Our final days in our fifth state…
May 28, 2019- Morgan Creek Campground, Palo, IA
This morning we woke up to threats of storms and rain throughout the day. Ron suggests we drive towards our next camp spot to see how the shoulders and traffic are on 30 E after he rides some miles on the rail trail with Juanita. This gives Meghan some time to catch up on “office work”. As suspected, once they start driving; there is little to no shoulder and the road is pretty busy so we end up driving the 64 miles to the Morgan Creek Campground. Along their route they see the effects of all of the flooding that has been happening in the state. Corn fields look like ponds, including ducks swimming in the water. The rivers have crested the banks and are into the low lying areas surrounding them. Team Ronyx arrive first and find two secluded spots in the campground loop that was right next to the creek where Onyx and Phoenix headed to as soon as we parked. After the Carey’s arrived, we discussed our plans for the next camp spot and when we wanted to travel. We decided that we all wanted to stay another night in Morgan Creek to look at alternative routes to get off of 30 E and get to Illinois in a few days. Meghan finishes another blog post and works on finding a new route. She has bicycle maps out, google maps and an atlas. It definitely looks like a modern day “Lewis and Clark” expedition. Harold likes to joke and call Meghan and Ron, Lewis and Clark. Tonight’s dinner is Cream Chipped Beef over biscuits made by Meghan. Juanita and Harold have never had it so it is something new for them. It turned out great but it was very salty. Meghan believes it was the type of dried beef she purchased. She typically gets the dried beef in a pouch but out here in Iowa she could only find it in a jar in the canned meat isle. Everybody enjoyed the meal. That night the fireflies were out in masses. It was drizzling but it didn’t stop them from lighting up the night. Juanita has never seen them so she thought it was the coolest thing! That night as the sun set, the air was quite cool; which was very pleasant.
May 29, 2019- Morgan Creek Campground, Palo, IA
Ron and Juanita head out for a bike ride this morning. While they are gone, Meghan works on looking ahead to their next camping spots. We should be in Illinois by the first if not before. We will head south east tomorrow towards Iowa City and camp at Sugar Bottom Campground. Meghan is curious as to how the drive will be surrounding the campground as it is right next to the Iowa River. After Juanita and Ron return to the campground, Ron takes the dogs to swim in the water. Meghan and Juanita take Juanita’s dogs for a walk around the park area. They walk 1.5 miles and then turn back to the campground as the Carey’s dogs are older and can’t walk too far. After they bring the dogs back, Meghan and Juanita head out to the arboretum and butterfly gardens. As they walked around the park they came upon a pond with turtles out all over sunbathing but they couldn’t get too close as the turtles would quickly slide under the water to hide. Ron rode more miles in the neighborhood, he began tucking our business cards into mailboxes and business slots as he rode around. Once he was done riding, he and Meghan headed into Cedar Rapids to the post office to pick up their package of extra neon t-shirts for Ron to wear on the roadways. That evening, they planned to have grilled chicken that Harold marinated. Meghan rode the bike towing the empty trailer up to the camp host spot to purchase some wood. She filled up two ricks of wood and that filled the entire bike trailer. She then rode the bike back to the camp site. Harold built a fire and Ron grilled the chicken. We also enjoyed scalloped potatoes and salad with our meal. While they were eating dinner, alerts started popping up on their cell phones and the tornado sirens started to blare. They quickly packed up camp in anticipation of high winds and the possibility of having to seek shelter in the shower house. Everybody patiently watched and waited out the storm. We had heavy rain for a short time and the radar showed the potential for a tornado very close to us. After about 1.5 hours of threats, the warning for our area was lifted. That evening we waited for the fireflies to come out again. There weren’t as many as the first night and as soon as it got completely dark, they were all gone.
