Thursday, July 21, 2016
(Friday, July 29, 2016 - I apologize for being so far behind. Due to our lack of Verizon signal I was using data too fast. Even though I increased our data I still had to cut back. I have been writing the blog in Word each day, so now I need to get the word documents and the pictures transferred over to the blog; and of course, I have to reread it one last time. Lol! We are in a park with wi-fi and will be here until Sunday morning, so I hope to have everything caught up before we leave.)
Due to the very high humidity here, we were ready to leave Fisherman’s Corner in Illiniwek Forest Reserve this morning. It was already very uncomfortable outside. We pulled out of our campsite at 9:35, and out of the park approximately 20 minutes later after dumping our tanks. Our next stop is Rock Cut State Park in Love’s Park, IL. The park is near Roscoe, IL where Dean’s sister Ruthann and her family live. We are looking forward to spending the next few days with them. We usually see them once a year when they return to Dean's hometown of Garnett, KS for a family reunion, so we look forward to having more time to visit with them while we are here.
On our way we enjoyed watching this agricultural sprayer flying low over the cornfields.
Rock Cut State Park was a very nice park. We took some time to drive through the campgrounds, and by the two lakes. One lake is for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, etc., and the other is for swimming. We were fortunate to book the site we did as we preferred this particular campground over all of the others, and it was the only spot in this campground that was available for the days we needed it. After taking our drive around the park today we headed to Ruth Ann’s about 4:00 or so.
Here are some pictures I took of the park.
|Nice large shaded lots, with paved roads, with sand/grass camping spots.|
|The back of Bentley. The only picture I took of him!|
She fixed dinner for us every night and every meal was delicious. Tonight we had BBQ ribs, potato salad, deviled eggs and fruit, with brownies for dessert! We had plenty to catch up on. When you consider our 6 kids and 12 grandchildren and her 3 kids and 3 grandchildren we have a lot to talk about!! Ruthann's husband Dennis had meetings out of town today so we were not able to visit with him until later this evening. We left about 9 and will be back tomorrow morning.
Friday, July 22, 2016
We arrived at Ruthann’s about 10 this morning. We visited for a while, and after lunch she drove us to an Illinois Tollway Office. We have decided to purchase an EZ Pass for the balance of our trip. The pass will work in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia as well as several other states, but those mentioned are the ones we intend to travel through during the rest of our trip. While it may not save us any money (or at least any significant amount) it will keep us from having to stop at every single toll booth and that is worth a lot in overall time.
When we arrived at the toll office, there were about 6 people in line and we were quite happy the line moved so quickly. The lady who waited on us was very friendly and had us ready to go in no time. When we turned to leave I could not believe how long the line was – there must have been 15-20 people waiting. I am so glad we arrived when we did.
We had to do a little maneuvering to get headed in the right direction back to Roscoe, but I won’t go into any detail on that little side trip. We had some good laughs though. For more information, contact RA!
Once we arrived back at Ruthann’s we visited some more before Dennis got home and grilled us hamburgers for our dinner tonight, along with leftovers from last night. Everything was excellent. For dessert we had a choice of several ice creams. I had a brownie with vanilla ice cream! Delicious.
They lock the gate to our campground at 10pm. We can park outside the gate and walk in, but I can guarantee you I do not want to have to walk all the way to where we are parked especially after 10pm, so needless to say we left in plenty of time to make it back before the "curfew".
Saturday, July 23, 2016
Today Dennis and Ruthann are taking us to Shullsburg, WI to visit the Shullsburg Creamery. Dennis is President of the company. He will give us a tour of their facility and we’ll have lunch. It was a nice drive through the countryside with the beautiful rolling hills and fields of corn and soybeans. There are many dairy farms in the area that also dot the countryside. It was a bit overcast however it made for a nice enjoyable ride.
Our first stop was the warehouse, a fairly new building at the edge of town. Wow it was really cold in that warehouse and we had no desire to even peek in the freezer.
We had lunch at a restaurant in downtown Shullsburg called The Burg. Ruthann and I chose the salad and soup bar. Dennis and Dean had the special, cordon bleu sandwich with fries. They had Wisconsin Cheese as one of the soup choices and I thought it was very good.
Afterwards, we walked back down the street to the Creamery's storefront and manufacturing location,.
|A beautiful building in the downtown area.|
|Signs on the outside of the building.|
The storefront had two large rooms, one that offers the various cheese products they produce and another with many gift items. Again, I failed to take pictures.
The building where the storefront and offices are located takes up a good part of one block in the downtown area. Much of the office space for the business is located in what was once a hotel.
|Interesting picture in the old hotel area explaining the three story outhouse. I've seen many an outhouse in my day, but this was a first.|
Using rooms in the former hotel "The Brewster House" as
corporate offices for Shullsburg Creamery.
Original keys for the hotel rooms
Balcony for one of the hotel rooms, with entrance door below.
|Original exposed wall in office area.|
They have made good use of the former hotel and utilized the original structure to add a very interesting look to the offices with exposed brick, and many enlarged photos sharing the history of the creamery.
In addition, the Creamery also operated a restaurant on part of the bottom floor adjacent to the storefront at one time. The restaurant area was beautiful. I thought I took pictures of it, but could not find any on my phone.
"Just a little history on Shullsburg Creamery – it began when a young Danish immigrant established a creamery, bottling milk and churning butter in 1934. Cheese making began in earnest in 1937. Shullsburg Creamery has had a strong regional brand for over 80 years. Interesting to me is they created a brand and distributed their cheese to grocery stores in the region, competing directly with another startup company at that time, Kraft (J. L. Kraft started his business in Darlington, Wi, 12 miles from Shullsburg).
Today, Shullsburg produces and markets its Wisconsin cheese to 7 upper Midwest states. The Creamery is owned by family dairy farms who supply their milk to the Creamery manufacturing facilities."
Dennis walked us through the process of cheesemaking as we visited the creamery downtown. It is quite a process and we enjoyed him taking time out of his weekend to do this for us. As I mentioned there is a storefront to the creamery where you can purchase all of their delicious products. I wish I could have tried everything. I did try quite a few of them, and each one was delicious. They also offer their products online.
Dennis bought a package of cheese curds to share with us on the way home. Dean and I had never tried them before but we loved them. We learned fresh curds squeak when you bite/chew them and these did squeak.
We drove around Shullsburg a little before we left and it is a beautiful community with what appears to be a lot of pride. Dennis also introduced us to a phenomenon in the area. I looked it up on TripAdvisor and if you are ever in this area you must check it out! It is called Gravity Hill. You can find the location on TA. Go to the location (the place in the road you should stop is marked), put your car in neutral, let off the brake, let go of the steering wheel and see what happens. You will be amazed!
Upon returning to their home in Roscoe, Dennis grilled steaks and Ruthann made potato/cheese casserole, tomato/cucumber salad, fruit and for dessert we had dirt cake. It was amazing. We headed back to the campground at our normal time of 9 - we want to be sure we do not get locked out!
Ruthann and Dennis thanks so much for your hospitality. We had a great time visiting with you and the kids Corrina, Brian, Nathan, Matt and Katie.