It was now the end of September, and after a couple of weeks on the road, a couple of weeks in a parking lot and a week in the state park, we were getting desperate for some of the comfort foods in our life. Also, sitting in the park for a week, we had a long list of camping/RVing doodads and nicknacks that we decided we would need. Now it just so happens that Omaha NE has two very important commercial locations and would fill all off our needs, a Whole Foods and a Camping World. So that was going to be our first stop. There was a campground in Council Bluffs Iowa, Tomes Country Club Acre, very close to both of our targets, and only a 211 mile drive from Junction City. For just a 2 day stay, it was just what we needed even though the sites were very tight.
After stocking up with everything we could imagine, it was off to Box Elder SD, the home of Americas Mailbox and our home address. That is a 500 mile trip, so in splitting this into 2 segments, we picked Fishberry Campground in Valentine Nebraska for an overnight stay. This is a nice little park, flat, big site, but no shade. Since it was late September, the lack of shade was not a problem. There was lots of room to walk the dogs. The route through Nebraska was sort of southeast corner to northwest corner, across the state on state highways.
RV Lifestyle Lesson #2: The distribution of population in this country or in a state is not very even. For part of the time in the afternoon, I was really worried that we would run out of diesel. You get to a little town and no one sells it. I really started to pay more attention of the map and distances from one town to another. As we were averaging 10mpg towing, a full tank will take us about 350-380 miles, but even so, I started to pay alot more attention to fuel levels and maps.
RV Lifestyle Lesson #3: Murphy’s Law is very real.
Each morning when we hitch up to start driving, we test the trailer brakes; manually activate the brakes and shift into drive (without putting the foot on the accelerator); and the rig should not move. Well that morning as we were setting off for Box Elder, the rig moved. The brake actuator was making it’s pumping sound, but the rig was still moving.
After some testing, the truck brakes were doing an adequate job of stopping the rig, so off we went to Box Elder, 200 miles. This is when I learned to appreciate the exhaust brakes on the engine and the big disc brakes on the truck.
Down to business. Some browsing on the internet and we found a lawyer in downtown Rapid City and had new wills written up. With RV Campground receipt in hand, it was off to the Motor Vehicles Office to trade in our Massachusetts Drivers Licenses for South Dakota. We were now officially residents of South Dakota.
Now it just so happens that Box Elder/Rapid City is very close to Mount Rushmore National Memorial. It seemed like it was almost a requirement that in becoming SD residents, we had to go visit the mountain. So while we were waiting for the lawyer to do her magic, we went on our first real sightseeing trip. Here is Lynn on Avenue of the Flags with the mountain behind her. Taking a lesson from our prior trips to NPS parks, we made sure to arrive at a time to take a Ranger tour. These Rangers know their stuff and are very happy to educate you so that you appreciate the visit.
Back to the brakes, I spent a fair bit of time with the New Horizons service department and they could not isolate a problem. The electrical connections between the truck and rig checked out. The Actuator was connected and being activated when the brake pedal was depressed.
So we decided that rather than try going to Colorado Springs first, we changed our trip and returned directly back to Junction City from South Dakota, this time, keeping to the interstate, I90 east to Sioux Falls and then I29 South to Kansas City.
Our stopover along the way was the Tower Campground in Sioux Falls. With the entranceway located on the south side of W 12th, the manager suggested that we get off the exit before at W Madison, come south on on Manon Rd and the east on W 12th so that our turn into the RV park was not across the divided highway. The next day, setting off southward again, the plan was to head west before hitting Kansas City, perhaps around Rockport or St. Joseph and then finish the last southbound leg on a state highway. Every time we tried to exit westbound to go cross country to Topeka or Manhattan, the roads were closed and only trucks laden with large boulders were going through. We ended up going all the way to I435 to start heading southwest. There had been some large storms after we had left Kansas, and a number of bridges had been damaged.
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To see our current travels and plans, click here.
|It’s Off to Kansas We Go|
|New Horizons RV Factory, Junction City, Kansas|
|Un-Packing the U-haul and packing the RV|
|Learning about Our New Home|
|Testing all of the RV sub-systems|
|First Trip-10 Miles|
|South Dakota and Business|
|Camp New Horizons|
|Kansas to Florida|
|NHOG Rally 2011|
|Florida to Texas|
|New Orleans - The Big Easy|