Knock, knock…

Knock, knock?

Who’s there?

Corn.

Corn who?

Corn you believe this??

Oh vey! Illisouri

Harken this portion of our trip to wandering the world’s largest corn maze! Illisouri (Half Land-of-Lincoln, Half Show-me state) overfloweth with the muffiny, Chex-y, polenta-y, delight called corn. And as an extra bonus, the soy fields lie just across the way. If you’ve ever wondered, “what if the U.S. ran out of food one day?” I’d like to set your mind at ease. Even with obesity growing at an alarming rate, I assure you…

we’re good.

 

So, as I mentioned in my previous post, the reason for the southern Illinois portion mikeglassesof this trip was to hang with m’boi #2. vivonperkinsonDon’t worry… this gal won’t bore you with motherly anecdotes.

20140920_130702 I mean, that would be totally over-the-top, don’t ya think? 20140925_200510

 

And, then we had St. Louie…

Which wasn’t just for the sake of staying  in a lavish hotel that overlooked the Gateway to the West.

20140926_154058

As a matter of fact, after donning skirts and heels for the weekend, and acting all professsional-y this girl was dang-good-and-ready for a smattering trailer attire. (If you must envision fuzzy pink slippers, cold-cream and curlers, go right ahead…)

As a bonus, we visited the butterfly house! And by the way, Benj held it together very well during our walk through this enchanted greenhouse. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even know he had a phobia of fully-enclosed-butterfly-habitats until he muttered through tight-white lips, “I’m doing all I can to keep my hands pinned to my sides right now.”

You’re a trooper, Benj!

And, what timing! It looks like that guy is proposing to his girlfriend. 20140921_150609“Hey, Bro! Whatcha doing?”

 

Wait a second… I know that guy!

20140921_150316He’s my brother! Wooo-hooo! I’m gonna get me a new sister next year! Congrats you little love birds!! (Um… did they just sprout wings??)

Well, eventually, the party has to end.  bully_in_stlouis

BUT, not before church.

Of course, gypsies don’t have a home church, but if it’s Sunday morn, we’ll find us a house of worship. We’ve always been blessed to find a fellowship of believers who welcome us into their church home. Presbyterian, non-denominational, Church of Christ, Calvary Chapel… we’ve seen many and loved them all.

But this past Sunday, we were in the heart of St. Louie, folks! So, it just seemed logical that Benj and I would dress to the nines, strut from  our hotel and take a cab to the land where word the “church” takes on a whole new meaning (for us).

You see at Central Baptist, you don’t sit in a wooden pew, hands folded, just humming a hymn. Here, worship is a foot- stomp’n, hand-clapp’n, jump’n and jiving affair. And when the music stops, don’t bother sitt’n down… cuz worship aint done. All it takes is one “Hallelujah!” from the back of the room for the horn section to burst into another chorus of praise.

To my surprise, I discovered that even a voice as white as a bag of Wonder Bread can be heard in this congregation. Yes, ma’am (sir), at one point when the choir had finally ended the song, “He’s a keeper,” I heard a familiar voice to the left of me shout “He’s a Keeper!” And, bless his little heart, Benj’s proclamation brought the entire  congregation back to their feet, dancing and fanning themselves from the heat, as we all lifted our voices for another round.  “He’s a keeper… He’s a keeper!” happydance

It took us an hour to get through three songs.

It was an experience.

It was holy.

Thank you Central Baptist Church.

…And now for some deleted scenes…

Three cheers for Jakes Espresso Bar and GLUTEN FREE BAKERY! (click the delish muffin for their FB page)

pumpkinmuffin

Hey, Millikin Bronze Guy... whatcha reading?
Hey, Millikin Bronze Guy… whatcha reading?

Looking for the best burgers in the Southern Illinois? Enter through the blue door….

20140920_134842

I aint 'fraid of no bug!
A million cockroaches? Bring it on!

SpeedyB“Speedy B” at the go-kart races

I’m seeing stars!

20140918_200453  Look everyone! It’s the Big Dipper!

 Oh wait. My bad…

That thin blue line is simply the trail that we nerds have blazed over the past four weeks.

~3,217 miles~

That’s a’lotta gas!

… and plenty of diesel fuel as well….

