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An early start

September 12, 2009—When I pulled into a lakeside site at Kanopolis State Park yesterday afternoon, I noted some deep ruts... but the ground was dry, so I didn't think much of it. I went to bed a little before ten, and woke up in the early morning hours to rain. Ordinarily I like the sound of rain on Skylark's aluminum roof, but as I lay there, all I could think about was mud. I imagined a sea of it all around my coach.

Could I just drive away in the morning, without having to go outside and sink up to my ankles in mud? That's one of the nice things about having a motorhome instead of a trailer, after all. Well, I wasn't plugged in, I didn't have the HughesNet satellite dish set up, and I hadn't bothered to level with my Lynx blocks. Oops, I'd still have to go outside to turn the Honda's ignition key to the "1" position to unlock the steering wheel. Double oops—I forgot to turn it off last night. I was just too tired to think of it when I pulled in. Would the Honda's battery be drained overnight? Probably not, but...

Between all these worries and the noise of the rain, there wasn't much chance of my getting back to sleep. So I got up a little after 3:00 a.m. and spent a couple of hours answering emails, checking websites, and doing general online housekeeping... then I went back to bed.

Or tried. When I climbed into bed, I discovered that the slow leak in the escape hatch over my bed, which I thought I'd fixed for good some months ago, had returned. It was only a drop every ten seconds, but there were several sources, and they had created a couple of sizable wet spots in the bed.

Aw, hell. It was 5:00 a.m. and starting to get light, or at least less dark. I could have pulled out the sofa/bed in the office and tried to catch a little more sleep, but I was too tired to deal with it. So I took a shower, ate breakfast, and then pulled out of my muddy campsite in the rain a little before seven, never having exited the coach. I drove up the road a bit till I came to a parking lot, then got out and checked to see that the Honda's ignition key was in the correct position (it was) and that the car's battery wasn't run down (it wasn't).

I wish I could say that the rest of today's trip was a smooth one, but first I had to get out of Kanopolis State Park, and that turned out to be more difficult than I'd imagined. It's a big park with lots of twisty roads that repeatedly intersect each other, and no exit signs anywhere. (If you're curious, take a look at this overhead view from Google.)

I spent 45 minutes—no exaggeration!—driving around and around, trying to find the exit. It didn't help that several hundred lunatics were preparing to run a footrace in the pouring rain, so some of the roads were blocked and there were runners everywhere. At one point, I turned into what I thought was a road, but turned out to be a tiny parking lot... too small to turn around in, and I can't back up while towing, so I had to get out, unhitch the car, turn it and the motorhome separately, then reconnect.

My GPS, which is pretty good on regular streets but not so good inside parks, kept telling me to "Turn left on Horsethief Road." Trouble was, it said that no matter where I was! I tried stopping to ask directions from some of the race organizers, but they didn't know how to get out of the park. (Later, I realized that I should have simply asked "Well, then, how did you get in?")

Dealing with all this on four hours of sleep and a mug of tea was, well, somewhat trying. Finally I blundered onto a road that led to the main campground office, which I'd passed on the way in yesterday afternoon, and that led me out of the park. Free at last!

Half an hour later I was on I-70, humming along toward the east, where if the skies were not clear, at least they weren't raining. I stopped to fill up the gas tank, then pulled into a rest stop, where I had another cup of tea and a bowl of cereal. I put on a CD of John Mayall and the Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton (pre-Cream) and sang and whistled along to stay alert. And not long after noon, I pulled into Eisenhower State Park in eastern Kansas.

There are scores of electric sites here that are nothing but a power pedestal and a picnic table in the middle of the grass—apparently you're supposed to pull right up on the lawn. I've never seen an arrangement like this before.

Lawn campsite

I couldn't bring myself to make ruts in their lawn, so I picked a paved site, even though it meant unhitching again, because none of the paved sites are pull-throughs. In fact, the closely spaced sites in the paved part of this campground are more reminiscent of a trailer park than a state park.

An RV parking lot

Fortunately, it's not crowded after Labor Day, but I'd certainly hate to be here in the tourist season, when the place must look like an RV dealer's parking lot.

I promised I wouldn't harp on this too much, but the farther east I go, the muggier it gets. By the time I arrived today, it was really uncomfortable, so I splurged on a full-hookup site ($22.50) and cranked up the air conditioner as soon as I got plugged in.

I made a salad and a cheese and turkey tortilla wrap, and then took a badly needed nap for a couple of hours in the afternoon. I felt better when I got up, but I'm glad tomorrow's planned drive is only 110 miles. I need more time to recover from last night!

Oh, yeah... I got up on the roof and looked at the area around the hatch. I can't see anything wrong with the resealing job I did, and of course I can't see where the water was getting in last night. :: sigh :: All I can do is hope for dry weather.

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