We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
T. S. Eliot
So much to do and even with all the time in a day there never seems to be enough time. That is why it never seems like we are re-visiting, it’s a new place each time.
A recap of our trip and campgrounds we have experienced in our two weeks and 4 days on the road:
* First stop was in Nebraska. A very nice, out of the way, State recreation area in North Platte, Lincoln County. We experienced a direct hit thunderstorm replete with hail and heavy rains. It was like being at a (not so great) drive-in movie, both of us sitting in the front seats watching the light show and rain. That’s when we discovered a leak that found its way into the lamp over our dining table. It was coming through the large slide side, with a built-in awning to prevent such a thing. Examination (the next day) showed a possible gap in the caulking where the awning meets the motorhome. Yes! We kept our caulking gun and it actually was still viable to use. Working in sync (an unusual happenstance, but required recipe for being in such close quarters with each other) we caulked and smoothed in hope of quelling any further leak with heavy rain. That didn’t give us much time to explore the North Platte River but I managed a bike ride through the wildlife and Crane viewing area, albeit no cranes this time of year. But it could remain a stop in the Springtime when we learned the cranes make a dramatic landing on their fascinating tour. We also didn’t really see the train buff roundabout that remains an active convergence of railroads today.
I got my fix of fresh cut corn straight from the field (actually it is late in the season I was told by a local). Our car transmission issue stifled any lake activities but we can always return.
* On to Ankany, Iowa and an especially lovely stay in Cherry Glen State Park Campground. A visit from a co-worker of Brian’s, a bottle of local Rye gifted and we had just enough time to catch a beautiful sunset over the Army Corps of Engineers well maintained lake. Next day was again preoccupied with fixing the jeep, but it gave us time to walk through much of the local streets and experience their new supermarket!
* This lead us to Illinois and our quick stay in Starved Rock State Park. Every place we have stayed thus far, we would stay again. We have chosen well (we collaborate but I confess that Brian loves his travel agent role and investigates long into the night). http://www.stateparks.com/starved_rock_state_park_in_illinois.html
* Into Chicago we rolled. We missed the truck stop where we had planned to detach the jeep and went behind the court house, on a deserted enough street to perform the task. A Sheriff immediately pulled up and came over to our RV and asked our intentions, advising us it was not a safe enough area to be. Enough said, we moved on and went directly to the (very clever) McCormick Convention Center Marshalin Yard. It is the truck parking area for shows and they open their space to visiting RV’s for the (reasonable for a large city) fee of $30 per nite. 24 hour gated, manned surveillance (you can stay if you like) and friendly truckers. The best value in Chicago! http://aboutrving.com/pdfs/BoondockingChicago.pdf
We chose an Airbnb https://www.airbnb.com
condo for our stay.
* Following our city fun it was back on the road toward Michigan. First stop Indiana Sand Dunes State Park. Unfortunately the reservations we thought we had were never made and we had to move to plan B (a good tip, always have a plan B, ask for email confirmations and check that it has been received;). The National Lakeshore Campground was merely a bike-ride away from pristine beach on Lake Michigan rather than being at the dunes.
There is always next time! http://www.npca.org/parks/indiana-dunes-national-lakeshore.html
* Our next stop was a squeeze into the small, private road our sister and her partner are fortunate to call their lake home. It is in Saugatuck on Lake Michigan and we had an amazing time, started to really relax. Sorry, not open to the public but gets rave reviews from us. We did have to trim trees to bring our massive home down their serene lane. Quite the spectacle!
* Also wanting to see the week day house (it is somewhat new for them and we had never seen it) we booked a stop-over near Ann Arbor, half way between our sisters and a friends condo, in Ypsilanti. Detroit-Greenfield RV Park. It is a private resort campground and was well maintained, easy in and out sites, with a large lake, wildflowers and walking trails. Perfect for a one night stand.
*Lakeport State Park on lake Huron was next on the agenda and as all the others, it did not disappoint although it was not our favorite. The park itself was quite nice but at the end of summer and on a beautiful beach, it was crowded. Good enough for a stop over. http://www.stateparks.com/lakeport.html
* Heading to Niagara Falls, American side, we went through Canada. They take entering very seriously, have all your ducks in a row and answer their questions honestly, as seriously as they are asked and you won’t have any issue. Driving the 3 hours through the outskirts of Ontario was uneventful and doesn’t do the country justice. We will be back to explore in ernest some day soon. Arrived at Four Mile Creek State Park in time for a spectacular sunset and to notice that NY keeps America beautiful. 3 Great Lakes in 3 days, the view over Lake Ontario had its own unique beauty.
* On to Ithaca, NY to visit my sister. Fairly sure it was too tight to park in their driveway, we were too late booking to snag a spot in the nearby Buttermilk Falls State Park (Cornell fall semester move-in weekend), we opted for going a bit over budget and staying in a resort campground with full hook up. It was quiet, well equipped and nicely laid out. Would still opt for the State Park but it was an easy going visit at Pinecreek Campground.
This brings us up to date, August 25, 2014. 11 Campgrounds in 18 days. When I put it that way, it seems ridiculous, and we know we will slow down eventually. We have a set date for a wedding in Connecticut, lots of people we want to touch base with after being away for so many years, and getting adjusted to life on the road.