We Survived Chicago – Again

It is the Friday of a long weekend, so we planned to overnight no more than 200 miles from Chicago, so we could be heading through by Noon, or early afternoon at the latest. Fortunately, this was one of those plans that actually worked rather well, with an uneventful and speedy transit through the “Windy City.” Today we pass through three States on our cross-country sojourn.

Friday 10th October 2014

Toledo East KOA, OH to Rock Island KOA, IL

Temps – 5 to 15C

Weather – Mostly fine & clear

Wind – Light airs

Cloxs – No change (Z-4)

Distance today – 404 miles

Total Distance – 7,500 miles


Our biggest decision today is how many toll roads, if any to take, as I-80/90 is tolled though Ohio and Indiana, with a short section South of Chicago also tolled. We elect a compromise and use I-80 through Toledo to miss rush hour traffic and in Indiana take Hwy 20 rather than the toll road.

Departure Toledo East KOA Campground

These are nice wide open sites and reasonable roads, so we experienced an easy and uneventful departure, on the day we tackle Chicago, yet again. Must be a good omen!

Detailed Voyage to Rock Island KOA, IL

Planned to leave about 0800, so woke Judi with a steaming hot mug of tea about 0715. While Judi had breakfast, read the news and made tea for the journey, Andy got everything ready for departure and the dogs walked. It surprising how much time is saved by remaining connected overnight, with this morning’s only delay being the defective landing gear, which kept cutting out while retracting the legs.

We finally pulled onto the highway about 0815 and a few minutes later pulled into the local Flying J to top off with diesel. With the tank full, windshield sparkling clean and steaming hot mugs of tea, we set off West down I-80, get again homeward bound. This section of the toll road isn’t much better than we experienced yesterday, but we didn’t experience any rush hour in Toledo. Yet another good omen.

At the end of Ohio, we paid the requested $12 for the privilege of driving on their sub-standard road and headed over to Indiana 20, which we know from our time at the Redwood Rally in August. Approaching Shipshewana, we have some time to spare, so decide to stop for lunch at Marner’s Six Mile Café, a restaurant we visited a couple of times at the rally in August. It’s nothing fancy, just great staff, service and home cooked meals, at very reasonable prices. In fact, it was so good there wasn’t a scrap left on the plates, which means disappointed dogs on return to the truck. Feeling guilty, after a short walk and giving them water, we retrieved a treat from the coach for them before continuing our voyage.

A quick check of the watch revealed perfect timing, as we left at 1115, which is only 1015 Chicago time and with two hours of driving puts us in Chicago very close to our desired time of Noon. Heading south on I-94 we decided on a quick stop at a weigh station to walk the dogs before tackling the Chicago motorways, as who knows how long it would be before we found another rest area. To our pleasant surprise we experienced absolutely no delays going through on I-80, with the only slow down being to pay the single $1.75 toll. However the section of I-80 before the toll booths was the usual jungle, with multiple fairly narrow lanes. Hurtling along about 50 mph, with semis on both sides and mirrors literally a few inches apart does tend to cause a slight increase in blood pressure. Once passed the toll booth the lanes got wider, traffic reduced and we experienced a pleasant drive through the remainder of South Chicago.

Our stop tonight is the Rock Island/Quad Cities KOA, which is close to the Illinois/Iowa border at the mighty Mississippi River. We are selecting KOA’s out of convenience, as while not always the best, they are generally consistent and big rig friendly. Therefore, saving hours of research on our whirlwind cross-country marathon.

Following the GPS to the destination, it counts down the distance then announces, “You have arrived at your destination.” Slight problem, either we are both going blind, or somebody stole the KOA sign and moved the campground. So we pull into a convenient mall parking lot while we give them a ring for directions. The staff weren’t surprised, advising it is a common occurrence. Armed with excellent directions we finally reach our destination about 1730. Wow, nice place on a lake with an adjacent off-leash dog park and a level concrete pad. Pity we are only here for 1 night.

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