Monday, September 5, 2011

The Heat Has Taken its Toll

This trip has been exhausting!  I think about 3/4 of it can be credited to the heat and humidity.

Here in Nashville tropical storm Lee has finally bought relief from a summer of temperatures in the high 90s and low 100s and we are relieved as well. Since our second day out night time low temps have been in the mid-to upper 70s. It has been raining all night and is currently 61 outside.

The Nashville area had not received any rain for six weeks and until yesterday the grass was dry and brittle. Trees here do not seem as stressed as further south, as those areas have had a prolonged drought. In the Chattanooga area we noticed the trees on the mountainsides appeared to be changing colors.  When we got closer the “color change” was not that at all, the trees were actually brown and very dead looking.  At the campground we stayed at in Elko, GA, the annuals they had planted around the park were dried up and withered as were many of the established ornamental shrubs in the landscape.

We are looking forward to getting home. Yes, even snow when it comes.

Friday, September 2, 2011

How Does a Week Fly By

P1030026The whole point of the trip To Florida was to see new Grandson, Jacob.  He did not disappoint.  He is adorable.  Grandmother talking.  No, really he is.

We did try to help out as best we could.  We ran Brandon to school a couple of times and picked them up from school also.  They just started school two days before we arrived.  Ally has changed schools and they now go to different schools.  They both have homework each night so we didn’t hang around in the evening so they could get that done.2011 Aug 27 B-day Parties_8225

Ally turned 11 on Thursday so the grandparents Smith and Schlueter went out to eat with Ally and family to Olive Garden.  Baby, Jacob, does really well in restaurants as far as we’ve can tell.  We went to Anna Maria’s Oyster Bar the night we left and he was fine there too. 

Both Ally and Brandon are very bright.  Ally is very musical and is taking choir in school.  She was part of an extracurricular choir for two years but since here school offers choir as an elective she is taking that.  She also can play the piano, having taken lessons in the past. They would like to start her back on piano again. 

2011 Aug 27 B-day Parties_8190Brandon is quite the artist.  He loves to draw.  Right now they are pencil sketches, but he has potential.  I asked him about art class and he said he doesn’t like painting or sculpture, just drawing.  We gave him a paper airplane kit and he just loved that.  It came with an instruction book and patterned paper.  The instructions were difficult for me to understand but in no time there were airplanes everywhere.  We bought him a ream of copy paper to use for his drawing and airplanes as a parting gift. 

Another thing about Brandon, he is no longer shy and quiet.  Man can that kid talk.  As his dad says he doesn't need anyone else to converse with, he just goes and goes and goes.  I am sure glad he overcame his shyness.

2011 Aug 27 B-day Parties_8202Ally had her kids birthday party at a roller rink on Saturday.  It was nice to see here with all her friends.  I don’t remember roller rinks being that loud.  Ally wanted birthday brownies instead of cake.

2011 Aug 27 B-day Parties_8227She had a party with all three sets of grandparents that evening.  It was fun to be there to see here open her presents.  She requested Edwards Cookies and Cream Pie for dessert.  Good choice.

P1030033It was a busy week but a great time. Our last night there we went to Anna Maria”s and we all came back to the RV to say good byes.  The kids got a chance to say goodbye to Quark and Harley, too.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Little Rain for Dessert

We called Amy shortly after we arrived on Wednesday and made arrangements for the family to come for supper. Ally and Brandon have early release on Wednesdays so they were able to make it over a little earlier.  Dave is some kind of regional manager for Hyundai and often works from home.  So we all had supper in our RV—four adults, two children, one infant and two mooches.  Tom grilled burgers on the grill and we had chips to go with it and pudding cups for dessert.  Ally and Brandon just raved over the burgers and Ally even had two.

We were all finished eating when the clouds began to build.  This is not uncommon for Florida and most of the time it is just a downpour and it’s done.  So we were sitting inside in the AC, as it was too hot to be outside. The rain began as a shower and then in sheets then the wind came up. 

