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THURSDAY - After our museum visit this morning it was time to say goodbye, or more appropriately, see ya later, because while we were visiting Jackson Center we both made reservations for 6-months from now to watch the Total Solar Eclipse together from a campground in Texas.

We quickly sent out an email to Winston and VerJean, and Rod and Sharon, to join us and the two couples just so happened to be camping together somewhere else this week. They too made reservations, so we'll have the gang all together for the big event on April 8th next year.

The campground we chose is EXACTLY on the path of totality for the eclipse, so it should be pretty spectacular to see. We also invited our California friends David and Barb to join us, but they sadly won't be able to make it.

As John and Katherine, and Tricia and I, separately went about our preparations to get back on the road we hit an unexpected snag. When we arrived here on Sunday we disconnected ROVER from THE POD and went about the business of leveling the trailer.

The "Red Bucket" in use as seen at a previous campsite (i.e. not here).

We put out our "Red Bucket" because the front end of THE POD was going to need to be raised in order to get level. After the tractor came out and towed THE POD into service on Monday morning we put the bucket away so it wouldn't get run over when they brought THE POD back in the late afternoon. For the three days we were there everything was fine, that was until it was time for us to hitchup and leave.

So without the bucket in place we couldn't lift the trailer high enough with the tongue jack to get it onto the hitch ball on ROVER. It was a simple problem to fix, but we would need the help of the tractor to be able to get the bucket back under the tongue jack.

Of course the moment we noticed our problem the service department had just started their 15-minute afternoon break. So while we waited for the break to be over Katherine and John pulled out of their campsite and began the long drive back to Denver. We later learned they hit a major traffic accident outside of Indianapolis and after a 1½-hour delay barely made it into Illinois before getting off the road for the night.

Once we were finally all hooked up and rolling we had no issues with traffic, but when we arrived at our next campsite the trouble began pretty quickly.

We paid $2 a night extra for a "Premium Waterfront" campsite here at Alum Creek State Park.

There was even some fall colors beginning to show on the far lakeshore.

There were already lots of leaves on the ground all around our campsite.

There were also a lot of walnut pods on the ground all around our campsite.

They tend to blend in once they're on the ground...

...and they're even hard to see up in the tree unless you're looking for them.

In case you haven't figured out what the problem is by now I'll explain it to you.

Before we arrived the walnuts had a clear path from the tree limbs some 40-50 feet up in the air, down to the ground where they eventually come to rest. Now that we've arrived that path has been interupted.

We soon realized we needed to move for all the obvious reasons. These walnut pods might have a softer outer husk, but inside there is still a very hard nut shell that you're used to seeing when you purchase them at the store. I can tell you with complete confidense that they weigh just about the same as a golf ball and sound about what a golf ball would if it was dropped from a height of 40+ feet onto the top of an aluminum trailer roof. They sound even louder when they hit an open awning window glass or solar panels.

For all these reasons we need to change sites, not to mention we would never get any sleep, before any damage is done. Fortunately when I knocked on the camphost's trailer door, after calling the closed campground office number, they were home and called a different number to get someone out here to find us another site we could camp on for the next two nights.

Tonight is no problem, there are several open sites, but tomorrow, Friday night, the campground is sold out. That is except for the couple of "emergency" sites the park keeps vacant just for this kind of situation. Normally the emergency sites are used when the electic post or some other problem arises, but I suspect falling walnuts on Site #K23 becomes a problem every September and October when the little ticking timebombs begin to ripen and fall from the tree.

This is the emergency site they moved us to. It's not quite as nice as the one we picked out.
No walnut tree, but no waterfront view either. I did however get a full refund of my $4!

FRIDAY - With our not so big problem with the walnut tree solved it's time to start working on a solution to a much larger problem looming over our heads, the impending probable "government shutdown" on Saturday night at midnight.

How does the shutdown affect us? During the months of October and November, 45 of the 61 days we have reservations to camp in Federal Park campgrounds. National Parks, National Recreation Areas, United States Forest Service and Army Corps of Engineers parks will all be closed and so will their campgrounds.

