Monday, August 3, 2015 - Charley Brown Park Campground, Flora, IL
Dean and I both slept very well last night and it was almost 6 before we woke up. Maybe it was the walk that wore us out. We took our time getting ready this morning as we had plenty of time to make an easy 4-5 hour trip to our next destination – Flora, IL. I was anxious to finish up the blog and get it posted before I got ready and packed up this morning. As of 6:16 tonight it has still not shown up in my email inbox. I hope that all of you have either received it or have checked it out on the blog page. I plan to complete today's post tonight and get it posted before going to bed. I had problems getting the pictures to load last night – the connection seemed very slow but they loaded right up this morning. (and they loaded fine this evening-yea!)
After eating breakfast and finishing the post I hurried around packing things up, making our lunch for the road and then helped Dean gather up things outside. We pulled out of the campground at 9:30 this morning. It was not a bad drive, however the traffic was heavier throughout most of the day until we turned off of the various Interstates (44, 270, 255 and finally 64) on to US Highway 50. Because it seemed to make the time pass faster, I decided I would keep track of the number of RV’s we saw on the road again today. Surprisingly the numbers were about the same (77 today), I took the time to note the number of motorhomes (40), travel trailers (22) and 5th wheels (15). We were really surprised the numbers were so low on the 5th wheels.
We had to make a few extra bathroom breaks today. I felt very blessed that Missouri has rest areas along the interstate making it much easier to find a place to pull over; however the last rest stop we pulled into had LOTS of parking for cars, and just past the car area there were 12-14 very long slots for semi’s and RV’s to pull into. When we reached the semi/RV parking there were no slots for us to pull in to because several cars had parked in at least 6 or more of these spaces, blocking us and any other large rigs from utilizing them. More than 50% of the car spaces were still available. It was quite frustrating. I had to get out and watch Dean back up quite a distance in order to park in a space that was fortunately freed up when a semi pulled out several slots behind us. People can be so inconsiderate sometimes. Oh well, rant over and it all turned out okay.
Soon after this stop we noticed the bridges up ahead and knew we were soon to pass over the Mighty Mississippi River. No matter how many times we have traveled over one of these bridges I am always in awe of the size of this river and the barge activity we see.
And here is the sign welcoming us to Illinois:
Once we turned off of the last Interstate, I-64 we passed through Lebanon, IL. They had this neat mural in their downtown area of one of the old fashioned soda shops featuring the Rexall Drug signs. It brought back memories of the Rexall Drug stores in Chetopa and Oswego where I enjoyed great ice cream and soda drinks in my youth. Still dream of those chocolate marshmallow sundaes!
We arrived at the Charley Brown Park Campground at 2:30. The park is quite large with many amenities for the citizens and visitors to the area. It is the site of the county fairgrounds, swimming pool, church camp, a small tot railroad train ride, golf course, RV parking, small fishing lake, and various playground and picnic areas throughout the park. The only drawback is right now there are a lot of horseflies out. As we drove in they were darting everywhere. We did sit outside for a while but they soon won and I headed inside. Not much later, we decided to drive in to town and check out the City of Flora to see what they had to offer. (NOTE: For a community of about 5,000 I was disappointed in restaurant choices, but they have an amazing industrial park with many, many manufacturing plants.) Our camping neighbor tells me they draw in about 2,500 people from the surrounding area besides those here in Flora.
Before we left I took these pictures of Bentley and Dean enjoying a bit of a rest after our long drive today.
Here are a few pictures I took within the park of other campers, which are located behind us, a large gazebo, the fishing lake, the Little Toot Railroad and one of the railroad bridges it passes over within the park.
We headed in to town where I quickly spotted a beautifully restored railroad depot that once served the B&0 Railroad. It immediately caused me to think of my granddaughter Kamron and our last game of Monopoly. Here is a shot from the front where you can see the name of the depot on the sign and then a side view where you will notice the beautiful depot entrance that passengers would enter once they disembarked from the train.
I really enjoyed this mural in downtown Flora. Dean and I met a wonderful lady, Flora and her husband Corbin at the OK Heartland rallies. I've thought of her several times today as we are in this city that shares her name.
We decided to have dinner at a local restaurant tonight called Grandma’s Kitchen. I chose their taco salad and Dean had the Monday evening special of all you can eat White fish, French fries and coleslaw. It was good and filling. We headed back to Bentley for the evening. While there is quite a bit of walking we can do here, I am not interested in fighting the flies. I'm counting on our next stop to be fly free!
We visited a bit with our neighbor, who we learned was a former city commissioner in Flora, and he offered to take our picture sitting in front of Bentley to remember our stay in Illinois.
I soon headed in to begin working on the blog with the intent of posting it this evening. No more than I had plugged my phone in to turn on the hotspot than my phone began to ring. I didn’t recognize the number so I was reluctant to answer it. Unfortunately since we forwarded our home phone to my cell phone I’ve had a number of junk phone calls today. But surprise, it was my granddaughter Kamron. We had a nice visit and I sent her the picture our camping neighbor took of us.
I want to share how much we enjoyed traveling US Highway 50 where traffic was dramatically less and where the speed limit was only 55. We love the back roads and the slow pace of the small towns. They make us feel at home and relaxed. I noticed we are beginning to see many more pine trees as we head east. Unfortunately the humidity has still been pretty high. Even though the temperatures are only in the low to mid-90's it is still very muggy when we are outside.
In addition, here's a little information about our campground for our records. There are no pads or graveled areas, you just park on the grass near the electric box. Our spot only has 30 amp electric which is working fine since we are well shaded. We are in site #17 and the fee for the night is $15.00. We have water & electric hookups. We would camp here again - but hopefully without the flies.
Thanks for taking the time to read our blog. See you tomorrow!