Florida to Illinois

We leave Curry Hammock State Park at 12:50. The RV is a mess, but we are headed north. We will take our time getting to Chicago. We plan to stop in Chattanooga for a few days and visit friends, then we’ll stop and visit Fran’s brother. After that we’ll spend a few days in Nashville and in Bardstown Kentucky, before spending a week in Chicago.

Fort Pierce FL

We have no definite plans. We will drive until we’re ready to stop.

It looks like it will rain. We find Savannas Recreation Area, a county campground in Fort Pierce that’s not too far from our route. We call and they have a full hookup site for $22.25.

It starts raining. We stop in front of the office and run in. It is after office hours so the security guard assigns us a site. It is still raining when we back into the site. We plug into the electric.

Savannas Recreation Area
Savannas Recreation Area

This is a nice site. We are right on the water. They tell us we might see alligators in the morning.

It has been a long day. We got up early, saw the kids off by 8:00, did laundry, closed up the boat and finished packing clothes, refrigerator and freezer. We drove for five hours and now we have to unpack, eat dinner and put sheets on the bed.

Cordele GA

We are back on the road at 8:00. At 11:30 we stop at a travel plaza on the FL turnpike. We get gas. The pump stops at $80, but we are only bit over half full. I put the credit card in again and it is denied. I use another card to put 65 gallons in the tank for $77. I get messages from both credit card companies. They text me, email me and call me at the same time. I reply that the charges are valid. One company insists that I call them back. I explain that I tried to use the card a second time when the pump stopped. I can understand why they might think the second charge was fraudulent. We have lunch and take off again.

We are at the Florida-Georgia border and in a rain storm. We pull into a rest area and wait for the weather to calm down.

We stop for the night at a KOA in Cordele GA. Our propane tank has shown 1/3 full since last year. We put in 8 gallons ($30). We get a nice pull-though site for $38.  This is our first time staying in a KOA campground. We have WiFi and cable TV. We hook up the cable, but we don’t watch TV. We have a campfire instead.

Cordele KOA
Cordele KOA

The RV is infested with ants. We started seeing them in Marathon and got some ant bait, but these are not enough. We vacuum out the areas with ants and clean up the best we can.

We dump our black and gray water and get on our way. We thought about staying another day, but today is Sunday and we want to be north of Atlanta on Monday morning.

We stop at Walmart Super Center in Marietta GA. We buy groceries and ant spray.

Cartersville GA

We stop in Cartersville GA, at Old Hwy 41 #3 Campground on Allatoona Lake. This is an Army Corps of Engineers Park We get a nice waterfront site for $16 with our senior pass. This site is one of the furthest from I-75 so we don’t hear road noise. Last year we stopped in McKinney Campground, which is another Army Corps of Engineers park on this lake. We liked that one a little better. It doesn’t have road noise, it’s bigger and has swimming beaches.

Old Hwy 41 #3 Campground
Old Hwy 41 #3 Campground

Our electric steps start working. They didn’t work when we took the RV out 13 days ago.

We hang out our rug and spray it with ant spray. We also fire up our propane grill to rid it of ants. We discover a water leak under the galley sink. There is water underneath the cabinets and in the basement. We fix it and clean up the water the best we can.

Hixson TN

Gary and Ellen reserved a site for us at Chester Frost Park, a Hamilton County Park. We meet Ellen at the BP station and follow her to the campground. It’s a nice pull-through site near Lake Chickamauga.

Chester Frost Park
Chester Frost Park

We get the RV set up and Ellen drives us to their marina. Bill and Lynne show up and Ellen picks up Gary from dialysis. Gary cooks hamburgers on the grill. We drive Bill and Lynne’s car back to the campsite.

We drive back to Gary and Ellen’s marina in the morning. Today we take the boat out for a ride on Lake Chickamauga. After that we go to Aris for dinner. Gary and Ellen drive us back to the campground. They leave us their truck and ride back with Bill and Lynne. We say goodbye to Bill and Lynne.

The next day we drive to Publix, Rite Aid and Don’s Meat Market. We drive the truck back to the marina and Gary goes to dialysis. We hang out with Ellen and then go to Tremont’s for dinner. Today they have a free beer taste. It is an IPA. Nobody likes it except me and I end up with three more. (I can’t drink them all). Gary and Ellen drop us off at the campsite. It was great seeing them.

Athens TN

We drive to Jerry’s house in Athens TN. Our new Garmin RV 770 LMT-S has been doing good. Today will be a good test. It takes us down a road that’s closed for construction. It detected it a few seconds too late. It takes us to Jerry, but we don’t believe the last turn. It was right and we were wrong.

We get to Jerry’s at 11:40 and park in front of his house. We boondock here for two days. We run the generator in the morning to make coffee and in the afternoon to cool off the RV. We leave windows open and run fans at night. It is bearable since we are used to Florida.

Nashville TN

We drive to Two Rivers Campground in Nashville. There are two other campgrounds here, a Jellystone and a KOA. They all seem pretty full. We had reserved a full-hookup site for $209. This campground fills up by 5:00. We get a nice site near the back, away from the road noise. It includes WiFi and cable TV. We hook up the cable TV.