Sure, we'll get our money back, but where do you find last minute camping when all those locations are inaccessible?

We avoid the high priced private parks, so that leaves us mostly with medium priced State Parks, County Parks and City Parks. During the week they may have a few sites still available, but the weekends have all been booked solid for months.

The good news is Walmart is open on the weekend and so are their parking lots!

Let's all hope this shutdown only lasts for a few days, not weeks or months like the most recent shutdowns have.

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As you read in the previous post we made it from western Nebraska over to western Ohio in 4 days. I had to go back and do a double check on the math, but the mileage from the Bessey Recreation Complex camground to the Airstream Factory Service center was exactly 1000 miles.

Here's John and I speaking in the parking lot shortly after our arrival.

Their Airstream #13737 in the foreground with ROVER and THE POD on the right.

MONDAY - At 7:00AM this morning John and I were the first two customers to enter the Service Center doors to present our lists of repairs to the Service Advisors.

Before 7:30AM both of our trailers were in separate service bays and work had already begun.

Our primary reason for being here is to get the front aluminum panel on the trailer replaced and to reinforce the framing that is located behind that panel. We had the same issue two years ago and Airstream thought they had fixed the issue, but there is a new repair procedure in place now and let's hope this time the problem is finally resolved. Fortunately for us, even though our 2-year Factory Warranty period had expired 18-months before the first attempt to resolve the issue they covered the costs to repair it.

Now a full 3½-years after our warranty has expired they once again are covering the costs to repair our trailer.

Here's THE POD with his front end exposed again.

These are the heavy duty corner brackets they are now using to fix the problem.

TUESDAY - Yesterday they opened ROVER up and today they are putting him back together.

We also had them tighten up the rivets on the front awning window, replace the city water inlet to bypass the holding tanks, repair our dented wheel wells that were allowing road dust to get inside the trailer, replace any missing rivets on the interior of the trailer, adjust the stove burners so they work work properly, fix our shower exhaust fan, repair the clearance light on the back of the trailer, replace the thermostats and overflow valve on the water heater and finally service of the electric patio awning.

What did all that cost? A mere $1775, not bad for two full days of labor and a few parts.

At 1:00PM today we have tickets to go see the new 750,000 square foot factory that Airstream opened several years ago. That's right I said 750,000 sq. ft.! When you consider that the average size of a Walmart Supercenter is only 179,000 sq. ft. you'll realize this place is more than four times bigger than the Walmart you're shopping in.

When we were here two years ago the factory tours had been suspended due to concerns about COVID. So we didn't get to see it then, but today they also have completed the Airstream History Museum on the property. Did I mention that this facility is about a mile down the road where they used to assemble the trailers since the 1950s.

Today the old trailer assembly building is being used to build Airstream vans and 16' & 20' trailers called Base Camps.

Approaching the 750,000 sq. ft. assembly factory.

It's hard to believe this used to be a corn field. Now it employs 1400+ residents.

Airstreams are built when they are ordered, all different sizes and models in one plant.

They are hand build one at a time, no robots to be found here!

Airstream will build you a custom one-of-a-kind shell if you're willing to finish the interior. We saw one on the assembly line today with a large window opening on one side and two doors on the wrong side of the trailer. It will be outfitted as a food truck as soon as it leaves here.

THURSDAY - Today we'll finally be leaving the Airstream Service Center, but before we do we're going to go and visit the museum down at the new factory.

After the museum we only have a short drive to our next campsite so we have just enough time to squeeze in a visit and share it on the post.



This one is the Clipper model and nicknamed Ole' Grandad, owned by the Wally Bynam museum.

It has some rather unique looking front and rear windows.

Here are some interior shots.


The first "two door" model.

An interior photo.

This gold colored Airstream is a Wally Bynam owned one of a kind.


This is an Airstream made Funeral Coach from the 1970s.



This is Old #1, the very first trailer off the assembly line here in Jackson Center, OH.

Airstreams were originally made in California from 1931-1951.

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DAY #1


STOP #447
3.3 miles of Interstate Highway driving!