We had just been talking how we had to sleep in our RV before we closed on our current house.  All our belongings were packed into the moving van and was at their storage facility as we had to get everything out the night before closing.  So no bed inside. So we slept in the RV.  That night we had one heck of a storm.  The RV swayed with the wind gusts.  Tom said he even thought he felt it lift up a little.

Well back at the campground the rain continued and the wind is blowing.  What I didn’t tell you is that we had our patio awning out.  No tie downs either.  So I said to Tom, “We’d better get out there and get the awning in.”  Tom poo pooed the idea.  And the wind was rocking the RV and lifting the awning.  “Now do you want to go out?”  He assented and out into the maelstrom we went.  In a matter of seconds we were drenched to the skin.  Neither one of us could see, our glasses were soaked and the water was pouring into our eyes.  Somehow we managed to get it rolled up and secured.

We came in dripping.  We both grabbed our beach towels and Tom headed for the back and closed the curtain.  There I stood, under the
AC in a puddle while Tom changed.  Hurry up! 

Finally I got my turn to get the wet duds off and into dry ones.

That will be something the kids can tell their friends at school. 

The next day we put the tie-downs on the awning.

Are We There Yet? Yes!

We finally made it.  No engine trouble. Whew! 

Encore Manatee RV ResortWe are staying at a nice place, the Encore Manatee RV Resort. Last time we visited the kids we stayed at Manatee State Park and it was jungle from awning to awning, there was no pool and the so-called beach had a sign—”"Beware of Alligators.”

This time we were just a few minutes from the kids and we were not in a jungle. As the crow flies we were about 3 miles from the kids house. Actual driving miles about 5. So it wasn’t bad.

Encore Manatee RV Resor 2tThe sites surround a 17-acre lake complete with resident alligator.  Only a small 4-6 ft. one.  Only saw him once and that was enough.  You have to figure if  there is a permanent body of water here in Florida, there will be at least one alligator in it.

We did find that there were other particularly nasty residents in the park. Ants. Not benign ants but nasty, out-for-blood ants. Their first victim was Quark but by the end of our stay we all had been bitten. Mine are still itching after three days .

This complex is mainly a snowbird community.  In the summer months there’s plenty of room for folks like us.  There are many permanent sites that have park model trailers with additions, porches and landscaping.  Some of the residents are year-round, but most come for the winter.  The basic sites have an asphalt pad plus a concrete patio. 

We made use of the pool as much as we could.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Florida Finally but Not There Yet

Late start this morning.  Had a guy come out to look at the motorhome. 

He didn’t do any fixing. It might be the “idle air control valve,” or it could be electrical—spark plugs, spark plug wires, distributor cap, rotor, or map sensor.  It could be any one of these things individually or any combination.  The possibilities made our head spin.  He even suggested putting acetone in the gas at a rate of 3 oz. per 10 gallons.  He claimed that the acetone would clean the plugs without having to remove them.  Another suggestion was to drive fewer hours.

What did we do?  We drove fewer hours and did not use the AC.  The air temp was 99 in southern Georgia. Outside road temp was much more. We arrived in Jennings, FL at about 2:30 p.m. Again we quickly got set up and mad a dash for the pool. Ahhhhh!

2011 AUG 23 Florida Trip_8165a

This person made a statement. By the time I got my camera out and a picture taken, this car was far ahead of us so it isn’t very clear.  From what I can get, the signage has something to do with pot. 

2011 AUG 23 Florida Trip_81662011 AUG 23 Florida Trip_8167

The RV Resort is nearly empty.  I think they make their money on the snowbirds.  Nice place.  Quark even got to hunt squirrels.

We got to meet our neighbors when we went out at 9 a.m. to roll up the awning anticipating a possible rain storm as lightning made quite the light show.  Our neighbors were sitting outside so we went over. 

