Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Goodbye Park, Goodbye Friends, Hello Fog and Travelogue

I thought I was so tired when I went to bed last night at 10 but I ended up tossing and turning for what seemed hours. I heard Bill come up at 11 and heard him drop off instantly. This morning, Wednesday, Mar. 28th, our piddle bum had to go out at 2. Oh no, I hope these early wake ups are just a passing phase. I woke at 6 and dozed fitfully until getting up at 7. I feel rested so I won't fret about the restless hours.

Goodbye Eagle's Landing!
It was great to see that the rain had stopped and I wasn’t disappointed in the drop in temperature to 46F. It was expected and it meant that by bundling up, I could still get a last walk around the park before leaving. Lots of things to say goodbye to but unfortunately, I didn’t see Mr. Heron. As I neared our lane in the park, I noticed a fellow camper playing mini golf by himself.

I love the morning glow in pictures without a flash

The reflections have an eerie look to them
Looks like their branches are reaching out to me at the water's edge
but it was truly beautiful and peaceful
 Of course, we started chatting. His first comment was “it’s cold!”. When he explained that he and his wife had just come from spending 3 months near Brownsville, Texas, I understood. It was 80F for most of their time there. This was just an overnight stop for them and they pulled out about 15 minutes ahead of us this morning on their way home to Springfield, Missouri area.

It looks finished but it can't be
The bathrooms at the back of the park are gorgeous
but what is wrong with this picture?

Bill and I had a tea/coffee together but didn’t dawdle after he got up just before 8. Grapefruit and almonds was our morning snack and we were closed up by 8:45. George and Suzie walked over to say goodbye. Seems like a lot of goodbyes with these two but that also means a lot of hellos. We will meet up once more before we cross into Ontario.
Sorry, you can't cross here!
The pond is running across the lane to the lake
I'm sure today helped dry this up unless they got rain in Grove, Ok
The roads are bare and dry this morning and although we are travelling under cloudy skies and in somewhat foggy conditions, it is a pretty easy drive. We pulled out of the park left (west) onto US 59. It wasn’t too far and we made a right turn (north) onto Hwy 125 to US 60 E. The next exit was onto I-49N which took us to I-44E crossing into Missouri early on our trek.

A foggy start to the day
We were passing by/over/through Springfield, MO just a few minutes before 11 so we were making good time. The traffic was average. Interesting how the further east we go, the busier the highways are. It isn’t exactly a rush hour but there are enough vehicles to keep you alert. We were ready for a pit stop so I searched for the next Rest Area on our Rand McNally gps and saw one was just 4 miles ahead.

spooky waters
It was a 'No Facility' truck parking area but we are self-equipped and at 11:15 pulled in to take care of business for all 3 of us. It doesn’t take long to open up slides and use our own facilities. Just a push of a few buttons for the slides and the water pump is on and off and we are back on the road again. The temperature has risen to 52F which again, is fine for driving. At 11:30 we said within the hour let’s find a spot to eat and fuel up.
started seeing large rocks along the side of the highway
At 12:30 we are at St. Robert, MO and pulled into a Pilot/Road Ranger for fuel and hopefully a bite to eat. The options aren’t great here but sometimes you are stuck when you take into consideration what your timeline is for stopping. No matter what rv you have, you make choices based on where you can pull in and park and what is easy to get out of. Even with Google Maps Street view, sometimes looks can be deceiving.

A nice little restaurant for lunch
Great food and prices
I had found a Country Café at the same exit as the Pilot but no way could we get in there comfortably. So, we decided to put Clemson in charge of Black Beauty and parked along the side of the Pilot’s lot, out of the way. We walked across and over I-44 to the restaurant. Very small-town café. The chipper young waitress had pink hair and a pleasant personality. Every person that came in was well known by all patrons and staff. Felt like I was in Cheers!
Now I want one of these puzzles!!
Too late for a breakfast meal, I took her suggestion for the homemade potato and bacon soup and added a garden salad. The soup was awesome but I forgot to get a picture. I just dove right in. The hot tea made the top 10 too because the little stainless-steel teapot never dripped a drop! That is major in my books! Bill had a yummy cheeseburger and homemade fries so we left Happy Campers. Imagine that!

Walking back to Clemson, Black Beauty and The Suite
We were back on I-44E at 1:30. This is a pretty scenic drive with small towns along the highway, green grass and jagged walls of rock which were obviously cut away back in the day so we could travel this roadway. We need to appreciate what 'they' did for us! Driving past St. James proved to us that we were in wine country. Quite a few wineries and fields of grapes. I’m sure that is a lucrative business no matter where you are!

