We left a little later than intended around 8:00am. In tandem, we drove all the way across Pennsylvania and into Ohio. After an almost twelve hour day, with over nine hours of driving, we made it to Dayton KOA in time for a late dinner. Incredibly, the bus decided to stop moving right outside the office. We were all thankful that it had made it to exactly that point before choosing to have a melt-down! With great relief, Michael discovered there was a local service guy who came out before bedtime and fixed everything so that the iBus (Dave coined the name because they’re an ‘apple’ family!) could maneuver into its spot for the night. Our poor camper looks teeny next to the bus!
The Harper’s headed out ahead of us to have some work completed on the bus while we stayed for the morning so that Dave could work. Becca worked her persuasive magic, and the younger three spent a half hour peddle-boating on the small lake.
As Dave needed to continue working and the campground wouldn't grant a late check-out, we spent much of the afternoon hanging out in McDonalds taking advantage of their free wi-fi. The kids logged a few more hours of reading – thank goodness for Kindles!
We continued our drive across Ohio, passing through Indiana, and into Illinois – a shorter drive of four hours due to our later start but gaining an hour meant an arrival time not horribly late for bed. Camp Lakewood in Effingham claimed to have spotless bathrooms; they lived up to their promise! The owners were friendly. We were glad to have a site long and level enough to enable us to stay hitched for the second night in a row - Dave was pleased with the ease of set-up!
Our third day of driving found us planning to be on the road for eight hours…it was beginning to get old! Again, the Harper’s left ahead of us to stop at the garage to replace their alternator. As we crossed from Illinois into Missouri, we passed right next to the Gateway Arch. Impressively, I managed to take a picture exactly parallel to the side as we drove by. I’m sure I couldn’t have done that if I’d tried!
We continued through Missouri and into the vast expanses of Kansas, passing an Air Force Base with a parking lot (car park??!) of helicopters!
We finally made it to Sundowner RV Park in Salina. As we exited the freeway, we stopped for gas, and I managed to jump out and capture a photo of the iBus. It certainly looks impressive and is apparently wonderfully comfortable to drive.
Originally we had mapped this journey to our destination of the Rockies to take five days, but we were all bored of the road, so we had been pushing on in hopes of ensuring we could arrive by the end of Sunday. It was with great relief that we began our Sunday knowing that we would likely make it to Estes Park, Colorado by dinnertime, gaining another hour in our day. We passed fields of windmills and many long trains criss-crossing the states.
The kids all excitedly transferred out of the truck and into the bus mid-morning. We had a further six hours of blissful quiet in the truck, devoid of listening to movie soundtracks as they watched a DVD in the back which we couldn't see! Mona assured me that, even with seven kids, she was managing to survive…..Happy Mother’s Day….gain four additional children! It was extremely strange for us to have an empty truck and even to be separated from the kids for so long. We changed leaders now and again; I managed to take a couple of pictures through the mirror.
As we drove through Boulder, the mountains rose up ahead of us, an incredibly spectacular sight. Estes Park is situated in a plateau which is quite bizarre; it must be quite cut off in the winter snowy months. We were awed by the scenery, utterly gorgeous.
With joy, we parked the camper and unhitched at Elk Meadow RV Resort, situated just a couple of minutes from the entrance to Rocky Mountains National Park. The view from our ‘house’ this week made me smile every day AND for Mother's Day the kids gave me cards and a massive bar of Cadburys – how does Dave succeed in keeping these bars hidden?!