They were making their way home to Del Ray, FL after a 3-1/2 month trip.  They traveled west then north to Alaska in their 2011 Winnebago Vista.  They said they had purchased another motorhome last fall but it was too small.  They worked some deal with the RV dealer after seeing a Vista at an RV show.  They chose this particular Vista model because it had 1-1/2 baths. They put over 20,000 miles on their Vista during their little jaunt.  As we were talking, we told them of our travails, but they had us beat.  Their toad (car you tow behind your RV) was stolen in Calgary, Alberta.  The husband went out to the car in the morning for something and no car.  That really clipped their wings as they now were limited to where they could go in the RV.

They are nearing home and do not want their trip to end.  They live in a condo and life there can be pretty boring under the best circumstances.  Now they are returning after this wonderful trip to the confining life in their condo.  I don’t know how long they can drag the trip out.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Florida or Bust

Back in pioneer days “ _____ or Bust,” meant, to paraphrase, make it or loose everything.  When a business venture fails, it is said to “go bust.”  That said, here’s the rest of the story.

As some of you may have read in a previous post titled, “False Start,” regarding attempt 1 to see our new grandson, Jacob, in Florida, you know we gave up and came home. “Bust.”

Had engine work done in southern Illinois and had the fridge replaced and that runs great.  So we were off again. 

All was going well until we tried to start the motorhome at the campground in Rend Lake.  We turned the key—nothing.  Tom opened the hood and was tapping on stuff then the motor sprang to life and off we went.  We stopped for gas shortly after that and again, we turned the key—nothing.  More tapping and then switching of switches and again the motor roared to life and off we went. 

We didn’t have too much longer to go and when we arrived at the Nashville Country North RV Park, we didn’t turn the engine off while Tom was registering. He did get a recommendation from the office of a fellow who makes “house calls.”  We called the guy and he said he would try to make it that evening so we said okay as we were having Tommy and Grig to our place for supper.  Well he never showed.  Tom called him again and he said he could make it Sunday morning.  After another call Sunday morning, he did finally show and replaced a solenoid and no more problems.  Or so we thought.

We both had a good night sleep as we felt our troubles were behind us. We left the campground Monday morning at 8:30, traveled through the remainder of Tennessee including the steep grades at Monteagle, through Chattanooga, and past Atlanta, stopping to switch drivers twice. We were happier than pigs-in-____.

Here’s where I made a mistake, though.  I called South Atlanta RV Resort at about 1:30 p.m. to see if we needed reservations.  I told the lady we were about 35 miles north of Atlanta.  She said fine, they had plenty of space and went on to say that the office was open until 7 and if we arrived after that we could just put our payment in the envelopes they have for that purpose by the door to the office and then place the envelope with the payment in the slot.  I said, “If we don’t make it there by 7 there’s something wrong.”  I wanted to take those words back as soon as I said them.  It never pays to get to cocky or comfortable. 

We got to our exit. No indication of what was to come.  Got off the exit ramp and on to the road to the RV park and sputter, pop, chug a few feet and nothing.  Start it up again and sputter, pop, chug a few feet and nothing. We only had 1/4 mile to the park. There was a road repair crew signaling us forward and we couldn’t go.  He was waving with more gusto as he thought we didn’t see him. So I got out and went and told him what was going on.  We made the attempt to pass the road crew; sputter, pop, chug a few feet and nothing.  Now we were blocking the road.  One of the road guys said don’t worry, if we couldn’t move, they would.  We poured water on the engine.  It probably didn’t do any real good but it let us think we were doing some good.

2011 AUG 22 S Atlanta RV Resort_8162We sputtered, popped and chugged our way into our campsite, rolling the final few feet.  We got the AC going, Tom called another mechanic recommended by this park (he is coming in the morning), we walked the dogs and then went to the pool.  

Florida or Bust!


