Sunday, July 31, 2016

Little Beach House baking...

Sundays are spent resting and doing random things that don’t get done during the week. Today is actually hair coloring day and no, I’m not going to put a picture up of myself doing this. LOL! So while I am sitting here with smelly stuff on my head, I thought you might like to know more about my little oven. I read quite a bit online before we headed out and found a few things that work. So here is the little oven…15.5 inches wide.
I found a couple of pans that would work in it and have brought them along.

As you can see in the oven picture, there is a flat metal shelf under the rack. The gas flame is under there so you can’t use that as a shelf. I read about people who said this oven cooks weird and burns stuff because that shelf is so close to the rack above. I also read about some solutions. The first one was to use a small pizza stone on this shelf to distribute the heat better. Since this was a budget operation, Bill brought me home a porcelain floor tile from Home Depot. I was going to clean it before taking the picture, but let’s keep it real shall we.
Another item that has come in handy has been the oven thermometer. I found out this oven is about 50 degrees off, so set it accordingly.
As long as you wait for the oven to heat up to the right temperature, the cooking goes very well. I had baked muffins with success at first but got my first challenge when we visited the grandchildren. I wanted to bake a pound cake for strawberry shortcake. I thought the girls would get a kick out of baking in the small oven. We had a good time putting it all together and I used the 11 inch round cake pan to cook it in.
I always use a loaf pan at home so I wasn’t sure if it would overflow in a different pan. We couldn’t help but peek a few times and it stayed in the pan! So, the other day, I baked a tiny pork loin in the oven and we enjoyed it with noodles and salad. Afterward, I said, “This meal needs cake!” I had a cake mix from home stashed in the back of the pantry closet so dug it out and started in. Bill was a game guy and became my mixer as my electric one is sitting at home. Into the round pan it went and I again wondered if it would overflow. It came out great!
Then we both thought, no frosting! But we had raspberry jam in the fridge and that was even better! So these have been my adventures with baking so far. I’ll keep you up to date on any future baking endeavors. Thanks for reading.

Mt. Vernon, Kentucky to Cumberland Gap, Virginia

July 30, 2016

The KOA was quiet and peaceful last night. It was sure nice to have all that laundry done. And we did cook those burgers and they were scrumptious! Bill took care of the tanks this morning, then left about 8:00.
I did a quick cleanup and got myself ready and it wasn’t long before Bill called and we agreed to meet in Corbin, Kentucky…home of Kentucky Fried Chicken! The highway was busy this morning, so I hope Bill’s doing alright on the side roads. When I reached Corbin, there was a Pilot truck stop where I maneuvered between the trucks and found a spot for the little beach house on wheels;
some big bumps back here, I’m sure the potholders have jumped off their hooks. The clouds are starting to move in; hope there isn’t a storm brewing.  Bill pedaled into the truck stop and shared how he had met some firefighters. As he was coming through Mt. Vernon, he noticed there was some training going on in a big parking lot near the fire station. There were fire trucks and tents and all sorts of things set up and there were 15 to 20 people there. They all listened to what Bill was saying and were all excited about our journey. They are going to mail us a patch and took Bill’s picture in front of one of the trucks. One of the firefighters handed Bill an ice cold bottle of water and he drank it down and said, “If you weren’t a bearded man, I’d kiss you!” They all laughed and proceeded to fill up his empty water bottle with more. Then it was back on the road toward our meeting place. We’re having trouble finding a campground near the stopping point so might have to drive a bit to find a place. The heat and humidity have prevented us from boondocking and rest is vital for Bill to keep going. Made it to Barbourville and gave him a call to let him know that I was near the local waterpark…sure would be nice to splash around a bit. When Bill arrived, we checked the Garmin, his phone, and the map to see if there was a place to camp. There was a state park that listed camping about 15 miles away, so we packed up and drove there. They had closed the campground! So we drove another 10 miles to the Cumberland Gap National Historic Park where we filled up with water at the gate and had electric at our site. Even drove through a long tunnel to get there.
Another year and we can get a senior pass where it’s free to stay at all National Parks. We are close to the showers and are looking forward to a restful night. Thank-you for reading.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Louisville, Kentucky to Mt. Vernon, Kentucky

