Crossing Over into the US of A
Oct 31, 2018
|Tuesday morning we crossed over into the USA.
A few little hiccups, US Customs only took us 11 minutes, but right after leaving customs, the route we wanted to take through Detroit was detoured for construction.
The fellow at the toll booths said with a slow drawl... 'nooooo problem' just like the guy from the TV commercial for Bad Boy's ---- Nooooo Problem. We seemed to manage for a while not too bad, second guessing the GPS, using the detour signs as well as our own instinct.
Just outside of Detroit we took a wrong turn on the expressway and had to double back at the next exit and then a few miles later, the GPS told us we were near a Walmart, (where we could get groceries and our phones up and running), so we routed to the destination but instead the lady in the GPS took us on a wild goose chase through some very pretty dirt road scenery in the wilds of Michigan in our 40 foot home. It was only humorous when we passed the same travel trailer that we were in front of at customs, again for the third time. The people in that travel trailer, from Nova Scotia, must have thought we were just a little odd. Not us?
When we did finally find a Walmart, farther down the road, we ended up going over to a Verizon store across the street to get our phone and internet problems straightened out (turns out the Walmart staff were having issue with getting our phone account set up). That whole stop took us just over 2 hours, but with groceries, beer, wine, phone and internet now working, we were rocking... all the way past Chicago, where Michelle called ahead and found us a campground just off the expressway. One piece of good news, we gained an hour during our travels due to the change in time zone, so that got us a little farther down the road before places started closing up for the night.
We passed the Thornton Quarry, just south of Chicago. It is one of the largest aggregate quarries in the world. Won't post a picture because what we see from the road doesn't do it justice, look it up on Wikipedia, amazing, and the highway goes right through it! Just as we pulled off for the campground, the engine trouble light came on. Hmmm....
After pulling in to the campground, in Joliet, Illinois, and as we began to set up, we discovered that when the two custom agents came on board earlier to quickly look over our RV, they had left a few cabinet doors in the back unlocked. Now, Michael had done some DIY work a few years ago and had redone the TV cabinet. He put the flat screen TV on a door to the TV cabinet instead of just having it bolted down in the cabinet and having all the potential storage space behind the TV wasted. That space now contained all the small boxes of stuff like batteries, medications, little tools and other 'where do we put this other crap' kinds of things. That was until the custom agents had looked in the cabinet but not locked them back up - did they think we had a little person hidden in there?? Michelle watched and made sure the bedroom door was shut, but didn't notice that he had opened the cabinet and you can't exactly stop while in the customs booth to go through the RV and check everything they touched. In Detroit you are right on a major Interstate when you leave Customs, so can't stop there either. When we finally opened the bedroom door...the entire contents of that cabinet was now spread over the floor and bed. We will be finding stuff for a while! Despite the disaster zone of a bedroom, it was 72f (22c) and so nice to open the windows and doors! Good thing we managed to set up camp before the rains came, heavy, pouring rain. At points in the evening it was so loud and with booming thunder, that we couldn't hear the tv!
The next morning, in Rockdale, Illinois, we stopped at a truck repair place and waited for someone to try to find the connector and put a tester on the bus, to see if they could tell us why the engine light was on. His tester wouldn't read it, so the repair guy and Mike came to the conclusion it could be just a fuse in the connector and since the warning light was only orange (not red) and solid (not flashing) we might as well just drive on and see what happens. Five minutes down the road it went out :-) (or did it burn out, hmmmm.....)
These two days of driving have taken us through industrial Michigan, into the flat plains of Illinois, and into the rolling hills of Iowa. We are just starting to see some herds of cattle among all the fields of hay, corn and soybean (at least that's what us city slickers think!)
When we started to look for a campground, we had a chance to spend the night at state fairgrounds near Des Moines, Iowa. Thinking back to our first trip south, since it was Halloween, we decided against it...there the local 4-H had set up a haunted house in two of the barns and we spent the whole evening listening to the sound effects and screams, not something we really wanted. The KOA didn't return Michelle's call, so we went to a private campground, really pretty, very tidy & clean, but the sites weren't level, so the bus' front wheels were up in the air again.
Up and moving before 9am again today, Mike has decided we're heading to Denver, better highways but need to be past Trinidad, Colorado by Sunday as they're getting snow...we'll see how the days go!