Holy smokes is it HOT!!! We are on our first road trip with The Grand Beauty, pulled by the Beast. Overall the trip has gone well, but long and HOT.
We started off the trip at Harrington Beach State Park in Belgium with family. We had a great time relaxing and trying to keep warm. Yes you heard that right! Thursday night got into the very low 50's and with all the windows open, it did get pretty chilly! My cousin, Kassi, was a trooper and braved it out in a tent...with layers of clothes, a blanket and a sleeping bag. But we lived to enjoy another day at Harrington Beach on Lake Michigan.
Friday after a little bit of rain, Rick, Kassi, our son Nicholas and I went for a nice long walk through the park. They do have some great picturesque trails on the lake, through the woods and around an old quarry which is now a lake. We even saw a couple deer who are not afraid of people or the pictures you take of them. Later in the afternoon, the rest of the family showed up and we had 7 sites in the non-electric section of the campground. We celebrated some birthdays and had a great night at the campfire, except for the darn hollow log that just wouldn't cooperate. Saturday morning we packed up early as it started to get warm and steamy. This is where the hot, hot begins!
After saying our goodbyes and emptying tanks, we were on our way south. The drive through Milwaukee was uneventful, except for the bumpy roads that were pretty jarring at times. I wonder if I-10 across the south is really worse than these roads! Our first day was the longest drive from Belgium, WI to Springfield, IL. We left at 11am and arrived at the IL State Fairgrounds campground a little after 6pm. With 7 hours of driving, we were both exhausted and hot. It was 96 degrees when we arrived and very humid. We opted for full hookups with 50amp so we could run both air conditioners. Unfortunately, those sites were in the blacktop parking area. After setting up, Rick looked like a drowned rat! By the time we were done and the rv was cooled to a steamy 88 degrees, we decided to go get a quick dinner out. Way too hot to cook. We found a cool, hole in the wall gyro shop and had a relaxing dinner. When we got back to the RV, it had cooled considerably and we crawled right into bed, exhausted from the long hot day.
Sunday we were up early, as it was going to be another hot day, with temps hitting 100. We went out for a Fathers Day breakfast and a quick fuel up at Walmart along with some needed items. We had originally planned to stop at Lincoln's home Sunday morning before leaving, but decided to forego that and get packed up before the heat of the day set in. We were hooked up and on the road by 11am. It was already in the low 90's and humid. Today was going to be another long day, with us looking to make it to Lebanon, MO where we had reservations at Happy Trails RV Park. Southern IL roads were in better shape and we sailed along. The landscape began to get a bit more hilly and trees were dotting the landscape rather than the flat, farm landscape of Central IL. Hitting St Louis proved to be a bit more challenging. We were wanting to go around STL on I-255, but due to construction and very confusing road signs, we missed that exit and ended up going straight through STL where even more confusing signage continued. When you are in a big truck pulling 42 feet of heavy metal behind you, it is almost impossible to make quick moves, much less change lanes on a dime like the other little cars were doing in front of us. Oh, and let's not forget the semi that decided he did not want to get on I-65 and cut back in front of us. Luckily, Rick saw he hesitated and gave him a bit of room to course correct. I think that proved to be the longest and most frustrating part of the trip thus far. Although, one other frustrating detail that proved to complicate things is that the new Tire Pressure Monitoring System(TPMS) for the RV continued to malfunction both days. This is a separate system from the trucks TPMS system and is monitored on a cellphone app. When working correctly, it is really cool and continuously monitors the temperature and pressure of each RV tire and alerts you to any abnormalities. The past two days however, it has continued to loose connection to two of the tire transmitters and then throws off an alarm on the app. Each transmitter has a flat, watch-like battery and initially we attributed it to the batteries going dead prematurely, so we changed them out with new ones that were sent with the unit. We soon ran out of fresh batteries and were getting pretty frustrated with it. Rick then decided to take the batteries out and let them sit when we hit a rest area, re-installing them before we left and that seemed to work for a bit, but then re-alarmed again further down the road. Our last ditch effort was to move the two alarming transmitters to different tires. We will see what happens there. We do have a communication into the company and an order for free replacement batteries. Perhaps it is faulty transmitters. If it is, we will need to wait to get those installed until we are back in WI.
We arrived at Happy Trails RV Park around 4pm, which made for a 5 hour drive day. Many Fulltime Rv'ers stick to a firm rule of 3 hours of drive time or be off the road and set up by 3pm. I now can completely understand and appreciate that way of thinking! If we were not needing to be at our destination by Monday, I would not be pushing the drive time soo hard. After these two days of 5 to 7 hours of driving, not to mention in this heat, we are beat! Hopefully a good night sleep and only 3 hours of driving to our final destination tomorrow will be better. I will leave you with some pictures of our lovely full hook up site by the pond.
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