Kansas – The 26th State

Current Location: Salina KOA, Salina, Kansas

Well, it is the 26th state we’ve camped in, at least. Last night, we were looking at options for traveling from Wichita Falls to Colorado Springs, where we were planning on visiting friends and staying an extra night. The most direct route was on US 287, US 87 and US 64. The closest interstate route was back up I-44 to Oklahoma City, I-35 to Wichita, Kansas, I-135 to Salina, then I-70 west.

The latter route, though 200 miles longer, was the one we decided upon. The main reason for the longer interstate route was somewhat selfish in a way. Malcolm wanted to be able to add a Kansas sticker to our state map, which has been stagnant for almost a year at 25 states. The other reason was just a gut feeling about staying on interstates.

As it turns out, there is a really bad storm front rolling off the Rockies through Denver (which had tornadoes) and Colorado Springs. It plans to be sweeping down through that area, southern Kansas and into Oklahoma tomorrow. That would have had us right in the middle of it tomorrow since we would have been in the Amarillo area this evening. It would also put us driving through parts of it on the way into Colorado tomorrow afternoon.

We’ve decided to head on north on US 81 and catch interstates until we can join up with I-90 in the Iowa and South Dakota area. We’ll try to catch Colorado Springs on the way back through in a couple weeks. We would rather avoid a bunch of weather if we can.

After we got set up here, we headed down the road to the grocery store and picked up a few items and filled up the truck while we were there. The KOA here is pretty nice and very reasonably priced. They have a teepee you can stay in that is pretty neat.

Teepee

Teepee

Not many states on the license plate game today – 24. Must be the route. That, and we weren’t paying as much attention to plates today.

License Plates

License Plates

Sizzling in Texas

Current Location: Coyote Ranch Resort, Wichita Falls, Texas

We hit the road at 7:30 AM this morning, fueling up the truck just up the road from the campground and rolling west on I-40. Traffic was light, as we expected, so no slow-downs through the remaining construction zones (Oklahoma has almost as many as Arkansas).

We traveled west to just shy of Oklahoma City on I-40, then took I-240 south and west and picked up I-44 south. I-44 is also known as the H.E. Bailey turnpike and is a toll road. We don’t have an appropriate toll tag for Oklahoma, so we stopped three times and paid toll – about $9.50 total – in cash.

We arrived in Wichita Falls about 3:30 PM. It was a toasty 105 degrees when we arrived. As this blog post is being written five hours later, our air conditioners are still slowly catching up.

Toasty

Toasty

David drove over from Sheppard AFB and visited with us a few minutes before we all piled in the truck and headed over to Cracker Barrel for dinner. Once back at the trailer, he had to run back over to the base for a drill. We will be here all day tomorrow, so we will get to see him again tomorrow evening.

With the lighter traffic today, we didn’t capture quite as many license plates, but still saw 30 states.

License Plates

License Plates

Heading West – Arkansas

Current Location: Ivy’s Cove RV Retreat, Russellville, Arkansas

We were pulling out of the KOA in Nashville this morning at 7:30 AM. Our plan was to make it to Russellville, Arkansas as it is about halfway to Wichita Falls, Texas (via I-40 and I-44) to visit our son. We made it, rolling in about 5:15 PM. We hit a couple backups due to construction that weren’t too bad and a backup due to an earlier accident that put us behind about an hour.

Callie "hiding" because she know's we're packing up to leave

Callie “hiding” because she know’s we’re packing up to leave

Traffic fun

Traffic fun

We called ahead to the campground here, Ivy’s Cove, and got an answering machine. However, they called back a few minutes later and put our name on a nice, long pull-through spot. Once we got here, paid and pulled around to our spot, we decided to just drop the front jacks, stay hitched to the truck, hook up the 50 Amp cord, put out the slides and turn on the air conditioners.

Pulled into our spot.

Pulled into our spot.

Malcolm tossed a couple hamburgers on the grill to keep the heat down inside and we just had hamburgers and chips for dinner. The temperature was 97 and the humidity was fairly high when we arrived. As Malcolm is writing this post at 8:50 PM, the rear air conditioner is still playing catchup and blowing on high. It’s almost there, though.

Burgers on the grill

Burgers on the grill

We started back on our license plate sightings this trip. We had given our board away to some traveling friends that have younger children but missed it enough that we bought another. Today’s trip across I-40 garnered quite a few plates – 34 of them.

License Plates Sighted

License Plates Sighted

Leaving in the Morning

Current Location: Nashville KOA, Nashville, Tennessee

Not much new to report. We’re all geared up and ready to leave in the morning on a four-week journey out west to Washington state and then back here. Malcolm left work at 4:30 today so he could turn in the rental car.

We’ve filled up the truck with fuel and done most of our pre-trip prep including closing off the tanks and stowing the hoses, putting some fresh water in the tank and putting the water hose away (we run on the pump in preparation for leaving) and putting the bikes on the carrier and covering them. In the morning, we need to do very little before hitching up and pulling out.

You can follow along with us on our Trip 15 page.

 

Counting Down

Current Location: Nashville KOA, Nashville, Tennessee

We’re counting down the days until we leave on Saturday to head west. Malcolm’s been fairly busy at work and his newest co-worker in his area is down in Alabama getting last-minute information from Malcolm’s other co-worker that is leaving the company (the same day we leave to go out west). That leaves the one new co-worker all the responsibility of handling software issues. Malcolm has pledged evening email response support to help the new co-worker get his job done.

Last night, we went back over to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream shop and tried some of the excellent ice cream they have there. They have all kinds of unique flavors. The small is $5 and is two smallish scoops in a cup. You can add toppings and other items, but we took ours plain. It was a little pricey, but it was a fun outing.

The flavors at Jeni's

The flavors at Jeni’s

One idea we’ve been rolling around for a few weeks now is replacing the TV in our bedroom with shelves to display items such as the painted horses that Malcolm has to pack away every time we move (we rarely even get them out any more to save time). We purchased a shelving unit we liked a few weeks ago, but returned it because it was two to three inches too long for the space.

We decided on different shelves in the same style to put over the dresser but couldn’t find them at any of the local Lowe’s stores. Malcolm noticed that one of the stores showed several in stock so we drove over last night and discovered they didn’t have any. We decided to buy the original shelves and cut them down to size, instead. Since it was late when we got in, we waited until today to work on that.

We took the TV and the backer board down and mounted the new (and 2″ shorter) shelves in its place. It really works well in the space. Malcolm put a few of his newer horse models on a shelf to see how they’d look. We plan on mounting those and the four that we have still packed away onto the shelves with command strips so that they won’t slide around and we won’t have to re-pack them every time.

New shelves

New shelves

With the shelves out of the way, Malcolm climbed up onto the roof to inspect our rear air conditioner. It has been blowing out musty air lately. He found that the way the drain is designed allows a little water to remain around the bottom of the coils where the fan pulls air in from the trailer. This allows the water to gradually turn green and start smelling.

Malcolm couldn’t really clean the catch tray out, but he did gently brush off any debris from both sides of the coils and put everything back together. He also bumped the trailer level over towards the off-door side a bit (where the drain exits the coil area of the A/C) to see if that would help it drain out a little better. We’ll see. Meanwhile, we’ll probably pump a little bleach up into the drain pan to see if that will help clean out the mildew.