Day 2 - drive to Salina KS

Trip Start Sep 05, 2007
Trip End Nov 10, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Kansas
Friday, September 7, 2007

    I woke up this morning about 8AM which was earlier than I wanted. I knew that I needed to get started early because it was going to take me a while to get out of Illinois. Everyone was gone from my Uncle Perry's house so I didnt have to spend any time saying goodbye. I went to go see my great grandmother who had recently fell and broken her hip. When I got to the nursing home, she had begun her morning therapy. She is doing fine; she feels good and is getting stronger every day.
    I left Carlyle about 930 and headed about 40 miles west close to Centreville IL. There is a large Catholic Church there where another one of my grandmothers work. Then later on my aunt came to join us at lunch. Neither one of them had seen my camper so we had to admire that for a while in the parking lot. We said our goodbyes and I was on my way again.
    Next on the agenda for the day was to fill up with gas. I wasnt empty yet but I wanted to see what kind of fuel mileage I was getting with my truck. At this point in the trip, I was averaging 17.4 mpg pulling the camper. I thought was great since the camper was a little heavy along with my bed cover and all my gear in the bed of the truck.
    From the truck stop where i filled up and where we had eaten lunch that day, I was back on the road again. The drive West from East St. Louis was fairly uneventful except for the normal foul language and obscene jestures from people passing by me as I slowly try to accelerate up the hills. I made it to Central Missouri and hit some bad storms. I had found out later in the day from my mother that there were some tornado warnings along the interstate corridor that I was on which would explain the extreme weather.
    Before I left Murray, I had been having some issues with my windshield wipers on my truck. I dont know exactly what the problem is, could be a weak motor, but for some reason the dont want to turn right away when I hit the switch. When this happens, I have to stop and get out to pull on the wipers to help get them started. Once I do that, they will work the rest of the day just fine. So it started to rain, not heavily, but enough that the wipers needed to be turned on. Well I hit the switch for the wipers and nothing happens. Then it started to rain harder to the point where I couldnt see out the windshield anymore. I had to stick my head out the side window to be able to see just like Ace Ventura except with wind and rain hitting me in the face. I finally got pulled over and got the wipers started but I just hope that I dont have that problem often.
    From there I drove to Maple Hill Kansas where I filled up with gas again. Maple Hill was west of Topeka but farther than I wanted it to be because I almost ran out. I pulled in to the station on fumes and my worry factor was about a 9 out of 10 that I wasnt gonna make it. Gas was 2.99 a gallon but I didnt care cause it was push water and that stuff can be hard to come by in the state of Kansas. I filled up and calculated my mileage again which was 16.5 mpg. Even though my mileage had gone down, I was still happy with it. I was on my way again after getting some ice for the cooler and fixing a ham sandwich for dinner.
    From Maple Hill I drove to Salina KS which is where I am now while typing this. While in Maple Hill I had also looked for a good stopping point for the night. I decided that Salina would be a good place to find a spot just judging by the green triangle north of the city on the map. I assumed that a green triangle on the map means that there is a state campground in the area. Not having internet available at the time, I wasnt able to look up any information about the area. I took off towards Salina and decided I would wing it to see what I could come up with when I got there. I get to Salina and I am sure that I am close to the area where the green triangle shows on the map. I drive around the country side looking for this place not seeing any signs. I end up in the middle of nowhere, on a dirt road with no hope in sight. By this time, it is about 730 that night, it was getting dark, and another storm was moving so I had to make a decision fast. The dirt road I was on ended up being closed because a bridge was out. (see pictures) Closer to town, I had seen a KOA campground so I knew I could always go back there.
    Well, thats what ended up happening; made it to the KOA and got checked in. The good thing was they had wireless internet so I could plug in which sounded good at the time. Of course, things are sometimes not as easy as they seem. I had also been having some problems with my laptop. I wasn't able to mess around with it as much as I wanted to before I left. So when I tried to hook up to the internet at the campground, I never could get it to work.
    I got so mad I had sit back and assess the situation. Recap: My windshield wipers arent reliable, my mileage is going down on my truck, I cant find a free or cheap campground before nightfall, I couldnt get my internet to work on my laptop, it is raining outside and blowing my popup camper all over the place I almost cant even sleep, and to top everything off, I am out 20 bucks to stay at a campground with amenities that I dont even need. I realized that this was the first day on my own and I am already pissed off and ready to come home. Maybe tomorrow will be better, who knows.
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