Day #1 of our Mad Dash included 284-miles of driving east through the Cornhusker State of Nebraska. Avoiding the Interstates took us through the rural areas of central Nebraska and it was soon easy to see how the state got it's nickname.

All we saw were corn fields and grain silos, with an occasional train hauling what I believe to be coal, that is when we could see through the dense fog that seemed to hang around until noon.

I scheduled our departure perfectly this morining so that we would arrive in the town of York, NE just about lunch time.

There are several reasons why I chose York for our lunch stop today. The first is because there is a Runza restaurant in town, we are still in Nebraska after all.

Second reason is right next door to Runza is a self-serve car wash with bays large enough to fit ROVER and THE POD. They were both in need of a quick rinse after traveling on that wet 14-mile gravel road last week.

Lastly, York in the town were my father was born some 100+ years ago. I'm well aware that the town we saw today looks nothing like it did back in the 1920s when my dad was growing up, but I still felt the need to at least pay it a visit.

One other interesting thing that we observed today was that along the first 130+ miles of our route we kept seeing huge yard sales on both sides of the road, on a Thursday none the less? Some had signs displaying the words "A Junk Jaunt" location.

When we finshed our drive we looked it up! Every year since 2004 on the last full weekend in September there is a yard sale along Route 2 in Nebraska. It covers 9 counties, 35+ communities and nearly 500-miles of shopping.

This is very similiar to the "127 Yard Sale", which claims to be the longest yard sale in the county, which is held the first weekend of August and runs down US-127 from Michigan to Alabama, that's 690-miles of shopping fun!

We didn't stop to buy anything because we currently have everything we need and we'd have nowhere to store anything if we did but it.


DAY #2


STOP #448
0 (that's spelled zero) miles of Interstate Highway driving!

Last nights Walmart in Nebraska was less than 3-miles from the Missouri River, which creates the border between Nebraska and Iowa.

We drove the full width (279 miles) of Southern Iowa today and I'm sorry to report we have not one single photo to share of our drive.

There were a lot of smaller towns and a lot of rolling hills along Route 2, but nothing that inspired a photo. Maybe Tricia was just too tired to lift the camera today.

In one of the small towns we drove through we couldn't help but notice that EVERY single house and business along the main street was toilet-papered, just like I used to see growing up when someone didn't hand out an adequate amount of Halloween candy.

It's nowhere near Halloween yet and even City Hall, the Police and Fire Departments were decorated. We of course Googled it when we got settled and found out it's a midwest tradition to TP the town on the night before your High School Homecoming football game. Who knew? That didn't happen where I grew up in South Florida, how about any of you?


DAY #3


STOP #449
0 (that's spelled zero) miles of Interstate Highway driving!

This morning we again crossed a river shortly after getting on the road, only this time it was the Mighty Mississippi River separating Iowa from Illinois.

A little over 2-hours later and we were driving around the big city of Peoria when we crossed another rather large river, this time it was the Illinois River.

Just downriver from the current bridge they are busy constructing a brand new bridge, which is expected to be completed in the Fall of 2024. Construction began in the spring of 2019, so it's anybody's guess when it will actually be completed.

Today we drove completely across the state of Illinois and halfway across Indiana. We did see a few more houses with TP in the trees, but nothing to compare to what we saw in Iowa.

Here's a thought? Maybe the losing football team should be required to not only clean up their own town, but also the winning teams town! Now that would be an incentive to play your best.


DAY #4


STOP #450
0 (that's spelled zero) miles of Interstate Highway driving!

We started our 4th and final travel day with breakfast at the Bob Evans Restaurant across the street from Walmart.

I made sure our last day of travel would be an easy one of just 147-miles and that almost what we got.

In a little town in Indiana we saw signs mentioning a detour, but we've seen those all over the place in the last few days. Then we saw the sign that read "Bridge Out". That is not something we can ignore, so while still 5-miles outside of town we made a u-turn in the roadway and headed back out of town to take a very short 5-mile detour to get back to the route we had planned.

We arrived at the Airsteam Factory Service Center campground just 30-minutes after our Colorado friends and tomorrow morning we'll both be in the office with our list of repairs in hand. Wish us both luck!

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