(Sunday, March 3):Â Today we began the trip back to Ohio with Patty, her Jeep, the UHaul trailer, the two dogs, and two of the four cats.
The plan was for me (David) to drive the Jeep towing the trailer, with the dogs as my travel companions.Â Sue would follow in our vehicle with the two cats (Rainbow and Muse).Â Patty would ride in one of the vehicles and then switch to the other at stops along the way.
We woke up early and ate breakfast.Â Sue helped Patty finalize her packing, and also packed up our vehicle.Â I loaded the trailer and jeep, and Chris took the dogs for a walk.
The trailer and the Jeep are fully loaded in this shot.Â You can see how the front end of the Jeep appears elevated because of all the weight in the back.
Lady Bug and Trolley are all nestled in the Jeep for their journey across the country!
10:15 am CST:Â We said our final goodbyes to Chris and pulled away from Arbor Court.Â Sue recorded our vehicle mileage trip counter at 675 miles.Â (In other words, since leaving Cleveland on the 27th, we had travelled 675 miles.)Â Patty started the trip riding in the Jeep.
Here we are pulling into the I-70 East entrance ramp â€¦
On the road, heading towards Akron, Ohio!Â Funny timing for a picture.Â Two UHaul trailers side by side.Â Weâ€™re the UHaul in the right lane.
It wasnâ€™t until we were well on the road that Sue realized we had forgotten something.Â In all our preparations, we had neglected to fill up our own vehicle with gas!Â When she and I had arrived in Columbia, we simply parked in the driveway and never moved the car.Â Patty and Chris drove us around in their cars during our stay with them.Â Silly us to forget something so simple!
Sue also captured this M-I-Z-Z-O-U sequential billboard as we headed East:
~ 11:40 am CST:Â Stopped to gas up our vehicle after almost 70 miles on the road.Â We were near Wright City, Missouri, and stopped at a Shell station just off I-70.Â We gassed up both vehicles, and found the jeep was getting 12 miles to the gallon so far.Â (Chris said the norm was ~25 mpg).
I was concerned about the oil pressure gauge on the Jeep because it was out of acceptable range.Â We called Chris to report the status, and I checked the Jeep ownerâ€™s guide about what to do.Â I popped the hood, checked the oil level, and made sure the oil cap was tight.Â We started up again and the gauge went back into the correct range, so we hoped it was just an aberration (it was).
~ 12:13 pm CST:Â Back on the road, pulling away from the Shell station.
Sue was paying attention to highway signage and noticed we could take I-370 across the Missouri River instead of the route we took on our trip out to Columbia.Â When we made the trip West four days prior, we took I-270 West across the Missouri, and got caught in a big traffic backup because construction crews were rebuilding the westbound bridge.
We took the I-370 East bypass (which actually crosses the Missouri farther north), and maintained a steady 55 mph the entire time with no delays.Â Here we are crossing the Missouri River:
For her quick thinking and observant driving, Sue has officially earned â€œWife of the Yearâ€ from me.
1:07 pm CST:Â We crossed over the mighty Mississippi, leaving Missouri behind and entering Illinois.
1:35 pm CST:Â We decided to make a stop for lunch and to give the dogs some exercise.Â We were 144.1 miles and 3 hours, 20 minutes into our trip at this point.Â (Remember, we were driving 55 mph because of the trailer, and had already made one 33 minute gas fillup stop.)Â Temperature was 39 degrees F.
We stopped at the â€œSilver Lake Rest Areaâ€, ate sandwiches Chris had packed for us, and let the dogs out of the Jeep for a walk around the rest area.Â I consulted my maps to get the big picture of the next leg of our journey.
2:33 pm CST:Â Patty switched over to riding with Sue.Â We got back on the road, leaving the Rest Area behind.
3:46 pm CST:Â Arrived in Effingham, Illinois, to fill up the Jeep with petrol, take a bathroom break, and grab a quick bite to eat to tide us over for the next leg of the trip.Â We were 211.5 miles into our trip at this point.Â Temperature 38 degrees F.Â Jeep getting 16 mpg now.
This is the famous cross outside Effingham which we reported about back on Day 2 of the trip.
4:30 pm CST:Â Left Effingham, full tank in the Jeep, and got back on I-70 East towards Indianapolis.
5:35 pm CST / 4:35 pm EST:Â Crossed over from Illinois into Indiana and switched from Central Standard Time to Eastern Standard Time!
After crossing into Indiana (near Terre Haute), we were only 89 miles away from our stopping point for the night on the East side of Indianapolis.Â The dogs were sleeping fine, so we decided to push through and drive while we had as much daylight as possible.
Nigel (our GPS with the English accent) took us through downtown Indianapolis which looked nice at night.Â Fortunately it was late on a Sunday night, and traffic was light.
7:15 pm CST / 8:15 pm EST:Â Arrived at the La Quinta Indianapolis East for the night.Â (Almost all La Quinta hotels are pet-friendly.)Â This was the same hotel Sue and I stayed at on the way out to Columbia.Â Temperature 33 degrees F.Â We were 359 miles into our trip so far.
While Patty took the dogs for a walk, Sue and I emptied the vehicles of our travel luggage (and a few other items).Â It was late and we were hungry, so we went out to dinner at a â€œsteak and peanutsâ€ restaurant (Texas Roadhouse).Â Patty checked in with Chris, and with Mom & Dad Jaconetta.
We filled up both vehicles with petrol so that we could just get on the road in the morning without any delay.Â Found out the Jeep was getting almost 19 mpg, while our vehicle was getting close to 34 mpg (the best we’ve ever gotten … remember, Sue was driving at 55-60 mph and in the draft of the trailer the whole way).
After the vehicles were prepped, we packed it in for the night.Â Sue and I in one room, Patty and the animals in another.
Coming tomorrow â€¦ arrival in Akron!
More pictures below!Â (Click on any photo to enlarge)