Picking up the RV in Chicago

We picked up our RV rental in the afternoon of May 11. We had done this before so we knew the drill pretty well. It went a lot quicker than in the past because there weren't other people there picking up RVs at the same time.

After picking up the RV we drove to Rockton, Il., which is about an 1 1/2 away and went to a Walmart where we stocked up with the supplies needed for our trip. The RV rental place sells "packages" like sleeping supplies, cooking supplies, etc., but we have found that it is cheaper buy what we need. That way we get exactly what we need and it comes out cheaper than buying the rental packages.


So at Walmart we bought sleeping bags, sheets, a frying pan, and a few other kitchen utensils. We don't do a lot of cooking on our trips. We cook scrambled eggs for breakfast. We buy a roasted chicken, salad, and a veggie tray at a grocery store and that lasts us for about 3 days of chicken sandwiches. I'm not sure how many roasted chickens we purchased on our trip, but I think at least 5.

In the past we have been able to spend the night in Walmart parking lots as we travel, but that seems to be much less available now. The policy depends on the store and I called about 10 stores in the general area that we wanted to drive to the day we picked up the RV and none of them allowed overnight parking. I have heard that many municipalities are passing laws against sleeping in parking lots, so that is likely part of the problem.

We did find the Love's truck stops allow overnight parking and usually have spots designated for RVs, so we spent that first night in a Love's parking lot. It was of course fairly noisy. I had arranged for RV parking all of the rest of the trip because I knew that from there on out it was going to be cold at night and so we'd need electricity for the heater.

We drove to Worthington, Mn the next day. I don't like to drive for more than 6 hours in a day, so had tried to break the drive over to Yellowstone, our primary destination, into manageable chunks. We stopped at the La Crosse Visitor Center in the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge to purchase a US National Park Senior Pass.

The Senior Passes provide access to more than 2,000 recreation sites managed by six federal agencies:

  • National Park Service
  • US Fish & Wildlife Service
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Bureau of Reclamation
  • US Forest Service
  • US Army Corps of Engineers

The passes cover entrance and standard amenity (day-use) recreation fees and provide discounts on some expanded amenity recreation fees. Very valuable!

The dog was our faithful companion the entire trip and was very low maintenance!
We had a RV spot next to the little lake in Worthington. Unfortunately it was cloudy and very windy as you can see from the pic
The park was very nice, but there was some kind of mulchy stuff all over the ground that stuck to your shoes, so it wasn't so nice walking around.