Day One, September 13, Mileage 747
Despite leaving late yesterday, I still made it almost 750 miles, arriving at 10:00pm at a nice little county campground near Junction City, Kansas, right on the shores of the biggest lake in Kansas. It was deserted and I chose a site overlooking the lake. There was a very pleasant breeze and enjoyed a few moments of fresh air before deciding to turn in.
However, I realized that in between the gusts of wind, the site was dominated by mosquitos. It was too warm (mid 70s) to sleep in the car with the windows up, so I dragged out the tent and settled down for a good first night’s sleep.
Then the lightning started flashing. Numbed with sleep, I roll over and see that the forecast is still only 10% chance of rain. The thunderstorm, small and isolated, was the only one in all of Kansas, so I put my earplugs in and eyeshade on. That lasted until it started to rain.
Long story short, if you look up the radar history of Junction City, Kansas on the night of September 12th, you will notice a blob of rain that continued to grow through the whole night. It didn’t move, and continued to lighting, thunder, and rain all night. Another 25 miles down the road and I would have been fine.
At the first light of dreary dawn, I dragged myself from the damp tent (bought used over 8 years ago, definitely not waterproof…), took down the tent in the rain, and headed over to the showers to get clean for another day’s drive.
And this story is why I don’t camp in the east. You have mosquitoes and rain, or like this night, both. No camping under the stars, no camping in a vehicle unless you have screens, no leisurely sitting around in the evening reading a book without massive applications of smelly and sticky repellent.
I have been spoiled by the west, and that is why I am heading back.
Destination tonight: Littleton, Colorado to visit my Aunt and Uncle!