Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Different Way of Living and Rule #3

Thursday, September 17
Carlyle Lake, Illinois

Life is different.

Gone is the nagging thought in the back of my head that something needs to be done on the house. Grass cutting, window washing, weeding, leaf raking, snow shoveling and countless other chores are a thing of the past. To be sure, we have to keep our house on wheels clean and perform maintenance and repairs, but we also have a lot of spare time and freedom. I can transition from doing e-mail, to walking outside, to cleaning inside the coach and then to just contemplating what a great life we are enjoying. Or I can assemble the paper, kindling and logs for tonight’s campfire. A mental list of things to do is much more fun than a written one.

Just this morning I took a lawn chair and a book and sat under a tree to read for an hour or so. I did not feel like I only had a specified amount of time before I had to do something. In fact, when I got tired of reading, I walked the shore line and watched little fish jump out of the water and mud daubers fly in for more building materials.

This is a beautiful and an amazing lake. It is the largest lake (26,000 acres of water) within the boundaries of the state of Illinois. It is a man-made lake due to the efforts of a local businessman who in 1952 recognized the need for flood control and the recreational areas that would occur as a result of creating a large body of water. The lake was completed in 1967 for a total cost of only $41 million. We are in one of 13 camp grounds, nine of which are maintained by the COE.
Our two dogs – Trixie and Norton are doing better every day. This morning they did not bark at any people or at any other four-footed creatures. We think they are beginning to adjust to the campground lifestyle.

This morning Sandy saw a skunk in back of our motorhome. But we ALWAYS, ALWAYS have the dogs on leashes. Getting sprayed by a skunk now would be a huge problem. And speaking of that, even six months after Trixie was sprayed by a skunk in our back yard in March, if her head gets wet I can still detect a faint odor from that skunk.

Sandy and I have both vowed to get more exercise. The last few months in the house and then in the motorhome were just not conducive to exercising and we both put on a few extra pounds. So by mid-afternoon we decided to drive to another area of the lake that has some hiking trails. We set out on the closest one to the parking lot. And here is where Rule #3 was written. We will never, never take another trail without a map. Yup. We two scouts got lost. Not badly lost and we did find our way back, but it took us an extra 25 minutes past the point where our legs were getting tired. But the hike was really wonderful. The path took us across prairie and huge areas of Goldenrod, through savannahs checkered with lots of oak trees and through the woods were we saw white tail deer and several ground hogs.

On the path through the prairie we saw several Monarch Butterflies stoking up on nectar as they prepare for their migration south.

Following dinner on our walk with T & N we were treated to a nice (not great) sunset, and tonight’s campfire included a special reward. I wondered what a s’mores would taste like with a layer of crunchy peanut butter spread on one graham cracker. And the answer is: INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS.

All in all this was a terrific day. We will sleep well tonight.


  1. George/Sandy,

    Your new adventure is bringing back some faint memories of days gone past--a long time ago. Just keep the "honeymoon" stage alive as long as you can. Someday, without your even being aware of it--the day will come when you will start to find what you are experiencing right now (for the last few days too) will start to wain. My advice to you to keep this keen spirit alive (the honeymoon), is to reflect back on these early days of your NEW life --often-- so that the activities and thoughts that you are journaling today will carry on for a very long time.

    You probably have little or no idea of what I'm talking about now--but a year or two from now--you WILL my friend! Enjoy the journey and I look forward to showing you around the Pacific Northwest next summer too! It is so-o-o-o beautiful here and Mount Rainier (65 miles south of where I am parked) is beckoning you to come visit her. She majestically rises over 14,200 feet above sea level...

  2. Yesterday I also saw a male pheasant at the end of the "trail".

    Last night at the campfire we watched a Black-crowned Night Heron stalk his prey along the shoreline by the marina area. They make an unusual sound.

    Norton (our male Petit Basset) who's greatest adventure so far during his camping has been finding 3 bones left by some pesky raccoon at the last two campgrounds. Of course, being a scent hound, this comes naturally to him. If you are camping nearby and hear the stern "DROP IT" command, you know Norty has found another treasure.

  3. Enjoyed reading your latest blog and I felt like I was right there hiking those trails! As evidence by your monarch picture, you heeded rule #2 and had your camera along for the hike..... good for you! Your pics are awesome and add to my living vicariously. Thanks for sharing.
    Another benefit of your hiking adventures now is that you will be in great shape by the time you get out west and want to hike all those awesome trails out there!!!
    George, I think your next dabbling will have to be editing "1000 Ways to Enjoy S'Mores" PB sounds yummy! ;)
    Glad to hear Trix and Norty are doing well too!!!