Sunday, August 30, 2020

Sparky and Eldo are Headed West

 After leaving the Twin Mills campground with the help of our friendly campground neighbors Larry and Connie (yep, that's the same Larry that guided us in when we first got there), we headed west thru Illinois and towards East Moline, IL to our next campground stop, Fisherman's Corner North, a Corps of Engineer park. For new readers, Corps of Engineer parks are US government projects that are built near waterways, dams, or rivers. After the project is completed, some times a campground is constructed. They are almost always clean, spacious sites with water, electric, and sometimes sewer. If you use your old fogey pass, er, the senior citizen interagency pass, the sites are usually about $10-20 a night. You get a 50% discount on fees. The passes are obtainable if you are 62 and over, and they USED to be 10.00. Now they are 80.00 for a permanent lifetime pass, but well worth it. You can also buy just an annual pass for 20.00.You can buy them online, or at any federally owned and operated park, national forest or federally owned grasslands. They have a couple of other optional passes as well.

We had an uneventful drive to E. Moline, that is, till we got to our site. Eldo says, "I thought you said this was a water/electric site." Sparky says to Eldo, "I thought this was a full hookup except for sewer." We didn't think to fill our onboard water tank before leaving Elkhart, IN. We have less than a quarter of a tank of water. Normally, you fill your tanks at least half full for travel, in case you want to boondock somewhere (spend the night with no hookups). Some people travel with a full tank of water. We prefer to keep the weight a little lighter while traveling down the road. 

Uh-oh. We have enough water to brush our teeth and wash hands, and flush toilets, and we're here for 3-4 days, but that's about it. No worries, mate. There are bathrooms and showers at the campground. There's also a water spigot 100 feet away from the coach we COULD use, IF we had two 50 foot sections of hose. We don't. We have a 50 footer and a 25 footer. 

We had some trouble backing in, but that's because this is only our second time, and Sparky hasn't figured out the best way to tell Eldo how to move the RV, and Eldo is still getting the hang of how the RV moves when the truck moves, which is the OPPOSITE of what the truck's wheels do. Being a special ed teacher for so many years, Sparky definitely doesn't think the same way Eldo does when it comes to giving directions. But Eldo is a saint! He didn't get mad, just a little frustrated. We are still learning, but hitching up and unhitching are getting a little easier. Whew! We are at site #26, on a corner with a shade tree.

This particular Corps of Engineer park is smaller than many of the ones we have seen, but there are bigger ones all around us we could have picked as far as more site choices. This park is a little tight for backing in if you have a rig bigger than 40 feet and ALL the sites are back in. 

Some of the parks take reservations, some do not. Here is a list of some of the parks along the Mississippi that do take reservations thru Grant River, Blanding Landing, Thomson Causeway, Fisherman's Corner, Clark's Ferry, and Shady Creek. Fees are 14.00 for non-electric, and 20.00 for electric before applying the pass. When you get on, you can see a photo of the site, and it tells you how long the site is as well.

We are the biggest rig in the park at the moment (42 feet plus), but we still fit. The park sits right up close to the Mississippi River. There are 56 sites, showers and restrooms, and a great bike trail right outside the park--
The Great River Trail, a 62.3 mile trail that winds along the Mississippi River.
 It's not the Pumpkinvine, (see previous post from Elkhart) but it's not too shabby. Some shade, some close to the street riding, and then somewinding in and out of parks, industrial areas, and neighborhoods, with the river at your side, at least that's the part Sparky has seen so far. 

Temperatures are great--in the seventies and eighties during the day, and low sixties at night, even down into the high 50's. Sparky is in 7th heaven! Eldo, not so much...he's a little chilly in the morning. We are getting ready to move again soon, in a couple of days...for South Dakota! Be sure to come along with us for the ride, you never know what's going to happen with Sparky and Eldo! (That's really Eldy, you know...he just has a nickname for the blog.) See you later!


  1. We find using walkie talkies extremely helpful. Craig gives me almost inch by inch directions. He tell me which way to turn the stearing wheel. I never do anything unless he tells me, and if I disagree I do not move until he comes to the window and we discuss it. Sometimes he is wrong. This method has helped us park easily, keep from yelling at each other, and still be friends when it is over. (Craig used to do the driving when we parked, but he wouldn't do what I told him and his independent thinking caused him to run into things more than once.)

  2. Like Merikay, we used walkie talkies at first, but then found that using our phones was better. George could put it on speaker and leave his hands free. The other trick is that the bottom of the steering wheel goes the same direction you want to turn. It helped a LOT remembering that when backing in. You guys got this!

  3. 42 feet. WOW! I don't know how you do it. That will keep you out of most National Parks. That is a seriously BIG RIG. I'm very envious of you traveling west. Will you spend the winter in the SW??

  4. could stop for a break in Iowa, ya know.