Bourbon is the town but C, J and N are street names
So, weird!
Maybe I need a bourbon to understand it
At Bourbon, MO (great name, eh?) someone squeezed the clouds a bit. Not enough for the wipers to work for very long but very minute speckles on the windshield. At 2:45 near St. Clair, we pulled off in the left lane to the last Missouri Rest Area. It was good to get out and stretch our legs and not only Clem needed a piddle break. After that 10-minute stop, we should be at our destination in 2 ½ hours.

Now that is a road cut out of the rock
East of St. Clair, the interstate displayed some rougher spots in the pavement and I’m sure some of our dishes and food in the Suite got bounced around. Check with Bill for his rating on this road in his next post. No travel condition is lasting too long though so we take the good with the not so good. There really isn't a 'bad' today. Bill commented on the 6 lanes along this section around Pacific, which is nice but you’re just not sure how long it lasts and when do you expect to see merging. From this point on, it remained 3 lanes for us through St. Louis.

The rest area on the left
We are dropping in elevation a fair bit, down to 500’ and lower by the time we reached our destination. I wanted to comment on the price of diesel. When we fueled up in Grove, Ok yesterday, we paid $2.59/gal. Today in St. Robert, MO at a Pilot we paid $2.85/gal and that is after our .08/gal savings. Prices are rising, folks, we must be getting close to home. C'est la vie!

I remember this water tower from last winter
As we approach St. Louis, traffic picks up and even though we are able to stay at 59 or 60 mph heading east, the westbound traffic is at a crawl for a couple of miles at least. Our attention is rapt on the gps, the atlas and the highway signs. When Bill says ‘where do I go?’ I need to have the answer and generally do. The driver is relying on the passenger in most cases so we flip through pages and screens to help. When we saw the Arch, we give a blink of a wave to our blogger friends, the Rousseaus. Our hands are too busy for a real wave!

From I-44E we need to veer off to the right to catch I-55N/I-70E as we enter Illinois. In all that hubbub, I missed the Welcome to Illinois sign. Darn! Oh well, we’ll consider ourselves welcomed anyway. There were a few minutes of teeth gritting, eyebrow cringing and toe curling as we did more than bounce on the roughness, especially over the bridges and overpasses. You can only slow down so much, the traffic moves at a steady pace. Just hope for the best and be careful when you open cupboard doors.

Everywhere we drove seemed to have lots of water laying around
Once we take Exit 20A we find ourselves on I-70E as we leave I-55N in our ‘dust’ and it strikes out north towards Wisconsin. Now I tell Bill “okay, you can relax for the next 78 miles”. At 4:25 it was time for another pit stop so we pulled into the Rest Area near Highland, IL. And back on the interstate 15 minutes later. It rejuvenates all of us when we do that and only an hour left to go! It is also a bonus when they are offering Full Facilities. I picked up a new Illinois map too Yay!

Inside Cracker Barrel for dinner
Clemson hasn’t mentioned his supper time that came and went 2 hours ago and he has been rewarded handsomely with treats and water. It would indeed be a late night for him. We kept plugging on and at 5:30 we took Exit 160 in Effingham to Avenue of Mid America to the Cracker Barrel. Bill eased the Suite around one sharp turn into the lot and we slid alongside the curb at the back corner of the store as if it were waiting for us. It was 10 to 6 and we were done for the night.

of course we have to challenge the game
Bill did well and was left with 2 pegs
We are close to I-70 and traffic right now is heavy but we will be tired enough to sleep through it. If not, that is what our ear plugs are for. After feeding Clemmy, Bill and I hi-tailed it into the restaurant. It has been over a year since we’ve eaten in a C.B. and I was hungry and totally looking forward to it. We were seated by a window immediately and Bethany took our orders.

I wanted to change things up and still try to stick to what is good for ‘me’. I ordered the Cheddar Broccoli Smothered Chicken plus a Kale salad with cranberries as well as Beet Greens with beef and walnuts. At one point after tasting each item I said to Bill “I’m in heaven”. The best chicken I’ve ever tasted and the kale salad was yummy. Each entree came with either 2 or 3 side dishes. I obviously have leftovers.

One of the best meals I've had in a while - OMG!
He had the Haddock with 3 sides and we each got 2 buns of our choice. We took 2 cornbread muffins and 2 biscuits and with the exception of one and a half they came home with us. Now, that was a real treat! We didn’t have any sun today to help boost our batteries so it doesn’t matter that we can’t get any decent programs on the antenna tonight. They are sitting at 12.5 and should remain good until morning. We will be reading books until we can’t keep our eyes open and then bed.

