September 8 – 10, 2019 Escape From Little Rock

Plenty of corn in Indiana
Plenty of corn in Indiana

Day One Little Rock to Columbus, Ohio

Day one of my first trip in the RV in five months and the initial journey with a new 4 wheels down toad, turned out much better than expected! I pulled the motorhome out of it’s spot and positioned it away from other campers at the Downtown Riverside RV Park, my home for the past two months. Then I pulled my new 2019 Chevy Equinox out and positioned it behind the motorhome and started my first attempt to hook it up … in the dark at 1:30 in the morning.

Of course I was nervous trying to be sure to get everything hitched up just as the manuals stated and then set up the car for being towed. If anyone was watching, I’m sure they would have gotten a kick out of watching some old fool fumbling around in the dark trying to read manuals while hooking up the the towbar. I wasn’t terribly confident as I exited the campground and headed up onto the interstate, but everything seemed to be as it should be, and 666 miles later when I finally stopped for the night, I was very happy with my decision to trade the old reliable Prius and be finished with my days with a tow dolly. The new car towed easily being about the same weight as the tow dolly and Prius combined and after a few hundred miles of towing, when I first stopped for gas and went back and started up the Equinox for a few minutes, as called for in the manual, and everything seemed fine, I was relieved for sure and on my way to preferring this new to me, way of moving the toad.

Did I mention that my motorhome cab’s AC does not work, despite being “fixed” by three separate Workhorse approved mechanics, in thee different states over the past two years? All three claimed to have it working after recharging the system and, with combined repair charges of over $1,000, yet in every case the AC would be blowing hot air after 24 hours. While in Little Rock, I tried unsuccessfully to get it into Whitey’s Truck Repair , he came highly recommended, but he could never get me in, always had more business than he could handle. Thus, the reason for me leaving Little Rock at 1:30 in the morning, when it was already a very muggy 81 degrees. The forecast called for temps in the 90’s, as it has been every day for about three months, and I wanted to get started and north of there ASAP.

Turned out I never had to suffer from the heat after all as I made it 400 miles and 10 degrees cooler, before the sun rose on Sunday. By then I was under cloud cover and then rain and more clouds and the temps never rose above 80 as I proceeded north and east. Instead of taking what would have been my normal route, which would be east on I-40 to I-81, then north, I opted to head directly north out of Little Rock in an attempt to quickly get out from under the heat that has been broiling the southeast for weeks.I took I-40 just a couple of miles then headed north on Route 67 to I-55 in Saint Louis, Missouri, where I picked up I-70 East to Indianapolis, Indiana, and Columbus, Ohio, where I finally stopped for  the night around 6 PM, when I just happened to be at the entrance to a rest area, stuck in the first traffic jam of the trip. After advancing just a quarter mile in 45 minutes and seeing no sign of moving any faster for the next TWO miles of construction delays, lane closures, I pulled into the rest area and set up to watch the Patriots first game of the season, hoping I could get a little sleep, and escape the traffic backup if I left in the middle of the night. At 3 AM Monday there was no traffic delay through the next 30 miles of work (DESPERATELY needed on I-40), but easy to see what was causing the horrendous backup of traffic. 

Day Two Columbus to Elmira, New York

Enjoyed watching the Patriots game last night, then got a good nights sleep at the rest area. As I suspected, when I set out at 4 AM, the traffic backup on the Interstate was gone and it was clear sailing to the Ohio border. Not hard to see why the backup yesterday was so bad. Three separate lane closure stretches, each going on for 6 miles or more with a couple side highways coming in during the same stretch .. I would bet, during the day, it probably would take 3 or 4 hours to get through here, if not longer. Avoid at all costs unless traveling after midnight.

Just a gorgeous 70 degree day with blue skies, what a change from Little Rock! A summer down south makes me appreciate the weather up north a bit more (not including winter). Continued on I-70 into PA. where I took I-79 North towards Erie, PA, then got on I-86, the Southern Tier Expressway, and made it to Elmira, NY before giving up for the day. Not quite as many miles today, had to stop and nap a few times to recover from yesterday’s long haul.

No more Tow Dolly or Prius

Day Three Elmira to Charlemont, MA

Up at 3:30 so I could be on the road by 4 AM in order to miss the morning rush hour traffic around Albany and Troy, New York. From I-86, I took the slow way on Route 7 through Albany and on through Troy.  From Route 7 I took Route 278 to Route 2 east to MA. That last stretch, especially on what passes as a road in New York, I don’t think I will ever try again. The roads from Arkansas to Massachusetts are an embarrassment to all who have to attempt to survive them, but this short stretch of Route 2 in NY took the cake as far as conditions go, paved ( sort of) and all but impassable. The road surfacing on Route 2 in MA was in much better condition but this stretch has some serious curves and long, steep grades. I won’t do this route again in the motorhome!

Pulled into the Country Aire CG in Charlemont, MA around 2 PM and signed up for a week. Nice little campground, all but deserted today but I was told they fill up on weekends, so I will have a few peaceful nights here while I explore how much this area has changed, an area where I grew up, so very long ago.

I can’t believe I actually covered 1592 miles in just three days, but my fear of getting caught in the heat down south without AC, kept me moving on, moving on more rapidly than I realized. The new toad behaved as it should, actually easier to pull than the tow dolly and Prius, barely knew it was there, until the final few miles through that rough stretch of Route 2. Took the Equinox out immediately after setting up camp to go get some farm fresh sweet corn (Boy, was it GOOD) just up the road, and it seems to be none the worse for wear after being towed almost 1600 miles on it’s first road trip.

Sorry about the lack of photos but in the coming month up here, I hope to get some nice foliage shots and perhaps find some interesting subjects down along the seacoast. Stay tuned!