It’s my third day on the road, I believe. The days sort of mush together. I’m writing this from my picnic table at Myre-Big Island (no, I’m not in Hawaii-I wish!) State Park in Albert Lea, MN. It’s beautiful here, like an oasis in a rather flat, farming landscape. I left Cortland at around 2 pm on Thursday to head west to Woodside Campground (and country music park) in Cassadaga, NY. The campground was definitely unique and I highly recommend it for an adventure. After many detours, I pulled in wondering what sort of backwoods, deliverance situation I’d gotten myself into. Right from the start, I couldn’t figure out which abandoned building to check in to so I wandered aimlessly until I decided to call for help. Once that was all figured out (check in is located in the family’s front porch, duh), I drove down into the actual campground, assuming that I’d be alone– it’s literally out in the middle of nowhere–and to my surprise the place was packed with seasonal/full-time RVers. There are only three tent sites in existence and you have to drive through a ball field to get to them but the sites are super sweet. After a great nights sleep, I grabbed a shower and headed six miles away to Lily Dale, the spiritualist capital of the world. This was my one and only reason for taking the overnight, 35 minute diversion off the interstate. I won’t go into details now because I have a lot of pics of Lily Dale so it warrants its own post. Let’s just say that it was pretty freaking spectacular.
I left Lily Dale at 12:30 pm and said hi and goodbye to New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana in one fell swoop. After a zillion pee breaks, I arrived at my friend’s apartment in Chicago (Evanston to be exact) at 8:30 pm (accounting for the 1 hour time roll back). I just love my friend Cathy and where she lives. Evanston was designed with me in mind. Within walking distance of her place there’s the subway, a post office, Vogue Fabrics, a guitar shop, several Mexican restaurants, a vegetarian & vegan restaurant, a gem & mineral shop with a fossil museum in the basement, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, a wine & liquor store and tons of crafty boutiques. It’s my idea of heaven. Plus just a quick drive away is the beach. Too bad the weather is freakin’ crazy sauce or I’d be moving there. Tornados and -55 below windchill is not my thang. Cathy and I spent the night telling each other spooky ghost stories and paranormal happenings of a personal nature until we were both almost too apprehensive to sleep. My kinda night. I spent the next day walking around Evanston and shopping. I bought so many fossils, crystals and rocks that are going to make the most gorgeous, unique jewelry: labradorite, Oregon opal, ammonites, orthoceras, red tiger eye, mugglestone, zebra stone, and even a big ass quartz for my reiki sessions. And even though I just left, I can wait to get back home so I can start making stuff again. Yup, I really do love making stuff that much.
I begrudgingly left Evanston at 1:30 pm to find myself hung up in traffic and construction for way too many hours. Interstate 90 from Chicago on west to the state line was all construction, expensive tolls and just plain sucky. Eventually I hit the open road and it was smooth sailing after that. Wisconsin was a virtual gauntlet with all of the deer carcases on the road. I’ve never seen so many dead deer in one stretch of road and it’s always like that. It’s a beautiful state but not if you’re an animal. After many tiring hours, I set up camp in the Big Island at 9 pm, watched Netflix in my tent until the wee morn and woke up with the birds. Not too shabby. They don’t kick me out until 4 pm so I’m going to squeeze every last bit of enjoyment out of this place. Perhaps some drawing and hiking is in my future. Then it’s off to the Badlands! I probably won’t make it to Wall, SD today but I’ll get as close as I can.
I’ve had two revelations for thus far..no three! The first is that I absolutely love my Honda. It’s got +200,000 miles on it and it’s been an absolute dream. Every day I’ve been doing at least one thing to pamper it. Yesterday it was an addition of oil and coolant. Today it’s going to be a power steering fluid check and some air in the tires. Tomorrow it’s going to be an oil top-off. I’m prepared for it to break down on me at some point but I won’t be mad because this well-oiled machine has earned it. It’s just such a great vehicle that has required so little of me over the years compared to all the other cars I’ve owned.
The second revelation is the Oh, Ranger Park Finder app. I downloaded several apps before I left and this one is complete gold. Plus, it’s free (thanks to LL Bean & Ford). It uses your location to tell you where the nearest parks (state, national, BLM land, etc…) are, what activities they allow and hooks into your phone’s navigation system to direct you there. That’s how I found Big Island. I’m not a fan of pre-planning where I’m going to stay because then I’m on a strict time schedule, which stresses me out. This way, I can just find a nice place to camp nearby when I’m ready to rest for the night. I prefer to stay in parks because they offer recreational activities such a hiking and wildlife watching so you get more bang for your buck.
My third revelation is that I love making my own stuff. An hour before I left for this trip I decided to take a few minutes to make some sunscreen and toothpaste instead of buying it somewhere. Now I’m sitting here having used my own soap, shampoo, conditioner, hair oil, body butter, sunscreen, toothpaste, deodorant and insect repellent and I’m so proud it say that it’s all the absolute best. I’m tent camping and yet I feel completely pampered from head to toe. It’s such a treat and it leaves me a bit tickled. Yup, tickled, I said it.
Miles travelled: 592.7
Woodside Campground: $17.00
Big Island State Park camping: $25.00
Tolls: Ohio: $10.00, Indiana: $7.90, Illinois: $11.80