Summer Break RV trip: Back on the road

After THAT winter, we decided we don’t like being in cold places. So, we’re heading to Alaska. (While we are making deeper roots in Indianapolis, we will continue traveling every summer break.)

The RV rode out the vicious winter in a nice barn in Northwest Ohio and suffered only a dead battery and a bad case of dry-rotted tires. The exciting upgrade to our rig is a Jeep Wrangler. After our Jeep experience out west in 2012, we vowed to never return without one.

We jumped right back with one of our old favorites: the National Park sites. Our first stop was at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, IL on Sunday afternoon. This was Abraham Lincoln’s house prior to becoming president, and even contained some furniture that the Lincoln family used.

Our first camping spot was at a lovely Walmart in Hannibal, Missouri:

The next day we made a visit to the Pony Express Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri. The museum itself was fine, and the history of the Pony Express is pretty interesting: it was a start-up — the brainchild of three private entrepreneurs — that ran for only a year and half before being rendered obsolete by the telegraph.

On Tuesday we visited the Brown v. Board of Education National History Site, located in one of the formerly-segregated schools in Topeka, Kansas. It was a well-restored school but lacked specific information about the pivotal case.

Later that afternoon, we did some off-roading in the Jeep:

…and the Jeep was duly christened. It was a lot of fun.

Our campsite on Tuesday night was at a local park in St. Marys, Kansas. Here we took in a big ol’ slice of Americana: watching the St. Marys 10-12 year old girls softball team defeat their dastardly archrivals from Silver Lake.

That park was a pretty cheap stay ($10/night), and I needed to catch up on some work, so we ended up camping there until Thursday morning.

Thursday night was another camping community in a Walmart parking lot (Colby, KS.)

On Friday, through bug-coated windshield, we saw the Rockies off in the distance and finally felt far away from Indiana:

We made it to Boulder on Friday. I stayed home and worked that afternoon, but the girls took a tour of the nearby Celestial Seasonings Tea factory.

While traveling through Wyoming on Saturday, we made a quick stop in the town of Guernsey to see the wagon ruts of the Oregon trail still visible in the sandstone:

Some Wyoming towns offer their parks as free RV campsites, one of which we made use of Saturday night in Douglas, Wyoming. They don’t provide hookups, but there is a dump station. And free is hard to beat.

We intended to do another free Wyoming camping park Sunday night in Sheridan, WY. But I got a little creeped out by the random idling cars that would come and go for no discernible purpose.

We relocated to the local Walmart and settled in among another comfortable compound of campers (how’s that for alliteration?).

We got back on the road bright and early Monday morning and headed to Montana…

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