Our RV Finally Has a Name

Monday was a big day for us. Exactly one month after the flat tire incident, Daniel and I picked up our Rialta from the mechanic. Now we could finally hit the road again!

Our motorhome doesn’t just have new tires and brakes, however. She also has a brand new name.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to officially introduce you to Appa.

Appa pictured in Madison, Wisconsin shortly after her visit to the mechanic

Meet Appa

Appa is named for a character in the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender. The fictional Appa is a large loveable flying bison. He transports the main characters on his back as they go on various adventures.

Appa also serves as a sort of animal spirit guide to the protagonist, Aang. Aapa and Aang share a special bond and protect one other.

One other fun fact about Appa: when Aang wants to go for a ride, he jumps on Appa’s back and yells: “yip, yip!”

The fictional Appa en route to another adventure

Like the fictional character, our Appa takes us where we want to go. She is big and white slow – but can go fast when necessary. She provides us with a comfortable home while we are on the road.

Unlike the fictional Appa, however, our Rialta is female. I’m not sure why, but I feel like she has a feminine energy.

Daniel and I just finished re-watching the entire Avatar: The Last Airbender series on Netflix. ATLA is still as good as when I first watched it 10 years ago. It is good fun for the whole family and I highly recommend ATLA if you’ve never seen it.

Appa takes flight
Appa and his friends are overjoyed to be reunited after a separation

Welcome to Illinois, the Land of Many Tolls

After retrieving Appa from the mechanic, we headed south. Our destination for the day was Indiana Dunes National Park. To get there, we had to drive through the northeastern section of Illinois.

Since there are a lot of toll roads in this area, we stopped off at a Jewel-Osco store to buy an iPass. The iPass is a transponder that attaches to your windshield. It pays all tolls in the state of Illinois electrically by debiting your account.

The iPass also works in 16 other states. As a member of the E-Z Pass network, the iPass functions in most states throughout the Northeast. We figure it will come in handy when we finally (hopefully) make it to New York and New Jersey.

Our new iPass transponder affixed to Appa’s windshield

Chicago Traffic at Rush Hour

From there we headed east around the southern end of Lake Michigan. As we drove, we found ourselves approaching the outskirts of Chicago … during the middle of the evening commute.

Even though we bypassed the heart of the city, we still experienced a bit of stop-and-go traffic. I’m sure it would have been worse if we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic. Even so, we were glad to leave Chicago behind when we crossed the state line into Indiana.

Yip! yip!

Where are we now?

We are at Dunewood campground in Indiana Dunes National Park!

Date: September 21, 2020
Great American Road Trip Status: Day 78

Starting Location: Madison, WI
Ending Location: Indiana Dunes National Park, IN
Miles Traveled: 210.5
Total Trip Mileage: 4851.6

For more details on our Great America (Socially Distanced) Road Trip, see my previous posts:

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