Week 16 of 16 ~ Sunday, September 13 to Thursday, September 17, 2015
... and the end of our Alaska Camping Trip

Day 103 ~ Sunday, September 13 - What a beautiful Sunday morning! The weather is so nice, sunny and 69 degrees at 8:30 am. Looks like another warm day coming up. We are here in the Ponderosa Campground in Cody, Wyoming, and we must leave by eleven o'clock, so we did. We drove thru town with a full tank of gas that we purchased yesterday. Cody is really neat. There are statues of large animals and cowboys all over town. This is a true western town that loves its rodeos and cowboys.

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Look at that! A white buffalo walking down the sidewalk in downtown Cody, Wyoming.
Oh, it's just a statue.

The drive east on US14 out of Cody toward South Dakota started out as a blah drive thru sunny flatlands suitable for cattle. Looks like someplace that you would see in cowboy movies. Hello John Wayne. As we approached the mountain range about 80 miles east of Cody, the scenery changed into awesome. Another beautiful drive thru canyons and up over a pass presented spectacular views for miles and miles. Very cool.

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We drove thru about a hundred miles of this wide open spaces of Wyoming east of Cody.
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And then the scenery changed as we drove up, up, up US14 to and thru the mountain pass.
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A bit of fall color here in a somewhat colorless west. Must be Aspens.
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At the top of the pass, the view is spectacular. The truck was having issues with the cooling system due to the leaking heater core. I put in about four gallons of water to get up this last stretch of highway. Enough is enough. I am going to bypass the heater core, soon.

We stopped in an AutoZone Auto Parts in Sheridan just off I90 and I got a two foot piece of hose and a coupler to bypass the heater core. Our next stop was at a rest area where I ran the generator to revive the refrigerator and Diane made us a nice chicken salad dinner as we waited for the truck to cool down so I could do the repair. Rats! I got 5/8" parts instead of 3/4", so the heater core bypass surgery was a no go. There's always tomorrow.

The weather today was sunny, sunny, sunny with driving temperatures in the high eighties and many times at ninety degrees. Actually hot, and the ac magnetic clutch is busted so we don't have air conditioning. The truck is consuming as much water as gas and this is really a lot of trouble putting in so much water. A lot of trouble.

By the time we got out of the rest area, the sun was setting and the temperature was down to 77 degrees so the drive into Gillette was not so bad. We just can't seem to get out of Wyoming. We found the Green Tree's Crazy Woman Campground (with a name like this, how can you go wrong) in Gillette, Wyoming, and parked for the night. Showers were in order and the electric service made the refrigerator happy. Rum and Coke made me happy.

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Our campsite in Green Tree's Crazy Woman Campground in Gillette, Wyoming.
Ya just gotta love that name. Camping here was a little pricey, but for a campground in the city, this place was all right.
Day 103 Summary ~ We drove about 250 miles today which puts us at 12,726 total miles into our journey.
It is 70 degrees outside at 10:30 pm Mountain time.

Day 104 ~ Monday, September 14 - Looks like another nice day here in the west with sunshine and 69 degree temperature at eight o'clock in the morning. We bailed out of the campground and headed on over to AutoZone to get the correct part to do the heater core bypass. To make a long story short, the job was done in the AutoZone parking lot, mostly by the young fellow who works there. Now the heater core is out of the circuit and all is well with the truck's cooling system, for now. We were back on the road about ten o'clock.

The drive east of Gillette, Wyoming, toward the South Dakota border was very nice indeed. This land is wide open spaces with a hazy sun shining as bright as ever driving the temperature up to 90 degrees. We were making good time at 65 mph on eastbound I90 with a posted speed of 80 mph with very light traffic. An hour and fifteen minutes later we crossed the state line into South Dakota. The landscape looked the same. Imagine that. We did see fields of sunflowers. Somebody has to grow those things.

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The drive east on I-90 out of Wyoming and into South Dakota is rather boring and easy.

