May 28, 2018 – Finally have some internet so a quick post. Been rolling down the highway, not a lot of exciting explorations yet.
May 23 – Last of the packing, saying good-byes, and took off. Drove only a few hours and camped in Pisgah National Forest at Lake Powhatan just past Asheville. Had no problem climbing the mountain, so different from driving the Dolphin which was always in the slow lane and chugging away with me holding my breath. Highlander towing Aliner a breeze, didn’t lose power or speed, but sure lost mpg! went from around 20mpg to 15, but pretty quickly recovered to 18 after the climb. Wanted to get up the mountain but not drive down the long, winding, fast moving highway on the other side late in the day while tired, do that fresh the next morning.
Lake Powhatan very nice CG, spacious, shady, level. Neighbor was another Aliner, an old one. The folks were from New England and very nice. Since we got there early, walked some trails, around the sweet little lake, up one side and down the other of Bent Creek, crossing a footbridge. Xena met a friend and played fetch in the creek – off leash!!
Arboretum is very near, but since we’re just passing through didn’t go. Been there anyway, but a nice thing to do if you’re camping here.
Didn’t unhitch (luckily it was level), or take the stove or anything else out. Ate cold supper, no mess, no fuss, leave early and easy in the morning.
May 24 – Left before 8, long driving day ahead. 400 miles, 9 hrs (or so). Coming down the mountain not so bad as I feared. Guess I can let go of that fear of towing in mountains. Wonderful mountain views, otherwise uneventful drive through TN, ended up at Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area in KY. Visitor Center at Golden Pond right in the center of this huge Park. I knew from research they had plenty of dispersed camping throughout if I couldn’t get in one of the campgrounds, but snagged a spot in the tent area of Hillman Ferry CG. Right up the bank on the Kentucky Lake, very hilly and a little difficult to maneuver into the site but a great view of lake through the trees. (Sorry can’t include picture) $6, including shower, which I needed. It’s really gotten unseasonably HOT all of a sudden! Very nice place, be a good place to come back to when not just passing through.
May 25 – Once again didn’t unhitch, left early – 7:30. Really nice drive through the park (it’s real long and narrow) including a short scenic drive along the river. Drive through southern Illinois and through St. Louis, lots of really big farm fields, amber waves of grain, wide open spaces, a few rolling hills. I find all the different terrains and views so appealing. Could see the Arch in St. Louis, but not close enough for a pictures, did get picture of bridge over MS River. Another long drive day tho it shouldn’t have been. Made a couple wrong turns and when the computer told me it was soon time for oil change, drove around a hour or so trying to get to a Toyota dealership which I could see from the Interstate but couldn’t get to – how frustrating! Wanted to get the tires rotated also so didn’t want to go to a jiffy lube type place. They couldn’t work me in anyway, after all that. I’d rather do it without the camper hitched anyway so will just wait til I unhitch.
Stopped at Graham Cave State Park west of St. Louis. Had a reservation for this one because I didn’t want to get stuck on Memorial Day weekend. Didn’t need it the first night, but filled up the second. The cave is an interesting big flat rock creating a large ledge covering an area that Archeologists have studied and found was used by native peoples 10,000 yrs. The grandson of the man who owned it when he discovered first skeleton and contacted Archeologists actually works there doing interpretive tours. I talked with him, very interesting. The floor level was much higher by about 6 ‘ than it was when lived in, centuries of debris and dirt and dust accumulated to raise it. Digs have gotten parts of it back down to where it was and found centuries of artifacts and stone structures. Graffiti is visible on the bottom of the ceiling boulder where folks left their mark when floor was high enough to reach it.
Lots of other massive boulders and rock formations everywhere around, shaped and piled in very interesting ways, with horizontal and vertical fissures, looking like huge blocks piled on each other. Major geological ruptures must have come along eons ago. Good trails to view these. Another hot day, 90s, heat index over 100! What’s this about, we’re heading north, supposed to cool down!! In the afternoon we took a cool wooded trail down to the river to cool off and again Xena took a swim. I just walked in the shallow edge which was also cooling. Heat didn’t abate til after 8!! I haven’t had any elec since I left home, so no ac possible. I know all you home folks are facing lots of rain and probably wind from tropical storm that I’m missing, so I’ll quit complaining. And a couple more days it’ll be back to normal here.
May 27 – After 2 nights at Graham Cave, left early again and headed to Iowa. More huge farm fields, lots of corn and grain. Midwest, what else. Off Interstate and onto small country roads. Visiting with a landdyke friend for a few days. Even farther north, even hotter!!! Thermometer says 96 now, at 1pm!! Thought I’d be able to plug in but the wiring in her old house isn’t grounded, probably wouldn’t have been a problem but after the previous experience with old house wiring I’m not taking a chance. I have the fancy (read expensive) surge protector/elec power problem detector now so could see the problem before plugging in.
Kate has chickens and a lot of goats. Late yesterday afternoon we walked them up the road to pasture where she takes them every day. Fun to see 20 something goats, old and kids, herded down the road and then enjoying lush pasture. Her 3 dogs, one a border collie, and Xena helped move them along. The dogs took a dip in the pond up in the pasture. Laying low this afternoon, may take a swim in the pond later. Did I say it was really really hot!!!
Didnt take camera/ph on our walk so no pictures
As it turns out Kate’s cousin is a mechanic and tomorrow we’ll take car to get that oil change and tire rotation sans camper. Perfect how things work out.
Some of you wanted an itinerary so here’s a sketchy one. Wed. morning we’ll leave here and head on up to the Dakotas and begin the adventures of the Northern Rockies. After a night near Souix Falls, we’ll go to Lake Ashtabula then Theodore Roosevelt National Park, in ND to start June off. Then back into SD for the Badlands, Black Hills, Bighorn, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons and Glacier before heading farther north to the Canadian Rockies – Banff, Jasper, Waterton, Kootenay. Big trip, loaded. I’m so excited to be actually on the road for this long planned and awaited adventurous road trip. Wish you were here.
Dreaming, and maybe a little anxious. And a LOT of sweaty!!
Xena and Lynn