Saturday, October 13, 2012


I thought this was a cool sign we saw at the rest area/welcome center

Bill of course was up before me doing his Bible Study, checking the internet and facebook for news in the world and family/friends.  I had encouraged him the night before to have his time, get some coffee down him, pull in the slide and head down the road leaving me in bed.  Although it is not a smooth ride I was able to rest a little longer and have some good quiet prayer time myself before he was ready to stop about 100 miles down the road.  Not waiting on me to function for the day is a great help to making progress in the miles we need to travel.

After I was up we stopped at the next rest area for breakfast and time to evaluate the map, our route and things to do along the way that would be fun.  I found that the Madison County Covered Bridges Festival begins tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday only and we are just about 50 minutes from there.  Sound fun??  I thought so and after discussion and internet searching for a camp ground in that area I chose “Pammel Park”.  I called them and left a message but set the GPS for the park.  The Parks Division called me back and advised that just ½ hour ago there was 1 spot left at the “Pammel Park” but they don’t take reservations this late so “first come, first serve”.  So we continue on hoping we get there first.  LOL. 

First problem:  we come upon an accident (saying a prayer as it did not look good) and the road was closed.  The officer sent us down a side street to go around the block but that just took us right to the accident.  We turned around and drove several miles trying to find a go around – “Naggy” (our GPS), kept “recalculating” and asking us to make u-turns, not an easy thing to do with a motorhome and tow car! 

Second problem: We finally find our way back on the road and the next road we are to turn on has a sign “DO NOT ENTER” but the road looks clear.  Trying to obey signs we continue on looking for another road to get us on track.  No luck --- we traveled another ½ hour trying to get back and finally decided we are just going to take that road even if that sign is there, after all it looks clear.  So, decision made, we head down this beautiful scenic road towards the park. 

Me, waiting to see what Bill finds around the corner.  Will it be clear??

Third problem:  We see a sign that says 12’6” clearance ahead but it does not say how far down the road.  Okay, seriously we are 12’7”!!  What should we do?  We only have to go 1.7 miles to our destination, maybe this clearance issue is farther down the road than that.  After all what campground that takes RVs would have a route with that low of a clearance???  So we continue on, laughing hysterically.  We approach an area with a sign showing the park entrance with a curve up ahead.  Bill gets out and walks down a little way to see what is ahead and it looks clear, so back in the RV and we take off again.  We laughingly declare we are going to persevere until we have to turn back!!  We will not be stopped!

We still thought we might be there before the tunnel came into play!
Next sign:  Tunnel ahead, 12’6” clearance.  Still does not tell us how far.  I’m asking Bill, “Isn’t there something we can take off the roof to give us an inch or more?” He replies, “Well we could let all the air out of the tires that would give us a good inch but I don’t think it’s a good idea!” Once again, he gets out and takes a little walk to assess the situation.  As he is heading back to the RV, a truck stops and the guy says, “I wouldn’t try it if I were you.  I have seen too many people get stuck in that tunnel!”

(This is the tunnel, doesn't look too promising, we took the guy's word for it)

Fourth Problem:  Okay, we may be a little stubborn and persistent but that finally convinced us we would turn back.  Well you cannot back up, especially on a narrow uphill road with a 33’ RV and a tow car attached.  So Poor Bill, still smiling, laughing, saying, “Are we having fun yet?” had to unhook the car from the RV and back both of them up the hill into a very small turn around just to reattach the tow car.  After an hour or more we were ready to begin a new journey looking for another camp ground that maybe we could get into????  Maybe we are not supposed to stop at Madison County?  I’m still not convinced of that so we will persevere!!

Picture of the Pammel Park entrance -- I think it would have been a pretty campground?!
Took this picture of purple berries & red leaves while Bill was working on getting us turned around!
Over an hour later we found (with a lot of confusion I won’t bore you with) another campground, Criss Cove.  Nothing to write home about but it does have a nice pond view, the colors are beautiful (although not as vibrant as in Michigan) and we have electricity for the night.  I think my poor overworked husband deserves a nap and a gold star.

Weather forecast for tomorrow, high of 72.  Sounds great doesn’t it?  Well, that was before I saw the 80% chance of rain.  I will let you know whether all of the shenanigans of getting here was worth the stop at the Madison County Covered Bridges Festival.

