June 17 our first day driving from Decatur IN was uneventful except for a massive truck wreck on I-69. which delayed us and only allowed us a 209 mile trek to a Rest Area after just entering Illinois at MM 208 on I-74W in Oakwood, near Dannville IL. This rest area called the Salt Kettle Rest Area (and Tourist Information Center) is one of the prettiest (if not the prettiest) rest areas we have ever seen in tbe US and certainly in Illinois, complefe with gorgeous treed grounds with a large pond and resident Canadian Geese, fountains, and a delightful walking trail which leads to an old (1836) cemetary (see photos). The only negative about it was all the dog poop on the grounds which made it hard to walk on the grass without stepping on something undesirable.... sort of appropriate as it is just next to the Kickapoo State Recreation Area (no kidding). Oh... and Mary found a tick in her sock.
After a good night sleep on Sunday, June 18th we continued on I-74W and I-80W and drove 428 miles through Illinois and almost through Iowa, to make up for the delay the day before, stopping at the unamed rest stop on I-80W just west of Casey, IA. There was supposed to be a very nice rest area at MM219 ACCORDING TO the Park Advisor app and Google, but there was nothing physically there as such, forcing us to trudge on to the next rest area. Tomorrow we plan to drive about 364 miles to a rest area on MM 101 on I-90, but we are doubtful that it is actually open as we are getting conflicting data on Google.
OK, so on Monday, June 19th we jumped on Hwy 29 toward Sioux Falls, where we got diesel, but on the way up we stopped at a rest area for a leg-stretcher and noticed another 2015 Fleetwood Discovery 40E already there, which belongs to Angel and Teresa Rodriguez. To boot they were from Florida too, so we started a conversation with them and lo and behold they are also good friends with Rick and Diana, the couple that we had just been parked right next to in Decatur, Rick and Diana had just left the day before us and we were told that as we spoke they were on their way back to Decatur with a leak in their slide. On I-90, we found that the rest area on MM301, where we planned to stay the night is in fact physically still there as indicated by the SD rest areas website; however, it is CLOSED (for no apparent reason) as stated by a Google reviewer. So we drove on another 46 miles to the rest area at MM 265 near Champlain. The Champlain Rest Area on I-90W in SD, which is only about 160 miles East of our destination (Wall, SD) is another very nice rest area, dedicated to the Lewis & Clark expedition..it also has a scenic overlook and a walking trail that promised Bill 'poisonous snakes', though none were seen. Here there is also a Highway Patrol sub-station and many signs stating that a 'rest area' is for 'resting' (identified as a 3-hour maximum stay). However, commercial truckers are allowed a 10-hour stay. Nonetheless, we stayed there 13 hours and were not asked to leave, as we are sure that cops would rather have us there safely, than in an accident having fallen asleep or hitting a deer on the highway.