Thursday, July 3, 2008
Thomases share RV adventure across America
By MARTHA THOMAS
(Editor’s Note: Jimmy and Martha Thomas of Holly Springs are traveling across the USA in an RV. Martha has kindly offered to share her “travel diary” with those of us stuck at home.”)
We have been packing the RV for a whole week. Finally, it is Sunday morning – Father’s Day – and we are about to head out for an adventure to states we have yet to visit. We will be heading north through Missouri, on to Iowa, then South Dakota, Montana, and who knows where else.
Since Peaches and Bear are going, I’ll have to give Peaches one of her travel sickness pills. She only takes a half pill, but it is really a pain to give it to her. If she doesn’t have one though, she is likely to get sick. So, I’ll get up early and stuff a travel pill down her throat. We are lucky that Bear doesn’t share her affinity for car sickness. Of course, as soon as she had the pill, she went to hide.
There are just a few things left to pack up. Most important are Peaches, Bear and their litter box.
Jimmy brings in the cat carrier. Peaches, of course, is hiding. So, down on the floor to look under beds to find Peaches. She has secreted herself under the bed in the middle bedroom. The only problem with her hiding place is that her tail is sticking out. So, I scoop her up and pop her in the box. The normally reliable and unafraid Bear is now missing. I find him in the middle bedroom laying flat on his belly looking under the bed to help me find Peaches. So, scoop up the Bear and put him in the carrier and we are off to St. Louis.
It is a long first day of our trip. With one stop for fuel in West Memphis and a stop for lunch at a rest area further north in Arkansas, we arrive at our destination for the first night. We park in the truck parking lot of the Harrah’s Casino. There are not a lot of vehicles out in this lot, but there are a couple of RVs and a few semi-trucks. We find the flattest spot available, level the RV and head in to have dinner. After a really great steak dinner, it is back to the RV to watch a little television and go to bed. It wasn’t a terribly long day, but it was tiring.
No pictures today. Most everyone who will be reading this has made the trek to St. Louis or can visualize what Interstate 55 looks like north of Memphis.
Day 2 is kind of a repeat of Day 1, except that when we stopped to eat lunch in a rest area, I made tuna salad, which had the cats doing little cat dances. Of course, I gave them about half the can. We are going to overnight in the back parking lot of another Harrah’s, but this time we are in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Council Bluffs is just across the Missouri River from Omaha. One of the wait staff in the buffet told us that the general manager of this hotel went to LSU. So, most of the guests are LSU fans who are here to watch them play in the College World Series.
One interesting thing is that quite a bit of the parking lot area next to the Missouri River is closed due to flooding. According to the security guard, part of the lot was flooded as recently as a week ago. The river is really running fast, but it is back in its banks.
There are no cars in the parking lot!
It is Day 3 of our little trek. So far, there really isn’t much to see. We start off heading up Interstate 29 towards Sioux City and Sioux Falls. Kind of interesting that there are two big cities whose first name is Sioux, but they are in different states. Plus, they are not really big cities. Not like Dallas or Memphis. There is a lot of construction on the highways today. It kind of looks like every bridge on the interstate has one lane closed.
We had heard that there is a lot of flooding in Iowa. We have seen some water in fields. But, we only saw one sign that a road was closed. They didn’t really need to put a sign up though. You could see that the ramp from the interstate down to the highway – and the highway – were all flooded. It looked more like a swimming pool than it did a highway intersection.
Plus, we are starting to see more wild animals killed on the side on the interstate, particularly in the areas where the fields are somewhat flooded.
Once we made the left turn to get off Highway 29 and onto Highway 90, when you look out the front of the RV, it looks like a big ribbon laid down on the land. I wouldn’t say that it is totally flat, because there are some hills and valleys. But, they are not really big hills. There are a lot of cows and a lot of grass and a lot of bales of hay stacked up in fields. If you look off in the distance, you can see towns. Then about 10 minutes later, you actually get to the town.
Plus, since we got into Iowa, we are seeing signs for something called Wall Drug. Jimmy says that we will get there on Day 4. He says that the articles on the internet about Wall Drug say that it is a little tacky, but you have to see it.
We stop for the night at a KOA RV park in Kennebec, SD. Not much going on here either. I guess I’ll just close for now by saying that we covered a lot of miles, but we didn’t see much. No pictures on this day either. Just two sleepy cats and humans.
It is about 3:20 a.m. (Holly Springs time). Apparently, a typhoon, hurricane, gully washer, and some other kind of storm has hit directly on top of Elkhorn RV Park. I wake up first. Jimmy slowly comes out of his sleep. We had, of course, not pulled in the awning over the door - the awning that Tiffin had to replace due to a defective motor about a month ago. So, out of bed I come to close the awning.
Peaches and Bear are really scared of this storm. Bear is running from one end of the RV to the other, and he will not let me catch him. Peaches is just cowering. I finally caught her and put her in the bed with Jimmy, figuring that Bear will follow soon.
No such luck. I wish that words could describe this storm. Yes, it got worse. There was lightning - no need for lights inside the RV. There was thunder. There was wind so strong it felt like an earthquake. The RV was shaking, Peaches and Bear were shaking and I was shaking.
It got so bad that we finally started to worry about the covers over the slides being damaged. So, up we both get again. Jimmy closes the front two slides and I close the back two. That really did reduce the feeling of iminent threat of death. I guess because you couldn't hear the wind so much around the slides.
But now we have a bigger problem. We have Bear located. He is in bed shaking. But, we cannot find Peaches. Down on the floor I go looking behind and under the sofas. No Peaches. She isn’t in the litter box, nor is she locked in the bathroom. I even went to the point of getting out a can of treats (at 4:30 in the morning) to shake. That normally brings both of them running. No such luck - but Bear wants his treats right now.
I check the very last place she could be hiding. Inside the bedroom slide under the bed. There is Bear, and Peaches is coming out of the hiding place entrance by Jimmy’s side of the bed. OK, the cats are finally located. Maybe I can get back to sleep.
I don’t know what time the rain finally slacked off enough for me to sleep - but it did. So, the story will resume later this morning when we head for the hills. I’ll put more about the Black Hills and why they are called that in the next issue.
(To visit Jimmy and Martha’s blog on the Internet, go to http://jimandmarthathomas.blogspot.com/)
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