Day 1 507miles Total Miles 507

Champaign Travel Blog

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Our tents before the storm hit.
With a late start, 8:30am est, we left the house just south pittsburgh after taking care of a few odds and ends. Such as cleaning the garage fridge because some food had gone rotton after a party we threw a week prior. The first day of the road trip is always delayed especially with my Dad; crossing every t and dotting every lower case j.

The idea of this road trip is not to have a plan. We picked a few places from the top of our heads that we would like to visit along our route. We always have a tendency to go northwest on our previous road trips and that's about the same route we're planning on taking. But who could blame you for going northwest. Absolutely beautiful in the summer. I've never been out that way during the winter, I would imagine it can be a bit miserable with the snow and cold.
The aftermath, me soaked in our hotel room

So with our new bike trailer, our 400 and 650 yamaha, a bunch of camping equipment we set off with hopes of making it to Des Moines Iowa. That might have been a little ambitious for the first day.

When 5:30 came around we had had enough driving for the day. So we found a campsite in Champaign, Il. Mostly RV trailers that took permanent residency as I assumed, since many trailers had added on a satellite dish to a pole 2 feet from their front door and some trailers even had vinyl skirts around the perimeter. We set up camp excited for our first day and test our camping skills. My sister and her boyfriend joined us on our trip and was quite funny to watch them put up their tent. Dad and I put up our dome tent no problem and started a fire to cook. About half way through cooking hot sausage that we had brought from a local butcher shop (excellent by the way), the wind picked up. When we first arrived at the campsite the manager questioned our intentions of camping because there was rumor of a thunderstorm coming in later in the evening with 40 mph wind. At the time, we thought nothing of it as our previous camping excursions never included rain, luckily. Our luck was about to run out.

The wind picked up and soon followed the rain. Not a rain that falls from the sky straight down but a rain that came horizontal with the strength of the wind. We retreated to a nearby pavilion with our food and lanterns trying to stay a little dry. However, because of the direction of the wind, the pavillion was of little shelter as the side that was open was facing into the wind.

My sister and her boyfriend retreated to their car. Dad and I ran around trying to put some things away before they blew away. As dad closed the trunk of the car, he grabbed the bottle of Seven and the Spirit. He brought it over to the pavilion and we had a few drinks and watched as our tents struggled to stay up in the wind. Eventually, the wind prevailed, and the fiber glass tent poles gave way splintering and cutting right through the our tent. My sister's tent didn't make it but two gusts of wind before it fell apart.

Once the wind receded, we gathered what we could and put it in the car. We had forgotten that we had put the sleeping bags and pillows in the tents and they lay now soaked, not lightly misted from a night camping out but drenched, there was even a small lake in our tent. The sleeping bags that we have are about 25 years old. I remember camping when I was a small child with my parents. The thick flannel sleeping bags, so, drying these puppies isn't going to be a piece of cake.

The campsite manager guy came by and saw the mess we were in. He helped us find a hotel not far from the campsite at a reasonable price, 50 dollars a night; not bad. So to the Microtel we were heading. As we came in through the front desk guy took one look at us and asked us one of those stupid questions "Is it wet our there?" But our sense of humor was still intact so we chuckled and checked in. On the way back from grabbing my things from the car, I asked the front desk guy if there was a nice local bar, not an Applebee's bar but a local bar. He pointed me in the right direction and I took my father to make some friends and share our interesting evening of events with them.

We weren't disappointed, we made a few friends as soon as we walked as it was after 10 and the crowd had already become chatty. We exchanged stories with the bartender and a few people at the bar. One guy sitting next to us, was a really friendly older gentlemen with a beard who was really jealous of our trip. Not just the traveling out west part, but the part where my dad and I were able to spend time together. And how it was a good time in our lives where I thought my dad wasn't full of it and where my dad had come to the point where he valued my opinion and respected my judgement. Growing up, your dad is a bit like a superhero. He always has the right answer and knows just what to do. As I've become older, my father lost his super hero abilities but what he's lost in super human abilities he's given me a more appreciative view of him and has strengthen our relationship where we can go to the bar together and have a good time.

It was time to go when this girl who would not tell me her name was trying to take my shirt off and in return she was going to lift her skirt. She seemed a little off to me. So, dad and I thought it best to end our evening. As we walked out of the bar the bartender called us by our first names and told us to have fun on our vacation.

Even though our first day of vacation didn't start well, it finished with a great evening in hopes that tomorrow would be a better day.

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Our tents before the storm hit.
Our tents before the storm hit.
The aftermath, me soaked in our ho…
The aftermath, me soaked in our h…
photo by: Bluetraveler