2019 – Bo Wood CoE – Sullivan, IL

We wanted a nice campground near Decatur, IL and, even though this one was a bit farther than we wanted, we couldn’t have been much happier with a campground than we were with Bo Wood CoE Campground at Sullivan, IL. We often tell people that Corps of Engineers campgrounds are our favorites and this one is a great example of why we say that. The sites are very large, level, and spacious. In fact, I’d say that the theme of this Shelbyville Lake campground is “big.” There are actually multiple campgrounds on the property that vary in amenities from electric only, to water-electric, to full hookup. While a few sites in the “older” section offer a lake view, most are either in the woods or in open areas away from the lake. The large “new” section has many FHU sites, including several huge pull through sites. The property also has a boat ramp and two fenced in dog play areas.

I think you could have parked four motorhomes the size of ours on our back in site. In the mornings we had more sunshine than we wanted, but by late afternoon we were in the shade. If we had any complaint about our campsite it was the big oak tree that dropped acorns on us from time to time. Judging from the ground cover, we actually missed the worst of the bombardment.

My Verizon signal was pretty good and I was able to get satellite TV without much trouble. No doubt it would be nigh on to impossible in many of the more wooded areas of the campground.

Bo Wood is off the beaten track far enough that it is off the radar of people just passing through the area. It is easy to see, though, why this is a popular spot for the locals!

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2019 – Sightseeing Western Indiana – Eastern Illinois

I was really looking forward to visiting with my brother Jim and sis-in-law Phyllis during our stay in western Indiana, but we also got in a couple of fun sightseeing adventures – one in Illinois and the other in Indiana.

We went the Vermilion River Fall Festival in Danville, IL. There were many fall oriented handcrafted items along with a variety of food booths. I think this is the third time this year that we stumbled on to a great car show with many nice older cars and trucks. My favorite was a 1912 Ford car that looks like one in a picture I have of my Dad as a small child in 1914.

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Our most enjoyable sightseeing excursion was a visit to Turkey Run State Park near Marshall, Indiana. We have both enjoyed hiking across the years and decided to visit this popular state park. We took a short hike down steps, across a suspension bridge over Sugar Creek and down to Rocky Hollow to see a small waterfall. The water has carved the rocks and it is fun to walk along the bottom of the gorge by the stream. We took a break there in that pretty spot and had a picnic lunch. From there we turned around and came back, because I couldn’t scramble up the first set of rock “steps” without help; and that was the easy part! We walked back to the suspension bridge and followed a different trail that took us through the woods on what I expected to be an easier trail to a covered bridge built in the early 1900’s and across the creek heading back to the nature center. We encountered many steps and scrambles going up hill and down. Some were man made and had rails but several were natural and more difficult for me. However we made it and I am glad we took day to enjoy the beauty of nature.

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2018 – Olivet Nazarene University – Good friends and memories

We had a pleasant Day in Bourbonnais, Illinois seeing long time friends Lee and Marilyn Turner along with a short visit with Scott’s cousin Phillis and William Harris. We were blessed by the good worship service at College Church on Olivet Nazarene University campus – our first time to worship there in nearly 50 years! After lunch with Lee and Marilyn and a quick visit to their beautiful home we headed back to the University. It has grown and prospered since we met on this campus and began our lives together. We found a few memorable spots (like where we met for the very first time). Scott noticed that for some reason there was no plaque marking the spot. He is sure that the missing plaque is just a temporary omission that will be fixed soon.

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2018 – Clinton Lake Recreation Area – DeWitt, IL

We spent some time at this nice campground last year as we traveled east to west. This year, we are back for another stay as we travel west to east. There’s no need for me to write another full review, but I’ll give you a few more photos.

My previous review is here.

Our stay this time was over Memorial Day weekend and the campground was filled to capacity. The weather was hot and all the air conditioners put a strain on an already needy electric system. Our electric was on and off all Sunday afternoon. By early evening it had cooled down enough that the system could keep up and we were fine the rest of our stay.

Last year, we were in a 30 amp FHU site. This time we were in a 50 amp electric only site. Honestly, these sites are great and I think I liked this spot best.

Again, as it was last year, we actually spent most of our time visiting family. We had a blast seeing Jim and Phyllis, plus a quick hello to their son and family. On Monday evening, in a mostly empty campground we hosted a cookout with Jim and Phyllis plus friends Todd and Connie who live nearby. It was a terrific evening, a real blessing to us.

My Verizon data was usable only with the cell booster.  The satellite TV signal was fairly easy to get.

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See individual photos with captions here.

2017 – Touring the John Deere Plant in Moline, IL

Having seen John Deere tractors and equipment all my life it was fun to see how the combines are manufactured and assembled. We arrived at the plant about 20 minutes before our tour. We were warmly welcomed and offered coffee to drink and invited to take the virtual tour of a combine harvesting corn. It is a completely automatic process from picking the grain to storing it in the bin and transferring it out. The virtual tour explained the functions of all the cameras and buttons in the air conditioned cab that seemed more like the cockpit of a jet plane than farm equipment. Scott said it is nothing like what his family and friends used when he was young. We also got to sit in the cab of the combine in the photo – we were told that that unit as it was sells for around $600,000 and will harvest around 300 acres of corn in a single day! When our tour was called we were led to a cart for a riding tour of the factory. Once inside the factory itself no photos were allowed. Our guide was a volunteer and retired employee. He explained what was happening in each area. At one point we were invited to walk with our guide up a stairs to see the painting process. There are large vats of liquid into which the parts are immersed as they are automatically moved through a series of processes. The paint itself was applied by robotic arms mimicking human motion but moving much faster. However, there were still humans doing touch-up work after the robots finished. We saw the manufacturing process from the cutting of the small parts all the way up seeing finished harvesters waiting to be taken on their first test drive. I recommend this tour. Be sure to get on line and schedule ahead to get on a tour as slots are limited and demand is high.

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2017 – Clinton Lake Recreation Area – DeWitt, IL

The roads are good and the sites are level and spacious. I was under the impression that the electric is an issue. Our power pedestal began acting up and getting hot. One of the campground employees cheerfully changed out the plug and breaker and we were back in business. I had the feeling that it was a common occurrence.

There are a couple of issues you might want to know about. First, the few shower houses with modern facilities are in need of more “TLC.” Also, there are several stinky pit toilets supposedly available closer to the campsites. I can’t imagine anyone using them. Second, my Verizon signal was fair to poor, depending on time of day. Using the signal booster I managed to do most of what I wanted but at times it slowed to a crawl.

All in all, our experience at this campground was a positive one and we will likely return.

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