Cracker Barrel and Pokagon State Park – Janesville, WI and Angola, IN – August 16 – 19, 2023

We left Highland Ridge Campground in Spring Valley, Wisconsin on Wednesday, August 16, 2023 for a 250-mile, 4-hour drive to stay at a Cracker Barrel in Janesville, Wisconsin for one night. We left early in the afternoon so we could arrive in time for dinner. The manager there was very nice. Their usual spots for RVs were too short for our rig and she said it was fine to park along the back parking area of the lot.

That gave us some trees on one side for some shade from the late afternoon sun. We had a great dinner and, of course, bought some treats from the candy section. I love the coconut bars and the Mallo cups, while Cindy got herself a Baby Ruth candy bar.

Other than traffic noises from the nearby Interstate highway, the night was quiet. I was sitting in my recliner reading an e-book in the dark while Cindy was sleeping in the bedroom. It’s funny the things you see sometimes. For instance…

The restaurant closed at 9 pm and by 9:45 there were only a couple of employee vehicles in the lot. A pickup truck pulled into the lot and it had a bed cover on it with a logo on it that I couldn’t make out in the dark under the very dim (thankfully for our sleep time) parking lot lights. A guy got out and I could see his silhouette walking toward the side of the building. Suddenly, he turned on a headlamp he was wearing and looked down toward the edge of the building. I saw his outline bend down and pick up something just as an employee walked out the back door toward him.

That’s when I finally figure out he’s the pest control guy, picking up full bait box/rat traps and putting down new ones. You know, the black ones on the outside walls at ground level that you’re not supposed to really notice. I watch him putting full ones in the back of his truck and laying out new ones for several minutes and then the employee went with him back inside the store. I used to manage restaurants, so I know that management prefers pest control people come at night, in the dark, after the restaurant has closed. Better that customers don’t see someone picking up rat traps or spraying for vermin while they’re trying to eat. So, it made perfect sense.

But you know, now that I think about it, my chicken sandwich DID taste a little funny…

That’s obviously a joke. I love Cracker Barrel food. In fact, we happily ate breakfast there the next morning before leaving.

We did have a heavy, heavy rain storm overnight there. We didn’t notice when we parked, but our front door opened right next to a drain in the parking lot. We didn’t notice it because it was covered and blocked by tree leaves and dirt. The rain was so heavy that our front step area was about 4 inches under water. I had to go down the steps and then carry Bella over to a grassy area for her morning bathroom ritual. My shoes got soaked, so Cindy didn’t want to step into the water. Instead, we put the steps up and lowered the hitch off the brace so I could pull Nomad up about 8 feet away from the pooled water and Cindy could step out onto a dry parking lot area. Now we could go inside to enjoy breakfast.

After breakfast we started a 278-mile trip to Pokagon State Park in Angola, Indiana that was SUPPOSED to take us a little less than 5 hours using toll roads around Chicago so we didn’t get bogged down in city traffic. In reality, it was a little more than 6 hours on jam-packed roads. Best of all, we paid $49.50 in tolls TO GO SLOWER! One of the worst road systems I’ve been on in the past two years. The traffic engineer who designed those roads and their entrance/exit ramps must have been the one who flunked out of school.

And after all that, Pokagon was not a place I’d care to return to in our future travels. Sites were crowded, drainage was bad (see the photo of our front steps) and the clientele was mostly people I’d never want to be around. We had old farts, like us, all around us but they were worse than kids with their partying. Quiet time is from 10 pm to 6 am but they were loudly laughing and drinking until 2 am. One crazy old bat was out there screeching “One Tin Soldier” (a song I used to like) and her off-key bellowing sounded more like someone was butchering a cow. We turned on our AC before bedtime to drown out the noise, but I woke up at 1:30 am to use the bathroom and they were still at it.

Thankfully, we were only there for two nights and they weren’t there the first night. I don’t know what it is with people who have no sense of common courtesy and consideration.

Next up; Ohio for two nights on the edge of Lake Erie.

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