June 8 - Indiana RT 50 - into Illinios - Wolf Creek, State Park

I set out across Indiana early this morning. I crossed the Wabash River at Vincennes, IN...can't remember ever crossing that river before. I looked upstream and imagined a birch bark canoe coming down river. That's what I always imagine when I look at one of those woodland rivers.

I rambled on.... and came up on a Union Pacific freight train along tracks that paralleled the road. I was moving faster than it was. I rolled up to the engines and matched its speed...it was doing about 50. I reached my left arm out the window and made the biggest "Honk your horn" motion I could pumping my arm up and down. I made eye contact with the engineer through the passenger's window and he reached up.......ToooooooooooooooooooT! Toot! Toot!...he sounded the horn. I smiled and waved.....and looked around at the other cars on the highway....."Excuse me, everyone? I did that. I made that train honk its horn like that thank you very much." I smiled on down the American road.

So I'm driving along and I see a couple of pole barns on a worn out frontage road, near Sumner, IL. Outside there are a bunch of volkswagens in various stages of decay, and three pristine, brand new, beetles.....the old kind, but they looked brand new, parked out front. "Lazy 8", the sign said, I figured this place would surely be able to supply me with a new front left hubcap....so unsightly without it you know, and I'd get to check out these cars. I pulled in and walked inside. There was a guy behind a counter reading a magazine.
"Hi, good morning." I announced.
"Yea, what can I do for ya?"
"Well, I'm looking for a hubcap for an '82 Vanagon. You know, the standard chrome kind?"
"Uh, yea, I think I know what yer talkin' about. Let me go outside just to make sure...you got the van here.?"
"Oh yea, it's right outside."

So we walked outside and he looked at the van.
"Oh, yea, we got them." he declared, and we went back inside.

He went into a back room and came back with a hubcap. He rang it up on the register. I looked around and I noticed a few stools on my side of the counter. They were made from wrought iron, the seats were actually old tractor seats, you know, the old metal kind...real old. They must have just welded them on the legs, definently homemade. I'll tuck that idea away for later retrieval. They were really cool.
So I was sans hubcap for less than 24 hours. I checked out the beetles. The stickers in the windows explained that they were "assembled beetles". shipped unassembled in crates from Mexico and assembled here. They were brand new and looked great, doubt they could pass emissions tests though...and please notice the shiny NEW hubcap on the front left wheel of the Westy in the picture to the right.

I broke off of Route 50 at about Olney, IL to make my way North to Effingham, the Volkswagen show will be held there this weekend. In Newton I stopped at an IGA for a few things and ate lunch in the parking lot. Sardines and saltines, salsa and chips, an orange and two home made ginger snap cookies My Mom gave me for the trip. You know, when I was a little kid I actually liked the ginger snap cookie dough better than the cookies themselves. These days I let My Mom cook them to perfection and then she sprinkles them with sugar....but anyway.....

In Illinois the farms got bigger...bigger than those in southern Ohio and Indiana...huge farms, corn and soybeans for as far as the eye could see. To manage these huge fields these farmers have huge machines and irrigation systems stretching for hundreds of yards. I was lucky enough to see some of them. In the photo of the big John Deere tractor on the road you'll notice the farmer giving "the wave" as he drove by. I was pulled of of the road , stopped for that picture. Of the other 3 farm picture can you figure out which one I took at 55mph...it came out pretty well.

I arrived at Wolf Creek, S.P. in the late afternoon, I covered 225 miles today total. I pulled into the visitors center where I was given a map by a ranger and told I could go pick a site and the campground hosts would come around and collect the camping fee from me. I guess in Illinois campground hosts have a little more responsibility than those in PA. So I went and picked a site, popped the top etc.
Before long an older man on a little scooter came cruising by and stopped. I got out of the van to greet him. Orland Lawford was his name....
"So how long have you been a campground host?" I asked while he copied the information from my driver's license.
"Oh, 'bout 6 years."
"Are you always here?"
"Oh, no. The wife an' I like to spend the winners in Florida....we were at Key West this year from, oh, 'bout the end of October ta mid March. Then we drove on back up."
"So is your RV your home then?"
"Well, most of the time, but we still got a house. I'm not ready to give that up entirely. I like to be able ta have a place to say I'm goin' home to when I leave the campground.....'I'm goin' home'" he added with a smile.

I guess I can understand that. We chatted for a while, scratched our heads, exchanged "yee-ups" and "I'll tell ya whats" for a while. I told him I was in town for a car show....
"Ah, Corvettes?" he asked.
"No, Volkswagens." I replied.
He looked puzzled, "There's a Corvette place in Effingham." he nodded.

So I signed up with Orland to stay through the weekend. He scooted away and I figured I'd see him again.


Getting 'the wave' from this big tractor.

The vehicle