At about half past one in the afternoon, we arrived at the exit for Wall, South Dakota. There were a LOT of signs on the freeway advertising Wall Drug in Wall, SD. Five cents for a cup of coffee is mighty tempting. Apparently this is a must-stop for tourists. Right. Tour busses stop here with hundreds of senior citizens eager to buy chinese-made junk and, of course, ice cream. They do sell coffee for a nickel a cup. This small town is unbelievable, but not our cup of tea or coffee. We split a nice roast beef dinner
for lunch for thirteen bucks with a couple cups of nickel coffee then high-tailed
out of there, (That's Old West talk for moved quickly).

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Downtown Wall is 100% tourist trap from end-to-end and inside-out.
There are lots of stores selling everything touristy made in China.
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The inside of the main building is set up like a small town with statues all over the place.
Here, Diane is talking to a prospector and his mule.
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This is a really nice courtyard outside the main building. Check out the large rabbit.
sign statue

Just south of Wall on highway 240 is the Badlands National Park. Now this place is neat. We haven't been here in a long time and a return visit was in order. It is hard to describe this place in words, so I'll post some pictures. We were tempted to stay here in the campground, but opted to find a campground with electric and showers. We were here for two hours and it was after five o'clock and the refrigerator was crying for help in the 90 degree heat, so back onto eastbound I-90 we go.

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The Badlands National Park in South Dakota. Can you imagine the bad guy being chased by the posse? Hidey holes are abundant, but you might not be able to find your way out!

The Badlands

This video is 67 seconds long

The Badlands really are bad. The outlaws loved this land 'cause who in their right mind would go in here looking for 'em.

A sign on I-90 says there's a KOA about 50 miles east of the Badlands - sounds good to us. The Belvidere KOA Campground was a half mile north of I-90 and had lots of empty pull-thru sites for a good price. This place was a typical KOA with very nice, clean restrooms and good showers. We were into our site about six o'clock, had a nice dinner outside on the picnic table and enjoyed a game of cribbage just after sunset. It gets dark very quickly.

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The beautiful sunset made this KOA campsite in South Dakota even better.

After our drive in the 90 degree heat today, showers were in order. I made popcorn for dessert and a rum and coke put a cap on the whole day. What a nice day it was.

Day 104 Summary ~ We drove about 273 miles today which puts us at 12,999 total miles into our journey.
It is 65 degrees outside at 8:30 pm Mountain time.

Day 105 ~ Tuesday, September 15 - (Time for Diane to write something) Up early to hazy, overcast skies - maybe it will rain today. Not a chance. By 8:30 am, the blazing sun was out and wondering why everyone was slathered in sunscreen. It will be another hot, beautiful day. Summer is finally here for us. We've been chasing it for some time now and couldn't quite get out of early springtime mode of cool temps and rainy skies. We're finally wearing shorts and short sleeved shirts and NO JACKETS. Can you believe it?

This KOA has all the right amenities in the right proportions - Hot, clean showers, electricity, water and large sites with a picnic table and fire pit. Some sites even have trees! Ours has an old Cottonwood that has been cut back too many times. It's trying to recover, but having a hard time. There is an outdoor pool here with a bathhouse attached.

Did I mention the bugs in South Dakota? Oh yes, they have them - in large quantities. You should see the grill on our truck! The ceiling in the trailer was covered last night - literally and kept us busy with the electric bug zapper - the portable kind that looks like a badminton racket. Alan was in his glory swatting. They smell so lovely as they fry on the swatter. Alan goes into a kind of frenzy trying to zap every last one - good thing no one else saw him. It REALLY gets DARK here after sunset and the night sky is amazing. Good thing too. It's too dark to see the bugs flying and crawling everywhere - gives me the chills just thinking about it and I wonder how many I swallowed during the night. It took me a long time to fall asleep thinking just that thought.

We met some pretty nice people yesterday. He was from Maine and moved to Oklahoma to live in his wife's native state. They have "visiting Michigan" on their bucket list, so we gave them a map and told them of many Michigan attractions. Michigan really is a beautiful state and as we travel, we have been reminded to appreciate its character.

It's almost 9 am and time to leave the campground. We lose an hour today - driving from Mountain Time into Central Time - around the middle of South Dakota. We have a couple short stops along the way - the Corn Palace and Sioux Falls - before we call it a day.

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What a great day for driving thru the wide open spaces of South Dakota!