2011 AUG 22 S Atlanta RV Resort_8163As I was floating on my back in the pool, looking at the blue skies, puffy clouds and tall Georgia pines, I told Tom you could almost imagine you were somewhere in the mountains out west. Yeah, if it wasn’t 99 degrees.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

It’s Raining Cousins

Last year I was contacted by a fellow Szczuldo genealogy researcher, Andrjez, in Poland.  While he has not found the connection between his line from Sejny about 40 km from my line in Raczki, he is still trying to find a link.  Meanwhile, he has put me in contact with a cousin Jerzy in Chicago.  Jerzy, grandson of Julius (born abt. 1881), has been in Chicago for 20 years.  I have Skyped with him and talked about a meeting.

This summer I have been contacted by three other cousins.  First cousin, Rosann, who I have been out of touch for 40+ years and two cousins--Sandra and Susan, both grand-daughters of my grandfather Josef’s (b1883) brother, Franciscous (b1886).  We hope to get as many  cousins together as we can in the Spring. 

Here are photos of the brothers.

Szczudlo Uncle Frank (Leo Studlos)

Made in Chicago picture of Julian, son of Antoni Szczudlo and Tekla Raczki  Szczudlo Josef  head shot

Julius                                    Josef                          Franciscous

This has been a very difficult search as my Dad left very few links to his family.  My grandmother, Josef’s first wife , Marianna, died at a young age.   Josef remarried in short order as he was left with very young children.  Had three more children with second wife, Caroline.  Aunt Mary, my only living aunt, was the youngest of all the kids and can’t offer me any information. 

I am looking forward to exploring my Dad’s family more and hope to have a continued relationship with my newly found cousins.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pepe LePew

Stayed at Rend Lake Gun Creek Campground last night.  This is a Army Corps of Engineers (COE) campground.  COE facilities always are associated with Dams.  We enjoy these campgrounds as they are inexpensive, in close proximity to water/wildlife, have decent facilities and are not commercialized.

2011 AUG 18 Rend Lk Gun Creek CG_8141

Gun Creek is no exception.  Our campsite had a water view, the facilities were good and there was wildlife. 

As some you already know, Quark is a hunter.  If he sees a squirrel, you better have a good grip on the leash.  We don’t mind this as there is only a very remote chance he will actually get close enough to grab one.  Sometimes we find ourselves spelling S-Q-U so we don’t tip him off.

It seems to me that I read somewhere that dog’s eyesight was not not as good as human’s. Human’s being better able to spot small objects.  I guess I must take exception with that.

Last evening about dusk I took the boys out for their “constitutional” and quark spotted something walking in the grass about 1/2 a football field away.  I thought that was pretty good as I didn’t see it until I looked where he was looking.  We were going to get a closer look thinking it was a groundhog (we’d seen one earlier) or a raccoon or an opossum.  After looking a little more closely, I didn’t like the looks of what I saw.  I was sure it was a skunk.  So we headed back to the motorhome.

Right before bedtime we went out.  When it is dark out I don’t like to let the boys get too close to the woods and we didn’t.  They were taking their time and Quark was doing more sniffing than usual.  As we walked I saw a stump in the cut grass and thought that it was funny that I hadn’t see it earlier, but we continued heading in that direction anyway.  I don’t know what made me direct my flashlight that way, but to my surprise the stump not only moved but it was black with a white stripe.  I can’t tell you how relieved I was that I saw what it was before we got too close.  I can’t imagine what the motorhome would have been like if the three of us would have been sprayed. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Chicago Area Amusement Parks

kiddieland1 signThere was an article in today’s Chicago Tribune Kiddieland rides: Where Are They now?  This sparked memories of Kiddieland and other Chicago area amusement parks I remember.

Storybookland-adventurelandAdventureland on Lake St. and Medinah Road in Addison operated from 1961 to 1977 and was the largest amusement park in Illinois from 1967 to 1976 and boasted parking for 3,000 cars. 

