Tuesday, 27 July 2010
Great River Road Loop 2010
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The Great River Road runs along both sides of the Mississippi as it runs beside 10 different states. We followed the road in the View covering the Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Our Vancouver Island Loop follows the Missouri towns along the Mississippi. Click here to start  this trip at the beginning.

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Posted on 07/27/2010 10:32 PM by Bob Duthie
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Monday, 26 July 2010
July 26 Day 23 Monday Murphysboro SP to Murray, KY
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I had read about the Cache River Wetlands, Southern Illinois' Best Kept Secret in an RV magazine. It was interesting but hard to find. The board walk had a closed sign on it due to some damage but we walked along it anyway through a small cypress swamp.

At Metropolis we saw the famous Superman statue beside the city hall. There were lots of tourists visit the statue and nearby comic store book. We got to Murray in the early afternoon and were delighted to find a new car wash that can handle our motor home. They did a nice job on the wash and we put the View away in the shed, got the car and headed to Nashville.

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Posted on 07/26/2010 10:46 PM by Bob Duthie
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Sunday, 25 July 2010
July 25 Day 22 Sunday Danville, MO to Lake Murphysboro State Park
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We left early to have time to visit Trader Joes in St. Louis and stock up on 2 buck chuck. We crossed the Mississippi and followed the Great River Road south to Evansville, IL and Grand Tower. These were both places we skipped on the Great Loop boat cruise in 2005. The water was very high on the Mississippi and Kaskasia Rivers but we did get to see the new marina at Evansville and pay a visit to the Pierre Menard 1815 Home. We learned all about how the town of Kaskasia was isolated when the Mississippi decided to change course. Grand Tower was disappointing as we could not see the Grand Tower on the west side of the Mississippi from the east side. 

There is a nice Devil's Backbone RV Park there but we were afraid to stay because the river was rising. This corner of Illinois is big on honoring comic book characters. Chester IL, better known for its prison honors Popeye.and his friends. Tomorrow we will pass through Metropolis and see Superman.

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Posted on 07/25/2010 10:31 PM by Bob Duthie
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Saturday, 24 July 2010
July 24, Day 21 Saturday Oskaloosa IA to Danville, MO
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Two hundred miles of corn fields today along with lots of small towns as we took to the back roads. We camped at Lazy Day RV Park near Danville just west of St Louis.  Mavis was looking out the window at a large motor home two sites away when who should appear but our boating friends Doc and Eileen. We got together that night and shared stories.

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Posted on 07/24/2010 6:44 PM by Bob Duthie
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Friday, 23 July 2010
July 23, Day 20, Friday Forest City to Oskaloosa, IA
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It rained again in the night making a lot of muddy roadways. We got out without getting stuck but a big tractor was available to pull other rigs out of the mud.  Getting fast Internet service once again is like rejoining civilization. It was so frustrating having such slow service and waiting minutes for anything to happen on websites. Tonight we are in a stat e park near Oskaloosa.

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Posted on 07/23/2010 6:40 PM by Bob Duthie
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Thursday, 22 July 2010
July 22, Day 19, Thursday Forest City, Iowa
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This was the final day of the Rally. I signed up to trial drive a new 2011 Class A Via motorhome which is on the same chassis as ours. The chassis is made by Mercedes. While it doesn't have bunk beds it does have twin beds. It was smooth, quiet and a delight to drive. In the afternoon we toured the Stitchcraft plant where all the furniture, cushions, etc are made. That night a Las Vegas act with Barbara Streisand and Frank Sinatra impersonators entertained us.

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Posted on 07/22/2010 6:30 PM by Bob Duthie
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Wednesday, 21 July 2010
July 21, Day 18, Wednesday Forest City, Iowa
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The morning started right with breakfast courtesy of the local Winnebago dealer. This dealer concentrates on selling View/Navions. He asked each of us to be interviewed on video about our experiences which he will be put on the Yahoo Group. After  lunch we toured the Metal Fabrication & Chassis Plant. They were assembling 42 ft motorhomes complete with fire places. The amount of wiring that goes into one of these is impressive. Today I found one bad crimp in the wiring on our little machine that caused the shower light to fail. I had to remove 16 screws from the skylight to get at the wires and replace the bad crimp connector.  

