We're getting Austin sleep-trained. He's finally sleeping through the night (thank you, Ferber Method). That means Victoria and I have been sleeping a little better ourselves. The last overnight trip in May was brutal, so I held off on another for a while. insert link. With that being said, since it's August, we were feeling comfortable trying it again.
My mind tends to wander a lot, especially when I'm sitting around. I start thinking about future road trips and how to make them better. One problem I'm looking to solve is the sheer amount of humidity that happens when you sleep in the car. The windows are fogged up by morning, and it's just sticky and unpleasant.
I cruised Amazon and found a low-power dehumidifier made for RVs. I also bought a portable power station that could do standard 120V power. Since I had some time on my hands, I started experimenting. I first saw how long the dehumidifier could run on the power station.
This was the cheapest Jackery I could buy, but I got 6 hours. That's not bad, considering many nights on the road, I will sleep less than that. Now that I knew how long I could power the dehumidifier, I found I had another problem on my hands. If you look in the picture above, two bright blue LED lights shine when the dehumidifier is turned on.
Two bright lights make it hard to sleep. It also makes it hard to park and car and sleep incognito. No fear! I ripped the dehumidifier apart. I then found where the lights connected to the controller board and disconnected them.
That's all that was needed to get rid of those pesky lights.
One of the next courses of action was fixing my car's check engine light. The car is over five years old and pushing 140,000 miles, so stuff is bound to start wearing out. The EVAP purge control valve was throwing a code and saying it was faulty. I got the part and swapped it out. I surprised the heck out of myself, thinking it was going to take a few hours. Instead, it took less than 45 minutes!
My final course of action was to plan the actual trip. When it comes to visiting courthouses, I'm a bit of a planner. I want to make sure I can visit as many as possible with the limited time I have. I pretty much leave everything else up to being impulsive and take the rest as it comes.
I figured I'd visit some more of Illinois. I'd pick up one of the closest unvisited counties and then keep driving south. When I'd hit the Illinois-Kentucky border, I'd head back north.
This was the itinerary I came up with.
On the morning of the trip, there was a beautiful sunrise when I went outside to pack the car.
Another experiment I would try was packing a bunch of water bottles. I do tend to drink a lot of water on my trips. In the past, I'd pack 2 or 3 and then refill them. Refilling them wastes precious time that I could use going to the next county. I bought one of those water bottle holders you see sports teams using. I then put six water bottles in them.
I fed Austin, and then I hit the road. I hadn't eaten breakfast, so I stopped at Kwik trip to get something to eat.
Soon I was on the road and heading south.
I made a pit stop near the Illinois border to take in the Sugar River.
Before you know it, I was on Stateline Road and in Illinois.
I always love driving on the Abraham Lincoln Bridge on I-39. It brings back good memories of when my buddies and I used to bowfish for Asian Carp on the Illinois River. We'd pass under this bridge all the time.
A little while later, I was getting hungry. So I stopped at a Pilot near Bloomington and got a steak burger.
I was soon off the interstate and at Piatt County.
Monticello appeared to have a nice and vibrant courthouse square.
On to way to Douglas County, it was county roads and cornfields.
For Coles County, I started to follow Illinois 130. I'd follow this road for a good amount of my trip.
Illinois is known to be a flat and wide-open prairie. This wasn't the case when I drove to Cumberland County. It was very scenic!
I was soon in Jasper County. After visiting the courthouse, I decided to get some pizza from the gas station.
Up next was Richland County. I spotted a painted rock that said, "Life is good." I was having a great time on this trip, so I definitely agreed.
On my way to Edwards County, I started spotting pumpjacks. I knew there was some oil production in Illinois, but it was surprising how much I saw.
I saw even more oil activity on my way to White County.
The road was definitely scenic on my way to Gallatin County.
Illinois 1 took me to Hardin County.
I took a quick detour and could look across the Ohio River to see Kentucky.
That detour didn't last long, and soon I was in Pope County.
The sun was starting to set, and it was a bit brutal on my way to Saline County.
The sun was really setting by the time I got to Hamilton County.
I drove in the darkness to make it to Wayne County. This is where I'd find a place to sleep for the night.
I tried a new gas station chain called Huck's. They had these massive chicken wraps that I had for a late supper.
I found a nearby park where I would spend the night. I ate my chicken wrap on a bench and then set up my dehumidifier and fan.
Since it was around 10 PM, I set my alarm for 4 AM. This is the 6-hour window that the dehumidifier would run. I noticed some condensation when I woke up, but not a ton.
I then set the alarm for 5:50 AM. This is the time I usually wake up in the morning. It was clear that the dehumidifier did well. However, in those two extra hours it wasn't running, a ton more condensation was collected on the windshield.
I got out of the car to brush my teeth and take in the views. This park had a very nice pond.
The Wayne County Courthouse was a short distance away, so I was there pretty quickly.
Before going to Clay County, I filled up a Huck's and got a greasy (but good) breakfast sandwich.
For Effingham County, I ended up at the old courthouse. Sometimes the directions aren't super accurate. Oftentimes, you only get in the general area of a courthouse. You then have to look around and make up the difference.
Luckily, the new courthouse was a short walk away.
The sidewalks around the Fayette County Courthouse were interesting. It appears they were going the natural and organic way of filling them in.
I was happy I wasn't on the road to Montgomery County when this mishap happened.
Montgomery County was another county with an old and new courthouse. The new courthouse was also within walking distance of the old courthouse.
There were more cornfields on the way to Macoupin County.
While I saw a lot of pumpjacks along the way, I also saw a bunch of windmills on the way to Morgan County.
Last up was Cass County.
Compared to Wisconsin, Illinois has high gas prices. I think their gas tax is much higher. It often comes out to the tune of $0.50-0.75 a gallon more. I always keep this in mind and try to fill up as little as possible in Illinois. I realized I'd have just enough gas to get home.
That didn't stop me from stopping at an actual gas station to get some food for the trip home.
The drive home consisted of some interstates and a lot of 2 lane highways.
As you can see, it was pretty much blue skies in Illinois. By the time I hit Wisconsin, it was very cloudy.
Once I hit Dane County, it was raining a bit.
I made it to Kwik Trip in Belleville with 34 miles to spare. I rarely ever go below a quarter tank. My gas light will only come on once in a blue moon.
Gas in many places in Illinois was over $4 a gallon. In Wisconsin, it's closer to $3 a gallon, and flirting with going under $3 a gallon. I saved a decent amount of money filling up in Wisconsin and also averaging 44mpg.-e