Day 5 – Arkansas to Wellman, IA

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

It was a pleasant 22 C ( 72 F ) as I left the hotel, shortly after 7 am.   It was a travel day and my goal was to reach Wellman, IA, by 5 pm and it would take me 8 hours of driving , 10 with stops, to get there.

I had contacted PR Schrock, with whom I had served in Saipan this past March and I had arranged to meet him and his family at his house.

I drove past the east end of Kansas City and continued to head north.   It was an uneventful trip until shortly after I left the rest stop on I35 in Osceola and turned unto the 69.   I had mistakenly assumed that there would be gas stations near the turn where I could fill my tank, but as you can imagine I was wrong;  not the first time but those are the things that make life exciting!! .

As I made the turn, my gauge indicated that I had 80 km ( 50 miles ) to empty.   Surely there would be a gas station near by, even though the terrain had changed to large farm communities, mostly with corn or grains.   There were houses spread in-between the vast farms and they needed to get gas, so my analytical mind told me that there would be a gas station near by.   To add a little suspense to my day, my cell service faded out shortly after I had turned on to the 69.  My Google Maps still worked and could show me the route and where I was relative to it, however, I couldn’t search for nearby gas stations.    No worries, a gas station would be along this paved road and the occasional house along the way.    As I got further away from the I35, I contemplated options, such as stopping at one of the houses and asking where the nearest gas station was or turning back.    As I gauge showed 30 km ( 18 miles ) to empty, my option to turn back was no longer feasible so I continued.  I seldom saw any other cars on the road, so it was obvious that it was a remote area.   And then I started to receive minimal cell service and I unsuccessfully tried to search for gas stations several times, only to loose the signal and have the search function ‘ time out ‘.   Finally I had 2 bars on my cell service and I quickly searched and found gas stations near my path and I entered one of them as my destination, before I lost cell service again.   On my way to the gas station, I came upon a ” podunk ” ( very, very small community ) and there was a Cenex gas station.   I opted to fill gas here instead of the one I had selected earlier.   As I looked at the gas pump, there were two grades of 87 octane.  One was $2.49/Gal and one was $2.78/Gal, so I opted for the one that was cheaper and as I was starting to fill the tank I noticed that that it was a detergent gas containing ethanol.   I didn’t know the composition of this gas and if it was compatible with my car so I stopped filling the tank and filled the last two thirds with the regular gas.    As I left the gas station, I listened for any hints that the gas was affecting the performance of the engine, but it appeared that there were no issues.    In checking the detergent gas later online,  I found out that it is compatible with any gasoline engine and it is meant to run ” cleaner “.   This was the most interesting thing that happened during my drive which explains how boring my trip was.

I drove the remainder of the way, winding back and forth along the country roads until I arrived at the Schrock mansion and met PR and his wife Sherry and their friends, a couple from Ohio, who had arrived shortly before me.

I had a wonderful visit and enjoyed a BBQ steak dinner with  a cherry cheesecake on gluten free crushed pretzels for dessert.   PR & Sherry’s son, Marshall, joined us for dinner.   He was planning to leave very early the next morning on is motorcycle for a trip to southern California.

As we visited, the time quickly slipped away before I realized that was almost 11 pm and PR graciously offered me a room for the night so that I didn’t have to go to Iowa City and look for a hotel.

It was very helpful to stay the night because my plan was to leave early in the morning since I only have 2 1/2 days to get to Grand Forks and there would still be 26 hours of driving left.

The map below shows the route I had taken.