Thursday May 31st 2018
Today started wet. A storm front moved through the area between six and nine in the morning. By afternoon the sun was shining brightly, but the wet start kept the high temperature in the eighties. Tomorrow it is forecast to be back in the 90s.
This was the last official day of the Escapees RV Club’s 58th Escapade. Between the morning rain and an abbreviated schedule of presentations, I only attended one seminar session today. This afternoon everyone that gathered for the closing ceremony. The two big door prizes were given out, so just about everybody that was still here attended. I didn’t win anything today.
This evening there was a street fair with food trucks and music. The conclusion of the gathering was a fireworks presentation in celebration of the 40th year of the Escapees RV Club. They had some technical difficulties that delayed the show until around 9:30. Once they got started they were fun and dramatic. I took the opportunity to try and take some pictures of the fireworks. I’m including some of the better ones in this blog entry.
Tomorrow most of the rally attendees are leaving. Some have already left and a few, like me, are leaving on Saturday or Sunday. All of the attendees have signs in there window that tells what day they arrived and what day they leave. I haven’t seen many that aren’t leaving tomorrow.
Wednesday May 30th 2018
The weather today was a little cooler with a nice breeze. It still seemed to be as humid, but the breeze helped keep it comfortable. A line of storms is forecast to pass through the area just before dawn tomorrow. The rest of the day may see additional thunderstorms. Hopefully, they aren’t too bad and are over before the fireworks tomorrow night.
Some of the rose blossoms around the fairgrounds.
There were more seminar presentations today at the Escapees RV Club 58th Escapade. The emphasis has started to switch from the vendors to club information and other areas of interest. The most interesting presentation was on photography. It was presented by the professional photographer that is taking pictures of the events at the Escapade. Some of the photos he used in the presentation were taken with a cell phone and others with a DSLR. They were all high quality and you could only guess which were from the cell phone.
At the evening door prize awards, prior to the talent show, I won a door prize. It was a $25 Target gift card provided by the Bentsen Palm Active Adult Community and RV Resort in Mission Texas. I’ve heard good things about the resort in the Rio Grande valley. Their booth in the vendor market place was busy when I stop earlier in the week.
The Escapees Got Talent show was a fun experience. It started with about twenty little kids on stage singing and/or dancing to a recorded song. This was followed by a number of fellow attendees with real talent. We were treated to comedy, singing and dancing acts.
Tomorrow is the last day of the Escapade. There are a few more seminar presentations in the morning. The closing ceremony is at 3PM followed by a street fair and fireworks at 9PM.
Tuesday May 29th 2018
This area was in the calm between the storms today. A weather front with heavy thunderstorms was to the west in Kansas. East of here near the St Louis area the impact of subtropical storm Alberto is being felt. Here it was another hot day in the low 90s with lots of humidity. There is a slight chance that the storms to the west will pass through here near dawn tomorrow, but they won’t be very sever. Thursday night is the next chance of significant weather in this area. That’s just in time for the fireworks scheduled for the closing of the Escapees RV Club’s 58th Escapade.
My concern about the weather has me watching the clouds.
I spent some time in the Escapade Market area this morning making a mental list of the remember that for when you need it items, the might be nice to buy now items and the got to have items. There was only one item on the must have list, an aluminum step to supplement my built in steps. A quick check online showed that it was a good price, so I’m now the owner of an aluminum step. I’m still thinking about the might be nice items. Tomorrow is the last day of for the vendors in the market place, so I can’t put off a decision for long.
I only attended three seminars today. The most interesting one was presented by a local Sedelia MO historian. The title of her talk was Sedalia’s Infamous Red-Light District of the 1880s. She discussed the history of the community in the context of its “soiled doves”. Apparently the city had quite a reputation for prostitution supported by corruption from the end of the civil war all the way to the 1970s. It was an interesting way to get an overview of the communities history and it was a nice change of pace presentation.
Another interesting cloud formation.
There were no major activities or entertainment this evening. The movie Guardians of the Galaxy II was shown in the main arena and a star gazing gathering was held in a darker corner of the fairgrounds. I skipped both of these activities in favor of a quiet evening in front of the TV in the air conditioned comfort of my RV home.
There will be more seminar presentations tomorrow and the evening entertainment will be something they call Escapees Got Talent. Basically the talented among the attendees get an opportunity to demonstrate their abilities. It should be interesting.
