OK, so if you’re following these blogs in chronological order, we have just left Wyoming and are making our final trek into TN. We first have to drive our daily 16 hours to Burlington Colorado and sleep there for the night. SIDE NOTE: The year before we travelled to Yellowstone with this RV and I was in charge of reserving the RV camp sites along the way. At the end of the trip it was decided that I was at 100% in terms of location, ease of parking, naturally beautiful surroundings as well as safety at the site. I had earned the right to be in charge of all RV site procurement for future trips. I felt pretty damn confident in planning this journey to TN and with 2 camp sites down I was still at 100%----that was until we landed in St. Louis Missouri.
Now, in my defense, I had chose KOA (Kampgrounds Of America) locations for 80% of the trip. These are great sites with clean restrooms/showers and easy areas to park the rig as well as a good sense of feeling safe. Unfortunately, not all of the states we were stopping in for the night had KOA’s available, so I chose (based on reviews) some owner-run sites….like the one in MO. As we entered the St. Louis area at about 9pm we started to get the feeling we were no longer in Kansas (pun intended) and started to get a little worried. We found ourselves in an industrial area full of oil refineries that really didn’t cater much to an RV rig pulled by a monster Ford F-250 truck. It was dark, had poor lighting and when we finally found the site, we panicked. We had to maneuver into a small back-in site surrounded by many other RV’s. Imagine trying to fit a square peg into a round hole and you’ll get my drift.
After what seemed like an eternity to park the rig, we were hungry (actually HANGRY at this point) and decided to walk the main street to find food. After walking towards the street and seeing the surroundings we decided to try 1 spot that was open within steps from the camp site. You see, My husband Gene is a big Hawaiian guy and feels comfortable enough to handle a dangerous situation—basically shows no fear—so we entered this establishment confident in our mission. Within the first 2 steps in, I swear everything stopped, the music, the talking and everyone swiveled in their chairs to see what the cat had dragged in. We attempted our best Aloha smiles and greetings only to be shot down immediately with the infamous “The kitchen is closed”. We both could smell the food cooking, but retreated quickly only to find ourselves back at the RV and even more HANGRY, which is not a good look for a loving couple trying to enjoy their trip across the US.
It was now 11pm, so we unhooked the truck and drove off in search of food. Google open food near me found a fast food establishment about 3 miles away. We drove through abandoned businesses and fog laden streets to find ourselves at a Rally’s drive-thru. We ordered and proceeded to watch with horrid fascination through the window. The place was filthy, trash all over the floor and teenage kids running the joint. We got our food and ate with such apprehension (will this come back to haunt me during the night? How close to the RV were those bathrooms again? Did I need a damn code to get in said bathrooms?) We didn’t even waste time enjoying the fact that we were actually, finally eating. We drove back and decided we weren’t going to hook up the rig, sleep a few hours and get the F*#@ out of there at first light!
AND what a difference a day makes! We woke up to a beautifully landscaped RV park, equipped with big trees and singing birds….what the hell? We really thought we dreamt the entire last night’s shenanigans until we started driving out of the park. Yep…. Still industrial and still not RV-driving friendly roads that took us surprisingly close to the Arch and all through the city of St. Louis. We made it through and Pigeon Forge was in our sight and the last stop for a few weeks. Whew….but now my 100% rating fell to a measly 75% (which is still a passing C grade in school…..right?) I did have 5 sites on the return trip to try and make up that percentage, so I wasn’t too worried….maybe….stay tuned for those posts!