Thursday Doors – The Critter Cottage

I have two doors to showcase this week… They are from a log cabin B&B (The Critter Cottage) The Mrs and I stayed at on a trip to the Marthasville, Missouri area. The log cabin was an original 1 room structure built in the 1800’s that was carefully disassembled and reassembled at its current location. Here is The Mrs standing on the front porch…

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The Critter Cottage B&B
Outhouse at The Critter Cottage
Outhouse at The Critter Cottage

This next door could be considered the most important one – the door to the Outhouse! To be honest though, there was a modernized WC inside the cabin that we used….

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. It is courtesy of Norm 2.0

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The Critter Cottage

 

 

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Aaaack! plus 8 Knots…plus

It has been quite a busy week and hardly seems to be slowing down! Last weekend I had an N-SSA sanctioned Skirmish at the Sandy Ford Sportsman’s Club, near Streator, IL. I arrived Friday afternoon, setup the pop-up camper, and then went into the little town of Leonore (pop. 110) for supper. It is a tradition for the members of 114th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Company G shooting team to eat at Smitty’s Bar & Grill the Friday before competition. They  have an all you can eat fish buffet on Friday evening when we are there, and the cod was superb this time. Half of us got the fish, the other half ordered the pork tenderloin…

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Saturday morning we got to the range and shot individual targets. I shot my rifled musket (an 1847 dated original Mississippi rifle), Maynard carbine, Springfield 1842 smoothbore musket, and 1860 Colt Navy revolver. I was feeling a bit out of sorts all morning and felt increasingly ill all morning. So besides feeling like crap, I shot like crap! My smoothbore has been my “old reliable” all through my blindness issues, but the front barrel band spring broke after my second shot, and put the smoothie out of commission. The Missy was patterning like a shotgun; the Maynard was okay, but I am still learning to shoot it left-eyed and so am still inconsistent. I did okay with the revolver, but was so fatigued by the time I shot it late morning, I could not hold it steady. After the morning individuals I told our team captain I couldn’t compete in the team shoots, and went back to the popup and slept for most of the afternoon. Ate some nutrition bars for supper and slept most of the evening and then all night. I found a couple old Imodium A-D tablets in my shaving kit that were not too old and took them to combat some “intestinal issues” I had visit me throughout the day.

Sunday morning I awoke feeling better, and quite hungry. I joined the team for breakfast, ate a plate full of eggs (over easy), hash browns, breakfast sausage, washed down with the most awful bitter black coffee I can remember. I don’t like eggs. I avoid fried foods as much as possible. Hate sausage. I pamper my palate with a delicate morning brew of hazelnut/hazelnut cream coffee most days. After the day before, I ate the above mentioned breaky with vim, vigor, and glee.

Sunday morning, the team competitions culminate with the Rifled Musket shoot, which is usually a pretty good event for me. Since my team captain did not know if I would be well enough to shoot, he had not assigned me to either our A or B team. There were 4 unassigned shooters this morning, so I was made the team captain of a Provost Team (the orphans, don’t you know…). In a nutshell, I couldn’t hit anything on the first two (50-yeard) stages, and was able to only hit 1 target on each of the remaining 2 50-yard and 1 100-yard stages. We did not win any medals. It appeared my Missy was shooting about 18″ to the right of where I was aiming!!! ?????

But I was awarded a medal for Individual Revolver, for 2nd place… big surprise there!

Revolver medal

Now let me jump ahead to Tuesday…. I was inspecting my garden and noticed some of the green tomatoes had been half eaten… Upon closer examination… ACK!!! I had an infestation of Horn-worms!!! The dreaded Manduca sexta  . I plucked the horde – well, the 4 of them – from my tomato plants and tossed them in the lake. Fish supposedly like them.

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Garden made safe for another day!

Later in the day on Tuesday, the wind started to pick up, so The Mrs and I raised sails and spent a bit over an hour zig-zagging across the lake. Wind speed was a consistent 8 knots when we first started out, but then started to pick up and by the time we got to about center of the basin, wind was up to 12 & 13 knots. We were zooming along, and this was the fastest we have ever gone on the Miss Mollie! WooHoo! It was fun, and our confidence in both Miss Mollie and our own sailing abilities greatly increased. Wonderful time on the water!!

