Oklahoma City National Memorial

We left McNabb on a Monday.  We went to Galesburg and visited my brother and sister in law.  We stopped and bought KFC and brought it their home and visited.  We then proceeded through Iowa, and down to Missouri and visited our friends Cici and Larry in Excelsior Springs.  We had a really nice visit and took off heading south.  We discovered late afternoon we had a power steering leak about 100 miles out of Oklahoma City.  We slept at a Rest Area, in the morning we unhooked the pickup and drove to the nearest truck stop and bought some to put in.  We headed into Oklahoma City and after several phone calls and stops we finally got an appointment for the following Monday….This was Wednesday……So many shops didn’t work on power steering, and another didn’t have tall enough bays.  We could have kept looking, but we decided to make a little vacation out of it.  We found a campground near by and settled in.  We had lots of nice shade, a picnic table, and near all the shopping and sites to see.  We decided to go see the Oklahoma City National Memorial.  We have seen it twice before but it never gets old.  The first time was when it was just being built back around 2000.  It was only in the very early stages and the reflecting pond and grassy areas was nothing but red red clay.  We seen it completed years later but never went into the museum.  So this was a must this time.

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On the Morning of  April 19, 1995 a truck-bomb exploded outside the Alfred P Murrah Building in down town Oklahoma City, left 168 people dead and destroyed one-third of the building. The blast destroyed or damaged 324 other buildings within a 16-block radius, shattered glass in 258 nearby buildings, and destroyed or burned 86 car.  At that moment of 9:02, it changed the lives of many in Oklahoma City and through out the nation and world also.  Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols constructed a homemade bomb concealed in a rental truck.   McVeigh motivated by his dislike for the U.S. federal government and angry about its handling of the Ruby Ridge incident in 1992 and the Waco siege in 1993, McVeigh timed his attack to coincide with the second anniversary of the deadly fire that ended the siege at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas.  Ironically McVeigh was stopped for no license plate only 90 minutes after the bomb went off.  He was arrested for illegal weapons possession.  With in several days forensic evidence quickly linked McVeigh and Nichols to the attack; Nichols was arrested, and both were charged.  They were both tried and convicted in 1997. McVeigh was executed by lethal injection on June 11, 2001, and Nichols was sentenced to life in prison in 2004.  These are just the highlights of the story.  It is a very heart wrenching story, but again, another story we must never forget.  Plans were made for this memorial to commemorate all the victims of this needless tragedy and those who survived and changed their lives forever.  This is something that all must see if ever going through Oklahoma City.  It is very easy to get to.  So this is what you will see…….

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Upon walking up to the gate, you will see the original chain link fence constructed to keep everyone out as the debris was cleaned up.  In this fence everyone started bringing flowers, mementos, stuffed animals and remembrances of the victims.  It was stuffed full.  The items are periodically removed and catalogued……and as you see it continues today…..

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This was one that drew my attention…..Chase Dalton Smith 3, and his brother, Colten Wade Smith 2.  They were the only children of their parents.  They were dropped off at the Day Care Center on the second floor.  They were both killed along with a total of 19 children in the Day Care which was at the front of the building.  Their were 4 infant cribs in front of the windows with the youngest being 6 months.  The oldest in the Day Care was 5.  3 teachers also lost their lives.

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This is the gate or wall as you walk up and enter the Memorial. This was actually a street before that went in front of the Alfred P Murrah Building.

20170608_152213This Beautiful Reflecting Pond is what you see as you go through the door way.  As you look around, it is such a feeling of powerful tranquility.  Everything you see has a meaning.  The pond was the original street where the Ryder truck was parked and detonated.  Above the wall behind me at the top is etched “9:01”. 

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On the other wall at the end of the pond above the opening is etched “9:03”.  They represent the calm before, and the moment the healing began.  9:02 was the moment of terror and murder.

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As you look to the right, You see all the beautiful glass chairs.  Their are 168 chairs with 19 of them being of small size for the children.  They are arranged on top of where the Murrah building stood in 9 rows to commemorate the nine stories of the building.  Each chair corresponds to the floor each person worked on or was visiting.  The Day Care was on the Second Floor.

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Here I found Chase and Colten’s chairs.  To see this it definitely tugs at the core of your heart.  Why can anyone do such a thing.   Kill innocent children.

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At nite these chairs are all lite up.  This site of open 24 hours a day for people to enter onto sacred ground for quite reflection.  Each chair has a persons name on it and people will leave flowers or memorials to different ones.

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One the other side of the pond is a large building that withstood the bombing.  It was the former Journal Record Building.  Right in front is the only tree that with stood the blast.  It is a 40 foot tall Elm tree that was located across from the parking lot of the Murrah Building.  The bomb scorched the tree badly. It left glass and shrapnel stuck in its bark.  A hood from one of the cars that blew up was found burning in the crown of the tree.  It is now called the Survivors Tree.  Owners of landscape nurseries, arborists, urban foresters and expert horticulturists from across the state and country have come together to work and preserve this piece of history.  Every year seeds are collected and given to the Nurseries.  They plant the seeds and distribute the resulting saplings each year on the anniversary of the bombing. Today, thousands of Survivor Trees are growing in public and private places all over the United States.

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After we walked up to the Survivors Tree,  we went on to the front of the actual Memorial Museum. 

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This was the Journal Records building at the time of the bombing.  All the windows were blown out but it structurally withstood the blast.  In the front you will see many tiles designed by children all over the United States.  They carefully chose and installed these tiles in the front.  The rest of the tiles have been carefully saved for the future.  On the walkway is some chalk board areas that were installed for the children to draw or write messages.  Up on entering and purchasing your ticket, they have you take the elevator to the 4th floor.  You then work your way down.  Their are so many items and information saved.  Many recordings of survivors, emergency responders, and news people.  The one that really stood out was a room that we entered and we all took a seat.  Across from us was a wall of windows that were solid.  We thought we were going to see a movie.  In this room was the City Water Dept. holding a hearing about an issue.  It was recorded and started promptly at 9am.  As you sat their those 2 minutes seemed an eternity as the hearing progressed.  Nothing happened in the window screen area.  All of a sudden, the bomb went off.  It was huge and massive.  You could hear the chaos, the screaming and the running of the people. 

In that instant of the bomb, the window screens before us lite up with the pictures of the 168 people who were killed in the bombing. 

It was a moment of shock.  It was hard to comprehend the immensity of it all.  This is the only recording of the actual bombing.  Finally we walked out of the room and walked on.  So many displays.

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This showed a door that had been blown and some other debris.

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This picture is of the men’s bathroom that was walled off with windows so we can see in.  You can see the men’s urinals on the wall and the plumbing.   Such Violent forces.

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We finally moved down to the floors where they talked about the investigation.  These were automobile parts found blown up.  The wheel hub actually belonged to the Ryder truck that Timothy McVeigh had rented.  Because of it and another piece they were able to check serial numbers and immediately find out that the truck had been rented to McVeigh.  It didn’t take much for them to put the pieces together.  He had been stopped because he didn’t have a license on his car.

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This was his car,  1977 Mercury Marquis, that he had just bought as his had broken down.  He was stopped just 90 minutes after the bombing.  The Oklahoma State Policeman found he had a gun.

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He was then arrested for Illegal Weapons Possession.   The Authorities put it all together in 3 days and found him still in jail on this unrelated charge.  He was never remorseful of what he had done.  McVeigh was executed by lethal injection at 7:14 a.m. on June 11, 2001, at the U.S. Federal Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.  Terry Nichols was given Life in prison in 2004.  Their was 2 other accomplices, Michael and Lori Fortier testified against McVeigh and Nichols; Michael was sentenced to 12 years in prison for failing to warn the United States government, and Lori received immunity from prosecution in exchange for her testimony.  Finally we walked out the door.  It was definitely a heart wrenching experience to think that anyone could do such a terrorist attack, especially an American.  How could anyone kill all those innocent children.  Oklahoma City will forever be changed as they honor all the victims and all the people that has helped with the healing process.  They have all been made stronger.  It is hard to believe it has been 22 years already.  And they still come and leave mementos in the fence…..So if your ever in the area,   Please take the time to visit…….

After that we went to the stockyards to a steakhouse restaurant.  We weren’t really impressed….lol…So home we went…..Another adventure was planned for the next day….

Oklahoma State Capital Tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Grandkids…..

This year Austin graduated KindergartenHe was really excited.

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They held the graduation in the High School Auditorium.  This was his teacher.  After the ceremony, they went to Spring Valley to the Gold Mine Restaurant that Aunt Connie works at.

