We've been terrible about keeping our web site current. Rather than
bore you with all the details of the last eight months, I'll just begin
with The Present.
workamping at the same national wildlife refuge we worked at last year,
Crab Orchard NWR in Southern Illinois. If you've ever wondered, as we
have, why the S in Southern is capitalized, here's why: the entire southern
part of Illinois is the most scenic area in the state. Crab Orchard
encompasses nearly 45,000 acres, and Shawnee National Forest, just to
the south, is nearly six times bigger, at 268,400 acres. Plus, there
are several state parks a short drive away.
Orchard is near the midpoint of the Mississippi Flyway, and its primary
reason for existence is to provide a winter feeding and resting area
for Canada geese. They are very prolific and quite bold when their numbers
swell (like right now, actually.) On the Refuge are six hiking trails
and three lakes totaling more than 9,000 acres, so naturally, fishing
is a year-round past-time.
Papa keeping a hold on Bobby (literally) while he
tries out his first real "shishing pole."
Nearby, is a sizeable wine belt called the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail
that includes more than 17 wineries. The closest one to us is less than
10 miles away. In our early days, we lived in St. Louis, 100 miles away.
We had no idea that nirvana was so close. Not just the wine, but all
of this Nature!
year, we had our choice of where we wanted to work: either at the marina
again, or at Devils Kitchen Campground. We chose the campground. It
was closed all of last year, and scheduled to re-open again this year.
After lots and lots of prep work of the large bathhouse, we're painting.
With any luck, the campground will open 4th of July weekend. We will
be the camp hosts of an 8-site primitive (tents only) campground and
be responsible for keeping the bathhouse clean and the grass surrounding
In exchange, we have a most enviable campsite with all the comforts
of home (water, electric, and sewer.)
RV sits atop a bluff, surrounded on three sides by Devils Kitchen Lake.
The view is the best we've ever had. There are eight small docks to
accommodate the campers' boats, so the little Whaler will feel right
It should come as no surprise that we see a LOT of wildlife here on
the refuge. Still, I was so surprised to find this fragile creature
under the RV the first morning we were here
to coming here in early May, we traveled south to Austin, Texas for
our son, DJ's, wedding to Ariel. It was a beautiful event, and we were
so proud of our new daughter-in-law for planning everything herself.
For those of you who knew DJ when he was as young as 10, you might be
shocked to know that he's 25 years old now and does technical support
for Apple. (A chip off the old block.) Ariel is taking graphics design
classes while working at Whole Foods full-time. We couldn't be more
proud of them.
big reason we returned to Crab Orchard is that it's only two hours from
Kate's place in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. We're close enough to babysit
Bobby whenever Mama asks, and most of the time we meet halfway in Paducah
(which has an excellent artists colony, by the way) for the hand-off.
She needs our support, especially now that Steve is deployed to Afghanistan.
They are expecting a baby girl in mid-September, and although Steve
will be able to take leave and be home for the birth, he will have to
return overseas. They are hoping and praying he will come home for good
in early 2009.
of us are preparing to take the tests for our CDL (commercial driving
license) thinking that may be of use some day. Since we're considered
Florida residents, we chose a school near Jacksonville. There's a 2-part
process: home study (33 lessons) and a three-week residency program.
We anticipate doing the residency part in February, and afterwards head
south to take in some spring training games. We hope we can visit all
of our Florida friends along the way!
pretty much all that is happening with us. Life is never boring. Take
care, All, and we hope to hear from YOU soon!
Dave and Victor (woof!)