Travel

Commit or Quit

Of all things I expected to do today, one was NOT playing policewoman!

I’ve literally driven most of the day! For the most part, it was a leisurely drive from Wisconsin to home, but around Bloomington, things got a little too interesting. My daughter and I were on 39 when a blue SUV passed us and went off the road on the other side. He recovered from that and seemed ok for a bit, but then started swerving dangerously, nearly missing cars and sending one into the median. I called 911 and put on my flashers with my hand out the window waving and pointing to warn other vehicles of what was in front of me. Some waved back, some honked, one gave me a thumbs up. I would find out later, that gentleman’s name was Eric.

Eric put on his flashers and got in front of the dangerous driver and made an unsuccessful attempt to stop him. Unsuccessful because of my “what do I do” moment. What I should have done was pull my vehicle up so the other driver couldn’t move, but in a second, he had slipped out of Eric’s attempt and went speeding off. I called 911 and gave them the mile marker where he got away from us. With police nowhere in the area, we took off to catch up, still riding with our flashers on.

The road started to widen up and my daughter said something about all the traffic coming on. I knew it couldn’t last any longer, someone was going to get hurt or worse! As I caught up to Eric, I gave him a nod and he nodded back as if he knew exactly what I was thinking. Now, it was my turn to attempt to make the stop.

I got in front of the driver and slowed to a crawl. With Eric right behind him, and myself a few car lengths ahead, I came to a complete stop. I can see the driver in my mirror and thought briefly that I might get shot. I see they’ve both stopped, as well. I saw Eric’s door slowly opening and thought to myself, “Commit or quit!”. Obviously, I probably wouldn’t be telling this story if it was the latter! With the driver focused on me, I started to slowly back up. Eric was able to sneak up to the driver’s window while I backed so close he couldn’t move. Eric motioned for me to move up a bit and put his hands on the steering wheel and started steering the SUV to the side of the road. When the driver accelerated, I blocked him at an angle, he was going nowhere!! I had 911 on the phone and gave them our location and let them know he was no longer a threat and we waited for police to arrive.

After giving our statements, we were told he had taken several different kinds of prescription medications and was drinking whiskey and was headed to Taylorville. Tayorville is a good hour or more away from Bloomington!! The whole “chase” lasted more than 30 miles.

I didn’t attend any Memorial Day events today to honor our fallen, but two people working hand in hand to make the world a safer place seems fitting! So very grateful it ended as well as it did!

Here’s hoping your Memorial Day has been less eventful than ours!!

 

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Travel

My Illinois – Peace of Earth Lodge, Rushville

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Peace of Earth Lodge, owners (now friends) Tim and Pat Sullivan.

My birthday getaway finally happened and I chose to stay right here in my Illinois! Like I told the owners, I love to write about Illinois!! Why? Because when we go out of state, we find the majority of people only know three things about Illinois. Apparently, we’re famous for corn, Abe Lincoln and Chicago, but there’s so much more to our state than that! We have lush timbers and abundant wildlife and places where you can enjoy both, like Peace of Earth Lodge.

We stayed in the Cherry Cabin where we were serenaded by gentle rain and what sounded like thousands of birds! I guess that’s to be expected when you’re in the tree tops, but I was in awe! Our cabin had a chest with games in it, but we hardly needed more entertainment.

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Our home for the night!

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Inside the Cherry Cabin

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Inside the Tree House. I was practically asleep!

When we did need entertainment, we went outside and walked their beautiful stairs down to the creekside trail…

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A nice sitting area on the way down.

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or enjoyed their learning center.

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 I kept warning my daughter about bear attacks!! 🙂

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This morning, while Pat was off teaching a school group about nature, Tim made us a delicious organic breakfast while we looked out the lodge window and talked like old friends!

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Peekaboo!!

We found Peace of Earth to be much like home, literally! Perhaps now I can convince my husband we need to build stairs in our own timber! It’s a great place to get in touch with nature and yourself. I’m so thankful I found more of Illinois to share with you! Don’t get me wrong, I love our corn. I’ve yet to see a sunset prettier than when the sun sinks into one of our many cornfields. I love visiting the Lincoln sites and I love Chicago. There’s a lot to enjoy there and I suggest you do, but when you’re done, head on downstate. There’s so much more to see! I’m sure your state is lovely, but I thank God every day for my Illinois and tonight, I’m thankful to have met my new friends, Tim and Pat!

 

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Travel

Meredosia Lake and Wildlife Refuge, IL

My daughter and I often go off the beaten path and that was the case in this find. We love when the roads less traveled lead to things forgotten in time, but forgotten is hardly the word my friends would use to describe the Meredosia Lake area.

We first stumbled upon the wildlife refuge. Bluebird boxes dotted the edge of the timber; what I believe to be pear cactuses on both sides of the path. The path leads to a small boardwalk and lookout area. It’s a peaceful setting where I could see myself sitting for long periods of time enjoying marshland birds and the eagles that come certain times of the year.

 

 

Down the road from the refuge, you’ll find access to the lake. On the way, you’ll see road signs where there are no roads and places where it looks like houses used to be. (They WERE there!) While very pretty, the pieces of trash strewn about told me the area wasn’t very well maintained. The things my friends were telling me didn’t match what I had seen, so I had to ask the question, “What happened?”.

My friend, Ed, painted me a picture of what it used to be. In the late 60’s/early 70’s, Meredosia Lake was a “happening place”. Cabins, like the one pictured below, and large boats lined both sides of the lake.

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One of several cabins built by Ed Browning and his family.

“I learned to ski on that lake!”, he said with a smile. “Before the sediment became too thick for larger boats to get across, it was a crowded good time.” Between the rerouting of water and a few floods, that’s exactly what happened. Ed tells me it’s a good possibility that this entire huge body of water is, at most, 4-5 feet deep. Today, it’s mostly just visited by fishermen, duck hunters, and people like me who want to photograph it and enjoy the view.

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And enjoy I will!!

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