Driving east on I-90, we're passing numerous small towns and huge fields of sunflowers. It's only 83 degrees today and a much more enjoyable drive than yesterday's 90+ degrees. We have slightly overcast skies with the sun just peeking through every now and then. We have seen fields of sunflowers followed by fields of field corn followed by fields of wheat and then cattle. There are huge flocks of birds here – probably because so many sunflowers are just ripening. It's windy today, mostly from the south but a little from the west pushing us from the back toward home.

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How about a few hundred acres of sunflowers? There's a lot of seeds here, Matt.

We stopped at the rest area where I-90 crosses over the wide Missouri River which is cleaner now with 5 reservoirs to lessen the currents of mud. They claim to have great trout fishing and recreation areas and parks, but we didn't stop for long. The land has turned flat and you can see yellow for miles to the horizon. The sky is HUGE. We passed over Platte Creek and I wonder if this is the start of the Platte River in Nebraska. Small farms / ranches with gigantic silos dot the landscape and there are farmers cutting and rolling the hay into 10'-12' rounds. The scattered oases of trees usually means housing. We're on a new, very straight, flat road with wide, pink asphalt shoulders and traveling at 65 mph although the speed limit is 80. Limited access means we're going for distance today. We should be home Thursday night and Friday is going to be busy. First, it's Joss's 5th birthday and she's counting on us to be there. Secondly, I will need to work either Friday or Saturday to catch up this week. Thirdly, I learned that my friend, Bob, lost his battle with cancer and his funeral will be Friday morning. I'd like very much to attend. He was my Colonel Mustard several years ago and was always smiling and encouraged everyone he met. He had a dumb joke to relieve almost any situation. I will miss him as will all who knew him. There are extra-ordinary people and Bob was one. His passing brings to mind both my Mom and Gordon. I miss them. There have been major losses this year.

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This is I90 crossing over the Missouri River in South Dakota. The river is really wide.

We are almost to Mitchell, South Dakota, and the Corn Palace is just ahead. It's the last remaining grain / corn palace out of around about 40 and was built in 1892. The others have all been abandoned for various reasons. It's really an indoor arena for sporting events and entertainment. They have pictures of Bob Hope on stage here as well as Red Skeleton, Lawrence Welk, The Oakridge Boys, Kathy Mattea, Crystal Gayle and Juice. Basketball teams were practicing hoops today. The unique feature is that there are murals decorating the exterior and interior walls made from actual corn and grain. Of course, the outdoor murals deteriorate every year, so they create new ones each August / September with a possible new theme. They have almost finished the murals for this year, but were still working on the last one. “Do you have pictures?” you might ask. Yes, Alan took a few... hundred. It's a corny place, indeed.

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This is the front of the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. The murals on the outside get changed every year. The entry vestibule is getting reworked by the guys in the white van.
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The inside basketball court's walls are decorated with murals made from corn.

Our next stop will be Sioux Falls to see – the falls. It's now 3:00 and 90 degrees again. We have icy drinks and have opened the back windows of the truck. Reminds me of driving to Decatur, Illinois, for the Morenz Family Reunion in the 50s with all the windows open and the front window vents pointed inward. We took Blackie (our dog) with us and he'd get car sick every year. There was no place to escape the heat then...or now – just less humidity today. Remember, in the west it's a “dry” heat so you don't feel hot – yeah, right.

One thing we've noticed along I-90 in South Dakota is that the state makes use of the 50-100 or so feet of land between the shoulder of the road and the fence line – they plant it with hay and then harvest it. We've seen bales of hay along this area. We don't know if the local farmer gets it or the state, but it seems a good use of all those miles of land. We've seen this before, but only in South Dakota, I think.

Well, Sioux Falls was a good stop. The falls are right in the city – a broad area with pink quartzite stone. The falls are actually a palisades running probably 2000 feet or more with “mini” falls close together. You can walk right out on the red rock into the middle of the rushing water and lots of people were doing just that.

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Sioux Falls in Falls Park in downtown Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The crazy French explorers could have named it Soo Falls, but no. That's a railroad bridge in the background. The park is big with picnic tables, benches, a pavilion and restrooms. There are concrete walkways with green rails swirling all around the perimeter of the river and falls with giant lights on poles to illuminate the river and falls at night. It is a wonderful park. Imagine if the Detroit river looked like this.

