This post starts off in Rockford. Illinois, a few days back since I am writing this on the morning of the 21 somewhere in Pennsylvania. This should be our last day on the road for a while, and although I will continue to post and filling some of the spots, this should be ‘the last post’ for this road trip. So, lets go back to Rockford. That morning started with a stop at the Anderson Japanese Gardens. This is a beautiful spot and we just couldn’t go on without checking it out and getting in a bit of a walk. This is truly a tranquil spot and although the parking lot was completely full and we parked in the full overflow lot, it seemed as though we had the place to ourselves.
From her we moved on down the road to Starved Rock State Park along the Illinois River at Utica. We stopped at a winery and sampled some Illinois wine, tasty, and they even sold wine slushes… must be an Illinois thing. In the parked we hiked to the top of the ‘rock’ and took in the view of the river. Across the river we could see the lock at the dam. We started our journey by stopping at Frankfort NY, place we stayed when we cruised the great loop in our boat. We also passed through this lock too and it is memorable because just a few miles upstream we picked up my father, who had just turned 85, to cruise with us for a few days. My mom and her friend Donna stopped at this lock and cheered us onward. Memorable spot. We hiked a total of three and a half miles in this Illinois summer heat and stopped for lunch at the Veranda Lounge at the lodge in the park, had a great lunch and sampled the local brew.
From here we headed south to Kansas, Illinois where my younger brother David and his wife Tammie lives. When we arrived David and my older brother Dan were working in the garage. It has been three years since we last saw each other and you can imagine the emotions and the reunion. The next 36 hours were filled with wild stories of our childhood, and each of us out bragging the other, punctuated by the family trait of interrupting each other because we each believe that what have to say is more exciting, important or urgent that what anyone else could possibly have to say. What a great time.
As with most visits it was all too short. Saying good bye to Dan, and Dave and Tammie was difficult as you never know when you will see them again… We got on the road early yesterday morning and headed east and as we were leaving Kansas we saw a deer, a possum and some pheasants, a good start to the day..over the next several hours we rolled through the remainder of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and well into Pennsylvania. We have about another 6 hours of driving before rolling into the driveway. So far we have covered just about 8000 miles and have averaged just over 30 MPG, yesterday we drove 680 miles and averaged 33 MPG, good tail wind and I drafted a lot of trucks. I am guessing I will make it from Illinois to home on two tanks of gas.