Visit to Southern Illinois

Saturday morning, the 5th of October, Dolly, Fergie, Yuma and I headed to Cobden, Illinois to visit a winery for a few glasses of wine and take a look at the Alpacas that were being brought from a local Alpaca farm near there.

The winery visit wasn't scheduled till 1 o'clock on Sunday, so when we headed out Saturday morning for the four hour drive, we thought we would just find a place to park our RV at a campground when we got near our destination.


It was beautiful starting out around 11:30, with blue skies and temperatures near 75 with little wind.  Perfect day for a drive. 



We took I-74 east to I-57 and took that all the way south. As expected, the drive was uneventful and we were close to our destination around 4 o'clock.


We were close to Shawnee National Forest and many state campgrounds.  We picked Ferncliffe State Park,  $15 for seniors with electricity.  Beautiful place in the forest.  We were lucky enough to find a spot with a southern view so we could setup our Dish for the evening to watch the baseball play-off game.




We had a nice quiet rest and when we awoke on Sunday morning, we could hear rain patter on our roof.  Luckily, it stopped, so we all decided to take a mile walk around Ferne Clyffe Lake after breakfast before heading to the winery.  About midway around the lake the rain started once more and continued with a drizzle for the rest of the way around.




Just after getting back, the rain started in earnest.  They have been very dry in this area so the farmers were happy for the rain.  

We decided to call the winery to make sure everything was still on for the day.  It wasn't.  I guess the Alpaca ranchers don't like to let their animals get wet, so the event was canceled.  No wine and no Alpacas today.  

We had paid for two nights so we decided to stay and make the best of it.  It rained hard all day and all night.  My RV hasn't seen this much rain in years.  No leaks, so I was happy.  This trip is sort of a shakedown for the MH in preparation for my many month journey to the southwest later in the year.  All looking good.  Luckily, we had our TV so life was good.  We even played 500 Rummy.  I won one game and Dolly two.

Monday morning, we awoke to a beautiful sunrise with a promise of a beautiful warm and sunny day.  Even saw six deer while taking Yuma for his walk.  After breakfast, we decided we would take the MH over to a waterfall about 10 miles away.  (we didn't bring the Jeep)  Looked at the map on the park brochure and decided to take Regent Lane from the highway to the waterfall.  We're hoping for lots of water due to the large amount of rain we just had.  After the falls, the plan was to stop by the Alpaca Ranch and hopefully grab a picture or two of some Alpacas.  This was the whole reason for coming in the first place.

Regent Lane turned out to be a gravel one lane road, but not bad.  Seen a lot worse in Arizona.   Had no problems getting to the waterfall, but there was only a dribble going over it.



The creek went over the lane, but didn't look bad so we (me) decided to go on till we met the next blacktop about two miles further rather than turn around.

Went up the hillside and down the other side.  Another creek, but no waterfall.  The down and up was a little more than my poor MH could handle.  I was traveling slowly, and the backend met the ground and we came to a quick stop when the hitch managed to grab a protruding rock in the creek bed.


Couldn't move forward and couldn't move backward.  The rear tires were raised just enough so that I couldn't move without spinning the tires.  This is about 12:30.



We dug, we placed rugs under the tires, but no luck.  That RV would not budge.  After about two hours of doing this, we decided I would walk up the Lane in search of someone to give us a hand while Dolly and the dogs stayed with the RV in case someone should come along.  The Lane is so narrow no one would be able to go around the RV.


After about a mile I could see a mailbox ahead.  This must be my lucky day!  As I walked on the property, there was a nice new home and a big red truck outside.  I could hear some hammering going on in the newly constructed garage to the side of the house, so I yelled out and this young man came out.  Introduced ourselves and I explained my predicament to Rick.


Rick said he would grab the keys to his beautiful red 2500 Chevy pickup and go down and see what could be done.  As I was walking along the Lane, I had hoped I would find a young man with a nice truck and sure enough, I did.


Hooked the truck to the MH with a chain and all that happened was more tire spinning.  That RV refused to move.  I asked Rick if he knew of a towing company and he said there wasn't one anywhere near here.  As a last resort, Rick agreed to drive all the way around (about 20 miles) and try pulling me out from the back of the RV.  


