Sunday, June 1 — We did it! Going Out There has been a dream of ours for nearly five years – ever since we watched the PBS series by Ken Burns, National Parks: America’s Best Idea, back in September 2009. From the couch in my downtown Chicago high rise, the idea was hatched that we should someday go Out There and visit all of the National Parks which would take us to many of the 50 states as well. [We’ve each been to many NPs but not together.] Over time, the scope of our trip grew to include all of the National Parks (there are 59) and as many of the National Park Areas as possible (there are 401) while visiting all 50 states. And so our journey begins today….
We drove our Subaru out to where Charley, our RV, has had all his final parts and bits installed at Ehrhardt’s RV over the last two weeks. Fred loaded our two mountain bikes on our new bike rack, then successfully (and impressively!) hooked up all the right bars and arms and sockets and put the cotter pins into the right places on our Blue Ox towing system. With the Subaru now firmly (we hope!!) hooked on to the back of Charley, we climbed into our big coach seats, closed the RV door, and pulled out of the driveway en route to Out There.
We are spending four days (June 1-4) in Starved Rock State Park in Utica, Illinois, getting ourselves and Charley organized for our two-year adventure. We used our new little grill for the first time to cook dinner on our first night at our campsite. We have found places for a lot of our stuff, but we still need to find good homes for a few more bits and bobs – not easy to do with all that we think we need for two years and just 220 ft² of space!
Monday, June 2 — We got a couple-mile hike in this morning before the rain came and we got soaked walking back to our car. While initially the trees provided a pretty decent canopy for us, the leaves were no match for the storm that blew through. Oh well, we were able to get out a little bit and now we’re back in Charley organizing our gear. Tonight we are going to cook out again and build our first campfire. Tomorrow is supposed to be beautiful so we look forward to more hiking then.