A week ago, June 18,2008, we left Taneytown to start a new journey. Traveling through the mountainous regions of Pennsylvania and Ohio, the skies were threatening rain most of the day but only had a few drops of rain. Our first night was spent in Newton Falls, Ohio not far from the Pa./Ohio border at Ridge Ranch Campground. Entering the campground the grounds were very attractive with ponds and green grassy areas but going back to the campground area was less attractive. There were many permanent sites that were not well kept, the roads were gravel and our campsite had little grass. When Tom attempted to raise the antenna he felt something hit the antenna and quickly pulled it back down, there were electric support wires strung throughout the campground that were low enough to prevent our antenna from being raised. So we spent the night quietly reading! It would have been more trouble than it was worth to complain and move to another site for one night.
The next day we traveled on west to Harrison Lake State Park in northwestern Ohio. We would stay here from Thursday until Sunday. Tom's sister and family lives just outside the state park which makes this a real convenient campground for visiting family. Harrison Lake is a very pretty state park- well maintained campground and a nice lake. The campground has 50 amp electric but no water or sewer hook-ups. We had to replenish our water supply before setting up our campsite. Friday we spent visiting and preparing for a family reunion that was being planned for Saturday. After a trip to a grocery store and stop for lunch, I baked a cake and made a salad.
Saturday the Phillips family assembled in a pavilion that had been rented for the reunion. As always with this family there was food for an army. As we were getting ready to eat the skies darkened, we had a brief shower, the temperature dropped to a cool jacket-needed temperature. After eating, it really began to rain and the wind started blowing sweeping the rain through the pavilion. At this point the food was gathered up and loaded into cars causing some to go home and the remainder to go to Tom's sister house for the rest of the day. In spite of the weather, it was nice to be with relatives that we had not seen recently. The weather did clear up in the evening.
Sunday morning we were on the road by 7:10am. We knew we had a long trip ahead of us to through Indiana to southern Illinois. We were due to be in Du Quoin, Illinois on Monday morning between 7 &9am. So we drove 364 miles to Lakewood Campground in Effingham, Illinois. We arrived about 3:15pm which gave me time to get our dirty clothes washed before going to the Newmar International Rally in Du Quoin the next day. Sometime doing the evening we realized that we had crossed into Central time giving us an extra hour. We maintained our Eastern time schedule and when we got up at 5:15am(ET) on Monday morning it was really 4:15am(CT ). By 5:00am(CT) we were on the road arriving at the state fairgrounds in DuQuoin by 7:10am. We were parked and set up by 8am and then we ate our breakfast. We do have 30amp electric and water but no sewer.
Monday was the first day of the rally but we were some of the last to arrive. Early arrivals are allowed to come in as early as Saturday and the majority do arrive on Saturday and Sunday. Since we knew we would be assigned a specific time slot to get in we knew we would not be able to get in before Monday. We had hoped for a little later time slot than the 7-9am but we really have no choice in that. We got registered and then chilled out in the afternoon. The opening ceremonies that evening started the rally off. During this ceremony flags from each state are carried into the assembly and displayed. Tom and I had the honor of carrying the Maryland flag, of course, we were the only ones from Maryland in attendance. Entertainment that evening was a couple, The Rivoli"s, that sang a variety of songs.
Tuesday started with a continental style of breakfast. Then the seminars, display motorhomes/5th wheels and vendor were opened. We checked out the vendor area and went through the new display units. We were not impressed with the new units. The number of vendors seems to be less than in previous years. We each attended seminars of our choosing, Tom more than me. There always seem to be more technical seminars that are of more interest to Tom. A dinner of baked chicken and rice with other sides was served in the evening. The entertainment for this evening was a group of 4 brothers, The Marlins, that performed with a variety of instruments and singing. Very entertaining!
Breakfast will be served every morning through Friday. After breakfast on Wednesday, Tom and I attended a couple of seminars together and then went to the vendor area. One of the seminars we had attended was about water softeners. We know that we often get into areas of hard water which has caused some deposits in our shower stall so we decided to purchase a water softener system to use. At lunchtime, George and Pat Callender picked us up and we went out to lunch at a local restaurant. Another couple joined us also. After lunch we attended another seminar and then went back to the motorhome. Since it has been increasingly warmer everyday ( upper 90's today) it fells good to get into the air conditioning. The 30amp electric that we have here is good enough to handle 2 air conditioners as long as we don't run anything else on electric. There was no dinner or entertainment scheduled for this evening so we ate in, took Travis for a walk and watched TV.