Wichita, KS to Stromsburg, NE

Oh, I feel battered. What a horrible good day on the road.

I impressed L, B, and S with my toad hookup skills this morning, then took off around 10:00 or 10:30. L lives right off of a highway, so I barely had any work to do to get going. I also had full tanks of gas and propane, so my only job today was to get to Stromsburg.

I was only about 70KM out of Wichita when the weather hit. Just spittle at first, but really bad wind that had me wrestling the steering wheel. I had left Wichita in a medium-weight long cotton skirt, sandals, and a tee-shirt. Two rest areas up the road (less than an hour of driving), I had to add leggings, socks, closed shoes, a fleece sweater, and a windbreaker/rain coat!


The original plan was to spend two nights at the Ottawa State Fishing Lake near Minneapolis (yes, both still in Kansas) just north of Salina and I was already wiped by the time I reached that exit! But I knew that I had to stay on the main roads and get to a place with power and internet so I could stay on top of the weather.

I stopped at every rest area to check the rig and take a breather, but the freeway eventually ended and I was going nowhere slow, so I pushed on resolutely all the way to York.


There, I pulled into the Walmart for some supplies. L made sure I was fed all the time I was in Wichita, so having to cook again for myself is going to be a tad brutal. 🙂

It was really tempting to just overnight in York, but Stromsburg and its donation campground was just 20 minutes away. It made sense to make that final effort and get squared away so that I can just relax tomorrow.

A few minutes from Stromsburg, I discovered that the line between ‘ice pellets’ and ‘hail’ is very fine. Was I glad to see the railroad crossing sign as we enter town as I knew the entrance to the campground was my next left!

This is a nice city park with power (up to 50A). There are faucets but not right at the sites, and there is a dump station. The only negative is that we are right against an active railroad with a train that whistles.

I unhooked quickly, backed in, and immediately started both the electric heater and the furnace!

Today was noteworthy in three respects.

First, it was my worst gas mileage day EVER. I am just at the red line and have gone less than 400KM! When I get fuel, I will note how many gallons I get so that I can calculate just how bad the gas mileage situation was today. I am generously estimating 4 to 5MPG. Yes, I’m hauling a heavier toad, but I was also going straight uphill the whole way, plus there was all that headwind. In closer to ideal conditions, the toad hasn’t been affecting my gas mileage noticeably.

Second, today was the first time I ever hit anything backing up with Miranda! No B.S.! Until today, I have NEVER so much as grazed anything backing up. I went back one foot too much and the very top edge of the RV went into a tree branch. I can tell there is some damage to the fiberglass, but nothing that is particularly depressing me. I’ll just slap a piece of Eternabond over the area when the weather clears up and no one will be the wiser. 🙂



That white stuff on the ground looks suspiciously like snow.

I will likely be quiet in the next few days since I have projects to do and there isn’t much in the area.

Storm Watch

There is some massive horrible weather incoming along my current route.

L and I watched the weather and looked at maps this morning over breakkie and both reached the same conclusion: today, I need to drive straight to Stromsberg, NE (about 5 hours with stops along the way) and hunker down.

This will put me on the periphery of both a northern and southern storm cell in a place with power so I can comfortably watch the nastiness pass.

I am meeting reader P.J. and her hubby on Sunday in Stromsburg. Monday, I will need to haul ass and just got NORTH. I’ve checked road and weather conditions across North Dakota, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba and it’s all winter driving conditions, floods, and impasses. A lot can change in 10 days, but with the way the weather is going, I can’t take any chances. Right now, the goal is the border, no matter where. I’ll figure out my next move once I’m across.

I’m off and will post when I land tonight.

Wiper Maintenance

The other day, I dropped in at O’Reilly auto parts to pick up some new wiper blades for the truck. There was an $11.03 balance on my gift card, so the wipers only cost me $0.73 out of pocket!

L put them on Moya this afternoon and it was way easier than changing the wiper blades on the Accent. So much so I’m embarrassed not to have done it myself.

We then had a look at Miranda and why the wiper fluid was pumping but not reaching the windshield. L pulled on something and it came loose, so he (correctly) guessed that it needed to be reconnected to a T. He gave me instructions/suggestions on how to do that and then we went in for lunch.

I came back out, got my EZ-Foldz along with a star screw driver and a pair of needle nose pliers. After I removed several screws and rummaged around blindly with the pliers, I finally found the T (actually V) connection and got the hoses hooked up again.

Another New Used Tire

I’ve edited my post about the drive to Kansas because my bad luck has had absolutely nothing to do with the fine folks at Cramer Tire in Midwest City, OK.

L suggested that I go get the flat tire looked at today so that it could sit overnight and we could monitor the pressure, plus it would cut down on the Wednesday stress. Great idea!

He fortified me with a blueberry pancake and bacon breakfast and then we slooooowly motored over to Wiechman-Bush Tire.

A tech came right out to look at my tire and would you believe my dumb luck: there was a HUGE hole in the sidewall! He says that the only explanation for that is that I hit something on the way here. He believes that the tire was good and that Cramer did right by me. It was just one of those bad days on the road. He promised to replace the tire with another used one, move the outside tire (the worst of my six) to the inside, and mount the ‘new’ tire on the outside, and that my rig would be ready in a couple of hours.

L and I went off so he could show me a good place to get gas. We then stopped at the U-Haul place where he gets his propane tanks filled to find out if they fill motorhomes (yes).

Next, he suggested we stop in his favourite thrift store, which was great since I was able to score some badly needed sporty summer skirts for just a couple of bucks a piece.

There, I made the most hilarious thrift store find of my life:


I am in Kansas and that is a pair of ruby slippers!

Back at L’s house, he took out his computer to show me a free state campground on the way north. I have five days to kill before I meet PJ and her hubby near Omaha, so the idea is to stop at that campground for a few days before pushing on to Stromsburg and its city park.

We’d just finished do that when my phone rang with news that the rig was ready. L dropped me off there and had a look at the tire. He is very happy with the one that was put on. He headed out to an appointment and I went in to pay the massive $39 bill. No, that is not a typo. That sound you hear is relief.


I then got gas and headed back to U-Haul on Seneca. I hadn’t noticed that the entrance was quite steep and I scraped the bottom of my tow bar getting in. The exit was even worse, so I ended up backing across the lot to go back out the way I came in, but at as much of an angle as possible. I still heard some scraping, but not as bad as when I came in.

Now, I’m back in front of the house. My birthday boy got roadsick, so I’m glad that I procrastinated on cleaning the bedding since I would have had to redo the job. Once the laundry is done, I’ll be ready to hit the road again. I’ll leave fairly early tomorrow, get supplies in Salina (Sal-EYE-na), and then check out the lake.

Siren’s Call

Monday, a really loud siren sounded midday. It was so shrill that when I went to check on Neelix, he was lying flat on the bed with his paws over his ears!

L told me that this was a scheduled test of the tornado sirens. And then he gave me instructions in case I ever heard said siren at any time other than midday Monday!

His description was a lot more detailed, but it boiled down to grab Neelix and a blanket, head a for a ditch, cover my head, and ride it out.

We’ve talked a lot about tornadoes and he’s really put them into perspective for me as to the odds of getting caught in one, their size, the damage the average one does, etc. It’s one weather phenomena that really fascinates me, but which I never want to experience!