We left Abe’s RV Park in Oklahoma City on Monday afternoon, around 4pm. A little later than planned, but work took a little longer for Allen. Plus, we went to the races on Sunday for the last time, I celebrated pretty hard (with not enough food!) and I was paying for it on Monday! The bartender, Sloan, didn’t help matters with her encouragement of Red Bull & Vodka! We finally got our winning picture from our friend Verle too…
We said goodbye (for now) to Karen & Bob (the campground owners), loaded the bike, and hit the highway.
We kept our eye on the weather, knowing there were supposed to be storms in the evening and overnight along our route.
I always do the navigating, planning our route, picking potential stopping points, etc. I have lots of apps to help me:
So we are well on our way, through Oklahoma and into Kansas. I start looking at Facebook and stop looking at the road, the signs on the highway, or my map (I know, I know…) But then I start checking for a rest area so we can put fuel from the auxiliary tank into the truck.
We have a 36 gallon aux tank in the bed of the truck. It makes it so we don’t have to go to a gas station for at least about 500 miles, which is super nice when you’re pulling a 43′ camper!
I come up with one on the Kansas/Missouri state line…
We are heading to Nebraska, north and west.
So I pull up Google Maps, that had been running in the background. Allen turned it on “mute” (so it’s partially his fault, of course). But I realize we curved with I-35 instead of keeping straight on I-135! Oops! Cost us $5.25 in extra tolls and about 60miles. But! We got to see a pheasant crossing the road! I’m referring to that oops as the “scenic route around Wichita”.
Once we got back on the right path, and got onto 81 we started to notice the sky looking pretty ominous. Then the lightning show started. The craziest lightning storm I’ve ever seen! It looked like something out of a movie… Maybe something they would show in the dome of The Hunger Games… We pulled off an exit ramp to kind of assess the situation and decide what we should do. 81 isn’t really a highway per say, so my i-Exit wouldn’t work. There aren’t rest areas or truck stops along the way. So we sat and watched the sky for a few minutes, not getting much service on our phones, debating what to do. We decided to try and outrun it, or look for a place to stop. We couldn’t very well just sit on the side of the highway for an hour or more.
The storms were along the state line of Kansas & Nebraska and we didn’t want to drive straight into them. We finally came to a stop light and low and behold, a 24 hour Walmart! With lots of trucks parked in the lot and a couple campers! So we parked, Allen had a beer (I was in no condition for drinking again just yet!), we watched the lightning a little and went to sleep.
Two hours later I rolled over and Allen’s awake (I hate it when he does that!) He told me we were going to have to leave in a minute. He showed me the radar and the storm was almost on top of us! So we hurried and got back in the truck and hit the road again, trying to shoot the gap between the storm that was about to slam us and the one just north, crossing our path.
We did it! We shot the gap! We drove up to I-80 and got to the first TA. (Thank you Trucker Path!). We fueled up and found a parking spot. I’m so glad Allen is such a good backer upper! He whips right in between semis just about perfectly. We went to sleep for 5 hours, woke up at 8am to blue skies… Whew! Talk about a rough night!!! Apparently those storms produced a tornado in Kansas. I’m just thanking my lucky stars that we made it safely.
We checked in at Chimney Rock Pioneer Crossing RV Park yesterday. Joe is the owner and he’s super nice. After setting up, we went and looked at the tower site, deciding that the 4 mile dirt road leading to it will make it next to impossible for Allen to ride the bike – dang it!
We stopped and had some dinner in town. More storms last night but we survived! 50mph wind that comes out of nowhere… Hello to you too Nebraska!
Now I’m adjusting to my new life on the plains… Charlie has already rolled on a snake skin, we’ve seen a bunny rabbit, a tumbleweed, 2 donkeys and a 26 year old quarter horse. I’m learning about rattlesnakes and electric fences. I think our time here is going to be interesting! Ya can’t beat the view for sure!