Friday, October 5, 2018

Iowa Back to Tallahassee

Compact Coach Rally Fuse

After a super enjoyable Compact Coach Rally we headed back to Tallahassee on Sunday.   We had a great time, made some good friends and saw old ones.  If you are able to attend a rally at the Winnebago Factory, go.  Winnebago is a great host.  So with some sadness we had to head back home.

Iowa Farm

We headed back south.  We got off late.  We slept in late and then dumped tanks at the rally grounds.   Then we headed on our way.   The weather was 40 degrees, windy and overcast.  Perfect vacation weather for a couple of folks from Florida looking for Fall.

Being so close to the Minnesota border we had to go and check it out.  So our first stop of the morning was the Minnesota Welcome Center on I-35. About 15 minutes North of the exit going to Forest City.   We made our pit stop and Lily got to play with some children there.

Then we headed South.  Well South-East.  Over to Cedar Rapids and then South to St. Louis.   Once we started heading south the weather cleared and warmed up.  But we ran into a slowdown, or actually a stoppage.  The highway was closed since a semi overturned with 6500 gallons of ethanol.   So we had an hour detour around the accident.  Then we continued south and through St. Louis in the dark.  And over to our stop for the day.  The Archway RV park in Mt. Vernon, IL.

The Archway RV park is located just south of the Intersection of I-64 and I-57.  It was nice and clean and the staff was very friendly.  The bathrooms were big and there was plenty of hot water.  We got in late, but it was a great place to spend the night.  The exit it was located at had plenty of amenities including a Walmart.  So we re-stocked on groceries so we could make it the rest of the way home.

The next morning we headed on south.  Our destination was somewhere around Huntsville, AL.  Like most trips we are on, we plan as we go.  So we headed south.  As we headed south we saw in the facebook group a mention of a possible rally site in Bowling Green, KY.    That was only 30-45 min out of the way so a small correction in our course.  Instead of heading directly for Nashville and then Huntsville we would go by way of Bowling Green.

Bowling Green KOA Bowling Green KOA Conference Center
Bowling Green KOA Sites

We stopped at the Bowling Green KOA and looked around.  I think Rebecca Harris found us a winner for the next Get Together.   There is a Cabellas about a mile down the road and I got another gray Cabella's T-Shirt to add to my collection and then we headed for Huntsville.

Quail Creek Golf Campsite

Quail Creek Golf bath houseQuail Creek Golf bathroom

Well we stopped at a RV park just south of Huntsville called Quail Creek Golf and Conference Center.   Located in Falkville, AL, this was very nice but kind of quirky.  Perfect for us.  It is located at a golf course several miles in the country.  It looks like someone with a farm built themselves a golf course and then opened it up to the public.  Really nice with maybe 30 sites and it looks like it is expanding.   They were designed for big class A's or large fifth wheels.  I think we could have easily fit 2 Fuses on the site.  There were three really large bathrooms that were super clean.  Definitely on the stop again list.

The next morning we headed for Tallahassee.  Pretty uneventful.  We made it home at dinner time.  The weather was a little better than when we left - 93 degrees and 90 percent humidity.  A far cry from Iowa.

So for the trip we did 2,750 miles.  195 Gallons of diesel and an average of 14.1miles per gallon.  The best leg was 16.6mpg and the worst was 13.0mpg.   We also used 2 gallons of LP gas.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Tallahassee to Forrest City

Fuse on the Road

Well we were super excited to go to the Compact Coach Rally at the Winnebago factory in Forrest City, IA.  Super excited so we hit the road on Tuesday morning to leave Tallahassee for the 18+- hour drive.

The first leg we planned out was to go from Tallahassee, FL to Clarksville, Tn.   West bound and down I-10 to Cottondale, FL and on to US-231.    Head north up 231 to Montgomery, AL and hit the Interstate system.  Up I-65 to Nashville and then on to I-24 to Clarksville.   Well that was the plan at least.  Mileage through Florida and Alabama averaged 16.1mpg.  This was driving roughly 2 mph over the speed limit whatever it was.  The Fuse likes going up US-231 at 65 averaging 16.6mpg on that stretch.   The part up I-65 only got 14mpg.

Well the plan was good until we got outside of Nashville.  Apple Maps directed us around the city on I-840 to I-40 and then on some small country roads up to Clarksville.   Well on one of the small country roads there was an accident and traffic was stopped. We got to do a 3 point turn (well actually it worked out to a 4 point turn) on a little two lane road to turn around and then be redirected on to some even smaller two lane roads to get to Clarksville.   Cost us about an hour of waiting and redirecting, but we got to our destination.  The Clarksville RV Park and Campground.

Clarksville RV Park SignClarksville RV Park

Beagle Bus at Clarksville RV Park

It was a good place to spend the night.  I would have liked to have seen more of it, but we got there at dark and did not see much.  The site was level, we plugged in and went to bed.

On Wednesday we drove from Clarksville to Urbana, IA.  Urbana being a few miles north of Cedar Rapids.   This was a pretty easy drive.  All Interstates and 4 lane highways.   But one downside.  I drove a little faster and we had a little headwind when we started pressing west.   On Wednesday our average mileage was 14mpg.   Not good, but we made good time.

To reaffirm my faith in Walmart we needed some DEF at around 20,000 miles and though I don't remember which town we stopped in, I hit a Walmart on the way and got some DEF.   I had to get the BlueTech DEF as opposed to the Walmart house brand, but it was there.    A new tip,  in Apple Maps on my iPhone,  type in Walmart in the search field and it will show you all of the Walmart's in the area.

LaZY Acres RV Park SignLazy Acres RV Park

Beagle Bus at Lazy Acres RV Park

We wrapped up the day staying at the Lazy Acres RV Park.  This was a really nice park.  Made it with plenty of time before dark and we had a relaxing evening.  We were officially up north.  We were able to sleep with the windows open, needed our jackets and had to kick on the heater in the morning to warm up the Fuse.

Iowa Fields

Thursday we got up early since we wanted to be in Forrest City by 9:30 am.   Lichtsinn RV was putting a day of pre-rally tech sessions and I did not want to miss anything.   So up and off before sunrise.  We pulled into the Lichtsinn parking lot around 9:45 and got oriented.  This segment and 100 miles from the day before got 14.1mpg running at 70-75mph.

I was really concerned about our LP situation.  We had 1/2 a tank because I did not fill up before we left home. The forecast called for freezing temperatures on Saturday morning and cold temperatures (at least for a Florida couple) the rest of the time.   Lichtsinn sent us up to the local Farmers Co-op down the street and we topped off with 3 gallons.

Around 10:00 we made it to the Winnebago Rally grounds and checked in.   Roughly 1300 miles in 2 full days and 3 hours.  Mileage only averaged 14.5mpg for these 3 days.  It was very apparent looking at this that going 75mph is not a great speed for fuel consumption.  Those segments running at 65mpg were getting 16mpg.

Another observation is that the winds out West also were impacting our mileage.  In the east I don't think I have ever run into constant 20mph headwinds.  It seemed that there was a constant wind once we crossed the Mississippi.