After a week of travel without benefit of the Verizon hotspot for Internet connectivity, I made it to Marengo, Illinois intact. It was a bit of an ordeal, since weather was a significant factor and, without Internet connectivity, I had no decent way to check weather forecasts. Turns out there were storms galore onroute, some notably scary. Folks in Nebraska and Iowa apparently had a ton of rain before I even got there, since flooding was widespread and winds were strong.
Northern New Mexico was gorgeous, and Colorado was equally stunning in a very different way. Once I got to Colorado Springs, I found out how fortunate they were for the mountain vistas. However, Colorado Springs is so highly developed that there’s no rural left there. It’s shopping centers, malls, and heavy traffic all the way to Denver from there. I made a mistake in selecting the overnight location in Commerce City, Colorado since it was nearly 10 miles from I-40 over crowded Denver city streets. Then, when I arrived at the Walmart, security welcomed me and directed me where to park. It was in front of this:
The trip to North Platte, Nebraska was a bit unnerving since the rainfall was especially heavy, and when lightning strikes weren’t going horizontally across the sky, they were hitting the ground a little too close for comfort. I arrived at the Cody Park Campground in the afternoon, just when the rain was getting over with. What a beautiful park! They aren’t really set up for 53′ rigs, but the place was deserted and I did find one trailer pad and drive long enough to squeeze into. It’s $5 to park overnight, which I was okay with.
After that, it was Lincoln, Nebraska and the Museum of American Speed, AKA the Smith Collection. Mr. Smith distributes hot rod parts with a firm called Speedway Motors, reputedly the oldest such firm in the industry. Mr. Smith has apparently made a boodle of money off this thing, because the museum represents his personal collection of race cars, engines, pedal cars, model tether cars, model rail cars, model cars, and racing paraphernalia. It is vast, so vast that the 2:40 guided tour does not allow for seeing everything. And there are plans to expand it, because there’s more stuff hiding in storage. Good God, man, how much is enough? I took a ton of bad photos, but they prohibit photography for the Internet without express permission, so that’ll have to wait. I was so exhausted afterward that I collapsed in the Enterprise back at a Walmart, ignoring a local cruise night 100 yards away in the Sam’s Club lot next door.
Both Nebraska and Iowa seem to be into motorsports, comparatively speaking. I went by several oval ring speedways, Iowa Speedway in Newton being one of them. It’s a NASCAR track, and they even have a section around one side of the track to park an RV and watch from there. I’ll never be able to actually do that of course, as it’s expensive enough to put you in a coma. But it’s a nice track, and very impressive.
Speaking of races, the wheel bearings have been holding up just fine all the way back, actually running cooler now than when I started the trip. Now, they’re at ambient temperature. I’ve been watching the Ford’s rear axle temps too, and those have been okay.
One last overnight at a travel center in Rochelle, Illinois, and it was a short jaunt to Marengo today. I’d called the RV park months ago, and they’d screwed up my recommended campsite. No WiFi, and a short space that would force poor trailer positioning for solar. They did give me a tour on a golf cart though, and the pick of the litter for a few other spots closer in. I settled for a space aimed south to try to protect the panels from the wind. It’s partially shaded by trees too, but I think I’ll get enough direct sun over the span of a day. There are no concrete pads for trailers, so that will complicate my quest to survey the underside of the trailer to figure out how all those mice and scorpions have been wandering in at various times. It’s an okay place, with a WiFi signal that ranges from good to poor, so I expect to be able to get access most days.
Now, it’s just a matter of catching up with laundry and cleaning, and organizing errands to various places. Busy busy!