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They held a little party for him.  His little Jar is cute.  Tina rolled up $1 bills and tied them like a Diploma.  Put his picture inside and a Graduation Hat on top….Great Idea for any occasion.  We weren’t able to attend it so Tina held a small Party at “Fish and Fun”.  Its a little recreation area with a fishing lake and pool area with 3 different sizes pool.  The lake is lined with houses,  house trailers and camping trailers.  It is only several miles outside McNabb and is Membership only.

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Aunt Beth brought a cake and all the kids went swimming.   I bought him the pump container to fill water balloons.  They all had a good time with that.  Finally got a group picture of them all.

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This was hard.  Cameron didn’t want to cooperate….lol…and then theirs Dexter…

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Austin and Miley have both been involved in Sports this summer.  Miley will be in 3rd grade next year.  She is growing but Austin is growing faster.  Soon, if not already Austin will pass her by.

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Miley has also been involved with the Cheerleaders this year.  They did a performance at a High School game at half time.  She is so tiny and petite, and has been involved in gymnastics since she was 3.  So she can do lots of great moves.

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Here’s the whole family, including Tina, Ed and of course Dexter.  They stopped in Wisconsin Dells on their way up to Wisconsin for their annual fishing trip with Grandpa Dan Dolder. 

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Next we have little Carly.  She was 5 this year.   She is such a “Princess” and she’s so smart.

FB_IMG_1497792040882 She will enter Kindergarten this fall.  This photo is at PreSchool.

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Now this is one of my favorite pictures of her…Her hair is all natural curly and is very hard to control….Pigtails or pony tails are best..

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Her she is sticking her head out of her Mamas new car.  Tammy is in Love…..lol…..with her car….

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Next is her Big Sissy Cassidy….She is 13 this year….Now an “OFFICIAL Teenager”Cassidy went to live with her dad this year.  He lives nearby, and now she’s getting to know her other family which is a good thing.  She spends lots more time with her Grandma and Grandpa.

She comes out to her moms house a lot.  Probably almost every weekend.  So their all working it out.  It’s nice for all of them.  Teen years are tough.  Cassidy will enter 8th grade this fall….Almost High School….

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This is a favorite picture….

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Now for their Big Brother Cameron….He just had his“19th Birthday this month.  We are so proud of him.  This past year he has achieved so much.  Last year in the early spring, he dropped out of High School.  He was so far behind, he would have had to take summer classes, if not another year.  He has struggled all of high school.  He said he was going to get his GED.  We were all skeptical, but he made us all believers.  He enrolled at the Junior College.  He had to take the courses that would build his knowledge in all academic areas up to a certain level, so he could enroll in the GED Class.  He completed them and enrolled in the GED classes.  He finished in Nov and received his GED.  Then, with the help of Uncle Scott, he enrolled in CDL classes at the college and completed them in Feb this year.  Finding a job has been hard as he is only 19 and most company’s wont insure him until he is 21.  But he has found a job with the help of Aunt Tina with AG View FS Fertilizer Company.  He is doing so good and is well liked by the company and all the employees.  As you see the family has been behind him, but only because he has showed so much drive and initiative to complete his studies.  He found his goal to complete the GED and he pushed himself to succeed.  He now gets up everyday on his own, anxious to go to work.  Sometimes he leaves as early as  5:30, and works till 8.  But it is the busy season.  He has come so far this year.

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Scott and Brandy also had a big celebration in their family this year.  Brandy’s daughter Staci, has now graduated also and received her BSN in Nursing.  She will soon be taking the “BIG TEST” to obtain her license and then pick her job to begin her career.  In the mean time, she is helping out at the bar.

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One more photo is my niece Ashley’s little girl, Vivian.  She is Richs sister Connie’s Daughter.  Last year just before we left for AdventureLand, Connie held her Baby Shower.  Little Vivian is growing like a weed and is almost 1……And Guess What…….Vivian will be joined by a new little baby sister or brother this fall.  Exciting news…  The family is growing….

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This is a photo of Scott and Brandy’s Billboard for the bar….”ONE PAW’Z PUB”…..It is located on Rt. 89 at the corner of Main Street into McNabb.   Rather IMPRESSIVE isn’t it.

 

 

 

 

 

Part 3…Summer Camp Music Festival 2017

So now it is Sunday, last full day of Summer Camp.  I went and got my assignment…..Back to VIP…This time I am going inside and spend my 12 hours and just roam……Got my ride on the cart, went past Main Gate, and their was Rich…lol..still working……down to the road along the forest and all the way back past parking, VIP TENT CAMPING areas, and he stopped at the VIP TENT…..The guy at the pedestal scanners needed relieving so I stayed their for about and hour.  Again I had a Volunteer.  She was just a young girl from Michigan.  A free spirit but very nice.  It amazes me all these young girls of 18 or 19, who come to this festival from out of state.  What do their parents think of what goes on here?  Finally another Security person was left off so I went inside to  …..”ROAM”…..I walked in and tried to absorb it all…..Right be side the door started the bar….It was almost the whole width of the tent.  At the opposite end was the stage.  In the middle was of course the dance floor.  On either side was furniture.  Sectional Pit group Sofas scattered around for informal settings.  Coffee tables or ottomans, several side tables, even decorative lanterns or decorations on side tables, even some floor vases with tall grasses to make everything homey.  But now remember it had rained.  This was all erected on what was grass or field area.   So now it is mud.  From my doorway across the front of the bar and down the middle to the stage, they brought in 4 x 8 sheets of plywood.  On either side where all the furniture was, it was still in mud……OH YUCK……

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So this is what a VIP ticket gets you….Notice all the mud that has been tracked and the wicker sofa with the vase of grasses to make it elegant………Amazing…lol…

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Over on one side were girls giving massages.  They brought their equipment in and sat it in mud….All around the tent inside was more tapestry’s hung to go along with the theme.

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Above, they had material banners in pretty colors and shapes.  All the poles were wrapped and strung with lights.  Stars were hung and other decorations to match the theme.  It was really quite nice except for the mud.  The whole one side opened outside to a fenced in area.  They had picnic tables, a vender giving away different teas, several hammocks, some sun shades that you could get under on the grass.  Wished I had taken more photos out their.

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Also some games, several HUGE JENGA games and also FRISBIE, and BAGS…..

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While out side, I heard music and looked over to the parking area.  Their was a group playing  …..HEY JUDE by the Beatles….

So I soon discovered that the bands played for an hour….then their was an hour break for tear down and then setting up the next band.  During that time the crowd would come in….and then leave….head up to Moonshine….and then come back again…..

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During that day I seen around 6 different bands. These were all bands that were also playing on a big stage….The perk for the VIPers were they had their own performance to see at VIP also…..The plus for me was as Security, I walked right up to the edge of the stage to watch…..Theirs nothing like seeing a concert.  I’m not a fan of some of the music but when you are right their it really gets you into the spirit and into your soul.  I absolutely love to watch the keyboard player….and some of the guitarist were sensational.

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This group was the only country group.  Yonder Mountain String Band….Again not my type, but so enjoyed watching her play the Violin.  She was amazing.  They were playing at Sunshine Stage later.

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Photo taken by Aaron Bradley at Campfire Stage…..

My favorite was Mungion….The are a group from Chicago area.  They were just formed last year.  Their music was just Awesome.  Their music is blending elements of Rock, Jazz, Latin, Metal, Bluegrass, Jam, Electronic, Classical, World, and Funk.  They had some vocals but I really enjoyed just their music.  I was able to stand right by the keyboard player.  He was amazing and the lead guitarist. …..WOW…..Such a joy and inspiration to stand right by them and feel the music and vibe.   That hour went fast.  They have some stuff on U-Tube and already have produced a CD.  Check them out……But still nothing like being ……..RIGHT THEIR……. As the day went, everyone behaved.  The costumes started showing up

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Here is Uncle Sam…..

 

Two more to enjoy….Miss Butterfly,  and the Mr Geisha….lol…????

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This guy carried his own Palm Tree……

Next Picture…..Beware…..Almost Porno….lol…..Censored……….RATED  R 

But my FAVORITE……………………….OMG…..REALLY……SOOOOOOO     DISGUSTING

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He walked around like this all day …………..and all nite….

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How could you do that…..How could someone even admit you knew him…but he had friends…..He would have to know everyone is starring and his picture is being taken….Guess he likes being…..NOTICED….Evening came…The last band started.  Now it was dark, the tent with the lighting was taking on a whole new Beautiful effect.  The spot lights were shinning on the whole ceiling circling and twirling and changing colors…..”ENCHANTING”…..

