Category Archives: Illinois

Cheeseheads

Yesterday I was up early and posted to the blog. After that I grabbed a breakfast sandwich and coffees at Subway and we hit the road. When we dry camp in a parking lot, it doesn’t take much preparation to drive away. I do a walkaround and make sure all of the compartments are secure, check the trailer and tires and that’s about it.

Speaking of the trailer, the owner’s manual recommends checking the torque on the lug nuts after the first 100 miles and every 1000 miles after that. I’ve read enough stories about lost wheels on various forums and blogs to believe this is a good idea. I’ve checked them a couple of times already. With the torque wrench set to the specified 100ft-lbs it just clicked with no movement of the lug nut, indicating the nuts were tight. Before we left Green Acres Lake Resort, I checked them again. To my surprise, three of the five lug nuts on the right side moved slightly before the torque wrench clicked. I don’t know what it is about trailer wheels that causes lugs to loosen.

Shortly after we started to drive up US30, I stopped for fuel and coffee at a Speedway gas station with lots of room around the pumps. As I pumped fuel, Donna went in to get coffee. She also signed us up for a Speedway rewards program. Donna’s always thinking. I pumped $168 worth of gas into the tank. At this rate, we should earn rewards! I also paid with my Chase Visa card. For the third quarter, July though September, it gives me 5% cash back on gasoline purchases!

I haven’t been looking at the map lately. Donna has taken over the navigation duties. This created an issue after an hour of driving. I had said to Donna that I didn’t want to be anywhere near Chicago. I should have stated this more clearly by saying something like I don’t want to be within a 100-mile radius of Chicago.

She saw US30 as a way to skirt past Chicago but she didn’t realize how much urban sprawl there is in the area. This route took us stoplight to stoplight through Chicago Heights. This would be a very bad place to have a breakdown! The police had surveillance cameras on the sidewalks. After a couple of hours, we’d only covered about 40 miles and finally got on I-80 west and got out of there.

From there we drove on country roads for a while. Our intention was to reach Madison, Wisconsin for another dry camp night and then on to Minneapolis for a week long stay. As always, flexibility is our motto as plans have a way of changing.

We stopped for lunch in a closed truck weigh station. I fired up the generator and charged my laptop, ran the roof AC while Donna heated up leftover chili in the microwave. We both took showers and Donna did a little work on the computer before we got back on our way. The stop took about an hour.

Once underway, Donna began looking for a campsite to book in Minneapolis. This is when we had to change our plan. This weekend there is a festival there and all of the campsites we wanted were booked. Donna booked us into our first choice campground Sunday through next Thursday. Then we had to figure out what to do until Sunday.

We decided to find a campground along the way and just relax for a few days. That brings us to our present location at the KOA in Oakdale, Wisconsin. This is a nice park, a little too close to I-90/94 for our taste but we have a long pullthrough site with full hookups including 50 amp service. I opted to purchase a KOA membership for $24 and got a $12 discount on our stay. If we stay a few more days in KOAs over the next year it will pay off.

They put us in site 2. When we pulled into the site, we both thought it was sub par. No shade and only one site away from the interstate noise. Before I hooked up, I reconnoitered the area. Sites 4 and 5 were superior with shade trees and farther away from the traffic noise. Donna went to the office and asked if we could change sites. They said okay so we are in site 5. We learned it doesn’t hurt to ask!

For dinner, I grilled garlic-rubbed flank steak with chimichurri sauce. As usual Donna did all the work. All I did was heat it and eat it. Yummy.

Grilled garlic-rubbed flank steak with chimichurri sauce

Grilled garlic-rubbed flank steak with chimichurri sauce

After dinner a Royale coach by Monaco, built on a Prevost chassis showed up and parked in the site we were originally in. This million-dollar luxury coach belongs to Steve “Doc” Hopkins. He and his daughter are top fuel motorcycle drag racers. He also owns the Harley Davidson dealership in Shawano County, Wisconsin. They are on their way back from the motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota. A coach like this is something I can only dream of.

Royale Coach by Monaco on a Prevost chassis

Royale Coach by Monaco on a Prevost chassis

We crossed two state lines as we went from Indiana, through Illinois and into Wisconsin. Today I think we’ll scoot over to Humbird Cheese Mart. We are in Wisconsin so we might as well sample cheese! We’ll chill out here until Sunday and then move 200 miles to Prior Lake, just southwest of Minneapolis.

 

Doc's trailer

Doc’s trailer