Travel 2019-2020


D+2: Hammond, IN, to Eau Claire, WI

Skipped through a little bit of Illinois. This was a cool parallel with D-Day: start in a huge city and work your way further and further out of town. In this case, It was Chicago to Milwaukee to Madison and then off toward St. Paul and eventually Minneapolis.

This a scenic overlook on I-94. The view is toward the Black River.

Reading about the logging here causes one to wonder what it was like before the forests were cut down.

Dinner at the Northern Tap House. The bartender lived in Midlothian, Virginia, and had specific recommendations for places in Fargo.

As we look at the map of the stops so far, it look like we could — barely — make Fargo tomorrow.

It may be a long drive, and we may not make it *all* the way.

The bartender also reminded us not to fall asleep in ND. 

D+1: Lima, OH to Hammond, IN

After the hustle and bustle of getting out of DC, today was a fun drive. It was fun until we needed to find a hotel. Hammond, IN, is in the greater Chicagoland, so, suddenly all roads are jammed with vehicles.

Dropping the hook at 4-ish makes it possible to find a room in a place that seems well-light and secure. There seem to be places to eat within walking distance. 

Tomorrow will take us out of Chicagoland. Stay tuned to see how far we get. Wisconsin? Minnesota? 

Flying along the interstate, we saw some (to us) famous factories. The EZ-Loader trailer factor and a Taylor-Made factory made us wave and point. We joked about circling back to Taylor-Made for some factory seconds of fenders or other useful boaty stuff.

The other thing that was jaw-dropping was a team of six horses pulling a plow. 

The Byway Brewing Company is a short walk from the Holiday Inn Express in Hammond, IN. The food (and beer) were amazing. Really shiny and new.

Departure D-Day

There’s a complex last-minute dance to get everything done in an order than makes sense. It’s no different from departing a dock.

1. Pack the car. This is the high-risk activity. If something won’t fit, we’ll make last-minute runs to UPS. 

2. Take out the trash. Some things simply don’t go because the can be replaced. The tape for boxes, for example, is just thrown away. The futon mattress went to the dumpster. 

3. Inspection to make sure we get our security deposit back.

4. Move the car out of the parking garage, and turn in the keys, parking tags, and everything. 

5. Get batteries for the Spot Locator. I think this is the link:

Also see this: I think this is only the last 7 days. 

Point the wheels toward I-70. We ended the day in Lima, OH.

Steamers Stonewall Tavern, Lima, OH. Very nice. Across the street from the Holiday Inn Express.

Cleaning Red Ranger (D-1 day)

That wasn’t half bad. Red Ranger is in good shape. Surveyor had been all over her. We just ran through her checking on — well — a few things. Battery water, stowage, bilge-pumps. Things look good.

Our old home and our ride to another temporary home.

Here’s our peer group. 

They’re in the water. 

Note the missing masts. They took the masts off so they could do The Great Loop. Scott and Jeanie report that mast-free, she handles pretty well. 

She fits under a lot of bridges, so the trip up from Florida was expeditious. It’s 1,000 miles, but remove waiting for bridges, and it goes a little faster.

Packed (D-2 day)

We’re ready.

Friday was D-3 (3 days before departure.) CA unloaded all the cabinets, emptied all the furniture, and stacked things around the apartment. The galley is closed. No more food in the apartment.

Saturday (today) is D-2. We have a U-Haul scheduled. Furniture to Goodwill.

Here are the the six boxes, ready to be shipped.

These are things we don’t want to replace or stow on the boat. We don’t think we fit this into the car, either.

Here’s the start of the car pile.

This is a small stack of things too fragile or too important to ship. Or (in the case of the guitars) too awkward to deal with.

This pile will be supplemented with all the computers, enough clothes for the trip, and the guitars.

So far, it looks doable.

Sunday, D-1, will be final cleaning of Red Ranger, and the final stowage for the coming year.

Monday is D-day. Hopefully, what we have left will fit in the car and we’ll shoot through Maryland and Pennsylvania to Ohio.

