Follow us as we explore the USA on a 10,000 km road trip.
Calgary AB – Estevan, SK Mileage: 580 miles (9h 30m)
Our journey begins,
A day before we depart we were hit by a spring blizzard, the snow is slowly melting and the roads should be clear and dry. The first day is a bit of a push to get close to the US border at Portal. We have crossed the border enough times to know that bringing food across can be a concern so our fridge and cupboards are empty, we will stock up on supplies once we enter the USA.
Our trip to Nashville will be a series of day drives and overnight stays, once we hit Nashville the vacation really starts where we have more time to explore each area.
We left Calgary @ 6:00a.m., the weather was clear and road good on the 11 hour journey to Estevan SK. We stayed overnight at the Windham Super 8 motel …. Why a motel when we have the trailer? All the campgrounds in the area don’t open until the May long weekend. Dinner was at Eddy Webster’s, we were both ready for a cold beer and the food was excellent, Joan had the cheeseburger and I had the Italian stuffed chicken, both were excellent.
The one interesting part of the trip was when I checked the trailer in Brooks I discovered our power reclining bed was in the full upright position, I guess the “up” button on the remote was activated in the drawer … the remote was moved to another “safer” location
Accomodation: Windham Super 8 motel
Excellent motel, clean & quiet, large room, complimentary breakfast including coffee, tea & juice, cold cereal, toast, bagels, DIY waffles and French toast
Estevan, SK – Jamestown ND Mileage: 290 miles (4h 45m)
The drive to Jamestown ND today was a little shorter, about 6 hours with our destination Pelican Point Campground just outside of Jamestown SD, there was one other trailer in the campground so we selected a nice site with a view of the reservoir. After setting up camp we drove into Jamestown, we needed to shop for groceries and decided to have dinner at the local burger joint, Johnny B’s. All we can say is if you travel through Jamestown ND you have to stop at Johnny B’s. 24 beer on tap and an extensive 4 page menu, half being pizza and some very unique combinations. Looking through the pizzas Joan and I felt adventurous so we ordered the Johnny B’s Cheeseburger Pizza and we added the optional Seasoned Fries (on top of the pizza) on a hand tossed crust. OMG it was awesome, and the local Fargo Brewing Company, Stone’s Throw Scottish Ale was a delicious combination.
The campground, Pelican Point, was just OK, the maintenance staff were getting ready for the summer season, they were raking leaves and burning them which resulted in the campground filled with smoke from the smouldering leaves. Overnight the rain showers started,, the good news is this eliminated the smoke, the bad news is it was raining which means ….. wet and cool close to freezing overnight.
Sioux Falls SD
Jamestown ND – Sioux Falls SD Mileage: 320 miles (5h 0m)
We both slept well the first night in the trailer waking up to a light drizzle. In the morning we packed up, had some breakfast and headed out at about 9;00 a.m.. Our destination today is Sioux Falls, about a 6 hour drive. Rained the entire way. Only excitement today were the towing mirrors and trailer hitch. I bought small towing mirrors to extend the vision behind the trailer, but with the rain and spray from oncoming tractor trailer units would cause the drivers side mirror to fold flat each time, I soon pulled over and removed the drivers side … don’t really need it anyway. We use an Andersen Weight Distribution hitch system which is a unique design using chains and a friction cone to control sway. The design is great in concept but the application has some challenges. In the past we have experiences loud creaking noises from the anti-sway system when it get wet …. think horror movie inter-sanctum that is loud enough that every resident and passer by within 2 blocks looks your way when you turn the corner …. The new “improved” friction cone I installed just before we left didn’t solve this problem. I will fix it, but it is raining so maybe tomorrow, the repair is taking the hitch system apart and applying a little lubricant to the friction cone surface, this reduces the effectiveness of the anti-sway but does stop the very embarrassing noise.
It seems that many campgrounds are located close to the railway tracks, this is something I look for on a map when scouting out campgrounds, note to self, also check the location to the airport. Tower campground is very close to the Sioux Falls airport which means airplanes are either landing or taking off right over the campground.
Mt Pleasant, Iowa
Sioux Falls SD – Mt Pleasant, Iowa Mileage: 420 miles (6h 30m)
Nothing really to say about this leg of the trip. Weather was cloudy, overcast and some rain, long drive with rougher roads so we were tired. The campground, Crossroads RV Park, was an OK stop for the one night, we are not fans of the “parking lot style” campsites but for one night in the rain it is great not having to unhook. The sites are level and saves time in the morning moving onto the next location.
Mt Vernon, Illinois
Mt Pleasant, Iowa – Mt Vernon, Illinois MILEAGE: 300 (5h 00m)
- Archway RV Park
4810 Broadway, Mt. Vernon, Illinois
Woke up today to sunny blue skies, a nice change from the rain and cooler temperatures we have had to far. Another 6 hour drive today to Mt Vernon Illinois, on the route we crossed the Mississippi river which was very high and overflowing the banks.
