On Mar 2, the 4 of us headed to Big ‘O” RV park in Okeechobee. That’s where John & Libby Veach (therollinghome) have a lot and they were there at the time. In fact they are taking some time off from fulltiming and working as salespeople at a local RV dealership. The place sells Alpha See Ya’s. We got a first class tour thru a ‘See Ya’ and they are nice coaches with plenty of room. The park looked nice but the spaces were too close together. It would be OK for a week but I sure wouldn’t want to spend the winter there. It was a Passport America park so we got the week for half price. That made it tolerable.
One afternoon we took an airboat ride on the lake. It was a disappointment as the engine was acting up and I don’t feel we got the 'full treatment’. We did see 2 huge gators. Plus lots of birds in many varieties and colors.
Went to dinner with the Veach’s
one evening. It was hard to get together with them since they started working.
As usual it was an enjoyable reunion.
Another day we went to Lake Worth,
Fl as our friends, Frank, Veronika and their new
baby—Marissa, were living there. They were the camp
hosts when we were in Nova Scotia. We have emailed back and forth since we had
been up there and knew they had moved to Fl. There were no RV spaces available
in that area so we drove down from Okeechobee and could only spend about 3 hours
with them before we had to head back. Really enjoyed the visit and we all had a
lot of laughs. And Marissa is beautiful.
One evening while returning to the
RV park I noticed the truck was turning over 100,000 miles
so I had to stop and take a pic.
At the end of our week there we
packed up and Kay & I headed to Suwanee River Hideaway in Old Town, Fl. Bob
& Donna headed to Leesburg, Fl. We would meet up with them again in New
Orleans in Apr. We stop in Old Town whenever we are in this area because that is
where my Plt Sgt from nam lives with his wife Judy. As usual we enjoyed our stay
with them. One evening we walked the 1500’ boardwalk to the Suwanee River.
There was already 2 couples sitting there and we talked for a bit. Then another
couple came up and when he saw my hat he started asking me about my involvment
in Ia Drang. Turns out he had been piloting one of the helicopters that was
supporting us on the ground. He & his wife were returning from a reunion
with some of his fellow pilots from Nam. What a coincidence! Oh yeah—his name
is Gary Webb.
After one week there we were going
to head to Birmingham to visit a few friends. A couple of days before we were
leaving we got a call from Kay’s dad. He had been to the Dr. and said they
were going to put him in the hospital and conduct some tests next week. He
insisted we didn’t need to head back to Illinois. But we talked about it and
decided we would start back in that direction and be within a few hrs drive.
That meant we would Birmingham this year but ……..
Decided to spent a night on the way
at a casino in Biloxi. Kay called around and found one that would let us park in
their lot for the night.
Turned off of I-10 onto Hwy 90
towards casino. As we crossed the bridge we started bucking like a bronco. What
a terrible road! Had to slow down to about 30MPH and I’m sure that ticked off
a few other drivers. Also I was in the left lane as our turnoff was at the end
of the bridge. The bumps wouldn’t affect them as much since they have a
shorter wheelbase. I’m sure that if I’d been able to watch the passing cars
I would have seen a few waving at me. Probably with one finger as they didn’t
know me well enough to use their whole hand. :>)
Kay broke even at the casino and I
got plenty of sleep.
Next morning we headed to Tunica,
Ms. The Hollywood Casino has a campground, it was on our way and Kay’s
birthday was in the next few days. On our way we got another call and found out
that her dad was confused. He had the info right except for the dates they would
We ended up staying at the casino
campground for a week to celebrate Kay’s birthday. On her b-day the Hollywood
casino treated us to dinner in their high dollar restaurant. Not used to eating
in a place were they don’t ask—“for here or to go”. The food was good
and the service was excellent!
Next night we did the same thing at
Harrah’s next door. Also good food and service. Kay didn’t win any big money
but we got the campground fees comped for the whole week.
