Browsing "Kentucky"
Apr 29, 2012 -

Into West Virginia

While I will be traveling through at least another half dozen or so states on this trip, I am done adding new ones to my roster, with West Virginia being the first state to officially herald that I am back east and nearly in familiar territory.

I woke up feeling slightly disoriented this morning because of the time change. Guess what, you can get jet lag when traveling overland! 🙂

I pulled out of the Cracker Barrel at 7:45 and rolled into the nearest rest area (Midway) at 8:15. By 8:20, the kettle was on, the French press was ready, and my email was downloading. How did I ever manage in my early days of RVing when getting down to actually living in my rig was a treat reserved for when I was spending at least two nights on full hookups?!

That said, it’s amazing what can happen in a half hour. I swear my front door was whole when I left Shelbyville. What the heck happened to it?!

Can you see it? Here’s a closeup:

Not to self: find a new window frame for the front door. Anyway, what’s left is solid and the window is secure, so I can deal with this when I arrive in Virginia.

Having only about four hours to drive today, including stops, and having only three and a half or so left, I decided to spend the bulk of the day at the rest area catching up on some things. I enjoyed this bucolic view out of my office window today:

I stayed until just past two, taking the time to charge everything under the sun (literally) since I had more than 6A coming in from the solar panel:

There is nothing like a fully charged battery to make a boondocker happy!

Before leaving the rest area, I did something unprecedented: I remembered that I was out of windshield wiper fluid and actually topped it up. I usually remember these things when I get splashed with mud and am blinded. 🙂 The bugs on this trip have been nasty!!!

From Midway, it was then a rather windy but otherwise easy drive out of Kentucky into West Virginia:

I passed an facility:

I took advantage of the fact that I am going to be in the US for a bit longer to use my latest Amazon rewards to get a ton of stuff that is being shipped to my friend’s place. I wonder if some of it is shipping out of here?

From there, it was just a few miles to where I am parked for the night, the Walmart in Cross Lanes (according to Google) or Charleston (according to my GPS). There are ‘no RV parking signs’ in the lot, but was told that that’s just to encourage folks to come into customer service and be directed to the proper part of the lot to park. You actually park as far from the Walmart as possible in front of the discount store and against Nitro Boulevard. When looking at Nitro, you need to park across from the Dollar Tree, not the Loews.

Well, the pizza I have in the oven is calling my name. It’s going to taste pretty good with the cold beer I just opened. 🙂

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Batteries, Boondocking/Dry camping, Electricity, Kentucky, Solar Panels, Technical, Travel, West Virginia    3 Comments
Apr 28, 2012 -

Into Kentucky

I am parked at the Cracker Barrel in Shelbyville, Kentucky, and looking forward to the parking lot clearing out so I can get myself on some levelers!

Part of the trouble with figuring out tonight’s overnight spot was that Google Maps kept routing me out off of I64 and around Louisville. I did some research and learned that the Sherman Minton Bridge, which connects I64 in Indiana to I64 in Kentucky at the western edge of Louisville, was shut down due to maintenance concerns for several months. Even though the bridge has now been reopened for two months and Google knows this, it has failed to update its mapping application. Once I knew that I could stay on I64 through Louisville, it completely changed how far I felt I could get today. None of the Louisville overnighting options were on I64. It made sense to get clear of the city and then pull over. Shelbyville had a number of options, with the Cracker Barrel the only sure bet.

Cracker Barrel is a restaurant I have mixed feelings about. I love their food, but it is so unhealthy that I feel guilty when I eat there. But tonight I had a good reason to do so and I savoured every bite, including their OMG crustless coconut cream pie (which is actually a toasted coconut custard).

But let me go back to the beginning of the day. I didn’t want to get to the Cracker Barrel too early, hoping to miss the dinner crowd (that plan failed), so I had a slow mo morning in St Louis and pulled out at 10:30, with my ETA being 6PM. Huh? Oh, I was going to cross into EST today!