That night the Bloose Brothers Band from Chicago provided the entertainment. Our long haired friend, Dave, really got into the dancing with a not so young lady from the crowd. I learned later that the lady's husband was not impressed. Dave has a new Navion IQ parked close to us.  He has retired from managing a solar power plant, has a new wife, and is now full time on their motorhome

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Posted on 07/21/2010 6:33 PM by Bob Duthie
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Tuesday, 20 July 2010
July 20, Day 17, Tuesday Forest City, Iowa
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I attended the Forest City Rotary club meeting at Waldorf University while Mavis did laundry in town. The honey wagon (mobile pump out) came around today and for $20 cleaned out our holding tanks after 6 days. In the late afternoon there were booths set up by each state with food.  We had Brunswick stew made from South Dakota road kill squirrel (so they said). It was very good. Many people dressed up in costumes to reflect the Hollywood theme of the Rally. We celebrated our anniversary with a new 22 ft flag pole that goes on the ladder. Next Mavis wants to fly our kite from it.

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Posted on 07/20/2010 5:27 PM by Bob Duthie
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Monday, 19 July 2010
July 19, Day 16, Monday Forest City, Iowa
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This was the first day of the Grand National Rally. I attended a 2 hour session on how to use Google Picasa 3.6  that has some incredible capabilities and appears much faster and easier to use than Adobe Elements. It will scan through thousands of your photos and find the ones with faces. It then sorts the selection by person.  How it deals with crowd photos remains to be seen but it sounds like a neat way to find all the grandkids photos. That night comedian Jeff Allen had people rolling in the aisles for 60 minutes (with all pretty clean old people jokes).
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Posted on 07/19/2010 6:25 PM by Bob Duthie
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Sunday, 18 July 2010
July 18, Day 15, Sunday Forest City, Iowa
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The day began with a Pancake Breakfast Fly-In at the local airport. One operator made the pancakes on a machine that did 48 pancakes at a time. It automatically poured the correct amount of batter. The operator then turned each over and when all had been turned he then flipped four pancakes on to a plate. At times he would toss them to a customer's plate 10 feet away. In the afternoon we visited Heritage Park with its antique steam tractor collection and the world's longest carved wood chain (1/8 mile) made from a single tree.

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Posted on 07/18/2010 6:23 PM by Bob Duthie
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Saturday, 17 July 2010
July 17, Day 14, Saturday Forest City, Iowa
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Today was the grand Puckerbrush Days parade in the city downtown. The parade lasted well over an hour with fire trucks, bands, floats, Shriner's go karts, antique cars, etc. The attending crowd was huge and must have exceeded the entire population of the city. Following the parade the Rotary club held a Chicken BBQ.

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Posted on 07/17/2010 6:20 PM by Bob Duthie
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Friday, 16 July 2010
July 16, Day 13, Friday Forest City, Iowa
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Not much to report today. We visited Bill's Market; a very large, well stocked supermarket.
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Posted on 07/16/2010 6:19 PM by Bob Duthie
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Thursday, 15 July 2010
July 15, Day 12, Thursday Forest City, Iowa
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A great day to rest and read a book. The big event was the Puckerbrush Days Celebration. It started at 5:00PM with the American Legion's flag disposal ceremony. During the Chaplain's prayer the gazebo guitar ensemble leader suddenly announced over the loud speakers that the guitar players should keep quiet during the prayer. Well the Legion got back when they moved a huge noisy bucket loader in to remove the still smoldering flag container.  We had hot dogs and ice cream sitting on the red white and blue benches made as an Eagle Scout project in 2005. We missed the crowning of Mr & Miss Puckerbrush at the Gazebo. Garrison Keillor would have enjoyed this event. (see photo)

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Posted on 07/15/2010 6:18 PM by Bob Duthie
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Wednesday, 14 July 2010
July 14, Day 11 Wednesday, Brainerd to Forest City, IA
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We left in a downpour and drove some 270 miles to the Winnebago campground. The forecast was for tornado, thunderstorms, and rain. However, we got ahead of it all and enjoyed the spectacular clouds for the rest of the day. (see photo). We had lunch in New Ulm, and old German Town in Southern Minnesota

