My favorite part of each leg of the journey is the part when you pull into the next site. Most of the actual highway experience has no real appeal to me. Yes, there are some well maintained, wide-enough roads that wind through a panoramic paradise, but this is not the norm. More often, you find yourself on overcrowded highways, in work zones or on narrow, twisting country roads with no shoulder.
Room to Breathe…
After our cramped quarters in Ohio, it was a relief to pull into a generous, sequestered spot at Potato Creek State Park near South Bend, Indiana.
We traveled from Marblehead, Ohio to South Bend on I-80. Interstates, in less populated areas of the country, can offer fairly stress-free driving, UNLESS they are under construction and down to one lane for endless, endless miles.
There were orange barrels lining the highway for as far as the eye could see (and considerably further). We were shifting from left lane to right lane while squeezing between concrete jersey barriers. I hold my breath when I am wedged between walls. I had a distinctly blue pallor for many, many miles. Here is my insider stock tip for the day: Invest in a company that makes traffic cones. If Biden sells his infrastructure package, you will get rich quickly. Already, I am marveling at the number of cones that I nearly knocked over while doing the ‘Lane-Change-Lindy-Hop’ through the great state of Indiana.
Potato Creek is a large, beautiful park. It has an expansive swimming beach, a tree-lined bike trail and numerous hiking trails. We attempted a hike upon our arrival but soon discovered that we needed to reroute due to trail blockages. There had been tornadic activity in the area 24 hours prior to our appearance. Large branches and trees were down everywhere. The park rangers told us to expect chain saw noise the following day but we were up and out of there before the buzzing began.
So, back on the road again. This time from South Bend, Indiana to Baraboo, Wisconsin. This particular leg of the journey included driving near Gary, Indiana and Chicago, Illinois. There are a lot of people in this area which translates into, a lot of cars and a lot of eighteen-wheelers flying down the four-lane highways, many of which are also under construction. (Buy stock in orange barrels.) Truckers own the road, and I frequently found myself, going 70-miles-per-hour with a truck on the left and a truck on the right. This creates a bit of a wind tunnel that rocks the RV and jostles the nerves. Already my knuckles were white from the death grip on the steering wheel when it became obvious that a gas stop was unavoidable.
We left the highway and entered a Mobile Station that did not have diesel fuel. The parking lot was not huge but we could carefully maneuver our way out of it, IF we entered the adjoining parking lot that clearly posted NO TRUCKS ALLOWED. So, we drove our rig into an area in which it was prohibited. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do, even if you are (only slightly ?) breaking the law. We had to reenter the highway and find another gas station, which we did, but not before having to circle through the parking lot of a private business to find the entrance. At this point, having made it to the pump, you would think that we would be relieved. Not so. If I was going to exit the gas island without side-swiping the pumps with the tow vehicle, I was going to need a wide turning berth. This was not possible because a bus was parked in a spot that was posted NO PARKING. There were no occupants and I began to panic. My husband was irritated and telling me to pull forward so that he could fill the tank. In the meantime, two burly guys in uniforms, with holstered guns, were walking towards the bus. I was afraid to move. I sensed that perhaps they were prison guards, and the bus was for inmate transport. They got in the bus and were intending to drive away, so I was waiting for them to make their move. My husband continued to be annoyed, telling me to “move forward”. I opted to stay still. My husband was angered, but those other guys had guns. I waited until they left. It was a lose-lose situation. <sigh>
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts…”– Anthony Bourdain
Ahhhh…. pulled into our site at Devil’s Lake State park near Baraboo, WI. From our cursory walk through the grounds, it appears that this will be a worthwhile stop. We have plans to visit area attractions, but may have to forego some activities due to current inclement weather. The rain shall pass, and we will resume our endeavors….