Tuesday, May 26, 2015

No tornadoes: A successful trip across America's midsection

As I write, I'm sitting in my Mom's TV room in Ohio, watching the TV news about floods and tornadoes in Texas (in the exact same cities we visited last spring), Oklahoma and northern Mexico. I’m also sitting here feeling lucky that we just drove across the center of the USA from Utah to Ohio over eight days in the spring, and -- other than cold and rain at the beginning of the trip -- had good weather with no thunderstorms and very little wind.

From Lincoln, NE (the subject of my last post) we drove to Coralville, Iowa, near Iowa City and spent the night at the Coralville Walmart. The RV area is next to a lawn with trees, and near lots stores and restaurants. If you gotta do a Walmart, it's a good choice.

The next morning we took off for Michigan City Campground in Michigan City, Indiana, a nice private campground just ten miles from Lake Michigan. We had dinner and beers at Michigan City's Shoreline Brewery. My quinoa and bulger burger was a seriously delicious meal.

Saturday afternoon -- and after $48 in turnpike tolls -- we arrived at our destination: Wellington, Ohio. We drove 1698 miles and stayed in seven cities over eight days to get to where Bev grew up and where we'll be staying with Bev's Mom for the summer.  We're also planning some short trips so stay tuned.

View out our rig's back window in Coralville, Indiana.  That's our tow car with the kayaks in the foreground. After Coralville, we passed Chicago via I-80 on a Friday afternoon before a three-day weekend.  Not the best planning.  However, the Illinois and Indiana DOTs had opened lanes under construction wherever possible, so it wasn't bad.  The worst spot was a place with a big sign and flashing lights announcing a right lane closure ahead, but the lane was open.

Jim leaving Shoreline Brewery in Michigan City, Indiana, 50 miles east of Chicago.  Besides being on Lake Michigan, Michigan City is known for the nearby Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. We drove to the Dunes but the entrance was closed -- although we later learned the park has 14 other sections and they were open.  The closed road lead to Mount Baldy, a large moving dune with holes that appear and disappear, and that experts say are potentially dangerous. 
And most importantly:  Happy Birthday today to my niece, Brooke, who lives in Washington, DC, but was visiting her Ohio family for the holiday   Behind Brooke are her Dad (Bev's brother Bob); Bev; Brooke's Mom (SIL Suzie); Brooke's Grandma (Bev's Mom); and Brooke's Uncle Jim.  Love you, Brookie!