Travels with Bentley

Travels with Bentley
Bentley - our Heartland Bighorn

Thursday, July 21, 2016

July 19 & 20, 2016 - Fisherman's Corner Campground, Hampton, IL

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

We were not in a big rush to leave this morning since we only had 100 miles to travel to our next stop.  We do not enjoy long driving days.  Three hours a day is our preference, four is okay, but five is really pushing it.

On many of those long drives Dean might happen to look over and see my head bobbing.  I more often than not fall asleep when we are driving more than a few hours.  I've probably said this before but I'm just sure my parents put me in the car and drove me around when I wouldn't go to sleep as a baby ----- and it still works!

It was 9:45 when we left the Amana Colonies RV Park to drive I-80 across Iowa and on into Illinois. Dean is fixated with the Mississippi River and is excited we will be staying at a Corps of Engineer Campground along the Great River. While you cannot see the river from our site, we can walk down the road where there is an area you can sit by the water if you wish.  Mostly it is a lily pond, as you can see from these pictures.  Across from us in a lock to move the barges and other watercraft through the shallows below us.

Area to sit and watch the barges and river boats move up or downstream.
There are two loops in this campground, we are in Loop 2 and farthest from the water.  When we arrived there was not a camp host on site.  There is a note to call to check and see if anyone had reserved the spot before we set up.  We drove through the park and as much as Dean would have loved to stay in Loop 1 which in most places would have had a waterfront view, the mayflies (or shadflies as they refer to them here) were thick.  Neither of us was too excited about fighting them every time we went in and out of Bentley.  We were beginning to think we would not find a site that wasn't already reserved when we turned a corner and there was one available.

The campground has a nice paved road, with paved sites.  50 amp electric is at each site.  Water is available at several places throughout the park to fill your tanks and there is a dump station onsite, as well as restrooms and showers for campers.

Our site.  The graveled area in the forefront is extra parking for visitors.  There are a few throughout the park.

These are sites on the other side of us.  Most of them are reserved.

Once we had set Bentley up, I made lunch and we relaxed for a bit.  Afterwards we walked down to sit near the river for awhile, and we saw this large "riverboat".   When we returned to Bentley, Dean wanted to drive over to LeClaire, Iowa, the original home of Antique Archeology (The Pickers).  We parked along the waterfront which was very nice and just a block from main street.  I looked up and here comes the same riverboat we saw at the campground before we left.
Closeup of the riverboat we saw here in the campground.

Same riverboat on the waterfront in LeClaire, Iowa.

We walked from the waterfront four or five blocks to Antique Archeology.  There are two buildings and it didn't take too long to walk through both of them.  Had it not been for a large group being arriving just before we did, it would not have been very busy.  I took these pictures:

Original Building

New Building

Pictures above are all inside of the new building.

Out front of new building.

When we left we walked down their main street several blocks.  There are a number of shops, mostly antique and restaurants but it's a very nice area.

Add caption

Pictures in the downtown area.  Many older buildings have been utilized for shops and restaurants.

We returned to the truck and I took this last picture at the waterfront before we headed back to Bentley.

Tonight I made a hamburger/cheddar pizza in our iron skillet, then Dean cooked it in our Weber grill. It's our favorite way to make pizza anymore.  Afterwards we walked both loops of the campground before coming back and watching some television.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

We had a chore to do this morning, so once we had our morning coffee we got started.  I purchased a small hand crank washer and spin dryer from some friends of ours who had it in their RV before they upgraded to a newer one.  With their upgrade came a stackable washer and dryer.  Not needing the other units any longer, I purchased them.  When we are out for 2 or 3 months at a time we thought it might be easier to wash our clothing in the RV, then we would only need to wash towels and sheets at the laundromat.  We have found that it costs about $2.50 to $5.00 to wash and dry a load of clothes. We did 5 small loads of laundry (2 loads of white and 3 loads of darks) throughout the day (small consists of 2-4 pairs of shorts/light weight capris; or 4-6 shirts)    We had some errands and some things we wanted to do today, so we did two loads of white clothes before we left. We have placed a shower rod in our shower so we can hang our towels on it to dry after showering.  I just rolled the rod to the middle of the shower and used it to hang the damp clothes on hangars while we were gone. The spin dryer really takes the water out and the clothes come out barely damp.  By the time we returned the clothes were dry.  It takes about 20 minutes to wash and spin-dry each load.

As I mentioned we had a few errands to run.  First stop was a tractor/farm store called Blain's.  We sold our Honda 2000 generator a month or two ago and Dean has been wanting to buy a Champion 3100 to replace it.  When we attended the RV-Dreams boondocking rally this past March he had a chance to see the Champion in action.  It was as quiet as the Honda and you could run one air conditioner if needed.  While we really would prefer to be in cooler temperatures when boondocking, you never know when the temperatures will spike and you just need to cool the rig down so you can have a decent night's sleep.  We found out about that while we were in Florida.  One day the temperatures reached 90, and believe me it was pretty hot in our rig with no fan or air conditioning. We spent most of our time outside during the day but come bedtime it was miserable, and neither of us slept very well that night.  We bought a battery operated fan the next day, but of course the temperatures dropped and it was quite comfortable after that.  So now we will be able to consider boondocking again.

Our next stop was to visit the World's Largest Truck Stop located on I-80.  I guess you know this was Dean's pick but it was actually quite interesting and I'm glad we stopped.  We had lunch at Wendy's while we were here.  We checked out their buffet but it did not look very appetizing.  They had a full size tractor-trailer in one area that included every possible item you might want to upgrade or improve your rig. It was similar to an RV'er and the large camping stores we all like to visit.  There was also a very large shopping area that included clothing, knickknacks, jewelry, children's area, etc.; a large convenience store, a set-down buffett area, and a food court (Dairy Queen, Wendy's, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell).  This was on the bottom floor.  Upstairs were showers and restrooms for truckers, a movie theater, a chiropractor and several other services.  It was really an amazing place and I'm sure many of these drivers appreciated having it available to them.

After this, we needed to make a Wal-mart stop for a few groceries and then we headed back to Bentley.  I told Dean we should go on past our campground to a small park area where you can get closer to the water.  It turned out to be part of the lock system and appeared to be a great fishing spot by the number of people that were giving it a try.  In fact, one young man was reeling one in as we walked up.  There were a number of white pelicans and we also saw some swans.

Looking back toward our campground.

On the far side of the river are the locks.

Two swans.  This is a closeup and pretty grainy.

If you enlarge this picture I think you can get a better view.
We watched some barges moving through the locks for awhile.  As we started to walk back to the car Dean pointed out the water level on either side of the walkway, which is the reason for the locks, to bypass the lower water levels in this area of the river.  You can see the difference in these pictures.
Notice the upstream bank water level as
compared to the downstream bank.  If you enlarge this picture you can see the pelicans.
This is the park area where we entered and parked.

We returned to Bentley to find the clothes were mostly dry so we left them for another hour or so before I took them down.  Dean went outside to check out the new generator and make sure it worked okay.  While he was doing that I took a look at our route for the rest of our trip and made a few changes.

I made grilled chicken salad for dinner and then we did another 3 loads of dark clothes.  They are now hanging in the shower and should be dry by morning.

I spent the rest of the evening working on the blog, while Dean watched TV.  It was a nice and productive day.


  1. Dean, what is the model number of your new generator. Also let us know how you mount it.

    I'm leaning towards a 5500 Onan hardwired in or a 3100 watt portable that can run at least one ac.

  2. Carolyn TomlinsonJuly 22, 2016 at 4:53 PM

    rollin' on the river....looks wonderful