Hello Chicago

9/21/2022 we are in Illinois

The campgrounds official name is Adeline Jay Geo Karis Illinois Beach State Park and there are two different locations. We went to the no camping area first, a few miles down the road.
Sunset on our way to the campground
We stayed at sight #114

Thursday morning September 22, 2022 Mitch dropped me off at the shower facilities and he went for a bike ride. The showers are the water saving kind, you push the button, and for 30 second, half cold, half warm, then it shuts off..it was not a fun time. After I got done, Mitch had to show me what he’d found on the other side of the campground, it was the hugest lake we’ve ever seen!

Lake Michigan, it is sooo big, it seems like an ocean!
It was a cool morning, around 50 degrees and the waves just kept coming
Are we at the ocean? No wonder it’s called the Great Lakes

As we headed out to visit the Windy City, we didn’t agree on how you say Illinois. Do you say Illinois with the “s” at the end, or do you say it with a silent “s”? Per usual we turned it into a bet, (I think the “s” is silent, he says it’s not) we are going to ask 3 locals and who ever wins, gets a 10 minute massage! As we routed our way, Siri pronounced Illinois with a silent “s”. I asked Mitch if we could use her as one of the 3 people, he was adamant about it being people. Haha

The only RV in the city.. Harvy’s special:)
we came up this beautiful fountain in Grant Park only a block after we parked
It was a brisk morning, like burr

We made up rules about how we have to ask the three people. First we have to inquire if they are from Chicago, then we cannot say the name of the state and we have to be together to ask the question. When we ask we have to say, “how do you say the name of this state?” Our first person was a guy sitting in a city utility truck. He pronounced it with the “s” being silent. I did a little dance.. “oh ya, I’m getting me a massage, buddy” I say to Mitch.

We rented the Divvy bikes for a while, but riding bikes on the city street of Chicago with the traffic.. no thanks
We got ourselves a slice of pizza at Fontano’s and while Mitch was inside and I was guarding the bikes he asked the pizza guy about how to pronounce Illinois.. although I was not there the answer was a silent “s”
We stopped in at the Apple Store, they’ve got the best view in town and the friendliest people working there. I decided to ask a man who maintains the city’s trash, he said he’s lived in Chicago his whole life and he pronounces it with an “s”. Best two out 3, I win sweetie!
We went to the 360 Chicago building
It’s 94 stories high and your ears pop on the way up the elevator
What a beautiful city
This is a panoramic pic. They have a sky bar, a tilt out you can experience and a souvenir shop up top
City streets of Chicago

On our way back down the magnificent mile (all the fancy stores) I see people taking pictures, so I inquire. They said the sun only sets through the city streets that run east and west twice a year, and today was one of the days.

Sunset on a Chicago street

As we tried to map our way back to Harvy we went a different route and I was able to get another picture of the sunset

You can also take a boat tour of the city
The bean of Chicago “bean there!” Haha
You can walk under it, and get a new perspective
We’d made it a half a mile down the street and all these people we waiting to capture the sun setting

By this time, we’d spent hours touring the city and my back was killing me. The quickest way to get back to Harvy? We rented scooters! Now that’s the way to go, easier to weave in and out of the crowd on the sidewalk. I’d never ridden one, and it was quite the sight. I think I traumatized one guy, as I cut in right in front of him I said, “sorry, bad driver” he responded “you ARE a bad driver!” I respond, “ I will try and do better.. sorry!”

Me? On a scooter! Oh no!
Statue in Chicago
Grant park fountain in the evening
So long beautiful Chicago,
your clean streets, the welcoming vibe, I didn’t know I would love you like I do
We saw the navy pier as we drove out of town

The next morning 9/23/2022 we packed up and began driving towards Ohio. It was about a 5-6 hour drive to our next campground. we are currently at the Punderson state park in Ohio.

We made a new friend last night, a raccoon. It was so cold last night you could see your breath

Mitch sent a text to the family.. this is what it said, “A wild taco. Just walked up to within a foot of me and I forgot to push record! Haha!” Autocorrect changed the word raccoon, to taco. So Mitch named it Taco. The little one came back around and he did get a video.

Hello Taco

Today, 9/24/22 we take a day, let our bodies take a break and we continue our adventures tomorrow. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame here we come!

Dubuque Iowa

We left our campground this morning sept 20th 2022 and toured some of the town of Dubuque.

First we had a traveling companion

We made it to the mines of Spain and went for a little hike. Mitch appeased me, as I Just really liked the name.

Building at the mines of Spain in Dubuque Iowa
The history about the family that built it
The trail
Back up the steps
It’s an optical illusion folks, it’s his belt! But.. he cracks me up. hahahaha
Can you guess what mitch is thinking?
See below for answer
We encountered a frog on the way back up, can you see him?
The buildings downtown in Dubuque Iowa
Btw.. some people don’t pick up after there dogs in this state either. Guess that’s a universal thing.
We went to a few thrift stores
Crossing over the Mississippi River towards Wisconsin
Wild flowers at Mines of Spain

It’s a muggy evening, we’re currently in governor Dodge state park in Wisconsin. We are staying at Twin Valley campground. Did I mention it was muggy. Humid. Sticky. Icky. It’s almost 10 pm and the temperature is 77 degrees. The nature has a different rhythm, not so loud, a more rhythmic song. I think it’s frogs and cicadas..

Video of the night songs in Wisconsin

Answer to what Mitch was thinking… I still have cooked bacon in the freezer, I think I’ll have a bacon sandwich for dinner tonight.

