Day Trip to Rock Run Rookery Preserve Joliet IL

Well…after my last post we continued to just hang around here in Hanna IN.

We did go ahead and get an appointment for Connie at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute run by the University of Miami (Neil’s alma mater)…they have an office in Naples and we will visit in September for a second opinion on her eye. We also had an appointment this week with a local ophthalmologist who told her she has a 3+ cataract (on a scale of 5) as well as some plaque on her left lens…while she was hesitant to provide any guarantee since at this stage all the docs have are educated guesses anyway…it sounded like she thought that getting the cataract removed would improve her vision. That’s the next step anyway…and we’ll be discussing options with Bascom Palmer when we get south.

In the meantime…we made some arrangements to go up for a couple of weeks in the lower peninsula of Michigan for the next couple of weeks…returning here to Hanna on July 12 where we’ll remain until the 18th as we have a monthly rate site here. We’ll spend a week each in Frankfort MI up on the west side of the peninsula…then a week in Ortonville over on the east side near Detroit…the former to see the lake shore and some nature stuff and the latter to visit Macomb MI where a lot of Neil’s ancestors are from. 

We’ll leave Hanna on Monday July 18, drop the rig off 50 miles east in Elkhart IN at MorRYDE for some bearing work…then do her last appointment with Dr. Vyas that afternoon before returning to Elkhart. From there we’ll head west to Junction City for our fiberglass repairs on the drivers side of the rig.

We also donated our Mazda to the Saint Vincent de Paul Society…she can’t drive anyway and we’ll get a small tax deduction for it this year.

In the meantime…yesterday we decided to have some Fun Stuff©…so after breakfast we saddled up Big Red and headed west about 70 miles to the Rock Run Rookery Preserve which is run by the county that contains Joliet IL. In addition to the photos below…we had one unique sighting on the way back and one very strange happening on the way back.

First up…the strange happening. There we were on I-80 running 62 mph…just a couple miles below the limit…in the right hand lane. Neil was keeping an eye on this semi that was passing us in the center of 3 lanes…all was fine so far with us in the slow lane and it passing. All of a sudden…we heard some loud noises on the passenger side…sounded like tires running over a rumble strip. About that time this other semi passed us on the shoulder…blew on past and then cut us off getting back in the right hand lane. While there was some traffic on the road…there was certainly no reason to be passing at freeway speed on the shoulder. Our best guess is that the dumb ass was texting or dozing off and noticed us in front of him at the last second after the first semi pulled into the center lane to pass…and just swerved to the shoulder to keep from running us over. Scared the crap out of us.

We continued on homewards and right where US-30 that we were on intersected with I-65 there was a brief traffic slowdown…we got through it in 5 minutes or so and found out that the cause was an accident between a little silver Volvo or similar sized car and a semi. Now normally when this happens…the truck is pretty much OK and the car is totaled. In this particular instance…the car had a dent on the rear passenger side by the bumper…and the semi was rolled over onto it’s passenger side dead. First time we’ve ever seen that particular wreck where the car pretty much came out OK…no idea what happened but it was getting on towards rush hour and either the car cut off the truck or the truck wasn’t paying attention and then swerved to avoid hitting it and rolled over. No matter…there was only 1 police car on the scene when we passed and another 2 arrived just as we pulled away from the intersection…so at least we were at the front of the backup.

OK…on to a couple photos from the week.

First up…our Mazda as we waved farewell to it. 2006 model, 164 thousand miles and pretty much gave us no troubles overall while we owned it. Took out 1 deer up in PA and we’re sad to see it go…still looks and runs pretty good for that age and mileage. The eye thing makes it senseless to keep it though. We’ll probably get a beater econobox when we get down to Fort Myers in September and just store it there while we travel if Connie’s driving days are over.

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Pictures from our walks at the rookery…the totally yellow one is an American Goldfinch, The black one is a Red Winged Blackbird…you can tell because he (it’s a male) has a red patch with a yellow flash at the end on the wing…and the brownish one with the crest and the yellow strip on the tail is a Cedar Waxwing.

We also saw a couple of herons and cormorants…but they were way out and even with Neil’s Big Bird Lens© they were pretty much dots. There were also a whole passel (that’s southern for a lot) of what we always call Taunty Birds…they’re small, hide in the brush, and just taunt you with their calls…you know they’re there and can localize them within 10 feet or so by ear but since they’re just taunting ya…ya can just never find the little suckas.

These first couple are some weird seed pods…one with a creepey-crawley of some type on it.

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American Goldfinch…each of these are a different individual…we must have seen 50 of them.

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Red Eared Slider (I think…at least that’s what Google tells me). Doesn’t actually have red ears unless it’s male so this must be a female I guess…but it’s the only one that looked close when I googled it.

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Goldfinch…finally got one that was a decent shot…in focus, nice composition, and close enough to make out some details.

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Strange blossom sort of like a hydrangea…but with much more lacy looking petals…it’s almost like a couple thousand small blossoms on the same stem.

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Male Red Winged Blackbird…very hard to get decent photos of these guys since they’re very dark black and usually silhouetted against the sky.

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Cedar Waxwing…can’t see much of his crest from here but the shot where you can see the crest doesn’t have the tail visible.

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Black Eyed Susans…took this one for Connie.

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Pond at the rookery.

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Grass next to the walking path…these stalks were 10 or 12 feet tall…tallest grass we’ve ever seen.

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Interesting things found on the net this week

Panoramic photos  gone wrong.


Southern bubbas will appreciate this one.



Two headed dog

This kid’s gonna cost his parents a fortune in shoes.

Big Feet


About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
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