South Dakota to Vermont – Days 35 to 38

Day 35 – July 13, 2016

Mileage – 81,184

Hiked – 1.4

Sioux Falls, SD

The last few days of the journey consisted mostly of driving the long haul from the west to the east. However, to break up the journey we sprinkled in a few key-stopping points. The first stop was Humboldt, Iowa – home of the Born Free Motor Coach factory – the place our RV was born in 2001. Our primary goal was to see the factory and pick up a few small items that got lost during our journey (more like ripped off the coach during tire blow outs). We had a great time at the factory and we got a chance to see the process of building a motor coach the same process that created our tiny home. Born Free has been in business for over 40 years, it was a family business that was recently sold to an investment firm, but the small family business feel is still present. It was refreshing to see the level of quality and details that goes into every step of the build process. The staff was very helpful and polite giving us lots of advice and answering all of our questions. Kevin has even started to spec out his retirement RV – a Born Free with the same layout as our current model but built on a Ford F550 with 4 wheel drive for the off road remote camping locations.

After our factory tour we headed toward Chicago on the more scenic route 20 stopping for the evening at a travel center in Stockton, Illinois.

July 13 Pictures:

Day 36 – July 14, 2016

Mileage – 81,624

Hiked – 1 miles around Chicago

Stockton, IL

We traveled during the morning the last few hours between Stockton and Chicago, arriving in Chicago a little after noon. Parking is always tricky in large cities and we managed to find a large lot near the McCormick Place convention center. We had lunch and pulled out our Lyft app to grab a ride to the Cloud Gate public sculpture, a.k.a the big bean in Chicago. After exploring the bean with a few hundred other folks we strolled in the Millennium Park a bit eventually arriving at Crown Fountain – a really cool art installation/urban water feature.

From Crown Fountain we took the advice of our Lyft driver and headed to Garrett’s Popcorn for a snack and Argo’s Tea Café for a little liquid nourishment. A quick stop at Old Navy (because it was there) and then we headed to the Millennium Park again to play on an epic playground with huge slides, fun natural areas, cool interactive art, and sweet swings. With play time over and dinner approaching we grabbed a second Lyft and head to Chinatown for another great dinner. After dinner we found our way back to the mini home (via Lyft ride number 3) and headed east again. We decided to return to Vermont via a route through Canada. Eventually we stopped for the night at a Wal-Mart in Kalamazoo, MI.

July 14 Pictures:

Day 37 – July 15, 2016

Mileage – 81,907

Hiked – 0

Kalamazoo, MI

Day 37 was mostly driving, driving, driving. As we set out in the morning we had high hopes of reaching Toronto around dinnertime. We discussed trying to find the same Noodle restaurant in Chinatown we ate at a few years ago when visiting Toronto. However, as we approached Toronto the traffic became increasingly more congested and slow. After a quick family meeting we all opted to keep heading east with hope of closing the gap between home and us. We set our eyes on the Thousand Island area, perhaps with a quick stop to explore the islands in the morning. We settled in for the night, our very last night in the RV, in Kingston, Canada – in our first Canadian Wal-Mart.  There really weren’t any pictures on July 15.


Day 38 – July 16, 2016

Mileage – 82,444

Hiked – 0

Kingston, Ontario, Canada

The beginning of the end – our last day of travel. Jenney enticed the girls to get up early on with promises of a bakery in Kingston. So that’s what we did, we headed to Kingston, found the bakery, and bought a great assortment of pastries, bread, and some sandwiches for the road. Kingston looked like a pretty fun place to explore but everyone was feeling ready to get on the road and the days we looking a little gray, so we moved on. With plans to head straight home we were drawn to make one last tourist stop – the 1,000 Islands Tower in on Hill Island. This 400 foot tower offers some of the best views of the Thousand Island area. We leave the tower feeling glad we were able to get this perspective on the region, we all agree this is an area worth exploring more in the future.  The trip home to our state of Vermont is uneventful. We cross the boarder in the afternoon and make a stop a Jenney’s sister, Leslie’s home in Swanton for some quality time with Kegan, the newest addition to the family. We girls have fun visiting with Kegan and Bryce while Kevin and Dan tackling cleaning the gas burner of the RV refrigerator. From Leslie’s we head to Shelburne for the final stop of our long journey – dinner at Didi and Reese’s house. The girls are ecstatic to see Abbie and Kevin and Jenney are thankful for a relaxed simple dinner. We finally roll into our home at around 9:30 pm – final odometer reading – 82,733.

We have been on the road for 5 full weeks and have covered 9,456 miles.

July 16 Pictures: