Final Legs and Epilogue

Made it to Akron, OH, on August 30, without incident during leg 8. Just 3 doggy stops and a stop for fuel, both for the RV and for the humans. This leg was as boring as leg 2 heading to Nebraska. There is not much to write about The Ohio Turnpike except for the seemingly endless series of construction zones in both directions for much of its length.

Near Akron, we stayed at a KOA near Streetsboro, OH, which is nicer than the place we stayed over two weeks ago during the journey west. However, the dog park had a flaw in the fence which allowed Toby Two to escape to chase a rabbit. We were able to retrieve him in short order, however. Tobey Two was covered in burrs though; many of them were able to be brushed out, but a few remain. We had dinner in our RV, along with a friend who resides in Akron.

The 9th and final leg began the next day. We needed 3 doggy stops again. We arrived home, safe and sound, at 3:15 PM EDT on August 31.

Trip summary:

  • 10 states
  • 17 days
  • 75 counties
  • 3045 miles
  • 380 gallons of gasoline
  • 13 campgrounds
  • 2 National Monuments
  • 1 amazing total solar eclipse

Lessons Learned:

  • Check ahead near large cities for local events such as fairs, sporting events, construction zones and conventions.
  • Bring waterproof shoes
  • Have a backup backup camera
  • Bring a tripod
  • Remove GPS from mount after each drive
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Homeward Bound: Leg 1

My Tillie alarm clock went off at 6:50 AM CDT.

We are still in awe after observing the eclipse. We learned today that I-80 was a parking lot west of Lincoln, and beyond our site near Henderson. We couldn’t observe this directly but heard about it from other campers when they went to town after totality. There was also some price gouging in Scottsbluff, NE. One motel charged $900 a night. Another person bought 100 acres of land, for $40K, and charged RVers $1000 each to park without any hookups. He made quite an indecent profit. The average price for our RV has been around $38 a night including 50 ampere electric service, water, sewer, WiFi, and other amenities such as laundry.

We packed the RV, walked the dogs, thanked the campground owners and left. There was just one RV remaining when we departed at 11:15 AM CDT, and began our journey home, headed for Beatrice, NE.

Along the way, we stopped in Lincoln for doggy walks and lunch at a Casey’s General Store.

Just north of Beatrice, I walked the dogs while Marla shopped for groceries at a WalMart. From there it was a short drive to Homestead National Monument .

At the Monument, they were still cleaning up from the previous day’s eclipse activities. The NPS crew looked weary. Marla got her passbook stamped and I was able to get a lifetime senior NP pass before they increased the cost. We also took a brief look around and viewed one of the largest tracts (100 acres) of restored tall grass prairie in The United States.

Our dogs also walked near this area which officially made them:

PRAIRIE DOGS!!!

I also learned the homesteaders secret to success:

Then, we went to our campsite near Nebraska City. I had trouble navigating near the campground since the local roads were torn up and the GPS was useless as a result. I called the campground for directions and arrived successfully.

Tomorrow, we plan to stop at Camping World in Council Bluffs, IA, and then go to Pipestone National Monument, which is just east of Sioux Falls, SD, in Minnesota. South Dakota will be a new state for Marla, and Minnesota will be a new one for all of us.

Eclipse 2017: Sixth and Final Leg

Today is our final leg to our eclipse site.

Dogs got me up at around 6 AM CDT. It had rained during the night. I took them for a walk to the highway and back.

I topped off the fresh water tank before departing.

This morning we took our time getting ready for travel. Took our dogs to the small dog park one more time before leaving. Then, it was retract the slide outs, disconnect the hookups and retract the jacks. Soon we were heading southbound on I-29.

We stopped for a break, and to eat lunch, in the parking area of a Marriott Hotel off of I-680, west of Omaha. Soon we were headed westbound on I-80 again toward Lincoln. Nothing looked familiar to me, except for The Platte River, until we got to Lincoln. However, there’s been a great deal of development since I left 35 years ago, when I finished my graduate work at UNL.

We stopped at a Casey’s General Store (The Sheetz/Wawa of the west) for another break and fuel. However, due to a lightning strike the night before, the pumps were not operating. I walked our dogs and then bought Marla, my wife, some coffee. She said the coffee was very good.

It wasn’t long before Tillie started her, “I want to stop!,” yipping. I got off at the next exit, where there were no services, and investigated. It turned out that a lower drawer had opened during travel. I resolved that issue and gave treats to all of our pets (slipped a little extra to Tillie). We got back on the interstate and it wasn’t long before, Tillie started her, “I want to stop!,” yipping again. This time, it was Trixie that needed to be walked. Have I mentioned that we love our dogs?

We stopped one more time in York, NE, to top off the fuel tank. Soon we arrived at our eclipse campground, near Henderson, NE, called Prairie Oasis, around 3:30 PM CDT.

We soon settled and relaxed before the big day tomorrow.

While walking Tillie, Toby Two; our two Scotties; and our Westie, Trixie, I discovered the campground tornado/storm shelter.

The forecast for tomorrow has deteriorated somewhat. The NWS is now calling for partly sunny. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.

Eclipse 2017: Downtime

File Aug 19, 6 01 19 PM

A down day to recharge, relax and do some housekeeping.

Performed a basic maintenance check on the RV. All OK.

Discovered a small enclosed dog park, with a single large tree, in the back of the campground. This allowed our pups to run around.

My wife had a brilliant idea and placed a peel and stick map of The U.S. on the bottom of the forward bunk. It also came with a black erasable marker to track our progress.

File Aug 19, 6 00 10 PM

The machines in the campground laundry had whimsical names:

It was a very good plan to go on a few shakedown trips before this big trip. We both learned a few things, as well as got in some practice setting up and tearing down. As a result, we had no major issues during our 1000 mile journey. Just a few minor glitches; nothing that couldn’t be fixed with duct tape and simple tools.