June, 2008
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Our activity level picked up speed during the month of June.  Being near our three granddaughters means there is always something going on.  And to top it all off, our daughter Ann and her husband Matt had sold their home and the moving began.  Our first activity of the month was the dance recital.  Two of the girls were participating in this year's lessons and performances and we were among the many proud grandparents in the audience on Sunday, June 2.  The girls' last day of school was Monday, June 3 and they tell us they all passed on to the next grade, so now summer can begin!

On Friday, June 6 the girls had a "lull" in their activity schedule and Ann's list of chores for the new house in Pennsylvania was growing.  So, Mary, with Ann and the three girls and the two dogs, made a thirteen hour drive to Elysburg.  Luckily, the travelers were a peaceful, contented lot and made the trip with a minimum of whining!  Their stay in Elysburg lasted a week and in that time various arrangements were made for moving chores and explorations were made in the new community.  After several trips, Matt was moved out of his temporary apartment and into the new home.  And several of the many future trips to Lowe's and Home Depot were made.  There was even some time for fun.  It was sort of like a camping trip as they slept on air mattresses and used all the camping gear that Matt had taken to Pennsylvania earlier this spring to "furnish" his apartment.

The return trip for all the girls to Illinois started on Thursday, June 12.   Much to their dismay, the dogs, Jack and Sibby, were left in their new home.  The travelers stopped for the night in the old home town of Maumee, Ohio.  The younger girls enjoyed an evening in the swimming pool while Mary hosted poolside visits with friends Kathy Dew and Liz Lehto.  The grandmas always enjoy catching up with each others' news.  Friday morning the group headed to Jackson, Michigan where Great-Grandma Edith (Mary's mom) was waiting for a fun visit.  In between fresh baked cookies and slices of "grasshopper" pie we played some dominoes and shared our latest adventures.  By mid-afternoon the van was heading west again and the troops arrived back in Winnebago, IL around 8:00.

Meanwhile, on the home front in Winnebago County, Tom had been nervously watching the river level rise as the rains continued daily.  Mid-week, after consulting with the maintenance staff at the fairgrounds, he decided to move the coach.  The electrician wired up an outlet about 100 yards back from where we'd been parked   There was a water hook-up, but we were put to the test without a sewer hook-up for another ten days.  By the end of the week, the rains had stopped, but the river continued to rise for another seven days.  Tom had made a wise decision to move when he had.  Also during the week, Tom replaced our water pump and did a few other chores "around the house."
 
 

This year, Coffey chose to take "hip-hop" and "jazz" lessons.  She was ready for disco night at the recital.
Merrick was our ballerina this year, and was as pretty as a princess.
We all had our assigned seats and our projects to keep us busy for the 13 hour drive to Pennsylvania from Illinois.
The McCurdy's new home was waiting for us in Elysburg.
Knoebel's is a family run amusement park celebrating 75 years of operation.  It is spread out among the ridges and valleys of the Susquehanna River Valley...and it took us 9 minutes to get there from the McCurdy house.
Admission and parking is free and rides range from 50 cents to $2 each or you can buy an all day or evening pass.  Its a good deal for Grandma and Grandpa who won't be at the top of this coaster!
It was four generations gathered at Great-Grandma's in Jackson, MI.
Merrick and Grandpa are checking out our former campsite at the Winnebago County Fairgrounds.  The riverbank used to be across a road and behind the tree line.  It continued to rise for another week after this photo was taken.
Meanwhile, Tom moved the coach back about 100 yards where we got a little more familiar with the swine and cattle barns. 
(Luckily they were empty.)

The car hauler arrived to take Matt's car off to Pennsylvania on Monday, June 16 and on Wednesday, the packers came to put all the "stuff" into boxes.  Thursday was loading day and as with most of our moves , back in our former life, there is always some sort of adventure.  This one was that the moving van had broken down about an hour away on Tuesday.  It still hadn't been repaired, so the driver had to come in a rented U-Haul, load everything in that, shuttle it to the moving van, unload it and then return for another load....a little nerve-racking for Ann and Matt.  There were a few other problems as well, but in the end it appears that all went well, and the goods were delivered  to Pennsylvania the following Monday.

The last week in Illinois for the girls, and us, was typically busy, and as we dealt with all the moving details and chores, we helped ferry the girls to softball practices and games and daily to volleyball camp.  When we had first arrived in Illinois in May, Mary had joined the Curves "gym" with Ann and Coffey, so in between all the other activities, she managed a daily work-out.  In the end, all was accomplished, the movers departed, the house was swept out and the car loaded, the last hugs and good-byes given and our two-year "visit" in Illinois was over.
 
