finally catching up on the blog.

Sunday, April 23

Interim Update

Happy Anniversary to us!  Chris and I have been married 23 long (and wonderful) years today.  We met in February 1983 and were married in April 1983.  Yes, a 2 month courtship.  So much for all the theories about dating for a long time to assure a successful marriage.

Where are we now?  We're still in Rushville, IL at our daughter's house.  We decided to stay another week because we're enjoying our visit with her and the grandkids.  The weather has been nice.  And of course the parking is free, so that's always a plus.  Rushville is a very nice small town; quiet, and the people are friendly.  It's also pretty around here in the spring with all the trees blooming.

Bandstand in Town Square

What have we been doing here?  Chris will tell you about her shopping adventures with Tina and Amanda.  I've been working (of course) and doing a couple of projects on the RV.  Sometimes I forget to take photos during the project.  Taking them after is OK, but not as good.  My latest two projects were repairing our steps, and replacing the waste valves for both the black and gray tanks.  I'll write these up in the tech section and add a link here later today.

What are our plans?  The travel plan is to leave next weekend and travel South, stopping at a few casinos along the way and arriving in Livingston TX to visit Chris' parents.  Project plans include an upgrade of the Datastorm to the new 7000 series modem.  Our internet activity has increased since I started the new job, and we could really use a speed increase.

One project I wasn't looking forward to was replacing the waste valves for black and gray tanks -- but it was unavoidable and I couldn't see paying someone to do this simple repair.  Click here to read the story.

Sunday, April 30

Interim Update

No, we didn't sell the RV and buy a farm in Illinois.  Chris, the primary blogger has been slacking off, so you're stuck reading my little "interim updates" until she's in the mood to write.  Hey, don't complain to me!  You've got her email address too you know.

So we enjoyed two weeks at Tina's place but it was time to move on down the road.  We got a late start yesterday, but still intended to drive 1/2 way to Tunica, MS.  About the time we reached St. Louis it was very windy, gusting above 30 mph, and had been raining -- all good excuses to stop for the night at Harrah's Casino in St. Louis.  I won't bore you with details, but if you want them click here for our report in

Today we got an early start and drove to Tunica MS.  Planning to stay here in the area for a week, work days, gamble nights, etc.

Yes, the dates in our blog jump around sometimes.  Here's the final "official" April update from Chris:

Monday, April 17 – Sunday, April 30:

My daughter Tina and I went to Springfield twice and shopped at the thrift stores there. There had been some bad weather in Springfield back earlier this spring and a lot of damage was done by the storm. The Goodwill store on Wabash had been closed, and reopened on the 21st. We shopped there for a couple of hours on the 22nd and found lots of bargains. We loved the quality of the clothes and the prices. The only thing we didn’t like was that the clothing wasn’t sorted by sizes at all. So we spent a lot time looking inside of the clothing for sizes; this is especially time consuming when looking at men’s pants. We also shopped at the Salvation Army store on Wabash and the one on 11th Street; both had great bargains also. We also hit a couple of used books stores, one was The Book Rack and the other was The Elf Shelf. At both we found some books that we’d been looking for. Neither store offered much for books that we might want to trade in, only about 10% of the book price. We had a great time shopping in Springfield and we’ll go again when we return to visit again. I really enjoyed the time spent with my daughter shopping.

While in Rushville visiting we took the family out to eat a couple of times to the local restaurants. We ate at Brown’s again; we’d eaten there last year. We also ate at a restaurant named Route 67, it was good. We also went out to eat at the newest restaurant named Deb & Di’s Restaurant. We all enjoyed eating there and the prices were quite reasonable. Daughter Tina and granddaughter Lindsey each ordered a rib eye steak. When asked how she liked her food Lindsey said that she really enjoyed her Rabbi steak. (LOL She was pronouncing it phonetically)!  She can say some of the cutest things!

Here’s one example of her cuteness, I like to wear longer shorts with plenty of room in them to keep me cool; some call them walking shorts. While in Tampa I’d found a brand new pair size 9 at the thrift store for only $1.00 so I bought it figuring that someone in the family could wear them. When I mailed them to Tina and family, Lindsey took one look at them and said “Oh look, little bitty grandma shorts”. By the way the shorts didn’t fit anyone; they were children’s size 9.

We also got to go to the local bowling alley on Tina’s bowling night and watch her bowl. We had a great time giving her a hard time with her bowling. She hadn’t bowled in a few weeks so she wasn’t bowling too good that night. It had nothing to do with us heckling her, I swear!

We had a great time visiting with our family in Rushville. But there comes the time when we have to head out and continue our adventures; so on Saturday April 29 we headed out. We finally got everything ready to go and started down the road at about 11am. It was just starting to rain, and rain is forecasted for all weekend. We drove to St. Louis MO and the wind had picked up enough that we weren’t comfortable driving, so we stopped at the Harrah’s Casino. We’re always looking for a good excuse to stop at a casino and the weather worked for this stop!

Harrah's Casino, St. Louis, MO.  We parked in the parking area for RV’s, buses and trucks. We went into the casino to check it out. I’ve never been in a casino where everyone had to have a player’s card to enter the casino. Missouri has some strange laws and this is one of them. Mac has written more about it on our website I’ll just write about my views on the place. While getting our players cards we asked about comps and meals, etc. and we were given 2 free buffet tickets, a value of about $40. We finally got into the casino and looked around. We found only one bank of decent video poker machines, all the other VP machines had some of the lousiest pay tables that we’ve ever seen. In the whole casino there were only 2 machines that I would play on, a 9/6 Jacks or better and an 8/5 Bonus Poker. I played for a while and then we ate dinner at the buffet; the food was actually very tasty. We really enjoyed our dinner there. The only thing I didn’t like was my sugar-free banana cream pie; the texture was all wrong to me. After dinner I played some more until I lost my budget for the evening and then went back to the RV.

In the morning of Sunday April 30 we hit the road again. We drove to Tunica MS to visit the casinos. We’ve never been to Tunica before; I’ve never looked it up on the internet either, so I was very surprised to find that it is so small. For some reason I always thought it would be bigger. The whole area is surrounded by cotton fields and the casinos are spread around and aren’t near town at all. So if you ever want to visit the casinos in Tunica and you’re in your RV make sure you bring your supplies with you. I think there are only one or two small grocery stores in Tunica; so there is no variety at all.

We arrived in the afternoon and parked in the additional parking area behind the Sheraton Casino. There’s a couple of other RV’s here too. After we got set up and relaxed for a while we decided to check out the casinos. There are 3 located here that share the parking lots, the Sheraton, the Horseshoe and the Gold Strike. I was sorely disappointed that the Horseshoe casino had lousy pay tables for video poker. I’d enjoyed the Horseshoe in Bossier City and was looking forward to visiting this one; but with 6/5 pay table for Bonus Poker I didn’t stay in there at all. We went to the Gold Strike and found good normal pay tables of 8/5 Bonus and 9/6 Jacks or better at the bar. The Gold Strike is where I’ll be playing while staying here at these 3 casinos. We’ll check out the others later on and see if they are any good.

Here are the end of month stats for those of you keeping score at home:

Year Avg $ per Nite # Dry # Elect # FHU # Free %Dry % Free
2006 to date $11.58 52 7 58 26 44% 22%
This time last year $13.51 67 4 49 23 56% 19%

What did we do last April?  Click here for April 2005

Click Here for May 2006

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