We are leaving Springfield Illinois today and while it’s been a really good stop, we didn’t capitalize a whole lot on “adventure.” As a matter of fact, this has been probably been our least adventure-filled stop so far, but with that said (or typed) in many ways this was one of our most meaningful stops on our journey so far.
While there are many reasons we chose this unique lifestyle, one of the important reasons was the ability to spend more time with friends and family. When we left Cape, we got word that my grandma was in the hospital. Luckily, our next stop was to spend some time with her (and my aunt, cousins, etc), so timing (if there ever is such a good thing when it comes to being in the hospital) was good. And Kennedy and Cheri were still with us for a few more days, so it worked out that we all got to visit grandma in the hospital. My grandma, who is one determined individual, was released from the hospital last Thursday and is hopefully on the road to recovery. At 94, she is one tough cookie and is still sharp as a tack!
Also last Thursday, I had a work trip so Cheri and Kennedy rode to the outskirts of Chicago with me and I dropped them off at the train station so they could go into the city, where they would wrap up their vacation and fly back to San Antonio on Sunday. After my work stuff, I joined them for one night before heading back to the campground and while Chicago is a pretty cool city, I think our relaxed life of not knowing where we might live next week is a lot more my style. Amongst the chaos of the big city, we did however manage to grab a great dinner, had a nice walk to the restaurant and then on Friday morning, I headed back to my little slice of campground heaven!! Greg meanwhile, stayed behind as he had an install, so he was fortunate enough to work and eat leftovers!!
While there is really a lot to do in the Springfield/Decatur area, in particular since we were here during the big Decatur Celebration weekend (where Vanilla Ice and Kool and the Gang headlined) along with all of the historical Lincoln stuff in Springfield, we just weren’t feeling the crowds, so we enjoyed a low key weekend.
Over the weekend, we made a couple of visits to see grandma and also had arranged to have a late lunch with some fellow RV’ers who—unknowingly to them—have been extremely helpful as we figured out our new life. Chris and Cherie (of Technomadia) were staying with family close to where we were and where I used to live, so we met them at a restaurant outside Columbia. Technomadia does a great job of sharing information and through their blog and social media postings, have been a tremendous resource. As a matter of fact, back in 2013 they had posted about AM Solar offering “solar school” and when I shared that post with Greg way back then, he immediately knew what he wanted to do once we eventually hit the road…thus RV Solar Solutions was born!!
After a couple pitchers of margaritas, we wrapped up our lunch (just in time for dinner) and headed for home. We had a great time chatting with Cherie and Chris, but it was a little weird as we felt like we already “knew” them because of their blogging and all, which I’m sure is a common occurrence for them. Honestly, since they are sort of famous in the RV world, we didn’t know what to expect, but like every one else we have met in our new life, they are “real,” very cool, down to earth people.
The one reflection I had on our way home is often times there are people—sometimes very random—who play a big part of your life’s journey and they may or may not even know that. Chris and Cherie, through just the information they shared on a facebook post, have helped shape the next chapter of our lives and ultimately that is pretty powerful. I doubt when they posted a three-sentence post about solar school in Oregon, that they had any idea of the impact it could have (and ultimately did have) on someone that they had never met. So, the lesson here…..be careful ‘bout the sh#* you post on facebook! You could influence someone to sell everything they own, quit their jobs and live in a van down by the river!! Seriously, more to say on this topic, but will save it for a post at another time!
While Greg was doing an install on a cool little airstream on Monday, he got a much dreaded phone call that one of his good friends—Tom—had passed away. On our way down to Texas in June, one of our stops was Atlanta and we were able to have a nice dinner with Tom, his wife Diane, and Tom’s parents. While it was obvious that Tom was pretty sick, this was not a call that we anticipated to receive so soon after our visit. Ultimately, this just reinforced to both of us how lucky we are; that life is too short and we are grateful that we have chosen to live it a little more on our terms.
Tom at our pre-wedding festivities in November of 2006.
Diane and Tom moved to Atlanta shortly after Greg and I started dating.
Tom credited his move with the reason Greg finally settled down....
he thought he scared all his other girlfiends away.
We then immediately tried to figure out how to get Greg to Atlanta for the service on Saturday, which was a little bit of a logistical challenge since Friday was our scheduled departure for Cincy. We looked into leaving on Thursday so Greg could fly on Friday, but the campground, and our spot for the next week, was booked for Thursday night. The other complicating factor was Greg has a solar job coming on Sunday, so he needed to get back in time to get that started! Eventually, found a very early flight out on Saturday morning, with a return flight on Sunday morning which checked all the boxes (well, all boxes except the “sleep” box as the flight out is at 6:00 a.m. and the return flight is at 8:00 am).
So, Hobie and I will stay behind in Cincinnati while Greg makes the trek to Atlanta. This will be the first time that I’ll be solo in the coach…..glad it’s only for one night. And, we already had made plans for Saturday, so I will keep busy with some of my friends from my Louisville days.
As I mentioned when I started this post, our time here has been meaningful and full of lessons. Time on this earth is limited, maximize it....live it. Time with family and friends is precious; enjoy it....cherish it. And, never underestimate the influence you can have on someone.
Kennedy saying goodbye to Hobie....
And, just after I finished this post, our good friends at Camper Chronicles have been working on a page on their website of things to do under $10.00 and referenced everything we had done in our travels on their “Under $10.00 page.” Feeling a little inadequate (and possibly some peer pressure) with our lack of contributions to their page this week, we decided to go to the preview night of the Illinois State Fair. The Fair is what you might expect….lots of rides, fried foods, bands and farm animals. Oh, and a bonus, we caught the tail end of the parade. But….an even bigger bonus, since it was preview night, it was free (normally $7.00). Thinking that should get us some bonus points!! Ultimately we spent a total of $9.00--$4.00 in parking and $5.00 in fried stuff!!
The Skyline Ride...and random food booths where you can buy anything fried.
It's not a parade without the Shriners on small bikes!!
Parade float! All Illinois!!
And of course, more healthy choices!!
These next three pictures are really cool. Oldest "tiny home" out there!!
Outside of the house
Inside of the log home. Felt eerily familiar!! Just needs a few slides!
Well, this circus is moving on to the next town…..Cincinnati. We’ll be there for around six nights then ultimately we arrive back in Pennsylvania on the 23rd.
Thanks again for following along! Until next time…