What our Travel-Life Will Look Like?

We spent several days returning to Chicago. Not directly. And staying in all sorts of places. I think this is a preview of our life on the road.

First, let’s dispense with the logistics.

We drove 2,500 hundred miles over 19 days in total. We averaged about 7 MPG. The bus performed well. Let me rephrase because performance is not the bus’ strong suit: nothing broke. Well, OK. A little antifreeze leaked*. But not more than a cup (the bus’s capacity is TWENTY TWO (22) GALLONS!!!). And, Diesel is A LOT CHEAPER in the south ($2.11/gal l!!!).

(*Remember Karl’s RV Law: Leaks are actually GOOD).

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Something we learned about the South …
while drinking on the porch!

Now some of the color and nuance.

Our route was altered to take us home via Pittsburgh and visits with friends the Hendrys, McDowells and Lanes.  Not exactly on the way, but we had a steak dinner awaiting us. Courtesy of the Cubs exceeding the Pirates this year (and Mike McDowell’s misguided bet on the latter). This part of the trip included several firsts:

Who knew that Hardees had such delicious breakfast biscuits?  Thanks to the Hendrys for enlightening us as we met them for breakfast on the way through.

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Our first night in a Walmart Parking Lot. (Johnson City, Tennessee). This was a SPECTACULAR place for a parking lot! Very pretty view from the top of a hill, with trees in spectacular fall color. In fact,  we had a little grassy area outside the door and a sports bar across the lot for the Cubs game.

In fact,  our entire drive to the ‘Burgh through Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania was timed for maximum SPECTACULAR color. 

And, our first “Grumpy” Walmart (in Washington, PA), where we were grudgingly allowed to park.

Our First Casino Overnight park. Moved there because of the grumpy Walmart. Makes sense that casinos LOVE RVs parking in their lots. You can stay late and drink and gamble before you “stumble” home to the lot. And, their lawyers and PR people probably consider that you can’t lose your house if you already live in an RV…

While with the McDowells, we saw the Warhol museum and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Waters. Both SPECTACULAR.

GPS directed us to our friends the Lane’s via a road with quite a low railroad trestle resulting in our first LOW CLEARANCE ROOF STRIKE. Well just the antenna. No Damage. GPS also directed us down a road with a 5-ton limit bridge. Good thing the GPS has a DETOUR function!!! Note to self: get a GPS tuned for big RVs.

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Falling Waters

We parked the bus in the Lane’s driveway after very careful consideration (and urging from Bruce).  You see,  the drive is long, narrow (trees and brush on both sides), VERY steep, and CHALLENGING. Followed by Dutch Treat BBQ, Campfire, conversation. The next-day our exit required execution of a precise 14-point turn to head back down the driveway.  At turn 7 it wasn’t clear we were going to exit; Bruce is looking nervous.  By turn 12 it began to look likely.  It was touch and go, but we again survived the driveway.  Bruce, however, directed us back to the highway via a road with a 5-ton-limit bridge. Note to self: : get a GPS tuned for big RVs.

Stayed at another Walmart (Norwalk, Ohio). Where the Customer Service people THANKED US PROFUSELY for staying with them. From reading online reviews, there are far more friendly Walmarts than grumpy ones. Brilliant marketing, letting RVs stay overnight in an otherwise empty lot.   And it is REALLY CONVENIENT to park at supercenters filled with food, hardware, housewares and indeed RV stuff.   With all the comforts of home, we are eating dinner, reading, sleeping. Hot shower (This is what prompted Liz’s statement).

 “Weird being naked in a Walmart parking lot!”


Of course,  Shades drawn, plenty of privacy…just a little strange.


Once back in Chicago, we spent a couple days winterizing things. The bus is now ready for cold weather. Dan and Liz not so much.

3 thoughts on “What our Travel-Life Will Look Like?

  • Dan and Liz,

    Sorry about the 5 ton weight limit bridge. I only started to pay attention to those signs after you mentioned them. Come to think of it, my culvert probably has some type of weight limit, oh well you made it in and out of our driveway ok.

    Enjoy the holidays and I look forward to seeing the two of you again in January!

  • The best part of porch drinking is you’re never quite sure who the crazy is: you, us, everyone? Assuming the latter is your safe bet. If you have to ask who the crazy one is…well, you know. And yes, Hardee’s biscuits rock, even down here in the land of Chick-Fil-A!

  • sounds like life is just fine! getting relaxed into Walmart marking lots!!

    and yes, i like the new email format// good to get a quick overview – then dive in when time permits!!

    we are in a new environment in mexico city- a big family estate with servants who make us breakfast and tea!
    the reason we chose this, it was not only economically to get a room in the house, but all the staff only speaks spanish, so we are really really improving now!! or no breakfast, tea or internet working!!

    Stefania and JC

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