Sunday, July 15, 2018

Back on Track for the Summer of 2018 Travels

Posted from near Quincy, WA

(Click on Pics to Enlarge)

After our little "detour" from Mountain Home, ID to the HWH Corporation in Moscow, IA to have our HWH system repaired, we decided to take a few extra days to make the return trip back west and resume our planned summer adventures.

From Idaho to Iowa we traveled 1458 miles in 3 days. Perhaps not a lot for "weekend warriors", but we just don't drive that long each day anymore.

Our return trip was going to require coverage of approximately 1886 miles to get "back on track" in Washington State. We eventually covered the distance in 11 days after stopping at several locations for multiple days.

We have a Blue Ox towbar and baseplate on the Honda Fit, so we decided to stop by the Blue Ox factory in Pender, NE to have the towbar serviced and to have a place to stay over the 4th of July (since our previous plans were now disrupted). Has anyone reading this actually been to Pender, NE? How about Red Bay, AL, the home of Tiffin Motorhomes? Let me just say that Red Bay looks like a large city compared to Pender. There are no traffic lights in Pender, just a blinking red light. We attempted to visit a local pizza restaurant one evening and the sign on the door indicated that they were only open from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM that day. No "real" grocery stores in Pender, either.

Blue Ox does have a nice 15-site FHU campground (additional  sites without hookups) which are completely free for the use of anyone with a Blue Ox product. This is the welcome center which houses current products and where you can make an appointment to have your equipment serviced.

In the past we had our towbar serviced at Escapees' rallies in 2014 and 2016. The cost at the rally each time was $30. (Although I understand that the price might now be $35.) Well, not so at the factory.  The tech came to our site, removed the towbar, and returned it in about 3 hours. I was a bit shocked when the bill came to $125 + tax. Oh well, won't make that mistake again. The tech also indicated that our bar was due for replacement, and not service, the next time around.

I guess that campground site wasn't so free after all.  LOL  Another thing that we wanted to do while at the Blue Ox factory was take a tour. Unfortunately, the Pender area had sustained heavy rains the previous week and the factory had sustained some flooding, so no tours for the next few weeks.

The factory was closed on the 4th of July and we were the ONLY rig in the entire campground.  Nice and quiet at least.

After leaving Pender, NE we spent the next two nights as "overnighters" in the parking lots at Cabelas (Mitchell, SD) and Cabelas (Rapid City, SD). The Mitchell store has a very nice area for RVs and is within walking distance of a few restaurants. We had stayed at this one on a previous trip thru the area.

The Cabelas in Rapid City, SD (our hometown) has a somewhat different feel and policy. Officially, no overnight parking by RVs are allowed within the city limits of Rapid City. Unofficially, when we asked the store management for permission to overnight, they quoted us the Rapid City law, but told us that they didn't mind if we overnighted in their lot. We stayed, and were joined by at least a dozen other RVs that night. (No late night knock on the door by the local police).

Karen had done a bit of internet research and found a pretty cool attraction named "The Dignity Statue" at the Chamberlain, SD rest area (Exit 264). Since we were in no hurry, we pulled off to take a look and to have some lunch. Here's a link to those interested.

It was a very nice (and busy) rest area overlooking the Missouri River.

We stayed the following two nights in rest areas near Hardin, MT and Drummond, MT. The last one was very nice. It was at a higher elevation, trees all around, and a river running behind.

We finally resumed our 2018 summer travel schedule by pulling into the Thousand Trails in Quincy, WA.

The preserve is located along the Columbia River. Tons of water activities in the area, but it sure is HOT on the eastern side of Washington.

We had been forewarned by some of our Palm Creek friends that it would be. This is our first time visiting Washington State and we have stops planned which will take us thru September 5th. 

Thanks for stopping by to take a look!


  1. You are pretty tough to do 1400 miles in 3 days - 5 or 6 for me.

    1. Usually that's our rate of travel, also, but this was a special circumstance.

  2. Glad everything is back on track. We love that Visitor's Center in Chamberlain. I think that is where we first developed an interest in Lewis and Clark. Pretty cool statue!

  3. Always good to have your tow bar check out by experts, but I wonder what would make the tow bar to need replacement? Planned obsolescence? That would make me wonder if the tow bar should just be replaced after so many tow miles/years of use.

    1. Just amount of use, I would guess Paul. The tech showed me where there was excessive movement where the bar connects to the car. Also, on our style of bar (Aventa LX), the circulating ball has parts which eventually just wear out and replacement is the only cure. Ironically, Blue Ox doesn't make the Aventa LX any longer, so I'm wondering if the design was not the greatest to begin with.

  4. In Washington - Do the Cascade Loop...just sayin' ;)

    1. We will be in Twisp for a week, then Concrete for a week. Plan on taking Rt. 20 thru the Cascades NP with the MH and will take the car to hike and explore while in the area.

  5. Glad to see you're back on track, hope the rest of the summer is uneventful.