As I mentioned in my last post, rain was falling Sunday morning. The horse show at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, IL ended Saturday night and everyone was leaving. Most of the sites there don’t have sewer hook ups, so there was a long line at the dump station. Donna and I were in no hurry to leave. I watched the Formula One race from Hungary until heavy rainfall blocked the satellite reception. Oh well, it was time to get to work.
I donned a jacket and my palm straw hat and went out in the rain to pack up the trailer. Then I dumped and flushed the tanks and put the rest of the gear away while Donna made the interior ready for travel. We were ready to go at noon.
Our plan was to drive to Mt. Pleasant, Iowa where we could dry camp overnight at the Walmart there. When I programmed the destination into Nally, our Rand-McNally RV specific GPS, she wanted to route us up the interstate to Peoria, then west into Iowa on I-74 to US34. I wanted to take a rural route and stay off the Interstate. So, I changed the route by setting a waypoint in Rushville, Illinois. The thing is, sometimes Nally knows best. The GPS will take weight limits and clearances into consideration when advising the best route.
We had an easy drive, rain notwithstanding, through western Illinois on IL125 to US67. Traffic was light and soon we broke out of the storm clouds as we headed west. But, there was a snag. Nally diverted us outside of Macomb and we were on county roads driving through farm fields. The roads were narrow with no shoulder. Luckily there wasn’t any traffic either. After a few turns and about 10 minutes or so, she had us back on US67. I’m guessing there was some obstruction or weight limit in the town of Macomb that we had to work around.
We crossed the Mississippi River into Iowa. While we’re now west of the Mississippi, I think most people would agree we’re still in the Midwest, not the West yet. When we cross the Missouri River, I’ll feel like we’re back in the western states.
This is corn country. All day we were driving with corn fields on both sides of the highway, broken up here and there with soy beans. We found the Walmart in Mt. Pleasant and parked in a level corner of the lot. Donna made a shopping run and stocked up the pantry. When we stop at a Walmart, Donna can take her time and really shop the aisles. She can buy whatever she wants without having to think about how much space she has for stuff in the Spyder – she just walks a full shopping cart out to our rig.
After a quiet night in the Walmart lot, we hit the road Monday morning a little after 9am. Our destination was about 140 miles away – Griff’s Valley View RV Park in Des Moines. It was an easy route as we got on US34 from the Walmart parking lot and followed it west all the way to US65 into the east side of Des Moines. We stopped and fueled up at the Pilot/Flying J Travel Center a few miles from the RV park. It was only 11:30am, so we were early to arrive at the park.
There was a Blue Beacon truck wash next to the travel center, but it had a long line. We decided to join the queue since we were in no hurry. We were badly in need of a wash job. We’ve been traveling through wet weather for weeks on end without a wash and the coach was grimy. An hour later, were shiny and on our way.
After working around a couple of road closures, we found the RV Park. The park is owned and operated by the Griffieon family who also own a farm nearby. They run the park from an office at their farm. We were instructed to phone when we arrived at the park. Donna phoned and talked to Carol – she directed us into our site. It’s a paved 70-foot long back-in site. Plenty big enough for our size without dropping the trailer. But, I saw a problem. The 50-amp electrical service pedestal was located at the rear end of the site. With our trailer behind the coach, our power cord wouldn’t reach it.
Carol suggested dropping the trailer in a nearby area next to a garage. We found that parking area was already full of trailers. A guy working in the garage told us there was another parking area past our site. To get there, I needed to get us turned around. This wasn’t so easy. The park is laid out to allow entry and exit of big rigs, but the angle of the intersections make it impossible to get turned around when you’re heading out of the park. I drove out onto the county road in front of the park, went north about a mile where a dirt road intersected the county road. I was able to make a three-point turn there and re-enter the park. Whew!
We looked at the second parking area and found it full of trailers as well. Donna called Carol again and she told us to sit tight, Dave would come over to help us find a solution. By the time he arrived, I decided to unload the Spyder, back into the site and go buy a 50-amp extension cord.
Dave was really helpful and he told us to back in as far as possible and not worry about the trailer overhanging the lawn in back. As it turns out, we actually got in far enough for our cord to reach and got set up. Although we haven’t had the need for an extension cord much in the last five years, this was the second time in a month we had an issue with placement of the power pedestal. Once we were set up, I took the Spyder to Imperial RV Center about seven or eight miles away and bought a 15-foot 50-amp extension for $87. We’re okay without it right now, but if we have this issue again, I’ll be prepared.
On the way back from the RV store, I stopped at a roadside stand where a woman was selling fresh sweet corn in front of her farmhouse. The sign said “Sweet Corn $5.” I asked how much corn for five bucks and she said, “A dozen ears.” I said, “Oh no, too much.” She thought I meant five bucks was too much money for a dozen ears. I explained that there were only two of us and we couldn’t eat a dozen ears of corn in a reasonable amount of time. She gave me four ears of corn picked that morning for a dollar!
Griff’s Valley View RV Park is right on a bike trail. Donna was raring to go so I got her bike set up. While I was pumping up the tires, the presta valve on the rear tire broke. I removed the rear wheel and pulled the tire off. I had tubes and a pair of new tires on hand, so I put a new rear tire on while I was at it. Man, those Continental Gatorskin tires have stiff beads. It was a workout to seat the bead on the rim.
Donna rode out of the park and headed northeast on the Chichaqua Valley Trail. This is a paved multi-use trail from Baxter to Berwick – about 26 miles. It intersects with other trails into Des Moines, so biking from the RV park is convenient.
Later, I got the Weber Q grill out of the trailer while Donna prepped a steelhead trout filet with a mayonnaise based topping. I grilled the trout and Donna sauteed fresh mushrooms with bacon pieces to top a baked potato. She also cooked the corn on the cob. It was a delicious meal and the corn was the best we’ve had in a long time.
After dinner, we sat outside and enjoyed the evening. It’s very quiet here at night. We saw a lightning show in a thunderhead off in the distance but it stayed calm and dry here. The forecast for the coming week looks good with mostly sunny skies and temps reaching the low 80s.
*Just so you know, if you follow one of my links to Amazon and decide to purchase anything, you pay the same price as usual and I’ll earn a few pennies for the referral. It’ll go into the beer fund. Thanks!