Friday, January 27, 2017

#17 - Friday, 27 January 2017 | Bowling Green, Kentucky

#roadtripusa2017 has now officially begun! 

It will be interrupted by my February 8-26 trip to Kuching and Langkawi, but yesterday I left Chicagoland with "The Wheelhouse" – my 31' travel trailer – in tow. Once the RV was delivered earlier in the week I had planned to leave Sunday morning after my family returned from their holiday in Riviera Maya, Mexico, but icy and cold conditions and no place to park the rig combined to make me leave yesterday morning. In the back of my mind I think I had hoped that I'd be able to back the travel trailer into my sister's driveway to load and organize, but it is far too narrow and I realized that my eagerness had left me in a bind. When I picked it up on Wednesday I began to load it, but became very stressed about having no place to park it overnight, and that worry was exacerbated by the dreary fog and cold rain of the day. I loaded what I could and took a test drive on the highway where I found a truck stop where I could do some unpacking inside. Eventually I decided I had no choice but to park it on the street in front of my stepdad's house. I could block his drive and park overlapping the parkway in front of his neighbors. However, his side is the no parking side where fire hydrants are located. I resigned myself to accept the parking ticket and went to bed early, very anxious and restless. 

Yesterday dawned with no angry neighbors and no police department fine. When I say dawned I mean the wee hours before dawn as I am an early riser always, and had gone to bed very early the night before intending to wake early and get shit done. It was 2 a.m. and I drove to my sister's house in Huntley to load the rest of my gear. In the dark of predawn I was able to park in the alley beside her business house and load everything. I then headed back to Joel's house to load the rest after a stop at Starbucks and Walmart. It was a cold and icy morning and the weather forecast was for dropping temperatures. Trucks were everywhere salting the streets. Even though it would mean leaving my parrot Jesse alone for 48 hours, I knew that my best plan was to avoid the weather and rig parking and hassle and get on the road. One week ago I had stayed at this Country Inn & Suites by Carlson in Bowling Green, Kentucky and loved the hotel. I decided to book last night here and start getting myself back to warmth. Today I have a return to Macon, Georgia planned, but as it has cooled off there to where overnight temps will be close to freezing I will either have to go farther south or stay in a hotel for one more night. Starting Monday night I have a campsite reserved at Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, Florida where I was originally planning to start this road trip. The only sites available were in the equestrian area so I imagine my RV will be among musky scents and whinnying. I'll be there four nights unpacking my things and doing some hiking. Winter weather has returned throughout the U.S. and temps in Florida will be cooler than when I was there just over a week ago. The furnace in my RV will actually run during the night. On February 4 I will park The Wheelhouse at a storage facility in Ocala, Florida and return to Chicagoland for my trip to Borneo and Malaysia. It won't be cool there.

Hopefully you keep up on my Instagram posts, but here are some photos my rig:

about to leave the lot at General RV Center, Huntley, IL
Practicing backing in a vacant lot
Unnamed truck & "The Wheelhouse"
Coachmen RV Freedom Express Liberty Edition 276RKDSLE
31 1/2 feet, 7800 lbs. loaded

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