Day 1

Champaign, Illinois to Elk City, Oklahoma

Click on any link that has a double underline to see a picture that we took related to the text. It's worth it! To view the pictures by themselves (and larger versions of the pictures) choose the pictures link above. Be sure to read the back story on the main page to understand the history of the trip.

May 15, 2006 Got up at 5:20. Started walking to the outdoor recreation center at 6am. I called Mom while I was walking. She had asked me the night before to call. It rained on me a bit on the way. I got to the rec center and met people. Fabio was arriving via taxi as I walked up. He is working on his PhD in Computer Engineering, and is from Brazil. I had met him the previous Friday when I had brought in my backpack for loading. He is taking a semester off from his university to come here to UIUC and do research in real time systems. Bob McGrew is the guide. Lucky is from Chicago, and graduated 3 or 4 years ago. He forgot to bring his boots. David, whom I had also met the previous Friday just finished his sophomore year in Mechanical Engineering. Rachael is studying abroad (she's from England) in Physics. And, she has been on several Campus Rec trips. Nick just finished his MS in Accounting. He is going to work for Price Waterhouse Cooper in Chicago in July. He's studying for his CPA test right now. Song, from South Korea, is also studying in Finance. We had a brief meeting before getting into the van to just welcome people and lay down some brief ground rules for the trip (be on time, don't poke around, that sort of thing).

We stopped at the Subway in St. James, Missouri for lunch. I had a 6" turkey breast sandwich with Baked Lays chips and a diet soda. Bob filled the van up with fuel while we were getting food. Nick wore his Campus Rec backpack into the subway. It looked rather amusing. It has finally quit raining. It rained on us most of the way from Champaign.

Stopped in Stafford, MO for a bathroom break.

Corn in Oklahoma is about 9 inches high. In Champaign-Urbana it was closer to 1-2 inches high. The clouds are nice in Oklahoma. They have good definition. Lately in Champaign it has just been grey.

Larry (my brother, who drives an 18 wheeler) called as we were going through the tollbooth at Big Cabin, Oklahoma. He was in Joplin, Missouri, about 50 miles behind us.

Wendy's for supper west of Oklahoma City. Had a cheeseburger and a side salad.

8:00pm, around sunset. Loud noise. Tire blowout. Luckily, the van is a dually, so Bob still had pretty good control. We pulled off to the side of the road and had to figure out where we were. We were pretty close to the KOA we thought, but a check of the nearest mile marker (thanks, 400mm lens!) revealed that we were actually 26 miles from the KOA in Elk City. So, we figured we had better change the flat before going on in. Bob and friends scoped out the right-of-way and decided to pull the van off onto a side road. Once there, we posted lookouts to watch for oncoming cars and proceeded to change the tire. It went pretty quick. When the tire blew, it did leave a mess of black "stuff" on the side of the van. Oh well. As luck would have it, the tire blew out right next to a wind farm

780 miles driven (all by Bob).

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