Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Traveling through the midwest in Spring can be a dicey proposition. Mother Nature can dish out some pretty nasty weather this time of year. So, we allowed plenty of time to get to the next appointment on our Moose Maintenance Tour, which is Thursday in southeast Iowa. Our plan was to leave Paducah and head northwest to Iowa. But, Mother Nature had other plans. A much-anticipated storm system was sweeping across the nation's mid-section. The weather maps we'd been monitoring for days painted a red swath of severe weather across much of our intended route. The first 100 or so miles were clear, so we opted to make our Saturday travel day a short one. After a quick fuel stop and a 75-mile run north, we spent the night in one of our favorite overnight campgrounds in Whittington, IL to wait out the weather.
Sunday morning we were up early to check the weather. Severe storms were anticipated on our route into northeast Missouri. By evening, the storms were expected to take aim on our cozy campground in Whittington. To top things off, the entire region was blanketed in our most-hated alert: A Wind Advisory. It warned of sustained southerly winds of 30 mph with gusts to 45. Our intended route was largely east to west, which would mean fighting a stiff crosswind into potentially severe storms. Not good. Instead, we decided to take advantage of the southerly winds and travel north 165 miles on I-57 to Champaign. The stiff tailwind gave us smooth travels and some pretty impressive miles per gallon.
By the time we arrived at D&W Campground in Champaign, the winds were fierce. With potentially severe storms in the evening forecast, we checked out the park's storm shelter. Thankfully, we didn't need it. By the time the storms arrived late Sunday they were below severe limits. But, the winds kept the moose rocking and rolling!
Yesterday the storms had passed to the east, but the gale force winds continued. We spent most of our time inside watching the "waves" on the park's pond in front of our spot. Conveniently located near the intersection of I-57 and I-74, this is a pleasant overnight park. On Illini home game weekends, we understand the place is packed.
Today the winds calmed and we went out and about to run a few errands. In the nearby town of Mahomet, we stopped by a cute quilt shop and picked up four more fabrics for our "fulltiming" quilt that will represent The Prairie State.
We also logged our first Illinois geocache today. Our hunt took us over the Sangamon River in Mahomet. It was too cool to enjoy this tire swing today. But, in a few weeks, this place should be pretty popular!
We've enjoyed our three unplanned nights in Champaign. Tomorrow's forecast looks clear of any severe weather as we'll make our way into Iowa.