Monday May 28th 2018
Today’s high temperature set new records at various locations in the area. It got into the low 90s here in Sedalia MO before a thunderstorm tried to form and soak the area. The temperature dropped a few degrees, but no more than a brief heavy sprinkle came out of the sky. Tomorrow is forecast to be a little cooler, but still as humid.
These threatening clouds are the back side of the line of storms after it passed through the area.
This was the second day of the Escapees RV Club’s 58th Escapade. The seminar sessions started at 8:30 this morning. I went to a presentation during four of the five opportunities today. The first session this morning didn’t have anything interesting enough to get me moving quick enough. Unfortunately, during other time slots there was more than one presentation that interested me.
So far I haven’t learned anything earth shattering. I’ve picked up a useful tidbit or idea from each of the presentations, but I’m ready to leave at the end of the hour. I’m getting my exercise. The venues for the presentations are spread out a good distance from my RV. The furthest venue is more than half a mile away. Some people are driving, but there isn’t great parking. There is also golf cart transportation available, but they’re not always available when you want one.
I wish that more of the presentations were from individuals not representatives of a company or a vendor. For example, I’d like to hear about an individual’s trip to Alaska rather than the advantages of taking a guided tour. I understand making a presentation is a good way to draw business to a particular vendor, so a certain number of presentation slots need to be available to the vendors. Getting and vetting non vendor presentations may be more of a challenge than the resulting value.
Tonight’s entertainment was the magician Reza. He has been on one of the TV magic shows, has a residency in Branson MO and tours part of the year. His act is a combination of big magic and small slight of hand style magic. He brought several people from the audience on stage to assist in the act which enhanced the entertainment value greatly. I enjoyed the show.
Sunday May 27th 2018
The weather was even more summer like today. It was very humid with a high temperature in the mid nineties. The sun was out all day and no thunderstorms developed in the afternoon. Tomorrow is forecast a little cooler, but a slightly higher chance of thunderstorms.
Today was the first day of the Escapees RV Club’s 58th Escapade. The vendor area opened at nine this morning and I was in their by 9:05. I wanted to get my name on the list with Blue OX, the manufacturer of the tow bar I use to pull my CRV, to have my tow bar serviced. Blue Ox sends technicians to RV Rallies around the country to inspect tow bars, lubricate, replace washers and generally tighten things up. All for a nominal fee of $35.
My power umbilical that provides lights, directional signal and brake lights to my CRV when it’s under tow was almost cut through in one area.
My tow bar has over twenty thousand miles of bouncing around the country pulling my Honda CRV. It was getting loose, so I wanted to get it serviced. I had heard that Blue OX could run out of available slots, so I wanted to get my name on the list as soon as possible. The service technician was at my rig before noon to work on my tow bar. He completed the service of my tow bar quickly and put everything back together. The only issue he found was with the electric connection that sends power to the cars lights while under tow. It isn’t part of their service, but he noticed that there was a break in the cable. I should check my lights every time I hook up, but I usually only do it after a week or more of not towing. So the last time I checked the lights was before I left Michigan last Monday. Somewhere between Michigan and here I damaged the cable. Luckily, I was able to buy a new cable at the Blue OX booth in the vendor area. I’ll splice the old one and keep it as a spare.
Stage setup for the opening ceremony for the 58th Escapade in the 40th year of the Escapees RV Club.
The opening ceremony for the Escapade was at 3PM this afternoon. It’s an opportunity to introduce all the Escapees management team, the Escapade staff and volunteers and provide some history of the club. It is generally a good time, but a times it was a little too much passing of the Kool Aid of indoctrination. As a reward we were given an ice cream on a stick as we left the auditorium.
This evening there were announcements, door prizes and entertainment. Tonight’s entertainment was the story telling of Bil Lepp. He is a five time champion of the West Virginia Liars contest. His stories had the audience laughing for around an hour and a half.
Tomorrow the Seminars begin at 8:30 in the morning.
Saturday May 26th 2018
Summer arrived today. The calendar may say it is still spring, but mother nature provided a bright sunny day with a high temperature of 90 degrees. The humidity also increased as the day went by. Tomorrow is forecast to be even hotter.
RVs line one of the main roads in the campground.
The bright sun dried the fields out from yesterday’s soggy mess. It’s a good thing because another 170 rigs arrived today. The parking crews were busy from eight to two. They filled in some of the gaps they left yesterday to accommodate the mud and moved on to fill other areas of the complex. There is still plenty of room for tomorrows arrivals, but they may be even further from the activities. Everybody has to cross the road to the main fair grounds area for all of the activities. I have a good walk just to reach the road from my RV. Today they started parking rigs in areas that are almost twice as far away. They’re is a courtesy shuttle using golf carts available, but I’ll probably ride my bike if I don’t walk.
