Another 2 blanket night last night .. very chilly .. On the road by 8am .. heading to Tulsa Oklahoma. Scenery changing abit on this portion of trip .. we’re now seeing a lot of cattle grazing on open pastures and farmland. Trees and grass are lot greener than we’ve seen on previous days.
After about 90 min of driving .. we found ‘The Silver Needle’ in Tulsa… It’s a needlework store that TG has been anxious to visit. A little tricky to find .. it was ‘hidden’ in a strip mall .. good news is that there was a lot of parking in the mall parking lot. Very nice folks at Silver Needle .. ‘several’ items purchased .. We spent 2 hours in the store browsing at their vast selection of ‘stuff’.. there was hardly any wall space .. frames hanging everywhere including the restroom. As we were leaving we got a tour of their ‘back room’ and how they handle all their internet orders .. it’s a very busy place.
Another 2 hours and we were at our campsite in Oklahoma City .. Council Road RV Park .. right off of I 40. Place had decent ratings in Woodalls and Good Sam .. but .. we’re glad this is only a one night stay. It’s near a truck industrial area and abit noisy. Campground looks like more like a truck stop than an ‘RV Park’ .. Tomorrow we leave for Amarillo Texas for our next overnight stop.
Storms finally ended around 10pm last night … A few tense moments in that skies looked pretty mean as storm was rolling North of us.. Looking at motion radar screens from internet .. the storm activity we received was just the tail end of the storm .. if that was the tail .. I don’t want to even think what it would have been like in the belly of that beast.
Left under sunny blue skies this morning … temps really cooled down .. went from hi 70’s yesterday to low 50’s this morning .. Pulled into gas station this morning before we got on I 70 W .. guy pumping gas next to us could have been Elvis Presley’s twin .. same hair .. similar clothing .. spooky .. unfortunately .. he was pulling in .. as we were leaving .. so .. no photos of proof of this Elvis sighting !!!
Our route took us towards St Louis .. ran into morning traffic on very congested Interstate roads .. not the place we want to be in pulling the Casita .. numerous last minute lane changes to get us where we needed to be. Terri was navigating as well as taking photos of St Louis Arch .. and Busch Stadium … Arch looked pretty interesting .. if we weren’t pulling Casita .. we might have stopped for a visit. In that traffic was bumper to bumper .. TG was able to take some good photos of ‘The Arch’ ..
Our drive was a little longer than usual .. approx 340 miles .. good weather all the way into Carthage Missouri .. we’re staying for the night at a place called ‘Big Red Barn’ .. Nice place .. a little on the old side .. but it’s clean and well kept. As with all places we’ve stopped at so far .. campgrounds have been pretty empty in that season is just beginning. 3 good things about campsite hit us immediately while we were checking in .. (1) 20 percent Good Sam discount (would have been 30 percent if I had my military ID) .. (2) Blue Bell ice cream in their general store (3) cable TV for tonite !
We’ll leave tomorrow for Tulsa OK .. making a stop at a place Terri has been waiting to visit .. ‘The Silver Needle’ .. the Holly Grail for needleworkers … in fact .. I think this portion of trip was planned so we would pass through Tulsa.. Terri has spoken to them on the phone prior to our leaving home .. they have plenty of room for RV & bus parking.. so we shouldn’t have any parking issues .. after TG has finished her shopping (a few hours ??) .. we’ll head off to Oklahoma City to find a campground.
Summary of our trip to date ..
Total Miles Driven 857 miles
Total Driving time 13 hours 10 min
$210 gas 56 gallons of gas
Big Bass Lake to Harrisville PA (285 miles)
Harrisville PA to Brookville OH (290 miles)
Brookville OH to Mulberry Grove ILL (282 miles)
BBL to Mulberry Grove ILL (857 miles)
Up early .. not much sleep last night ! Steady (sometimes heavy) rain from midnite till 6 am .. heavy rolling thunder and lightning … lightning flashes so bright they would light up inside of Casita. No damage that we can see from our window .. Looking at news on internet .. storm damage mostly in Arkansas (South of us).. Saw that a tractor trailer was overturned on I 70 in Missouri .. our current campsite IS on I -70 … We will be going through Missouri on next leg of trip.
Our planned route …
For now .. although sky is still very cloudy .. we have no rain and wind has died down.. Still expecting more rain later with isolated chance of more thunderstorms… now that storms have passed through Missouri/Oklahoma we should be able to continue with our planned route tomorrow.. Will update blog later .. for now .. showers .. breakfast .. a few cups of tea .. then a visit to Greenville..
Not much going on in the town of Greenville … back to campsite to get ready for tomorrow’s departure day .. in that weather is looking pretty nasty .. lots of dark clouds .. etc .. We are hitched up and ready to go ..
Photo taken early this morning ..
7pm .. our area under a tornado watch … quite a few trailers have now pulled into campsite .. very dark clouds and lightning in the skies … Weather has changed very quickly .. Local weather alerts changing from severe weather alerts to ‘significant weather advisory’ .. and tornado watch till 10pm .. heavy rain/lightning/hail in forecast .. here we go again ! Going to be an ‘interesting’ night !
Photo as of 7:15
So.. this morning we were faced with the big decision .. stay where we are (no severe weather forecasts) or .. keep driving South/West towards Illinois/Missouri .. our next scheduled stop. Last night Weather Channel was calling for severe thunderstorm and possible tornado activity from Tulsa OK to St Louis Missouri… After watching weather news this morning … we decided that we would continue driving to Illinois .. it seems as though only possibility of thunderstorms were in forcast in area we are headed to today .. Mulberry Grove Ill… Mulberry is approx 60 miles from St Louis.