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Finally I was relieved.  It was a good day.  Lots of entertainment, I simply roamed and sat.   Everyone was well behaved……………SO FAR……Their was one more party to start later ending at 4 am.  I rode back to Security Office….Passed Main Gate….lol….Rich is their Again….I asked about Monday.  Everything was supposed to be done by 4 am.  Then it would be time to herd out 25,000 people by noon.  Really, How can that be done.  So yes, I was needed show up at 7 am.  When I came out of the office, This is what I seen

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It looked like a floating Jellyfish….Pretty cool…They were heading for the big stages for the LAST BIG NITE.  Back to bed, told Kitty, One more nite of rocking and rolling and window rattling…..lol.

7am up and at um.  Got my assignment.   Guess What……VIP TENT AGAIN…..Rode down past Main Gate…..Their was Rich….still….arrived and went in.  “It was now out of control”.  “They were wild”.  I found the kid, poor Colten, that I was replacing.  He said “theirs nothing you can do, just sit back here by the bar“.  He was so glad to leave.  The party was suppose to be over at 4am .  The music was going strong.  Techo Dance Music,  dancing all over.  people partying inside and out.  Laying on couches, but nobody passed out….Miracle….People were going past me into the bar and making their own drinks.  The bartender was standing by me.  He looked at me and threw his hands in the air and said…”I Give Up…Their out of Control”…I had the best seat in the house to watch all this Chaos…..The mud had gotten worse.  Standing water….miserable…They didn’t care.  I now had a radio again, so I could hear the progress of shutting down the Festival.  Security and Police officers arrived.  Immediately the music stopped………The officers voices boomed over everyone………..”PARTY’S OVER….Go to you sites pack up and LEAVE”….They herded them like cattle and with in a few minutes they were all gone….7:30 it was empty…..I was told to stay their and kept them out…….OMG…..The garbage was everywhere.  Just filthy.  They had a Green Team member all the day before, buy apparently not during the night.  I parked by the door.  Amazing how many did come back during the morning surprised they were closed.  The cleanup crew started cleaning up the bar, the company who were hired to decorate started tearing down.  All the furniture was moved to the side…..I watched as people came to use the bathrooms.  Their was Porta Pottys as well as Bathroom trailers.  They had regular sit down toilets.  the rooms were rich in wood and slate look walls…..Remember this is VIP.  Nothing but the best.  Early on, they would open the door and walk in….later they would open the door and stare, and finally walk in…towards the end, They would open the door stare….close the door and leave…..They were so so bad.  Finally the were all locked up and the semis came in and started hauling them away already.  The radio was full of activity.  Security and law enforcement were going through the forest.  Every was suppose to leave by noon. Wake anyone up, get them packing, smash all tents to the ground”.  They were looking for bodies….lol….The kids seem to leave all their things.  Tents, sleeping bags.  etc.  So you need to make sure nobody is still sleeping.  They made several canvases through the woods.  The parking lots became active.  Peoples cars wouldn’t start.  They needed jumper cables.  A security guard was in the parking area and came upon a person counting a whole lot of money.  More that he should have had, so she called for the cops to come and investigate.  She thought he might have been selling drugs.  At the main gate, they were trying to bring their cars back in to pick up stuff.  Nope, they had to carry everything out.  ….Lost and found….So many people lost their phones…we would send them to Soul Shine tent…..lost car keys??? now that’s a problem….But they kept leaving….it started to slow….

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This is what they looked like as they came walking out of Moonshine Area…I looked over to VIP TENT CAMPING, they looked like little ants, just packing up all heading the same direction.  They kept coming out of the woods.  Rich gave it a Great Analogy…..”Remember the pictures of the troops in war marching home?   Bent over, walking slowly, bandages and limping…..lol…Yes, it was an ARMY of  Tired homeless looking people, trying to make it to their car”.  Rt. 29 was a massive traffic jam.  Noon came, still plenty of people.  The VIP campers were starting to move out.  The venders were packing up.  All shower and potty trailers locked.  I looked around…..Mud…..Shoes stuck in mud and walked out of….A guy came limping into the bathroom area, he had one shoe on, and barefoot on the other.  So many were now barefoot.  They looked miserable, Hung Over, or what ever.  3 pm came and I was approaching Bladder explosion.  I figured 4 pm max, and I would have to call.  It had finally quited down, so I almost wondered If I was forgotten.  All radios were given back at noon.  Radio World was closing up.  I was sitting by the entrance now to VIP by the road.  I decided to call Rich…..He was still their at Main Gate….It was starting to wrap up, but still plenty going on at the gate.  Finally 3:45 they came around to pick me up…………YES…….Just in the nick of time….Rode by Main Gate….Rich was still their….OMG….Checked out at Security, Tina told us how much they appreciated us.  By that last day, they were becoming shorthanded.  I think a lot of the kids are hired and don’t show up after a day or two.  Finally headed back to the trailer.  Sooooooooooo Peaceful………..Finally Rich came home……..He just completed working over 21 hours straight…..Nooooo Way….Not me….He was so tired…We were told we could stay till the next day and they would keep the electric on.  So that was a huge plus.   Rich was not ready to drive.  So we spent the rest of the day in A/C, watching tv, napping, and watching out the window as the stragglers left, the workers started tearing down.  Now all the generators, pottys, showers and all equipment were being hauled out.  They started tearing out all the electrical wires that had been installed, rolling them up and heading to the next area.  Their was no down time……20170530_100033

The next morning we got up and prepared to leave.  They had cleared out alot   When you looked at the forest area, you could now see in easily, but it was littered with bright colors.   Tents, Sleeping bags, etc.  All left behind smashed to the ground.   But so much trash to remove.  But they were hard at work by daybreak, hauling out the generaters and showers.  We left around noon, and headed home…..Returned to McNabb, parked and layed low that day…..Still Tired….

Now I know it sounds like it is all just a huge glorified Music Fest, full of drinking and drugs, but their is a lot of positives also.

The SoulShine Tent was full of Alternative things to do and participate in to make your Festival Experience Wonderful and Memorable without the use of alcohol and drugs.  255764_10150265152650791_277732215790_9417287_4044931_nThe one that was most apparent to me was the Green Team.  They were all over the park.  The garbage in the prime areas were divided into 3 barrels, red, blue and green.

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Signs told you to throw into the proper recycle bin.  Volunteers attended the bins regularly.  They went through them and sorted and also scoured the areas and picked up trash.  All the trash in the park was picked up regularly by Green Team members on a Hay rack, dividing into bags, glass and cardboard.  I seen them digging out the cardboard that had been thrown down in the muddy areas to walk on.  Then all garbage is dumped in a large hill in the recycle area to be gone threw, ….PIECE BY PIECE….Imagine that.  The day after the Festival, the Green Team was scouring the Parking Areas bagging garbage.  They also have a drive to collect Cigarette Butts.

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Last year they collected 69,000 Butts for recycle.  They also collect the wrappers and cellophane as well as the Rollie Pouches.

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Their is also an area for a Food Drive.  They were mainly looking for canned food that would be delivered to the Peoria Area Food Banks.

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Also their was several groups that you could be part of.  This group is promoted by one of the biggest headliners “MOE” .  It is a group that travels and sets up with Moe at festivals and promotes how to have fun and enjoy your Music experience WITHOUT alcohol and drugs.  Also their was a Book Drive to promote literacy and a Personal Hygiene drive, collecting shampoos, soaps, toothpaste and brushes, even unused items from the festival, like ponchos, condoms, etc.  They were also their to give out info and help if needed.

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Their was also workshops.  Soul Patch is in its 4th year.  It is an ongoing gardening area that teachs techniques to take back home.

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They learn basic and advance techniques of permaculture and urban gardening education!  These girls were making signs to put in the planting areas.    Their was also classes in Yoga every morning,  Hula Hoop classes for the latest moves….Art lessons and displays as well as an auction.  Even watch Glass Blowing.  Near us was a Kid Camping area…. It was a place to bring the kids for activities like painting, and different crafts.  Also they had magicians and others doing different interactive activities with the kids.  Another important aspect was the had Counselors present.  I’m sure they were of a Great Value to have present…So their were many positives going on also……Many groups trying to make this a Positive Experience…..

I also have to say, we were treated with respect.  They were all their to have a fun weekend in their own way.  The problem people were dealt with immediately by security and law enforcement.  Medical issues were also immediately addressed.  The staff was monitoring closely throughout the park throughout the Festival.  Upon leaving so many of the kids actually Thanked Rich and I for being their, and making this a safe festival.  They were all so HAPPY to have had a WONDERFUL time

So Would we do this again?????……We Would Love To…..But………….Don’t know if the body is up to this much longer.   For me 12 hours was hard if I didn’t have a chair or stool.  Rich pushed himself, even if he won’t admit it.   The thing is, we knew it was only for a few days.  The one thing that made it possible was,  we had our RV.  The Luxury of our bed, A/C, our own potty, and electricity.   All the comforts of home…… So we did push…..But it is NOT healthy to stay at the Main Gate 21 hours….but it was his choice....lol….So I don’t know….Never say Never…..

