Hello everyone, and happy Saturday to you! These past 2 weeks brought with them a calm pace we’d not practiced in a while. We spent our time at Pine Country Thousand Trails in Belvidere, IL, and Ashdown, AR. What’s there to do in Belvidere? Well not a whole lot, and honestly we welcomed that after the nonstop pace these last couple of months. The town is less than an hour from Chicago. So if you are looking for fun things to do, they’re not too far out of reach.
We’ve explored Chicago on three separate occasions so we didn’t spend much time there. “So why’d we stay there?” you might be asking yourself. Well, that’s because I had the opportunity to fly home (at a reasonable price) and see my parents for their birthdays! I flew out of Chicago O’Hare and arrived in Little Rock. It less than an hour and a half! I had an eager mom waiting to pick me up. Our Thousand Trails membership allowed Luke and Bobby to remain comfortably stationary while I was gone.
Bocce Ball and Food with Friends
Before I headed home (don’t worry I didn’t leave poor Luke the entire time, only 5 days) we ran into old friends, parked just behind us! Jim and Lisa! We met Jim and Lisa back back in Palm Springs, CA in Fall of 2019. What a small world. Though Lisa and I had kept up with each other on Facebook we had no idea our journeys would collide again.
Jim and Lisa are full-time RV’ers like us, though they’re originally from California. They are full of great stories, laughs, and will even share a happy hour with you if they like you enough ;). We played bocce ball together a couple of evenings and though I’m sad to say it, the old folks took home the gold. They said they’d not played much but by golly, they had some mad skills!
We enjoyed a final get-together our last night at the campground together, you’ll notice Lisa makes a lovely charcuterie board while I took the easy way out and popped egg rolls in the oven, it was all delish!
The Flight Home
I’ve had several people inquire about how my flight went with COVID and everything going on, so I thought I’d give you all the details on that. I arrived at Chicago O’Hare airport at around 7:30 am on a Wednesday. I’ve flown to and from this airport a couple of times and it was the most empty I’ve ever seen it. The majority of the cute airport shops were closed with just a handful of restaurants open. It gave me a lonely sort of feeling with the absence of the usual hustle and bustle at airports.
We remained masked up the entire time (airport/plane). We boarded the small plane to Little Rock not by groups but from back to front. In order to remain a bit more socially distanced and not have to walk by people already in their seats. I’ll have to say this moved much quicker than boarding by groups. But it was a pretty empty flight in general.
I was bumped up to economy plus (What what! I never fly fancy haha.) and was given a hand sanitizing wipe as a boarded the plane. The flight attendant handed me the wipe with tongs. Mom and I laughed about this saying I should take a small pair of tongs on the flight back so I could take the wipe the same way. No snacks were given, only water and other than that things went as planned! They described how they’d sanitized the plane heavily right before take-off. They also discussed all precautions they used to keep people healthy and safe. We landed early in Little Rock!
Birthdays for Mum and Dad
Hooray for birthdays! My mom and dad’s birthdays are only a few days apart. Mom’s is August 27th while Dad’s is August 30th. This works out pretty perfectly when I have to travel a long distance to see them! Dad knocked it out of the park this year with his gift-giving game. He got mom the trunk organizer she’s been wanting for months!
Not only did I get to see mom and dad, I got to spend time with my main girl, Grace! My mom has kept Grace since she was a teeny baby. So she and her family are like family to us. We dressed up, played with dolls, and did all the fun girly things. I can’t believe she’s in first grade already, they weren’t kidding when they said time flies.
Mom and I had been wanting to try the new pho restaurant in Texarkana for quite some time. We finally made it out that way! It was soooo good. Mom got chicken pho while I tried the pork ramen. We shared egg rolls. Jennifer, the cook, makes pretty much everything in-house and is so kind! She took the time to tell us about each sauce. We learned how to properly pronounce pho and the differences between each dish. We had a great time dining on the porch and slurping our noodles.
Luckily I can take my job just about anywhere so I was able to work while home. In Ashdown AR or Belvidere IL, online ESL teaching is doable. It’s also convenient that I work early mornings or late evenings so I was able to maximize time with family! Interested in remote work? Check out my post on what Luke and I do for work on the road. We’d love to help you get started!
While home, we ate way too much good food, took walks, got some good snuggles from my cat, Mr. Jangles, canned barbecue sauce with mom, watched movies, and simply enjoyed every day together!
Back Home to Luke!
The flight back to Chicago was pretty much the same process as going out, it was a fuller flight but I guess it makes sense there are more people coming to Chicago than going to Little Rock. Luke greeted me with a big hug. Bobby was equally excited to have me back. We won a giveaway on Instagram several days back and our prize arrived! BrewRV sent us local brews from Florida and Georgia! How cool! They’re full-timers too, exploring beer, nature, and the nature of beer in their retro RV, Rizzo.
While surprise packages are super fun there’s also always work and projects to be taken care of. As we drove away from Belvidere IL we picked up a large load of groceries at Walmart (lesson learned with time, it is much easier to grocery shop on moving days rather than try to haul it on the motorcycle). We then headed to Blain’s Farm and Fleet to pick up some repair supplies for our air conditioner. If you find your rig’s air conditioner dripping water inside this could be a clogged drain or you need a new gasket. We needed the latter of the two. Luckily this isn’t too bad of a project and together we knocked it out in an afternoon.
Boondocking at Cabela’s
We split our drive into two days and boondocked at Cabela’s, our favorite place to stop overnight for free! They typically offer free freshwater and dump for a small fee. But the best part? You can take your puppers inside to see the wildlife! Seriously it makes Bobby so happy it makes me smile. He made friends with the turtle in the aquarium at this particular Cabela’s, placing his paw on the ledge to try and shake his hand.
That’s all for now folks! Thanks for tuning in to another EmbryAdventureCo post, we appreciate your kind words, encouragement, and following along on our journey. See you next week!