Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Prophetstown State Park and Purdue

Five-mile Hike/Bike Trail at Prophetstown State Park

Roger here...  We spent a week at Prophetstown State Park in West Lafayette, Indiana.  We did so many things in (and near) this beautiful state park that we will be reporting in two posts.  


There are many reasons why Prophetstown State Park is one of our very favorite camping spots in the entire country.  The campsites --- spacious, wooded, full-hook-up, and private are one of those reasons.

The shaded campfire area of our site gives an impression of our large and private campsite.

The photo below shows the space between each secluded spot.  We always love it here.

Hiking --- part 1...

There are miles of hiking trails in the park.  Some are through wooded areas.  Some are through tall-grass prairies and ponds.  Some are next to the Tippecanoe and Wabash Rivers.

During the first half of our time here, Dianne, the dogs, and I hiked a couple of times along sections of trail 1 through the woods and the tall-grass prairie.  Hiking in the tall-grass is different than hikes we have taken elsewhere.  The bucolic setting with grass waving in the wind creates a restful walk.  Who needs mountains and forests, anyway? :-).

The stone bridge shown in the pictures above and below was constructed from field rocks gathered in the state park.  

Quiet Time to Comtemplate

Another Family Reunion...

Dianne's first cousins (Charles, Becky, and John) live near Lafayette.  They were an important part of her life when she was young.  They still are.  

Charles's wife, Leslie, organized a dinner on the evening we arrived at Prophetstown.  It is always such fun when we get together --- so much catching up and so many memories.  Charles's and Leslie's daughter, Betsy, joined us for dessert.

Leslie (Charles's wife), Marilyn (John's wife), Rich (Becky's husband), Becky, Charles, John, Me....  I should have taken the photo so that Dianne was in the picture. 

M-m-m-m, fresh Indiana corn on the cob from Leslie's farm garden. -- D.

Purdue University (the great university of the north)...

Before we left dinner, the evening before, Leslie gave Dianne (genealogist enthusiast extraordinaire) two boxes of family photos and albums that Dianne's grandmother had passed on to the family.  We would only have them for two days.  I knew that Dianne would want to absorb them.  So, I visited my alma mater while Dianne went through all the old pictures and took pictures of the significant ones.

I always love "reliving" my days at Purdue.  It was a good part of my life.  On this particular day I was under no time constraints and was able to wander through so many past memories.  The picture below shows my normal route to mostly science and math classes during my freshman year.

Four years later I walked around this fountain....

Hovde Hall (Administration Building)
.... through a hallway in this building.....

The Elliott Hall of Music is a replica of Radio City in NYC.
... and into the Elliot Hall of Music where I graduated as a member of the class of 1972.

Dianne, my parents, and my brother were all there.

The bell tower did not exist when I was a student at Purdue; however, .....

... I did attend several classes in University Hall (the oldest building on campus).

This is Purdue's 150th anniversary, founded as a land-grant college in 1869.  The "giant leaps' reference in the banner below refers, of course, to Purdue graduate, Neil Armstrong's walk on the moon.

In posts from previous years I have talked about Neal Armstrong and another iconic Purdue grad, Amelia Earhart.

On this visit I wanted to regale in some of Purdue's athletic giants.  This statue is of John Wooden.  He was an all-American at Purdue on the national championship basketball team of 1932 (before the NCAA tournament).  He went on to be the iconic coach at UCLA bringing home several national championships.

Drew Brees and his wife provided funds to build the Brees Academic Performance Center.  Drew continues to be involved in the university and an athlete of character --- a role model to be emulated.

The Purdue Boilermaker
I could not leave campus without walking a few blocks to the athletic complex where I developed my loyalty to Purdue's athletic teams.  Lots of memories here.

Macky Arena is the home of Purdue Basketball --- one of the noisiest and most spirited basketball arenas in the country.  Basketball was and is a big deal at Purdue.  I attended every home game when I was a student.  

The arena was closed on the day of my visit, but I was able to take a picture through one of the doors.  My dad and mom maintained season tickets throughout their lives.  My brother and I accompanied them to countless games.  (I did too, after Roger and I were married.  They had awesome seats just up from the opposing team bench.   You could see the spit coming from Bobby Knight's mouth as he yelled at his team when they played against Purdue.   No snow storms kept the Norris family from these games; I remember late night drives all the way home to Pendleton from West Lafayette back in the day.  -- D.)