It had to happen…

I got the call yesterday afternoon… The Mrs’ pontoon boat was fixed, tuned up, and ready to be picked up. Her pontoon has been at Josh’s Watercraft shop outside of Rochester, IL since late spring, facing significant motor repairs. The starter motor is attached to a flange that is part of the aluminum motor block. One corner of the flange broke, through one of the mounting bolt holes, and the starter broke free (danged free-range starters!) When I took it in and and discussed it with Josh, he said he has a couple guys who will come to his shop and bring their aluminum welding equipment. Since these guys are good at a fairly rare skill, AND will travel to job-sites, it is tough to get them in to a small shop for a small job. He finally got them both to stop in and both said they couldn’t weld the motor flange, the aluminum was pretty low-grade and wouldn’t take a decent weld. So… Josh built a bracket and fixed it…

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Starter works & is solidly attached again, yay! Did the tune-up and then started it to make sure everything worked… but it was only firing on one cylinder (boy, do I know THAT feeling!!) Turns out the CDI was bad! So he ordered one out of St. Louis, and had it shipped overnight. TA-DA! You can see the pretty, new CDI in the lower right corner of the photo above.

Yesterday afternoon I drove over and picked up the pontoon and brought it home…

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As you can see, it is still sitting in the driveway, waiting to be launched, motored home, and docked. And this is where “It Had To Happen…” is relevant. Since the pontoon was not here all spring/summer so far, I have docked the Miss Mollie between the two docks, nice and safe and secure. But that is the pontoon’s spot, so now I have to move Miss Mollie to the south side of the smaller dock.  I had to add a couple new cleats before the move could take place, and after a trip to the hardware store, I moved MM… She is now snugged up in her new digs.

I believe this is a good position for her, since  our prevailing winds come out of the south,  just off the starboard, so it should be quite easy to set sails and pull straight ahead from the dock… The weather dude is calling for rain later this afternoon, but I may go down now and take a quick sail as soon as I hit “publish”…

HikingTheTrail.com 365 in 365

Thursday’s Doors – Abraham Lincoln

For this week’s Thursday’s Doors, I decided to search out doors related to the 16th President of the United States – Abraham Lincoln. The city of Springfield, Illinois claims Lincoln as her own, and Lincoln Sites abound!  Abe Lincoln was 28 years old when he moved to Springfield, in 1837. He married Mary Todd in 1842, and they lodged in the Globe Tavern for a short while, then rented a small house until they bought a house at the northeast corner of 8th and Jackson Streets in May of 1844. This is the only home Abe ever owned.

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Front door of the Lincoln Home restored to the 1860 condition of it. Here is a wide shot showing the 2nd story of the house. The original house was a single story, but the Lincoln’s added the top floor to accommodate a growing family in 1856.

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This next door is the back door which leads into kitchen.

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This next door (way) is the last door I have from the Lincoln Home. It is the doorway of the outhouse. The Park Rangers refused to let me try it out though…

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The Lincoln Home is a National Historic Site and covers 4 1/2 square blocks (12 acres). The National Park Service maintains other houses and buildings on the site as well, and the following doors are from neighboring houses.

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For my last door, I took a picture of the door of the Great Western Railroad Depot. President-elect Lincoln left Springfield for the very last time from this depot on February 11, 1861. It is located about 2 blocks from the Lincoln Home, in the 900 block of East Monroe Street.

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature inaugurated by Norm 2.0 allowing door lovers around the world to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos. Be sure to check out his site for doors!

Day 2 of Backpacking Ramsey Lake

I was planning to finish this posting about our Ramsey Lake trip yesterday, but it was a crazy busy day…. in the morning I ended up weeding the garden, plucking hornworms off the tomato plants, and moving the perimeter fence surrounding the garden a bit further away from the garden beds to stop the deer from leaning over the fence and eating the tomato plants. There was a moderate breeze blowing across the lake and I really wanted to sail, even if only for half an hour, but just no time! My free time was only available until about noon, at which time I had to get ready for an appointment with my ophthalmologist. The visit went GREAT! Eyes healing well, and vision in right eye is now 20/25… considering that it was 20/BLIND just a couple years ago, I would say it is miraculous! Downside to the visit is the dilation drops… We got home, I lowered all the blinds in the living room and wore my sunglasses to try to get comfortable. Eventually I went to bed and napped a couple hours, but my eyes did not return to normal until late evening, much too late to start blogging… End of excuse.

