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July Update

We interrupt your previously scheduled programming to provide a current update. We've been at home for awhile now since our trip West in the Scamp. About a week after arriving home, there was a  celebration of life for Gene, Julia's Dad, who died in hospice earlier this year.  In many ways, it was lovely; I'm not a big fan of funerals.   About twenty people gathered for an outdoor fish fry on a Friday afternoon at one of Gene's favorite restaurants on Lake Wisconsin.  Lots of people told stories about their experiences with Gene, and there was a poster board of photos from throughout his life.   Later, some of his ashes were spread on the water, where Gene loved to fish.  This week, Julia was kayaking on Lake Wisconsin, and a big perch jumped into her kayak.  Coincidence?  She thinks not.   Allie was home for a week.  I did some hiking with Allie and my niece Anna around Devil's Lake. Justin is home off and on for the remainder of the summer.  This is always an unce

Rend Lake, Illinois

Our next stop in early May was at another Corps of Engineers campground at Rend Lake near Benton, Illinois. 

We needed to reserve a spot for the weekend, and things were already getting crowded on the first weekend in May. I made the reservation two weeks in advance, and our site was far from prime. To get level, I needed all of my leveling blocks for the rear of the trailer. 

There was a lengthy bike/hike paved trail on the property. We took full advantage and walked at least five miles every day of our stay. After the weekend, the campground emptied out enough to score a lakeside site. 

Julia kayaked several times on the lake.

We visited two brewpubs in the area. The first was called  The Hop Brewery in Christopher, Illinois. The town was in bad economic shape.  The brewery was newer and the highlight of the town.

Julia had a Hefeweizen that she thought was ok. I had something called a white stout that I didn’t like much at all. I thought it would be light colored but full bodied, but it was more like a stout on a diet.

We also went to St Nicholas Brewery in Du Quoin, Illinois. The beer here was much better.

We spent four days at Rend Lake before heading across the river to Mark Twain country in Iowa. 


  1. Remember that time we were canoeing in the Amazon and the guide said it was the tannins that colored the water dark brown? I gonna surmise those folk at the Hop Brewery went on that trip at one time.

  2. OK, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say I'm sure that dead end sign in the photo of Julia was just happenstance and not something you planned??

    Yep, decent trails, but I'll always remember Rend Lake as the place I bought my Geezer Pass within days of becoming eligible.

    1. Oops, photobombed by a sign. A coincidence.

      They better not change the rules/eligibility on that pass. Less than two years and counting.


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