Adventure 2020 West of the Mississippi

Our campsite in the KOA in Sioux City North.

After Manchester, Tennessee we camped in Benton, Illinois. The campground was nearly full, as were the first two campgrounds where we stayed. While walking on the nature trail the next morning, Dart and I startled some deer and Dart brought back his first tick.

We crossed the Mississippi River and arrived in Kansas City, Missouri yesterday. We have stayed in this KOA campground a few times and this was the least number of campers we have seen. It is usually full. There were lots of robins flitting around the campground and I wanted to take some time to photograph them, but I got a big, bad migraine headache and spent the afternoon and the evening useless. I felt better when we got going this morning.

When Regis stopped for fuel today, we were told the station was closed because someone hit the pump ripping out the main fuel line and it would take several hours to fix. We got back on the road and stopped at the next truck stop. It was closed – not just closed but empty, abandoned. We took advantage of the empty lot and stopped for lunch. I saw lots of swallows beginning to build nests on the side of the empty building. When I attempted to get closer for a photograph, they all left. They were very wary even though they were high up by the top of the building. I left them in peace.

I took one shot to check my exposure settings and everyone left before I could fix it. These are cliff swallows.
This picture is taken from inside the RV on the other side of the parking lot with my 100-400 lens. There were only a few nests that were almost complete. Every other bird is just getting started.

This afternoon, we arrived in a campground just inside the South Dakota state border. It is lovely and well-maintained. There are few people here. I spent time doing the wash today instead of what I wanted to do, take a swim in the empty pool. The campgrounds east of the Mississippi River were full and west of the River there have been significantly fewer campers. We are early in this trip, so perhaps we shouldn’t read too much into it.

We have not had to interface closely with many people on this journey so far. We have only stopped for fuel and camping. We have stayed in KOA campgrounds and they have all adopted safety precautions as a result of COVID-19. We usually don’t have to go inside to check-in but when we do, precautions are in place.

The biggest problem has been the fueling stations. We stop at truck stops to fill our tanks with diesel. We have two tanks. When Regis swipes the credit card at the pump, it is usually declined and he has to go inside. The card always works inside and then we can fuel. About the time we are finished fueling, we get a fraud alert text message or phone call from the credit card company. We let them know it was authorized and they unlock the card. Regis has called the credit card company twice but it hasn’t done anything to change the situation. Regis just ordered a corporate fueling card that can be used at the truck pumps in the future. He is having it mailed to our son and hopefully it will arrive while we are in Washington and can use it on the way back. This has often been a problem, but with a desire to limit physical human interaction, it has become more urgent to find a way to resolve this issue.

I purchased frozen lobster bisque when I went grocery shopping prior to our trip and we left it to thaw out to heat up for dinner tonight. It was disgusting. Regis and I took a spoonful at about the same time and crinkled up our noses the same way. It was not edible. It wasn’t that it turned bad, it was that way in the first place. Thank goodness this campground offers pizza and chicken wings. It was a better option then breaking out a can of tuna fish.

While eating dinner, Regis jumped up in a frenzy. He often leaves the hood of RV open to cool the engine after the day’s drive. There was a squirrel looking in our front windshield. Regis was too upset about the consequences of a squirrel chewing engine parts to consider stopping to take a picture. The squirrel was darn cute. It is a shame Dart was more interested in getting some leftovers than doing his job.

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