Leaving Illinois was bittersweet.. bitter because I fell in love with the serene Gibson City, sweet because my journey is young and there is much more to see and experience. The hosts I connected with in Wisconsin sound great and I'm eager to get there. Driving out of the farmland, I was happy. Enormous windmills surrounded me and there are access roads to drive between them. The weather was warm, sunny, and breezy, perfect for riding with my windows down and music blasting. And it turns out that about 30 minutes in the direction opposite of where I drove in to the city was a bigger city with chain restaurants and stores, just in case I needed more civilization.
Monday, July 11, 2016
Sunday, July 10, 2016
July 2013. One of my best friends graduated with her Master's degree from an online school based out of Chicago. The graduation happened to coincide with her birthday; she, our other friend, and I had never been to the city and we figured there is no better reason than a double celebration! And away we went...
Friday, July 8, 2016
Given how much I am in love with this little city, I have decided to take my time here and breathe it all in before going to Chicago. You may be wondering.. with Gibson City being a one stoplight town, what is there to even do there? Well, as a visitor who knows no one, not a whole lot of activities are going on, but there is enough to be entertained. Yesterday downtown and the neighborhoods were explored, so today Neville and I went deeper into the neighborhoods. I have noticed that most of the homes here have an American flag painted on some type of wood and proudly displayed outside. 'Merica! Surrounded by cornfields, kind locals, and bright skies, I could have wandered for days. Really, I'm not even sure why cars are necessary here.
Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Initially my plan was to go to Indiana after Missouri. I had a WWOOF host secured and was in contact with him when I was finally free to head that way. When I reached out to him to confirm, he gave me different information, as in he wanted me to meet him at his office, he wasn’t sure if Neville was good there, and my trailer would ‘probably’ fit. I had a weird feeling in my gut and already missed 4th of July with my friends there, so I ran the information by Mom who hated the sound of him and asked me not to go. Granted, she had been watching a lot of Criminal Minds, but with both of us feeling uncomfortable I decided to skip Indiana. I informed my would-be host of this and his responses made me happy with my decision to continue on. Chicago was the next city I wanted to be close to and I found a campground about 2 hours away in Gibson City. Once I had this destination locked in and was on my way, I felt much better.
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
Amidst all of the nonsense that I experienced in St. Louis, I did take the time to explore the city. Of course the big draw there is the Gateway Arch. The Arch memorializes the story of the nation’s westward expansion and was created without the loss of even one life. It was completed in 1965 and is part of the National Park Service. What they don’t tell you is that you can see it from everywhere in the city. I parked in a nearby garage to see if there was a good view and it was alright. Nev and I took our time walking to the arch and around it, trying to ignore the construction. We sat by the river enjoying the sunshine and listened to the old time music coming from where the cruise boats go out, right up until horse drawn carriages started coming around and pup was losing his mind. There is the option to ride up the arch for city views, but we obviously couldn’t do that.
Saturday, July 2, 2016
The following day I arrive at the mechanic and the man barely remembers our conversation from the day before, but says he can at least look at it. The beast and I walk around St. Louis and came to a dog park- resident access only. Ok. Across the street was a coffee shop with outdoor seating and wifi- yay! I got lunch, met a friendly local father/daughter duo, and we spent some time there. Once finished, we walked around the streets more and I called the auto shop. He had no answers and said he needs to rule some things out, but that regardless of what the problem is, he can't get to it until next week. @*!$%*. We walk to the shop and my car hasn't even moved from the spot I parked it with the keys still in the seat- he never even looked at it. Well that was a great waste of an entire morning. A number of calls more were made and I found a shop that asked how soon I could be there.. within minutes! I say. I arrived at Mid Town Tire & Auto, parked, explained for the 28004707th time the issue and the man behind the counter, Dave, hooks it up with the diagnostic test. I tell him that I'll be in the area and leave my number. Retreat Gastropub has outdoor seating so Nev and I head there for a beer and some lunch. The restaurant is open so I do leave Neville attached to his leash with the leash under one of the metal chairs. I go inside for a minute, long enough to order a drink, and there's a huge crash outside. I look out the open door to see my puppy hauling ass, dragging a metal chair into the street. THANK GOD the car driving was going the speed limit and saw him and stopped. I ran outside and the same time a woman ran in to find me; she tells me the umbrella in the middle of the table moved and scared the hell out of my boy, and he took off. The bartender comes out and tells me they have service outside and leaves me with a nice cold beer for my nerves.
Friday, July 1, 2016
After saying goodbye to Lance, Ray, and the farm babies, I was St. Louis bound. A few days prior, I had contacted a man who said he could host Neville and I; we emailed, texted, and spoke on the phone. When I was on the road, I asked the man for his address. He responded saying he can send it, but he can't accommodate the Drag Queen or Neville. WTF?! We spoke in detail about this! I informed him that his listing clearly states RV/pet friendly and suggested he update it. I found a Walmart off the highway and discovered that I have a gift- a gift for finding the Walmarts with no wifi. Super. This should've been an omen that this city is not the city for me, but I kept searching. I used my phone and found a campground that only charged $8 a night. I only planned to be in STL for 3 nights, so I can handle that. Back on track! En route, the directions took me back through my favorite state of Kentucky.. chose there to pull off for gas and a potty break. I notice that the gap between the wall and the bathroom door is huge- I HATE when bathrooms do this. WHY? As I'm minding my own business in the stall, this woman stands directly in front of the crack and is just staring at the wall. Oooook... go away. Stand somewhere else. What are you looking at? The situation reminded me of a friend's husband who was in a similar predicament, but far more intimate since the person on the other side of the door was a child and blatantly stared at him through the crack. When she leaves, I exit and notice that there is a Bible verse painted around the border of the bathroom. Of course.