There is a Camping World next door. We walk to it (twice).

We have tickets to the Grand Ole Opry. We take a Uber. We have a $5 credit so it costs $1.66. The show is fantastic. We take a post-show backstage tour and go to Dave and Busters for beers and appetizers afterwards. We take a taxi back. It costs $10 plus tip. We should have taken a Uber.

Grand Ole Opry
Grand Ole Opry

We have tickets to General Jackson Showboat Sunday Brunch. We take a Uber there for $6.31. The boat trip takes 2.5 hours. We take the pilot house tour before we take off for $8 apiece. The General Jackson is a 300’ paddle wheel boat.

General Jackson Paddle Wheel Boat
General Jackson Paddle Wheel Boat

It starts out with a brunch buffet and live music show. The food is not the greatest, but the show makes it worth the price. When the boat gets downtown it turns around, using its bow thruster and goes back to the dock. We have a great time. We Uber back for $6.86.

After dinner, we walk to the back porch of the campground store. There is live music by Tim Atwood. He was a piano player at the Grand Ole Opry for 30+ years. He is a great musician, singer and all-round entertainer.

On Monday, we take the 9:30 shuttle downtown. It costs $10 per person, round trip. We go to Honky Tonk Central, Tootsie’s, Legends, George Jones and more. We eat lunch and dinner at Jack’s Barbeque. We take the 9:00 shuttle back to the campground.

In the morning we do laundry. After lunch, we take a Uber to the Nashville Palace for $5.78 each way. Randy Travis started here as a dishwasher. We listen to live music and have a few beers and fried pickles. We walk through the Willie Nelson gift shop next door. There is a museum here but we don’t pay to go in.

We have reservations at Bluebird Café for Tuesday at 9:30pm. These tickets are hard to get. We went on-line a week earlier to reserve them. Reservations start at 8:00am Central time and fill up minutes later.

Bluebird Cafe
Bluebird Cafe

We take a Uber to the Bluebird Café ($20.40 there, $21.53 back). The show features David Olney, Gwil Owen, Tom House and Brock Zeman. They take turns performing original songs. It is great. That’s one more item checked off on our bucket list.

Bardstown KY

A couple of years ago we stopped at some bourbon distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. We wanted to come back and visit one or two more.

We stop a Walmart on the way to get groceries and gas. Nashville is in Central Time Zone and Bardstown is in Eastern Time Zone, so we lose an hour. The distillery is closed by the time we get there.

We have a site reserved at My Old Kentucky Home State Park for one night. We wanted two nights, but only one was available. We have a difficult time backing into the site. There are trees in the way so we turn around and approach it from the other direction. This time there is a truck parked in the road that makes it difficult. We get in, using our EarTec headsets. We probably couldn’t have done without them.

My Old Kentucky Home Sate Park
My Old Kentucky Home Sate Park

The site is too unlevel for our jacks. Fortunately, we bought some leveling blocks at Camping World in Nashville. The power outlet is far away. Fortunately, we also bought a 30-amp extension cord. We also have a long hose for water hook-up.

We walk to the Heaven Hill Distillery. It is closed but we know we can walk there tomorrow. There is also supposed to be taxis that will take you to distilleries, but we don’t see any information about them.

We make a nice campfire. This campground pretty, but it is next to a golf course. At night we hear sprinklers. We hear lawnmowers at 7:00am.

There is a site available but we decide to move on.

Edinburgh IN

We don’t have a stop planned for today. We decide as we are driving. We see Irwin Park Campground. It’s not far out-of-the-way and costs only $15 a night. We have to stop at the park and recreation office and register and pay. We pay for one night and tell them we may decide to stay for two nights.

There are 12 sites here. We are in site 1. It is easy to back in. All the sites have electric and water. Our neighbor warns us that the water tastes bad. Fortunately, we filled our water tank in Bardstown.  There is also a dump station on site. The Blue River is behind us and there is a playground in front of us. We call the office and pay for another night.

We take the bikes off the rack and notice one of them has a flat tire. It is a big hole and is not repairable. The closest bike shop is an hour away by bike. We call the parks and recreation office and they say to try Gillman’s hardware, right behind their site. We call them and they do sell bike tires and inner tubes. I ride my bike there and buy a new tire and inner tube. I ride back and replace the blown inner tube and tire.

The next morning, we ride our bikes into town. We go to the historic downtown district. About half of the stores are empty. We go back to Gillman’s and buy fireplace tongs. Then we go next door to Hickory Hills Barbecue. Very good!

The campsites are right in the park and the park is well used by the town. The playground is busy and the soccer fields are full on Friday evening until it starts to rain.

We wake up to birds walking on the roof of the RV for the second day in a row.

Our fresh water tank shows empty. We dump the black and gray water and head out. We buy 38 gallons of gas ($77) before we get on I-65.

There is road construction in Indianapolis and we can’t follow the route our GPS made to go around the city. It recalculates to take I-65 all the way to I-80. There is a lot of traffic and road construction, but not many delays.

Palatine, IL

We get to Camp Reinberg at 1:00pm CDT. We will be here for a week, visiting family. We drove 1,755 miles so far and bought 205 gallons of gas. We’ve had a great time getting here.