Last night’s rains left the air clean and the wetness of the morning felt fresh and promising. The cool temperatures were a bonus for traveling. We rolled up camp and headed over to the dump station to do our business. When I had been riding the bike around yesterday evening, I spotted a rig of medium length that looked like it might be a nice next step up for us if we decide to keep wandering the roads. We pulled a few up online and studied the layout.
As we were beginning to empty the tanks, the same RV came pulling up to have a turn at the dump station. I try to not to make people wait too long, so I was doing my best to be efficient and get things done. In the meantime, the owner, Kent, had seen our plates and came over to talk about California and trusting God as we walk this path. Really positive couple, farmers from the local region. When we expressed interest in their RV, they invited us on board and we got the grand tour. They are dropping it at a dealer for some maintenance on the way home, so Julie made us up a care package of all the perishable groceries in their refrigerator. The talk turned to where we are on our spiritual paths and we share a lot of commonality. That’s one of the blessings of the nomadic life. You never know day to day who you are going to meet. Thanks again Julie and Kent, wishing you guys a great harvest.
Today’s drive was a total grind. My apologies to any of the locals, but Gary, Indiana has moved near the top of my list of places I never want to pass through again. The 60 miles from Joliet to Valparaiso took about two hours in brutal traffic with the brunt of it going through Gary. Lane closures, toll gates, and convoys of frustrated truckers. I made the mistake of jumping into it thinking it would brief and we’d pass through the urban center and be out the other side shortly like most bigger cities we’ve passed through like Denver or Vegas. There was a rest stop near Joliet and I kind of needed to use it, but I figured I’d tough it out and get through the traffic first. I know this is probably TMI but if you’re a guy who’s just hit sixty or more, you can maybe relate because once we dived into this mess, there was no getting off.
The GPS tried to reroute us to other routes that would “save” us time and we did a tour of Gary’s industrial bowels. Any driving time saved was lost sitting in lines at toll booths. Minor tolls like 90 cents would have you sitting ten minutes waiting to get up to the self serve vending machine toll collector that the guy in front of you just couldn’t seem to figure out. I’d almost wished the cost was higher to justify the wait. I’d blown by one toll booth earlier that had its own off ramp and I didn’t realize until I was past it that I was supposed to be over there. We’ll see if I hear from them later.
Finally after an interminable time on the ‘alternative route’, we got dumped back on 80 at about the same spot we had gotten off (or maybe it just seemed that way). Finally after crossing into Michigan, we came to a visitors center and exited the traffic and took a sorely needed break. Made some sandwiches, walked around a little bit then jumped back into the fray. Luckily, once into Michigan, the traffic started to ease a little and when we turned off onto our country back road, it was easy sailing through some quaint rural communities. Lots of lakes and small towns that haven’t seemed to change much over the years.
We stopped in Three Oaks to stock up on water and pick up some staples at the Harding’s grocery store. As we were pulling out, PJ spotted a self service car wash across the highway. I’m usually on a mission and hate to slow down mid commute, but I surprised her by zipping across the street and pulling in. We sprayed off the bugs as best as we could and got back to the business of driving.
It was around 5:30 when we pulled into Shady Point. Terry, the woman who runs it, was welcoming and friendly and pointed us to a grassy area close to the office on a knoll overlooking the lake and the campers parked along the water. It was close to level, had a nice wooden deck and the hook ups were in all the right places. We parked up and let out a deep breathe.
We rested a while then I figured out how to work the convection part of the oven and we cooked up the pizza Kent and Julie gave us this morning. Thanks guys. I bought a stack of firewood and near sunset (about 9:15 pm in these parts) we lit a fire and sat on our hill enjoying the calm night. Fireflies never get old and as the sky darkened, they began to twinkle all around us. One took a particular liking to PJ and hovered around her head blinking on and off. Cali went to bed and Koda came out and layed on the grass between us as we unwound from our busy day.