After a great night sleep in the casino parking lot we got an early-ish start. We headed for the Mississippi and a diner we had found over in East Moline, Illinois. Smokey's Country Diner did not disappoint with a friendly waitress and great food, and easy parking right on the street. After our fill of good food we started across the state of Illinois with plans of stopping that the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart Indiana.
This part os Illinois, route 80 crossing just south of Chicago, is not quite as scenic as one would hope, and traffic certainly picked up the closer we got to the big city. However we had no incidents and I don’t think we even had a slowdown, just a lot of company on the road. Midwestern drivers are certainly more sane than New England drivers... a lot less angry and more predictable. The day moved along and and the miles rolled past under our wheels. Mid afternoon brought us to Elkhart and the RV / Motorhome Hall of Fame. We had a great tour and found the history of the trailer/motorhome camping about what you would expect…lots of people having fun traveling and seeing the country. The exhibits were well done and quite a lot of fun to wander around in.
For those of you wo might not know, Elkhart Indiana seems to be the center of the RV universe…it seems as though the vast majority of brands of RV are constructed within a few miles of the museum. While we were in the area I ordered up a couple of parts for the Doodle. We found a campground nearby as the museum ate up the rest of the afternoon and we were both a bit tired, so an early day for us and long hot showers before an evening around the campfire and bedtime. This was an interesting campground as it was filled with Amish folks,
Now I don’t know much about the Amish at all but have always thought that they had some very strict rules concerning technology. This campground rents golf carts by the day and week for those staying here. The Amish seemed to all have rented golf carts and were zooming all around the park, as though they were doing laps. And the all were staying in huge Rv’s and trailers… I am at a loss to explain this other than apparently the RV lifestyle is as ok for the Amish as is is for us non-Amish…
Leaving Elkhart we continued east and on to North East, Pennsylvania. That is not a direction that is actually the name of the town - North East. We did another Harvest Host night stopping at the Presque Isle Winery and what a beautiful spot it was. The wine tasting was awesome and unlike the tastings in Napa Valley, very inexpensive. In California, tastings ran for $25 for the cheapest to $75 the the most expensive one for us and typically you tasted three or four wines. Here at the Presque Isle Winery it was $3.00 for six glasses of tasting..and they threw in an extra. Thanks to everyone at Presque Isle Winery! We drove into town for dinner that evening and at the Skunk and Goat, a great little brewpub right on Main Street about three miles for the vineyard. It was awesome and we even had lobster poutine - who ever heard of lobster poutine? It tasted fantastic and we both came away full and happy. The town of North East, Pennsylvania could easily have been the inspiration for any of Norman Rockwell’s paintings, a beautiful, quaint little town.
We spent more time down along the river. Harper played and played and splashed and swam. The stream had a rocky bed and was very refreshing and a fun place to play. We both had fun playing fetch with Harper and watching her explore the river.
The next day we got another early start and some where along the road we made the decision to make the ride all the way home. The miles were rolling by, the New York Thruway seemed to be cooperating so off we went, with an expected arrival time around 6:30 or so, even figuring in a stop for supper. What we didn’t count on was a fire in the road, just a few cars ahead of us.
We came to a complete stop, everyone came to a complete stop! We sat there for quite some time as fire trucks and police cars and other emergency vehicles went past. It seems as though it was a truck that had caught fire.
What was really concerning that just two cars ahead of us was a truck full of liquid nitrogen and it was venting out the top..now I don’t know how explosive nitrogen is but I was hoping not to find out, and we didn’t as the fire was completely put out and we were on our way with just about a one hour delay. Our ETA changed considerably.
Having made it past the fire we continued on and soon were heading east on the Mass Pike, a continuation of route 90. In Westfield Massachusetts we stopped at the Westwood Restaurant and had a good supper before the final hour or so home. We pulled into the driveway at just about 8:30 that evening and glad to be home. Benny was there waiting for us and Harper was so excited to see Ben and certainly was happy to be home. She squealed with happiness and was all full of wiggles.
So that is about it for this trip. Forty two days on the road, 8,583 miles, no major incidents other than a few minor bits with the Doodle, all in all a great time and I am ready to leave again, anytime, and we are making plans so keep in touch. Thanks for stopping by and reading my drivel.