Taking off from Gunnison, we traveled towards Denver up some mountain highways steep enough we decided to disconnect the tow car and drive it up separately. The made the drive much nicer and will be SOP when dealing with steep grades.
We skirted Denver (no reason to stop there) and ended up spending the night in a Passport America (thanks Bill!) park in Chappel Nebraska. We decided not to boondock due the 95 degree weather. Running the generator all night to does not make for a comfortable night.
Chappel is a small town that is famous for two things: Multiple Grain elevators along the railroad tracks and being the birthplace of Richard Cabela, the founder of Cabela’s Sporting Goods. The Cabela furniture stores in town didn’t strike me as being viable businesses given the size of the town, and I think may be operated as more a memorial to the Cabela family.
The town is suffering the malaise of small town America, but still had some businesses operating. We walked the town marveling at the wonderful brick houses that people lived in. We noted that the Mason’s lodge was one of the larger buildings in town. Connection?
Leaving Chappel, we decided to get off the interstate and drive on US-30 which more or less paralleled the Interstate and was much more enjoyable and peaceful than the Interstate.
US-30 was the main road across Nebraska until the Interstate was built. It is however very well maintained since it serves many small towns and farms across Nebraska. To be honest there wasn’t a lot to see in Nebraska. That evening we crossed into Iowa.
That night the heat in Iowa drove us to seek out an RV park rather than a Walmart for our next overnight. We ended up in the Pottawattamie Fairgrounds in Avoca Iowa. County Fairgrounds are one of the best kept secrets for the Itinerate RVer. Fairgrounds often have RV facilities of the workers that come in for the Fairs. They don’t see any problem collecting a few dollars from the travelers when their fairgrounds are not in use. Even in the housing impacted Bay Area, the one place you can consistently find short term RV space is at the Fairgrounds. The fee to stay is usually quite reasonable and it is almost always full hookups – which for us is huge.
The next morning, we took off across Iowa on roads we believe were maintained by Cal-Trans under contract to the Iowans. We didn’t really plan to do much in Iowa on this leg. We will be returning in October to get the door fixed.
Out of Iowa, we went into Illinois. We stopped for the night, once again declining to boondock because of the excessive heat, in the Hollywood Casino in Joliet Illinois.
A lot of Casinos run RV parks hoping to attract people for the Casino. They are usually quite reasonable. This one…, not so much. This was $60.00/night without full hookups. It did have 50A power, for which we were grateful.
The Casino itself was very nice, though very sparsely attended. The number of workers clearly exceeded the number of players and a lot of the food/entertainment venues were closed. The sports book was open and serving dinner so we ate there and then walked the Casino.
Both the Casino and Hotel were very lightly attended. We suspect this Casino is trying to recover from the Pandemic shutdowns (we saw signs everywhere that said “Welcome Back!”) but they are not there yet. I wonder if the high cost to play ($15.00 minimum bet at the Craps table) had anything to do with it? Even though we try play a little bit at Casinos where we stay, we did not play at this one.
From Joliet, it was a short 200 miles to our destination: The Bear Cave RV Campground in Buchanan Michigan.
This is a very nice RV park on the edge of Lake Chapin, though it is really a river. Water sports and driving around golf carts seems to the theme there. The Bear Cave is really a cave and was apparently a stop along the Underground Railroad.
While there we heard of a Dog Friendly beach along the Michigan shores. One day we drove out to Warren Dunes State Park and took Ginger on a nice long walk along the Shore. We highly recommend Warren Dunes.
Another trip we took was to the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart Indiania We did this mostly because a) It was dog friendly and b) It was airconditioned and the outside temperature was over 100.
As nice as Bear Cave was, we decided to leave Bear Cave and Buchanan a day early to break up the drive to Pennsylvania.