We had to drive through 60 miles of pouring rain yesterday so we could get out of the storm track. It was coming down in buckets and did so the whole time we drove.
We stayed at Boonesborough State Park last night and this morning looked a little better, so Bill left about 8:30 and I received a call from him about and hour and a half later. He told me to meet him in Mt. Vernon, Kentucky in about an hour and 45 minutes. When I got ready to pull out of the camping spot, there were about 10 people at the spot across from us watching me with concerned looks on their faces. I think they thought a woman wouldn't be able to drive this thing. I pulled out nice and easy and they all smiled and I waved....still a bad_ss to be sure! LOL! On the way to the highway, I saw a Pilot truck stop, I'm learning to love those places..lots of room, so I pulled in and filled up the gas tank. It's always an adventure getting out of these places but I go slow and careful and made it out without incident. I punched up "Walmart Supercenter" and found out there was one right near the highway about 2 miles down the road so headed there to pick up a few groceries. One thing I have learned along the way, don't just type "Walmart" into your Garmin, I ended up at a Walmart distribution center last week. As I drove up, I thought, "Walmart doesn't usually have a high fence with barbed wire on the top...not yet anyway..." But there was plenty of room to turn around and I found the Walmart Supercenter across town. Shopped with my list in hand and put everything away back in the little beach house on wheels. As I drove toward Mt. Vernon, there would be 3 miles of pouring down rain, then about 3 miles of dry weather, then back to pouring rain. I didn't know if Bill hit any of that or not. I pulled over to wait in Mt. Vernon when Bill called. He was headed to the KOA campground nearby so I turned around and went back a couple miles and pulled up at the office. My Bill was in the office dripping wet! He had hit the rain too and it came down so hard, it mixed with the sweat on his head, ran into his eyes and almost blinded him. He found his way to a thrift shop on the way to the campground and the kind lady there let him stand in the foyer until the rain eased up a bit. The folks in the KOA lent him a towel and he dried off some and we headed to our camping spot for the night. After a shower and a nap, we are here in the laundry room catching up with you and doing our laundry.
Burgers for supper I think, I'm starved! Thanks for reading. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Columbus, Indiana

Yesterday, the 26th, we woke up to thunder and lightning and pouring rain. Looks like we’re supposed to go visit the Columbus, Indiana police department. Bill went outside and emptied tanks and got soaked in the process.
He gave them a call and made arrangements to meet about 10:00. We packed up and ran through the rain and headed into the city. We found the police department and then had to find a place to park the truck and little beach house on wheels. There was a large dirt patch near the railroad so we parked and made another mad dash through the rain into the foyer. We chatted with the gentleman at the front desk and told him what we were doing. Shortly thereafter, we met Lt. Matt Harris who listened to our story and invited us into his office. We talked at length and he gave us a tour of the police department. I even got a picture of Bill in the old holding cell!
We met several officers that we thanked and tried to be an encouragement to. We spent several hours there and when someone brought lunch for all the officers, they shared with us too! So we got to eat in a police department! Lt. Harris brought us back to his office where we traded patches and then he gave us karabiners and T-shirts. He gave us 2 of the new patches and 2 of the old patches so we have more to pass along down the road.

We took pictures and said good-bye and went our way. Thank-You all so much for sharing your day with us and for the incredible job you all do.
Since my brother lives nearby, we drove  into Kentucky
to see him and his wife after lunch.  It wasn't raining there but rolled in later. It was great to see them and he helped Bill rotate the tires on the camper this morning, which was badly needed. We have enjoyed their company but will be on our way again tomorrow morning. Bill has about 2200 miles in so far so we are almost halfway. Please be in prayer for our law enforcement and be sure to thank one of them today. Thanks for reading. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Cloverdale, Indiana to Columbus, Indiana