But we are so glad we did,  It was another experience that well never forget nor be sorry we did……Another Bucket List …..Check Off….

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Part 2 Summer Camp Music Festival 2017

The last post I wrote about all the preparation that we seen when we arrived on Monday.  Our first day for work was Wed.  The gates didn’t open till Thur. for the Pre party, so Wed. was still preparation for opening.  The Security Office was about 50 ft. from us, so it was nice and close.  I walked over for my morning shift of 7 am – 7 pm.  I was assigned VIP area.  After I signed in with Tina and got a Security vest, one of the guys gave me a ride in a golf cart.  We were told to bring a chair if we wanted or anything to make our 12 hours bearable.  I took Richs stool from Adventureland.  It was also chilly in the morning, around high 50s to start.  So I wore my brightly colored tie dyed sweatshirt…..When we were here 6 years ago, Rich’s brother, John had let us ride around in the park once, and I pretty much new the layout.

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VIP was down at the bottom closer to the parking lots and Rt. 29.  It hugged the tree line of the forest.  At the end of the road before it went back up the hill, was a huge tent.  It was the VIP tent.  As you turned the corner to go up the hill, their was a parking area.  I was left off their and he said just sit their, watch and make sure their was no trouble.  Now that’s easy enough……It was really muddy….As I looked in the grassy area, their was a golf cart.  On the front it said ARTIST RELATIONS.  Nobody was around, so I just climbed on the back and made myself comfortable.  Their was another Security Guard at the gate going up the hill, Colten.  He had a scanner and had to scan everyone who was going through the gate.  This was the entrance to the back of the Moonshine Stage.  Right by me was parking for the Moonshine Stage.  I learned that each stage has its own production team as well as runners.  It is their job to run for anything needed, whether it was in the park or shopping at a store.  They had parking passes called Runners.  So that day, I just sat all day on the back of the unclaimed cart.  It sprinkled, I moved inside.  I watched at supplies came into the VIP tent.  Beer trailers, tables, picnic tables, some furniture, and many items.  All I knew was that was the tent that would have special perks for the VIP ticket holders…..”And I found out later”…..I sat their and watched Porta Pottys come in.

20170524_075800Shower trailers and Generators and a full size semi full of Ice for the VIP area.  Vendors started coming in and setting up their food areas.  The funniest thing I seen all day was a semi who was bringing in a shower trailer.  They told him to turn up the slight hill in the grassy area and drive up by the tree line……Well, he didn’t get far, he was stuck.  It took the next hour or 2 to figure out how to get him out.  Quite Entertaining.  Finally after 12 hours, I was relieved got a ride back up to the Security area.  Rich was at work by this time, as he was working nites.  He was at the Front gate.  For me it was a long day, but really not bad as I sat all day doing nothing.  Next morning, I checked in and that’s when things started happening.  I was in the Security office, and a call came in that someone found a person in their vehicle in line turning blue.  Turns out he had a Heroin Overdose.  He was hauled into Peoria, but didn’t hear anymore, but i’m sure he made it.  My assignment on Thur was Artists Check-in.  I was dropped off and worked with the nite guy for awhile before he left.  All the employees, Artists, Medical team, law enforcement came through this gate.  I had a hand scanner and scanned all persons entering unless Law officers or Medical.  Their was many law depts. present.  Local Chillicothe, Peoria County, State Police, Drug Enforcement, and plain clothes officers.  They all flashed their badge.  Everyone on a golf cart, mule or side by side had to be scanned.  On the front of each golf cart was a Summer Camp decal with a scanable device behind it.  All carts had to be scanned.  HR was also located on this road, so their was lots of traffic.  That was where I learned more about the many parking passes.  Each vehicle had to have certain passes to enter.  All the Artists stopped at the trailer in front of us and checked in for all their wristbands and laminates.  In front of the trailer was 3 or 4 carts called Escorts who then took the Artists to the right stage.  Late morning the gates opened up for the Pre Party ticket holders for Thur. Nite.

20170526_231858  They all had parked their cars and loaded up all their stuff on wagons, carts, or anything with wheels.  They lined the fence waiting for the gates to open.  Finally the gates opened and the lined moved fairly fast, but it was so funny to watch.  The stuff they brought was unreal.  Tents, coolers, chairs, Hoola Hoops, Poles with signs on top.  What they couldn’t bring in was drugs, alcohol and weapons.  My partner had a radio for a while and then left, but the action had started to pick up.  Calling for Security, and parking all the Rvs, and Rvs with electric.   Later that day, they dropped off a Volunteer.  She was an older woman from Maryland.  She had driven straight through with her 19 year old daughter.  When you sign up for the Volunteer program, you put down a deposit on your ticket.  You give 15 hours and have your card signed off and your money is returned.  You do 5 hours a day at a gate or working for the Green Team in Recycling.  They were camping in a tent in the forest.  She was rather interesting to talk to.  She was a black woman and her and her husband live in a big Victorian Home in Maryland.  Finally, time to go home.  I had sun burned my nose and my lips, which would haunt me into the following week.  That nite Rich was at Front gate again.  He had to make sure they went through proper gates.  He was next to the search areas.  They all were searching for contraband.   They found lots of drugs, and alcohol and weapons.  It was all taken away.  But lots of it got through too.  The next nites Rich heard many calls for Law enforcement, Security and Medical.  Lots of people who would hallucinate,   get in fights and were out of control.  Lots of stuff happened in the forest.  He heard one call where their was a 300 lb. man causing problems.  It took many men to tackle him and bring him down.  He was then hauled away.  lol   Lots of that went on at all hours.  Friday, I was to go in at 11 am, but all the shifts were filled, so I didn’t have to work.  So this was my chance to explore.  Rain was predicted so off I went.  20170526_122304

This is the Security Compound.  We are parked on the left side, back by the garage.  The dark brown trailer in the back is the Security Trailer.

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This is the view from our Compound to the Red Barn after all the campers were their.

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Looking into the forest area, theirs wall to wall tents, you can’t hardly walk in between.

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But they put them up to make walk ways and different little communities.  I took the main road back to the Sunshine area which was already muddy.

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I found all the stages and checked out all the vendors.  I found some really unique areas.

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Did you want a Hammock?….Well here you go….The Community Hammock area….Their were all full of course….Notice the Ferris Wheel in the back ground……Really….Kids partying, on drugs, or alcohol??…..sounds dangerous to me….

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Do you feel like swinging???  or how about the trapeze bar….Here ya go…

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The strangest of all is this one.   I couldn’t see what was happening so I walked closer….The kids were all sitting back to back in a circle in the center.  2 kids on the outside were ringing the gongs….20170526_231143

Over and over and over…..It kept going gonnnnnnnng, gonnnnnnnng gonnnnnnng…….in different keys of course…..Just look at their faces……They are ZONED OUT….

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Now look closely at the girls….lol….no tops…..They were coming out of the forest with their group leader…lol…wearing only glitter and jewels on their boobs…..Lovely….Now the bands played all day long on different stages, so you heard music constantly.  Kids walking everywhere.  One of the guys who gave me rides said….”Just remember, Each one of these kids has a mother who loves them and is proud”.…..lol

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Here is the Watering Trough…..They were not only filling water jugs, they were also taking small baths and washing their hair and faces….This area became so muddy by the end with standing water.  But look, so far they all have shoes on….lol….It was still early in the festival….

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This was another area of venders and this was before it rained…Can you imagine after it rained?  I didn’t go back their again.

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This girl was up by Moonshine and was such a Flower Child…..Finally I went back home as it was getting dark.  It started pouring and the electric went off at 2 pm.  Ours didn’t come back on till 10 pm as we were the last on the list.  Of course we had our generator.  Luxurys of an RV.  It turned out, on the evening news, 2 people were hit by lighting near one of the stages and taken in to the hospital.  They were ok.  All the electric was shut down I heard.  Of course all the stages were first to restart.  It dumped lots of water.  Later I took another walk around 10:15…..I wanted to go into the forest.  I remember how cool it was to see all the different camp areas, the use of colors, beautiful tapestry’s and of course their appearance.  So I took a walk. I went to one of the openings in the forest.  On the map you can see the main trails that criss cross through the forest.

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I waited to enter to avoid a mud pit.  I kept walking and took a turn up the hill.  This is what I found.

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A place that had vendors and a small band playing.   I looked over to the left and I seen a trail up the small hill.  Of course I walked that way….

