Travels with Bentley

Travels with Bentley
Bentley - our Heartland Bighorn

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Thursday, May 26 & Friday, May 27, 2016 - Assaria, KS and Seibert, CO - Traveling to Colorado Springs, CO with Haleigh & Dacy

Thursday, May 26, 2016 – Assaria, KS
Well today finally arrived.  Our two 14 year old granddaughters have been anxiously awaiting our trip to Colorado Springs, CO.  Both of them have been taking Driver’s Education since they got out of school (8th grade) for the summer.  Dacy has her last class today, so we picked her up at Columbus High School about 11:20 (fortunately she got out just a little early today).  Then we headed to her house to pick up her luggage.  It didn’t take long and we were back in Oswego by 11:50.  Dean was just finished hooking up Bentley.  We quickly stored Dacy’s luggage in Bentley, made a last trip in to the bathroom, and Dean turned off the water at our house and we were gone. 
Pulling out of Bentley's spot at our house!
They are calling for some significant storms all across Kansas today so we are watching it closely.  Our plans are to drive to just south of Salina, KS this afternoon stopping at Lakeside Recreation Campground near Assaria, KS.  As we got headed toward Wichita we could see the clouds building to the west.  We stopped at the rest area near Beaumont for a bathroom break and studied the radar app we have on our phones.  
This was the storm to the north/northeast of us.

This was what it looked like to the southwest.  
Our backup plan was to go to Wichita and spend the night if we didn’t think going on north would be safe.  We decided after watching the direction of the various cells we could make it to Assaria.  We took Hwy 400 on west and turned onto Hwy 77 heading north to El Dorado.  We traveled Hwy 96 from of El Dorado, passing Whitewater (Dede I thought of your mom and dad as we drove by) and soon hit I-35.  We skirted every single storm that came our way and we drove through very little rain except for about 15 minutes north of Newton (thought of my friends Denise in Newton, and John in North Newton).

As we neared McPherson we saw this sign along the highway, and I was waving to you Bill as we passed McPherson.  We were having a little rain at this time.
We no sooner arrived at Lakeside than it started to rain again, and then it began to hail.  Fortunately, the hail was quite small and lasted a very short time, less than a minute.  We were able to get set up after that and made it inside as quickly as possible hoping we would not be in the line of any serious storms for the night. 

These pictures are of the same storm.  We started watching it just north of McPherson near the rest area and the last is how it looked as we pulled off I-135 to the Lakeside Recreation Park.

I made chili for dinner.  It seemed fitting for a cool, rainy night.  We watched some TV.  The girls were getting tired, so they found a movie (Shrek 4) to watch.  Dean and I retreated to the bedroom to watch our TV.  Once you make out the couch bed, there really isn’t much room to set in the living room.  I was up until about 10:30 watching the weather on TV and my phone but again every storm stayed to one side or the other of our site.  What a blessing and many thanks to God for keeping us safe.
Picture from Bentley at our campsite.  The blue in the background is a large slide they have that runs into the lake.  Looks like it would be lots of fun.

The lake was beautiful Friday morning before we left on the next leg of our journey.  The sun was really trying hard to bust through those clouds.
The campground was sufficient for an overnight stay for us.  It is actually a members only campground but they do have a section to accomodate travelers which is really nice.  The road into the campground was sand and very rutted.  I was a little on edge in how we tried to hurry down the road with it so bumpy, but we could see the weather was going to hit soon and we really wanted to be at least parked in a spot first.  It had water and electric hookup and with the Passport America rate was only $15.  The area where overnight travelers park seemed to have a few long-term sites as well. The gentleman who works there came out to meet us and got us right into a site before the skies opened up.  We set in Bentley waiting for it to let up before we leveled and put out the slides.  We were in Site #1 and we would use this as an overnight site again. It was 69 and raining when we arrived and at 8:35 Friday morning it was 62 and overcast. 

Friday, May 28, 2016 – Seibert, CO
This morning when we woke up, we decided to get around as soon as possible in order to make it to our next destination early in the afternoon.  Storms are expected there late this afternoon and we want to try and make it before they hit.  Fortunately, from what we can tell, none of them are expected to be severe.  We left the park about 8:35. 

In no time we were passing around Salina and onto I-70 headed west.  Just a few miles later I noticed this large herd of buffalo on the south side of the road.

Buffalo herd.

About 20 miles down the road I noticed a deer running toward the highway and told Dean to watch for it.  He was able to slow down quite a bit, but not enough.  We thought the deer was going to make it across the road and we’d miss it all together, but it turned and ran back in front of us.  We believe we just clipped his hind leg but enough it must have broke it, as we could find no damage on the truck or Bentley.  Dean crawled underneath and looked around and everything seemed to be fine.
Unfortunately, the deer was injured and was laying in the inner lane of westbound traffic.  It was too dangerous to try and do anything between traffic, which was very heavy with the start of the holiday weekend and the fear of a wounded animal that may not take very well to someone trying to move it.  We called the Highway Patrol and they sent an officer out.  Dean saw the officer arriving just as a small car hit the deer.  I guess their car was not damaged because they went right on down the road, never stopping.  That was a sad moment for all of us.  The officer removed the deer from the roadway.  Dean told the officer he could not find any damage to our vehicle or rig.  He told us if we did find something later, we could call back to report it.  He took our tag number and some minor information in case a report was needed at a later date.

