Wednesday, September 11, 2013

On The Move Again…



You know how places, things, people and such have slogans?   Things like, “I left my heart in San Francisco.”  Well, we left our suspension in Indiana! 

Thankfully, that is not entirely true and our suspension happily managed to stay intact.  But our entire trek across that state and part of the way into Illinois as well the suspension was tested above and beyond the call of normal duty.  There was little one could do.  Avoiding a very large pothole would throw you A) into another lane and thusly another car or B) into another even larger pothole.  We opted to avoid the other cars and therefore hit one or more often both potholes instead. 

We should mention that our method of travel as of late has been atypical of our usual fare. 

                 Yes, that’s right.  We’ve been taking… THE HIGHWAY!

              Which apparently is not entertaining enough for these guys.

Heck, at one point we counted 16 total lanes of traffic.  That’s some crazy stuff.
You know what else is crazy?

                               The Worlds Largest Wind Chimes!

                Bridges that look like wishbones and split the state line.

               Kids playing hide-and-go-seek who will never find each other

                                                 or their dog

                                despite all hiding at the same tree.

                Grasshoppers we spotted on this super cool mosaic wall.

      And another blending into the mosaic created by the leaves of a plant.

                                           Nifty spider close-ups!

                                            Dew drops in a web.

                                         And, pollinators at work. 

It seems we definitely left all of the rain behind and things have been heating up pretty good.  With afternoon temps peaking near 98 we hosted the bulk of our (air conditioned) driving mid-day and toured around wherever we found ourselves in the early morning or evening.


We moved at about double our usual wandering pace and achieved just over 200 miles per day.  Annie loves this pace and she rewarded us with an average of just under 13 mpg.  That combined with the constantly dropping gas prices (lowest so far $ 3.33) has made for a great trip statistically speaking.


One afternoon, Annie started squealing at us.  Just a little peep now and then at first but as we continued driving she gradually grew louder and filed more and more complaints!  So, we opted to cut the day short and rolled into the first town we could find with a Super Walmart (the theory here was not actually sleeping but that most towns with a Walmart also have a car parts store).  She was too hot to handle until the morning so we settled into a cool McDonalds for some internet research on the area we will call home for the next few months.


In the a.m. Nicole popped the hood to discover that our alternator was ‘just hanging out’.  The nut on the top bolt was just a few minutes from disappearing and had loosened itself enough for the belts to flop around and leave slap marks on the radiator hose.  Nothing was actually damaged however so a few cranks of the wrench and off we went to explore another day.

                                               All who wander…

                                                   are not lost.

Annie’s ‘issues’ brought us to a town we hadn’t planned on exploring and led us to an experience we didn’t know was out there.  Labyrinth walking!  Highland, IL is probably one of those places you would normally drive past without blinking but we are glad that we didn’t.  Thanks to our girl, Annie, for yelling at us when she did!  This little Swiss inspired town had some really neat things to offer.  Probably the coolest was this labyrinth in one of their local parks.  We’ve since found a new website ( and will add this to our list of now-and-then experiences as we continue our ventures.


One day after our alternator incident we put our Walmart stays behind us and settled into a beautiful primitive camping spot on a lake.  We also added “need new motor for driver’s side window” to our list of things to do with Annie when we get a chance.  We knew it was coming.  The motor had gradually been slowing down so the fix was anticipated.  Thankfully, the motor died in the UP position.

View from our lakeside campsite.  It is actually a decommissioned COE camp from what we can tell.  We were getting closer to our final destination so we stayed only one night due to the excitement and anticipation of seeing our new ‘home’.  Still we were there long enough to take in our first western sunset in a good while.

                                          Boy have we missed these!

             And, in the category of:  You know you’re in Oklahoma WHEN…


Did we mention that we were in Oklahoma?!  Whoops.  We are.  For at least one month, maybe three.  Speaking of… time to go enjoy the park.

Blue dragonfly next to one of the many natural springs in Chickasaw National Recreation Area.

Until next time…