Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Visiting Family and Friends, Memories, and Biking at Prophetstown

Hi all, Dianne here.  The lovely farm home above belongs to my cousin, Charles, and his wife, Leslie.  One of the main reasons for our stop here at Prophetstown State Park was to be close enough to visit with my cousins, who all live in this part of Indiana.  (These are the same cousins I mentioned in my last blog, who roamed care-free in the woods and trails at our grandmother's log cabin retreat when we were little kids).

The past two summers, we've hosted my cousins here at Prophetstown State Park for a cookout.  I wrote about it the past two years, but both times I was so flustered hosting the get-together that I forgot to take pictures when they were here!  

This summer, it has been so blasted hot that none of us could quite get excited about an outdoor cookout.  Motor homes are great for two people, but six for dinner doesn't work very well if you want to eat inside.  (The famous RV'ers rule is:  Six for cocktails, four for dinner, two to sleep.)  
Leslie graciously offered to host our get-together this year, so Sunday evening we traveled to Charles's farm for a wonderful meal and family fun.  My cousin, Becky, and her husband, Rich, also came.  Becky and I were like sisters growing up, and we still love to get together and "catch up."

I haven't laughed so hard in years!  The food was wonderful, including beef from the farm and fresh corn-on-the-cob from their garden.  The strawberry margarita pie I had for dessert was so good that I actually dreamed about it last night.  (Gotta get that recipe!)
After dinner, my "little" cousin John (the tall one) and his wife, Marilyn, joined us.  It was so good to see them all! Roger took the above group photo of us.  Left to right:  Rich, Becky, Charles, Leslie, me, John and Marilyn.  Charlie the cat wanted to go with us -- after all, he was born in the barn on this farm -- but he had to stay behind in the motor home and be "in charge" of the two dogs in our absence. 

 My cousins and I don't get to see each other as often as we did as kids, but through the wonders of Facebook we can keep up with each other and all our kids, and pick up right where we left off.

Monday I drove to my hometown, Frankfort, Indiana, to meet Karen, a friend from high school, for lunch.  Karen and her husband have also spent a lot of time traveling in their RV, so we have a lot in common to talk about.  

Before driving back to Prophetstown, I stopped to get a photo just for old time's sake.  (I mentioned before that Roger and I use this blog as a virtual scrapbook for ourselves.)  My cousins and I spent lots and lots of time at this house in the 1950s and early '60s when our grandmother lived there.  It is still being well cared for by its present owners, so I wanted to get a photo for myself while it is still looking good.  

This house was great to play in as a kid -- I remember every nook and cranny.  Becky and I knew every creaking stairstep to avoid when we'd sneak down to the kitchen at night to get into grandma's decorated sugar cubes.  I remember watching a circus parade from her front stoop as it passed down the street right in front of the house.  This house really holds a special place in my heart, just as my memory of grandma still does.
Other than seeing family and friends, we've been pretty much just hanging out here at Prophetstown.  It is still our favorite place to camp in Indiana. The tall grass prairie that they've reintroduced into the area has really spread since the park opened.   (For more on this state park, click on the link "Indiana State Parks" along the left margin and read our Prophetstown blogs from the past two years.)  

This year, the weather has been in the 90s each day with high Indiana humidity.  Roger and I have been using the bike trails anyway.  I love the bike trails here, and the ability to wind through tall grass prairie and smell the wildflowers and grasses.  

Butterflies and birds abound.  I even flushed out a pheasant one morning during my ride.  If we ride early in the morning, dozens of cottontail rabbits scatter off the trail and back into the tall grasses out of sight.  The only bike trails that compare, for me, are those at our place in South Texas.  Hm-m-m....there are dozens of butterflies and birds there, too.  Seems to be a common theme -- maybe that's why I like it here so much.  

I've discovered that if you wear cool enough wicking clothes, biking actually isn't bad in the heat because it makes its own breeze.  The bike trails from the campground equal 6.4 miles if you do the whole trail out and back.  I've been doing it once per day, and Roger has been doing it twice, so 12.8 miles.  Needless to say, we've been taking lots of showers.  (Glad we have full hookups here at the park, and really glad for the 50 amp electric so we can crank up both air conditioners).  

We bought some home-grown tomatoes at the gift store at the 1920s working farm exhibit here at the state park, and some frozen pork burgers.  They also sell fresh eggs, but were out of them that day.  As we drove up the gravel lane to the farm, we saw a horse-drawn plow heading to a field.  If you go, they sell some nifty locally-sewn old-fashioned calico aprons, the kind our grandmothers wore that cover your whole front.  I've discovered that these are actually pretty practical when I'm RV'ing and doing dishes by hand.  

Just like our place in Texas, we're not really ready to leave, but tomorrow we're off to Turkey Run to meet our friends for our annual kayak trip on Sugar Creek.  That's usually an adventure, so check back soon!
The pet photo of the day could be entitled "Dog Day Afternoon."  It's even too hot for dogs outside, so they've been napping on a cool sheet spread on the couch.

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