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.
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.