As soon as I got my move-out inspection completed I just threw everything in the car and trailer and took of for Troy's in Missouri. Will spend about a week with Troy before officially starting the trip.
I figure that the trip should not begin until I’ve officially entered foreign soil, in this case Arkansas. How could it begin when I leave Indiana? I’ve left Indiana a thousand times over 50 years. Half of those times I left Indiana and entered Illinois and left Illinois the same number of times, and all those times I entered or left Illinois I was going to or from Missouri. No, the trip begins when I enter Arkansas. New horizons.
Will visit Troy and we’ll go to a Littrell Family dinner in St. Louis and visit Merrimac Caverns afterwards.
In all my hurry to just ‘get out of town’ I had a major mishap in Terra Haute. Nothing serious but it could have complicated things. Getting out of town in a hurry I knew that I had to fix the harness on the trailer. I figured I’d make it to Terra Haute and stop at a hardware store and repair the problem before crossing the state line into Illinois. Their State Troopers have a tenuous relationship with Littrell’s driving through their state.. I did this successfully and then took of for Iuka,Illinois were I was determined to find a tombstone and graveyard I have been searching for the last 20+ years.
I pulled over at a rest stop to catch some zzzzs just outside of Mt. Vernon. The next morning when I got up I realized that I didn’t have the trailer keys! As soon as I realized it I knew exactly were I had last seen them, on the trailer fender in the parking lot of Lowes in Terre Haute. 143 miles away back in Missouri. So I turned around and drove back to Lowes to look for them. No luck. Went inside to see if they had been turned in. No luck. They gave me directions to a locksmith to get one lock cut off and duplicates made of my back-up keys. On my way there,
Later that day driving in southern Illinois I got dangerously close to running out of gas. The interstate from Effingham to the Mississippi south of Marion does not have a lot of truck stops and gas stations along I-57. Dad and I (30 years ago), Troy and I (3 years ago), and I (this trip) have been caught driving backroads desperately looking for a local pump. This time I was nearly to the Mississippi River when I realized my dilemma. I didn’t think I could make it to Charleston so I turned off into Cairo Illinois. Big mistake.
I remember Cairo as a bustling town, but that’s not the case anymore. I drove down main street completely to the other side of town and not one working gas station. I stopped at a liquor store on the edge of town and was directed to keep going and cross the bridge into Wickliffe, Kentucky!
So I did so. Then I returned to the bridge, crossed it back into Illinois and then over into Missouri.
So, to recap; in less than 24 hours I had been in and out of Indiana and Kentucky, to Missouri, left Illinois twice and entered Illinois 3 times.
Yeah, we're not counting this as part of the 49 State road trip. See ya Arkansas.
Organizing the trailer: supplies, food, clothes, etc.