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It was really cool, lined with their colorful tapestry’s hung in the tree forming a path. So much color and beautiful lighting.  It gave off a feeling of PEACE…..On each side was tents so close you couldn’t walk between them.  I kept going…  Breathe….lol…

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It started to narrow.  You could see people on each side in the distance.  I was thinking it was a back way to Camping Stage…..It came to an end and another smaller path started…..lined with glow sticks in the ground.  The aromas of incense and “other things”…..lol…were strong.

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All of a sudden I had an out of body experience…..lol….I seen myself…..”An old lady with white hair and a Security Staff T Shirt”.   I decided time to turn around and leave.  I nervously took this picture and turned around and left….lol….I was Soooooo out of place….Then I went back up the road, checked out some of the stages.  The Vibe Stage was going full blast but it was nothing but mud and standing water, so I didn’t get close….The kids didn’t mind…..It was more Techo music.  I could see lots of dancing and hula hoops and just a lot of kids free dancing at a distance.  I wanted to go to Sunshine stage, as it was going full blast, but it was a real mud pit walk area, so I turned back.  On the way back, I seen this interesting person with an umbrella.

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It must be homemade.  I believe it was a girl.  It is rather hard to see but she had it pulled over her head and their was some kind of light inside.  Strange.  After I took this picture, I looked inside better and she was holding the handle with one hand and in the other was a sticker that she was placing on the other side of the umbrella right in front of her……??????  lol….Tripping????   No Words for that one, just interesting. 

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As I walked back I was passed by many Festi Cabs.  These were 3 seater golf carts that were brought in by another company.  They were of course for hire.   Their were many of them running a regular route, with regular pickup areas set up.  Finally back home and bedtime.  By now the music was so loud that the windows in the Motorhome would shake with all the base.  The Camping Stage was across the road, and the Vibe Tent was not far also.  So every nite it would shake and rattle till 4 am.  I did grow accustom to it.  Kitty threw up the first day on the dash, but after that he was fine also.  Next morning I was assigned to VIP area again.  So down we went, to the VIP area.  The golf cart almost got stuck in the mud.  This time I was left off at the Moonshine Stage Back Entrance.  It was a direct route between VIP and Moonshine. 

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It now had a drive in gate and also a walk in gate with 2 pedestal scanners.  The scanners were now my area.  Their is my Tie dyed Sweatshirt on my stool.  Everyone going up to Moonshine had to scan.  Now I seen many kids coming down from the camping areas in the forest looking for the showers and pottys.  They were beginning to look rough.  Many were now barefoot.

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Soon the Moonshine stage started up and the music began.  This is from my gate looking up towards the arena area of Moonshine.  On top of the hill is the venders.  A perfect nature amphitheater in the grass.  The parking area in this area for the artists as they came was pretty tight.  But those professional drivers always made it work.

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This is one of the Bands buss’s as it was making the turn to enter Moonshine Stage.  I took this picture from my gate.  They all had to walk through this awful mud….Yuck….Did they care?    NO !!!   Some had shoes….Some now had none.…All day long this was my job making sure everyone scanned green at the gate and had the proper wristband to enter.  Most everyone was very nice even very friendly and happy, but you also had a few A Holes.   They would try to sneak through many ways.  I would have to call them and make them come back.  Some were ignorant and belligerent.  It seemed most if them had VIP and Artist placards.  They seemed to believe they were above the rules.  I did find out later that VIP ticket holders did NOT have to go through the search area.  So if they had contraband, It came in….AGAIN REALLY???….So money does talk…..By 8 pm nobody had come so finally I called Security and was finally relieved.  I did 13+ hours that day.  But we were fed good….lol…So as I go home every nite, Rich is already gone….I look at his tickets….HE”S WORKING 18 HOUR SHIFTS…..wow, I can’t do that….He asked to stay at the Main Gate and that’s where he stayed.  He liked it their.  They needed a …STRONG PERSONALITY….lol…their….(nice way to put it) .  It seems many of these kids would walk back to their cars and get their drugs and try to walk in his gate.  He had to stop them and make them go through search.  His gate was only for people leaving.   You wouldn’t believe some of the excuses they would make up….YES HE WAS GOOD AT HIS JOB….This is now Saturday nite.   2 more days to go…..too much for this blog…..so

Stay tuned for Part 3…..My 2 Days in VIP TENT……

 

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This cool looking Mushroom was carved and painted.  It was inside the fence by the scanning pedestal’s.  It was actually in the camping area….

 

 

 

Summer Camp Music Festival 2017 – Part 1

This year we brought up our traditional Pinata from Progresso Mexico.  Last year we bought Mexican candy too, but not this year.  Some of it was pretty bad.  I just filled it from the General Dollar Store.  We brought home a cute blue fish this time.  We wanted to do the Pinata before we went to Summer Camp, but the weather wasn’t the best.  It was chilly and damp.  So we met at Granville Park in the shelter.  Only Tina and Tammy and the kids came,  but they enjoyed it.

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Cassidy 13, Carly 5, Dexter 2, Miley 8, and Austin 6……Cameron 18, was the rope puller…

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They all had a turn hitting the piñata with a steel base ball bat.   That fish was made so well.  They hit and hit it many times before it finally opened and the candy fell out.  They had a good time and filled their bags with all the candy.  So another Pinata to the trash….lol…inner-picture

On Monday, we drove down to Chillicothe, which is only about 40 minutes away.  The Summer Camp Music Festival is located in Three Sisters Park, south of town on Rt. 29, across from the Illinois River.   Three Sisters Park is 400 acres of farmland and forest areas.  It was donated by 3 sisters.  The master plan envisioned the creation of a living history farm, a central activity building, large festival areas, a welcome center, restaurant, agricultural equipment museum activity area, and outdoor natural amphitheater. The open fields and forested areas offer unique space for special events, concerts and festivals.

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Summer Camp from Air….Copyright, Jason Kaczorowski Photography 2011

Summer Camp Music Festival has been held here for 17 years.  It is a perfect area to put on this festival.  This year they were expecting 25,000 people attending to enjoy over 100 bands on 9 stages.  It is always on Memorial Day weekend.  It is a 3 day event, but if you came for the pre party event, it was 4 days of party, music, drinking, and all the fun you can imagine.   This is an event that was created and put on by Jay Goldberg Events and Entertainment, and is said to be one of the top 40 music events by Rolling Stone.  I compare it to Woodstock of many years ago.

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We had attended “Scamp” as they also call it, about 6 years ago.  We are people watchers.  It was such a fun,” ENLIGHTENING” weekend.  The people we seen, their dress, or lack of…lol…their free spirits, and the music that seemed to touch their soul to the core.  We always wanted to go back.  Richs brother John, is head of RV Parking.  Their is a lot of planning into making this festival work.  Each manager has his area that he has to plan down to detail.  Now John with RV Parking, has to plan his area into camping slots.  He marks out the field and know just how many campers he can get in.  He begins almost a week ahead to prepare his area.  When the gates are open.  Him and his crew lead each camper to their spot.  Each one has to have their camper scanned in to show available tickets at the box office.  It is a lot of intensive work, as on the first day 2/3s of the people are in line waiting to come in.  Now that is only 1 area.  You have Electric Rv Camping, Camping areas, Security, Vending, Artists, Vips.  Then you have all the Emergency Equipment.  OSF Hospital from Peoria operates a regular staffed clinic for any emergency and transport if needed, also all the police departments on regular patrol.

They rent the park for 2 months, May-June.  Their is so much preparation.  Electric has to be run for all the areas.  Even for Electric RV sites, Vending sites and then the stages.

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Their is 1 permanent stage…….Moonshine…..It is a wooden built stage that is positioned to make it a perfect amphitheater.  The whole hillside slopes gentle down to the stage making it a perfect seating area for concerts.  This stage was the venue for the biggest headliners.

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This is the  entrance to Moonshine area and all the Vendors.

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Another area and Stage is Sunshine Stage.  It is also full of Vendors and some carnival rides.  The Sunshine Stage is a huge stage that is brought in by semi and set up.

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It is probably the 2nd largest stage.  It is also where some of the main headliners performed.

