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From Arizona to Wisconsin: Our Epic Road Trip (Part 1) - Arizona to Iowa: A Daily Diary of Our Adventure - June 2023

An illustrated travel map titled 'From Arizona to Wisconsin: Our Epic Road Trip Part 1.' The map highlights the road trip route from Phoenix, Arizona, to Grants, New Mexico; Amarillo, Texas; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and Polk City, Iowa, with markers indicating city stops along the way. The background features a map of the United States, and around the map are polaroid-style photos of various locations and landmarks visited on the trip, including an RV park, a city welcome sign, and a wooden bear holding a 'Welcome' sign. A time indication on the map shows '22 hr 33 min' as the total driving time for the trip.

Introduction and Pre-Trip Planning:

Get ready as we embark on a quick cross-country journey from Arizona to Wisconsin. It all started with a revelation about my dad's 70th High School Reunion in Wisconsin. What began as a simple trip idea evolved into a family caravan, with trailers in tow, cruising towards uncharted territories.

Our trailers, a mix of nostalgia and excitement, were about to tackle our longest journey yet. My parents, once seasoned travelers in a 40-foot Beaver motorhome, now embrace their cozy 17-foot travel trailer. The planning kicked off, and my mother took charge, plotting our course using an ancient Good Sam RV resort book.

They aimed for a leisurely pace, driving only 6-7 hours a day and staying just one night at each stop. Crazy? Perhaps. But it was their trip, and we were more than eager to join the adventure. Little did we know, this road trip would be a crash course in 5th-wheel maneuvering and an exploration of the beauty scattered across state lines.

We figured this would also give us more experience with hooking and unhooking our 5th wheel. Who knew backing up a 5th wheel could be such a test of love and patience? Communication is so important when backing up a 5th wheel, and we forgot the crucial lesson in marital communication. I love my husband, but sometimes we are not on the same page with our hand signals.

Of course, before this trip, we inspected everything on our 5th wheel. During the inspection, we found some small cracks and holes in the roof, which we patched up. We also fixed some staples that were coming up on the roof, and cracks in the AC cover, cleaned the coils to the AC, and replaced the TV cables with the antenna. Then we double-checked everything was working and started packing for our trip.

Day 1-3: Arizona to Oklahoma:

The journey kicked off and we hooked up our 5th wheel and rolled over to my parent's house. Before we started on our journey, my mom informed us that she did not want to go any faster than 55 mph. While following my parents, we realized why my mom did not want to go any faster. There were a lot of gusty winds, and it was rocking my parents' trailer, which made us a little nervous seeing it swerve side to side.

Our first notable stop was Grants, New Mexico, nestled between Flagstaff and the state line. The mountains and scenery were beautiful. Lava Land RV Park , our home for the night, was conveniently located off the highway, offering full hookups, clean bathrooms, and level RV pads. The only downside of this park was some low-hanging tree branches, which we were able to avoid. Since we arrived late and were tired, we missed out on the brewery experience that was at the RV park. Early the next morning, we headed out to Texas.

Amarillo, Texas, welcomed us next, where we made a pit stop at Overnite RV Park. Right off the highway and adjacent to a truck stop, the park had level RV pads, ample shade, and a playground, but was slightly lacking in cleanliness. It was a brief respite before heading to Oklahoma City.

Twin Fountains RV Park in Oklahoma City provided more than just a place to rest. As a storm loomed, we were given directions to storm bunkers due to possible tornadoes and hail. The storm hit hard, offering a thrilling experience not typical of our Arizona adventures. Amidst the excitement, the RV park stood out with its pool, jacuzzi, miniature golf, kids' play area, and various amenities that made us contemplate a return visit.

Day 4-8: Kansas & Iowa Explorations:

Kansas beckoned, and we opted for the scenic route to Melvern, using the county roads. It was really nice seeing all the open farmland, but this route took a lot longer than expected. Arrow Rock Park, located by Melvern Lake and managed by the Corps of Engineers, became our tranquil home for three days. With RV spots offering only water and electricity, it was a serene retreat despite a couple of fallen branches from a tree at my parents' campsite. The rangers' quick response and friendliness added a touch of humor to our stay. We really enjoyed our stay here, sitting by the lake watching the ducks, taking walks along the lake and around the campground admiring the beautiful flowers in the area.

Moving on to Polk City, Iowa, we found ourselves at Bob’s Shelter near Saylorville Lake. The RV spots offered 30 amp service, and the bathrooms were clean but a bit humid. The sites were level, spacious, and shaded, making our two-day stay a delightful pause. Exploring Des Moines, we enjoyed the quaint courthouse and the city's charm, reminiscent of a bigger downtown Glendale. The Heartland had us captivated.

Conclusion for Road Trip Blog Post Part 1:

Eight days in, exhaustion mixed with exhilaration. Lessons learned - never rush a road trip. The varied states revealed beautiful landscapes and charming cities. As novice travelers, unlike my parents, every state brought a new surprise. The trip, though demanding, was an unforgettable bonding experience with my parents, setting the stage for the next leg of our epic journey.


Part 2 Coming July 5th!!


Take a Piece of the Trip:

Explore our collection of puzzles featuring stunning photos from our adventure and fun Tinman merch.



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