I remember one family outing to Adventureland. I must have been in junior high and I wanted to go on a Ferris Wheel-like ride that had a cage you could spin and hang upside down.  Well, sister, Sharon, didn’t ride with me.  Don’t know why—fear or height restrictions, I don’t know.  The operator couldn’t let a car go up with only one passenger so they loaded up a teenage boy.  As I remember he was a nice looking teenage boy.  So the ride started up and the car began to revolve.  At one point we were suspended upside down and screams commenced, from me.  My Dad, bless his heart, thought I was in distress and had the operator bring me down.  How embarrassing.  I don’t really remember any more of that little outing.  I was probably trying very hard not to bump into the nice looking teenage boy.

Kiddieland carousel horse angleAnother park we frequented was Kiddieland.  Kiddieland was located in Melrose Park.  The park opened in 1929 and had pony rides, Ferris wheel, “Little Auto Ride”,bumper cars, the “Roto Whip” and a beautiful German Carousel that was installed in 1940. There were two mini steam locomotives that offered train rides around the perimeter of the park.  Kiddieland closed in 2009. The rides were auctioned. It was a sad day. This was a park that my son, Joe, and nieces and nephews were able to enjoy as well.

kiddieland rideskiddieland bumber cars







Hillcrest Park, Archer Ave., Lemont,  was an amusement park and picnic grounds.  Clark Equipment Company, where Tom worked, would have its company picnic there each year.  They would rent the entire park for a day.  Everything was free.  We attended a picnic there when Joe was just an infant but I didn’t go on any rides.

Hillcrest Park closed in 2003 because the land it was on became more valuable than the park itself. The Little Dipper roller coaster was sold to Little Americka Amusement Park in Marshall, WI. 

Playland Park was located in Willow Springs and Fairyland Park in Lyons. I am sure we went to both of these as they were close to home but don’t remember specifics.

Santa’s Village in Dundee. This was a bit more of a drive from home but I do remember the Christmas theme complete with Santa and Elves. Santa’s Village in Dundee was one of three. The others were located in Texas and California. They were the first theme park chain.

.snow-man-santas-village-elgin-illinoisThe three “worlds” of Santa’s Village were Coney Island, where you could find rides including the Tilt-a-Whirl (my all-time favorite ride). Old McDonald’s Farm was a petting zoo. As the name Santa’s Village implies, it was about Santa and Santa’s World was the main attraction. Santa’s World housed an ice rink, balloon ride, snowball ride, and Santa himself.

Santas Villiage was in continuous operation from 1959 to 2006. Then Had a reboot in 2011 with Paintball Explosion opening on April 30 and Santa’s Village Azoosmentpark opening on May 27.

Dispensa’s Castle of Toys and Kiddie Kingdom Amusement Park was located near Oakbrook Center shopping mall, in Oak Brook. The amusement park had a relatively short lifespan, 1975 to 1984. The park was a natural progression of the carnival business the Dispensa family owned.

Dispensa’s was great for a family on a budget.  The rides were a quarter or six for a dollar. I never went to the amusement park or toy store but I do remember the commercials.  Click here for a1979 commercial on YouTube.    Click here for a 1978 commercial for Dispensa’s Castle of Toys.

old chicago

Old Chicago, Route 53, Bolingbrook was ahead of it’s time. 

Old Chicago was billed as “The world’s first indoor amusement park.”  Not only was Old Chicago an amusement park but it was also a shopping mall.  Sound familiar.  The mall had cobblestone streets and storefronts reminiscent of streets of years gone by. 

It opened in June of 1975 to huge crowds but from the very beginning there were financial problems resulting from construction cost overruns.  Additionally, there weren’t any large anchor stores such as Sears and the specialty shops couldn’t sustain customers.  By 1980 everything was shut down.  After efforts to find a use for the enormous building failed, it was demolished in 1986.  It was a shame.  I found the place fascinating but like many others, I was not a repeat customer in spite of living only a few miles away.


