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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Some Days We Outsmart Ourselves

Today dawned sunny, warm and lucky for us, much less wind. So off we went.

Looking over our intended route, we decided to abandon I-80 because looming up ahead were…TOLLS!

I’ve driven this route before and coughed up a princely sum to pay for road improvements (where are they?).  Not wanting to contribute more money to state highway trust funds and having plenty of time to get nowhere in particular, we decided to travel some back roads.

We went through some small cities, some smaller towns, all the while watching the speed (trap) limits, wondering where some (any) of that road repair money was spent.

Further along, we got out in the boonies, seeing empty cornfield after cornfield.  We realized the farmers of America do plant quite a bit of corn.

Then we got really lucky.  We got to observe one of America’s hardworking farmers on the job.  On the road.  In front of us.  At  20 mph.  For a little over 15 miles.


There was never a clear shot to pass the gent and his equipment.  So we followed and I got a chance to thoroughly analyze each hose, wheel, blade, tank and other parts that made up this amazing machine.


Just goes to show that sometimes you just need to slow down and smell the cow manure.  ;c)

When the farmer finally turned off, I noticed he was driving a huge, fancy John Deere tractor which probably cost more than our Journey.  I’m sure he had the finest country music blasting in his air conditioned cab.  The tractor was so beautiful, it would have given Rick the urge to trash his new walk behind mower and run right out and get his own John Deere riding tractor.

I missed taking a picture of the tractor, so I found this one just like it on the internet.


Our intended (and only) campground along our route was filled to capacity for a Blue Grass music festival.  Onward.

We decided to blacktop boondock at an unusual location for us, a Cracker Barrel in Auburn, Indiana.  We had dinner and received permission to overnight in their lot.  Oh darn, we’ll just have to suffer through their breakfast in the morning.  Twist my arm.

During the trip, we refueled at a Pilot truck stop.  Indiana is sneaky.  They posted $3.89/gallon for diesel.  I went inside and had $100 worth authorized to the pump.  When I turned the pump on, it read $4.19/gallon!  Checking into it, I found out the advertised price is for trucks that have a road tax stamp, meaning they pay ahead an annual fixed tax rate and get a cheaper price at the pump.  The rest of us get hosed (pun intended).

Looking over the day, we traveled 223 miles.  We didn’t pay tolls, but with the slower speed, the Journey most of the time was running in lower gears instead of overdrive, we used more fuel, so it was a wash.

But we got to see some amazing cornfields.  And some more amazing cornfields.  And some more amazing cornfields.  And some more… well, you get the idea.  ;c)

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.



  1. We paid our share of the Indiana fuel tax ten days ago and like you said the advertised price is different than what you pay at the pump. Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  2. Well at least you gave second and third gear a good workout:)

  3. Be sure and check out the Cord Museum while you are in town.

  4. Seems you're having some trouble with your true PDD self??? Put in a CD and belt out "On the Road Again" the next time you're behind a tractor...

  5. My oldest son was in the Coast Guard for 7 years - the smartest decision he ever made. Now works in federal law enforcement. The Coast Guard is such a small service, I hoped that he knew you but no. Love your blog and hope to meet you someday.

  6. LOL at your slow 223 miles. That's a killer day for me. Although you are giving me some pause. I have been trying to decide whether to take the PA Turnpike for a direct 171 miles from where we are to where we are going. I mean direct, within 5 miles of each stop OR do 195 to travel the back roads which in Pennsylvania seem to be in about the same condition as the turnpike. I've never seen such bad roads as here. At least I won't have to look at so much corn and most of it GMO no doubt.

  7. Paul I can't believe that you didn't know about the commercial fuel pricing in IN. I'm trying to avoid fueling in IN altogether. Prices too high.
    I would have loved to have seen you "puttering" along behind that tractor.

  8. It's good to slow down and "smell the roses" and all those great farm "scents" along the way.

    Enjoy your breakfast!

  9. If I was going to trade my walk behind Toro mower for a John Deere ride-em, I'd want something a little bigger than that one you were following!!

  10. Fifteen miles at 20 miles an hour - that works out to a lot of aggravation for sure.

  11. Look what all you would have missed had you stayed on the freeway. No manure to smell and no tractor to follow would be two of those things. We've never stayed at a Cracker Barrel but know plenty who have. I guess you just need to prioritize whether you'd rather shop at Walmart or eat at Cracker Barrel. Free isn't always free.

  12. slow and steady wins the race?..sometimes those country roads are the way to go!!

  13. We love the country roads, tractors and farm smells. Reminds us of home. I find it so relaxing to just slow down watch the country side as opposed to the raging traffic.

  14. The farmer could have been listening to Mozart, but probably not.

  15. That great piece of equipment is a planter and its value rivals the Journey as well. It is all computer controlled and monitored to deliver the exact amount of seed into the exact spot.
    I would never mind paying tolls if I could be assured of paying for a smooth road. I would pay 50 bucks to get across LA on a smooth road!

  16. ... and more cornfields; not to mention the back end of the rig the farmer was driving ;-)

  17. Oh yeah, the first time that we got fuel in Indiana, George had a fit :) It can get very frustrating stuck behind any kind of farm vehicle. I guess you have to be patient :)

  18. Welcome to Indiana. Yes, I have seen the prices advertised by major truck stops to be less than honest. I guess they think the trucker know the deal. What I hate too is the extra cost to use a CC vs the cash prices. Too bad the farmer wasn't thinking about backing up traffic, I was always taught to pull off at a good spot and let the traffic pass by.
    Enjoying your blog.
    Norm - (The Veterans Service guy)

  19. Did you know most of the toll roads (and shipping ports) are run by foreign countries? I80 is run by companies from Spain and Australia . .. Amazing! (googled)
    It is owned by the Indiana Finance Authority and operated by the Indiana Toll Road Concession Company, a joint-venture between Spanish Cintra Concesiones de Infraestructuras de Transporte and Australian Macquarie Atlas Roads

  20. " I got a chance to thoroughly analyze each hose, wheel, blade, tank and other parts that made up this amazing machine."

    I think I loved this sentence the best. It's comical and wonderful. Something you may have never seen!
    We are getting our new to us 2004 CC Allure next week then we will be out seeing the special things.

  21. Sounds like a nice trade off to me (slow & country vs fast & city). As far as tolls, they are crazy sometimes. We recently drove through Indiana and at one time we were directed to get off and then get right back on to stay on the route we were going. We paid $8 for that mistake! But it's all part of the adventure, isn't it? :-)

  22. We learned a long time ago to NEVER, EVER fuel up in Indiana :) We fill before we cross that state line and then, again, once we leave. There was one station in Goshen that gives RVers the truck rate, but I don't know if they still do. That was 3 years ago.