A neighbor down the road has told us often about the Farmall tractor museum in Avoka, Iowa. Now that Cliff's retired, he figured it was time to go. It's only four hours away, so this gave us the opportunity to see how we'd do tent-camping for a couple of days. There's no way we can afford motels any more, and even if we could, the whole bedbug scare really makes us want to avoid motels. Cliff knows someone who picked some of the nasty little critters up during her travels; bedbugs are not easily exterminated.
We had talked about taking the motorcycle on this trip, but the heat made us rethink that plan. Last week we had the air conditioning in our car repaired, and with the hot spell we're having, we'd have been crazy not to use it. Even so, Cliff wondered if we should wait until cooler weather for the expedition; after all, we'd be sleeping in a tent with not so much as a fan to cool us down. I checked the weather for the area we were going to visit, and the temperatures always seemed to be cooler than ours at home. Every time Cliff would mention the heat, I'd say, "But it's ten degrees cooler in Iowa."
And so it was, until the very day we decided to travel there. Iowa, not to be outdone, decided its heat should match Missouri's while we were visiting. So at least we didn't get homesick for heat.
Cliff was never a big fan of camping, even when we had the popup camper. Things seem to get damper and more piled with each day out, and it gets progressively harder to find anything in the clutter that builds up. But as I said, it seemed affordable. I told him I didn't intend to cook this time out. We'd eat cereal and fruit for breakfast, just like we often do at home, and sandwich it for the other meals. We took the camp stove and a coffeepot, because life without coffee is not feasible for us.
As we prepared for the trip the morning our adventure was to start, I told Cliff, "We need some sort of container for all the foodstuffs and cooking equipment; that way when we arrive, we lift out the cooler and one box and we're ready to eat."
Lacking such a box, I threw things into whatever assorted containers I could grab; some of those items were never seen again until we returned home. It's only by the grace of God I figured out where I put the prescription pills that Cliff takes daily.
This was to be the first time we used the Columbia tent we bought last year, and it was also our trial run with the Travel Toilet. I'll be doing a couple of reviews on those items in future entries.
Because of the impromptu nature of trip, when we reached our destination we realized many items we needed had been forgotten. Pillows, for instance. Milk for our cereal, which of course can be bought, but not when you're at a state park at seven in the morning, ready to eat. We took the air mattress I used to keep back at my cabin; it was pretty comfortable even without pillows, and Cliff found his back hurt him less that it does at home. More about the old air mattress later.
In fact, more about everything later. Consider this your introduction to our road trip. We learned something new every day, and I'll be sharing the lessons with you.