Monday, August 27: Casey, IL KOA → Lawrence, KS KOA
Weather: Sunny and mid-90sF with much lower humidity. The wind picked up to a steady 20mph headwind in Kansas (no surprise there!)
Route: I-70W through IL → I-270W through the northern outskirts of St. Louis → I-70W through Missouri and Kansas City→ US-73N → US-24/US40W → Kansas City West/Lawrence KOA
- it was light when we woke up at 6:00 Central Daylight Time. The full moon was setting into the cornfields to the west. The sun was rising from the cornfields to the east.
- the breakfast Hubby made today soaked longer in more boiled water. It was not as chewy and much creamier than yesterday.
- with high humidity and temps expected in the 90s all day, we were on the road by our targeted time of 7:30 and glad to be just driving today, although at our 8:00 gas/coffee stop at a Love’s off Exit 160 near Effingham, IL, the humidity was noticeably lower.
- Boonville, Missouri was our noon lunch stop. It was hot and windy but not unbearably humid. The pita, roast beef, cucumber, hummus sandwiches were so filling we did not eat any of the other snacks we had packed.
- although there were a lot of construction sections along I-70, we did not have any major delays. Our 7:30 departure was planned to have us driving around St. Louis after the morning rush hour and through Kansas City before the evening rush hour. It worked! Traffic was light through both cities.
- average gas mileage was good (27.3mpg) until we reached Missouri’s hills and a steady headwind. We had also gained about 600 feet of elevation since reaching Indiana. Gas mileage dropped to 26.4mpg. Because we weren’t in a hurry and the car and cartop carrier are at max weight capacity, we weren’t driving faster than 70mph even though the limits were 75mph in many places. Any faster against the strong wind and over the Missouri hills felt like we were taxing the Subaru more than necessary.
- other than Turkey Vultures we didn't see many birds – mostly sparrows and starlings. Hubby did spot a hummingbird at the KOA this evening.
- After the MO-3 interchange near Granite City, I-270 took us over the Chain of Rocks Canal onto Chocteau Island and shortly thereafter across the long New Chain of Rocks Bridge over the wide Mississippi River, the dividing line between Illinois and Missouri. 20 minutes later I-270 had rejoined I-70W, which took us across the wide Missouri River. The water levels of both rivers were amazingly high for August. In fact, everything along our route looked very green still for August.
- Since it was only 14:30 when we arrived at the KOA we decided to drive south along Massachusetts St. through the heart of Lawrence to the Dillon’s Supermarket. We were in search of a salad for dinner and lunch meat for tomorrow’s sandwiches. Hooray – Dillon’s had a decent salad bar and oven-roasted turkey breast at the deli. We added a container of guacamole before returning north through town and across the Kansas River to the KOA.
- Downtown Lawrence has a quaint midwest vibe, with its western movie/1920s-era store fronts, sidewalks, angled street parking and tree lined streets. The boutique-sized rows of adjoined buildings house an eclectic collection of everything from quaint coffee shops to an elegant day spa and upscale hotel. A few blocks west of Massachusetts Street is Lawrence’s Old West Historic District, which we didn’t reroute ourselves to see. If we had known about the Burrough's Creek Trail and Linear Park a short distance east of Massachusetts St. we would have taken a stroll after leaving Dillon's. North of the Kansas River, near the Visitor Info Center is a biking/hiking trail. To the south is the Baker Wetlands, with boardwalks and trails especially for birdwatching. It would be easy to spend several days exploring Lawrence, Kansas.
- After a quick and friendly check-in at the KOA we had plenty of time to hydrate and relax. Because of the wind we stayed inside Kabin K01 and managed to check email quickly before too many campers tied up the bandwidth. Dinner and showers rounded out the night before a 22:00 bedtime. We don’t need such an early start tomorrow. We plan to leave by 8:30.
About Kansas City West/Lawrence KOA: This property was set back from I-70 enough that there was very little traffic noise, especially when we were inside the Kabin with the A/C running. Rustic Kabin K01 also had a mini-fridge and microwave. The floor was too dusty to go barefoot (perhaps because of wind through the door?). The wide driveways around the property were gravel. There were several large luxury cabins with patios or decks and with or without screened-in porches. The wi-fi was too weak to use during peak times and each device required a separate access code valid for 7 days. The bathrooms, with 3 toilet and 3 shower stalls, were newer than the building and very clean. Although small, the shower stalls were thoughtfully configured to keep water inside the curtain, leaving the changing space dry (little things like that make camping so much more enjoyable). The 4 hooks were not usefully located under the mirrors. I would have liked hooks on the two free walls, but my Cabela toiletry kit handled the situation nicely. No code was required for the bathrooms or laundry room, which was very well set up with a triple dishwashing sink and multiple industrial-sized machines. There was a large picnic pavillion near the tenting area but it, like the rest of the property, had no wind blocks. Considering how often it is windy here we thought there would be at least some place to picnic out of the wind.