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The next stage is called Starshine Stage.  It is also a stage brought in by semi.  In this picture, they were setting up and testing lights about 10:30 one night.  That was about the latest I could stay up…..lol…

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Now next is Vibe Tent.   It is a large long tent with a stage inside.  It was the home of the Electronic Dance music.  Now this tent wasn’t to far from us.  It played every nite till 4 am.  The windows in the motorhome shook with every base beat.  Their is also 2 smaller stages, Camping Stage, which is near the forest and also Campfire Stage, which is near the campfire.  They also played all night long.  Then we have the Soulshine Tent.  They also had performances as well as many other things.  Vendors, Lost and Found and some other projects.  Down in the VIP area, their was also the VIP tent.  The had 1 hour concerts all day long.  Many of the bands were also playing up on the big stages.  Last, we have the RED BARN.  It is the permanent building in the middle of the park.  Every nite they would hold a concert that was an extra charge.  Now can you imagine the electrical nightmare.   They bring in many huge generators and position them through out the park.  All electric is feed off of them.  20170523_084316

Then can you imagine planning for 25,000 people for bathroom and shower facilities.  This picture is of just a few of the portable potty’s and showers.  They tried to position them for the convenience of everyone in all areas.  They also needed electric to work.  They also brought in many regular porta potty’s.

They also have to bring in and install fencing.  Obviously the parking area has to be fenced off to guide them to the right gates.  Then many areas with in the park need to be fenced to guide the crowd to the right events.  All the perimeter areas of the park need fence in good repair.  Those areas are also patrolled constantly to keep kids from sneaking in.20170604_091546

When they sell tickets, you receive wristbands and you can upgrade with laminates.  Each wristband is scanned into the system.  The categories are Volunteer, General Admission, Staff, Guest, Vendor, Artist, and VIP.  The laminates are used for clearance into certain areas as backstage and also your level of ticket, such as Production mangers or even the top management team.  They are also used for the ones who are escorts.  The Vendors, Artists, and Rvs all have Escorts to take them to their locations.  Many areas you had to scan your wristband to allow you in to that area.  Several areas had electronic pedestal scanners installed in the ground.  Other areas we were supplied with hand held scanners.  Each area was programed in the scanner to accept only the proper wristband.  When you buy your ticket you buy a base 3 day tent camping pass.  That is over $200.  An Rv is more and of course Electric with RV is also an upgrade.  Now you can also buy upgrades for your different access areas, VIP Camping, VIP RV, and VIP Rockstar.  The next thing to try to understand is parking passes.  Each car has to be checked on entering for their pass.  Those categories are General, Employee, Runner, Artist, Vendor, VIP, Vip Deluxe, VIP Super Deluxe, VIP Rockstar, VIP Non Electric,  South Lot, and then 1 day passes.  As Security, we had to check the windows for parking passes at the entrance gates, and also according to our job assignment area, we had to make sure they were parked in the right areas.  After purchasing all their tickets that they wanted, many of these people had spent close to $1,000 just to enter.  Upon checking online before the gates opened many of the VIP upgrades were sold out.  So lots of money was brought in by the festival.  But also look at all the expense in planning.

All the different departments also had hand held radios for communication.  These were all rentals also.  They were handed out as needed, usually trying to have at least one in each area and the managers and important people obviously had them all the time.

Transportation was another issue within the park.  No one was allowed to bring in their vehicle, 4 wheeler, or golf cart.  A select few did bring in theirs, but they were upper management.  Golf carts, side by sides, mules, all equipment of that type were rented and supplied to each department as needed.  Their were many.  Of course the Emergency Team had their share that would accommodate a stretcher, the police enforcers had theirs, and of course in Security we had ours.  When we checked in for our shift, we usually were given  a ride to our location.  I always got a ride back, but Rich had to walk back sometimes.  Many of our Security people were on duty patrolling at all times.  Partly watching over everyone and also checking in on us and taking care of our needs.

I almost forgot about food.  There was a food tent set up for workers on duty.  We were fed free, only if you worked days.  The managers were given tickets to hand out to their workers, but we as security couldn’t leave our post.  Lunch and Dinner were delivered to us every day.  We were given 2 sandwiches many times, fries, Mountain Dew, Pepsi, or PowerAde.  My last meal was a huge container of Spaghetti, salad and Garlic Bread with soda.  We were constantly given water.  It was all free to us.

So their is so much planning that goes into this festival.  I’m sure I’ve forgotten some things, and many other things we don’t even know about.  It was amazing to watch it come together and work.  People come from all over the USA.  You’ll find license plates from many different states in the parking lots.  They even ran a shuttle bus from Chicago to the Festival this year.  Fly into Chicago and take the shuttle for $51 each way.  You hope and pray they all come have a wonderful fun filled weekend and go home SAFE and HEALTHY.

We arrived on Monday and checked into HR.  We were met my Tina, head of Hart Vitale Security.  I had emailed her that we would be coming with a 38″ ft MH.  She took us up to the Security Compound.  Rich had to make it into the narrow fence opening, but he made it.  All Security was to camp their.  The Security office was also their for our check in and retrieving our assignments.  The had us back in front of a garage building.  Next to us was a bunk house that had 5 different doors.  2 were bunk rooms of 6 each, the others were showers and toilets.  We relaxed the rest of the day.

 

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Our view of the Red Barn before all the Electric RV section filled in….

 

We had to attend 1 meeting and we had a choice of 4.  Tue. morning we walked over to the church for our meeting.  It was a general meeting of dos and expectations and information.   Way way to much to absorb without working it first.  We then stopped by the Security trailer and got our schedules for the rest of the weekend.  I was to start Thur morning at 7 am at VIP area.  Rich was to work Main Gate.  So we finished Wed. off with going into Kroger’s and stocking up and then parking the pickup in Employee parking.  We couldn’t have ours in the park either.  So Hope I haven’t bored you with all these facts and everything, but I think its important to realize what is all put into putting on a Festival like this.  These were just a few observations that I made.

Next,…..THE FESTIVAL ITSELF……What did we see……What did we do……

……….What an Experience……..

 

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Psycho Silo Saloon….Langley Il…..So Unique….

If your ever crossing Illinois on I80, this is the coolest place to see…”Psyco Silo Saloon”….located in the ghost town of Langley Illinois.  It is now a renovated outdoor bar, with entertainment, built with old railroad ties and bridge planks.  It is bringing in bikers, hot roders, or anyone who wants to spend a relaxing afternoon or evening.  It is located at the intersection of Il. 40 and US. 6 between Sheffield and Wyanet.  It is only 2 miles off of I 80.  It was the elevator in Langley next to the tracks.  Built around 1901, it hadn’t operated for years.  The town with a few houses had become a ghost town and they were even gone.  All that stood for years was the elevator with trees, brushes and weeds growing up and  over taking the whole area.

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I had heard about this place just over a year ago.  I had wanted to go, but just wasn’t a priority.  Scott and Brandy decided to do a party run in their motorhome last sunday  and asked us to go.  Its only about 40 minutes away, so its not far.20170521_123758

We met at the bar at 11 am.  Only 6 of us went after all, as it was so cold.  It has a high of the 50s.  Sure not use to that temp.  After a fun ride over with music at its peak…..lol….lets say a few beers, certainly not the driver, we turned off Rt. 6 onto what use to be the Main St. of Langley On the way up to the elevator, the owner had placed old cars and vehicles in different places.  All old….old antiques.  As we approached, the elevator came into view as it was hidden in the trees.  Many different decks had been built.

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All around the edges were rusty car bumpers, some doors, and so many different old parts on display.  It was so unique.

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They flagged us through over a bridge and parked in a larger grassy area.  It was only the 2nd weekend they have been open this year.  Everything is outside.  Their is no inside, therefore they obviously close in the winter.

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As we walked up to the bar, their was so much to see.  Over on the left side was what appeared to be a junk pile….lol…

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But I’m sure these are the things that he displays when he finds a place for them.  The building in the background is the new restrooms.  Modernized too….that’s a +…..lol..

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We climbed up the first flight of steps…Their was a roof of an old silo and underneath was a bar in an Old Truck….

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That was so cool.  The back end of the cab was cut out and a cooler was set in their.

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Also on that level was the stage for the band.  They had 2 playing that day.  This was Cody Calkins who really has become locally very popular.  For 2 hours he played and hit every note….Later another band Vice Squad set up in the stage area and played.  They were awesome.  If you notice the stage is really the side of a trailer cut out still hooked up to an old truck….How cool is that….Then we climber the stairs to the next level…

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Their was the main bar.  Now were actually in the old elevator.  It was decorated with license plates and old things.  I was also told that one of the guys from “The American Pickers” also had been their to check them out.  This is their kind of stuff….

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The deck area is so big.  Many tables and also some old non matching rocking chairs.  We walked around the corner and found 1 inside room…..Of Course…

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The one with the Slot Machines….Almost every bar has them these days.

Then we walked to the back side and their was the souvenir clothing.  T Shirts, Sweats, bandana’s, tank tops, koozies,  sunglasses, etc.  so many things.