Narrow side street lined with RVs.
I spent the first two thirds of the day outside. I met my neighbors and together we watched a lot of the new arrivals around us. The heavy duty wrecker was here early in the day, but I don’t think it was needed today. It was gone my mid morning. The area behind my RV home was dry enough for RVs today. That area is now filled in with RVs. The area across the street in front of my site doesn’t have any water or sewer hookups so it will only be used as a last resort. Even so it now has been claimed by the cars of many of my neighbors. Yesterday’s muddy fields caused some interesting parking. If you were off the road and your tires lost any traction, you were parked. Your orientation on the site or distance from the road didn’t matter. Your just happy to be parked.
Another row of RVs with a few open spaces still drying out.
After a bicycle ride around the campground and the fairgrounds in the hot sun, I was done for the day. I’m not used to this heat and humidity yet. I closed up the motorhome and turned on the Air Conditioner. The last third of the day has been in the cool comfort inside the RV.
Tomorrow is the first official day of the 58th Escapade. The vendor booths open at 9AM, the opening ceremony is at 3PM and the evening festivities with entertainment is starts at 7PM. Let the fun begin.
Friday May 25th 2018
A line of thunderstorms and general rain passed trough the area before dawn. It lasted for three or four hours. Where I spent the night it was over by 8AM, but to the east at my destination in didn’t end until later. I got packed and was on the road before ten. I only had seventy miles to travel.
An example of the muddy conditions at the fairgrounds today.
I arrived in Sedalia Missouri at the State Fairgrounds around 11AM. This is the location of the Escapees RV Clubs 58th Escapade. Today was the first early arrival day for general attendees. The rally starts on Sunday. It was a busy day for arrivals. I followed a line of other early arrivals in from the highway and then the fun began.
The overnight rain had turned many of the roads and sites into muddy traps. The parking crew was doing there best to only park people in the dry areas. When they miss calculate or an RV driver knew better than the parking crew a heavy vehicle sank into the mud. There was a big heavy wrecker on site doing a good business. I saw at least four extractions in my corner of the campground.
My RV Home under a nice tall tree. Typical to all rallies my neighbors are close and the utilities are a long way away.
I got parked without any real difficulty. It took over an hour from the time I arrived at the fairgrounds before I was backed into my site. The parking crew was doing a good job under difficult conditions. My site has a nice big tree behind my RV. This will come in handy as a sun shade in the days ahead. The down side is it prevents my roof top satellite antenna from finding the satellite. The over the air TV signal isn’t the best. I can get 2 PBS stations and 2 ABC stations plus a bunch of second tier channels.
This building not to far away from my RV is a Tornado shelter.
Not far behind my RV is a warning siren.
The sun came out this afternoon and raised the temperature into the eighties. It is still very humid and the temperature over the weekend is forecast to be even higher. The heat index for Sunday is forecast to be over one hundred. The air conditioner is going to get a good workout.
Thursday May 24th 2018
Today was a travel day. The goal was to get closer to the Missouri State Fair grounds in Sedalia. I need to check in before 2PM on Friday for the Escapees Escapade. It turns out I could have stayed in Hannibel another night. The campground I found for tonight is west of Sedalia near Kansas City. When I passed the Sedalia area it was only 12:30. Tomorrow I’ll back track about forty miles on Interstate 70 than travel south to Sedalia. Google maps says it’s only about seventy miles.
Site 27 at the Kansas City East KOA.
The first part of the travel day was on US highways and good Missouri state routes. I traveled through a lot of farmlands in light traffic. The roads were pretty straight, but they went up and down more hills than I expected. When I reached Interstate 70 the hills got more frequent and the traffic was heavier. Overall there weren’t any issues, just two hundred and seventy miles of travel.
I found a gas station to fill the tank along the way. I put in a little over fifty six gallons of gas at $2.699 a gallon. That’s forty six cents per gallon less expensive than in Indiana on Tuesday. Gas prices are what they are. I’m going to pay what is necessary to move the RV around the country, but it is important to remember that taxes and distribution costs vary from area to area. Using the Gas Buddy phone app or web sites can save significant money.