Sunday morning, Garrick & I broke camp (in record time, especially considering we were drinking coffee and swinging in our hammocks) and stepped carefully out of our bramble patch and headed to the fire road which then lead us to the horse path which would lead us back to the parking lot next to the horse campsite. On Saturday, we had counted 8 horse trailers at the horse campgrounds, and saw maybe 5 riders total throughout the day. We did not anticipate any horse traffic this morning since the path we were headed on was a minor trail.

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On the trail again….

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That is just the coolest spider web!

Once out of the woods, and on the trail, we rounded a bend. We were talking and laughing, just making noise in general. Coming towards us we saw three horses and riders – a woman on the lead horse, a child, maybe 4 or 5 years old on the middle horse, and a man on the 3rd horse. We drifted to the right side of the trail in a single file, but continued to chat. One of us scuffed a foot as the lead horse stepped from bright sunshine into the shade. The horse wheeled around clockwise and the woman rider landed on the ground. She held onto her reins though! The horse with the child, and then the horse with the man both wheeled around dumping both the child and man on the ground. The man kept his reins and the woman grabbed the reins of the child’s horse. And then the little girl started to cry, although she was not hurt…. just scared/startled. I told Garrick to just stand still until the riders (now grounders??) got themselves and their horses back in order so we wouldn’t startle any of them again. After a couple minutes they called us to go ahead and pass. We asked about the child, and offered an apology, and the man and woman were friendly and said the lead horse was just startled, not expecting to see walkers it seems… The remainder of our walk was uneventful after that!

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This is Garrick back at the horse camp parking lot. Note that his rucksack does not extend either above his head nor past his sides. My ruck is exactly the same. I point this out because one of Garrick’s co-workers told him that the reason the horses were startled is because they did not recognize us as people because the packs towered over our heads and around our sides. Nice theory, I guess… reality doesn’t support it though. I think the lead horse went from very bright sunshine to deep shade and heard a noise ahead of it but could not see clearly because its pupils were still constricted.

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TSV still there, ready to hit the road…

We stopped at the Ranger Station to check out and got to chatting with Ranger on duty. He mentioned that they never get backpackers at the Park, just horse folks, or people with campers or tents who roll up in their vehicles. He then told us that the only other backpackers any of the Rangers remembered were there a few years ago, and it was two guys in homemade buckskins carrying old flintlock rifles. Garrick got a twinkle in his eye, smiled broadly, and told the Ranger, “That was me and another friend of mine…” Funny how the Rangers still talked about those two crazies, and now they have another story about crazy backpackers to talk about!!

We drove north from Ramsey Lake on US 51 to Pana, IL.  This is a little town of just over 5600 people. As we drove into town we saw a good sized park… with a CANNON! Garrick asked if we could stop, I said, “hell, yes!”

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Kitchell Park, Pana, IL

Japanese captured artillery piece

Kitchell Park (40 acres in size) was given to the town of Pana by Civil War Veteran, Captain John W. Kitchell and his wife, Mary, in 1908. It was listed on the United States National Register of Historic Places in 1992. What a glorious park!

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We drove from the park and stopped nearby for a cup of coffee and to use the FLUSH toilets! Back in civilization!

Finally, a word about the 2016 Olympics…

19 year old Competitive Shooter.
She won the FIRST gold medal of the 2016 Olympics.
She won the FIRST gold medal for Team USA.
She is the youngest female to ever win the first medal in Olympic competition (ever).
She set a NEW WORLD RECORD with her winning score.
Congratulations to Ginny!
In 2007, I trained at the US Olympic Training Center to be a Foil Fencing Coach. The training was fantastic, the other coaches and athletes I met were great, the Center was awesome! Since then, I have taken great pride in the dedication of our Olympic athletes…

Birthdays, Backpacking, & Olympics…

I wonder if I can adequately cover the three topics introduced above in a relatively concise posting…. sure hope so, otherwise I will bore myself!

