We got our earliest start yet on Thursday. Out of our spot before 8:00. After a quick stop for gas and coffee, we merged onto the 44 freeway and put it on cruise control. Before long we were driving over the Mississippi River and working our way through St. Louis into the state of Illinois. Lots of interchanges and merging but everything went smooth just following the GPS. The famous arch loomed large as we passed by and there were a number of interesting old bridges and buildings. After making safely through the big city, we pulled off in a quiet neighborhood for our first bathroom break.
An hour or so later, we pulled off at a Love’s truck stop to check the tires. Most of them were doing a stellar job of holding their pressure. Two of them needed a minor top off, just a few PSI to maintain equal pressure for proper tire wear. We grabbed a veggie sandwich and a few jugs of water then continued on to our turn off in Effingham. We stumbled onto a Walmart so we stopped and got supplies, mostly dog food and some groceries. It seemed to take forever and I was getting impatient hoping there would be open camp sites at Wolf Creek.
Wolf Creek State Park was about 32 miles off of our main route. The drive was scenic country farmland and quaint little hamlets. Lots of corn and soybeans, old brick houses and green woodlands. I needn’t have worried, there were lots of open camp sites. The premium water view sites were already claimed. Local people would come early and pitch an empty tent or leave a vehicle and pay the extra day or days to have the spot held for the weekend. We found a nice little site backing onto the woods and set things up. Took my tallest stack of blocks yet to get the RV leveled up in the uneven site.
There were two sets of camp hosts, the bad cop camp host lady from the entrance who seemed put out that we were there and the extremely amiable and welcoming camp host couple that came around to collect the rent. He was a retired school teacher and they were totally laid back and helpful. There was a problem with the electric panel so they called the other host who came over and right away scolded PJ for having the dogs unleashed. I have to say though that he fixed my connectivity problem by loaning me his personal adapters to bypass the sensitive ground detectors on their switches, so maybe not such a bad cop after all.
The weather has turned out perfect. In the mid 70s and cooling off at night. We fed the dogs, ate some sandwiches then took the dogs walking around the surrounding area. We hiked outside the camp ground to a little wetlands area where we turned the dogs loose. They got fired up like puppies and ran and hopped and dodged each other all over the grassy lawns between the small lakes.
Back at camp, we sat out in lawn chairs and watched a steady trickle of early bird Labor Day weekenders drive around in circles searching for the perfect camp site. Spots began to fill up in our vicinity, but not in the sites immediately adjacent to ours. Larry the cable guy pulled up across the street in a battered old trailer and immediately foraged into the woods to drag arm loads of dried branches out of the undergrowth. For the next little while, we got to enjoy the sound of him snapping all of the skinny sticks to get them down to fireplace size. He was the point man for the family getting everything set up for their arrival for the weekend tomorrow.
A few sites to the right, a big trailer parked up along with another loud rumbling truck pulling a boat. They pulled out a variety of power tools and proceeded to make a bunch of racket doing who knows what. Ratcheting down their jack system, cutting something? and to really make PJ envious, they pulled out a blower and started clearing away the dead leaves.
Everything soon calmed down and we enjoyed a really serene and peaceful night. The temperature dropped to the high 50s so it was perfect sleeping weather. Quite a relief from the heat we have been experiencing.