“Just the facts, ma’am,” said Lt. Jack Webb when investigating a case on the old TV show Dragnet. And so my attempt to chronicle the last seven days of travel across the continental U.S. with minimal adjectives. Those will follow, but for now, here’s what we did, where we went and when.
Day 1: Left Portland, Oregon, four of us in the Cruise America RV and two in the rental car following. Drove the width or Oregon and ended in our first KOA outside Boise, Idaho. Shoulder to shoulder with fellow RV’ers in what felt like a parking lot. Kids zipped around on their scooters for the exercise they were missing while we cooked our first meal in our little kitchen. Talia set up her tent, the remaining five claimed their beds inside the camper and slept with a roaring air conditioner.
Day 2: From Boise to Bozeman, Montana. Another crowded KOA, surprisingly free from my expectation of loud music and boisterous parties (never happened all trip). Talia left us to visit her high school friend who lived nearby, we dined and read Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle to the kids.
Day 3: A difficult start to the morning with the grandkids, complete with threats of turning around and dropping them back home! Instead, we went for a 6.6 mile hike to a sweeping vista (oops! an adjective!) and pretty impressive that a 5-year old and an 8-year old did the whole thing without a whine or a whimper. The latter helped by six stories I told him on the return walk. That night a barbecue dinner with Talia’s friend and the kids with a short dip in her hot tub.
Day 4: On the road again, stopping along the way at the Little Big Horn Monument to see how it talked about Custer’s Last Stand (more on this later). The kid highlight walking through some grass and setting a few hundred grasshoppers jumping up. On through Wyoming and reluctantly passing by Yellowstone Park because of time. A long, long day of driving, the three in the car ending the drive with a quick visit to Mt. Rushmore, the three in the RV continuing on to the KOA in Rapid City, South Dakota to get dinner ready.Day 5: The latter three up early to see Mt. Rushmore, then all of us continuing on 90 West through the long, long width of South Dakota, with a little detour to the Badlands (deserving of all the adjectives I’m leaving out here!). Realizing we wouldn’t make it to the campground at a reasonable hour, we ordered takeout from Applebee’s and ate inside the van in some mall parking lot. On we continued with our first night driving, kids lying down but seat-belted and across the more narrow Minnesota to Lacrosse, Wisconsin, pulling in 13 hours later around 11:30 at night —well, 12:30 because we lost yet another hour crossing into Central Time Zone.
Day 6: Awoke to our most spacious campground on the edge of a river, kids scootering next to my jogging daughters to start the day. On to my brother-in-law’s house in Prairie Du Sac for lunch and an unexpected speed boat trip on the river, Zadie getting to steer the boat with the wind blowing through her hair and we headed to an ice cream place further downriver. Another take-out dinner from El Pueblo Mexican Restaurant and another pull in late at night to our last RV camp in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Day 7: Awoke to a place that had a swimming pool, giant trampoline, goats and other kid-friendly activities. Talia stayed with the kids while Kerala returned the RV in one place and Karen and I picked up a second rental car in another and after much drama and frustration (including the disappearance of the kids’ scooters and Talia’s backpack left on the picnic table while they swam—which turned out to be in the campground office), we finally arrived at the “cottage” outside Frankfort, Michigan and all jumped into the lake to celebrate the completion of the RV Odyssey.
That’s the news, such as it is. Adjectives and impressions to follow.