Good Wednesday afternoon/evening folks! We have been making some tracks once again…it is good to be back on the road. When we last posted on the 8th, I was at the Cummins facility in Wisconsin getting my annual maintenance done on the Coach. That went real well, no surprises other than needed a new air filter. They are not cheap…$185! I try to remove the air filter and clean it out every month or so, but it had been two years since I’d put a new one in, so it was time. Other than that, normal fluid changes and lubrication’s.
We stayed in Terri’s mom’s driveway on the night of the 8th, and hit the road early on the 9th. We had planned to take I-39 down to I-80 to start our trek East and to avoid Chicago, but we ended up going a bit further South in order to get over to Columbus Ohio on the 10th and 11th so we could visit some friends that were unexpectedly in Columbus for a bit. We drove in the rain most of the day on Friday, the 9th, and it wasn’t too bad other than making a mess out of the Coach and the truck. Terri found a place just north of Champagne-Urbana, IL. It is the small town of Rantoul, IL and the RV Park (Prairie Pines) sits on the grounds of what used to be Chanute AFB, IL. Chanute was closed by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) in 1993, and most of the base has been turned over to the local community. I chatted with some folks that now live in the old officer’s housing, and it looks like Rantoul has made the most out of what appear to be great facilities like the gym, library, dorms that are now apartments, etc. The RV Park sits in what used to be the base mobile home park, so it is kind of oddly laid out, as you will see in the pics that follow. The deal between the Federal Government and the City of Rantoul as far as the RV Park is concerned is that the City has to make a major improvement every 10 years over the course of 30 years, at which time the property will be turned over to the City for good. It was a nice place, and only $25 for 50 AMP, Full Hook Ups.
All in all, it was a great experience, and we will stay here again if we are ever in the area. Soon after we had gotten all settled, severe weather hit the area and the weather radio went nuts. There were a few tornado’s that touched down not too far to the South of where we were. Severe weather is always a concern when living in this box, but the bad stuff dissipated, and we had a great nights rest. We were up and gone by 0900, but ran right into rain again, and it stayed with us all the way to the Columbus area.
We arrived at the Cross Creek RV Resort in Delaware, OH (just North of Columbus) about 3:00. And just in time! As soon as we got the Coach into our spot and plugged in, a nasty thunderstorm pushed through. That lasted about an hour, and we then put the slides out and set up the rest of the camp site. Cross Creek is a beautiful park, with tons of amenities, few of which we unfortunately took advantage of. It was a little pricey, but we’ve learned to keep within our $600 per month camp site budget pretty well over the last two years. In fact, we have actually come in under that each year so far.
Unfortunately, we did not get any pictures of the camp ground. We headed out early on Sunday morning to meet up with great friends in Columbus. Clay, Mary and Trase Travers were all in town, so we got a chance to spend the morning together and catch up. God’s Speed to you all!!
That afternoon was gorgeous, so we decided to take in the Columbus Zoo. Kind of pricey, but they honor a military discount, so it wasn’t too bad. It was well worth the price. This is definitely one of the nicest zoos that we have been visited. The way they have arranged most of the animal exhibits gives you the feeling they are in their natural habitat…especially in the Africa area.
We were up fairly early on the 12th for a shorter trek to Geneva on the Lake Ohio. It is just East of Cleveland. What a great place! It is right across the street from Lake Erie, and they are a Passport America Park, which means we get 50% off their rates, as we are members. For only $40 per year, this membership usually pays for itself in one or two nights. I talked earlier about staying within our budget, well, this is one of the ways we do it…staying at an upscale independent park for half price…why, yes please! And a gorgeous park it was! Plenty of room between sites, cable TV, swimming pools, movie stars…er, nope. Sorry, went Beverly Hillbilly on ya there. But a huge, really nice place with a full grocery store on site, chapel, theater, meeting areas, stocked catch and release fishing ponds…they had it all, and for the PA rate of $25 per night…we will stay again!
We were up and at it early again on the 13th, Tuesday. We had a fairly short trek to Grand Island, New York, which is right near Niagara Falls. Terri and I have never been, so we were looking forward to it. I have to say, the highways in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Western New York have been great…I hope that continues as we move East. We stopped at the first rest area in PA, and the lady working the counter couldn’t have been nicer. She directed us to a few scenic routes that are navigable with the RV, and off the tollways. Those of you from this part of the woods know that tolls are prolific! In fact, we are considering buying an EZ Pass for the remainder of the trip…tough to swallow that though…I’ve been looking at alternative routes.
We had a very nice trip through some of the PA and NY wine country, and had a very uneventful trip through the city of Buffalo to reach Grand Island. We are parked at the Cinderella Motel and RV park, with 50 AMP and full hookups, cable…but it stops there. We hardly watch TV, so cable isn’t that big of a deal. What drove us to this park is the location near the falls, and the price…they are another Passport America park, and rather than spending $75 a night for a really “tight” park, we are paying half of that. What I mean by “tight” is that I know for a fact that if my neighbor on either side needed sugar, or a beer, or whatever, I could open the window and hand it to them through their window! Oh well, we are not here to spend all of our time the Coach anyway. Looking ahead, it appears that I may have the unfortunate opportunity to blow the monthly camping budget in the NE…these places “ain’t cheap!!”
Onto today and the falls! We decided to use the Gray Line tour system, and tour the Canadian side. We are so glad we did! It cost about $100 each, but well worth it for the places we got to go. We totaled up what it would have cost us to park, and admission for what we got to do, and we would have spent way more than that if we had gone on our own, and we would not have gotten the history from our life long Buffalo resident and ardent Bills fan, Howard. On to the pics.
Well, that’s it for now. What an awesome last few days!! We are planning on exploring more of the local area tomorrow, and hope to get to the finger lakes next and spend a few days there. We have not determined if we will go the northern or southern route around the lakes, but the southern route does not include tolls…so there is one indicator. We are still looking at how we will traverse to Maine, but it appears now that we may catch I-91 in Mass, and take that all the way to the Northern end of VT and take US 2 over to I-95. We will see. If any of you have suggested places to go and see, routes to take, or things to do, please let us know!
As always, we hope this finds you Happy, Healthy, and Living Your Dreams!!!!