One evening while Kay was at the
casino I took the dog for a walk. As soon as I turned the key to lock the door I
felt something snap and then the key turned around and around. Uh,oh! Went ahead
and walked the dog while thinking how I’m going to handle this. When we got
back I had to try the key again—of course. Still didn’t work. Our windows
have a small louvered vent on them so we can leave the windows partly open
when we are gone and not worry about rain. I sure wouldn’t fit thru them. Then
I remembered that our bedroom window is an emergency exit and we couldn’t
mount the louvers on it because it would screw the window shut. Dragged the
picnic table and bench to the window, climbed up and was able to slide the
window. We hadn’t locked it as I was staying around the MH. I tried crawling
thru and no way could I do it. Besides my size I am not as limber as I was long
ago. Then I noticed the emergency exit handles. I flipped them up, lifted the
window and was able to crawl in. Now I was hoping I could unlock it from inside
as the dog was still outside and not have to take to door handle & lock
apart. Luck was with me—it unlocked easily from the inside. Next day we called
a locksmith and he found that the tailshaft on the keyed part had broke off. I
was going to take it apart and take it to be fixed but we had insurance to cover
it and I hadn’t unhooked the truck and really didn’t want to unhook it.
After a week we headed north again.
Decided to stop in Harrisburg, Il on the way as it was close to the VA and my
dental appts. were coming up. Did our usual visiting in this are. One Sunday we
met our friends, Dave & Toni Wiman, in Elizabethtown, Il to eat at the “E-Town
River Restaurant”. It’s a floating restaurant on the Ohio River. Mom
& pop place with good food. Then we went to Old Shawneetown, Il to Hog
Daddys Saloon. Old Shawneetown has a lot of history but not much going on
there now. Subject to floods. It was the town with the original
bank west of the Ohio. This bank is known for turning down a loan to a small
town in northern Illinois because they didn’t think it would amount to
anything. Some place called Chicago.
While there I had problems with my
left rear turn signal. I took it apart and worked on it 3 different time and
could not find the problem. I used my VOHM meter with no success. Everything
showed it should work. Finally broke down and took it to a Chevy dealer. It took
them awhile but they finally found it. One of the wires in the diode setup that
is used for truck lights when it is being towed had come loose. It was wrapped
up in tape from when it was installed but had still worked it’s way loose. It
was barely touching and that explains why it would show OK when I was testing
it, but the first bounce it would separate and then next bounce come back in
contact. $133 lesson. I might have been able to find it when I still had a
garage and floor jacks. I couldn’t get under the truck to work plus it was on
gravel & raining on and off.
Finally came the dental appt. They
had me in the chair for 3 hours. They had a hard time cutting out my old
stainless steel bridge and then they had to pull a tooth. Then take the
impressions for the bridge. In 4 to 6 weeks I should have the new one. Then they
can do the other side. Looks like we will be making short trips from the Midwest
this summer. So far I’m scheduled thru July.
Next day we headed to Effingham.
Spent a week visiting and working on the MH then we headed to New Orleans.
Our friends, Bill & Norma, from
Ca have a timeshare that they can trade with others in different locations. This
time it is in ‘Nawlins’. Bob & Donna will be there also. We had
reservations at Bayou Segnette State Park. We pulled into the park and 10
minutes later Bob & Donna pulled in. Good timing! That evening (Monday) Kay
& I went in to meet up with Bill & Norma at Harrahs casino. Bob &
Donna stayed at the campground as he was tired from setting up his 5th
wheel. There is a ferry that you can take across the river but Kay is a
‘Diamond Club” member at Harrahs which entitled her to free valet parking.
