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all but the cats write here ... to remember, to share, to mumble, to shout ... follow along by RSS or email if you like.

Filtering by Tag: IA

Westward Ho! / Day 3 ... Sloshing and Bumping into Nebraska


Wednesday, August 17

We'd planned to start the day with a John Deere factory tour, but had discovered at the last minute that the minimum age was 13, and so gave that up and headed west on Rt 30. The plains slowly gave way to gorgeous rolling farmland, and we dropped down to Rt 20 in the hopes of avoiding thumping our way over the expansion joints.

You see, there's something about the distance between Matilda's back wheels and the trailer's axles that is exactly the wrong distance to hit the expansion joints built into many roads … it causes a very annoying bounce in the hitch that makes a see-sawing motion between the truck and trailer, and it can't be cured by speed or mitigated much at all by the sway bars that we have installed. It's enough to drive us all a bit batty if it goes on for more than 10 miles.

Rt 20 started out with the same issue, but quickly changed into something smoother and we got into Nebraska and found a cheap city park campground in Schulyer, just before dark. Dark enough that I could only smell the cow crap splattered all over the front of the camper – a gift from Nebraska's very plentiful cattle transports, which we promptly renamed 'poop trucks'. A good day, a quiet night.

previous posts : DAY 1  / DAY 2

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Westward Ho! / Day 2 ... Iowa! + Friends


Tuesday, August 16

The next morning we were finished breakfast and about to leave, when a man knocked on our camper door and asked for my husband. Turned out his name was Archie, and in a thick Louisiana accent, delivered through a wad of chewing tobacco, he managed to tell Michael that he needed help changing a tire on his 5th wheel trailer. Apparently he delivers trailers for a living, and didn't have the right tools with him. After a successful tire change, we got underway … with a small detour north.

Just in case you're wondering how big those windmill blades actually are ...

Just in case you're wondering how big those windmill blades actually are ...

You see, my FaceBook message of the day before had announced the commencement of our trek west, and Kim (of Phil and Kim, Max and Chloe, of Iowa Falls) commented that they'd love to have us visit if we could manage it. We decided “Yes, we'll come for a couple of hours!” and hopped the hour north to get to their place.

A quick tour of their new home (orange!), lunch, the Nerf guns coming out, the ball bin getting dumped, Phil's arrival home from work getting closer …

Lunch turned into supper, dusk rolled in and a bonfire was lit … and yes, we spent the night!

previous posts : DAY 1

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Westward Ho! / Day 1 ... Getting Rolling at Last


Monday, August 15 / Day 1

Back when we started this trip, I imagined it would take about a year and a half to make it through most of the lower 48 states, visiting and working and seeing a few sights. I was rather off in my expectations, however, as we didn't cross the Mississippi in any meaningful way (as in actually intending to keep going west) until August 15h of this year … the 608th day since we left home.

At the beginning of this year, when we got the Save the Date message for Aran and Lexie's wedding in San Francisco on August 28th, my gut reaction was YES!!, largely because we really really wanted to be there, but also because it just felt right, even though we've found that fixed dates for anything can be very limiting. The ebb and flow of this whole shebang has a more in-the-moment feel to it than any other period of my life. What's immediately in front of us is going to get the lion's share of our attention, and only shifts when we know it's time to move on … and God seems to make it pretty clear when that should be.

So jumping at a wedding on the West Coast wasn't our usual way of operating at all. We'd had no offers of work out there yet, and the density of folks we already knew was a lot sparser. It was going to be a financial/faith leap on a bigger scale than we'd yet encountered.

So by the time August 15 rolled around, and we'd gotten most of the loose ends in Illinois taken care of and a few days of R&R in Indiana, we had 13 days until the wedding, and 2161 miles to go if we took Google's most efficient option. Which we, of course, did not take. Mountains to cross! Plains to roll through! Parks to visit! Scenic overlooks to test the brakes on! Not to mention, campsites to find, camp to set up, and camp to break, every. single. day.

We started off on the 15th of August at 5:30 pm (yes, PM) from Chesterton Indiana, in the pouring rain … after a snafu with Amazon that resulted in chasing a package back to the post office, delaying us by several hours. We made it across IL and just into Iowa, parking at a rest area on I80 in Bettendorf for the night. I was coming down with a cold, we were all completely wiped, and crashed hard.

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