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Their again, it was an old trailer pulled along side with the side cut out.  At closing, they just put all merchandise back in the trailer and lock up…..Great Idea….Oh…..and don’t worry.   If you run out of money, they also have an ATM machine….You can always get more…lol

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This is on the wall in the bar area on the deck.  I walked around for quite awhile, just looking at everything.  As the story goes…..The Owner is Troy Thompson of Princeton Illinois, which isn’t far.  He had seen it many times as a kid, as they drove by.  Finally 3 years ago he decided to fulfill his dream, he bought it and with the help of family and friends he renovated it with all the antiques that he has been collecting.  He has done a fabulous job.  This little town that still had a name but no houses now has come to life every weekend.  Before that, its only claim to fame was a shoot out of some bank robbers.  The robbers had robbed a bank in a neighboring town of Manlius and hid out in a train car.

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As we listened to music, we looked through the parking lot…Their was Scotts Camper….It was a fun day, but it was so so cold.  Fortunately at the upper bar, they had a long heat pipe installed in the ceiling.  I finally went and sat in a rocking chair.  It was really quit comfortable.

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So many unique things has been done.  Love these old tractor seats made for the tables.  Finally it was time to leave.  I was cold to the bone but so glad I came.  Many people started coming in as we sat their, but it was so cold.  Usually the parking lot is filled.  We seen many bikers, old car enthusiasts, and many people just came to enjoy.  It seems to bring out everyone.   They are also gearing up for a 4 day Memorial Day Party….Full of Entertainment, drinks, and also they have sandwiches and appetizers.

 

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Scott Rich and Brandy

 

Another unique place in the Central Illinois Valley.  Amazing what people can do when they have a dream….and a desire.  What a preservation of Old America for everyone to enjoy….

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This is a barbeque cart….has a grill inside with serving table…..

””PARTY ON””

 

 

 

 

 

Back Home In Illinois

We are back home for a short time.  We’ll be here around 3 weeks total.  Its good to see the kids again.  We left Harlingen on Saturday afternoon and arrived Monday afternoon.  The goal was to make it to Scott and Brandy’s  bar for tacos.  They serve them only on Mondays 5-7.  20170515_174717

They are deep fried, something you can’t get in Texas.  Must be a northern thing.  Brandy puts in the meat filling, inserts toothpick.  Drop them in the fryer and immetiately open and put in lettuce, onions and tomatoes after frying…..mmmmm…..Saturday morning I had an employees meeting before we left.  I work at the Cinemark 10, 2 days a week on the weekends in the box office.  I, of course am the oldest.  Most are all kids or young adults.  It was rather interesting.  The General Manager of the theater held the meeting.  The purpose of course is to update all employees on new programs coming up for the summer, as well as safety issues, fire drill procedures, and many at risk situations.  But the think I find most interesting is the general manager is so good with these kids.  He is firm with rules, but he also builds them up, trying to get them to strive for the very best in life.  He demands respect and yet have fun at the same time.  One of the managers, Miss Ramos, has been taking the steps to climb the ladder in the company.  She has just taken a test and achieved a fabulous score.  The General Manager announced that she was 4th in the nation and is now titled “Assistant General Manager”  Everyone is called Miss or Mr.  In fact, this is something I have noticed here in the Rio Grande Valley.  Their is respect everywhere from little kids to Seniors.  You can be in a grocery store or on the phone, and everyone says, “Thank You Maam”……It is something that is taught from childhood on and still continues.   As soon as I came back home we finished packing. 20170512_145157

This little guy was hanging around on the awning.  There are zillions of these everywhere.  Kinda cute……It was so hot……Sweat was just pouring off Rich.   Finally we took off and had a rather uneventful trip home……but that’s good…

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Kitty enjoyed the ride as usual, sleeping most of the time.  He would of course also sit on his foot stool by his dad and paw at him.  He always wants Rich to pet him while driving.

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Finally crossing the Mississippi we made it into Illinois.  We seen some floods coming across Arkansas.  They were really hit bad on the White River.  The Mississippi was up but nothing out of the ordinary.  Its been so much worse.

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Brandy behind bar

We arrived in McNabb and parked at “One Pawz Pub”.  Brandy was working,  Scott showed up about a half hour later, from driving truck.  This was the first time we had seen the new progress on the bar.  Scott reconstructed a new bar and put stripe designs in it and covered it with epoxy.  This is not a good picture but it is beautiful.

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Patio area….it was getting dark

He has also finished his patio out back.  He made all his own bars and bar stools and painted them different bright colors.  He also made 3 octagon picnic tables and put down grass turf.  They have a Harley Davidson Bag game in the area you can’t see.  He is striving to gain a lot of bikers this summer on their poker runs.

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Tammy, Cassidy and Carly came for Tacos.  Also her boyfriend Bryan and son.  Ed, Tinas Husband showed up with Austin.  Tina was at a softball game with Miley.  Finally Cameron came in.  He was working…….”What a Nice Sound”…..lol….This past year, Cameron has made “HUGE STEPS” in his life.  He accomplished his GED, then went to Truck Driving School, obtained his CDL, and now has a seasonal job at AG Service.  He drives the chemicals out to the fields for the farmers as they plant.  He loves it.  He also has a truck driving job coming up after the season is over.  It will be a roller coaster for him as he is only going to be 19 in June.  Lots of companies can’t or don’t want to hire him because of insurance.  When he is 21 it will get better…..Just have to stay positive….Finally Connie, Richs youngest sister came and Brian.  We had a nice visit eating Tacos.  Finally drove to the house a block away before dark, parked and settled in.

Now time for a “Randy update”.  Randy has been in New Orleans and Galveston having a Grand time.  He went to a museum to check out and learn about alligators and turtles.

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Look at Randy’s COOL NEW PANTS

He’s been to many resturants checking out the hot sauces and peppers…..lol

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But he decided to eat Brownies instead…..Guess he knew it would tear up his stomach.

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So now Randy and his parents are all packed up.  They are heading on their way to Maryland.  Their having such a good time seeing the sites….

Cant wait till we see where Randy’s Adventures take him next…..

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Randy and his Mom in Galveston La.

 

 

The Last Days With Friends…..Randy is Traveling….

 

The Park is almost empty of all the Winter Texans.  We’ve had a few more head north.  On Sunday we went to the Island with Cathy and Bud and Ann, Cathy’s sister.  Ann flew down from Canada to spend the last week with them.  They are all leaving Wednesday.  We ate at Dirty Al’s, at the Pelican Station in Port Isabel.

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It sits right on the Lagoon near the bridge that goes to South Padre Island.  It has a beautiful view through the windows of the bridge.

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You can also see the Dolphin Watching tour boats that are right down the street.  Sometimes you can even see the Dolphins from here swimming and jumping in the water.

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After we eat a wonderful dinner we decided to ask for Dessert…..Oh How SINFULLY Delicious it was. 

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The waiter and waitress were so nice, the took our pictures and had fun with us.  Just look at those yummy desserts.  Key Lime Pie, Cheesecake, Pecan Pie with Ice Cream and chocolate syrup……Yes, We Left Full…..

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Last Friday we took a trip to Progresso which was also Cathy and Buds last for the season.  We walked around the streets and through some of the shops.  Bought some meds….(cheap)….eat dinner and stopped at Ponchos for a drink.  This girl is always on the streets trying to sell her jewelry.  She doesn’t speak English and is slow.  But she knows how to sell.  She know all the regulars and always hangs around.  Her name is Judy, although its spelled different in Spanish.  She calls Cathy and Bud her Mommy and Poppy.  But she also calls Glen her Poppy….I think she must call everyone that.  Last year, she hung around and wanted to carry my Piñata all the way to the border bridge.  Several of us gave her money and she was happy, but she still hangs around till you leave.  The last 2 times we have driven across now.  No more walking across the bridge.  But they get you for parking.   They find you a place and want money for watching your car.  You can also get a hand wash and wax for around $12.   It is a Good Deal.

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We had some fun trying on hats…..They always say…..”What you want Lady? It almost Free”  ……So another 2 days and they will leave for Canada.

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I also want to report on Randy the Reindeer….Remember him from Christmas?….Randy decided to head to Maryland with his Eastgate Parents Alice and Tom.  He has never met his family so he is heading east….He will proudly ride on the dash in his chair and see the sites of this great America.  You realize he has only seen it at nite with Santa, helping to pull the sleigh on Christmas Eve.  So this will be a GREAT EXPERIENCE for him.  We’ve had our first report from him.

