Good bye Iowa!

Morgan Creek Campground

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.

3 Down, on to the 4th

May 5, 2019- Eagles Rest RV Park, Chadron, Nebraska

I’m ready dad!

We wake up and discuss where to go today and decide we will head into Crawford further and potentially go on to the next town of Chadron. We are officially in our fourth state. It’s overcast and cold today. Team Ronyx needs to get their laundry done. Ron is out on the road by 8:30 am with Phoenix. They make a quick stop right at the Crawford sign and pick up drinks at the convenience store. Meghan sits at the store for awhile while Ron rides through town. There is a breeze today and some inclines in the road, there is no ability to coast because there is enough of sideways wind to require Ron to pedal for every forward movement. Meghan catches up with Ron around 8 miles into today’s journey. He switched Phoenix out of the bike trailer and puts Onyx in. Onyx isn’t really digging the trailer so Ron has to physically carry him to the trailer. Team Ronyx makes it to Chadron, WY a little after 1 pm. They decide to go find lunch and a laundromat and then they will decide if they want to camp at the RV park just before you get into town or at the truck stop in town. They decide to eat lunch at Helen’s Pancake and Steak House. Ron orders a burger and Meghan get’ a chicken wrap. While they are sitting there waiting to order a man and two teenagers start asking Team Ronyx what they are doing. They think it’s really cool what we are doing and they are already on our Facebook, following our Journey. Their mom ends up being our waitress and she does a wonderful job. After lunch we go and do laundry, then we decided to go back to the campground that was just outside of town. Once we got there, we set up camp. We do dry camping so that we can get a discounted rate and still get showers. The place is pretty muddy but it works for what we need. Meghan is having a really off- day, she’s tired and irritable. (She calls it “peopled-out”) She’s hoping an early bedtime will help. Ron tells her to take a break and they will stay put in the morning if she still needs some time.

May 6, 2019- Eagles Rest RV Park, Chadron, Nebraska

Team Ronyx wakes up early but Meghan is still moving pretty slow. They decide to take the day to run some errands and give Meghan a break. Being tied to Social Media almost around the clock is draining Meghan, she loves what she is doing but she needs to give herself time off. They head into town back to Helen’s for brunch, Ron orders his burger again because he liked it so much, Meghan orders eggs and toast. After brunch, they pick up dog food and head over to Walmart to get a few things. They go back the the original campground after exploring around town for a little while. Meghan get’s the updated amount of funds they have raised for Canine Partners for Life. They have raised $5,274 dollars so far. Team Ronyx isn’t quite where they want to be with donations but they will continue working to get to $30,000 which is the cost of one service dog. Meghan figures out that it took Ron 9 bicycling days and 7 networking or resting days to ride across the state of Wyoming. That gave him an average of 48 miles ridden each day. Early in the evening Tean Ronyx meets one of their camp neighbors and talk to him for awhile and learn that he is part of a motorcycle club that raises money for kids who were burn victims to go to a special camp. Meghan picked up some steaks at Walmart and tonight they are going to have Ron’s famous grilled steaks. Ron fires up their tiny home wood stove and starts cooking their steaks. Meghan prepares mashed potatoes, gravy and corn. Again, this cooking thing takes multiple pans and a single burner as they are using the cook top on the wood stove. Once the steaks are done, Meghan cooks the mashed potatoes, and makes the brown gravy. She has run out of pans though to cook their corn. She remembers she has a small loaf pan in their bin of kitchen items and pours the corn in there and cooks it alongside their gravy on the cook top. Cooking everything this way helps them save fuel by not firing up the generator. They keep the woodstove going late into the night and fire up up the generator right before bed. They decide Ron will ride to Rushville, Nebraska in the morning.

