How We Roll
We arrived at our destination around 4 PM on Day 3…a KOA campground in a town called Mount Pleasant. It is indeed very “Pleasant”. But I don’t know where the “Mount” part came from, as this part of the country is flat, flat, flat. The highest points are the bridges over the swamps. Our site was near a lake that has a sign posted, “No Swimming. Alligators live here.”
I checked our KOA campground directory and found a campground in South Carolina, near where one of our daughters lives. I called to see if we could get a reservation. Our plan was to stay about a month each time we stopped, so we could really see the area and have a nice visit without invading people’s space or making them change their schedules. We also reasoned that a monthly rate would be cheaper than a nightly one. We found out that might be problematic in the south (where the warm weather is) if we didn’t book 6 months out. Apparently, there are a lot of snowbirds who live in campgrounds during the winter months. We don’t know yet where we will be in 6 months though, so we’ll have to take our chances. The KOA campground people kept at it until they found us a space we could rent for a month.
[We learned a lesson here. When we started the trip, we had no deadlines at all and that’s the way we wanted it. Once we had made the reservation however, we realized we had just 2 more days to get to the campground. And we had a lot of distance to cover. Suddenly, we were under pressure. Even if we could have arrived a day late, the deadline weighed on our minds. That made the next 2 days of travel less fun than they might have been. We passed by the Daniel Boone Tavern and Museum in Kentucky and thought it would have been fun to stop there, but we didn’t have time. Next time we make a reservation, we will figure out how much time it will take us to get there and double it so we have plenty of time to stop at interesting sites.]
We kept heading south, south-east, into Indiana, then turned south on I65. It finally stopped raining about 45 miles into Indiana. It was still gray and overcast though. We got out into country that was less crowded than the Chicago area. (I thought that I might stop being such a scaredy-cat and take my turn driving in an area like that.) But that never happened on Day 1. The storm picked up again and we were heading toward an area that was under a tornado watch. Not a good place for a motor home! So we stopped at a rest stop short of the target area and stayed the night there. High winds woke me up in the middle of the night and I spent an hour or so imagining our entire rig being blown to a different location…in pieces. But I finally got back to sleep, and woke to find our home intact.
On Day 2, we got up about 7:30, but it was really 8:30 because we had changed time zones. I found that out when my smart phone updated the time. It didn’t take much time to get ready since we had only put out one slide-out and hadn’t put everything back in its place. It was raining a little, but the wind had died down considerably so we resumed our journey. My husband drove (as I had declared myself to be a fair weather driver) and I got out the computer. I tried doing research online, but that involved too much reading and the bumping along was making me nauseous. I tried taking pictures of the fall foliage, but kept getting blurry pictures because we were streaking by as I clicked my phone camera. So I decided to put everything away and just enjoy the ride. I figured that fair weather might be coming soon, too, so I would probably take a turn driving.
As it turned out, I didn’t take a turn driving until Day 3. I felt guilty for not driving at all the first 2 days, so I drove first when we left the rest stop where we had stayed the night. I drove for an hour. During that time, I went through a narrow one-lane work zone and down a long, winding road through the Smoky Mountains, which included 2 narrow, winding tunnels. Since I have a tendency to stay to the right side of my lane, my husband nearly had a heart attack watching from the right side of the rig. I drove at a pretty slow speed because I was so nervous and that drove the truckers crazy. They weren’t supposed to drive in the left lane on this winding road because the lanes were narrow and there was a cement barrier on the left. But a couple of them went around me anyway. I can’t say that I blame them, but I wasn’t going any faster. We finally made it to a rest stop and Boo took over. Next time I drive, it’s going to be on straight roads that are not in the mountains.
We were about an hour north of Chicago. We programmed our GPS and took off. The promised rain storm was soaking everything, with a lot of wind that kept pushing us around on the road. We headed south on I90. We had to go through several toll booths, so we asked one of the attendants what we should do with our Chicago-area I-Pass. He said we could turn it in at a customer-service booth at a roadside Plaza. So we stopped at the first one. We pulled into the gas pump area where the big trucks went, but when we got there, the only gas they had was diesel. (We had debated getting a diesel rig, but went for a gas engine since diesel is more expensive.) We couldn’t make the turns to get into the car gas area even if we could have circled around. And we can’t back up with the car and tow dolly hooked up. So we turned in the I-Pass, cancelled the account, got some food and coffee (luckily, there was a Starbucks in the Plaza!) and left.
We were supposed to be out of the county forest preserve campground by 11 AM so they could close it down for the season. We slept in, then started to get ready slowly (at least I did). We had coffee and a minimal breakfast, then we both took showers and got dressed. We had some insurance forms to fill out, so we did that and go them ready to mail. My husband scanned some other documents and we both answered text messages from well-wishers. Suddenly, it was 10 AM and we hadn’t hooked up the car or finished getting the motor home battened down to take to the dump site. We kept getting side tracked by new ideas like putting double-stick Velcro on the bottom of the waste basket in the bathroom so it wouldn’t tumble around during the drive. Then we couldn’t get the pin out of the tow dolly and ended up having to hammer it out. Then I lost my car keys. We felt like such newbies! We were the very last rig out of the campground. But we finally pulled out at 11:30.