Cave Dwellings: November 2017
Cave Dwellings

Buckhorn Creek, Lake O' The Pines, Jefferson, TX

Monday, November 27, 2017

If it weren't for bad luck.....

So....Dennis and I finally got on the road last Saturday. We had planned to leave on Nov. 28th, but the weather was so great, we loaded up early and made like a baby to "head out"...Sorry, I couldn't resist.

 The refrig was loaded to the max!!
FINALLY!! On the highway by our home, heading out of town..

We had no reservations until Nov. 30th in Texarkana, TX.  We planned to stop overnight at Gun Creek Campground in Rend Lake (Southern IL) for one night and then move on to Lake Wappepello in South Missouri for 4 nights, making the last leg of our trip to Texarkana on Thursday, the 30th of November...YAAAAY "On the Road Again"....or so it seemed.

Here we are just North of Pana, IL fueling up...I could NOT stop smiling..But..I was to find out all was not as it seemed.
We pulled out of the gas station and got just one mile from Pana, IL  and Dennis suddenly had no power steering in our truck...AND..he immediately discovered we had no power brakes either. He slowed waaaaay down, knowing he only had his trailer brake to stop us. We saw a cafe ahead on a T intersection with a big parking lot. Dennis managed to strong arm the Hiker into that lot and pull off to the edge of it..At least we were off the highway!!
Dennis is pretty handy at almost everything, hence his nickname, McGyer. He decided that our serpentine belt broke and was shredded due to a faulty Idler pulley. (For those of you who think I am knowledgeable about auto mechanics, think again. I am quoting a much frustrated McGyer.)
He got on his phone and found out that there was a NAPA Auto Parts in Pana, but we couldn't drive our truck. Den called the place and talked to a nice guy who knew just what we needed, took our CC number over the phone, and sent someone out to deliver the parts to us..Now, THAT , my friends, is customer service.
McGyver has put this belt on before, but at home. And he really needed a few more tools than he had with us...Before long, a nice man stopped to see it he could help..
They both worked side by side until this nice man had to leave to go to work..McGyver was at it alone again..But the Gods of Southern Red Necks were with us!
How much brains and brawn does it take to put on a serpentine belt??? Apparently FOUR!!Count them..1,2,3,4!! Four great guys that stayed with Den for at least 30 minutes until..WALLA! Success!!! 
Dennis offered some cash to these guys, and they refused it..saying to pay it forward, which we definitely will!! Back on the road again to Rend Lake, IL, about a 2 hour drive, but we finally made it.

We left Rend Lake Sunday AM and drove about 150 miles to Lake Wappepello, MO, Redman Creek Campground...Whew!..Well, almost.
When we got to the campground every site had decorations set up, lights and balloons, candy canes, toy shops, toy soldiers..and NO ONE was allowed to camp there. It was a weekend Xmas drive through celebration of lights...7-Festival-of-Lights-Christmas-Auto-Tour.. We proceeded to drive through it, looking pretty idiotic, I might say..JUST GREAT. The camp host found us as we drove the Hiker through the campground, aimlessly wandering trying to figure out what was going on. The camp host spotted us, and told us to go about 3miles across the dam to People's Creek and we could get a spot there. OK, we can do that.
We drove in and found a spot. There was a sign that said do NOT set up until the camp host allows you to.  We spotted a site with no reservation on it and pulled in. We didn't set up..We knocked on the host camper and no one answered.  A nice lady camper said the host might be at another spot up the road and she offered to drive Dennis up there so we could get permission to set up..However they couldn't find him. 2 hours later we decided to set some stuff up..Yes, we are renegades..Hey, it had been a bad start!!
Dennis had no more than got our water, electric and the TV dish all set up,and I had gotten stuff out, when the park gustapo showed up. Dennis told him we had waited a long time. This guy was pretty nice, but informed us that this was the only site in the place that had a reservation beginning the next night...and that we had to move in the morning to another site..Aaaaaall righty then...
We are now all set up in our new site at People's Creek, Wappepello Lake, MO. The weather is wonderful, and we are now "happy campers"...finally.
I certainly hope this trip soon gets less stressful! As for now, we are just about to light a campfire and have an early "Happy Hour". Sometimes you get the bear...sometimes the bear gets you...I think I felt his hot breathe.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Biding our time until we can leave!

Dennis and I are hoping to leave this area for the Winter and our "lift off" date is tentatively set for November 28th. We will spend 2 nights on the road until we land in Texarkana for a few days. There was a time when we drove it in just one overnight stay, sometimes Wally Docking around Blytheville AR..not a great place to be alone in a parking lot..I'm not a big fan of the Wally Dock idea..I prefer at least a neighbor, albeit a bad one..Misery loves company. One thing we have plenty of is time..Why rush it?
We have been busy this last part of October. Our grand kids have been busy and we have tried to keep up with their activities.  Our oldest Wolff cub, Aiden, has been playing Youth Tackle Football down in Zionsville, IN.

 They won both games too!! This weekend they have a Superbowl and play 2 games again!! The NFL doesn't even do that!! Aiden's little brother, Maddox, plays flag football and their season is over, but Madds is always there to support his big bro!

Our Heiser grandsons are pretty busy too! The oldest, Peyton, is a Senior and runs Cross Country as I have mentioned before. They placed 2nd in the Regional and are now headed down to Peoria for the State Championships this Saturday. We aren't able to go, but his mom will keep us informed on how it goes. Last week I went to his track meet dressed like Nanook of the North!! Those runners were just in their shorts and tank tops...BRRRRR!! The fields were wet and we had snow flurries..My feet were soaked..What the heck?? This a darn track meet, for God's sake, NOT a football game!!

This is a Senior picture...He's a great kid, inside and out..Of course, I am not prejudice at all!
Peyton's younger brother, Campbell, had a part in the middle school play. Campbell is 13 and played the role of a Sheriff..

 Campbell and his Mom and Dad...

Sheriff Jesse Marlow, on stage.

The kids have nicknamed Campbell "Soupy"..He's a really fun kid! He is so little, just look at those toothpick legs!..Oh, and those are MY cowboy boots,making their stage debut!!

We were not proud at all!! Campbell is following in his sister's Thespian footsteps..And speaking of his sister.....

Taylor is obviously adjusting to college life at Ball State University.

Dennis is busy in the combine. They are way behind due to so much rain. I have been trying to start loading our Hiker. We haven't taken it on a Winter trip in two years and we almost stripped it clean when we parked it, so there is a LOT to load. It doesn't help that it is parked quite a ways from our house! We also discovered that our slides were not working properly, so Dennis got underneath where the gear gizmo was. He first thought we may have to buy a new $700 motor (YIKES!), but discovered it was just some thingamajig on top of the motor that was the problem. As you can see, I have no idea what it is called, but he got online, ordered said thingamajig on line, and put it in when it arrive . WALLA!! Slides work.

I am a little nervous about this trip because the Hiker has been just sitting for a long time...I sure hope the ol' girl doesn't throw a hissy fit about having to get off her pad and travel again! She is, after all, 10 years old..How old is that in people years? So Dennis and I are trying not to jinx this trip. The whole idea of getting outta here this Winter is rest and relaxation. Now if I can just remember where I had everything put away in the Hiker, and can redo it the same way..I do, however, remember where I stored that wine!!