Layover, simply

While setting up Ernie yesterday afternoon, making our utility connections and unhitching Mercy, I noticed that the guy on the site next door was doing the opposite. It seemed (to me) to be rather late in the day to be packing up to leave, so I asked him what was up.

Turns out that he and his buddies were headed to Arrowhead Stadium to attend last night’s Bills-Chiefs NFL game. He comes to KC this weekend every year, he said, making the 1,700-mile trip from his home in Bakersfield, California. He expected they’d return to the campground shortly after midnight.

When we took the dogs out this morning around 5am, I noticed that they were indeed back. I didn’t hear them pull in — which surprises me a little, since the coach is a 45-foot diesel-pusher and we’re parked 15 feet apart — but I’m pretty sure they arrived a lot later than midnight. The game was delayed over an hour on account of severe weather (lightning), and it rained hard throughout.

If you care about such things, the visiting Bills won.

Our neighbor rolled out around 10am today, bound for home. It’s another way of living the RV Life — nothing nomadic about it, just exercising the freedom to pick up and go whenever and wherever. I can respect that.

For the second straight stop, Deb and I have ended up on a “premium site.” We have a paver patio, a rustic table and chairs, a swing, a fire pit and a gas grill. The campground overall is solid, smartly designed and maintained well, offering a menu of amenities and activities.

It’s refreshingly woodsy as well, with lots of mature oaks and aspens. Nice park.

This isn’t a garden spot, however, by no means a resort. The place sits right on the busy Interstate, separated only by a row of trees and a large solar array. Our site is a hundred yards from passing traffic, and we’re not even on the edge of the park. We’re treated to a ’round-the-clock serenade of Jake Brakes and rumble strips.

Then again, this is simply a layover for us. We’re here only two nights. And it’s been pouring rain, so most of the time we’ll be kicked back inside the bus where it’s quiet.

When I originally plotted tomorrow’s route to northern Arkansas I had us driving a short distance east on the Interstate to a Pilot truck stop, where we’d top-off Ernie with diesel before turning south onto a state route for the majority of the drive through Missouri. Reviewing our course this morning, I saw that there’s a big TA right across from this campground.

Pumping diesel on a chilly morning last month in Great Falls, Montana.

Our Good Sam credit card gets us a modest discount on fuel at Pilot and FlyingJ, but whenever we can use our TSD Logistics debit card we save a lot more — sometimes five times as much — and TA honors the TSD program. We’ve covered more than 300 miles since the last fillup, too, so we could be pumping 40 gallons or more.

The combination of math and convenience made it a no-brainer.

Given our practice of taking occasional breaks on travel days, and knowing that rest areas are rare along state routes, I also mapped several places where we can pull off when we need to hit the head, walk the dogs or whatever. Walmarts are ideal for that, and I found two.

Leaving Arkansas on August 1st, in the first hour of our run toward Glacier.

I still need to decide where we’ll make the day’s second stop for diesel. We’ll be planted a while in Arkansas, so I’d like to make it as close to our destination as possible. On a previous trip we used a truck stop that’s 60 miles out, which would leave the 100-gallon tank about 90% full when we park.

There’s another 42 miles closer to our Arkansas campground, a sketchy-looking independent right on our way. I just don’t want to park the bus with a load of bad diesel in cold weather. Regardless of which one I choose, I’ll add fuel treatment to the tank before I shut the engine down.

Yes, I’m thinking ahead. With just one more travel day remaining to finish this run, I’ve given myself permission to do that. I won’t be doing it all day, though.

I intend to spend a good bit of time listening to the rain on the roof.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath