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 31, 2013

A Yearly trip 2/3's across the country

I just got back from a quick trip to Colorado and back inside of 2 weeks for our family reunion. I wanted to make it quick because the yard gets so out of control in the summer and I really want to focus my efforts of getting this house ready for sale next year instead of indulging in wandering.

The trip out took 3 1/2 days of pretty solid driving. It was hot and humid until I got to the high prairie of western Nebraska. My rule is if the dew points are above 68, it is too humid for any kind of comfortable sleep boondocking so I seek a campground with an electric hookup. If the dew points are lower, it is not so humid that I sweat all night and it can get cool enuf to be comfortable over night with just a fan. I'm using a northern route to get a little cooler temperatures. Avoiding a humid push up from the Gulf of Mexico is impossible sometimes. That week, the humidity was clear into northern Minnesota. At least I didn't have the heavy storms to contend with that have been occuring in the middle of the country.

I left at about 3pm and made it to Tappan Lake in Ohio.  I camped in the Class B section of Tappan Lake Park campground on the west side of the lake for $26.50. It was up a hill and fairly secluded from the dense campground for the bigger rigs but there were few semi-level sites and those were so damp and soft, I was afraid of getting stuck. So the night was not terribly comfortable because of the slant.
Kil so Qah camp

Next day, I stopped at the Kil so Qah camp in the Little Turtle State Rec Area, Indiana that I found last year at about 6pm for $15 for electric - up $5 from last year. The lack of good sleep made me tired as I wanted to keep going until 8pm. But I also wanted to have electric to run the AC and camps get thinner in eastern IN and IL. Before we went to the camp, I let my dog have a good swim in the lake only to get to the camp and see a warning about toxic blue-green alga risk (not posted at the lake??).  She seems not to have gotten sick so I guess it wasn't there or not bad. Good sleep there.
Crossing the Mighty Miss

Hackbarney Woods camp, IA

We got to western Iowa and stopped at a little camp called Hackbarney Woods at about 8pm for $15 with electric.  Nice minimal campground with flush toilets. A nice family was tent camping with a dog who wanted to play with my dog so they had fun. But I had to call it off because Dirona started limping.  That dog is just all in when she does things and has no sense. One of them happened to live for a time within 10 miles of where I live in Maryland.

The next day, I made it to my sister's house in Greeley at about 7:30.

Visiting with the family was fun as always. I spent 5 days camped outside my sister's house moochdocking her electricity and shower. But unlike my brother who stayed in her guest room, when I left, she only had one towel and washcloth to add to her laundry. The beauty of having my own little cabin.

I lucked out on the way back.  The humid air retreated to the southern states and the temps were in the low to mid 80s with lows in the low 60s and even 50s. Ahhhhh. That meant I could boondock on the way back because I didn't need to use the AC.

I left Greeley at 11:30 after making breakfast for my sister and brother-in-law and letting the dog have a little play session with her boyfriend Pete the standard poodle. I made it to Hastings, NE Walmart and dumped, got fresh water at the Julesburg, CO rest area.  It was ok but I didn't sleep really well. Something about the lights being too bright or just the adjustment of the first night out.
Gladstone Lake - The fur-kids liked it there

Gladstone Lake camp

2nd day, I made it to the western edge of Illinois and found the Henderson County Conservation Area camp at Gladstone Lake.  This was a primitive campground that was completely deserted. We had the whole place to ourselves. It had pit toilets that were clean but no water. A sign said no fishing because the lake was being rehabilitated. No problem, I didn't want to anyway. It also said to get a camping permit from park personnel but had no way to find one or pay, so we stayed for free. The animals liked it a lot. Even the cats thought it really safe and hopped out of the van to look around. They usually don't do that. It was refreshingly cool and the inside van temp dropped to 65F. It was raining at a fair clip when I woke up.
OH Amish country - you can tell this an Amish farm by the hay ricks

Amish farm - notice the horse carriage

Amish on the move

The Amish parking spot in Mt. Eaton, OH


They have the best ice cream - Mt. Eaton, OH

3rd day, it was raining half the day until I outran the front. I ended up in Bucyrus, OH at about 8:30. I checked out a lake and found a round parking area with no one there and considered camping there. But I couldn't find a good level spot and then mosquitoes made me decide Walmart would be better. When I got back to Walmart, I saw a road going behind it with a field. I discovered it was a T that went nowhere. A stub for future development, I suppose. So I camped at the end of one of the Ts and was not disturbed at all.
Bucyrus, OH camp on the stub road

Bucyrus, OH - nice field buffer from the shopping center
The 4th day I awoke to rain again as the front caught up with me. Lots of rain until the afternoon, then it was in and out of showers over the Appalachians. I stopped at what has become my favorite ice cream in Mt. Eaton, OH in the middle of Amish country.  Must be so good because it is real food and not any chemical food-like ingredients. The Amish give a tiny peek into what life was like in the 19th century. I stopped at Tappan Lake to let the dog have a swim. I got back at home by 7:30.