Ferry parking was $3.00 to $5.00 and pedestrians could ride for free and last
ferry ran at midnight. We knew we would be later than that and cost over the
bridge was $1.00. It is always good to see them again. Kay & Norma decided
to stay at the casino and Bill & I went to Bourbon Street and we would meet
them back at the casino at 10PM. We walked the street checking things out and
then went to “Howl at the Moon”, a club that is ran
by the son (Jason) of a friend of ours that we worked
with in Ca. Bill & Norma still work with his dad. Pay attention now---the
cast of characters is going to get confusing!! We got our drinks and then the
band started. They aren’t so much a band as………hard to say. It is about 8
guys that alternate work on different nights and they have
‘dueling pianos’. Occasionally drums and guitar. There is always
someone, usually 2, on stage thru the night. No time without music. They
interact with the audience throughout the evening. They are a fun bunch. Bill
& I were enjoying it and called the girls and said to meet us there instead
of at the casino. Meanwhile, while we were enjoying our beers (half price),
someone kept setting up shots. I don’t normally do shots but this night I did.
The girls showed up and we all enjoyed the band. They are crazy. Afterwards we
walked Bourbon St again then headed back to the casino to pick up the truck. On
the way we dropped off Bill & Norma as the place they were staying was only
3 blocks from Bourbon St. We got back to the MH at the wee hours of the morning.
Next day I felt terrible. I don’t usually feel bad after a night out so it
must have been the shots.
That evening (tue) Kay, Bob &
Donna went in to meet with Bill & Norma. The dog and I stayed in the MH.
Wed evening we all went in.
Norma’s sister, Tina, had been in Jackson, Ms on
business so she came down for the evening. She lives in Atlanta area now but had
also worked at the plant in Ca with Jason’s dad. We all met at the casino, did
some gambling and went to Bourbon St. It had been quite a few years since we had
seen Tina and it was great to see her again. We ended up at “Howl at the
Moon” again and all enjoyed themselves. A young (to us anyway) couple came in
and sat at the table next to us. We got to talking and found out they were from
Springfield, Illinois. Talked some more and they ended up joining us. A nice
goodlooking couple. Heather Ihrer & Tony Karrick.
At one point Heather got onstage for part of the
interaction with the band. She even got me up to dance later. We really enjoyed
having them join us and invited them to join us the next evening.
Next evening we headed in again.
Kay stayed at the casino and we (Bob, Donna & I) headed over to ‘Howl at
the Moon” to meet with Roger Ashlock. Roger works
at the printing plant in Ca with Bill, Norma & Jason’s dad. He was in town
to visit relatives. We walked in and they (Roger, his
girlfriend-Tammy, Barry Bartholomew & Barry Jr.) were already there.
Hugs and introductions done and we started BSing. Bill & Norma came in and
we all started partying. Jason started putting up buckets with iced down very
cold beer and some snacks. Also gave us all some “Howl at the Moon”
t-shirts. He was an excellent host. The night before a guy came in that did face
painting and Norma went out looking for him as she wanted it done. She found him
and asked him to come where we
were. He showed up and did her face, then they talked me
into doing it, then Donna did it. About then Kay showed
up and decided to get hers done. Later in the evening Heather
& Tony showed up and she got her arm done and
he got his neck done. During the evening all of us got onstage for a group pic.
And later they introduced Maj. Gen. Jerry W. Grizzle
and asked all the vets to come on stage. We got up there
and received a standing ovation from the crowd. That was awesome. We continued
partying the rest of the evening. Nothing else special—just having a good time
We said our goodbyes to Bill &
Norma at the end of the evening as I knew we wouldn’t make it in the next day
and they were scheduled to leave before we would be back downtown again.
On Saturday Bob, Donna, Kay & I
went back and walked around town. The waterfront &
Jackson Square. Next trip there we hope to spend more
time checking out the town. :>)
Sunday it rained on and off so I
spent the day getting ready to leave the next day by running outside every time
the rain stopped and putting things up, checking tire pressure, checking oil,
Monday we headed north with the
obligatory stop at the casino campground in Tunica. Next day we went to Rantoul to visit with friends. Had to
ship out my Brake Buddy (a braking system that I put in the truck when we tow
it). It had quit working.