Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Homeward Bound

Sorry about the formating. I did this in Live Writer and I can't seem to edit it properly.

We hitched our wagon and set out for Chicago to see Detra's brother, Brian his wife Jodie and our nephews Brad and Steven.  We have been here just a couple of times since they moved to the Windy City years ago.  This new fulltiming life means we will get to see them a lot more.  We will pass through here on our way to new and exciting places as we explore west of the Mississippi during the years to come.   We split the drive from Memphis over two days with an overnight at Camp Lakewood RV Campground in Effingham, IL.  This park is run by a husband and wife team who could not be nicer or more helpful hosts.  We would like to swing through here again in the future to spend more time in this park.  It is on a lake with fishing ( no license needed) and boat rentals so you can get out and enjoy the water.  It feels like you are in the country but the highway along with tons of stores and restaurants are within a very short drive.   We made it to Chi-town the next day and the closest park we found was some 35 miles outside the city.  I don't think we missed anything closer, but I have to think someone could make a bit of money with a park nearer to the third largest city in the U.S.  KOA Chicago Northwest was where we stayed for the four nights in Chicago.  It is what you expect from KOA with everything you need in a campground, well maintained, clean and activities for the kids.  It is also next door to a Wild West Town but that had not opened for the season during our visit.   We spent time visiting, playing cards and overeating, plus we took in one of Steven's hockey games, which we haven't been able to do much of in the past.  The four of us have spent countless hours talking and playing cards over the last 30 years and it was an added bonus when the boys joined the game our last evening together.  Brian cooked up a couple of great meals during our visit making it hard to push ourselves away from the table.  We had a good time cheering for goaltender Steven at his hockey game, he played very well.  The five of us in the stands trying to do the wave just didn’t cut it.   
What a save!
We decided against going to a DDD restaurant because they were mostly downtown and we were still twenty miles away in the 'burbs.  We talked about food and realized none of us have had deep dish Chicago style pizza before.  Lou Malnati's Pizzeria is a home grown chain with 37 locations around Chicago.  Once you eat their deep dish pizza you can taste why they have been successful.  We all had our fill and still had enough to munch on for dinner the next day.  As for the age old question which is better pizza, Deep vs the more traditional pan, I have to say I don't know. The deep is awesome, the pan is great for other reasons.  I'm sure the three of us can come to some agreement to co-exist in my stomach.

 Windy City Chowdown Crew
 mmmm... Deep Dish!

We said our good-byes before I out grew my pants and started towards the border.  We didn't have a place booked for our stop that night close to Port Huron.  Detra was in charge of finding a place while we were running down the highway.  Michigan is just waking up from it's winter nap and we were a week too early for most of the parks to be open.  Just as we thought we might be doing a marathon run all the way home she called the Emmett KOA.  They just happened to be in the office getting ready for their opening on Friday.  Detra told them we were looking for that night, Thursday and weren't having much luck.  They then graciously offered to let us stay for the night even though they weren't officially open.  This is another good spot to stay with a pond, trails, lots of trees and a very accommodating staff.  They put us on a "Buddy Site" with a large concrete pad designed for two trailers to share and they can face each other.  We enjoyed a nice fire and plenty of stars to gaze at as we anticipated getting home the next day. Heading home and especially Logan our grandson, who we only spent a week with before we hit the road fulltiming in January was the hot topic around the fire.
We crossed the border on our second try, the construction through me off course, so I had to loop around again to the proper exit.  After paying $13.00!!!...@#%*^@?# to cross the bridge, we answered all the questions, and we passed back into Canada without a problem.
Nice to be back but it has to warm up a little more, I actually saw snow on some slopes which got me all upset that I almost turned around and headed south again! 

We pulled into my mothers place right on time and tried to set-up.  We are pretty good at this or so I thought until things went from bad to worse.  I first stopped and unhooked only to find that I needed to move two inches over.  Second attempt found the slide interfering with AC at the side of the house.
That was ok, just move it back a little I thought, I jumped in the truck to move it and then Detra came to the window and told me the two trailer legs were still down.  I jumped out hit the button to raise the legs and then...Truck and trailer headed backwards all on their own!!!! I had left the truck in reverse!  I managed to jump in and stop the truck before we hit anything which was very lucky.  The weight of the trailer had held it in place until I raised the legs and it was free to roam.  Detra and I just looked at each other stunned, our eyes huge and hearts pounding, this could have disastrous.  At this point I just shut the truck off and walked in the house and had a beer.  Once a little calmer the rest of the process when fine.

Fulltime Lesson #4;  Always… and I mean ALWAYS, use the emergency brake when the trailer is attached to the truck.
Once set up we headed to Jeff and Terri’s to see our grandson Logan, who happens to be our biggest problem with fulltiming.  We missed him terribly while we were away and to compensate, Detra went and bought him clothes at every kids shop she came across.  And there are more than a few new mothers down south wondering why some lady is staring at their new baby with tears in her eyes and asking how old they are.
Logan is so cute!
So we are back in Canada until next fall and looking forward to time with family and on the boat fishing over the summer.