Cross country: Salina, Kansas and the last of Springfield, Illinois images

August 20, 2013

On the road again! This was a beautiful and relaxing drive along I-70. The Kansas landscape was one of rolling hills and more cattle ranches than corn and bean farms. It reminded me of Tennessee, which was greener.

So here we are in a KOA campground in Salina, Kansas. We’ve opted to purchase a KOA membership which will pay for itself by the time we get home. Earlier in the trip KOA campgrounds gave us a AAA discount which equaled theirs or a military discount which is a little less.  However, going into Nevada on our way home we know we will rely on KOAs.

When traveling across country, campground membership helps. Passport America (PA) certainly more than paid for itself. We have found that some KOAs were very expensive along the east coast, but then most campgrounds were high. That’s where Passport America came in handy with their 50% discount. Some campgrounds had strict rules on the use of PA and others didn’t.

One more tip before I end this post. If you’re traveling on the east coast, purchase a Fast Pass before you leave home. It will save you time and money.

Tomorrow, we head to Oakley, Kansas, so we’ll be seeing more rolling hills. We’re almost to Denver and cortisone shots. Maybe I’ll get new glasses while I’m there. The spare pair I’m using influences how I see color when editing photos. If I take them off, I can’t tell what’s in focus!

Always on the road again, or so it seems!


Cross country: Stopping in Oak Grove and more Springfield, Illinois images

It’s Denver or bust! We know a Kaiser facility will give Richard his needed cortisone shots. The Missouri landscape is different from Illinois. It is hilly; just small hill, but driving is a little more interesting. In between the small cities, you’ll see corn and bean fields. We saw a couple of cattle ranches.

Right now we’re in a KOA and will take off tomorrow. It’s a nice campground. Even Gem likes the fact that they have a large dog run. We are slowly winning the war of the fleas. The vet said to keep vacuuming, and so I vacuum! Richard’s knee is doing better, and I’m hoping it’s doing well enough that the shots will help. I didn’t have to pull handles this morning!

Today, I’m posting some more of the Springfield exploration. Tomorrow, we move on, determined to get to Denver.


Cross country: St. Louis, Missouri

August 18, 2013

Well, no one wants to shoot Richard. We’ve tried twice to get him a cortisone shot and failed. So, we’re heading off to Denver, Colorado and a Kaiser facility. At least the Veteran’s hospital gave him some crutches. He says they help him more than the cane. My poor hubby is in pain and hobbling. I even learned how to pull handles (dump the trailer) this morning.

I did some shooting today, just a limited amount. St. Louis is a wicked city with a lot of parks. In just the small area we were in today, I counted three parks, mostly dedicated to families. And, there was a wicked sculpture park for dogs. Too bad we left Gem in the trailer, but I doubt the VA would have welcomed him with open arms.

Today’s images are of our exploration of Illinois State Park in Springfield. I’m only posting a few since we are short of data minutes and this campground doesn’t have WIFI.

Tomorrow, we start our Denver trek. I’ll be posting images of the remainder of Illinois State parks and St. Louis.  Hopefully Kaiser in Denver will shoot Richard with cortisone.


Cross country: Springfield, Illinois and the Old State Capitol

August 16, 2013

Today was a first! We were able to relax and do some sightseeing without taking care of anything first, Gem’s eye is almost open fully and the fleas are off Gem and now biting me. Don’t trust homeopathics or natural flea and tick preventive treatments to win in the battle when you’re in the Midwest! I haven’t even gotten to the chiggers! We were told not to walk on wet grass. So what do you do when your dog wants to do his business in the morning and the grass is wet from the morning dew?

All bug battles aside, the day was really it was nice. We went to the Old State Capitol. In 1877 the Illinois State Capitol held its first legislative session in new digs. They had outgrown the Old State Capitol that had served the State up until then. While the outside of the building remained, the interior had been changed into various offices. When the State finally bought the building back from a private party, they tried to restore the interior to its former state.

We toured the inside and it was impressive, not that it was decorated wonderfully, but for its history. I do have a confession; I truly do not remember what all the rooms were used for because they weren’t fully restored to their original state. For instance, I will show you the library, but it wasn’t set up the way the docent explained how the room used to look. I’ll do my best.

