So Much Good in the World
After traveling about 70 miles from Starved Rock Marina, we arrived at our new marina, the Illinois Valley Yacht and Canoe Club (IVY for short), in Peoria, Illinois and were greeted by three members eager to help us dock, which is always so appreciated!! We then headed up to the yacht club's restaurant for dinner. We immediately had a nice couple offer to let us use their truck while we were there and had another couple offer to take us with them to the local Elks Club sometime during the week for dinner. The clubhouse and shower facilities are so clean and nice, which is a refreshing switch from the past two marinas!! They are also air conditioned which is just amazing!! You really start to appreciate the simple things living this lifestyle, like not having to share your shower stall with a ton of bugs for example! There is also laundry facilities on site at IVY, which makes life so much easier not having to cart around our laundry and find a place to wash it!
The next day we went on a bike ride to explore the area. We biked up a dauntingly steep and winding road up to the town of Peoria Heights. It was so steep that we ended up walking our bikes up half of it! Even the cars were having trouble shifting as they went up it though, so we didn't feel bad! About halfway up, we found a skull of some sort on the side of the road that I had to stop and take a photo of!! It reminded me of a Day of the Dead sugar skull because of the pretty plant growing next to it.
Upon arriving at the top, we were both a sweaty mess and started looking around for a place to stop and buy a water. In the distance I spotted an extremely tall tower that looked like it had stairs that went to the top. Always enjoying a bird's-eye view, this peaked our interest, so we headed that direction. We discovered that what we were seeing was the Peoria Heights Observation Tower. It had beautiful views in all directions and we could see the river we came in on and we could also see where we're going next. And best of all, there was an amazing breeze up top that cooled us down and dried us off! We had asked locals here if there was anything neat to see in this area and none of them even mentioned this. It was a nice find!
The downtown area of Peoria Heights was very charming and well manicured. We rode along Prospect Street on our way there, which has many nice homes with spectacular views overlooking the Illinois River.
After stopping to grab a water and a Gatorade, we rode back to the marina and then went to the pool for a swim. The pool at IVY is amazing and even has a diving board!
Throughout the week, we befriended Steve, who has been the bartender/restaurant manager for the better part of the last two decades now at IVY. Throughout our conversation, we found out that Steve loves to draw and he pointed out several oh his drawings which were framed around the restaurant and club. They were amazing! We made one small comment on how good his work was and how cool it would be to have a drawing of our boat. Then we moved on to another conversation. Well two days later, we were doing laundry and ran into Steve getting the restaurant opened up. We stopped to say hi and see how his week was going. He motioned us over to the bar and from behind the bar, he pulled out this very detailed drawing of our boat. It took us both by surprise and even more so that he did it purely out of the kindness of his heart and didn't even want anything in return! We tried paying him for it, but he refused and said it was a gift and something he loved to do. Steve shared with us how he has been battling cancer. You would never even know it because he is the nicest, kindest man and performs his duties with ease and a smile. Something we thought we could do for Steve is to ask all our believer friends and family out there to pray for him and claim healing over him. He could use the strength of prayer from as many as possible. He's a truly wonderful guy!
It's just so refreshing meeting so many wonderful people out here and making so many new friendships. We feel so grateful to be doing what we are doing!