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About 20 minutes later, here comes Rick backing down the hill.  Hooked him up and first try, nothing.  Second try, something gave and my MH started racing up the hill.  I was so excited I almost forgot to stop and came within inches of running into the rear of Rick's beautiful red 2500 Chevy truck.  Dolly was screaming STOP! but of course I couldn't hear her.  Anyways, I did stop so no harm done.

We couldn't thank Rick enough.  Tried to give him $100 and he would not have it.  Finally, we agreed we would give him $100 and he would give $50 back.  At least we got him to take something.  So glad we met such a nice man in the middle of nowhere.  I don't know what we would have done if it weren't for Rick and his red truck.

It was now 3:30 and getting late.  We decided to start heading up I-57 and find another campground a little further north and spend the night.  No pictures of Alpacas this year.   Maybe next year.


Drove about an hour and at Rend Lake, we saw sign for the Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park and headed in to call it a day.  Rend Lake is the second largest lake in the state.




Again, another beautiful campground for $15 and another southern view so Dolly could watch Monday Night Football.  While driving around looking for our site, we saw lots of turkeys and deer running about.



Beautiful relaxing night.  Very thankful our day turned out okay.  Could have been sleeping over a creek for the night.  In the morning, saw more deer on my walk with Yuma.  Had a big breakfast and headed for home around 11:30.  All was uneventful and we were home just after 3 o'clock.  

Good to be home even though we were only gone for three nights.

17 comments:

  1. Glad hou are vetting out in the motorhome. Even more glad.to hear you are heading back down here this year.

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    1. Looking forward to the Bloggerfest. Planning to head out 12-1 if nothing happens to change my plans.

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  2. Glad you're out adventuring again Doug! Even when things don't go real well it's still fun eh. Gord.

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    1. Hope to see you two again this winter. It was a long winter last year.

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  3. Glad to see your blog up and running again. From the pictures I would say a lovely few days even with the rain and the adventure at the creek. To bad about no Alpacas but it sounds like you and Yuma lucked out and saw other wildlife to make up for it. The no wine is just sad...lol

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    1. Haven't had a glass of wine in decades so didn't miss it. Was nice to finally get the MH out after a year and a half. Few problems to address but I can do it. See you down there.

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  4. You need a 4x4 RV! Good to see you back on the road/blog. I was looking forward to your wine tasting reviews :)

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    1. Not a big wine person. Can't remember when I last had a glass of wine. Took me awhile to figure out how to use Blogger. Has a devil of a time with the font size. One of these days I'll learn there is a low and long rearend on that RV.

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  5. Do you have leveling jacks on the motor home? If so, you could have raised the rear end high enough & place rocks, boards or whatever under the rear wheels & drive forward.

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    1. I wish Clark. Didn't even have a jack with me. Never thought I would I would be off-roading.

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  6. Good to see your blog pop up again Doug. It's been awhile. Well that was quite an adventure straddling that creek. I well know the angst you would be feeling. We've overnighted in Ferncliff State Park a couple times over the years and found it a really nice place. Rend Lake is familiar too having seen it from I-57 a number of times. I'll be keeping an eye for your southwest travels this winter. Don't know if we'll make it or not but if we can we will.

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    1. Thanks Al. Your close-up photos are just amazing. The details are so clear. I know you three will be traveling somewhere this winter, even if it's close to home. Good to know you'll be following along even if you can't make it this winter. Hope you are feeling stronger each passing day.

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  7. Glad to see you back on the blog list. Hope to see more of your stories as you go on tour. Safe travels.

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    1. Looking forward to a little hiking and exploring this winter and hopefully warm and dry weather. Looks like you had a fun summer. I've always enjoyed a family game of miniature golf.

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  8. Welcome back to Bloggerland, we missed ya!!! So nice to see you and Yuma once again enjoying the adventures. Some wonderful views on your travels, even the 'creek crossing'. Hopefully Dolly enjoyed her adventure as well. Glad to hear you are once again heading back to the desert. Hopefully we can manage a visit or two!!

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  9. Holy Alpaca! That would not have been fun. Thank goodness for young men and nice red trucks! :)
    Looking forward to crossing paths this winter with you and Yuma.

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