Ross-Ade Stadium is the home of Purdue football.  This is the field where Drew Brees played.  This the field where Purdue upset Ohio State last year with the help of the late Tyler Trent.  

I also never missed a home football game while I was a student.  

That green turf is real grass.  No artificial turf here.

I know that I have spent too much time talking about Purdue, but my time there was instrumental in shaping my life.  Time to move on to to other things.

I intended to eat lunch at the Student Union before heading back to the campground.  However, it was freshman move-in day.  The campus restaurants were packed.  

So, I walked to the village and found my way to Harry's Chocolate Shop for a burger and a beer.  No chocolate here.  Harry's is the iconic campus pub.

The next day, Dianne and I drove back to Charlie and Leslie's to return the borrowed boxes of family photos.

When we had dinner at their house, Cousin John told us about a local brewery that sold beer at Purdue football games.  Becky told us we had to go there.  We did.

The People's Brewery had a variety of craft beer selections, but I was interested in Boiler Black, and...

... Boiler Gold.

I really like the way the cans look.

Dianne and I shared one of each.

After the brews, we drove a short distance to the campus village.  We wanted to eat at the Triple XXX Family Restaurant.  

The Triple XXX is a West Lafayette fixture that has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.

There are no tables here.  Everyone eats at the serpentine counters.

The atmosphere is authentic.  The food is delicious.   (This place was around when Roger's dad was a student at Purdue -- it's been there forever -- D.)

 Our fun in West Lafayette continues in the next post with another scenic hike and a visit from fellow camping friends.

Dianne's Teensy Weensy Trailer Tip:

There is little to no hanging space for clothes in the trailer.   That means everything must be rolled or folded.  That means inevitable wrinkles.   I don't like to wear wrinkled clothes, nor do I like to iron.   I found this nifty travel iron/steamer on Amazon.   I have a ironing mat I could use on the dinette, but I have found it much easier to

use the steamer function in the trailer.   I bought another command hook and put it on the back of our bathroom door.  
Now when something is wrinkled, I simply hang it from the hook and steam away.

Pet Picture of the Day....

Poquita always attempts to claim a spot on one of the camp chairs.

I thought this chair was mine.   You mean it's not??

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Lake Time at our Friends' "Cottage"

Bandido is ready to swim after his tennis ball.  Perfect fun for Bandido.

Roger here....   No visit to Indiana would be complete without a visit with our friends, Jay and Nancy, at their "cottage."  

We packed up overnight supplies, loaded the dogs, picked up Nancy and drove a couple of hours to their weekend retreat.  We left the Airstream at the campground.  We spent the majority of our time on this amazing patio that overlooked Grandview Lake, near Columbus, Indiana.

Jay joined us later that afternoon, but the Mexican train extravaganza started early.

There was quite a disaster during the game.  We experienced a Mexican Train Wreck!  (Such a waste of a good glass of wine! -- D.)

Not sure how this happened?  It took a half-hour to clean up.  

Jay took us on a night-time cruise on their pontoon boat just before we went to bed.  It was so peaceful.  The moon and Venus were prominent in the sky.

Oh Captain, Our Captain
The next morning, Jay repeated the trip.  Relaxation as we drifted by the houses along the perimeter of the lake.  

Poquita's First Boat Trip

Me and my buddy

Roger, Bandido, Nancy

Late that afternoon, after Nancy's taco salad lunch,  we returned to Anderson and our campsite.  The following morning we were off to West Lafayette (the home of the Great University of the North).  :-)

Dianne's Teensy Weensy Trailer Tip

The closet in our trailer is miniscule.   We have had to be creative in storing our clothing.   As it turns out, we brought way more clothes than we needed to -- we expected it to be a lot cooler in Maine than it turned out to be.  

In the bedroom there are two overhead storage cabinets.  Both are pretty small.  Roger uses one and I use the other.   Here is how I organize mine:

Thanks to my jet-setter, world-traveling friend Linda (who is in Scotland as we speak), I purchased organizer bags which are usually used in luggage.  By using these zippered bags I am able to fit an amazing amount of clothing into this small space.   It all stays neat and organized, and if they fall out when the door is raised it's no big deal to just stuff them back in.   Each bag has a separate use: either socks, undies, PJs, bras, bathing suit etc.  I tried labeling them with masking tape but the tape did not stick so I gave up on that.   I pretty much know what is in each one by now.  The glasses case stuffed in between holds my pair of spare glasses.

Roger does his own thing in his cabinet using small plastic crates, but I think my side is better.

