Monday, June 21 (Driving through Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin)

The drive: When we left on Monday, we had two days to drive 17 hours to Badlands National Park, our first real stop. We were hoping to start out with a long day of driving and then a shorter drive on Tuesday so we could set up and see a bit of the Badlands before Tuesday night. In reality, we weren’t packed and ready to go until 4 pm, and after necessary side stops, we didn’t leave Michigan until almost 6. We were also tired, so a long night of driving wasn’t going to happen.

We made it past Chicago, only went as far as Milton and didn’t reach Madison like we’d hoped. We used the Google feature on the phone to find a campsite. If we had thought ahead and prepped the water so we had a bathroom, we might have joined the 5 or 6 campers we saw at a Wal Mart just off the highway, but without preparation, that wasn’t an option. At 9 pm, I called Hidden Valley RV Resort, and a woman answered by yelling very loudly, “I CAN’T TALK RIGHT NOW WE’RE HAVING A BIG STORM BYE!” and then hung up on me. Checking the radar, they were under a big red blob so we called back later and found out the area had been hit by an F2 tornado. For the first time all day, we felt lucky we were so slow to pack! We pulled in after midnight and had to weave through downed branches and tree limbs. We didn’t bother to use anything but electric and we didn’t pull anything out of the truck except overnight bags.

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