9/12/15 – 9/22/15 (15,422 miles)

Gus is recovering from the departure of Viky, although he has stopped sleeping in our bedroom and begun sleeping under the breakfast table that converted into a bed for Viky.

We drove from Breckenridge to Greenwood, Nebraska, on September 12. This was an unremarkable trip except that Stephen banged his head on the trailer, resulting in a cut, a goose egg and a three-day headache, and Donna fell over a picnic table in the dark, causing a world-class bruise to her left hip and some damage to the hip joint. Between that and her mangled right knee, her gait became ever more strange. Gus managed the trip with no damage.

On Sunday we arrived at Big Rock Forest Preserve RV Campground and pulled into one of several empty sites. We were setting up the trailer, and Donna was at the rear of the unit when she looked up to see that the camp host had arrived to check us in and Stephen was hugging her and dancing in a circle. Well, Stephen is a friendly person, but this seemed a bit above friendly. The camp hosts were Tom and Diane Slossar, people Stephen had known and worked with at Northern Trust. Seeing them was a real bonus.

We arrived in Chicagoland in time to attend the visitation for Tim Landry. It was amazing. We waited in a very long queue for two hours to speak with Shannon, Tim’s widow. The number of people at the visitation and at the funeral on Monday was enormous but entirely fitting of Tim and how lovable he was. He will be greatly missed by hundreds of people, including Shannon, his nine younger siblings, and all of the members of the cycling group.

Stephen noticed that one wheel on the trailer was wearing more than the others, so he decided to take the trailer into a shop to have the axles checked. Interestingly, after all the gravel roads we traversed in Alaska, Yukon Territory, and British Columbia, we bent an axle hitting a bump in Yellowstone National Park. He elected to have this repaired before we drove any further, and, as we would be staying in Big Rock Forest Preserve RV Campground for a few extra days, to see how many of the old ARC club members would be available on Saturday for a memorial ride for Tim.

Five people rode: Jim Andresen, Greg Andrews, Stephen, Jack Brandli and Doug McLerren. After the ride, Greg and Jack fried a turkey and various other dead items and several other riders joined us. Shannon and her cousin Stephanie also made an appearance. We laughed and cried and hugged and ate. It was a healing time.

ARC Remnants
ARC Remnants

Friday night we had endured a big thunderstorm with a lot of rain (We were certain one lightening bolt had hit the RV.), so on Sunday, when we went to the Big Rock Plowing Contest, we found that the contest had been cancelled for the first time in 121 years. We still enjoyed tromping around the contests and exhibits, watching the 4H steer contest, looking at children completely smeared with ice cream and participating in an autumn agricultural fair. America at its best!

Big Rock Plowing Contest
Big Rock Plowing Contest

We decided not to return to Dallas before attending the wedding of Donna’s grand nephew, Grant Cox, to Whitney Winters, which will take place in Jonesboro, Arkansas, on October 3. That will give us time to visit Donna’s Aunt Yvonne in Columbus, Indiana, and a chance to see autumn in Kentucky. It will also delay our arrival back at our homestead by about three weeks. Fortunately, our neighbors will collect mail and keep an eye on our place. Another part of America at its best.

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