Wednesday, September 15, 2010

We're on the road: Sept 11 2010

A smooth getaway Saturday morning in light rain, but the skies cleared as we headed west.

Who we travel with
That's Darth Maul at the helm, a plastic resale shop icon Art glued to the truck. The Star Wars kids make a lot of noise when they see him and give us the thumbs-up. On the dashboard, a surprisingly lifelike reptile named Larry.

Three hours west of Chicago
Getting in the groove, truck feels like home again, we stop for gas. Back on Route 30, a halting pressure from the fuel pump. We love blue highways because they're not the superslab, and also for their easy turn-offs into a farm's drive. Art checks it out.

(There's a long story here about how we delayed our trip to await a new fuel pump, got it but it was a massive piece that required a big-boy shop to install, so got an electric one and put it in, etc etc).

A short time later, still faltering, Art removes the newly installed pump and puts in a spare 3-pound fuel pump (only Art has these extras in tow). I hope he doesn't want to spend the entire trip under the truck.

A nice guy here let me use his phone to call our beloved Betty, waiting patiently in Cedar Rapids, to tell her we were 40 miles east and would be there...sometime soon. It took one more stop to clean a cloggy fuel filter (the cause of our problems to begin with?) before we had enough pressure to drive there.

But we made it
Cocktails, and then Betty fed us a delicious dinner and we talked over old times--about 54 year's worth in my case. At 93, she's my oldest living relative (not by blood, but she is my other mom, speaking as one lucky person who had a terrific original mom and who has still other "other moms" in my life).

Betty took Art on a tour of her fabulous fridge photos and we trundled off to bed for a satisfying sleep.

More Iowa: Sept 12
After filling us with bacon and eggs...and much too soon...we were waving goodbye. Thank you, Betty! We missed you, Kathy.

Lunch today

We nibbled popcorn Betty packed for us along with vegetables and fruit sliced up in the Avion camper during a gas stop. You know I love traveling with my kitchen. The newly installed fuel pump is working well.

Now heading west on Route 3, recommended by Iowa native son Wayne for its companionable Iowa scenery and low-key road. Perfect. We'll be driving west for the next few weeks, and with all the shenanigans of the last seven days, we decide to stop early and regroup at Beeds Lake State Park.

Nah, we didn't drive far today from Cedar Rapids, but that's the whole point of a road trip. To start and stop at will and on a whim. (Note the non-use of geo-mapping or GPS linking. I love paper maps, period.)
This state park's claim to fame is the limestone dam built by the CCC, the "most photographed in the Midwest," and it is lovely. Couple more pictures to add to the tally.

We find a shady spot and unload.

I bring out the travel salad SIP to get some greens for supper. They seem happy to be outside (me too).
In the bathhouse, a sign that immediately puts me in the mood for a water balloon fight.
Turns out there are hickory trees towering over us, so we do some foraging.
A very good day. Thanks for traveling with us. Stop back soon and we'll see you down the road...

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