So, here’s a quick recap!

Wilmington = Family Fun

Maggie Valley, NC = Smoky Mountain Spectacular

Lexington, KY = Stopover for sleep (and water aerobics)

Volo, IL

  1. Sold a car! (Thanks again, Fred!)
  2. Pimped out the house.
  3. Ate squirrel meat… not really. (Or did we???)

West Salem, WI – Single night sleepover… turned into three

Sioux Falls, SD = We have officially forsaken Illinois residency, folks! Yes, ma’am (sir), we are now moccasin-wearing, gun-sling’n, bad guys! (okay, not really, we’re still slipper-wearing, computer slingers, but we are residents of South Dakota now! By the way, shout out to Josiah’s Café in downtown Sioux Falls. Finally a good cup of coffee!!  20140917_092312

Omaha, NE = Yay! A Jumping pillow! It’s da bomb. Many KOA’s have them and they’re soooo fun! Eeep!

Springfield, IL = M’boi! (Wait! I thought th’boi was in Wilmington, NC…..) Good memory! This is M’boi, #2. It’s family weekend at Milliken University! Woot!

During the past week, I (me, Honey-Jayne) have learned how to set the trailer into the 5th-wheel hitch (like a pro! BAM!), make wide-right turns, borrow books on tape from Cracker-Barrel (seriously, you can do that!), and creatively fashion a Dirt Devil vacuum bag to fit my hard-to find central vac system.

And Benj? Well, I should really let him share what has brought such a smile to his face of late. However, I will tell you that over the past few weeks, he’s been talking up the benefits of adding a see-through attachment the stinky slinky to keep an eye on the mighty brown river…. 20140917_122743  And sometimes, my friends, Christmas can come early.

Wisconsin… A touch of heaven

Welcome to West Salem, Wisconsin!

20140914_122756So, we were on our way to South Dakota, but we hit the road rather late in the day and our little heads were weary, so after awhile we coasted into a town outside of La Crosse to catch a few Z’s. When we awoke the next morning to a crisp fall day with blue skies and a sparkling lake, we realized we had stumbled upon a charming little town…With great bike trails20140913_13151620140913_133729Lake Neshenoc20140914_130437

westsalem4
“Man Roasting Mallow”

By the way, Honey-Jayne has been vetted… as a card-carrying, highway-driving, trailer-haul’n gal!

And I done good! 😉

Like the Swallows to Capistrano

To the tune of “Over the River and Through the Woods. 20140903_140944

”Over the mountains and through…   20140904_133234Stink’n creek? (Okay, stink’n creek)…to our old’ stomp’n grounds we go. (Okay. Song’s over.)

With the Great Smokies now at our backs, and after hour-upon-hour of gazing upon golden corn fields through our bug-splattered window, we gypsy (nerds) have returned to our original launching pad.

Wait… what? Question-Mark

Are they map illiterates?

Is it karma from buying that knock-off GPS?

Maybe Benj arranged this whole charade just to turn Honey-Jayne into an official trailer park gal. (Sick fantasy, BTW)

Well, you can lay all your twisted thoughts aside. I can assure you, this a scheduled stop …I had a gig, man! (Library gig, that is.)

And Benj had a gig, man–Pickleball. (If you really need to know, click the link) And, by the way, now that we’re back in the neighb for a few, I’ve learned that Benj is quite a Landlord-Extraordinaire…flb2(rock’n the Mr. Roper vibe! Yay Benj!)

So, where have we been? What have we done? I think I’ll reveal those things through this telltale list:

Things I’ve said for the first time ever in my life over the past week:

  • “I’d like to order the vinegar-pie.”
  • “Do you get many bears in these parts?”
  • “Ready for your ‘mater sammich, Benj?”
  • “I’ll take a jar of that TOE jam.”
  • “AARP? Why did I get mail from AARP!?”
  • “I’m afraid the drunk is going to try and tip our trailer.”
  • “I’m the Farkle Queen!”
  • “Can I bake brownies in my crockpot?”
  • “I’m ready to drive the trailer, Benj!”

For the record, vinegar-pie is da bomb…(go ahead and click for the recipe.)

The drunk did not tip our trailer. (And just to let you in on a secret… we were the ones who called called security about his loud music… Maybe those AARP folks know what they’re doing after all.)

