Postcard from South Dakota

Nice easy site in Kennebec KOA

27-29 June 2010
(Kennebec, SD)

The drive from N. Platte to the KOA in Kennebec, SD was pretty amazing. We used US-83 which is all 2-lane road which took us through beautiful rolling hills, the Rosebud Sioux Reservation and finally to I-90 and on to Kennebec. It’s a very narrow road but it’s lightly traveled and the scenery is spectacular. Farm equipment can be a problem as happened as we left N Platte. It had been raining a lot (we saw flooding on a lot of the farm land) so everything was green.

On-site lunch & dinner if burgers & ‘dogs are OK
Office & food barn

Lots of grain elevators around here!

The owners at the KOA were originally from Maine (how appropriate they should buy a KOA park in Kennebec, SD!) and work hard to keep folks happy. The town is very small so we were happy that they offer on-site hamburgers or hot dogs at lunch & dinner. We took the grand tour thru town and were back at the park in about 20 minutes. There is a small bar & steakhouse in town, so it’s not without what a traveler needs.

29 June-7 July 2010
(Sioux Falls, SD)

The falls Sioux Falls is named for

 Sioux Falls, especially in the immediate area of the falls, is gorgeous. However our first few nights were spent well East of town at Jelly Stone RV Park. As you can imagine from the name, it’s a (very!) family oriented park. So they were booked for the 4th of July holiday as much as a year ahead. We had to get out on 2 July so we headed back toward town to the KOA. Both parks are adjacent to I-90 but the KOA is noisier if you aren’t in the area with trees. We weren’t. On the plus side, this KOA has a decent size play area for pets, so we enjoyed it more than Jelly Stone.

We were in Sioux Falls with a mission: our truck & RV were already registered in South Dakota, but we had to get our driver’s licenses and arrange for insurance. So we got to it immediately. We stopped at Alternative Resources to make sure there wasn’t some secret password we needed to know, then we walked the 60-70 yards to the small and very busy office. Getting our DLs was quick as by some miracle we got to the office at a lull. By the time we left there was probably a 1.5-2 hour wait. They asked if we were RVers (“yes”), if we had a receipt from the RV park (“yes”), and did the receipt have both names on it (“yes”). You need these three “yeses” or you’re not going to be a happy camper. Since RV parks in the area know the requirements, it shouldn’t be a big deal to get registration folks at the park to enter all the names for those getting DLs.

We buzzed thru the process except for registering to vote. They wouldn’t let us do that because we had a mail forwarding address. Other than voter registration, we walked out with shiney new licenses declaring us residents of South Dakota. We thought we were going to have a problem, so we asked Alternative Resources about registering to vote. They said they could take care of it for us and Presto! It was done. And we know it was done properly since we received our absentee ballots and voted.

We talked to the insurance broker adjacent to Alternative Resources and mentioned on their site. It’s named Dougherty Associates and Jim Dougherty happen to also own the building where both offices are located. He did the usual survey of prices and we ended up saving a substantial amount compared to Progressive who previously had our RV plus our 2 vehicles covered. We were happy with the coverage they provided us and also managed to get an umbrella policy which no one else was able to offer.

After I dropped the trailer on the bed-saver and mashed the cable back in March, we started having progressively more trouble getting the landing gear to operate long enough to get any meaningful lift before it would cut out; lowering wasn’t a problem. I tried to use the manual crank a couple times but you would have to be really, really desperate to use that approach. So while we were in Sioux Falls we contacted the local Montana dealer (Schaap’s RV Traveland) and asked for help. The service manager worked us in and 2 hours later the landing gear were working properly plus I didn’t have to ask them to do the recall inspection related to the sealant used for roof penetrations (everything was OK). Very impressed! The electrical problem turned out to be a faulty thermal breaker in the landing gear/stabilizers circuit. All is well again.

The walk along the river front at the falls.

We took one afternoon to go to the falls so I could play with the camera awhile. Not an easy thing to do since we had the dogs in tow. But we spent some time around these spectacular falls and very much appreciated their beauty. We saw more than one NWS flood warning yet there was no evidence where the flooding could be occurring (??). The downtown and South part of town all looked to be without damage, so there’s more to it than we could understand in our brief visit.

The crowds at the falls were pretty impressive. Even had a wedding party that came there for their photo session. The photographer saw may camera and positioned himself between me and the bride. Must have thought I was a friend of the family trying to cut into his work. And I was in the standard RV uniform: old jeans, faded T-shirt and deck shoes. Oops!

The holiday brought everyone out to play, take photos

Train loaded with holiday tourists… went this as far, then backed up

By the time 7 July rolled around we were ready to be on the road again. We were headed for Canada by way of Minnesota and L Superior. We were going to head North on I-29 to Fargo, ND, then turn East to Moorhead, MN for the night.

About bruce10b

Celia and I are full-time RVers wintering (and now summering!) in southeast AZ. Our 2 Bernese Mountain Dogs, Annie & Kelly, prompted the name of this blog but sadly are gone because of kidney failure. They will live forever in our hearts.
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