Saturday, September 17, 2011

A State A Day Heading West

On Monday, Sept 12, we left Elkhart, IN, and our friends, the Russell's and the Whites, to turn our nose West.  We were on our way back to California to see our wonderful family.  We took the lesser traveled county roads south around Chicago.  No need for that kind of stress as we remembered the crazy hit and run driver that challenged the Diplomat and lost on her maiden journey in 2005 on our way into Chicago.  It took us a little longer, but the scenery was much nicer and the drivers nicer, too.


We decided to stay the night in Utica, IL, at Hickory Hollow, a Passport America Campground for $17 a night.  This great campground sports a friendly staff that gave us a discount coupon for a pizza, and also very clean grounds.  We did not unhook DA TOAD, our Jeep, and ordered a mushroom pizza and a beef roll – delivered!  Outstanding!


Tuesday we drove west on I-80 into Iowa.  We saw a sign that the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum was ahead in West Branch, Iowa.  He was the only president from Iowa.  We have seen over half of the Presidential Libraries so we just had to stop.


Things we learned while visiting:

1) Herbert Hoover was raised a Quaker and graduated from George Fox University before entering and graduating from Stanford with a degree in Geology.

2) He was a mining engineer in Australia and China discovering  gold and a process for recovering zinc before becoming president .

3) He never took a dime in salary as president and used his personal wealth to entertain in the White House.

4) He, like all presidents from Lincoln to Obama, was vilified in the press, but had many world changing accomplishments.

We find that visiting Presidential Libraries is like a 3 unit history course, but a lot easier to learn.

We walked up to the Hoover gravesite, a simple grave with a view of his childhood home and birthplace.


There was a very interesting ‘traveling’ display at the Museum, School House to White House.


A couple of our favorite pictures were little Dick Nixon in his tie and bare feet (front row – far right) and JFK’s graduation picture (look at those shoes).


Then we were on the road again, but not before getting a cache in Iowa, our first in that state.

Our next stop for the night was in the Wal-Mart in Newton, Iowa, the town that my dad was born in, my grandmother was raised in, my grandfather came to after he arrived at Ellis Island, and my gr-grandfather, the city clerk, was killed while riding in a motorcycle side car. 

Wednesday morning we had a little hiccup  with our batteries as I had left the inverter on all night long with a bazillion things plugged in and the generator wouldn’t start.  The easy fix was to quickly unhook the Jeep, get out the jumper cables, and jump the RV batteries then start the generator. We were on the road by 9:20 am which is really early for us.

So our next state to stop in was Nebraska.  We passed by Kearney, but it was too early to stop so we went on to North Platte where we were familiar with the Hidden Lake Campground, another Passport America. Cost=$15 cash for 50 amp. That was all we needed.  This is right along the South Platt River which was in flood stage.


Thursday morning we left Newton in the rain. And it rained all day; that is the easy man’s way to wash the rig.  While getting a cache at a rest stop in Colorado we decided we were sort of close to an old (relatively speaking as he is lots younger than us) friend and colleague, The Dr’s Dahl, Richard and Frances.  They have moved to New Mexico and with a slight change to our route, we could visit them on our way home.  So with a quick email our Jell-O plans were changed and we drove south on I-70 and around Denver on the new toll road, E-470 south.  We never saw where we could pay, we might get a bill from a photo of our license plate, but our friends, the Willis’s said they haven’t gotten a bill yet since traveling on this road.  This was a great way around Denver.


When we got into Colorado Springs we hit a downpour. Traffic was stop and go for about 5 miles so we adjusted our travel plans from staying in Walsenberg, CO, to another Wal-Mart in Pueblo, CO.  We picked up a couple of things from the Wallyworld and had a nice evening watching TV while I worked on a program for the CCSPCA.  This time I remembered to turn off the inverter when going to bed!

This morning we opened our drapes to see the mess in the grass that other RV’ers had left next to the parking area.  We got out our trash bag and long handed “picker-upper” and policed the area just like we go with the Golden Spikers in Indio. Hopefully it will be an example to the several RV’ers watching us.

So now we on On The Road Again, driving down I-25 then on to 39 S to Logan, NM.

Addendum:  I tried to post this yesterday from about 1 pm on. NO Service anywhere near Logan. So last night and this morning we were out of contact with the outside world. Thankfully we had Richard and Frances as guides.


  1. Whew, you two have done so much in such a short time. Shame on those Walmart boondockers for leaving such a mess, but kuddos to you guys for cleaning it up! We'll miss you at the Gypsy Rally.

  2. Howdy Westerfields,

    Y'all done it right last week going west instead
    of staying east.. Looks like you had a right nice time in Carson City & Virginia City.. All of the pics of El Presidente were simply 'mahvelous' according to Billy Crystal.. Whoever said y'all were an Eating Club with a train fixation were right on the money!!! Now if we could just find out what Nick & Greg are fixated on!!! EATING!!

    Smooth roads & balmy breezes !!!!!!!!!


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