Driving back to Chattanooga: Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee
After leaving the tire shop in Colorado I punched in “home” in the GPS. It was still programmed to the Chattanooga house we sold in May. I remember it was about 1:15 in the afternoon when I punched in the address because I was surprised when the GPS said we would be there by 4:46 p.m. Then I realized, it was talking about 4:46 p.m. the next day. With the time zones, it was a 25-hour, 1,353-mile drive. I wasn’t thrilled about this.
We were pretty punchy to start the trip. At one point on this first day I tried to pay for gas with my National Parks Annual Pass card (doesn’t work) and Jess tried repeatedly to eject a DVD she was holding in her other hand. We were not at the top of our game.
Kansas has some interesting billboards. We saw “Second friendliest yarn store in the universe,” “World’s Largest Czech Egg,” and the incredibly depressing sounding “Orphan Train Museum.”
Jess has been good to help with emails, notes and creating lists on Trello and Basecamp while we are driving to help me keep up with work. We have learned that Keynote (Apple’s version of PowerPoint) and Excel cross the line.
Our battery issues continued and got worse at our first stopover in Ellis, Kansas. Even plugged into the pedestal, our voltage was still dropping and the house battery draining. We got through the night by shutting everything down with the kill switch, meaning the water pump and lights didn’t work.
The most memorable part of Kansas was at the bath house in Ellis. We camped at a city park not far from the Interstate. It was relatively empty, but we heard a voice coming from the bathhouse. When we went inside the cinderblock building (thankfully carrying my 4-D Maglite flashlight) the voice turned out to be a weather radio echoing around the men’s and women’s room. One of the women’s shower stalls even had paint smeared onto the wall of a stall. She spent the shower convinced that a killer clown was going to burst out of the supply closet. If I had to do it again, we would have all showered in either the men’s or women’s side instead of splitting up. Somehow, we once again survived.
We were in a hurry as we chugged through Kansas, but I’m not sure we missed much.
Mercifully, Kansas ended when we crossed into Missouri.
I remember seeing Kauffman Stadium where the Royals play. I remember they don’t make a very big deal about crossing the Missouri River. I’m not sure there was even a sign. Then we camped in Danville, Missouri.
I finally found the fuse for the carbon monoxide detector and removed it. Not a safe decision, I know, but having the alarm go off for low voltage every hour was not an option. It did fine when the motor was running during the day and I knew we only had two or three nights until we were back in Chattanooga with an appointment at Choo Choo RV service center.
From there, we ate at a Cracker Barrel near Columbia that didn’t have sweet tea (does the SEC commissioner know about this? Who let Missouri into the SEC if they don’t even serve sweet tea there?). I remember glancing up at the Arch in St. Louis as we crossed into Illinois.
Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee
After the Arch, I vaguely remember Paducah, Kentucky, but otherwise in my memory we teleported from the Arch to Chattanooga around 10 p.m. that night. Whew! We thought about stopping somewhere fun along the way, but stopping just seemed to make the trip longer. We just wanted to get there.
We arrived back in Chattanooga looking forward to a short break, a chance to clean out the RV and see some friends.
My company hosts a conference in Chattanooga every year and we stayed at my in-laws second home. The conference was great and we enjoyed seeing our friends and returning to our church. Jess also enjoyed a chance to visit with her former coworkers at PACE.
The RV went into the shop to fix the awning arm and the battery situation. As it turns out, the battery cables had come completely off of the positive post on the house battery. Good news is nothing was damaged and it was fixed with a 15-cent nut. The awning arm was not quite that cheap, but at least it’s fixed.
While we were back “home,” Jess was able to get together with a bunch of her college friends at Berry. I was able to go to a random football game with my friend Patrick for the seventh year in a row. This year we picked Georgia Tech vs. Vanderbilt in Atlanta. In my book, it’s the prettiest background for any football game anywhere. While there, Braden got to play with all of his Uncle Adam’s old super hero figures and we got to celebrate my Dad’s birthday. Happy Birthday Pops!
Update on the number of vehicles we’ve passed: 15
Whenever I get impatient when the dogs are taking their time stopping on our walks Braden reminds me not to rush them because they are smelling something that they’ve never smelled before.