Friday, 27-June – Salina, KS → St. Louis, MO
Route taken: I-70 E → US-50 E → US-44 E
Average Gas mileage: 28.2 mpg dropping to 27.9 mpg as highway speeds increased above 65 mph
Weather: warm (69F) in the morning, hot (90F), sunny and windy turning overcast with thunderstorms in the afternoon. Wind was still a factor in Kansas. We had a thunderstorm with soaking rain soon after we arrived at our KOA Kabin.
Elevation: no longer important in the 'flatland'
- thunderstorm and rain
- finding a few bottles of a developing Missouri wine from the native Norton grape
Because we could not find available KOA Kabins further east, we had a shorter drive day today – 484 miles. However, we made the mistake of thinking that taking US-50 E would be a shortcut similar to yesterday's drive through Kansas. Although the drive through the many little towns gave us a glimpse of “Americana” in rural Missouri, it was slow with many stoplights and 35 mph sections. We were not in the mood for lots of stops but, with planning, this route makes a wonderful Missouri winery tour. Late in the day Hubby remembered hearing about a Norton grape grown in Missouri and how it was predicted to put Missouri on the wine map. To make up for not stopping at the various vineyards we found wine from two local vineyards in the Schnuck's supermarket. The Alluvium, from the Augusta Winery, is a dry red blend of three different local grapes. It had a fruity flavour with cinnamon afternotes that we liked. We look forward to tasting the Norton wine from the Mount Pleasant Winery.
Despite the tiring drive along Missouri's winding, hilly US-50 we arrived in St. Louis earlier than we thought we would, even after a quick stop to build a salad at the Schnuck's supermarket salad bar. An hour later, at about 16:00, the dark clouds produced the first thunderstorm we had seen during our 2-month trip, with enough rain (hopefully) to pre-soak the 2 months of bugs on the car. After being in the arid, dusty high desert for that long the rain and humidity were quite a novel experience. It is difficult to decide which is more tolerable.
After our no-cook dinner, a quick cleanup and a shower we were ready for an early bedtime. We have a longer day ahead of us tomorrow.
About the St. Louis West KOA: This campground has no bathroom codes, a wi-fi code but very weak signal at K05 and a free cookie at check-in. Several trains passed nearby. In the Kabin I could feel the vibrations, but could not hear the I-44 traffic noise. The 6 grassy tent sites are at the front of the property near I-44. There is a nice dishwashing sink in the main building near the showers. The standard Kabin has air-conditioning, a TV and a screen door. The campground staff seemed to provide a variety of activities for guests throughout the evening. Today the plans were dampened by the weather.