Miranda at Harrah's St Louis

I did a double take when I saw this rig pull in last night!

Getting through St Louis this morning was much easier than it was at rush hour on Thursday. I was glad to be going eastbound because check out the westbound lanes:

Shortly after crossing the Mississippi into Illinois, I got off the freeway to get fuel and have visual evidence of why I loathe getting gas in the motorhome with the car attached. Why do some fuel stations have those stupid useless cement bollards at each end? Let’s just say I miscalculated my turns. A good Samaritan tried to warn me, but I saw this happening in the mirror and knew I couldn’t stop it:

I drove another 100km to the Goshen Road rest area for lunch:

Goshen Road Rest Area

After lunch, I put a capful of Turtle Wax car detergent into a bucket and diluted it with a couple of cups of water. Armed with a soft green scrubby pad, I spent at most 15 minutes vigourously scrubbing away the remnants of the bollard’s attack on my car:

There’s still a very faint line on the door and one by the wheel well, but you have to know they’re there. I’m glad that my cursory assessment at the gas station was correct; I just scrapped the paint off the bollard but didn’t do any real damage to the car. You can all start breathing again. 😉

Now, I’m going to say something that is going to leave some of you in disbelief and assured that I am a couple of cards short of a deck: the east smells different from the west. I really noticed it at the Goshen Road rest area; there was this humid scent of humus that I haven’t smelled for years. It could be that the vegetation is different.

I drove some more and crossed into Indiana:

My only experience in Indiana was at a really horrible rest area. The welcome centre on today’s route was much nicer:

I found this map interesting. I drove on the northwestmost red line on this map and was traveling on the southwestmost red line:

The Indiana welcome centre had information about the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial. I think he looks very handsome without his beard:

Lincoln is an historical figure who feels very real to me, not legendary. I think it’s because I saw the place where he died. There was a pillow on the bed that was supposedly stained by his blood. I don’t know for sure if that was real or not, but it made an impact on me.

Lincoln’s mother died of something I’d never heard of:

The NPS has a very informational page about milksickness.

The overpasses in Indiana, like those in Michigan, are painted sky blue:

About 10 miles from Louisville, it became imperative that I stop to use the bathroom and I only had a quarter tank of fuel left. So I pulled off the highway at an exit where there were several gas stations. I found one that I could easily pull into, but the roof looked low. I was very happy that they bothered to post the clearance level. It was 13′, which gave me a foot and a half to spare. 🙂

I crossed the Kentucky state line on the Sherman Milton Bridge and was then formally welcomed into the state:

It says birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, but I think of it as the birthplace of my favourite female singer, Loretta Lynn. 🙂

Driving through Louisville was easy. I stuck to the centre lane when possible. There was almost no traffic and no one honked at me!

Louisville, KY

The Kentucky welcome centre is very beautiful!

From there, it was only about 10 minutes to Shelbyville. My GPS thought the Cracker Barrel was almost a full kilometre past where it is, so I missed it. I was very glad that just a couple of kilometres down KY-56 there was a small shopping centre into which I could pull in and turn around. I saw the Cracker Barrel on the way back, but was confused by the sign that said that RV parking was thataway, leading me to think that there was another entrance. Thankfully, the next entrance was a U-shaped one, so I was able to get turned around again and finally manoeuvre myself through the Cracker Barrel maze into one of their three RV slots.

This was the first night since I left Lethbridge that I arrived absolutely exhausted so I was glad to have an excuse to have supper made for me, and even gladder that the manager was so quick to say that I could stay.

The sky has been rumbling for the last hour and it has finally started to pour. It is also very dark out even though it is just 8:30EST. I will be getting to bed early tonight so that I can pull out reasonably early tomorrow. I have a fairly short driving day planned, so I’m hoping to get to a rest area fairly early on where I can spend part of the day and catch up on some things.

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Boondocking/Dry camping, Kentucky, MIssouri, Travel, Weather    13 Comments