Riverview Park in Chicago is a legend.  For generations of Chicagoans, a trip to Riverview Park was must.

I remember our visit to the famous park.  Riding the Shoot the Chutes, the Wild Mouse, the Flying Turns, Tunnel of Love, and the Rotor.  Aladdin's Castle fun house was a hoot.  As you entered there was a large rotating barrel you would walk through, if you could.  Also there were distortion mirrors and a maze.  I also remember to enter  you walked up the steps and across a raised walkway where there was a spot that blew air up and if you had a skirt on . . . guess what?  That’s right.  I also remember the benches opposite this nifty feature were filled with men of all ages. 

Riverview park opened in 1904 and closed unexpectedly in 1967. 

parachute ride riverview parkalladins castle

It is sad that most of the old-style parks have closed and families must pay top dollar for this type of entertainment. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Trips to Necedah to Visit Family

As a child we did not vacation often.  We did take the trip from Chicago’s western suburbs to Necedah, WI to visit family but I don’t know how many times we were actually there.  I do remember a few visits.

The first time I remember going to Necedah I may have been about 4 or 5.  We took Highway 12 as I-90 did not exist at that time. (The section of I-90 between the Madison, WI and the Wisconsin Dells was not dedicated until October 6, 1961.) Highway 12 was, back in the mid 50s, as it is today, the most direct route from the Chicago area to the Mauston then Necedah via Hwy Q. I can’t begin to imagine how long it would have taken us to traverse the many twists and turns and small towns along the way. On today’s roads, in a modern car and no stops it would take 5 hours.  The mileage is about the same via today’s Highway 12 and taking the I-90 route but time taking the “I” would be 3 hours 40 minutes.

I remember it was dark, but being aware of travelling through some very significant hills in the Baraboo area. It was at this point either I or my sister, Sharon, pulled the keys from the ignition of our late 1940s sedan causing the engine to quit.  As you can well imagine this caused a bit of a stir and must have caused my Dad’s heart to skip a few beats.  I’m sure Dad had it started in no time.

1963 July Petenwell Rock and Dam

Petenwell Rock and Dam July 1963

The next visit I remember, must some years later.  Brother, Jim, was perhaps 5 years old.  I remember that the water was high was in the large ditches near Uncle Teddy’s farm and folks were shooting carp in those ditches.  I also remember going to a park near Petenwell Rock where Jim sat in poison ivy.  We toured the Petenwell Hydroelectric Dam on the Wisconsin River.  Petenwell Dam was built in the 1940s, creating the 2nd largest lake in Wisconsin.  Petenwell Rock is named for a star-crossed lover, who legend has it, leaped to his death from this spot with the local Indian Chief's daughter, Clinging Vine. It is said that the Indian gods returned Clinging Vine to the rock where she stands today, faithful to the memory of her lover, Peter Wells.  What also sticks in my mind is the water pump in the kitchen, the outhouse and the barn and various farming equipment which had seen better days.  1963 July On Petenwell Rock friend Peggy Sue Sharon

Friend Peggy, Me, Sharon

1963 July at Petenwell Rock friend Peggy  Cousin Phyllis Sue Sharon

Friend Peggy, Cousin Phyllis, Me, Sharon

The most recent visit was some time after my uncle’s death in 1997.  I didn’t know where the farm was but we inquired at the post office and were given directions.  At the time of my uncle’s death he had already sold the farm and the new owners allowed him to keep a trailer on the land in perpetuity.   When we went by, the house was just a skeleton and the trailer sat there still with the many whirly-gigs and lawn ornaments that my uncle Teddy had placed there.

The Smith’s Have a New Baby

Ally Amy Brandon Jacob and Dave

l to R: Allyson, Amy, Brandon, Jacob and Dave

We have a new Grandson, Jacob, born in the wee hours of July 29.  We have only seen pictures thus far, but can tell he is as cute as can be.  Little Jacob decided he couldn’t wait for the scheduled August 10 c-section.