Pet Pictures of the Day...  These are two good ones.

Poquita Lounging on the Patio with her Toy

Bandido Swimming to the Shore with his Ball

Monday, August 12, 2019

Indiana Memories

Steak and Shake Milkshakes --- one of our favorite places to eat
Roger here....  We have arrived in central Indiana where Dianne and I grew up, went to school, married, raised our daughters, developed friendships, bought homes, worked, and then retired.  This is where we lived for most of our lives until retirement.  We will be here for several days.

We  stayed at the KOA - Anderson - Muncie.  It was not as convenient (location wise) as our normal central Indiana location, but it was much nicer for us now that we are in a smaller RV.  We could enjoy the outdoor areas here.  

A very nice dog park was located right across from our Airstream.  When we sat outside, Bandido often picked up his blue ball and "pointed" toward the park.

The park had many outdoor-related amenities --- turtle pond, large lake for swimming, grassy open fields.  One of our favorites was the hiking trail through the woods.

White River paralleled the trail on one side.  It was a nice, shady, rather long walk for the four of us.

Turtle Pond

A Large Open Grassy Meadow Behind the Sycamore Trees

Except for the ensuing neck ache, it was also a peaceful place to take a nap.

Memories --- Indiana food

We will return to our keto diets when we return to our home in Texas; however, during this time, when there was something special, we did not deny ourselves.  For instance, breaded tenderloins in other parts of the country are not the same as those prepared in Indiana.  Neither is corn on the cob.  We were bad :-(.

The opening picture shows two milkshakes from a Steak and Shake franchise.  We do not have Steak and Shake in south Texas, nor do we have milkshakes as yummy as these.

What's this!!!!!!!

We have sampled pizza all over the country.  We like all of it.  However, there is no pizza better than a pizza from Pizza King.  On our first night at the campground, after a travel day, we were able to have one delivered to our site.  We need to get out of Indiana before we are tempted to get another one.


We always try to see some of the people who have been important to us when we return to Indiana.  One morning I had breakfast with three colleagues (Jim, Mike, Harry) from the central office at Hamilton Southeastern Schools where I worked for 37 years.  One afternoon I had lunch with my good friend Brian who was my partner as a junior high school principal.

Jim and Debbie were our next door neighbors.  Debbie also worked for Hamilton Southeastern Schools.  They took us to a restaurant on a popular reservoir for lunch (breaded tenderloin time).  We relaxed in their back yard later that afternoon.

Why am I always the shortest person in any of these group shots?

A very special moment happened unexpectedly.  Dianne and I were sitting outside at the RV site when a man on a motorcycle pulled up.  I got up to calm the dogs when the man said, "Roger?"

I did not recognize him.  He then told me that he was Jody, one of my favorite students.  I had not seen him since 1979. I was his seventh grade science teacher.  I was also his high school swimming and diving coach.  I can still visualize his perfect "forward 1 1/2 in pike position".  Jody had heard that I was in the area.  He knew that we now had a very recognizable Airstream.  He decided to try to find me.  I am so blessed that he was able to do so --- so many good memories from our past lives.  This was definitely a highlight.


Neal, Roger, Dianne, Laurie
Laurie and Neal were teachers in two of the buildings where I was a principal.  When Laurie learned that I would be in the area, she organized an evening in their home with many of the educators with whom I had the privilege of working over the span of 37 years.  It was so nice of them to

organize this and offer their home so we could all reminisce.

Needless to say, I was honored and quite honestly overwhelmed.  These educators (teachers, guidance counselors, secretaries, teaching assistants, and a very special superintendent) did so many wonderful things for their students.  I was blessed.  We were truly a family. 

Debbie, Sharon, Valerie, Lois

Rita, Sandy, Sue, Lois

Teensy Weensy Trailer Tips.....

My hair is stick straight and will not curl without major effort.  

So taking along both my curling hair dryer and curling iron type styler was essential.   But where to put them so that they are out of the way and not having to be moved every time we're in the bathroom?  I found a Command Hook spiral hanger and attached it to the bathroom wall.  It holds both curler thing-eys plus my hair brush.  It also hides behind the shower curtain so that when I'm not using them, they're out-of-sight, out-of-mind.

We will still be in Indiana for a while.  In the next post we will have some Indiana lake time with our friends, Jay and Nancy.

Pet Picture of the Day...

Whenever Dianne goes into the Airstream, even for a moment, Poquita stares at the door until she returns.  

She loves her mommy, and her mommy loves her!