Mt Vernon, Illinois – Nashville TN MILEAGE: 235 (3h 30m)
Cages Bend Campground, Old Hickory Lake
1125 BENDERS FERRY ROAD, GALLATIN, TN 37066
Arrived at Cages Bend Campground, beautiful spot. When I reserved our site i looked at Google maps as well as what was available and decided site #1 looked good, at it turns out we think it is one of the best sites in the campground. Although situated just inside the entrance gate it is very private, close enough to the washrooms but lots of space and far away from the playground. The sites closer to the water are are close together and noisier.
After setting up camp we went into Gallatin to explore, decided to walk around ( I decided to walk, Joan wanted to drive)… during our “walk” there was a major downpour and we got soaked, including money, clothes, passports, …… We ended up at Chubbs BBQ and had a well deserved beer and St Louis ribs, $39.00 total, highly recommended.
Grand Ole Opry
Today we went into Nashville and toured the Grand Ole Opry, Excellent tour!!!!!. Then drove around Nashville to get an idea of the town and what to see. Dinner was at Logan’s Roadhouse, if we keep eating like this we will both be slightly larger by the end of the trip
Broadway Street, Nashville
Today felt like the first real day we could relax, slept in some, enjoyed 2 cups of hand pressed coffee and around noonish drove into nashville to experience Broadway, the main street where every bar features live entertainment. I should add that the entertainment is not only at every bar but on every floor of every bar so you can choose your music. Our first stop was Tin Pan Alley (?), the threesome “cover band” played everything from country to rock, such talent.
Second stop was Tootsies, 2 individual artists playing everything from bluegrass to Pink Floyd, all to a country beat …
Parking in nashville is almost as bad as Calgary, not many parking lots and high prices, we found a spot at the end of Broadway for $25 for 3 hours, probably could have found cheaper but it was convenient.
Nashville has great beer but the wine selection is limited after eating far too much for the last couple days along with the local brew we finally enjoyed a nice glass of wine together, and had a lighter dinner of left over St Louis ribs in baked beans.
Woke up this morning to blue skies and the warmest temperatures of the trip, mid 70’s. Back to Broadway to experience more of tomorrow’s stars, we started at Nudies listening to a 5 piece country group while we downed a burger and beer, then moved across the street to Legends Corner with an awesome 4 piece that met on the stage, a female vocalist, electric guitar, bass and drums …. and of course another beer.
We had a great time in Nashville, back at the campsite we start straightening out and packing, tomorrow we move onto Lake Guntersville State Park for the Oliver Trailer rally.
Lake Guntersville State Park
Nashville TN – Lake Guntersville State Park MILEAGE: 190 miles (3h 20m)
Lake Guntersville State Park: Campground, 24 State Campground Rd, Guntersville, AL 35976, USA
Arrived at Lake Guntersville State Park as guests to the Oliver Trailer Owners appreciation Rally. A beautiful park with great facilities and lots to do and see around the area. We spent most of the first four days participating in the rally activities including workshops, dinners, vendor / sponsor displays and visiting with the Oliver owners. I provided a short presentation on Saturday evening about the history of fibreglass trailers.
The Cathedral Caverns, a massive cave where visitors are guided over a kilometre back into the cave past incredible formations
What would a trip to the southern US be without a visit to Jack Daniel and experiencing Tennessee whisky. The County or Lynchburg TN where Jack Daniel is made is a dry county where no alcohol is sold or consumed in public except at the distillery and a wine shop … yes we bought some Tennessee wine
Our final stop was in Huntsville to the Space and Rocket Center. Huntsville is the heart of the US space program where many of the rocket components are developed and made.
We day good bye to Lake Guntersville for now, we will be back in a couple of weeks
Lake Guntersville State Park, AL – Charlotte, NC MILEAGE: 380 (6h 20m)
We came to Charlotte for one reason, NASCAR, the 60th running of the Coca-Cola 600 to be precise. Charlotte is the home of NASCAR, many of the race teams or located in the area and so is the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
NASCAR Hall of Fame
Charlotte is the home of NASCAR, a fitting place for the NASCAR Hall of Fame, 4 floors of displays, memorabilia, cars, equipment, simulators and lots of cool stuff. The following are just a few of the hundreds of pictures taken ….
NASCAR Garage Tours
A day of touring 6 NASCAR garages, although they were not filled with cars (the cars and crew were all at the track), it was a great experience seeing them up close.