This is our spot for the night
Bill informed the Manager that we were here and he very
genuinely welcomed us informing us that it is a safe area to stay
This has been an exceptional day with no complaints whatsoever. We are sitting at 51F at 7:30 and we’ve turned our Blue Flame heater on to take the chill out and for the cooler night ahead. We travelled 420 miles and did it in a total of 9 hours including stops. I hope you have enjoyed your day too! Yes, Clemson, we’re home. (for now)

Thank you for stopping by today! I love to hear from you and will respond to every post in time.


  1. Whew!! What a trip!! I used to run that route when I would head back to my home in central Ohio after seeing the folks in Okla. Always enjoyed the ride. I would take books on tape and really enjoy the trip.
    Do you have an extra tank in Black Beauty?? I may have to get one for the Dodge. The Rousseaus really had a time getting their truck fixed and back to them.
    Thanks for a great entry today (and every day!)
    Don in Okla.

    1. Hi Don. It was a really good run today and not that we are in a hurry, but right now if we can put some miles between our departure and destination we feel it was a good day. We don't like stopping too early in the afternoon just to sit when we can't unhook.
      No, we do not have an extra tank in B.B. Haven't found it to be necessary for us. I meant to put the Rousseaus link in but I was so tired, I forgot. I think most of my readers follow them too. :)
      You're welcome, Don. Thanks for reading!

  2. A great navigator and pilot equals a successful trip. Well done! The Cracker Barrel meals look great.
    I haven't seen many parking lots at CB that are big enough to park overnight.

    1. You are absolutely right, Dave. We both did good yesterday.
      We agree about CB but we googled it ahead of time and zoomed in on Google Earth to check the lot out. We had a Walmart, Menards and Flying J right in the same block if one didn't pan out.
      Supper was great, their food is awesome!

  3. That was a good long travel day at least you got to park at the Cracker Barrel and enjoy a nice tasty meal.

    1. It was a long day for sure but it didn't feel that way until about the last 15 minutes, Bill said. He was ready to stop and I was ready to have a wonderful meal prepared for me!
      We slept well, the traffic noise didn't keep us awake at all.

  4. Yeah I'm thinking the bathroom is almost done! Hopefully..That was a long day for you three. Hope fully the last of the long ones for you. Great pics and narrative. Travel safe today!

    1. These bathrooms define "my friend and I are going to the ladies room" a whole lot differently!!! haha
      It was a long day and today will be a couple of hours shorter at least. :)
      Thanks guys, we'll take it slow with the rain.

  5. A great navigator .... that's what I need. Let me know if you run across one!! I always love Cracker Barrel. their food and service is great! The roads back East? Worse than California. There was lots of teeth jarring the last time I was there!! LOVE the tree reflection pics!

    1. I'll keep my eyes open. Didn't you see one at the Elk Lodge? No, that wouldn't work, you wouldn't be able to keep your eyes on the road!
      We love CB too so many food choices.
      Yes, these roads leave a lot to be desired.

  6. You did very well in your travels yesterday. No incidents, no big rainstorms and a couple of decent meals. The best of it, you are in your home to relax no matter where you are parked. Wishing you more good travel days!

    1. Yes, that is the best thing about travel days. When you stop, you are still home and can sleep in your own bed. The meals out are a bonus when we can swing it too!
      Thank you guys!

  7. I have enjoyed following along on your travels this season, but I must say everything looks REALLY cold and dreary now. Hopefully the weather will warm up a bit again for you. I also thought I had better make another comment since I haven't done so very often. You are such a dedicated blogger, with your daily posts, I am always impressed by folks who can manage that. Travel safe.

    1. Thankyou Sue. it looks dreary and cold simply because it is!! Haha
      not looking forward to Ontario weather but we gotta keep moving northeast.
      thanks Sue.

  8. Wow, what a long travel day. Glad you made it to your destination of choice. Clemson is a good little guy, so patient and understanding and a cutie to boot.
    Wouldn't your batteries charge while driving anyway with/without sun? Just curious.

    Dinner looked awesome. Safe travels.

    1. our batteries do charge to a certain extent when driving but not as much as we thought. Bill e wants to check into that after we're home.

  9. Neat picture of the trees reflecting in the water. Creepy! Looks like you three were behind me by a few hours. Glad you made it through the St. Louis maize across the river.

    I decided at the last moment to take the I-270 bypass. I think I like it. My co-pilot, Yuma, managed to get a picture of the Illinois Welcome sign. You're welcome to use it. :)

    Safe travels today.

    1. thanks Doug.
      I love pond reflections.
      thanks for the sign pic, Yuma.
      yes we were close on your heels!