 

Ooops...Coffey had a "strike"...but she later had some "doubles" at bat with the Pony League Softball in Rockford, IL
Close had a good eye for this high ball on her turn at bat.
Merrick and her 100 or so "Littlest Pet Shop Pets" found a shady spot in the cheering section.
The U-Haul had to make several trips from the house to the mover's tractor-trailer left in Rochelle, IL for repairs.
The neighborhood girls had a last few moments together...Coffey, Close, Jessica, Jenna and Merrick.
Merrick (and KD, her turtle) give Jenna a last hug.  They will really miss each other as they've been almost inseparable since the day they met two years ago.

We knew that we couldn't drive the Dutch Star to Pennsylvania as quickly as Ann and family would travel in their van, so our plan was to make a few stops along the way.  We waited till Sunday morning to move over to the dump station at the fairgrounds and then headed east...taking I-39 south to I-80 - a circular route around the south side of Chicago.  In Gary, Indiana we stopped at Flying J to top off our fuel...a real "bargain" at $4.55 a gallon.  Then it was on across to I-94 in Michigan.  Taking advantage of the free parking, we spent Sunday night at a new casino in New Buffalo, the Four Winds.   Moving on, our next stop was in Charlotte, Michigan at Spartan Chassis.  We checked in at the service center on Monday afternoon, June 23 and got all parked in their customer parking lot.  Here we had good 50-amp service, but no water or sewer.  Early Tuesday morning the service techs moved the coach into the shop and in good time took care of the annual oil and lube maintenance and also replaced the belt for the A/C and the hydraulic cylinder which had been leaking for the past several months.

After the service techs had taken the coach, Mary drove the car on to Jackson, MI and enjoyed a day visiting her mother and step-father.  Tom caught up with them later in the afternoon - but not without incident.  Inadvertently the water pump had been left on and during the bumpy ride on the interstate the showerhead had dislodged, hit the water faucet - turning the water on -  and all our fresh water went into the tub and down the drain until the holding tank was full and the tub then began to fill....not a good situation when you have almost a week of dry-camping ahead of you.  We solved our dilemma by dumping the holding tank - which was basically the almost 100 gallons of fresh water -into the storm sewer in front of Mary's mother's condo.  And, we had enough hose to reach her fresh water outlet at the house to refill.  We enjoyed our time in Jackson - a good visit, some good food and some fun card games.

On Wednesday evening we moved on down the road to Dundee, MI and parked in the RV area at the Cabela's store.  Just as we got the car unhooked and were heading in the car on into Toledo, OH to meet friends for dinner, the storms began.  In between the thunder and lightning we enjoyed dinner with good friends, Kathy and Dennie Dew at the Famous Dave's BBQ.  After letting the flooded streets drain for a while, all of us headed out to the new Bass Pro Shop store which had opened the week before.  Its quite a place - and they allow overnight RV parking.  So, the next day we drove both vehicles back into Toledo, parking the coach at a mall lot while we made a stop at the dentist office for our checkups and at the nursing home to visit Tom's mother.  Then we moved the coach to the Bass Pro Shop lot which is a very convenient location for our visits in our old home-town area.  Over the next two days we had eye appointments and had the opportunity to visit with Mary's brother and sister-in-law, Bill and Beth; Tom's sister and brother-in-law, Judy and Ron; and former neighbors, Dick and Liz.  Besides being an avid fisherman - so we're not sure if Dick came to visit us or the store! - Dick is a truck tire sales rep.  He checked out our five year old tires and says we should replace two of them.  So, that will be on our agenda soon.  We also made a surprise visit to Palm Creek friends, Char and Terry Eicher who had been visiting the Toledo area for the month of June.
 
 

Tina, her daughter Tara with Char, Molly and Terry at their temporary home in Holland, OH.
Liz and Dick Lehto came for breakfast and then we accompanied Dick on a shopping safari inside the new Bass Pro Shop in Perrysburg, OH.

We continued our journey east on Saturday, June 28 taking the Ohio Turnpike.  In the past, we have avoided toll roads as much as possible.  But with fuel prices being so high, the most direct route with an even travel speed is the most economical.  Once we got into Pennsylvania, I-80 was a very pleasant drive.  We arrived at the Bloomsburg, PA exit the night before our reservation at the campground so got comfortable at the local Wal-Mart/Lowe's parking lot.  When we called to tell Ann that we had arrived in the area they answered their cell phone from inside Lowe's...pretty good timing!  The evening wouldn't have been complete without the daily thunderstorm.  What's with the weather???  On Monday, June 30 we moved on to the J&D Campground in Catawissa, four miles from Ann and Matt's home in Elysburg.  We're in for a busy few weeks ahead as we learn our way around a new area and work on a list of projects to help make the house into a home.