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He went out shopping to buy appropriate Beach wear.  He has new sunglasses, swim trunks, even flip flops on his feet.  He has a visor on his head also to protect him.  But he still has that Margarita glass in his hand…..I think his parents will help him control his drinking problem though.  Alice and Tom are good people and they know what’s best for him……lol…

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Here is a really cool picture of him on the Beach.  They are at Galveston Island for April before they start heading north.  So I will be reporting on Randy every time he reports in….. So I will close with several pictures of friends gone north…..Everyone goes North ya know…..We are the most southern point of the USA…….If you look at the map, you will see we are almost in line with KEY WEST FLORIDA

…..You just can’t go any further south…

……..”See You All Next Year”……

Summer Update…..Where are We Going

This winter season has flown by so fast.  Its so hard to believe summer is coming again already.  We were so busy this winter.  We did so many things in the park, that I haven’t written about.  I will start filling them in later.  It seemed we were so busy that I never had the chance to write, always thinking of my next activities to get ready for in the park.  So now we are starting to get some down time.  As of April 1st the Workampers were done.  Everyone is leaving to go up north and back home.  It is like when you were a kid and summer camp was over.  Then you hope all your new friends will come back.  So many good memories are always made.  Now we are having our last dinners out,  our last happy hours,  and our last trips to Mexico with friends.

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Here is our last dinner at Texas Roadhouse.  First couple on the left are Ron and Theresa.  We met them at Adventureland last year.  Theresa works from her trailer on the internet.  They left for Yellowstone National Park on Thurs.  A few stops visiting their kids and Ron will be workamping at a store at the North Entrance.  What a fabulous opportunity,  except for the snow….lol….Just imagine you days off the explore Yellowstone for a whole summer…..Such Memories they will make….”Good Luck Guys”…. Glen and Kathy are next.  They live in Canada at a trailer park.  They will be leaving this weekend.  Of course Canada is colder, so their park actually closes down for the winter.  They don’t turn the water back on till May 1st due to freezing.  They are parking behind us, so it will be sad to see them go.  The last couple on the far right is Bud and Cathy.  They are also from Canada.  This is their first year in our park, but they’ve been down before.  They have also become good friends with us all.   Such fun they all are.  They just had 10 of us over last nite for Happy Hour and Supper.  They will be leaving in another week or two.  Canadians can only be out of their country for 6 months with out getting Visa’s and more formal papers.  They all have a date they must be across.  So for the last month the park has been emptying out.  Some pull their rigs, some leave them and tie them down for storage until fall and drive home, and some leaving everything, including their car and fly home.  Our park has a capacity of over 300 lots, that is RV and permanent Mobile units.  So if you figure 2 people to a trailer, we probably have around 500 here at its peak.  By the time everyone leaves their are around 100 permanent people….A Ghost Town?…..No, They LOVE it.  They say its a time of peace and relaxation….Time to go swimming and lay by the pool all summer day….

So the BIG QUESTION IS…..”WHAT ARE WE DOING THIS SUMMER”?????

We are staying here also.  Rich is working for the park doing trailer repairs and maintenance.  So many of the rental mobiles are in need of things.  New floors, and just a lot of general work.  They sit during the summer, and it takes a huge toll on them.

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My new part time summer job is working at the Cinema 10.  I’m in the Box Office on weekends.  It has A/C.   Now how nice is that.  We have 2 in town, and this one gets the second run movies, so they are also called the “CHEAP Theater”….lol….A daytime ticket is only around $2.  The other theater is Cinema 16, much larger and they also get all the first run movies.   So we can also go to the movies anytime we want.  So something new again.  I’ve never worked a theater before.  So because of this job and staying on for the summer and then still being here next winter,

……..WHAT DO I NEED……”MY OWN CAR”…..

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So here she is…..My 1997 Chevy Lumina with 101,000 miles on it…..She is in excellent shape and a one owner car.  One of the campers decided to give up his trip down from Battle Creek Michigan every year.  He is getting older and his wife died several years ago.  He sold his fifth-wheel, and we bought his car.  Rich let him keep it till he was ready to fly home.  Joe came by at 4am the other morning and picked up Rich.  They drove to the Airport which is only 2 miles and Joe flew home, and now we have a car…..It is sure nice to have my own again.  Also automatic windows and transmission….lol…The little ranger is all manual….”Living in Luxury” now…lol….So now we own …..2…1997 vehicles…..only 20 years behind.   lol.  So now…..The REST OF THE STORY…..

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We are coming home the end of May and first part of June.  We have a time schedule that we have to be back because of my little job at the theater.  We will be doing a short part time job.    We will be working Security at Chillicothe for the Summer Camp Music Festival at Three Sisters Park.  Because we still have our Texas Gate Guarding Security license,   we were able to get this job.  We attended this Festival several years back and we had such a blast.  We are people watchers and it was such a good time.

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The Summer Camp Music Festival is a multi-day music festival created by Jay Goldberg Events & Entertainment and held every year on Memorial Day Weekend at Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, Illinois. The event normally attracts around 20,000 visitors, of which between 8,000 and 10,000 arrive before gates open.  It was listed as one of the top 40 music festivals in Rolling Stone Magazine in 2014  They offer over 100 different bands on 7 stages throughout the park.  The park consists of 400 acres of rolling hillsides full of grassy areas for parking, tent camping, amphitheater, Farmhouse, Chapel and authentic reproduction timber barn.  Acres of fields for festival events as well as shaded forest areas.   All the required elements for a Fabulous Music Festival. 

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When we were here before, it was so much fun to watch the activity.  All the “flower children”  from the 70’s, now grown up,  bringing their family’s and still wearing tie dye, funky clothes,  and having a blast dancing and doing what “all comes natural”…..lol….

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The entertainment is fabulous, the light shows are awesome.  I think the best part is just riding threw the camp sites and seeing all the people.   How they camp, dress,…..lol….and how they interact with everyone.  How much will we see as we are working?  I don’t know ….But just being their in the presence of it all will be enough.  After that visiting with all the kids and then back to Texas so I don’t loose my little job at the theater.   Then in September we hope to be back.  Rich will work the harvest, and I might only stay for a week or 2.   It all depends on the cat…..We want to drive up then in the car, and I would take the train back, but Its Kitty…..He is the problem….I guess time will figure that out…..We need a Kitty Care Person to babysit…

…….So That is Our Summer Plans…….

It’s Been A While…..Happy Birthday Time

The cover picture is the kids all most 3 years ago.  Tammy graduated with her BSN in Peoria Illinois.  A proud and Happy day for us all. 

Thinks have been so hectic here at the park, but really slowing down now.  As of April 1st, our Workamping contracts were done…..So now for a little R & R.   First I’m going to report on the family. 

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“It’s Birthday Season”……..Tina had her birthday on March 8.  She just ran for re-election to the Granville Village Board.  On April 4th she was re-elected.   So 4 more years of Village Trustee.   “Congatulations Tina”   She is very devoted to the issues of her town, trying to make it a better place for all residents.

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This picture is of Putnam County Courthouse in Granville IllinoisTina works in the Circuit Clerks Office.  This is the Judge, Cathy Oliveri, the Circuit Clerk,  Tina and the other girl in the office.  She loves her job and has learned so much working in the Courthouse.

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On March 27, Cassidy was 13.  She’s finally an official Teenager.   She is growing prettier every day.  She is also acting more like a teenager every day.  Ggrrrrrr…..Happy Birthday Cassidy…..lol….

 

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Tammy, Tina, grandkids, Cassidy, Carly, Miley and Austin.  Vacation in Florida visiting old friend Gertie and husband.  Gertie was our neighbor when the girls were baby’s……Gertie was close to them…

So today is Tammy’s Birthday.  I won’t tell her age, but she is just short of 40….lol…Wow …”Where has the years gone”….  Today she is helping out her good friend who is having some major family health issues.  I hope her day is going ok.  That is one of Tammy’s best qualities.  Always wanting to help.

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In 3 years she has came so far.  Since she received her BSN,  she seems to be flying in the nursing field.  She’s always looking for more challenging jobs to educate herself.

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Monday will be Scott’s Birthday.  He of course is the youngest.  Brandy and him own Scotties One Paw’z Bar in McNabb.  He is always remodeling and changing things.  His latest addition is to add a patio.  He made his bar and bar stools and also brought in some artificial turf for volley ball.  Always working on things.

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He is also always buying things….This is his latest toy….So now no more Birthdays till June….Then its Camerons’…..19….OH MY

 

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Just a another CRAZY picture…..Now this is their normal look…..lol…

These kids have come so far in the last years.  10 or so years ago, I was worried about them all.  But they have all found their way.  They have all excelled in their own areas of life and finding their way.  Yes we don’t see them often now, but….I see such progress in all their lives….We are so PROUD of Them…..We aren’t need anymore…They are living on their own…..lol….

……..Well Almost……

Ill be playing catch up now that I have time……Stay Tuned……