Monday, May 23: Weather Or Not

Saturday, May 21 we made the 290 mile drive from Elkhart to Springfield, Illinois. I was grateful for the opportunity to share with the states of Indiana and Illinois about $16 in tolls they offered to collect from me for the privilege of driving on their interstates. One of these days I might learn what they do with this money besides support their bureaucracy. What I know they don’t do is use it to maintain the roads.

Since we returned to the central time zone we gained an hour and arrived at Double J Campground in Chatham, Illinois around 2:30. This is an awesome campground in a wonderful area and the owners go out of their way to ensure you have a pleasant stay. All campgrounds should be run so well. Jim and Betty arrived a half hour after we did.

We spent Saturday afternoon, all day Sunday, and Monday visiting Springfield, including the Dana-Thomas House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Lincoln tomb, a winery, and a few other venues.

The Dana-Thomas house was a “blank check” project funded by Susan Lawrence Dana, who is described as a forward thinking socialite. Apparently being a socialite is good work if you can get it but I don’t remember any of my classmates from elementary school bringing in a socialite for “interview someone you admire” day. And when asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” none of my kids chose that profession.


The house was pretty awesome.

The winery was a surprise, it being no bigger than a shoe store and quite unimpressive at first glance. We walked in expecting to smell wine but all we saw was a tasting counter. The proprietor asked if we were ready for a tasting. I asked if there was a tour. He took us into a back room about the size of the bathroom in our RV containing 4 stainless steel vats and a mad scientist/winemaker.

Two minutes later, our tour complete, we returned to the tasting room and proceeded to taste some very young wines. We each bought a full glass of our favorite then were escorted out to the back patio where the owners had a bocce ball court set up. And for the next hour we played bocce ball and drank young wine. And had a blast.

Asses-sing the situation

Assessing the situation

From Springfield we were due to split up with Jim and Betty. They going to Arkansas and we going to Denver via Kansas. But Mother Nature had other plans for us. A relentless onslaught of tornadoes through a wide stretch of the nation’s midsection was nudging us to the north… back toward South Dakota. Again. Trust me, we’ve seen South Dakota.

But, by the end of the day Monday we had come to the inexorable conclusion that heading north was the prudent choice. Tornado avoidance mode.

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