This morning I happened to go on Caring Bridge to check on a person. While I was there I thought I would see someone else. When I got to their page, sadness swept over me. She had passed and I didn’t even know it. I picked up the phone and call John to give me respects. I felt bad but he said I know your heart was here don’t worry about it.
I think sometimes we fail to acknowledge how short life can be. In an instant, it can all be taken away from us. I know I am guilty of this. But today I have renewed myself to live a fuller life and to enjoy the people around me. So I ask this of you as well.
Take the time to live and really enjoy life! Because tomorrow is promised to no one.
It’s Monday morning and after a hectic Sunday (the day before leaving). My goal was to be on the road by 6am. I wanted to get out early since Monday rush hour traffic can be brutal. I pulled out of Big Rock campground at 550 and headed to I-88. The traffic wasn’t too bad and even I-355 was moving well.
Then it happened, the dreaded beeping noise which generally means the leveling jacks are not up or low on fluid. I knew the jacks were up so that left low fluid in the pump. The beeping can drive you nuts, so I thought since I was just traveling on 80 for a short time then getting off and traveling east on route 30, I would wait and stop. I got over at route 30 and found a shopping center with plenty of room to maneuver. At 7 am, it was empty. I stopped, figuring it would be a quick fix: just put a little fluid in and off I would go. And then…ut oh! I couldn’t find any fluid. Crap.
So I pulled out of the shopping center thinking, “I can find a truck stop on the way that has the fluid I need.” I couldn’t just pull into an auto parts store with a 40ft coach and towing the Xterra — I’m about 56 feet long.
Route 30 going east in Indiana isn’t as popular as I imagine it use to be. I finally saw a sign that said Hank’s Truck Stop: Best Fried Chicken in Indiana, 2 miles. Bingo! That’s the place. I pulled in and turned around, finding a nice spot in the gravel drive. I went inside, purchased some fluid and filled the pump tank up. WHEW! that’s done. I started up the coach and no beeping sound, what a relief. By now it was about 9:30 am and I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet. So I started the generator and had me a breakfast sandwich, then walked Chloe.
Route 30 improves further east: not the rough road it was through IL and into Indiana. You can generally tell the repressed areas by their roads and buildings. They don’t have the money to fix the roads, so sometimes they are pretty rough.
The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful. In fact it was a pleasant drive. I had called the fair grounds to let them know what time I would be in. We pulled into the fair grounds about 3 or so. Right on cue one of the maintenance guys met me. I was getting ready to unhook the truck. He said we are going to park you over here behind the grandstands this year on the blacktop.
So I followed him to the spot they wanted me in and started to setup.
Today is Sunday and originally I had planned to leave today. But sometimes the list of prep work is so long that it can not be accomplished in one day. Or rather I did a little procrastination. The day was filled with putting things away and taking some things to storage which do not go with me during the winter. My mind was filled with thoughts of what needs to be done and what can wait till another day.
The last day at Big Rock is always a sad day. I will miss my fellow employees, Anthony the ranger who was in charge of the park. Also the campers. Camping is such a diverse group of people, young couples, families, weekend campers and full timers. Working here for two years, you get to know some of the regular campers. Yes during the winter months I miss them. But I know the new season is coming and they will be back.
Over the last two years I became friends with one camper in particular. He and his family are great people. He sets up a huge kitchen for his family and cooks his heart out every weekend they come out. From BBQ grills to Ronco rotisserie cookers he has it all in his kitchen. Sometimes I would just stop by when I was working and he would always offer me something to eat. I can tell you all of his food is great.
One weekend George came in on a Thurs night to start setting up as sometimes he did. He said to me I have something for you. I said what did I do to deserve this? He said just because of how you treat me and my family. He gave me a Ronco rotisserie cooker! I was blown away by his kindness. So look for some articles about me using the famous Ronco!
Getting back to the last day, George had invited us for dinner. It was hard to say no to a friend. So I told him I didn’t know when as we had to run to storage to put stuff in there. We ended up having dinner about 9 and George cooked steaks on the grill with a rice dish that was out of this world good. My steak was cooked to perfection! We chatted with them for a bit then it was back to work.
I pulled the coach out so I could get the truck hooked up and then when I left in the morning it would be ready to go. Just one more thing that doesn’t have to be done.
There was so much more that happened on the “last day” but I think I have rambled on enough.
Thanks for stopping by!
Look for the Ronco posts, because I am so excited about cooking in the “set it and forget it” cooker!
As a workcamper, you know holiday weekends can be busy or not so much. Generally, Columbus Day is a busy weekend. Families wanting to get that one last camping time in or couples just wanting to sneak away for a quiet weekend. Perhaps grandparents wanting to take the grandkids out for a weekend of camping enjoying the benefits a smore or hot dogs on the open fire. I worked Friday day shift and it was busy. My boss was mowing the trails watching the parade of trailers, motor homes coming into the campground. Sometimes groups of 3, other times 2. I was getting slammed with people. Some were regular campers which we are always happy to see. Some idle talk and then on to the next one to get that person registered for camping. Wood sales were going crazy. People buying wood for the long weekend at a record pace, one bundle, two, three ,four and a few six bundle sales. I was so busy I didn’t even get a lunch.
Shift change is at 3 pm but I stayed on until 5 pm. This time of the year we all have to watch our hours because the county only lets us work 600 hrs in a season. Come October most of us are getting close to maxing out on hours so the boss has us watch how close we are. Hence the reason I only worked till 5pm.
Columbus day weekend holds some special memories for me. We have a family vacation cabin in northern Wisconsin and we would close the cabin up for the winter. This would entail pulling the pier out of the lake and putting everything away in the garage including the boat. I won’t bore you with the little details we would do all weekend. We would have a great cookout dinner on Saturday night with some steaks to finish out another season in the Northwoods. It was a great family time but now it’s just another weekend since mom and dad are gone.
To finish up here at Big Rock we ended up breaking some records for the number of campers for the weekend. We had 73 units in the park for Columbus day weekend! WOW, people are finding out about this little gem in Big Rock, IL. So there you have it another Columbus day weekend in the books and another day closer to my travels south for the winter.
Be safe out there!
A travel blog of our adventures across the country.