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.
Monday May 21st 2018
Today was a rainy travel day. It was raining when I got up this morning. Preparing to leave the park was a messy wet task. I got on the road at ten fifteen a little later than I’d planned.
One of many pretty flowers at my destination RV park.
It rained most of the way south through Michigan and Indiana. Most of the time is was just heavy enough to require the windshield wipers, but there were a couple of heavy storms with lightening visible. It was still raining when I arrived at my destination in Crawfordsville IN shortly after two. This area is in the eastern time zone, but I passed through an area of Indiana that is in the central time zone. It made it rather confusing keep track of my progress and I wasn’t sure what time zone I was in until I checked in. Tomorrow I will move into the central time zone for the next month and a half.
I hate my GPS, or I don’t know how to trust it. I have an RV GPS which is supposed to route you on RV appropriate roads. Its idea of appropriate and mine don’t really align. Today’s journey was routed on a combination of Interstate highways, US routes, numbered state routes and for some reason non numbered local roads. The GPS routed me through downtown Lafayette Indiana when there were ways around the city streets. This is when my trust issues came into play.
The GPS called for a left turn in 400 feet. It didn’t say the road name. There were two possible left turns ahead. I pulled up to the first one just as the GPS said turn left in 200 feet, so I went on to the next intersection. As I passed it became obvious that I’d missed the correct turn. I turned around in a pizza place’s parking lot and got back on track. Now I’m thinking I can’t trust the distance instructions. I’m now directed down one way streets in the middle of the downtown area. The GPS starts calling for another left turn. This time I turned one block too early. I navigated around a large city block to get back on track. I finally made it across the city to US 231 south. It was easy travel from there.
Setup on site 34 at the Crawfordsville KOA after the rain stopped.
Tomorrow I’m traveling west about two hundred and seventy five miles to Hannibal Missouri. It is almost all Interstate Highway travel. The GPS can stay in view mode. I’ll be in the town of Mark Twain’s birth for two nights, before moving deeper into the state.
Sunday May 20th 2018
To borrow from the TV announcer, “Now we resume our regularly schedule blogging.” I spent a couple of nights in a hotel about thirty miles from here while I attended a family wedding. It was a fun gathering and a beautiful wedding. I enjoyed catching up with family and eating too much.
Campground pond during this weekend’s murky weather.
When I returned to the RV park Saturday afternoon, the place was near full and very active. Kids were riding bicycles on all of the roads, adults were gathering around campfires and music was blaring from several sites. It was so different from the nearly empty quiet campground I left on Thursday morning. I was nearly oblivious to it all. I needed sleep. While I got back to my hotel at a reasonable time each night, I didn’t sleep well. I went to bed early and got up late this morning.
Today started off cool, cloudy and damp. Around noon the rain showers that have been in the area all weekend returned. This evening the storms have passed through the area, but are forecast to be around again tomorrow. I’m traveling south tomorrow toward the Indianapolis area. I hope I can avoid the storms.
I spent the day laying out my travel plans for the month of June in detail. With a lot of research, I have booked a little over a week in the Branson Missouri area and two weeks on the Arkansas river near Little Rock Arkansas. From there I’ll move on to the Memphis area for another week or two if I can find a reservation for the Fourth of July holiday week. My fall back position will be south of Memphis in Mississippi, but the further south I go the heat and humidity will increase.
During July I will check out the Nashville area then move east into North Carolina for the end of July into the beginning of August. From there I’ll continue north into Pennsylvania, New York and New England for the fall months. When the open campgrounds in New England dry up at the end of October, I’ll head back south toward Florida. I’ve set a reminder on my cell phone so I won’t forget to make reservations in Memphis, Nashville and North Carolina. I need to lock in the holiday periods.
I’m taking a couple of days off from blogging as I attend a family wedding.
Wednesday May 16th 2018
I finally got a good nights sleep. It didn’t rain last night, so I wasn’t dragged out of sleep by the sound of rain on the roof. Constant rain isn’t as big a problem, but rain starting and stopping wakes me up every time it returns. Today was a nice sunny day with a high temperature in the low seventies.
New bright pink blossoms are a sure sign of spring.
My journey north from Florida over the last few weeks has been a journey back in time, if you judge time by the progress of spring. I first saw signs of spring in Tennessee. The trees all had a full set of new leaves. The leaf color was still a light green, not the full dark green of summer. There was no sign of buds or flowers in the trees. One hundred and fifty or so miles north in the middle of Kentucky it was earlier spring. The leaves on the trees were a little younger and there were fallen buds and flowers under some trees. Maybe a weeks difference in time by driving north.
Trees with a fresh crop of new leaves.
At my stops in Indiana, another hundred and fifty miles north, the flowering trees were still in full bloom. I would guess that represents another week of time travel to earlier spring, but I traveled the distance in a single day. My current stop in Michigan is less than one hundred miles further north, but a noticeable difference can still be observed. Not all the trees have all their new leaves and the flowering trees seem to be early in their brilliance. Overall, I’ve spent close to three weeks traveling north, but I’m now experiencing spring more than three weeks earlier than when I started. A little math says I’ve gone back in time six weeks. I don’t think it is quite as pronounced in the fall.
Early Spring or late, there is always a Robin.
These are really just observations. I’m not complaining. It is much better than not having seasons to experience. In Florida the change is much less pronounced and out in the southwest it is even more subtle. Seasons, climate and weather are the big three in variables as you travel around the USA.