TOE (tangerine, orange, and elderberry) jam aint so bad. (Almost as good as ‘mater sammiches!)

I’m three for three in Farkle now… so booya!

vonkam1 vonkam2

vonkam3

Brownies are delish in the crock-pot (especially if you add some extra liquid and caramel sauce.)

And last of all… yes, Honey-Jayne got behind the wheel! I manned our bad boy through twisting-turning roads like a pro for an entire… mile. (Benj held his breath the whole way.)

flb1
We have no debacles to report this week, so I thought I’d leave you with this picture. flb3 P.S. (I’m whispering this…) A big red bus just pulled into the spot next to us. Twenty-to-thirty elderly German folk disembarked. They’ve been traveling the U.S. for FOUR WEEKS in this bus (equipped with curtained-off bunks, one toilet and no shower.)  It’s a German tour company called Rotel. Check it out!

No’h Kaka-lackey

Yup… that’s how m’boi says it! However, for us yanks–who don’t speak a lick of suthah’n–North Carolina will just have to do. 20140827_195019

So, let’s start with who we encountered in the Kaca’lackey:

Family! teamwork-294584_640

Ya see, there’s Joe (m’boi) and Jo (my mama), Jacquelyn, (Joe’s–not Jo’s–girlfriend) who some people call Jackie, but I just call Sweet Girl ‘cuz–well, duh–because she’s a sweet girl. There’s my sister, Leissa (pronounced Lisa), her 23-lb mega-cat, Schrodie, and, last but not least, the patriarch, Papa-Floyd (who goes by John, or maybe Pooks, or Bumpa). Remember him? He’s my churro pal! Yep, that’s my No’h Kacka-lackey family.

Before I share some trip highlight, however, I would like to show you something Benj did:

Ta-Da! My new closet!

(For anyone new to the blog, the rod installed by the factory couldn’t withstand the weight of Honey-Jayne’s wardrobe. Thanks, Benj! Problem solved.)

Okay, moving on…

There’s so much to talk about from our stay in Kack’alackey, where should I start?

face-8685_640
Benj!

Hmmm… I should  definitely leave out the story about racing across the pool on Benj-the-dolphin’s back and having him almost lose his swim trunks.

(All for naught, BTW. Dang young’ns beat us every time.)

You probably don’t want to hear about our super-duper-sweaty bike ride on Wrightsville beach (but you might want to hear about the aaawesome PBJ smoothie afterwards! New fave, BTW).

face-8685_640
Benj!!

I wouldn’t dare divulge the story of Benjie’s ripped shorts (stem-to-stern) and quick trip to pick up BBQ in said shorts. (Erps!)

 

 

Yet, I would like to do a shout out to Mission BBQ.

barbecue-147777_640 That’s some good eat’n, Jack!

Should we have paid closer attention to our fortune-less fortune cookies at B’dobo’s? Hmm. Maybe. You see, the following day Bully suffered from a near death experience (Bullwinkle is the name of the truck… Bully for short. Sorry to scare you!) He’s fine now.

In any event, life was sweet when I was privileged to join Mama and her gal-pals for the monthly birthday luncheon. (These pals haven’t faltered from their monthly tradition for 25 consecutive years. That’s friendship to the endship!).

And, here’s a little secret I’ve learned in our close-quarters: Benjie is a shopaholic. Seriously, this guy’s in a constant state of online searches for trailer upgrades. At this point, he’s very fond of the idea of a semi-tractor to pull the fifth wheel, and guess what? A Smart Car can fit right behind the cab! (You know, for those quickie shopping trips) Benj insists I post the link (click here) …Ugh, right?

Now for a look at my favorite moments from our stay on the East Coast. (Drum roll, please!)

Family……………………………………Food……………………………..…Fun

The cookout! 2014-09-01 21.46.32

Sufing lessons by m’boi, Joey!

2014-09-01 21.42.42

 Snow cones at Pelicans!2014-09-01 21.31.28

 …and then we motored on…

 

By the way, be on the lookout for our new page, entitled, “Ooops!” where Benj will share some of his favorite trailer debacles! (The first one really stinks!)

Ciao for now!

2014-09-01 21.38.07