Archive for May, 2010

The Little Brown Church in the Vale

May 18, 2010 - 2:20 pm 2 Comments

We left Interstate RV Park in Davenport Iowa this morning around 7:30 a.m. Greg was itching to get to Moscow, Iowa, to have the HWH factory inspect our hydraulic levelers before our trip to Alaska. The nicest mechanic came out and got on the ground and inspected all four levelers, giving us the thumbs up that everything looks in great working order. They should be—you know Greg and his maintenance thing. At any rate, when we left the RV Park this morning, a big sign was at the entrance stating “STEPS UP, ANTENNA DOWN”. For any RVer, this is the mantra for every morning before pulling out, so I thought it was a great idea for them to actually remind us with a sign.

We had a great day meandering through Iowa. The weather was perfect—sun shining and a high of 70 degrees or so. No humidity, so we had a great day of driving. We were on back roads, my favorite kind of road because you see the real America rather than the same interstate stuff.

For those of you our age or so you will remember the song “The Church in the Wild Wood”, about a little brown church in a beautiful area. We saw a road sign for it and of course I wanted to stop and take a look. We drove into the little town of Nashua, Iowa. It is a lovely small town and we noticed there was a very big visitor center so we stopped to take a look. What a treasure! Inside the visitor center (it also doubles as a tornado shelter) were crafts from local folks—woodworking items, cookbooks, stationary, and hand made items. I went right for the beautiful baby items. Evidently one local lady, while her husband is gone fishing in Minnesota, busies herself making handmade baby items. Quilts, burping cloths, and bibs of all kinds. So you know we picked up a beautiful little handmade bib for our Olivia.

Now back to the Little Brown Church in the Vale. This song was written in 1857 by William Pitts, a young man who, while traveling from Minnesota to this area of Iowa to visit his girlfriend, drove through the area and thought it was so beautiful with wild flowers, he went home and wrote the song “The Church in the Wild Wood”. There was no church in the wild wood at that time, only in his imagination. He put the song in a drawer and did not look at it again until years later when, to his surprise, the area built a church (1860) and had to paint it brown because there was no white paint available (too expensive during the civil war). He was hired to be music director in the new church and it was in this church that the song was first sung. For those young folks who may have never heard the song, a few lines are:

“There’s a church in the valley in the wild wood; No lovelier spot in the dale; No place is so dear to my childhood; As the little brown church in the vale”.

The flowers in the wild wood were spectacular and the inside of the church reminded me of a little church we attended when I was a child. The hymn numbers were posted on a little wooden board every Sunday. Today’s photos are of the Little Brown Church in the Vale, and the beautiful flowers in the wild woods near the church. We enjoyed lunch in front of the church and left a donation in the donation box in the church foyer. The church was totally unsupervised and items for sale such as prints and such were on the honor system.

We ended the day in Forest City, Iowa, at the Winnebago Plant. This is such a first class operation. Because we bought an item in the parts department, we were allowed to stay in the adjacent lot with electric hookups with several other RVers who may be here for service or parts. All shapes and sizes of RVs are here today–all Winnebagos.

We head out in the morning for Minnesota and on into South Dakota.

Stay tuned!!! Bonnie and Greg

Rain Rain Go Away

May 17, 2010 - 4:01 pm 3 Comments

The good news is this evening the sun is finally out and we have 70 degree weather in Davenport Iowa. The “other” news is that we had to drive through a damp foggy Illinois the entire day. The cornfields are so wet the corn will probably have to be replanted.

The park we stayed at last night in Benton Illinois was just terrific. It is privately owned and the owners are just like neighbors. I told you yesterday they had chickens roaming around. Well this morning before we left the park the owner brought me 6 beautiful brown eggs that her chickens had just laid last night. I offered to pay her but she would not take anything—she said she has all the eggs she needs and gives the rest of them away. So we will enjoy eggs and bacon one morning soon.

It was 64 degrees when we left this morning, and during the morning we had to stop and change into long pants and socks and we had to get out our jackets also. The temperature dropped to 52 degrees and then rose again to 70 by the time we stopped for the day.

It’s funny when we start a new trip. It takes about 3 days for us to get acclimated to the RV. By that I mean we generally cannot put our hands on what we are looking for the first 3 days or so. All day long it’s “where are my glasses” “where is my wallet” “where is the phone”? Even in a space this small we can’t remember where we put our stuff. I guess we are so “organized” we can’t remember a thing about it!!

I had a great comment from Pat asking if we were on a schedule. NO NO NO the great thing about this trip is that we do NOT have a schedule. We don’t know where we will be tomorrow night or the next day. We have a general idea but that’s about it.

This evening we are in Davenport Iowa at an RV park called Interstate RP Park. It’s a great little park (take a look at the photos). We will take a stroll this evening around the park and be back in time to watch “Dancing with the Stars” much to Greg’s chagrin. He usually goes to another room in our house to watch something else when it comes on at home, but he’s a captive audience tonight! For dinner we had a greek salad with grilled chicken on top.

Tomorrow we will stop in Moscow Iowa at the plant that installed our hydraulic levelers. Greg just wants them to check everything out since we will be driving some rough roads in Alaska. Then we will drive toward Forest City, Iowa and stop at the Winnebago plant. We just want to shop around in their store.

Allan and Ben– the photo of Dad’s shoes/socks is for you!

Starting our 2010 Alaskan Odessey

May 16, 2010 - 3:25 pm 5 Comments

We can hardly believe our departure day has finally arrived. Our precious Olivia and family came over last night to say goodbye and when Olivia got out of the car she WAVED to us!!! Something new. We’ve thought all along that she was on the verge of crawling and this afternoon she did! We hope to see video soon of this major event in her life.

Allan came over again this morning to help us get started. He videotaped us leaving as our precious little neighbors sat on their front porches and waved goodbye.

We had a steady rain most of the day as we made our way through Tennessee and the lower tip of Kentucky. We didn’t see any flooding in Nashville, but the river we crossed in Paducah Kentucky looked to be over flood level.

We are thinking of my Mom and Dad today as we start this trip. They always said their travel to Alaska was one of the best times of their lives. We think this trip will be the same for us.

We arrived at our first stop in Benton, Illinois at the Whittington Woods RV Park. This is a wonderful small park with large trees. We stayed here last year as well when we started our trip to California. This park has chickens roaming free and if I had known they had fresh eggs for sale, I would not have brought two dozen with me. No room for fresh brown eggs! Maybe I should throw the Eggland eggs out and take the brown ones. Ha!

We’ve enjoyed sitting outside reading the Sunday newspaper this afternoon. There are several big rigs near us from Texas, Manitoba Canada, etc. Everyone is going somewhere interesting.

Wow did we ever have a good supper tonight. I brought bbq ribs from our freezer and we enjoyed them with potato salad and baked beans. A great supper for our first evening on the road.

Remember to hover your mouse over my photos to see the description of the photo. We hope to be in Iowa tomorrow with clear skies.

Stay tuned! Bonnie and Greg

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