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Trip Report: July 30-Aug 1 - RonO's Ramblings

Aug. 3rd, 2008 10:52 pm Trip Report: July 30-Aug 1

Below is a report on our trip so far.

July 30 -- last day in Bartlett

Originally -- at least after an extra rehearsal at the church altered plans from a couple of weeks ago -- was to go to the Museum of Science and Industry. However, Tara was feeling bad and didn't think she could make it. On top of that, the extra court date and other entropy had kept us from getting sufficiently ready, so our plans were changed to doing laundry and packing as much as we could. We were making pretty good progress, and in mid-afternoon decided to take a break so that we could make one final trip to the electronics recycling bin at the Hanover Park Pubic Works facility, and then do a bit more shopping.

Between the public works facility, and Best Buy where Tara and Derrick wanted to get a DVD that had just been released the day before. I had to stop quickly when I saw a fire truck leaving its station with its lights on. Unfortunately, the pickup behind me was too close and hadn't noticed the fire truck, and rear ended me. This is the 4th time my car (which is just over a year old) has been rear ended since the first of the year. Fortunately, the car is drivable (but cannot take another rear end collision until it is repaired). But Tara hurt her back.

After finishing our shopping, and finishing the last frozen meals in the freezer, Tara headed over to the convenient care center while I walked Derrick over for his last class at National Karate. We got back before Tara, who still needed to get a prescription filled. So she took Derrick while I walked over to my last two classes.

One big effect of this was that we didn't finish our laundry, or as much of the packing as we should have. This would start the chain of events that would mark July 31.

July 31 -- Bartlett to Lincoln

We got up fairly early on July 31, with the plan of grabbing breakfast on the road. However, with the delays in packing the trailer caused by the accident we didn't get ready to leave until about nine. But then, I noticed that the tire on Tara's car that had been low a few days before was low again. When I was inflating it I noticed that there was a screw in it -- explaining why it kept going flat. We decided to try to get it repaired or replaced as soon as possible, and Tara thought that there were places along US-20 in Elgin. So, after getting her tire inflated enough to drive on, we headed out. However, we couldn't find any place that sold tires and did repairs until she doubled back into St. Charles and found a Midas. Midas agreed to repair the tire, and we waited.

Since we had to get the dog, and Derrick, out of the car so the tire could be changed, and it was too hot to leave the cat in the car any longer than possible, we all left our cars and went to sit under some trees on some grass at the edge of the Midas property. We got the dog some water. We thought that the cat might like some water, and to spend some time out of his crate, so I took him out. He was on a harness and leash, so we thought he was secure. However, he managed to slip his harness and immediately ran into the trees along a small stream just past the property.

Fortunately, despite thoughts that we'd just lost the cat, I was able to track him through the woods and finally managed to corner him when he hid under some exposed roots. I was able to pull him out, by nearly scruffing him, and then carry him back. There was a brief moment of panic on Tara's part because I had to cross the stream, and she didn't know where I was (and I didn't want to yell back since I was near some houses). After that, he was kept in his crate when not in a hotel for the next several days.

We finally got the tire repaired and got on the road for real. By then, between the later departure and the more southern location, I modified our planned route from US-20 to IL-72 to I-39 to I-88; to Randal Road to I-88. One other side effect of this was that instead of getting lunch at some rest stop in Iowa as I'd planned, we got it at the DeKalb oasis off of I-88. I-88 being an Illinois Tollway it has a rest stop, called an oasis, with a food court. They have recently remodeled so that instead of just the McDonalds, there are a number of other restaurants. While I sat outside with the animals, the cat in his crate in the shade, and the dog tied to the fence, Tara and Derrick got their lunches. Derrick got a burger at McDonalds, and Tara got something from Panda Express. I then went in and didn't see the salads on the McDonald's menu and decided that they had a reduced, sandwich only, menu and got a wrap at Subway. When we got ready to leave, we decided to switch pets -- breaking up Derrick and the dog who were getting each other wound up. A pattern that continued for the next several legs.

About 30 minutes after getting on the road, and me getting a ways ahead of Tara since I could use the express lanes at the toll plaza (having both a toll pass and no trailer) we ran into a strong Midwest thunder storm. The rain was so heavy that I had to slow to about 30 miles per hour to avoid driving past my visibility. Tara with the trailer felt the wind much more. After about 15 minutes, the storm passed and we could resume our drive.

