Sunday, July 2, 2017

It Wasn't Pretty, But We Made It

Posted from Hermosa, SD

After making an unscheduled trip to the East Coast to be with my Mom while she underwent surgery and recovered enough to be able to return home, we had to make a decision on how to continue with our plans for the rest of the summer.

We recently found out that although we had decided to renew our South Dakota Operator's Licenses online, we still needed to have a receipt (for each of us) from a campground, motel, hotel, etc. to prove that we had visited the state within the previous 12 months.  You are allowed to renew licenses in SD six months prior to your birthday. Karen's birthday is in February and mine is in April. Because we really have no desire to return to SD in the winter months, we've decided to head back thru SD on our "swing" west and pick up the necessary paperwork to comply with the renewal regulations.

We knew that we'd be doing "overnighters" only, but the trip turned out to be worse than anticipated.We left the Bull Run Campground in Centreville, VA on June 22. We drove to Triadelphia, WV the first day with the intention of staying at the Walmart.  This is a very nice overnight (usually) as this Walmart has a section dedicated just for RVs, and is separate from the rest of the car parking. There are also signs indicating "No trucks". Well, we arrived and yes, every single spot was occupied by a truck. Fortunately, there is a Cabela's at the same exit (which we had previously stayed), so we wandered over there.  Because of the upcoming 4th of July holiday most of the parking lots were roped off for special events.  Karen went inside to ask for permission to overnight  and we were directed to the Bus Parking area.  Parking spaces were long, so we were good up to this point.

The next day we traveled from Triadelphia, WV to the Walmart lot in Crawfordsville, IN.  It rained almost all day.

The rain was bad enough, but as we passed Dayton, OH on I70, the overhead sign boards were indicating that I70 W/B was CLOSED due to a truck accident. Great. Heavy rain and not familiar with the detour roads. We have a CB radio in the rig just for situations like this. We listened to the detour route the large trucks were taking (Route 40), so off we went behind a long (but slowly moving) line of trucks. As we slowed at a 4-way stop in an intersection, the driver's side windshield wiper decided it had enough. The entire wiper arm flew off and was gone.

I have spare wiper blades, so when we pulled into our fuel stop at Eaton, OH, I installed a new wiper blade while pumping fuel. Still raining, I used the wipers sparingly until we reached our stopover for the night at the Walmart in Crawfordsville, IN.

The next day went well until we reached our stop for the evening at the Walmart in Coralville, IA. This Walmart is a bit tricky to enter as there are low horizontal bars which block the entrances off of the main street. (BTW we use to locate these overnight stops.) I was busy watching for the entrance to the lot and dodging exiting cars when I allowed the passenger's side mirror to strike a sign on the right side of the road. The sign was barely dented, but the passenger's side mirror snapped off the mounting arm and was held on by the wiring.

The mirror glass was also broken. It took a bit of work to trace the wiring inside the front cap and finally clip it to be able to remove the entire mirror head. That's going to be expensive I thought. I found out the next day how much I really miss having a passenger's side mirror! We did a lot of driving in the right lane to our next overnight stop in a "real" campground in Welcome, MN.

Fortunately, this was the end of our "adventures".  We had to wait until Monday to contact the Ramco factory (manufacturer of the mirror).  A new mirror from the factory costs $368. They indicated that they had "factory seconds" for $200.  I asked how bad the "blem" was and the call taker indicated very minor.

We arrived in Hermosa, SD on Tuesday 6/27.  We are planning on staying until July 10th, at which time we will attempt to return to our pre-planned summer stays in CO and NM.

One of the best things to happen in the last week is that we met up with old friends Dave and Diane and had a chance to eat some pizza and catch up. Ironically, they moved to the same CG we are staying in and are parked right beside us now.  The replacement mirror came in on Friday and Dave and Karen assisted me with the replacement.  It actually went much easier than anticipated and the "blem" was a very small contact point on the lower edge of the mirror.  Definitely not noticeable by looking at the mirror.  We are happy again!

If this blog sounds like I'm ranting and crying about our last few days traveling across the country, it really isn't meant to be.  It's just part of the Fulltiming lifestyle. We've found that no matter how bad things seem to be, they really are not that bad.  No one was injured during any of this adventure and hopefully we are back on track again for the rest of the summer.


  1. Looks like you've just about had all the issues I've had over the years. At least you didn't install a sunroof on your RV like I almost did today.

    1. Just read your blog concerning the "sunroof". Yes, that you have put a crimp in your plans.

  2. Sorry to hear about your mishaps while traveling west, and I'm sure it was fun running into friends. I hope you can now resume your travels where you left off.