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 do it.

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. Recently Tim York redid a bar (Hog Daddys) and it has become quite the place to go.

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 with friends.

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, etc.

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.

Later                                         Pictures