Field of Dreams.. coming true

9/18/2022 we stayed at Cherry Glen campground near Polk City Iowa, I made the reservations a couple hours before we got there, and all we had to do was was pull in and the gentleman checked off our names.

That’s where Harvy was parked site #7

They had water- potable and non potable water, a flushing station, showers and some super loud cicada’s. Mitch’s favorite campground so far.

Off we go, towards Dyersville, Iowa to see where they filmed Field of Dreams
We stopped into Waterloo, Iowa for a bit of thrift store shopping. This Goodwill has great prices!
While waiting for Mitch at Chick-Fil-A in Waterloo (our first time ever having it, btw Yum) I made reservations to tour the house at field of dreams. And yes, we stopped into Waterloo because of the song, even though it wasn’t about this town
The house was originally built in the late 1800’s
The old TV… I remember having to turn the dial as a kid before they invited the remote
They originally titled the movie after the book, Shoeless Joe, but decide to change the title before releasing the movie.
You can actually rent the house to stay the night
Signed photo by the actors
The original stove that was in the movie
The have bats, balls and gloves for you to use
Kevin Costner carved this into the bleachers between takes during the filming of the movie
View from the bleachers
We signed the guest register
The new owner has big plans for the future.. if you want to see it before all the changes, go soon.
For now they are only asking for donations, and it’s $20 per person for a tour inside the house
If you build it, they will come

It was a special experience. The calmness that surrounds the grounds, the pristine grass, everyone there for the love of the game, the movie… some both. I cherished every second. Mitch and I brought own out mit and ball, then we realized they had bats. We hit a few balls and next thing you know we had an audience. A bus tour group of elderly folks filled the bleachers. They asked me to take a picture and I was delighted to oblige.

Ball signed by James Earl Jones
They even have a selfie stick in the ground where you can put your phone to take a picture

We head further east to find a place for the night. Mitch found an RV park called Hoot Owl Hollow Campgrounds near Dubuque Iowa. On our way there we passed a beautiful church.

Church near Dyersville Iowa

As we turned the corner there was a cemetery behind it. Intrigued by the elaborate headstones, we stopped.

This person died in 1888
To walk a cemetery, seeing how long ago they lived always fills me with more questions than answers and reminds me to cherish this short time on earth.
Sunset at the cemetery

We pull into the RV park, call the number on the door and settle in for the night. As we walked to the drop box to pay for the night I see a basketball hoop and a couple balls on the ground. Another opportunity to check off a bucket list item… play “pig” with my man. yup, just to play a little basketball with Mitch has been something I’ve wanted to do since we began dating, so like 16 years. I almost had him with a hook shot, double or nothin, but of course he nailed it.

Sunset in Iowa
Mitch had his own bucket list check off today, walking through a corn field.

Sometimes in life, the most meaningful and special memories have nothing to do with money or anything extravagant. It’s the little things, a corn field, a basketball or a movie about faith and baseball.

Loading up and heading towards Chicago today

Sleeping With Lions!

Years ago, when I was delivering mail in Medical Lake, WA a women on my route told me about this amazing zoo In Nebraska. Since then, it’d been in the back of my mind in hopes that someday we could experience it. Me, being me, I couldn’t remember the name of the zoo, but I did recall her saying it’s one of the largest zoos in the world! So I began searching.

The world larges desert dome

I found it, The Omaha’s Henry Doorley Zoo and aquarium in Omaha Nebraska. As I began reading on their website I found that they offer an overnight stay to sleep next to the lion enclosure.

It’s a 21 and over program, which includes dinner, drinks, a private guided tour of parts of the zoo, an overnight stay, breakfast and some time at the zoo before it opens.

I was really looking forward to the opportunity, and booked it months ago. So on September 17th 2022 at 5:45 pm along with 14 other people, we all met in the education building at the zoo.

Our tent was closest to the lions, you could see them out the back tent screen
Nap time
You can see the fence for the lions on the right. The cuddle bear is wearing blue 🙂
We just had dinner and the guide was telling us that next we’d be going to some of the exhibits
Baby elephant, did you know that elephants are pregnant for 22 months!!
The weather brought lightning, and we had to take the tour inside until the security said it was safe to go back to our tents
Down under with the gators we went
I think he’s smiling at me
Turtle turtle
Seriously, they drink blood!
The weather was clearing slower than this sloth and it was possible that we wouldn’t be able to go back to our tents for the night

They got us into a theater room, tried to play a movie to pass the time, but that wasn’t working either. Someone in the group (yes, it was me) suggested we play charades to pass the time. Thankfully, soon after, we got the all clear to head back to our campsite.

Time for s’mores

The lighting stayed far enough away, but still gave us an awesome light show!

Time to head to bed, in hopes that we’d hear them at night. The guide said they usually start around 3 in the morning

Turn up your volume and press the open button to hear the lions!!
We got to see them feed the lions, this is them when they see the staff bring in the food

The aquarium; they also have a family overnight available to sleep here
“It’s a zoo out there!” Says Mr. fish
The above ground dome
You can feed the giraffes
Owl stands on one foot, as they regulate their body temp through the feet
Red panda
Monkeys and fish
I named this guy poofy head bird
I don’t think he likes being watched all the time. I wonder if they gave him a smart phone if he’d play bubble pop… or watch tik-tok??
Here he is contemplating the meaning of his life
I wonder if the gorilla would like to have butterflies in his world? He just seemed so sad
I didn’t know… did you?
These are stick insects, if you look closely you’ll see them
Tree toppers restaurant, they serve hotdogs, salads and such. The monkeys are hiding from us this day, but they say they’re there
They have a skyfari you can ride, a train and so much more
The end