We are looking forward to seeing him in person. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

False Start

I would have to say that we both were not excited about a long driving trip to Florida. We were excited to see the kids and of course new Grandbaby, Jacob. But the ride was not giving us happy thoughts.

Last fall we had a wonderful time on our 6-week adventure, but when we got home we were really glad. And I think we may have overdone our travels last year with several weeks over July 4th to meet up with the Florida kids in Greensboro, NC. The heat then was just about unbearable.

I remember years ago travelling through Nebraska or South Dakota in the summer with our other motorhomes without any air conditioning. We had the windows and roof vents open. We never had an awning on our older units, so if it was an open site were had no relief from the scorching sun. How we managed I just don’t know. We were a little younger then too.

Here, at home July, was super hot and we pretty much hunkered down in the air conditioned house only venturing out when we had to. So perhaps that was why we were dreading the long drive in the heat. Also there was no relief in site heading south as they have had oppressive heat this summer.

So when we headed out Wednesday morning it was not with our usual enthusiasm. We headed to our usual first stop, Corp of Engineers Campground in Carlyle, IL. Fridge troubles began not long after we left home. In our driveway it was down to 32 degrees and all seemed well but as we travelled the temperature rose and rose. The freezer was working fine but the refrigerator section definitely was not working properly. How were we going to continue without proper refrigeration.

The motorhome was running like a champ until we got off the Interstate. We had about 60 miles on a 2-lane, dotted with small burbs along the way. Well it was at this point things started to go bad with the motor. After we would stop the motor would bog, sputter and pop. As we went along the problem seemed to worsen. We continued on as we knew there was a Ford dealer just outside the park and we hoped we could get service.

Well we sputtered into the Ford lot and Tom talked to the service guy and he would not even be able to look at it until Monday! Now what. We could sit until Monday but really didn’t want to, but at this point we weren’t going to get far so we sputtered and popped our way the 1/2 mile or so to the park. At the office it died. We got it going for a little bit then it died again and we had to resort to our old trick—pushing our 14,000 motorhome with our Suzuki. (see 9-20-10 posting, Rocks-Painted, Wooden and Fallen)

After getting into our campsite, we had supper and then unhooked the car, took the laptop and went to McDonalds to use the Internet to find automotive services. We made a list and returned “home.” We turned in early as we were both exhausted from heat and stress.

In the morning we called the Ford dealer in Breeze about 10 miles away and were told if we could be there between 9:30 and 10 they could take a look. Of course we didn’t know if we would get there but we had to try. We decided not to hook the car up so we wouldn’t put additional strain on the motorhome’s engine. The motorhome ran like a champ. The service guy and Tom took it out to see if they could make it act up again. It ran perfectly. But the service guy poked around until he figured out what was wrong. He found a loose vacuum line. He removed the line, gave it the gas and it sputtered, popped and died just as it had for us. Apparently the already loose tube expanded in the extreme heat and lost vacuum causing the problem. While all this was going on I was waiting with the dogs in the hot shop. A very nice lady took pity on us and invited inside the showroom.

The total bill was $80 for diagnosing the problem, replacing the vacuum tube and air cleaner. Everyone at Breese Ford in Breese, IL were so wonderful.

We decided we couldn’t continue without a working refrigerator so we headed home postponing our trip till cooler weather and fridge replacement.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Big Snow 2-2-2011

Be sure to have your sound on so you can hear the wind.

Note the snow in this area is nearly as high as the scoop of the snow blower. What you can't see in this picture is the part of this drift that is more than waist high.

View from front door before we went out to blow/shovel snow.

The entire front porch was drifted in. It was difficult to get the snow up and over the railing when shoveling.

As you can see after shoveling, the pile of snow next to the sidewalk is higher than the railing.