The rest of the day went fairly smoothly, but a lot later than we wanted. We had dinner at a Country Kitchen between Des Moines and Council Bluffs, and then worked our way to the Ramada in Lincoln Nebraska where we spent the night.

Aug. 1 -- Lincoln to Estes Park

Friday got to a bit of a better start. We had a decent breakfast at the hotel. Afterwards we packed up and got ready to head out. We were ready to leave the hotel by about 8:30 or 9:00; but the dog's bowl had a bad chip. I suggested that we stop at a Target in Lincoln before getting on the road since couldn't be sure if we'd be able to find one in Greeley or Loveland, the next two large towns we'd be passing through. However, despite the Target being only 4.8 miles away, it was almost an hour before we were back on the road.

Friday morning was fairly quiet. Again we ended up not having a picnic lunch when Tara decided not to wait for the rest area and try an Old Chicago Pizza place in Kerney Nebraska. Old Chicago, a chain based in Colorado, had OK pizza, but their "Chicago Style" pizza was nothing like Chicago Style pizza. It was a thick crust pizza not a thinish crust deep dish pizza.

The next minor problem came when I pulled off an exit sooner for gas than Tara thought I was going to. I had said I'd pull off at the first Grand Island exit (which I figured was the one that had all the motel's on the billboards that had suddenly sprouted), but Tara had noted the exit number. {We were communicating regularly by cell phone for much of the trip on the Interstates} So she got about 5 miles ahead of me. Later she pulled off for gas, but also took a pit stop. There were a bunch of stations at the exit, so when I realized I was going to pass it, I couldn't easily pull off and find her. So now I was about 5 miles ahead.

As we were approaching the I-76 turn off, I decided that I'd stop at the first rest area inside Colorado -- expecting one within 5 miles of the border, which would be 8 or so miles from the split. I found it, and called Tara to have her join me. This rest area was, however, off a regular exit. As I was cleaning bug guts from my windshield, Tara called and wanted to confirm that the rest area was just after the exit, which she'd just passed. So I finished up what I was doing quickly (and skipped walking the dog) and got back on the road. She was now about 10 miles ahead of me. Finally she pulled off at the next rest area -- also off an exit -- and I caught up. However the cat had gotten sick due to the heat, so Tara and Derrick were having to clean up the mess. I walked the dog, who didn't like going on the hot dirt, and helped with the last part of the clean up.

By the time we hit Colorado, the thermometer in my car was showing an outside temperature of over 100 degrees. As we continued down I-76, it kept getting hotter. By the time we left the Interstate at Wiggins (a name I remember having finished "A War of Gifts" on audio book a couple of days before starting the trip) and continued on US-34.

Our last crisis, and not a real bad one, was that we got stopped on US-34 about 10 or 15 miles east of Kesley, which is just east of Greeley, due to flag stop. While waiting, Tara got worried since she was just under 1/4 of a tank. I told her to go ahead and shut off the car and open the windows and hope it wouldn't be too long for the cat. The outside temperature was about 104 at that point according to my car. We did get going after about 10 minutes. The rest of the trip was fairly quiet.

However, since it was still over 100 when we hit Greeley and Loveland, we decided to push on to Estes Park before dinner. We got to Estes park about 7:00, but it took a while to get everything into the room. We weren't given a first floor room, even though the hotel's pet policy specified a first floor room. To further the problem the hotel didn't have an elevator in our wing, nor as it turned out a working elevator in the other wing. We also had a problem in that the pets didn't get noted on the reservation, but I made sure that the hotel knew about them at check in. This confusion, however, led to us not getting our breakfast coupons. After getting settled we had dinner in the hotel, which wasn't bad, but not cheap (except Derrick, who is free at Holiday Inns).

I'll finish the trip so far later, probably tomorrow.

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Comments:

From:qnofhrt
Date:August 4th, 2008 02:45 pm (UTC)
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This is the 4th time my car (which is just over a year old) has been rear ended since the first of the year.

Geez RonO, you'd think your car had a big "Hit me!" on the back of it. Hopefully the rest of your trip is uneventful.