Mulberry Grove campsite .. dark clouds moving in
So far .. our decision was the right one .. we arrived at Cedar Brook Campground at around 1:30. Drive was uneventful .. skies blue & sunny. As we were getting closer to campsite .. dark clouds were starting to appear .. per forecast we would see some rain this afternoon. As we were checking into our site .. a short burst of rain hit us .. we unhitched quickly and made it inside Casita before we got totally soaked. During this leg of trip we not only crossed over to Central Time Zone .. it feels like we’ve crossed over to another climate zone .. We went from 40’s this morning to mid 70’s in Southern Illinois. Went from wearing layers to short sleeves & shorts… a welcome change !
In that we setup camp early today .. we drove into nearest town, Greenville, this afternoon .. Sunday afternoon .. town was pretty quiet .. stopped for bite to eat and walk around … then back to campsite. We’ll come back into town tomorrow to do more exploring.
Driving back to campsite we noticed some animals grazing in an open field .. cattle ?? no … buffalo !
Plan calls for us to spend 2 nights at this site to take a break from our driving routine .. we’ll putter around local area and regroup for our next leg of trip .. Illinois to Missouri. Concern for us now is that Weather forecast(s) are calling for possibility of thunderstorms (heavy ??) tonite with possibility of hail.. thunderstorms ok .. damaging hail storm .. not good ! So far .. so good .. at this point we have no choice .. so we’ll wait and see what happens …..
8:20 pm (CDT) Update
We’re still keeping an eye on weather .. we’ve got good wifi so we’ve been monitoring news and weather channels .. our area seems to be in thunderstorm area during the night per latest NOAA weather announcement. NOAA weather radio seems to be a good addition to our travel gear .. it has 3 bands .. AM/FM and weather channel(s) .. you tune weather channels until you find one closest to your area.. Also has a weather alert feature .. if an emergency alert is sent for our area .. a light will flash .. an audible alert will sound and weather channel will come on automatically !
Battery powered lantern and NOAA Weather Radio … we are ready !
Been cruising around internet and found a few Storm Chaser websites with live feeds .. Chasers send video (some with audio) as they roam around looking for severe weather .. map shows where they are located. Too bad their audio isn’t a bit better .. video feeds are good .. but .. it would be much better if audio would give their exact location so we can relate to it.
Not much sleep last night .. rain didn’t bother us .. but I think we were just overtired from the day’s packing up and driving … besides it was pretty cold last night .. mid 40’s in the Casita. We had either our small ceramic heater or Casita furnace on for most of the night. Casita furnace puts out a lot of heat .. but .. its very loud.. usually waking us up if we are sleeping .. ceramic heater works well …but .. it was so cold .. I don’t it could keep up with cold temps. So .. since we were awake early .. we packed up and left campground earlier than we had planned .. on the road by 8:30.
Continued our plan of driving approx 300 miles … we stopped in Brookeville Ohio around 3:30 .. We were glad to see the weather change for the better .. even if it’s just for one day .. blue skies and sunny day made for a pleasant drive today .. the farther we drove the more we could see trees and flowers beginning to bloom .. Spring is coming ..
KOA we are staying at tonite is probably one of the best we’ve seen .. for about the same price as last nite’s site .. we have a beautiful site .. new bathrooms have built since our last visit in 2011 .. entire campground is well maintained and clean. Restrooms even had a TV up on wall … nice touch !
Took our showers this afternoon … walked around campground taking a few photos with our ‘new’ cameras .. need to learn how to use them before we hit the National Parks .. Sitting outside .. in the sun .. as we update blog .. ‘life is good’
Tomorrow morning we head to our next stop .. Illinois .. Route will take us through Indiana and into Illinois .. Starting to feel the impact of driving 6 hours per day .. next stop will be a good time to stay for 2 nights .. just to take a break .. Weather forecasts are predicting rain for next few days .. but .. that will be OK .. we’ll just do some exploring around local area at our next campsite…
Listening to Weather Channel tonite .. looks like some severe storms (possible tornados ??) going through midwest .. we’re heading in that general direction in a few days .. our route takes us through Missouri, Texas and Oklahoma. We’ll be watching weather very closely ! We do have a NOAA radio with us .. so we’ll be able to listen to any weather warnings as we’re driving …
Our first stop of the trip … Harrisville PA .. Left around 9:30 this morning .. drove for approx 6 hours … arriving around 3:30 at our campsite .. Trying to keep our driving time to around 300 miles per day … which translates to approx 6 hours driving time. Not too many campgrounds in the area … so we ended up in a pretty pricey campground call Kozy Rest .. $45 for the nite ! This could be one of the most expensive sites we we’ll stay in during our entire trip .. It was raining last hour of our trip .. so we were just glad to get settled in for the night .. forecast calling for rain tonite and tomorrow ..
View outside our window .. parked in a grassy field … gonna be a mess if it rains all night … Good news is that rain falling on roof of Casita will help us fall asleep .. not we need any help .. past few days have been pretty hectic.
Tomorrow we head for Ohio … next day Illinois … In that we don’t have any reservations until we hit Arizona .. we can pretty much stop whenever/wherever we want .. had to make reservations for National Park areas because they can get very crowded… Thats basically the plan for this trip .. see as many National Parks as we can .. we’ll revisit some locations we saw during our 2011 trip .. i.e… Grand Tetons .. Grand Canyon .. Arches .. Yellowstone .. but .. we’ll add some new destinations on this trip .. Page and Saguaro AZ .. White Sands NM .. and some others along the way.
Hopefully we’ll be able to post some better photos tomorrow .. above photo was taken with camera phone ..