Final Legs and Epilogue

Made it to Akron, OH, on August 30, without incident during leg 8. Just 3 doggy stops and a stop for fuel, both for the RV and for the humans. This leg was as boring as leg 2 heading to Nebraska. There is not much to write about The Ohio Turnpike except for the seemingly endless series of construction zones in both directions for much of its length.

Near Akron, we stayed at a KOA near Streetsboro, OH, which is nicer than the place we stayed over two weeks ago during the journey west. However, the dog park had a flaw in the fence which allowed Toby Two to escape to chase a rabbit. We were able to retrieve him in short order, however. Tobey Two was covered in burrs though; many of them were able to be brushed out, but a few remain. We had dinner in our RV, along with a friend who resides in Akron.

The 9th and final leg began the next day. We needed 3 doggy stops again. We arrived home, safe and sound, at 3:15 PM EDT on August 31.

Trip summary:

  • 10 states
  • 17 days
  • 75 counties
  • 3045 miles
  • 380 gallons of gasoline
  • 13 campgrounds
  • 2 National Monuments
  • 1 amazing total solar eclipse

Lessons Learned:

  • Check ahead near large cities for local events such as fairs, sporting events, construction zones and conventions.
  • Bring waterproof shoes
  • Have a backup backup camera
  • Bring a tripod
  • Remove GPS from mount after each drive

Homeward Bound: Leg 7

We got an early start with the goal of getting past Chicago by lunchtime. We made that goal even with a doggy stop to the west of O’Hare.

After lunch we pushed on east and stopped for groceries near Elkhart, IN.

We re-entered the EDT zone before Elkhart.

We arrived at Harbor Cove RV resort, the same campground where we stayed two weeks ago.

We hope to make Akron, OH, tomorrow before our final leg home.

Homeward Bound: Leg 6

Left Wisconsin Dells and headed south on I-90 towards Madison. Stopped for a doggy break and for lunch. We stopped again at a Pet Smart in Madison for supplies. Marla stated that the area we were in did not look familiar even though we were near The Univ. of Wisconsin, where she went to graduate school.

Got back on I-90 and headed for Illinois. We reached a campground just across the state line in South Beloit, IL. We plan to go around Chicago and then into Indiana tomorrow.

Taking a Break: Wisconsin Dells

Today, we took a break from traveling at a campground in Wisconsin Dells. We needed to relax and do some housekeeping before making the last few legs of our trip.

When we arrived yesterday afternoon, the campground was nearly filled with campers and their families. By this afternoon, we remain as one of about half a dozen occupied sites. I suspect we will have no problem finding open sites for the rest of the trip. I spoke with the manager and she said some of the local schools start this week.

Wisconsin Dells reminded me of Branson, MO, but it’s very family oriented. There are boat rides along The Wisconsin River, several amusement parks, theatres and restaurants.

We ordered pizza delivery and this is how it was delivered:

Marla liked this.

Homeward Bound: Leg 5

This morning was the first real steady rain during our trip. It was also much cooler. Today was the first of our journey where I didn’t feel like I was marinating in my own sweat at the end of the day.

We left the campground near Rochester and drove towards town. Marla wanted to see The Mayo Clinic. It isn’t hard to find since it consists of many large buildings at the center of town. The main hospital is less than a mile to the west.

The second causality of the trip are the built in backup cameras. The problem seems to be a loose connection. This morning they totally ceased to function. That should be a warranty repair. I’ll get by on pull through sites and the mirrors.

We continued east on I-90 into Wisconsin. The plains abruptly ended with the bluffs to the west of The Mississippi River. We crossed the river to the north of La Cross. The vegetation and geology changed. There are more trees and topography in this part of the country than in southern Minnesota.

We are spending two nights in The Wisconsin Dells.

Homeward Bound: Leg 4

Left Pipestone, MN and headed east to Rochester, MN.

We stopped for lunch in Worthington, MN.

Along the way we passed a Hormel plant in Austin, MN. Hormel is the maker of Spam.

We traveled through many large wind farms.

Maybe it should be the state flower.

One of the rest areas along I-90 had an enclosed dog park. Our pups really enjoyed the opportunity to run around. There should be more rest areas like this.

We arrived safely at our campsite outside of Rochester, MN.

Tomorrow, we plan to make it into Wisconsin.

Homeward Bound: Leg 3

It had rained during the night and was sprinkling this morning.

We left the KOA in North Sioux City, SD, and headed north on I-29. We made a doggy stop just down the highway for a doggy break. The speed limit is 80! At Sioux Falls, SD, we headed east on I-90 for a few miles into Minnesota. Both Marla and I added another state to the list of those we have visited.

We then headed north to Pipestone, MN, made another doggy stop, and had lunch at a Casey’s General Store. Afterwards, we visited Pipestone National Monument.


This is The Oracle, a rock formation at the monument. Do you see a human head?

The monument site also has a tract of undisturbed tall grass prairie albeit with 70 non-native species of plants.


We camped for the night at a campground just outside the boundaries of the monument.

It grew more cloudy as the day wore on and there’s a chance of scattered thunderstorms tonight. We plan to push eastward toward Wisconsin tomorrow.

Homeward Bound: Leg 2

Trixie ran out of TP this morning.


Packed up, fueled up and left Nebraska City. We then headed east, back into Iowa, and then turned northward onto I-29.

We stopped at Camping World in Council Bluffs, IA, to replace the GPS tablet that I damaged. It had fallen to the floor once too many times, cracking the touchscreen.


Then, we did some shopping at a mall in Council Bluffs, as well as got lunch.

We got back onto I-29 North and made it to North Sioux City, South Dakota. We settled into a site at a KOA. This is Marla’s first visit to South Dakota and my second.

Tomorrow, we will journey to Pipestone National Monument in Minnesota. This will be our first visit to Minnesota.

Homeward Bound: Leg 1

My Tillie alarm clock went off at 6:50 AM CDT.

We are still in awe after observing the eclipse. We learned today that I-80 was a parking lot west of Lincoln, and beyond our site near Henderson. We couldn’t observe this directly but heard about it from other campers when they went to town after totality. There was also some price gouging in Scottsbluff, NE. One motel charged $900 a night. Another person bought 100 acres of land, for $40K, and charged RVers $1000 each to park without any hookups. He made quite an indecent profit. The average price for our RV has been around $38 a night including 50 ampere electric service, water, sewer, WiFi, and other amenities such as laundry.

We packed the RV, walked the dogs, thanked the campground owners and left. There was just one RV remaining when we departed at 11:15 AM CDT, and began our journey home, headed for Beatrice, NE.

Along the way, we stopped in Lincoln for doggy walks and lunch at a Casey’s General Store.

Just north of Beatrice, I walked the dogs while Marla shopped for groceries at a WalMart. From there it was a short drive to Homestead National Monument .

At the Monument, they were still cleaning up from the previous day’s eclipse activities. The NPS crew looked weary. Marla got her passbook stamped and I was able to get a lifetime senior NP pass before they increased the cost. We also took a brief look around and viewed one of the largest tracts (100 acres) of restored tall grass prairie in The United States.

Our dogs also walked near this area which officially made them:


I also learned the homesteaders secret to success:

Then, we went to our campsite near Nebraska City. I had trouble navigating near the campground since the local roads were torn up and the GPS was useless as a result. I called the campground for directions and arrived successfully.

Tomorrow, we plan to stop at Camping World in Council Bluffs, IA, and then go to Pipestone National Monument, which is just east of Sioux Falls, SD, in Minnesota. South Dakota will be a new state for Marla, and Minnesota will be a new one for all of us.