Bill left about 7:30 this morning and I gave him a call about 2 hours later to see how he was doing. He had made it to Spencer, Indiana and saw a sheriff’s vehicle pulled over with its lights on checking on a car in the ditch. Bill pulled up to talk to him and after telling him what he was doing, Deputy Andrew Deckard told him the Sheriff would want to meet him because he kept a Bible on his desk and if he was on a call with someone, he would always go in first as he didn’t want his men doing something he was not willing to do.
He and Bill traded patches,
and then Bill headed to the county sheriff’s office where he met Sheriff Sam Hobbs. He was a mountain of a man with a deep voice and a kind heart and they talked at length. Now, this morning, I was packing up patches and coins for Bill to take with him and I saw the Para cord bracelet that one of the bicycle police had given us in St. Paul, Minnesota. I added it in with the other items which I have not done before. While Bill talked to Sheriff Hobbs, he felt it was time to pass the bracelet on to him. He told him how special it had been to the bicycle officer and they pulled up this blog and he saw him in the picture. The Sheriff was turning the bracelet over in his hands looking at it so there was a connection being made there. He hugged Bill several times during his visit and then shot a picture of them all together.
They told him how to get to the police station a few blocks away and Bill pedaled away. Thank-You gentlemen for what you do and for your generosity to us. When he arrived, Chief Marshal Rich Foutch opened the door to his office and said, “We’ve been waiting for you.” He then introduced him to his wife Deborah who was also an officer and the canine officer, Officer Bonebreaker! He was a big guy too. He had a drug dog that was later in the picture. While the Chief and Bill talked, he shared how they had met a gentleman who was walking across America to raise awareness for the Romans Warrior Foundation.
Brian Romans offers free help for veterans struggling with PTSD and his website can be viewed here.  Bill then traded patches with the Chief and even received a hat.
He gave the Chief one of our challenge coins and refilled his water and then they had a picture taken together.
A big Thank-You to all the officers there for what you do! He pedaled out of town headed for our meeting place.  We were to meet in Belmont, Indiana, but Miss Garmin had no clue so I just drove until I got there. It was a very small place with nowhere to pull over so I drove a couple of miles and pulled way off the road. Sometimes the traffic is heavy, sometimes there’s no traffic at all. I should be seeing Bill pretty soon…I’m starvin’! LOL! I started looking through the road up ahead on the Garmin and saw a state park about 5 miles ahead. I thought there might be some shade there too as it was now up to 90 degrees. Just 2 miles down the road, I came to a large parking area so pulled in. Bill pedaled up shortly thereafter and said his phone had sent him into gravel again and he had lost his tail light. Since he had 54 miles in, we packed up the bike and looked for a bicycle shop. We saw one on the way to Columbus, so turned around and went in. Found another tail light and bought a couple of tubes and patch kits since we had no more spares. A few more miles and we came to Ceraland Park and Campground. Wow! What a big place! Over 300 camping spots and all kinds of things on the rest of the property. No wifi, but the little hotspot works so we will use that today. Thanks for reading. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Hillsboro, Indiana to Cloverdale, Indiana

A very peculiar day indeed. Bill left about 6:45 this morning and I started my morning routine. The day seemed normal enough....until Bill called around 8 to tell me he had a flat. He fixed it and not too long after, another flat. I was headed to Covington to pick up some groceries and after everything was loaded into the little beach house on wheels, He called and said he had a third flat.
We arranged to meet in Fillmore, Indiana in about a half hour or so. I have my Garmin set up to avoid unpaved roads and not to avoid highways...well Miss Garmin had other plans for me today. I went down more gravel, washboard, dirt, and half washed out roads than I have the whole trip so far. I ended up in a Sugar Camp where a young man helped me turn around and go back. The roads continued to be really bad, solid patches and 1 1/2 cars wide. Just when I thought I was never going to escape, I made a right turn and there was Bill pedaling ahead of me.Wow! Were we glad to see each other! His phone had been directing him down the same types of roads and we were both pounded to death. He even went through Waynetown,
thought my brother Wayne would appreciate that..:) He saw this silo there that reminded him of a rook chess piece.
There was a campground 10 miles away so we took what seemed to be 100 lefts and rights and reached here at last. I opened the door to carnage inside the camper. The stovetop was on the floor, and when I gingerly opened the frig, all the shelves had fallen off and I had to pull one thing out at a time while holding the door partly shut. The dry groceries that I had waited until later to put away were scattered everywhere. Bill was disheartened to see the mess so I told him to go take a shower and I put everything to rights while he was gone. After we cooled off for a bit, carried all the laundry over to the laundry room and started it up. Bill laid down for a nap and I think I will too! Thanks for reading.

Urbana, Illinois to Hillsboro, Indiana

June 22, 2016

Had a thunderstorm last night that knocked the heat down a bit. With a gentle rain after, we woke up to a cooler morning than expected. Just to be sure though, Bill was off pedaling by 6:30 so he could get his miles in before the heat of the day. I spent part of the morning catching up with emails and pasting links on our Facebook page to the very well done article by Mary Schenk and the WCIA Channel 3 news report done by Anna Carrera. These were both unexpected and it was all actually started by Bob