We stopped at the Minnesota Visitor Center / Rest Area located right on the state line. We picked up info about camping just a bit east on I-90 in the town of Worthington. Olson Park and Campground was our destination and ultimately our host for the night. It's a nice city-owned park right on the lake with electric and showers. Good for us. And so was a light dinner, tea, dessert and some Jim Beam Apple hooch on the rocks. Yes, we have some ice.

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Our campsite in the Olson Park and Campground in Worthington, Minnesota was huge. It was very quite here next to the small lake. The restrooms were so-so, but very close.
Day 105 Summary ~ We drove about 300 miles today which puts us at 13,299 total miles into our journey.
It is 74 degrees outside at 9:00 pm Central time.

Day 106 ~ Wednesday, September 16 - Good sleeping last night. The temperature went down to 57 degrees and the humidity is about 30%. Because we are going to do a lot of driving today, I checked the air pressure in the trailer tires and it was 50.5 and 52 pounds. Good. We got on the road about ten o'clock heading out of Minnesota and toward Wisconsin. The weather is nice with sunny skies, again. We haven't seen any rain in a long time.

(Diane wrote this as we were driving) Worthington's Olsen Park was a nice campground. Reminded me more of Michigan State Parks than anywhere we've been so far with lush, green grass and large, flat sites on a pretty lake. There were large Cottonwood trees and spruce giving lots of shade. The difference is that there was a huge field of sunflowers across the street. Yes, we're still in sunflower country and corn country with modern wind farms too. Lots of them. Lots of wind. If we weren't in a hurry, we probably would have mozied through the Pioneer Village this morning. It looked interesting.

I-90 has taken a turn for the worse and is bumpy, bouncing us like a bronco. It needs to be replaced. It lasted about 15 miles just east of town. It's now smooth and quiet; a newer ribbon of asphalt bisecting the fields of sunflowers. What a pretty drive. We're into farm country now and have lost the cattle ranches. The rolling hills are green and yellow with crops and more trees. We still have big skies but the horizon isn't quite as far. The windmills are huge close up. Each blade is much longer than a semi. They've been prevalent along this stretch of road for the last 20 miles or so and I can see them ahead. The wind is from the south and moving us sideways on this eastbound interstate. You can feel the slide and the recovery. It will probably have a negative effect on our gas mileage, but gas is cheap at $2.099. It's relative but we paid over $6.00/gallon on this trip, so $2.099 isn't bad. We have hazy skies with wispy streaks of clouds to break up the sunshine. It's only 72 degrees at 9:30 am and the sun warms us nicely.

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What a beautiful day for driving I-90 thru Minnesota farmland.

We're listening to a good mix of travel music with a beat to keep us going and we're singing along. Our kids would be embarrassed. We're happy. Not much traffic, but more than we've seen in awhile – denser population.

Just used the last of the chapstick from Dr. Clark's office. Drat. Another reason to go home. Reason's are piling up and home sounds pretty good right now. We met a couple who haven't been home in over 2 years. I don't think I could do that; couldn't stay away from family that long. We try to not bug our kids and let them live their own lives, make mistakes and figure it out, but I'm ready for some big, grand-kid hugs and good-natured teasing around the dinner table. I miss the church folks and Brent leading us through the passages. Betty's Deeper Roots study has started again for the Fall and I know the books at Encore need attention. It's a big job and Molly, Michele and Joann need a break. Grif and Aaron probably have the yard well under control; I just need to have that soil under my nails again. I know Sammy's happy with Lynne; I'm just not content without her. Suzie is back home and wanting to snuggle during evening TV time. Lindsay, Mike, Andrea, Jim, Tim, Leigh and Dad are all faces I miss and of course, our handsome and beautiful, smart and mischievous, wonderful, loving John, Joss and Erin. Oh, my, how I long to see them. What am I doing? I have tears. Let's go, truck!

