We spent 5 days at the Grand National Rally (GNR). The first day we took a bus tour to the Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University in Ames, IA and Boone, IA for the Scenic Valley train ride. It rained at the gardens which made for a hurried tour of the outside gardens. Inside they had a butterfly garden with lots of butterflies flying about. The rain stopped for the train ride and museum tour. The train was pushed and pulled by a 1950's vintage diesel engine and we rode in the tail end dining car where an excellent lunch was served. At the rally we were in a row with the View Navions as well as the Minnie Winnies. Several friends were there that we had known at other rallies. At former GNRs four motor homes were placed in a cluster awning to awning. The crew placing units seemed to have forgotten about this and just placed units mostly front to back. The social mixing was far less than before. We had two incidents. First was a flat tire (picked up a small screw) which allowed us to check out the tire pressure monitor which worked well. The tire went flat in the park. I called CoachNet and a truck was dispatched from Albert Lea 40 miles away. The two man crew fixed the tire properly by removing it from the rim and putting a plug on the inside. Having a spare tire (the Trend doesn't carry a spare) would not have made any difference. The second incident happened early one morning when a storm with high winds came through. It lifted our flag pole out of its mounts and fell on an adjacent motorhome splitting the pole in half. There was no damage to the other motorhome but it did scare the owners up out of their beds. The pole was toast but I was able to get a new one at a discount from the company that makes these poles. They exhibit every year at the GNR. The photo shows the entertainment on the last night by American English. They played Beatles and dressed in Beatles costumes.
Mark Twain Cave
On our way back to Murray we spent the first night in Hannibal, MO, at the Mark Twain cave. This was the place he wrote about in Tom Sawyer. We had an excellent tour of the cave with about 15 other people. The park was pretty muddy after all the rain but we survived and weren't flooded out. The map shows the many rooms arranged in a grid. You could easily get lost in this cave.
Hawn State Park
The next night we found Hawn State Park near St. Genevieve, MO. It was first class. Large paved campsites with power and a stream that ran right behind us. It's a great place for hikers with steep hills.
During this trip the Trend got a good workout travelling 2,586 miles. We used 187 gallons of gas and averaged 13.8 mpg. Most of the driving was at 65 mph.
Alan V. Cecil
Folks, I come to you via the AGLCA...reading your postings is fun for me as I continue my caregiving responsibilities here in Hampton Roads. I await resuming my America's Great Loop quest in a few years.... Meanwhile, your 13.5 mpg in your TREND.....the unannounced might think this is a horrible expense in traveling...Whoa! Just imagine traveling in a 40 ft trawler seeing the waterfront areas of the Good Old USA....and calculate the fuel costs for bringing your home along! Love your spirit of adventure and sharing. Carry on! Alan
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