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Posted on 07/14/2010 6:14 PM by Bob Duthie
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Tuesday, 13 July 2010
July 13 Day 10 Tuesday, Brainerd MN
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We went to a nifty furniture/restaurant store in Branerd for lunch. The major project for the rest of the day was how to get rid of a woodchuck (aka ground hog) that had dug a huge hole under the garage/office building. Gary had the pest control man over the day before and he spent about 20 minutes telling us about all the dangers and how difficult it was to trap woodchucks. He charged $50 a trip with a minimum of 2 trips and no maximum to get rid of a woodchuck. At dessert the night before, Brian, who was raised on a farm, told Gary to just buy a $5 package of smoke bombs at a farm supply store. You light the smoke bomb, drop it in the hole, and then put a big stone over the hole to seal it up. The woodchuck passes away quietly, and you fill up the hole with all the dirt. No fuss, no mess, and no one got bitten.
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Posted on 07/13/2010 6:10 PM by Bob Duthie
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Sunday, 11 July 2010
July 11 Day 8 Sunday, Woodbury MN
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Soccer is getting out of hand in Minnesota. One tournament involves 1500 games. There are huge fields all over which involve long drives on the interstates all of which are under construction. Some are even closed during the weekends so construction can proceed more rapidly. Bridges are being inspected which means shutting down two of three lanes. We didn't see 15 year old Maureen today at all as she had two games in Woodbury and another tonight in Wisconsin. We drove by my old 1980's Northern Telecom office building today. 

It is now the Minnesota office for Comcast. Cable won the battle over the phone companies. The ugly looking grid was added by someone after I left. The factory is gone altogether replaced by a parking lot. The ugly looking grid was added by someone after I left. Tomorrow we head for Brainerd.

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Posted on 07/11/2010 6:04 PM by Bob Duthie
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Saturday, 10 July 2010
July 10 Day 7 Saturday, Woodbury MN
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We are staying in the St Paul East RV Park which is very good. Our son Graham picks us up so we can leave the View in the RV Park. Graham's driveway is too steep to park overnight and motorhomes are not allowed on the street in Woodbury. The main event today was a soccer game. The main event tomorrow is 2 or 3 soccer games.
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Posted on 07/10/2010 6:03 PM by Bob Duthie
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Friday, 9 July 2010
July 9, Day 6 Friday, Winona to Woodbury MN
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Winona is just 103 miles from Woodbury so we had time to tour Winona. Our first stop was the Minnesota Marine Art Museum. It was a spectacular gallery with many fine paintings including Monet's and Renoir's. The Titanic exhibit was interesting with a deck chair and a letter from a survivor telling the story. Downtown was a little disappointing with few shops of any kind but we had a really good panini at a small restaurant. Our last stop was the Garvin Heights Lookout 575 feet above the river where there is a panoramic view overlooking the Mississippi that goes 20 miles in both directions. 

We had dinner with the grandkids. Mavis handed out toys she bought from the Hitching Post in Aurora, KY. The electric bubble generator was a huge hit with everyone.

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Posted on 07/09/2010 5:52 PM by Bob Duthie
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Thursday, 8 July 2010
July 8, Day 5 Thursday, Rock Island, IL to Winona, MN
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While we had some rain there was not enough to start a flood in spite of the warnings. I did a really stupid thing today. I left the sat dish up believing it was down. In Davenport there was a low bridge 11'-8" high and we need 10'-9" with the dish down. As we went under slowly I heard a "bong" which Mavis believed was the microwave steel dish. When we got to Dubuque I checked and to my horror the dish was up but seemed to be OK. Tonight I climbed up on the roof and found a scratch about 1/32" deep and everything still working. We have both sworn to use the checklist from now on. Mavis had taken one of  today's photos which shows the low bridge. We toured the new National Mississippi River Museum at Dubuque. It is very interesting and well worth a stop. They have a restored very large river dredge that is available for tours (see photo).We took US61 north to Winona. It is the roughest road since Maine. Next time I'll try the Great River Road which may be longer and hopefully smoother.

