Running from the weather
Next stop-Sparta-Wisconsin. Winter weather warning coming in so time to skedaddle, that is a word:) Most of all the RV parks are closed now, October 15th seems to be the magic day they shut their gates and maybe, head South as well? I’ve scoured RV Park reviews and have come up with a few gems from time to time. Just South of Sparta there was a park that claimed to be open until Oct 31, no one answered my several phone calls and but we decided to take a chance and go look, if not it would be three more hours to a State Park in Minnesota.
This was mostly back country roads, small towns with a few zigs and zags, my favourite roads, past pawn shops and corn fields, this is corn country, as far as the eye can see sometimes. Still not harvested, waiting for the moisture content to be just right before the big combines crawl the fields and denude them.
Big Farms, small farms, Amish farms. We passed a pair of farmers throwing wheat sheaves up onto their horse-drawn cart, a country of contrasts no doubt. I often wonder how the younger generations of these Amish farmers view these older methods and how they come to terms with the back-breaking work when their neighbour next door is harvesting with his John Deere or Case tractor. I guess that is faith. I don’t have that. I celebrate my spirituality in mother nature’s arms, her back yard, watching what she brings each day to us. The highlights, and the horrors:)
We eventually ended up on I 90 for the last leg of the trip and headed South towards Leon and the Leon Valley Campground. The gates were open! Thankfully, and a cell number on the door to call, but no water it said, wells and pumps were turned off, crap! I spoke to a lovely woman on the phone, Joann who said she would be right over to show us to a space and that if we wanted water it was still turned on at the office, we found the spigot and turned it on, inside the unlocked office as it had been partially winterized, you know you are in the country when doors are open and no one is home…and filled our tank before she arrived, wonderful! Water has been a problem the last two stops as the state and county parks already have it turned off:)
We decided to limit our stay to one night so we could make Myre Island State Park before an incoming cold front, and forecast winter storm was going to hit the following evening. Our tires are not the best, we’ve been trying to replace them so finally called ahead to Sioux City and found 6 of what Mike wanted and made an appointment, damn duallys, lots of tire there! The temperatures were already dropping. We are total cold weather wimps!
We left fairly early the next morning, back onto the I 90 past more corn fields, the combines were out today, perhaps to beat the incoming snow storm. It was a short, two and a half hour hop to Myre-Big Island State Park. The wind was picking up by the time we arrived and the temperatures were dropping. We have two other campers with us here, not what one would call busy, but a beautiful site with lots of walking paths, if we don’t get blown away. We’ll be cooling our heels, literally, for a few days here until a break in the weather:)
We awoke to some wet snow and howling winds, I braved it for 20 minutes before I ran back inside! No shoes for this…brrrr…but it has its own beauty. As it melted a bit later in the afternoon the snow became drops of water on the leaves. I explored the paths behind the campground that lead near the lake, deer jumped and ran as I made my way down a small path and spooked a Bald Eagle from a tree where it had been fishing, gorgeous!
This park is pretty much empty, save few a few hardy souls here. There are extensive walking and hiking trails to explore, if it warms up! This forest is so different to the maples and ashes of Otty Lake. Huge imposing oaks dominate the landscape, like the scary Halloween trees, they have wonderful craggy branches. The colours are so different as well. Gone are the bright reds and yellows, here there is sombre browns, dark oranges and burgundy reds.
When the weather forecast said “snow ending at…” we headed West on a cloudy, drizzling day to Sioux Falls, the I 90, more miles of dairy and beef farms, fields of corn and the smell of freshly spread manure. You know you are in farm country when the billboards are toting seed corn to farmers, the newest and best variety, big business at work out here. Why Sioux Falls and what are we doing out here in the cold you might ask? Yesterday the high was 36°, with a 40 MPH wind, the windchill left us feeling like 20° F. Ever wonder why you see so many South Dakota license plates on trailers and Rv’s? Well, it is a domicile state that is friendly to full timers living on the road. No state income tax, low sales tax if you want to buy an RV, 4% I think, reasonable vehicle licensing, they say the insurance is less but ours actually went up when we changed our address to here, especially for the truck, time to shop around for someone else:) Jury duty can be excused by simply telling them you are a full-timer. I wonder how much extra revenue it puts into the DMV’s coffers? We have a mailbox here at a well-known full timers mail service, Dakota Post, who were most helpful in arranging the plates for the truck and trailer ($1200 in California just for the truck, $160 here in SD) now it is time I turn in my California drivers licence and swap it for a SD one…It is with some sadness I do so:( That is why we are here, and not in Baja by now;)
Somewhere down the road we’d lost the outside cover for the dometic fridge that protects it from the elements. The plastic gets worn and tired and the little nubs broke off, probably when an 18 wheeler blew past us. Looking around online for parts, ordered one from AdventureRV.net, never again, they neglected to tell me it was back ordered so expected it here in Sioux Falls, after several emails, oh, we’re sorry, we think it is backordered, well, it is, or it’s not. Sucks. Will make do with the plastic bag and duct tape for now:( The joys of living on the road, you can’t always find what you want. A trip to a local RV parts store yielded one, but not the right size.
The midwest has not been kind that way. Spent quite awhile going to butcher shops, then giving up and calling looking for ground turkey or chicken, they look at you like you are some kind of freak. OK, I get it, this is beef country but really? We make our own cat food, won’t buy the junk offered in cans or bags. In our small hometown of Perth, population 6,000, we have better food offerings than a town of 400,000. Astounding…yes indeed. Finally found some frozen ground chicken so we’ll pick that up today, stockpile for the cats, especially the 17-year-old, he’s finicky and we’d like to keep him alive and happy for as many more years as we can:) Going South from here, Sioux Falls, maybe things will change, I doubt it, but we’ll keep our eyes peeled for a butcher shop where everything is not in frozen bags…why does America live out of frozen bags of food?
We’ll be happy to leave the city tomorrow, finally heading South. It was 21°F this morning, WAY too cold. The sound of freeway traffic from the I 29 is loud. The RV park we are at, Tower Campground was much nicer than I’d expected but yes, right in the city, right on the interstate so yes, noisy, but the spots are neat and clean. Lot’s of permanents here, winterizing their rigs with insulation and full skirts around their trailers. Large propane tanks being delivered, cold…too cold for us. Another State Park! Nebraska here we come, and it looks like a warm front is moving in! Yippee!
Stay tuned, I may be able to take my winter coat off soon! I’m now a registered licensed South Dakotan-Time to get the hell out of Dodge, I mean Sioux Falls and go South! Feels odd, but as full timers I guess this is what we do! After running around dealing with bureaucracy and all that fun stuff, it’s time for a glass a wine and a few peanut butter cups, trick or treaters, you are out of luck, these babies are mine, all mine;)
Stay tuned my friends, saludos amigos and Happy Halloween and Feliz día de muertos!