Let's see, we can now add green, green sod farms to the sunflowers and corn and the humidity has gone up, way up to 50%. You can almost bite the air; it feels thick and heavy. What a difference a state can make. My hair is really curling up. Stars and Stripes Forever on the computer. How American is that? Big trees, little, blue lakes and fields of different crops. Homespun America at it's best. Oh-oh Rhythm Divine on the computer; we're in Mexico! A little dancing in the truck won't be too bad. Can you feel the rhythm? And now Hold on Tight to Your Dreams – we're back in the west.

Oh-oh. We were in the wrong lane and find ourselves exiting I-90. We'll get right back on in a minute. Nope. Construction and the entrance ramp is gone. Okay, County road 46 parallels I-90; we'll be back on in a couple miles. We're seeing the fields up close now. They'll be harvesting soon. I see signs for Dekalb, Pioneer, Asgrow and Prairie corn seed. Seems to me Dekalb seed is big in Illinois; I remember from all those reunion trips.

It's heating up again and I'm in the hot seat. A couple country songs and now Beautiful People In Love and we're knocking off the miles to Wisconsin. Still in MN and passing on the north side of Albert Lee, I-35 is just ahead to Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN or Des Moines. Iowa. Hmm, I think we'll stay on I-90; it turns south in Wisconsin anyway to get around Lake Michigan. "Tiney Winey" and we're in the Caribbean with more dancing in the truck. Hot music and hot temperatures. I-90 looks more like I-94 in Michigan with mowed medians and side right of ways, visible, regular mile markers and reflectors and fences marking the highway area. The Eisenhower administration devised and implemented our current interstate system and those republicans did a great job. We've seen lots of small signs on this trip giving Eisenhower credit. We've not noticed signs to that effect before.

Passing Hormel Foods in Austin, MN, we're moving along with Gloria Estefan's "1,2,3,4" and now "Lookin' Out My Back Door" by Credence Clearwater Revival. What a great mix of happy music! "Dancin' In The Street" and singin' in the truck, windmill farms, corn, corn and more corn with soybeans and hay to break things up. La Crosse, WI on the border is only 97 miles away. China Grove by the Doobie Brothers. When did they break up anyway? Too bad. Great music! More windmill farms. I think this is what Jennifer Graham envisioned for Michigan. She wanted battery companies for electric cars too. "End of the Line" by The Traveling Wilburys – great group in 1988 – Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne and Bob Dylan. “Even if you're old and gray, you still got somethin' to say.”

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There are one heck of a lot of windmills along I90 in Minnesota. I can't figure out why, in certain areas, a lot of them are not turning. Do we have too much electricity and they need to stop some of the windmills from turning? A mystery.

Seventy miles to La Crosse and we're noticing painted silos – black and white checked patterns. Farms are neat and clean looking – all painted up, ticky-tacky, not much just laying around, well taken care of. Orange barrels again means construction and this time it's bridge work. America is working. Amish Market in Eyota just 5 miles ahead – no wonder the farms look ticky-tacky clean. More orange barrels! I wonder what we're in for this time? Eyota one mile and they're replacing the west-bound lanes. We have two-way traffic on our side, but 60 mph isn't a hardship. We don't travel too fast when we're pulling the trailer – 65-70 is the most. Thin, lacy clouds are giving just a small amount of relief from the sun. My right arm is tanned nicely – first time in years.

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Now this is a really nice Minnesota farm.

La Crosse is 47 miles away and we're still in the construction zone. Most of the concrete roadbed is done and waiting for the blacktop shoulder work. "Breathless" by The Coors and we're out of construction. More painted silos – 40-50 feet tall, blue this time and checkered and 5-6 silos on each farm. Farms look prosperous, neat and well-maintained. Dairy farms! Mm. Smell those cows! Listening to Fleetwood Mac's "Rhianna" and singing along helps the miles melt away. Paul Simon's "Kodachrome". La Crosse is only 13 more miles. Neil Diamond's "Beautiful Noise".

