Ok then, we are off on our trip to the West — so it means a lot of driving the first few days. Also means getting an early start. I have to admit that my plan for “wheels up at 0600” was thwarted a bit due to darkness. As I was sipping on my coffee at 5:30am I realized that it was going to be way too dark to hitch up the car on the tow dolly, so it was more like 0800 before we hit the road. We plan to drive around 300 miles each day and find quick pull-thru spots near the main roads. Don’t even want to disconnect the car from the tow dolly. Sometimes it can be a KOA or typical RV park, but sometimes we are surprised by the state and local campgrounds we find.
First day was rain all the way through Nashville and into Kentucky. We camped near Paducah, KY (which incidentally was the filming location for part of How the West Was Won) at a clean, paved RV park that was very quiet and had full hookups. As we pulled out on day two, we had the best weather for driving through the cornfields of central Illinois – a cloudless blue sky with bright green fields of soybeans and tall corn. Very flat and just gorgeous. We crossed over several of those mighty, historic rivers that were plenty full of muddy, brown water: Cumberland, Tennessee, Ohio and Illinois Rivers. Soon to come was the wide Mississippi. Driving across and along them, you really can understand the importance of these rivers for transportation and commerce and how they shaped the cities that sprung up on their banks. Keep playing back those river scenes from HTWWW.
We stayed the second night at an old gathering spot for folks in the late 1800’s, the Weldon Springs State Park. Very nice campground with only about 15 of us in camp. Wandering out at dusk, we discovered some beautiful meadows and prairie fields filled with wildflowers. Naturally, our favorite ungulates were there. A doe, two fawns and a young buck (hmmmm, wonder if they followed us from home?) were munching in the field keeping a careful eye on us.
Third day took us through more cornfields (seriously, we grow a lot of corn), as we made our way through the rest of Illinois, across the Rock and Mississippi Rivers and into Iowa, where there were more cornfields and rolling hills. Our evening stop is at F.W. Kent Park, a real gem of a county park. Since we got here early afternoon, a hike around was in order. More fields of sunflowers, Queen Anne’s lace, milkweed and a host of other flowers that elude immediate identification. Did my best to capture a few before the battery died in the camera (of course!)
I should note that due to some great advance planning on Jackie’s part, we have been eating good in camp. First night was mac ‘n cheese with ham, last night was a spinach quiche with smoked sausage and tonight it’s chicken enchiladas. Yumm.
Next two days take us closer to South Dakota and the Badlands. I hope to get some good stories and pictures to post. Not every post is my best work, but at least you will know what we are up to.
More to come, as the adventure continues . . .