right here at the D & W lake Campground. Without his call to his friend, Chief Connolly yesterday, we would have just spent the night and kept pedaling. Instead, we got to meet some amazing people and got our message out to even more people. Thank-You Bob, you’re awesome! He took care of my trash for me this morning and I packed up and drove away. Bill had called to have me come and meet him in Covington, Indiana, about 45 miles away. I thought it was odd that the Garmin said it would take 2 hours to get there, but kept going until I reached the Covington exit…an hour early. Then it hit me, I must have crossed into the Eastern Time Zone! Woo! Hoo! No more time zones after this one! Bill called and said he was going to continue on to the campground, then he would have 70 miles. I switched over to back roads and the Garmin led me straight to a “Road Closed” sign. Fortunately, there were 2 driveways on either side of the road so with a lot of careful going back and forth, I managed to turn around and go down the next road. Who do you think was pedaling up ahead….Bill! I refilled his water and we both headed to the campground. I reached it first but had driven down some gravel road to get there. I called him to let him know and offered to turn around and pick him up. He said he would play it by ear and about ¾ of an hour later, he pedaled up after doing over 70 miles. We retreated to the camper soon after as it was starting to get really hot. Our little hotspot works (turns out it didn't work....) so we will be busy getting all of this out to you. Thanks for reading. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Champaign and Urbana, Illinois

An amazing day for sure! Last night, Bill went to the campground office to talk to Bob, the gentleman I met yesterday. He is friends with the Chief of Police in Urbana and called him right then and there. He handed the phone to Bill and they talked for awhile. He is picking us up for breakfast! We met at the campground office at 7:50 and Chief Connolly drove us through town and told us some of the history there. At Perkins, we met Mary Schenk, a reporter from The News-Gazette who interviewed us while we all had breakfast.
Thank-you Mary, it was nice meeting with you! County Sheriff Dan Walsh showed up next with a patch for us
and we all got a picture together.
Thank-you Sheriff! Chief Connelly traded patches and coins with us,
then it was over to the Urbana City Building where Lieutenant Fitzgerald took us on a whirlwind tour of the Urbana Police Department until the Chief was free...
we met so many friendly and pleasant officers!
I need a secretary to follow me around to write names down for me! Thank-you all so much! Since it was going to be awhile until we met Channel 3 for an interview at noon, the Chief drove us over to the Champaign Police Department where we met Deputy Chief Joe Gallo. What a wonderful facility they have. We saw everything from evidence rooms to the big SWAT team truck.
How could I resist getting a picture of these 3 handsome guys in front of this truck?! :)
Lots of veterans of the Iron Man competitions too! Again, met so many nice people that we thanked along the way. The Deputy Chief gave us a coin, patch, and mug and later gave us a SWAT team patch.
We received an interesting SWAT team patch while we were in St. Paul from one of the bicycle officers there and at the end of the day, it had a new home with Deputy Chief Gallo. Then it was time to meet reporter Anna Carrera for the Channel 3 interview. She was pleasant and thorough and was genuinely interested in what we were doing. Part of the interview was done in the Urbana City Building
and they filmed Bill on his bicycle right here in the campground. Thank-you Anna, nice job on the interview! (Nice shoes too...) Chief Connolly was instrumental in calling the media in and asking different people to come and meet us. Thank-You Chief and thank-you especially for the job you do. After the filming, Bill had a flat tire he needed to fix and some general maintenance on the bicycle.
While he was working, another gentleman from the Sheriff's Office pulled up to thank us and we thanked him. We talked outside for awhile and I can't imagine how hot it must be to have to wear those bulletproof vests in this record heat. I was just dripping and was only standing there. Thank-you sir for the job you do. So with the heat index of over 100, we are chilling in the little beach house on wheels planning out tomorrow's ride. Thank-you for reading.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Carlock, Illinois to Champaign, Illinois