Hendricks Motorsports – Jimmie Johnson (#48), Chase Elliott (#9), William Byron (#24), Alex Bowman (#88)
Roush- Fenway Racing – Ryan Newman (#6) Ricky Stenhouse, Jr (#17)
Ganassi Racing – Kurt Busch (#1) Kyle Larson (#42)
Stewart-Haas Racing – Kevin Harvick (#4) Aric Almirola (#10) Clint Bowyer (#14) Daniel Suarez (#41)
Penske Racing – Brad Keselowski (#2) Ryan Blaney (#12) Joey Logano (#22)
DEI Inc. — Home and race shop of Dale Earnhardt, Sr.
Myrtle Beach, SC
Charlotte, NC – Myrtle Beach, SC MILEAGE: 185 (3h 30m)
Our week in Myrtle Beach is relaxing and HOT!!!, record setting heat of up to 100F, even the breeze coming off the ocean is HOT. Our Hilton vacation condo is beautiful, 2 bedroom, 2 bath, full kitchen and living room, Joan’s sister joined us in Charlotte as she is a huge NASCAR fan and continued her vacation with us to Myrtle Beach,there is lots of room for us here.
Myrtle Beach is a family vacation town, lots of touristy stores and attraction (not our thing) but we came here for the beach, the sand & ocean, to relax, enjoy the views and restaurants.
Georgetown is the 3rd oldest city in the state and is rich with history. In 1690, rice was introduced to the area but, did not become a major crop until after the Revolutionary War. Local planters made large fortunes cultivating rice making Georgetown the wealthiest county in the 13 original colonies. This crop required a large labour force which meant more African Slaves were imported. The slave population was about 85% of the total population of Georgetown County throughout the 1800’s. Although the Civil War spared much of the area the social, political and economic upheaval that followed caused the rice culture to collapse. Then a series of hurricanes in the 1800’s delivered the final blow and ended the rice culture in Georgetown.
Myrtle Beach, SC – Savannah, GA MILEAGE: 210 (4h 0m)
Olde Harbour Inn
508 East Factors Walk, Savannah, GA 31401
Savannah, GA – Augusta, GA MILEAGE: ( h m)
Lake Guntersville State Park, AL
Augusta, GA – Lake Guntersville State Park, AL MILEAGE: ( h m)
MILEAGE: ( h m)
As we start out journey cross the US on route 66 the eastern States like Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Oklahoma are being hit with extreme weather. The tornado threat has diminished but the thunderstorm are very active. With this in mind we decided to push hard through these states to get to the west edge of the storm system, this meant two long days of driving.
Lake Guntersville State Park, AL – Sallisaw, OK MILEAGE: 575 ( 10h 30m)
A very long drive today, the weather started out nice but we did drive through the expected rain, and boy did it rain, weather reports indicated 3.5″ of rain fell that day. The rivers were all overflowing their banks and fields beside the roads were all flooded, but the roads were drive-able at greatly reduced speeds.
Stayed the night at Sallisaw / Fort Smith West KOA, a very nice park. (pictures will be posted soon)
Oklahoma City, OK
Elk City, OK
Sallisaw, OK – Elk City, OK MILEAGE: 270 ( 4h 00m)
A much shorted drive but a violent storm, driving through Oklahoma City the rain was like driving through a waterfall, reports said 6″ of rain fell that day, roads and off ramps flooded but the highway and interstate were above the flooding. We are now through the bad weather, the fun can resume.
We stayed 2 nights at Elk Creek RV Park … we don’t recommend this park rating it 2 starts out of 5. This is the true start of our Route 66 adventure. (more to come)
Elk City, OK – Tucumcari, NM MILEAGE: 260 ( 4h 00m)
Back into the heat, over 100F today, but you can add in some wind also. Our drive from Elk City, OK to Tucumcari, NM was relaxing, with lots of stops along the way to discover some the history and treasures from Route 66.
Our overnight stop is a Blaze-In Saddle RV Park
Santa Rosa, NM
Route 66 car museum
Tucumcari, NM – Albuquerque, NM MILEAGE: 177 ( 2h 40m)
Santa Fe, NM
Monument Valley, UT
We are in Moab UT and having so much fun. Sorry folks, we have really fallen behind on updating out travel blog, a combination of lack of time, we have been so busy “vacationing”, and also a lack of Wifi in some of the areas. I have over 1000 pictures to sort through and post some select ones. I may have to leave the remaining updates until I get home, but if the weather keeps us in (which has not been the case) or I find some time.
We stayed at Mountain River Ranch RV Park / Campground which is located by the little town of Ririe, ID, 22 miles North-East of Idaho Falls.
After; 52 – Days; driving through two Provinces; 19 US States; covering 9,074.4 – Miles (14,603.5 – Kilometres); taking over 2400+ pictures, we have arrived home safe.
We had an awesome time, had tons of fun, saw unbelievable sights & collected a lifetime of memories. My plan is to compete this blog and add lots of pictures for your enjoyment.