May 7, 2019- Rushville, NE

Ron and Fonyx pushing through

Meghan is the first one up today, she takes the dogs out, and then grabs a quick shower. The bath house at this campground is kind of awkward. There is a door from the exterior to go in the ladies room and a door in the interior that goes into the laundry room, which has another door directly into the men’s bathroom. The first night here, Meghan went in to use the facilities and could hear a group of men talking. The doors to both the ladies room and men’s room from the laundry room were wide open. She decided to skip having a shower than night as she wasn’t sure if she was alllowed to shut the door or not. She had decided in the morning that she would shut the door regardless if it was supposed to be open or not. Ron heads out on 20E around 8 am with Onyx. It’s overcast and 38° out. This isn’t very nice riding conditions but Ron is determined to move forward. Meghan heads into town with Phoenix to refuel the truck and gas can. Then she heads over to the Bean Broker Coffee House and Pub for a little pick-me-up for herself. She is surprised when she walks into the rather large establishment in the very charming old building. The building was originally a bank built in the 1900’s. When the banks went under this building became a mariad of other business until the previous owner turned it into a coffee house and pub. There were 3 seperate areas on the main floor. One was the coffee house, the other the bar and the third a small dining room. The space was perfect for small gathers. The new owner heard Meghan talking to the baristas and came out to talk to her about Onyx’s Great Adventure. He asked Meghan if she would pull her truck up in front of the building so he could share their story on social media. She agreed and went out to move the truck. Once she got situated in front of the building, Meghan, Phoenix and the two baristas got their picture taken. Then, Meghan got a tour of the building. She then dismissed herself and hurried out of town to catch up to Ron and Onyx. By now, it was raining pretty hard, at the 8 mile mark, Ron took Onyx out of the trailer and put Fonyx (Fake Onyx) in so Onyx didn’t have to sit in the trailer and get soaking wet all day. It took Ron almost 6 hours to get to Rushville, Wy due to the wind and rain. He pedaled 33.5 miles to town. They stop at the Pump and Pantry to see about parking there overnight as there aren’t any RV parks or rest stops nearby. The attendant in the store said they could park there but there wasn’t much room and it was right on the road. Meghan made a few phone calls and figured out there was a small RV park just on the other side of town. They drove out there and contacted the owner. This spot was formerly a mobile home park and they are fixing it up to become an RV park. They have water, sewer and electric hook ups but not bathroom facilities but there is a market next door. Once they find their spot, Ron plays with the dogs and Meghan works on finding their next camping spot and the distance to the next town. They determine they want to get to Merriman next and it’s 47 miles away.

May 8, 2019- Rushville, NE

I don’t care if the grass is wet.

It’s pouring down rain this morning and still 38°. Ron and Meghan discuss whether they want to continue forward or not. Ron suggests he ride around and bank miles today and they sit tight. This way Meghan can catch up on invoicing and updating their blog for the trip. It’s a good thing for Meghan because she is worried about their friends’ Juanita and Harold. Remember when they came to Arco, Idaho to visit us? Well, when they went home, they purchased a camper and decided to drive out to wherever we are along our journey and join our road trip! They left on Sunday, May 5 from Oregon and had driven through Oregon, through Idaho and as of yesterday they were making their way through Wyoming on Interstate 80. They were flagged downabout 70 miles before Rawlins, WY and told they were missing a tire on their camper. Upon inspection, they realized their whole tire and rim were missing along with the brake housing and it had caused a flat tire in the rear tandem axle. They ended up being able to put their spare tire on the rear axle and limp the trailer 6 miles up the road to an abandoned gas station and slept their overnight. They have been waiting all day for a tow or repair service to help them. Meghan decided around lunch time to start calling some tow and repair companies herself to see what the issue was with getting them towed because she was worried about her friends sitting along the highway in an abandoned gas station for who knows how long. Finally after calls all day and lots of waiting, Harold and Juanita have a company who will come and help them tomorrow. Hooray! The disappointing news is that they will have to replace their axle and it might take weeks to get one in but they are safe and will be getting help tomorrow. Tonight, Ron and Meghan feel less anxious for their friends, knowing they will get somewhere tomorrow. Ron starts up the wood stove and Meghan does the dishes then makes dinner of Chicken Alfredo from a pre-made frozen mix. That night, Ron heated up a pot of water to take his cowboy bath and Meghan continued to play catch up with the blog and updates.