I had to get serious about driving or it was going to take weeks to get home and I have some commitments next week, so today's focus was driving. No stopping to play, just driving. Well...
Woke up to thick fog! Wow! It's so dry out west that having enough moisture in the air for fog was something new! The fog burned off the lake fairly quickly, but as I was driving it was lingering in the valleys!
I was gong along great until about 11, that's when I saw the sign "Amana Colonies, next two exits". My Dad and I had had a conversation about the Amana Colonies and I was pretty sure it was because it was a NPS site and I could get a passport stamp. Without stopping to check my information I got off at the exit and followed the signs to the visitor center, which was about 10 minutes from the highway. I figured it would be a good lunch stop and maybe I could get in some steps. When I got there it sure didn't look like a NPS site - the town was a bunch of shops and resteraunts. Hmmm... I parked at the Visitor Center and got out my passport book. Amana Colonies was not one of the two NPS sites in Iowa. I'd headed here on a total wild goose chase! Oh well, the town looked interesting, I'd walk for a bit. The Amana Colonists were groups of Germans who settled in the area and joined forces to pool resources so they could save money and send for relatives back in Germany (I think, I didn't read the whole sign, it was hot!) There wasn't a whole lot to see, I did find a vidialla onion peppercorn dressing that is similar to one we got in Sisters, OR last summer, so that was good!
I'd checked the map and learned that I could take US6 back to 80 and not have to retrace my steps to get back, making my little detour a little less off route. I also found a nice county park to have lunch in!
I'd told myself I'd spend an hour exploring the Amana Colonies, but with lunch it took a bit longer. So, now I really had to focus on driving. That is, until I saw the sign for the Herbert Hoover Presidential National Historic Site. From having just looked at the passport book, I knew this was in fact one of the two NPS sites in Iowa. I couldn't resist.
Luckily this visitor center is maybe a mile from the highway. I was able to get in,meet my stamp, learn a few things about Hoover (he was the 1st President born west of the Mississippi! (By 50 miles!) And his VP was the First Native American VP. ) He also had a Rapidan Camp in Shenandoah National Park, and I've been there several times. I also got a picture of his birthplace house! This would have been a nicer hour stop if I hadn't already stopped at the Amana Colonies. Oh well, maybe next time!
I really did spend the rest of the day driving and it wasn't much fun. Illionis is so flat and boring.
I drove so much today I had to get fuel twice! And both times were frustrating. It's because of biodiesel. Biodiesel is made of corn I believe, which is a great thing, we have a lot of corn growing in the US and to be able to use it power vehicles is awesome. However, Mercedes says "don't put biodiesel in your Sprinter." It has a different firing point that Ultra-low sulphur diesel and will leave soot in the engine which will eventually destroy the engine. So, I try to avoid it. If I don't have a choice I'll use it, but I try to find brands that don't have biodiesel. Today I was totally unsuccessful. This morning I went to a BP - theirs is usually not biodiesel, and the pump wasn't marked as being biodiesel, but she couldn't sell it to me because someone spilled pop on the keyboard and fried the circuit. My fuel light was on at this point so I had to go to the other fuel station and get bio. The next stop I visited 5 gas stations. 2 didn't have diesel at all and the 3 that did were all bio. So I put it in again. This is more of a problem here in the Midwest so hopefully my next refuel will be basic ultra low sulphur!
I'm camping tonight at Kickapoo State Recreation Area. This is my 3rd time at this park and I really enjoy it! The campground is big and the sites are big! $20 a night for an electric site! And, I have excellent cell signal! First time since Kansas that I've had LTE signal in the campground! There's not that many people here tonight, it's quiet except for the crickets!