The camper was great and it feels good to wake up dry. I was worried about claustrophobia, both for me and Mabel but no signs of it yet. There is plenty of room and she stayed in her bed, no sneaking on to the “large” twin mattress I will sleep on for the next ten weeks. Sleeping in such a small bed brings me back to Basic Training just without the morning yelling from the TI to “Get Up, Get Up, Get Up. Get out a bed!!!!” It was 60 degrees in the screen tent as I did my morning routine, and I dallied until 10:00 trying to recap the trip. My friend from way, way back, George Tucker (@tuckertues) told me to record every detail of the journey. I am following his advice, I just didn’t know it would be so much work. But I enjoy this part of my day and will have a record of what happened to look back on when I am old and balder. The car was packed and I jumped in to start the day but it wasn’t starting. There was a harmonious, rythmic clicking sound and a Christmas light flashing coming from my dashboard. All the lights twinkled rapidly as I turned the key but no engine sound resulted. The things that go through your mind when this happens. After searching through the campsite, a fellow camp couple gave us a jump and we were finally on our way.
Back down the winding roads to New Glarus and the brewery South of town. After a few obligatory pictures and texts to my Spotted Cow fans I proceeded up the drive to the brewery ignoring the sign that said “Vehicles over 16 feet. Park Here” with an arrow right. Instead I pushed forward down the tree lined road passing a grassy overflow lot where the attendant let me go after I asked if I could turn around. To be fair, Mabel, head out the window, was looking pretty sinister, I would have let us pass. Up to the top of the hill and another teenage attendant in a day glow vest looking wide eyed as a vehicle over 16 feet approached. I quickly diffused the situation with a quick, “I just need to turn around” and he waved me by. Once again it helps to have a sinister looking dog hanging their head out the back window. We navigated through the beer pilgrims making their way to the large and under construction main building to pass the teenager obviously relieved to not have to tell us to turn around. Our journey was once more pointed South.
We came across Monroe WI, a neat small town with an imposing brick building in the center of a four-street square. It had to be a county or town building reserved for official government business intended to make better the lives of all its citizens. White tents dotted the surrounding roads and since it was Saturday, a farmers market was in full swing. I wanted to get moving and see Wisconsin in my rear-view mirror so followed the wise advice of a local who pointed me back to HWY 39. He said to go by the school and then the brewery (it is Wisconsin) and after a few more turns we will be on my way.
At 12:30 I pulled into Illinois and felt like progress had been made. Wisconsin was a great state to travel through, the scenery is beautiful and the people I came across all very nice. It would have taken a few days just to photograph all the cool barns I came across. Funny though how just a few feet on either side of an imaginary line can make you feel different. The corn fields continued only broken up by soy bean. Boy, I have seen a lot of corn! Mabel and I found a rest stop which we had to ourselves; she poked around in the shade and I fixed a sandwich. It was very relaxing. On we travelled, following HWY 26 through Dixon and a sign that said, “Boyhood Home of Ronald Reagan”. I want to stay off the interstates but we are behind so I decided to catch HWY 80 East just South of Chicago and head to Gary, Indiana. Highway 6 provided an alternative, taking us through more small towns and fields. I like these types of routes; the driving is relaxed and I can admire the scenery while wondering what kind of lives happen in the homes I pass.
The Indiana border was breached a little before 6:00 and we searched out the Welcome Center for some much-needed welcoming. It was closed. They did have a statue of Flick sticking his tongue to the flag pole, a neat touch of Americana, but Mabel was unimpressed. I secured camping too far away but it was a weekend and nothing close was available. Road Lesson- learn the scale of your map and secure camping in the direction you are going. Mabel and I back tracked to Illinois and the rout Google took us was suspect for many minutes. Especially when the signs pointed to Chicago, but Google was correct and in about 90 minutes we were paying for a KOA spot in Chebanse, Illinois. I was happy to have a spot.
An older gentleman provided assistance in backing until I gave up and pushed Arabella into our spot for the night. Backing up will be my great white whale and I hope Captain Ahab’s plight is not my own. He liked the camper and his wife also came by for a look. It was nice to have conversation and he provided guidance on travelling. The compound (trailer and screen tent to include table/chair) was set up and after dinner I watched a little Harry Potter, the music is very soothing. Not making much headway on it though.
Grateful today for safe travels and a place to sleep.