Last Thursday, August 4th, Billy Bob Thornton, my buddy Garrick, and I all celebrated our birthdays. Billy Bob couldn’t make the party here in Springfield, so Garrick & I had to party on without him! My celebrations lasted for a couple days, which is funny because I really am happy not spending too much energy getting excited about another birthday. Nevertheless, I got a fair pile of loot, including Dr. Who stuff, Deadpool stuff, Archer stuff, socks, boat stuff, camping stuff, and…. a WOOBIE !!! Here are two links that pretty much cover everything there is to know about a Woobie:  Military Perspective   Civilian Perspective  .

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My new Woobie!!! It is presented tastefully in USMC Woodland Marpat and  Coyote pattern. And below is my other loot haul!!

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Not bad considering all I asked for was a Back-hoe, preferably one with metal tracks… And just for the sake of disclosure, this stuff was all given to a 59 year old guy!

Let’s talk about backpacking for a moment now. I haven’t backpacked seriously since I was in my twenties, the last time probably being when I spent 10 days in the Colorado  Weminuche Wilderness backpacking. I have camped and hiked and traveled a lot since then, but that was the last time I packed everything on my back and took off on foot. Until this weekend. My buddy (and adoptive brother cuz we adopted each other) Garrick & I decided to go backpacking at Ramsey Lake State Park, which is about midway between Pana and Vandalia, Illinois off US Rte 51. We had been preparing for a few weeks, getting gear bought, or found, and organized. Coordinating food and water supplies. And we both decided to try Hammock Camping, which meant we didn’t need a tent, just a couple trees each. And a camping hammock. Garrick bought a hammock and a separate mosquito netting add-on, while I bought a hammock with an attached netting… We did a trial set up in the back yard a week or so ago, which motivated us to change the hanging system to a strap system because it would be less stress on the tree bark. Here we are in our hammocks at Ramsey Lake…

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Ramsey Lake !  Saturday morning I drove over to Garrick’s just after 8 am in the TSV (Tactical Scooby Van), we sat and had a cup of coffee. Well 2 or 3, and chatted merrily away and then hit the road at the crack of, hmmmm 10-ish or so… I had already programmed the GPS for Ramsey Lake so we drove merrily along doing whatever the GPS told us to do until we got to Taylorville and stopped for coffee and a quick potty stop. All seemed to be going well until the GPS started taking us on very small and mostly unused little two-lane paths… The ranger at the park later told us that for some reason GPS devices are notorious for adding 6 miles to the trip from Taylorville area to the Park. We finally got to the Ranger station at the park about noon.

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We checked in at the Ranger Station, paid for my overnight camping fee (Garrick gets to camp free cuz he is an Army Vet), used the flush toilet, then headed out to park the TSV at the Horse Campground area. In no time at all we had our packs on, and Garrick started to try to figure out the Garmin eTrex GPS. He does like his toys! The Ranger had given us a route suggestion that kept us off the most used horse paths, and would guide us into some quiet wooded areas, so we took his suggestion and between the eTrex, our maps, and my compass … we were golden!

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Consulting the eTrex, Garrick is…

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Minnows in a small, clear creek in case we run out of food…

004We did encounter a fair bit of mud on the trail from recent rains, but fortunately, very very few mosquitoes!

A couple miles in and we got off the horse path and onto a walking path. We stopped to enjoy the butterflies fluttering among the wildflowers. We walked another 30 minutes and stopped at the top of a hill, in the shade, for a light lunch. We both brought tuna salad snack-boxes (a 3 ounce can of tuna and 6 crackers – 23 grams of carbs) and I brought a couple packages of fig newtons and pureed fruit/veggie pouches. A perfect light and nutritious trail lunch!

According to the GPS, we hiked a bit over 3 1/2 miles, although it was pretty hilly, so we didn’t break any land speed records. We found a nice wooded area a little distance from a fire road and walked into the brambles looking for some trees sturdy enough and spaced just right to hang our hammocks.