The Route

There are a few ways to get to Las Vegas. The complication is using one of the passes through the mountains. We’ve decided to follow a northern route. Something like the following

Day 1
I-270 N into Maryland
I-70 W into Pennsylvania 
I-76 W — somewhere in Ohio we’ll stop

Day 2
I-76 W to I-80 W through Indiana into Illinois
I-90 W
I-94 W — somewhere in Illinois we’ll stop

Day 3
I-90/I-94 W into Wisconsin — I’m not sure, but I think we’ll stop somewhere here or perhaps right when we enter Minnesota

Day 4
I-94 W for most of a day, stopping again in Minnesota

Day 5
I-94 W into N. Dakota, stopping somewhere there, if we can find something.

Day 6
I-94 W some more into Montana. Ideally, we’ll stop near Bozeman.  We may take an extra day here. It will have been a long week.

Day 7
I-15 S into Idaho, stopping somewhere.

Day 9
to I-15 S into Utah, stopping somewhere. With the caution that this can be mountainous and the road may be closed.
Follow I-15 S through Arizona and Nevada. 

This is not ambitious. We’re planning for six-hour days. Unless cellular totally fails us, we’ll be booking cheap hotels along the way. It’s always difficult around the 5-hour mark to start locating a place to stay.

The complexity here is CA’s parents went on an extended camping trip across the country when they were first married. I do have my lifetime senior pass for the National Park Service, so we have that option. While I’d prefer motels, I may be disappointed searching for them in the remote parts of the west.

This isn’t quite the same as moving Red Ranger down the ICW. The boat is spacious and comfortable, and we could drop the anchor anywhere the water was deep enough and we could get out of the channel. 

Farewells and Packing

We’ve enjoyed our sojourn in Virginia. Met many wonderful people. Worked on cool things at work. Lived in a luxury high-rise apartment. But.

All things grow, mature, and ultimately change.

In the background, you can see the roof of the shopping mall. It’s a boring view in some respects — mostly rooftop HVAC — but there’s the changeability of sky and season. 

It’s not a view of the Bay or the Ocean or even a Creek. But. It’s a view, and that’s pretty nice to have.

In about a week, we’ll be finishing up our life in this apartment.

The things we can replace go to Goodwill, or A Wider Circle, or some other local charities. This is mostly Ikea furniture, some kitchenware, and a little bit of bedding and linens we can replaced when we arrive in Nevada. While the good knives and pans are important, the plates and glassware can be replaced more cheaply than it can be shipped.

Some food goes to a neighbor. Mostly it’s a few pounds of flour and sugar, and a few open bottles of vinegar, soy sauce, and cooking oil.

A few things will be shipped to Nevada. Some heavy books and winter clothes. Some bathroom items like hair clippers we don’t need for the next month.

The last of our “won’t need this for a year or two” will get stowed in Red Ranger. (More on Red Ranger’s future to come. Stand by.) CA’s got a detailed list. We may wind up coming out here for an extended Bay visit in about a year. Or we may move back here in a year. The future is hard to predict.

The things we can pack into Scout (a Toyota Corolla) will go across country with us. This is Clothes. Computers. Hobby Things. Guitars.

Stand by for photos from the cross-country drive.

The Land Cruise

Land Cruise? Good question. Let’s review.

A long, long time ago (2009, specifically) we bough Red Ranger.  We fit her out for three years. Then we quit our day jobs and took off in the boat for two extended voyages. One to the Bahamas and back up to Annapolis, the second to Coconut Grove and back up to Deltaville. 

In 2014, I unretired. This really cuts back on the cruising. But it builds up the savings.

The past few years have been a fair amount of day sailing and major system upgrades. And saving many pennies from the day jobs.

Now. Well. Family calls. We’re going to be driving to Las Vegas to live there for a year or so. So the “Cruising” and “Sailboat” part of this blog are going to be replaced by a Driving Across the Continent blog. 

After that. Who knows?

Tune in May 17th for the land cruise,

  © Steven Lott 2019