The docents were dressed and in character for the time of Lincoln, and they knew their information and were able to answer all questions. The rivalry between Lincoln and Douglas was a topic of long conversation. At tour’s end, we met President Ulysses S. Grant (another docent) who talked about his life. He was reluctant to enter the military, but at the insistence of his father went to West Point and the rest is history! (Sorry I just couldn’t help myself.)

After the Old State Capitol, we went to see the outside of the new State Capitol. It is a beautiful building, but we were not up for an additional tour. Richard’s knees can only last so long. We are still looking for a way to get him cortisone shots.

I have images of both to show you and I’ll break it up into two blog posts.  Meanwhile, our campground is filling up, the corn is cooking, and Richard is about to barbecue the steaks. Enjoy the images, and I hope tomorrow is another first for us. We’re planning to visit a State Park.

Cross Country: Springfield, Illinois and the rest of New Salem Historic Village images

August 15, 2013

I feel like venting. Today was one of those days when you wish you were home in your own environment. Yes, that happens on a long, long trip.

You’ll remember that we took Gem in for a bath and other flea and beauty treatments. After picking him up, we noticed that his left eye was oozing and was closed. We called PetSmart and they suggested that we wait until the morning. He probably just got soap in his eye. This morning, his eye was still closed, so to the vet in the PetSmart store we went. This was what we were instructed to do, and we were told they would take care of everything. They did. Gem has a scratched cornea. After the vet doing her job and the drops took effect, his eye is now open.

Next, with the success of helping Gem, we decided that Richard should get his cortisone shots in a large town like Springfield. He called Kaiser in Roseville and got the okay to go to an emergency room. We spent two hours there only to NOT receive shots!

Finally, we needed to change campgrounds because we had not been able to see all we wanted to see in Springfield and there was no way we could extend at our current campground. The Illinois State Fair is this week.

Thanks for letting me vent. If I were at home, I’d probably cry on a friend’s shoulder or gone somewhere that fills my soul. As worried as he was about the dog, Richard did whatever he could to help both of us get through this. He found us another campground. We will be here through Sunday. The vet wanted to see Gem on Monday, but agreed that another vet in the clinic could see him on Sunday. Hopefully, we’ll get the okay to move on.

Tonight, I’m posting the remainder of the New Salem pictures. Just having a whole town put together in the same way it was originally, puts my day in perspective. Life was difficult then. Hospitals were not handy, lifespans were short, and a trip like ours would not have been possible.

These days happen no matter where you are. I’m looking forward to an easy, relaxing day tomorrow and seeing some sights.


Cross country: Springfield, Illinois

August 13, 2013

If you’ve seen the movie “Lincoln” and liked it, you have to find your way to Springfield, Illinois. Yes, we finally made it. It took three days of travel, but we are now in a nice campground/RV Park. We’ve stayed at worse RV Parks than the parks we stayed at during our three day travel, but they weren’t the top.

This RV Park is just a few miles outside of Springfield, so it’s handy, clean and not a dirt campground. This means when it rains, it won’t be muddy. Today we went to the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

The Library is a true working library and visitors were not permitted above the second floor. The only thing we could see was the exhibit, “Men in Blue” which was about the Civil War. No photographing was allowed anywhere in the library.

The museum was absolutely wicked. It was unlike any museum I’ve ever been in. Three movie theaters, mannequins that are life like, a children’s dress up and play room and exhibits that showed Lincoln’s life, the Civil War, and more.

You left with a true sense of the time and life of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln—their joys and sorrows. The movies were full of special effects, and, like Disneyland, moving seats. Many exhibits led into hallways full of additional information. In one, they had the late Tim Russert covering the 1864 presidential election as if it were today. That really put things into perspective!

The only downside was, I was not able to take pictures in the exhibits or theaters, only in the plaza and children’s play room. And, they are very strict about that. So, I have a limited number of images for you.

Last, my dear friends were worried about me since I hadn’t posted in a couple of days. When we are traveling to a specific place, I probably won’t be posting unless I have something to show you. The drive through Ohio, Indiana and half of Illinois was nice with farms growing corn and soy beans. If we could pull over, there were some farms that were nice enough to shoot, but we were not able to do so. The Midwest is flat. In fact, another camper was complaining that California had mountains and they were tall. I guess we’re comfortable with what we are used to.

I’m sure I’ll have a lot of images to share with you as we explore Springfield. And, yes, we did see the movie, “Lincoln.”