Not too far down the road, I noticed we were losing the Wichita radio station I was listening to for the local weather news yesterday, so I turned it to XM radio.  Dean noticed after I made this change the Navigational system was no longer showing up and wanted to know what happened to it, so I changed it back to the navigational system for him but had to make the remark, are you afraid you’ll get lost even though you don’t have to turn for the next 265 miles?  That got a bit of a snicker out of him.  That is our only turnoff for the day except for bathroom stops at rest areas along I-70.  I don’t think we’ll get lost on today’s drive.

Speaking of getting lost, Dean and I do not look at missing a turn, or not knowing exactly where we are going as being lost - but as a new adventure.  We are never "really" lost!  We have found that since we look at it like this it makes traveling much easier.

We had a long but uneventful trip the rest of the way.  I actually enjoy riding across Kansas and seeing the wide open spaces and the rolling hills.  It was also fun to see what towns were along the highway and it made me think of all my clerk friends, both former and current who serve(d) in these cities over the years.  Dean and I really want to travel Kansas soon and hit all of the interesting stops we have read about. 

Wide Open Spaces

Beautiful Kansas Countryside

Cattle on the hillsides.
 Everytime I see cattle on a hillside of any kind I always think of the song "He Owns the Cattle on a Thousand Hills".

He owns the cattle on a thousand hills,
The wealth in every mine;
He owns the rivers and the rocks and rills,
The sun and stars that shine.
Wonderful riches, more than tongue can tell -
He is my Father so they're mine as well;
He owns the cattle on a thousand hills -
I know that He will care for me.

A lone windmill.

Abandoned homestead - somewhat haunting but still beautiful.

About 35-50 miles out of Seibert we could see storm clouds building and we could see there was extremely heavy rain to the south of us.  I am so thankful we did not have to drive through it.  It looked like a huge gray curtain hanging from the sky.  It made me wonder if this was the kind of rain that hit Oswego in our big wind storm on 4th of July several years ago.  We were not home but that’s how everyone described it.

When we arrived here at the Shady Grove Campground, the owner wanted to know if we had missed the big hail storm.  Thank goodness we did!  Tonight could be a long evening, as we have very little cell signal, with  an occasional 3g, alternating between 1 and no bars, and no internet service.  While I do have a hotspot on my phone it’s near the end of our plan and I want to save it in case we need it later.  I sent both parents a note we made it and turned it off.  The girls have been great and found a movie from our small collection to watch.  Sure glad we’ll have all of the hookups for the next 5 nights!  Of course, once we are there with lots to do, we won’t care what’s on TV. 

I made orange chicken and rice for dinner tonight.  I think we’ll all get a really good night’s sleep and we are in no rush to leave in the morning since we can not check in until after lunch.  We’ll leave here about 10:30 or so for our last 2 hour drive.

The girls watching a little TV after dinner.

After our dinner tonight Dean needed to get fuel for the truck so we decided to take a little ride around town as well.  Seibert is a small but neat community.  It sits just off of I-70 and there is a nice size truck stop/gas station on the south side of the interstate.  As we headed toward the interstate overpass we could see cars and trucks were backed up as far as we could see in the eastbound lane. There is a work zone just east of Seibert that is only one lane and we were afraid an accident may have occurred.  With it being Friday of Memorial Day weekend I was saying a prayer that no one was seriously injured no matter what the situation was.
Eastbound traffic east of overpass.

Eastbound traffic west of the overpass.

When we pulled into the truck stop there was a large group of motorcyclists.  We had ran into this group twice along the way - first just 4 cycles, and later at a rest stop where they had met up with a few more.
Motorcycle group.  I'm glad I wasn't on one of these during all of this weather today.  

After our drive around town we stopped at the local grocery to pick up a couple of things.  I asked the ladies working there if they knew what happened on the Interstate to have traffic backed up so badly. Someone had been in earlier and told them there had been a really bad hail storm that caused vehicles to go off the road and impeded travel.  I'm not sure how we missed this but I am so thankful and give praises to God that we were not there when it happened.  I thought later it was funny the RV park owner knew about it when we turned in, so it must have happened right after we went through the area.

The lady at the grocery also told us the entire area was under a tornado watch for the evening - great! We thought we had passed that.  I asked how we would know if there was one sited and she told us they had sirens and my next question was where should we go.  She indicated their school was the designated storm shelter.  Fortunately within and hour or two the sun was shining.  I was glad of this because after we returned to the rv park, I tried to check out the weather in our area with my internet hotspot and could never get a connection again.  But, with clear skies, we all slept well tonight not having to worry about the weather.

This campground was sufficient for an overnight stop as well.  Before the evening was over at least 3 or 4 other RV's pulled in for the night as well.  The folks who owned the park live on site and were very pleasant.  They too offered a Passport America rate and it was $18.  They provided full hook-ups which the girls appreciated since they could shower a little longer.  We were in site #4.  We also found out when we returned from the grocer they have a full basement so we would not have to drive to the school in case of severe weather.  While we might stop here again ourselves, I would not want to do it with children again due to the lack of cell phone and internet service.  It was a bit unnerving having our grandchildren and not having a way to contact anyone if needed.

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