Roadtrip Day 2


Another short day.  From Sikeston MO to Chatham IL — about 230 miles and duck soup.  Just as yesterday the biggest task for the day was missing rush hour in the biggest city along our route.  Yesterday it was Memphis which we went through at 10:30 A.M., today it was St. Louis which we hit a little earlier. Apr20

I don’t much care for St. Louis — the congestion at the I-55 / I-40 junction is just crazy.  I have taken I-270 around the North and West sides of town years ago but always talk myself out of that because of the added miles — I guess I’m a masochist and just can’t stand driving mile out of the way.  But this time I had only my second opportunity to take the I-255 bypass around the EAST side of St. Louis.  It too is in bad shape — the roads on the East side of the Mississippi are always in bad shape — building roads on that swampy land and expecting them to survive with the extreme traffic these roads see is asking a lot of any engineered project.  Still and all, the I-255 bypass does take you away from the worst of St. Louis and I think I’ll use this any time I have the option.  The added mileage is insignificant and the benefits are many.  I say that as if I’m an insurance actuary but I really do think about routing in accident prevention terms.  Stop lights are accident potentials.  Heavy traffic is an accident potential.  Construction is an accident potential.  I make a point of considering my options and going with what I consider to be my ‘best’ bet knowing that there is no optimum route and anyone can have a bad day on any route.

The friend we want to meet up with is still working so we opted to get into Chatham a little early in the day to rest up for an active evening and still be ready for the last day’s push tomorrow.

Double J Campground SignIt’s our first stay at Double J Campground — it’s the only option anywhere near her home and a bit beyond our normal price point but it’s what there is and it’s convenient for the purpose.  It is NOT a Passport America campground.  It’s odd that we are lifetime members of Passport America and we hardly ever use their campgrounds.  Just seems that they are never in the places we’re going.

As for Double J, it seems all the RV sites are full hookup sites with 30 / 50 amp connections.  There are some Tent / primitive sites as well.  They offer free WiFi (slow) and free Cable TV (12 stations) and you can find about 12 more on your air antenna. There are about 120 sites total.  The pool is covered this time of year, there’s laundry and shower facilities and a play area for children.  Like many private campgrounds there are a host of RULES but most of them are fair and mandate courtesy to others which I personally don’t have any problem with.  CampgroundMap15

For now that’s about it. We’re looking forward to a pleasant evening with Debbie and her cousin Sharon.  Tomorrow morning we head to Milwaukee for the last lap of our trip.  We’ll take our time (with the Brake Buddy still disabled) and definitely avoid Chicago!!!!!!

Looking forward to seeing family!

Thanks for stopping and I’ll talk with you again tomorrow.

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11 Comments

  1. How do you get around Chicago, Peter? We may be doing a quick circle tour of the Big Lake pretty quick here, and we will be hauling Clara behind us. Not sure the Dan Ryan is the way to go.

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    1. When we go through Chicago it’s always the same. I-94 to I-294 to the Edens Expy to the Kennedy for I-94 through downtown, the Dan Ryan Expy through the South Side and then the Chicago Skyway to the Ind Tollway.

      We DO have an iPass so tolls are slightly cheaper and the SKYWAY is the worst for cost but I just chug on through. I don’t like I-94 to I-80 — last time I was there (even in a car) it beat you to death.

      That said — from the south we avoid Chicago. I-39 to I-90 to I-43 Rockford, Beloit and Milwaukee. Too far to go if your in Indiana, but from where we usually come it’s fine.

      That said — we haven’t been East of Gary in an RV since we had the flooring replaced in Journey which would put it in May of ’13 — things change. We have been that way in a car in ’15 but not in an RV

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  2. St. Louis – my lasting impression sprang from a mistaken freeway exit that deposited the family smack dab in the middle of east St. Louis.Nothing prepared us for that reality – not East LA, south side of Chicago, the blight of Gary, Indiana or urban decay of any U.S. city matched the glaring realization of impoverished St. Louis. We saw an abandoned hospital filled with squatters. Families living under tarps beside homes without water or electricity. Businesses boarded up and forsaken for blocks on end. Street lights out, streets with pot holes large enough to swallow cars and what we could only assume were once sidewalks, daring anyone to attempt passage.Not before or since has any sobering reality had such an impact.

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    1. Notes, At some point I think I was on the same streets as you. Been a while and there ARE parts of St. Louis that are quite nice, but you are right about the areas of extreme blight and poverty. We avoided them this time. 🙂 One of the things that troubles me sincerely as we wander around this country is the extremes in wealth — and heck, we don’t even see the most extremes of wealth — just what’s available from the roadside as it were. I really wonder if there isn’t an extreme revolution in the works some place and some time in the future. It’s obscene the disparities. In “the olden days” the numbers of people who enjoyed extreme wealth were so few and their locale so inaccessible that revolution required massive undertaking. Nowadays between the media and transportation it’s not so hard to find them and observe the extremes of wealth and then to become dissatisfied, angered, incensed, and violent. Add to that a society obsessed with celebrity and it’s a tinderbox (IMHO) That said, there are some lovely parts of St. Louie. Wonderful almost old world neighborhoods, and lovely gardens. If you can confine your activities to that, it’s a nice town — though not one that I have ever felt ‘comfortable’ in.

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      1. In all honesty I don’t want to feel comfortable and safe. The tourism board diverts visitors to “lovely”, everyone looks towards safe warm places, gobbling charm and prosperity, oblivious to withering reality in the shadows.Far from frightening, our accidental encounter with East St. Louis broke my heart.Disbelief became a muddle of helplessness and compassion.I’m not even American yet I felt betrayed – that was 20 years ago and to this day indelible emotion and images of that moment shape my disdain for so called American superiority. Bastion of democracy and civil rights my ass!
        Cult of celebrity, extreme wealth – the American dream, right? Look how rich, powerful and “free” we are – whatever you do, don’t concern yourselves over poverty, civil rights or education – look away to preserve the American dream. Argh! I’m sliding into full blown rant! Back on topic – suffice to say, not only did East St. Louis have a profound impact on my understanding of poverty in America. It created contempt for U.S. hubris, I’m still shaped by the experience.

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      2. There are those singular moments that forever change us. Whether for good or bad is up to us, of course, but that we SHOULD be changed goes without saying. When we can pass by someone in pain, hungry, hurting and not only feel their trouble but help them as well — well, there’s something gone out of us that used to keep us human.

        Most of the claims the U.S. might have once made are not empty. The nation has lost it’s vision, has lost it’s way and now it’s just it’s own residents that think highly of it.

        Would it be good if we had more singular moments? I think the nature of a singular moment is that because they ARE so rare their effect on each one of us individually is so strong. If they were regular occurrences I’m not sure how well we would handle the stress. But they CAN be enough to change our course in life and give us renewed purpose.

        To be truthful though… I have to admit that my urge to work for change has a harder time staying ignited now. And I say that because I see so few who seem to care. It’s sometimes like “what’s the sense” — how much good can really be accomplished? With age comes a little (or maybe a lot of) lethargy. sigh. > >

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    1. Always good to meet up with Debbie. Peggy worked with her for 15-20 years, she lived in our same apartment building for a few years, she’s been part of the family for a long, long, long time.

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