Nashville, Illinois–> Fulton, Missouri–> Onawa, Iowa –> Rapid City, South Dakota
Welcome back, friends! We are wrapping up week two of our cross-country road trip. I want to quickly shine light on something a fellow traveler said that really resonated with me. We spoke about the “American Dream”. A successful life years ago used to be measured by the job you hold, the house you own, the materials you acquire. Personally, I’ve recently seen a shift in the “American Dream”. I could be completely off, but I feel as though people are chasing this taboo sense of freedom. Freedom to stray away from the complacency of a 9-5 career and the white picket fence home. People want the freedom to spend QUALITY time with family and friends and live on their own terms while seeing the beauty our country has to offer. Just one of my random thoughts. Anyway, let’s move onto last week’s endeavors….
Stop # 6 Nashville, Illinois
There’s something so calming about getting out of the chaos of the cities and driving in miles of nothing but corn fields. Sweet Serenity. Nashville, Illinois, not to be confused with the epic Nashville, Tennessee, was a quick stopover during our travels. We parked the RV at Washington County Lake Conservation for a peaceful night of sleep. We put on our hiking boots, I strapped on my fanny pack (lol…I wish I was kidding, but I am not) and we set off for a hike overlooking the lake.
In all honesty, this was not one of my favorite stops. As silly as it might sound, the BUGS were dreadful. Typically, mother nature would not bother me in such a way, but it seemed I was the sole source of feed for all mosquitos in the park. In an attempt to relax and enjoy ourselves, Joe and I spent the night out by the fire playing cards and reading.
Would I go back? NO….
Stop #7 Fulton, Missouri
I opened the Harvest Hosts map, did a little swirl of the finger and BAM! It’s decided, Serenity Valley Winery in Fulton, Missouri will be our next stopover. We arrived just as the sun was setting and created a divine orange glow warming my face. It was a bumpy ride down the stone driveway, with cows grazing to the right of us and a picturesque vineyard to the left. This is the beauty of having no itinerary; stumbling upon hidden gems such as Serenity Valley Winery. Joe and I bought a bottle of wine and sat overlooking the lake nestled up against the winery until dark.
A Quick review of Serenity Valley Winery: The owners here are a retired couple born and raised in Missouri. They were a pleasure talking to and extremely accommodating to all the RV’ers on their property. We tried their “Inspiration” wine which was a smooth blend of cabernet and merlot. I’m not typically a huge fan of reds, but this was so soft on the palate making it a perfect glass to sip on. We also tried a sweeter option, their award winning “Spring Blossoms”. This is a crisp white wine with hints of green apple. Delicious! They recommended adding a dash of caramel vodka for the perfect martini…& simply perfect it was.
Little did we know this stop would be the calm before the storm….
Stop #8 Onawa, Iowa.
Joe and I pulled up to On-Ur-Way RV campsite naïve to what the next 24 hours would entail. Initially, we started off with a productive night cleaning out the RV and finishing up on some chores.
Hours before the break of dawn, we were abruptly awoken from our sleep to a screeching high pitched alarm, followed by Joe yelling, “BABE, GET OUT!” while making a run for the door. I am not familiar with what each alarm sound means yet, so my mind went straight to there’s a propane leak and the RV is going to blow (I have an irrational fear of propane…could be all the horror movies I watched growing up? Not sure). I really felt like I was running for my life. Long story short, it was the battery dying in the carbon monoxide detector. Without having a working carbon monoxide detector, there was NO WAY I’d step foot back in the RV. Scared of falling asleep and not awaking in the morning, I made Joe, Piper, and I pile into the truck for the remainder of the night. You can imagine how happy Joe was with me. This was just the beginning of a very, VERY long day.
We set off for Rapid City, South Dakota around 6:30 am. What should have been a 4.5 hour drive turned in a whopping 15 hours of turbulent weather. After an hour and a half of battling the wind, we pulled off for Joes favorite breakfast, CRACKER BARREL. It was my first time there in over a decade, so naturally we had to make up for that by gobbling up our calories for the ENTIRE day in one sitting.
In our first attempt to leave following breakfast we were quickly stopped due to extreme wind. After waiting out the weather for a couple hours, we decided to attempt the long haul from Sioux Falls to Rapid city. During our endeavor across the state, the wind was taking from us left and right. The gusts were so strong, we were getting a whopping 9.2 mpg all the while it was ripping coverings off the RV. When pulling over to the assess the situation, we noticed additional black material dangling below the RV. Low and behold the external cover holding in the electrical wires, water pipes and heat ducts was holding on by a thread. Nothing duct tape and zip ties can’t fix, right?!
Stop #9 Rapid City, South Dakota
Finally, after 15 hours of driving, we arrived in Rapid City, South Dakota! Stay tuned for next week’s post to hear about our 6 days exploring the Badlands National Park, Custer State Park and the Black Hills National Forest!
I want to acknowledge how thankful I am for Joe and how he handled the constant flow of predicaments . Travel isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. For someone who is no stranger to travel, I am aware of all the road blocks one will come across during the journey and almost expect things to go wrong. Joe, being somewhat new to traveling, was blindsided with one repair after another. Throughout the entirety of our trip thus far, he has remained positive and calm. He just pulls out his toolbox and gets ready to tackle the next project. It is SO important to be aware of your attitude when things go wrong, it can easily make or break a trip. So Joe if you are reading this, THANKS LOVA.
Missed Week 1? Check it out here!