May 30, 2019- Sugar Bottom Campground, Solon, IA
Meghan and Ron set out in the am for highway 30 E. They think Ron can ride the 6 miles until he exits off hwy 30 E to get on Ely Street towards the town of Ely. They park the truck on the entrance ramp and Ron gets to riding; Meghan drives ahead and quickly realizes that Ron is going to have a hard time pedaling through the traffic and all of the exit and entrance ramps onto the highway. Ron checks in twice and makes his way through the heavy traffic. He exits the highway heads toward the town of Ely. They are making good time and the roads are much nicer than 30 E. Once they get to Ely they make a pit stop at the convenience store in town and talk to some people there. They head out once again and get to the traffic circle intersection of Ely Road and Hwy 382. Meghan pulls the truck over to wait for Ron to navigate through the traffic circle. He only has 2 more miles to ride until he has to make his next turn. After Ron rides out of site, Meghan goes to start the truck and it stalls out. She tries again, it stalls again. She groans, “not the fuel pump again!”. She tries to call Ron, but he doesn’t answer, she tries again, and again. He still isn’t answering. She remembers his phone was on silent. So she continues to call hoping that it will interupt his music and he will stop to see why. As Meghan is calling Ron over and over again, she attempts to flag down a motorist to ask them to tell the guy on the bicycle to come back to his driver, but no one stops. After about the 6th attempt a young man pulls over, and after about the 9th call, Ron answers his phone. The young man isn’t sure how to help Meghan and she thanks him and tells him that her bicyclist is returning and she will be ok. Ron has pedaled 21 miles so far. Once Ron returns, they try to troubleshoot a few things, with no success in getting the truck to start. Then they discuss how they are going to get the truck towed with this house on it. Meghan suggests asking the farmer across the street if we can offload the camper box there and then return to get it since we can’t offload it on the shoulder of the road. Meghan calls AAA and gets a service truck arranged. While she is on the phone, a gentleman pulls up in a car and Ron explains our predicament. He leaves and comes back with a truck. Shortly after that, The Carey’s pull up and we discuss potential plans. The Carey’s may go ahead to their camp spot and set up and then unhook the truck to come get Meghan and Ron if the garage is going to work on Meghan’s truck. The gentleman that had returned with his truck told Ron that he could borrow his brother-in-laws shop and tools just 4 miles down the road. Scott from the Danny Mac’s tow service showed up and told Ron to turn the key, while Ron turn the key in the truck Scott beat on the fuel tank (which Ron had done earlier too) and bam, the truck fired up! We didn’t want to take any chances though so we went to the garage following the tow truck in case the fuel pump died again. We all arrive at the garage, and Ron decides Meghan should go to the camp ground with the dogs and the Carey’s for the night and he will return once he gets the truck fixed or spend the night with the truck. The Carey’s offered to return at any time if Ron should need anything. Meghan, the Carey’s and all 4 dogs went ahead to the camp ground. It was almost 4 pm by the time they got the camp site set up and settled. Meghan took Onyx and Phoenix for a walk around the campground to check it out. She ended up talking to a really nice couple who had built their own custom camper out of an enclosed trailer. Around 5 pm, Ron calls Meghan to let her know that he is done working on the truck and needs directions to the campground. Meghan is surprised that the truck is fixed already and is grateful that Ron was able to do it. She gives him the directions and he is there within a few minutes as it was only 8 miles from the garage. They pay for their spot, enjoy dinner and get ready for bed.
May 30, 2019- Sugar Bottom Campground, Solon, IA
Ron wakes up with a headache today and he’s worried about the fuel pump in the truck. Even though he put a brand new fuel pump in it, he is concerned that the wiring may be faulty as the new pump almost didn’t start too. We decide we will spend the day at the campground and regroup. The day is spent planning the next day’s route to Illinois and exploring the area. Because of the flooding, some of the lower level camp ground loops are completely under water. The only way you can tell there are sites out there are the electrical boxes sticking out of the water. That evening, Team Ronyx discusses trying to get more free camp spots to help save their budget.