Wednesday, July 12, 2000
During the night we discovered why the campground was virtually deserted and only charged $4. Seems that there's a set of train tracks about 50 yards from where we were parked. And, not only do trains come by in the middle of the night, they come by frequently and, because there's a crossing, they blow their train horns very loudly.
In other words, about once an hour, this loud screaming sound comes, following by what sounds like a tornado for a couple of minutes. It doesn't make for a nice, peaceful sleep.
So, we stumble into wakefulness and get things organized. Robert tries out the RV shower. It works pretty good, but it's hard to wash your feet (which are well coated with Mississippi mud), because there's not really enough room to bend your legs. We head out along the Mississippi, through Clinton (the city, not the President) and along the river for a while. Then, because we want to reach Peoria sometime today, we head for the Interstate.
Since the freeway is relatively straight with lots of room, Laura takes over the helm of the SS Creaks and Groans and navigates her down the great Interstate 74. Meanwhile, Robert tries out all the stuff in the back of the RV ("Look, I'm making a sandwhich!" "Look, I'm going to the bath--whoops!") and takes a quick nap in the bed ("Look! I'm sleeping!").
We secure a camping spot just outside of Peoria at the Jubilee College State Park (which costs $11). We checked very carefully for train tracks, but there were none. We get electricity (Air Conditioning!) but no water (we have an onboard tank, so we're okay for a couple of days without fresh water).
There's a total of half a dozen folks in the 170 or so spaces. We can hardly wait to find out why....
Ranger Rick (the resident Guy Who Supervises the Camping Grounds and lives in his own RV at the site) told us that his wife had won a ribbon for a shirt she made at the local fair, which made us even more excited to see the place! What kind of shirt would Mrs. Ranger Rick make? How does a shirt win a prize?
So we mount up and head off to find the Peoria County fair, and boy did we get lost! We crossed Peoria twice, and finally found the sign that directed us to the Fairgrounds, where, sure enough, there was a fair! (Which we thought was the Peoria County fair!)
After we left the fair, we stumbled around until we found a used book store, so we could stock up on reading material. Then we went to a steakhouse to have us a steak (which is what the mid-West is really good at).
Sitting down at dinner, we discovered that what we thought was the Marshall-Putnam County Fair wasn't. It was some competing Fair (competing Fair? it didn't make sense to us). Whoops. We went to the wrong Fair! It sounds like an insult ("You're so stupid, you couldn't find a county Fair in Illinois!"). Oh well, at least it was a fair Fair.
(Update to the "Wrong Fair" issue. We figured out later that the Fair we were looking for wasn't actually in Peoria. It was about 50 miles outside of Peoria. So if we had tried to get to the real Fair, we would never have made it and been very frustrated, because our Web Source indicated it was in Peoria. Finding the wrong Fair by accident saved us several hours of frustration. Our new motto is: "We're so stupid, we look smart!")
After eating lots of seared animal flesh (and some rice pudding for dessert), we head back to Jubilee College campground (which was founded by an Episcopal Bishop about 150 years ago).
The radio just announced that the coming trend is "individually wrapped slices of peanut butter." Robert wants to know if you also had slices of jam, could you roll them together and make PB&J flutes?