Bluffs over the Mississippi and whoo-hoo, we're in Wisconsin! 127 miles to Madison, the capital city. Roy is singing "Pretty Woman". We're looking for a rest area for lunch and so we can run the generator for the frig. It's too hot for it to last. 89 degrees and the air is heavy with humidity. "Beer Barrel Polka" by Lawrence Welk. Bubbles anyone? "Chantilly Lace" by The Big Bopper, "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" and we're in Tennessee or Kentucky or West Virginia. "Womanizer" by Brittany Spears – New York. We got the truck refueled as well as our stomachs and the frig cool and happy. Road looks just like Michigan. We have oaks and pines and bracken, small, puffy clouds and the sun is more at our backs for now. Life is good. Thank you, God, for the little things as well as the large ones. Signs for Wisconsin cheese! Dare we stop? Probably not – can't waste the time. Neil Diamond's "Let Me Take You In My Arms". The exit to Tomah. I-90 and I-94 merging. The Bare Naked Ladies singing "If I Had a Million Dollars". Trees showing more reds and burnt orange colors. We're in the Untouched Drift area with bluffs and crags and deep crevasses – protected from and untouched by the glaciers – zeroing in on the Dells area. "Voulez Vous" by Abba.

Wetlands. Wow. If I was a moose, I'd make this my home. Lots of delectable, green munchies, but no moose in sight. There's a Paul Bunyon Lumberjack Show at the Dells. We'll wave as we drive through the area...again. I remember going to the Dells as a child and have been through here numerous times since we've been married, but we've never stopped. I think its too close to home for us. We'll have to make Wisconsin and Minnesota a destination some time. These are pretty states. Wisconsin Dells next four exits. We're waving.

Idiot drivers in Wisconsin though – there's a truck pulling a boat not 4 feet off the bumper of the car in front of him at 70 mph - an accident looking for a place to happen – idiot! Yep, that's just what Alan called him. Traffic has gotten much worse since I-90 and I-94 merged. There is a steady stream of trucks and cars passing in the left lane and the road is wavy and bumpy. Ugh! Feels like Chicago and not in a good way. More vehicles in this section than in the entire state of Wyoming! It'll probably be this way the rest of the trip. Madison 22 miles, Chicago 170 miles. Signs for Cracker Barrel – haven't seen those for awhile. We have three lanes of traffic going into Madison now.

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The Wisconsin farmers are doing okay also. Those are missile silos. Or maybe cheese silos.

East-bound and Down. Madison is in our rear view mirror. Janesville too. Whew. Janesville smells like horses**t! I can't believe this! Talk about air pollution! Glad we're driving past and not into! Whew! Heading toward Rockford, Illinois – Hi, Carolyn! Illinois border! Yippee! We know we can make it home tomorrow. A toll booth! Illinois is famous for toll roads and yet the roads are garbage. What do they use that money for, I wonder. We're shooting for Starved Rock State Park near I-80 for this 106th and last night of camping on this trip. We've stayed there many times and know what to expect. Nice park. The blazing sun is now a cool ball of orange-red on the horizon and we've gone close to 500 miles today. We're ready to stop. (end of Diane's writing)

We filled the truck's tank with $2.059 per gallon gas, the cheapest on this trip, I think, and got to Starved Rock State Park Campground in Illinois, just a bit south off I-80. It is way after dark and there was a guy at the entry point who gave us a map of the campground and some instructions. Twenty-five bucks for the night with electric and showers. Kinda like Michigan State Parks. We took quick showers in the crude restrooms, not like Michigan State Parks.

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We are right on the end of the loop in Starved Rock State Park Campground just around the corner from the crappy restrooms. Well, this is our last campsite for this trip. We have camped for 106 days and stayed in 68 different campgrounds that I rate from one to five stars. I'll be generous and give this place 2 stars.

Our final dinner of this trip was easy; leftovers from the frig. We played a game of cribbage (Diane won again) and watched an old episode of Ally McBeal. A Rum and Coke put a nice finish to this long day of driving. BTW: the truck is running great except for a ticking that sounds like a collapsed tappet.

Day 106 Summary ~ We drove about 497 miles today which puts us at 13,796 total miles into our journey.
It is 66 degrees outside at 10:00 pm Central time with clear skies and lots of stars.

Day 107 ~ Thursday, September 17 - This is our last day of our 90-day trip that has somehow grown into a 107-day trip. The temperature here in Utica, Illinois, is 74 degrees with a 68% humidity at 8:30 am. Back into the wet heat. Welcome to the mid-west. This campground is a bit shabby. Most of the actual sites in our loop are very shady wooded sites. The restrooms are pretty crappy. It's time to leave for home.