So we spent a little time clearing the brambles from under our hammock areas, hung the hammocks, then settled down for a quick cup of coffee.  I could have easily fallen asleep and taken a long nap! But we needed to do some more training with the eTrex. So, leaving everything but water and some snacks, we headed back out onto the trail. We logged a couple more miles on our “training hike”, and found some brackish water along the trail, and some potable water to refill our canteens.

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This is NOT the potable water, believe it or not…

By the time we returned to our campsite, we were hungry and tired. Fortunately, supper consisted of a package of dehydrated camping food…. Mexican Style Chicken & Rice. Just needed to add boiling water, which was easy because I brought along my “SoloStove“, a great little stainless steel wood burning base unit with a 60 ounce water pot on top. It is amazing how fast we were able to boil water using just twigs and small sticks for fuel! (This is a wonderful present The Mrs gave me last year, thinking we could take it on our Wales hiking trip. We opted to only take folding Esbit stoves for that trip, because all we needed to heat was water for our trail-side afternoon tea… and 60 ounces was a bit of overkill…)

{UPDATE: 8/13/2016 – Garrick was so impressed with my SoloStove that he just bought a smaller version of mine and is on his back deck right now boiling water for coffee for his bride and himself with it!}

We finished eating and cleaning up by 6:00, and I think I fell asleep around 7. I think it was 7:30 when I awoke enough to zip my mosquito netting closed, tuck my woobie under my head for a pillow, and started snoring. By about 1:30 am it was getting quite cool, so I got up, found my sleeping bag, and crawled back into my hammock cocoon, wrapped warmly up in the SB and my woobie. I lay there listening to the incredible cacophony of the various insects and owls owning the nighttime with their sounds. I slept soundly until about 6:30 am or so.

Sunday morning… quiet, cool, the woods gently brightening with the sunrise. I got out of my hammock, set the billy to boil, made coffee, and we sat in our hammocks just chillin’.

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We had a simple breakfast of golden oat biscuits and clover honey sticks, followed by a couple handfuls of trail mix (the kind with cashews, raisins, and chocolate! YUM!) We were in no hurry, so we drank coffee and told stories for a while, then we both decided it was time to break camp. Taking down and packing the hammocks & sleeping bags took all of about 6 minutes…

We eventually got our packs closed up… Oh, the packs! I forgot to mention that we had each weighed our packs before we started this adventure. Garrick’s with water in his camelback and side pocket bottle tipped the scale at just under 30 pounds. When The Mrs & I were walking the Wales Coast Path, my day pack was about 25 pounds, with water. Well, my medium ruck, with water, scaled out around 48 pounds! When we were sitting around in our campsite, I was comparing our respective equipment to see where I carried so much more weight… Food, first aid gear, and diabetic supplies. Don’t want to run out of food on the trail so have lots of quick carb snacks & glucose tablets. And carry two extras of everything for the insulin pump and blood glucose meter. And I want enough emergency first aid stuff to handle anything that we might encounter on the trail… I don’t pack my EMT gear, but I come close to my First Responder kit… I took pictures of my gear for comparison based on used and not used on this trip.  I will discuss that in my next posting.

So I’ll wrap up with a photo of the little path we came to as we walked out of our bramble patch to head back to the horse trail and then back to the TSV… more tomorrow! Olympics get to wait too…

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Thursday Doors – Lake Springfield

Lake Springfield (Illinois, USA) is a 4,260 acre (17.2 km²) man-made lake on the south part of the city. The lake boasts 57 miles of shoreline. It was built during the time period of 1931 – 1935.  Original lake cabins are a rarity these days, as most have been torn down and replaced with “McMansions”. One of the original cottages built in 1936 still stands on a small cul-de-sac. I took a picture of both the rear door, which faces the lake and the morning sun, and the front door , which faces a small park and the setting sun.

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Lake side door

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Street side door

Next door to this cottage is a house built in the ’80’s and for a treat I am also including the front door to that one…

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Thursday Doors is a weekly feature inaugurated by Norm 2.0 allowing door lovers around the world to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos. Be sure to check out his site for doors!