P.S. from Bill:  The LOLs above do not stand for Lots Of Love as several (older) people guessed two years ago when reading Sheila’s writings.  It means Laugh Out Loud.  Sorry for the confusion. LOL.


Right on schedule, 9AM, Monday morning (mornings are not my good times), 10/8/12, we pulled out of the driveway in the RV with the Terrain in tow.  I was impressed with us, we were headed to the doctor’s office in Beverly Hills, MI (yes, Beverly Hills) for a 10:30 appt.  We were all packed and prepared to head west as soon as we knew when he would need to see me again.  We had been praying for 1 month.  When he said, “I will see you again in 6 weeks, things are going great!” Bill and I both looked at each other and mouthed, “YES”!  It would have been a real bummer if after all that work we had to turn around head back home and unpack the RV.  But, have I mentioned that when you pray to our Father that He gives more than you ask for???!!!  It always amazes me. 

Nina, Steve, Sheila & Bill 

We all went to the Edwards Apple Orchard in Illinois with the Doyle clan.  Lots of fun and good eats.  Great donuts and cider

Brother Steve's office --- he collects things!

Sheila & Steve Doyle

As things would have it, our road to Yellowstone went right through Rockford, IL (well almost anyway, close enough) so of course we had the opportunity to stop for a visit with my brother, Steve, his wife, Nina, and their daughter’s family, Mandy, Levi, Wyatt & Abbey.  We had not been to see them together since our way home from Alaska 2 yrs ago.  I did make a quick trip with Nina’s parents in March 2011 but Bill was in Germany with his son, David, at the time for David’s back surgery.  Our plan was to get in Monday night, visit on Tuesday and leave Wednesday AM for Yellowstone.  Once again, the best laid plans of mice and men!!  Tuesday afternoon/evening ended up being a real crash time for me and Bill was hesitant to start out Wednesday until I was rested. (and no Jennifer, Nina and I did not stay up all night talking – I went to be early). 

Abbey, Mandy (Doyle), Wyatt & Levi Spurlock

In the mean time we started checking out the weather in Yellowstone.  That news was not encouraging with highs in the 40’s and lows in the teens!  So after rethinking and rethinking how we were going to stay warm and keep the pipes from freezing in the motorhome we once again revamped our plans.  NO Yellowstone this year.  We had left too late in the season to do that part of the trip and enjoy it.  So we decided to leave Rockford, Ill Thursday morning and head straight to the Grand Canyon.  Almost ready to pull out of the Church parking lot at Calvary Christian, Rockford, IL and we get a phone call from my doctor.  The blood work they did on Monday showed a little elevation in the liver numbers.  So . . . we had to wait around for them to fax an order for blood work, find the local hospital and go there for another blood draw.  The hospital in Rockford would fax the results to the doctor and he would contact me with any changes necessary, etc.

But…with all that, we did get on the road before 3PM in the afternoon.  Drove into Iowa and stopped for the night at WalMart in Grinnell, Iowa. 

In spite of our huge disappointment of missing Yellowstone we decided we would not let that stop us!!  We would change our route going south/west to warmer temperatures, we would find something fun to do each day on the way, we will enjoy this time no matter what.  And we are thankful for each blessing along the way.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Two years+ since the Alaskan Blog Travel Postings

Grandpa w/ Brynn
Grandma w/ Reed
Blair, Jackson & Grayden

A last minute picture, the two on laps had not had a nap, the other 3 were raring to go!

Grandma Sheila w/Lincoln James, born 10/2/12

Okay, looking back on the title that Bill came up with for our blog, “The Life Journey of Bill and Sheila.  Tales from the road of life.” Things haven’t quite gone the way we had planned.  However, God has a way of showing us we can make all the plans we want but the “Journey of Life” is not always smooth and we are not in control.  LOL.  However, though we planned to travel extensively enjoying His creation and His work through Sojourners, He showed us that our “mission” for the past couple years was completely different.  In lieu of all of that, the title of the blog still has rung true for us these past two years since our fantastic trip to Alaska and back.  It is a “Life Journey” and we do have “Tales from the road of life”. 

