Illinois to Indiana
|Kankakee Rive trail|
We had a great day Wednesday. Started out with a workout, today’s was upper body so we decided to make our lower body workout on the bikes. The bike trail in the park is beautiful and we rode the length and back which according to the trail markers is suppose to be 10 miles so that would put us at a 20 mile bike ride which is a great length (not too short,not too long). Our campground was about 4miles from one trail head so we went that direction first. I should also mention that it was a perfect day. It was sunny and about 70 degrees,low humidity and a slight breeze - I don’t think it gets any better than that. This end of the trail is limestone which is fine with us but if you ride it you need to watch out on the hills as they have had some washout and so there are a couple sandy areas that can throw you. It was mainly shaded with a couple significant hills. When we got to the 10 mile marker the trail went on further but we decided to turn around because we knew we wanted to make it to the other end. When we turned around the same post that declared we'd reached 10 miles now says 1/2 mile. Huh?? When we got to the other end we found the same thing (we did go all the way to the trail head this time). So there so called 10 mile trail is really 11 miles.The trail is a real gem, it follows the Kankakee River, has a suspension bridge you ride across and when not by the river it is heavily wooded, just gorgeous.
At the far trail end from our campsite there is a second campground. When we pulled in yesterday I noticed that and we chose the Potawatamie campground because it was posted as the “A” sites which means it has mainly electric sites so I thought the other campground probably had the more primitive sites. When we came upon the Chippewa campground there were quite a few RVs and many electric sites. This campground is a little more open and definitely easier to get around. So basically we decided we had picked the wrong campground. The Chippewa campground is one we would come back to. So if you go to the Kankakee River State Park and want heavily wooded but fairly private sites (and you aren’t overly big) go on over to the Potawatamie side but if your like us and want somewhere that still has a state park feel but a little more room to navigate then the Chippewa side is the way to go.
This morning we got up and headed for Indiana and it has been an interesting day. Indiana is one big construction site this summer. I got on Indiana’s DOT site to check when I planned our route. We ended up taking mainly IN highways and at one point a couple county roads that were interesting but we finally made it to Chain O Lakes State Park near Albion IN. First you hit a kiosk that charges you to enter the park, that will be $7 please and the she says there is a kiosk at the entry to the campground that will help us get our site - cool this will be easy--Not! Get to the campground and it says no attendant on duty go to the park office to get your permits and if it is after 4 a ranger will be around. So we started searching for a site. Nothing is marked as reserved so we thought any site would be ok (again not!). The even more difficult part is most of the sites are pretty short and the ones that are long enough are not very level. We tried one and got backed up and looked at the side to side level and it would have taken more leveling blocks than we own. Finally we pull into site 68 (John is getting lots of practice backing up) and it is level enough and if we get creative parking the truck we are in. I suggested we go check in with the ranger at the office before we do anything else. Drove to the office notice it is 4:30 now the office is closed but a ranger noticed me from the parking lot and said an attendant comes on duty at the campground around 6 but our site might be reserved. No way to tell until she arrives- could it get anymore complicated? Well actually yes. She arrives and I get in line and when she checks our site is only available for one night. Well that will work as I do have a plan B for tomorrow. She puts in all my info and credit card and the computer freezes up. All my info disappears so we try again and I suggest we go with a check so then the computer doesn’t have to deal with the card. Ok --computer freezes up and all my info is gone. Finally she after 20 min on the phone she let us go and would bring the receipt when they figure it out. So we are here for the night and I got on the phone and reserved a site at the Elkhart campground that I had heard about from others for tomorrow. This is not the way we intend to travel but sometimes you just have to go with it and always have a plan B.
I do have to say I checked both these campgrounds out on RV Park reviews and both got good reviews. While we would return to Kankakee River StatePark and stay in the Chippewa campground. I don’t think we would ever return to Chain O Lakes. They have very few spots that will work for us and there set up system is awful. There is no way to know what is reserved and what is not without someone physically there and the computer system obviously has problems. It has me a little leery of the reviews