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Posted on 07/08/2010 5:46 PM by Bob Duthie
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Wednesday, 7 July 2010
July 7, Day 4 Wed, Pere Marquette State Park, IL to Rock Island, IL
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We followed the Great River Road beside the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers for almost the entire day. The most interesting place was Nauvoo. It's the town built by Joseph Smith, founder of Latter Day Saints. Joseph was murdered in this town in 1844 causing most of the town's people to move to Utah. According to the Great River Road markers this is one of the most accurately restored historic towns in the nation.  The photo shows the 1842 Red Brick Store. Tonight we are at a KOA and expecting a lot of rain.

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Posted on 07/07/2010 10:52 PM by Bob Duthie
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Tuesday, 6 July 2010
July 6, Day 3 Evansville, IN to Pere Marquette State Park, IL
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After a beautifully set breakfast by Cindy, we left at 8:00am so as not to block their driveway. Both Ed and Cindy had to get to work for meetings.  We took the interstate to Mt Vernon and then switched to State Road 15 which runs west to East St. Louis. On the way we stopped at Nashville to mail some parcels. The post office lady was impressed we had come from Nashville TN to Nashville IL, a very pretty little town. The route got confusing at East St Louis and at one point the GPS took us across the Mississippi to St Louis and then back to Illinois over a different bridge. At Grafton we stopped to see the new Grafton Harbor marina there and met with owners Joe and Jan DeShirlia to see if they wanted to sell our Great Loop CDs. Their marina is one of the main stops on the Great Loop and is located where the Illinois River meets the Mississippi.  The rivers are getting over a flood that isolated the marina from land for two weeks.  The marina is right in the town which makes it a great stop. A few miles farther along the Illinois is Pere Marquette State Park where we are spending the night. There is are beautiful stone cabins and a lodge built by the Conservation Corps in the 30's. Since we haven't used our DirectTV receiver since March I had to get it reset by Tech Support. I called on the cell phone only to find out there was no Verizon phone service here. The park host offered to drive me to the top of a hill where I was able to reach DirectTV. However, the technician said he had to know the serial number on the security card. I said you know what it is as it's in our record and I am know where near the receiver to look it up. After some back and forth and me asking for his supervisor he finally agreed to send the signal.  We now have New York and LA network TV once again.

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Posted on 07/06/2010 7:05 PM by Bob Duthie
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Monday, 5 July 2010
July 5, Day 2 Kenlake Marina to Evansville, IN
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Breakfast was at Cindy's On The Barge and we left at noon for Evansville. We took the back way through Marion, Sturgis and Morganfield. At Henderson KY we visited the John J. Audubon State Park museum. It seems that Audubon lived in Henderson for about 9 years and lost all his money in various business schemes. He then moved to Louisville and worked as an art teacher and portrait painter.  The museum was built in 1938 as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project. It is very handsome. We got to Ed & Cindy's at 4:45pm. We were given a tour of SIU which is large, very modern, and growing rapidly.  At dusk we enjoyed a fabulous dinner on their screened in porch. The View was parked in the driveway near the road so we had no power and relied on the generator for air conditioning.

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Posted on 07/05/2010 5:06 PM by Bob Duthie
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Sunday, 4 July 2010
July 4 Day 1 Sunday, Murray, Ky to Kenlake Marina
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We spent the morning packing the car for the trip to Murray. At noon we attended our neigborhood's Whitland Ave 4th of July Celebration. This event has been held for over 20 years and is huge with probably over 2,000 attending. At the start all the people running for office work the crowd. Then there is a parade with all the kids/dogs etc on decorated bikes/wagons plus costumes. The Nashville Symphony now plays patriotic music from a stage on the driveway in front of one of the homes. A local actor reads the Declaration of Independence with the symphony playing in the background. Our Congressman made an introduction for a Iraq/Afganistan wounded warrier who then spoke on what it means to be a defender of independence.  Finally the best hot dogs you can get are served along with an 8 line pot luck picnic. We got away at 2:45 and reached Murray at 5:00pm. It took an hour to  pack the View and at 6:00 we left for the 20 minute drive to Kenlake. We stopped at Ryan's Boat Yard to fill up with water. Everything on the View was working and we didn't forget to bring anything important. I knew the campground was full so my big worry was we would not find a place to park at the marina. However, we got lucky and found a good spot. It was too hot so we elected to spend the night on our boat with its power and air-conditioning.

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Posted on 07/04/2010 9:44 PM by Bob Duthie
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