We didn’t quite take Brian “kicking and screaming” out of Ohio and to Michigan to live, but it was an adjustment for all.  I still claim that Bill has taken the girl out of Ohio but he will never take the Ohio out of the girl.  Recently when he passed through Ohio without me I told him to stop and hug Ohio for me.  He did more than that, he bought me a nightshirt that says “Ohio Girl”.  How sweet!! 

Anyway, I digress.  It took sometime to acclimate Brian to Michigan.  He now has a job, his own apartment, friends and family close by and has found a wonderful church family at Bristol Road.  So many blessings have unfolded for Brian but as much as Ohio is in me, I think Brian is Ohio.  LOL.  It has certainly been a long process but we are all so thankful that God has him in His care and he is in a better place emotionally, spiritually and financially.  Praise God.

During all the adjustments in life my CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) flared up and became more debilitating.  My sweet daughter, Jennifer, was bound to find some answer and through the internet she found a doctor in Beverly Hills, MI that specializes in CFS and infectious diseases.  So between her and Bill’s influence and support I started seeing him in April.  Good news / Bad news.  He found an active virus that is causing the symptoms of CFS and placed me on a strict 6 months to 1 year sabbatical and anti-viral regimen. (Not fun).  No traveling, getting tired or having fun.  LOL.  All of you that know me, know that “patience” and “sitting still” are not my strong suits, so it has been a long 6 months.  Bill has tirelessly and selflessly served and cared for me, doing everything in his power “to keep me down”.  It has not been an easy job for either of us.  But the prayer is that at the end of this “season” in our lives we will overcome this illness that has plagued me and limited me for 25 yrs now.  God is teaching me to be at peace, to be still and know that HE is GOD!  Sometimes I am a slow learner. 

Blessings have continued through these past two years of “waiting” to get back out on the road.  We have spent much time enjoying our grandchildren.  Jason &Mandy’s 2 girls, Blair (age 4) and Brynn (age 2-1/2) plus Kyle & Megan’s son, Jackson (age 4) live close and we see them as often as possible.  Unfortunately we don’t get to see Jennifer & Rob’s 2 boys, Grayden (age 4) and Reed (age 1-1/2) as often as we would like but still grab every opportunity available.  And now we are very excited to have just welcomed Kyle & Megan’s second son, Lincoln James, into the world on Oct 2nd.  He is a beautiful baby boy and a blessed addition to our family.  Another blessing on it’s way, Jason’s third child, everyone expects to be another girl (we will have an answer to that on October 24th), is due in early March.  We are creeping up to 7 grandchildren, how cool is that??!! We enjoyed a good visit with David when he flew in from Denver for Jackson’s birthday party.

Jackson's 4th birthday party w/Blair & Brynn

Spending time with all the family, working with the ministries at the Church, driving for the Cancer Society, remodeling/refurnishing the condo and getting Brian settled have all been good things that we have enjoyed and been able to accomplish during our “down time” these past two years. I have had the opportunity to strengthen some amazing new friendships with some wonderful Christian women and couples at Bristol Road and I thank God for them daily.  God always gives immeasurably more to us than we ask for or ever deserve.  We have an amazing God. 
 Reed & Grayden at the Pumpkin Farm in Tennessee

Although I am still under physical restrictions and medical treatment I am on the upswing and therefore we have decided to spruce up the RV and head WEST.  I don’t have to be back to the doctor for 6 weeks!!!  Yea!  Poor Bill will need a vacation when we get back.  LOL.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Where are Bill and Sheila now? - Day 1

Our trip to Yellowstone NP (if the bears don’t get us, the ice and snow will) 

We’re in Rockford, Ill after a great visit with Sheila’s doctor who gave her 6 weeks ‘till he wants to see her back.  Doc said she could do the trip provided I do all the cooking, all the driving, and all the setup with the camper.  Sheila’s job is to enjoy the ride.  Okay!  Sounds better than sitting around at home!

Bristol Road people: you remember Steve and Nina Doyle?  A sweet couple BR sent to Scotland (remember Jack Vinton?) many years ago.  Well Steve is Sheila’s brother and they’re baaaack!  Steve preaches in Rockford so we’ve stopped in for a little pit stop on our way out west.

No pictures yet.  You didn’t really want to see pics of Gary Indiana did you?