The boys got dressed and we took a walk around the campground, over a bridge where we played "Pooh Sticks" and past a family of four who had camped out in a tent for the evening.
We left the North Utica, Illinois campground at 8:30a.m. and headed to nearby Starved Rock State Park for some hiking and mosquito bites
. In Bloomington, Illinois, where I used to visit my Great Grammie and Great Aunt Em, we stopped for lunch at Steak and Shake for the obligatory Orange Freeze and Chili Mac. Then, we arrived in Springfield, Illinois at my Aunt Trish's house. There has been a controversy in her town over RV's and commercial vehicles in neighborhoods. "I called the village, and the Mayor said you can park overnight," she said. Bret managed to get the RV into her driveway. It looked like it was tucked into a heavenly little garden. I arranged for a surprise guest, one of her former students, to come by for a visit. The family now lives in the D.C. area and I called the mom, Cynthia, who happened to be in Springfield for a visit! Later that evening, my Uncles Matt and John, and Matt's wife, Karen, came by for a cookout. Karen brought a HUGE birthday cookie for Warner (thanks Karen!), as well as some amazing peaches and blueberries from the local farmer's market. We had my parents and sister connected in through Skype, and we all enjoyed eachother's company. Trish gave us her room (Trish, you shouldn't have!) and a had the best warm shower and best night's sleep that I had had in 14 days.
In Utica, Illinois, I awoke after a decent night's sleep to the sound of an animal. I looked out the "bedroom" window and saw a cow 20 feet away, behind a fence. "Boy, they're big," I thought. I grabbed some coffee that was waiting for me, thank goodness for that advance-programming feature, put on my flip flops and headed outside for a walk around the campground to get a closer look. A boy was standing near the fence and there was a cow that didn't like it. The cow was making a sound like an elephant!