Day 5

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Day 5

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.

Beware campsites that are next to railway tracks (campsites to the right)

A picturesque view from Bulger's Hollow campground of the Mississippi

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.

Laura gets ready to take over the helm

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!").

Rolling fields of corn in Illinois

We saw a lot of rolling fields of corn...

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!)

The "Heart of Illinois" fair, not to be confused with the Marshall-Putnam County Fair

One of the fabulous trucks that will be appearing later in the fair in a truck pull (which, sadly, we didn't stay for).

Sheep were judged, ribbons were awarded, and we have no idea why they picked these sheep (they were the sheepiest?)

We think this might be Ranger Rick's wife (who made the shirt), although now we're not so sure...were we even at the right fair?

Laura says this dollhouse is made completely out of "plastic canvas yarn," which is apparently like building a model airplane out of jelly beans. But she said they did a very nice job.

Sleeping Beauty is probably sulking because she doesn't have a plastic canvas TV set.

This amazingly tacky wedding cake looks like it's woven out of fabic.

A closeup of the "Basket Wedding Cake" (we wonder if you have to be a basket case to order one of these)

Laura says this is a Victorian sewing case, done with cross-stitch and bargello (which is not at all like Jello). In the center is a pin cushion, and when you pick it up, the pyramid closes at the top. Pretty cool.

Wouldn't this be a fabulous cake at your wedding? Notice that the bride and groom are near the bottom of the heap.

And in the center is a working fountain!

Even though this won second place, we don't think it looks very appetizing. Guess you want to see the food winners in the first couple of days of a fair, huh?

Laura gazes enviously on the first place winner of the Table Decorating contest.

This entry was in the "Beany Baby" category. If you look carefully, you can see two tiny Beany Babies on either side of the flowers. Eat your heart out, Martha Stewart!

The title of this piece entered in the Show Us Your Photographs exhibit was "Bad Food?"

A picture of the St. Louis arch, which we'll be seeing in person in a few days

This "collection" of cookbooks won first place...

We don't know how it beat out this Tweety Bird collection

Or this "hats with ears" collection (antlers with ears?)

Or this fabulous collection of trolls (with carefully combed hair)

We thought this was very cool. We want one. It was done by Josh Addison or maybe Atkinson--something like that (we were so stunned by the art...)

Side view, same piece

Back (front?) of the same piece

This sailing ship model also impressed the judges (note the ribbon)

Some kind of weird bird with an attitude

A bird with a weird tail

Laura in front of a tractor that her Dad would like to own

A tractor that Robert would like to own

This guy was making brooms by hand!

And he was pretty good at it.

This demonstrated something about tractors, somehow

Then we figured it out--it wasn't a tractor party, it was a lynch party! And guess who the guest of honor was?

A camel in Illinois

An emu in Illinois

Some kind of weird, scary piece of farm equipment (our best guess is it has something to do with corn--what else?)

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.

Laura tries to put a good face on going to the wrong fair

Robert puts a demented face on going to the wrong 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?

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