Saturday, July 25, 2020
I woke to the sounds of a quail calling. What a wonderful sound that is rarely heard today. Then a flight of geese flew over calling. I didn’t have much time, but I wanted to go for a walk and see what this park is all about.
It is a county park first, with a 20-site campground in the back. It is one of the nicest parks I have seen. The Wood River runs through the back, near the campground. This is not to be confused with the Wood River in Oregon or Idaho or Rhode Island. Everything in this park is beautifully manicured. There are big, old trees providing shade for the many picnic areas. Walking trails surround the park and wind through it. There are ball fields, swings and basketball courts. It is great for walking or biking or just hanging out. This one goes into my “favorite campgrounds” file seen on the right.
I needed to get going, but I also needed a new sewer hose, and there was a Walmart a mile away. I thought I would just run in for that, but ended up getting more. By the time I got back, hooked up and drove slowly out of the park, it was 10:00. I wanted to get to Archway RV park in Mt. Vernon, Illinois on the east side of St. Louis, a little over 9 hours away.
There were two big cities in my path – Kansas City and St. Louis. I discovered I could get around Kansas City by turning off I29 and taking 36 that parallels I70, but it @50 miles to the north. Rt. 36 turned out to be a very good, 4-lane highway with 65 mph speed limit and very little traffic. I liked it. The only downside is there are no rest areas. Fortunately, I carry one with me.
I could have crossed the Mississippi River at Hannibal, where Mark Twain grew up. The population was 1,000 in 1839, and it was a bustling river town. The population is 18,000 today. I was probably right to follow the GPS, following 61 south to St. Louis on the west side of the Mississippi. It was Saturday, so at least I wouldn’t be in rush hour. People drive crazy in big cities, and this was no different – ignoring all speed limits, dodging in and out of traffic like it’s a video game and crossing three lanes to an exit.
A quick drive through the city gives me no right to make a valid judgement, but the infrastructure is crumbling, and the city just looks run down. I was happy to get across the Mississippi and get on I64. I had called Archway RV Park earlier, and they said a list of vacant spots would be on the board outside the office. Fill out the form, deposit your money and leave it in the drop box.
I have stayed there three times now. Ralph and his daughter, Tiffany, run it and they do it well. It’s a good travel RV park with good, clean bathrooms, nice people and everything you need close by.
It was very hot and humid and every air conditioner was running. At 3:00 in the morning my power went out. My circuit breaker wasn’t off and neither was the one where I pugged in. On the other side of the street all air conditioners were humming. Amazing how conditioned to it we have become. Fortunately it was cool enough that I opened some windows, turned the fans on and went back to sleep.
I was hooking up when my neighbor asked if I had lost power. He was getting ready to move across the street. After some discussion of the craziness of the world, he said he has a 40’ sailboat stuck somewhere in Europe. They have closed the borders, so he has to pay someone $8,000 to move the boat to Turkey. He and his wife have been doing a lot of traveling on the boat, but now with borders closing, things will become more difficult.
I was late again as I headed out of Archway. Setting the GPS, I could get home in 683 miles and 10 hours. I knew that would be pushing it too hard, but just relaxed, deciding if it took two days, I would still be home the day before our 47th anniversary. As the day wore on, I texted Martha I might stop near Huntington, West Virginia. She thought that was a good idea.
I ended up at Ashland/Huntington West KOA. Like Archway, it’s a good travel park and nice owners. I was happy to have a spot for the night. I turned the air conditioner on and settled in. After popping the circuit breaker on the post three times, I realized I had turned on the water heater with electric, and that was just too much for the 30 amp circuit.
My nest door neighbor walked by with her dog, asking where I was from. They were from Amelia, Virginia and were returning home. They had planned a trip to Alaska, but Canada wouldn’t let them cross the border. “Oh well”, she said. “We’ll try again next year.”