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A Ride Through The Rock.

It was a great day you a going to read about! Me(Andrew Spaulding),AKA Mr.Greentime, Brandy Broadus(my love), Jessie(my 2 year old Daughter), and Zachariah Kopstad(my silly 13 year old nephew from Florida) had cabin  fever, and decided to go eagle spotting in Brandy’s new car. I put the i Pod  on shuffle. Afro man, Nickelback, Ke$ha, Kenny Chesney, Train, and Kid Rock, to name a few, were on this playlist. We left Ottawa,IL westbound through Naplate on Bennett Rd. It’s a road that follows the river with some sandstone cliffs on both sides of the river. My nephew says,”I’ve never been to the Illinois Mountains before.” We had to laugh a that comment. Northern Illinois is flat as a pancake.

It was New Years Day so the visitors center at the lock and dam across the river from the state park was closed. We did not get to see any eagles up-close just down river from the dam in a tree on Plumb Island that’s a hot spot and a neat place to visit and learn about a great deal of exciting river activities and history to say the least, but we did see about 6 roosting in the trees near the park. Utica would be to the to the right at the end of this road, but we turned left, and headed over the river. A ride to Utica will be another blog in the near future.

We drove down into the park and walked down to the river for a quick minute. It was only 5 degrees with 45 mile an hour howling winds. Next we drove up the hill in the park where there is a huge lodge, which we drove past and exited the main part of the park, and turned left heading east back towards Ottawa. If it was not a holiday, and not so cold, we would have parked there at the lodge and took a walk. I could write a book about this park. I am glad to be so close to such a nice place. I highly recommend a visit to this area.

The ride through the Starved Rock State Park curves on State Route 71 was a flashback to my teenage years when that was our main destination to go exploring, and off the record, get high. The steep wooded terrain, and curvy road makes it an interesting ride or hike. As we approached Ottawa a huge eagle was right next to the road near the grain elevator. They nest there on an island in the middle of the river. We heard there were about 6 eagles around the H2O bar at the end of Main street on the east side of Ottawa. We only saw 2 there. After that we headed north out to Dayton,IL(famous town known for skydiving and very close to Ottawa)where a lot of eagles hang out usually by the hydro-dam. I gave Zac a tour of a log cabin I helped build, and also showed him a geodesic dome home I did some finishing touches to. We never seen any eagles north of town. Before today Zak  thought his uncle just annoys people on Facebook, and had no skills other than cleaning up dog poop.

Anyway, the trip continued Green Monster in hand, after walking past all the alcohol at Thornton’s Gas station made me proud to be sober. Around then the iPod died so I tuned in the Grateful Dead on Sirius Radio. I sang along to every song in between flashbacks of my blurry years. Terracotta Rd.(just another curvy road I like to travel) never looked so good. Back in town A full grown eagle with a 14″ Walleye in his talons crossed our path at the turn on Ottawa Ave. to Clay St. scanning the treetops looking for a place to eat. By that time I was glad to see that the wind-farms and the pollution has not killed them all off yet. Next we stopped under the Rt.23 bridge, and I showed Zac where I help out gardening along the river-walk park.That pretty much sums up my morning, other than a quick trip to Wally world where my 2 y.o. daughter got to run the aisles and blow off some steam.She is so cute. She smiles and waves at everyone, also says hi.I had a craving for shrimp cocktail so I bought the raw ones,and butterflied them.Then boiled them with; lemon, celery, and salt.They were good, but nothing you can buy at Wally world, and cook at home can compare to the food at Woody’s Steak House. The shrimp and steaks there are bigger,and the homemade sauces are to die for, I’m just saying. I work there and have nothing bad to say about the place. The rest of the day was spent with my family, and Facebook(and now blogger buddies)friends who might enjoy reading this. Rolling around in the snow was fun also at the end of the night. I am grateful to have family and friends. I hope you all have set goals to meet and exceed this year, while doing your best at what you do. Nobody’s perfect, but remember how your actions influence others. Make sure you have the best year of your life, and take care of yourself and others.

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