Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you. -- Carl Sandburg
There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

July 21, 2012

Hi-Tailing it to Colorado

Sideling Hill Rest Area, MD
My aim was my sister's house in Colorado for our annual family get-together.  This year is hot, hot, hot across the path between the east coast and Colorado.  And I don't like hot.  Never have.  Not better at this stage of life either, like so many things are. There was a brief respite last week so I hoped for the best.  I had in mind to find public campgrounds in the central US to be able to plug in and have AC overnight at not too much cost.  I still loathe most of the private campgrounds I see.  The sardine can aspect is a real turn off.  There are few amenities that can make up for that in my mind.  Give me land, lots of land, and the starry skies above.  Or at least a little breathing room.

We took off Friday the thirteenth at 3:30 but I still had to stop at the grocery store for a few items and get propane.  It never ceases to amaze me at how much time it takes to pack up the van and I still forgot the battery charger for the camera.  This time, I made a list on my phone app (ToMarket) for all that stuff and it got added on - a little late.  So we actually left the area at 4:30.  Made it to Belle Vernon, PA.  I was aiming for a northern route this time to escape the bulls-eye of 100+ heat centered in Kansas.  Took US40 once it veered off from I68 in western MD.  Pretty drive.  I found a Walmart with a lot backing up to a wooded area with plenty of poisen ivy visible.  For once, I was the only overnighter.  The store manager was nice.  It was blissfully cool with my fan running and quiet despite being Friday night.

Lake Tappan, OH on US250
Saturday found us heading towards the upper third of Ohio on US250.  There's a lovely reservoir, Lake Tappan where I spotted a small level beach to the water.  Most of the edges were steep and very rocky.  It had a nice big pull out with a little park.  So the dog and I went to the little beach -  all 6 feet of it.  I asked her to find a stick for me to throw for her.  We spent a good 50 minutes of her swimming after the sticks.  I threw them farther out than I had before.  The lack of a current made for easier swimming than the river we had been using even with the wakes from the boats out there.  And she is getting stronger.  I was plenty wet from the legs down but it was warm.  She had a great nap afterwards in the van.

We passed thru Mt. Eaton in the center of Amish country in OH.  I stopped for their homemade ice cream.  It just might be the best ice cream in the country.  Amazing what real food with no junk added in tastes like.  We passed many a horse-drawn buggy filled with Amish families almost spilling out the sides.  We stopped for a dog break and saw a man in a field with a team of horses pulling a spinning cutting machine very like a huge reel mower.  Lots of fields with hand piled haystacks.  It is interesting to see the old way of farming in action.  Sort of a living history.
Amish cutting hay on US250 in OH

Once we hit US30, we headed west across the flat northeastern OH and into Indiana.  We reached Huntington, IN in the evening near dark.  After a bit of a drive around finding the Walmart and not really wanting to sleep all night with the generator on to run the AC and thinking of finding another reservoir for the dog to have a good swim in the morning, I searched the map and the Garmin and settled on trying for a camp about 5 miles south of town on a reservoir.  We found the Kil-So-Quah Army Corps of Engineers campground.  Nice level sites, some shaded, roomy and more than half empty.  $8 non-electric, $10 electric on the honor system.  No camp host to jack up the costs to the campers.  Score!!  I got electric and had AC.

On Sunday morning, I realized my new refrigerator wasn't cooling.  Grrrr.  Feeling cursed about RV refrigerators, I got out my tools and pulled the refrigerator to see if the computer control unit had worked loose or something like that.  It turned out to be a whole lot harder than it should have been becuase the trim I made had the nut break its spikes into the wood so turning the screw just spun.  I couldn't get to the nut either.  I finally just pulled and tore it loose.  That's one trick that only worked because of the crummy particle board cores.  Once I got it out, the computer unit looked fine, all the connections were good.  I got out my manual for it and tried the troubleshooting to no avail.  I lost 3 hours struggling with it.  I admitted defeat and stopped for ice to keep the food cold enough to survive.

Indiana has more hills than western OH or Illinois but it gets flatter as it turns into IL.  IL is a very flat state.  About the only terrain is the Illinois river and the at the edge for the Mighty Miss.

I'm going to post this and finish up the trip in the next post.


  1. It appears that you’ve been on a trip on several occasions. You sound like a travelling pro! But I think with your trusted RV, you don’t have to worry about trekking the road or going to family get-togethers. Aside from your fridge issues, I think you were able to make it on time. But, I suggest that on your next trip, check your RV and replace the damaged fixtures to prevent this kind of hassle while you are on a trip. Have fun on the road!

  2. RVs are really ideal to use for family trips, especially if you're off for a long trip. It can help you save time as you don't have to pull over often since everything that you need is inside your truck. Choosing which RV to rent is then crucial so your family vacation will not be spoiled by any mechanical breakdown.


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