Sounding Off: Travelling On


While I stood waiting for my hands to dry under one of those wonderful blow dryers in a Welcome Centre restroom, I noticed a small sign that had been printed from a computer and taped to the concrete wall:

Please don’t flush diapers, Depends, or any clothing down the toilets. Our sewer system will get clogged and stop working.  Thanks for your consideration.”

I can’t help wonder why such a sign would even be necessary.  Are there really people out there who lack that much common sense? Are they the same ones who, here in the US right now, are protesting the possible lifting of the Income Tax Reduction put into place by George Bush, while in the same breath demanding more funding for job creation, social assistance and general economic stimulus from the government.  Do they ever ask themselves where the money would come from, if not taxes?

******

On Friday our “side-trip” through the Badlands of South Dakota took all day, there was so much to see! The rock formations are amazing and around each corner the colours and shapes change. At our first viewing area stop we met a couple who were on a motorcycle. Like us, they had recently retired and taken off, pulling a toy hauler.  They’d left that in Rapid City to do some day touring on the bike.

Two stops later, we noticed some people who were having trouble with their car.  Jim asked if he could help, and we spent an hour there. I chatted with the women and invited them into the motor home to keep warm, as the wind was getting cold. The men eventually came up with a temporary solution so they could limp back to Rapid City to a mechanic. We carried on to the next viewing spot, an area where fossils have been found and put on display. After having some lunch we took a walk through the trails and climbed some mounds.  We didn’t find any new fossils though. Five or six hours and two hundred pictures later, we found our way out of the Badlands. We stopped for the night at the Belvidere KOA. It got very cold and the wind whistled most of the night.

Saturday was a long drive through acres of rolling farm land, under cloudy skies.  We stopped at the town of Kimball, South Dakota, looking for some bread and other sandwich ingredients.  It was mid-day, yet the streets were all but deserted. Some of the buildings appeared to have been there, unchanged, since the 1800s.  We did find a well-stocked grocery store, got our supplies and made lunch while parked on the street. We didn’t think anyone would mind that we were taking up four parking spaces.

Mid-afternoon we arrived at the Minnesota Information Centre. The very helpful woman there gave us a list of available RV parks in the state and suggested that if we were looking to drive for another couple of hours we could get free camping at the Blue Earth Fair Grounds. That sounded great!  We made it our destination for that night. As indicated on the signs, there were “full” hook-ups”. The only problem was, septic and water taps were in one spot; electricity hook-up was in another, requiring a very long extension cord, which we didn’t have.  We chose electricity, but it seemed all of the reasonably level spots near the outlets were already occupied, and the ground looked pretty soft around the others.  We finally returned to the grassy area closer to the gate, where only one other RV had parked, and set up. Even there, the ground was squishy and not at all level. Like our neighbours, we had to do a lot of jacking, but it seemed pretty good when we were done. We had dinner and then took a stroll through the grounds, over to see the Jolly Green Giant. It’s a huge replica of the one-and-only Green Giant, but we could find nothing to tell us why he’s in the park in Blue Earth, Minnesota. We took some photos before walking across the street to Walmart to pick up a few more supplies.

By bedtime the RV seemed to be leaning a little, so Jim gave the jacks another turn or two. When we woke up in the morning I found that I was crowding Jim to the wall, and walking down the hall felt a bit like I’d had too much wine. When Jim, preparing to leave after breakfast, pulled up the jacks and went to pick up the three blocks of wood he’d placed under one of them, he discovered one block buried so deep into the ground that he had to get out a crowbar to remove it!

Today, Sunday, we just drove. The day was cloudy and damp. My arthritis was acting up so I slept a lot. We had a bit of a stretch and a walk when we stopped to eat lunch at a Rest Area near Lewiston, and decided that we’d attempt to get as close as possible to Chicago tonight. That’s where we are, in a very pretty KOA about fifty miles north-west of Chicago. It would be nice to be able to stay put for a couple of days.  I know Jim is getting tired of driving every day, but, tomorrow we will stop at the Chicago Museum of Science and Technology before starting the last leg of our trip. We should be pulling into our driveway sometime on Wednesday.

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