An Unexpected Weeklong Journey South


Our time in Wisconsin was unexpectedly cut short, as a campground we booked in Milton, WI only had a useable site for 3 days instead of the 9 we had booked since they were booked up for Labor Day weekend. We had to decide where we were going next! As a person who likes to plan ahead as much as possible, and have a for sure place scheduled to park the RV, I was a little nervous about winging it for the next week, but know that there are usually plenty of places to book to stay. We knew we were headed to the St. Louis area in the near future, so we decided to slowly make our way south.

We stayed one night at Poplar Grove Vintage Wings Museum in Poplar Grove, IL. We happened to be there at just the right time because there was a small hot air balloon festival in a nearby town that night that we went to. Unfortunately, the winds were too strong for the balloons to fly that night. We did, however, get some great fair food, Eliana got to ride a pony, and Ty got to have fun on an inflatable obstacle course. We also got to see the balloons glow at night, which was enough for us to leave with smiles on our faces!

The next morning, we awoke to a beautiful sunrise, and the sounds of small planes flying in and out of the small airport next to the museum. The museum was opening at 10:00am, so we walked over shortly before and watched the planes take off and land for a few minutes. Next thing we know, a nice pilot taxied his beautiful plane, that he had built with his father, over to us and let the kids sit in it! This was an amazing unexpected experience for them and they really loved pretending to be pilots. We the went in to the museum to pay (this is how Harvest Hosts works, you visit a participating location and bring in business) and the lady at the front desk said she had been expecting us and that the owner we had meant the day before wanted us to come in for free. I was overwhelmed with the kindness of the people we came across that morning and the adventures that an unexpected stay had already given to us! We made sure to buy the kids some souvenirs at the counter, including a plane whistle, some postcards, a travel game, and some kid’s binoculars that we hope we make great use of!

The next night we stayed at Sunset Lake Vineyard a little further south in Carlock, IL. They had live music that night, saw another magnificent sunset, and the kids enjoyed playing with other kids who were there for the concert. One of the kid’s favorite things about the trip so far is getting to meet new doggies along the way. At this vineyard, Eliana could’t get enough of the resident pup, Moritz, who was so sweet. The next morning was a Sunday, and was the first morning of us having our family church in the RV since we had nothing planned for the weekend. It was nice to have some family time of worship and Bible reading. Tyler finished up his first week of online school this week too! He loves to learn and really enjoyed having assignments!

It had also come to our attention that when given permission, it is ok to stay a night in a Walmart parking lot. While this is not our stay of choice, we were happy to have the option to spend our first night in a Walmart parking lot in Normal, IL.


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