(Diane wrote this while we drove) On the road again at 9:15 am. We've got Chicago to tackle this morning and wanted an early start. Construction ahead and typical of the Chicago area, the orange barrels / cones are up and the equipment is there, but no work is being done. We slept well last night and although it's 77 degrees now, it felt cool during the night – quiet and the stars were great. Starved Rock State Park Campground is the same as I remembered from 30 or maybe 40 years ago. Exactly the same – no upgrades of any sort. The park was nice back then, now it's old and in need of updating. Two large showers with a push button mechanism for water, but they need to adjust the mechanism for the flow to last more than 3 seconds. You have to keep pushing the button for water so there's no time to soap up or get clean and shiver. (BTW: the men's room shower works fine) How can so many parks get this simple operation screwed up? They try, they really do, but it's never quite right. Am I being too picky? No – I think I could get a better shower from my outdoor hose at home. We'll be home tonight and I'm looking forward to it. It's wonderful to go away on vacation, but it's even better to return home.

Trucks, trucks and more trucks. Illinois has huge fields of corn and I think they have even more trucks. We are playing a mix of country songs and we're "Boot Scootin'" down I-80 with Indiana on the horizon. Have to pick up some Illinois corn for Joss' party on Saturday. Chicago is north of us, but not very far. Highway 40 Blues.

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The trucks own the freeways around Chicago - eastbound I80.

We passed the southern side of Chicago, Hammond and Gary and are now on our way to the Michigan border. Detroit is 256 miles ahead of us. Waaaaaaaay toooooooooo much traffic here. We don't like it at all. Warning! Warning, Will Robinson! Avoid this area if at all possible. Recalculate and take a different route! Ugly, ugly traffic and too many semis. This road is bad – wavy, potholes dips – feels like Michigan.

WE'RE BACK IN MICHIGAN! "Hard To Say No" is playing on the computer and we're rockin' and rollin' on eastbound I-94. I guess Michigan needs to bump up the gas tax another penny. I-94 is a mess! It's almost like being in the Yukon. Bumpy, crumby, dips and wavy. Yuk! Should have stayed on I-80 and paid the toll. Michigan – GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER!

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After 107 days on the road, this is a most welcome sign.

We're back in our own time zone and it feels good. No more guessing how many hours difference. The corn looks good and billboards for cider mills just say welcome home; it's Fall. I-94 looks shabby though and needs the weeds cut back. The road is smooth now – this section must have been resurfaced in the last 2 years. Michigan is one of the only states to have mile markers every two tenths of a mile. Somebody's brother-in-law made the state such a deal on signs. Many states go 5 miles between markers. British Columbia has a mile marker every 50 miles or so. They don't even know what mile markers are in the Yukon!

We're back to the buh-buh-buh-buh-buh waves in the road. It LOOKS good, but isn't really and drives ya nuts! We have to turn up the radio to cover up the noise. We'll sing louder. "Amarillo By Morning". We should make it to Farmington Hills in a couple hours. Lindsay, tell everyone to go home. Party's over! We're just west of Kalamazoo – only Battle Creek, Marshall, Jackson, Ann Arbor, then HOME. I'd like a cool drink and an upholstered chair, please.

We're on M-14 heading to I-275 and then I-696, Orchard Lake, 12 Mile, Middlebelt, Old Colony and Wellington. Gee, but it's great to be back home. Home is where I want to be! ...for now. Thanks for reading this blurb. We're home. Time to unpack the truck and trailer.

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Well, both the truck and trailer are back home and in need of repairs. They are tired.
Thank God we didn't get any flat tires, no major failures, and only ran out of gas twice.
I want a new truck for the next drive to Alaska. Maybe we'll fly.

Thanks for following our trip on this travel log. I hope you enjoyed my humor and opinions. I plan to write a summary of the entire trip expressing my opinions of the Canadian and Alaska tourist BS.

Day 107 Summary ~ We drove about 358 miles today which puts us at 14,154 total miles for our round trip to Alaska.