First Time Traveling Long Distances – Bristol, Indiana

Back on the road… Sorry to leave the farm behind and a little nervous about trying to book travel as we go. I have read many posts about how folks don’t book their campsite until very close to the location… Many times just driving in and seeing what they have available. I wanted to give this a try as the allure is maximum freedom, but have been nervous about it all going horribly wrong since before we started the trip. We knew today would be a long day, as we had to get through Chicago. The idea was to follow the GPS and try to squeeze through avoiding rush hour traffic. Might have worked too, but a truck was broken down in the middle lane on the outer belt, leading to a traffic delay that had us hitting Friday afternoon rush hour. Not good :(. Lee and I have been switching off driving every two hours or so, which is working much better, and he got stuck with most of the Chicago traffic. He was a trooper though and while we were creeping along I started to look for campsites.

There aren’t any campsites close to Chicago, so I started looking around Gary, In. Unfortunately Notre Dame was a home game on Saturday and the campgrounds were treating it as a holiday weekend with a minimum 2 day stay. I think I dealt with the curve ball pretty well though, and we decided we would just need to go a little farther down the road. I found Eby’s Pines  Campground in Bristol, Indiana…right off route 80 with an off-season price of $37 per night. I didn’t want to risk just showing up, and I was glad I didn’t because the office closed at 8pm. The lady who checked me in over the phone was extremely nice, stating if we were late they would tape our pass and map to the office door.

Once out of Chicago I took my turn driving and we realized we were closer than we thought because right before Bristol we passed the time zone change and lost an hour. Still fewer miles is good and we made it by 7:30 right when we lost our light. The same woman was at the desk and she was very helpful and we went over to site 172. Lee had never setup the outside totally in the dark, but he got the head lamp out and got started. Unfortunately there was no water near the sewer pipe on this site and he had to stretch the hose to the site next to us. Thank heavens we carry extra hose, because the office was closed by the time we knew we had a problem. A really nice man at the site next to ours came over and offered his assistance and then invited us to hangout at their campfire. Great vibe at the campground with quiet laughter and lots of campfires surrounding us, but because of the water issue and extreme closeness of the sites have to rate it 2 out of 5 pinecones. Still worked good for a quick overnight.

I situated the inside pretty quick and then started the fire in the dark. I had thawed chicken and knew it would take a while to cook. Luckily, I had been hanging onto some instant rice which tasted great with the BBQ chicken and some slaw I threw together. Very filling and relatively easy. We were exhausted at this point and went to bed. Tomorrow is another travel day and hopefully less stressful.

Lessons Learned

  • Don’t drive through Chicago at rush hour
  • Use you Gas Buddy app to check gas prices well in advance.  They could vary as much as 50 cents per gallon state to state
  • Carry extra sewer hose
  • When booking campgrounds on the fly keep in mind the offices are not open 24/7 like a hotel
  • Check for local events around where you think you might say, could impact availability and price

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