Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day 2
18 June 2011
Spring Lake Park, Jefferson, Iowa

Such a prosaic title! But it IS where we are. The Great Adventure 2011 has begun with it's own small adventures as a part of the day.

Yesterday, Friday, 17 June, we were up early finishing the loading and doing a final cleaning of the house. Since the house is for sale and there might be showings while we are on the road, we thought we better leave everything in excellent condition for folks to come traipsing through. May there be many … or at least the right person! (Anybody want to buy a great house in Beloit, WI?)

As we finished loading, the very last thing to do was to drive to the nearby (abandoned) K-Mart parking lot (it's the K-Mart that is abandoned, not the parking lot; it gets frequent use by police, neighborhood meet-ups, and folks needing a parking lot for who knows what). The purpose of driving to the parking lot was to hook up the car to be towed, thereby making it (in RV palance) a "toad." Park car behind coach. Attach drop hitch to coach. Attach tow bar (Blue Ox Aventa II, if you're an RV'er and interested)to coach. Attach tow bar to car. Attach rock shield to tow bar in front of car. Try again to attach rock shield to tow bar (WHY won't these holes line up for the clevis pins?). Get frustrated. Try again. FINALLY! Attach electrical harness and break-away link. Easy! Now, let's get the supplemental braking system in place. Good! Testing the braking system (Blue Ox Patriot system … brake in a box that sits on the floor of the car and presses on the brake in the car when I step on the brake in the RV). "Reposition brake." Move box a fraction of an inch. Test the braking system. "Reposition brake." I'm not sure how many times it took but it was several! Hey, not bad! Only an hour to hook up today. (Thursday in practice it took and hour and a half.) On the road by 10:30 a.m., only an hour and a half AFTER I wanted to get off. Hooking up, therefore, was our first adventure of the trip. I wonder if it will be an adventure every time we do it or if we'll get better as we go! But then hooking-up is always an adventure, isn't it? ;-)

Wisconsin to Illinois (wow those tolls in IL can really hit hard, $5.35 at the last one!) and finally to Iowa.

Iowa, the land of $3.49 gas (we actually saw a station with that price at a Kum-and-Go near Boone, IA. Unfortunately, it was full and I couldn't get a place to fill up. So we went on down the road and in Ogden (we're on US Hwy 30 heading for Spring Lake Park) where I see a Casey's. Ok, we need gas, let's give it a try. Gas at $3.62 a gallon here! Oh, well. We only need 3/4ths of a tank … 47 gallons and $170.00 later we're ready to pull out of the station. Hmmm, a bit of a sharp turn here. I think I can make it. Oh, no. There is a tree limb in the way! Will my 11'4" height clear it? NOPE! Have I mentioned that when when you're in an RV with a "toad" that you CANNOT back up. Straight ahead is the only way to travel or maybe a turn right or left. But NOT in reverse. NEVER! So, right in the middle of the gas station parking lot we have to unhitch the car, back it up and then back up the coach enough to turn a little tighter and clear the tree limb! Ok, we're not that far from the camp (15 miles or so). Mary, you drive the car instead of hitching it up again and follow me to the park. Whew! Second "adventure" survived. Let's hope there are no more for the day!

Spring Lake Park (a Greene County, IA, park) is a beautiful rural county park with a large campground around a very pretty lake. The camp sites are nothing great. There is electric but NO water (that's why the RV has it's own water tank, you know, but I prefer to get park water when I can since it means I don't have to weight the coach downs with a HEAVY tank of water for travel thereby even further reducing the gas mileage.

(Do you know what towing a car, even one as small as our Honda Fit, does to gas mileage? Just imagine! Our gas mileage yesterday was 7.5 MPG. It could have been worse!)

Back to Spring Lake Park. We have a decent enough campsite. We can see the water through the trees (which do give afternoon shade). Not bad at all. Here are a few pictures of our campsite.

And here are the crows watching for anything to be dropped from the campers' tables.

And here's our loyal traveling companion, Tiger, looking out the window keeping watch on everything. And you might keep a look-out for Tiger and his further adventure.

Now it's time to get on with the day. Let's see what we can get up to in west central Iowa!

Friday, June 17, 2011

"On the Road Again!"

It's time for Roadtrip 2011 for Forrest and Mary. Follow along as we head west and see friends and sights in Iowa, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico ... and many other places. I'll write more as we go ... If I don't lose it to cyberspace!

I learned something about blogging on Blogger using an iPad this morning. DON'T leave the page you're working on to try to preview what it will look like even if Blogger does offer you that chance! If you press the "Preview" button, you'll lose it all!

After writing a much more eloquent and descriptive post, I tried to preview my posting. Bye bye post! There'll be more to come in the days ahead. I hope you will enjoy our journey with us.