The First Travel Day (aka “Have you Made Friends with Construction Cones”)

So as the Tiny Sustainable Household started their trip East to Polyface Farms we expected to run into traffic delays because of road construction in Kansas. We had a hard winter with extreme bouts of “freeze/thaw” temperatures, which tears roadways apart in short order. The current running joke is “Europeans drive on the left, Topekans drive on what’s left”. If I remember correctly our state motto is “Welcome to Kansas, we’re under construction”. So we are used to construction delays in Kansas. We expected some delays in Missouri, both because of construction and traffic. Contrary to belief outside the Midwest, Kansas City and St. Louis are both major cities. Interstate 70 East between the two is the Midwestern equivalent to the I-5 mess between Portland, OR and Seattle, WA.

What the Mad Farmer did not expect was that the roadways in Indiana would be the best of the whole trip. For the most part, not many potholes in Indiana, things are patched well and the few places that did have construction underway were clearly marked, fairly short in duration (in Virginia we ran into construction zones that were 20 plus miles in length, with a top speed of between 55 mph and zero), and actively being worked on. Never thought I would say it but, “Kudos to Indiana”. So the point to this is we ran into construction zones early and often. A lot of sections of highway that weren’t under construction should have been. So the construction, combined with the rain delay in starting, meant that by the time it got past dark both travelers were weary and ready to stop for the night. We originally had hoped to stop in Lexington, KY. We made it to Evansville, IN the first night.

If you have never been to Evansville, IN it’s a pretty nice town. Evansville is the third largest city in Indiana , about 120,000 people – similar in size to Topeka, KS. We rolled into town about 10:30pm CST and managed to book the last room open at a La Quinta Hotel. La Quinta is in the Wyndham property group, think Days Inn, etc. Usually they are pretty clean, reasonably priced and offer a “continental breakfast”. Almost every hotel out there now offers some sort of “breakfast” for the traveler staying at their facility. If you really enjoy breakfast you might want to consider dining out somewhere else. This trip Miss Mercy and the Mad Farmer splurged on a stainless steel french press (shout out to Jack Spirko of the Survival Podcast and his “Item of the Day“). The press, along with a Hamilton Beach electric kettle that we got for $3 at an overstock store (thanks for the “heads-up” to our good friend Lady Erin of the Mad Shopping Skills), and a bag of our favorite “Seattle’s Best No. 5” we have had excellent coffee on this trip, no matter what “breakfast” is placed in our path

After what passed for “breakfast” the Farmer and Miss Mercy hit the road, and then, once we got into Kentucky and West Virginia, we hit even more road construction. The Farmer really wishes he could grow orange construction cones, he would be rich beyond his wildest dreams, but alas, he can’t. Given the delays, the fact that the trip did kickoff earlier than planned, and, a discussion while driving (many are had between the Farmer and Miss Mercy during these trips – it’s one of the best things about them). It was decided to stop in Staunton, VA and re-evaluate the travel plans instead of attempting to drive non-stop into Cape Charles, VA. So, at this point, where will the intrepid duo stay?

Next Up: I’ll Take “What’s Airbnb” for $100, Alex”

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