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“Stepping up” to a long travel day


Thursday, 8/1/2013

Hickory Hollow Campground

Utica, IL

We left Camp Timber Lake today, Thursday, 8/1, without knowing for sure just how far we were going to travel.  We’ve been having some problems with our outside steps.  The weld on one end of the support arm had broken causing the steps to flex whenever we used them.  Even with some additional support, this flexing caused one of the pivot pins to break. I repaired the broken pivot pin successfully and was hoping we would be able to delay repairs until our summer travels were completed.  But then another pivot pin broke and the steps were becoming too dangerous to use.  Our friends, Jim and Dee (Tumbleweed), and Jim and Linda (Blaine’s Barks), had each made recent visits to Fox RV for various repairs, and both gave good reviews on their respective blogs.  So I called Fox RV on Monday, 7/29, with hopes of getting an appointment sometime during the week.  As luck would have it, they had an opening on Thursday, 8/1, at 10:30 in the morning!  This worked out great for us since Thursday was our scheduled departure day anyway.

We got a nice early start (for us) about 8:15 and drove about an hour and a half to Fox RV in Middlebury, IN.

We arrived 15 minutes early, and they got started on the steps right away.

It was decided that they would install a new to us (used) complete step assembly that they had in stock instead of repairing our existing step assembly.  They also reattached a vertical slide seal at the rear of our living room slide that had become detached. 

Not knowing how long the repairs would take, I came up with three different travel plans for today consisting of three different destinations: close by, not so close by, and what was I thinking!  Well they got everything completed by about 1 P.M., and we had a decision to make.  Even though we had already traveled about 1.5 hours to Fox RV, we decided to go for it and head for “what was I thinking” more than three hours away!

By the way, our experience at Fox RV was great!  They got right on it and completed the repairs in a timely manner.  The cost of the repairs were very reasonable.  We got out of there for under $100!!!  If we’re ever near Middlebury, IN, and we need some repairs done, we’ll be calling Fox RV.

“What was I thinking” is Hickory Hollow Campground near Utica, IL.  Most sane, normal people would have taken I-80 West all the way to Utica.  Not us!  Being the frugal person that I am, I decided I wanted to avoid the toll road and the heavy Chicagoland  traffic.  So we drove west on U.S. 20 to South Bend, south on U.S. 31 to Plymouth, west on U.S. 30 to New Lenox, and then west on I-80 to Utica.  The area we travelled through on U.S. 30 is VERY metro with lots of stop-and-go lights and city driving conditions.  The road was easily navigational for our rig… but very slow going at times because of the heavily populated areas and traffic.  Depending on traffic conditions, the I-80 route vs. the U.S. 30 route that we took could have saved us about 1.5 hours.  Again, that’s assuming no traffic backups on I-80.  Either way would have been an ordeal, thus the name “what was I thinking.”  Our normal travel day is three hours or less.  This marathon day was a total of 9.5 hours including the 1.5 hour trip up to Fox RV before the repairs, 3 hours at Fox RV, and then 5 hours from Fox RV to Hickory Hollow including a stop for fuel for a total of 259.5 miles!  One of the reasons we decided to go so far was because we would be entering the Central time zone and gain an hour.  It may look good on the clock, but it was still a looong day for us!!!

Hickory Hollow is a nice campground for an overnight stop.  It’s a Passport America park with the P.A. rate available Sunday-Thursday.  Our site was $18.50 for our Thursday night stay.  We have full hookups and an end site with a nice sized “yard” on our door side.

Our site, B6, is very long.  It’s so long we could have easily parked another vehicle, possibly two more, on the site!

Because it was an extremely long day for us and the cats, we were all very glad to finally get to “what was I thinking” and relax!

Tomorrow, Friday, 8/2, is another travel day to Iowa, but thankfully not nearly as far as today.


  1. Glad to see Fox RV "stepped" up and gave you a great price on those repairs. Nice to win one! :c)

    Gotta' love Passport America!

  2. "What was I thinking?"....we've been there too! Glad you got your repairs and back on the road.

  3. OH man, I wish I had known that you were considering US30. In a former life, I used to live about 3 blocks from 30 about 15 miles into Illinois from Indiana. Haven't been up that way for years because of all the congestion and even a few bad neighborhoods.
    Glad you made it safe and sound.

    Safe travels,

    Jim and Linda

  4. We have stayed at that campground many times! It's a great point to turn east when we are visiting family in WI :)

    Hope everything turned out OK for you.

  5. We did 188 today and I thought that was more than enough. You two are starting to sound like you may be catching PDD. Better be really careful this fall when he's so close. Glad to hear the repairs turned out so well. Nothing like good service and a reasonable price.

  6. Sounds like you had a long day. Glad the steps are fixed. We had our steps decide to come out on a busy highway with those cement dividers.... boy that was fun. Relax and enjoy a few days with full hookups.

  7. Shoot, that's a walk in the park to us :) It only took us 8 days to get from CA to PA!

  8. We usually just pay the tolls on the interstate, our cats like the shorter days.