Halfway Home – After A Really Long Day

So much for our previous goal of 200 to 250 miles per day, with a possible extension to 300 miles. Today is going to be a marathon, almost 500 miles to reach Sioux Falls on the I-90, which is also the mid-point of our cross-country sojourn. At our usual speed of 50 to 55 mph, that is way too much driving time, so we plan to run at closer to 60 mph today. Saturday 11th October 2014 Rock Island KOA, IL to Sioux Falls KOA, SD Temps – 2 to 15C Weather – Fine & clear Wind – Light airs followed by strong S’ly last few hours Cloxs – No change (Z-4) Distance today – 489 miles Total Distance – 7,989 miles Navigation We have numerous choices today, but unfortunately none of them are a direct diagonal route, so we have to head West and North. Our choice is the shortest, predominantly divided highway route, I-80, I-380, SR 20, I-29, I-229 and finally I-90. Departure Rock Island KOA This involved a couple of tight corners getting out of the site, but nothing challenging, so within a few minutes we were heading down the highway, yet again homeward bound. Detailed Voyage to Sioux Falls, SD Our first decision of the day was actually last evening when reviewing options for the termination of today’s voyage. We could stop at Sioux City, but that was under 400 miles, so with mostly flat motorway driving we opted for the marathon to reach the mid-point of our cross-country sojourn. We elected an early start, so about 0730 we pulled out of the site surrounded by a light fog emanating from the adjacent lake. The other notable meteorological issue was temperature, which was a rather cool 2 C, and to think that right now we should be heading South to warm, dry and sunny Indio, California. Back on I-280 we quickly cross the mighty Mississippi River, of which we have a spectacular view, as it is clear. It is amazing how wide the river is this far from the mouth. Truly an amazing spectacle.  Once across the river, and into Iowa, we quickly return to the I-80, heading East for Des Moines. As soon as we hit I-80 we are surprised at the amount of traffic, or more specifically cars at this time of the morning. The motorway, while running at normal speeds is 2 solid lines of traffic. We just put it down to the long weekend for Columbus Day. We also notice an abundant number of cars flying flags from the windows, but think nothing of it until approaching Iowa City, when we see a sign advising, “Football traffic keep right.” Not something we see in Vancouver, but brought back memories for Andy, as he followed Scotland’s largest team Rangers, every week, and frequently the police had signs directing the football (soccer) traffic along specific routes. Well, that answers why the road is so busy at 0800 on a Saturday morning. Once clear of Iowa City we switch to I-380, which generally heads NW until it becomes the US 20 in Waterloo. We make a quick stop again at a Flying J, 3/4 tank of diesel for just over $100, bonus, as in Vancouver that would be $180 to $190. Continuing along US 20, which is a great road, except for lack of rest areas, I look at the GPS and it has us driving through corn fields. Ah! this must be a new road. Approaching Sioux City, Judi is looking, on the GPS, for a rest area to walk the dogs when I see a sign for I-29 & US 75, so take the slip road and head North, which is our intended direction. Only problem is this isn’t I-29, it is only US 75, which heads NE and we want to go NW. Anyway, after 5 miles we get turned around and headed back to Sioux City, where we stop at a mall to walk the dogs. On return to the truck, a vehicle drives up and the couple advise they are looking for an RV and hadn’t heard of Redwood. They are interested in our opinion on diesel pusher v’s 5th wheel, so we discussed how we searched the market and the reasons for electing a 5th wheel, and specifically the Redwood. Back on the road we proceeded through Sioux City, eventually finding I-29 for our final 90 miles of the day. As we head North on I-29 we are reviewing options for the 2nd half of this cross-country journey, when Andy suggests taking a 1 day break. Judi has had a rather uncomfortable day and Kona, the 2 yr old German Shepherd needs a good run. Walking her on a leash doesn’t expend sufficient energy. We agree that it’s probably best for all, so we decide to find a grocery store to pick up some steaks for dinner tomorrow and a few beers. Oh, even got wine for Judi. We eventually reached the campground shortly after 1800, for a commute of almost 11 hours of driving mainly though America’s bread basket, with millions of acres of corn in all directions. A day off tomorrow will be most welcome.

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