My travel day ended around one thirty at the Kansas City East KOA. Getting setup was another hot and sticky job. The afternoon was humid with the temperature in the mid 80s. I tried to obtain a reservation at a couple of different places along Interstate 70 without success. The holiday weekend is rapidly approaching. This park already has people that are clearly here for the long weekend, but I was able to get a site for the night. Tomorrow I’ll complete my journey to the Missouri State Fair Grounds.
Wednesday May 23rd 2018
It was a little less humid today, but the temperature peaked higher than yesterday. The high temperature was in the mid to upper 80s. It made two days in a row without rain which is a big improvement after almost two weeks of some rain everyday. I think tomorrow is supposed to return to the rain pattern.
I tried to sleep in this morning, but the change in time zone worked against me. I was up shortly after 8AM central time. Yesterday in the eastern time zone that would have been closer to sleeping in. I can’t try again tomorrow or Friday. They will be travel days before I will pause for eight nights, followed by eleven nights, then another pause for two weeks. The slower pace with extended stays is my preferred travel approach.
This afternoon I toured the area. One thing that I didn’t expect is how hilly this area is. The western side of the Mississippi river in this area is has many hills. The drop to the river even has some cliffs. The old town of Hannibal is in a lower area near the river bank, but it is still higher than I expected. It seems logical that the town would develop on higher ground to avoid most of the flooding from the river, but my memory of the legends around Mark Twain had him living in the flood plain. Guess I should read a real history or biography of the man.
The Mississippi River is actual in danger of passing flood stage a little ways north of here. Today it was very muddy and looked a little high, but I don’t know what the normal state is for comparison. I didn’t see any significant traffic on the river today.
The newer more modern and commercial part of town is higher in the hills to the west. It looks like General Mills is one of the big employers. I saw two big complexes with General Mills signs on the buildings when I was scouting the route out of town for tomorrow. There are at least two gas stations that I can get in and out of easily. The price of gas is also forty five cents a gallon cheaper than I paid yesterday in Indiana.
While I was out I also stocked up on groceries and other supplies for the next few days. I found a Walmart and two grocery store to chose from. This Walmart had an interesting variation in prices. Milk and fake butter were both cheaper here, but a gallon of water was a few cents higher. I’m sure there were other variations in the price of things I bought, but those stood out.
Writing this blog entry has been a real struggle. Microsoft saw fit to upgrade my version of Windows 10 last night. My computer is still trying to recover. Default applications and other configurations have all changed. I have to find and setup a lot of things manually and everything seems slower.
Tuesday May 22nd 2018
It was very humid this morning. The temperature overnight only got down into the sixties. It made getting ready to depart almost as wet as Monday mornings rain. I was dripping with sweat by the time I was ready to leave.
View out the dirty front window of my RV as I crossed the state of Illinois. The puffy clouds were a constant all day. Traffic was generally light all day.
I left the campground shortly before ten, but stopped for gas before I reached the interstate. The cost of fuel in the area was very high, so I only put in $100 at $3.15 a gallon. My hope is to find cheaper gas in Missouri. Gas was cheaper in Illinois, but I didn’t stop. Except for the first two miles and the last 3 miles all of today’s journey was on Interstate highways. For the most part they were in good condition. The cement road surfaces around the cities weren’t the best, but the paved surfaces between the cities were OK. I really don’t understand the logic behind cement road surfaces. They always seem to be rough and in need of repair. The bandaid style repairs only make them rougher.
It was a nice drive across Illinois through farmland that corresponds to my vision of the mid west. There were large open fields on gently rolling hills separated by stands of trees. Farmhouses with barns and silos were visible across the fields. Most of the fields had newly started crops. The plants were far too new to even begin to guess what was growing.
I arrived at the Mark Twain Cave and Campground just across the Mississippi River in Hannibal Missouri around 1:30pm central time. I transitioned into the central time zone thirty miles into my journey west, so my elapsed travel time was around four and a half hours. It was still as humid as it was in Indiana, but now the temperature was in the mid 80s. Once again I was dripping wet by the time I was setup. I retreated inside and turned on the air conditioner.
Site F-4 at the Mark Twain Cave Campground.
This is a nice campground but the approach isn’t the best. From the Interstate you need to drive through downtown Hannibal. Then turn right by a power substation and pass through the parking lot for the Mark Twain Cave attraction. Most of the way from the Interstate I was wondering if I was on the right road. I only have 1x Cellular data service, but there is good WiFi in the campground. The over the air TV signal is one set of channels all of which have religious programming. Luckily my satellite dish was able to lock on, so I have TV to keep me distracted.