EPISODE 7

It took a little longer to get ready on Monday because we were draining both tanks to help the lighten the load. Dad had also suggested using fuel injector cleaner regularly because it boosted the gas mileage.

Just before reaching Goodland, KS we stopped at a visitor center where we found out that they had a giant (24'X32') Picasso print on display in the town. You could see the painting on its giant easel from the highway. It's part of an international project to feature artist's work all over the world. Kansas was picked for this one because it's associated with sunflowers (but it's known as the Wheat State?).
Picasso painting

We battled another headwind all day, so instead of making Topeka we stopped at the KOA at Salina. It's halfway between Denver and St. Lois, in the middle of nowhere. Maggie was putting some clothes in the laundry that night while I was flipping channels on the TV in the laundry room. Imagine my surprise when I found one channel with Navy / Marine Corps News on it. That's the Navy program produced in my building! I don't remember any Navy installations out here. My buddy, Gary (TV engineer) says that it's no charge to download it from the satellite, so it shows up all over the country on cable. We finished up the ice cream that night with some cherries on top.

On Tuesday we made to a KOA in Granite City, Illinois. Located east of St. Louis we had the trailer set up just before a rainstorm hit the area. It was another nice, friendly campground that looked like it had many full time residents. With the rain and humidity we decided to stay in the trailer that night with the air conditioner on. Breakfast the next morning was at a nearby Waffle House. We parked alongside a half dozen 18-wheelers and tried not to look intimidated.

Eastward Ho! Our itinerary showed a stop in Louisville, Kentucky to visit my Uncle Sam and his family. Dad had recommended the KOA south of the city, but we were going past the one north in Clarksville, Indiana so we decided to try there. We entered the Louisville metro area during rush hour, with Maggie driving through the traffic and construction areas. As we approached the office a KOA employee approached us and asked do we have reservations? Nope. Were we the people that just called the office looking for a spot? Wrong again. We didn't think that we'd have a problem during the weekday finding sites. The man checked with the office after finding out that we only needed one night. Little did we realize that this was the Wednesday before Kentucky Derby weekend! He led us to a site that looked like it was supposed to be large enough for a small Winnabago or Pick-up trailer and I had to back it in. He offered to help, and we put on a performance worthy of Americas Funniest Videos. Because of the tightness of the spaces our trailer wheels were perched precariously near the end of the tarmac. Maggie had to use our leveling blocks to put down the stabilizers in the back because of the drop-off. Then she found a tick climbing on her which just added fuel to the fire. Did I tell you it was in the 80s, and high humidity? The KOA listing said they had a pool available, but it was access to a hotel pool down the road a couple of blocks from the camp. No swimming tonight!

As soon as we were sure the Scamp wouldn't roll away we had supper then drove out to find Uncle Sam's house. We drove through Louisville proper, and using the GPS (love that thing) arrived at the house around 6:30. Uncle Sam greeted us at the door with Mr. T, my Cousin Sue’s dog. We spent a pleasant evening on the deck with my cousin Steven, his wife Betty, and Sue. They served a delicious strawberry cake, and forced me to eat 2 big pieces. Like I really resisted. At one point the conversation turned to the church that Sue worked at, and she offered us a tour the following morning as our route went right past the exit. Soon it was time to say our farewells, and we were invited to visit again. Hmmm, maybe next year for the "Thunder over Louisville " celebration? It's part of a week long event that culminates in the Derby. On the way back to the trailer we found another White Castle and bought a few burgers for later meals.

We woke up early and drove out of the camp with no other incidents. Of the 2 KOAs this was the one farther away from the horse track, so we figured that it was probably a good thing we stopped at this one, because the other one was surely full. Our route changed from 70 to 64 and we found exit 17B, turned off and called Sue. A little while later she came out to escort us on a tour of the church.

church 1
church 2
It looked big on the outside, but was enormous on the inside. I believe she said they had room for 9,000 during services. We went from the 5th floor to the3rd to the 1st, with me dragging my camera bag and tripod. Sue showed us her office, where she creates graphics for various programs and to be projected on screen during services. It sounds like a great job.... I wonder if she'll need an assistant when I retire? An hour and a half later we were back on route 64 heading for the east coast and Virginia.

We were going to make this the last leg, but towing the trailer showed us that mountain travel nearly doubled your road time. Still, it was beautiful scenery through Kentucky and into West Virginia, until the rain started. We survived a number of cloudbursts that slowed us down even more. Maggie called ahead to the Natural Bridge KOA in Virginia to see if they had a site available. They said no problem, especially for a small trailer like ours. We got there at 7:25, five minutes before the office closed. They stamped our KOA Passport book, so that our 11th campsite would have a $20 discount! The sites looked like they were all pull-throughs, with lots of trees. When we started setting up with found there were lots of mosquitoes, too. Maggie and I switched on our electronic mosquito repellers (no joke!), and they didn't bother us. In fact, one that got into the van at the office was trying to get as far away from us as it could! We went to the Pink Cadillac restaurant for a late supper. It was decorated in a 50s style and the food was good. When we went back to camp we took our showers and turned in for the night.

Friday's journey was just about 3 hours long. We parked the trailer and unloaded the refrigerated items into the van. Over the next days we'd clean out the trailer and do some customizing we'd thought up. During the past 16 days we had traveled 5,160 miles through 15 states living in a 16' trailer with a cat, and were still married. Next road trip? Back to Shipshewana!

foto ace