Westward Ho! (First to Emporia, KS and then on Westward)
Monday, May 10th, 1999
This day found us making a long day's drive from Shelbyville, IL to Emporia, KS. We realized that teamwork is helpful in driving, especially as we made our way around and through cities like St. Louis and Kansas City. It worked for us to have the driver concentrating on the road, watching the lanes alongside, and reading the highway signs. Meantime the other person was reading the roadmap, alerting the driver to upcoming intersections and highway changes, and also watching the roadway.
It seems like the driver spends about forty percent of their time looking back in the mirrors, watching the rig's lane position, keeping an eye on overtaking traffic, and the like. Navigating through construction zones, especially those with detours, narrow lanes with concrete barriers, and mergers to single lanes required the most concentration. However if everyone is alert and the driver is aware of needed lane switches or intersections, they can move the rig into the best lane and avoid hurried decisions.
This trip saw Annette getting her first experience behind the wheel. She handled it beautifully. In the future, we plan for her to get more driving time so that she is comfortable moving us around too. She also found that having the driving experience made her much more comfortable as a passenger.
Just for the record, we have observed that highway conditions and maintenance vary widely from state-to-state. But we found I-70 through Missouri to be in the worst shape of any interstate highway that we have driven lately. It is rutted and bumpy and shook the rig from nose to tail. We have also seen lots of road construction projects in progress and with recent federal increases in the highway budget, we are sure to see more construction zones in the future. It sounds like the good news, bad news routine . . . the roads are going to get better, but before that there are going to be lots construction zones and even major delays (I-30 in west Arkansas).
Our campground in Emporia brought us within just a few blocks of Annette's parents' home. The Emporia RV Park and Campground looks like a former KOA park, located along the interstate and the edge of the city. It has side by side pull-throughs with hookup to needed utility services, a clean laundry and showers, and although not as picturesque as Lithia Springs, it was certainly adequate for our needs.
The remainder of this week found us working at the computers developing presentations and doing web-research, updating our webpages, and catching up on some business records and paperwork. We took time to conduct business meetings for Vision to Action, Inc. and Lamb Learning Group. Everyone was busy and the week went quickly, so we decided to schedule some 'playtime' in two weeks when Bill, Nancy, and Arrion (Austin, TX) will join us for a few days vacation in Estes Park, CO.
Saturday, May 15th, 1999
We departed Emporia this morning; having delayed a day or two to put in more landline-connected Internet worktime. We took our time unhooking from the campsite until a thunderstorm moved through. We then stopped at the Emporia Flying J to fuel and check tire pressure, so we did not get on the road until about 10 a.m.. Saturday is not the recommended travel time for large rigs; however, the highways across western Kansas and eastern Colorado were not congested (there are not many big cities out there and its early spring).
This was the first time that Larry had driven this section of the country, and he found that the trek through some of the blue stem country, the flint hills, and on to the high plains provided unique vistas and countered the 'boring' descriptive that some travelers have labeled the area. It reminded us that if one keeps an inquisitive and open mind, there are things of interest, beauty, and learning to be gained in every location. We will admit to having a current bias for the areas west of the Mississippi, but we are sure that we will be back east too. Heck, we have relatives back there . . . poor souls.
In western Kansas somewhere west of Hays, we noticed the only place where our Nokia 6160 digital cell phone could not locate a tower signal. It didn't last for long; we were back connected to civilization. Such pioneer spirit, eh!
We arrived at the Denver North Campground, Bloomfield, CO. This is a Good Sam park that is located north of the city and put us about 35 minutes from the airport (DIA). Annette was scheduled to fly back to conduct workshops in southern Illinois and southern Indiana.
Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 1/99.
Updated, 5/99.
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