Bill left at 7:30 this morning to meet with the police in Bloomington, Illinois. Because it's difficult making my way through cities with the little beach house on wheels, I stayed behind and tidied up and wrote in a few more New Testaments. He called to ask me to meet him in Farmer City so I made my way there and he pedaled up just a few minutes later. We brought the map into the convenience store and had some chicken strips together while we searched for a campground. We chose one in Champaign called D & W Lake RV Park. While we ate, Bill told me about his morning. When he arrived at the police department, he met the Assistant Chief who handed him a cold bottle of water that was much appreciated, and Bill told him what we were doing. After talking for a bit, the Chief came in and Bill introduced himself. After talking, the Chief wanted his officers called in to listen to what Bill had to say. Bill told them all Thank-You and why we were doing this trip. When he was done, the officers lined up, shook hands, and thanked him. Chief Heffner gave him a patch and a coin
and the police photographer took a picture of Chief Brendan Heffner and Bill with quite of few of the officers that were present.
Thank-You all so much for the job you do! He even got a police escort over to the Sheriff's Office! Bill had a good time following the police cruiser through red lights and up hills. Once he reached the Sheriff's Department, one of the officers in the cruiser was a former sheriff so walked Bill right into the office where the Sheriff was. They talked at length and the Sheriff offered Bill a patch.
He talked with several other officers and got a picture.
Our hope is that some have been encouraged by our stopping by. He showed me the pictures that were taken and then pedaled away toward the campground, I called to make a reservation and drove the 20+ miles to where the campground was located. When I arrived, I found out that 1 of the 2 gentlemen working there was a retired police officer! So I thanked him and told him what we were doing and gave him one of the New Testaments. He shook my hand and pointed out the thin blue line flag flying over his fifth wheel. Thank-You sir for your service.  The 2 men hopped into their golf cart and led the way to our camping spot for the night. I plugged in the electrical cord and turned on the AC to cool down the little beach house on wheels and got everything set up to turn it into home for the night. Bill pulled in about an hour later bathed in sweat and took advantage of the shower at the campground. He did over 68 miles today and is doing well. The rib he injured the other day is still hurting, so I ask for your prayers for this. So I am finishing up today's entry and we will get ready for another day in the morning. Thank-you for reading.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Oglesby, Illinois to Carlock, Illinois

The campground was nice and quiet last night so we rested well. Bill left at 7:30 this morning and was going to try going all back roads to avoid traffic. I cleaned up around the camper, did hair and make-up and waited for Bill to call to let me know where he was. He called shortly thereafter to let me know he was in Gridley. On the way there, I drove by this magnificent old Italianate house in El Paso, Illinois that had been abandoned for years. I wanted to get a picture, but there was no place to pull over; so I looked it up on the internet and found this picture of it.
Wouldn't it be fun to bring this back to the beauty this once was? It was quite close to the road and was huge. Just as I would have caught up to Bill, he called and said he was going to keep pedaling and gave me directions to where he was. I caught up to him and refilled his water and we were both headed to Hudson and then on to Towanda. I found a parking lot near the Towanda School and got some lunch ready. He pedaled up and wanted to get a few more miles in before calling it a day. He told me about the wind turbines he had seen

and also a really cool piece of farm equipment.
He made a video of the wind turbine and it's posted on our Facebook page. He pedaled ahead to put on a few more miles and when I caught up to him, he had over 74 miles on. So we loaded up and headed to Kamp Komfort in Carlock, Illinois to download pictures, update Facebook, write the blog, and kept an eye on the dark clouds gathering outside. With the first thunderclap, we wrapped up everything and got ready for some rest. Thanks for reading. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Pecatonica, Illinois to Oglesby, Illinois

We started out early today so we could dump the tanks at the station on the way out of the state park. Then drove a couple of miles to the state police station. We met Master Sergeant Robert Story and we talked for a bit and gave him some New Testaments for his men. He gave us his card
and I took his picture with Bill out front.
Thank-You sir for the job you do! Then Bill loaded up his bike with snacks and water and we prayed together before he pedaled off. There is no shoulder here, so he is riding in the road; fortunately traffic is light. Sergeant Story advised us not to go to Rockford, so we are continuing south and east on back roads. We are going to have to keep closer tabs on each other for the next few days as there are lots of roads criss-crossing the state. I’m parked off the road on Route 72 at the moment; corn on one side, wheat on the other. The wheat looks almost ready to harvest and the corn is starting to tassel out. It looks a good 6 feet tall right now. Parked by Mix Park in Oregon, Illinois. So far, Route 2 has been a good road with a wide shoulder. We’ll be traveling on it for about 16 more miles, and then we will have to find a new route. It’s overcast today and 78 degrees at 10:15. If the sun stays behind the clouds, the pedaling should go well. We both made it to Dixon, Illinois
where we met in a Walmart parking lot for lunch. Then it was back on Route 26 South toward Ohio, Illinois. When I arrived, I called Bill to see how he was doing. The road has no shoulder so he went a different way. So when he arrives in a town, he’ll call me and I’ll go find him. I waited in a church parking lot for almost an hour when he called. He was only about 10 miles away, so I set the Garmin and found him. He had 70 miles in and we drove the few miles to the Cozy Corner Campground. On the way there, we crossed the Illinois River over this pretty bridge.
The campground looks quiet and peaceful after a long day.  Thank-you for reading.