The first day of the trip from Celina, Ohio to Coffeyville, Kansas went well. We spent the morning and early afternoon in Celina getting ready for the long trip. I aired up the tires on the motorhome and the car to the levels that we think are correct. (We will know the exact levels when we receive the printout from Rick Lang who weighed our rig at the rally.) With the additional air, our new Doran tire pressure monitoring system will let us know in real time if any of our tires are below the inflation level that we want them to be - peace of mind.
Our second task of the day was to get rid of, or redistribute, some of our weight. (The weight of the stuff in the motorhome - not Dianne's weight or my weight) The initial weighing of the motorhome at the rally indicated that the total weight of the rig was good, BUT that the rear axle was carrying too much weight, while the front axle could handle some more. We spent a few hours moving heavy items from the back to the front, and putting items that we did not need in the car to store at our little house in Pendleton. In order for this to be effective, we had to weigh each item so we could redetermine the new weight on each wheel. We did this on the bathroom scales. While it was a lot of work, it was very worthwhile to know that we are no longer overweight on either of our axles - a good feeling. By the way,
Jasper, Chaplin, and Big Chuck (the cat) enjoyed a little lounge time while we worked.
We left Celina at 2:00 p.m. Pendleton was directly on our route, so we stopped by to drop off our post office box key and unload the unwanted items from the motorhome. Since we needed to buy a couple of things for the motorhome, we then headed for the Camping World on the south side of Indianapolis to spend the night. You can park there for free with 30 or 50 amp hookups. We had a quiet night catching up on TV shows that we had recorded. It was a full day, but much was accomplished.
Day two started well. We slept in, bought some light bulbs at Camping World, and moved down I-70 toward Missouri. Everything went pretty well until we approached St. Louis. We decided to take the southern interstates around the city to I-44, rather than the northern loop. Our GPS "Sacajawea" agreed - BIG MISTAKE! Two miles after exiting I-70 all traffic stopped. For the next three miles (and one hour) we crawled along in a stop-and-go construction zone. Ouch. Oh well, we weren't in any hurry.
After crossing the Mississippi River, Dianne began looking for a place to stop for the night. We thought we might try to get halfway through Missouri before stopping for supper and spending the night. Those of you who know me and my semi-obsession to have everything planned would have been very proud that we did not start planning until what we thought would be an hour before the stop. What ensued next has set me back several years - deep into an anal-retentive state.
Our first attempt to stop was at a Walmart in Sullivan, MO. We gassed up at the Flying J and confirmed in our Walmart printout and "Walmart Locator" book, that this Walmart does allow overnight RV parking. We intended to buy groceries there, including our supper. We arrived at the Walmart to discover that bars had been erected over ALL the entrances, at a height of ten feet, preventing an RV or large truck from entering. We slowly proceeded down the narrow access road looking for a place to turn around, only to discover that similar bars prevented entrance to all the businesses on the street - restaurants included. We finally found an abandoned parking lot (very unlevel) to turn around. After making the turn and exiting the lot, the uneven ramp to the street caused our hitch to scrape the pavement - luckily no damage, but some tense moments until we checked things out. The merchants at Sullivan, MO probably lost about $200 in the purchases we would have made. It was the most UNWELCOMING place we have ever visited.
Back on the road.... (hungry with no supper), we considered several private campgrounds and possible Walmart stops. We passed a Good Sam sign next to a motel that was not listed in our guides. We decided that if the next exit, did not work out, we would go back. At the Rolla exit, we got junk food at McDonalds at a truck stop and decided that a two-mile drive on local roads to the Walmart was not worth the risk (based on our experience in Sullivan). So, we traveled back east to the Good Sam Park from the previous exit - another mistake. When we got to the park, we discovered that it was an uneven gravel area behind a run-down motel. There were no signs that even indicated an office. I got out to check things out on foot. Scary! Knocked over hookup sites and dingy trailers that looked like they had been there for a year! I walked completely around the motel to make sure that we could get out, which we did quickly. (Dianne here: I can't believe that they advertised that place from the interstate, and with a Good Sam logo, no less!)
So... Back on the road. It was beginning to get dark. We drove another 20 miles to our final destination for the day - a private park in the Ozarks three miles from I-44 down a very narrow road that was literally falling apart. Fortunately, we did not meet an oncoming vehicle, and we did not fall off the road in one of the crumbling (turning to mud) areas. The park itself was pretty nice, and was on the bank of a pretty river. The staff was friendly. Too bad we had no time to enjoy it.
THE PRETTY GOOD....
On the third day, we decided to drive the rest of the way to Coffeyville. Since the city park, where we hoped to stay, does not take reservations, we wanted to secure a spot before everything filled up. It was an uneventful drive. We left I-44 in Joplin, MO and drove an additional 80 miles into Kansas,
arriving in Coffeyville. We were able to drive into the park and secure a spot with a southern view (the satellite works!) thanks to the advice of Mike, a fellow work camper that had been communicating with Dianne and others about what to do when we arrived. Within an hour, John (also a work camper and a chaplain), knocked on our door with all kinds of information about Coffeyville, church services, and working at Amazon. He even picks up everyone's mail at the post office three days a week. We have already met a lot of really nice people here, including Mike and his wife Joyce, from Pensacola, Florida.
though not luxurious, is fine. It reminds me of a county fair ground.
The sites are gravel with grass between the sites. We have water and electric hook ups and a honey wagon that pumps out our holding tanks three times a week (a job Dianne says she would NEVER do!) We have views of the livestock buildings and the rodeo arena. The only concern about the campground is that it is adjacent to the Verdigris River, which is subject to flooding. In July of 2007 the park was under nine feet of water! Oh well, it is October, and it is not raining - probably nothing to worry about.
Yesterday, Dianne and I had an employment meeting in the nearby town of Independence, a really neat town that I know we will be visiting frequently. The meeting was pretty simple. We both peed in a cup and took a skills test. No big deal. We will probably start work next week. We still don't know our shift or our work assignments.
It is Thursday, and it is raining and raining and raining. Remember what I said about the flooding in Coffeyville? Well, we are under a flood advisory. The rain is supposed to continue until tomorrow morning.
I went out in a downpour to load up everything outside and to unhook everything except the electric connection, just in case we need to make a quick exit. The dogs did not enjoy their rain-drenched walk this morning, but they did do their business much quicker than usual.
We will let you know about our adventures working at Amazon.com. That is, unless we float down the river into Oklahoma.
By the way, it is still raining.