10 June 2006

Drive to South Dakota

We moved yesterday. We left Bismarck, ND at about 7am central time and arrived in Interior, SD about 2ish Mountain Time. Most of the drive through North Dakota was pretty, and then you get into South Dakota. Literally, we crossed the line and the scenery changed and there was massive road construction. We saw the ‘road work ahead’ sign and figured they had closed one lane or something, no biggie. Then we see the ‘paved road ending, construction next 12 miles’ sign, these signs are never good to see when you are pulling a 7500 lb trailer and it’s pretty low profile, our trailer doesn’t sit really high like some of them do. However, we make the most of it and say to ourselves, at least its only 12 miles. What’s 12 miles when we are driving almost 400 today? Then we get to where the pavement ends and it’s detoured. They pushed everyone off the main highway and led us along roughly 20-30 miles of dirt, farm roads. If you’ve never driven through South Dakota (home to our National Grass Lands) let me assure you that there are hundreds of miles of nothing, flatness. So we bumped down these farm roads at between 20-30 mph, we couldn’t go faster without breaking something on the truck or the RV. Finally got back to the main road and continued on our way.

But wait, that’s not all. So, we’re cruising alone highway 83, which changes to other highways if you don’t pay attention, and we see signs that say ‘wide loads exit to detour now’. Ok…we aren’t a wide load, but it also had weight classes listed. We figured we were safe being that we were under the weight limit and not a ‘wide load’. Continue on down the road a few miles or so and see a sign that says ‘low clearance ahead, 11’4”. Well crap, that tidbit of info would have been nice to have back at the wide load detour sign. So we creep up to the low bridge and Bill says, “here goes nothing” and we inch our way through. Luckily for us our RV with AC unit on top is apparently shorter than 11’4”, good to know. However, from this point we missed our turn (remember that 83 changes if you don’t pay attention) because highway 83 is under yet more construction and there is no sign telling you to turn. Not that it mattered since the turn we would have had to make we never would have fit. It was a 90 degree turn that really only had enough room for a mini to make it, let alone a truck and trailer that are 45+ feet long together. How about NO. We continue on to the next light down, hang a right, pull up in front of a hardware/farm rental place and out I hop to ask how to get back to the 83 whilst towing a 30’ travel trailer. This is all happening in the capitol city of SD, Pierre. Pierre totally blows in case anyone wants to know.

So, enter Kari into ‘deliveranceville’, ok it wasn’t that bad, but this was all quite the ordeal and on top of it all I felt (and still feel) like crap. I walk into this shop, beeline for the only two people in there and stand right in front of them waiting for someone to say, “can I help you?” This was apparently my first mistake and I continued to stand there like an idiot while these two guys debated about the price and efficiency of a floor sander. I had nothing in my hands, therefore was not a paying customer, wouldn’t that say that whatever I needed would be quick? Nope, I continued to stand there, once in awhile the one that looked like a distance inbred cousin to Elmer Fudd would look at me like I was some kind of retarded kid that wouldn’t leave him alone. Incredible!

Finally some nice lady comes in and is just kind of shopping around and I ask her if she is from here (having lost interest in how much polish it would take for said floor sander on a certain sized floor, and he didn’t have enough but maybe you should stop by and ask Bud down the street if he has more in stock….I kid you not) anyway, the nice lady was very helpful and made me feel like maybe there was hope for Pierre, SD. She got us back on the 83 with no problems, even telling us not to take the first right because there wasn’t a light for us and we would have to cross against traffic, so I have no clue who she was but she is from here on out to be referred to as the Angel of Pierre.

Back on the 83 we go, straight to the 90 and over to some other road that dropped us down into the Badlands and hence into Interior, SD (population 67) where we are staying. The Badlands are AMAZING! The rest of SD is lame, but this place is so totally awesome. We set up yesterday, had dinner, then drove into the park just as the sun was setting and tooled around for awhile in there. I’m really looking forward to seeing more of it and taking pictures. We didn’t take the cameras with us last night and Bill kept saying, “Damn, I knew I should have brought the cameras”, around every corner was something spectacular. And we saw the most amazing sunset, the likes of which neither of us has ever seen before. There was a pretty major storm front (thunder and lightning, pretty common for this area) moving in and the sun set behind the storm clouds it was indescribable.

That’s about it for now, we got hit last night by the edge of the storm front, but it didn’t last long. Had some wind, a lot of rain, a little hail, and a spectacular lightning show.